I have never reloaded before and a friend was telling me about kits he used to buy that were very cheap that came with a scoop and all that you could reload your own stuff..The setups i have seen have been different then what he was talking about.But im just curious is it something anyone can do...thanks for any info
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July 22, 2003, 07:12 AM
Reloading is easy, making ammo that is better than factory stuff isn't hard. Creating the perfect load that groups at a 1000 yards? Lots of work!
What do you want to do?
July 22, 2003, 07:31 AM
Reloading goes as far as one wants to take it.
One can get a little Lee Loader and load up one round at a time at the kitchen table.
Or one can sink thousands into equipment and end up with thousands of rounds.
Or one can end up with the most accurate/effective round for a given weapon.
Or all of the above.
July 22, 2003, 08:02 AM
http://www.leeprecision.com/catalog/graphics/classll.jpg This is probably the scoop setup your friend was talking about. I started out with this type of setup. It's slow -- as in ~ 5- 10 min per round to load from start to finish, and noisy - you pound the shell into the die with a mallet, then pound it out with a mallet, not as safe as a press - - you seat the primer by pounding the shell down on the priimer with a mallet,,,, > $20.00 will get you a hand priming tool though so you can forego the experience of having a primer go off in your face. The other less obvious safety glitch with 'em is the sheer amount of putzing around/steps you need to go through. The safest way is to gather up all the cases, and run them through each stage as a group. That makes doing more than 50 at a time a real chore.
Slow, noisy and primer-seating-challenged as they are though, they do work. Yes, even as crude as they are, they will turn out fairly good handgun ammunition, though not really on a par with better factory ammunition. Early on, I was able to save enough over factory ammo by using a couple of them for .38/357Mag and .44Mag, that I could buy a press with the savings. I wouldn't reccomend one anymore though since the prices of even a low end C - press or even a hand press(less than $25.00)make it a better choice, depending on the caliber(s) you want to load.
Stop over into the handloading forum. there's an on-going post about the costs involved and the equipment needed to get into handloading.
FWIW, and IMNSHO, I'm almost,,almost mind you,, tempted to say handloading should be a requirement for all shooters.
July 22, 2003, 08:44 AM
Reloading doesn't save money on your ammunition. The pure profit comes from staying out of the beer joints and doing your loading. :D
July 22, 2003, 08:46 AM
The hardest part of reloading is making sure that you have uninterupted time in which to do it. You need to stay entirely focused on the project for the duration. Tiny details can make a difference. Make sure you have safety glasses and wear them from start to finish of a reloading session. Other than that, it's not too difficult. The hardest part after that will be deciding which set of components to go with.
July 22, 2003, 09:11 AM
Reloading is not cheaper,you just get to shoot a lot more
July 22, 2003, 09:44 AM
When I had a .44Mag Super Blackhawk (think early '80s) that was the only way I could afford to shoot. As I sort of very vaguely recall, the Lee kit that I had similar to the one Hal pictured, was around $17, a pound of Hercules (now Alliant Powders) Unique was $6.50, 100 bullets about $6, CCI 350 primers about $2/100.
I could load 50 of the 44's for around $7, by re-using brass, vs $16-$19 for a box of 50 commercial loads.
This is the kit that got me started... (http://www.leeprecision.com/catalog/browse.cgi?1058878202.1245=anivers.html)
It's not hard to start. Just make sure you have at least TWO reloading manuals (I use the Hodgson & Speer manuals) and that you read them thoroughly before you set up your press.
The hardest part is finding TIME to do it. I have coffee cans full of .45ACP, .38SPL, & .303 Brit just waiting to be loaded, but I haven't had time to do so...:(
Good luck... :D
July 22, 2003, 01:43 PM
I also started out with the Lee Anniversary Kit. I found the original receipt the other day for my first equipment order. For about $100, you can get the kit, a manual or two, a set of dies, and some calipers.
It's not difficult, but it will take time to adjust the dies correctly. But after you set up the dies, you shouldn't have to change the setting again.
July 22, 2003, 02:22 PM
I too started out with the Lee handloader for the 22/250 it's very slow but can produce accurate rounds.
Reloading is fun, can save you money? (usally you'll find you spend the same and shoot more), rewarding and easy BUT you need to say focused when reloading. SAFETY above all else.
Something to keep in mind is to purchase quality reloading eq. as it will last you a lifetime. I highly recommend Redding Reloading Eq. check out their web site. www.redding-reloading.com. I now reload 29 calibers. My choice of manufactures is Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman and Lee in that order. Forster also makes quality eq. but it is a little more expensive.
If you're on a limited budget you could purchase a reloading manual, quality press, dies/shell holder, Lee powder dipper set and a few other low dollar accessories and load safe accurate ammunition.
Have a good day.
July 22, 2003, 04:08 PM
Hell, no. If I can do it, so can you. I load by using a Lee scoop like the ones you describe along with a cheap powder trickler to get the charge exactly right. Now, I don't do the Perfect 1000 Yard Load--yet--so the main advantage is that if I reload, I can afford to shoot. I can't afford to buy loaded ammunition every time I want to go bust some caps.
It won't save you a huge amount of money unless you're literally too poor to spend the extra money for loaded ammunition, like I am. As Art says, you'll just shoot that much more. But your shooting gets better faster and your wife will eventually realize it's better than going to the bar.
July 22, 2003, 04:33 PM
If you're bright enough to operate a computer and browse the internet, you're bright enough to load your own ammunition. It inevitably takes awhile to figure out all the fine details, and you'll make mistakes along the way, and I'd guess the odds are high you'll pinch your fingers a time or two before leaning to keep them out of the way, but you can fairly easily save some money, shoot more, and develop the most accurate loads for your individual guns.
July 22, 2003, 05:41 PM
the part about 2 manuals is right on, only I recomend the Lyman manual (they just put a new one out I think) as better for the new reloader, I found there diagrams and explanations were clearer. I like the Speer #13 as well, and yes, you DO save money in the long run, you spend the same amount of money but get a lot more rounds per dollar. and then there is the whole accuracy thing.
you can get a good starting set used if you shop around (I got a Lyman Mag II Turret and all the fixings for $180, paid for itself the first summer)
but the real place to spend the money is on the scale. get a REAL good scale. and a set of check weights.
and on press primer feeds are almost all a pain, get a hand primer (RCBS or LEE)
July 22, 2003, 05:58 PM
Pretty much all been said.
Some cals true .. you don't save much ... tho I do cast bullets too and save on that a bit.
I think you have to maybe ''loose'' the cost of equipment ... and ''loose'' and value you may put to your time - forget those as being necessary..... then you do save enough to matter .. the more so with bigger cals. 44 mag is a good example .. in fact even 357 mag too - if only because (gun permitting) you can load up to much nearer a max (true .357 load.
Even bigger cals like 454 definitely saves . and same with larger rifle cals. Not to mention the ''satisfaction'' factor ... and the ability to tune a load to the gun.
July 22, 2003, 06:08 PM
Chet, I'm about 6 months ahead of where you are right now. IOW, 6 months ago I was trying to decide if I should reload or not. My three biggest excuses were:
1) I f I had time to reload, I'd be shooting.
2) I'll wait until I have space to set up. I have little ones at home and don't want to leave stuff out.
3) Start up costs look to me like $200 or so. Don't want to swallow that.
Then I inherited a rifle in an oddball caliber, and had to reload to shoot the thing. Now I wish I had started years ago.
First, YES IT SAVES YOU MONEY. Especially over store bought ammo. But even over milsurp.
No it doesn't take as much time as you think. Measuring powder is the only part that requires a block of time and absolute concentration. I have no problem with watching TV or talking on the phone while I use my hand-primer, or wiping cases etc. Seating bullets also requires absolute concentration, but you can do 100 bullets in 20 min or less, so not much time required. Punching out primers is even faster, and requires less concentration. If this is heresy, then blast me, folks.
No, the startup costs don't have to be $200. I started out borrowing a buddy's press. The first piece of gear I bought was the hand-priming tool for $25 or so. Then bought my own press, used, for a measley $25. There were plenty between $40 and $50 at the gun show. Borrowed a powder scale for a while, then bought one.
Space is not an issue. I keep all my gear in a Rubbermaid tub in the closet. I attach my press to the picnic table with 2 "C" clamps when its time to use it. Takes less than 1 minute.
I still don't have all the details down, but I crank out ammo, and I get better groups, and I have MORE FUN shooting. It adds another dimension to the enjoyment of the sport.
C'mon, join the party. Consider this an official invitation.
Edited to answer the original question--no its not hard. Easier than I thought. And I started out with an oddbal .17 cal!
July 22, 2003, 07:07 PM
We handloaders are the select creme-de-la-creme of society. Every one of us is a MENSA member, we all build our own presses, with competitions for who has the most Rube Goldberg setup. My reloader currently has a Tesla coil and a Flux Capacitor, as well as 15 running gerbils, triggered by a Jack -in-the-box.
Stetup of my system takes about 10 hours, and it loads ammo at a rate of 20 rounds per day. Pretty efficient for a 15 gerbil machine! When I kick in the Tesla coil/Flux Capacitor turbo, I can get 100 rounds per day, but it often breaks so I'm back to gerbil speed.
Don't start reloading unless you have at least three PhDs in the sciences.
Guy B. Meredith
July 23, 2003, 01:01 AM
Mensa? None of the fellas here in the trailer park ever herd of Mensa.
Just kidding. Reloading is far more fun than those squirrelly Mensa games and just requires some responsible attention. Oh, yeah also a few bucks if you start out with full progressive gear. (Is progressive a word I can use here? Probably okay outside the Legal and Political section.)
August 4, 2003, 02:20 AM
Yes to both, but you gotta mind the details. The more attention you pay to what you're doing, the safer you'll be, and the more accurate ammo you'll produce.
First step, IMHO, is to get and read The ABC's of Handloading, put out by Krause Publications. It is an excellent primer. After that, you'll know more about what equipment you need.
Next step is to get a couple of reloading manuals & read them. You have to consider yourself forever a student of reloading, as nobody can master it all. There is always something more to learn. The more you know before you start buying equipment, the wiser will be your purchases, and the better your chances of being happy with your gear.
Gun shows are an excellent place for KNOWLEDGEABLE buying of gear. If you just go buy stuff and hope it fits with what you've got, it probably won't, without an expensive adapter plate or some such.
So, welcome to the club. It is a lifelong study. And yeah, you really can make ammo that's better than you can buy, if you work at it. :)
Progressive loaders??? Avoid 'em like the plague until you know what you're doing!!! After you know what you're doing, you may decide your dumb ol' single-stage press is just fine anyhow. And it can be upgraded then to progressive if you decide to go that route. But IMHO, nobody in their right mind should try to learn how to reload in the first place, while also trying to master the mechanical complexities of the progressive press. It'd be like taking drivers ed, in a loaded 18-wheeler.
August 4, 2003, 08:22 AM
I am a reformed Factory Ammo Purchaser. I would only buy factory and never considered reloading, until I came across forums similar to this one. Eventually, I overcame my fear of reloading.
Firstly, I came across a site that would reload your empties for a reasonable cost. Figured I would send a few hundred and out see what I got. Ended up with a few different loads and even got the recipe for each load. At the time was for .223, 303 Britsh and 30/30.
About 8 months ago I went out an bought a Lee Anniversary Kit. The only problem I had was using the scales. Ended up buying a decent set of electronic scales (much faster). Then the bug bit, I bought a 9mm a while ago and even reload for it. Considering the cost is only a few cents cheaper per round over factory, that is not the point, I am making the ammo for it. It makes it so much more worthwhile to reload. The satifaction of experimenting and having a good day on the range makes it worth it.
It is not hard at all, you just need to be conscious of what you are doing and always be safe.
I have managed to get my brother-in-law into reloading as well. Four hands are better than two and when we get together all we talk about is guns and ammo.
I have found that reloading can be very calming as well. Spend a few hours in front of the loading bench and see how relaxed you become. Tonight my wife was asking why I can keep the bench so clean, but not any other part of the house. Must be one of those pride things........
Saving money is not the reason to get into reloading, value for money is. Add to that the satifaction and the relaxing effect and you have a great hobby.
If I was starting again, I would buy the best equipment I could afford. But then again, having a spare press around has to be a good thing...
Get into it, you'll be glad you did.
August 4, 2003, 10:05 AM
Reloading is not hard. I finally setup my press (Dillon 550B), and after some tweaking and stupid mistakes, when I shot my reloads they went "boom". Tommorow I am off to the range for more testing.
I'd say take it slow at first in setting up the press and the first bunch (1000 or so) reloads. I think once you start reloading, you'll realize why you didnt start sooner. I wish I had.
August 4, 2003, 10:10 PM
If you can score in the near genius here.. it still won't help you. You just have to make your mistakes and learn from them. Hopefully, they won't be fatal mistakes.. because you are the careful sort..
August 5, 2003, 07:39 PM
Chet, if you ever want to see reloading in action, PM me. I'd be happy to show you my setup.
August 6, 2003, 11:53 AM
As a new reloader, I have observed that successful reloading requires the following:
Ability and willingness to read (including instruction materials)
Ability and willingness to be orderly
Ability and willingness to take and keep notes
The exercize of reasonable caution
Willingness to purchase items to replace ones you may have bought in error, and to not continue to use what doesn't do the job well for you (sell your mistakes on eBay)
The above "requirements" don't make relaoding hard, but realize it may not be for everyone.
August 7, 2003, 10:59 AM
Reloading isn't hard BUT it is precise. You must be willing to study and apply instructions exactly. It is and isn't cheap. If you're like most of us, it starts with an inexpencive starter outfit and one set of dies. Then another set of dies. Then a new set of scales. A new powder thrower. A new progressive press. I think you can see where this is going. As someone mentioned earlier, it's better than hanging out in beer joints and pool halls.
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