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Need knowledgeable information on reloading

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by cad1988, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. cad1988

    cad1988 Albany Oregon New Member

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    So i'm extremely new to the idea of reloading but want to learn how as a fun hobby or for any apocalypse type situations... So i have an Ak47 and a 9mm pistol and am interested in reloading rounds for both. I guess my first question is: Do they make reloading presses that will reload both rifle and handgun ammo? Do you just need to have the right die for whichever type of round you want to load? Or are there separate sizes of presses for pistols and rifles? Also, what are the necessary components to load a round? From what i gather you need casings, primer, powder, and bullets? Which presses are good quality? Are there any economical starter kits out there? I apologize for such rookie questions and terrible terminology...I understand that i can find most of this info spending ten minutes with google... But i just want to hear from some first hand reloaders and get a few different opinions. please don't chew me out for wanting to reload such cheap rounds... I just think it would be a fun hobby and a useful skill. Thank you all in advance for the information!:cool:
     
  2. Glockman19

    Glockman19 Hillsboro Active Member

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  3. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    From what it sounds like, I have two observations:

    The two rounds you are looking at reloading are both fairly inexpensive, for "SHTF" use, I would not recommend reloading, and instead would take the hundreds of dollars you would spend on reloading equipment, and instead going out right now and buying a few thousand rounds of each.

    Of these two rounds, 9mm is easy to reload, reloadable brass cases are common and easy to find, and doesn't require any special reloading tools. 7.62x39 when you buy reloadable brass cases are more expensive, and are not commonly found at shooting ranges or pits. You cannot reload steel cases.

    Now, if you were shooting .308 Win, .223 or one of the other calibers where the casings are usually made of brass... getting into reloading would be an easy, moneysaving, and rewarding hobby.
     
  4. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    What AMProducts said........

    I'll add.....If you have time, like you watch four hours of TV every night. Or, you wake up early with your mind going and have four hours still before you need to be at work. Do you shoot a lot? It would not behoove you to get into reloading unless you shoot a lot. After I got into it I joined a range and started shooting a couple hundred rounds a week, wife shoots too. When we go to where they sell ammo now I see ammo I shoot as being a whole lotta' money, 9mm on SALE, for $11.99 abox! Crazy!

    I disagree with one thing AMP said, I like loading 9mm. Wifey and I would go through 3-4 boxes of 9mm, that's $40.00 of so-called CHEAP ammo, TWICE A WEEK!!
    When you buy bullets, Montana Gold for instance, by the 1000 you're saving money. Once I started with that I just HAD to have a .40, no? Check out the price of a box of .40, .45acp.....44 Special!! A set of Lee dies for a .44 cost the same as a set for 9mm.

    So, if you're only going to the pit once a month, or less, for 200-300 rounds I'd say it may not be worth the investment. I ought to mention too that I only load handgun. As far as preping cases and crimping, it's all a breeze compared to the technicalities of getting into long gun cartriges, IMO.

    Have fun!

    Mike
     
  5. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    That right there. Brass x39 can be found, but it's a rare bird and a bit more pricey than old mil-surp steel cased rounds. If you're stocking up I'd do as suggested above; buy in bulk and store it while still getting a bit more for shooting. If you were shooting .45 or .44, or .308 then reloading becomes more economically viable. I reload for .40, .357/.38, and 7.62x54r. Of those three only the .40 produces a better price-per-round than off the shelf ammo.
     
  6. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    Since you are interested in reloading - I would recommend that you buy a good relaoding manual - Hornady, Speer, Sierra. The reason I recommend this is that 1) You will need the manual once you start relaoding for powder and bullet combinations and 2) that any of these books should have an excellent chapter on reloading. You can read throught this to get a really good understanding of the reloading process. From that point you can ask questions as many of us do when we run into something out of the ordinary or doesnt make sense.

    There is a lot of good information here but as in life you will need to find out what works for you. Feel free to ask questions as most on here will try to answer them but do a little research first - buy a good reloading manual first and read it.

    James Ruby
     
  7. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    thoughts on preses, and I"M talking pistol/revlolver ammo here.
    to get into reloaidng 'cheaply' means a single-stage press,and that means to load 1000 rounds requires at least 3000 hand operations per batch. more if you need to flare the case for lead bullelts,and/or seat and crimp in seperate operations like I like to do. do you have that kind of time and want that much 'exercise' ?
    if the wife would help,2 single stage preses is a good way to go for getting the szing and priming done a bit quicker.

    I believe all progressive presses can run one round thru at a time while your're learning their operation,but they cost more.Once you learn how to run it..and it don't happen overnight.. you can easily produce 3-400 rounds ofl ammo in an evening going nice and slow and careful.
    A lot of folks' say' never start with a progressive,' I say if you have the self-control to not load it up until YOU are ready,a person can start with a progressive press, My 1st choice would be one that does NOT automatically advance the shellplate,like my dillon 550 b.Imuch prefer it to my dillon square deal b which does have auto advance. IMHO,a press with auto-adbance is NOT for beginers,unless the auto feature can be disconnected.

    youtube is a great place to see some presses in action and get an idea of how they work.
    ps rifle ammo is way more involved and shouold be tackled after you have learned pistol ammo techniques.

    for gettting in on the cheap,Lee makes good products EXCEPT I don't care for their powder measures.I much prefer a used 'other brand name' measure to Lee's. imho,ymmv

    hope this helps.
    mike
     
  8. netcarrier

    netcarrier Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Hi cad1988,
    Here is an answer: As for reloading Rifle and Handgun on one Press You Can Load Both. But can not Load Shotgun Shells. As for Dies You would have to have a set for each Caliber/Case. As for the size of press Some are bigger, But just start with the one you can afford. You will need Casings, Primer, Powder, and Bullets. But you will need A good Bench, Reloading Press, Dies, A Lube Pad, Power Scale, Some case holders, a Tumbler, and a Reloading Book. There are economical starter kits at stores like Bi-Mart or if you have someone to help you can get the Machines you need Used, Look on CraigsList and E-Bay. Just look under RCBS. RCBS is a good Brand. Also you can buy a DVD on Reloading This will show you how to get started, Buy it from RCBS.
    Go to www.RCBS.com or Bing RCBS
    Hoped this helps,
    Tony Portland, Oregon Area
     
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  9. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    So starting out you will need as far reloading tools
    1) a good single stage press C press - pick up a used one at a gun show or on ebay - < 50$ - I use a 50 year old pcaific single stage press myself I think I paid 25$ for many years ago.
    2) Set of dies for each caliber you want to reload - used dies are ok but make sure they look good and are clean ( no rust ) < 30$ per set ( Pistol die sets usuaully have three dies and Rifles die sets have two dies - this is normaly the case )
    3) You will need shell holders - one for each different style of base < 10$ each ( one for 9mm and 0ne for 7.62X39 ) - these may come with a set of used dies or in the case of lee reloading dies come with the set.
    4) A good reloading manual - a used one that is less than 10 years old < 25$
    5) A scale - this is probably the most important Item - I recommend new - a balance beam will work well < 100$ recommednation would be a RCBS 505 - I still use my first one.
    6) a chamfering tool - not always needed - but can be very useful - helps in seating bullets. around 15$
    7) I also recommend a harbor freight or like micrometer for taking measurements such as cartridge overall lenght. I think you can get one from harbor freight for around 10$ new.
    8) a lube pad and lube so your brass doesnt get stuck in the dies. < 20$

    A couple of other things you might want but dont absolutely need is a tumbler and media for cleaning brass. I bought a Frankford arsenal at Bi- mart for 50$. Buy your media at a pet store - corn cobs, or crushed shellls are much cheaper there.

    Thsi set up will teach you the basics of relaoding

    I am certain once you get into reloading you will purchase other tools and doodads. The types are infinite and as exspenisve as you can imagine.

    Now you need a clean flat surface to mount your press. This area should be kept clean as possible. it should be out of the way and away from heat or flame. Good lighting is important. Mount your press there. Find a stable position for setting you scale up.

    I maybe wrong on some of this -- I have been reloading since 1986 and I feel that information I provided is correct.

    Respectfully

    James Ruby
     
  10. cad1988

    cad1988 Albany Oregon New Member

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    Thank you all for comments. I now have a little better understanding of what I need to do to get started on this. But i do shoot a fair amount of rounds per week. probably 200 rounds of 9mm. Not too many rounds of 7.62 though as the surplus where i'm at has recently dried up. Does anyone have a good reloading manual they would recommend? I'm not concerned about how time consuming it will be as I have plenty to spare. As far as the press is concerned, i'm looking for something fairly middle of the road. It definitely doesn't have to do everything for me but i would like something that's not extremely primitive...And as mikej was saying, i'd like to pick up some bigger guns like a .40 or a .223 so i think regardless of it not being economical to reload 9mm or 7.62, it would pay off in the end when i want to reload other rounds. I still don't quit understand why you can't reload steel casings? And are brass casings really that outrageous for a 7.62 round? Again, thank you all for the input. I'm getting some great ideas from it all.
     
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    There are myriad reloading manuals out there... each one has it's own particular point of view, the lee book "ABC's of reloading" isn't too bad, but is very slanted towards Lee's way of doing things (many of which I disagree with). The Lyman "cast bullets" book is another very good source as it covers both reloading, as well as some very in-depth articles on bullet casting (not that you're ready for that).

    I would not recommend starting with a progressive press, they are expensive, and it's very easy to take all those expensive components and turn them into a few hundred rounds of either gun exploding power, or squibs, either way it's a dangerous way to start out.

    For 9mm... I would say start out with the "Lee Reloader" press, IIRC they're about $30 new, and while they are cheap junk, it's a cheap way to get your feet wet. I would recommend spending the money and buying either RCBS, Lyman, or Redding carbide dies for the 9mm as they use much larger carbide rings that don't tend to crack and give you neck tension issues like the Lee dies have for me. Also, decapping pins, and decapping rods are free if you break one (which you will) from RCBS. You will also need a shell-holder, you can either buy the complete set of shellholders (Lee makes an OK set of these for about $20 that covers the popular calibers). You will then need a powder scale, you might pick up a used one, however I would recommend one of the RCBS/Lyman/Redding scales, the RCBS 505 was a good scale for a lot of years, however RCBS has apparently cheaped out on these lately. Try picking one up used. That there is a basic reloading kit, you will have to dispense all of your powder into the scale and weigh it before charging the cases, but that's a complete loading kit for about $100 (the dies will run you about $40-50 new). Oh yea, you also need something to seat primers, the lee ram-prime is a cheap solution to this (~10$?). You will also want a pair of dial calipers, most autoparts stores carry these for about $10-20 and have many uses outside the reloading bench.

    Loading will be slow, but if you're methodical, you will produce quality rounds every time.

    Eventually you will probably want a powder thrower... RCBS/Lyman/Redding/Lee all make these, the lee dispenser is a pile of junk and not worth the frustration, however the other ones are about $80-100 look for a used one. If you buy an RCBS one and the powder tube is cracked, call RCBS they will send you a new one for free :) (I'm a huge fan of RCBS' warranty).

    Much beyond this, you're going to be looking for a progressive press and that's another topic entirely.

    As far as reloadable 7.62x39 brass... expect to pay about $.25~ each for cases, don't buy winchester bulk brass, as you will usually have about 2-3 in a bag that are completely unusable (sometimes the whole bag is unusable), RP (remington) is usually decent, also lapua sells brass for the 7.62x39, it's rather expensive though. You could buy winchester white-box 7.62x39, which is reloadable and is usually good brass (they don't bother QC'ing the bare brass they sell). Since you're pushing this through a semi-auto, there's a good chance you're going to lose that expensive brass, and it won't last that long. IMHO, even at twice the price, it's not worth reloading 7.62x39.
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I totally disagree that this ammo is cheap and reloading's a waste. I load thousands and thousands of 9mm rounds every year and even if I were to buy the cheapest "crap ammo" out there I'd still end up "banking" $50-$60 for every thousand I load. Just my 9mm reloading alone has paid for my XL 650 Dillon. Then there's MY favorite rifle ammo, .223/5.56. Every thousand rounds of that saves me from $150-$200 per thousand loaded and last year that was 7,000 rounds. I don't have to shoot crap ammo, have as much as I want, when I want it, and to top it all off, I like loading.

    To each his own.
     
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  13. lamrith

    lamrith tacoma Active Member

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    Cheapest I have found 9mm around here is 9.97 @ wally world IF you arrive the day the truck delivers it, otherwise 10.99 or 11.99 is more common, plus tax. If you shoot very often or have brass already you can reload 9mm for <$7.00 a box after tax. Saving $3-4.00 a box adds up fast.
     
  14. HotRod61

    HotRod61 Happy Valley Active Member

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    I reload only rifle and like doing it on my Lee single stage breech lock. That being said if I was to start reloading for pistol I would use a progressive press knowing what I know now. If I was just starting out reloading I would go with a single stage press.

    HotRod
     
  15. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    First thing to do is get Lee's 2ed Reloading book. About half the book is on reloading. Read that and then decide if reloading is for you.
    I spend a lot rounds at the range, and a lot of the ammo is run by others. Newbies often find my guns combined with my loads a real pleasure. If i didn't reload i could never afford to share as I do.
     
  16. netcarrier

    netcarrier Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    One more thing Cad 1988,
    Get the dvd from RCBS somtime you will fine it at Bi-Mart. This will show What you need and How to use the Reloader It's only $10.00 but will show you all you need to know.
    Thanks for the "LIKE",
    Tony Portland, Oregon Area
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Under the circumstances the OP gave... Yea, you can shave a few bucks off a box of 9mm however, he would have to load over 100 boxes of 9mm for any ROI. As for 7.62x39, I'm pretty sure you would never see any ROI on it, you have to buy brass, and then lose that brass at the range.

    Reloading doesn't start to pay dividends unless you shoot 1) a rifle caliber 2) shoot A_LOT of pistol or you 3) need ammo no one makes or is too expensive. However, saving money is among the weakest of reasons to get into reloading.

    This is why I don't swage my own bullets... yea, I have all the stuff to do it, but I can still buy 168gr HPBT from sierra for $.25 each. And unless I could swage them at a rate of a thousand or so an hour, it's simply not worth it. Occasionally, I will pull out my equipment and make some fun bullets, that have #12 shot for a core, but I still have a few hundred.
     
  18. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Spoken like a true "manufacturer":cool:

    As for ROI, one can get in the reloading hobby for under the price of a good rifle scope. Savings occur far sooner then. Of course it will take longer, maybe forever, to realize a savings if one goes top of the line with limited volume. One FACT of reloading pistol calibers. People who reload often shoot far more ammo than those who buy factory ammo. Reason? More affordable and they don't have to wait for the truck to arrive, either from some online source or to Wal-Mart where it's snapped up in an hour of arrival time. Cost, Availability, Quality, Accuracy, and best of all, pride in what one does.

    Now if one manufactures and sells ammo, naturally it won't make sense for anyone else to reload. They should be buying it;)
     
  19. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    After a long time reloading, (it is addictive) I find myself with multiple presses, shelves of dies, a wall full of brass and bullets.
    I can't tell you the enormous money I have saved and it only cost me several thousands to do so!......hummmm
    I like the Lyman Reloading Handbook best. It's the 49th edition now, and about $18 at Midwayusa. It starts with "Why reload", and then, "Getting started safely": 13 chapters of great info, and then 300 plus pages of Data. You cannot go wrong using it. But beware, this bug can bite!
     
  20. My 3 sons

    My 3 sons Bonney Lake Active Member

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    I started with a Lee turret press for my 5.56 and .45 rounds about 18 months ago. It didn't take long to step up to a Dillon XL650 when I got the bug Motoman refers to. I completely get the desire to be able to make what you need just in case. I also save money to further support my habit by reloading. What I think must also be recognized is that it is a heck of a lot of fun to make and shoot your own bullets.

    Do take your time to learn. There is a lot of risk involved if you, no, "when" you make mistakes.
    Find a range to join. Some of the best reloading advice and conversation for me has happened there not to mention great friends.

    Last, make sure you always have fun and share your new hobby.

    Good luck!
     
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