Introduction & Other Incoherent Rambling
Dear Reloader’s Network,
Hello, and welcome to my first attempt at an article ever. My name is Norton’s Ammo Bench, and I thought that the best way to get me feet wet in this new arena was for me to introduce myself and give you an idea of what I’m about. My future posts will be about my reloading efforts and how I reload. I’ll have videos also, although I can promise they will be low quality and poorly edited. I’ve got a few on YouTube and GunStreamer already and I’ll go ahead and spoil them for you; they’re not good, but I’m working on them. I hope to bring that same energy to articles I post here. They’ll probably be hard to read and follow along, but I’ll have pictures!! Good ones, no, but pictures they’ll be. Feel free to leave now, or don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My family and I live in Northwest Georgia, (the American one). I somehow managed to land my beautiful wife and love of my life, Mrs. N.A.B, who I still haven’t run off after eight years of marriage. Thanks Baby! She has given me the greatest gifts in the world, her love, my two amazing children, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and most importantly my first reloading press. OBVIOUSLY A BAD JOKE if you ever get around to reading this my love. We’ve built an amazing life together and I am so fortunate to have the four of you in my life! (Did you catch that I included my Press in there?) Again, another bad joke my dearest!
I grew up in rural Georgia, chasing squirrels and rabbits with the trusty Red Ryder BB gun and Marlin bolt-action 22 LR, much like every other young child in our great country. At 10 I graduated to chasing whitetail and larger game with a 20 gauge and 00 buck for a few years before getting my first center fire rifle, a Marlin 336A in the 30-30 Winchester (30 WCF for those so inclined). I also up’d my shotgun game in my later teenage years to a semi-auto 12 gauge (still one of my favorite firearms). At 23, and thanks to President George W. Bush’s stimulus check, I purchased my first handgun, and after that my firearm accumulation took off drastically.
If you missed the math, yes I am what is considered a Millennial. I’m not proud of it, and I won’t say it again. But I can promise you it’s purely by birth year, and no other standing. I do not identify with those people, I never will. But anyway, on to why I’m here at The Reloaders Network…..
I began reloading in 2013, after my amazing wife gifted me the Lee Anniversary Kit for Christmas of 2012. My inspiration for reloading occurred a few years earlier after meeting my future wife’s Grandfather. He reloaded for his entire family and offered to load up some rounds for my 300 Winchester Magnum. I was impressed with the performance of the rounds he made for me, and decided that this was a hobby I wanted to get into. I purchased my first manual a few weeks later, the Lyman 49th Edition. At this time, my wife and I were engaged and getting married soon, and soon after the wedding we discovered Thing 1 was on the way, so the purchase of the press wasn’t top priority. However my wife noticed my constant drooling over reloading items and secretly bought the set for me. The first round I loaded came a few months later. At the time my 270 Winchester was the most expendable firearm, so I chose it to be my first test subject as I was convinced that I was going to destroy something. My now Grandfather-in-law had given me the data he used to load several of his rifles, and insisted that IMR-4350 was the only way to go for 270 Win, 30-06, and 300 Win Mag. If you’re following along with the timing of this, it’s easy to see were my dilemma began. It’s February 2013, and here I am
trying to find reloading components. It was a month before I managed to scrape up Bullets, Primers, and Powder. I managed to find a pound of IMR-4831, a couple of boxes of Federal 210 primers, and a couple of boxes of 140 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips. Now the load I was trying to copy used 150 grain Sierra GameKings, IMR-4350, and CCI #200 primers. At the time I was concerned because I would have to start from scratch, but in hindsight I’m glad it happened this way. Because I was forced to do a full load development and not just copy someone else’s rounds. And I settled on a load for that rifle that I’m happy with.
Fast forward a few years and I’m loading for several more calibers, and I’ve spent a lot more money on upgrades to equipment, bullets, components, and new guns. (So much for reloading will save you money.) I’ve gotten into trouble multiple times for purchasing new equipment, and somehow my lovely wife hasn’t killed me yet. A few years ago my wife talked me into setting up a social media account on Instagram. I quickly managed to find the reloading/gun community on that site, and I have enjoyed sharing with and learning from others. Then to further add to my Reloading addiction I discovered Johnny’s Reloading Bench, much to the wife and my children’s dismay. (For some reason they don’t enjoy his videos as much as I do.) This gave me an idea, why not record my shooting sessions and make videos, mostly for my record, but also to share? So now I haul all kinds of extra equipment with me on range-days to record both gun and target. My videos have been posted on YouTube, but they are horrible, and there are a few that are private that are even worse than the ones I’ve posted. I’m not going to release those on to the world in fear of causing a societal collapse. But just know I have improved, and I will continue to work on it. Naturally as I watched more JRB, I found other creators that I enjoyed including Loads of Bacon, Full.Lead.Taco, and the Reloading Podcast.
I’ve recently completed my first AR-15 build, but because I can never make things easy, I chose to build a wildcat cartridge. After researching I fell in love with the 358 Yeti designed by Mad Dog Weapons Systems. For those who aren’t familiar with this round, it’s a 308 based cartridge in an AR-15 platform. The case is chopped off at the shoulder and then sized to .358″. Basically a 300 Blackout on steroids. I have only gotten to do one quick load workup, because I wanted to hit the deer woods with the rifle this year. I settled on a 180 Speer Hot Cor being pushed at 2570 fps from a 18″ barrel. I plan on having a lot of content on this round in the near future. At this point I’m waiting on the Georgia Deer Season to end before I get back to regular shooting. (My range and hunting grounds reside on the same property.)
What you can look forward to from me:
I’m not a precision shooter, I’d love to be, but I’m not. The primary purposes of my handloads are plinking (which I classify as reloads) and hunting rounds. My practice ranges are typically between 100 and 300 yards, with a bulk of shooting being based at 100. I hunt in the woods of Northwest Georgia so shots are typically under 100 yards. I will sacrifice accuracy for velocity if they’re not too far apart. For hunting I would rather have a 1″ load moving fast than a 1/2″ load moving slow. The bulk of my testing will be hunting bullets and FMJ bullets. I’ll throw some match bullets in every once in a while just for fun. I’m sure my shooting will change over time. I’d love to chase match bullet accuracy, but at this time in my life, with two young children, matches aren’t a priority, however my love of the outdoors and introducing my boys to hunting are.
I’ll be introducing Thing 1 to rimfire this upcoming year. So please look forward to lots of proud dad/ frustrated dad videos. And hopefully in a few years we’ll start hitting up the Project Appleseed shoots. I’m really looking forward to those! I’d try one with him this year, but everything I’ve read says 10-12 years are the prime ages for that, so I’ll be patient. (For now). My plan for this site is full load workup articles from start to finish, with lots of data included. So my articles quite possibly will be spaced out a good bit. As I typically take a while to get loads nailed down. However, lucky for y’all, I’ll continue posting each outing’s video as they happen. (After a week of editing and cussing.) Have I mentioned that my videos suck? I’ll also post articles about new equipment I’ve picked up or the occasional bullet comparisons or so forth. I’m sure there will be more incoherent ramblings as well, I’ll mark them as such so you can just gloss over them if wanted. And hopefully I’ll get around to filming my hunts, and maybe some of those will go up as well. I hope one day to get into casting and I am in the early stages of research for doing just that. I look forward to sharing my limited knowledge with the community that I’ve learned so much from.
Thank you for reading this rant, and I hope it makes sense somehow.
Norton’s Ammo Bench