Killing time at the reloading bench

Olympus Digital Camera

I was sitting around one morning several weeks ago and wondering what I was going to do that day. The outside temperature was near freezing while a mix of wet snow and rain kept me from going on my daily walk. Suddenly, it occurred to me. I would reload some deer rounds for next season, but first I had to reform some brass.

My favorite deer rifle is a Remington Model 7 in the .243 Winchester caliber. Deer don’t get far, if they get anywhere, when properly hit with the Nosler partition bullet I like to use.

The .243 is quite a versatile cartridge and depending on what I’m hunting, it’s more than up to any task. Tipped with either a 60-, 70-, or 75-grain hollow-point, it’s devastating on woodchucks at long range. Load a 100- or 105-grain bullet and it’s more than enough for any whitetail.

The .243 was developed in the mid-1950’s after Warren Page, Gun Editor for Field & Stream magazine touted the benefits of a 6mm caliber for varmints and medium size game animals. After Winchester brought the .243 Winchester cartridge out in 1955, it became an overnight success, gaining favor from many shooters. The .243 Winchester is nothing more than a 7.60 NATO round necked down to 6mm. The 7.62 NATO may be better known as the .308 Winchester, and therein lies the beauty.

Store bought ammunition for any caliber sporting load is expensive, and so I’ve found reloading to be and answer to high store prices. Besides, several of my friends shoot the .308 Winchester and they save me their spent brass. To convert the .308 Winchester to .243 Winchester I simply run the larger case through the smaller die and voila, I have the case I need.

Lately, the 7mm-08 Remington has gained in popularity, and for good reason. Brought to market in 1980, the 7mm-08, like the .243 Winchester is created by simply necking down once-fired .308 Winchester brass. I have several friends who hunt with the 7mm-08 and like me, they reload. To make case forming to the .243 Win even easier, I borrow their 7mm dies and run the .308 brass through them. Next, I take the newly formed 7mm cases and run them through my .243 dies. The result is perfectly formed .243 Winchester cases at zero cost to me.

I love reloading my own ammunition because I can craft a range of loads for a variety of animals from woodchucks to deer. In addition, I find I get a great deal of personal satisfaction in knowing that the loads I created were responsible for the game bring home. Besides, it gives me something to do on a lousy winter day.

Categories: New York – Mike Raykovicz

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