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when to start reloading?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by trainwreck, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. trainwreck

    trainwreck salem Member

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    At what point is a good time to start reloading your own ammo?
    My wife and i have just got into shooting and have found it to be very fun. i shoot a 40 s&w and she is looking for a 38 special.
    Is there some magic number of rounds per month where it becomes more cost effective to reload rafther than be new?

    What reloading equipment would be recomended for some just getting into reloading, and looking only to load traget rounds not looking for max load with more than normal accuracy. we are also not into hunting just target shooting.

    trainwreck
     
  2. Creeper

    Creeper Ravensdale, WA. Member

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    I'm going to toss a monkey wrench into your thought process...

    If you're really into target shooting for fun, I'd suggest spending your money on a couple of .22 target pistols. You'll develop better skills and you get to shoot a lot more often. Watch out... you can get hooked on .22 target and find yourself dropping 2K on a target pistol without even realizing it. :p

    Now... if you just absolutely have to shoot centerfire handguns all the time, then start with a single stage press and learn the process of producing reliable, accurate and safe ammunition. Then... if and when you're ready, proceed to a progressive.

    Ciao,
    C
     
  3. trainwreck

    trainwreck salem Member

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    i would like to buy a 22 target pistol but dont have the fund at this time. and i would like to get alot better at shooting with the guns i have now. Being that i am new to hand gun shooting its going to tack alot of practice to be and good at this.
     
  4. jaredpost

    jaredpost Puyallup Member

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    While I can see the point in getting a single stage press to learn the process, I don't really agree. I started reloading on a dillon progressive press and have done just fine. If you are target shooting often and especially with two of you shooting, you will spend all day reloading on a single stage press when you could do the same on a progressive press in an hour or two.

    I'm really happy with my dillon 550 but I know that is a little more expensive than most people want to spend initially. I have heard plenty of good things about the lee progressive presses and they are considerable cheaper.
     
  5. bingeebob

    bingeebob Portland, Oregon Member

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    the .38 and 40sw are easy enough to reload on a Lee reloader single stage press. not incredibly fast, but reloading is fun!

    check out http://www.leeprecision.com/

    i bet you could get started reloading for a total investment of $150, sure, it would take some time to "pay back" that investment in savings per round, but the amount of knowledge gained from rolling your own is very valuable.
     
  6. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    Your call but if you know you will be loading for a long time and take the initial time to learn correctly, the Dillon or other progressive is what you will end up with more than likely. My 550 has never failed in many years of use and saves much time. Single stage will do it but much more time will be spent loading. BUT...............you can start out with less money with single stage and move up from there if you find you have the time and sell your old press(I would keep it)........It will take some time in the beginning to learn the correct process. It is not difficult, but will take some time and careful use of equipment to do it safely. I have had two primers fail in all my years of loading.....thats it...no firey explosions or ruined guns.......
     
  7. cwesty

    cwesty SW Portland New Member

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    +1 on picking up a used single stage press. Reload 15 or so boxes and your equipment will have paid for itself. I also agree that starting with a single stage is safer, as it makes you focus on each step in the process individually. I still use a 20 year old RCBS that works like the day it was new.

    Fair warning though, lots of people start reloading to save money - but it'll just make you shoot even more.
     
  8. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    Second that.....you will shoot more....and thats a good thing. The single stage will keep your rate down to help focus on the steps one by one. The progressives can be overwhelming to a new loader and they may give up and think it is too complex when it really is not. Just take it slow and step by step and double check things along the way with no distractions.....
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You have to enjoy reloading for itself or forget it. It takes a lot of equipment and space and... There's a lot more needed than a press and some dies.

    You need a way to clean your brass. You need enough brass to make your setups worth while which means you may buy some once-fired brass in bulk. You'll stock up on primers, bullets and powder because they aren't always available right now. Again, you also want to load enough of one thing at a time to make your setups worth doing so you need supplies.

    I consider a chronograph an essential safety item to check bullet speeds against published speeds. It also lets you know if you have an appropriate muzzle velocity. It can warn of dangerous pressures in its own way. It can also pronounce a load slow and wimpy.

    I consider a tumbler and media a necessity. Others might not but it sure helps.

    You need to be able to check and adjust case lengths so you need a trimmer and calipers. You need a deburring tool.

    You need a good powder scale and measure.

    You need at least a couple of good books.

    Once you have the brass and the equipment, you can load for about 1/3 the cost of buying new ammo if you don't value your time - it's a hobby.
     
  10. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    I say the time is now, you will start saving money and have the satisfaction of rolling your own. I suggest starting off with a single stage, you can still crank out plenty of ammo in a couple of eveing while being able to keep a focus on making quality ammo. I started with a Lee Challenger setup that is available for about $105 that comes in a kit with powder measure, scale, press, and all the litle things to get started. After the Challenger I moved to the Lee turret press then moved to a Dillon 550, then a Dillon 650 and even have a 1050 for .223 which I can product about 1000 rnds in less than an hour :D Search Crainglist using www.searchtempest.com/ around your area, you might pick up everything you need used for a good price.

    Go for it, it fun and relaxing!!
     
  11. munchkin

    munchkin San Jose, CA New Member

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    I'm using http://craiglook.com
    It allows to search craigslist within specific radius, but not so ugly as original craigslist and does much better job than search tempest.
     
  12. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the entire post. The .22 handgun is a sensible and fun way to learn the basics AND get hooked on bullseye shooting too. In the days when we had ordinary handguns here in mainland UK my wife and I would cheerfully pop 200 shots each in a .22 session, followed up the next night by home-loaded .38Spec in our revolvers - THAT would use 480 rounds between us if we did the whole course. Try THAT with store-bought ammunition today and see how far your bank-balance stretches- and that was with just one calibre - I also shot long-range .44 revolver, and 9mm Para. Thankfully, in my job I was classed as a minor unit all by myself, and had an MU allocation of 27800 rounds of 9mm service stuff to shoot. Needless to say, I had a LOAD of 9mm handguns, but then I also had one of the largest collections of .44Mag S&W and Ruger revolvers in private paws in the UK.

    My Rockchucker press, still used for three centre-fire rifle calibres and .38spec/.357Mag, has served me perfectly from the day I bought it in Wiesbaden Rod & Gun club back in 1978. My electric Dillon, used for producing around 500-1000 rounds of .38 Spec in a session, is now owned by the local constabulary, and I sincerely hope with all my heart that it breaks down every second round they load with it.

    There is no shortage of good quality second-hand .22 pistols out there - for you in the US, the beautifully-made S&W model 41 is the big cheese - mine [one of seven .22 target pistols] was second-hand and mint, and I loved it to bits.

    tac in yUK
     
  13. sheepman

    sheepman Las Vegas NV Member

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    The lee starter kits are inexpensive and will get you reloading. While a progressive is nice for a lot of ammo fast it does not allow easy changes when working up a load. I started with a simple lee loader in the 60s (box kit that you had to drive the shell in by hand) for a 357. replaced it in the 70s with a single stage, that I am still using. Reloading is a hobby by its self, you can work uploads for accuracy and try different bullets, down load for target shooting and more. I also cast my own bullets but you should learn to reload fist. By shopping for components and buying in bulk you should be able to reload for less than 1/2 the cost of new. After loading around 30 or 40 thousand rounds I have had no problems and all my fingers are still there. Good luck, start small, go slow and you will have fun: Bill
     
  14. TonsOfOregonBrass

    TonsOfOregonBrass Sandy, OR Active Member

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    +1 on the .22's. ammo is available again for them, and it teaches the same technique.

    As far as reloading. I started on a progressive, but i would only run one round though at a time. I would check everything along the way. After a few hundred rounds i started keeping track of two, a few hundred more, then three, until i had all slots full.

    If you start shooting a lot a progressive is the way to go.

    And here is the shameless plug, if you need some brass check out my website. if you see something you want, just PM me and i will give you NWFA pricing.
     
  15. warnerwh

    warnerwh Portland, OR Member

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    Being good with a handgun takes a lot of hours of practice. Unless you're rich a .22 is the way to go. Even reloading a .22 will save a lot of money and is quite a bit of fun.
     
  16. A2theK

    A2theK Olympia Member

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    When to start reloading? 5-10yrs ago.:thumbup:
     
  17. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    Havent heard of that one. Search tempest got a little better with a Java application that closes areas that dont have anything come up in the serach.

    Another thing I want to add about reloading is it isnt for everybody. I love it and find it relaxing but my Brother sprung for a progressive and ended up hating it, thought it was to time consuming where I look at it as I have more time than money. A Lee kit is a great way to get a taste of it and learn if you are going to enjoy it or not.
     
  18. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Best time to reload, is right after you shot the last round from the mag.
     
  19. smonk

    smonk Oregon Member

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    Anytime is a great time! And if you stick with Lee Precision products, you will pay for the equipment in no time at all. Midway has a starter kit that includes everything but dies for $80.99!!!!! You want carbide dies for pistol calibers and they're about 30.00 per set. You will pay for all your equipment in 1500 to 2000 rounds!!! After that, you're making money!

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=423081
     
  20. smonk

    smonk Oregon Member

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    Oh, and I forgot to mention the Lee "Modern Reloading Volume 2" manual available from Midway for about 13.00. The first 1/3 of the book is simple reloading instructions and the last 2/3 is loading data. Great book! I think every reloader must have it!