Getting into Reloading

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Thread: Getting into Reloading

  1. #1
    Member Array jdcsail's Avatar
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    Getting into Reloading

    Hey Guys,

    I'm an avid gun nut and I make it a point to shoot often (at least once a week). While I consider myself very qualified to answer any questions regarding guns themselves, reloading is another matter... This is why I'm posting this... I would really really like to get into reloading of handgun ammunition. Particularly 9mm and .45 ACP... So please, tell me what you know; give me the 101 on reloading... What equipment will I need, what do I need to be careful of? Any help to get me started would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    lee load master + case collator
    scale
    tumbler
    dies
    book

    powder/primers/brass/bullets

    that would be basics

  4. #3
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    Hornady has a good deal that when you buy their Lock 'n Load AP press you get 500 free bullets (it used to be 1000 free bullets) as well as 100 for each die set.

    There are different types of presses:
    Single stage presses. These only allow you to do one operation at a time. This are slow to use, but the presses are cheaper. They are probably OK for reloading rifle ammo where you typically don't shoot as many rounds as with a pistol.
    Turrest Press: These have 4-5 stations, or more where you can put a die in each station so that you only pass the case through once and each station does one operation. You can get both Auto Progressive (the shell holder is automatically rotated to the next station every time you pull the lever) or manual ones where you have to rotate the station by hand but it allows you to do one operation per stage.
    There are many videos on youtube you can take a look at and see what you like the most. The most common brands of presses are Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, Lyman, and Lee. The Progressive Presses are more expensive, but you will notice that the cost of the press is just a small part of the total cost by the time you are done (you will most likely never run out of reloading stuff to buy..). If you plan on doing high volume, and it sounds like it since you shoot .45acp and 9mm), you will want a progressive press :-) You can also add case and bullet feeders to them to increase the rate even more.

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    Senior Member Array Devilsclaw's Avatar
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    I recommend a Turret press, to start out with. Can use it like a single stage at first, but once you get going, much better than a single.

    I don't know, but I would think someone starting on a progressive, would just end up with the newbie frustrated and turned off on reloading.

    A good Lee disk powder measure that can be used to expand and charge at the same time.

    A good scale to check your throws.

    Dies

    (the Lee Deluxe Turret Press kit is a good one to start with, runs about $100 from places like Natchez, Midway, etc.)

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    Member Array vietnamvet66's Avatar
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    I stsrted with a Lee Turret Press ( about 20 years ago )and I still use it. If you only do 500 or so a week you will be ok. For more than that, a Dillon is the best on the market. Two of
    my shooting buddies have them and they love them. Great customer service if you have a problem.
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    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I love my lee turret. I started not long ago. Made a few thousand of .40 and .45. I haven't spent much on equipment, and have saved tons on ammo.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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    The first thing I did back in '75 when I got started was buy a Speer reloading manual (#9 at the time - still have it) and read up on the info it gave. Very informative.

    There's such a variety of equipment out there to choose from, so it's a matter of what your intent is: 2-3 boxes per week, 500, 1000? Multiple calibers?

    I feel the best learning tool is the simple single-stage press. I still crank out my reloads on an old Herters single stage. It's cheap enough (as low as $25) that if you find reloading is not your game or is too slow, you haven't invested a lot. There are several brand-name starter kits for $350 or less that will certainly get you into the game.

    Lee is a good choice for starting. Maybe not the top-of-the-line gear but doable. Great for getting the initial experience. There's some on here that have stuck with that brand for many years, and there's nothing wrong with that. Other brands (RCBS, Hornady, etc.) also have start-ups at a higher price. Generally they offer something of a step up over Lee.

    At a minimum you'll need: Press, scale of some sort (I prefer beam scales, RCBS 505), powder measure (a dropper is faster than scoops), dies (always use carbide dies for straight-walled cases. Lubing cases is a pain), and a bit of patience. Some will add a tumbler/vibrator to the essential list (they do a nice job of cleaning) but they aren't required.

    If your intend is massive quantities (for the avid shooter), a progressive is in order, but I don't feel they're right for initially learning to reload. I'm a casual reloader, meaning I reload lower quantities (100-200 at a time), and I recently bought a Lee handpress. I resize, flare, and prime (with a Lee hand primer) my .45s while I watch TV. I go to the press for seating/crimping only. Call me lazy, but it keeps my hands off the remote!
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
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    Member Array OldLincoln's Avatar
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    I'm just a few weeks ahead of you. My advice is to ask around the reloading forum here about a single stage press. It's a great way to start and somebody who has moved up in presses may sell you their old one. From what I'm told they just don't wear out. Also you don't have to go fancy to start. I'm trying to get started as cheaply as possible and after pricing stands, wood, etc, ended up mounting my RCBS on a 2x8 I had in the garage. I sanded it and will paint it "Rockchucker Green" in the next day or so.

    If you buy new and on-line, group your purchases for savings on shipping. I hear something about free shipping for the next couple weeks. Bullets you can get free shipping from a few places that are good - so I'm told.

    That's the sum total of what I've learned, except that you will likely get sucked into a whirlwind once you take the first steps. Seems the experts want you to reload and encourage it strongly.

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    Member Array Rasher's Avatar
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    Right now in the Cabelas shooting cat., LEE brand has a starter kit for around $100, might not be the best-but it will get you started. It's got a good base of equipment but it does not come with dies. I would suggest to start there, if you decide its not for you(reloading) then your not out a whole lot of money. If you then decide you like it, then you can upgrade later and maybe sell off stuff as you replace/upgrade them, look on ebay and craigs list too, you sometimes can find people selling the stuff you would upgrade to-for alot less than you will pay new.

  11. #10
    Member Array Rasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldLincoln View Post

    That's the sum total of what I've learned, except that you will likely get sucked into a whirlwind once you take the first steps. Seems the experts want you to reload and encourage it strongly.

    It can be hard to reload and beat SOME WALLY WORLD prices-on their "cheap" ammo, Example--when my kids started shooting I would buy 12ga target shell there for $3 a box-I would literally save $.25 doing them myself and I wouldn't get all those once fired hulls, however I could load to mag. specs. for heavy game loads and it would cost about 1/2 of what you would pay in a store. The same rings true with brass-bargain basement rounds you wont beat by much, but when you start loading what amounts to premium ammo you could save up to 50%.

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    Here's my basic reloading costs:
    Primers $5 per hundred - penny each {Make that $.05. Goat math failure!}
    230 grain LRNs 500/box @ $50 - 10 cents each
    Lb of HP-38 $27; at 5.0 grain/rd for my .45, 800+ rds/lb - @4 cents per round

    Cost per round=$.15 Per 50=$7.50. I don't add time and trouble values as I enjoy reloading and consider it as another hobby. About half my case prep is done while reclining in the Laziboy, hardly time-consuming on its own.

    Commercial 9mm Makarov ammo runs about $17/50. My reloading costs for it are even lower (less powder, cheaper bullets).

    With costs like that, one can see where the expense of the initial equipment setup is recovered fairly quickly, depending on how much reloading is done. If I chose to buy in larger bulk (and I don't), the costs would be even lower. Even Walmart will have a tough time competing at that price. Buying the huge bulk purchases of imported ammo is certainly cheaper than a box of 50 at the local gunstore, but I know what I've got with my reloads.
    Last edited by OldVet; December 1st, 2010 at 07:48 PM.
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  13. #12
    Member Array Rasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Here's my basic reloading costs:
    Primers $5 per hundred - penny each
    230 grain LRNs 500/box @ $50 - 10 cents each
    Lb of HP-38 $27; at 5.0 grain/rd for my .45, 800+ rds/lb - @4 cents per round

    Cost per round=$.15 Per 50=$7.50. I don't add time and trouble values as I enjoy reloading and consider it as another hobby. About half my case prep is done while reclining in the Laziboy, hardly time-consuming on its own.

    Commercial 9mm Makarov ammo runs about $17/50. My reloading costs for it are even lower (less powder, cheaper bullets).

    With costs like that, one can see where the expense of the initial equipment setup is recovered fairly quickly, depending on how much reloading is done. If I chose to buy in larger bulk (and I don't), the costs would be even lower. Even Walmart will have a tough time competing at that price. Buying the huge bulk purchases of imported ammo is certainly cheaper than a box of 50 at the local gunstore, but I know what I've got with my reloads.
    How true, Ive had my 20ga press and my brass press going on 30 yrs, ok they are not the progresive type-sigle action only but they more than get the job done. You simply cant factor in "COSTS" like that.

  14. #13
    Member Array cardinalfan's Avatar
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    I have calculated about the same set of numbers for both 45 ACP and 9mm (experts said stay away from 40 until you get a few thousand rounds under your belt). The only difference I see is in primer price. I pay $30/1000. But still, I have factored in the equipment and figure at 500 rounds per month at the range, once you have the brass (I started with 500 brass of each 9mm and 45) I will pay for my startup equipment in less than a year. And like was said, you really can't price your time as this turns into a hobby.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Dillon 550 or 650,they retain most of their value and the primer feed beats Lees auto prime system hands down.I started with a lee pro 1000 and then got a Dillon,If I knew then what I know now I woulda got the dillon from the get go

    Primers $5 per hundred - penny each
    That would be 5 cents each
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    Senior Member Array Jmac00's Avatar
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    http://www.10xshooters.com/calculato...Calculator.htm

    you can find these calculators all over the internet, I have a Dillion 550B ( http://www.dillonprecision.com/ ) I press out about 500 rounds a week. If you get into IPSC/USPSA/IDPA you'll be very happy you decided to reload, it will save you a boat load of money. I have had my press since '96 or so. I'm pretty sure it paid for itself in 6 months or less

    Good luck with this topic. The only advice I would give you is: Pick a machine you think you like, with a killer warranty (Dillion has a "NO B-S" life time warranty) and have at it
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