New to reloading
For the past couple of weeks, I've scoured this site's wealth of information on reloading. I've decided to try my hand at it for really one reason-- to understand better the mechanics of how my favorite activity works and what I can do to make it more fun. I'm not getting into it to save money as I know the cheaper the ammo gets, the more I shoot and the more I spend on less expensive ammo. Circle of life.
Anyway, I picked up a Lee Classic Turret, Lee carbide dies for 9mm and 45ACP, Hornady tumbler (M2?), and other needed products.
HOWEVER, before I get started, I'm trying to read up as much as possible. I've collected four books after reading comments from you guys. But, I want to ask if I've missed anything. Here's the four books I'm reading (finished the first one yesterday):
1. Reloading for Handgunners by Patrick Sweeny
2. The ABC's of reloading (currently reading)
3. Modern Reloading (2nd edition) by Richard Lee
4. Lyman's 49th Reloading handbook
Any other books you more experienced guys/gals recommend?
I started out with the Speer reloading manual (#9 then, up to about #14 now), and I haven't really found much it omitted. They all offer good tidbits of info. I think you've coverd it well.
Take your time; avoid distractions. Haste makes waste (and possible accidents). Consider the reloading as a hobby itself.
First this is my opinion only. I reload not to save money or even to shoot more, but I use it to relax. You have all the written info you will ever need for the reloading process. Now get the manuals for all the different bullet makers. Those manuals are the real goldmine of info. Every year some calibers, bullets, powders are phased out, improved, or new ones developed. The pistol info doesn't change as much as the rifle info, but 10-20 years ago we all used Bullseye and Unique, now Clays and Titegroup are the big names.
Get your gear set up and get to doing it. You didn't say anything about a scale, but that is the #1 item not to scrimp on. Get a good balance beam scale. I have a Frankfort digital that I really like but still check it with my good old RCBS 10-10. Lee dippers also work and I use them, but still check the charges.
I used to be a reloading snob and thought anything not painted green was junk. I still use an old RCBS single stage press, but found a Lee progressive at a estate sale for $20.00 this summer. Don't think I'll ever put 9mm or .40 dies back on that single stage press.
Reloading is a great part of our hobby. It as you say breaks down the mechanics of the cartridge so you know what happens or "doesn't" happen when you pull the trigger. I can't afford a new gun every month, but I can afford a box of new bullets to try or a different load.
Plus, when the zombie apocolypse comes you can " roll your own" instead of hoping to find more ammo. LOL
Welcome to the hobby! If you ever decide to get into casting your own boolits, the Lyman casting handbook is a good read as well. The best advice I can give is read your manuals, read them again, and always do your homework.
Start a few grains under max and work you way up. Shoot a few each stage and see how they group . You might discover that you get better groups with the not so hot bullet. Shoot 5 rounds rather than 3 for groups
That's a key point. Don't load up a huge batch before you've tested the load. Try different bullet/powder charge combinations until you find the one that works best in your guns. Above all, be safe!
Originally Posted by donp326
The scale that Lee provided (I bought the Classic Turret Kit), looks like it would be WAY too much of a hassle for me to use and is kinda cheap looking. Going to pick up a good digital scale as well. Also learned that a $9.00 caliper from Amazon probably isn't the way to go.
My plan is to find a med load and make 5 to 10 rounds of that. I'm going to weigh and caliper everything before it gets near any of my babies. Now the problem is do I test out of the Kimber, XDm or Glock... i guess as long as it's not a LSWC I can go out the Glock.
The NRA has instructor ratings for reloading. Might be worth seeing if you can find one in your area that offers courses.
I have been reloading for 35+ years. It sounds as though you have a great start. One piece of advice...always pay attention to what you are doing. Do not let your mind wander and don't get distracted. Also avoid alcohol - it doesn't mix well with reloading!
"to understand better the mechanics of how my favorite activity works and what I can do to make it more fun."
"I" think this is very good reasoning...
As a handloader (I don't care for the term "Reloader" other than as it applies to the equipment) of 45 years effort I could not give better advice to a new handloader than what is above.
Originally Posted by MJK
Smart choice on the Lyman manual. I recommend it to all new handloaders. The Lee will give you a broader overview of possible loads than any other manual "I" know of currently in production.
First, let me apologize for not putting this into the reloading thread. Wasn't until after I posted this that I noticed there was a separate thread for reloading altogether.
Okay, I've finished off two reloading books, working on my third, and will have my RCBS Chargemaster with dispenser coming in today. i got a great deal on it through Natchezss and I figure the one thing I'm not going to skimp on is the scale (thanks for everyone's input on that).
So, here's my starting plan:
I want to load decently low to start off with. I'm sticking with .45 until I feel I'm catching on enough to move to the 9mm. My starting load plan are 185 gr XTP+ Bullseye; 180 gr lead+ HP38; 230 gr jacket + Bullseye; and finally 230 lead+ HP38. All will be using CCI 300. I'm not going to load them all outright, but will start with the 185 XTP and 180 lead.
Sound like a good plan to you more experienced handloaders (a homage to you, Jem).