Hand me that can opener I want some worms...

This is a discussion on Hand me that can opener I want some worms... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; All right this outta be another one of "Those" threads for which I should be beaten and flogged. Or maybe it'll be good. Let's find ...

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Thread: Hand me that can opener I want some worms...

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Hand me that can opener I want some worms...

    All right this outta be another one of "Those" threads for which I should be beaten and flogged. Or maybe it'll be good. Let's find out.

    It's time to get a press. Oh yes it is. I've a serviceable quantity of things to shoot, I've a humble avenue to shoot them in, and I operate my gun interest on a shoe string. Reloading only makes sense.

    I'm a cheap *******. I like gadgets. I like techno babble and memorizing things out of manuals. I should love reloading.

    Why yes this IS my Christmas.

    Now I realize that I need a lot more than a press. I believe I will need a press, bench, powder scale, and calipers and manuals just to start. Shortly thereafter it would probably behoove me to invest in a media separator and a case trimmer and a whole lot of stuff I probably didn't even know existed. However it all starts with the press.

    I intend to start on one caliber exclusively, probably .44 Magnum is as good a place as any, and expand to others. For sure I'm interested in .357 Magnum/.38 Special, .44 Magnum/ .44 Special, 9x19, .40 S&W, 7.62x39, and .308. Down the road, .223 and .45 ACP and other calibers would be nice too.

    My intention is, and laugh if you will, to set this up in my living room in a 1 bedroom apartment. I don't have a couch after all. However as I will not be the most prolific reloader in existence, I think that a bench sized area will be adequate. I actually want to find out if you could mount one on one of those rolling benches Craftsman and Kohler make or if you have to make your own bench customized to the right height and built extra heavy.

    I also have no plans of ever reloading anything exotic like the .50 AE or .338 Lapua Magnum yet I would like to reload basically many common calibers.

    I have therefore deduced I should start with a Dillon 550. It will do more than I could ever conceivably want to do myself. I understand it is a progressive press and basically almost idiot proof. The dies are reasonably priced and the warranty is impeccable. I think the 650 is too much for me and I'd be investing in something that's just way too much overkill for my needs, and I think the Square B isn't quite enough if I ever wanted to expand.

    Educate me...

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  3. #2
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    Thumbs up You might like this - pretty small though but, SOLID

    I'm not a reloader...I buy "El Crappo" cheap, junque, throw~away reloads for practice but, found this page on the web a while back.
    It was a minor miracle that I was able to locate it again.
    Check This little Guy Out - CLICK HERE


    B.T.W. ~ Make sure if you find yourself a pre~built Sears type "work bench" with a metal top that you run a "grounding wire" from the metal to something like a cold water line.
    No chance of sparks is a good thing when you are reloading.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    you can get a relaoding stand from midway . A bench from craftsman would be all right but need a heavy duty on which will be $$

    For starting out knowing what i do know i would have started with a Hornady progressive as i have now its round cost of the Dillon .. lots love Dillon but to dang expensive to change calibers.

    Then a scale i would go right with a 99$ pact bbk electronic i hate the old balance beam scales even though im good with them.

    As for dies cant really Beat Lee dies till ya get into say the crimp die for a 454 or 500 smith everything else Lee is what i would and do buy Now..

    I have lyman rcbs and lee mostly lee.

    You need a case tumbler Right at first ive tried all the other ways to clean brass before i bought mine and wish i would have spent the 60-80$ right off the bat..


    As for case trimmers Again Lee cant be beat buy there case length Cutter set get the adapter for a cordless drill and trim brass while watching tv with no measuring of the case's it is the Bomb.

    Also digital calipers are what i prefer ok i lazy i admit it.

    As for manuals Lyman and the Lee also the magazine type manual from hodgdon are what i use Midway made soem nice laod maps but dont anymore ebay is about only place to find them

    Anything else just ask

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    Good quality electronic scale, good reloading manual (pick lastest publication from either Speer, Hornady, or Lyman), calipers, good lighting above bench. Common tools, good set of Allen wrenchs, etc. Several clean old toothbrushs, a couple of cheap 3/4" paint brushes.

    550 is good choice. Get the tool for the dies. You can buy extra bins at local tool store or a place like Rural King. Get several ammo cans. A couple of big ones to store components.

    Bench needs to have at least 18" either side of press. For top, work bench may not do it, but adding a piece of 3/4" plywood should make the bench much more stable. The shelf under the bench should be strong too, and a couple of concrete blocks will help stablize it until you get loaded ammo cans for weight.

    Take your time, and do not reload when distracted.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

  6. #5
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    Euc - depending on your aspirations and needs - Lee stuff can serve well. I know that Rockchuckers and 550's and 650's can be great but - I started with Lee a quarter century ago and more, and for my needs it has done very well.

    I have added quite a bit over time and this pic shows - tho not very easy to see - two turret presses, a Challenger and also a simple lightweight single station I use for priming and simple jobs. I often use Challenger just for factory crimp dies.

    I also have here a RCBS lubrisizer. Shelves contain powders, all sorts of stuff. Over time it grows but with you - re say .44 mag - you could set up for not too much really with Lee. I used to use a Lyman 500 beam scale but now use also an electronic deal I got from Dylan thru the Blue Book - these two do very nicely. Oh and also in pic tho hard to see is a hopper Hornady powder measure - what I use for large capacity rifle loads.


    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    QK: neat find!

    As for a bench, I could conceivably make one out of 2x4s and whatnot but the reason I'm attracted to a commerical tool style bench is that it's just easier...

    That's a good idea on cutting a piece of 3/4" plywood the same size as the bench's surface and then clamping them on top of each other and then putting the concrete blocks on the bottom. I'll just have to look around. I've been doing my homework and the best idea is a wall mount but I can't do that. I've seen presses successfully mounted on wooden benches made out of 2x4s, commercial work benches, commercial folding tables, and even on a pallet which sits on top of a kitchen counter.

    The Dillon looks a little pricier when it comes to switching calibers I admit, but it also seems the easiest to use. Am I wrong about this?

    I understand that Speer and Lyman manuals are both very good but different. Apparently Speer manuals are simpler and Lyman manuals more detailed for those with experience, and everyone winds up getting both.

    I'm interested in knowing there are these other presses and will chase them all down looking for information.

  8. #7
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    Euc - my ''bench'' is actually a real old cupboard/drawer furniture unit - retained and fixed to wall.

    I'd include also the Lee 2nd edition load book too - and any others you may find on line - often in PDF format.

    When reloading it pays to browse several books and loads and start conservatively.

    Major powder people usually publish their own - so apart from Speer and Lyman - there is data from Winchester, Alliant, Accurate, Hodgdon - - etc - go do a search and you'll find most.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    You needn't worry about me being too aggressive. I'm out to make cheap ammunition not fireballs.

  10. #9
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    P95Carry

    When are you going to upgrade to a nicer looking set~up?
    Seriously.....Really ideal & cozy looking little corner ya got there!
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  11. #10
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    I'm a cheap *******.
    Welcome to the club!




    I reload 2 calibers only. I have no garage and the wife did not allow me to install the press on the coffee table. This is "my room" and about the only space left I had was against the window.
    The bench is two 4 foot long 2x12's screwed on one side to the wall and the other to a very overengineered and secured bookcase. The actual working space is 39 inches. I got most of my stuff out of Midway and I know some purists will cringe at the sight of Lee equipment. It is inexpensive and that attracted the cheap in me. I started with Lee's Anniversary kit comes with most of the stuff you will need to get started), the dies, a bullet puller (you will need it LOTS when you start ) Max cartridge gauge dies in the calibers you want to reload and reloading trays.
    The first tumbler I got is an old Midway one a friend of mine let me have for some unspeakable cheap price. My first media separator was a spaghetti strainer and a plastic bowl (you can see the bowl still under the bench left side.) I eventually got an used media separator and another tumbler. I also got me some plastic containers in the same place I got the strainer (99 cent store) to keep the clean brass. Assorted trays and I did buy an used RCBS powder thrower on EBay since the one that came with the kit sucks.
    The scale is not the most user friendly there is but does the job although I have to turn the overhead fan off when I am measuring. Ziplock baggies for the finished product, an old jar to keep the removed primers.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

  12. #11
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    I have The Dillon XL650 and it is one remarkable machine. The main difference in the 550 and 650 to me was the automatic indexing. the 650 does and the 550 doesn't. I've added the case-feeder to the set-up and it loads ammo almost as fast as I can shoot it. It's a very simple matter to load a thousand rounds of ammo in 2 hours. And a lot of that time is spent reloading primer tubes.

    I was looking at some of the benches that Sears sells and out of the bunch I found 1 or 2 that would suffice for reloading.
    Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences

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    DE OPPRESSO LIBER

  13. #12
    Member Array armoredman's Avatar
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    Hah - gotch! I am cheaper! Old TV stand! Works great, too.....
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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    I think Miggy nailed it... I'm going for something about like that eventually.

    I've read up on the 550 vs. 650 thing and I don't think I'll ever load fast enough to really make use of the 650.

    There is a pretty healthy market where I'm at in slightly used reloading supplies, so I figure once I get my mitts on the press I can get the rest at a slight break.

    I had reasoned that in the short term the Square B might be easier, but in the long term I think I'd kick myself and say "Why didn't I spend another $60 and get a press that would do anything I ever wanted it to do?"

    It seems if you are willing to reinforce it enough, you can mount a press on anything in existence.

    http://www.beast-enterprises.com/550650.html

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by armoredman
    Hah - gotch! I am cheaper! Old TV stand! Works great, too.....
    Yep! You win you cheap *******!

    Euc, I started like you not knowing if I would enjoy relaoding and I did not want to hear the wife in the future complaining about all the money spent on equipment now gathering dust in that corner. Turned out that I do enjoy the reloading and specially doing in in a single stage. I am not some guru in relaoding, but I would advise anybody starting to go this way. You develop discipline which is very important if you do not want to have a bigger bang than your gun was designed for and you sort of develop a tactile "memory" about the rounds. Lemme see if I can explain: you are handling the brass and detetc bulges, deformations or cracks, you know if you seated the bullet at the proper depth or you gave too much or too little crimp and so on. It becomes a craft in my opinion and since you are always watching the round you are making, whatever the tact misses, the eye has a good chance to catch.

    Beware, soon after you get confy in your bench, you'll start tuning the rounds you make to your gun in the everlasting search for the perfect performance.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Oh I Think it'll be a kick in the pants. I just need to weigh all the options and sally forth.

    I think it's one of those things where it's a "Pick One and live with it" decision.

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