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Discussion Starter #1
I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to learn to reload if I want to shoot my Model 1886 .33 WCF. I have always been interested in learning to reload, never known anyone who does it. I've been a self starter in a lot of things, but this isn't something I want to tackle on my own. So where/how does a person get started? Thanks in advance for your input.
 

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Well in this day and age of computers, it should be pretty easy.

Use your "Search Engine" and you should be able to get all sorts of information on it. Lymans Reloading is as good a place as any to get started. If you can get one of their reloading manuals they used to be pretty good at walking a beginner through the basics.

Different terms used, types of equipment, explaining the do's and don'ts, etc. Just remember to take it slowly and start low and work your way up on your loads. Different powders, primers, brass, and weapons all react differently. Anotherwords,... a specific load recipe that works well in my firearm may not react the same exact way in yours due to even more variables that could come into play.
 

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Since Hornady is the only company currently offering a bullet for the .33 Winchester, I would suggest you find a copy of thier current manual and read it. All reloading manuals have the basic "how-to's" incorporated into their literature.
As for equipment that you will need, you will need the following: dies, a press, powder scale, case trimmer, primer pocket cleaner, a means to lube your cases, chamfer tool, a priming tool, and a powder funnel. Since it sounds to me like you want to just load up a couple of boxes prior to deer season to sight in with and hunt, I would suggest a LEE hand press.....they offer a kit that has most of the stuff I just listed for $36.98; dies will set you back another $30. A scale will set you back about $30, and the case trimmer, chamfer tool, ect. will set you back about $5 each. (you can check out there stuff at www.leeprecision.com) For someone starting out, I would recommend that you use .33 Winchester cases (cases are the most expensive part of the reload, so save your empties) instead of trying to fool around with reforming .45-70 brass, and stick with jacketed bullets over cast, at least initially. Plenty of time to delve into that other stuff later if you want to once you get a little experience under your belt.

The basic process is that you inspect your cases for cracks, ect. & trim and chamfer them. Then you lube them, pass them through the sizing die with the press (which resizes the cases); then you reprime the case with a live primer, weigh out your powder charge and pour it in the case, then put a bullet on top of the works and seat it with the bullet seating die...........pretty simple, huh?;)
It reallly isn't rocket science, so don't let it intimidate you; yes, you have to be careful with what you are doing because the potential is there for doing harm, but if you can follow directions, you should have no problems. But the first step is to get a manual and read how to do it.
I hope you decide to reload for you Granddad's gun; it's a great way to keep his memory alive and maintain your hunting heritage......to many "grandpa's guns" are hanging on the wall, or worse, sold off to pawn shops, because ammo is scarce.
Start with reading a good reloading manual.....after that, post up any questions you might have (or PM or email me). Good luck.
 

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Here's another option, albeit expensive. Go to www.ows-ammunition.com. The company name is Old Western Scrounger and they offer obsolete ammo and hard to find ammo. I think they have some .33 Winchester available for just under $50 a box. Reloading is far cheaper in the long run, but if you just want a few boxes for sighting in and hunting then these are more convienant. Reloading is great though and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys shooting. You will find that once you start, you'll be loading for all your guns....probably means you'll shoot more often too.
Good luck with that 1886, it's a fine rifle with history that is sure to add to the hunt. Glad to see one in use instead of on the wall or tucked away in a gun cabinet.
 

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Cabelas has a RCBS Rockchucker kit for about $240. Comes w/everything you need accept powder, brass, primers, and bullets.
After you get a reloading kit, then get some reloading info on that .33, check out various websites including ones that make bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great comments. I'm starting to get a picture here of what the basics are. Some questions are popping up as I think about it. From what I gather, there are 2 dies, one for resizing brass that has been previously shot, and one for seating the bullet. You lube the case so the bullet will easily seat or to get them in the die? I checked out the Lee site, they have .33 WCF dies. I don't know about RCBS. Why the big price difference between the Lee stuff and the RCBS? Do you have to match dies to the press and other tools (Lee with Lee, RCBS with RCBS)? Where would I find new .33 WCF brass? I'm planning on making the purchase of the equipment after rifle season closes (not enough time!).

When my dad gave me this gun, he said they had stopped shooting it because the ammo was hard to find and he thought it was "keyholing". I always took his info as being accurate. The best I can figure, the last time he shot it was in the early 1960's. I got to thinking he might have been wrong about the way it shot, decided to give it a try. I don't see anything wrong with it, have put 12 shots through it. I really like the way it feels, much more substantial gun than the Model 94 I grew up shooting. I am taking it out this weekend in hopes of getting 3rd generation success with it.
 

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Case lube is required for case resizing....it isn't needed to seat the bullet. The brass expands as the bullet is seated, and a crimp is put in the cannelure to hold the bullet in place for rifles with tubular magazines, such as .30/30, 32 Special, .35 Remington, and your .33 Winchester.

Price difference between LEE and RCBS.....same as price difference between a Mossberg 500 and a Remington 870; some will argue that more expensive is better, but if it gets the job done and saves money, more power to you. A lot of folks don't like LEE...they think them "cheap" & "inferior". I am not one of them... I have been using LEE products now, without complete, for about 25 years.
New .33 Winchester brass might be difficult to come by; you may have to pay through the nose for it, but once you have it, you can reload it several times. I will see if I can find a supplier.
.... and yes, you can use different dies with different presses; my .30/30 & .30-06 dies are RCBS, but the work just fine on my LEE press.:)
 

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There is a company called Bertram brass that makes .33 Winchester cases; I couldn't find a website for them, but Old West Scrounger from Nevada carries the cases...be prepared for sticker shock; they run about $35/20!:eek:
 

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If you are just learning how to reload, you might want to start your reloading with a more common cartridge until you are comfortable with the process. If you already have a .30-06 or a .38 Special that would be a good place to start. There is a wealth of reliable load data for these cartridges, but too often the more obscure cartridges have data that is hard to find, or a limited number of propellants, or unreliable.
 

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Buy a kit! if you dont live to far from Dunkins, stop in. they can usualy answer just about any question you have.. AND!! when it comes to re-loading there are no dumb questions honist! if at any time you arn't sure of your decision stop and check and re check..we all do this..I will wright my load weight on a separate paper and it is posted in front of my work area..REMEMBER THIS"" KEEP THE RADIO OFF AND TURN OFF THE TUBE!!. You cant talk on the phone and keep company at the same time.. this is not safe! no smoking and no drinking or other things that might impare your judgment..Buy a good reloading manual. But two or more you wont go wrong. Gander Mountain has the best prices.
 

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One topic not discussed yet was neck versus full length resizing. I prefer the former for the following reasons:

1. It's much easier. In most cases, lubing cases isn't required. You have less wear/potential scratching of your dies. Less force on you press is needed.
2. Some argue that neck sized cases may outperform full length resized cases (only the neck expands not the entire case when the reloads are fired)

The biggest drawback is that if you own more than one gun OF THE SAME CALIBER. In this instance, you need to make sure that you don't mix up your brass. Since very few of us own more than one gun OF THE SAME CALIBER, this isn't a concern.
 

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One topic not discussed yet was neck versus full length resizing. I prefer the former for the following reasons:
JC, If I'm assuming correctly, your 1886 is a lever action. Neck sizing dies are not recommended in lever actions or auto loaders because the cases are too tight to feed into the chamber. And, neck sizing only works on brass that has been shot out of the gun (bolt actions) BEFORE neck sizing. Stick with full length resizing dies. I recommend using Hornady spray case lube. Set the cases on end, and spray the outside of the case, and the inside of the case neck. Then resize. This lube does not affect powder. A can lasts forever.

A lot is said about reloading equipment. I use a Dillon progressive press because I reload pistol loads. For rifle ONLY, I recommend buying a RCBS, Hornady or Lyman Press single press because they are strong. I have several Lee die sets and have extremely good results with them.

Buy a reloading manual FIRST. You have a unique caliber, which is neat in itself. Make sure the manual has .33 WCF loads listed (leaf through it at the gun shop) and general instructions on reloading. Speer has a good manual also. I'd look up some loads, but I'm on the road this week and living out of a motel room.

Once you find that odd brass and bullets, BUY A LOT OF THEM. I reload 250 Savage (250/3000). Brass is hard to find, so I bought 400 pieces off the bat, which will last past my life time.

Keyhole is a problem of bullets not stabilizing because rifing doesn't match bullet weight. If you experience any, different bullet weights may be in order.

Like offered earlier, post any questions you have and as you can see, we'll be sure to help you. Welcome to the world of reloading. It's a very satisfying hobby, and not as hard as it sounds.
 

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I overlooked the lever action. Good pick up.

What model Dillon do you have. I was looking at picking up a new press and am between the RCBS Rock and DP AT 550. What do ya think?
 

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I've got the RL 550 B. Looking at the AT 550, I'm not sure why the limit on calibers. The RL 550 B loads pretty much everything, but costs a lot more with the powder charge, primer feed etc. I can't complain about Dillon. If you reload pistol, trust me, buy a full progressive press.
 
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