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Reloading equipment for 5.56 round

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 19stang88, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. 19stang88

    19stang88 Gresham Member

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    I am looking to start reloading my own ammo for my AR15. I have been looking around to purchase equipment and all the required materials. First question. What do I buy for equipment, tools, press and whatnot. Second question, what kind of powder and how much for each round. Last question where can I buy all of this stuff and how much does it roughly cost me to purchase everything I need.
    Appreciate the help in advance.
     
  2. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    most folks like 'small base dies' for AR's,they size the brass just a mite smaller for reliability. as usual,some will say they're not necessary.
    then we need to know if the sky's the limit on your budget,say a thousand bucks,or is it more like 500 ? Less ?The difference will be in how fast you can turn out ammo.
    here's the steps,and a basic press vs a 'progressive' mulit-function press is where the speed comes in.
    The basic steps are:
    size the brass,whcih deprimes it,then measure the brass for overall length. oal
    trim if required,a power trimmer is very deisrabel,a hand crank trimmer way less money.
    prime the brass.
    add the powder ,refer to loading manual for type and amount. a pound of powder equals 7000 grains ,so if the manual says to use FOR EXAMPLE 35 grains,a pound will load 200 rounds of ammo.
    seat the bullet..the seater die can also be set to add crimp to the bullet.I prefer to seat and crimp with 2 seperat dies,it' makes die adjustment a LOT easier.

    if ur low budget,using a single stage presss,hand crank trimmer,etc. a thousand rounds will require you to do 6000 operations.size,measure,trim,prime,add powder seat/crimp bullet.

    with a progressive press,with the trimmer mounted on the press like onw of our members has,it's more like a little over 1000 hand operations to do a thousand rounds.again,the differtence is money.

    caveat.. if you're a brand new loader,get at lest 2 manuals for reference.I love the Lyamn's,tons of info in there. also,it is VERY GOOD IDEA to start with a single stage press like a Lee cast iron press,so that you learn the process by taking your time. You can go progressive later.You will alway need an extra press around for different things.,and if not,used equiment sells fast.

    Lee,RCBS,and Hornady all have websites with their gear,and some of the larger stores have it on hand to sell.
    the basics are: press,dies,a caliper either digital or dial-type for measuring cases and loaded rounds...a scale.I prefer a beam scale,some like digital..powder measuer with stand,case trimmer, a tumbler to clean the brass is a good idea,and if ur using military brass someting to remove the crimp ring with.Dillon makes a good one but it ain't cheap..good tools aint' cheap nohow. lol also a deburring tool for cleaning the case mouth after trimming. here again if money allows,they make a 'case prep center' that trims,chamfer,deburrs,etc all on one machine.

    whew,I hope this didn't get toooo overloaded on info. I"m sure others will chime in,we love to help new folks get started,and try to get them started safely .
     
  3. 19stang88

    19stang88 Gresham Member

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    Thanks! I appreciate the detailed input!
     
  4. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Throckmorton's hit pretty much all the points quite well.

    I would first decide how many rounds you will actually be shooting in a given period of time. If you go out once a month and only shoot a couple hundred rounds each time you haven't exceeded the capacity of a good single stage setup which can be had for less than $500 total. Loading sessions of an hour or two, a couple nights per week, can keep up with that demand.

    Start shooting that amount each week or so, through several AR's, and you will either be spending every spare minute loading, or you'll need to look at a progressive that can load your ammo requirements for a month in a few hours.

    Every good decision making process requires some analysis. How many rounds do you need? How often will you need them? How much time do you have to load them? What is your "budget"? What savings will you realize? What other reloading will I be doing? Will I be able to load rounds for my other needs on the Progressive Press that fits my budget (some will load only .223/5.56 as the larges rifle caliber)?

    Also make sure that when you start putting together your shopping list you include EVERYTHING. A press is only the beginning. Dies, prep tools, trimmer, scale, powder measure, loading data book, caliper, and a host of other little things can add up.

    Of course if money is no object, just call Brian Enos (or go to his website BrianEnos.com) tell him you want the ultimate Dillon setup for your caliber(s) and just have him ship it. A 650 with casefeeder and trimmer can load .223/5.56 ammo fast enough to supply ammo to a small revolution;) Won't cost you much more than $1200 either.
     
  5. 19stang88

    19stang88 Gresham Member

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    Thanks deadshot2. I will going through 200-300 rounds/month since the weather is getting bad in Oregon. I have been looking at the Lee products. Since money is an object, I can't do the $1,200 Dillon set up. I would first like to learn the basics with a single stage before Anything else. Thanks again.
     
  6. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    Then try a 550. Or do a Rockchucker on the cheap... If you like doing it and would like to start getting into progressives you can always sell it for a good price.