View Full Version : 50 cal Reloading?
12-09-2009, 06:17 AM
Anyone here reload for 50 Cal (like 50BMG or the California legal 510DTC?
I have a lot of questions.
12-09-2009, 08:51 AM
LD, I load for the 50 BMG, however I sold my rifle to my son sometime ago because he thought he had to have it, but I still load for him. It is a custom gun using a McMillan action. I have worked some loads but only using W860 and W872 surplus powders. How could I be of help to you?
12-09-2009, 12:23 PM
ldbennett have you been on calguns. there are a few members on there that reload 50 cal.
12-09-2009, 02:25 PM
Yes and they sent me to a 50 cal sight and nobody answered my questions.
12-09-2009, 02:33 PM
While we (my son-in-law and I) are not quite ready yet, we intend to be reloading for 50 cal soon. We live in So. California where 50BMG is outlawed but 510DTC is not. My understanding is that 510DTC is just a blowout and shortened 50BMG case that uses the same 50 cal bullets as 50BMG. I have a few questions about reloading for the 510DTC (I reload for 30 different calibers and have for over 20 years and I am reloading educated):
1) We don't want to invest a fortune in the reloading equipment and the quantity of reloads will be minimal. I think the Lee Classic Cast Press might be adequate. Who is the source of the 510DTC dies that will fit this press? I understand the Lee press is tapped for 1 1/4 x 12TPI. The 50BMG CH/4D dies seem to be 1 1/2 x 12 TPI. What is the possibility of tapping the Lee press out to the 1 1/2 x 12 TPI thread? Is there enough meat on the die boss of the press to drill and tap it bigger? Would the strength of the resultant press be terribly compromised? Can CH/4D make a 510 DTC die to fit the Lee press?
The bottom line is how do you get into 510DTC reloading cheaply?
2) We are planning to get the BOHICA Arms 510DTC Bolt action conversion for our AR15 lower. This gun will not be used for competition but for fun shooting at long distance targets. Is this an adequate gun for that purpose?
3) BOHICA recommend "510DTC EDM Spec" dies and indicated that the Lee press will not accept anything but 50BMG dies from Lee. Anyone got a way to minimize the cost of the press and dies to be able to shoot the BOHICA 510DTC?
4) What's the best least expensive powder to use in this 510DTC cartridge?
5) Who regularly stocks the primers, and bullets?
6) While I understand you can make 510DTC cases from 50 BMG cases (anneal the necks, resize, and trim to length) is there a source of pre-made 510DTC cases? We would only need about 50.
7) How bad is the recoil from a setup like this? How about the noise? I hear horror stories about both. Is a shooting session of 20 shots too much for a body to bear?
8) I have an old CH press that could be modified to take the CH/4D die sizes but will the 4 inch stroke be enough?
Perhaps explaining how you reload for 50BMG would help as well.
12-09-2009, 10:04 PM
LD: I know nothing about Lee equipment for loading 50 BMG. I have an RCBS Ammomaster I got from Huntington's in Orville CA., they will have everything you need in the way of equipment. It should cost you about $500.00 for dies and all. Their phone is 530-534-1210. They also usually have bullets and primers. My guess is they will answers for your brass questions. I like 750 grain Hornady for serious paper punching and I have found that surplus AP bullets to be more accurate than surplus lead core ball bullets, having shot one ragged hole at 100 yards. I have purchased all of my surplus bullets at various gun shows so I don't have a good source to share with you. As for reloading it is not a lot different than anything else you load for except you have to drop the powder twice. My powder measurer will not drop enough one time.
As for noise I use ear plugs and muffs. Standing near the gun is worse on you than shooting it, because the vibration goes through your whole body. I don't know if you have been on the starting line when a drag race fuel car leaves the noise seems to run clear through your body. My son's gun only weighs 22 pounds and recoil is about like shooting a 243. I have never shot a 30 pound gun but I have been told they recoil about like a 300 mag. My theory for that is the air in the barrel that is pushed ahead of the bullet starts to make the muzzle break work earlier in a lighter gun over coming the recoil sooner. Please keep in mind it is just a theory. I have shot some 200 grain tungsten sabots and I swear it feels like the gun is actually being pulled away from me as opposed to recoil. The problem is I can't hit a house with them at 100 yards, and they go faster than my chronograph can pick them up but they will shoot clear through 3" of mild steel at about 50 yards. Shooting the gun at a range that has an overhead awning can be measy as it shakes crap all over you.
I have only used surplus W 860 and W 872 for loading and the source I had is no longer in business so I cannot tell you where to get it. At the time I bought it, it was $2.00 a pound so I bought 4 eight pound jugs of each. I know that sounds like a lot of powder but at less than 40 rounds per pound it is really not all that much.
I also found that bore sighting is a waist of time. The torque on the barrel is so great when fired makes bore sighting unreliable. If you think about it at 2900 fps you are trying to spin almost 2 ounces of material about 160,000 RPM in a few milliseconds. At least that is the way my son's gun was with its 29" fluted barrel.
I hope that was of some help to you and I would like to know how it goes.
12-10-2009, 08:32 AM
Thanks, Ron. Your experience is certainly a help but I'm going to need the questions answered in detail, eventually. We are still in the "buying the gun" stage and actually reloading comes later. I'll direct the question to the BOHICA when we order the upper conversion.
But I think I'll get the right dies first and see if I can modify the old CH press. I have a lathe and mill (Smitty Chinese combo) that I have used extensively over the years and I think I can make the CH press do the job. We are not going to be shooting this gun all that much so I really don't want to invest $400 for the RCBS press unless I have to (and I may have to). With the dies in hand and the press at hand I can figure out what to do or to abort the CH press plan and just buy what I need.
The info about the noise was enlightening. We may have to only shoot this gun in the open desert rather than at any range as both of the ones I go to regularly have covered shooting points and one only has 200 yd targets. The other has 800 yard steel targets but I think we'll need to check with them to see if they will even allow a 50 cal on their range. It will damage the silhouette targets, for sure.
12-12-2009, 09:53 PM
To answer one of your questions LD, if you buy the lee classic 50 bmg press it's already 1-1/2" & they supply you a threaded insert to also be able to use standard 1-1/4" dies.
12-12-2009, 11:11 PM
The press is tapped for 1 1/4 inch x 12 TPI with an adapter to 7/8 inch x 14 TPI whereas the CH/4D dies for 50BMG (and 510DTC???) appear to be 1 1/2 inch x 12 TPI. See attachment pictures and text. BOHICA already warned me about the fact that the Lee press will only take Lee 50BMG dies and not the CH/4D dies. Apparently(???) only CH/4D makes the 510DTC dies I have to have in California. Unless you know something different?
12-12-2009, 11:16 PM
im going to probably get fried for this. but you know those Arbor presses they sell at Harbor freight and tool. I bet it wouldnt be that hard to rig up one of those to use for loading. Heck thats really all we have anyways are Arbor presses that are threaded for using a die and sloted to accept a shell holder
12-13-2009, 06:20 AM
Since the cartridge is almost 4 inches long the stroke has to be that or more.Do those HF Arbor presses meet that requirement? Is the "window" long enough for the finished cartridge, perhaps 6 inches?
The CHY press I have cpould be modified (I think???) to make both the window longer and the storke longer too, but the strode is already 4 inches. Once I get dies in my hands I can tell what if anything can be done to the CH press to accommodate these huge cartridges.
We are in the stage of buying the bare lower. In CA that can be a problem, sometimes, but it is possible. I'm not doing a thing until we have that lower. When we commit to the upper (BOHICA) then I'll buy the custom 510DTC die, look for brass and move towards reloading, as that is the only source for CA legal 510DTC ammo (???). I'm just gettiong educated for know and planning.
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