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pistol reloading

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by oldloggerak, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. oldloggerak

    oldloggerak siletz,oregon New Member

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    I have recently decided to start reloading for a couple of pistols I purchased. I am pretty much in the dark when it comes to picking out a reloading outfit. I would like to get a dependable reloader but also at a reasonable price. Another question I need answered is what brand or type of reloader would be good as a starter and at the same time expandable into the progressive reloading sequences. I have looked at alot of the progressives including the cheap lee 1000 and the expensive Dillion reloader. Any comments from seasoned reloaders would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. actionflies

    actionflies Beaverton, Oregon Member

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    If you're going to load for pistol calibers, don't get a single stage press because it's slow. I use a Lee classic turret press and have been happy with it. I can load about 150 rounds of 45acp in an hour. The one thing about reloading is that it started out as an interesting hobby (finding the right loads, powder, oal etc.) but now it's a chore and I rather watch tv than reloading. My next project will be reloading 308win. but I have over 1k rounds to shoot it before I start.
     
  3. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    Dillon fan hee
    Spend the money and buy what I did,the 550b.
    You can reload one round at a time while learning the ropes..very important to be able to do that.
    Stndard dies fit it and you can load rifle rounds too..their SDB takes special,pistol only,dies.
    The 550 has way more handroom for ease of operation and seeing what is going on.
    re:Dillon,, you do not need the roller ball handle,or the hi rise thingamajiggee,you can just build a taller bench .
    Most folks say start with a single-stage then upgrade...spend more money later.
    Since you can load single rounds on most presses it's not totally necessary to do so,but not a bad idea either. your decision there.
    If yo uwant to make a road trip up to the North end of I*205 I have several presses I can show you,and let you see what they do.

    re: dillon again,there is the added expense of changover kits for every different die set,kinda sux,but you only buy them once and I still like my Dillons.
     
  4. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    If you are reloading to save money, buying a dillon means you won't be saving money for a long time.

    Probably ever, since your per round cost will go down but you'll make up for it by shooting greater quantity.

    Something like this will get you into it for cheaper:
    http://www.northwestfirearms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24716

    Reloading 50-100 rds in an evening isn't difficult with a single stage press, depending on how much you shoot, that might be acceptable. :thumbup:
     
  5. rds801

    rds801 Portland Member

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    I'm a noob when it comes to reloading. I went with the Lee 50th anniversary kit. Was going to get the Lee turret but decided that a single stage press was the way to go for me. I know I could have did the single stage thing on the turret but with the price of the anniversary kit, I couldn't pass it up. Came with everything I needed (except the dies). Happy I got it. I still plan on getting the turret press later on down the road. In the mean time I have a nice press and ammo to shoot. :thumbup:
     
  6. JohnH

    JohnH Milwaukie Active Member

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    The funny thing about most reloaders is they are usually a pretty opinionated crowd and it just so happens that whatever they think is the best is also the same thing that they own, go figure. :D

    I will always recommend starting with a single stage press. If properly set up in an efficient work area you can crank out a lot of rounds by doing your steps in batches. I started this way and loaded thousands of rounds this way. It is a good way to get familiar with reloading for a relative modest investment. And even if you did upgrade to a turret or progressive down the road it is always nice to have a single stage press especially if you are going to load any higher precision hunting or competition rifle rounds. I own a Dillon 650 and it would be the last thing I would use to load any kind of match grade ammo with.

    One thing you need to consider is how much do you currently shoot or how much you might shoot if you had access to cheaper (your reloads) ammunition. Depending on that number and how much time you have available to load should play a part in making your decision as well.

    I wouldn’t get hung up on the initial cost of equipment of single stage vs. progressive unless money is an issue. If you buy good quality equipment and take care of it, it will retain its value if not appreciate in value. Dillon presses hold their value very well and with their recent price increase you could actually sell a used press and break even.

    I think most brands out there (RCBS, Redding, Lyman, Lee, Hornady, etc.) all do a decent job. I have had experience with most and have usually had very good customer service from any of these companies. I think some of the presses from these companies are made for lower volume vs. other presses that could handle larger volumes and you should see that in the prices of the different presses.

    If you feel like coming to Portland I will be having 1 or 2 classes in March (just have to pick the dates yet) and all of this and more is covered in class.
     
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    +1 on everything JohnH said. Also,

    Reloading isn't for everyone. I've seen more guys buy equipment, mess around a bit, and then the equipment forever gathers dust.

    Unless you like detail, and sitting for hours concentrating (like you built model cars or trains or do fine woodworking or...) it might not be for you. Consider that before you plow a wad of money into equipment.

    I believe that it costs more than $500 to get equipment to do a good job of reloading, and that would be with the Lee Anniversary kit or similar price. Just for me I require a case tumbler, several sets of dies, a chronograph, a case length trimming set, along with the many small pieces such as calipers, lube, lube pad, case block...

    That doesn't buy any brass or "consumables." (bullets, powder, primers...)

    Also, unless you really shoot a lot, you might prefer to just spend the money on ammo.

    I guess most people know that the Lee Classic Turret press can be used in single stage mode by disabling the turning function. It has the benefits of being able to turn later when you catch on, and also of having the turrets to hold your dies in adjustment if you use the same bullets. Cabelas has that in a kit form with primer feeders, powder measure, scales, etc. for about $220. Note that it holds one shell at a time in a center ram unlike a progressive press.

    You can't beat Dillon if you're really going to make it pay, but there's that question again...

    JohnH is right - you'll always need a single stage press for something so buying one up front isn't a waste of money even if you upgrade.

    For those of us who shoot a lot and love the mental and physical details and hours at the bench reloading, it's really great. You can't be sloppy - you really have to be patient and into details and love what you're doing.

    It's more about you than it is anything else.
     
  8. oldloggerak

    oldloggerak siletz,oregon New Member

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    First off I really appreciate all the input on reloading and what a person should start out with. After much thought and alot of good information from all you guys I have decided. I really want a progressive loader but as has been said several times, is it really worth the extra cost? I guess that leaves the dillion out for now but I think I will go ahead and get the Lee 1000. This will satisfy my obsession for a progressive and at a fraction of the cost. Cabelas has the complete set for the 40 cal for just about 200 and a friend said that he would take it off my hand later if I wanted something else. I will probably be back to online to get some more tips from you seasoned reloader. Thanks again.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    The pro 1000 is actually a good machine for pistol. It will load up to .223/556 but not larger.

    Just be aware that the progressive hold 3 cases at all times, and with each pull of the handle something happens to each case. It's a "busy" machine with a lot to keep track of.

    You can see the three cases down below, each going into a different die with each pull, powder dropping, primer going in, bullet being hand placed, 1 new case being inserted, all with each stroke. The entire reloading process occurs with each stroke. Go for it, but I wouldn't recommend it for someone new.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVp4l5w0AXM
     
  10. warnerwh

    warnerwh Portland, OR Member

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    From what I hear the 1000 works great if you're mechanically inclined. The Lee Classic has four holes for dies so you can seat the bullet and then crimp it in a separate step. I don't know how much ammo you shoot but the Lee Classic Turret has to be the best deal out there at 100 dollars. You can do 200 rounds per hour with it. However you have to get the Pro Auto Disk, don't get the standard auto disk. You will need the Safety prime and a riser for the pro auto disk which adds up. I was very surprised how good of a press this is.

    I got married and had sold my Dillon XL650 years ago. The Dillon will crank out ammo like there's no tomorrow but unless you're shooting a thousand or more rounds a month it's a very expensive way to start. Even the 550 is expensive unless you're going to shoot a lot.
    The quality of the ammo I get on the Lee is just as good as the ammo the Dillon made. By accuracy I mean 1.5" or less at 25 yards consistently. Actually one load I came up with recently is shooting 1.25" groups. Most of my revolvers are Dan Wessons hence the excellent accuracy.
     
  11. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    While I cannot dispute the productivity of a progressive setup I fall into the above quoted catagory and have for 30 + years. With a little pre-planning, and maybe an additional evening to prep cases, prime etc. 300 in an evening is not difficult at all. The trick with single stage is to develop a system that works for you and stick with it. Another thing that really helped me is I acquired a Forster Co-Ax press last year and after using a Rockchucker since day one it now is collecting dust under my loading bench! I also got a Lee hand priming tool (a necessity with a Co-Ax press as is does not have a priming system like RCBS but the Co-Ax's other advantages outweigh having a priming system on the press) and the Lee hand tool is very fast.
     
  12. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I bought a complete Lyman turret press set years ago. Everything I needed but the dies for a reasonable price. Used it for a long time until I got a Dillon RL550.
    A single stage would serve you well, but there isn't much difference in price between the single stage and a turret style that will save you a bit of time. (you can leave the dies in place and turn the head for the next die) If I was doing it all over again, knowing what I know now, with what I had to spend the first time around, I would do it the same way. Spend the few extra bucks and buy a turret press.

    By the way, when it comes to my rifle hunting rounds, I don't use my Dillon and do every round, one at a time, on my Lyman.
     
  13. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I got a Midway flyer last night and they had a Lee kit for less than $82, I'm not sure I can resist.
     
  14. curtismann

    curtismann Silverton Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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  15. onearmedswordsman

    onearmedswordsman Hillsboro, OR Member

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    I started reloading 12 months ago for my 308Win. I have since added dies for 4 other rifle calibers. All said above is true. But, caveat emptor (I skimmed fast so if I missed this, my apologies):

    A.O. (After OHB) from time to time, both ammo AND reloading consumables have been very scarce. That, my friend, is my largest gripe. Prepare to repeatedly pay hefty HazMat fees for powders and primers, wait weeks or months for your favorite powders, bullets, brass, etc. Since you did not mention caliber, let it be known that brass (and maybe some other components) for 45acp and .357mag are very scarce.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    I am in the crowd that started with a single stage press (lee anniversary kit), then upgraded to a RCBS rock chucker. I am still in the single stage press crowd but have dabbled with progressive presses in the past. My one single recommendation is to get an accurate powder measuring instrument. For me that was a digital scale. With pistol loads if you're off by 2/10 of a grain it could be above the maximum load data limit. You can't afford to make mistakes when working with controlled explosives. Good luck.
     
  17. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Some friends of mine and I got together with all of our scales to test them against each other. We used a single penny for the test. We had several digital scales including more than one RCBS and several brands of beam scales.

    The worst offenders were the digital scales in any brand. Every one gave a different reading, even the different RCBS scales. All of the beam scales agreed with each other within a gram, even the cheaper Lee scale.

    That said, I'm not patient enough to weigh every charge and use a powder measure on my turret press, and then weigh every 10th charge as a double check.

    But heck, that's just me... :)
     
  18. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

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    There is a class scheduled in March and for the price of 2 boxes of ammo you learn to reload and leave with a box of ammo YOU reloaded!

    What's no to like?

    Do I reload? yes.
    Do I have advise for someone just starting out?...not without writing a book here.

    It's kind of like what I tell people who are "thinking about" buying a boat...rent one, then you will know.

    Tilos
     
  19. shoggoth80

    shoggoth80 Greater Seattle Area Member

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    Depending on what your money situation vs. space considerations happen to be, I'll put a plug in for the Lee hand press. It's an inexpensive, hand operated (ie: no bench mounting), single stage press. It's pretty easy to use, and easy to stash away if you live in tighter quarters (such as an apartment). This is what I use, so it's not a blind recommendation. I hope to be upgrading to a progressive here in a few weeks, and I will have to make a small bench for that, and work out a storage area (take a bit of planning). The Lee hand press also takes standard dies, shellholders etc.

    Also, unless you get a progressive, get yourself a hand priming tool. That way you can quickly batch prime your brass. It works. It might not be as efficient as using a higher end set of equipment, but if you work in batches, you can crank out a fairly high number of rounds given the limitations (this I imagine goes for any single stage press).
     
  20. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    And me. :D My turret press has served me well and with the amount of reloading I do and my crazy attention to detail I've never had a need to move to a progressive. :thumbup:

    For a newb I'd start with a turret and then if you have your system all perfected and feel you need to ADD a progressive to your equipment choices then feel free. For some though, you may find that a turrent may be all you ever need.