Re-loading

This is a discussion on Re-loading within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Thats a good series of vids that link. Lee do a nice kit called the Lee Breechlock Challenger Kit Comes with pretty much everything you ...

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  1. #16
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    Thats a good series of vids that link.

    Lee do a nice kit called the Lee Breechlock Challenger Kit

    Comes with pretty much everything you need to get started in 1 kit

    - Breechlock Challenger with Quick Change Bushings
    - Lee Autoprime
    - Case Tools
    - Powder Measure
    - Scales

    All you need is a set of dies, Lee and RCBS are reasonable in price, just make sure you get Carbide dies.

    If you're like me an just starting you dont want to put big $$$ into equipment, and you will always have bew reloaders lining up to buy your 2nd hand gear if you choose to get higher priced and more elaborate reloading gear.
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  3. #17
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    For pistol I started out with a Lee turret press, a great press to learn on. with the auto powder measure and autodisk, almost impossible to double charge. It's very reasonable in price and can load rifle to, cost to switch calibres is about $12 for turret plate and $30 for dies. I also bought their powder scale to check my loads. I started out just washing my brass in hot soapy water with a scrub brush. Also buy a book on reloading and read it. You will not regret getting into reloading.

  4. #18
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    It seems the OP has pretty much no knowlege about any of this, which is fine, but the first thing he needs to do is get a book on reloading and read it. Then he will understand the nomenclature and methods used to reload on a basice level and also understand how looking at the load charts will help him answer many quetions for himself, such as powder choices, bellet weights, etc.

    Can someone suggest a good book that covers everything at basic level?

    I started with Modern Reloading by Richard Lee, but I wouldn't recommend it by itself for a "true beginner" because it's just a bit too technical I think. It was ok for me, but I already knew the basics, having reloaded shotshells for several years. There has to be a more basic book out there, but if not, the Lee book is good enough.

    As someone above previously mentioned, there are plenty of videos on youtube and they are mostly pretty good information.

    Reloading is easy and fun, once you figure out what your doing and how to do it, but figuring that out is fun too.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  5. #19
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Get the ABC's of Reloading and read it cover to cover.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  6. #20
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    Get the ABC's of Reloading and read it cover to cover.
    Thanks, I'll look into ordering the book.

  7. #21
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    It really isn't hard, it just requires attention to detail. Handgun cartridges, like 9x19mm, are quite easy to handload. Rifle cartridges tend to require a lot more brass prep, but actually loading them is about as simple.

    The reason a couple of grains make a difference is that a "grain" is a unit of weight measure. There are 7000 grains in a pound. When someone talks about a grain of powder they are not talking about an indiviual flake. I think a lot of people who are not "in the know" about handloading think of a grain and a flake of powder as being the same thing. They are not. One or two extra flakes in a handload is not likely to make a measurable difference. One or two grains extra will.
    -Landric

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  8. #22
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    Landric, thanks. I'm one of those that got caught up thinking a grain is litteraly a grain of powder.

    I did order the back mentioned a few replies back and should have some reading to shortly.

  9. #23
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    You are doing the right thing getting a good book and reading it. The Internet also has a wealth of information, including step-by-step guides and videos. This forum is great about answering questions once you have a feel for the basics and the flow.

    I was trying to find a lengthy post I did, either here or on another forum about my experience getting into reloading, but I can't So, here are some abbreviated thoughts:

    Figure out how much time you have , how many rounds you need regularly, what your capacity for tedium is, where you will be reloading, etc. before you jump into it. I could write a few paragraphs on this, but basically, there's a big difference in the time commitment and the type of set-up/equipment you need depending upon your life style and needs.

    For example, I only need 200-300 rounds per month, generally just 2-3 calibers, don't have a dedicated space (like in the garage), like to watch sports on TV at night, not into it to loading match-grade or SD ammo...just plinking stuff, only have 15-60 minutes at a time, want to invest a minimal amount of money in the equipment (based on the amount I shoot and the payback period), etc. These sort of answers led me to get a Lee Hand Press rather than a turret, progressive or single-stage. I've been using it for 5-6 years now and still like it for a number of reasons:
    -- it was inexpensive -- the press and all required tools (more later) was about $80
    -- it's portable -- I can move it from room to room, or even take it camping; no dedicated loading bench needed; it packs away in the closet and I take it out when needed
    -- it allows me to work in 15-20 minute stages; e.g., I can sit in front of the TV and deprime a couple hundred brass in 20 minutes or prime 100 cases in 15 minutes, or charge and seat 50 bullets in 15 minutes;
    -- I can stop at any time; e.g., with a single stage press, when dropping powder one often uses loading blocks to charge 50-100 cases at a time, and then seat the bullets in the next stage. If you are called away, say by the kids, the cases have to sit there, exposed, with the risk of spillage (even without being called away, you can knock over cases), etc.; with a handloader, I charge and seat the bullet in one step. I can do 5 bullets or 50 and stop at any time.
    -- as a newbie, I liked being in "feel" with each step. You can accomplish this with a single-stage press as well, but not a progressive press. If I make a mistake, I know it right then and can stop and correct before moving on. There are no double charged cases, or no non-charged cases. I'm not 15-20 rounds down the road before I realize that my powder dropper is dropping heavy charges and then I have to pull all those bullets.

    There are probably other reasons in my original post, but these give you the idea.

    In addition to the hand press, I also bought:
    -- set of Lee dippers ($12-15)
    -- Lee auto prime tool ($20)
    -- dies for each caliber (Lee four die carbide sets with the Factory Crimp Die -- $25 each set)
    -- powder (1 lb at $24), primers (1000 at $30) and bullets (500 LSWCs at $30)

    That's it. Now, I also bought some other items that I would consider optional. I did not buy these at the very beginning, nor were they needed:
    -- scale (start with a cheap balance beam; I now use a digital for convenience, but it's not really any faster) ($25)
    -- case length sizing tool and drill chuck ($5); not really needed for 9mm
    -- case deburrer tool ($6); only needed if trimming
    -- primer pocket cleaner tool ($5); not really needed
    -- bullet puller ($15)...seldom used
    -- caliper to check OAL (I used to just compare visually against standard 9mm or .44, e.g. when using Berry's plated bullets, and never had a FTF; with LSWCs, there generally is a cannelure you seat the bullet to, so no guesswork on length); this is needed however, if you get more exotic in your bullet selection (e,g., very heavy, long-nosed bullets like I sometimes use in my .44 mag) and/or experiment (e.g., crimping at the second cannelure)

    Regarding cleaning brass. I went down every path I could to save money and tried every home-made recipe from throwing in the washing maching in a pillow case, to using a little Flitz on a rag, to steel wool, to many different solutions with vinegar, dishwashing detergent, salt, etc. Tried them all, and they all worked to some degree or another. However, I found that the physics of solution-based cleaners actually could deterioate the brass cases over time, and the other methods were either too time consuming (e.g., steel wool) or just didn't get the cases as clean as I would like. Now, many people don't even bother to clean them beyond a wipe down, if that. But there's something appealing about a nice, shiny, reloaded round you did yourself. So, here's my advice....just buy the vibratory cleaner and media made for the job. The one mentioned above (Frankford Arsenal from Midway) was inexpensive ($55 on sale) and came with the sifting cage and media. Believe me, it was well worth every penny I spent for it. Not only did it save me a lot of time, but the cases come out great! Just get it (or a similar one) and forget all the home remedies. (BTW, I also went down the path of buying my own crushed walnut -- used for lizard cages -- and corn cob -- 25 lb bag from a feed store -- and adding my own cleaner, e.g., everything from Brasso, to Flitz to car wax, etc. Don't bother. Just buy the pretreated media from Midway and be done with it. A 7-lb bag with last you a couple of years and cost $15).

    The last thing I will say is my process. Everyone has a slightly different one, but this works for me given my set-up:
    1) Sort brass by caliber (otherwise the smaller ones get inside the larger cases and don't get cleaned; if you only shoot 9mm, this isn't required)
    2) Clean a batch for a couple of hours (generally 100-150 cases at a time)
    3) Sort brass by headstamp (may not be required) and inspect for defects; put in loading boxes
    4) Deprime/size with handpress
    5) [optional] trim case length and debur
    6) [optional] clean primer pockets
    7) [optional] clean brass cases again
    8) Use expander die (prefer to do this without primer in case, but you can safely switch steps #7 and #8)
    9) Prime cases by hand with the Autoprime tool (generall in batches of 50 or 100; it only takes a few minutes for each batch)
    10) Using dippers and scale to verify as required (with some charges, the weight needs to be measured each time; I generally choose less than maximum charges and have learned to throw consistent charges with each dip, at least within 0.1 grains; I even bought a second set of dippers and shaved down a couple to match my favorite charges with certain powders), charge the case (with the dipper) and seat the bullet (with the handpress that is resting in my lap); I'll do a batch of 50 or 100 at a time.
    11) use the Factory crimp die (literally takes five minutes for 75-100 cartridges)

    That's it. A few easy steps I can do with my hand tools in front of the TV. Each step is anywhere from 5-20 minutes. And they don't have to be done all at once. For example, one night I may deprime 50-150 bullets, the next expand 50-100. A week later I might autoprime 50, and then load them a few days later. I always have several boxes of cases in various states, and go through them depending upon how I feel and the time I have. I find it easy to deprime, expand and use the autoprime, so I generally have a few boxes waiting to be loaded. For my plinking ammo, with a powder and dipper matched to the case/load, it's easy to do 50-75 bullets in the final stages (#7-#9) in 30 minutes. If I have to weigh each one, maybe half that.

    Anyway. You don't have to make reloading complicated, expensive or time consuming. Work into it over time. get more sophisticated over time. And as your needs grow, move up to the turret or progressive press and crank out 200-300 rounds an hour. But, consider your needs, time, mental make-up, and demands of your life style before you commit to a reloading process. Most of all...have fun and enjoy it!

  10. #24
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    alnitak

    That was a great read, thanks for taking the time. Knowing my wife and children (4,10,13) I won't be doing this in front of the TV. Everything you said makes total sense. I'm going to wait for the book to arrive, do some reading and then make a decision.

    One thing that worries me is the availability of primers. Someone told me they are as hard to get a hold of as Ammo.

  11. #25
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    Primers can be tough to come by. There are still a few sites out there that allow you to back order them and they ship when they come in (about 3-4 weeks). You can also pay outrageous prices at a gun show for them (I won't). If you can buy in bulk, say 5000 at a time, it's cost effective to buy them online with the added hazmat shipping charges. But many local stores still have some in stock, or get some in occasionally. I just bough 1000 LP primers for $39 from my local shop (of course 6 months ago they were $26). Small Pistol primers seem to be tougher to find (you need SP for 9mm), but they are out there. (BTW, it doesn't matter whether you get CCI, Winchester, Federal, Wolf, Remington, etc. All primers will do the job. Now, experienced reloaders and (bench) shooters may notice a difference in POI, or even accuracy with a given load, between one primer and another, but I have never noticed it, especially with 9mm and at the ranges I fire. That applies more to the bench/long-range rifle shooters.)

    My kids are now 12 and 15, but I started back when they were the same ages as yours. There was no reloading until they went to bed, but then I had the rec room to myself. I'd rather be there multitasking rather than sitting out in the garage or in the basement. However, others prefer having a reloading space/room they can go to and "cave." Consider it a hobby and jump in at the level that you enjoy.

    Feel free to ask more questions as you read up more.

    Oh, one other thing...check out e-bay and some of the gun classified forums. You can often get used reloading equipment for half of what you would pay new. That includes dies, presses, scales, components (bullets, brass), etc. The smaller tools you may have to buy separately. Also, check out the "lots" on e-bay. Often they have everything you need, as someone may have passed away or gotten out of reloading.

    Good luck!

  12. #26
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    I just tried ordering powder and primers. Besides being out of stock, I was just told that it is now illegal to ship this items into NJ.

  13. #27
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Also the Lee sight and the loadmaster zone have some good video. I suspect the other press makers have video also.

  14. #28
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmilchman View Post
    I was just told that it is now illegal to ship this items into NJ.
    Hmmm...didn't know that. Have you verified, say with another vendor like Powder Valley?

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alnitak View Post
    Hmmm...didn't know that. Have you verified, say with another vendor like Powder Valley?
    I haven't, I placed the order by shipping to a friend in PA. I'll have to remember to check else where next time.

    Bullets, powder and primers are backordered until July.

  16. #30
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    From Midwest Shooting Sports:

    "Powder/Primers/Percussion Caps:
    Warning: Due to state law we are unable to ship Powder/Primers/Percussion Caps to Residents of Washington, DC and NY."

    So, maybe there's some confusion out there?

    Another place to check is Natchez. Some of these places get them in only for a day or so, some will allow backorder, others, like Grafs, have removed them and only show when they are in stock. It's hit or miss.

    Sounds like you have it covered, though. Good luck!

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