Handloading Update: An Excerpt from the 2011 Gun Digest

The GSI Rotary Bullet Feed for Dillon XL650 and Super 1050 Reloading machines.

The GSI Rotary Bullet Feed for Dillon XL650 and Super 1050 reloading machines.


Nosler has several new bullets for handloaders, including some lead-free BT (Ballistic Tip) .204, .224, and .243 designs for varmint shooters. Designed to perform best at high velocity (a minimum of 1600 fps is recommended with no upper limit), these bullets feature a fragmenting copper core. Nosler now has new unprimed brass for the 6.5x55mm Mauser, .300 WSM and .375 H & H Magnum cartridges, and custom loaded ammunition for the last two cartridges.

A new, expanded (848 pages) Nosler Reloading Guide, No. 6, features loading data for 117 cartridges. Each cartridge section begins with an introduction by a different well-known industry name or writer, relating personal experiences, advice, or anecdotes. “Comments From The Lab” are presented for many of the cartridges. Written by the Nosler ballistics team, they provide advice and insight for working up safe, effective and accurate loads.

Load data for each cartridge is presented in a graphic format with easy-to-read bar graphs giving the reader a quick comparison of load velocities for each bullet weight. These graphs also permit a comparison between powders, making powder selection for a specific cartridge easier and faster than before. (Starting, intermediate and maximum loads for each powder listed are provided for each cartridge.)

Redding Reloading Equipment


Redding Reloading Equipment has a number of new die sets available, plus some new calibers in the regular die sets. (The G-R Carbide Push-Thru Base Sizing Die to resize the base section of fired .40 S&W cases were mentioned last year, and it's a excellent die for reloaders of large quantities of .40 S&W ammunition using once-fired brass.) Now available in the regular Series D die sets for bottleneck case are full length and neck-sizing dies for the .260 Remington Improved (40°), 6.5 Creedmoor, .370 Sako Magnum, and .458 SOCOM cartridges.
Hornady's digital Sonic Cleaner literally blasts the dirt and carbon buildup from inside and outside the cartridge case.

Hornady's digital Sonic Cleaner literally blasts the dirt and carbon buildup from inside and outside the cartridge case.

(Individual dies and Deluxe sets are available, but no trim and form dies for these cartridges.) Redding has new National Match Die Sets available for the .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield cartridges. These three-die sets, which list for over a pair of C-notes, include a full length sizing die, competition bullet seating die, and a taper crimp die.

(Taper crimp dies are available for handgun cartridges that headspace on the case mouth, and for the following additional rifle cartridges: 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 Remington SPC, .30-30 Winchester, 7.62x39mm, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .300 Remington Ultra Magnum.)

Benchrest shooters and any other handloader interested in obtaining maximum accuracy from their handloads can now obtain an “Instant Indicator” Headspace and Bullet Comparator for two additional cartridges, the .204 Ruger and .338 Lapua Magnum.

(The Instant Indicator, with or without the dial indicator, is currently available for 34 different rifle cartridges. It can be used on any family of cartridges that have the same shoulder angle.) It is supplied with the proper bore diameter bushing, surface contactor, shoulder contactor, headspace gauge, and complete instructions.

Its use permits the sorting of bullets and sized cases for uniformity – uniformity of shoulder bump, bullet seating depth, trimmed case uniformity, and comparison of fired cases to sized cases for headspace differences. It can even be used to sort cases fired in different rifles, determine when cases need trimmed, and sort loaded ammunition for uniformity.

Any handloader with a loading press and a set of dies, but lacking other essentials, might check out the Redding Versa Pak Reloading Kit. It contains all the other items, powder measure, case trimmer, case lube and pad, powder funnel, powder scale, etc. that simplify the handloading process, including a new Hodgdon reloading manual and a DVD titled “Advanced Handloading Beyond the Basics.”

Bullet pullers and feeders seem to be the hot items at present for reloading equipment manufacturers. RCBS has a new Pow'r Pull kit and two two Bullet Feeder kits for their progressive presses. The Pow'r Pull features a rugged one-piece body, plus cap, and comes with three chucks to accommodate cases heads from the 5.7x28mm to the Winchester WSM and Remington RUM families. (By the way, NEVER attempt to pull bullets from rimfire cartridges using an inertia bullet puller.)

The RCBS Bullet Feeder kits are available in two sizes, one for 22- or 30-caliber rifle cartridges, and one for handgun calibers from 9mm to .45 ACP. The Feeders operate on 110 VAC, with adapters for United Kingdom, Australian, and continental European use included. Designed to fit onto most 7/8″x14 threaded progressive presses, the Feeders orient the bullets to drop into the feed mechanism, but are for jacketed or FMJ bullets only and not for use with lead bullets, cast or swaged.

Hopper capacities are approximately 250 (22-caliber) or 100 (30-caliber) bullets for the rifle caliber feeder and 200 for the handgun caliber feeder. The Feeders carry a two-year warranty and are said to increase the loading rate by as much as 50%.

Unprimed brass and a couple of loaded cartridges from TR&Z USA. Left to right: 6.5x51R; 7.7x58mm Japanese; 7.92x33mm Kurz; and 7.63mm Mauser.

Unprimed brass and a couple of loaded cartridges from TR&Z USA. Left to right: 6.5x51R; 7.7x58mm Japanese; 7.92x33mm Kurz; and 7.63mm Mauser.
Keeping loading presses, dies, etc., cleaned and lubed is a necessity for both successful and long-term operation. RCBS has a couple of Die/Press Lube Kits: one kit for loading dies and a separate one for loading presses. These kits contain the necessary chemicals and brushes to permit proper cleaning and ensure equipment longevity.

RCBS has added six new calibers to their loading die lineup.

These include the .30 T/C and .338 Marlin Express to the Group A line, and 6.5 Creedmoor, .30 Remington AR, .338 Norma Magnum, and .416 Ruger to the Group D line. Full-length die sets and neck sizer dies are available, but no trim dies at present.

Not exactly new, but for those handloaders of the really big bore, RCBS has die sets for the .416 Barrett, .460 Steyr, and .50 BMG cartridges, in addition to a Safari Series line covering seven calibers from the .404 Jeffery to the .505 Gibbs. If what you need isn't available, RCBS does have a listing of nearly 650 “special order” die sets. (Note that the firm no longer produces one-of-a-kind custom die sets.)


Sierra, The Bulletsmiths, has a new laminated countermat that illustrates the entire Sierra line of bullets, including the Long Range Specialty Bullets, from .22 to .338. Other non-bullet items of interest to the handloader include four reloading videos, VHS or DVD, plus an advanced video, “Beyond the Basics.” Handloaders wanting to check out exterior ballicstics can do so on the Sierra Infinity, Version 6, Computer Software.

This software, which is available in CD-ROM format only, has the entire 5th Edition of the Sierra Rifle and Handgun Reloading Manual integrated into it. An Infinity Mobile program is also available for handheld computers, using the Windows Mobile Operating Sysem, Versions 5.0 and above. Previous Page

This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest 2011. Click here to get your copy.

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