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We stopped by the Hodgdon booth at the SHOT Show this morning to talk with Chris Hodgdon, who told us his new mission is to get more shooters into reloading.  He said founder Bruce Hodgdon got the powder company up and running, in part, by partnering with component and press makers to set out on a cross-country road show, demonstrating for shooters how to reload cartridges.

Now, seventy years later, Hodgdon’s going to be doing that all over again.

With help from companies like Hornady, Lyman, Nosler, MEC, RCBS, Winchester and others, Hodgdon will be putting on reloading seminars and classes at gun stores around the country. Plans are being finalized now, but look for the tour to begin in the spring. They should have a formal announcement and a preliminary schedule of stops in the next few weeks.

Watch this space for more details.

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    • Farago threw a temper tantrum and fired one of the only writers who was trying to do something like that… so I wouldnt bet the house on it.

      IDK, Farago is gone so maybe there’s hope.

  1. My wife is worried I will blow up the house.
    I am entirely new to this activity. I just got an electronic scale, and was frankly amazed how inconsistent the weights were with a Lee scoop and Unique powder. Just a couple of granules were enough to add tenths of grams.
    What I haven’t figured out is how one settles on the powder to use, when there are so many that are suitable for the same purpose, without spending a small fortune on bottles of powder and thousands of bullets.

    • Buy a reloading guide and follow the recipes there. Make a few sample cartridges, test for accuracy and reliability, then churn them out by the 1000s. It’s only tedious at the beginning.

      • I have two on paper and a third on line, but the point is there are usually five or more powders listed, IMR, Trail Boss, Unique, etc. with different loads for different weight bullets. A pound of powder makes a lot of bullets at 6 to 9 grains for each!

        • You just have to find out what works best for your particular gun. When I started reloading 223, I was on the third powder before I found one that worked good for me.

        • Yeah, you might go through a few loads at first. Like Junior I used 3 different powders and 4 different bullet weights before finding my 308 sweet spot.

    • One way to increase the accuracy of your balance is to build a clear enclosure around it with a door on it you can easily open and close. The idea is to keep drafts, air currents, and eddies off of it while the balance ‘settles’.

      Tip from being a ‘lab rat’ in analytical labs.

      Also, more ‘zeros’ past the decimal is not as important as a fast, consistent ‘settle’ time on the balance…

      • 0.1 is as fine as I think I need to go for handgun loads, which is the only thing I’ve tried. I may add .308 now that my AR is done, especially after I went to the largest retailer in town and they didn’t have fmjs to break in the barrel. (I am in California, and ordering over the internet is a pain when I have to have it shipped to an ffl instead of my house.)

        • A tip I got from an old time reloader is to throw a few times then weigh it. Some presses powder throw take a few cycles to get settled. Once that is set throw ten times, weigh, then divide by ten. that will get you the last fiddly decimal place if you are worried. I usually do all that then recheck every 100 or so bullets.

          The reality of handgun loads is that usually .1 grain variance is not going to break anything.

          I like to use bulkier powders so if I did double charge it would over flow. You can get in trouble with powders like red dot that use so little that a double charge fits fine. 3 vs 6 grains for example.

      • True story, in my old workshop there was a A/C vent sort of behind my bench but that direct air in my direction and I could watch the reading on my chargemaster fluctuate when the heat/air came on.

    • Mark
      Look for a powder that covers what you want for velocity or projectile size and pick one that gives some lee way.

      I use the same ADI powder for 110 to 180 grain projectiles in 30-06. I change powder for 240 grain buffalo 🐃 loads. From memory ADI is sold as Hodgdon in USA.

    • Mark N. I started reloading with a Lee hand kit for 6.5×55. The loads were okay out to 100m but nothing beyond that. Luckily the 6.5×55 is a very forgiving cartridge.

      When I finally bought a full reloading kit: Hornady Lock’n’Load press, powder thrower, and scales; and a friend gave me his RCBS kit when he gave up shooting, decided to check the accuracy of the scoop in the Lee kit. It would vary by whole GRAINS.

      Now I work in powder charge tolerances of 0.05 of a grain. I weigh and trickle every charge. Even with my budget loads using 3c projectiles. But I am confident with that load and even used it in the invitation only match for the top 10 competitors. I started at 9th. And finished 3rd.

      I’ve been using my gear for nearly 20 years. It has paid for itself many times over. But being able to customize or re-work ammunition is a big plus. I have a mix of Hornady, RCBS, and Lee equipment. I stick with standard Winchester large and small rifle primers. Powder is sort of Hogden powder. Hogden re-package Mulwex ADI powder so I’m using the original Mulwex brand AR2206H and AR2209. I used to use BM2 in .223 but it was getting too expensive. AR2206H has about the same burning rate and is cheaper.

      Additional items to consider are a chronograph and ballistics software for your phone or PC.

      When I had a damaged part, Hornady sent a replacement free of charge to Australia. That is customer service!

      The books can be conservative. I knew someone who had misread his powder scale and was using 27.3 grains of powder instead of 23.7 behind a 69g Sierra Match King. When he queried it with the powder manufacturer, they said they were scared to go so high.

    • You mentioned GRAMS but in the USA most data in in GRAINS and there are 15.4324 GRAINS to a GRAM. If you reload with the amount of GRAINS on a GRAM scale you will blow something up, so just make sure you are using GRAINS and not GRAMS!

  2. I can see them going for broke in California with the new bullet laws—make your own and F the state!

  3. I look forward to that. Even though I’ve been reloading for over 40 years and currently reload 15 different calibers, a guy can always learn something.

  4. I started reloading in the days before on line guides and U-tube videos. I bought a single stage Lee press, a set of dies and one of the old hard back Speer manuals. I’ve always been brave enough to try new things from written instructions. The first batch of ammo I turned out was a relatively low pressure straight wall pistol cartridge (.38 special). I used a light load and was actually surprised when the rounds went bang and holes appeared in the target. My pistol and fingers were all intact and I decided that reloading really wasn’t all that hard.

    I’ve had lots of friends ask me “Will you teach me to reload?” over the years. Give me a couple of hours and I can get almost all people to the point where they can turn out usable ammunition. It might not be super match quality, but it will work and nobody’s going to get hurt.

    I think that most people need a demonstration of the steps involved and then a little bit of feedback to convince them that what they’re doing is right. I think that the Hodgdon program listed above can accomplish that goal. I know that I would have enjoyed a little bit of help back when I started.

    • I think that’s a great approach (both Dave’s and Hodgdon’s) to reloading. Even after reading the manuals, it definitely helps to have someone walk you through the process, as my dad did for me with pistol and my grandfather with rifle. I have a standing offer to my shooting friends of, “I’ll make you a shopping list and/or sell you the components at cost, and we can hang out in the basement and load up a batch.” Even if they never get into it themselves, it’s a valuable learning experience versus buying it from a store. Just like any other DIY process.

      On a related note, I may have missed this if it was covered on TTAG, but as a point of interest, there’s been some coverage on a gentleman being charged with manufacturing selling reloaded ammunition to the Las Vegas shooter without the proper license:

      Much of the coverage conflates the allegations the he illegally *sold* it with implying that the act of reloading itself being illegal. But, in any case, it’s a good reason (IMHO) to not produce reloaded ammunition for others without involving them in the process.

      • You were lucky to have a mentor get you started. I have friends that reload, but I basically learned using the LEE Manual. Which I also think is a great introduction to reloading.

  5. Been loading a few years now, no one in my family ever did or even enjoyed shooting as much. I researched reloading for a year, forums, manuals, youtube before i bought a press. Once I started I was hooked, love being at the bench. Now I just wish I had a range at my house to try out new recipes on the spot, my LGS carries a lot of hodgdons. I’d jump at the chance to go to this show, but of course they’d never come way out here.

  6. My reloads are far more consistent on the chronograph than the commercial stuff. Also groups better at the far end.

    I also homebrew my beer. Because “good enough” is not always good enough.

  7. I started reloading as a 15 year old kid. An old neighbor showed me his shotgun shell reloader and how it worked and I was hooked. I saved my grass mowing money and bought a cheap Lee progressive press and started reloading dad’s 38sp. I still have that old press and use it to load all the pistol calibers I shoot.
    Lee uses a powder volume vs a weight per charge. I’ve found as long as you keep the powder hopper above 1/4 full the weight of the charge is very consistent with ball powders. While that little press will load 223 I don’t do it. For the rifle calibers I use a RCBS rock chucker. I threw away the primer feed system and use a hand primer on my rifle shells. Rifle cartridges I load are 243, 308, 30-30. I reload some 223 but only when I want to experiment with a different load than what I find on the shelf.
    Powder wise over the years I have tried probably 50 of them. What I ended up using mostly is W-123, Power Pistol, Unique, and Tightgroup for pistol. Rifle for the most part has been Benchmark, 4198, and 4350.
    One of these days I may upgrade the progressive press to big blue or Hornady but that said the little Lee has loaded probably over a half million rounds over the past 40 years. Parts are cheap and easy to find and it just keeps on working. About the only thing still orgional is the base and die holders.
    Out of the box the Lee press needs some tweaks. The main one is toss the weight and chain that controls the powder dump. Replace it with a light weight spring. Shell feeding short wall cartridges like 380, 9mm, 45acp the shell feeder works great. For long rimmed stuff like 357 or 44mag I just feed them by hand. I tried the bullet feeders but went back to hand placing them pretty quickly as it was faster.

  8. Depending on the type of shooting you do reloading gives you a lot more options in bullet selection and power. Working up my own loads is one of the things I enjoy most about shooting.

  9. Considering that Hornady already does this road show, Hogdon needs to play catch up here.
    My LGS had a hornady dog/pony show for reloading, twice in the last year. Each class includes 1 set of dies for a class cost less than the set of dies. (~$25?)

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