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Reloading question

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by kev350, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. kev350

    kev350 Gresham , Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm looking to start reloading here what would be a good set up to go with. Without going over board on cost.
    I'm looking to reload for hunting rifles and some .223's ,9mm, ..45ACP
     
  2. BANE

    BANE Battle Ground WA. Well-Known Member

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    Anything RCBS.. rockchucker kit!?
     
  3. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Start by buying a good reloading manual: my suggestion is the Lyman, I think the current edition is #49. You'll find more information there than you can imagine.
    You'll have a better idea of what you want, and probably understand suggestions alot better.
     
  4. FortRock

    FortRock Bend/Salem, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    1. Find someone who reloads and has been doing it successfully for some time and hang out and get hands-on familiarity;
    2. Start with straight-walled pistol cartridges;
    3.Always start with lighter than maximum loads and work up.
    4. RCBS Rock Chucker press

    Dis-claimer....this advice was free....Ha....:)
     
  5. pacific keeper

    pacific keeper North Coast New Member

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    Read the Speer manual . The step by step in this manual is very good .
     
  6. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    What are your goals? Handloading for accuracy in a bolt rifle? Reloading handgun ammo to save some cash?
     
  7. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    I purchased a Hornady book & the ABCs of Reloading, and read up on everything before I purchased my first tool. My primary desire is rifle rounds for hunting, and accuracy. I can reload for my .45ACP as well, but I wanted to start with my rifle. My budget is tight, so I purchased a single stage press. In fact, I purchased the Hornady kit that comes with a bunch of tools. The hand priming tool was weak and broke on the second we got it out. The scale is weak, but it's okay for a beginner. I got some 3rd hand tools like a tumbler and a trimmer, and splurged on a really nice set of calipers (very heavy, and read out to .####). I purchased Lee dies, which are okay, but almost long long enough for the newer style of Hornady press. The problem is with the 'cam-over' action on the press. If I had it to do over again, I would get a press without a cam-over. I would also buy things outside of the kit as I need them simply because I would buy better quality parts, and the money saved in the kit is lost in buying a worthy scale, for example. But it was a good place to start... it was recommended to me by many reloaders to start there with as many manual tools as possible so I can understand each piece of the process intimately. I think it was valuable advice looking back.

    Total number of bullets I have had to actually pull? 1. Now, I have had to dump 10 cases full of powder as I discovered the scale lost it's -0-, but by going slow and deliberate, I don't have hundreds of rounds to disassemble (yet - I am sure that day is coming).

    One day I will get a progressive press for my pistols - but I am not ready for that yet. I will have the experience, know-how & Budget to better manage each of the processes and the problems. One thing about progressive presses - It takes a lot of brass, bullets and powder to keep them fed. :)
     
  8. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Save some cash?? That's funny. Good one!

    YMMV. I'm only loading hand gun, I haven't saved any cash. But I'm havin' lots-O-fun!

    Mike
     
  9. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    I use RCBS, but I wouldn't be adverse to using a Dillon or Hornady press. RCBS and Hornady have starter kits in the $275-325 range which has almost everything you need to get started. I've been using a single stage press (just did 1100 .223 rounds on it) but I'm considering adding a progressive because my reloading batches are growing.

    What the kits don't have are case cleaners (tumbler, vibe, sonic, etc), calipers and trimmers.


    elsie
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Two bits of advice. First, start out with a single stage press. Even if you eventually move up to a "Mini Factory" progressive, that single stage will be essential for those few hunting rounds and load development for all others.

    Second, Double or even Triple the amount of money you have budgeted for the project. Then you might have enough for all the "extras" you will find you need.

    While shopping, don't overlook Dillon's newer offering. They offer a BASIC model of he workhorse 550. It's for all practical purposes a 550 stripped of auto powder measure and auto priming. Good way to get started and when you're ready to move up to a full featured Progressive, they offer upgrades. Don't have to buy a new press. It sells for less than $300. A good centerpiece to a new reloading operation. You'll still need manual, scale, caliper, and case prep tools, and a good basic powder measure.
     
    evltwn and (deleted member) like this.
  11. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Boy is that the truth! I picked up my lock n load for, what I 'thought' was a good deal @$340. I'm now in $1100 and haven't made a single round yet and still technically need a scale (borrowing one for the moment).

    But I figure I've got 30 or 40 years of shooting in me so it will pay for itself in the long run.
     
  12. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Youv'e been shooting that long? Or that's how long you expect to live? LOL

    Mike
     
  13. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    The latter; although that may be optimistic if I don't start using the treadmill for something besides a conversation piece.
     
  14. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    I agree with all of the above. I just recently started hand-loading (carefully assembling one round at a time for my .308 bolt rifle). A couple of weeks into that and I realized I also wanted to reload (assembling a lot of rounds) for my 45 and my AR. They are almost the same thing, butcept I put a LOT more time into the brass preparation for my .308 and I do much smaller batches. For the handl-loading I bought the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme set ($270 from Cabelas), a Lyman digital scale/dispensor, dies, simple Lee trimmer setup, etc. This was enough to assemble some .308 rounds. THEN.. I read the stickies on Sniper's Hide about loading for accuracy. This led to some more measuring tools to accurately measure cases and bullets, a Wilson trimmer and other goodies that help make more consistent ammo. I still need to get a good set of dies. But, for the most part my .308 setup is working out well. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't have changed much at all. In the future I will probably buy a Forster Co-Ax press. Mostly because I like the way it handles decapping and I just like it.

    For reloading, I bought a Dillon RL550B from a member on here. It came very well equipped. Since then I put together another toolhead for loading .223. I can put together 350+ rounds/hour without rushing. I did some "accuracy" upgrades to the Dillon, mostly because I liked the concepts, not because there was anything wrong with the press as it came from Dillon.

    Anyway, all of this is why I asked "What are your goals? Handloading for accuracy in a bolt rifle? Reloading handgun ammo to save some cash?" above.

    All in all, I am very happy with the equipment I have purchased and the ammo I am producing with it. I originally thought $800 or so would get me where I wanted to be. I have easily spent three times that and have another grand or so to go before I have what I am currently wanting.
     
  15. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    The Lee kit from Cabelas is great. Inexpensive and durable. I have loaded thousands of rounds and not a problem.
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Just remember, some guys Fish for their hobby. $50k for a boat/trailer, not to mention the Truck that tows it. Some are into Hot Rods. Bought a house from a guy who had $14K in just the engine. Expected that much more in the body, etc.

    For those of us that reload and shoot for a hobby, the costs of those other hobbies make ours look kind of "cheap". Then again, a Hot Rodder might go out and buy $2500 worth of tires and wheels where I just spent the same for a Scope. Hmm, maybe shooting isn't all that much cheaper:(
     
  17. kev350

    kev350 Gresham , Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Which would be better to start with RCBS Partner Press Reloading Kit or a RCBS - Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit. But I'm buying a book first up.
     
  18. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    My opinion is Rock Chucker Supreme kit. That's what I bought. I don't regret it. It comes with the Speer manual.
     
  19. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    If the Rock Chucker is within the budget (don't forget you have to add dies, shellholders, bullets, powder, primers, etc), then I'd go with that one.


    elsie
     
  20. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This question is a good one. That is why it comes up so often, and why there are so many varied answers. Persons participating in responses are varied in their experience and offerings. Here is mine from 44 years of handloading:

    1) Don't buy hard big gear new. Buy used. It is durable, it is not worn out. Find a mentor, and find one with some experience. He will tell you pitfalls, what you need, what you don't. Fine reloading gear is easy and economical to obtain. Do not buy new (for the big stuff: press, measure, scale, etc.) You have decided on a lifelong hobby. If that is not the case, then buy cheap and new. (Get rid of it at a loss 2years from now). Of course, if you have money, buy new and high quality, but a brand new press and brand new measure and brand new scale will provide absolutely no benefit compared to much more affordable used and durable (and plentiful) big gear.

    2) Buy the best (used). RCBS is the integrity-standard brand, no person in the hobby for any period of time will dispute this. Some may prefer others brands (and I do for some applications), but you can never go wrong with Big Green.

    3) (Probably should be NUMBER ONE): LITERATURE. educate yourself. Written is best, so you can curl up away from the computer, and study. This is not pickle-canning. It is a SCIENCE. If you have an analytical mind, you will see this early. My recommendations are "ABC's of reloading" (this from a guy who has no copy, but has read it: it is very good for the starter). Lyman Manual is number two on my list (number one on many of my experiments).

    4) Digest all suggestions (especially from the internet, including my contribution) with your critical-thinking skills fully engaged.

    5) Decide your purpose. High Production at Minimal Cost (RELOADING), vs. Extreme Precision and Accuracy (HANDLOADING). Neither is "better". You need to decide what is your goal,and they are not exclusive. Learning to HANDLOAD will prevent many mishaps in the future should you choose later to go the other way. You can see here what I would recommend for a beginner. Many have begun with the first goal in mind, and do very well: we HANDLOADERS are very often schooling RELOADERS in fundamentals they did not learn when they run into problems. HANDLOADING is arguably cheaper to start with as well (if you do not count your time reloading as money lost).

    6) Set aside a portion of your household for the SCIENCE. This need not be an entire room, but privacy is almost essential. No distractions, as should be due any SCIENCE.

    7) Never be bashful to ask questions. This forum is very good, and I learn something every day (even from the young-buck, fast-production RELOADERS). You are a SCIENTIST: to deny a source of data is ignorance. When you have digested a book or two, buy two more. (Used, recent, nearly no cost).

    8) Having done all this, you will find reloading to be a refuge, requiring all your attention, shutting your mind to all other concerns. Perhaps you will find it (as I do) therapy from all the rest of muddled concerns in your life. You will look forward to the time and space you have reserved for this welcome relief from all else.

    9) CREATE! Find what works for YOU and YOUR GUNS. It will almost always be something unique and something to be proud of: to share with those of us (even of greater experience) that we can absorb and share your triumphs and apply them to our own efforts.