Thinking about getting into reloading


Ragnar Danneskjold
February 29, 2008, 02:22 AM
I really don't know much about reloading, but I know buying ammunition is getting more and more expensive. I did a little research, and I know you need brass, primers, bullets, and powder. What actual equipment do you need? I think a tumbler to clean old brass, a powder dispenser to fill the cartridges and a press to load the bullet into the cartridge. Are there any other machines I need? I have heard about dies, but what exactly do they do? I just need to reload in .223, 9mm and .40SW. How much $ does reloading save from buying rounds in the store. Where I am 500rds of Wold .223 is about $150. So that's about 30 cents a round. Just counting materials not equipment, what would the same amount of reloaded rounds cost? I'm looking on Cheaperthandirt and other sites for bullets, and I only see ".22 bullets, .224 nominal bullet diameter." Are those what I need to reload for .223 Rem AR-15s? How many rounds can one usually get out of a 1lb bottle of powder? I don't need to make them super hot, just normal practice rounds.

Also what are some good entry level presses, dispensers and the like?


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Jacka L Ope
February 29, 2008, 04:53 AM
For starters, there's a "sticky" near the top of this forum that's a good place to start:

For the New Reloader: Thinging abou Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST


February 29, 2008, 05:02 AM
I started with the Le anniversary kit.Its cheap. Less then $100.00 with a set of dies. Still using it. If you get it all you'll need are a set of dies. The book ABC's of reloading is nice for 1st timers.The more loading manuals you have the better. Also , get a set of vernier calipers for various resons. Can't elaborate to much, as I type to slow. lol.Enjoy - BE SAFE , Bob

February 29, 2008, 05:03 AM
Richard Lee's book Modern Reloading will answer all your questions and includes a good reloading manual.

Lookup to find out about their equipment. It's usually less expensive to buy the same equipment from CTD or Midway.

The Lee 50th Anniversary kit will get you everything you need except dies and loading materials for about $90 from CTD.

You will want a case tumbler. You don't need an especially expensive one and medium is cheap.

The only other thing I can think of you'll need right away is case lube for the .223s and a loading block (a tray that holds rounds while you are working on them.

It used to be you needed several loading manuals, but all that info is pretty much available online now (still not a bad idea, your computer and loading bench aren't usually close together).

Then you need powder, bullets and primer and a lot of time to experiment.

As for how many rounds to a pound of powder, that depends on the powder, bullet weight, charge you find suitable.

There are two things about reloading that really make it worthwhile. First you learn to really understand a lot more about what you are shooting. Second, it becomes as much of a side interest or hobby as the shooting itself and lets you be involved with the sport while sitting at home loading during time you'd probably be watching TV.

I load mostly .45 acp on a progressive press and I load a lot. My cost for 100 rounds is about $8.40. Not bad when you consider a box of 50 cheap ammo costs about $15. My cost per round is between one quarter and one third what it would be to buy factory ammo. And, it is far more accurate because it is tuned to my gun.

A word of advice is to shop around for bullets. You can find a great deal of variation in price. I pay $70 per 1,500 delivered for my .45 bullets, but the lowest per 500 price on CTD is about $50 per 500.

February 29, 2008, 05:47 AM
Read the stickies at the top. Several times.

Go thru the threads here for about the last 3-4 months. This gets answered about every couple weeks. Should answer most everything you need.

February 29, 2008, 09:46 AM
Ill be the first and last as others have already stated where you should start reading but I recommend : Dillon

I was set up and loading within 1 hour of opening the box... of course I had already done the research/built the bench/etc. so I had everything i needed to start. I am using a 550.

February 29, 2008, 10:21 AM
Do you have plenty of spare time to put into reloading? with an entry level single-stage vs. 'progressive',it takes several hours to do 500 rounds. I"m guessing,but I'd say at the VERY least 6 hours once you learn the ropes.
If you look at it as a new fun hobby the time does not matter all that much.
It takes 2000 hand movements,minimum,to do 500 rounds,and some prep work like lubing,and maybe trimming rifle cases.
Don't want to scare ya off,I have enjoyed it for many years now.

February 29, 2008, 08:10 PM
I will recommend the Lee Classic Turret press. I load 223, 9mm and 38/357 on mine. I can load 200 pistol rounds per hour. I can load 300 223 per hour after the case prep is done. You can buy the classic kit at for around $170 with the upgrades. I am loading 223 for around $110 per thousand rounds. I just bought some tracers cheap and am loading them for $90 per thousand. It will take 3.5 to 4 pounds of powder to load 1,000 rounds of 223. I am loading 9mm for around $7.50 per 100. One pound of Titegroup will load around 1,700 rounds of 9mm. Check out this link to see the classic turret in operation.

evan price
March 1, 2008, 12:34 PM
For your .223 you should look around for GI style bullets. Wideners usually has pulled .223 bullets for really good prices. A powder like Varget will work well in .223. I don't load .223 but my father in law and many friends do; average cost per round using their own recycled brass is about fifteen cents per loaded round or a little less.

I load 9mm for $3.50 per box of 50 using hardcast lead projectiles. Figuring $9 a box for cheapest factory stuff that's a good savings. What I shot last year in 9mm alone would pay for a press in savings.

40 S&W will save you at least 50% of the cost of new stuff if you buy in bulk and take advantage of max savings.

A Lee Pro-1000 press can be had for $130 new ready to load one caliber from the factory- and it will load .223, 9mm, and .40 S&W. To load 9mm, 40, or .223 you need a set of dies for each caliber and the appropriate shellplate. Less than $40 to switch calibers, since these all take small primers. I would also get another turret plate for each caliber so you don't have to setup each caliber again when you change dies; you can get turret plates, dies, shellplates, etc. on eBay cheap.

It's not the same quality as a Dillon but there are those of us who do just fine with a Sears lawnmower and don't need to buy a John Deere. Not saying Dillon or John Deere are bad stuff, it's just that I won't run either to the extremes that the higher price is going to be justified. I see lots of almost-new Dillon stuff for sale, dusty and hardly used, by people who bought lots of gear and then decided not to load much. If I had to load 5000 rounds of ammo every month I would look into a Dillon. I load probably 1000 rounds a month in batches of 200 or so and the Lee gear works fine for me. It's not Dillon. But the ammo and the gun don't care what color press made it.

My two cents (and worth what you're paying) is buy some cheaper gear to start so you get started ASAP and see if it's what you want to do and if you are comfortable doing it- get used to the equipment- learn what YOU REALLY NEED and want... then get it, and sell what you don't need to another newbie reloader.

eBay has lots of deals on gear.

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