help with first loading press and parts choices.

help with first loading press and parts choices.

This is a discussion on help with first loading press and parts choices. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; with the high cost and short supply of ammo, i need to start rolling my own. i have no mentors' to learn from in physical ...

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Thread: help with first loading press and parts choices.

  1. #1
    Member Array 3holer's Avatar
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    help with first loading press and parts choices.

    with the high cost and short supply of ammo, i need to start rolling my own.

    i have no mentors' to learn from in physical form. the next best thing is my internet forums brethren, so any tid bits of guidence will go a long way. all i can do is read, read and more reading, followed by thousands of noobie questions.


    my wife and i have applied for our cpl's, and of course bought new pistols. i have been an avid hunter my whole life and have several guns. i'm by no means a pro shooter, more of an advancing amatuer.
    although my wife has limited shooting experience, her skills are coming along nicely.

    needless to say these shooting sessions are eatting up some funds quickly.

    the two main guns i plan to load for are a ruger sr9c and a S&W m&p..357sig also a compact. later on a .44mag 45lc, .243, .270, 30 06 and some others.

    my budget being what it is, miniscule. a low budget starter set up is in order.
    i've been looking around and decided that a lee turrent press would suit my needs. having several turrent plates set up to drop in would be nice.

    i'd like to break my cherry on the 9X19 case followed by the .357sig
    i have ordered a sand lake 9mm conversion barrel for the m&p to cut down on shooting costs.

    the lee classic turrent in kit form is my choice.

    although i don't know what to look for in a good die set. i've looked at the many dies available from different makers. i think i can swing for the carbide dies to start. i'm leaning toward the lee deluxe set for the 9mm.

    the problem is the .357sig. no carbide from lee. i looked at the dillon choices ($$$$). i like the fact that without upsetting the dies you can just pull a pin to clean the shavings and gunk.

    is there a reason lee only makes a steel set?

    can i load for both 9mm barrels on the same dies without adjustments?

    what about using these "factory crimp" dies. is it necessary?

    any suggestions on dies for these two cartridges??

    the press kit comes with a primer solution. i've read others prefer a hand priming unit. any recommendations on which hand unit?

    what do i need for primer and case cleaning tools?

    i have an rcbs 505 powder scale i use for my blackpowder rifles, and a crummy digital scale that i use for my grinding snowmobile clutch weights. it's adjustable scale will also do small grain weights also. i think i'm fine there.

    i have also a good dial caliper scaled in SAE. will this be fine?

    any ideas on a cheap vib cleaner to hold say, 500 cases. way to many choices.......

    loading boards and case storange is handled.
    what other supporting hardware do i need to add? cleaners, lubes tools other necessary things i'm not aware of?

    what should i get for the first loading manual with recipes for these 3 1/2 inch barrels?

    my main concern is the die sets i'll need. the 9mm should be an easy one. but i know from some of the reading i've done the .357sig can be tricky.

    as you can tell i very green at this so, thanks for any info. offered, and sorry for the long read.


  2. #2
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    While almost all of my equipment is RCBS Lee does make some very good equipment.

    although i don't know what to look for in a good die set. i've looked at the many dies available from different makers. i think i can swing for the carbide dies to start. i'm leaning toward the lee deluxe set for the 9mm.

    the problem is the .357sig. no carbide from lee. i looked at the dillon choices ($$$$). i like the fact that without upsetting the dies you can just pull a pin to clean the shavings and gunk.
    Since you are going with a Lee kit to start I would stay with the Lee dies. as for the 357Sig it is a bottle neck case and you will not be able to find carbide dies from anyone.

    can i load for both 9mm barrels on the same dies without adjustments?
    Ammo loaded for any caliber will work for any firearm chambered for that calber.

    what about using these "factory crimp" dies. is it necessary?
    The crimp is mainly to remove the belling used to start the bullet and to prevent bullet setback.

    i have an rcbs 505 powder scale i use for my blackpowder rifles, and a crummy digital scale that i use for my grinding snowmobile clutch weights. it's adjustable scale will also do small grain weights also. i think i'm fine there.
    The 505 is a good scale and will serve you well.

    i have also a good dial caliper scaled in SAE. will this be fine?
    This is America and SAE is our standard, you will find all mesurements in reloading manuals are in inches.

    any ideas on a cheap vib cleaner to hold say, 500 cases. way to many choices.......
    Tumblers from all manufactures all do a good job just shop around watching sales and buy one large enough to suit your needs.

    what should i get for the first loading manual with recipes for these 3 1/2 inch barrels?
    The "Modern Reloading" manual by Richard Lee is a good start since the first few chapters discuss the reloading process. Also all of the loads listed will work in 3 1/2 inch barrels, if the loads listed are for a longer barrel you will only lose some velocity in a shorter barrel.

    as you can tell i very green at this so, thanks for any info. offered, and sorry for the long read.
    No problem always feel free to ask questions. Also check out YouTube as there are some good videos on reloading.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    Like msgt/ret I have a mix of RCBS and Lee equipment and have been using a 505 scale for many years now.. All good stuff.

    Clean brass makes better reloads and helps keep your dies from getting gunked up.

    Necked down brass needs to be lubed before resizing, not so for straight walled brass if you use carbide dies.

    Manuals will show OAL (Length of finished cartridge) for each different load. This is important to prevent problems caused by too much or too little pressure (mostly too much). This number will change depending on the bullet weight and shape.

    I use the Lee Auto Prime (hand tool) when I am just loading up a few rounds. I use the Lee Auto Prime II when I am doing a hundred or more rounds. Both work fine and I like the way I can feel the primers seat. You will get the feel quickly. Remember to use ONE stroke when priming. If you seat a primer half way and lower the ram or open your grip on the hand tool you might let another primer into the system and then you have a jam or wind up with a crushed (not a good thing) primer.



    The Lee factory crimp die (fourth die) is used to bring your reloaded cartridge into specs for the chamber of that particular caliber. If you use this die (and I now do for my 9mm and .40S&W) it adds one step to the process. I use the 3rd die (seating and crimping die) to ONLY seat the bullet to the proper depth and then use the 4th die to not only crimp the bullet in place but to guarantee that it is now within factory specs for that caliber.

    The third die is a combination die that seats the bullet to the proper depth and crimps the case mouth around the bullet. I have used this type of die for years as the last step in the process but now do the additional step with the 4th die. I am a single stage reloader (not pressed for time and enjoy the whole process) and I think it does make for a more reliable finished product.

    One important thing to remember is to always use the least amount of bell (with the case mouth expander die). Just enough to let your bullet fit into the case mouth to the point where it is snug. Too much and it may not fit into either crimping or seating die, too little and it will slice or shave your bullets and possibly crush you brass. Too much also stresses the brass and will reduce the number of times you can reload that case.

    Seach out YOUTUBE for some videos on reloading and read the handbook that you buy. Lee also has videos on their website that show how their stuff works.

    Good luck and have fun saving a lot of money making high quality ammo.


    OMO

    bosco

  4. #4
    Member Array Nosler Guy's Avatar
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    as for the 357Sig it is a bottle neck case and you will not be able to find carbide dies from anyone.
    You can call up RCBS or Redding and have them make you a custom set of dies for any caliber. They may already have that variety on special order. If you don't get the dies from Dillon you can still clean them fairly easily. I use alcohol and Q-Tips to get all the gunk out of my RCBS rifle dies. Works great.
    Conservative, Gun-Toting, Backwoods, College Educated, Hetrosexual, Male
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  5. #5
    Member Array 3holer's Avatar
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    sorry i seen i posted this in the wrong place after i saved it. thanks for moving it.


    thanks for the great advice. i refined my searches and found answers to most of my noobie questions.

  6. #6
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    Always ask questions, and I am sure that in your local gun shop that there is someone who reloads, most of us are very willing to help out noobs; partly because we love reloading almost as much as shooting. I concur with everyone's statements so far, with the added addition of get a midway catalog, and look at frankford armory stuff like tumblers.
    A hand gun is like a fire extinguisher , I wish to use neither, but have both on hand in case of need ; both are personal protection devices that serve the same purpose . ie safety of you and your family.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    dont bother with the factory crip for pistol... but for rifle its GREAT.....

  8. #8
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    If you want to "try" without dropping a ton of cash, the Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit can be had for under $100. It is good stuff and the price is right.

    Single stage means slow production, but that is not a bad thing for a beginner. You will find that the press and everything else will be incorperated into your opperation as it grows. The only thing you will need to buy beside the kit is the caliber specific stuff like case trimmers and dies.

    Good luck, reloading can be as fun as shooting!
    My GLOCK goes BANG every time!

  9. #9
    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Man View Post
    If you want to "try" without dropping a ton of cash, the Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit can be had for under $100. It is good stuff and the price is right.

    Single stage means slow production, but that is not a bad thing for a beginner. You will find that the press and everything else will be incorperated into your opperation as it grows. The only thing you will need to buy beside the kit is the caliber specific stuff like case trimmers and dies.

    Good luck, reloading can be as fun as shooting!
    I loaded many thousands of rounds on my single stage, before I ever set up the progressive, that turned out to be some of my most valuable time. The 9mm is kindly tough to learn on, I would suggest a speer manual for that reason. Take the time, no big hurry... ever. What I am saying in a round about way is that I agree with Iceman.
    A hand gun is like a fire extinguisher , I wish to use neither, but have both on hand in case of need ; both are personal protection devices that serve the same purpose . ie safety of you and your family.

  10. #10
    Member Array rickmn50's Avatar
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    One shooter setup

    You are going to hear all kinds of opinions on what press to use. Here is one man's opinion.

    I used Lee as a young man and now as a not so young man. I carry 9mm and .38 SPL. I shoot a lot of 9mm and .38 SPL. That is why I just opted to have a Lee 1000 press for each caliber. Course you can do .357 as well with the .38 setup. Took me about 2000 rounds to pay for each press. I did that in a couple weeks.
    Reloading1.JPG

    Bottom line...just start with something and enjoy!
    Best Regards from Minnesota,

    Rick

  11. #11
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    The Lee "factory crimp" die came out to solve problems with older seating dies and isn't needed with newer production dies. A properly adjusted seating/crimping die will do the job.

    One thing I don't like about Lee dies is the lock rings. They use rubber to hold them in place and I've found it slips easily when removing/installing the die. I replaced all mine with set screw locking rings.

    Lee probably didn't bother with carbide .357 SIG dies because being bottle-necked, they have to be lubed regardless, so the carbide die wouldn't have any advantage and only cost more.

    Nothing "tricky" about loading .357 SIG. It's the required lubing that turns people off. But rifle reloaders know it's no big deal, just a necessary step.

    I use a hand primer because it has more feel. I loaded a ton of ammo before I got it using the press-mounted primer. It's a choice thing. I still use my 1975 single-stage reloader. It's my "therapy" time.
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  12. #12
    Member Array lee n. field's Avatar
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    the problem is the .357sig. no carbide from lee.
    It's a bottleneck cartridge. No carbide sizers from anybody.

    what about using these "factory crimp" dies. is it necessary?
    Necessary, no. Helpful, sometimes. You should be able to adjust your seating die to properly crimp, but it's less fiddly to break out the crimping step. The Lee turret has 4 holes to allow for the crimping die.

    any suggestions on dies for these two cartridges??
    You'll be wanting the Lee diesets, with the powder through expander die, if you're using the Lee powder measure.

    what do i need for primer and case cleaning tools?
    I haven't bothered with primer pocket cleaning for years.

    I use a Midway vibratory case cleaner to clean, and a Barry's Manufacturing media separator afterwards (way easier than the "panning for gold" method).

    i have an rcbs 505 powder scale...i think i'm fine there.
    You are.

    what should i get for the first loading manual with recipes for these 3 1/2 inch barrels?
    Lyman's is a good manual. Whatever version is current -- 49th?

  13. #13
    Member Array 3holer's Avatar
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    first let me say thank you all for the info. after lots of research i decided on my first relaoding set up.

    in the last few days i have compiled the following compents.

    lee breech lock challanger 50th anniversary kit.

    lee deluxe die kits 9X19 and .357sig with fc dies

    lee case lenght gauges

    lee hand primer

    forester lock rings

    forester deburing tool

    rcbs bullet puller hammer

    rcbs loading trays

    lyman lube tray

    lymen 1200 case rattler with the strainer lid.
    corn cob with rouge and plain

    lyman reloading #49 edition
    lyman pistol and revolver 3rd ed.

    spent saturday opening boxes, cleaning brass and i mounted the press. today played with all the dies and settings to get a feel for them. wasn't as hard as i though to make a few dum-dum rounds thay spec'ed out and fit the barrel believe it or not. the powder measure is a little finicky. i like the lee scale better then the 505, just seems a bit smoother if that makes sence.
    all the directions are pretty straight forward and, all the beginners tips offered really helped in getting started so far. with a little more playtime, i feel confident that i can produce some quality practice rounds. the next session i'll be making some live rounds. put on your helmuts.

    i really don't have any major questions, probably because i haven't broke anything yet.

    a real positive note. my wife has really taken interest. she was reading the directions, cleaning and prepping brass, playing with the dies, sizing and priming cases. learning how to read and work the caliper and measuring devices. just right in there having fun.
    she likes to shoot but won't hunt. she'll shoot casualy with me or with the guys flinging clays with her 20ga. she likes her .22 and 30-30her dad left her, but the 30's just abit much for her. she really likes the ruger sr9c that she picked out for her birthday. she's now cpl'ed and packin heat. badguys beware!

    ha what have i done??? she just came over, (while i'm typing) and shows me an magizne add for a ruger .204.
    get this, she says this would be a nice rifle for her to shoot the apples off the tree at the cabin to feed the deer.

    sorry for sounding like a "twitter" just want to say thanks and share a few highlights.

  14. #14
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    A suggestion on setting the powder measure, weigh out the charge you are going to use then drop it into the empty powder measure. Raise the handle partway then screw the adjustment screw down just until you feel the powder. Throw a few charges and check them and make any adjustments until you get the charge weight you want. Good luck and have fun rolling your own.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  15. #15
    Member Array 3holer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    A suggestion on setting the powder measure, weigh out the charge you are going to use then drop it into the empty powder measure. Raise the handle partway then screw the adjustment screw down just until you feel the powder. Throw a few charges and check them and make any adjustments until you get the charge weight you want. Good luck and have fun rolling your own.
    these are the little things that have been so helpful.

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