Glen Zediker with competition rifle, sling and competition gear

Reloaders Corner: Let Me Introduce Myself

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By Glen Zediker

I’d like to introduce myself, and more importantly, introduce this new regular feature, Reloaders Corner.

I’ve been “at this” for over 40 years now, and “this” is shooting, handloading, and writing about it for the past 25. My background is competitive shooting, primarily NRA High Power Rifle. From that followed my exploration of handloading and education therein. Through publications work, I’ve had the rare fortune to be associated with some of the very best shooters, builders, and industry folks, people I can call upon when I need more complete answers, or another perspective…

Glen Zediker with competition rifle, sling and competition gear

As an NRA High Power Rifle competitor, I earned a High Master classification, and I did it competing in Service Rifle division. All that means is that my score average over a string of 240 shots fired in competition was 97 percent. A High Power Rifle tournament is four events fired at three different distances and three different shooting positions: 200-yard standing slow-fire; 200-yard sitting rapid-fire (10 shots, 60 seconds, one reload); 300-yard prone rapid-fire (same as sitting, but 70 seconds); and 600-yard prone slow-fire. In the rapid-fire events, we start standing, get into position, and fire the string, all within the time limit. Slow-fire is one-round loaded at a time, one minute per round time limit. There’s either 50 or 80 shots total for a tournament; fired either 10, 10, 10, 20, or all events 20 rounds each (rapids are then done in two separate strings). Sling support. Iron sights (there’s an optics class now). Learn more by clicking on http://competitions.nra.org/how-to-get-started/high-power-rifle-competition.aspx

Sorry to run on, because this little ditty here isn’t about High Power Rifle, but HPR is a pretty good test of the shooter, and the shooter’s rifle/ammo combination. So that’s where I come from.

The whole reason I started writing about all this came about because I couldn’t find anything to read that put the pieces together—all the pieces that all the better shooters knew. I wanted to learn more, and I spent a lot of time and effort doing so. I continually got answers from winners and those who built rifles for winners. Unfortunately, those answers were not the same as I had been reading, and none of the authors of the other material I had read had won any championships. I thought there must be others who would appreciate some short cuts, and that’s how I started my publications career.

Glen Zediker book cover Reloading for Competition

I think I’ve helped a few folks along the way.

My business is Zediker Publishing, and I produce books with a focus on handloading and AR15s, my two favorite things to fuss over.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t soak up sunshine for too long, and that’s not because I don’t think I know what I’m doing. It’s because it’s all learning, and sometimes things change. I haven’t had to learn everything the hard way. Here’s to hoping you don’t have to either… However! A good question is why anyone might pay attention to what I have to share, and that’s going to require a tad amount of shameless self-promotion. I can tell you that when I say something, there’s experience behind it. One thing I can warrant for competition-based information and evaluations, meaning that which has been generated from competitive shooting experience, and that is the volume of assurances. If I say a load performs well, it’s not based on a few 5-shot groups. It’s based on a volume of tournament scores. I’m not looking to load ammunition to make one or two important shots. I’m loading to make 1000 important shots.

This will certainly be talked about more than a few times as we move along, but, yes, what myself and others learn in competitive shooting most definitely and usually directly applies to any use we might put a good rifle to. The variety of competitions I have engaged in all require fully reliable, high-performance rifle/ammo combinations, that are accurate over distance. It’s all done outdoors with no breaks for bad weather. High Power Rifle equipment is not delicate or sensitive.

Glen Zediker holding Ar-15 with competition glove

Along with others I associate with, I might be a tad amount more critical on load performance. I’m strictly into the long haul.

So, the advice that accompanies this first installment is to consider or reconsider your standards, and your evaluation of what is a good load. When I’m testing I choose the best group out of whatever it was I was testing. However, when it’s decision time, I choose the best, worst group. Let me explain. I really don’t consider what the very best any combination can show me is, but rather what is the worst the combination has shown me. Exceedingly tight groups are all too often a combination of luck and a little more luck. We got lucky in our judgment to choose the combination and the bullet fairy tipped her tiara. The more rounds anyone shoots, the bigger the groups are going to get. That’s just “math.” However, if three or four 10-shot groups are showing x-ring accuracy, I’m going to ignore the group measurement, pay more attention to the chronograph, and pay very close attention to any over-pressure indicators. I don’t want to see anything outside a golf-ball sized circle at 300 yards, and I’m hoping to keep it that way.

Speaking of… Years ago, I was a golf pro… That doesn’t really matter to this article, however, a truly legendary golf instructor, Percy Boomer (real name) had a line, “The difference between the amateur and professional is not in the quality of their best shots, but in their worst.” That’s it. The difference between a good load and one that’s almost a good load is that also. The good load stays tight, throughout. A “flyer” is grounds for disqualification. That’s a shot that strays from the herd. Don’t ignore it. Now, I’ve never had much faith in anyone who makes mention of a “called flyer” with respect to gathering load accuracy data. You can either shoot or you can’t, and if you’re calling flyers you best not be generating accuracy data. Sorry.

Glen Zediker with ar-15 and shooting mat

Whoa! I need to wrap this up. What you’ll get from this department is advice on choosing and using tools, component selection, load development, and a healthy dose of myth reduction. Mostly science, and only a little voodoo. Given my background, I can’t say I’ve loaded for too awful many different cartridges. Primarily it’s .223 Rem., .308 Win., and a few more obscure like PPC and 6XC. Aside from quirks, and components of course, what I suggest for one works for another. The processes, and effects, are pretty much all the same.

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43 thoughts on “Reloaders Corner: Let Me Introduce Myself”

  1. IMO, being able to “call flyers” is one of the first steps in learning how NOT to have flyers! Only in current politics does someone “start at the top” with no experience.

    1. You are correct, and it’s the most important start! I was not referring to a learning shooter, but to one who is professing to be a pro collecting data for publication… Point is that you need to be able to hold to do that effectively, and honestly.

  2. Hi Glen,
    I read in one of my gun magazines that you have a new book out that deals mostly with reloading. What is the title please, and how do I order your new book?
    Thank You,
    Marty

    1. I will wait in anticipation,to read your book,concerning reloading. I have,in the past have loaded the following:243,6.5, 6.5X284,7mmtcu,7mmIHMSA,308,30-06,35Whelen,8mm,375H&H,and lastly the venerable 45/70. Each cartridge was “good” enough for hunting. In the 40 years of reloading I’ve picked up some tricks,but I’m always ready to learn more.

  3. Boy, is this column timely. I’m just getting started reloading and sure need some pictues-for-dummies to get straight in my head each step of the process.

    I have all the equipment and manuals and watch you tube videos. But from my experience building ARs, I know there is a lot of bad info posted. Looking forward to some good instruction from a legit expert.

    1. I’m looking forward to it all. My goal is always so nobody has to learn it all the hard, and expensive, way. Questions are always welcome, keep in mind, so email if needs be.

    2. I’m taking a reloading class tomorrow (5 DEC) I don’t know a thing about it! It seems like a fun thing to do! Just found out about MidSouth and now a expert.

    3. Phil. Welcome to the world of handloading. 1st, disclaimer. Glen is way and above where I will ever be. I load for fun. Having said that, I believe he’ll agree with me when I say, don’t get your info from the web. Buy books, starting with the maker of your press. Read it. Read it again. Now maybe you can ask questions. Buy the books from your component and powder manufacturers. Repeat.
      You are on your way!!
      Have fun, I do.
      Keith

      1. Thanks for the comments Keith. I do agree that everyone should buy books! Haha. But really, It’s wise to get data from the component manufacturers you use the most. However! Make double sure you study the circumstances listed, especially barrel length and chamber specs, and especially if you’re loading for a gas-gun. More about that in another installment.

  4. I’ll never forget writing a letter to Glen years ago concerning a problem I was having a problem with my Colt AR-15 piercing primers. At the time I was using CCI Small Rifle primers. Glen not only answered my note to him, he suggested I change primers to Remington 7 1/2 primers. I took his suggestion immediately and never had another pierced primer. I know Glen won’t remember giving that help. But it’s one I still remember the guy who gave his time to answer just a unknown Service Rifle Competitor. Thanks again Glen.

  5. Out of the past come’s the answer? This will not be for the many but for the very few. 401self loading Winchester. Yup one of those. For decades been only rare and expensive ammo. But now you can role yore own. Brass 7.62×39 is just right except the 7.62 part. You need to carefully open up to the standard bore sizer in the die’s set. A good inside chamfer as the 41 mag pistol bullets are a little larger in diameter. In my rifle they are only 2 thousands . This has had no effect on the Lymon loads all have run through fine.

  6. I highly recommend all shooters take a look at NRA High Power shooting. It is one of the best sports around, challenging, exciting, rewarding, and pursued by some of the greatest people you would want to associate with.

    Check out http://www.usrifleteams.com/forums

    you can ask all and any questions about high power, learn where to shoot, etc.

  7. I have read and studied Glenn’s books from cover to cover. Question: Headspace.., how is that taken with your rifle ?

    1. Headspace is going to be the topic of an installment pretty shortly. It’s really important to understand when setting up a sizing die. Cartridge headspace, of course.

  8. Looking forward to the articles. I bought his book “Handloading for Competition” several years ago. It was a “college level” book on handloading and shooting.

  9. Glen, I am quite old at 75 years, but still, after 60 years, totally enjoy shooting at very long ranges, I just purchased a new Vortex PST 6-24 scope for my 1,000 yard work.

    We all hope you can improve our reloading, yes even after 60 years!

    Go get them and don’t pull any punches!!!
    Herb

  10. Thanks to mid South Shooters for providing this expert help in this format. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment. Bring it on. Thanks Glen.

  11. I don’t know how Mid-South pulled this off, but I am sure glad they did. You can take this guy’s advice to the bank! His book, “Handloading for Competition” was recommended to me when I first started reloading. At first it was extreme overload, but I now understand just about all aspects of reloading. If you don’t have this book, get one! Can’t wait to read his columns here…..

    1. Thanks much for the kind words. I’ll be sifting through all that’s contained in Handloading For Competition and more or less giving it the “what to do” treatment. That’s also the focus of the new books, Top Grade Ammo.

  12. Glen, looking forward to reading your articles. i have been reloading since the mid 70’s and always look for more advice, can’t get enough.

    you’re also hooking up with one great outfit, Midsouth is my #1 go to for components and equipment.

  13. Outstanding!

    So how do we get notification you’ve released an article and where do we find it?

    I’m looking forward to this. Thanks for doing it.

    Mike

  14. A person with a good shooting record may or may not be a good teacher. Time will tell on this column, so please don’t waste our time with anymore of your history. Could you post your tournment record. I could not find it anywhere. Thanks

  15. Owning several books published by Zedicker, I’ve followed his instructions from “The Competitive AR, Builder’s Guide”. Applying these instructions for equipment-alterations, his descriptions are spot-on and thorough. There’s a lot of interconnected parts that most people are not aware of. This book points out a lot of fine points that are indispensable in the stripping down and building up of equipment. Zedicker is definitely a detail-oriented builder.

  16. Looking forward to your articles, Glen. I’ve been competing in high power (service rifle) now for 18 months. I’ve improved a lot since I started, but have reached the proverbial plateau and haven’t been able to get out of Marksman class. Our range is only 100 yards, so we shoot NRA reduced size targets to simulate 200, 300 and 600 yards. I know, we’re not contending with environmental elements, but I feel like I should be shooting better as such. Anyway, looking forward to reading your reloading tips. Since most highpower shooters these days compete on the AR platform, your insights are going to be extremely relevant.

  17. Very Informative sir. The website above is a service rifle site that I am part of and we are trying to promote service rifle. Is it possible that you could offer some words of wisdom to our crowd?

    1. I’m loving all this… There have been a few comments already about HP Rifle and I would love to address some articles toward that. All the technical things, like handloading and rifle construction, that I’ve written so much about, all come down (to me) to achieve only one thing: a higher score. Why else bother?

  18. I am a beginner, having a tough time with “trim to length”. I have not found a trimmer that can hold to a set dimension. One case might be. 002 under, the next next might be right on, so at the end of the day, I do NOT have the Exact Same Length for all cases. And ALL the books I read ALL say the same thing……ALL DIMENSIONS must be the same, ALL powder charges, must be the same…ALL bullets must be the same. CONSISTENCY! !!!! I can’T find the tools that will allow that….help

  19. Sounds like a good column. I’ve been reloading for 53 years this month. Started at ten. Done various types of competitive shooting, but enjoyed high power rifle 2and pistol silhouette and sporting clays. Load most of the popular rifle calibers, but mostly 25-06, 22-250, 7-08, 22 Hornet, 22 Hornet, .223, pistol and shotgun. Looking forward to your comments. Merry Christmas to all.

  20. I can’t wait to read this column. I’ve been wanting to try hi-power for years but just have not for one reason or another. This is just what I needed to put a burr under my saddle and spend the winter getting ready for this summer

    1. It’s a great game, and good folks too. If there’s enough interst, maybe I can address a few “getting started” points. I most decidedly have some opinions on that…

  21. This sounds great! Will you be talking about 3 gun at all?
    Looking forward to reading the articles and your books

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