Bought a reloader and supplies on a lark, did I get what I need?


January 1, 2006, 09:27 AM
Last night at work, I figured I needed more ammo as I'm finding more free time for leasure... which often involves range time. So I prepared to order another 1000 round of FMJ for my 1911s, looked at what I'd be spending and got to thinking (which generally gets me in trouble).

I purchased the following items instead and I hope will get me started in "rolling my own":

1) A new single stage 4-hole Lee turret press (that claims to have a spent primer catcher). It comes with a case holder, powder scale and scoop-looking thing, as well as some kind of automatic powder dispenser and other doohickies (I know my lack of knowledge is obvious :( ) I heard from a buddy a while back that though a Lee single stage is certainly nothing to brag about, they are solid presses. I hope this purchase won't prove him wrong.

2) A Lee four-die kit for the .45acp with factory crimping die

3) 250 count once-fired tumble-cleaned brass (all Winchester, but needs depriming). I have quite a few of my spent cases I policed at the range after shooting, but I guess I'll need to buy a tumbler to clean them before use.

4) 1000 Winchester 230gr FMJs, which is what I typically use in loaded fodder anyway. Both my Kimber and RIA like WWB, I'm hoping I can load something comparable.

5) 200 count of 200gr swaged SWCs with some hardness factor of 13, whatever the heck that means.

6) 1000 Winchester large-pistol primers (man, I should have made certain this was the right size for the .45acp before ordering, I'm always doing #&% like that :confused: ) I was just going to order the powder, but figured I'd save additional Hazmat fees by combining the order with the primers, something I'd need anyway.

7) 1 pound can of Winchester 231 powder (if I works for me, I'll buy more... I hear it's nice). I'm also curious how many rounds I can load with only a pound of powder. Can someone give me a rough estimate?

Is there anything else I missed that I'll need to get the first 250 rounds loaded? I'd like to wade in the reloading field rather than dive in, so I didn't want to make too great an investment in case I find it's not my cup of tea (however unlikely that may be).
I spent a little less than $300 in all. I know I could have bought a Dillon Square Deal B or something snazzy for $300, but I probably still won't get time to shoot more than 500 rounds of .45acp a month and don't much care for a progressive reloader unless I plan to shoot enough to need one. However, I do figure this press is solid and will last long enough to eventually save me money down the road, so I suppose it's still an investment.

Also, I didn't buy a manual and doubt this deluxe press package comes with one. If anyone has some pet loads using 230gr FMJs or 200gr swaged SWCs and Win 231, feel free to share!

Thanks in advance,

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January 1, 2006, 09:48 AM
sounds like you are off to a good start. The large pistol primers are correct for the 45 acp and ww231 is a great powder for the same. I would recommend purchasing a reloading manual when you can.Do a search on the internet for reloading and go to W.D. Smiths for some loads.You might just go to the winchester western site and ckeck their recommended loads for your case and bullet wieght. The RCBS site should prove helpful with the basics for reloading.Dont hesitate to ask questions. If you have a reloading buddy,ask him to set in with you until you get to get the hang of things.Treat primers with respect they are powerful little things. Make sure they art seated flush or deeper in the case primer pockets.If possible eyeball ever case and make sure there is powder inside and the amount looks similar to that in your other cases before you seat the bullet.Bullet tension is important and the instructions with your dies should cover this area. You may want to buy a gage later to check your finish rounds. For now you can removed the barrel from your 1911 and use the chamber to gage your reloaded rounds.Use a factory round for comparsion to adjust your seating depth. You may want to purchase a dial caliper later to handle oveall length requirements.

January 1, 2006, 09:50 AM
The manual is paramount! You need to get about three to start. Reloaders' Guide is a good start, along with the Lyman 48th. Go back to the shop you bought everything at, and ask for any reloading manuals they have. Also, free manuals can be had from all the powder manufacturers - they're the onew who build the loads for thier powders.
A used book store sometimes has manuals, check there. Don't do anything unless you have read all you need to know to set up everything.
Now, a caveat - Lee dies come with a load data sheet in the box, not bad info, I have used it many times myself.
Make sure the cases take the large pistols primer - 99% of 45ACPs do, but very lately they've been appearing with small pistol pockets. Go figure.
A case trimmer is a good idea, if you don't have one, and are planning on ever doing rifle ammo
Calipers are a must, if they didn't come with the kit - Frankford Arsenal, AKA Midway house brand, are $20 and very good.
Start wth the manuals, Reloaders Guides, Lymans 48th, and Precision Reloading are a great place to start!

January 1, 2006, 11:17 AM
You can pick up a free Winchester loading guide for their components at any gun store...that will do for the #231, which is the powder I've standardized on for every pistol cartridge from 9-mm Makarov through .45 (Long) Colt (after more than 50 years of reloading experience:p ). If you are only going to get one manual, get the Lyman...and it really doesn't have to be the newest edition. You will find that some manuals give slightly different pressure and velocity data for the same loading...that is because they use different test guns. The Lyman tells you what their test guns are, and I've found their velocity and pressure data to be accurate for the loads I've tested.

Develop the habit of turning your case upside down just before you load the powder...that will both give an inspection of the primer and ensure you don't get any double-charges...which would be VERY bad!:what: All pistol powder is very fast-burning and powerful.

Don't load maximum loads for regular range shooting...they are somewhat harder on both the shooter and gun, and are less accurate than moderate loads. Your semi-wadcutters are your target bullets, and you will find recommended loads for them to be fairly low pressure...slightly more powder than is necessary to cycle the gun reliably is the rule-of-thumb for best accuracy.

You're going to have a lot of fun! It adds to the fun to shoot ammo you've made yourself!:D

January 1, 2006, 11:29 AM
Good first setup. With practice, you'll be loading upwards of 200rnds/hour with that press.

I think 3 manuals is a bit overkill (though it never hurts to have more data). One good manual (Lyman 48 for example) will do as long as you're not trying to load max. That takes a whole other level of precision (powder measuring, case prep, etc). Load on the low to mid level and you'll be fine.

Six years ago, I started with basically the same kit (3hole though as the 4hole version didn't exist yet), but for 38/357.


Ol` Joe
January 1, 2006, 11:31 AM
Don`t start without a manual! The one you get isn`t all that important just get one. Read the text, the book explains the steps and the reasons for them. The manuals have some good tips and hints, not just data. You need to understand what you`er doing before you do it. I am guessing your friend is going to tudor you on your new hobby, but a book will still be worth it`s price.
You`ll find tools you still need as you go along, a caliper for one to measure COL. If your dies aren`t "carbide" you`ll need to lube your cases. I lube every third or fourth anyway, even with my carbides the lube smooths things out.

Enjoy!! you`re going to have a great hobby going.
BTW the price of ammo just went down, but the cost of shooting has sky rocketed.....:evil: :evil:

The Bushmaster
January 1, 2006, 11:44 AM
LOAD MANUAL...LOAD MANUAL...LOAD many times do people have to be told this very simple need when starting out on a new venture???:banghead:

Get one or two and read it. then read it again...:mad:

By The Way Snowdog...Welcome to the site that will be on your favorite list for a long time. Get a manual (I recommend the Lyman 48th edition). read it and ask any question you may still have. We (all of us) will be more then happy to answer them.:) :) :)

P.S. I just noticed that you have posted over 1,200 times on here. Wait a minute...Boots stuck in this brown stuff again.:D

January 1, 2006, 01:16 PM
Check out

Happy New Year , Bill

Larry Ashcraft
January 1, 2006, 01:33 PM
I'm also curious how many rounds I can load with only a pound of powder. Can someone give me a rough estimate?

Your load will be roughly 5 grains of powder. So 1 pound = 7000 grains = 1400 rounds. W231 is a great powder for .45 ACP.

Go through your range brass and trash any with the AMERC headstamp. It will save you much trouble down the road. Sort out any military cases that have not been reloaded. Those will have to have the primer pocket reamed after you de-prime them.

The manual has been mentioned. You can start with just one good one, but you will find yourself collecting them soon.

Have fun!

lee n. field
January 1, 2006, 02:10 PM
A caliper to measure cartridge OAL, so you can adjust your seating die. It's better to be sure, than eyeballing it.

January 2, 2006, 10:14 AM
Alright, I suppose I grossly underestimated the importance of a proper reloading manual. Based on the suggestions here, I shelled out $22 for the Lymans #48 which is supposedly the newest edition. I'm sure it'll be dog-eared in no time.

I'll keep my eye out for a good deal on calipers as well.

Thanks for the advice, this new into reloading, I sure as heck need all I can get.

January 2, 2006, 11:25 AM
I would not load or shoot swaged bullets as I've heaerd they are softer and leaad more than hard cast.also your gun may not feed that bullet design so joad just a few and see what heppens.
Never,ever double or triple charge a case.Your gun will go bye bye at the least.Mount a light so you can visually inspect each case as to the powder leverl.
buy and wear Safety glasses.!! primers can and do go BANG for no apparant reason now and then.
Your Lyman book is a good 'un. I"ts been my 'go to 'book for years.
A lot of the manuals say to deprime before tumbling.I have NEVER figured this one out.It won't get the pockets clean and it WILL plug 'em up with media.
Welcome to the world of rolling ur own!!:)

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