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Reloading Necessities

In addition to the components included in the Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, you'll need the following reloading necessities:

Reloading Dies
These are the most important link in the reloading process. You'll need a set of dies for each caliber you plan to reload. There are three dies in sets used for loading straight-wall type cases and two dies in sets used for loading bottleneck type cases. The third die in a 3-die set is used to expand the mouth of straight-wall cases. In a 2-die set, expanding is done in the sizer die.

Shell Holder
You'll need shell holders to match your dies for the calibers you'll be reloading. They provide a firm grip on the case to insure trouble-free reloading.

Primers
We recommend CCI and Federal. These are the "spark plugs" that initiate the entire ballistic chain reaction with the squeeze of a trigger. Every CCI and Federal primer provides consistent, reliable performance. Available to fit pistol or rifle calibers.

Bullets
Count on Speer to provide the best bullet for the job. From their super-premium Grand Slam big-game bullet to their technologically advanced TMJ Totally Metal Jacketed handgun bullet and everything in between. Speer delivers exactly what you need. Take a look at our latest catalog for a complete line-up of Speer bullets.

Powder
You'll have a choice of several different powders. Choose the one that performs best for your particular cartridge. Consult the Speer Reloading Manual for more information.



Reloader's Language

Expand the Case Mouth

Reloading has its own "language". Here are some words to familiarize yourself with. See the Speer Reloading Manual for more reloading information.

BELL: To flare a case mouth to receive a bullet easily.

BULLET: A piece of metal formed into a projectile. Available in a variety of shapes and weights.

BULLET SWAGING: The forming of a bullet using pressure in a die instead of casting molten lead in a mould.

CALIBER: The approximate diameter of a bullet or gun bore.

CARTRIDGE: A completely loaded, ready-to-fire round of ammunition.

CASE: A metal cylindrical container which holds the primer, powder and bullet. Also called brass.

CASE FORMING: To form cases of one caliber into a different caliber.

CHAMFER: To bevel the inside of a case mouth. The bevel allows bullets to start into the case mouth without crushing the case.

CHRONOGRAPH: An instrument used to measure the velocity of a bullet.

COMPONENTS: The parts that make up a cartridge. The case, primer, powder and bullet.

CRIMP: To bend inward the mouth of a case to grip the bullet. Used only with bullets having a cannelure or crimping groove.

DEBURR: To remove the small metal burrs from inside and outside of a case mouth.

DECAPPING: Removal of the spent primer from a fired case.

DECAPPING PIN: The slim needle-like rod in the sizer die which pushes out the spent primer.

EXPANDER: The part of a die that expands the case mouth to receive the bullet.

FLASH HOLE: The hole through which the primer ignites the powder charge in a case.

HANDLOADING: Another term for reloading.

HANGFIRE: Slang term for any detectable delay in cartridge ignition.

IGNITION: The action of setting a powder charge on fire.

JACKET: The cover or "skin" of a bullet.

MISFIRE: The failure of a cartridge to fire after the firing pin strikes the primer.

NECK: That portion of a case which grips the bullet. In a bottlenecked case, that portion of the case in front of the shoulder.

NECK SIZER DIE: A die used to resize only the neck portion of the fired case back to approximately its original dimensions.

POWDER: The substance that ignites in the cartridge and propels the bullet.

POWDER CHARGE: The amount of powder loaded into a case.

PRIMER: The small cap containing a detonating mixture used to ignite the powder charge in the case.

PRIMER POCKET: The cavity in the bottom of a case into which the primer is seated.

PRIMER POCKET SWAGING: The "smoothing out" of the crimped primer pocket found in military cases.

PRIMING: Installing a new primer into a case.

RAM: The steel rod running through the center of the press that holds the shell holder and drives the case into the die.

RELOADING PRESS: The tool which performs the major tasks of reloading.

RESIZE: To restore a fired case to approximately its original size.

ROUND: A military term for one complete cartridge.

SEATER DIE: The die that seats the bullet into the mouth of the powder charged and primed case.

SEATING DEPTH: The depth to which a bullet is seated in the case mouth.

SHELL HOLDER: The part that holds the case in proper alignment while the case is being run into the die.

SIZER DIE: A die used to resize a fired case back to approximately its original dimensions.

SPENT PRIMER: A primer that has been fired.

Handloading Basics

Handloading is not only a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, it makes economical sense and allows you to produce the most accurate ammunition.

How safe is handloading?
In a word, very. Because today's smokeless gun powders are a lot different than the old black powders of our ancestors. In fact, modern smokeless powders are classified as propellants, not explosives, meaning when properly used these powders only burn when ignited. So, while common sense and certain precautions should not be ignored, handloading is by no means a high risk hobby. Always remember to wear safety glasses while shooting and handloading.

How good is handloading ammo?
The truth is, carefully handloaded ammunition is usually better than factory loaded, because it can be fine-tuned to fit a specific gun and a certain type of shooting. The result is far greater accuracy.

How complicated is handloading?
It's simple. There are only four components to a rifle or pistol cartridge: the primer, the powder, the bullet and the brass case. When a cartridge is fired, the primer ignites the powder, the powder then propels the bullet out of the barrel. All that's left is the brass case and the spent primer. And this is where the handloading comes in. The brass can be reloaded over and over. All you do is push out the fired primer, resize the brass case, insert a new primer, add the right amount of powder and seat a new bullet on the case. That's handloading in very simplified terms. More details are on the following pages.

How much money does handloading save?
A lot. Take .30-06 factory ammo for instance. At today's prices, they cost about $.90 each. Of that, the primer, powder and bullet account for about $.38. So about $.52 of every factory round is chalked up to the brass case plus the expense of loading it. Since you will be using the case over again, you save nearly 60% over factory ammo or about $10.60 per box of 20! That's why handloaders generally make better shooters, because they can afford to practice more.

How much equipment does it take?
Surprisingly little. Many non-reloaders think it takes several hundred dollars to get into handloading properly, but the truth is you can get all the equipment you need to start out with for less than $300.00. If you do much shooting at all, this amount can be saved in your first year alone.

How many types of cartridges can be handloaded?
Most any and all kinds except rimfire type, like .22's. Most brass cases can be reloaded 5 to 20 times, depending upon the caliber and powder charge. Besides the standard calibers, RCBS has the tooling to make over 3,100 custom calibers of reloading dies. So there's no limit to what can be handloaded.

Now, with those questions and answers behind us, the next step is to get your hands on the right equipment. The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit has all of the basic tools you'll need to get started, including the Rock Chucker Supreme Press. All you need to provide are the dies, bullets, primers, cases, powder and shell holder. But we'll talk more about the components a little later. Right now, we'll concentrate on the products included in the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading kit.



Reference Tables


Quick Reference Table

IMPORTANT: RCBS Shell Holder numbers do not correspond to those of other manufacturers. When two Shell Holder are listed, the most popular is shown first. It may be necessary to use the alternate, depending on the manufacturer and/or lot of cases being used.

The numerals in ( ) in the table indicate the following: (2) cases are usually Berdan primed. Depriming and priming must be done by hand. If cases were formed from cases having boxer-type primers, use the appropriate Shell Holder for that caliber. (4) not available. (5) Auto 4X4 Shell Plate not available. (6) Auto 4X4 and Five-Station Shell Plates not available.

Ammo Box size code: SR=Small Rifle, MR=Medium Rifle, LR=Large Rifle, MP=Medium Pistol, LP=Large Pistol



Primer Chart
TYPE Small Rifle Small Rifle (Magnum) Small Rifle (Benchrest) Large Rifle Large Rifle (Magnum) Large Rifle (Benchrest) Small Pistol Small Pistol (Magnum) Large Pistol Large pistol (Magnum)
SIZE 400 450 Mag BR4 200 250 Mag BR2 500 550 Mag 300 350 Mag
PART # 0013 0017 0019 0011 0015 0010 0014 0018 0012 0016


FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions regarding RCBS products and safe reloading practices. If you can't find the answer to your question here, contact your authorized RCBS dealer, call our help line at (800) 379-1732, or submit your question.  

Primer Tube Safety Reminder
In rare circumstances, primers can become lodged in tubes that are obstructed, damaged or improperly maintained. As called out in the instruction manuals accompanying all RCBS primer tubes, RCBS would like to remind its customers to never force or pound/tap on live primers, tap or pound on loaded primer tubes or otherwise attempt to clear obstructions on your own. Doing so can cause serious injury. Read more >

General

Q. I'd like to talk to a RCBS representative. When should I call?
A. RCBS representatives are available to answer your calls between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. We recently launched an improved phone system that ensures you speak with a live agent.


Q. How safe is hand-loading?
A. In a word, very. Because today's smokeless gun powders are a lot different than the old black powders of our ancestors. In fact, modern smokeless powders are classified as propellants, not explosives, meaning when properly used these powders only burn when ignited. So, while common sense and certain precautions should not be ignored, hand-loading is by no means a high risk hobby. Always remember to wear safety glasses while shooting and hand-loading.


Q. How good is hand-loading ammo?
A. The truth is, carefully hand-loaded ammunition is usually better than factory loaded, because it can be fine-tuned to fit a specific gun and a certain type of shooting. The result is far greater accuracy.


Q. How complicated is hand-loading?
A. It's simple. There are only four components to a rifle or pistol cartridge: the primer, the powder, the bullet and the brass case. When a cartridge is fired, the primer ignites the powder, the powder then propels the bullet out of the barrel. All that's left is the brass case and the spent primer. And this is where the hand-loading comes in. The brass can be reloaded over and over. All you do is push out the fired primer, resize the brass case, insert a new primer, add the right amount of powder and seat a new bullet on the case. That's hand-loading in very simplified terms. More details are on the following pages.


Q. How much money does hand-loading save?
A. A lot. Take .30-06 factory ammo for instance. At today's prices, they cost about $.90 each. Of that, the primer, powder and bullet account for about $.38. So about $.52 of every factory round is chalked up to the brass case plus the expense of loading it. Since you will be using the case over again, you save nearly 60% over factory ammo or about $10.60 per box of 20! That's why hand-loaders generally make better shooters, because they can afford to practice more.


Q. How much equipment does it take?
A. Surprisingly little. Many non-re-loaders think it takes several hundred dollars to get into hand-loading properly, but the truth is you can get all the equipment you need to start out with for less than $200.00. If you do much shooting at all, this amount can be saved in your first year alone.


Q. How do I order non-catalogued items or special parts?
A. We are currently making some exciting changes at RCBS.com. They require a temporary suspension of eCommerce. You may call to make a special order for non-catalogued items and parts from the factory (US and Canadian residents only please.) To place an order, please call RCBS at (800) 379-1732 Monday through Friday. Agents are available between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. We accept MasterCard, Visa, checks and money orders.


Q. How many types of cartridges can be hand-loaded?
A. Most any and all kinds except rimfire type, like .22's. Most brass cases can be reloaded 5 to 20 times, depending upon the caliber and powder charge. Besides the standard calibers, RCBS's Special Order Catalog lists over 1100 dies and die sets.


Q. Where is RCBS located?
A. 605 Oro Dam Boulevard East. Oroville, CA 95965

Dies

Q. I've reloaded for over 20 years, and I have a problem I've never experienced before. After cases are sized, they won't chamber in my rifle. I took my rifle to my gunsmith and he says the chamber is dimensionally correct. Factory ammunition works just fine. There must be something wrong with the dies!

A. There are several places where things can go wrong:

1. Be sure the dies are the same caliber as the gun chamber.

2. When setting up the full length sizer die, screw the die down until it touches the shell holder at the top of the press stroke. Then lower the shell holder and screw the die down about 1/8 to 1/4 turn. You will feel a slight thump as the leverage system cams over center. Size the case and again check it in the chamber. Size a couple more cases and check in the chamber. If these cases chamber, go ahead and size and load the rest of the cases.

3. If the cases don't chamber, please return the sizer die along with the five fired cases. The fired cases will give us your chamber dimensions and if the chamber is in standard factory tolerance, we'll make the necessary adjustment in the die for you without cost. If, upon our inspection the chamber is out of standard specification, we will notify you of the cost of producing a die to those specifications.


Q. I see a Small Base Die Set listed for my caliber. Do I need these or should I buy a Full Length Die Set or Neck Die Set? How does each set differ?

A. The Small Base Die set is intended for use for ammunition to be used in auto, semi-auto, and lever action rifles so that the loaded round chambers and extracts easily. The Small Base Sizer Die sizes the case from the shoulder to the head of the case a couple of thousandths smaller than a Full Length Sizer Die. In certain calibers it also sets the shoulder of the case back a thousandth or two more than the Full Length Sizer Die. The Full Length Die Set or Neck Die Set is not normally recommended for ammo to be used in auto, semi-auto, or lever action rifles. The Full Length Die set is recommended for ammunition used in bolt action rifles, particularly for ammunition to be used for hunting. The Neck Die Set can also be used to produce ammunition for use in bolt action rifles. The Neck Sizer Die sizes only the neck of the case so it will hold the bullet firmly. It does not size the body of the case nor does it set the shoulder back. Neck sized cases will usually chamber for three or more firings, depending on the powder charge and chamber dimensions. However, over a period of time, a slight drag will be noticed when the bolt is locked. At this point, cases will need to be full length sized and the shoulder set back so they will chamber and extract easily.


Q. I had a stuck case in my sizer die and when I finally got it out, I damaged the Expander-Decapping Unit (Rod, Ball, and Pin). I can't find one locally. What can I do?

A. If this item is not available from your dealer, you may call or e-mail us. We'll need to know the caliber and whether the dies are in a heavy duty green storage box (standard dies) or a clear plastic clamshell (Reloader Special dies). The part will be mailed to you without cost via first class mail.


Q. When I seat the bullet, the seater plug cuts a ring around the bullet just below the nose. What causes this?

A. In short, the seater plug does not fit the bullet you are using. The seater plug furnished with the Seater Die normally will fit the great majority of the bullets for that particular caliber. However, we cannot make one seater plug fit all bullets currently available. If you experience this problem or any similar problem where the seater plug doesn't match the bullet and you wish to have a special seater plug made, we can supply one from the Special Order Department at minimum cost. See our Special Order Catalog for current pricing.


Q. The brass setscrew in your die lock rings is extremely soft and I've ruined several. Can I get replacements from you?

A. Sure. Just give us a call or e-mail. To reduce the chance of more damage, we'll include some lead shot with your order. Place a lead shot ahead of the setscrew. The lead is softer than the setscrew and will flow into the die thread and stop the lock ring from turning. And much less pressure is required on the head of the setscrew.


Q. What is the difference between a roll crimp and a taper crimp?

A. With a roll crimp the seater die actually rolls a very small portion of the case mouth into the bullet cannelure. If the seater die is set too low or the bullet does not have a cannelure, the die will attempt to form the crimp. However, it may turn too much of the case mouth in, or eliminate space to roll the neck into, which will distort or crush the case. The taper crimp die actually squeezes the case around the bullet. There should not be any indentation or other indication of a visible crimp. The die merely removes the bell from the case mouth that was used to ease seating of the bullet and pushes the case mouth parallel to the bullet. Anymore than that and the die begins to push down on the case wall and causes a bulge, preventing it from chambering.

Scales

Q. My Powder Pro or Partner Scale will not calibrate. It sticks on "Error1." Is it defective?

 A. When "Err1" comes up on the display, a Factory Calibration is required. You must follow the calibration sequencing precisely as listed below. To do otherwise can result in incorrectly programming the scale which can cause damage to the scale and/or incorrect weights.

 If you have the Powder Pro Powder Scale:

1. Remove the Scale Pan from the Platen

2. The scale must be turned off. (If the "On/Off" button does not work, unplug the scale and depress each of the four buttons five times. Plug the scale back in and proceed.

3. Press the "On/Off" button to turn the scale on. The display will read "test" for about 1 or 2 seconds.

4. While the word "test" is showing on the display, you must simultaneously press and hold for 5 seconds the "Gms/Grains", the "Zero" and the "On/Off" buttons. Do not press the "Cal" button. The display will now read "- -0-". Id the display reads "00.0", either you were not fast enough, or the buttons did not go down simultaneously. Turn the scale off and try again beginning with #3 above.

5. When you get the "- -0-" press the "Cal" button, the display will read "hold" and then"- -20-". Place the 20 weight on platen. Wait about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize, then press "Cal", "hold" will appear and then "- -50-". Place the 50 weight on the platen. Wait for about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize and press hold. The scale will ask for the "- -70-" weight. Place the small weight on top of the large one. Wait for about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize. Press "Cal", the scale will read "hold" then "- -0-". Place the weights back in the storage wells and press "Cal". The display will now read "hold" followed by "00.0". To be absolutely safe, the scale should now be calibrated following the Calibration procedure found in the instruction booklet.

If you have the Partner Powder Scale:

1. Remove the Scale Pan from the Platen.

2. The scale must be turned off. (If the "On/Off" button does not work, disconnect the battery and depress each of the four buttons five times. Re-attach the battery and proceed.

3. Press the "On/Off" button to turn the scale on. The display will read "test" for about 1 or 2 seconds.

4. While the word "test" is showing on the display, you must simultaneously press and hold for 5 seconds the "Gms/Grains", the "Zero" and the "On/Off" buttons. Do not press the "Cal" button. The display will now read "- -0-". If the display reads "00.0", either you were not fast enough, or the buttons did not go down simultaneously. Turn the scale off and try again beginning with #3 above.

5. When you get the "- -0-" press the "Cal" button, the display will read "hold" and then"- -20-". Place the 20 weight on platen. Wait about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize, then press "Cal", "hold" will appear and then "- -30-". Place the 30 weight on the platen. Wait for about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize and press hold. The scale will ask for the "- -50-" weight. Place the small weight on top of the large one. Wait for about 5 seconds to allow the scale to stabilize. Press "Cal", the scale will read "hold" then "- -0-". Place the weights back in the storage wells and press "Cal". The display will now read "hold" followed by "00.0". To be absolutely safe, the scale should now be calibrated following the Calibration procedure found in the instruction booklet.

NOTE: The display may build "8's and 0's" after you release the three buttons in step 4. Press "cal" to get out of this. It will then give you an arbitrary number. Ignore this by pressing "cal" again. Then you will get the --0- reading. Continue with the calibration.

Batteries

The battery in your PARTNER scale must put out 7.9 volts or better for proper operation (a new one will run about 9.5 volts and provide approximately 12 to 15 hours). When the battery drops below this, the scale will display "Err1" when you attempt to calibrate it. Note that while the battery will still have more than sufficient power to operate the computer and power the display, it lacks the voltage required to drive the load cell circuit.

Storage

The PARTNER draws a slight amount of power while it is "off". If you are using your scale every day, the battery may be left in. However, if you're like most re-loaders, many days may separate your reloading sessions. That being the case, it is recommended that you disconnect the battery between sessions.

Priming

Q. I'm having trouble with the Hand Priming Tool not seating the primer deep enough. What am I doing wrong?

A. You probably aren't doing anything wrong. The usual cause for "high" primers is caused by the shell holder not sitting down tight on the Primer Feed. This usually happens with older RCBS and other brands of shell holders--they simply do not have enough chamfer on the inside of the primer hole. To check to see if this is a problem, install the shell holder on the primer feed. If you see any daylight between the bottom of the shell holder and the primer feed, the shell holder must be replaced. If the shell holder was manufactured by RCBS, call for a free replacement. If you are unable to locate the problem, call RCBS Customer Service for help at 800-533-5000 (Mon-Thurs, 6:30am-3:00 pm Pacific time), or e-mail us your questions.

Be sure to check back often. We're adding more categories and questions all the time.