Reloading Questions/Advice - Page 2

Reloading Questions/Advice

This is a discussion on Reloading Questions/Advice within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; 1. Is it worthwhile to start with the Classic Lee Loader aka nutcracker or should I just keep saving to get a Single Stage Press ...

View Poll Results: I set up a poll as a simple way for people to answer my few questions

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  • Classic Lee loader to start for basics

    12 34.29%
  • Just get a Single Stage Press for ease/speed

    23 65.71%
  • 9mm

    15 42.86%
  • 38SPL

    19 54.29%
  • Sonic Cleaner

    1 2.86%
  • Tumbler

    16 45.71%
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Thread: Reloading Questions/Advice

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    1. Is it worthwhile to start with the Classic Lee Loader aka nutcracker or should I just keep saving to get a Single Stage Press kit? I am not set on brand, no use debating brand, just basic setup, Hand load or Single Stage Press?
    Not a Lee fan, so no comment there, but for your described goals, the single stage press would be best.

    2. Which is easier to start reloading, 9mm or 38SPL?
    YES!!!!!

    3. Do you recommend getting a Sonic cleaner or tumbler for the cases? If I get a tumbler, do I need a media separator?
    For your initial start-up, I would go with the tumbler. Tumbler and media would be less expensive and easier to maintain in your start-up mode. have a media separator, but it was only recently acquired - reloaded for years without one.

    4. Can the same powder and primers be used for 9mm and 38SPL?
    Also YES!!!!!!!! I use HP-38

    I setup a multiple choice poll as a simple way for people to answer my few questions. Any advice and info is appreciated.
    Good luck with your decisions.
    rammerjammer likes this.
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  2. #17
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    1. Is it worthwhile to start with the Classic Lee Loader aka nutcracker or should I just keep saving to get a Single Stage Press kit? I am not set on brand, no use debating brand, just basic setup, Hand load or Single Stage Press?

    Definitely save up a few bucks and go for the Single-stage press. You will not ever regret it and you will be able to load any caliber you want to in the future (short of a .50 cal).

    2. Which is easier to start reloading, 9mm or 38SPL?

    Either. I have/do reload both and despite what some people claim, I don't find the 9mm any harder to reload than any other pistol round

    3. Do you recommend getting a Sonic cleaner or tumbler for the cases? If I get a tumbler, do I need a media separator?

    My personal experience with sonic cleaners is they are great for cleaning metal parts. If you ever want to strip and clean gun parts, sonic cleaners are hard to beat. Brass cases can literally be "wiped clean" for reloading purposes, polishing being a personal preference that's not required for producing accurate, reliable rounds. The cleaning is needed to keep dirt and grit from damaging cases and dies during resizing. I've always used a tumbler--primarily with ground walnuts and a drop or two of Nufinish added--to clean my cases (Lots of sandy grit here in FL). The Nufinish gives the cases a slickness that helps the resizing. It will polish cases as much or as little as I desire. I don't concern myself with cleaning primer pockets. After 1000s of rounds loaded without cleaning them, it hasn't been an issue. Cleaning the inside of a handgun case is as simple as inserting a bore brush of the appropriate size and into the case and giving it a twist. It doesn't have to be hospital sterile, just cleaned of old residue.

    As for a media separator, if you feel it will be faster or cleaner to use one, get it. I am in no rush when I prep my cases and still dig each one out by had and dump it back into the tumbler. You might not want to do that inside the house as there is some dust involved if I don't add Nufinish, but nothing that would require rubber toxic-hazard suit.


    4. Can the same powder and primers be used for 9mm and 38SPL?

    Maybe/maybe not. My experience has show little if any difference in using the various primer brands. I've used CCIs primarily but use most any I can find with no detectable difference in range performance. Use "magnum" primers where the load data calls for them, otherwise they are not needed.

    A good source of reloading data (or several) will often list powders commonly used for multiple calipers. I use HP-38 primarily because it works well in the 9mm Mak, 9mm Luger, and .45 ACP I reload. There may be better powders for any one of them, but for my range loads and if-all-else-fails, back-up SD loads, it will do fine.
    Unique is one powder that is used in a boatload of handgun calibers.
    rammerjammer likes this.
    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

  3. #18
    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    Things to consider:

    Thumler's Rotary tumbler is the best you can get, but expensive. This is the type to use with SS pins.

    Vibrating cleaners (tumblers) are much cheaper. Frankford Arsenal 645-880 Quick-n-EZ Case Tumbler Kit - ManVentureOutpost.com

    Lyman powder dribbler: Lyman Powder Dribbler Trickler Measure Reloading Press Dies Reloader Scale | eBay

    Digital calipers: You can get decent one's at Home Depot or Lowes. If you want the best, Mitutoyo, Starrett, or Brown&Sharpe.

    Weigh scale: You can get digital scales, but mechanical scales are fine. RCBS Reloading Powder Scale | eBay

    Bullet puller: You'll definitely need one of these. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Quinetics-KI...item20dd4f5c06

    Powder: There are several good choices. (* indicates my personal favorites)
    Hodgdon HP-38* (same as Winchester 231), Tight Group, HS-6*;
    Winchester W231*, Autocomp;
    Alliant Pistol Powder;
    IMR Hi-Skor 700X, PB, SR-7625*.
    I haven't used Accuate powder in a coon's age, but people like them. I think they used to be called Alcan.

    Primers: Either CCI, or Winchester small pistol primers. Only very experienced reloaders should attempt to use magnum primers unless the data calls for it.

    Bullets: Rainier, or Berry's are fine for target practice. Cast bullets are fine too, and very accurate, but don't use them in polygonal barrels. You can also get Gold Dots, or Golden Saber for self defense, but some say that the use of reloads for defense in a court of law may be a sticky wicket.

    Decide on your press. Several people have recommended the RCBS Rock Chucker. Lyman also makes a good single stage press. Pacific is another choice.
    Ebay, if you use them sometimes has a good deal, sometimes not. There's nothing wrong with buying a used press that is in good shape.

    I have never used Lee dies, but the pistol dies are supposed to be good, and many people like them. I just can't give an honest opinion on something I've never used. Other choices are Dillon, RCBS, and Redding (my favorite)

    My advise is, if you don't shoot a lot, it will take some time to recoup your investment. If you reload, you will probably shoot more. And finally, it's a fun hobby!
    rammerjammer likes this.

  4. #19
    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    1. Is it worthwhile to start with the Classic Lee Loader aka nutcracker or should I just keep saving to get a Single Stage Press kit? I am not set on brand, no use debating brand, just basic setup, Hand load or Single Stage Press?
    No. Buy the $25 Lee Reloading Press. I have used it for .30-06. You may not want to use it forever, but it is much better than "whack-a-mole" and will do everything you need a press to do. Beware loading equipment snobs.
    Buy it, and ram prime unit, and Lee dies and be happy (and the Richard Lee reloading manual--and read it)

    2. Which is easier to start reloading, 9mm or 38SPL?
    9x19--you can inspect the powder in the charged case easier

    3. Do you recommend getting a Sonic cleaner or tumbler for the cases? If I get a tumbler, do I need a media separator?
    Neither. Both are simply labor savers. All you need to do and all that will really help you is to wipe off the case exterior with a clean rag. At the same time, inspect the case for dings, cracks, etc.
    If you aren't using a pregressive press to load 600 rounds an hour, you can take the time to wipe off each case.
    Beyond that, a tumbler, 20/40 corn, and 30 minutes will do a more than adequate job. Nobody is shooting better because of better of cleaning equipment, they are simply "having more fun" getting the shiniest cases. Guns don't care.
    So, hand wipe, or spend money on tumbler and 20/40 corn, or spend a lot more money on a US cleaner. Whichever you do, you are doing all or MORE than you need to do.

    4. Can the same powder and primers be used for 9mm and 38SPL?
    Certainly. Buy a manual and read it. Look for common powders in 9x19 and .38 Spl with the bullet weights you will be using.
    Will the same powder be optimum for both? NO, but that isn't the question. Are you even going to spend the time looking for optimum loads, or do you want to get some trigger time in? If the latter, buy AA5 or 231/HP38 and enjoy shooting.
    PS: BUY a manual. READ a manual. Buy another manual and read it also.
    rammerjammer likes this.

  5. #20
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rammerjammer View Post

    1. Is it worthwhile to start with the Classic Lee Loader aka nutcracker or should I just keep saving to get a Single Stage Press kit? I am not set on brand, no use debating brand, just basic setup, Hand load or Single Stage Press?I started reloading on a Lee hand press. Great for a survival situation, but not for any kind of regular reloading. Single stage is minimum. The single stage starter kits are a good start. If price is a concern, get the Lee.

    2. Which is easier to start reloading, 9mm or 38SPL? They both have their issues. 9mm is a tapered round and some brass will have a military primer crimp that will need to be removed prior to reloading. 38 Special is a rimmed straight wall cartridge and the crimp is different than pistol cartridges. 9mm gets crimped just enough to remove the bell you created before seating the bullet. The 38 Special gets a different style crimp and is crimped into a crimp groove or cannelure to prevent setback. The taper crimp of a pistol cartridge does not hold the bullet in place, it's done by the sizing die properly sizing your brass. The roll crimp in a revolver does hold the bullet in place. That's where confusion is that crimp holds the bullet; it depends what kind of cartridge it is. Pistol = no, revolver = yes.

    3. Do you recommend getting a Sonic cleaner or tumbler for the cases? If I get a tumbler, do I need a media separator? Tumblers with corn cob media are the way to go. Sonic cleaning adds a drying step. For a media separator just use an old plastic kitchen colander with large holes.

    4. Can the same powder and primers be used for 9mm and 38SPL? Both cartridges take a small pistol primer. There are powders that work with both cartridges.

    I setup a multiple choice poll as a simple way for people to answer my few questions. Any advice and info is appreciated.
    Answers in red color.
    rammerjammer likes this.
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  6. #21
    Member Array Bozz10mm's Avatar
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    I started out with a Lee Loader. It is a good way to learn the basics. You definitely need a reloading manual. And I would recommend a Lee hand primer. Especially after I was tapping in a primer on a 45 Colt case and it went kaboom on me. I voted for the single stage press, because you are going to end up going that route eventually. A progressive might be too much to start off with. Even after I bought an RCBS Rock Chucker, I continued to use the Lee priming tool. You need a good scale and calipers too. And maybe a primer pocket reamer. Go with the carbide dies.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Array SCfromNY's Avatar
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    I would go with a Dillon Progressive. Excellent equipment. Unmatched customer service.

    Between loading 9mm or .38 I would choose 9mm but I would prefer .45 or .40.

    A decent tumbler can be had for $60, scale for $50, and calipers $30 because I prefer digital. Ranier bullets from Midway are reasonable and Precision Delta has good prices. I like CCI or Federal primers, not a fan of Winchester. Picking up "free" has been getting more difficult but is still done.

    Yes, a single stage press is easier but quickly you will want the speed of a progressive. I am at the peak of my mechanical skill reassembling my 1911 so if I can work with the Dillon 550 anyone can. And tech service can walk you through almost anything. They are VERY patient.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock62 View Post
    I didn't read most of your post earlier because my glasses are broken. I didn't intend to be rude

    1. I would think you'd be better off with a RCBS single stage press. It costs more, but they are bullet proof. You could run over one with a bulldozer.

    2. 9mm cases are tapered, so you need the extra leverage of a RCBS press. The 38spl is a straight walled case. Neither is difficult to reload though.

    3. A vibrating cleaner that uses walnut hull or corn cob is good enough, but a tumbler with stainless steel pins do a great job, they cost more though. However, the SS pins will last forever, and walnut hull media will have to be replaced ever so often. Yes, you need a separator.

    4. Both the 38spl, and 9mm use small pistol primers. There are several powders that will work with both calibers. Winchester 231, and HP-38 (Hodgdon) are excellent powders for both calibers.

    You need to invest in a couple of reloading manuals. Take what an individual says about loads/powder with a grain of salt. Your really need to know what the powder manufacturers have to say about their powders.

    Hodgdon, Winchester, IMR, Aliant, and Accurate all make good powders. I'm partial to Winchester and Hodgdon, but everyone has an opinion. I also don't like flake powders in calibers with small case volumes such as the 9mm. Unique is one example of a flake powder. Win 231/HP-38 are ball powders, although they aren't actually balls, they are flatened spheres. Powders such as these meter much better than flake powders.

    You will also need a scale to weigh your powder, and a good set of calipers to measure the length (OAL) of your completed cartridges.

    As I stated earlier, if you go with Lee dies, get the Deluxe set. Actually, with carbide dies, you don't need to have your cases squeaky clean. If you don't use carbide dies, you must lube all the cases so they don't get stuck. On the 9mm, (because they are tapered) even with carbide dies, you need light lubrication. What I use is furniture polish. I lay the cases down on their sides, and give them a very light mist. Spray from the base end so you don't contaminate the inside of the cases.

    I can help more later, but I need to get to the eye doctor and get my glasses fixed.
    Started with a rockchucker, I've bought a handful of other ones to try, and they all sit under my bench, and the old rockchucker gets bolted back onto the bench. Ergonomics is a big factor in selecting a press, really. The more powerful ones use a longer stroke of the handle, and that's fine if you are 7' 5" and have the arm length to match, still others work like a dream, if your left arm is growing out of the middle of your chest.

    Get a friend that loads, try his set-up, learn, and you'll do fine. The real dangerous people know it all, and don't ask for advice, and are quick to tell you how to do everything, even if they have never done it before.

    LEE dies, good, recommend.
    RCBS Rockchucker (the old one) good, the new ones have the handle in a different location. ( one proviso, poking 38 SPL and 9mm Luger cases in the die gets a bit lame, quickly )
    Wipe your cases with a rag soaked in iso after you resize, they stay pretty clean.

    good luck

  9. #24
    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    >1. I would think you'd be better off with a RCBS single stage press. It costs more, but they are bullet proof. You could run over one with a bulldozer.

    Just being argumentative:

    If one needs a boat anchor, it makes an excellent, but expensive, one. The Rock Chucker was my first press (1973-75, can't quite remember). After a year with it (and a year of sweeping up spent primers from the floor), I realized that there was nothing about it that was any better than a dozen other presses, besides the name
    and magazine articles raving about it, so I sold it and got a Forster Co-Ax. I'll never sell the Co-Ax. Now there is a press that solves so many problems that all the other single-stage presses had at the time had--dies slide in and out, universal shell holder, and tube and bottle to capture all spent primers.
    I can't imagine a press like the Lee Challenger NOT having more than enough leverage for 9x19. Heck, the little Lee Reloading Press ($25 new out the door) has enough leverage for me to reload .30-06.
    PS: I wish that people would NOT use "need" to discuss things they "like" to do.
    One doesn't NEED to measure COL. You either do that, and record the number, or keep the inert dummy round you used to establish a working COL so you can return to that COL later or you work up the COL from scratch every time (and the load) when you switch back to that bullet. There are lots of things one gets to make reloading easier that are almost necessities, but not that many that are absolutely NEEDED (i.e., no alternative). I wouldn't load without a caliper, but it is not a NEED. A press, a scale, and a set of dies are needs (though I have heard of folks who used pipes for dies, they still had something to work as dies).
    NO real reason to clean the tiny amount of case lube off a semi-auto pistol cases. It doesn't hurt, but there isn't any real reason to sweat it. Does one degrease the chamber before firing?
    Lubricating 9x19 cases is also not a need. It can help, particularly with those who obsess over shiny clean cases, but most have loaded tens of thousands of 9x19 rounds without lube.
    Cases only NEED to have the exterior wiped off to be as clean as needed. Everything after that is done for the reloader and not for the gun or quality of the loads. You can rationalize it all you want, just stop saying it is a NEED.

  10. #25
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I voted yes for everything except a sonic tumbler. All I have used for well over over 20 years is a Lee single stage.

    You will want to clean your brass. Saves wear and scarring on your dies, and looks better.
    Migh as well load for both 9mm and 38spl.
    Unique powder can be used quite nicely for both.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  11. #26
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    Lee? Hey, Mrs. Glockman! Hubby could use some upgrades for Christmas next year or his birthday. Just saying.

    (And I'm still using near 40-year-old Herters press!)
    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

  12. #27
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    Just my two cents, you said your not mechanically inclined, so IMHO that would rule out progressive presses even though they work great they take some tinkering to get everything working smooth from time to time. Single stage works great but was to slow for me. Take a look at a turret either redding or lyman t-mag. I have the t- mag an can comfortably load a couple hundred rounds in a hour. I load 9 mm, .38spl, .45, .357, .380 an it works great very easy. I use unique an w231 for everything. CB Bullets are cheap an very good quality lead cast for my .38 an .357 an .45 everything else berrys are good plated bullets. Nice thing about the t-mag you can get extra turret heads from amazon for around 32 dollars that way I have one for each caliber keep my dies in them only have to change one bolt to switch to a different caliber. By a kit that has everthing you need except dies. The lee 4 piece dies are great come with case holder an are carbide so almost no lubing. ( I still lube every 5th or 6th .38 spl works better. The lyman turbo tumbler works great with corn cob or walnut. I got a classifier ( big strainer) 14 inch fits on 5 gallon bucket for separating media from cases works great. If your just going to do pistol cartridges you wont really need a case trimmer. You will need a bullet puller I also reccomend wilson case gauges fast an much easier than calipers for pistol cases. Lots of fun an a great edition to a already fantastic hobby.

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