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Joining the ranks of reloaders!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mikej, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Hey guys....As the title says. I've got a heavy table of sorts that I'm setting up with the RCBS press and powder thrower in the house. It's too cold and damp I believe to be doing this in the unheated garage at this time. I will most likely move the press out to the garage and drill my work bench durring the warmer times. Talk to me, or better yet show me some pics of your setups. I'm just wanting to know what might work best as far as straddling the press, on the left or right, where to mount the thrower in relation to the press. Any do's or don'ts and such.

    AND, any body got carbide die sets in 9mm, .38/.357 or .45 auto for a good price? Trying to save a bit don't ya' know.

    Mike
     
  2. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I set up the press to the right because I am right handed, and as close as possible to the legs. I mount the thrower to the press, and hold it in place with a die. A few nights ago I switched the lever to the left hand. I am no spring chicken any more and had been overworking my right arm and shoulder. I bought it originally for rifle ammo reloading. But as of late, all I seem to be doing is handgun (38spc, 357mag, 40sw, 45ACP, 45LC, 460SW). A progressive is starting to look so attractive...
     
  3. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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  4. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    decide whether u are going to sit or stand,and build the bench height accordingly. I see soooo many people buying Dillon strong mounts to raise their press.Never needed them,nveer will,just built my bench taller to accomadate,as I always stand.

    even using carbide dies for pistol ammo,I keep some Hornady lube on my fingertips so that just the top of the case gets a smidge of lube.what a difference itmakes when sizing !! A tub of lube will last forEVER,and it sure makes the operation a lot les strenuous on the old arms. I put on so little I never worry about wiping it off,but it sure helps.

    I don't like to 'run out of bench' so I mount my press about a third of the way across,from either end.
     
  5. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Welcome Jim.

    I'm new to reloading too, but learned a lot fast. The following is worth what you paid for it, so due diligence for your needs, safety and situation are up to you.

    For hundreds of bench pictures of setups, try this (a good forum as well with an active selling section on dies, brass, and of course, casting bullets): Loading bench pics - Cast Boolits

    As for the bench and garage, I came to the same conclusion, and decided to take over a 11x6 foot walk-in closet for a loading room. Now I load and fiddle in my man cave a lot.

    Tips: No food or drink in the loading area: besides spills, distractions and such ruining your day, lead transferred to the food and your mouth is not good.

    I bought Lee dies because they are cheap and useful, though others like Redding, Lyman, RCBS, etc. make better ones for match shooting, etc. -- lots of religion on that topic. What they won't tell you fast is to oil presses, dies, etc. with light oil. Everything rusts fast in the Pac NorthWet if lazy.

    Within a month I went from a Lee Classic Cast single stage press (Similar to a Rockchucker) to a turret press because loading pistol ammo gets old quick -- but I'm glad I started with a single stage to learn the ropes.

    Good instructional videos by this guy: San Francisco Liberal...WITH A GUN!
    And his wife: San Francisco Liberal...WITH A GUN!:

    And I found this guy helpful: Iraqveteran8888's Channel - YouTube

    There is more to learn than I ever imagined! By the way, Lee loading manual #2 says you can use lightly sprayed furniture polish occasionally on the handgun case to smooth out the carbide die sizing -- but not really needed per most people. I know a guy who has loaded 32 years (and a winning pistol competitor and police range master) who never even cleans pistol brass -- tens of thousands of rounds later, dies and guns are fine. Personally I like my brass shiny, lol.

    I wasn't sure about where I wanted my loading stations either. So I mounted my powder measure, turret press, etc. on some 2x6 sections of wood and C-clamped them in place. Then I moved them around to get the best fit. So far the only one bolted to the bench is the single stage press. Still playing with placement of the other press, etc. I may even leave something on the boards that I don't use often.

    Keep things clean and in their place. Nothing worse than needing that case guage or small part and can't find it in some clutter.

    Get at least two good loading manuals. Speer and Lyman as well as others are respected. Always check at least two sources for powder loads (misprints happen) and start low and be conservative. When in doubt, listen to your gut and find out what is wrong -- I found two squib loads before they could ruin my day by listening to that inner voice "something wasn't right".

    Don't buy everything all at once. You may not need something depending on your loading needs. Buy as you need stuff. Sometimes cheap is "good enough", other times it is a waste of money -- hard to tell sometimes. Generally buy the best you can afford -- same as tools in the garage. Do you need Snap-on quality or will Craftsman be good enough?

    Never load if tired, upset, drinking booze or distracted -- just like riding a motorcycle or other potentially hazardous duty.

    Those are the thoughts that come to mind that I wish I knew at the time I started. Probably more will be added by others, but I'm pooped.
     
  6. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Incredible!!!

    Exactly what I was wanting, excelent ideas! Thanks for spending the time to write all that. But no dies??

    There's going to be a lot of time spent on the links given I'm sure....San Francisco Liberal with a gun. LOL

    Mike
     
  7. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    After looking at all the set-ups in the "Reloading Bench Pics" well, ghetto definitly defines what mine will be. An old '60s two station school desk, one inch thick plywood top though. 5'x2' top and a couple of attached storage pans haning under the table top! Maybe after I get going on this I'll start a "Ghetto Loading Bench Pics" thread?

    What would be peoples recomendation for cleaning media? $18.00 for 4.5#-5# of the stuff seems a little spendy. Fishermans has(can't remember brand now) a 12# box of nut for $25.00, that's the one I was probably going to get. What grades, fine medium coarse? I know SkyDiver has a super price, just not sure I want to get that much at this point, I may still though. So talk to me about what's best or not best, in the way of corn cob or nut. I'll be starting out with 9mm, with primers in according to the direction on the vibrator, and moving on with .45 and .38.

    I'm sure I'll be back with more ??s.
    Thanks for all your help.

    Mike
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If you're just starting out do it right. Rather than going the "Old and Dusty" route with corncob/walnut shell media, consider investing in some Stainless Steel Pin media and a thumbler Model B High Speed Tumbler. Rather than having all that dust, having to buy polish to add to it, and then having to replace the media periodically, the stainless steel pins just need some soap and some dishwasher dry agent. I use "Lemi-Shine" from Wal-Mart which is about $3. Since all you use is 1/4 tsp. it lasts forever.

    The Stainless Steel pins can be bought from Stainless, Zinc, Aluminum and Copper Cut Wire Shot - Pellets, LLC and run about $3-$5/lb depending on quantity. You only need about 5# and it's a "Lifetime" media. No more bags of corncob sitting around.

    This media cleans not only the outside (and gives it a nice burnished finish) but it also cleans the inside and primer pockets as well. It's like reloading with brand new brass every time. It also cleans the brass completely, every time. It doesn't wear out, leaving the brass dirtier and dirtier until you have to replace it.
     
  9. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    For dies,and other stuff,are you aware that the Classifieds section here has a 'wanted' section.? alos,the general section has dies for sale quite often.
    as to cleaning media..the stainless stuff is a great way to go from what I read.
    I use a mixture of walnut and corncob,laced with NUfinish liquid auto polish.I put about a capful in,let it run for 10 minutes to de lump it,then add the brass.Sometimes I'll skip the Nufinish for a batch.
     
  10. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I've read nothing but good things about stainless wet cleaning. But the price of admission was too steep for my wallet. I didn't like reading about the lead and other contaminents in vibratory cleaner dust being the major source of reloader's exposure. So I tried a Harbor Freight lookalike of the Lyman 2.5 liter ultrasonic cleaner, with Hornady ultrasonic cleaning fluid. I have been very pleased with the results: even dirty range brass comes out very clean inside and out. You can't load as many cases as vibrating, but the cleaning cycles are shorter. And you have to deprime brass before submerging the brass: but the pockets come out very clean, especially if you run a pocket cleaner tool in the primer pocket to loosen dirt.
     
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I agree that an ultrasonic cleaner would be the way to go. Unfortunately, for my needs it would need to have a 5 gallon tank at minimum.

    They are great for cleaning handguns. They clean a semiauto in places you didn't even know existed. Likewise for AR-15 Bolts and Carriers.