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Just starting out...need advice

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Nightcrawler, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Snohomish County, WA Active Member

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    Okay, need some help in this department.

    I want to start reloading, starting with maybe .223 & .45ACP.

    Aside from dies, what setups are good, cost effective rigs?
     
    gryghin likes this.
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I use the Lee Classic Turret press. For both you will want to get the factory crimp dies from Lee no matter what the dies you may choose. You will need a scale for checking and weighing loads also. If you use Lee dies the auto disk powder measure works well for pistol ammo. I weigh every load for rifle and just use a powder dispenser for the initial powder charge and use a trickler next to the scale to finish.

    Make sure you have more than one book and Lee dies come with data as well. When loading rifle rounds I also use a case length gauge to verify die set up especially if intended for semi/full auto.

    Good site for Lee products...http://www.titanreloading.com/index.php?route=common/home

    also this kit is a good start...http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/23840

    Case length gauge.....http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item/000157832323/223-Remington-Case-Length-Headspace-Gauge-

    lots of info here.

    https://www.northwestfirearms.com/threads/progressive-vs-single-stage-presses.186798/

    https://www.northwestfirearms.com/threads/lee-classic-turret-vs-redding-turret-press.188491/

    https://www.northwestfirearms.com/threads/new-to-reloading-need-help.185003/

    https://www.northwestfirearms.com/t...single-stage-setup-for-new-handloader.168386/
     
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  3. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    Lee products are made to a price point so be aware that you are maximizing value at the expense some other aspect of the tool. I do use the Lee Factory Crimp Dies (aka FCD) for rifles, but not for pistols as it is a completely different crimping mechanism. I have their 38/357 4-die pistol set and have no complaints. I also use a Lee case trimmer as I find it to be very quick and affordable. but if you want a look at the dark side read the reviews of their powder scale. I think of Lee as being like Harbor Freight, they have some gems but for the most part their tools are for the hobby level user and not the pro. Since a lot of us are hobby level they do work just fine for the vast majority of reloaders.

    My suggestion would be the RCBS Rockchucker kit or the Hornady Classic kit as you will be able to pass the tools down to your children if you care for them. Both run about $300 and have pretty much everything you need to start reloading but the dies and components. The RCBS kit used to contain a Speer manual of which I have no knowledge, but it now has a Nosler manual which is probably not enough for the beginner. The Hornady and Lyman manuals are excellent resources for the beginning reloaded.

    You will find the 45 Auto the easiest to get started with as you can get carbide dies and skip the lube and you've got no headspace or brass trimming to worry about. The down side is trying to find a pound of suitable powder, but once you do it'll last a good 1000 loads or so. If all you can find is rifle powder for the .223 then that is fine too, just be sure you are properly resizing the case before loading up a bunch of rounds only to find that they won't chamber.
     
    Nightcrawler likes this.
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    There are tons of "just starting out" threads that have come and gone, you should probably do a search and read some of those, I really don't feel like retyping the dozens of pages I've contributed over the years.
     
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  5. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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  6. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    Buy one or two reloading manuals first and read them.
     
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  7. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Good advice. Most manuals have a good section in the front that leads you through the process. Having two or more manuals provide some perspective and give you a better idea of powder selections. Also check out the free info from the powder manufactures available online. This is not a complete how-to but give you additional information for free. If you go into a store, make sure you are talking with someone who actually reloads and then don't treat one salesperson's advice as gospel. Enjoy!
     
    Nightcrawler likes this.
  8. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Snohomish County, WA Active Member

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    Thanks, guys!
     
  9. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Google or search for "reloading manual pdf"
     
  10. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Ditto on the one or two manuals and thread search advice - and maybe 'The ABCs of Reloading' - hit your library - it might be there. Reloading equipment & techniques have changed over the years - some for the actual 'better' and some just to push expensive and unnecessary stuff. Best to study up first and gain some knowledge about the processes before deciding on how to get started - or to determine if reloading is even 'for' you.
     
  11. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    I'm surprised to see the recommendation for the Lee Factory Crimp Die here, at least for the pistol caliber. Mine (pistol) have been nothing but a hassle and 0nly through much creativity have I managed to dismantle them to the point that I can use the parts from one to create an effective crimping die using other die bodies. Had I known about all their "features" in the beginning, I would have gladly omitted the FCD and replaced it with another quality seating/crimp die dedicated to crimping from any of the other major manufacturers, especially if I wanted to save time from having to deburr and polish Lee dies.
     
    bockja likes this.
  12. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Another vote for the classic turret and associated equipment


    If you are going to be loading rounds for plinking/noisemaking/short range hunting, you might want to seriously consider the Lee Classic turret press with a 4 hole turret for both cartridge types. That press and the Lee brand dies associated with it have served me well for many years loading thousands of rounds in the calibers you mention and several others. I will admit I do not use that press or that brand of die to load my (rifle) match rounds. The only handgun rounds that one might consider to be match rounds that I shoot are .45 acp and 44 mag for bowling pin matches........

    I cant' imagine what kind of problem (with the product) would lead a person to dismantle and modify more than one LFC die. I am not a fan of Lee's FCD for all handguns, but the ones I have bought have worked. For revolver rounds I like the Redding profile crimper better, but I think that the Lee dies would be just fine for someone just starting out, and in fact for some years down the road. I've not found a reason to replace my Lee crimp dies for pistols (auto) as yet. I use a light crimp on all my rounds, when I crimp at all, as they are all light to medium target loads. Maybe if I were looking to shoot moose loads with my 44 mag. I might run a heavy crimp to compensate, but I never could get close enough to a moose to contemplate handgun hunting as an option........
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  13. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    Great info:s0101:
    I have a Dillon 550B (stumbled across a killer deal when I 1st started) but the Lee Classic Turret is the way to be cost effective. It also allows you to set your dies ONCE and store them "set". Then all ya gotta do at the beginning of a reloading session is check that nothing changed. A Single stage press will have you spending more time changing dies than you will spend making ammo! Pain in the A$$!
    I love Lee Factory Crimp dies! I pulled all my Dillon "tapered" crimp dies and replaced them with Lee. Tighter groupings especially with a revolver but even my 9mm and 45acp setups finish with the Lee Crimp die and they have processed well over 100K rounds between them. Never had an issue with them but I have with the Dillon crimp dies.

    Remember, reloading won't save you a single dime but it will allow you to shoot 3 times as much for the same price!
    Buy your components in bulk. Find a couple buddies willing to buy when you do so you can max out the hazmat charge. I usually buy 40K primers which maxes the hazmat and 48 pounds of powder about every other year just for me:s0139:
    Do your homework, make a shopping list and shop online for the best prices.
    If ya need help we're a great group of guys that will answer just about anything you can come up with.
     
  14. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    rock chucker here, stay away from progressive machines until you have a handle on what to do. Keep yor single station press even after you move up to a progressive great for doing limited runs of experimental loads with new powders and new bullets. For hunting ammo in shouldered cartridges where you only need a handful of rounds a single station is great.
     
  15. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    A turret press is little different than a single stage Lee with Breech Lock or a single stage Hornady LNL. If you think about it, they both reach the same end objective but through different means.
     
  16. knarley

    knarley curtin oregon Active Member

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    I started with a Dillon 550RL that was given to me sans a lot of the stuff to make it complete. I got an older single stage press that I do lots of case prep work on shortly after. I don't know anyone who uses the same exact setup. Lots of choices and gear out there. I think the biggest thing is the safety aspect. You get lots of that from the manuals and talking to other reloaders. Good luck.
     
  17. eliduc

    eliduc Active Member

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    I use the rcbs cowboy crimp/seat die on my LCP in the forth hole. I haven't had a problem with the crimp on my 38 specials. This allowed me to put an RCBS lockout die in the third hole. Just today twice the lockout die kept me from loading squibs when the Auto Disk with the disk set at .49 started dropping charges of 1+grains halfway through my cases. It was set for 3.38 grains. I don't know what the problem was other than I am using Red Dot which is a coarse powder. Had it not been for the lockout die I never would have known. If the press has a weakness the powder system is it, in my opinion. The LCT is not a Dillon but the press is just as sturdy. The accessories are cheap but they work good for the most part, are user friendly to work on and cost a fraction to replace. I can fill the primer magazine on the Lee and have it back on the press while I would have been still picking up primers one by one in the pick up tube with the the Dillon. Also when a primer jams in the primer feed in the Dillon it's a real hassle to clear. There are other safety factors to consider too. The trigger assembly is plastic. There is less chance of a chain reaction mishap from a fired primer. The Dillon 550 and some other turret presses have a manual index advance which makes it much easier to double or triple pump a powder drop. For those of you who say, "I have never done that in fifty years" I reply, Yeah but I am not you. I only use my single stage for resizing and pulling bullets but I would think it would be much easier to make a mistake than on my auto indexing press with the accessories I have on it. It has been a great press to learn on. I used a 550 for awhile and a degree in mechanical engineering would have been helpful. But that's me. :)
     
  18. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    The Lee Pro Auto-Disk hopper can rotate to off. Even a slight turn to the off position will reduce the powder charge thrown.
    Be sure to tighten he screw or tape the hopper so it doesn't move, if that was your problem.
     
  19. eliduc

    eliduc Active Member

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    Thanks. The hopper seems pretty snug but that is how it was acting.
     
  20. knarley

    knarley curtin oregon Active Member

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    Back to the guy just gettin started. There was a fella out in Veneta that was teaching an NRA approved class in reloading. I took his class along with two other guys a couple of years ago. He has several set ups and went over lots of stuff. Even the other guys who had been reloading for years got a lot out of it.