Today we are going to take a look at RCBS. RCBS reloading has made quality reloading products for 60 some years and continue to contribute innovation to the reloading community. They offer reloading presses, powder scales, powder measures, case trimming tools, and much more.

In the way of reloading presses, rcbs offers single stage, turret, and progressive presses. As far as single stage presses go, the rcbs rock chucker supreme press is a quality and relatively inexpensive press. The rock chucker press is also available as starter kit with everything needed to start reloading. This press is perfect for beginners to learn on and will provide years of service. The rcbs turret press is also a great press with its ability to change turret heads. This allows a reloader to set up a caliber on one head and a different caliber on the other head. This eliminates the need to change and readjust the rcbs dies. The star of the rcbs line up is the rcbs pro 2000. This is a progressive made for maximum output and efficiency. Each pull of the lever is sizing, expanding, priming, charging, seating, and crimping cases at the same time. Any of these presses are available by themselves or as a rcbs reloading kit.


The RCBS Chargemaster Combo

As far as powder scales go, the rcbs chargemaster series is full of great scales at a great price. This series includes the chargemaster 750, chargemaster 1500, and the chargemaster combo. The 750 is the most economical out of these digital scales. It provides an lcd display and weighs in grains or grams. The 1500 is a midrange scale that combines the quality and precision of the 750 with a larger display for quick and easy readings. The rcbs chargemaster combo is the big dog in the bunch. Not only does it have a large lcd display, but it automatically measures powder for you. This chargemaster combo is formed from taking the already perfect chargemaster 1500 and adding the chargemaster dispensing unit. This enables the user to type in the weight in grains, press enter, and watch as powder is automatically dispensed right in front of their eyes.

Powder measures are a vital tool needed in reloading. This allows the reloader to set up the measure to the desired weighted charge and simply charge each case repeatedly and accurately. RCBS offers a wide range of measures to fit into any budget. From black powder measures to measures equipped with the trickler system to provide the most accurate charge weights.

Case trimming tools are essential to making safe and accurate ammunition. The rcbs case trimmer known as the trim pro case trimmer is simple and easy to use. Simply set desired length, attach cutter, and trim your brass. An absolute must for any reloader. After trimming, the case must be chamfered and de-burred to remove any sharp edges left behind by the trim pro. This allows for flawless feeding and extracting. RCBS offers all the necessary tools to reload virtually any caliber. They offer quality equipment at a quality price.

Accurate Reloading

The key to loading accurate cartridges is uniformity. Accurate reloading takes a bit of know-how and is time consuming compared to reloading for plinking rounds. A reloader can search for hours on accurate reloading forums and come up with a thousand different ideas on how to produce accurate reloads. The info on this blog is simple, and easier to understand than anything found on an accurate reloading forum. Following these steps precisely is key to making uniform and consistent accurate reloads. These steps include case inspection, primer uniformity, basic brass maintenance, sizing the case, trimming the case, consistent charge weights, and bullet seating.

The first step in any reloading process is case inspection. Inspect each case looking for split necks, dents in the neck shoulder, split case walls, and head separation. Split case necks are a result of either a case has been exhausted by too many reloads, working up too hot of a load, or poorly adjusted dies. In any case, neck splitting will deem your brass un-reloadable and we will leave it at that. Dents in the neck shoulder are caused by using too much case lube, dirty dies, or both. Cases with dents in the shoulder are perfectly ok to use for plinking rounds, but do not provide accuracy. These dents cause higher than normal pressure in the case and will throw accuracy out the window. Weeding out cases with split walls is pretty easy, just be careful not to confuse an ejection mark (semi-auto) for a case wall split. Head separation can be determined by a light colored ring around the base of the case wall. This separation will cause a case to break apart often leaving 2/3 of the case in the chamber of your firearm. While this is more of inconvenience than a safety issue, it is better to just throw the case away than to risk it.


Lyman Primer Pocket Uniformer for Large Primer Pockets

The second step is to remove the primer by using a universal de-priming die so that the primer pockets can be made uniform. This is achieved by using a primer cleaning tool to scrape out any build up in the pocket. Once this is done, it is time to use a primer pocket uniforming tool. The cutting blades on this tool make a flat surface for the primer to seat into and make every primer pocket identical.

The third step to making accurate reloads is to clean your brass. Cleaning your brass is a preventative step. Brass that is dirty can cause an unwanted build up in sizing dies which will cause dents in the case neck shoulder. We personally recommend tumbling but wiping brass down with a simple cleaner works just as good.

The fourth step is to lube your brass. Lubing your brass is required to prevent stuck cases when sizing. Use a thin layer of lube around the case wall. Too much lube will cause build up in your dies and create dented neck shoulders. Also, do not apply lube to shoulder or neck of the case. Then take a cotton swab and apply a small amount of lube to the INSIDE of the case neck. This will prevent over stretching and premature splits in the neck.

The fifth step is to size your brass. There are two options for this. One is to full length size your brass which sizes the whole case, or to use a neck sizing die that will only size the neck. Full length sizing decreases the amount of reloads you can get out of a case; however, it must be used in semi-auto rifles. Also, if you are reloading the same caliber for multiple rifles, full length sizing must be used to ensure function in each different rifle. Neck sizing increases the number of reloads for a case but can only be used in bolt action rifles for a specific gun. When a case is fired, it is “molded” to the chamber of that specific gun. Neck sizing arguably increases accuracy.


RCBS Case Trimmer

The sixth step is to trim your cases. Trimming should be done after sizing your brass. Each caliber has a listed maximum case length. This next part is especially important to making consistent and accurate reloads. IF all of your brass is OVER maximum length, set your trimmer for the maximum length specified in your reloading manual. IF you have brass that is under the maximum length, set your trimmer to the shortest length of brass you measured. For example, if maximum case length is 2.50, but the shortest case measures 2.48, trim each case to 2.48.This will make uniformity among the cases which means accurate reloads. After trimming is done, use a chamfer and de-burring tool to get rid of the sharp edges. Then use a brush (a bore brush that fits in the case mouth is fine) to scrape any shavings or lube build up out of the case.

The next step is to charge your cases with powder. Weigh out every single charge to desired grain weight. A quality digital scale is the most efficient way to do this step. Caution, using a powder measure will provide charges that are slightly off by .1 or .2 grains, which will make every single step that you have taken leading up to this one meaningless. Remember, velocity does not mean accuracy. Start out at the low end of a powder load listed in your reloading maual and work up from there. Each powder company has reloading data specific to their powder. Using their information can prove useful for accurate reloading data.

And finally, we come to the last step, which is bullet seating. When it comes to accuracy, using match grade bullets are an absolute must. Once you have decided which bullet to use, inspect each bullet before seating onto the case. Weigh each bullet to make sure it is the proper grain weight specified on the box. Also, look for small dents and tiny chips on the bullet. We personally recommend using a digital caliper to make sure the bullets are completely round. Once this is done, you can seat the bullet onto the case, making sure each bullet depth is uniform to one another. Crimping is optional but you made it this far, so you might as well do it!

223 Brass

223 brass is one of the most common reloaded calibers these days and it is no wonder why. Rising cost of ammunition leaves the AR-15 shooters emptying their piggy banks just to go shoot. The days of picking up a box of steel cased .223 for 3-4 bucks are over. So reloading is more common than ever. Many people collect their once fired 223 brass and sell it to reloaders. But, is there really any way of telling if it truly is once fired?

Finding once fired 223 brass for sale is like finding gold to some people. Buying bulk 223 brass is basically buying range pick-ups. You never will know what you are buying until you get it. The shipment could arrive with 20 cases of Winchester and the rest lake city 223 brass. So how can you tell if it truly is once fired? Well, the only way to say for sure if the brass is once fired is to buy military brass. Military brass has primer crimps. These primer crimps must be removed before reloading the cartridge. So if a lake city case does not have a primer crimp, then someone has reloaded that case before, making it not once fired 223 brass. But, what about commercial brass?

Commercial brass is not as easy to tell if it is once fired. Some signs of reloading are dents in the neck shoulder, signs of head separation, and primers that stick slightly out of the pocket. Dents in the neck shoulder are caused by using too much lube when sizing a case or dirt build up in the die. Signs of head separation are caused by a case being exhausted by sizing or caused by too much case pressure when being fired, either way, reloading a case with signs of head separation is a bad idea. Head separation is when the base of the case separates from the case walls. The tell-tale sign of head separation is a lightly colored ring around the base of the cartridge.  If you pick up a case that has the primer sticking slightly out of the pocket, this can be a sign of oversized primer pockets caused by a case being repeatedly reloaded. A good way to determine this is to run your nail across the back of the case, is you feel your nail go up, this is usually a sign brass being fired multiple times. Should you encounter brass with oversized primer pockets, it may not be once fired, but you may still be able to load it as a plinker round. Usually, using military primers such as the CCI #41 primers or the Wolf .223 primers will make for one or two more loadings.

Military primers have a thicker cup and will likely seat into oversized primer pockets. Military primers are designed for rifles that have a floating fire pin like the AR-15, M1A, M1 Garand, MAS 49/56, and other military style rifles. They help reduce slam fires. While somewhat uncommon, slam fires are caused by the bolt being cycled; energy of the bolt slamming forward can cause the firing pin to nick the primer of the chamber round discharging the round. These can be dangerous because they are an unplanned discharge. This is one of many reasons firearms are always pointed in a safe direction whether they are loaded or not.