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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
An informative posting that deserves to be resuscitated in the Fourth Board:

richardwv - 03/09/2006 : 12:48:42 AM
Trying to feed the old black powder rifles is often a daunting task for someone just entering the hobby, with the cost of using most custom loaders being prohibitive for many. While I’ve taken up reloading my own for some 30 odd calibers, I didn’t always. One of the less expensive places I turned to was Gads Custom Cartridges, which is really pretty much a one-man operation that offers a wide variety of loads and services, including many not listed on the company WEB page.

I’ve kept up my association with Bernold at Gad’s and have had him make me up a few bits and pieces that I can’t find elsewhere and helped with some of his bullet choices in loading some of the more finicky oldies like the 577 Snider. While I generally don’t shoot smokeless in my BP rifles, I know a lot of people prefer it, so when Bernold twisted my arm (not very hard) to try some of his smokeless 11x52R Beaumont M71/78, I agreed….and today I went out and sent some down range after finishing working on my own loads in 577/450 and .577 Snider.

The cases were formed from Starline 50/90 brass cut to 52mm and sized in the regular FLS die for the Beaumont. The bullet was a 400 grain round nose grease groove from an unknown mould. While Bernold doesn’t give out his secret recipes for loads, I’d speculate that he probably was using 4198. Below are the chronograph results for my 10 shots. I won’t discuss groups since I was using a newly acquired rifle and spent most of the 10 shots getting the sights adjust to hit point of aim….but consistency of velocity is a good indicator of accuracy potential if a suitable bullet is used….and this most certainly was.

Group 1
Avg = 1240; Avg deviation = 10.2

Group 2
Avg = 1237; Avg deviation = 9.4

In my personal loads, I try for an average deviation in the single digits, which the second group just made. While I use this as a bench mark, I consider any average deviation less than one percent of average velocity quite good and better than many factory loads I’ve tested over the years. For someone that just wants to try out their rifle before deciding on making the reloading investment, Gad Custom Cartridge is about as reasonable as custom loaders come. There is no fancy packing or wasted time on cosmetics, which probably hurts the perception of the lower cost loaders such as Gad, but for range ammo I can shine them up myself and put the ammo in my own boxes.

Two considerations if you wish to pursue custom loadings. (1) Use the telephone for initial contact, not a letter or e-mail. Deciding on what is right for you (at the lowest price) really warrants a two way conversation and many of the custom shops are swamped and tend to respond to the personal touch of the telephone better than e-mails; and (2), don’t expect instant gratification. As is often said, good, fast and cheap don’t go together. The good lower cost custom loaders normally run a backlog, particularly in summer and fall when most ammo is expended. The wait with Gad is comparable to others I've used and varies based on the time of year from a week or so, to over a month.
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