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What was it like in the old days?


rtr

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It occurred to me last night while loading a few hundred rounds on my 550 that we have it pretty good these days for reloading, that even a 550 will load enough rounds to keep me satisfied. I've heard some guys talk about the old days of reloading (to me the 80s are the old days) and how horribly slow reloading was. I'm just curious what it was like for you guys back then, how many rounds could one load per hour? Could the average shooter load enough rounds to practice and shoot in matches or what?

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Holy crap! If the 80's are the old days of reloading....arghhh.

Back then had an old Lyman single stage Crusher that was about as slow as it got. Had a powder measure I didn't trust and 200 rounds of anything rifle took all afternoon. Handgun was a little better but I still don't remember doing more than 200 rounds at a time and wearing out the loading blocks in the process.

Not to mention the old Thumbler bumbler tumbler that you had to start up the weekend before, and I forgot about the hand priming tool too! :rolleyes:

These are better days for sure. :)

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I had a 550 in the 80s, so things have not changed that much for me! :D

I do recall my days of loading varmint loads of .223 and .22-250 on a RCBS Rockchucker. Trim cases, ream primer pockets, manually seat each primer, check each powder charge on a beam scale, etc. I do not miss doing that at all!

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In High School I had a Lee hand press, the Lee scoop powder measure that came with the dies, the Lee hand priming tool, and about 200 cases for my .41 Mag that I reloaded way too many times. Scale? Why do you need a scale, when you have a plastic dipper? Must of felt rich at some point because I bought an 8lb keg of Blue Dot that I used for years. :unsure:

I can't remember how long it took to reload those cases, but I could do it in an evening sitting around watching the Cosby Show or whatever lame sitcom was on back then. The whole reloading set-up fit in a ridiculously small box when I compare it to the monstrosity of a reloading room I have now! B)

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I actually still use a single stage now and then. For high volume stuff like pistol, I use a 650 (9mm, 38/357, 38 super, 40/10 mm) but I use a Rockchucker and an RCBS Powder measure for low volume stuff like 32 S&W long, 223 rem, 30-30 Win, and .308 Win. I am in the process of getting a setup for the 223, but most of the case prep operations are still going to be done on the single stage. I'll use the 650 to prime, drop powder, and seat the bullets. I have a large amount of mil brass that needs trimming and all the operations that go for that, and I have time to do it when I work from home.

The one addition that has made life easier on the single stage is the aquisition of the Dillon case trimmer. The old way for me was an RCBS hand crank one hooked up to a drill press. The Dillon is much faster. Still need to hand chamfer though.. I like that other trimmer, but it's just a tad steep in price right now. Maybe for my Birthday :D

Vince

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200 rounds an hour!? You animal!

When I first started reloading, I did it sans press. That's right, no press. With the Lee Load All, you pounded the shells into the sizing die with a hammer, then pounded them out with the hammer onto a priming plate - where the primer got beaten into the case. Premature primer detonations were extremely common.

I had no scale, I had a box of calibrated plastic powder scoops.

Bullets were seated, you guessed it, by pounding the bullets into the case with a hammer.

25-30 rounds an hour was hauling ass. I think I still have 38 spl and 30-06 left over from the days of the Load All.

When I started loading shotgun, I went full-on city slicker and bought a Mec Jr. reloader. But, in my hick-like fashion, I bought Red Dot powder out of a keg 1lb at a time and brought it home in paper sack via bicycle.

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Three months of loading 9x19 on an RCBS RockChucker back in 1988 drove me to buy a Dillon 550 as soon as I heard that something like it existed.

Rounds per hour on the RockChucker was something like 40-50 for me. Too much fun using the RCBS case lube pad ;-)

--

Regards,

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I started reloading 18 years ago with a single die press. It was a Lee. I would use plastic scoops for the powder. I couldn't find the right scoop one time and had to melt wax into the scoop and scrape out a little at a time until I achieved the right load. I can't remember how many I could load in an hour, but it wasn't many. It took all afternoon to load for an hours worth of shooting. That's dedication.... B)

I've been using a 550B for 3 years and love it.

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In the fall of 1971 I started helping my dad reload our rifle ammo for the up coming hunting seasons. I was 12 at the time and my dad had a old brown Herters “C” press and a lyman un-dampened scale, (that arm could bob for hours, if you let it). Dad loaded ammo for everybody, Uncles, Cousins, brothers, friends, well it seemed like everybody.

Two years later dad feeling like he had trained me well enough never touched the press again. I loaded it, and he shot it. My dad passed away this January at the age of 85 and those are some of the fondest memories I have, is dad and me, one on one at the press.

In my early twenties I made friends with a guy that shot a 44 mag. and he cast his own bullets, so we got into the routine of the first weekend on Saturday we would cast and lubasize bullets all day 12 to 14 hours worth. Since he worked at the local tire company we had all of the wheel weights we needed. Tons of lead, at one time he had twenty-three five-gallon buckets of wheel weights in his garage. Then Sunday we would load as much ammo as we possibly could on a single stage RCBS Rock Chucker press. Then the next weekend we go shoot them all up, and then we would start the process all over again.

Five years ago I started shooting the action pistol sports and I was spending a lot of time reloading for the .45. The wife didn't like that to much so I told her that if she would buy me a Dillon 550B press I could load in a hour what it was taking me all day to load. With in a week I was mounting my 550B onto my loading bench. And that’s where I am today.

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:P With my model 39 I also got a set of Lyman reloading tongs and Lee powder dippers.reloaded 100 rounds a night. couldn't wait to get better gear. :wacko:

Then I moved up to a RCBS press.

Use to do my reloading in stages. First my brass goes in to the thumblers tumbler(my sisters rock polisher). Size and deprime about 500 cases on a RCBS jr press(no compound leverage). Later in front of the TV using a Lee autoprime, I prime all the cases. In to the shell trays for powder from the Uniflow. then back to the press to seat and taper crimp. Two hours at the range and its all gone; start over.

When I got my first CH autochamp I thought I was in heaven. :rolleyes:

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Chris,

I started loading in the late '60s on an RCBS Junior press. Turning out a couple hundred rounds of pistol ammo took awhile but we didn't know any better.

Now with two Super 1050s I feel like I'm in paradise.

However, RW still loads all his ammo on an RCBS Rockchucker..he says he finds it relaxing.

LIZARD OUT

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In the "old days" (the 1960's) it was no different than it is today.

I had a single stage press (today I have 3).

I had a basic powder measure (today I still use the same one, a Lyman 55).

I had a basic balanced beam scale (today I have 3).

I had a Forster case trimmer (today I have the same one).

I used a stamp pad and RCBS case lube (I still use the same).

For shotgun I used a MEC 650 (today I use a MEC 9000G).

I had cheap stainless calipers and micrometers (today I still have cheap stainless calipers and micrometers, only I don't use them as much).

In the 1960's I had a lot less choice in bullets and powders (today there are too damn many choices).

In the '60's I paid around $3 a pound for powder, $4 a thousand for primers (today you have to take out a loan, at 19% interest)!

In the '60's I paid around $125 for Ruger 77's, $87 for any of the Ruger single action revolvers (including the Hawkeye!), $69 for a Ruger 10/22, $800 For a Browning Midas Grade Broadway Trap gun, $350 for a Browning BT-99, $175 for a Remington 1100-TC trap gun.

What have I added to my reloading bench since first starting? The RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center, RCBS hand priming tool, a couple of Lyman 2200 Turbo Flo case tumblers, some meatloaf pans, some paint brush racks, around 55 used tooth brushes, an untrasonic cleaner, some allen wrenches, some "gunshith screwdrivers", and a bunch of reloading manuals.

What can I not get today that I could get in the 1960's? All the carbontet, MEK and TCE I wanted...

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I could load about 50 rounds an hour if I really pushed it when I was in college in the late 80s-early 90s on a rock chunker single stage press. It was a serious undertaking!

Much easier today with either my square deal or my buddy's 650. :)

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Started loading as a teenager in the 70's with a Lee Handloader. Used a hammer to size, prime, seat bullets in the dies and a scoop to measure powder. Then graduated to a RCBS single stage with a real scale!!! Bought my first Dillon press (a 450) in 1983. Since then I've owned a 550, 2 Square Deals, a 1050 and currently a 650 and a Square Deal.

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