Thinking about reloading-not an equipment question


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dispatch55126
November 25, 2007, 07:50 PM
I've been thinking about reloading 9mm for my carbine. I've never reloaded before but being a volume shooter and habitual in finding the "perfect" load, it seems to make sense.

My question is how much time needs to be invested in this. With a 2 Y.O. and a 3 Y.O., I don't have much more and 30 a day to myself. Is this something that requires a few hours devoted to setup and loading, or can I break it down into small sessions.

Thanks.

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scrat
November 25, 2007, 08:01 PM
For sure you can break it up into sessions. There are a lot of people who are both limited to time and space. there are people (me being one of them) who have mounted a press to a board then just C clamped the board to a table and spent a good 30-60 minutes doing what you can. Here is a look at what you can do.

go shooting collect all your used brass

1st night spend a 1/2 hour cleaning casses. You can also size and deprime the cases.

2nd night. Recheck all your previous nights work and then install new primers in all cases

3rd night. DEPENDING on how much you are doing. Charge cases (put in the powder). Then seat the bullets

4th night repeat

5th night Crimp the bullets and put them away.

Now that is if you are space limited. There are some people with progressive presses. That can spend a few hours during the first week setting up the press and checking and double checking everything. Then once its set up VIA a garage or work bench. When you have time you go out and spend 30 minutes and have about 100 rounds ready to go.

So its all up to you. You have to commit to it. Then figure out if its right for you. Is it dangerous. No when doing it correctly not at all. Do we have kids. Yep i have 2 boys running around. Yet i still cast bullets and load my own ammo. So its all about finding time for you. Then doing the sam for your spouse.

jfh
November 25, 2007, 09:10 PM
for people at the stage in life you guys are in. I went through it--and there NEVER is enough "down time" if one has other interests / hobbies and wishes to remain somewhat active with them.

Since you are considering reloading 9mm only, I'd suggest a slightly different workflow.

First, the cleaning of pistol cases is not a big issue. Using the typical tumbler and media, and even just a reloading sieve, you can minimize the time spent here--inspection can be almost cursory (look for the splits as you dump the media from the cases) and do NOT deprime and size separately.

Second, do NOT consider a single stage press or a progressive--but get a turret instead: specifically, the Lee turrets--both the 'standard' and the new "Classic Cast" are all you need. They will provide both single-stage operation when you are starting out to learn the process and then can provide auto-indexing as you get the hang of it.

Using the 4-die setup with either turret, size and prime in the first stage, and use a (Lee) Auto Disk powder measure--most new / deluxe version--to charge the case in station two--etc., etc. Once you get the routine sorted out and start to speed up, you can comfortably load 180 rounds per hour.

To do that once you have clean brass, all you need to do is spend about three minutes organizing your supplies for use, and perhaps five to ten minutes setting up the original charge weight, verifying it, and checking its repeatability. At this point, you can turn out as many cartridges as you are ready to do or have the time to do--and you can walk away at any time. It's at this point your second case inspection gets done--as you pick it up to insert it into the press. That becomes habitual, like the other movements you will learn as you go through this.

Third, have a (minimal) dedicated space for your reloading, if you can. Then organize it well--put in the kinds of drawers, shelves you think you want--and add them as you need them.

Whatever the workflow, the key to doing reloading successfully and enjoying it is to be able to do it when uninterrupted, and to divide the workflow so you can leave it and resume it whenever you can. Maybe a lockable cabinet is the ultimate solution--but that's a cabinet big enough to leave everything set up.

A complete "deluxe" reloading package using the Lee Classic Cast package can be sorted out at Kempf's site. When I priced it about six months ago, it came in at $350.00 (including the tumbler, media, calipers, etc., etc. and the freight) and it can be done for significantly less.

Jim H.

dispatch55126
November 25, 2007, 09:28 PM
Is there specific temperatures for reloading. I'd probably have to do this in the garage, which is unheated, which is located in Minnesota. I can handle the cold, but will the powder spoil when taken into a warm environment?

wally
November 25, 2007, 09:35 PM
For catch as catch can reloading the Lee Classic Turret press is great. Insert a case and four pulls of the handle for a loaded round. I've no problems covering the press with an old pillow case and leaving the primers in the safety prime and powder in the measure when not in use.

I load all my low volume calibers this way, 15-25 rounds here and there when I've got a few minutes to spare.

--wally.

Grandpa Shooter
November 25, 2007, 09:46 PM
Powder and primers are more sensitive to extreme heat and humidity than to moderate temps or freezing. I just started reloading again after a five year absence with powder and primers that are as much as 12 years old. No problems so far.

I second the Lee turret press concept. I have one set up side by side with my Dillon 550B and my son and I (and I hope the GF) and spend so quality time building rounds to go shoot the next week end.

Go slow, enjoy and learn.

dispatch55126
November 25, 2007, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the info. Shooting BP, I know I can load indoors and take it into the cold, but not the other way around. Condensation ruins the charge. I know the bullet is sealed, but I was still curious.

Since I'm gleaning info from you, what are some good books to read on the subject?

SASS#23149
November 25, 2007, 10:59 PM
My goto book is the Lyman's Reloading Handbook. I have a few othes for cross referncing loads.This can also be done online these days.

scrat
November 25, 2007, 11:39 PM
Just like others i have kids. Its a discipline thing. i have most of my reloading supplies outside. However i opt to keep primer and powder in the house. where it is more climate and temperature controlled. As with any chemical its up to you as the parent to teach the children what they can and can not touch. Then when in doubt. lock it up. Every house should have one of those lockable file cabinets or something to keep valuable paperwork and documents. You can easily store 2 bottles of powder and primers there. That are under lock and key. Just remember to share the time. Make it a hobby for you that you can enjoy. then make sure you give your spouse the time they need too.

callgood
November 26, 2007, 04:24 PM
Is there specific temperatures for reloading. I'd probably have to do this in the garage, which is unheated, which is located in Minnesota. I can handle the cold, but will the powder spoil when taken into a warm environment?

You will catch pnuemonia and die. I'm in your situation. I have a Workmate. I made a wooden "I" beam I clamped in the workmate. I drilled 3 holes to correspond to the holes in my press and slipped 3 bolts into the bottom of the I beam. The bolts were then glued in place with construction glue. When I want to load I take my press (my single stage or my Dillon Square Deal) into the garage and slip them down over the bolts and tighten them down. (I have bolts on each end of the I beam, 2 presses use different spacing). I have a kerosene heater in my garage for cold weather. In the summer I bring the Workmate inside.

Powder/primers will last a long time in dry, stable temp conditions. Avoid moisture and big temperature swings, extremes.

dispatch55126
November 26, 2007, 11:50 PM
But if I go into a freezing garage and fire the kerosene heater, the temp swing will cause the metal to sweat ruining the charge, correct?

EddieCoyle
November 27, 2007, 12:40 AM
No. Metal doesn't sweat - moisture from humid air condenses on it if the metal is colder than the dewpoint.

Once you've sealed the case with a bullet, you've trapped whatever humidity is in the air inside the case anyway (assuming there airspace). It doesn't magically stay suspended because of temperature. The air is pretty dry in Minnesota in the winter. If I can load in Boston in the summer, you can load in MN in the winter.

Leave some empty cases in the garage overnight, then bring them into the house to warm them up. I doubt they'll get wet.

DWARREN123
November 27, 2007, 02:01 AM
I clean, deprime, prime and size then put up until I want to load. Keep the loading of powder, bullet and seating one operation.

evan price
November 27, 2007, 03:46 AM
I too have kids, and a third shift job. Finding time to do everything was a major concern to me.
I have a Lee Pro-1000 that is mounted to a Midway reloading stand (like a bubblegum machine base). I have some plastic Akro-bins that mount to the side of the reloading stand.

I keep it in the corner of the den by the computer desk with a towel over it, the primers and powder I keep in a USGI .30-cal ammo can under the den couch.

I keep the loading tubes, primer feed and powder measure full of whatever the press is setup for. If I am getting on the Internet with my slow dialup, or killing some time waiting for supper to cook, or on hold on the phone, or whatever, I pull out the press and crank off a few rounds. It is really surprising what the "wasted" time you spend waiting for stuff can get you in terms of ammo. I chucked out 300 rounds of .45 this holiday season while basically on standby for other stuff. I used to have my press on a wood slab that replaced a leaf in the dining room table but that took time and deliberate planning to set up. It didn't get used as much as I would have liked. This setup for me and my lifestyle, rocks.
Heck, while on hold with my credit card company this morning disputing a charge I knocked out a box of .44 mag!

I tumble my range-collected brass in a vibratory tumbler during the day while I am sleeping. It won't hurt anything to let the thing run as long as it is not going anywhere. Takes me a few minutes with the media seperator and then dump the fresh brass into the appropriate caliber bucket.

Texastbird
November 27, 2007, 10:18 AM
I know what you mean with the little kids in the house taking up so much of your time. What I used to do, and still do to a large extent was to break up the tasks into mini-sessions. While the kids are taking naps or otherwise occupied, I could work on depriming and resizing 50 rounds at a time. Then the next time I had a few minutes, prime them. Then when I had time to really be focused on it, I could charge the cases with powder and seat the bullets. I used a single stage press, but I didn't necessarily see this as a bad thing since I could break the reloading process down into easy to schedule steps. Its surprising to see how many cartridges can be loaded after a few days of working on them a little at a time. And with the money you save, you will find yourself able to shoot more.

SSN Vet
November 27, 2007, 11:40 AM
whatever you do....

keep it clean! you don't want tumbler dust or spent primers getting anywhere near the kiddies!

heck...lot's of guys post that they've reloaded for years and never cleaned brass!

I personally can't abide "batch processing"..... I want to start and finish at least one box with each session....

Once I've developed a load that I like, I keep my turret press set up (including powder in the hopper and primers in the tray) and that way I can crank out a box (carefully checking the first couple rounds) in a short period of time.

I use a small patch of Aluminum Foil with the powder type labelled on it, under my powder measure hopper cap....and I only have two types of primers on the premises .... Winchester large rifle and Winchester small pistol .... that way I can't really screw up by using the wrong primer.

Hikingman
November 27, 2007, 03:00 PM
Two-Three hours per month and you'll see some real results. You will want to establish a flow of steps (anytime) processing ammo. After sizing or another step, if it's time to quit--mark the set with a good note rubber banded or otherwise attached for where you've been or where you're going next session. It's worth it! A little organizing can count for alot AND safety.

Hikingman
November 27, 2007, 03:01 PM
Two-Three hours per month and you'll see some real results. You will want to establish a flow of steps (anytime) processing ammo. After sizing or another step, if it's time to quit--mark the set with a good note (rubber band) or otherwise attach it to remind-where you've been or where you're going next session. It's worth it! A little organizing can count for alot AND safety.

Noxx
November 27, 2007, 03:09 PM
If you're just reloading 9mm, and in volume, you may want to take a look at a Dillon Square Deal.

Once you have a load developed and are ready to run with it, it's probably the most effective method to get the most ammo loaded with your spare half hour.

WildeKurt
November 27, 2007, 03:40 PM
I'm in a similar situation. I have a Lee 4 hole classic turret. If I leave it set up for 38 Special, getting started is 5 minutes: Fill powder measure and primers. I clean cases periodically and move them from the 'dirty' coffee can to the 'clean' coffee can as time permits.

I load in my garage with my press mounted to a workmate. I try to stock up on ammo through the spring,summer and fall months, usually in 1/2 to 1 hour intervals. It does get cold in there in the winter, but if I was desperate, I would use a space heater to keep things bearable.

I think my whole setup (minus tumbler) was around $200 from Midway.

PsychoKnight
December 3, 2007, 08:39 AM
I upgraded to a more reliable progressive when the second girl came 17mo after the first. I found a large block of time was impossible, so saving time began to be more valuable than the capital outlay for the progressive. You'll earn back the expense of a progressive compared to a turret faster, but not in terms of rounds loaded, but in the time you save and how much your time is worth in both hourly wage and the value of your spare time.

If you are sure you will stay with only 9mm for the indefinite future, the Square Deal is perfect. If there is a good chance you will acquire other high volume calibers like 45acp or .223, then the Hornady AP LnL will give you more options and a better powder measure. W/ the promotional free 1,000 bullets running until the end of the month, you effective price is about $250 - very comparable to the Square Deal.

K3
December 3, 2007, 01:09 PM
I clean, deprime, prime and size then put up until I want to load. Keep the loading of powder, bullet and seating one operation.

I do this too.

I like having a bunch of brass ready to go. Then, I can make 10 or 20 rounds for a weekend of hunting or 100 for a day at the range, depending on my mood. For varmint hunting I usually make a box of 50.

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