Starting to Reload on the Cheap?

Starting to Reload on the Cheap?

This is a discussion on Starting to Reload on the Cheap? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am interested in reloading, but don't want to sink tons of money into it. Any helpful suggestions are welcomed....

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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Starting to Reload on the Cheap?

    I am interested in reloading, but don't want to sink tons of money into it. Any helpful suggestions are welcomed.
    Though defensive violence will always be a sad necessity in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men -St. Augustine


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    Member Array ConcealedinPA's Avatar
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    What calibers are you loading? And for what? Mass production for plinking? 20 here and there for hunting or bench rest ? It really depends. Single Stage press would be the ideal way to go since its best to learn on it and even if you graduate to progressive, you'll always still use your single stage. Keep in mind that everything is priced a little higher than normal but you still can save $$$. eBay and amazon are great for finding good equipment. I usually buy from Midway USA. they may be outta stock on the more popular calibers, but most of it can be back order OK. I'd be glad to give you advice when you give some more details of purpose. Good Luck!!!
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    I would mostly want to reload 9mm for training. I would probably want to be able to produce 100 rounds in a sitting.
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    a lee single stage kit is an easy way to start. There is the Lee Loader but its very slow. It would probably take 4 hours to load 100. The Aniversery kit has all the tools in one setup to start loading. You may buy improved tools as you need them but all the tools are there to get started. To the aniversery kit you will have to add 9mm dies, powder, primers, and bullets. And shortly you will want to add a trim guide. Ive had a Lee kit for more than 30 years, and I cant see that Ill ever wear it out. I have upgraded some of the tools to make some of the jobs faster. I also cast my own bullets and thats where Ive saved the most. Its also what has kept me shooting as I only buy powder and primers. DR

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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Please explain "tons of money."

    While the initial investment can be considerable, the amount of ammunition you reload will determine whether or not you actually realize any cost savings, or not.

    Many people will tell you that any money you save will only be spent on more shooting.
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    Good luck finding primers,if you do find any they are 2-3 times as high as back in November,and if your thinking about buying any online you have to include a $27.50 Hazmat fee on top of cost +shipping,it doesn't matter if it's 100 or 30,000 same price,powder also requires paying a hazmat fee if it's shipped.Then there is the cost of bullets,if you can find them jacketed are running around $80 1000 shipped
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    While it is possible for a newbie to start out on a progressive, I don't recommend it. There's are too many things to go wrong that a freshman might not catch.

    I started out on a single stage in 1975 and am still using it for all my reloading. Yeah, it's slow and takes a bit of time to crank out 200 rounds of .45 or 9mm, but it's hard to beat the versatility of a SS press. Converting to any caliber, handgun or rifle is as simple as swapping dies and shell holder. I used to seat my primers with the press attachment, but long ago opted to prime the cases with a hand primer. It's easier to detect loose primer pockets that way. I wore out my original Lee primer and replaced it with an RCBS hand primer, a definite upgrade to me.

    There are necessary items and items that accelerate the loading process. You will need: a press; dies; shell holder; a scale, either electronic or beam, and a good reloading manual--more than one is better. A powder dropper will speed up the powder dispensing tremendously. A caliper is handy for making case and round measurements, but a gauge will work.

    There are reloading kits available, but check what's included carefully as some include stuff you may never use while others may omit something needed. Lee is probably the least expensive equipment on the market and will get the job done. More expensive equipment such as RCBS is stouter and less prone to needing repairs.

    Turret presses are faster than SS presses but not by huge amounts. Progressive presses, once set up properly, will crank our rounds as fast as you can pull the handle, but are expensive and sometimes complicated to change calibers. There is also increased risk of over/under loads with a progressive if not monitored closely.

    I look at reloading as an extension of the shooting hobby, not as a means of cheap ammo. IMO, handgun reloading is pretty much cut and dried as far as accuracy goes, but a carefully tuned rifle round can produce amazing accuracy in a so-so rifle.
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    Reloading and cheap do not go in the same sentence.


    Word of advice. Don't go cheap.

    If its a tool that you intend to keep the rest of your life and expect it to last, spend a bit more on quality up front and you wont regret it.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    About the cheapest is: Lee Loader 9mm, plus primers, plus powder, plus reloadable brass you scrounge from the range. MSRP is just under $40, but you can find them here and there for ~$30 or less.

    About the most-sensible while keeping costs comparatively low: a decent single-stage press of quality, supporting dies, scales, tools and such, reloading books (at least two), plus the primers/powder/brass.

    But, if you're ever going to do more than 9mm, you'll need to consider which other calibers, whether that loader you get will handle it, whether it'll be of the quality, durability, speed/volume of production that will work down the road. Of course, you could always sell and get another unit, but then the difference between, say, a Lee Loader @ $40 and a reasonable RCBS single-stage press @ $250 is not a tremendous amount, particularly when you consider that the better-known, quality gear can easily be resold in future if you decide it's not the path you want to be on. The time saved might well fully justify any difference of a couple hundred dollars up-front. Another way to "save" could be to acquire a stellar set of perfect brass at the outset, then reload it 5-10x. Depends on your existing source of reloadable brass.

    Ditto on the suggestions: don't go cheap, if you're into this for the long-haul and expect it to last.
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    Start with a single stage press and a nice set of carbine steel dies. Lee stuff is good and durable. I've been using it for years and very happy. You'll need a scale and that a whole of can of trouble. I use a Lee balance scale. People tend to hate this scale, but I have find it to be nothing short of dead on accurate...for years. This equipment can get you going for less than $150. Of course, there is the brass, the bullets (I cast my own), the power and primers. You can get a very nice Franklin tumbler from Midway for less that $35. Good luck and enjoy your new hobby...and before you do anything, read a good book on reloading.
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    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    Please explain "tons of money."
    One US Ton equals 2,000 pounds.

    OP...Get a Lee Loader and a recipe book. Some folks call them Reloading Books. I call them recipe books.
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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NONAME762 View Post
    One US Ton equals 2,000 pounds.

    OP...Get a Lee Loader and a recipe book. Some folks call them Reloading Books. I call them recipe books.
    That's probably about how much I've put into reloading in the last 25 years.
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    I say split the difference and go with a turret press. You can load just like a single stage, but you don't have to mess with changing out dies. To swap calibers, you simply change the head and the shell holder, and maybe primer cup.

    Still not nearly as expensive or complicated if you will as a progressive but you save tons of time over a single stage.

    I use a Lyman T Mag Expert kit and other than a set of calipers it had everything I needed. I think the Lee turrets are priced a bit better than the Lyman's are.
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by high pockets View Post
    Please explain "tons of money."

    While the initial investment can be considerable, the amount of ammunition you reload will determine whether or not you actually realize any cost savings, or not.

    Many people will tell you that any money you save will only be spent on more shooting.
    I was thinking under $400 for the press, 9mm dies, scale, a pound of powder, some pistol primers, and some lead bullets. I know next to nothing about reloading and the accompanying costs.

    My goal is to start with reloading the pistol rounds, then, once I really know what I am doing, reload for my rifles.
    Though defensive violence will always be a sad necessity in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men -St. Augustine

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