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Reloading and where to start

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by korntera, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    So now that I am joining the Johnson Creek Gun Club shortly, I am going to start reloading so I do not go broke. I am looking at a dillon 550. It looks a lot faster and a lot better in the long run than a single stage press that does only primers then only bullets. I plan on doing thousands of rounds so the extra $300 up front seems like a good idea right?
    Calibers I plan on doing.
    .223
    .308 or 30-06(don't have the rifles yet)
    9mm
    40SW
    .45ACP

    I know i need die sets for each caliber but don't I also need a tray for each caliber as well?
    I need a tumbler and nutshells?
    Brass, I have a ton of .223 and am starting to save the rest of my brass.

    Questions...
    Any other presses you like instead of the dillon
    Should i get a nice reloadler like a dillon 550 or get a single stage
    What price am I looking at to get set up for just .223 and then prices to add each caliber
    Where do i buy dillon stuff locally? I keep hearing sportsmans has nothing in stock now.
    Anything else I should know?

    -Travis
     
  2. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    In between the single stage press and the progressive press is the turret press. The turret is a good "first" press to start with IMO. I've contemplated getting a progressive but frankly, the turret has met my needs just fine for 20+ years (especially since I tend to not reload hundreds at a time).

    There was some good info in this thread regarding reloading .223 on a Dillon 550. http://forum.pafoa.org/ammunition-reloading-25/3547-reloading-223-dillon-550-a.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  3. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Travis, where are you located? There are some smaller shops that will help you along the way - in other words they are extremely competent reloaders besides having the gear you need. There is one in particular who sells Dillion and other brands who is an extremely competent reloader himself (the owner) and will gladly share his experiences to help you out. The guys paid minimum wage at most of the big name chains are not likely to be able to help you out as well. (not likely anyway). Besides they may not be working there next week. You may save a few bucks going to a big name but you'll gain more in experience, expertise, and life long support if you go to a smaller shop. BTDT.

    When I owned my shop I would literally invest hours into my customers and many times not sell a thing. That is part of being a small business owner.

    Also buddy up with someone who is already doing this to speed up the learning curve. There are some costly, and even some dangerious, mistakes one can avoid by learning from someone who is truely competent and experienced. Start out first using their equipment to load up some cartridges.

    I'd suggest you start slow in order to learn both the process of loading and the theory. Most people know the process but never take time to learn the theory and prinicples behind what they're doing.

    Start with one of the straight wall pistol cartridges and get the basic process down and then work your way into other cartridges. Start with quality first and then build up speed, production and other cartridges as you go. I've made every reloading mistake I think possible in the almost 40 years I've been loading. So please take this advice...start slow, build up speed and expand as you gain competence and confidence!!!

    For the rifle cartridges you need to determine if you're loading for bulk target ammo or in loading for precision. Because the approach and equipment used are different. Also depending upon the rifles you're loading for the process and componets might be different vis a' vis loading for a M1A or Garand is a bugg'r for a beginner. Loading for a bolt gun that is shooting @ 100 to 200 yards doesn't require the same discipline and know how as loading for a rifle that is shooting out at greater distances. Therefore knowing if you're loadiing bulk target ammo, precision rifle ammo or both will help us make some recommendations.

    Dillion is some of the finest equipment on the planet bar none! I've owned and/or used ever Dillion press they make. If I had to sell them all...I would, with reservation, but except the 550. It is the single nicest press besides a single stage I own. The 550, for a progressive, is the easist to learn on, most forgiving for mistakes, most flexible and quickest to turn over from one caliber to another. The 650 and 1050 are slow to switch over and I wouldn't own a Square Deal B if someone gave it too me. I've owned two of them and traded them back to Dillion after months of anguish and heartburn. I'm certain others have had better luck but not this kid. Zero offers sage advice about the turret press. I got started reloading in the dark ages before they were an option. Some day I'm going to buy one for my BPCR's.

    So, start first with "what you want to accomplish - specifically" and then we can help you make choices. There is a steep learning curve to start.
     
  4. slickx45

    slickx45 Seattle - Eastside Active Member

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    I also recently decided to get into reloading and after much research I went with the Hornady Lock and Lock AP. I was torn between this and the 550b but read many rewiews and seleceted the AP based on what I read. They are also offering free bullets through Dec 31st.

    I purchased the press and the necessary shell plates and dies for the calibers I intend to reload. I have not yet had a chance to use it. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have.

    Richard
     
  5. 45Bob

    45Bob Eugene OR Area New Member

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    I have been re-loading for about 6 years now. Like you I looked at a bunch of stuff before starting, but stumbled into a great deal on a Dillion 650 before I made a decission. I have never regreted it!

    I load 9mm, .45 ACP and .38 all pistol rounds, so I can't comment on .223 and others. I have picked up dies for other rounds over the years. I do have rifle dies but just haven't gotten around to those yet.

    Yes, there is a larger learning curve with an automatic press - but it is not that bad. Dillion has great info and videos on the process.

    I had heard good things about Dillion's gurantee, but never really believed it till I experenced it myself. I had bent a part, clearly operator error and I knew it. I called Dillion to order the replacment. They gave me the expected arrival date (very quickly) I said great, how much..."No Charge - that is part of our gurantee". I could not believe it! recieved the part quicker than promissed. GREAT service!

    I strongly agree with Dan, start with the straight walled pistol cartrages, go slow and build quality skills. When I say slow, go step by step, know that you what you are doing is the right proceedure and why. But no harm jumping into the press you think you want, in my case the auto as I wanted to load bulk target ammo. You won't regret it!
     
  6. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    Thanks for the info. I plan on only doing bulk target ammo at first because I don't know the theory and I would like to learn. The reason I have leaned towards the dillon 550 is because a friend has it and thats probably what i will first try reloading on. I just wanted to get more than 1 opinion on where to start and see what other people like so i know what to look for.


    OFADAN - I am in portland? know any good dillion places, i would much rather spend a few extra dollars to get it done right from knowledgable people. Blowing a barrel or any potential harm to myself is not worth the few dollars i will save at sportsmens.
     
  7. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Portland...I don't know any Dillion places..other than Sportsmans. I'm trying to steer you to a smaller shop with owner/operators who geninually care about their customers, have integrity, and have a lots of knowledge/experience. Many of the huge chains are just "employee mills" and the turnover is generally high. That isn't always the case as some stick around for awhile. Some of the larger chains occasionally get very qualifed people...but if they're any good they either start they're own business or move up into management positions.

    I'd say give Wild Bill's Gun Shop in Mollala a try. Ask for Billy or Jim and tell them I sent you. Those guys are awesome! And they're not so ego driven that if they don't know...they'll tell you or point you toward someone who does. They rock!

    FWIW...I used to own a gun shop and stocked a lot of products. Dillion was one product that never let me down. You cannot go wrong with any Dillion product. So buy with confidence. The 550 is the best one in my opinion. I've owned every Dillion press except the 1050 and currently own a 550 and a 650.

    Of the two the 550 is the one I go to all the time...mainly because it has the fastest turn around time for changing over to a new cartridge. The 650 is a great press but a royal pain to switch from a small to large primer cartridge - figure 30 minutes just to switch. The 550 is a 10 minute if you "dink around". A 550 is a great one to start with and learn. Start slow - avoid the case feeder option for now -- one more thing to cause problems. Eventually you may want to go with the auto case feeder option...but just "learn" how to reload the old fashion way - by putting your hands on the cartridge and really in-grain the process.

    Besides there is great wisdom in getting a matching 550 with a buddy for a host of reasons...namely learning curve and sharing parts if needed in a pinch.

    If you want give me a call at the OFA office and we can chat about getting you started. I generally return calls in the afternoon or evenings when I get in the office for messages. 541-451-5532.
     
  8. jeffcohen

    jeffcohen Mulino Or. Member

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    We offer reloading classes and help find the right reloading tools that you will need
    thanks
     
  9. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys. I am starting to save some hand gun brass(all I have is .223 now) so i can start with handguns at my friends house and go from there. Then I just need to put off gun purchases and save for a reloader lol.
     
  10. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    +1 for all the replies you have received and it is all great info except one thing is missing!
    Is that ever a joke! While your bottom line round cost will pencil out less, you will find yourself buying this and that powder, bullets etc. always trying something different, picking up reloading stuff you find here and there, and don't forget you will want to get into tumbling your own brass and all the accessories that go along with that, and don't forget case trimming tools (if you are going to reload rifle ammo). But please do not get me wrong - reloading is a great hobby and the advantage is the quality of ammo you will reload and the convienence of it once you get a supply of components established. You can always "knock out" a few hundred rounds the night before you decide to go shooting (while your friends have to chase around to buy ammo on a moments notice) I have been "rolling my own" for 32 + years now and I have never "saved" money. And after all those years of single stage reloading I am about to go progressive - a friend has a complete Dillon 1050 setup I may be buying from him.
     
  11. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    I'll be interested in your report on how well you like the progressive after all those years using single stage presses. I've contemplated getting a progressive for years but I guess I just prefer the more "hands-on" approach my turret press has given me.

    But I tend to be a little more... "finicky" when it comes to verifying random samples during each stage of my process and I'm reluctant to give that up for the convenience of the one-pull, one completed round aspects of the progressive.

    Still... if I ever decided I need to crank rounds out faster than I can on my turret (and have a few extra green rectangles lying around) I'll probably get a Dillon 550 and adapt just fine. :D
     
  12. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I agree - I have learned over the years how to maximize my round count with single stage but the idea of progressive has me interested - but only if the right deal comes along on a Dillon. I too have considered the loss of the "hands-on" approach and I suspect my first several hundred or so of progressively loaded ammo would be slow going so as to maintain QC but I know enough people who load progressively with little to no problems to report.
     
  13. pr787lv

    pr787lv somewhere in the NW Member

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    So, really, where to start? I've been contemplating getting into reloading even before the Obama Craze. Now that everything related to firearms have skyrocketed, I am even more cautious. I have tried to understand what it will cost me to get into reloading. Although I shoot several handgun calibers (38 thru 45acp) and rifle calibers, I am more interested into reloading .308, and that is because I am getting into sub-MOA and long range shooting. Let's assume I am going single stage kit for 308, which would contain a press, scale, powder measure, priming tool, loading block, and a handful of stuff (funnels, wrenches, etc). If I am correct, it seems I can get such a kit for about $300. Now, the question is, what else do I need? This is the list of what I think I am missing:
    - 308 die
    - tumbler (optional?)
    - media separator (optional?)
    add here
    .
    .
    .

    Also, lets not forget materials:
    - primers
    - cases
    - bullets

    Bottom line, how much should I budget to get started. About 4 months ago I figured I'd need about ~$1000 to get started on a 550B and got scared off. What is your guesstimate for 308 single stage, starting from zero?
    * Unfortunately, my shooting buddies do not reload.
    * Never tried reloading myself.
    * I do not care to reload anything but 308.

    Cautious LV
     
  14. kevlar

    kevlar Mt.Angel Active Member

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    In my personal opinion to get started re-loading a long range finely tuned 308. You would want to try using several types of brass, powder, primers, and bullets. That can set you back alot depending on the quality of the components you want to try. Brass can range from remington-winchester to nosler custom and lapua. Same with the other components. As for the tools they also have grades, rcbs standard die sents will work but they also have match grade. There are also tons of specialty tools you could try case neck concentricity gauge, overall length gauge.
    I say start slow get a basic kit and basic components and dies. Spend about 500 bucks or so for it all try it out see if you even like to reload. You may not, some dont they would rather be shooting.
     
  15. hyperparasite

    hyperparasite Hillsboro, OR Member

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    I looked at the website, but could not find any information about the reloading classes. Can you supply some details? (i.e. course description, duration, cost, dates, etc.) Thanks.
     
  16. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    Yay, I ordered my dillion 550 two days ago and had my friend give me a couple hours of lessons on just handgun cartridges on his 550. i think I iwll be ready to go until I get into rifle calibers.
     
  17. Tom Herman

    Tom Herman Napavine, WA. Member

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    Hi Travis!

    I'm glad you ordered it. Mine is a 1980's 550 (no "B"). I am tooled up for about 13/14 or so calibers.
    I bought extra tool heads so I can just set and forget them.
    I've turned out at least 125K rounds on the 550.
    It's a joy to use, with an accasional hiccup due to worn parts that are cheerfully replaced by the Dillon folks.
    If I were just starting out, I'd attempt pistol or revolver rounds first. They are less complicated than rifle cartridges. Learn the lessons, get confident, then progress (pardon the pun!) to the more complicated rounds.
    From your posting, I'd try .45 ACP first, then 9mm second, and go forward from there.
    Now that you have your 550, you can slowly begin adding accessories, new dies, and caliber conversion kits at your convenience.

    Happy Shootin'! -Tom
     
  18. BillCh

    BillCh Vancouver Active Member

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    I've only been reloading for about two years. I started off with a Dillon 550. I ordered it from

    http://www.brianenos.com

    I spoke with Brian at length several times before I bought, he was very helpful.
    I only reload .40S&W and .45 ACP so I can only offer opinion on those calibers.
    The 550 works great for me. Caliber changes are easy. Powder measure is consistent. I do about a hundred or so at a time. I takes such a short amount of time, It just makes me want to do more.
    Good luck.
     
  19. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    I got my 550 setup for 40 S&W, reloaded about 100 rounds so far all worked well... so far lol. I love it, my friend uses single stage RCBS and loads like 100 rounds in an hour, i loaded 100 rounds in 12 minutes with 2 messed up casings.
     
  20. terrylf72

    terrylf72 Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    I started out with an RCBS rock crusher reloader... great one stage loader. was given to my when my dad upgraded to a Dillon XL-650 which I now have after he passed last year. I have 10 die sets for the RCBS and at times find it hard to justify the $275 for the complete calaber change for the dillon.

    RCBS = 30-06, 308, .224, 38/357, 45 acp, 44spl/mag

    Dillon = 9mm, 45acp, .223/5.56, (308/7.62 ---just got this week)