And this is how it started ...
December 21, 2009
It was the Saturday before Christmas of 2009 and outside, more than a foot of snow blanketed the Northern Virginia Area with more on the way. It was obvious that I wasn't going to the range today or anywhere else for that matter.
With nothing better to do, I stood by my reloading bench trying to decide whether or not to load some more 45 ACP. As I was looking at all the reloading equipment that I have accumulated over the years, I started to reflect on how I got into reloading ammunition in the first place. Looking around the room, I searched for the very first reloading tool that I had ever used. It was sitting on the top shelf of a nearby shelving unit in a red plastic box covered in dust, a Lee Loader in 303 British. Browsing through the file cabinet upstairs, I found an envelope of gun receipts and there it was, a receipt from Potomac Arms dated February 1992, more than 17 years ago.
Listed on the receipt was the first centerfire gun that I had ever purchased, a British Military Surplus Lee Enfield #4 Mark 1 Rifle, price $99.95 and one bandelier containing 50 rounds of Boxer primed non corrosive Greek 303 British ammunition in stripper clips, price $12.95.
At that time the only place that I had to shoot was the range behind the Clark Brothers Gun Store in Warrenton, Virginia. Customers were allowed to use it for free so as long as the ammunition that they used had been purchased from the store or made from components purchased from the store. Of course having one of the few ranges open to the public in Northern Virginia, the Management of Clark Brothers charged a premium for their ammunition and components and they still do today.
When I was shooting my only other rifle at the time, a Marlin Model 60 in 22 long rifle, it wasn't really a big deal. However they were charging 10 dollars a box for Hansen cartridges in 303 British, which works out to 50 cents a round.
So I bought a Lee Loader,some primers, a box of jacketed 0.311" bullets and a pound of Accurate 8700 which was the cheapest smokeless powder that I could find 303 Brit data for. Loading with the tool was a slow business but my initial efforts yielded cartridges that were at least as accurate as factory made albeit at a much a lower velocity.
After I started reloading 303 British, the next step to reducing my cost per round even further was to cast lead bullets rather than buying jacketed bullets.
I purchased a Lee 180 grain 30 cal bullet mold, a lead pot, a box of gas checks, and a 0.311" sizing die.
Using an old Coleman Camp stove that was barely up to the task of melting lead, I managed to cast some bullets.
To my suprise those cast bullets yielded even better groups than the jacketed softpoint bullets that I had been using.
Some groups even measured under an inch at 100 yards.
The rest is history.