Any watch outs for a newbie?

This is a discussion on Any watch outs for a newbie? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've never reloaded, and just ordered all of the stuff to get started - a Lee Classic Turret Press, and all of the attachments and ...

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Thread: Any watch outs for a newbie?

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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    Any watch outs for a newbie?

    I've never reloaded, and just ordered all of the stuff to get started - a Lee Classic Turret Press, and all of the attachments and accessories. I'm researching which books I want, and will get the powder, brass and primers based on the info in the books.

    So my question is, for the veteran reloaders out there, what advice can you provide as far as a "watch out" that you wish someone would have given you early in your reloading experience?

    This is literally playing with fire - so I want to make as few mistakes as possible. I'll be loading 45, 9, and maybe 223.

    Thanks in advance.
    BigJon10125 likes this.
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
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    Member Array photoman6's Avatar
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    i'd say try to talk to someone that actually does it, then get a couple of books from the library before you decide why you want to reload, and what it would cost before you step in with both your feet.

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    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    Never talk to someone while reloading. Distractions can be hazardous. Reloading really isn't that bad as long as you go by the books on powder and bullet weight. Always start at the low end of the recommended charge, and work up, but never exceed the maximum charge. Load no more than ten rounds, and test them to see how they are for accuracy. After that, you can go up in increments to find the sweet spot for that powder/bullet. Check your cases for signs of cracks. A light that can shine into the case helps so you can verify a powder charge is there, or in some cases, a double charge. Verify the powder charge with a good scale, don't depend on the powder measuring device to throw the right charge. Make sure you have the bullet seated to the right depth. A case gauge is helpful. I pull my barrel from the gun and use it for for my gauge. If it seats all the way in the barrel chamber, it's OK to go. Don't smoke or drink while reloading.

    Lyman's #49 is a great book to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    I've never reloaded, and just ordered all of the stuff to get started - a Lee Classic Turret Press, and all of the attachments and accessories. I'm researching which books I want, and will get the powder, brass and primers based on the info in the books.

    So my question is, for the veteran reloaders out there, what advice can you provide as far as a "watch out" that you wish someone would have given you early in your reloading experience?

    This is literally playing with fire - so I want to make as few mistakes as possible. I'll be loading 45, 9, and maybe 223.

    Thanks in advance.
    2tall79 and ETXhiker like this.

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    Agreed with no distractions. Use your press like a single stage until you get the hang of what you're doing. Take your time in setting up the dies, patience counts. You'll seldom find the best accuracy with max loads. Mid-range loads seem to work best for me in most calibers.

    I don't get hung up on tiny little details, reloading is not rocket science. Try to be consistent, but don't be fanatical about it. That's where your accuracy will come from. Use the minimum crimp necessary to extend case life.

    Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask!
    2tall79 likes this.
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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photoman6 View Post
    i'd say try to talk to someone that actually does it, then get a couple of books from the library before you decide why you want to reload, and what it would cost before you step in with both your feet.
    Thanks, but this isn't a cost issue. I want a new hobby.
    flintlock62 likes this.
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock62 View Post
    Never talk to someone while reloading. Distractions can be hazardous. Reloading really isn't that bad as long as you go by the books on powder and bullet weight. Always start at the low end of the recommended charge, and work up, but never exceed the maximum charge. Load no more than ten rounds, and test them to see how they are for accuracy. After that, you can go up in increments to find the sweet spot for that powder/bullet. Check your cases for signs of cracks. A light that can shine into the case helps so you can verify a powder charge is there, or in some cases, a double charge. Verify the powder charge with a good scale, don't depend on the powder measuring device to throw the right charge. Make sure you have the bullet seated to the right depth. A case gauge is helpful. I pull my barrel from the gun and use it for for my gauge. If it seats all the way in the barrel chamber, it's OK to go. Don't smoke or drink while reloading.

    Lyman's #49 is a great book to have.
    Great advice...thanks! Just ordered the Lyman's book off Amazon.
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
    My sometimes EDC: Colt XSE LW or G26

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    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    I forgot to add, a bullet puller will come in handy. Already stated is not to use too much crimp. Also, do not over flair the case. You will learn how much flair is needed to start the bullet. After that, more flair doesn't do any good and weakens the case mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    Great advice...thanks! Just ordered the Lyman's book off Amazon.

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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock62 View Post
    I forgot to add, a bullet puller will come in handy. Already stated is not to use too much crimp. Also, do not over flair the case. You will learn how much flair is needed to start the bullet. After that, more flair doesn't do any good and weakens the case mouth.
    Been looking at powder manufacturer websites, and they offer a lot of load data online. Is this valid data, in your experience?
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
    My sometimes EDC: Colt XSE LW or G26

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    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    Thanks, but this isn't a cost issue. I want a new hobby.


    So how long before you're turning out 50BMG and 20mm rounds?

    Just kidding Slim...
    flintlock62 likes this.
    Firing a suppressed is on my Bucket List.

    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.

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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    Been looking at powder manufacturer websites, and they offer a lot of load data online. Is this valid data, in your experience?
    Yes, powder manufacturer data is valid. I think they err on the side of caution pretty heavily, so you should stay safe following their data.

    My advice, Check, Check, and Double Check. Handloading is not that difficult, just pay attention to what you're doing and you'll be fine.

    Handgun powders are hard to come by right now, but there's some out there for a price, and things should return to normal eventually.

    As far as the economics, I cast my own bullets, I can load cast plinking loads in 9mm, .38/.357, .40, .45 acp, .44/.44 mag, and .45 Colt for $3.00/ box of 50. I know you are doing it for a hobby, but if you like to shoot, it sure is a cost effective hobby.

    And pretty soon you'll be loading better than premium loads for about 20% of the cost.

    Have fun and Good Luck !
    “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

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  12. #11
    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by NONAME762 View Post


    So how long before you're turning out 50BMG and 20mm rounds?

    Just kidding Slim...
    I only ever reloaded 12G. I was lucky and bought a setup that was Ready To Go!! A MEC JR + Dupont IMR 7625 80 pounds of #7 #7 1/2 and #8 birdshot. A couple hundred wads and a couple hundred empty shells and 900 #209 primers + nearly 5 pounds of powder. LOL All of this for either $50 or $75. {This was nearly 30 years ago that I bought this reloading outfit.} It was a garage sale type deal but it was just me and the guy. While I wasn't exactly aware of it at the time the man I was dealing with was fairly famous for owning a successful roofing business in my AO. I didn't want to haggle too much as a super buddy told me if you don't buy it I WILL!!!!!!!
    At the time he reloaded for rifle and 45ACP but not 12G.
    All I had to buy was what I've always affectionately called a Recipe Book although the technical term is Data book.
    I made around 200R before I needed shells or wads. I made 800R before I had to buy primers. When I went up to K-Rings for more primers I tried to buy more ALCAN primers. Everybody at K-Rings had a good laugh on that, as it happened ALCAN primers had not been made for an extremely long time. Upon hearing this I saved the last box and still have almost 100 Alcan primers that could be up to 30 years old.

    All the advice given thus far is spot on. I would only add Keep your reloading bench SPOTLESS. I wouldn't keep too much powder out either. A friend of mine once had his powder horn explode while reloading a muzzle loader. Granted modern smokeless powder is classed a PROPELLANT vs an EXPLOSIVE don't take unnecessary chances. Where my friend made his mistake he had his grain measure incorporated into the spout on his horn. A spark in the barrel flashed the powder falling down the barrel and that in turn hit powder residue at the top of the horn. His powderhorn exploded like a grenade and he was hit by horn fragments. He was rushed to a hospital where the ER Docs were able to SAVE his eyes. with very slight permanent damage IIRC. A brand new loading rule was implemented that day for muzzle loaders due to the accident Dwayne had.

    Load powder measure from horn.

    Put horn away.

    Pour charge down barrel. Tap barrel near Lock to seat powder.

    Short start patched ball.

    Finish ramming ball down barrel. Seat ball on powder.

    Point gun down range on firing line.

    With hammer at half cock seat cap on nipple.

    Pointing rifle/pistol down range pull hammer all the way to full cock.

    Aim and squeeze trigger.


    I know this ain't the muzzle loading thread. Powder is explosive whether modern black powder or modern pistol/rifle propellant powder. Act accordingly.
    Last edited by NONAME762; March 15th, 2014 at 10:23 PM. Reason: fergot sumpin
    Firing a suppressed is on my Bucket List.

    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.

    America...a Constitutional Republic. NOT a democracy as the liberals would have us believe.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    Yes, I use Hodgdon and Vithtavouri web site data quite often.

    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    Been looking at powder manufacturer websites, and they offer a lot of load data online. Is this valid data, in your experience?

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsteve113 View Post
    Yes, powder manufacturer data is valid. My advice, Check, Check, and Double Check.

    As far as the economics, I cast my own bullets, I can load cast plinking loads in 9mm, .38/.357, .40, .45 acp, .44/.44 mag, and .45 Colt for $3.00/ box of 50. I know you are doing it for a hobby, but if you like to shoot, it sure is a cost effective hobby.

    And pretty soon you'll be loading better than premium loads for about 20% of the cost.

    Have fun and Good Luck !
    Jeeze Louise that's $6 per 100R using self cast bullets. I sure am glad I'm not reading this thread on a Smartphone or iPhone while standing in line to buy pistol ammo at Wally World or some such gun shop otherwise someone in line might get uneasy if they were to see smoke coming from my ears. Makes me wish I still had my MEC Jr.
    Firing a suppressed is on my Bucket List.

    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.

    America...a Constitutional Republic. NOT a democracy as the liberals would have us believe.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array CWOUSCG's Avatar
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    Big watch out is double charging. When using, say Unique, it may have a 5 grain load but the case will hold 50. Easy to throw a double charge on that if you're not paying attention.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    NONAME,

    Can you tell I shoot muzzleloaders? Never, never, never load from a powder horn, and that includes having a built in measure. I use deer horn, fill it up, cap the horn then pour powder down the muzzle. Many old the old movies show the old timers pouring directly down the barrel. One of my favorite movies Sargent York, shows him pouring down the barrel. It wasn't done that way, it just looks cool in the movies, I guess. I was at a shoot one day, and saw a guy poring powder from his horn. I gave him a piece of my mind. I won the match, he was last, or close to it. I asked him how he was measuring, and he said, "I just count to ten".

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