How To Reload Rifle Brass
In the previous article of this
series, we looked at the best reloading brass cartridges for handguns. Today,
we’re going to take a look at the best reloading brass cartridges for rifles.
simplest of all rifle calibers to reload are rimed or belted, straight wall
cartridges intended for use in a single shot rifle. Typical examples would
include the .45-70 and .458 Winchester Magnum as applied to a Ruger No. 1
rifle. These are reloaded much like a standard revolver case, except that no
bullet crimping is required for use in a single shot rifle. (I dislike crimping
bullets in cases as it works the case mouth excessively and shortens case
life.) Reloading doesn't get any easier than that!
and belted cases have a huge advantage over rimless bottleneck cases in that it
is basically impossible to mess-up the head spacing. It is possible, by
improper resizing, to degrade headspace of any cartridge that headspaces on the
shoulder, which can potentially create a hazardous situation.
rimless bottleneck rifle cases that headspace on the shoulder are the most
common type today. The most reloader-friendly of these headspace on a fairly
sharp, but not abrupt, 15-30-degree shoulder that is adequate in area to easily
maintain proper headspace against the blow of a firing pin, have long necks (in
excess of one caliber), and use a full diameter head and moderate body taper.
That is about as good as it gets among rimless, bottleneck rifle cartridges as
far as the reloader is concerned.
most popular rifle calibers are pretty easy to reload. The 6mm Rem., for
example, is preferred over the .243 Win. by reloading purists, due primarily to
its longer neck and slightly greater case capacity, but I have never had any
problem reloading very accurate .243 cartridges.
belted magnum cases are supposed to be less desirable for reloading than
standard rimless types due to the possibility of head expansion immediately in
front of the belt, where it is difficult to fully resize. So are cartridges
used in rifles whose bolts lock at the rear, due to the possibility of case
stretching. But I think that these considerations are mostly theoretical. I
have reloaded belted magnums and cartridges for rear-locking Winchester and
Marlin lever action rifles (mainly the .30-30) for about 40 years without any
other hand, I generally full length resize my cases, as most must be able to
feed reliably in more than one rifle. And I never exceed published maximum
loads. Perhaps that is why I have less trouble than some reloaders who just
neck size their cases or are trying to reload super powerful or super accurate
cartridges tailored for a specific rifle that are out of spec in some area.
Such reloads are much more likely to cause problems in another rifle than
factory loads or reloads that adhere to all SAAMI or CIP specifications.
regards bottleneck rifle cartridges for reloading, the easiest to reload are
probably standard rimless cases (rather than semi-rimmed, belted, or rebated
rim numbers) with a neck greater than one caliber in length and a broad
shoulder with an angle between 15 and 30 degrees. It is also helpful if the
chosen cartridges are ones for which a wide variety of bullets are available,
and a number of powders are suitable.
most uniform and reliable ignition, cartridges that require an action no longer
than standard length, and a case capacity no greater than the standard length
are desirable. Ideal cases should have enough body taper for easy entry into a
resizing die, but not so much that case stretching is accelerated.