Inflation and cost of reloading?


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Shrinkmd
October 15, 2005, 09:57 AM
It seems like loaded pistol ammo is up a good 10% or more since I started shooting, which wasn't that long ago. I am thinking about getting into reloading for the .45, ,38/.357. What have people noticed as far as component price increases, especially powder, bullets, primers? I already have plenty of brass to start with from my once-fired collection...

Second question. Could I comfortably fit the Dillon 550 on the Frankford Arsenal portable reloading bench? People have said that for cranking out good pistol ammo that a single stage can get very tedious once you learn what you're doing, and that apparently the 550 can be run in "single stage" mode till you get used to it.

Thanks.

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armoredman
October 15, 2005, 10:53 AM
Since Sportsmans' Warehouse opened up, costs are down for me personally....:cool:

P0832177
October 15, 2005, 01:10 PM
First off you have to buy in bulk to keep component costs down. Hopefully you are lucky enough to have a good local to you supplier of 8# pound jugs of powder, 5K lots of primers, and 1K lots of bullets. Perhaps you can snag deals at large fun shows out in your area! Your dollars spent will allow more bang for your dollar. It is not about saving money or getting a pay back. It is about expanding your hobby!

I would suggest that you look at getting a few things before actually buying equipment. First off buy and read ABC's of Reloading. Next, see if you have shooting bud who can mentor your introduction into reloading.

Next look long and hard about finding a powder that will serve all your needs, this helps with logistics.

I always have the idea one needs a single stage press to learn on. Too many things complicate the learning curve. I am not saying you can not use the 550 as single stage press, but I like to see people gain confidence, and I know that comes by doing one step at a time. Confidence equals safety!

The Bushmaster
October 15, 2005, 01:23 PM
Hear, here John...But let's not limit him to one loading manual or he could get stuck in a groove. Besides the ABC's of reloading there are Lyman, Lee, Speer and so many other very good publications to choose from and if you choose to reload you will have to have at least three of them to get all the load data you will need. After a while and a few trips to the internet and gun stores you will end up with a Dam** library of loading manuals. But Well worth it...
I definitely agree with you, John. Everyone should start out with a single stage to learn the basics and to better choose either a turret or a progressive and which one that would fit that persons requirements.:)

Shrinkmd...Good luck and have a ball. Loading your own is very fulfilling and good therapy to boot.:D

Smokey Joe
October 15, 2005, 02:09 PM
Shrinkmd--P0832177 and Bushmaster have it right! Read up first, THEN buy equipment!

As to prices, everything goes up. Anything with petroleum in its makeup will go up faster, currently, than otherwise.

One slight quibble--The ABC's of Reloading is NOT a loading manual. It is a very detailed how-to and why-to book, which will answer a lot of questions not covered in the chapter on reloading at the front of most loading manuals. You need a loading manual in addition to The ABC's--A loading manual is a recipie book mostly; so many grains of which powder with which bullet, etc, etc.

My favorite is Lyman's 48th edition. But there are a number of other good manuals; any nationally recognized source will do. You will develop yr own favorite, and having more than one is good since one manual can't cover all the possible combinations of bullet, case, primer, and powder. And you can cross-check them against each other, so as not to load to a printing error.

Lupinus
October 15, 2005, 02:13 PM
I just finished the ABC's of reloading. Good source of info, though admitidly, I only skimed over the section on shotshell reloading and some of the article's that are at the back. I'll read those in more depth later. I don't own any shotgun's and therefor have no need to reload shotshell's.

And I plan to start with a single stage. The lee anaversery kit. From what I understand it has most everything I need to start beside's the die's and the componet's.

Smokey Joe
October 15, 2005, 02:32 PM
Lupinus--You're Doing It Right--Read up BEFORE you buy equipment! Good on you!

Re the Lee Anniversary Kit--yes, it will just about put you in business. One problem I see with it is that the Anniversary Kit comes with their aluminum frame Challenger press.

I would rather see you getting the Lee Classic Cast press--it is cast iron framed, much stiffer than aluminum, much harder a material, therefore much less likely to spring out of alignment, wear, or otherwise become difficult.

Of course, were I you, I would get the RCBS Rockchucker rather than the Lee. It is built like a tank, will never wear out (given that you clean and lube its friction areas occasionally,) and is the gold standard by which all other single-stage presses are judged. The Rockchucker, like the Lee, can be had as a kit.

Given the weight of the thing, I'd buy locally if possible to save the freight. Failing that, give Midway USA a try. Or contact RCBS directly--mebbe they'll do a deal on the kit plus dies.

Lupinus
October 15, 2005, 03:03 PM
Well the lee kit was recomend and it is economicle. Right now I can get it from cabelas.com for 67.99, and that's the entire kit not just the press. Case trimemr everyting. I will have to get die's, likly will get a tumbler to clean them as it seem's much easier them chemicle cleaning. Plus im sure a lot cheaper in the long run.

After I get into it more and make sure it is for me, I will step up. Plus I will be doing mostly pistol ammo and to my understanding that is much easier on a press then is rifle ammo.

While im posting about getting a tumbler rather then a thread for it I'll jsut ask here.

Would I deprime before or after tumbling? The manual made no mention of it. If it's before tumbling that means I would have to put it through a die dirty to deprime and that doesn't seem like a good idea.

JDGray
October 15, 2005, 09:23 PM
Lupinus, I tried cleaning cases w/primers out, once! I was pickin corn cob out of primer pockets for hours. I read somewhere on one of these treads that walnut media is fine enough not to stick in the pockets. Give it a try and let us know! John

Lupinus
October 15, 2005, 09:50 PM
Well....I need to get the equipment first lol

Smokey Joe
October 15, 2005, 10:28 PM
Lupinus--The normal procedure is to clean, then deprime. Pistol shooters don't normally clean primer pockets, and seldom trim brass to length.

If you shoot a lot of pistol (like a league, or for competition) you'll eventually end up getting a progressive press. But start on a single-stage anyhow--it's easier to learn one step at a time, and you'll have the single-stage for whatever rifle rounds you do load.

Rifle shooters take more care with each round, and use a single-stage, for 2 reasons at least: 1, they normally shoot up a lot fewer rounds, and 2, the accuracy of a rifle shot is a lot more dependent on the uniformity of the ammunition. Pistol accuracy is more dependent on the skill of the shooter, so even rather carelessly made rounds can shoot better than most pistol shooters--Not that I'm advocating carelessness for a moment, mind you!!

You asked about tumblers--You want a vibratory tumbler, to use with either ground corncob or crushed walnut cleaning/polishing medium. (BTW, please to note that the singular is "medium," NOT "media.")

Get whatever tumbler you can lay yr hands on for cheap--they all work the same, and AFAIK there is no difference in quality. You don't want the smallest bowl you can find (can process too few cases) nor the largest (uses too much medium, unless you have like 1000 pistol cases at once to clean).

1911user
October 16, 2005, 03:11 AM
Yes, you can use a Dillon 550 with only one case at a time. If you are planning to reload alot of pistol ammo, can afford a progressive press setup, AND have a mature/careful attitude then starting with a 550 makes sense. It's a good choice for many pistol/rifle shooters. If you are not sure that you'll really like reloading and want to try it on the cheap, then the Lee Anniv. kit could make sense. If you are planning long term, the components in the Lee kit may not be satisfactory for long term use especially if you have the money for better equipment.

You are right that loading pistol ammo on a single stage press becomes frustrating when you want to shoot more but hate the idea of spending more hours at the press. I recommend serious pistol shooters get into a progressive reloading setup ASAP; you'll enjoy shooting alot more.

Smokey Joe
October 16, 2005, 04:28 AM
1911User--Would you start a 16-yr-old, brand new driver out in a fully-loaded semi-truck? Of course not--it's complicated, and too many details for a beginner to handle.

Likewise, a progressive press, whether single-loaded as you suggest, or fully automated, has too much going on all at once. And it still has to be set up correctly, which can be intimidating to a beginner. You forget that you already understand the press' operation.

Let the beginner start out with as few details to keep straight as possible, for crying out loud.

Even if they do eventually go to a progressive (and you will note that I am not against this) they'll still need the single-stage for load development and other specialized uses. So starting out with a single-stage is never a bad idea.

Peter M. Eick
October 16, 2005, 09:02 AM
Lets face it guys, oil is expensive now. 64$ a barrel now when it was only 30$ about a year and a half a go, and it was down to $10 less then 10 years ago or so.

Most of us can easily remember $0.75 a gallon gas, that was only about 10 years ago for me up in Arkansas. Now it is $3.09. This increase in energy costs has not hit the consumers "yet" in terms of shipping and materials.

Now to us reloaders, it is the natural gas prices that matter because natural gas is used to make the feedstocks to make powder in general. It is currently $14 an mcf at the henry hub. Compare this to around $7 an M last year and it has been as cheap as $0.75 and M back in the 90's.



Edited because I was being to much of a pessimist. Sorry about that. Enjoy the prices.....

Lupinus
October 16, 2005, 11:43 AM
Yep, I'd say your the most optomistic guy I have seen in a long time lol

SASS#23149
October 16, 2005, 11:57 AM
My buddy's rcbs can 'outshake' my midway machine any day.You can put 'me side by side and turn em on and really see the difference in power.Just means one is faster than the other I suppose.
Someone wanting to reload for pistols would be well served to start with the Challenger press.IMHO,the rockchuker is overkill.My challenger has zillions of rounds thru it.someone leaning more towards rifle reloading should look at a better press for more accuracy and durabiltiy.
Although some of the manuals say to deprime then clean,I see no reason for doing so.The pockets are not going to get cleaned much if at all that way.the ARE going to get packed with media though.

The Bushmaster
October 16, 2005, 12:28 PM
I hate to be Mr. Olsen's mouth piece here, but....:banghead: Olsen's Media does a superb job of cleaning and polishing cases and it DOES NOT get stuck in the primer pockets. In fact it will drain through the flash holes.:D

I will always pre-clean (tumble) my cases before running them though the resizing die then finish the job off with a one hour (seems to be all they need) or more in the tumbler...I use a Lyman 1200...:p

BruceB
October 16, 2005, 12:50 PM
I absolutely DISAGREE with starting a handgunner off with a single-station press. It is FAR too slow and self-limiting, particularly for handgunners, who typically burn a great many rounds compared to rifle shooters.

I started with a single-stage press in 1966, trying to supply two active Bullseye shooters with .45 ACPs and .38 Specials, and when I bought my Lyman All-American turret press a bit later, I thought I'd gone to Heaven. That same press still serves me daily, after loading hundreds of thousands of rounds, and my Rockchucker only gets very occasional use for certain specific tasks. I do not remember the last time I loaded a complete cartridge on the single-stage press, and my repertoire includes cartridges up to and including the .416 Rigby and .50-2.5" Sharps'.

This is not quantum physics we're dealing with! Learning the few operations needed to load a cartridge takes very little time indeed, and 1911User is correct about running the 550 one station at a time until the methods are understood. My own 550 is used for large-lot loading only, and the turret press still gets the bulk of my "business".

My recommendation for a beginning handloader, especially one intending to load mostly handgun ammo, is a good turret press. Note that used Lyman turrets can often be had on Ebay for $50.00 or so. Used PROPERLY, the turret offers a very useful gain in production rates ALONG with safety and control of the process. By "used properly", I mean that each case is placed in the press, and then the turret is rotated from station-to-station after each operation ON THAT CASE. So, the case is sized-deprimed-reprimed, the turret is indexed to the next die where the mouth is flared, and turret rotated to the POWDER MEASURE, which is mounted in the turret just like a die would be. After charging, the turret next brings up the seater/crimp die, if the combo function is used...if not, the final click of the turret gives us the crimper, and then a LOADED ROUND is removed from the press.

With a single stage, each case has to be handled many times, and a lot of time can be spent without having as much as one single loaded round to show (or shoot). Running the turret as described, loaded rounds are coming off the press about thirty seconds after the session begins. That is a LOT better, in my book!

Shrinkmd
October 16, 2005, 03:36 PM
Has anyone converted their rock chucker to the progressive model? Is it decent once you know what you are doing? I plan on making about 500 or so rounds a month of either 38, 357, or 45acp, depending on my mood.

1911user
October 16, 2005, 04:13 PM
1911User--Would you start a 16-yr-old, brand new driver out in a fully-loaded semi-truck? Of course not--it's complicated, and too many details for a beginner to handle.

Likewise, a progressive press, whether single-loaded as you suggest, or fully automated, has too much going on all at once. And it still has to be set up correctly, which can be intimidating to a beginner. You forget that you already understand the press' operation.

Let the beginner start out with as few details to keep straight as possible, for crying out loud.

Even if they do eventually go to a progressive (and you will note that I am not against this) they'll still need the single-stage for load development and other specialized uses. So starting out with a single-stage is never a bad idea.

I said "careful/mature attitude" and that is not age dependant. You can also work one case at a time on most progressive presses. It isn't that hard to set up a progressive press by reading the instructions.

As far as needing a single stage press, I have 2 Lees available for misc. tasks. I haven't used either one in over 5 years. In theory, they are handy, but I've never had a problem doing load devlopment on my 550 Dillon. I can also stop and inspect any case at any stage of being reloaded. I've also had consistent powder dispensing unlike when I was loading single stage and had several squibs due to the Lee Auto Disk measure and powder it didn't like.

I wouldn't have any problem with a mature 16 year old starting to reload on my 550 press. I would advise against anyone (of any age) from reloading if they were not careful. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this subject and let the reader decide.

It is a bad idea if they start with a single stage press and don't understand there are MUCH faster reloading options that don't limit their shooting time.

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