Interview (in 3 parts) with a high precision reloader – Part Three of Three

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Interview (in 3 parts) with a high precision reloader – Part Three of Three

Category : Reloading


Interview with Ernie (part 3 of 3)

Insights from a precision rifle reloader

O: Whose toolsets do you like to use for pistol reloading?

E: Well one thing I’ve found… I was using RCBS and Lymans when I first got into it. And after I was shooting a little bit and everything and kind of when I got into the rifle, I found that the Dillon’s tools were pretty close on the concentricity for being production tools.  It was pretty close, so I’ve kind of gone back to Dillon’s dies for the pistols.  I still have some Lymans and others, but yeah, I drifted over to Dillon’s.  I do have a lot of Dillon’s dies that I’ve replaced some of my other sets with.

O: Do you use cast lead bullets or jacketed bullets or both? For pistol or rifle?

E: I shoot both in pistols.  In my rifles, it’s all jacketed.  I don’t shoot any cast bullets in rifles. When I was shooting a lot of handguns, initially, I was buying a lot of commercial cast lead bullets. One day, I told the guy that was making all my cast bullets for me, that I wanted to buy, I think it was like 4,000 .40’s. He told me, “I don’t make em.”  And I said “What do you mean, you don’t make them?” And, he said “well my molds went bad, and I never did get back into it.  I don’t make .40s”  So, I suggested “Well, how about if I buy you a mold and you make them for me, and I’ll still buy them from you. But I’ll buy you the mold.”  He replied, “Nah, I’m not interested, I’ve got too much to do.”  And at that point, he didn’t realize it, but he lost my business. That’s when I bought my own molds and bought everything else to cast and size my own bullets.  I started playing with different alloys, different casting techniques, depending on what bullet I was shooting.  How hard I wanted to make it.  So yeah, on my handguns, I do shoot jacketed and lead, but most of my time I’m shooting lead bullets.  Now for my self-defense, you know I carry commercial factory self defense jacketed hollow point stuff.

O: What level of reloading or precision do you seek, I’ll ask you as two questions, with regard to pistol reloading and then maybe describe how you do your load development for rifles. Do you do load development for pistols also?

E: When I was shooting pistols, when I first got into it, yeah I did load development for the guns.  Cuz I found at that early age, doing that different loads on the gun made it group different.  So yeah I played with loads on the handguns for that.  So when I got into long guns, I basically knew what’s good for the handguns should be good for the rifle.  So I’ve been loading rifles ever since I got into rifles.  Never did buy a whole bunch of ammo, like I said, the only thing I bought factory ammo for was the AKs and the Mosins and stuff like that (that I rarely shoot.) But, other than that, I loaded them all from the beginning.  It’s just for the last, I’d say 5 years, that I had my own range built, that I started doing a lot more shooting. And, I said, “Ok, can I make this better?“ And I just kept at it, working towards my new goal of shooting five rounds into a single hole at 100 yds.  You know, it took me a while.  To me, I look at reloading as a hobby, even my shooting is a hobby.  I enjoy shooting.  I’ve had many people ask me “do you hunt?”  I said “no I don’t, but I got a lot of hunting guns, but I don’t hunt.”  I just like the way the gun shot.  I don’t hunt.  I could, but that’s just not my deal.  I enjoy shooting.

O: When you’re doing your load development for rifles, do you do that in like a ladder type development where you do big increments to begin with and then tighten that up and then tighten that up?

E: I’ve done it two ways.  I do shoot a ladder to where you start with like two tenths of a grain apart from one another.  And then you work your way to tighter powder amounts.  And then you chronograph everything and then you come back and you lay it out and look at how much each shot was, how many ft/sec, and I actually drew a graph. I know you can do this stuff with calculations on the Internet. I’m not too computer savvy. So I do it the old way, I sit down there and draw up a graph and my data  I just put the blank form on a copy machine and print out copies.  And I take my chronograph and I’ll sit down there and I’ll see how many ft/sec shot number one add that data in, and continue from there.  I also bought the Bullseye Camera System.  The reason I went with that one is because when you’re shooting and you’re putting them pretty much in a 1” group, 12, 15 rounds in a 1” group, it still gives you an idea where that bullet went, because the Bullseye Camera System tracks that.  So with the chronograph, I’ll come back and I can look at my shots to see which bullets had a tighter group. And then I can look at my ft/sec and I put that on my graph.  What I’m looking for is the low and find out where my lows at, the flat spots in my graph.  And then I’ll take my lows and I go on the outside of em.  A lot of people just say to stay in the middle, but what I do is I go a little on the outside and I’ll work my way in.  And I’ll make 5 rounds of each one, and I’ll go up two tenths- 5 rounds, two tenths- 5 rounds, and I’ll keep on going up until I get to the outside of my low.  And then I’ll go shoot and I’ll see which one is giving me the better group with that.  And then I work off of that, eventually reducing the loads to .1 (one tenth of a grain) increments.  Once I have the harmonics right for the barrel, then I start working off of how forward off the lands do I seat my bullet including the ogive. Different things like that, start playing with using different primers. Just little things like that that change it up just to see, is it going to give me a better group or not?

Then one of the things I’ve discovered is I’ve got three Savage Model 10’s, all chambered in .308 Win.   Now, pretty much you’d say, ok, they’re all supposed to be the same rifle. But, what I found, and I knew there was going to be a slight difference in the barrels, and that I was going have to play with the loads a bit. But, even using the same bullet, 175 grain Sierra Match King’s, and using IMR 4320 powder, I was getting dramatically different results. In one rifle, it will make one ragged hole (at 100 yards).  I take that powder  load cartridge load and I put it in another Model 10, and it opens up.  It’s still maybe a one inch group (still a respectable group for just plinking).  The guns are not 100% broken in, but then I started playing with loads.  The other Model 10 prefers a 168 grain bullet.  Same powder load.  Everything else is the same, just different bullet. That Model 10 just doesn’t like the 175 grain bullet. So, custom loads for each gun. I keep them separate.

O: You mentioned a specific IMR powder that you use, do you ever try different powders to try to get a tighter group?

E: Yes.  I’ve got a number of different powders, couldn’t even tell you how many different ones I have.  And what I used to do at the beginning, I’d play with my different powders and I’d play with which one gave me the better group.  That’s how I actually started off.  And I’d go out there sometimes with 200 cartridges with five of each powder load. I’d go out there with so many sometimes that I couldn’t get them all shot the same day.  But yeah that’s how I used to do it.  Yeah playing with the different powders.  I hear people talking about one powder that they cannot get to group at all.  In my AR-15, I haven’t tried it in anything else, but the IMR 8028.  Now I can’t get that stuff to group.  I’ve heard people “now that stuff works good”…yeah right, not for me.

O: I was going to ask you if there was a rifle that’s been a particular problem for you trying to find developed load for

E: Well, there is one…I had a bullet that I used to buy for my AR-15’s. It was a 55 grain full metal jacket (HPBT.) I used to buy those from this guy at a gun show.  I don’t know which specific bullet it was. He stopped doing the gun shows. And, I cannot duplicate those rounds with any other bullet I’ve tried. I can’t find those same bullets (whatever they were) today. One of my AR-15s is shooting less than a ½” group – it’s a 20” barrel, 1:8 twist, and I’m shooting the Sierra Match King 77 grain and that’s nailing little less than a ½” group at 100 yards.

O: In your opinion, how important is distance of the lands in your reloads – or is the harmonics of the barrel and matching the velocity leaving the muzzle more important – or do the two factors both play into accuracy?

E: They both play into it. The harmonics in the barrel is the most important– I actually had some guns that you didn’t shoot accurately at all. Like, I’ve got one .223 that I put together, and it’s shooting some real nice groups. I put a muzzle brake on it. And it wasn’t for recoil. I built it off a Remington 700 receiver and put a 16” barrel on it and I wanted a short barrel bolt action rifle with a 1/9” twist. But I put the muzzle brake on the front because of the harmonics and to tone it down. After I had it on there and had the gun all together, I went out there and shot it, and broke it in, and worked up a load, I said, ‘Let me take it off and see how much effect it had.” And I’ll tell you what: the group went to hell..

After I get the load development right for the harmonics, I adjust the distance off the lands as a way of fine tuning the harmonics. The timing of when the bullet leaves the muzzle.

When I do a lot of loading, another thing that I do that I use two electronic scales. RCBS 1500 I use to make my powder dump real close. I just drop it in and boom. That scale measures into tenths. And my second scale that I pour it into measures into the hundredths. So I sit down on that scale and make damn sure every powder drop is exactly what I need.

O: What do you do about record-keeping? Are you an Excel spreadsheet type of guy or do you prefer the three-ring binder type system or how do you keep track?

E: [laughing] Well, that’s what I’m into. A 3-ring binder and writing it down. The reason why is because I’m not too into computers and sitting down with the Excel sheet and doing all of that. I’ve tried some Excel templates that others have made and I just couldn’t get it to work.

O: If you’d like, next time I’m over that way I can walk you through how to do that.

E: Okay.

O: I know you’re in the middle of getting ready to sell your house (the one you built AFTER Katrina) so you can move to the farm, and all this other stuff. But, if that’s of interest I’d be happy to show you how to do that. I have a nice worksheet that I use for keeping track of my loads.

Do you keep track of how many times each piece of brass or each lot of brass gets reloaded?

E: Mm-hmm, yeah. I have these quart cans – paint cans – I’m in the automotive business, and at one time we switched over to water-borne (??) paint. Well you can’t put that in a regular paint can, you’ll have to use polyurethane because it’ll rust. So the containers that they had were plastic quarts. They came out with that so, you know, we went through a whole bunch of them. So what I do is – since it’s plastic and I can see through it, and I’ll make a little label and I put what gun it was in, and how many times it had been fired. I also mark what type of brass, (Lapua or Starline brass or Hornady brass, etc.)
So yes I do count my brass and I do have them marked what type of brass was in there.

O: Do you keep track of how many rounds get shot down a barrel?

E: Pretty much, yeah. I have an estimate, but I don’t write them down, like “Today I shot 10 rounds out of this gun.” I don’t do that. I just know approx.. how many times I’ve reloaded my brass, how much I have, and how many times I have gone through it.

O: Right.

E: So it just gives me a round-about… because like I said I’m not into shooting competition where I’m shooting this thing a lot. It’s like my 6.5 Creedmoor you know, I’m making loads. I did buy a box of 6.5 Creedmoor Federal Gold Medal Match just to see what kind of feet-per-second it would shoot because I never did shoot 6.5 when I got it, and I did not know what the feet per second was going to be like. And I only shot five of them. I still have the rest of them. Just to get an idea of, “Okay. This is what they use. Let me set my goal.” And that’s when I started doing loads for the 6.5 and going from there. I’ve shot the Sierra Match King 140 grain 6.5mm bullets and I’ve shot the Hornady ELD Match and their regular Match-grade bullets, all 140-grain bullets. And I guess you could say 1st place was the Sierra MatchKings and then the ELD Match. I say those would be pretty good for 2nd. The other match grade bullets, I mean, so far I put the Sierra Match Kings in one hole. I put the Hornady ELD Match in one hole. And with the Match grade getting a ½” group, so I mean they’re all respectable.

O: Yeah. Do you ever build any of your rifles from scratch?

E: The only ones I’ve done that from scratch are the ARs. A couple of the ARs I’ve built from scratch.

O: Do you do any secondary machining on them? You were talking earlier about making nitro and weedwhacker engines by doing specialty machining. Do you do any of your own gunsmithing?

E: On my handguns, I did. I was doing trigger jobs on my handguns. I’ll work on triggers on some of the rifles. If I’m satisfied with the trigger from the factory and I just want to smooth it out a little, I’ll do that. If I don’t like the trigger at all, I’ll look for an aftermarket trigger and put it in. It’s like when I built that little Remington 700 – when I bought on the lower end and everything, it came with a Remington 700 trigger, you know? I didn’t even shoot the gun with that. I yanked that right out and changed the trigger out.

O: When you first began reloading, what sources of information did you have to begin reloading with and do you feel in hindsight that those sources were adequate? What did you use for your basis of knowledge?

E: My basis of knowledge for reloading was the first book I bought, which was the Speer Reloading Manual. That’s the first book I had when I bought my reloading set and that’s what I went with. The information in the front of the Speer book was considered (by me) to be a loading bible. Since then I’ve got several reloading books, and I also go on the internet (for example, and have my reloading guides bookmarked. I use these for the rifles and the handguns.

O: Is there anything – and you’ve been reloading for a while – is there anything that still baffles you or that you’d like to learn a little more specifically about anything?

E: Well I made a new goal – because I’d see these people shooting these really tight one-hole groups. I was already shooting ragged one-hole groups, but I wanted to get it as tight as it could be by putting a one-hole group in the target paper. I’ve managed to accomplish that with my 6.5 Creedmoor. That’s a Tikka 2.3 Tactical A-1 or something like that. That’s a very fine gun. And that’s the first gun that brought me to where I reached my new goal. So what I’m trying to do now is to do that with the rest of the rifles that I own. I’ve got a lot of .308s. I used to shoot a lot of .308 Win, and like I said when I went into the Tikka, the 6.5, it was walking on new grass I guess you could say. I had no idea where I was at, what I was looking at. I had my loading books but it didn’t tell me what I wanted to see and that’s when I went and bought some factory boxed ammo for 6.5 Creedmoor, and like I said I only shot five of them and chronographed them with my lab radar and said, “Okay now I see where they are, velocity wise, where I gotta be,”

O: As you already know, it’s one of the reasons to stay current with the reloading books every four years or so the companies like Hornady and Speer and the others come out with the new and updated books. With those new cartridges that have become popular in the meantime and that’s one of the reasons to stay current with the reloading data.

E: Oh I do, yeah. Matter of fact, recently got the new Hornady book. I’ve got the Speer – I got the Nosler book, the Speer, and the new Hornady.

O: I also like the Lyman Book, it’s in its 50th edition. Because it’s got a lot of cast lead bullet data and load data for cast lead bullets like for your pistols. Cast bullet data is different than jacketed data. They have two books, one that is more about HOW to cast lead bullets, and the other (50th Edition) is load data for both cast and jacketed bullets.

E: Right, right. Now I’ve got both Lyman books. Like I said I had the Speers and after I got into lead casting that’s when I went ahead and bought the Lyman books.

O: Do you carry a pistol for self defense in your day-to-day comings and goings?

E: Yeah.

O: What’s your common/favorite carry pistol?

E: Well it’s not my favorite pistol, but the only reason I do use it is because it’s small and very well concealed. In my line of business I’m with customers and I don’t wear jackets and I keep my shirt tucked in my pants. I’ve been carrying a Ruger LCP .380 because I have a wallet holster for it, and if someone’s looking at me from the back, it looks like a wallet. I do carry that on me all the time. WhenI’m taking a trip or whatever, let’s say going to my son’s house which is about 80 miles from me. I’ll have my .380 in my pocket at all times, and then I got two or three other handguns with me.

O: Right

E: But yeah wherever I go, I got my .380 with me all the time.

O: Do you reload for self defense, and why or why not?

E: No, I don’t. I don’t reload self-defense loads. Hornady’s (Critical Self Defense) is what I carry in that gun. The reason why – I see these attorneys talking on TV and YouTube saying that they have to worry about the ammo. So now what I do is I’m using that factory ammo, and that way that question (about reloads) can’t come up.

O: Are there some tips that you would pass along to a beginning reloader?

E: Well first of all, you are going to have to decide what you want to get into: long guns or hand guns. Loading rifles is nothing like handguns. It’s a totally different animal. As a matter of fact, I have one of the guys who worked for me, who was interested in reloading. He finally bought himself a loader, the Dillon 550C which is the latest 550 model and he was loading for his 9mm and stuff and he said, ‘I like to load .223s’ and I said, “Okay, but you’re talking a different animal here. If you want to load for it, that’s not a problem. I’ll walk you through it and help you get set up. But just remember you’re going to buy more equipment because what you have right now for loading handguns isn’t enough because now you’re getting into case trimming and sizing and doing this other stuff.” So he went ahead with it and after he loaded it and played with it and he came back and said, ‘You’re right. That is a totally different animal.” So if someone wants to get into loading, that’s pretty easy. I want to say, I would tell them, “Hey get your feet wet with handguns first because it’s more forgiving.” When you get into rifles, you’re playing with different pressures, different head spacing, which if you do something wrong you could blow your gun up. You could blow a handgun up also, and most of the time I see that is just from double loads. But with a rifle it’s not so much the powder load all the time. There’s a lot more involved.

O: Have you ever given any thought or notion – I know you told me about you not wanting to get into the speed RC boat business, but have you given thought to making ammunition commercially?

E: No. Never did. Because then again it comes down to taking my hobby and making it a job. I’ve already got a job, I don’t need another one, you know?

O: Yeah.

E: That’s like when I started fishing and teaching my boys when they were really young. 6 and 10. I bought a bass boat and was equipped to go out and fish in tournaments. I had people out there that said, “Why don’t you come out and fish tournaments full time with us?” I said, “Nah you don’t understand, I’ve come out here to get away. I don’t want to be under pressure or do nothing. If we came out to fish and we go some, we did great. If we didn’t catch anything, we still did great.” The idea of my two boys enjoying ourselves and we had a good day, and that’s how it’s always been. But like I say, my bass boat was set up for fishing tournaments and we didn’t do it. When a hobby turns into a job, you kind of lose interest in it I would say. If I got into commercial loading, it would be the same way. I’d have people calling me up saying, “Hey I need this, I need that” and I’m not interested.

O: Is there a pistol powder that you especially have a liking for?

E: The one I used a lot was the Winchester 231. Yeah, I use that a lot. I used also, believe it or not, .. when I first started loading, my buddy John put me onto Unique.  They came out with new load data for Unique (with the bullet I was loading) and I bought that, and I still use that. I’ve got maybe 8 pounds of that left, but I do a lot of my loading for regular pistol with 231 Winchester.

O: How about for rifles: is there a powder or style of powder or a manufacturer that you tend to gravitate towards for your rifle reloading?

E: When I find going through all my stuff, each one of my guns virtually have their own powder. I use a bunch of Benchmark, it’s a good powder. On some of my guns, I use Reloader 17, and man, that one works great with the 6.5 Creedmoor. I’ve tried the Hodgdon’s H4350. I shot that a couple of times and I found my Varget did a better job.

O: Do you have any opinions about some of the new designer “powder of the month” types like the copper fowling eliminator, the CFE powders, any opinions about those types of powders?

E: The only one I’ve used was the IMR 8208 XBR. And I’ve only tried that in the AR-15. And I just can’t get it to group. Like I said I haven’t spent a lot of time running different ladders, different powder loads, and different bullet seating to really say, “Yeah, this is good or not good.” Don’t get me wrong, when I’m saying that I can’t get it to group, it may be an 1.25” or 1.5” groups. Great for plinking rounds. But, that’s not what I strive for. I strive to get that gun to shoot the tightest group (goal is one tight hole, five shots) I can make it shoot.

O: You mentioned earlier 1903 A4. Do you have many of those vintage service rifles?

E: Yeah. I don’t have every one that they’ve used in World War II. I don’t have any machine guns of course. But I’ve got a German Mauser 98K and I have five M1 Garands. I have the one 1903 A4. I have got a couple of English guns (Lee Enfield – 303 Brit). I’ve got four Mosin-Nagants (91-30’s). I have the M4A4 and I think the M38 which are short guns. I have one with the bayonet, the flip-out kind. And I’ve heard – I didn’t do a lot of research on these guns – I’m more of a collector. I’ve heard that they used two stocks, two different types of wood for their stock. So, I got one rifle with each of those two types of wood.

O: You mentioned the M1 Garand, which has an operating rod, as part of it’s gas cycle system. And, it’s similar in concept (operating rod) also with the M1A (the M14 is the full automatic version.) Any comments about picking powders so that you don’t cycle the gun too fast and bend the operating rod?

E: Yeah. I heard is that the operating rod on the M1A is a little bit straighter than the one for the M1 Garands, and less easy to bend than the rod on the M1 Garands. I know the M1 Garands work better with IMR 4895 and IMR 4064. I tried those powders, but had better luck with but Reloader 15.  It’s in their loading book in the Service Rifle section. So I decided to try it, because I had some Reloader 15. I went one grain under their hot load (max load) on that and it dropped me down to about a 1” group at 100 yards. These are not CMP barrels, not match-grade barrels. It’s off the rack rifles you can just buy, you know? I did buy one of the M1 Garands from CMP. One of their refurbished rifles, that were completely re-done, and it’s supposed to have a match barrel in it, etc. But, I’ve never shot that gun so I don’t know exactly how it shoots. But the Reloader 15 loads that I did shoot out of another M1, improved the hell out of my group. When you look at it and chronograph it, I’ve been happy.

O: How about some of the imported powders like the Vitavouri. Have you tried any of those ever?

E: No, I haven’t. There’s a guy that I look at on YouTube that tries a lot of that powder and that’s Johnny’s Reloading Patch. And he uses a lot of these crazy different powders and I’ve watched what he’s done. And I’ve seen when some of these powders work well but I’ve seen when he’s gone back to the more standard powders.

O: When you buy supplies, do you buy them locally from local suppliers or do you like to do the mail order?

E: It depends on what I’m buying. It depends on the quantity. If I want to buy a powder we have Sportsman’s Warehouse on the other side of town.

O: Yup.

E: If I’m going to buy a pound of powder or something like that, I go there. I have a friend of mine that has a little shop and he sells reloading stuff. Matter of fact he’s the Dillon representative. If he doesn’t have it, I’ll see if they have it at Sportsman’s Warehouse. When I’m going to buy a couple of 8-pound containers of powder, then I’ll buy that online. Because the quantity breakdown makes it worth it doing that. Midway now has tax, too, so I kind of stay away from them. They’d be my last choice for buying powder.

O: Do you have any good tips for how to mark your powder and primers so that you’re rotating your inventory? What’s the way that you like to do it?

E: When I’m buying and when I have my load made up for a gun, what I try to do is to buy my powder in lots. I’ll try to buy two, three 8-pounders where it’s all the same lot. That was when I’m doing that it’s the same thing. Primers: I’ve got a lot of primers and I – believe it or not – the primer I use a lot which I’ve found to be very accurate as far as their loads and I’ve talked to people that shoot competition and some of them use it and it’s a shame we can’t get them anymore, is the Wolf primers. I’ve been using that and a lot of these guys that were shooting pistol were saying, “It’s better than some of the match-grade primers.” I do have some of the match-grade Federal primers and I don’t see a difference because I’ve compared them to each other and I don’t see that much of a difference to go with that. Just be careful to use up the older stuff first.

O: Besides Wolf because we can’t get them any more, which US suppliers do you like as an alternative?

E: I was buying Winchester primers and I would say it’s between Winchester and CCI.

O: Do you have any recommendations for storing powder and primers?

E: I’ve got them in a climate-controlled area where it’s air conditioned and it’s dry. Primers, once I put them down, I don’t move them around. I don’t shake them around. Once I set them down, they stay set down. I don’t move them around.

O: Actually, the way everybody makes boxer style primers these days is that they form the outer cup. They put their layer of chemical inside. They put a thin metal layer, actually a layer of anodized aluminum foil. And then they put the anvil in on top of that. So it’s actually the foil that keeps the humidity out of the primers and keeps the primer chemical from decomposing. And, everything tight inside the primers. It’s that foil that does that job. No need to worry about moving primers around. It’s the reason they can get away with just storing the primers in cardboard sleeves.

E: Okay, I didn’t know. I thought it was paper.

O: How about, and this is one of the final questions,  believe it or not, how about recommendations for storing loaded ammo?

E: My loaded ammo I keep in ammo cans. I’ll keep that ammo can in a climate controlled area, air conditioned in the house and leave it open, and when I put that ammo in there, I put it in there and seal it up, open it up when I need it. That’s why a lot of times when you go to open one up and sometimes they are hard to open, you know? You gotta really jerk on them hard because it forms a suction.

O: The gasket seals them up really well.

E: So I keep them in that. That’s also kept in a place where it’s pretty dry. And, each can is marked with the load data for that cartridge and the date I made it.

O: How about your precision rifle where you develop a load for each rifle. Do you keep those in little plastic ammo boxes?

E: I keep those in plastic ammo boxes, but I don’t have – you know like my test loads are in there, but when I make up a load of one that I’m sure of and everything – I don’t load up a whole bunch of them. If I’m going shooting I say, “Okay I’m going and maybe going to shoot 25-50 rounds.” If it’s 25 rounds I’m going to shoot, I’m going to make 30 rounds of them. But I make those as I go. It takes me so damn long to get what I’m reloading for in my rifle loads and the precision I’m striving for.

O: It’s the most tedious of all the reloading. As you said earlier, somebody that starts loading off from pistols and wants to start loading for rifles, they have to know what they’re in for.

E: Oh yeah, what I’d recommend is that if someone is into pistols and they want to get into loading rifles: it’s cheap and not too expensive to load .223 and whether you choose a bolt—action rifle or semi-auto, it’s cheap to load and you can make those as accurate as hell, you know?

O: Yup.
E: When you start getting into the .308s and the 6.5s and 7mm magnums and start getting into that big stuff, it’s a little bit more expensive to load.

O: Are there any things that you thought we would cover that we didn’t cover that you’d like to make some comments about?

E: No, it’s just that it’s like any other hobby when you look at it. You can make the hobby as big as you want or you can make it as small as you want. That’s one of the options. It’s not like “Oh, it’s going to cost you 10 grand to get into reloading for rifles.” No, it ain’t going to cost you that. It depends on you and how much you want to put into it and also depends on, well basically the more money you put into it – sometimes it makes the job of reloading a little easier or it’ll bring you to more of a consistent load. I mean it just depends on what you’re after but you’ve got everything at your fingertips and do it any kind of way you want. And that’s the beauty part of it and it’s just like the radio controlled boats and airplanes – how far do you want to take it is what it’ll bring you. Same thing with this hobby here, you know? You look at the Wilsons die sets I bought, they’re $210. You can buy a set of Hornady dies or Lee dies for $35. So I mean there’s a difference there between the quality of the two dies as an example. But you can carry it as deep as you want or as shallow as you want. Whatever you set your goal to you can do it, but the higher you set your goal, the more expensive it’s going to be on the equipment

O: Well Ernie, I really appreciate you finding this time. I know how busy you are between your business and your new farm and everything else that’s going on. So, I really appreciate the time that you’ve set aside for this interview.

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