Looking for opinions on reloading !


Cincinnati Slim
September 26, 2006, 03:16 PM
Howdy Y'all,

I been shootin' .45 Colt sixguns for quite a while now and have accumulated a boatload of brass. I've ben enjoying black powder and Triple-Seven in my cap and ball revolvers a lot lately and, since I've got conversion cylinders for all of 'em, thought it might be time to try rolling my own.

I'm thinking of either a Lee Turrent pres or a Lee Pro 1000 progressive kit to start out with. I know all the Dillion fans are gonna tell me to by the "big Blue" but outfits like Midway have the Lee Pro 1000 @ $125.00 INCLUDING THE DIES !!!:eek:

I'm not gonna be cranking out a thousand rounds a month, just a few hundred at most. I think the turrent press is probably the best to learn on but the price for the Pro 1000 progressive is Sooooo tempting.:scrutiny:

I'm planning on loading either real holy black or 777 with plain lead "big Lube" style bullets w/black powder compatable lube. I really don't have a ton of spare time to start another new hobby here.:o I just wanna have enough black powder cartridges handy to shoot when I drive out to Friendship, our local "black powder only" outdoor range.

I figured on buying a hand priming tool and a case tumbler/cleaner along with the press and dies. I'm trying to hold down my money/time investment here so good advice is most welcome !:confused:

Looking forward to hearing your opinions...

Cincinnati Slim

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Seth Hawkins
September 27, 2006, 12:14 PM
If a Dillon is out of the question, I'd go with a turret press over the Lee progressive. I've used a Lee progressive, and found it to be junk. Parts were always breaking. I didn't care for the way primers were seated, no powder check capability, it was difficult to keep it running before something got out of alignment, etc. In my opinion, it's just not a very good design. If you decide to go with a Lee progressive, be sure you have a good supply of spare parts on hand.

Since you will be loading BP, and low volume #'s of rounds, a turret press should do just fine. I have a Dillon XL 650 that I use for both smokeless and BP. I've considered getting a turret press to make BP loading a little easier - I batch load my BP rounds. Batch loading is the process of performing one action at a time to all of the cases, then moving on to the next step. Example: size/deprime all cases, then prime all cases, then powder charge all cases, etc. I tried progressive reloading of my BP rounds, including using the plastic hopper to throw the powder charges, but I get better consistency when I hand dip my powder. For me, I think a turret press would be just as fast - maybe even faster, than the progressive press.

Redding makes a 7 position turret press. This would allow you to have dies for two or three different calibers installed on a single turret, plus, you can buy extra turrets for other calibers if needed.;)

Father Knows Best
September 27, 2006, 05:03 PM
I agree with Seth. If you're going to go the progressive route, you need to buy quality. Since you're going to be loading in relatively small quantities, apparently, you're better off with a good single stage or turret press. An RCBS Rockchucker would be my recommendation for a single stage, or a Redding T-7 for a turret. Frankly, I'd go with the single stage. If you get heavily into reloading and find yourself doing it a lot, then you would invest in a high quality turret or a progressive.

By the way, I really don't like 777 in cartridges for target shooting and plinking. It's quite a bit hotter than black powder, and will be a handful in a .45 Colt case because the case is huge and, like black powder, you can't leave air space.

In addition, you shouldn't use a soft black powder lube with 777. Hodgdon recommends using conventional wax-lubed bullets, just like you use with smokeless powder.

So go with real black powder and those Big Lube(tm) bullets, which work great. Nothing smells better than real black powder, and nothing cleans up as easy as real black powder (when you use an appropriate lube, anyway).

September 27, 2006, 05:19 PM
+1 to what Seth said. Get the Lee turret press.

I batch load my revolver rounds - deprime all, prime by hand, then back to the press for flaring, powder, bullet and crimp.

Cincinnati Slim
September 28, 2006, 11:20 AM
Howdy All,

Thanks for the input.

Y'all have really reinforced my inclination to go with a turrent press.

That way I kin start slow and batch load at first to get the hang of it.

Once I get all the details figured out and have a load I like I can get the "auto-indexing" working and ramp up production as needed.

I checked the basement yesterday and I've got about a thousand .45 Colt
cases layin' around waitin' fer powder and lead.:rolleyes:

I'll be gettin' out my Midway catalogue and credit card about now....:)


Cincinnati Slim

Cincinnati Slim
September 28, 2006, 02:01 PM
Howdy Again,

One more question for experianced reloader types who have worked with black powder subs.

I like 777 when I have to shoot at the indoor range.

Real Black seems to set off my allergies:barf: and I got a bunch of Triple Seven.

I like 30gr. of 777 in my C&B loads. Pushes a .44 round ball at about 800-850 fps depending on cylinder gap and barrel length.:cool:

Hogdon data shows 30gr. of 777 under a 250 gr. RNFP making 838fps at 9,500 CUP. This level of CUP is pretty much in the normal range of factory "Cowboy" ammo so I should be pretty safe right ?

How full would 30gr. be in a big 'ol .45 Colt case?:confused:

Could I seat a 250 gr. slug deep enough to just touch the powder charge? I know 777 is not supposed to be compressed and air-gaps are to be avoided. I'm not trying to feed lever guns just six-shooters so overall length is not important. How full does 30 gr. fill a .45 Colt case and kin I seat a slug deep enough to make this work?


Cincinnati Slim

September 28, 2006, 02:06 PM
I use a Lee Classic Turret, and it meets all of my needs.

Some of the best material on Black Powder/BP Substitute cartridge reloading is on Capt. Baylor's page, found here (http://www.curtrich.com/bpsubsdummies.html). He uses a Dillon, but the techniques will carry over.

Seth Hawkins
September 28, 2006, 02:23 PM
Slim - The major drawback to single stage presses is die setup. You have to remove the dies from the press when you switch to a different part of the reloading process. Dies have to be adjusted. When you remove the die, you lose the adjustment for that die, and have to go thru the adjustment process the next time you need to use that die. This will soon become a pain-in-the-butt for you. Trust me.

A turret press is like a single stage press in that it's much easier to batch load, and has the benefit of an auto-indexing press in that you can have multiple dies in place and adjusted for that caliber. When you move to the next step in the batch process, you simply rotate the turret so that the proper die is in position.

Single stage presses are best used for precision reloading. Sure, lots of folks start reloading with a single stage press, but soon outgrow it and end up with either a turret press or progressive press. Since the 45 Colt isn't what I would consider to be a precision round, a turret press should suit your needs much better than a single stage press.

I know the cheapest turret press costs more than the cheapest single stage press, but in the end, I think you'll be glad you spent the extra $$ on the turret press.;)

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