Saturday, August 24, 2013

Reloading day, .308 Win

In Jim Harrison's novel Sundog, he tells of a young man (12 years old?) who is sent out to get firewood after a freak ice storm.  This story is set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where temperatures below zero are a fact of life.

The young man approached the 150 foot long, 4 feet high stack of split sugar maple and every stick of wood is enshrined in a diamond-like coating of inch-thick ice.  Not only was each piece covered with ice, it was cemented to its neighbor.

In the U.P., you don't talk about what you are going to do.  There is not time.  You just do it.

He went to the 'tool shack' and got some dynamite.  He guestimated how much he was going to need.  Found some voids in the cemented up stack of wood, inserted and packed the sticks of dynamite.

There was a time when knowing how to intelligently use explosives was common.  Sticks of dynamite  were just another tool. He had watched the men-folk lift stumps and boulders many times.  He also knew about sympathetic detonation but was prepared with extra lengths of fuse if need be.

The wood pile, all 150 feet of it, levitated 4 feet into the air and came down as separate sticks.  The boy was particularly pleased that the ice had delaminated from the sticks.

When he entered the kitchen with an armload of wood approximately 30 minutes after "Ma" sent him out to get a load she asked, "How much did you use?"

The boy's answer was a classic:  "Enough."

Looking and Enough:

There are two kinds of reloaders, "Looking" and "Enough"

For the most part, I fall into the "Enough" crowd.

The "Looking" crowd will sometimes slam the "Enough" crowd by calling them "hoarders".

My perception is that the "Enough" were buying before there was a crisis.  If anything, we are not buying much during this time of shortage.  And our steady support of the reloading industry contributed to a healthy infrastructure.  There would be less ammunition and fewer reloading components hitting the shelves if the industry had retired capacity in the lull between buying crazes.

Jumbled time:

The beautiful and talented Mrs ERJ just started using a CPAP machine.  Consequently, her sleep patterns are very disrupted.  And that throws us all off.

I find myself with odd slivers of time that are begging for work to make them go faster.

One of the improvements I have been making in many areas of my life is getting organized so I can productively use those small slivers of time.

Nothing turns a 20 minute job into a 6 hour job quicker than not being able to find your tools.

Case prep tools are small and easy to misplace.  This box by Plano has THREE latches holding it shut.
The tool with the Tee handle is a Lee case trimmer and pilot.  Lee makes some fabulous reloading tools at a very attractive price.  They also make some ergonomic nightmares.  The Tee handle makes the case trimmer much easier to use.

Gratuitious eye candy:

Re-sized, primers removed, trimmed, inside and outside chamfered, primer pocket crimp reamed.  7.62mm X 51mm fired from an M-60 SAW


Sloshing around in paint thinner to remove the resizing lube.

In the bottom of a box lined with newspaper to dry out before priming.
These are destined to get 41 grains of IMR-4895, Winchester LRP and a Hornady # 3045 seated to 2.8" COL.

Somewhere in this archive is a quote that reads like this: "The whole point of having a standard load is so that you will have absolute confidence that you will know what will happen when you walk up to the firing line."

The load listed above is safe in my rifle, may not be in yours.  It is my "Standard Load" for .308 Win.


  1. I know what you mean about a standard load. My go-to load for the .308 is 43.0 grains of Reloder 15. I've got a half-dozen of those rifles in the family and several years ago we settled on that load as one that provides good power, accuracy, and reliability across the board. It's accurate in every rifle we own, and while I could tweak it for individual rifles, it's not my scheme to wring the absolutely best accuracy out of each rifle, but to provide good, sound ammunition that works well in every rifle.

  2. Hello Pawpaw:

    Thank-you for commenting. Your comment inspired me to write the post Robust Processes.

    I chose to write Robust Processes about resistance spot welding because that is the first time I ran into people who had that mindset. It is also the example I can most clearly explain.

    While I was writing about welding, I could just have easily been writing about tomatoes and green beans growing in gardens or go-to loads for rifles.

    How many stories have you heard about some fellow getting the shot at the trophy-of-a-lifetime and he has Prairie Dog ammo in the chamber?


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