Improving a 20 Year Old Rock Chucker

| December 2, 2013 | 2 Comments

Here as of late I have been spending a lot of time at my reloading bench with my old favorite companion Mr. 20 year old Rock Chucker. Reloading is a stress reliever for me and my reloading bench is a place to go after one of those tough days at work. Like most when I started out reloading I started out on this single stage press which has seen tens of thousands of rounds throughout the years. And like most reloaders as technology have advanced I have moved forward with it owning a Lee Classic 4 hole turret press and a Hornady Progressive LnL press. Over the years I have found my Rock Chucker sitting lonely mounted to the end of the bench unless I am in need of rifle rounds. I still prefer to load all of my rifle ammunition on the single stage. Having tried rifle on a progressive the flow of the process does not feel safe to me, cleaning, full length sizing, stopping, trimming brass, stopping, priming brass, stopping ok you get the point I think. Now before you condemn me to eternal damnation, there are many reloaders out there whom have mastered reloading rifle on a progressive press and feel totally comfortable with it. I guess it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks as I have the same process for the last 20 years of reloading rifle, processing batches at a minimal of 200 rounds at a time and it is this process I am most comfortable with. I also know that the Rock Chucker gives me more consistent tolerances having measured cartridge overall length utilizing the same exact dies just two different presses but I digress.

Though I enjoy reloading time is very precious as any session could be interrupted by a call from work or any other life moment. Though I have a 20 year old process thats tried and true I have made a few changes over the years to become more efficient, in a sense thats part of the excitement and joy of moving to a turret or progressive press. Spending so much time reloading pistol ammo as of late and really enjoying it I found myself at the bench looking down at the Rock Chucker asking myself what can I do to make rifle reloading more efficient and enjoyable. That’s when it hit me, one of the things I love about my Hornady LnL is the ability to quickly change calibers, it is also the reason I purchased the Lee Classic 4 hole Turret press for low production ammunition runs. Enter the idea of possibly modding the Rock Chucker for easy caliber changes and I knew Hornady made a kit for this very task, the Hornady Lock and Load Conversion Kit. Like any mods I take on I make sure to have the right tools first to complete the job and for this one I was going to need to acquire a 1 1/2in socket as I did not have anything that large in my toolbox.

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The Hornady LnL Conversion Kit?consists of an adaptor bushing that replaces the die holder in the Rock Chucker press, and three Lock-N-Load quick change bushings to place on any three dies of your choice, I will originally start with the RCBS 308 Competition Die set.

I must confess though I tried the macho route first by trying a standard large wrench, UpdateRock (1)save yourself some headache and just go and get yourself a $5 dollar 1 1/2in socket. If you can make this approach work then you are surely better than I, as all I was able to accomplish utilizing this tool was to bugger up the bushing a tad bit.

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After chewing up the original bushing slightly I could hear my father saying “son how UpdateRock (3)many times do I have to tell you the right tools makes every job easier”.

As tight as the original bushing was I had to use my torque bar to get it off, I did try with a regular ratchet first which was requiring a lot of force. In fear of wrecking my bench I pulled the torque bar from the tool chest and in a matter of seconds had the original bushing loose.

UpdateRock (5)This is a picture of the changing of the guard. The old Rock Chucker bushing coming out and the new Hornady conversion bushing ready to be inserted. This conversion bushing is capable of working on any standard press utilizing a?1 1/4″-12 die holder.

 

 

A little addition of some oil and the Hornady conversion bushing slipped right in with no UpdateRock (6)problem. This only has to be finger tightened, though I did put a shop towel over the top of the bushing and utilized a vice grip to tighten it a bit more than required. I am not sure why Hornady would not machine this part with a hex head. An easier way to do this would be to screw your die in the quick change bushing and place the complete set (quick change and conversion bushing) in your press and screw the set into the press.UpdateRock (7)

 

 

 

 

 

My RCBS competition 308 bullet seating die was at home in?the quick change bushing that will work with any standard 7/8″ – 14 die.

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The tolerances between the conversion bushing and the conversion bushing and quick change bushing mated up perfectly.

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UpdateRock (11)Next I inserted the RCBS competition full length sizing die in a quick change bushing without incident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a caveat with this system, the dies will need to be adjusted again. Now with the flick of a wrist I can quickly change between rifle caliber dies and be just as consistent as I was prior to the conversion. To top it all off the dies with quick change bushing installed still fir in the original RCBS case. This is a match made for each other Kudos to Hornady for its advancement in technology and to RCBS for producing a press that has lasted 20 years and now ready for another 20.

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