For many hunters and target shooters, the pure economy of handloading is a no-brainer.
Once you have shot that factory ammo through your rifle, it makes good sense to re-use that single most expensive component of the cartridge, the brass cartridge case.
Then you can use the bullet of your choice and tailor the performance of your load for your rifle at often considerable savings.
What most handloaders do though, is just end up shooting a lot more for their money.
Into the handloading arena has come Pro-Tactical, who seem to be everywhere I look nowadays, bringing in economically priced, good quality products that their team of testers take delight in shooting, freezing, burning, running over with utes and any other mischief they can devise to demonstrate just how well made their products are. To date, I don’t think they’ve done so with their reloading gear, but give’em time.
The lineup of products sent for review covers a range of functions that the handloader must either carry out every time he loads, like case length measuring after sizing, or once only for each case, like primer pocket uniforming or flash hole deburring.
I’ll dispense with the suspense and get on with describing some of the range Roger Thornber sent for review.
8-Piece Supreme Case Prep Tool Set
They certainly know how to package their reloading tools. This high quality kit came boxed in a zip-up EVA-padded carry case, which will save the tools from knocking about in drawers and chipping or blunting their edges.
Included in the kit are:
- Large and small primer pocket reamers - can be purchased individually in bubble packaging.
- Large and small primer pocket cleaners
- Large and small primer pocket uniformers and
- Inside and outside deburring tools
All the tools had really nice ergonomically designed handles, which allowed the thumb to naturally spin the tools very easily. That’s half the battle when preparing lots of cases, succumbing to hand fatigue. These tools will allow you to do it for longer, in my opinion – case preparation , that is – stop sniggering.
All of the tools’ business ends were forged from carbon steel with a deep blued finish to stave off corrosion and were well finished and eminently suited to their task.
Case Lube Pad and Loading Tray
The argument about needing to full length size for every reload is a perennial one that won’t go away, so I just neck size and use body dies if my loaded rounds are hard to chamber, negating the need to lube inside case necks.
Technical rant over, when I do have to use a body die, I need to lube the outside of my cases and this Max-Comp unit is a really neat way to keep that greasy lube pad out of the way when not being used.
Housed in a zip-up case like the Case Prep Tool Set, the lube pad has a fold-down sturdy plastic sheet to protect the white nylon reloading block that is also housed in the case.
These neat little units come in small (.223 family), standard (.22-250/.308 family) and Magnum sizes.
Some may think this is a solution waiting for a problem, but hey, it’s dual-purpose, functional and neat. What’s not to love?
Max-Comp Collet Bullet Puller
I learnt very early in my reloading education that using plastic hammers to pull bullets has hairs on it.
When you’ve loaded forty rounds with the wrong charge, crimped them and then woken up, you’ll end up with wrist strain bashing that infernal contraption on a hard surface, so I bought a CH4D collet model with a collet for each caliber I used.
Modelled on an industry standard, this Max-Comp unit was just as easy to use. All you do is run the loaded cartridge up into the die on your press with collet inserted, wind the die down until it grips the bullet’s ogive, then pull down on your press handle and “Voila!” the bullet stays in the collet and your case comes free.
Then it just remains for you to fumble when getting the charged case out of the shell holder and spill all its propellent in your lap. If Mr Max-Comp can design a tool to stop clumsiness, he’ll have it made big time.
Collets are available in most popular calibers, like .22, 6mm, 277 and .30 calibres.
Max-Comp Powder Trickler
If you are reloading for ultimate precision for long range work or you are reloading small capacity cases, like the new Hornady .17 Hornet, then it is wise, particularly if you are up around maximum propellent charges, to individually weigh each charge. T
he only right way to do this is by throwing a charge slightly underweight and topping up to the correct weight using a trickler.
When I picked up the Max-Comp Trickler, I thought I’d suddenly come in contact with Kryptonite, because my strength appeared to leave me. No problems, it’s just that this unit seems to be weighed down with depleted uranium, it’s that heavy.
That’s a very good thing, because it is not good when you knock a charge of powder over on your reloading bench – it slows the proceedings somewhat and the air turns a bit blue.
This is a nice little unit that does the job well. It has a high-gloss yellow powdercoat finish that should last years, particularly as it comes in a nifty EVA-padded zippered case for storage.
Max-Comp Case Length Gauge
Pro-Tactical’s iteration of this old standard ups the ante by offering many more (13 more, to be precise) maximum cartridge lengths than previously.
The purpose of such a tool is that of a template to quickly gauge whether your fired and sized cases have qrown too long, thereby running the risk of raised pressures upon firing.
This Max-comp Gauge includes some new gun nut favourites, like .45 GAP, .44-40 Winchester, .32 H&R Mag, .416 Rigby and others.
Finish wise, it appears to be a stamping of black-finished aluminium, with contrasting white text. I measured one or two of the cartridge gaps with my digital micrometer and, if anything they were dimensionally tight by a few thou’ but a few passes with a fine flat file bring them right on to spec. It’s better that way than too big.
Max-Comp Inside Flash Hole Deburring Tool
A long time ago, when I was shooting through a bunch of ADI 5.56 Calibre brass I picked up for nicks, I realised that I needed to do more serious case prep work to shoot smaller groups.
My mate Tom Daley was into benchrest shooting and told me that deburring the inside of the flash holes of factory brass (unless it was Norma drilled stuff), gave measurably better accuracy.
It proved to be the case (pardon the pun) and now I routinely do it with every piece of brass I shoot. You only have to do it once and it’s amazing what a pile of brass swarf you end up with after you scrape it out and that swarf would have inhibited all-important ignition.
This Max-Comp Deburring Tool features an Allen Key operated case mouth locator, allowing you to fix that locator at the appropriate length for the cartridge you are currently working on. It’s a well thought out unit and works as it should.
All Max-Comp Reloading Tools are available through good gun shops. Max-Comp products are distributed in Australia by Pro-Tactical.
Phone: 07 3420 6763. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published in the Sporting Shooter March 2014 issue.