Good starter for reloading 44 mag


November 29, 2006, 09:10 PM
Im thinking about starting to reload 44 mag and possibly 45 LC due to the price of ammo lately. Any one have some suggestions on what would be a good starting setup? Im looking for something kind of simple that can reload fairly quickly and does everything. I remember reloading 12 ga shells years ago at one of my dad's friend's places, and all you had to do was put an empty in and keep pulling the lever and it would knock out the old primer, seat a new one and load the powder, shot and crimp the round. I'd like to find something like this for 44mag and 45lc, i know i'd probably have to switch the setup arround for different calibers, but im just wondering who makes a set up like this and how much it goes for.

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November 29, 2006, 09:36 PM
Here's what I use. Works fine, Lasts a long time and is easy to setup.

Lee 4 hole turret press. Get a turret for each caliber you want to reload ($8 per turret or at least that was the price the last time I got another turret). You can change calibers in about 5 seconds + the time it takes to move over the auto disk powder measure (or just get a powder measure for each turret).

I can only do about 100 rounds an hour - which is plenty for me - but I've heard and read claims of 200 (I'd have to see it to believe it).

The turret press is about as close as you can get to a progressive without actually getting a progressive and it is way cheaper.

Ben Shepherd
November 30, 2006, 09:33 AM
*If* those are the only 2 calibers you want to do, you may want to consider the dillon square deal b press. It does take special dies, but if those are the only 2 calibers you are going to play with, you'll have a tough time beating that set up.

November 30, 2006, 10:21 AM
+1 on the Lee Turret (Get the classic cast turret). I load both calibers mentioned and it's a breeze. I can easily load 200 rds per hour when using Jacketed bullets. With cast bullets I'm a little slower as I wipe down each finished round to have them free of any bullet lube (and to keep'em purdy)
Given the price of my entire set up-press, powder drop, tumbler, calipers scale, etc- was about $300.00, this is a very affordable set up. Given the last time I priced factory 44 mag at $26 per 50, it'll pay for itself in no time at all.

good luck.

November 30, 2006, 11:03 AM
I use a lee classic turret for my 44mag and 500mag as well. Cheap to get started, easy to operate. I probably average around 150 rounds per hour, which is more than enough, as I usually only shoot about 50 rounds of these big cartridges in the average range trip.

November 30, 2006, 12:40 PM
Another vote for the Lee Turret.

November 30, 2006, 01:53 PM
I also recommend the Lee Turret Press, and a turret for each caliber you want to load. Auto disk powder measure, dial calipers, and a good scale. I use the PACT BBK digital scale. At LEAST two reference manuals to check loads, more is better. Nowadays, information is plentiful and easy to access on the internet. But, you have to learn what can be trusted. Or, to put it another way, don't trust it, check it with a reputable source for yourself. Be safe.

November 30, 2006, 03:46 PM
I also recommend the Lee Turret Press, with the Pro Auto disk powder measure, lee auto disk riser, adjustable charge bar and the safety prime kit.

November 30, 2006, 04:01 PM
How much ammo are you planning to load per month? How much time is reasonable for you to spend reloading each month?

November 30, 2006, 04:12 PM
It really depends on how much you shoot. If you only shoot a couple of hundred rounds a year I would recommend investing in a Rock Chucker combo and a tumbler. However if you shoot more then 200 and less then a 1000 rounds by all means I recommend a turret press like the Dillon 550, RCBS 2000 or the Lee Pro 1000. If you are shotting over 3,000 rounds a year consider a progressive, there are four models to consider, Lee Load Master, Hornady Progressive, and the Dillon 650 or 1050; they range in price from $200 to $1,500 or more. All the presses out there will do the job; the question is how fast, how problematic, and how much are you willing to spend. Single stage presses are good for beginner and all of them are pretty reliable and easy to use. Turret presses are also good for beginners who do plan to load a lot. Progressive presses are really not good for beginners to start with while they are still learning the basics because there are a lot of operations to watch and setups required to get them to run smoothly. Also when something does go wrong on a progressive getting the staged rounds back into sequence can be overwhelming for a novice.

December 1, 2006, 11:02 AM
I definately shoot more than 200 rounds a year, but on .44 alone, i probably do shoot under 1000 rounds a year.

thanks alot to everyone for your imput, i think the lee turret press is what i was looking for.

December 1, 2006, 01:18 PM
I would recomend against the Lee Turret for starters. It might speed you up from 50 rounds an hour to 100 rounds an hour, but it is extra money and complications you don't want at the learning stage.

I would recomend hanloading for the 44 mag and 45 Colt to save money.

The Lee brand is the fastest way to save money.

To handload 44 magnum you will need:

1) brass, new or fired any brand $24/100
2) Large pistol primers any brand $15/1000, buy at the gun store to avoid hazardous materials shipping charges
3) Pistol powder H110 for heavy loads, Unique for light loads, $20/ pound, buy at the gun store to avoid hazardous materials shipping charges.
4) .429" Bullets, hard cast may be cheaper, but you may need jacketed for indoor ranges $10/100
5) Die set, Get the Lee 44 mag Carbide Pistol Die set 90512 $33 retail, $25 discount :
..a) Carbide [no lube required] sizer die with decapping pin
..b) Expander die, opens the case mouth so a bullet can be seated
..c) Seater die so the bullet can be seated, and later in a different step with a different adjustment, crimps the mouth of the case into the canalure ring of the bullet
..d) Shell holder
..e) powder measuring cup
..f) some load data
..g) instructions
6) Loading press. The cheapest is a Lee Reloader Press 90045 $29 retail, $20 discounted
7) Lee Auto Prime II 90107 $19 retail, $12 discount

So if you have saved you fired cases, you could be handloading 44 mag for $102 + shipping or taxes

If you like this,you can add later:
1) Another fancier press
2) Powder Measure with a crank handle
3) Powder weighing scale
4) Load book
5) Turret press

To shoot 45 Colt you aslo need specal:
1) 45 Colt brass cases $24/100
4) .452" bullets $10/100
6) Lee 45Colt carbide die set 90533 $33 retail, $25 discount

So if you saved your 45C empties that is another $35 to add on 45 Colt

In order for this to pay for itself, at 30 cents factory and 15 cents hand load, you will have to load 600 rounds.
If you fire 200 rounds/ year, it is not worth it for the money for 3 years.
It will, however, get you more accuracy and tune the right amount of kick.

24 gr H110 240 gr JHP kicks just right for me in 44 mag.
24 gr H110 250 gr JHP kicks just right for me in 45 Colt
6 gr Unique 300 gr cast kicks just right for my brother in 45 Colt.

December 1, 2006, 02:44 PM
good post Clark.

I must clarify, I was thinking of using the Turret press as a single stage press; without auto indexing. This is how I use my Lee turret press. Simpler for beginners, and now that I am more experienced, it just fits my style and needs. For me its more about quality than quantity. I reload my hunting ammo, and shoot more than most people but not near as much as many on this forum.

December 1, 2006, 02:49 PM
I'm pleasantly surprised to see all the Lee Turret kudos. I started with a four hole turret press 2 years ago for 44 mag, and have since bought additional turrets for .45acp and .357 mag. I figured I'd eventually move to a progressive if I liked reloading but, to date, have spent many winter hours cranking out high quality rounds in my Lee Turret. It's a GREAT way to get started, and to make a lot of rounds without spending the money for a progressive.

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