This will take you to the Reloading Index

Steve's Rifle Cartridge Reloading

These are the techniques and equipment that I use to produce reloaded cartridges for bolt and semi-automatic rifles. Other techniques and equipment may be: better/worse, cheaper/costlier, safer/more dangerous or whatever. Read this stuff and use it or not, at your own risk!

This info was stolen from "Handbook For Shooters & Reloaders", Volume I, P. O. Ackley. The italicized and underlined emphasis was added by me.


In spite of being simple in design and simple to use, reloading dies are the least understood and produce more headaches for the user and manufacturer than anything else used to reload rifle and pistol cartridges. - - - - -

Simply screwing a sizing die down against the shell holder of he tool is no guarantee that things are rosy. Actually, it would be more or less a miracle if such a "setting" resulted in ammunition correct for the rifle in which it is to be used. - - - - - - -

Of the pair of dies which consists of a sizer and seater, the full-length sizer, or even just a neck sizer, is the one which causes most of the trouble. Some sizing dies are made "short". Some are made "long". The - - - - - condition. Cases a few thousandths too short may work for a few firings but will ultimately separate between, the solid head and the body. If the case has really excessive headspace as it comes from the sizer, it definitely is dangerous to shoot and should be discarded. It is not uncommon to find dies which produce cases with almost 1/16 of an inch of headspace when set to touch the shell holder. Firing such a cartridge can and often does result in blown up guns and injury to the shooter. What this all boils down to is that all dies do not match all tools and that the tool and die combinations do not always match the rifle chamber. - - - - - -

The first thing is to adjust the die for the rifle for which the ammunition is being loaded. To do this, screw the sizing die into the tool until it touches the shell holder when the holder is raised to its uppermost position. Back the die off about one half turn. Run a case into the die as far as possible. Remove the case and observe on the neck where the sizing action ceased. Doubtless, the neck will show that the shoulder of the case was not touched. Turn the die in a little and repeat. Continue this procedure until the shoulder of the case is barely touched by the die. This is for cases previously fired in the rifle. If the cases have been fired in some other rifle, or a number of rifles, such as cases picked up on rifle ranges, use the same procedure but try the sized case in the rifle each time. It is best to remove the firing pin so that a better" feel" is possible when the bolt is turned down on the case. - - - - - - -

He cannot simply screw the die into the tool and hope for the best. He must adjust the die correctly, or take a chance on blowing his unused brains out."

This will take you to the Reloading Index

Wagner Home Page