Limited budget equipment purchase advice needed, please.

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by Art Dirindin, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Art Dirindin

    Art Dirindin

    May 14, 2017
    I wish to try to maximize my reloads accuracy potential but have a limited budget, so to any one who responds please temper your purchasing advice knowing I can not expend another $500 let alone $1k on new equipment. At least not to start and then not without justification based on significant improvement.

    To begin with I feel it should be known I own 100% factory rifles all of which have proven very accurate, but it is the inconsistencies AKA unexplained flyers I'm trying to reduce as much as I can. I should add i do all my accuracy testing at 300 yards as that's the maximum range I can use often enough to be practical. I have two ranges where the distances go to 700-1000 yards but their distance (3hrs 1 way) from my home makes regular use impractical.

    I strongly suspect based on the correlation between the occasional flyers I experience and the lack of inconsistent MV (my reloads have good not great but good SD & ES) of same my problem most likely lies with my reloads or more specifically my equipment's inability to make as near to perfectly identical reloads, and to narrow it even farther I feel the most likely cause for my inconsistent reloads is in my brass preparation. I Would rate myself and my equipment as intermediate.

    I will add I will be coating my bullets and barrel in HBN before I do any more load development.

    For all my rifle calibers I reload for I use the fallowing equipment:
    Two RCBS Rockchucker II presses
    Redding FL and body only dies
    Redding bullet seating dies
    Forster non-micro BR bullet seating dies
    Lee Collet and Dead Length seating dies
    Lee Deluxe quick trim case trimmer
    Hornady hand priming tool
    K&M primer pocket uniforming and de-burring tools
    Lyman VLD champhering tool
    Starrett Calipers
    Stony Point/Hornady Headspace and case length comparitore for all calibers with anvils
    Stony Point Over all case length gauge
    Redding, RCBS 10-10 and 5-0-5 balance beam scales one checks the other on every loading
    Redding powder trickler
    Caldwell Ballistic Precision G2 chronograph
    Salt bath Anneal neck and shoulder at 800-825*/F for 6 seconds +/- 1 second every third firing
    I use brass from Hornady (80%), Winchester (10%) and Federal (10%). I plan on trying Norma or Bertram brass to help with my brass consistency.
    I segregate all brass by lot#s and numbers of firings.

    Obviously I don't own the equipment needed to measure for run out in either my brass necks or loaded rounds. For that I use a 18"x18" piece of marble tile on a dead level surface that I roll my reloads on under a very bright light. Works surprisingly well finding loads with run out but does nothing to diagnose let alone preventing the cause for same. I also don't own any neck turning equipment. I also realize I need to invest in a good quality micrometer at the least.

    My reloads accuracy AVERAGE at present has been MOA or slightly better in all my rifles except in my Tikka T3 Lite, it has consistently been my most accurate rifle averaging sub MOA. The issue I'm trying to solve is not one of accuracy but one of CONSISTENT accuracy by eliminating flyers I know I didn't cause, and I feel the cause most likely will be inconsistency in my brass but I have only limited ability to measure my reloads to diagnose and determine the where the inconsistency is.

    There are all kinds of reloading tools I would LOVE to buy, but #1-I can not afford most let alone them all, and #2-I don't yet posses the knowledge to know which tools given my situation of factory rifles I should buy first to spend my limited funds a wisely as possible.

    I have been researching this for some time and my information is pointing towards buying a Redding case neck concentricity gauge and a Sinclair concentricity gauge to measure my case necks and loaded rounds and by doing so maximize my loaded rounds consistency and hopefully use these tools to identify at what stage of my reloading process I am imparting my inconsistency.

    What i would like is input from those that have achieved a advanced level of reloading if purchasing these to items first before any other equipment is a good course of action or not. I also realize I might need to buy a neck turning tool as well but as i said I simply don't know what to buy first and that is why I am here requesting help from those much more knowledgeable than I.

    I'm concentrating on brass preparation as my factory rifles are giving me IMO more than acceptable accuracy so I don't feel they need modification at this point. I use two some times three balance beam scales to double check the weight of my powder charges and again considering my circumstances of factory rifles and shooting to only medium ranges I feel that do this with every charge that should give me consistent enough powder charge weights.

    I would love to buy along with the above tolls I mentioned, a Forster CO-AX press and a micro-meter primer seater from K&M as well as a 21st century concentricity gauge, a micro-meter case trimmer along with all new micro-meter bullet seating dies from Forster and the list goes on and on, but the only thing more limited than my budget is my knowledge as which equipment given my circumstances will actually help me to make more significantly consistent reloads and not end up being an expenditure that has little if any chance in improving my reloads consistency at least equal to it's cost.

    So based on my circumstances of factory rifles and accuracy goals of medium long range hunting under 700 yards what brass preparation equipment should I invest in first with a budget of $300 to start with. If after the initial $300 is spent and I see a significant improvement but still see room for improvement I will be willing to expend more funds, but only if my initial expenditure bears fruit. What ever is recommended I will try at first on my most accurate rifle prior to any other.

    Thanks for your time and advice,
  2. grovey


    Dec 29, 2012
    What bullets are you shooting?
  3. mikeinct

    mikeinct Silver $$ Contributor

    Sep 21, 2005
    Sounds like you are getting better. If you have doubts about a piece of brass from those lots you describe. Cull it, Find those off spec. unexplained fliers in practice. Keep them out of your record & match strings of fire. There is nothing wrong with using brass you have if it is good. You just have to keep the good ones in your boxes. Mike in Ct
  4. David101


    Dec 16, 2018
    You have some pretty good equipment already. I think you may be on the wrong path chasing bullet concentricity. If you are using the Redding dies I bet the runout is very small to negligable and would attribute to flyers very minimally. I say this as I shoot a custom rifle in F class and use very similar equipment much less really and dont have flyers. Others in my club using similar equipment have purchased runout gauges only to find it is not an issue.

    Depending on the caliber you are shooting I would be changing brass (small primer) and changing to Match grade primers like the CCI BR or Federal Gold Medal. I would also start with the gun making sure it is spotless down the barrel.
    AJC and SPJ like this.
  5. SPJ

    SPJ Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 17, 2018
    Y’all got way more stuff than I got,
    Factory rifles?
    What calibers are we talking bout?
    What Bullets?
    Are you sorting Bullets?
    are you measuring BBTO?
    Do you shoot over a rest or ?
    Are your actions bedded?
    nmkid likes this.
  6. Fliers


    Dec 27, 2018
    I don't meet your requirements for commenting, but I'll throw this out anyway. Are you using an expander ball? I suggest a mandrel to set final neck tension and improve concentricity. Turning necks is a mixed opinion, but some swear it helps. Alpha, lapau, or top brass would probably help as well.
    Cdv717 likes this.
  7. AlNyhus

    AlNyhus Silver $$ Contributor

    Nov 25, 2004
    Art, your next purchase should be a good set of wind flags. :) -Al
    hpshooter, D Coots, DBLNUT and 6 others like this.
  8. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

    May 8, 2014
    Youre going in the wrong rabbit hole chasing concentricity with the stuff you have. A coax would be a waste of money at this point. A good set of fl bushing dies and the rest on your actual shooting setup. Concentricity isnt causing fliers its at the shooting bench. A new priming tool is nice to have and makes everything easier but thats not causing fliers either. Bench technique and wind flags is what you need most
    Ccrider, hpshooter, D Coots and 10 others like this.
  9. mike a

    mike a 6BR Rocks Gold $$ Contributor

    Dec 30, 2015
    I say spend your money on more components. My flyers really demenished at around round 10,000 without making big changes to my reloading gear. Also a good barrel will help you see If its you or your gear. Especially if it's in 6BR. Because 6BR ROCKS!!!
    Ccrider likes this.
  10. joshb

    joshb Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 5, 2014
    What rifles? All factory? A custom barrel wouldn’t hurt.
    80% Hornady brass? Get a box of Lapua.
    You have all the right stuff. I think your guns are holding you back. I do like the fact that your Tikka is your best! I’ve been shouting that from the back of the room for a while!
    Wind flags would help. Maybe a PMA neck turner wouldn’t hurt, either.
    nmkid and Bc'z like this.
  11. JMayo


    Nov 28, 2014
    If I had the answer to "how to get em all in the same hole" I'd be a chanpeen shooter !
    Shoot, have fun with what you have. The process is the learning curve, enjoy the process.
  12. jr600yd

    jr600yd Gold $$ Contributor

    May 22, 2006
    You have good equipment so I don’t think that’s the problem. Wind flags would help a lot. Many times a “flier” problem is directly related to shooting position. Lots of shooters just say “S#$t” and continue shooting. I suggest when this happens you stop shooting and evaluate the problem immediately. Go over every point of your position. Did you move your head. Did your elbow slide on the bench. How much finger in the trigger? Did the wind change? I’m not picking on you because we’ve all done it.

    If your “flier” problem seems to increase maybe it’s time to JB the bore.
  13. TAJ45

    TAJ45 Gold $$ Contributor

    May 12, 2007
    You seem to have a well thought out, disciplined approach, kudos.

    How far out are the flyers at 300?

    Wind flags was my first thought as I read through the posts. Cheap to make to "get a clue" of the physical conditions. You don't need the vanes, spinning wheels going round and round at this stage for that nth degree of precision.
    Bedding has been mentioned. Do you get two groups often enough plus a true flyer? Using a glide plate? Home made is fine. Are you putting the forend against the stop or backing it off a tich?
    Trigger poundage and as stated previously, how much finger in it? To this point, maybe try the thumb behind trigger guard as if trying to squeeze a grape. This helps remove lateral push.

    Last of all, what cal? I have an extra neck turner you can borrow to sort things out and possibly some Lapua for your testing regimen.
  14. steve123


    Mar 16, 2008
    Hopefully you aren't using a lead sled...

    Factory rifles would explain one part of your problem. Most stock hunting rifles aren't capable of shooting less than moa consistently, especially after the barrel heats up.

    Time to go to a premium barrel, etc. We were in the same place you were before we went "custom".
    ckaberna likes this.
  15. onelastshot


    May 6, 2012
    Check the crown of the barrel and inspect the barrel itself. A damaged crown could easlily cause the problem. Get a light and check the entire barrel for damage.
  16. Art Dirindin

    Art Dirindin

    May 14, 2017
    To answer your questions:
    I have Tikka T3s, mid 90's M700's and M77, Savage 116, 10 FCP 5R
    300wsm, 300wm ,7mmstw, .308W 6.5x55,
    I use mostly SMK dont sort, how does one sort bullets? By weight? or an external dimention?
    Federal GMMP or Federal 215 GMLRM primers
    What is BBTO?
    I use a Bald eagle front rest with Owl ear front and rabbit ear W/hard bottom rear bags filled with heavy sand from Sinclair
    No actions bedded at this point but are willing to consider. I have also been seriously considering investing in HS Precision AM stocks (bedded) for at least my 300wsm Tikka and see what that gets me. But again a HS/P stock for my Tikka is a $275 expense and I am trying to determine if that is a better use of my limited funds than buying more reloading equipment. I have a outstanding gun smith within a acceptable drive in my home state.

    And thanks a great deal for the replies so far. Like I said I am what i judge to be a intermediate reloader but I simply don't know what sources of information I can consult to take my reloading to the next level as there is as much if not more incorrect or mis-information about reloading on the internet these days.

    For example when I began reloading for bottle necked rifle the practice of neck sizing only your brass was by many considered to make more accurate reloads then FL resizing. Now the exact opposite of FL/RS is overwhelmingly considered more accurate. I'm just trying to get a balance of buying reloading equipment that will maximize the potential of factory rifles and not equipment that is meant for custom or semi-custom rifles.

    Kinda like avoiding an error akin to putting a super charger on a Toyota Prius.

    I guess I should consider if I might be asking the wrong question and maybe considering I own only 100% factory rifles is there any point to purchasing next level expensive highly specialized reloading equipment as it may end up being a case of diminished return on my investment.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    joshb likes this.
  17. SPJ

    SPJ Gold $$ Contributor

    Feb 17, 2018
    F9EC74D3-CBA0-4EAF-A31A-AA129645A710.jpeg I find that sorting Bullets from base to ogive (BBTO) and only loading those that are within.001 per loading session has cut down on fliers. Your looking for odd balls that ruin a group.
    Wind flags are a huge part of the equation as well.
    Shoot Small
    dgeesaman, nmkid, Bc'z and 1 other person like this.
  18. argrendel

    argrendel Gold $$ Contributor

    Jun 28, 2008
    I agree with Dusty. I went to Lapua Brass,and bushing dies. I don’t even bother checking runout anymore. However I don’t complete other than with friends. Magnums a harder to shoot well. If you are shooting MOA average with factory rifles, I think you are doing well.
    If you want to shoot bug holes, buy a Savage 12 Benchrest in 6br. You will pee yourself.
    ckaberna and mike a like this.
  19. ckaberna

    ckaberna Gold $$ Contributor

    Apr 11, 2017
    Concentrate on one caliber, at least until you get it the way you want it. I feel you are “spread too thin”.
    First thing I would do is learn to sort the SMK’s as mentioned earlier (many posts on this site) so you can get a consistent seating depth at least. I have some smk’s that are as far off as .032” bbto (different lots) that means “bullet base to o-give”, see pic in earlier post. I also recommend a Wilson in-line seater and learn how to seat relative to lands or rifling. Quit worrying about concentricity at this point, other stuff you must get first.
    If this doesn’t get you where you want to be my next investment would be a barrel, especially since you have a relationship with a local smith.
    Just what I would do based on my experience.
    All the neck turning advice you got, I am against, due to you factory chambers more than likely have huge throats already. Yes you may could true up the brass but I do not think that is your issue.
    If you can spring for the cost I also recommend lapua brass (as mentioned above)
    simo hayha likes this.
  20. jr600yd

    jr600yd Gold $$ Contributor

    May 22, 2006
    I’m with CK, bought a Neco gauge 20 yrs ago haven’t used it in 19

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