Reloading enthusiasts often have their own methods and procedures, but they all end up adhering to some basic guidelines to ensure safe reloading and operation of their firearm. Stats: Hornady 178g A-Max, BC .495, OAL 2.780, Stability 2+, 40gr Varget, 2450fps, 100m zero, transonic stable well past 1000m. The following are just the highlights and key points I would like to share as I walk you through my journey at reloading the Hornady A-Max 178gr bullet for the 30 caliber platform. Just as a caveat, Hornady does not make the A-Max any longer, but they have replaced them with a newer version known as the Hornady ELD series with an even better reported ballistic coefficient. But, for those of us who still own these bullets, they ought to know they are still quite viable as a hunting round. The reason, in case you may be wondering has to do with the properties of the polymer ballistic tip, which would suffer from heat issues resulting in deformity at terminal velocities (very long ranges) beyond 500 meters approximately. The new ELD bullets are reported to be more heat resistant, resulting in better long range accuracy. For those who do not intend to shoot long range, this will not even be a consideration. As a side note, I would take these same steps to load the ELD rounds. A-Max 178gr ELD Match 178gr Equipment needed/recommended: Reloading dies, press, calipers, powder measure, weight scale, powder funnel, case trim tool, primer pocket tool, priming tool, case lube, reloading handbook. I started out by acquiring some quality Hornady brass. With reloading, this will often be the most expensive part, especially if you are the type who prefers match brass and understands how many uses you can get out of quality brass versus the really cheap stuff. The bullet you choose will determine your load parameters. I have chosen the Hornady A-Max 178gr in this case. Be certain to use a reputable source for your load data, like this Lyman reloading handbook. It's really great to find the exact bullet I am loading, too. I often start out with a lower charge of powder and rarely go directly to max unless I am already familiar with the load I am making. For my load, I am going with a strong 40g of Varget powder. This will give me approximately 2450 velocity and create 44,000 pressure at the muzzle. Different powder will grant you various possibilities, and understanding this will give you the key to success when reloading (not all powders are the same). Your reloading handbook should list the velocity and pressure for each powder. I prefer to use a hand priming tool, instead of a press mounted priming tool because I like to feel each round and achieve the most precise results. If I were reloading bulk target ammo I wouldn't mind as much, but for match grade hunting ammunition I prefer hands on, slow and steady. I set up the press for my specific load, adjusting the dies appropriately. I will often test one round without a primer or powder charge and measure. I want the completed round to fit into my magazine and to function properly, so I never ignore the OAL specs listed in the handbook. I will also give a 24 hour waiting period and re-measure on loads which approach maximum charge. You do not want to press down and seat a bullet into an overfilled cartridge case, and you certainly do not want to fire it. No crimp, thank you very much. Using a head space gauge for your brass is extremely important on necked rifle cases. This is a Lyman head space gauge, and typically I would check the brass after I resize and clean the case lube off each one. In this photo I am using a case I have already primed just to show you, however. This gauge will accurately and quickly measure low/high for each end of the brass. With new brass, it's not really as important, but it's still useful for those who may not be accustomed to reloading and may have set their resizing die incorrectly. And yes, even with new brass I resize. Clean those primer pockets on used brass. I use this Lee case trimmer (Deluxe Quik Trim) with the appropriate die even on new brass when reloading necked rifle rounds (but not on handgun cartridges). I always keep them stowed away in their cases when not in use to prolong life. The blades on the trimmer can be easily damaged. It's definitely one of the best tools, it allows not only for properly sized brass, but chamfers the brass nicely also. This will allow for a perfect seam against the bullet when seated, resulting in proper pressure, expansion, and improved accuracy. The powder you use will have to be set up in your powder measure, and I ran at least a dozen times to make certain it was right. Having a good setup helps, and this works for me. Granted, it's not a super expensive high tech setup, it just works. I always write the load data on the box I use for my ammo. Using clear tape, it can be removed easily, and a second layer of tape will ensure the date remains intact. I like to keep track of my load data. It may be months or years until I reload the same thing, so it is nice to pop right back in and be at full competency immediately with the help of this data. A Mildot Master ballistic tool requires no batteries. Works for those of us who prefer mils and the insert also can be flipped for the MOA/yard civilian types. This is all just way too fancy for the average Joe hunter type, but if you want to make the first shot count every time...The JBM link will provide you with everything you need to make your own ballistic charts and tables...Yes, mine are hand written and not a printed copy. Your data will vary from the general readout as you shoot. Get to know your ballistic data. JBM --create charts and customize to your preferences. Copy and paste into your document editing program and save for printing or copying later. Do this for each temperature range you intend to be shooting. For example, I often create charts for 30 degrees F and higher, every ten degrees until I get to 65, then every 5 degrees until I reach 100 F. Get some range time! I need more myself... Is your bullet going to be stable? JBM - Calculations - Stability Know your rifle, its twist rate, test fire at range how you plan to shoot in the field. If using bipod, test with it at range and zero with it at the range. Your rifle harmonics will change with every alteration of your shooting stance, position, and any object the rifle may be resting on. Remember, ballistic data is just an averaged value using formulas (even though they are very close) and it's up to you to acquire the most precise data from actually firing on the range. You can even go crazy and factor in humidity or even the Coriolis effect (but I'm guessing you don't want to do that) if you are worried about hitting your mark at 3000 meters.