Thinking of starting to Reload

This is a discussion on Thinking of starting to Reload within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey everyone, From what I have read we have quite a large group who reload their own ammo.I have no experience with this. With the ...

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Thread: Thinking of starting to Reload

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array tclance's Avatar
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    Thinking of starting to Reload

    Hey everyone,
    From what I have read we have quite a large group who reload their own ammo.I have no experience
    with this. With the price of ammo and the amount of shooting I have been doing recently, I was just wondering how to get started.The Cost of startup, how hard or easy is it to do? What equiptment to buy? As far as calibers go I have a .32,.38sp,357,.380,.45 acp (thats the one that I shoot more often then the others and costs the most). Besides the handguns I also have several rifle calibers also. I will have plenty of time on my hands as I am going in for a Hip-Replacement on Aug 2nd. Got to have something to do! I dont know anyone who dose this so its going to be a learn as you go thing.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Tom

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    Cabela's on line new cataloger page 114 Lee 4-hole.
    read through that to get an understanding or the terminology and the simple answer is

    re-loading pays for itself in less than 1 years worth of shooting. cost to get started with 1 caliber and a 4-hole ~$300.
    add $50 for each caliber.
    good luck.
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
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  4. #3
    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    Great question Tom, I'm in the same boat. Been saving brass, but I have no experience with reloads.
    "One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    Show us a picture of your reloading bench - Page 79 - THR

    scroll to #1960
    it is a most basic set up....needs a scale.
    you can find an instructor nesr you, i am a re-load instructer but it does not do well long distance; as
    i can not answer questions till you know the names of the parts and what each die does
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
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    Why do those elected to positions of power than work so hard
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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    If you shoot, then you should reload if you have the time. It is cost effective and, to me, just a part of the overall gun ownership-shooting experience. For around 2-300, you can get started with a decent single stage press (which for someone new, I think is the way to go), dies (one caliber-but you will need more based on the cals you want to reload), a good powder scale, calipers, hand primer, and a few other items that you may or may not consider necessary. To really save and recoup the equipment cost quickly, you need to by primers, powder and bullets in bulk. Get a copy of the ABCs of Reloading and Lyman's 49th and study up before you make a purchase. That will help you understand your options and educate you on what you are getting into. A number of the popular firearms forums have "stickies" that provide contributor perspectives on equipment and practices that are good to review. So, what to do? Read, read, read, then go for it.
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  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Figure out why you want to reload, what you want to reload, and how many rounds you want to load, and that will steer you towards the right equipment choice.

    Claude laid out what I would call the low entry level of reloading. If you plan on doing higher volumes, you'll want (eventually, at least) a higher end press. I started with a Dillon RL-550B, got a bunch of accessories (including scales, calipers, tumbling equipment, &c.) with it, and built my own loading bench. All told, I probably sunk close to a grand in my initial setup---and I still paid for it in under a year, by loading about 7k rounds of .45ACP in the used brass I had been collecting for a while before I even got the press.

    I can load about 250 rounds per hour. For a weekend match, that takes me about two hours (plus case gauging time in front of the TV) to get done, whereas a buddy of mine with a single-stage Rock Chucker needs all day to do about the same amount. I am loading .45ACP for about $130/1k rounds, compared to about $350/1k rounds for the bulk remanufactured ammo I'd otherwise be shooting. So, I am loading at about 35% the cost of buying. I am about to add an automatic case feeder to my setup; assuming that raises my production rate to something like 350 rounds per hour, the addition will pay for itself with less than 4 hours of work, or about three matches' worth of rounds.

    Oh, yeah, and I am still working through the order of 15k+ primers and bullets I ordered when I first got started---buying in bulk is good. I may need to look into ordering some more soon, though...
    claude clay likes this.
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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    kazz--lots of good words there...i mentioned lee cause one may take the center bar out and it becomes a single stage (50ish rpm) vs a turret (+175 rpm).
    thus a new loader can learn each station and than move up in pace. your dillion is for some one who is very mechanically inclined ( and can read, really read instructions) or who has moved up.
    i do 400 rpm on a square deal and more on my 650. though i sold off my case feeder to a student --noisy.
    I'm to wonder about your statement about case gaging time. for pistol caliber i do not check. excepting 357 , 41 and 44 mag--and that is to look at the finished round that the bullets cannul is crimped proper. i do empty my finished bin every 20 or so and if a group has too much/too little lead showing--gotta find out why. is there another reason--besides culling range junk (a-merc or small primer cases)?

    and reading Lyman's 49th is the bible of reloading . through page 87 and one will be able to formulate an intelligent question and have enough knowledge to understand the answerer.

    re-loading is opening another door of shooting as a hobby. it also makes practice a bit more affordable and us a better shot. hopefully.
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
    -------------------
    Why do those elected to positions of power than work so hard
    to deny those same opportunities to the same people who empowered them

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I reload and have more than paid for my equipment several times over and I have a lot invested,My reloader is a Dillon 550 w/case feeder for pistol cases,I like it over a 650 because it is manual advance not auto advance like the 650,I reload 380,38/357,9 mm,40,45 acp,44 spec/mag,223,308,I cast lead bullets for all my handguns and by buying powder 32 pounds at a time,and primers around 25,000 at a time I split hazmat fees around the whole load.I have thousands of rounds of free brass and these are actual reloading costs for most pistol pistol( Primer .02, powder .01,bullet .01) I round it off to around $5.00 100 rounds of 380,9,38,40,45...add 1.00 for 44 spec/mag.
    223 costs me $8.00 per 100 (primer .02, powder.05,bullet .01)I have dies that turn 22lr brass into 223 bullets and except for the cast lead insert the brass is free for the taking

    I started out with a lee pro 1000,the powder actuator is operated by a light chain,if it binds it breaks if you don't notice you are suddenly loading cases with no powder,the primer feed works on gravity and a plastic slide,if the primers arent in the right position you can insert primers sideways and or upside down,I absolutely hated those 2 gimmicky things as far as my Dillon it was easy to set up and easy to run'I have almost no primer issues and the powder actuator is operated by a steel rod.
    One Priming tool Lee has that is great is their hand primer,I have primed pistol and rifle brass with no problems when I'm running a few rounds for chronographing and don't wanta set up my Dillon just to run 10 rounds
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  10. #9
    Member Array Gunsmoke16's Avatar
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    For the price, would be hard to beat this Lee kit at Cabellas...get some xtra breach lock bushings so you don't have to readjust the dies once set. You will need either a digital/analog dial caliper to measure cases, etc and a micrometer is nice, but not necessary. A bullet puller (looks like a hammer) is a must for mistakes. With price of this kit and other stuff include, you should skate by under $140 or maybe cheaper. Save your brass (.45 can be reloaded multiple times- make sure to get a taper-crimp die for the final seating-makes em more accurate and less feed problems). Here's link: Cabela's: Lee Breech Lock Challenger Reloading Kit
    Used to reload .45 a lot and the best accuracy I had was using 200grn swc (semi wad cutter) conical bullets made from wheel weights with about 4.2 grns of Unique or 4.0 Bullseye powder. Bullseye is best buy-use less-lasts longer. The Lee Classic Loader: Cabela's: Lee Classic Loader Kit for about $25 per caliber would be great for hunting rifle reloading. It has held the world record for accuracy 7 times because it basically doesn't alter the case very much (no full-length resizing) and if used exclusively for your rifles, can make them shoot very accurate. Make sure double check that powder-don't put too much in. If loading for first time a new load, start with the lowest grain recommended (look at what they say is good loads for the powder/caliber), make sure length is correct, wear safety glasses-especially when seating the primers...if using Lee hand-loaders for primers-they recommend not to use Federal Primers...They are touchy and could explode-a tray can make a nasty pattern on your walls like a shotgun blast. I'd just put a few in when first reloading and later, when comfortable, load the tray if making a lot of ammo. 50rnds at once (save those plastic/styrofoam inserts and the original ammo boxes...they make good trays to set them upright in and carry the stuff in. Weekend gun shows are good places to look for components. I like Sundays as they want to sell it, not load it back up=excellent deals. Walk the whole place-look at the tables and if you buy lead/bullets, make it the last purchase...they get heavy to carry around. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

  11. #10
    New Member Array catdaddyxx's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about starting this too, and given ammo prices I've even got the wife on board!

    One question for those in the know. Lee seems to be much much cheaper than all the other name brands.
    Is there a reason for this? Is it a far inferior product? I am leaning towards Lee just due to the price.
    I could buy a new pistol for the price difference between a Lee setup and an RCBS setup.

  12. #11
    Senior Member
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    it becomes a single stage (50ish rpm) vs a turret (+175 rpm).
    claude clay, now that's what I call some really fast reloading right there
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  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff F View Post
    claude clay, now that's what I call some really fast reloading right there
    please tell me what it is i am missing.....
    single stage is rifle and i figure 50/rpHour.....sorry about the 'm'
    its per hour.......or i truelyam getting faster as i getting older
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
    -------------------
    Why do those elected to positions of power than work so hard
    to deny those same opportunities to the same people who empowered them

  14. #13
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    Figure out how much your time is worth. If time matters not, get the cheap stuff and load, maybe, 50 rounds an hour.

    If you have more important things to do, go with the Dillon and knock out 500-600 rounds an hour.

    If you are the kind of guy that feels adequate carrying a Hi-Point, Jiminez, Bryco or RG, then go with the Lee.

    If a Taurus,Rossi,Glock or Springfield is good enough for you to carry, then go with RCBS.

    If Sig,Wilson,HK is what it takes to make you feel good...then by all means go with the Dillion.
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    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    I used to reload, back in the old days when I shot a lot. I loaded shotgun (trap loads) and .45 (for IPSC matches and practice).

    My only piece of advice is this - pay the extra money and buy a progressive machine. All of my machines were 'progressive', which means that a finished round will drop out with every pull of the handle. I used a RCBS 'Green Machine' for the .45 loads and I could easily reload 300 to 400 rounds an hour. The 'Green Machine' is discontinued now.

    If you're only gonna reload a hundred rounds per year, then some single stage loader might be sufficient. But if you're planning on burning through some ammo, then get a reloading machine that is fast, accurate and easy to use......

    Just my $.02

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
    I used to reload, back in the old days when I shot a lot. I loaded shotgun (trap loads) and .45 (for IPSC matches and practice).

    My only piece of advice is this - pay the extra money and buy a progressive machine. All of my machines were 'progressive', which means that a finished round will drop out with every pull of the handle. I used a RCBS 'Green Machine' for the .45 loads and I could easily reload 300 to 400 rounds an hour. The 'Green Machine' is discontinued now.

    If you're only gonna reload a hundred rounds per year, then some single stage loader might be sufficient. But if you're planning on burning through some ammo, then get a reloading machine that is fast, accurate and easy to use......

    Just my $.02

    -
    I don't get paid by Dillon to hawk their stuff,Dillon has a lifetime no BS warranty if you accidently break something call them and a new part will be sent free of charge and shipping,Dillons hold their resale value pretty high,you will never find a cheap Dillon,even if you buy one that doesn't work right you can ship it to Dillon and they will refurbish it free of charge as long as it wasn't abused.
    I can reload 100 rounds of pistol ammo in about the time it takes to play 3 Country and Western songs,Rock and Roll 2.5 songs LOL
    I reload 223 and as long as I don't run into any crimped in primers can load about 250 - 300 hr
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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