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November 18th, 2022

Reloading with Progressive Presses — 10 Tips for Good Results

6.5 Guys Progressive Press video Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.

10 Tips for Reloading Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:

1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.

2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.

3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.

4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.

5. With masking tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and cartridge charge weight. Check the charge mass multiple times (see below).

6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.

7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.

8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.

9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.

10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all parts of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.

Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:

6.5 Guys
https://www.youtube.com/user/65guys
http://www.65Guys.com

Ultimate Reloader
https://www.youtube.com/ultimatereloader
http://www.UltimateReloader.com

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November 6th, 2022

Primer Problems? Check Your Primer Seating Tool

Priming Tool APS CCI magnum Primers Lee RCBS Priming

From time to time, we all encounter a primer that doesn’t go off. It’s normal to attribute the problem to a bad primer. But sometimes there are other explanations. George S., one of our Forum members, experienced a couple failures to fire, but he learned that the issue was his priming TOOL, not his primers. Here’s what George told us. There’s a lesson to be learned:

“I had issues with CCI 450s when I had my first 6BR barreled. I had probably three or four out of 20 rounds that failed to fire. the primers were dented but didn’t fire. I called CCI since I had bought a case of them. The tech was decent enough but had the audacity to tell me I was not seating the primers all the way in the pocket. I proceeded to let him know I had been reloading longer than he had been alive and I knew how to seat a primer.

Turns out that I did and I didn’t! I was using the RCBS primer tool I had used for years and the primers felt just fine to me. I finally decided to check the tool and since I had a new one I took the seating pins out and measured them. The seating pin on the tool I had been using for years was shorter by a few thousandths! I then used the pin from the new primer tool and darned if the primers that didn’t seat down to the bottom of the cup.

I switched to a K&M primer tool for seating the CCI primers and have not had a problem since. It was the combination of harder cup and lack of proper seating. I did call the CCI tech back and apologized for being an idiot.”

Another Forum member witnessed a problem cause by misuse of a priming tool: “I did … see a failure to fire on a Rem 9 1/2 primer only a week ago. That was in the new Rem muzzleloader that uses a primed case to ignite the pellets. After watching the muzzleloader’s owner seat his primers, I believe that it was operator error not the primer. He was seating the primer and then squeezing the priming tool so hard that his hands hurt after a few. We got that corrected.”

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July 22nd, 2022

Clean Brass Effectively with Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning »

Our friend Gavin Gear has evaluated an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.

Ultra Dry Necks After Ultrasonic Cleaning — Some Suggestions
The Ultrasonic cleaning process gets cartridge brass so “squeaky clean” that increased force may be required to seat your bullets, or they may “grab” as they go in the necks. To reduce bullet-seating effort, you may benefit from adding a little dry case lube inside the case-neck before loading (use a nylon brush). Another trick is adding a teaspoon of Ballistol lube to the cleaning solution. That provides a trace lubricant inside the necks, but does not interfere with powder ignition in any way.


The latest Gen2 RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine has a large 6.3-quart capacity. That’s nearly 100% larger than the first generation machine in Gavin’s video. The Gen2 machine, $406.99 on Amazon, features a second ceramic heater and transducer to better clean brass cases and firearm parts. The LED is easily programmable, and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of cleaning. The original 3.2 quart-capacity RCBS ultrasonic machine, as shown in Gavin’s video, is still available for $180.72 at Midsouth Shooters.

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June 18th, 2022

Saturday at Movies: 12 Progressive Press Comparison Shootout

ultimate reloader gavin gear progressive press shootout comparison test lee dillon hornady rcbs mark7

If you are considering purchasing a progressive reloading press — you’ve struck gold. Today’s Saturday at the Movies article showcases the most comprehensive video ever created about progressive presses. Hosted by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, this remarkable 79-minute video covers a dozen presses from six leading manufacturers: Dillon, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Lee, Mark 7 (Lyman), and RCBS.

Set aside plenty of time, because there is a wealth of information — the “mother lode” of progressive press coverage. Along with the big comparison video, Gavin has prepared a detailed, 17-page online article which covers all of the presses in the shootout. This 17-page article also includes many product-specific videos. We link to five of these videos below.

12 Progressive Presses are compared in this comprehensive video:

Here it is! Ultimate Reloader’s long-awaited Progressive Press Shootout. This online article and accompanying video represent the most exhaustive and most in-depth look at progressive press reloading equipment. The Ultimate Reloader Progressive Shootout covers a dozen different progressives from Dillon, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Mark 7 (Lyman), and RCBS. Reviewer Gavin Gear demonstrates how each press works and provides data on costs, output rates, capabilities, and accessories so that potential buyers can make informed purchasing decisions.

MORE INFO — Progressive Press Shootout Online Article

To accompany the remarkable 79-minute Progressive Press Shootout Video, Gavin Gear has posted a ton of information on his UltimateReloader.com website. A lengthy online article provides detailed information on the particular presses, press mounts, and lighting, as well as general details such as cost of ownership. We provide links to particular topics below. This is a GREAT RESOURCE — it’s like getting an entire chapter of a technical book all for FREE!

ultimate reloader gavin gear progressive press shootout comparison test lee dillon hornady rcbs mark7

» READ Full Progressive Press Comparison Article (17 Pages, Multiple Videos)

Below we provide links to each product-specific online page, along with the corresponding time-link to the related segment of the 79-minute Progressive Shootout video.

Progressive Press Comparison — Online Article Highlights

Time-Mark & Topic (with LINKs)

00:00
04:22
13:43
13:43
22:02
31:49
35:39
39:20
43:47
46:42
54:44
1:01:44
1:05:30
1:10:32
1:14:06
1:14:45
1:15:03

Introduction
Hornady Lock-N-Load AP
RCBS Pro Chucker 5
RCBS Pro Chucker 7
Mark 7 APEX 10
Dillon Square Deal B
Dillon RL-550C
Dillon XL-750
Dillon RL 1100
Frankford Arsenal X-10
LEE Pro 1000
LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro (Pro 4000)
LEE Loadmaster
Total Cost of Ownership Recap
Inline Fabrication Mounts
KMS Squared UFO Press Lighting
Conclusion

Individual Progressive Press Videos

Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7

Mark 7 APEX 10

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-Station

Frankford Arsenal X-10 10-Station

LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro 4000

NOTE: Along with the presses featured in these six videos, the Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Comparison video covers six other presses (12 total), in a comprehensive 1 hour 19 minute video linked at the top of this article.

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May 19th, 2022

Reloading Tip: Pulling Bullets Using Press-Mounted Collet Tools

Collet Bullet Puller Hornady RCBS Press Mount Reloading

Do you have some ammo that got loaded incorrectly, perhaps with the wrong powder? Then you’ll want to disassemble the ammo for safety’s sake. You can use an impact puller to do this task, but if you have more than a dozen rounds or so, you may prefer to use a collet-style bullet puller. These work very quickly and positively, making quick work of big jobs. The efficiency of the collet-style puller is worth the investment if you frequently disassemble ammo. These devices retail for under $25.00 (collets sold separately). Normally, you’ll need a specific collet for each bullet diameter. But collets are not that costly, so this isn’t a big deal, particularly if you only load a few calibers, such as .223, 6mm, and .308.

Hornady and RCBS use different mechanisms to tighten the collet around the bullet. On the Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller, a lever-arm on the top of the bullet puller serves to tighten the collet around the bullet. Simply rotate the lever from the vertical to the horizontal position to grab the bullet. Lower the ram to remove the case. The bullet will drop out when you return the lever arm to the vertical position. This is demonstrated in the video below:

Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Demonstrated

Collet bullet-pullers resemble a loading die with a lever or handle on the top. They screw into a standard reloading press. Hornady and RCBS both make collet-style bullet pullers. They use the same basic principle — the device tightens a collet around the bullet, and then the bullet is separated from the case by lowering the press ram. NOTE: Collet pullers may leave small marks on your bullets, unlike impact (kinetic) pullers.*

Hornady collet bullet pullerLike the Hornady tool, the RCBS Bullet Puller employs a collet to grab the bullet. However, the RCBS tool tightens the collet in a different way. The head of the RCBS tool is threaded internally. By rotating the lever arm clockwise in a horizontal circle you squeeze the collet around the bullet. To remove the bullet, after lowering the press ram, simply spin the lever arm back in the opposite direction. The use of the RCBS tool is demonstrated in these two videos:

RCBS Collet Bullet Puller Demonstrated:

WARNING: When removing bullets from loaded cartridges, always make sure there are no obstructions or debris in your shell-holder or under the loaded round. NEVER engage a primer seating accessory on your press when working with loaded rounds. You can cause a round to discharge by contacting the primer! Also, we recommend you keep your head and torso away from the bullet puller tool at all times.

*By contrast, impact pullers rarely mark bullets, particularly if you put a little bit of foam or paper wadding in the closed end of your impact puller. When dismantling loaded rounds, powder kernels can get trapped in the wadding, so you should remove and replace the wadding before changing to cartridges loaded with a different powder type (assuming you intend to save the powder).

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May 17th, 2022

Three Press Comparison Test: Rock Chucker, Co-Ax, Summit

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target Shooter

“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland

British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.

READ Reloading Press Three-Way Comparison Review »

If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target ShooterReview Quick Highlights:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”

RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”

Forster Co-Ax
“[On the Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates [many] novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and lets the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”

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May 3rd, 2022

How to Remove a Case Stuck in a Die — Case Removal Kits

By Pete Petros, Lead Reloading Technician, Sinclair International

We have all been there — you place a piece of tumbled brass in the shell-holder of your press, raise it into the die, and suddenly it is like somebody hit the brakes. The case is stuck in the die. Your first instinct is to reverse it out. You crank on the handle, and BANG! The rim rips off the case head and you are looking at a piece of brass stuck in the die.

A stuck case is one of the boo-boos that all of us reloaders have faced from time to time. If proper lubrication is applied, then it should not be a problem. No matter if you are a seasoned reloader or new to it, this situation can happen. Take your time, use the proper procedures, and you will be back in business in no time! This article explains how to avoid stuck cases (through proper lubrication) and how to use a stuck case removal system.

What Causes Stuck Cases
One of the first common mistakes reloaders face is the stuck case. It can be caused by too much or too little lube. Too much and a vacuum can be formed causing the case to become suctioned into the die. Too little lube and friction is the culprit. So what is the cure? There is no exact cure, but the best lube that we have found so far is just a dab of Imperial Sizing Die Wax on your fingers and applied in a thin coat on the body of the case, not the shoulder or neck. Too much of this wax can cause the vacuum effect, or can eventually load your die up with gobs of residue. If it is applied to the shoulder area, or the leftover wax moves up into the shoulder region of the die, you will see dents or dimples in the shoulder. [AccurateShooter.com Editor’s Note: For normal full-length sizing of small cases such as 220 Russian/PPC, 6mmBR, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.5×47 Lapua we recommend Ballistol (aerosol) lube. It is very slippery, goes on very thin, and does not gum up the die.]

A great way to ensure that your dies are clean is to use a simple chamber mop with a dab of your favorite solvent on it and clean out the die. Be sure all of the solvent is out after cleaning by spraying the die out with Quickscrub III or use a clean chamber mop. If you are storing your dies, you can apply a thin coat of a good oil to protect the steel such as TM oil or Starrett M1 Spray.

This video shows how to use an RCBS Stuck Case Removal Kit:

Using a Stuck Case Removal Kit
If you do stick a case in your die there are a few good stuck case removal kits available. Each one works in a similar fashion. I have found the Hornady kit very effective and easy to use. [Editor: Forster, Lyman, and RCBS also make good kits for removing a case stuck in a die.]

lyman stuck case kit

hornady stuck case kit

Basically what you do is remove the die from the press. Unscrew the decapping assembly and pull it out as far as you can. You then need to drill/tap threads into the stuck case head (this is why it is suggested to unscrew the decapping assembly as far as you can to get it clear of the drill bits). Once this is done screw the die back into the press. You then install the included shellholder attachment on the shellholder ram, and thread it into the case via a small wrench. With some elbow grease you can reverse the stuck case out of the die with the leverage of the press, and not damage the die.

However if the case is stuck… REALLY stuck, you may pull out the threads on the case and you are still left with a stuck case in the die without any way to pull it out. If the case is really difficult to remove even with the use of a stuck case removal kit, do not try to be Hercules with the press ram. Here is a trick that may work. Take the die with the stuck case and place it in your freezer for a couple of hours. Then repeat the removal with the cold die. The freezing temperatures may cause the brass to contract, and make removal easier. If this does not work it is recommended to send it to the die manufacturer. They will be able to remove the case without damaging the die.

Another fix if you can remove the decapping assembly completely is to use a tap hammer and a punch or small wooden dowel to knock the stuck case out. This isn’t the best way since it is very possible that you will damage the die internally or externally on the threads, or both. Send the die to the manufacturer to have this done properly. You will be happier in the long run.

This article appears courtesy Sinclair International. It first appeared in Sinclair’s Reloading Press Blog.

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March 14th, 2022

Reloading Press Comparison: Rock Chucker vs. Co-Ax vs. Summit

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target Shooter

“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland

British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.

READ Laurie Holland Reloading Press 3-Way Comparison Review

If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target ShooterReview Quick Highlights:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”

RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”

Forster Co-Ax
“[On the Forster Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally here [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates a number of novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and also sees the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 3rd, 2021

New RCBS ChargeMaster LINK Powder Scale/Dispenser

RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC

RCBS has introduced an advanced successor to the ChargeMaster Lite electronic powder scale/dispenser. RCBS calls the new machine the ChargeMaster LINK. This boasts multiple refinements, most notably the ability to control the scale via BlueTooth using an APP on your mobile device. RCBS claims the unit “consistently delivers +/- 0.1-grain accuracy, from 0 to 350 grains[.]” It will be able to run from an external battery, or various voltage AC sources using a CE Approved 4-Country Universal Power Supply.

The ChargeMaster LINK will hold up to 2000 grains of powder, and dispense up to 350 grains per charge. MSRP is $349.95, and we expect “street price” to be around $299.00. RCBS plans to start shipping the end of this month (August 2021).

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has done an early “reveal” of the new ChargeMaster LINK. Watch the video below for Gavin’s explanation of this machine’s capabilities and features.

Watch Video to see new RCBS ChargeMaster LINK Features

Gavin plans to do a full-length product review but so far he has been impressed with the ChargeMaster LINK: “This new powder dispenser builds on the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, adding Bluetooth connectivity, and it works with a free APP that will be available from RCBS.”

ChargeMaster LINK Features

The new RCBS ChargeMaster LINK employs the load cell and electronics of the ChargeMaster Lite. However the newer Link model “advances the powder measuring process with built-in Bluetooth that pairs with updated RCBS APP for a customized, streamlined powder-dispensing.”

Bluetooth Compatible with FREE APP
+/- 0.1 Grain Dispensing Accuracy
2000 Grain Powder Capacity
Quick Warm-Up Period
Ability to run on external battery pack
CE Approved 4-Country Universal Power Supply
16 Segment LCD Touchscreen Display
Overcharge Warning via Flashing screen
Ability to disable audible beeps
User-serviceable infinite lifeshaft seals
Sealed Platen to keep powder out
Optimal dispense tub angle for speed and accuracy

RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC
RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC
RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC

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July 13th, 2021

Get Brass Ultra-Clean with Ultrasonic Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning »

Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.

Ultra Dry Necks After Ultrasonic Cleaning — Some Suggestions
The Ultrasonic cleaning process gets cartridge brass so “squeaky clean” that increased force may be required to seat your bullets, or they may “grab” as they go in the necks. To reduce bullet-seating effort, you may benefit from adding a little dry case lube inside the case-neck before loading (use a nylon brush). Another trick is adding a teaspoon of Ballistol lube to the cleaning solution. That provides a trace lubricant inside the necks, but does not interfere with powder ignition in any way.


The latest Gen2 RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine has a large 6.3-quart capacity. That’s nearly 100% larger than the first generation machine in Gavin’s video. The Gen2 machine, $385.49 on Amazon, features a second ceramic heater and transducer to better clean brass cases and firearm parts. The LED is easily programmable, and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of cleaning. The original 3.2 quart-capacity RCBS ultrasonic machine, as shown in Gavin’s video, is still available for $180.72 at Midsouth Shooters.

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March 8th, 2021

Learn Basics of Handloading with 4-Part Video Series

tactical life reloading video series rcbs barnes

With 7 million new gun owners, and ammo hard to find at reasonable cost, hundreds of thousands of Americans are looking to get started with handloading. While we always recommend new reloaders have a living, breathing human teacher/mentor. It is possible to learn important skills through instructional videos. Here’s a good 4-part series that can help reloading novices AND serve as a refresher course for those who need to brush up their skill set).

In Tactical Life’s new Reloading Zone Series, Frank Melloni, of Renaissance Firearms Instruction and the Hodgdon Reloading Roadshow, covers the basic steps of reloading. From equipment selection to reading a manual, Frank explains the process and demonstrates how to produce safe and accurate ammo. In the series, the host loads pistol and rifle ammunition using Hodgdon powder, Barnes Bullets, and Starline brass. RCBS Presses, Powder Measures, Scales, and Dies are used along with the impressive new dual-tube RCBS MatchMaster electronic scale/dispenser.

This 4-part video series first guides the new hand-loader through the gear/hardware selection process. Then the videos cover, step-by-step, all the key processes of reloading from start to finish. If you are new to hand-loading, or just want a reloading refresher course, we recommend you watch this 4-part series from Tactical Life, part of the Athlon Outdoors Network.

WARNING!! We have embedded the Videos below. You can watch ALL four videos, but each will play back at the TOP. NOTE: They are all the same for the first 30 seconds, so you may want to skip forward. These videos may play back better if you go to the Tactical Life Website. Access: CLICK HERE.

The complete book of reloading tactical life video seriesLearn More in Tactical Life’s The Complete Book of Reloading (2020 Edition)

This publication includes over 2000 handgun and rifle loads. In addition, The Complete Book of Reloading (2020) reviews 8 modern Progressive Presses. Take note — there is a special report on the LabRadar Chronograph. Long-range Hunters will enjoy a feature article on the new 6.5 PRC Cartridge. In the “Handloaders’ Stockpile” a variety of new products to make your hours at the bench more productive are reviewed. The issue also has feature stories on Wildcat Cartridges, Subsonic loads, and .44 Magnum loads for both rifle and pistol. There is a Bonus 33-Page Hodgdon and Alliant Load Data Guide.

CLICK HERE for more details.

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January 28th, 2021

New FX-10 and F-1 Reloading Presses from Frankford Arsenal

Frankford arsenal reloading press FX-10 FX-1 progressive single stage loading

Hot News! We just learned that Frankford Arsenal will offer two new reloading presses this year. It may be a while before these two presses arrive on dealers’ shelves but we wanted to give you a preview. Both presses are impressive. The new FX-10 is a TEN-station, auto-indexing progessive press. It will sell for $699.99, what you might pay for a different brand progressive with fewer stations and more limited capabilities. This FX-10 press offers a smooth, gear-driven shellplate, plus dual decapping stations and primer pocket swaging capability. There are optional (extra cost) bullet and case feeders. The press even offers a built-in LED light.

The F-1 is a robust single-stage press offering power, easy (open front) case access, and smooth cycling. The F-1 boasts a linear ball bearing system for smooth operation, an integrated LED light, a fully-contained primer catch system, and precision-machined solid steel construction.

Frankford Arsenal FX-10 Progressive Press

10-Station, Auto-Indexing

Frankford arsenal reloading press FX-10 FX-1 progressive single stage loading

Manufacturer’s Product Description:
The Frankford Arsenal FX-10 is a 10-station automatic indexing reloading press purpose-built from the ground up to be the ultimate progressive reloading press. At its core, the FX-10 features rigid steel construction, multiple ball bearings, and a proprietary 10-station, gear-driven, rotating shell plate which all combine to virtually eliminate powder spillage and bullet tipping.

The FX-10 offers innovative improvements like dual de-capping stations to prevent primer drawback, in-line primer pocket swaging capability (for both small and large primers), and the ability to run powder check and case trimming dies. The FX-10 includes a case-actuated powder measure with a positive reset that guarantees you’ll never have to worry about squib loads resulting from a sticking powder measure. When it’s time to swap calibers, the FX-10’s innovative design allows the user the ability to quickly and easily swap-out tool heads and shell plates to reload anything from 9mm to 30-06 Springfield length cartridges. The FX-10 goes further and offers refined details like a roller handle, integrated LED light, and spring-loaded case locator buttons, which allow easy one-handed case feeding and lever operation, making the FX-10 exceptionally smooth and easy to operate. Compatible with our Frankford Arsenal Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder (sold separately), the FX-10 is the ultimate solution for progressive reloading. MSRP for the FX-10 is $699.99.

FRANKFORD ARSENAL FX-10 PROGRESSIVE PRESS FEATURES
OPTIONAL CASE AND BULLET FEEDER
CASE-ACTIVATED POWDER MEASURE
INTEGRATED BEARINGS FOR SMOOTH OPERATION
IN-LINE PRIMER POCKET SWAGING
SPRING-LOADED CASE LOCATOR BUTTONS
LOADS CARTRIDGES UP TO .30-06 SPRG LENGTH
SHELL PLATES FOR POPULAR CALIBERS

Frankford Arsenal F-1 Single-Stage Press

Frankford arsenal reloading press FX-10 FX-1 progressive single stage loading

Manufacturer’s Product Description:
The Frankford Arsenal F-1 Single Stage Press is packed with innovative features to help you reload precisely and quickly so you spend less time reloading and more time on the range. At its core, the F-1 features a linear ball bearing system for smooth operation, an integrated LED light, a fully contained primer catch system, and precision-machined solid steel construction. Compatible with standard 7/8″x14 dies, this press will load up to .338 Lapua Magnum size cartridges. MSRP for the F-1 is $149.99.

FRANKFORD ARSENAL F-1 PRESS FEATURES
RAM RIDES IN BALL BEARINGS FOR SMOOTH OPERATION
LOADS UP TO .338 LAPUA Magnum LENGTH CARTRIDGES
INTEGRATED LED LIGHT
COMPATIBLE WITH STANDARD 7/8″ x 14 DIES
USES STANDARD SHELL HOLDERS
NO-MESS PRIMER CATCH USES BOTTLE OR HOSE
SELECTABLE CAM-OVER OR STOP OPERATION
SOLID STEEL ROD FRAME PILLARS

Credit EdLongRange for Frankford Arsenal New Product Tips.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 25th, 2021

Bargain Finder 279: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. CZ 457 .22 LR Varmint Precision Chassis Rifle, $899.99

CZ 457 Vamrmint Precision Chassis rimfire .22 LR rifle
CZ 457 offers good .22 LR accuracy/function with modern chassis stock

NRL22 rimfire tactical matches are hugely popular. You see a lot of press about centerfire PRS. But there are more NRL22 matches every month than official PRS matches every year! If you want to get started in NRL22 competition, here is a great option. Choose either 16.5″ or 24″ barrel. We like the longer barrel for the extra velocity, but either choice works. Palmetto State Armory has the 16.5″ version for $899.99 while Midway USA has both 16″ and 24″ models for the same $899.99 price. Either way, just add an optic and you’re good to go. Top photo by owner MealTeam6ix9ine who is “super impressed by the rifle” which has the 16.5″ barrel with Rugged Oculus suppressor. The optic is a Vortex Gen II Viper 5-25x50mm on a +15 MOA Area 419 base.

2. Natchez — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $239.99

Chargemaster Lite Midsouth Sale
Best Deal on popular, speedy Scale/Dispenser

Do you need an electronic powder scale/dispenser? Most vendors charge $290-$310 for the popular RCBS ChargeMaster Lite. But now you can get it for just $239.99 at Natchez. You save $60.00, about 20%! The ChargeMaster Lite features an easy-to-use LCD touchscreen and claimed precision of plus/minus 0.1 grains. The unit comes with twin check weights and a convenient plastic cover for the powder pan.

3. Grafs.com — Sightron S-TAC 4-20x50mm, $485.99 (31% Off)

sightron scope S-TAC 4-20 MRAD sale
Very good value for Tac Comp Scope; Good Lens Coatings

Do you enjoy PRS and NRL matches? Here is an excellent scope for that task, offered at a huge savings — 31% OFF normal retail. The Sightron S-TAC 4-20x50mm offers good glass, very accurate tracking, and a nearly ideal 4X to 20X power ratio. This FFP MRAD scope works great for tactical matches. It boasts 22.9 MRAD of elevation adjustment plus nice big, easy-to-turn turrets. This scope features a zero stop, throw lever, and side parallax control that works down to 10 yards. The S-TAC 4-20x50mm provides 22.9 MRAD of elevation adjustment. Note: This may say Duplex Reticle, but the Sightron product number 26016 on the Sightron site (and the product description) indicate this scope has the Mil-Hash-4 (MH-4) Illuminated reticle. That’s a good reticle for tactical disciplines.

4. Plano AirGlide Vertical Loading Rifle Case

Plano Airglide rifle case vertical top loading transport
Great case for range trips, sadly going out of production

The Plano AirGlide case is our favorite case for regular visits to the range. The rifle drops in from above. There is no pressure put on the scope turrets laterally or from above. This cases are good for rifles up to about 50″ overall (such as a benchrest rifle with a 27″-28″ barrel). We are listing this AirGlide case here because the AirGlide is being discontinued. In fact, it is no longer listed on the Plano website. So get one while you can. Here are two sources, but Airgun Depot is waiting for inventory:

Champions Choice, $52.00 | Airgun Depot, $49.99 (Pre-Order)

Among injection-molded plastic rifle cases, Plano’s AirGlide™ case is unique in holding a rifle vertically, in foam cradles. This allows ample room for the 3″-wide fore-ends on BR and Varmint rifles. The foam blocks front and rear can even be trimmed for a custom fit, while velcro webbing straps hold the rifle securely. The AirGlide’s hinged top-opening lid provides ample clearance for large target scopes, with no side load on the turrets. Measuring 51 1/2″L x 7 3/4″W x 12 1/4″H, the AirGlide can handle rifles up to 50″ in length. SEE: Airglide Video Review.

5. Grafs.com — Frankford Platinum Case Prep Center

trijicon tenmile scope sale
Versatile, easy to use unit with 4 powered heads

Grafs.com now has the Frankford Platinum Case Prep Center for $89.99 on SALE. This aluminum-body unit features 4 powered tool stations and comes with: (1) inside chamfer tool; (1) outside deburring tool; (1) small primer pocket scraper; and (1) large primer pocket scraper. The machine’s 8-32 threaded output shafts accept a wide variety of aftermarket case prep tools. The 200 RPM shafts are efficient. NOTE: If you want a tool that can TRIM cases, as well as prep cases, check out the Frankford Case Trim & Prep Center for $80 more — $169.95 at MidwayUSA.

6. EuroOptic — Trijicon Tenmile Scope Sale

trijicon tenmile scope sale
These Trijicon optics compare well with NF for much less

Trijicon Tenmile scopes have quickly become popular with F-Class, PRS, and ELR competitors. Check out the Trijicon Tenmile scope sale where you can pick up any of these innovative scopes that feature lit reticles, large 34mm diameter tubes, and many other good features. These are really good scopes for the money. And now’s the time to buy with massive discounts during this sale. For example the Tenmile 4-24x50mm with MRAD ranging is marked down from $1799.00 to $1176.00. And the Tenmile 4.5-30x56mm LR scope is marked down from $2600.00 MSRP to $1699.99 — Save over $900!

7. Amazon — Tipton Best Gun Vise, $87.54

tipton gun vise sale
Versatile, stable, works with all rifles, including ARs

You need a stable platform when cleaning your long guns, but most gun cradles are too light or unstable to do the job properly. If you’re looking upgrade to a better solution, grab the Tipton Best Gun Vise. The vise was designed to accommodate the widest possible array of firearms for cleaning, maintenance, or gunsmithing. This vise is easily configurable to handle bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, AR-15s, and handguns. You can also purchase this excellent Gun Vise for $89.99 at Midsouth.

8. MidwayUSA — Alpha-Bravo Bipod Tilt Lock Lever, $10.99

alpha bravo harris bipod lever handle tilt lock
“Must Have” Upgrade for Harris Bipods — works great, low cost

This lever handle replaces the thumbnut on tilting bipods to make locking them down easier. With the Alpha-Bravo Bipod Lever installed, a quick rotation of the lever allows you to go from easily tiltable to completely locked down. That way you can level your rifle in seconds and then be rock solid. You can also set the tilt resistance to a medium level that holds steady but allows some rifle rotation (L/R tilt) when you want. The Long Model Bipod Lever is on sale now for just $10.99. You can also get a Shorter Lever for $14.99. Both lever handles fit Harris Model S and similar bipods.

9. Palmetto SA — NRR 27 Muffs + Glasses Combo, $14.99

shooting eyewear glass earmuffs hearing protection NRR 27 dB
A good deal at twice the price, with above average 27 dB NRR

This Walker’s Ultra Slim Muff and Eyewear Combo Kit is truly a GREAT deal. Buy this inexpensive kit as a spare Muffs/Glasses set to keep in your vehicle or range kit. Each combo kit includes earmuffs along with a nice set of wrap-around shooting glasses. The muffs have an excellent 27 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). And the Z87.1-approved glasses boast impact-resistant, polycarbonate lenses with 99% UV Protection.

10. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $10.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1
Effective and affordable — works for both 30mm and 1″ tubes

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $10.99 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level.

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December 7th, 2020

Bargain Finder 272: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1.Sportsman’s Warehouse — H&K 416 .22 LR Rimfire AR, $379.99

hk 416 .22lr rifle
Authentic AR15 ergonomics, good for NRL22, and fun plinking

Centerfire ammo is in short supply, and prices have never been higher, so many shooters are doing more practice with a .22 LR. If you’re looking to have more fun at the range for less money, snatch up an H&K 416 .22 LR Rifle and practice in style. This high-quality, German-engineered semi-auto rimfire rifle has earned strong owner reviews. The size, ergonomics, and “feel” replicate a centerfire AR perfectly you can train effectively for a fraction of the price.

2. Locked & Loaded — Iver Johnson Shotgun Sale

bushnell scope sale
Solid self-defense scattergun, choose 12ga or 20ga

Folks around the country are looking for defensive firearms these days, given the recent social unrest. And shotguns are high on the list of defense guns. Right now LockedLoaded.com has some great deals on Iver Johnson pump shotguns. Get the basic 12 GA version for just $289.00. Or if you want a Picatinny action rail and fiber optic front sight, there is a 20 GA version for $349.99 — still a bargain.

3. MidwayUSA — Bushnell Elite XRS II 4.5-30x50mm, 36% OFF

bushnell scope sale
Outstanding scope, favorite of PRS competitors, Big SAVINGS

The Elite XRS II is Bushnell’s flagship optic, crafted to exacting standards. This scope’s ED Prime Glass delivers rich color and contrast, even in low light. You can grab the Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30x50mm Scope in several configurations for 36% off right now. This quality FFP scope with 1/10 Mil Clicks has been praised by many top PRS/NRL competitors. It offers a locking windage turret and an elevation turret with RevLimiter Zero Stop. The reticle has mil-based hash marks.

4. Midsouth — RCBS Rotary Case Tumbler with SS Media, $147.99

rcbs stainless tumbler
Wet tumbling works great, big savings, includes SS Pins

Want to get your old, used brass looking like new again? Try wet-tumbling your cases with stainless media. You’ll be impressed. For wet-tumbling, a good option is the RCBS Rotary Case Tumbler. This comes with everything you need to get started including 5 pounds of stainless steel pin media. This is a good unit with plenty of capacity.

5. Amazon — Frankford Universal Bullet Seating Die, $64.12

frankford arsenal
Smart new Die System simplifies loading multiple cartridge types

Are you tired of buying another expensive seating die every time you try a new cartridge type? With the unique Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet Seating Die you can have one die that loads multiple cartridge type. This cleaver bullet seating system includes 3 different stems and 9 sleeves allowing you to seat .224 up to .338-Caliber bullets with this one die system.

6. MidwayUSA — RCBS MatchMaster Digital Powder Scale/Dispenser, with $100 Gift Certificate

rcbs matchmaster sale
rcbs matchmaster sale
Fast, accurate dispenser, get $100 Gift Certificate with purchase

The Matchmaster has gotten good reviews and represents a whole new level of powder dispensing for RCBS. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to pick up an RCBS MatchMaster Digital Powder Scale & Dispenser you can get one for $899.00 — a significant discount. PLUS when you buy this from MidwayUSA you get a $100 Midway Gift Certificate by using code RCBS100. That lowers your net cost to $799.00, a stellar deal for one of the most sophisticated powder scale/dispensers on the market.

7. Amazon — Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge, $42.29

lyman trigger pull gauge
High quality, true match grade .224 bullets — just $23.90 per 100

When it comes to measuring trigger pull there aren’t many tools that can do the job across a wide range of pull weights and also do it repeatably. One of the best trigger pull measuring tools is Lyman’s Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. This accurate trigger gauge can register from 1 ounce all the way up to 12 pounds pull weight. That makes it ideal for all firearms types. This unit features a retractable pull rod to prevent damage. We like this Lyman tool and recommend it.

8. Natchez — Sierra MatchKing 69gr .224 Bullets, $119.49/500

sierra matchking bullets
Excellent match-grade bullets, 500ct with attractive pricing

With reloading components getting more expensive, it pays to take advantage of great deals whenever you can. If you shoot a .224-caliber cartridge, then consider this 500-pack of Sierra MatchKing .224 69 gr HPBT MATCH bullets. These are high quality, true match-grade bullets, priced about as cheap as we have seen them in recent months. For a Service Rifle shooter or .223 Rem fan, this is a great option — grab them at this bargain price.

9. Amazon — Two Sets Z87.1 Protective Eyewear, $12.95

safety glasses
Comfortable, ANSI Z87.1 approved, choose 2 clear or clear + tinted

Safety eyewear can be expensive, so losing or damaging them at the range is a bummer. We like high-quality, yet inexpensive eye protection and this 2-pair pack of safety glasses are a perfect example. They’re fully ANSI Z87.1-certified. Price? For just $12.95 you get both a clear AND tinted-lens unit. Or, if you prefer, get two clear types for the same low $12.95 price.

10. Graf’s — MTM Pistol Side Slide Ammo Boxes, $2.19

mtm ammo box
Handy opening/closing, strong when stacked, good value

Tired of ammo boxes with annoying lids that won’t stay open, or that require two hands to open? Consider these new MTM Side Slide pistol ammo boxes. The innovative design allows you to easily slide the lid sideways, providing quick access to just the rounds you need, while the others stay secure. With the cover retracted (slid open) you have ready access. When the lid is fully closed the ammo box is stiffer and stronger than some competing designs.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns, Hot Deals, New Product, Optics No Comments »
May 12th, 2020

RCBS Lock-Out Die Helps Prevent Faulty Charges on Progressives

RCBS Lock-out dieIf you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).

The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.

RCBS Lock-out dieIt takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.

While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.

Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The video below shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press.

Images © 2011 UltimateReloader.com, used by permission.
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »