Leaning towards reloading...

This is a discussion on Leaning towards reloading... within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have entertained this idea for a long time. This current panic, has cemented my decision. I know that components will be hard to find ...

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Thread: Leaning towards reloading...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Hoplyte's Avatar
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    Leaning towards reloading...

    I have entertained this idea for a long time. This current panic, has cemented my decision. I know that components will be hard to find for a while, but I can wait it out. I have been saving brass already. I am trying to simplify and stick with common stuff. For rifles, I am going to stick with 308, 223, 30/30, possibly 6.5x55(I know an odd duck), and 22lr. The pistols are just a little harder for me to decide on. I have 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 38/357, 44 mag/spec. I need to narrow down the handgun calibers. I am trying to decide if I should do 3 semi-auto pistol calibers and one revolver caliber or two semi-auto calibers and two revolver calibers. Advice from those who reload would be most welcome. Insight about the reloading equipment needed would be welcome too. Thank you.

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    Good decision, and one you're not likely to regret.

    First thing, note that we have a sub-forum for reloading in Defensive Ammunition and Ballistics. There is a wealth of information already there for the harvesting, even if you just looked at threads that started within the past year.

    My suggestion is to start with pistol ammo to reload, for a number of reasons. Straight-wall cartridges are easier to deal with, all current handgun ammo dies are carbide which does not require lubing the cases, and all but the magnum calibers rarely need the cases trimmed. Importantly, the overall pressures are lower and even if the worst happens, there's far less energy available to harm stuff with handgun charges than there is with rifle charges - by about an order of magnitude.

    Along the same lines, subject of course to what you shoot the most, .45 ACP is a great cartridge to start with. It's a low-pressure round, both the cases and the bullets are big enough to be easily handled, and it's been around so long there is a wide range of powders and charges that are known to work well for it.

    A nice bonus I discovered is that my reloads are almost all more accurate than the factory rounds, at least in the .38 and .45 I've loaded.

    Probably your biggest decision when starting out is "single-stage or progressive press?" I can't answer that for you. I'm a detail-oriented, technical guy and with my volume of shooting, I knew I wanted a progressive. Two years later, I realize it would be convenient to have a single-stage for the small batches of ammo I'll make when I work up loads or make hunting ammo. That said, I appreciated the progressive when I cranked out hundreds of rounds for the Garand last fall.

    Beyond a press, you'll need a scale (start with a good beam scale; the electronic scales under $200 are still troublesome), dies, shell holders or shell plates, a primer flip tray, and a good pair of dial calipers (and "ggod" is nothing you'll find at Harbor Fright). A kinetic bullet puller is useful, as is a loaded cartridge gage for checking your finished rounds for OAL and chambering. For rifle ammo, you'll need a means to trim cases, then chamfer and deburr them. I'm sure I left things out, but beyond the very basics, experience will dictate the other accessories you'll need.

    Note that along with loaded ammo and reloading components, even dies and presses are in short supply currently, but not backordered for a year like ARs and magazines. One of the first things you should purchase in advance of getting your kit all together is at least two reloading manuals. For someone starting out, the Lee manual has a very good technical section in the front which explains the whats and whys of the reloading process quite well. I got that one as well as the Lyman and Horndy books, and I'm constantly referring to all 3.

    Good luck!
    Smitty
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    I would start out with the 9mm then expand to the rifle calibers once you figure it out. You are going to spend a ton of cash on your equipment and dies for that many calibers. You will need many different powders and other components. If you have the brass already you may want to get a tumbler and clean it. Then some brass prep tools.
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
    Wyatt Earp

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    Senior Member Array Hoplyte's Avatar
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    Sorry, was sure where to post this thread. Sounds like I had better downsize some more. Would 3 handgun calibers and 3 rifle calibers be more cost effective? I know I want to keep 223 and 308. Now I have to decide between 30/30 and 22lr.

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    Thanks for the great info Smitty, from someone else that has been thinking of getting into reloading. I have nice stock pile of 9mm brass that I need to either reload or sell.

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    Senior Member Array Hoplyte's Avatar
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    Sorry, was sure where to post this thread. Sounds like I had better downsize some more. Would 3 handgun calibers and 3 rifle calibers be more cost effective? I know I want to keep 223 and 308. Now I have to decide between 30/30 and 22lr.

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    Senior Member Array Hoplyte's Avatar
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    Oops. double posted, sorry.

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    Senior Member Array nontechguy's Avatar
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    You're not going to reload 22LR anyway.
    "The time is now near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves."
    ------------------------------------ George Washington 1776
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    are safe havens-
    FOR CRIMINALS

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    Senior Member Array threefeathers's Avatar
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    great decision. I've loaded 2k rounds in the past 2 weeks. Mixed calibers so I have enough for another Ayoob class.

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    "possibly 6.5x55(I know an odd duck), "

    All the more reason to reload. Back in my early reloading days, no commercial round was available for my .30-06 in 165 grain boattails, which gave ecellent accuracy and performance in my Rem 700. A few years later, several brands came out with the same load. Guess word of my "unique" round got passed around.

    I reload for every centerfire caliber I own, picking up a set of dies with each new acquisition. About the only time I buy "factory" ammo is to get brass, carry ammo, or for something that I don't have dies yet.

    The list of what you "wnat" for reloading is endless; the list of what you "need" is slightly shorter. I endorse learning on a single-stage press as it's easier to grasp the working of each step and is certainly cheaper should you decide reloading is not your forte.

    Rifle reloading is more difficult only in that you need to lube the cases, whereas in straight-walled handgun cases you don't if you spend a few extra bucks on carbide dies (well worth it). Reloadin is a hobby and an art unto itself. Enjoy!
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Senior Member Array Hoplyte's Avatar
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    OldVet, Thought I'd share with you the back story on the 6.5x55. I had been searching for a hunting rifle. Someone suggested I look at the 6.5x55. I did research on the cartridge and liked what I read. I searched for months at the local shops trying to find a rifle chambered in this cartridge, to no avail. One day I walked into my regular ammo shop and looked around, there was a CZ 550 fs hanging on the wall. I asked if I could see it and put my hands on it. I purchased it on the spot. This rifle and the cartridge has exceeded my expectations. This will be one I hand down to the kids.

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