HELP ME!!!!!!


February 12, 2007, 03:23 AM
ok long story short i need to learn to load my own rounds for 9mm & 45acp to make this harder..........i have no idea where to start im 21 and live with my mother in a condo (so not to much space) and if i make a mess she will beat me with a rolling pin. am i SOL? or can someone point me in the right direction?

Jon Gaudio

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February 12, 2007, 04:07 AM
I am in the same boat as you .. let me know what you find out

February 12, 2007, 04:09 AM
Don't do anything stupid, like blowing off your hand or making a round that can. Be very extremely careful.

John C
February 12, 2007, 05:26 AM
Check out this thread:

There are plenty of good options to reload in tight spaces. I just wish I knew about these when I was young and living in an apartment with roomates. It took me 10 or more years to start reloading. Not only did I miss out on a great hobby, but to think of how much more shooting I could've done!

Reloading on the cheap is easy to do. Don't worry about digital scales or fancy dillon presses (although now that I have a couple, they ARE great). Go on Ebay or midwayusa, order some basic stuff, and start loading. You can put all the stuff you need in a small tackle box, and your mom won't ever find out.


John C
February 12, 2007, 05:35 AM
If I were in your shoes, I'd get a Lee hand press and a Lee speed die in the caliber you need. I would also get a Lee Perfect Powder measure and any brand of hand prime. Also get a scale. Any will do. Unless you have the $, get a traditional scale, like a Lee or RCBS. They all work fine. Make sure you get a reliable loading manual.

I have and use all of these. Add powder, primers, and bullets and you're ready to load.

Mount the Lee Perfect Powder measure to a small scrap piece of wood with the provided screws and use a C-clamp to clamp it to a table. Use the scale to dial in the desired powder charge. Make sure you weigh 10 throws at a time. So if your desired powder charge is 4.6 grains, 10 throws should equal 46 grains.

Once that is set, sit down in a chair and process your brass. The final two stages are filling the case with powder and seating the bullet. Rather than filling all the cases with powder at once, I take a sized and primed case and put it under the powder measure. Once the charge is thrown, I visually inspect the charge and put a bullet on the case mouth. I insert it in the press and seat/crimp the bullet in place.


February 12, 2007, 06:05 AM
Thanks John, Not that the mom cares, but were italian if i leave a spec of dirt i get beat :) she names me clean the guns in the bathroom. im looking over presses now ill post ones for input before i buy!

The Bushmaster
February 12, 2007, 09:09 AM
O-boy...I can just see it now...When your mother sucks up a live primer out of the rug with the vacuum cleaner. POW!!! Rolling pin time...(after she recovers:D )

The people of this site will be more then happy to give you whatever advice we can, but remember it is just that...Advice, ideas and suggestions.:)

February 12, 2007, 09:33 AM

Read the sticky at the top of the page. It sounds like you're a prime candidate for an inexpensive Lee kit and a black and decker workmate as a bench. Just c-clamp a board to the top of the workmate you mount your press to and when you're done, you can put the whole business in a closet out of sight.

Best of luck and be careful learning to reload,


February 12, 2007, 10:18 AM
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I use my L-shaped computer desk as a bench. We're working o nthe basement, so I haven't built a real bench yet. Not to mention I can read THR posts while I'm reloading. The partical board is pretty weak on it's own, so I placed the press near the corner and butted a 1x4 underneath to bolt through. The desk flexes a bit, but the whole thing has held up so far. Not very inconspicuous though.

February 12, 2007, 01:08 PM
i dont even use a bench. i live in california in an apartment. i live on the first floor however. So what to do. i got a 4x4 and a 2'x2' piece of plywood. cut the plywood in half. then cut the 4"x4" post to 2 feet. then nailed the plywood on top and on bottom. the mounted the lee press in the middle on top. voila there you have it. on each side of the plywood holds my shells in boxes so in less than 5 minutes i take my stuff in the backyard patio set it up and start reloading.

February 12, 2007, 08:26 PM
i use an old portable dishwasher wood top it looks like a large cutting board. its the perfect size. and very strong. and is laminated partical board got a press mounted off center so i have more room,scale,lube pad, trimmer. you know... for stubborn case resizing, you put one hand towards the back of the board, stand up, put your other hand on the lever, balance yourself and push that loading press lever as hard as you can. resizing that case and yet nothing on the table will move. or fall off. because you are pushing everything down. you are the table clamp. works for me everytime
i load on any table i can find in the house where i wont get in the way. when im done, i put all tools and equip. back in a box, the press and woodtop go back in the closet. done.... good luck

February 12, 2007, 09:27 PM
Buy a Lee Hand Press, beam scale, a powder measure (I use RCBS Uniflow and love it make sure you buy the powder measure stand and bolt it to a small piece of plywood so it is movable), and a set of Lee dies. I reload for several calibers including rifle with this setup.

February 12, 2007, 09:31 PM
If I were in your shoes, I'd get a Lee hand press and a Lee speed die in the caliber you need

I knew a guy who used a Lee hand press and all his stuff was in his car cause Mom would not let him have any of it in the house.:eek: It could be worse.:)
February 12, 2007, 09:35 PM
lee hand press and i have learned from here speed dieds are good to use in single stage presses.

February 13, 2007, 05:45 PM
Do you have any room at all, If you have somewhere like an old desk or what not a lee turret press is awesome for eing on a budget and you can turn out around 120 rounds an hour. Great deals from This is lees factory direct site.

February 13, 2007, 06:06 PM
Your first step is buying the best reference book or what I call Reloading for Dummies or The ABC's of Reloading from Krause Publications.

There are several great reloading manuals of the real kind not the freebee ones! Paperback manuals are good for cross referencing data, at times. For meaty manuals a person can not go wrong with the Lyman48th and Sierra. One must always look at the loads when you compare data. Especially in larger calibers as some data might be using different brass from yours. Case in point Hodgdon used WW brass to work up loads with, whereas Sierra used Fed cases in their 308 Winchester loading information.

Press - Single Stage or Turret presses are the best way to learn before advancing to any kind of progressive press. You will always have need for a single stage press. Redding and RCBS are good sources of all kinds of presses. RCBS Rockchucker Supreme for a single stage and Redding T7 for a turret press are basically the gold standard for press types.

Dies - I like Redding Dies, and I would get the carbide expander ball upgrade for bottle neck rifle cases. Dillon makes carbide rifle sizer dies, but you still need to use case lube and make sure you lube the inside of the case neck, too. I would just stick with regular dies for rifle cartridges. Dillon makes die sets specifically for their press so to speak, meaning that it does not come with a case mouth belling die; Redding makes a set of dies for progressive presses, too. I like Forster competition seaters, and they can be had as an individual item. Dies are pretty much threaded universally, except for Lyman 310 dies, and Dillon dies for the Square Deal N. Accuracy nuts will use hand dies, and they require an arbor press be used.

Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them like Lee) or the appropriate shell plate for the progressive press. Remember that many shell holders work for more then one cartridge. I would do some home work, especially if you get a Dillon. Some cartridge conversions might only require you to get powder funnel for the new cartridge.

A tumbler will be a good investment, as clean cases will not harm you dies. There are vibratory and rotary tumblers out there. I like corn cob media treated with some Iosso case polish. You can get walnut in bulk at Petco or Pet Smart. Bulk corn cob grit is a great way to reduce the cost of commercially supplied media, because you pay through the nose for the treated media from other vendors.

MTM makes great loading block tray that handles most cartridges.

Case Lube is great for both conventional dies, and to treat your brass used in a progressive press even with carbide dies. That extra lubricity makes the cycling of the press a tad slicker! Dillon spray lube works well for shake and bake application. I like Imperial Die Wax for rifle cartridges when FL sizing.

Case Neck Brush to clean bottleneck rifle cases

Dial Calipers

Case Trimmer (Lee works, but Possum Hollow is better, Wilson makes the best hand powered Lathe trimmer, and Giraud is the best powered Trimmer)

Deburring/Chamfering Tool

Primer Pocket Cleaner and uniformer

Primer Flip Tray is needed for loading pick up tubes for some primer systems like the Dillon.

Priming Tool (I like the RCBS (now even better with universal shell holder, but Sinclair makes the best)

Powder Scale - remember that is always better to have a mechanical scale as a back up to any electronic scale.

Powder Funnel kit with drop tubes especially if you intend to use powders like Varget.

Powder Trickler (used to tweak powder charges )

Powder Measure (nice for faster powder charges it does require a bit of learning curve to get consistent powder charges sort of rhythm thing) standard with progressive presses, but the RCBS Uniflow is nice! Redding makes a better one, and Harrell is the gold standard!

Hammer Type Bullet Puller (for taking down the boo boo's)

Ammo boxes and labels

A notebook for recording your results! Saves covering the same ground twice!

A chronograph is great when working up loads, but is more a luxury in the beginning.

Ala Dan
February 13, 2007, 08:19 PM
First, buy a couple of quality handloading manuals and study them very
carefully. I suggest those from the likes of Speer, Lyman, or Hornady;
as all of these have chapters devoted to getting started. Next, you
will need to invest in a quality press. Again, I suggest something along
the lines of the Rockchucker from R.C.B.S. Its a single-stage press very
capeable of handling the toughest handloading chores from pistol too
large rifle calibers; and taks such as case forming. This press comes
in the R.C.B.S. Supreme Master Reloading Kit; along with the Speer
#13 manual, Uni-Flow powder measure, a 5-0-5 scale, powder funnel,
hex key set, loading block, case trimmer, and case lube and pad (?).
At any rate, this set-up retails for 'bout $399 + tax. Then you will
need- bullets, primers, powder, cases, and lots of time. For once you
start, you won't want too quit~!;) :D

John C
February 14, 2007, 01:16 AM
I hear what P0832177 and Ala Dan are saying; basically, buy quality and buy once.

However, I remember when I was 21 and broke and wanted to get into reloading. Everyone said to buy dillon. I added it all up, and it would've been like $350 at the time for everything. Basically, I figured that if I had that much money, I would've bought a gun. So it took me 10 more years until I got into reloading. Now, I have more than one dillon, and they are great. However, I wish some old timers said, "start cheap, this is how you do it". I could have started for $80, and begun loading.

So my advice for young guys (which these fellas sound like) is to start cheap, see if you like it, and start shooting more. Then as you get old, fat, bald and rich, you can end up with a garage full of dillons! (I fit the bill on all five of those criteria) (Well, I'm far from rich, but a lot better off than when I was a young chucklehead!)

Sure, alot of the Lee stuff isn't what you'll be using if you're a bench rest shooter or whatnot, but for getting started, it works great. Use it for a couple of years, it's cheap, and then if you progress enought that you need better stuff, you'll have gotten your money's worth many times over.


February 14, 2007, 02:03 AM
Um guys......... He wants to reload two handgun rounds in no space, not build a full scale bench. No room for the Rockchucker and not doing rifle rounds. I don't think he needs a case trimmer or primer pocket uniformer, for example.

I know what he's going thru. I'm doing the same thing. I have a Lee hand press, Lyman beam scale, Hornady powder measure that I'm building a wood mount for that will come apart, Redding titanium carbide dies for 9mm and .45acp. No lube is needed. A vibratory case cleaner is very nice. I have a Franford Arsenal that came as a kit with the rotary media seperator. I use a Lee hand primer and have a RCBS hammer type puller. I have a couple Lyman reloading blocks. My main manual is the Lyman pistol reloading manual. All the powder manufacturers have data available on line also. The more manuals the better though. I reference my friends Sierra when I'm at his house and he has another but I can't remember which one off hand. My entire set-up is portable and other than the case cleaner, stores on a 4 foot long shelf when not in use. I do keep primers away from powder though. I do alot of brass prep watching TV. The biggest problem with the Lee hand press is that spent primers are stored in the ram so you have to empty it between 20 and 35 rounds, depending on if it's large or small primers. If your mom is a total neat freak, I'd recomend against doing this. Do it at the table over something like a cheap plastic coated table cloth. De-priming is a little dirty and you wouldn't want to get primer ash on the carpet. Also, the Lee hand primer uses special shell holders so that's something to keep in mind. I've also used a friends RCBS hand primer and I think I like it better than the Lee, by a little bit.

You don't say if money is an object or not. I know some 21 year olds who make alot more money than my 35 year old ass is! Anyway, if it is, you can save some decent money over some of the things I've bought. For example, the Redding dies I have cost $60.00 for the .45acp and $70.00 for the 9mm. You would be almost as well off with RCBS dies at about $30.00 less per set. About the only Lee product I've read alot bad about is their "Perfect powder measure". I have no personal experience so I can't comment but the quote I read went something to the effect of: The Lee "Perfect Powder Measure"... Isn't! Most complaints center around leakage with fine grain ball powders.

Some times you can save some money and sometimes it ends up costing you more in the long run. For example, I bought a set of the Lee powder dippers. Mostly a waste of about $7.00. Not enough powder weight choices with the small charges used in 9mm and .45acp. That's a case where I could have put that money toward the Hornady measure and been ahead.

My only other advice is read. Alot.

February 14, 2007, 09:38 AM
Friend of mine uses a small microwave stand that sits on wheels. He has a single stage press mounted on the top, and stores the rest of the kit equipment below where the microwave dishes go. Get one that is about the size of a nightstand, and a get a light fixture that can screw in where the dies go...Disguised as a lamp by day, and a ammo factory by night. Don't forge to hit the books. Enjoy.

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