first time reloader!


PDA






kellyj00
June 29, 2007, 09:37 AM
I've been watching the threads about reloading, and doing a LOT of internet research and read a few books on the topic of reloading. So, I'm feeling like I'm ready to start this potentially very dangerous hobby as an educated person.

One question comes to mind though... I want to get into this because I'm cheap. I'm planning on a lee 4hole turret press kit. After reading numerous articles, including one that said "buy the pro auto disk, it's better for x,y,z reasons" I'm buying the basic Lee auto disk powder measure. Does anyone have any objections to this as a good press for a fella who wants to start with 45acp, then 9mm & 40s&w...then up to .223 and .308? Are there any limitations there that I'm not seeing?

Also, I like hodgdon powders because they're based out of my home state. I've never reloaded anything at all, but I've heard that Hodgdon Clays is a good powder for .45acp. Originally I wanted to go win231 as it seems more common for starters, but I'd really like to go Hodgdon (also, see their mission statement!) Any recommendations if Clays isn't the right powder for a newbie?

After reading many many posts, and reading a few articles and talking to a bunch of reloaders, I'm finding that the calipers and scales aren't so important. Basically, I've heard that the overall length of the pistol round should look like a commercial round, if it does you're close enough on overall length. And, if you pay careful attention to what you're doing, you shouldn't have any trouble with double charging or squib loading....and even if you do double charge a .45acp with 4gr of Clays, a scale wouldn't necessarily pick it up if you're using cast bullets because the weight of the used case and the lead combined could vary at least that much. Is this true?

Also, I want to take this opportunity to Thank all the members of THR. Your posts and stickies are very helpful to fellas who are just getting into reloading. I have found many hours of useful knowledge just from hearing the stories of more experienced folks.

If you enjoyed reading about "first time reloader!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Red_Dog_Leader
June 29, 2007, 09:46 AM
Check out Kempf's (http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products/newitems/KempfKit.html) kit, I live by there and picked up the turret kit, also going to be reloading your exact calibers.

Dave and Sue talked me thru reloading info for 1 hour, very helpful. Said if I'm unsure about the equipment or reloading in general never hesitate to call.


Dave said the kit will do just fine for all those calibers because I plan to reload the same ones. He recommenced the Pro Auto disk powder measure and the Auto disk riser. He recommended Clays also for the pistol carts., said he uses it because it meters well. Also picked up the L&S primer system.

I'm putting all the "stuff" together now, hopefully have it all down in a few days and start reloading....

HTH, T

Wedge
June 29, 2007, 10:58 AM
I highly recommend getting calipers and a scale.

The scale usually comes with if you are buying a kit, I just have the cheap one that came with my Lee Anniversary Kit.

Calipers can be had for $20, I got mine from Midway USA, they have them everywhere.

baz
June 29, 2007, 11:07 AM
I'm not sure who would have told you that calipers and scales are not necessarily essential. Without scales how are you going to measure your loads? Or did you mean calipers and micrometers, perhaps? I'm just starting out, and have yet to use the caliper I bought, but I have used the micrometer, more out of curiousity than necessity, but I'm sure I'll need them at some point, and be glad to have them. I.e., they are not used routinely but they definitely have a place on the reloader's bench. Scales, on the other hand, are essential, and used routinely. In fact, as a N00b, I'm so anal about my charges that I have two scales, a balance scale, and an electronic scale.

NavyLCDR
June 29, 2007, 11:51 AM
A scale is absolutely an essential element - not to weigh completed rounds but to verify the accuracy of the powder measure. Most people say that weighing one powder charge out of every 50 is adequate.

Wedge
June 29, 2007, 12:14 PM
I usually measure my powder drop every 20th round.

As far as calipers, I use them to measure for OAL, critical in a semi-auto.

xsquidgator
June 29, 2007, 12:15 PM
A basic Lee kit with a scale and calipers ought to do 'ya. Like you I bought a Lee 4-holer turret press with the auto disk (not the pro disk).

You can always upgrade the Lee stuff if you want. Yesterday I received my upgrade kit from the auto disk to the pro-disk ($17 at Midshouth Shooter's Supply). I put it together and I think I'm going to like the Pro Disk a lot, it's up to you whether the convenience features of the Pro Disk are worth a few extra $. The "micrometer adjustable charge bar" looks like it's going to be a handy convenience also, not sure if you can get it w/o the Pro Disk kit - you can use it instead of the disks to measure any amount of powder you want, not just whatever amounts fit through the pre-sized holes in the disk.

If you have a few, not a lot, extra $ left over, I recommend getting a digital scale to complement the balance scale. I bought one of those 750gr digital ones for $30 and I've been very pleased with it. My Lee balance 'safety' scale only goes up to 100gr, and while you can measure perfectly well with the Lee, I can measure MUCH faster and more conveniently with the digital. IMO well worth the $ for the convenience.

Get the basic kit with the minimum (as others have said, calipers and a scale of some kind are vital for safety) anyway. I did that and it didn't take very long to get comfortable with it, and then I started buying little things and upgrades here and there as I learned more.

Only other point I think might be a good idea - if I had it to do over again I'd make sure you were getting the Lee Classic Turret press 4-holer. I didn't know there were two kinds and I got the non-classic 4-holer, which appears to be made a little more cheaply than the classic (from what I see from pictures of the lee classic). I've reloaded 2500+ rounds now with my inexpensive press and like it, but I've heard if nothing else that the classic lee turret will actually push spent primers into a consistent location unlike my cheapie (I have to put up a newspaper curtain around mine to catch them, they go all over the place no matter what I do).

Enjoy your kit when you get it! I felt like a kid at Christmas morning when my first reloading kit arrived and still look forward to the brown truck of happiness coming by with more internet-ordered reloading goodies.

RustyFN
June 29, 2007, 12:43 PM
If you are going to buy the Lee turret then I would suggest the Classic Turret, well worth the extra money IMO. You can get by without a set of calipers but you will end up wanting one. A scale is a must and you can not do without that. Check out the kit at Kempfgunshop.com or Cabela's. They are probably around the same price in the end because one you will need to make a couple of upgrades and the other you won't. Yes the Pro Auto Disk measure is much better IMO. You can twist the hopper to turn the powder on and off. The bottom is Teflon coated and the connecting screws in the Pro won't strip out like in the other disk measure. Hope this helps.
Rusty

SASS#23149
June 29, 2007, 01:02 PM
definately get a scale and a caliper before relaoding.You will find that most Lee powder scales and dippers measure on the light side,and only a scale will tell you that.A scale is a MUST,imho.
I use my calipers a LOT when loading for semi autos,not so much when loading cast bullets with a roll crimp groove...the groove tells me where the crimp goes on those.

don't forget to wear eye protection when reloading,crap does happen.

kellyj00
June 29, 2007, 01:03 PM
Thanks so much for the info fellas!

what's so special about the classic press?
I've read an article on the diff, and they basically said it was more 'stout' than the basic press. Do I really need something more stout than the basic press? What's the basic press made out of, plastic?

xsquidgator
June 29, 2007, 04:58 PM
Thanks so much for the info fellas!

what's so special about the classic press?
I've read an article on the diff, and they basically said it was more 'stout' than the basic press. Do I really need something more stout than the basic press? What's the basic press made out of, plastic?

The base is a little different between the two (I have the cheaper, non-classic press). The base on mine is solid enough, but the handle on my non-classic press is a light-duty looking aluminum casting I think. It's ok but I can just tell by the pictures that the classic handle and everything about it is stiffer and better. Had I known there were 2 Lee turret presses and had I known what I know now, I'd definitely pay the small bit extra and get the classic. From pictures I've seen, I think the one I received is an old 3-station turret press they upgraded to a 4-station and are trying to clear out of the warehouse. In fact I'm toying with the idea of spending $85 just to get a Classic turret press anyway and keep mine as a backup or for special things anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I'm generally pretty pleased with mine, but I just know I'd like the classic better.

fastattack
June 29, 2007, 05:59 PM
I wouldn't advise people to reload to save money even though that is the way the argument goes. It is a fun and relaxing hobby and like any hobby you will find yourself wanting to buy more and more 'stuff'. Without getting into the economics of reloading which you can find elsewhere, it takes a lot of rounds to recover your money. But the real truth is that you will shoot more rounds, which cost more money in raw reloading materials than you probably would have before you started! Anyway, welcome to the world of reloading and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

nitesite
June 29, 2007, 06:13 PM
I see you for who you really are....

some kind of evil mad scientist bent on terrifying your unsuspecting neighbors and family. :eek:


It's a great hobby and lot's of fun, really. Most of the self-doubt disappears fairly quickly. :D

Sistema1927
June 29, 2007, 07:06 PM
HP38=W231

W231=HP38

So, if buying Hodgdon is that important to you, just buy HP38 and recognize that you can interchangeably use W231 load data.

RustyFN
June 29, 2007, 07:58 PM
Thanks so much for the info fellas!

what's so special about the classic press?
I've read an article on the diff, and they basically said it was more 'stout' than the basic press. Do I really need something more stout than the basic press? What's the basic press made out of, plastic?
The classic turret has the spent primer disposal through the ram into a tube that can either hold the primers and be emptied every 2,000 rounds, or run into a bucket or milk jug for the primers to be collected there. The Deluxe turret doesn't have that and primers will end up on the bench and floor and need to be cleaned up. The classic is cast iron and steel. The deluxe is cast Aluminum. I have found the safety prime with the classic to be excellent. The classic will be able to load a larger caliber rifle and still be able to auto index and the deluxe won't. There isn't much of a price difference and I think the classic is well worth the extra money.
Rusty

the pistolero
June 29, 2007, 10:25 PM
From one noob to another: If you're gonna do it, do it right. Get the scales and calipers and use them. You can always get more money. Replacing a hand after you blow it off isn't so easy -- and likely a fat lot more expensive than getting all the reloading equipment the more experienced reloaders say you should.
Oh, and for the record: When I am cranking them out at my bench, every 10th charge goes on the scale, and every 10th finished cartridge goes under the calipers -- even though I made sure I set the dies to the right OAL before taking off. There's no such thing as too much quality control, especially at first.
ETA: bruss01, if you don't mind I'm gonna steal one of your quotes in another thread -- Help keep shooting, reloading and gun ownership alive. Don't circumvent a safeguard intentionally for any reason, certainly not to save money that you want to spend on other things, if you value the shooting sports.

RexDart
June 30, 2007, 02:11 AM
+1. I'm actually paranoid enough now I do it every five.

My first box of ammo, I was overconfident and didn't. I count it Divine grace that I felt compelled to pull the bullets and double-check a couple of rounds before I fired them... turned out I'd mis-read my scale when setting the powder measure (5.4 grains became 5+4 grains) and double-charged the entire batch. Spent a long hour dissasembling 98 finished rounds, but learned my lesson. Better a sore shoulder than a missing hand.

the pistolero
June 30, 2007, 11:29 AM
Good to see you still have the hands, RexDart. :D And of course, it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway -- a gun is also a good bit more expensive than those few reloading supplies you don't think are absolutely critical, too.

RustyFN
June 30, 2007, 08:07 PM
I count it Divine grace that I felt compelled to pull the bullets and double-check a couple of rounds before I fired them... turned out I'd mis-read my scale when setting the powder measure (5.4 grains became 5+4 grains) and double-charged the entire batch.
You can say that again. I glad you rechecked and caught it before it turned into something bad.
Rusty

nitesite
June 30, 2007, 08:24 PM
Yeah, me too! :)

Alphazulu6
June 30, 2007, 08:29 PM
Please be careful on your measuring :D

FieroCDSP
June 30, 2007, 09:38 PM
+1 on the scale and caliper. Harbor Freight had some 6 inch digitals reasonably cheap.
I measure most of my rounds' OALs before I box them. Be careful using a factory loaded round to set your seating die, especially when making Max-loads. Shortening the OAL from 1.130 (random book recommended) to 1.120 (CCI Blazer) on a max loaded 40 cal will stand a good chance of KB. Stick to the data and reduce loads 10% when substituting components.

I use Clays in my 40 and it's soft as butter and I don't have to chase the brass. But velocities and accuracy aren't peaked.

also +1 on the lack of saving money. I shoot twice as much, maybe more. But reloading is like "Feel good" legislation. You convince yourself that if you weren't reloading, you'd be blowing twice as much money on ammo, despite the fact that that is BS.

Welcome to the addiction. You'll be raiding trash bins in no time.

If you enjoyed reading about "first time reloader!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!