"Poor boy" reloading...


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Corner Pocket
January 25, 2008, 08:11 AM
I've enjoyed reading lots of helpful stuff here in this forum, and I'm still pondering on what equipment I'll ultimately purchase. The sticky at the top of this forum is a great help in sorting out what equipment to get. Thanks for the tip to read that info.

For some odd reason, dropping back to a rudimentary form of reloading really appeals to me. I can afford to get some good equipment, but "just for kicks" I feel like I'd like to start at "the bottom" and advance from there as my knowledge and skills increase. I don't mind spending the time to craft each and every round in what may appear to some to be a cumbersome process...:eek:

I see how you'd use a hand primer to prime, and a hand press to accomplish other necessary steps. But short of measuring and weighing out each charge and funneling it into the cartridges, is there also a "hand powder mechanism" that can be utilized in this low-level form of reloading that I'm envisioning? Thanks for your thoughts...

CP

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Doug b
January 25, 2008, 08:37 AM
Lee hand case trimmers comes to mind but only because they are a real pita.

Walkalong
January 25, 2008, 08:38 AM
a "hand powder mechanism" that can be utilized

Lee scoops, along with data for them. I am sure folks could come up with a lot of that. I know I have some Lee sheets laying around somewhere from purchasing Lee dies.

That is the bare minimum for powder measuring, but it will work. You WILL want a scale eventually. AC

Sgt.Dusk
January 25, 2008, 08:42 AM
Hand powder mechanism...hmmmm.....
buy a set of lee dippers....theyre easy and fast

lee n. field
January 25, 2008, 09:32 AM
But short of measuring and weighing out each charge and funneling it into the cartridges, is there also a "hand powder mechanism" that can be utilized in this low-level form of reloading that I'm envisioning? Thanks for your thoughts...

A set of Lee scoops. What do they call that....the Lee Powder Measure Kit (http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1201267831.3906=/html/catalog/powhan1.html). Up from that, something like the RCBS Little Dandy measure.

Chawbaccer
January 25, 2008, 09:43 AM
Go even ore basic than the Lee xcoops. Cut down cartridges for specific loads and solder a piece of wire on for a handle.

Sunray
January 25, 2008, 10:33 AM
"...Lee scoops..." Pitch 'em. They're not accurate enough and, for who knows why, are calibrated in cc's. CC's are not a standard unit of measure for reloading. They can vary the charge plus or minus a full grain too. Use a scale.
The lowest end is a Lee Loader. All hand powered. They're slow, but they do work. The downside is they neck size only. That's ok if you're loading for a bolt action. No good for a semi-auto or lever action. And you use brass fired out of the same rifle.
"...measuring and weighing out each charge..." That's how match grade ammo is loaded. However, I've been using a hand powered powder thrower for eons. Made by Kinetics. I'm not sure if they're made any more though. It's not quick, but it's accurate enough for handgun loading.

luckylogger6
January 25, 2008, 11:40 AM
Check out this link.
http://www.grafs.com/metallic/598

Most of the powder measures here will work for what it sounds like you are interested in.

If you are really interested in trying the hand press that’s great but will probably find them impractical and graduated to a single stage press rather quickly…and since they can often be had for around $30 bucks used it’s not a large expense for a much better press. Good luck and have fun.

Texastbird
January 25, 2008, 11:58 AM
Go with the Lee Anniversary Kit. Its pretty basic, but the potential for very accurate loads makes it worthwhile. I wouldn't try it without a scale because I've tried the dippers and weighed the charges and they are all over the place. The scale that comes with the anniversary kit is very basic but amazingly accurate.

mike_in_md
January 25, 2008, 12:55 PM
The lee hand press kit sounds like what you're after, and it's right in your poorboy price range...$45.98

fireflyfather
January 25, 2008, 02:20 PM
Go even ore basic than the Lee xcoops. Cut down cartridges for specific loads and solder a piece of wire on for a handle.

Um, to do that safely, you would already have to have a scale, which is more expensive than the dipper set. Personally, I only use the dippers with a scale to check them.

Cosmoline
January 25, 2008, 02:23 PM
is there also a "hand powder mechanism" that can be utilized in this low-level form of reloading that I'm envisioning? Thanks for your thoughts...

Yes, Lee makes a whole array of scoops just for this purpose. You weigh enough just to verify your loads, then use the scoop to load additional cartridges. The system isn't 100% perfect but it's pretty good esp. for dense rifle powder. It works less well with flaky light powders such as Unique, esp. since one grain up or down can make such a difference with the fast burners. For rifle rounds I actually find it BETTER than the more high-tech methods. Between my eye and the scoop I can get it within half a grain.

I could afford a fancier setup but I really love using a hand primer, hand press and the scoops. It's a way of keeping in direct contact with the loads and the hand press allows me to have total control of applied pressure. I don't tweak too many necks that way, even with the weird things I load.

jenrob
January 25, 2008, 03:51 PM
For just a few dollars more you could get one of the cheaper Lee presses over the hand press. Or for $20 more you could get the Lee breech lock. This would give you better leverage and later if you decided to upgrade you still wouldn't be out a lot. The dippers are good for doing work ups. Dip pour into scale then trickle up to what you want. A powder dispenser could be used as a hand operated but will give more consistant measurements when mounted to a bench.

moooose102
January 25, 2008, 04:15 PM
i would not try to load a max load with the lee dippers, but for fast, load a lot of target ammo(for plinking) i think they are great! i use them quite freaquently just for that purpose. when working up a max load, they can be used to get close, then use the powder trickler to get exact. an actual powder measure such as the rcbs uni-flow is the way to go if you want fast accurate loads, for like big time target practice for say competitive shooting.

Quoheleth
January 25, 2008, 05:24 PM
Moosey,

i would not try to load a max load with the lee dippers, but for fast, load a lot of target ammo(for plinking) i think they are great!

How on earth can you call dippers "fast"? I've tried, and I feel like I spend most of my time swapping things in my hands: , pick up tuna-fish can of powser, insert scoop into powder, allowing powder to flow in over the scoop, pull dipper upward, set down can, pick up business card, level off scoop, set business card down, pick up primed cartridge, caaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, set cartridge into loading block, pick up can...

Of course, there's the "full-length" drama too: after caaaaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, spill some powder, swear softly under breath, dump powder back into can, and start over.

I've loaded a couple hundred .38 SPecials and maybe 50 or so .357 Magnums this way with my Classic Loader and Lee Hand Press. Those couple hundred rounds took hours...and that was starting out with my brass de-primed! Unless you have WAY more time than money, I can't recommend the Classic loader for pistols or any kind of volume rifle work. It is kinda fun...until you notice the clock's speed vs. your speed. Widners has the Classic Loaders for under $15. I bought it...then I bought the hand press and dies...and finally I got the Lee turret press. Woulda been money & time ahead had I just gotten it the first time.

Live and learn...

Q

Goose5
January 26, 2008, 01:25 AM
I have loaded many .44 magnum rounds with a lee hand loader. Powder was measured using the Lee dippers and leveled off with my drivers license.

Corner Pocket
January 26, 2008, 07:26 AM
Many thanks for each of these responses, folks. After pondering over this thread some more, I see that I may be trying to make this whole thing a bit too "rudimentary" in my approach to it. I hadn't thought about the leverage factor in what a hand press gives me versus a bench press. The stability of a press mounted to the table would indeed be much superior, I would think...

I went yesterday to Sportsman's Warehouse to look at their reloading equipment. There were several Single Stage presses on display there. I fiddled around with each of them. I think the action of the ram when moving the handle up and down was smoothest on the RCBS Single Stage press. However, I do like the "breech lock" version of the new Lee press. Looks like I need to give more thought to this aspect of my quest... Thanks again for your help. :)

Corner Pocket

FLORIDA KEVIN
January 26, 2008, 07:59 AM
i started reloading in about June of last year ! i bought the lee aniversart kit ! it included the scale and ,"perfect powder measure ", then 2 sets of dies for the calibers i reload , an inertial bullet puller , and dont forget the loading tray ! other than that stuff all you need is powder ,primer and bullets ! Kevin

evan price
January 26, 2008, 10:24 AM
I would use a manual Lee safety-disk powder measure before I would use a dipper set. The safety disk is basically an auto-disk but without the mechanism, and with a little handle instead to move the disk manually. Then you can at least still mount it on your powder-through expander and charge in one step. Pretty inexpensive, too.

lee n. field
January 26, 2008, 11:38 AM
Of course, there's the "full-length" drama too: after caaaaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, spill some powder, swear softly under breath, dump powder back into can, and start over.


Avoiding that is what a powder funnel is for.

I think the action of the ram when moving the handle up and down was smoothest on the RCBS Single Stage press. However, I do like the "breech lock" version of the new Lee press.

Hornady Lock 'n Load inserts will work on the RCBS Rock Chuck press, and Lee's Classic Cast, so I hear.

Corner Pocket
February 11, 2008, 09:49 AM
Again, I appreciate all the good help that has been offered. It's great to read the various thoughts that are posted here on this board, and I'm being helped with your individual experiences in rolling your own ammo...

For some odd reason, I keep coming back to thinking that I would enjoy a "start at the bottom" approach. How about these types of reloading kits?

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1202736892.5238=/html/catalog/cleeloader.html

Even though that looks like it would be as slow as molasses, I don't mind the time needed. But is it actually feasible to use something like this? Thanks!

CP

ojibweindian
February 11, 2008, 10:41 AM
Corner

Dad used a Lee Loader many years ago. I supposed it worked okay.

I do have a single stage press (Lee Classic Cast), powder dispenser (Lyman), scale (Lyman), and some of the other goodies.

But, for sheer portability and storage, I really like the Lee Hand Press.

Eb1
February 11, 2008, 11:21 AM
I am using the Lee Loader for 30-30 and the Lee Hand Press with a FCD for crimping. I sat all weekend at the range just beating the mess out of the Lee Loader.

A crowd came around to see what I was doing. Some said "I did not know that those actually worked." Talking about the Lee Loader.

jenrob
February 11, 2008, 11:56 AM
corner pocket if this is for a bolt gun it will work. But you are going to have to have other equipment (trimmer,micrometer, and I would so scale that's me better safe and alive than alive with a bolt sticking out my forehead) there are other tools that you will need but that would be another ?

Corner Pocket
February 11, 2008, 12:08 PM
I forgot to mention that I already have a suitable powder scale, a funnel, and a set of calipers. At this point, I would only be loading for .38 Special, and maybe .357 later if I got suitable results after trying this on the .38 loads.

CP

yhtomit
February 11, 2008, 12:26 PM
This thread reminds me of my tongue-in-cheek diet plan: Only eat foods that are expensive and slow -- and that way I'll either thin up by a few pounds, or go bankrupt.

It sounds like a decent way to do things, IMO -- makes each round special. Besides, if the time spent loading is *pleasant* and you aren't looking for IPSC style quantities, why not savor it this way?

timothy

Eb1
February 11, 2008, 12:35 PM
I totally enjoy this method. It has given me the chance to make mistakes, but be involved enough to catch them. Also has helped me create a work flow for myself.

And to be honest now that I have done about 150 rounds. I can get about 1 - 1 1/2 rounds done per minute if I try using the Lee Loader, but I average around 1 per minute.

I chill and just get absorbed in what I am doing. Great stress relief (after you get the hang of it :p)

scrat
February 12, 2008, 12:05 AM
like others have mentioned if your cash poor and really want to get into reloading here is all you need.

lee loader
lee dipper set
lee hand primer.

thats it. The lee loader manual helps but you can get load data over the internet check steves pages or smithsreloading.

BoilerUP
February 12, 2008, 01:05 PM
Anybody had luck using a Lee Loader for autoloaders like Glocks, Sigs, etc?

Eb1
February 12, 2008, 03:40 PM
All you really need is the Lee Loader for your caliber. No need for a hand primer. You can tell when the primer is seated with the Lee Loader. You get the feel for it, and there is a change in sound between taps. Just tap. Don't take full swings at it. And it takes more than just a tap, tap, tap. You do have to put some force into it.

I went to the lumber yard and found a square piece of pine about as long as a hammer. that is what i use with my Lee Loader.

moosehunt
February 13, 2008, 03:34 AM
If you really want to start out at the basic level, you ought to get a Lyman tong tool set-up. That's basic! And it works, too! You know you're "handloading" then.

zxcvbob
February 13, 2008, 11:47 AM
I forgot to mention that I already have a suitable powder scale, a funnel, and a set of calipers. At this point, I would only be loading for .38 Special, and maybe .357 later if I got suitable results after trying this on the .38 loads.

It that case, a Lee Reloader press (a bench mounted press that's even cheaper than a Hand Press) or get any old cast iron single stage press you can find used -- assuming it takes modern shell holders (you need to ask.) Try to find a press with a small primer arm already.

And a .38 Special Lee Speed Die or a die set.
And a loading block.
I think you have everything else. You can even make a custom dipper from a spent piece of brass cut down to length and a piece of wire soldered to it for a handle. (you will quickly get tired of weighing the powder for each cartridge)

Clark
February 13, 2008, 12:13 PM
I can reload with two rocks and a nail.

I still need a primer, powder, and bullet.

The guys in Siberia reload 22LR rimfire. They make a primer slurry and use a part of the rim not yet hit.

If I make a primer slurry, powder from urine, and use a rock for a bullet, then I can go totally cave man reloading.

jenrob
February 13, 2008, 12:47 PM
If I make a primer slurry, powder from urine, and use a rock for a bullet, then I can go totally cave man reloading.
Clark I got some bad news last night, and you probably got the first real laugh out of me since.
He could always use a sling shoot. There pretty cheap to reload and ammo is abundant

1911NM
February 13, 2008, 02:35 PM
Quote:
Moosey,


Quote:
i would not try to load a max load with the lee dippers, but for fast, load a lot of target ammo(for plinking) i think they are great!

How on earth can you call dippers "fast"? I've tried, and I feel like I spend most of my time swapping things in my hands: , pick up tuna-fish can of powser, insert scoop into powder, allowing powder to flow in over the scoop, pull dipper upward, set down can, pick up business card, level off scoop, set business card down, pick up primed cartridge, caaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, set cartridge into loading block, pick up can...

Of course, there's the "full-length" drama too: after caaaaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, spill some powder, swear softly under breath, dump powder back into can, and start over.

I've loaded a couple hundred .38 SPecials and maybe 50 or so .357 Magnums this way with my Classic Loader and Lee Hand Press. Those couple hundred rounds took hours...and that was starting out with my brass de-primed! Unless you have WAY more time than money, I can't recommend the Classic loader for pistols or any kind of volume rifle work. It is kinda fun...until you notice the clock's speed vs. your speed. Widners has the Classic Loaders for under $15. I bought it...then I bought the hand press and dies...and finally I got the Lee turret press. Woulda been money & time ahead had I just gotten it the first time.

Live and learn...

Q

bwaaahhhaaaaahaaaaa. Been there, done that. Boy do I like my Hornady LNL-AP

zxcvbob
February 13, 2008, 05:01 PM
How on earth can you call dippers "fast"? I've tried, and I feel like I spend most of my time swapping things in my hands: , pick up tuna-fish can of powser, insert scoop into powder, allowing powder to flow in over the scoop, pull dipper upward, set down can, pick up business card, level off scoop, set business card down, pick up primed cartridge, caaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, set cartridge into loading block, pick up can...

Of course, there's the "full-length" drama too: after caaaaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, spill some powder, swear softly under breath, dump powder back into can, and start over

It's not bad if all your primed cases are in a loading block and you have a powder funnel. (black powder cartridges are the only ones I load like that.)

scrat
February 14, 2008, 01:14 AM
Agreed

John C
February 15, 2008, 04:19 AM
Corner Pocket;

I did what you're talking about. I started with Lyman 310 tong tools just 4 years ago. I got them off eBay. Then I bought a Lee Classic Loader. From there I went to a Lee Anniversary Press, and then to a Dillon Square Deal.

From a stricly rational persepective, I'd say go with a Dillon progressive press and forget the rest. Otherwise, if you want to start slow, a good single stage like the RCBS Rock Chucker is great.

Since you want to do it primitive, I would suggest going with the Lee hand press and search eBay for a Lee Speed Die. This gives you the "hand" feel and is portable. Carbide dies speed up the process.

If you really want to go old school, I would recommend the Lyman 310 over the Lee Classic Loader. The Lyman is faster, and I think a big more fun. However, it doesn't fully case size. You'd have to go with the Lee for that.

I have to say that I don't regret my time hand loading, it gave me an in-depth understanding of the history and process.

Good luck!

-John

Deavis
February 15, 2008, 12:58 PM
I keep coming back to thinking that I would enjoy a "start at the bottom" approach

Most likely, you'll outgrow it pretty quickly. I get much more pleasure from cranking out a thousand rounds and heading to the range within an hour on a 650XL than I got from slowly putting together rounds with a single stage RCBS. If I were you, I'd take a second job in the evenings to save the money for a nice press and my first set of components. Instead of using time thinking about how to load on the cheap, use that time to make the money to load with a little class. I'm not saying you need to buy a Super 1050, but a week or two flipping burgers at Wendy's and you could buy a Lee Anniversary kit, dies, and be lightyears ahead of the painful, slow, and inefficient method you are considering. Time is money, don't undervalue yours.

ants
February 15, 2008, 06:43 PM
Of course, your own equipment choice is very personal, just like your choice of gun. What works for each of you differs from everyone else. Use your own judgement and make your own choices for yourself.

I started in 1968 with Lee Loaders, and still use them occasionally. I just did some .30-30 last month for the Marlin. How fast you outgrow them is up to you.
When I bought a single station press, we didn't even know the word 'progressive'. A couple companies made progressives back then, but we didn't know it. For the next 20 years I loaded everything on the single.
Although I now own progressive presses, I still used the single often. I can be much more precise and I can control the process much more finely. I use the single station to work up new loads, then transfer the knowledge to the progressive for production. Except long-range rifle loads -- I never do those on the progressive. Much, much more accurate on the single.
Whatever you buy, clean and lubricate regularly. The equipment will last 40 years if you want it to.

fugi99
February 16, 2008, 01:35 AM
Anybody had luck using a Lee Loader for autoloaders like Glocks, Sigs, etc?

I started reloading with a Lee loader for 9mm. I used them in my Beretta 92FS and havent had a problem.

highlander 5
February 16, 2008, 10:40 AM
I started with the Lee classic loader 20 rd an hr and holes in the ceiling galores. Seating primers with a rod and hammer what the hell was I thinking:what::what::what: I been reloading for near 40 years,trust me on this,buy a good progressive press and don't look back.

BillMcCall
February 16, 2008, 01:01 PM
I think if you can afford a 357 Mag you can afford some decent reloading equipment. If you really can't afford good equipment don't buy anything, save $ until you can OR preferably borrow $ 1500 and get started, credit card. If you buy cheap equipment or the wrong equipment you'll waste $500 and then have to get the right stuff later on. Good equipment costs good money. Do some research Corner Pocket,good luck
Bill

Peter M. Eick
February 16, 2008, 09:34 PM
The one bit of advice I would add is don't buy too cheap. I look at my spare hardware supply and look over all of the gear I have upgraded and feel bad about it. New calipers, new scales, better powder measures etc. This stuff just adds up in price. If I had bought better to start with I would not have spent more then twice the money.

Just think about it.

Eb1
February 18, 2008, 10:45 AM
Lee Dippers:

On the extreme you get +2gr or -2gr.
On average you will get +1 or -1gr.


Did a check last night.

MMCSRET
February 18, 2008, 11:18 AM
I have been loading and casting for over 50 years. my instructor back then used measures he built himself. We loaded 300 H&H and 300 Weatherby as well as all the usual winchester and colt calibers, both black powder and smokeless. For the very best guide to basic handloading find a copy of Handloading For Handgunners by Maj. George Nonte. It has been out of print for probably 30 years.

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