Just bought my first loading kit. Now what?

OldTengu

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Start with minimum load weights and work up. Also, I think reloading big mouth cases like 44 or 45, are more forgiving because you can more easily see into the case double checking visually that the powder is about the level it’s supposed to be throughout the process.

I had a few squib loads my first couple thousand reloads using a new automatic progressive. The AP made me a bit lazy about double checking everything.

Take your time and have fun with it :)
 

Goosebrown

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Do you shoot any bottleneck cartridges? I think they’re easier.

if you do straight walled cases, one step is to flare the neck EVER SO SLIGHTLY so that the seated bullet goes in without getting shaved or collapsing the neck. Anyway you want to flare the neck just as little as you can or you work the brass more and it gets brittle so you can split cases.

Watch videos. Have fun.

oh and be careful not to miss a charge. If you do that and load a squib, you’ll notice but it is a pain in the butt. If you have a progressive press, get a powder cop die. It can warn you if a case misses a charge.
 

Reno

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Bought this:
RCBS Explorer Reloading Kit II_9288, Green https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08743B6V3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_9efWFb0MY7ADA

I shoot a pretty wide variety of ammo. Given that supplies are pretty limited right now, what’s a good round/load to start with? I have heard that .38 and .357 are good for beginners, which is handy, because I need 357.
Thoughts?
That kit has a good amount of tools. Calipers are a must if you don’t have them already.

38/357 is a easy start. Straight cased low pressure cartridges. No need to trim. Long brass life. Low powder charges.

Find some titegroup, or unique. Or about 15 other powders that work well in 38/357.

Get some bullets, https://kcbulletcompany.com/bullets/38-357-158gr-magnum-coated-projectiles/

Get a set of dies and a shell plate.

Then get at it!
 
That kit has a good amount of tools. Calipers are a must if you don’t have them already.

38/357 is a easy start. Straight cased low pressure cartridges. No need to trim. Long brass life. Low powder charges.

Find some titegroup, or unique. Or about 15 other powders that work well in 38/357.

Get some bullets, https://kcbulletcompany.com/bullets/38-357-158gr-magnum-coated-projectiles/

Get a set of dies and a shell plate.

Then get at it!
BUT, easy to double charge. So, be careful!
 
BUT, easy to double charge. So, be careful!
And a great reason to start with a slower powder. It makes it likely to overflow the case in case of a double charge.

Unique and Blue Dot are a couple of my favs, but H110 or WW296 will provide full power loads and will absolutely overflow the case if you attempt a double charge.
Unfortunately, neither powder (H110 , 296) is good for "downloading" and need to be run near max charge to keep things safe. (I know, sounds strange)
 
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Be carefill and stay focused at all times. WATCH OUT FOR POWDER LEVELS IN YOU CASES.
This was from a squib load, no.powder or very little bit and then another shot fires.
rip.jpg

Buy a few new reliading manuals for data, buy good quality tools. Buy carbide dies for your straight walled pistol cases. They don't need to be lubed to resized but I occasionally will give then a squirt once in a while to make resizing a little easier but not nessecary.
ALWAY LUBE BOTTLE NECKED CASES.
And buy a stuck case remover set.
You will get stuck cases, For me it seams 223 is the most presistant culprit to get stuck.
I mix my own case lube, 10 to 1,
10 parts Red can of Dry Gas
1 part liquid Lanolin.
I picked up a semi see thru spray bottle and with a fine sharpie put a line at 4 inches and another line 1/2 an inch higher.
Pour the dry gas in up to the 4 inch line that pour in the liquid lanolin up to the 4 & 1/2 inch line and shake it up. It last alot longer then the Hornady one shot spray and does a better job of lubeing the cases.
After applying lube to the cases let them sit for 5 to ten minutes to give the achohol time to evaperate before resizing. If you don't wait you will get a stuck case.
Ask question about things you are not sure of.
I am on the Highroad forum, they have an excellent reloading section.
I buy a lot of reliading stuff from these gun forums and from ebay.
When thing straighten up and things become available again STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES, primers, powder & bullets.
 
Don't forget to buy a bullet puller!
Another great idea!

I use one of these. I am usually just knocking apart a few at a time. I wouldn't recommend it for high volume use and I've had a hard time getting some rifle bullets out with it, but it's a good tool to have.

 

Mikej

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One thing mentioned by @Reno I have to disagree with some. Cases that are "Roll Crimped", .38sp, .357mag, .44 sp and mag etc, need to be close in length. .002+/- I'd say. Otherwise some of your crimps will be heavy and some light. Some maybe not at all and some maybe fold the case. If you were buying new brass, probably not. Used, mixed head stamp, probably. So you'll want to measure your case lengths for roll crimped rounds. There's variation in taper crimped rounds too but it didn't seem as critical in my experience.
 
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Reno

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One thing mentioned by @Reno I have to disagree with some. Cases that are "Roll Crimped", .38sp, .357mag, .44 sp and mag etc, need to be close in length. .002+/- I'd say. Otherwise some of your crimps will be heavy and some light. Some maybe not at all and some maybe fold the case. If you were buying new brass, probably not. Used, mixed head stamp, probably. So you'll want to measure you case lengths for roll crimped rounds. There's variation in taper crimped rounds too but it didn't seem as critical in my experience.
Good point. I haven’t roll crimped anything in a bit. I’d only use that die if I was still loading lead bullets with the crimp grove. I’m mostly using poly coated and FMJ/HP now and I taper crimp.

I’ll have to start measuring my 357, now that you posted this. I’m curious if anything is off by a lot. I’ve noticed some hornady loads have shorter 357 case lengths. I’ve also trimmed so shorter, sort of between 38 and 357 to experiment with heavy 35 caliber bullets.
 
Whatever your procedure, I'd suggest a couple of early controls you establish to minimize confusion, maximize fun, and make clear record of WHAT you have already done:

1) ONLY load in small lots at first, maybe 10-20 rounds, before you try them at the range. They may not perform as you expect, and it helps to become familiar with your reloading process early in the learning curve.

2) ESTABLISH your written 'reloader log' recording the details of your recipe for that set of components for that date/session/caliber. Later you can refer to notes of what worked & what didn't.

3) Learn to use a case gauge on your first few batches of reloads of each caliber. While there are ways to use your gun chamber for various 'plunk tests', I find the $15 case gauge on the reloading bench, to be a useful tool.

4) Do NOT have more than ONE can of powder open/near your reloading bench at any one time. This will prevent confusion & mistakes. A friend told me this. After considerable observation of my own bench, this saved me a TON of unnecessary grief.

Learn to use multiple published sites to determine your load recipe. They are not all the same even given the same components.

I for one prefer mostly Hodgdon.com for accessibility and ease of use. I also have several printed manuals on hand for reference. Probably 95% of my loads are using lead rather than jacketed.

Good luck, be safe & have fun.
 

Mikej

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Good point. I haven’t roll crimped anything in a bit. I’d only use that die if I was still loading lead bullets with the crimp grove. I’m mostly using poly coated and FMJ/HP now and I taper crimp.

I’ll have to start measuring my 357, now that you posted this. I’m curious if anything is off by a lot. I’ve noticed some hornady loads have shorter 357 case lengths. I’ve also trimmed so shorter, sort of between 38 and 357 to experiment with heavy 35 caliber bullets.
You've got WAY more experience when it comes to loading, and guns in general, than me. I'm under the impression that dies for traditionally roll crimped calibers only have a roll crimp? It's been a while since I've loaded any but I don't remember fee ling a taper crimp before the roll crimp happens? :shrug:
 

3MTA3

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Bought this:
RCBS Explorer Reloading Kit II_9288, Green https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08743B6V3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_9efWFb0MY7ADA

I shoot a pretty wide variety of ammo. Given that supplies are pretty limited right now, what’s a good round/load to start with? I have heard that .38 and .357 are good for beginners, which is handy, because I need 357.
Thoughts?
I can't tell you which thing has caused me more expense over the years - AR-15's or reloading?

It's all been pretty much said above, but I'm not really sold on inexpensive digital scales. For these to be accurate they need to be turned on long enough to weigh accurately and consistently. Even things like room temperature can affect how well they read. I'd suggest getting a classic balance beam scale.

Especially in the beginning I would weigh each load as opposed to the powder measure. I'd also work the snot out of the powder measure before depending on it. You want it to feel "broken in" and every once in a while measure a charge.

EDIT: There are some real good deals on balance beam scales in the NWFA classifieds right now. They last forever. I'm still using a late 50's early 60's Ohaus 5-0-5. Still dead on after adjustment.

Lee Lock-N-Load die bushings can make swapping dies a lot easier. This conversion kit for RCBS presses comes with the conversion and two die bushings. After the die is adjusted, just remove the bushing by twisting it and pulling it out bayonet style. Installation is the reverse. It's just a convenience - you can remove your dies from you press by screwing them out as well, it just takes longer.

You can get the RCBS adapter and bushings here:

1606500964864.png
 
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Mikej

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It's all been pretty much said above, but I'm not really sold on inexpensive digital scales. For these to be accurate they need to be turned on long enough to weigh accurately and consistently. Even things like room temperature can affect how well they read. I'd suggest getting a classic balance beam scale.
:eek: :eek: :eek:
No mechanical scale? I didn't even notice. Shame on RCBS.


Double-shame RCBS. :(

Edit: That's Amazon gouging.

 

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