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Need your advice....How-where to get started reloading?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by theflyguy, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Guys,

    My wife is wanting me to look into what it takes/cost to get into reloading.

    I have no idea where to start so I'm asking you experts. I'm interested in a progressive reloading machine (if that's the correct term) that can load several calibers.

    Would I need separate machines in order to do handgun and rifles calibers?

    Where would you recommend shopping for quality equipment?

    What all would I need equipment wise to start reloading?

    Are there any "good" books to help one learn how to reload?

    What would be an $$$ estimate to start reloading say two handgun and three rifle calibers?

    Any other info you can provide would greatly be appreciated!!!!

    Help me out guys....
    Thanks,
     
  2. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    Depends on what your end goal is. For example, a single stage press is great for rifle accuracy, but it's terrible for mass reloading.


    I got the equipment from Midway, and the primers, powder, and brass locally.


    Press
    Scale
    Powder Throw
    Powder Trickler
    Dies for each caliber
    Comparator
    Calipers
    Brass Trimmer
    Tumbler
    A few reloading books


    Lyman Reloading Handbook, 49th edition
    Lee Modern Reloading
    Load data from powder and bullet manufacturer


    Depends on what you go with, figure at minimum, $300


    With gun bans in the works, powder, primers, bullets are all hard to come by. My .44 magnum costs for the first reload after purchasing once fired brass is half of the factory cost. Buy bulk online and save money.
     
  3. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    Secret squirrel stuff, don't let it get out...

    Sure other's are going to recommend the same, not knowing your situation exactly I'd start with a Dillon 550b, but check out the 650, both progressives.

    You would not need a separate machine for rifle and handgun.

    I would recommend shopping for quality equipment. I've only used Dillon so that's what I'm going to recommend. I look at dies separately and there's a recent thread on die quality and dies to look forward to.

    Check this store for best prices around and the forum for best advice around besides our own forum here.
    Brian Enos - Competition Shooting Books, Slide-Glide, DVDs & Reloading

    Reloading manual: Lyman worked for me, but I supplemented with lots of reading and always check my loads with a few minutes to hours of internet research. I'd like two hardcopy manuals for learning the ropes and don't expect any manuals to have the exact combination of components you're looking for, hence the internet.

    Only other advice I was given was start with forgiving (large volume/charge-weight ratio) so that it fills up the case in order to spot double-charges. Those would be your worst enemy with squib loads following. Mount a good light above your press to facilitate this. Don't reload if your impatient or in a hurry.
     
  4. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    :DFirst of all I will say, Thats one good wife. Mine supports what she thinks is my wonderful hobby( ADDICTION ) as well. You will get Good advice here for sure. I dont know what your funds are like. Even when you have a progrssive press there are plenty of times a single stage is a benifit. Being new to reloading, I would sugjest you start with a single stage kit. There is alot to learn that will only come from experiance. No matter how much we tell you. Lyman 49 th Edition can be had at your local Bi mart and is a very good book. I am not sure of the stores up there . I am sure there are plenty good places up there to get good Gear.

    Pistol dies I use are all lee carbide. 40.00 Rifle dies are about the same. A RCBS kit can be had for around 350. + or - It will have most everything you will need to get started. As far as I know the diffrent brand dies are all the same thread. So dont get hung up on one brand over the other.
    The biggest thing once you get starteed is Dont hurt yourself. Set your self up with a mindset on Quality not Quanity. The more fine ammo you produce the faster you will become. Make a set of safty checks and dont ever skip any. It will lessen your chances of anything bad happening.
    That being said, WELCOM TO THE ADDICTION. I Mean ( hobby ) , What ever you do, dont start casting your own bullets. Its All down hill from there. Sorry for the long winded post. I lost count this month how many new reloaders asked this question. It puts a smile on my face Every time.:D :thumbup:
     
  5. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    In a word........youtube.
     
  6. rdt

    rdt SW Portland Active Member

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    Depends on what rifle calibers. 223/556 or 30carbine can generally be loaded on a progressive machine that does pistol rounds. 762x39 too i think. Dont know about 308 or other short action rounds, but i would guess they would begin to work the press mechanisms close to their limit and/or would be physically uncomfortable or taxing to operate. Stuff like 3006 etc usually needs a larger press to handle the larger dimensions and larger forces required, a progressive capable of that would be burly. From what ive read 50cal requires an even larger press for the same reasons. Ive used Lee progressives, they are a great value and ive never had an issue with the quality of the rounds i produced. If you have the money up front by all means go for Dillon etc

    Some will recommend a single stage or a turret for a beginner but if what you want is to produce volume ammo at or above factory quality, just go for the progressive. Also i would say if you are on a budget and going the progressive route, you can skip the trickler and the comparator. However, if you want long distance, dialed target, or hunting ammo, a single stage is probably the way to go and then you will definitely want the trickler and comparator (and a nicer scale, and a whole lot of other precision machinist tools so i hear. . . )
     
  7. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    So I'm looking to be able to produce adequate quality ammo for my shooting habit!! Don't plan on producing thousands of round of any one caliber in a single sitting but would like to keep my currect stockpile in order and not run low. I am in more interested in the handgun loads to start then add my rifle calibers as I can.

    First thing last night I ordered the Lyman Reloading Handbook, 49th edition...can't wait to get it and start reading.

    My wife thoroughly supports my habit and the need to keep adequate supplies on hand....never know when the zombie's may attack :)

    I imagine I'll learn over time but curious...is there a big difference between powders? Is one brand better then another? Isn't modern gun powders used for reloading all the same?

    Sorry if I'm asking too much or if my questions have already been asked. I'll keep searching this forum for advise.


    I'm basiclly looking at the following calibers:
    .270 (not needed right off)
    .30
    .308
    .556
    .380 (not needed right off)
    9mm
    .40
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I can load everything from .380 to 30-06 on my Dillon XL650 if I needed to and the 550 will as well. I don't find that 30-06 is any more difficult on this press than my .223 rounds.

    When it comes to sturdy, not many presses equal that of the Dillons.

    Yes, most prefer to load for "accuracy" on a single stage and "blasting" ammo on a progressive but I've found that given a powder that meters well in a slide or drum type powder measure can yield some really accurate ammo when loaded on a progressive.

    Whatever setup you decide on I'd highly recommend a good, solid, single stage press. I use my RCBS Rock Chucker extensively for load workup and "single holer" rounds. Adding the Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit has made it even more versatile.
     
  9. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    Asking is how you learn. When I started I could have just figured it out over time and kept to myself. One of the reason we are here is partake in such Enlighting conversations. Be what it may. Take a Look at http://data.hodgdon.com They own winchester and IMR also. So you will get all three powder co. data and its all printable. Of all the powders I use Localy them and alliant powders is whats around here. I like to experiment with 4 to 5 diffrent powders when I started my pistol calibers. 9mm,40, and 45 acp. Win 231,Tightgroup,universal,Bullseye,And Unique. Bigest thing with pistol rounds is always double check with a flashlight that you didnt over or double charge. You will only make the mistake once. If you dont catch it.The more you reload. You will build a routine that works for you. Just stick to it and dont be afraid to double check yourself at first.
    I use these kind of case guages to check my pistol rounds.Lyman Case Gauges - .44 Magnum - Natchez Shooters Supplies They are a great tool. You can build the outside dimmensions of your ammo to SAMMI specs.If it fits in the guage it will fit any pistol chamberd for it. (Not saying your individual bullet desighn will work in every semi. thats a diffrent topic.)You will Find that the LEE 4 die carbide pistol die is the best bang for your buck. as far as that goes. Just keep the questions coming and if you need pictures of diffrent things dont be afraid to ask.
    Be safe, Mica
     
  10. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    For pistols, find a medium to fast burning powder. For the .40, be a little more careful with max pressure, for example, 1st and 2nd Generation Glocks have a tendency to guppy the brass. You should get the GRX or Lee Bulge Buster if your brass isn't perfect after resizing. I was using Alliant Unique for my Glock 23 3rd Gen.

    Rifle powder, look for a slow burning powder, I don't reload rifle, so I don't have any suggestions.
     
  11. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    That is a great site....http://data.hodgdon.com...question though I see a range for what I assume is "gr=Grains"? Ex: the first entry - (.40 SW - 4.7 to 5.3). Do you start at the bottom, middle and experiment with the different amounts? Doesn't sound safe to me.

    I am really concerned with having a hot load. Purchased reloads once ruined my barrel, so I'm really concerned with how much I'd want to use.

    Suggestions?
     
  12. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    Take the starting load, cross reference it with at least one other source. Then start at the lowest starting value, better safe than sorry.
     
  13. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    Like solv3nt said. I start at the bottom do 10 rounds than add .1 or .2 more for ten and so on . grain of powder is a weight measurement. For the majority you will find about 1 grain between min and max. load. In 9mm and 40. I dont Push the max. very often. Most of the time my most acurate loads have come in around the 75 % range of the load. I Have a glock 23, XD 40, and a SW SD40 Never blown one up even at the upper end of the chart. Dont let all the bad stuff you hear bother you. If you follow the basic safty guidlines you will be fine. You have already learned the hardway about unknown reloaded ammo. Sorry to hear about that. The diffrence with building and working up your own loads. Is that you are in controll of the variables. Now if you were loading 45 acp you would have a more versatile playing field. The same goes for rifle rounds to. Start at the bottom and work your way up. I always research a new round when ever I get a new caliber. There is alot of ggod info about cartridges out there.
     
  14. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

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    It's nice to know how something works step-by-step before you set out to automate it. This applies to manufacturing, software development, and reloading.

    If you're first press is to be a progressive - that's your call. I would suggest / have suggested in the past to spend a few hours with a single stage, a mechanical powder thrower, and single beam scale before you go too far in.

    Pros for the progressive - if you load lots of ammo to the same spec, its faster.
    Pros for the single stage - less expensive, easier to switch between 'flavors', less **** to break.

    Nate.

    p.s. - take good care of that wife. holy cow.
     
  15. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    If you do a search on you tube. you will see lots of good vids on there. There is also some videos of guys showing the world there bad choices in safty and or, A way that might not work for everyone. Also take a look at diffrent pics. of wore out brass as well as over pressure sighns.It is all things you will want to learn about. Also another good source For Info Cast Boolits Its not local, But there will be tons of Info as well. You will learn alot as you go. I can honestly say, It never gets old for me.

    Micah
     
  16. theflyguy

    theflyguy Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    Ok guys I've done some research on reloading.

    Curious, is there anything special (filling out forms, signing something...) that you must do when you purchase gun powder for reloading? Do you have to show anything when you make a purchase? Where are some of the best places to look when making a gun powder purchase?

    Thanks,
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    No forms or secret handshakes required to buy powder. Only have to find it available now. Sports Outfitters like Cabela's, Many Gun Shops, and Bi-Mart in your area are some of he places. Right now the most common powders and primers are in short supply die to everyone and their brother running out and stocking up. I call it the "Chicken Little Syndrome". Give it a few months and the shelves will start to fill again as the private parties fill their shelves or max out their credit cards.
     
  18. Mica

    Mica Eugene Active Member

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    Glad I have enough powder and primers to last my boyes and I awhile. I havnt been on Graf & Sons - The Reloading Authority - Your Source for Shooting Supplies in awhile , They are a good online source for reloading components. Im sure primers are going to be in short supply. If you werent so far away, I would tell you to stop by and I would give you a couple hundred primers and powder to get you started. Just keep getting your loading equipment and start processing your brass. The powder and primers all come after cleaning ,depriming and resizing. Depending on your setup.
    When you are ready to load. Hopefully the stores will be stocked up again. If you ever get down this way, Give me a holler.

    Micah
     
  19. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    I just found a source for primers. A bit pricey when you add thier 44 dollar shipping and the hazmat fee. Comes out to 4 cents a primer for my order
     
  20. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    That may beat the pants off of 3 Cent primers that you can't get.

    I get a kick out of the primer price issues. They are still the cheapest part of a cartridge. Compare a 3-4 cent primer with a 35-55 cent bullet. OUCH.