I want to get into reloading but...


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TA_Raider
November 30, 2006, 05:28 PM
I have a Remington .270 and a Savage 7mm Rem. Mag. Many people have told me that if I started reloading that I would get better groupings and accuracy and it would be cheaper to do that than buy factory ammo. I want to get into reloading but I do not know where to start. Can you please help me with what I need to start off?

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Steve H
November 30, 2006, 05:37 PM
First this is to do a little reading, get a good reloading book and start at the cover. I'm pretty sure the Speer, Sierra, and any othe reloading mfg. books have good info on how to get started. After that go to your local gun shop and start asking questions.

Ben Shepherd
November 30, 2006, 05:41 PM
Get a book titled "The ABC's of Reloading". Read it cover to cover. Then come back here with more questions.

Yes you can get much better accuracy, and in rifle rounds you can load your own for about 1/3 the cost of factory stuff.

cheaptrick
November 30, 2006, 05:57 PM
Good advise from the others.

Your local rifle range is a good place too.
Bench Rest shooters are a wealth of information.
I learned a tremendous amount of knowledge from a local bench rest shooter in my area.


If you can get an experienced reloader in your AO to show you how everything works and to help set you up would be a bonus too.

MaterDei
November 30, 2006, 07:36 PM
I second the "ABCs of Reloading" suggestion.

loadedround
November 30, 2006, 07:41 PM
TA Raider: Just one comment if I may...do you realize when you buy factory ammo and shoot it, the empty case is almost 75% of your cost? So in reloading, you not only make better ammo, but you can save some big bucks if you shoot more than two boxes of each a year.

TA_Raider
November 30, 2006, 08:22 PM
Well, between my dad and I, we shoot about two boxes a gun each time we go so we will save plenty of money. I will get these books that you guys recommend for me and will read them cover to cover. Thanks for the help.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 1, 2006, 07:03 AM
Thinking about Reloading and Reloading Equipment Basics

Before you get any of the reloading equipment on the equipment list below, you’ll want to do some reading. You won’t need all of them, but here’s are some good manuals to
start with:

The ABC's of Reloading (I strongly advise starting with this one.)
Metallic Cartridge Reloading (I strongly advise buying this one second.)
Speer Manual
Modern Reloading by Richard Lee
Lyman Metallic Reloading Handbook
Hornady 5th Edition Reloading Handbook (2 volume set)

1. A reloading press-for what you're doing, you’ll need to know what type of cartridge and in what quantities before a press can be advised, think on how much you think you'll shoot. This is the most important set of decision making you have regarding selection of equipment – how much, what type and in what quantities.

Generally speaking, a single stage press may be better for more accurate cartridges in rifle and providing solid control of the reloading process for a new reloader. The only drawback is the volume of produced rounds versus the effort required can be low. The RCBS Rock Chucker, the Lee Classic Cast Press, Redding Boss and Forester Coax are all excellent choices. (However, the new Lee Classic Turret Press, capable of 200 rounds or better per hour, is beefy and may very well be a good choice for rifle as well.

I should note you can easily reload smaller calibers like .223 on most progressives, but for ultimate accuracy, the competitors seem to go with a single stage for their long distance round building.). If you go with the Rock Chucker or Lee Classic Cast press, I'd suggest also getting a Hornady Lock N Load bushing conversion kit for the Rock chucker or Lee Classic Cast press with another 10 additional bushings. The Lee is the least expensive of the bunch, is the latest single stage out and has compared favorably with the Rock Chucker and like the Rock Chucker, will accept the Hornady Lock N Load Conversion Bushing kit.

With the Lock N Load bushings, you adjust your dies once, tighten down the lock ring and next time you want to change dies, you just insert, twist and snap/lock in and you're done changing dies in about 2 seconds. I used these on my Lee Classic Cast press and I have found them to be wonderful. BTW, you can use a single stage press to do specialized tasks and to reload quantities of less than 100 rounds at a time, such as hunting rifle ammunition, so it’s useful even if you do have a progressive.


For reloading pistol, you’d want to consider a turret or progressive press. If you are new, a turret would likely be the better choice (Unless you desire to reload large quantities in excess of 200 rounds an hour or a 1000 rounds a month.), to have a bit more control and to get an understanding of what’s happening, though a progressive is “do-able,” you run a larger risk of making a mistake that could harm you or damage your pistol/rifle. Good brands of turrets are Lee Classic Turret Press (4 station, automatic advance), RCBS (88901, cast iron) and Redding (T7, cast iron). For the lowest price, the Lee will do an excellent job, providing 200-300 rounds per hour (About what the average Dillon 550 owner gets, if they’re honest.) and will get you started at a reasonable price, then if you decide to stay with it, you may want to go progressive.

If you find you reload a large quantity of rounds and want to go full blown progressive, excellent brands are Hornady Lock N Load (5 station fully automated; I have one and love it.), Dillon 550 (4 station semi-automated turret) or 650 (5 station fully automated), (I don’t recommend Dillon’s SBD because it’s dies won’t fit anything else, nor will any other dies fit it, so you’re stuck with Dillon dies and it doesn’t reload rifle.) and the RCBS 2000 (An excellent cast iron semi automated press with an excellent primer feed).

Good economy brands are the Lee Pro 1000 and Loadmaster. The Lee’s are less expensive and can take some tweaking and adjusting, but it can be done and it’s way less expensive to purchase, a serious consideration if your money is tight. You should be aware that if you buy the Lee’s, you’d need to adjust them properly to get good operation. Here’s a good how to website for Lee equipment and Lee Precision’s own website has excellent “how to” mpegs on it as well:

http://www.geocities.com/leereloading/index.htm

http://www.leeprecision.com/

2. Reloading dies for the caliber of your choice. I have Hornady, Lee, Lyman and RCBS dies, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy and use Dillon, who also load excellent ammo and were specifically designed for progressive reloading. Rumor has it that Redding is the Cadillac of dies, but their prices reflect it. I would only explore the Redding and other higher priced dies if your plan were to reload for competitive purposes.

For pistol, you'll want to buy carbide or TiN coated dies, so that you do not have to lubricate your brass to prevent it sticking in the die. For a single stage press (Or Lee Turret press), you'll need a shell holder that matches the caliber you're loading. For a progressive, you’ll need a shell plate.

3. A Powder measure/dispenser (Many kits include these.) I like the Hornady, RCBS and Redding brands for these. I have both the Hornady and Redding brands. Of these, the Hornady and RCBS have an automated version I’ve found to be more consistent because of the automated feature. Mine came with my Hornady Lock and Load Auto Progressive Press.

For more automated powder dispensing, the Lee Auto Disk, the Hornady Lock N Load (Starting the middle of the month for Hornady) and the Dillon measures offer case activated powder dispensing and expanding capabilities, which are very desirable if you wish to load pistol.

4. A powder scale, no matter single stage, turret or progressive, you'll need one of these. I like the RCBS 505 and 1010, the Hornady and the Dillon scales. I have a Redding, but wish I had gotten another brand because the fine adjustment is hard to see and can be bumped out of adjustment accidentally. My plan is to replace the Redding with an RCBS 1010 when I can, because of the positive fine adjustment on the RCBS 1010. Others like the electronic measures, but I haven’t found the cost justifies the expensive for no more than I use my scale. (I use mine as a check for my powder measures, not to weigh out powder charges.)

5. A set of calipers to measure your cartridges with. I have a Frankford Arsenal set that's done well for me. I have recently replaced it with a 6” digital set I bought at Harbor Freight Tools (It’s done a great job since I’ve had it and I really like the digital feature.). Other folks spend a lot more money, but these have been more than accurate enough for everything I've loaded, including high-power rifle cartridges for competitive purposes.

6. A reloading manual- I have and like my Speer, but Hornady, Lee and a couple other folks make excellent ones. I haven't heard much about Lyman's reloading manual, but their lead bullet manual is pretty good. A good loading book on the basics like the ABC's of Reloading and Metallic Cartridge Reloading can help you understand the process a lot better. Read them a couple times it will get you to a good understanding. Read the directions that come with your press, dies etc.

7. Some snap lid plastic storage containers with bins to store all the little pieces and parts from the equipment. It might not be a bad idea to look at plastic fishing tackle boxes, as they have lots of storage compartments.

8. Some Akro plastic bins to hold your brass, bullets and loaded cartridges while you're in the process of reloading. If you're loading single stage, you might need some cartridge blocks to regain the brass in various stages of production. Buy the cheapest bins out there, such as Harbor Freight; they're all plastic so you gain nothing by paying more. For reloading on a single stage, you’ll need loading blocks for the period where your cases are charged with powder and are waiting for bullets.

9. A couple of adjustable wrenches, one six inch and one eight inch. There may be other hand tools, but if you have a toolbox, you may already have them. Or you can identify the correct size wrenches you need for a better fit when adjusting things.


10. A kinetic bullet puller and a collet bullet puller to correct your mistakes. Why both? The kinetic puller to cover oddball calibers you decide to buy and load and the collet puller to cover the calibers you load the most. I had the kinetic made by Frankford Arsenal in the past, but because of price changes, I now recommend the RCBS one, because of their excellent warranty (They’ll exchange it if it breaks, no matter how long you’ve owned it.). BTW, the collets for the Frankford Arsenal fit the RCBS. I like the Hornady and RCBS collet pullers, because of their operation speed and they don’t spill the powder everywhere.

11. A brass trimmer. I have an RCBS Trim Pro automated version and have recently added the head that chamfers. Makes it real nice if you’re processing large quantities of brass that need trimming and chamfering. I used to compete in high-power rifle, reload lots of rifle cartridges that need to be trimmed to length occasionally. For smaller quantities of brass, a hand trimmer would be sufficient and much more fun to use. You will need to check your brass is not over the maximum allowed length. After trimming, you will need a de-burring tool cleans up the inside and outside necks so the case-mouth isn't sharp and bullets insert smoothly without damage. RCBS offers the Trim Mate to automatic this, as well as the chamfering heads for their Trim Pro. Most automatic pistol cartridges do not need to be trimmed. If you[‘re doing a serious volume of competitive shooting, you may want to take a look at the Giraud and Gracey trimmers.

12. Cartridge gauge. These are nicely convenient to check to see if your reloaded cartridges are within SAAMI specification. They are especially useful when reloading pistol cartridges I’ve found.

13. Case lube - I use Hornady One Shot on my rifle cartridges, but I find it and their cleaner lube handy for lubricating moving parts on my progressive that I don't have grease and oil getting into. For rifle cartridges you can lube with a pad and case lube (such as the one included in the RCBS kit) or use something like Hornady one-shot or try out Imperial Sizing Die Wax, which I hear is another excellent product. My recommendation is the One Shot or the Imperial wax over the messy lube pads.

14. Brass - I recommend you research and buy a better brand of brass, particularly what the majority of folks shooting your caliber are loading, it'll generally be (but not always) the best compromise of quality and price. Occasionally something new comes along that whips the "standard" pretty badly. Though sometimes, it’s about the same price to buy preloaded cartridges, shoot them and reload the brass. You come out about the same cost wise, but get to shoot it more. Range pick up can be nice at times as well. If you’re not sure about a brand of brass, ask on the reloading forums. Thoroughly inspect any brass you decide to reload in order to identify problems with that brass.


15. Powder - Again, start with the "Ole standby" for your cartridge (if one exists) and then move out to other brands as you gain reloading experience. Post on the net and folks will provide you with what the “Ole standby” is for any particular caliber.

16. Bullets - FMJ is great, but lead is cheaper. I'd advise buying them in bulk, 500 to a thousand at a time. You'll want to learn how to reload before you even think about making your own lead bullets. Depending on the caliber you're shooting, this will certainly result in significant savings. This is for range practice. For hunting, go with the best bullets you can afford for the type of animal you’re hunting. Once you’ve learned how to reload, you can also cast and “roll your own” bullets as well.

17. Safety glasses, wear them while you're reloading, just like you do when you're shooting. There is nothing like making a mistake; then blowing up a primer and losing an eye to ruin one’s day.

18. You will need to clean the brass. Bose's Guns, (http://www.bosesguns.com/) has a Frankford Arsenal combination that does well, it's the one I have. Another more expensive alternative would be the Dillon combination (Dillonprecision.com). Other manufacturers make other good ones as well. The ones mentioned are the ones I’m familiar with.

Finally, build yourself a nice, stable reloading bench. Some make their bench huge, with lots of surface area. I suggest to you that rather than do this; you make the bench just big enough to set up a reloading operation with AKRO plastic bins (bought cheaply from an industrial supply outfit in large quantity). You will need a single "universal" reloading tray to hold the cartridges while they are primed and charged, waiting for bullets.

Having owned both large and small bench setups, I've found setting up two or even three smaller benches and making shelving units to store the accessories and reloading components works better for me.

I've had to move a time or two and the huge benches were a real problem. With a bench narrower than the width of your doors, if you have to move, you don't have to disassemble it (Much more convenient not to have to disassemble when you're busy as hell trying to get ready to move.) Also, make it short enough you can move it around corners within your house.

Some links:
http://www.leeprecision.com/
http://www.redding-reloading.com/
http://www.rcbs.com/default.asp?menu=1&s1=1
https://www.hornady.com/shop/
http://www.bosesguns.com/
http://www.fmreloading.com/
http://www.dillonprecision.com/
http://www.kempfgunshop.com/index.html

scout26
December 1, 2006, 09:06 AM
http://www.reload-nrma.com/

Is another good place to get info.

Also has a list of NRA certified Reloading Instructors. ;)

Luggernut
December 1, 2006, 11:03 AM
Dave-

Can you elaborate on this:
"For more automated powder dispensing, the Lee Auto Disk, the Hornady Lock N Load (Starting the middle of the month for Hornady) and the Dillon measures offer case activated powder dispensing and expanding capabilities, which are very desirable if you wish to load pistol."

I'm not clear what they have now vs what they (Hornady) are coming out with. I'm considering one myself and would want the better one.

Thanks,
Dave

tobin2u
December 1, 2006, 01:27 PM
Reloading definitely pays for itself within a short amount of time. The initial cost of setup is an investment but well worth every dime. I enjoyed using the Rock Chucker by RCBS. I would definitely recommend that kit. ;)

Clark
December 1, 2006, 01:36 PM
Good post Dave, did you type it yourself?


With the money I have into reloading, I could have bought 10 times more ammo than I will ever shoot.

Yeah you can save money on 44 mag and 45 Colt ammo if you shoot 100 rounds.
You won't save on 9mm or 7.62x39mm.

The real reasons for handloading are not economic:
1) Custom taylor the ammo to what you want
2) Tune the ammo for more accuracy in your gun
3) It is fun and something gun related you can do at home.


And also for me, get more power out of the mouse gun in my pocket.

ojdidit
December 2, 2006, 04:16 PM
tagged

nelson133
December 3, 2006, 08:55 AM
Reloading will save you money on ammunition, but you have amortize the cost of equipment. If you shoot 100 - 200 rounds a year, you would need to stick to the Lee stuff, just for the initial cost. Reloading, for me, is an interesting part of the gun hobby in and of itself. I don't spend any less on ammo, I just shoot 4 times as much on the same budget.
Dave's post is the best I've sen on the subject, if you are a newbie youmay want to print that one out and save it.

Hutch
December 5, 2006, 07:21 PM
.... but you have amortize the cost of equipment. Nah. The first .44 Magnum round I ever reloaded cost me several hundred dollars. Everything since has been muuuuuuch cheaper. For the cost of a quality firearm, you can have a quality reloading outfit. Does anyone figure wear or depreciation costs on firearms when you go shoot? Not me. I try not to be too analytical. I do enough of that professionally. As far as saving money is concerned, you'll likely wind up shooting a LOT more. And that's a good thing

Walkalong
December 5, 2006, 07:42 PM
Most of us don't save money. We just get to shoot more for the same amount. That's a good thing! :)

Alvin in AZ
December 5, 2006, 08:34 PM
What got me started was wanting to make loads that the factory don't make.

Cost of shooting is always tugging at your elbow but the "push" was from wanting to make 30-30 shells that were lower powered by only lowering the bullet weight and retaining most of the velocity.

110gr @ ~2200fps is a nice smooth shooting setup for a rather light W94.
...and cheaper than 22 magnum.

Cheap enough to shoot at running jackrabbits later on.

Then with shotgun shells... not sure what happened in what order, but I'm a big-shot shooter and small-shot is cheaper for the factory to make and process etc... so guess what's mostly available from them? ;) ...unless you want full powered goose loads.

I was shooting running jack rabbits and flushed quail out in the desert.

3+1/2 - 1+1/8 - #4

Try buying those off the shelf for cheap. ;)

Back when ;) the shot was the most expensive part so wanted to limit that and the recoil too but still wanted the shells to kill good and quick. My junky ol' Lee LoadAll really dumps only about 1+1/10 ounces of large shot like #4, #5 and even #6 which worked out great with an improved modified pattern.

Reloading is better than watchin TV! :)

Alvin in AZ

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 5, 2006, 09:21 PM
Luggernut,

"Can you elaborate on this:
"For more automated powder dispensing, the Lee Auto Disk, the Hornady Lock N Load (Starting the middle of the month for Hornady) and the Dillon measures offer case activated powder dispensing and expanding capabilities, which are very desirable if you wish to load pistol."

I'm not clear what they have now vs what they (Hornady) are coming out with. I'm considering one myself and would want the better one."

My post was a cut and paste word document I've written up and improved over time and I missed the Hornady information needed to be updated. They've now come out with the new measure and it's shipping with their presses. Midway has the current renditions.

Clark,

Yes, actually I typed every word. I just didn't do it in that one post. I worked it up over time as a word document, integrating and improving as I learned more about certain types of equipment.

Dave

TA_Raider
December 5, 2006, 09:26 PM
Like many of you, I plan on shooting more for the budget than the same amount as before.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 5, 2006, 10:15 PM
TA Raider,

The nice thing about reloading is not only do you get to shoot more for the same amount of money, but if you study it and work at it just a tiny bit, you'll not only shoot more for the same money, but you'll custom tune the ammo for your gun and shoot way more accurately, thereby increasing your shooting satisfaction with the results you get. So it ends up being a double win situation and reloading, if you allow it to, can become a nice hobby for when it's way too hot or cold to be out at the range.

Regards,

Dave

mmike87
December 13, 2006, 12:57 PM
I too would like to get into reloading. However, I have a small house and really don't have any room for a bench. Are there any portable options for reloading? I don't care if I have to sit on my basement floor, I'd like to reload to be able to increase my shooting volume.

Understandably, any sort of portable setup will not be as convenient, but it's better than not reloading at all.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

Edit - I would be reloading 9mm, .45 ACP, .223 and .308 rounds.

nitesite
December 13, 2006, 04:01 PM
I too would like to get into reloading. However, I have a small house and really don't have any room for a bench. Are there any portable options for reloading? I don't care if I have to sit on my basement floor, I'd like to reload to be able to increase my shooting volume.

Understandably, any sort of portable setup will not be as convenient, but it's better than not reloading at all.

Go to a used office furniture store. Buy one of those steel and wood computer equipment desks on casters. They are about 3' x 3' and heavy as hell. Many even come with a keyboard drawer made of steel that ride on nice tracks. Good place to hide primers, bullets, and all the odds and ends. They are heavy and stable enough to mount a press, case trimmer and powder measure on and can even be maneuvered around the room.

They cost about $25 around here.

Ben Shepherd
December 13, 2006, 06:48 PM
Once you start, you WON'T willingly ever stop. Be aware of that.

I acctually spend more on reloading by a wide margin than I ever have on factory stuff. Good thing I have an understanding spouse, I can tell you that.

GaryL
December 13, 2006, 09:48 PM
I too would like to get into reloading. However, I have a small house and really don't have any room for a bench. Are there any portable options for reloading? I don't care if I have to sit on my basement floor, I'd like to reload to be able to increase my shooting volume.

Understandably, any sort of portable setup will not be as convenient, but it's better than not reloading at all.

You might try nitesite's suggestion.
I recall seeing someone's garage where he had all his work benches on hinges so they could fold up when not in use.

Whatever you do, make sure it's sturdy and stable in use. Otherwise you'll get frustrated. You put a decent amount of force into a press when you pull the handle.

mmike87
December 14, 2006, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. With the ever increasing cost of factory ammo, I think I have to think of something.

Alvin in AZ
December 15, 2006, 02:31 AM
What about Lee's Hand Press?
What are its limitations?
Anybody else making a smiliar product?
If so, how do they compare?

Alvin in AZ

Liberty4Ever
December 15, 2006, 04:56 PM
I too would like to get into reloading. However, I have a small house and really don't have any room for a bench. Are there any portable options for reloading?




I made a very small yet full featured vertical reloading bench. In my old house, it was mounted to the back wall in a walk in closet. It's now mounted behind my computer in my office. I can turn around and reload whenever I like. There's a lot of capability squeezed into 26" of wall space. The bench is 8" deep, and including press overhang it's only 12" deep. The brass storage, case tumble cleaning, and lead bullet casting stuff are all stored in the basement, but otherwise, this is my complete reloading bench. Mounted to the wall, it's rock solid.

http://209.197.93.201/ReloadingBench3A.jpg

Full details:

http://www.ktog.org/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=2504;action=display;num=1160075953;start=0#11

.

Alvin in AZ
December 15, 2006, 10:45 PM
Man Liberty, that's really cool! :)

Far be it from this sloppy bastard to suggest tidy-ness to anyone, even a dog, but... ever thought about puttin a curtain on it? :)

Alvin <--libertarian and librarian (was all the time looking up stuff in my metallurgy books to answer questions on rec.knives:)

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