I went and got, out of storage, what I think is the whole quantity of reloading gear that I've got with me thus far in Alaska. It's been packed up since the move back in '08, and languishing in storage during the times when I couldn't afford to do anything anyway. (I've still got some quantities of components in a box at my folks' house in Montana, which I didn't just stick on the barge out of some loopy attempt to "be a good citizen" and play by the rules. I assure you the move experience, and trying to find a way to get said items up here by some "legally acceptable means", has completely cured me of that rainbow-shittin'-unicorn fantasy. If I had it to do over again, all my components and loaded ammo would have just made it here, eff you very much.)
Anyway, talk about a sensation like Christmas. It was really nice to see the supplies of rifle bullets and remind myself of what volumes of which cases I have in supply. Now I have to figure out what to load for first, and how to acquire primers and powder in the most intelligent way to get the most ammo on the shelves in the quickest possible time. This means a little pencil work, some reference reading, and finally the delightful calibration and test-batch production process.
Some work, is not work at all.
I'm partly looking forward to the process because of what it might mean for my three-year-old. She is "our little scientist", and I suspect that she might be quite interested in certain aspects of the overall loading task. I'll start her with sorting and case tumbling, and if she's interested beyond that, maybe we can look at things like primer-tube loading; she's got just enough of a fixation on doing things right that if I engage her with some of the more foolproof or monitorable tasks, she might wind up being a real, honest help.
I'm looking forward to a lot of this, but I admit I've got a soft spot for trying out a few loads in particular:
- The Kerflättenboömer load: Beartooth Bullets' LBT-design behemoth 525-grain WLN-GC for the Marlin .45-70. These things have apparently shot through both buffalo and elephant, and are just the bullets I want to be standing behind if a brownie decides to get belligerent. The big thing for me will be making sure they feed reliably--damn that's a wide meplat, which is all to the good once it's airborne, but if it won't cycle through the Marlin every time I'll go "back" to the less-aggressive meplat on the LFN design and "settle" for the 450-grain slug. We don't mess with reliability here. :-)
- The Kerflättenboömer-light load: Once again it's Beartooth Bullets' design; this time both a 310- and 340-grain pill for the .45 Blackhawk. I'll run the increments up and we'll see how the Blackhawk likes them. With any luck, that much extra bullet (over, say, the standard 250-grain cowboy load) should keep the velocities from getting so high that the low-point-of-impact becomes a real problem. Theoretically, this should be a good way of backing up the .45-70 with a belt gun, and although I'm not trying to make the unmodified Blackhawk into a true .45 Linebaugh (that is the topic of another post, fersure), it should be capable of a goodly improvement over .44 Mag without bending anything.
- 168-grain loads for both Scout and M1A. I've got my "vanilla" load for the Scout figured out for a 180-grain bullet, but I'd like to actually put 150s and 168s through it and see what she's capable of--and optimizing for Alaska is bound to be a little different, with ambient temperatures, humidities and altitudes very different than what I cut my teeth on in Colorado.
To it, then! :-)