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Take Time To Learn
Old 12-11-2006, 11:06 AM
Jay Edward (deceased) Jay Edward (deceased) is offline
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Default Take Time To Learn

Over on the Hodgden site I ran across the most important story I ever read for the new reloader:

Dear Chris,

Although I do not have a hunting story to tell nor do I have a picture or a tight group on a target to show you, however, I do have a Hodgdon reloading story. About 20 years ago I decided to get into reloading. Back then, the Internet was in its infant stages of development and I had to rely on advice from fellow shooters and information obtained from the library. I read all the manuals and every article and book on reloading I could get my hands on. I was interested in reloading .357 magnums for my new Colt Python. So off I went to my local gun store where I bought my Python to order everything I needed to get started. I walked up to the counter armed with confidence knowing exactly what I wanted to buy. The old guy behind the counter looked up from behind his glasses and asked, "What can I do for you?"

With all the confidence of a master reloader, I replied, "I want to buy an RCBS Rock Chucker kit, .38/.357 caliber carbide dies, a box of small magnum pistol primers, a couple boxes of 125 grain JHP bullets and a pound of Bullseye powder." The old guy just looked up at me and said, "You ever reloaded before, kid?" I responded, "Well...no...not exactly...but I read every book out there on reloading." He said, "I see...."

I watched him as he gathered all the stuff I asked for...he placed the RCBS Rock Chucker kit in front of me, then the dies, and the magnum primers and the bullets. I was so excited at this point, I couldn't wait to get home and make a couple hundred thousand rounds! I couldn't believe he had everything in stock! All that was left was the powder. Then the old guy walks up to me and puts a pound of H110 on the counter and says, "Anything else?" I said, "Hey wait a minute...I asked for a pound of Bullseye powder, not this stuff! Do you have any Bullseye powder?" He said, "Yup". I said, "Fine....I'll take a pound of Bullseye then." He said, "You can't have the Bullseye until you load a pound of H110." I said, "Are you refusing to sell me the Bullseye?!?!?" He said, "Yup".

Well needless to say I was furious! I read all the books...I read all the articles! I KNEW WHAT I WANTED! I figured this guy just wanted to sell me the "old" stuff he couldn't sell. I told him to give me everything but the powder and I would just buy the Bullseye at another gun store. With that he said, "Fine..just remember to buy your next Python here. I'll give you a good discount...come on in after your hand feels better." I looked at him and said, "I'm not buying another Python...I just bought one from you...why would I buy another one?" He said, "The new one will be in one piece and you may want one after your hand heals." "My hand??? There is nothing wrong with my hand or my Python!" I said. He just looked up at me and said, "No, not yet."

I had the distinct feeling that the old guy was trying to tell me something. I just couldn't figure out what the hidden message was...powder was powder, right? Anyway, I decided to go with the H110 just in case. When I got home, I quickly forgot the hassle at the store and began setting everything up. When I set the powder scale for the recommended charge, I quickly realized that H110 requires a lot more powder than the Bullseye. At first, I thought the old guy was slick... making me buy a powder, because I had to use so much, I would just have to buy more of it. What a scam! I remember thinking what a jerk he was even after I bought all my stuff from him. I was still a little angry. Then it happened.....
I got distracted and accidentally threw a double charge into the case. I knew what happened immediately because the powder spilled over the top of the case and onto the reloading bench. I remember saying to myself, "Wow, good thing I had to use so much powder...had this been Bullseye, I might not have caught this mistake..." A chill ran up my spine as I realized why the old guy insisted on selling me the H110. I was still inexperienced...had this been Bullseye (or any other brand requiring much less powder), I may have completed reloading that round and attempted to fire it. This would not have been a good thing.

Well, it wasn't long before I needed more supplies since I was shooting a couple of times a week. I went back to the old guy and asked for a few hundred more 125 gr. bullets, and another pound of H110. He said, "I'll sell you that Bullseye now if you want." I said, "No, no thank you...the H110 will do just fine." He just smiled at me as if he knew I almost had a double throw. He couldn't have known...could he?

About 20 years later, I was in the same store buying some supplies when a young guy walked in. He wanted to start reloading for his .357 S&W. He asked for some bullets, primers, and a pound of Bullseye. The old guy said, "You ever reload before, kid?" The kid said, "Well, no...not exactly..." I just smiled as I heard the beginning of a conversation which, for me, began almost 20 years ago....and the cycle continues....

Thank you for making an outstanding product. I've enjoyed safely reloading using your powders for 20 years now. I will use no other brand.

Thank you,

Joe Chimento

For those of you compelled to answer that you have never or will never make a mistake while reloading... don't bother. Everyone makes a mistake when they've been reloading for any length of time. My gun dog used to operate at about 90% without mistakes... I figure that was about 15% better than mortal man does... especially me.

You'll notice he said: "I've enjoyed safely reloading using your powders for 20 years now." He didn't say that he never made another mistake.

It's like I teach in Hunter Ed... I ALWAYS check a firearm two or three times...WHILE POINTING IT IN A SAFE DIRECTION. Belt AND suspenders!
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