Never Reloaded...

This is a discussion on Never Reloaded... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've never reloaded before and know absolutely nothing about it. I am considering taking a class locally on reloading ammo: If I were to get ...

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Thread: Never Reloaded...

  1. #1
    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    Never Reloaded...

    I've never reloaded before and know absolutely nothing about it. I am considering taking a class locally on reloading ammo:

    1. If I were to get into reloading, how much of an initial investment could I expect to pay out of pocket?
    2. Is cost savings a reason to start reloading?
    3. Are there issues getting materials for reloading like there is with just outright purchasing ammo?
    "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

    DID YOU KNOW: 89.3% of all quoted statistics are fabricated

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sspargo View Post
    I've never reloaded before and know absolutely nothing about it. I am considering taking a class locally on reloading ammo:

    1. If I were to get into reloading, how much of an initial investment could I expect to pay out of pocket?
    2. Is cost savings a reason to start reloading?
    3. Are there issues getting materials for reloading like there is with just outright purchasing ammo?
    I will answer the three questions you propose first.

    1 Depends
    2 Depends
    3 Depends

    Boy, that helped didn't it? I will do a search in this section to find out some previous posts about getting started in reloading.

    The reason I answered depends on all three questions is because the answers to these questions depends on how much you want to spend up front, how fast you want to turn out ammo, or how much your time is worth, and if you are particular about what kinds of components you decided to use.

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...e-loading.html

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...economics.html

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...reloading.html
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  4. #3
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    Ive just started reloading 9mm myself for cost savings initially and after doing it for 2 weeks I wish I had started sooner.

    a) its fun
    b) its relaxing
    c) it saves you money
    d) sense of pride in making something yourself

    Investment wise I would reccomend the Lee 50th Anniversary Kit + a set of dies for the caliber you are loading + a set of calipers, check out Midwest Reloading on eBay for around $200-250US you can get everything you need.

    At the moment (in the USA anyway) you might run into issues finding some stuff now, but buy in bulk and put it on backorder, you will still save money in the long run.
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  5. #4
    jfl
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    Distinguished Member Array jfl's Avatar
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    Buy a good manual or two, get a Lee turret press, and get your feet wet.
    As previously said it is fun, you save money, and you can experiment with different loads.
    After a while, you'll cast your own bullets; then each rounds will cost you the price of the primer, a few cents; a 1 lb. canister of powder will reload close to a thousand rds ... or more.
    The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

    jfl
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Here is a thread with quite a bit of info on getting started cheap with a hand press. Plus info on other things.

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...lume-work.html

    You might want to consider it. If you have a place to put a regular press, one of the kits would probably be best. IMO, the Lee Turret Press kit is one heck of a deal if you need to produce moderate volumes of ammo.

    Since that thread was written, I have added a tumbler, more dies, and a bench mounted press,(picked it up on ebay for just over $30) but still use my hand press for most stuff.

    Last night I resized, deprimed, trimmed, deburred, and cleaned primer pockets on 50 .223 cases, while sitting in my easy chair watching a movie.

    Then this morning I went down to the bench, primed, charged, seated bullets, and crimped them on the bench press. Total time in the reloading room was about 20min.

    I have made some good ammo, both rifle and pistol, with the hand press. I have used it for everything up to 30-06 with no trouble.

    To me, the only advantage to having my bench press, over the hand press, is that after the case is charged with powder, it's a bit easier to just set it in the stationary bench press, and then seat the bullet. It's not a real problem to do that on the hand press, you just have to be more careful to keep things upright.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    This kit has everything you need to get started except a set of dies (about $25 for Lee dies which are perfectly good and include a shell holder), a set of calipers, a good manual or three, and components:

    MidwayUSA - Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit

    Its only $90 for the kit. Its not the fastest setup, but its perfectly serviceable and a great system to learn on. Even in the event you become an avid handloader there will always be a place for a single stage press. I didn't actually buy the kit, but one of my several presses is a Breech Lock Challenger and I use both the "Perfect Powder Measure" and the safety prime system regularly. Its a very good system and an excellent value.

    Saving money is the reason a lot of us got started (I know its the reason I did), but its also a great hobby and one can make ammunition that is significantly better than what is available from the factory and tailor it to one's own specific weapons. People often compare the cost of say WWB to their own handloads. I don't fault people for that, but sometimes its not particularly realistic. WWB is cheap ammo. It functions fine, but ammunition from a skilled handloader will be significantly better. Even so, I'd say I save about 50% over the cost of buying WWB in common WWB cartridges (9mm, .45ACP, .38 Special) and 75% or more on the less common ones like .30-30 Winchester, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Russian, .444 Marlin, and .45-70 Government.

    Components are not much of a problem, with the exception of primers. The best thing to do with primers is check local stores for them. If they can't be found locally get a backorder in somewhere like Graf's or Cabela's and wait. They will arrive eventually. I haven't had any problem finding bullets, powder, or brass.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  8. #7
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    The above mentioned kit (Lee Breech Lock Challenger 50th Anniversary) can churn out a large amount of ammo, not as much as a progressive but still a respectable amount.

    Ive had mine 4 weeks and already have

    - 750 completed rounds of ammo
    - 600+ sized, belled and primed cases ready to load

    Estimate ive spent on average only 30 minutes to an hour a day for the past 4 weeks and ove got more ammo than I will shoot in 5 months.

    Key is a systematic approach,

    eg
    size 500 cases
    prime and flare 500
    charge 500
    place bullets then seat and crimp

    PS: I use an RCBS 3 die set that seats and crimps in one stage, Lee requires a 4th die to crimp.

    Some people say they have trouble setting up the seat and crimp feature, I only had to make 10 test rounds to setup all of my dies, and since then ive been churning out hundreds of quality made rounds all within spec.
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  9. #8
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    The Lee dies will seat and crimp in one step too. You only need to use a separate die if you want the "factory crimp". The standard 3 die set for revolver ammo puts on a roll crimp at the same time that you seat the bullet. I am pretty sure that the stanard die set for auto cartiridges applies a taper crimp. But if you want the factory crimp, then you have to add the last step with the extra die.

    At least that is how it works with my rifle die sets. You can either crimp with the bullet seating die, or adjust it so that it does not apply a crimp, use it to seat the bullet, and then use the factory crimp die to crimp.

    I have only loaded revolver and rifle rounds so far. I planned to get into hangun loading first, then rifle. However, I got side tracked and got all my rifle die sets and have loaded nothing but rifle loads over the past several months. My next step will be to get the rest of the pistol dies I need (.40, .45., 9mm) and experiment with those.

    So I have no drect experience with the autopistol dies, but I know people who have reloaded with standard dies for years using the standard taper crimp that the seating die puts on. The factory crimp die just adds and extra level of uniformity I believe. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
    Last edited by sgtD; May 26th, 2009 at 09:42 PM.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    "The factory crimp die just adds and extra level of uniformity I believe. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong."

    Correct.

    I have a factory crimp in .40 S&W but not for the other pistol rounds I reload: .38, .357, 9mm, .44mag and .45GAP/ACP. My RCBS dies always bring the final product to measurements well within the cartridge dimensions and have never failed to function 100% in all my revolvers and semi-auto pistols.

    bosco

  11. #10
    Member Array Electraclyde's Avatar
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    You really won't save any money, you will, however, shoot more for the same amount of money!! The reloading process itself is almost as much fun as shooting. I sure beats the h___ out of watching TV.
    We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now able to do anything with nothing.

  12. #11
    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    What about Lyman?? I've found two different kits that look very similar. The CRUSHER EXPERT DELUXE RELOADING KIT and the T-MAG EXPERT DELUXE RELOADING KIT. Does anyone know the difference? Opinions on Lymans? They are a bit more expensive than the ones at Midway but what about quality??
    "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

    DID YOU KNOW: 89.3% of all quoted statistics are fabricated

  13. #12
    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    Also, what about a tumbler??? Are they worth the cost?
    "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

    DID YOU KNOW: 89.3% of all quoted statistics are fabricated

  14. #13
    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    And another, realistically, how many times can one reuse brass?
    "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

    DID YOU KNOW: 89.3% of all quoted statistics are fabricated

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    The Lyman Crusher and T-Mag look great. But to me a little overpriced. If you want a single stage (like crusher) you can find an RCBS or LEE complete kit for a good bit less. The same goes for the turret presses. A single stage is a press that holds only one die at a time. You set the die and do all your brass then change to the next die and perform the next step. Turrets keep several dies set up on a disk and when you want to go to the next reloading step you just index the turret (disk) to the next die. I can change from one die to the next (single stage) in a minute and if reloading the same bullet as before the die is already adjusted (locked in place with a set screw) and ready to go.

    I have used RCBS and Lee (single stage presses) for many years and have reloaded many different rifle and pistol rounds with them. Never had a problem as far as strength or durability with either.

    I tumble all my brass before reloading. Keeps me and my reloading equipment a lot cleaner. It gets off all the powder residue, inside and outside of your brass and gives it a polished look.

    I reloaded rifle brass several times until it starts to stretch out or crack (necked down cartridges more so than straight walled), but with pistol brass I have reloaded it many times and for the most part I have never noticed any need to trim it. In fact sometimnes I think it actually shrinks to a degree. I stay within the recommended loads in my handbooks and tend to stay at the low levels. I reload for practice ammo and carry manufactured rounds for SD.

    My practice rounds have been worked out to give me the same feel as the manufactured rounds and if I stagger a cyclinder or magazine with both I can only see the difference (muzzle flash-smoke), the felt recoil and whrere they hit the target are the same.

    bosco

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    Distinguished Member Array maxwell's Avatar
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    Like it was said before it depends on how much and how fast you want to make ammo. I bought a Dillon RL450 progressive press when they first came out, I think it was back in the early 80's. It is still going strong. I just reload .45ACP. The newer models have a changeable die head to reload different calibers.

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