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Reloading Start

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 44mag2ndamend, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. 44mag2ndamend

    44mag2ndamend Round the ole tree stump, Down by the crick Well-Known Member

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    So I have been researching this for quite some while and would like to hear any feedback on the basics of getting started.

    Types of equipment used? What are the minimum tools needed?

    Any mishaps or mistakes you have learned then unlearned in the name of progress?

    I have watched some Lead Cast Bullet society reload during a timed event and still make 9-10 at 200 yards. That was a great experiment.

    Every input is appreciated. Thank you in advance.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  2. vertical ascent

    vertical ascent Vancouver Active Member

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    These are the items I currently own/use for reloading: YMMV

    Brass preparation:

    You can clean your brass 3 ways, Stainless steel tumbler, ultrasonic cleaner and dry media tumbler (I used/experimented with all 3 types of brass cleaning and I went with the SS tumbler in the end)

    Brass brushes, primer pocket cleaner, primer pocket uniformer, primer pocket reamer and primer pocket swagger (to eliminate the military crimps on some brass)

    Case trimmer

    Deburring and chamfering tool

    Loading cartridge:

    Reloading books/manuals.

    Use the bullet and powder manufactures website for load data/s in conjunction with the load data given in a reloading book/manual. I have sent different manufactures e-mails inquiring about load data using specific powders, do no forget to ask about C.O.A.L.

    Press (single stage, progressive press, arbor press)

    Die set (carbide, steel, titanium carbide) Carbide dies are worth the extra expense, these are predominantly use on straight wall cartridges. Generally you do not have to lube the brass you are sizing if you are using carbide dies.

    Factory crimp die (my personal preference, I do this task separately after seating the bullet)

    Extra decapping pins

    Powder dispenser

    Hand primer (I didn't like the feel of priming from the press)

    Scale (digital scale or balance beam)

    Case/cartridge gauge (to make sure the cartridges you are making are within spec)

    Calipers (digital or dial)


    Powder pan

    Kinetic bullet puller (for when you make a mistake)

    Loading trays (you can make your own or use the discarded plastic trays from the ammo you bought at the store)

    Automatic powder dispenser with scale (this is an extravagant item that I bought to speed up my reloading, you can purchase this last if you are on a budget)

    Range time:

    Chronograph (test your bullet velocity, so you can compare it with the published data noted on the reloading book/manual)

    Pen and paper

    Cleaning rod (in that one instance when you are shooting and no bullet went downrange and it is lodge in your barrel, a squib load) This topic is subjective, you can pretty much use anything to dislodge that bullet as long as you do it safely, i.e. magazine removed, chamber is empty and not destroy the inside of your barrel.

    And off course eyes and ears.

    As I stated above, this is what I use, stay safe and have fun, YMMV.
  3. Puddin99

    Puddin99 Scappoose, OR Member

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    Very good list vertical. There are tons of youtube videos on reloading, brass prep, casting, setting up dies, different kinds of presses, etc.
  4. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    Get at least one manual and read it cover to cover a couple times. Most of your questions will be answered there. After reading at least one manual you will have a better idea of weather or not you even want to try reloading. Don't even bother loading your first round without a chronoghaph on hand. A chrono will pay for itself with time and money saved developing your loads. If you decide to reload after reading one manual....buy two more, read those, and compare data. Good luck! I enjoy reloading when I can get components at a reasonable price.
  5. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    What comes in an RCBS, Redding, Hornady or Lee kit is about the minimum. There is all sorts of other stuff that you can buy, but that is over and above the minimum requirement. For instance you don't need anything to clean brass other than a paper towel and some brass cleaner. For someone just starting out, I would never suggest turning necks or uniforming primer pockets. Save those expenses until after you become a more advanced reloader. The only thing not included in the kits I would highly suggest you get is a caliper.

    The advice to read the manual is excellent advice, but the important part of any reloading manual is the step-by-step directions on exactly how to reload, and the load data for the calibers you plan to reload. Read that info as many times as it takes to get it down pat. In looking at a Speer reloading manual, only about 50 of the 700 pages really needs to be read. The other thing you need to read and get down pat is how to set up the brand of dies you have.

    I don't agree at all with not bothering to reload unless you own a chronograph. I've reloaded for years without one, and I have developed .223 loads that will shoot consistent 1/2 inch groups and 6PPC and 6BR loads that will shoot in the teens. Learn what the pressure signs are, start with the low powder charge and stay within the specs and you will be fine. For 300 yards and less, your groups will tell you if your load is working or not. If you want to develop loads for 600+ yards it would be best if you have a chronograph. They are cool though and if you can afford one, do so, but they are not essential to reloading.
  6. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six North Greenlake, Seattle New Member

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    Skip the single stage press, skip the powder meter. Get a Dillon, once you drink blue Koolaid you'll never look back, and you'll never be out of ammo.
  7. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    First----what is your purpose in reloading and what kind of quantities
    are you thinking?

    Super ultra precise loads for a benchrest rifle

    100 rds a year for your old deer rifle, because factory
    ammo is hard to find

    50,000 rds of pistol ammo a year to feed your IDPA, USPSA
    competitive needs

    Each of the above requires VERY different equipment. Tell us
    what you want to accomplish by reloading and you will get a
    more precise answer.

    Personally I have a RCBS single stage press for rifle and small
    quantity oddball handgun loading, and a Dillon 550 to feed my
    USPSA habit with large quantities of 9mm and 45 ACP.
  8. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    This is what I did and I am loving my RL550B. If I ever get into long range shooting and I need to be more precise, I will get a single stage press. But All I am loading for now is .45acp and will eventually start loading .380acp and .223 for my AR-15 that I never use out past 100 yards. (At least not yet) Not sure if 9mm is worth loading when pre panic prices are considered. Seems these days I shoot more 22lr than anything else.
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Rather than go into a long list, I advise all NEW reloaders to invest in a copy of "The ABC's of Reloading".

    It will answer almost every single question a beginner could think of and once you have an idea of what the hobby is all about you'll be able to make good buying decisions.

    Reloading "experts" have all too often forgotten when they were "noobs" and just toss out a list of what they currently use.

    First learn about the hobby and then decide what level you want to start at or rise to.
  10. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six North Greenlake, Seattle New Member

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    The ABCs is a good book, the only problem I had with it was transferring the information to a Dillon.
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    That's why I always recommend that people start with a single stage until the entire process is burned into their brain.

    Besides, single stage presses are extremely useful long after you transfer your "production" to a progressive. Want 5 rounds for a load test? Why fire up the progressive when you can get all 5 loaded in less time than it takes to fill a primer tube?
    2506 and (deleted member) like this.
  12. My 3 sons

    My 3 sons Bonney Lake Active Member

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    Deadshot is dead on again.
    I started on a lee turret press for flexibility and expense. It didn't take long for me to get really into loading. I then bought my Dillon XL650. Though I load rounds in m *** on the Dillon that I know work the way I want I still use the Lee more than I would have thought or load development.

    Start with an inexpensive single stage or turret press. You won't regret it.

    Definetly read, read, read and watch this board. The are a lot of guys on here that are like Deadshot2. The give great advice always intended to help even if you don't like what they have to say. They will save you wether it's time or staying out of harms way.

    Hope to keep hearing from you!
  13. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    For what my own personal opinion is worth... If you are only going to shoot limited amounts of rifle or pistol then a single stage is fine. If you are a serious pistol shooter you will end up with a progressive anyway so there is no sense buying a single stage just to "pay your dues" so to speak. I have both and I cant imagine doing the volume of .45, 10mm, or .357 I go through with a single stage. There is a place for both but the blanket idea of everybody should start on a single stage is seriously flawed.
  14. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six North Greenlake, Seattle New Member

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    Doesn't matter to me how you started. I started on a Dillon. Saved me all that brain burning.

    From that perspective, the book The ABCs of Reloading is lacking.
  15. Papercidal

    Papercidal Vancouver ,Wa Active Member

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    The abcs is lacking in everything but it covers enough that you will know what questions to start asking for more in depth answers to. Get it from the library read it twice, return it and buy a real manual. as for it not covering progressive loading no manual i have come across has but it is all the same processes whether you do it one step at a time or all at once on a progressive.