Getting Started in Reloading--Again


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Tequila jake
May 2, 2009, 01:27 PM
I haven't reloaded in almost 25 years (don't even remember how....), but I still have the following equipment, which probably isn't even made anymore:

RCBS Model 5.10 Reloading Scale
RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure
RCBS Powder Trickler
RCBS Case Lube Kit
2 RCBS Loading Blocks
RCBS Funnel .22-.45 cal

A Lee 2001 Challenge Reloading Kit, which includes the following:

Lee Auto-Prime II
Lee Ram Prime
Lee .38-.357 dies

But, the press itself is gone. It was stored in a non-airconditioned warehouse in Texas for over 20 years and was corroded and rusted up, so I pitched it.

So, what do I need, besides a new press, bullets, brass, powder, and primers to get started reloading again. And, what reloading book would you recommend?

I want something reliable, but I don't want to spend a lot of $$. Last question: for the time being, I'm going to reload only .38 Spl, so do I need a case length trimmer and a tumbler?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Tequila Jake

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ReloaderFred
May 2, 2009, 01:52 PM
I would recommend an RCBS Rockchucker for a press, since it will do what you need, and has a lifetime guarantee, no questions asked.

You don't need a case trimmer for .38's, but I do recommend a tumbler. A good kit is made by Berry's Manufacturing, www.berrysmfg.com.

For a reloading manual, you can't go wrong with the Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook. The front of the book has all the details on reloading, and the back portion has the best variety of loads.

With what you already have, and a new press, manual and tumbler, you'll be all set to get started again.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Walkalong
May 2, 2009, 02:05 PM
Yep, that will get you going again. :)

arizona98tj
May 2, 2009, 02:30 PM
Glad to hear you are getting back into the hobby. I'll second the recommendation for the RCBS press and the Lyman manual. They will both serve you well.

warnerwh
May 2, 2009, 04:47 PM
You can get away with not trimming .38 Special or tumbling it. I only clean my handgun brass whenever it looks dirty enough. I only have revolvers and don't know how well this would work out with autos. Another press you may consider is the new Lee Classic Cast. It's as sturdily built as any of them and Midway sells them for 80.00 dollars. The primer catch works much better than RCBS presses too. I've owned two RCBS presses and they are certainly excellent and are what I used before the Dillon I sold.

I just restarted loading again after about an 8 year lay off and had to get a new press. Stumbled on the Lee Classic Cast and glad I did. It's made in the U.S.A. too. If you want to speed things up with a single stage if you get the Lee press get the Safety Prime and the Auto Disk powder measure, preferably the Pro version of the powder measure.

The Lee presses have holes tapped for the safety prime and it's cheap. The Pro Auto Disk is 40.00 bucks but is easily worth the extra money over the standard one. Being able to get two operations done in a single stroke for deprime and prime as well as case bell and load powder saves a significant amount of time. Welcome back.

Deanimator
May 2, 2009, 05:55 PM
You can get away with not trimming .38 Special or tumbling it. I only clean my handgun brass whenever it looks dirty enough. I only have revolvers and don't know how well this would work out with autos. Another press you may consider is the new Lee Classic Cast. It's as sturdily built as any of them and Midway sells them for 80.00 dollars. The primer catch works much better than RCBS presses too. I've owned two RCBS presses and they are certainly excellent and are what I used before the Dillon I sold.
I ALWAYS clean brass, having ruined a sizing die years ago by not cleaning my brass.

I NEVER trim non-bottleneck pistol brass and neither does anyone else I've ever known. None of us has ever had a problem.

The Bushmaster
May 2, 2009, 06:10 PM
To in sure that you get the same crimp on each and every finished cartridge you WILL need a case trimmer. If you are only doing .38 Special you can find something simple and relitively inexpensive...

And I don't care WHAT ReloaderFred and Deanimator say...!!:banghead::evil:

lgbloader
May 2, 2009, 07:13 PM
I'm with you Bushmaster. I like to trim to set my crimp as well.

That's how Dad showed me.

RCBS Model 5.10 Reloading Scale
RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure
RCBS Powder Trickler
RCBS Case Lube Kit
2 RCBS Loading Blocks
RCBS Funnel .22-.45 cal
A Lee 2001 Challenge Reloading Kit, which includes the following:

Lee Auto-Prime II
Lee Ram Prime
Lee .38-.357 dies


By the way, have everything onn this list except I have two scales (yes 510's) and 3 Uniflows. All good stuff.


LGB

Matt Dillon
May 2, 2009, 07:26 PM
+1 on the Lee Classic Cast press. Best press I have ever used, and I have a little different take on brass trimming. .38 special and .357 magnum calibers use a roll crimp, and if you want your ammo to have a consistent crimp, you'll need to trim your brass uniformly. I would suggest the Lee trimming system, it will probably cost you less than $10.00 and does a great job, especially if you place the shellholder into a cordless drill or screwdriver. Make sure you get the trimmer with the little wooden ball, the .38 special kit, including the gauge and shell holder, and I would also suggest the Lee Auto Prime hand held primer and shell holder for each caliber you desire to load. Make sure you thoroughly read a loading manual, such as the ABCs of Reloading, and purchase a set of check weights with which to set up your Scale.

Wildyams
May 2, 2009, 07:50 PM
The first thing I would worry about getting, would be primers.

once you find those, the other things should be easy to come by.

ReloaderFred
May 2, 2009, 08:14 PM
All you have to do is mention not trimming .38 Special brass and The Bushmaster comes running out of his hole........... He's too easy to mess with, and it's not even fun anymore.

Fred

unloaded
May 2, 2009, 08:29 PM
Don't forget decent calipers. I trim .38 spl .357 mag and .44 mag. You might look at the Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret. It can be used as a single stage working in batches or an auto indexer. If used single stage, your dies stay in the die holder and don't need to be adjusted after set.

peace.
unloaded

Marlin 45 carbine
May 2, 2009, 08:59 PM
the Chucker will sure do the job but so will the Lee Classic at 1/2 the price or less. unless you are planning on sizeing wildcats. and even then most of 'em.
a Lee case spinner is practically neccesity. and trimmer.

Tequila jake
May 3, 2009, 02:07 AM
All,

Thanks for all your help--I really appreciate it.

However, let me ask another question: a friend and I were talking about reloading and he would like to get into it commercially, even if only on a small scale, i.e., doing specialty reloading at first and then maybe later expanding into regular stuff. What are your recommendations for an operation like that?

Crash

ReloaderFred
May 3, 2009, 02:21 AM
First of all, it takes a Class 6 Federal license, which is commercial ammunition manufacturer. Then it takes a boatload of insurance. It goes up from there...... Along with dealing with the public.

Hope this helps.

Fred

kcbrown
May 3, 2009, 04:15 AM
I have to second the vote for the Lee Classic Turret (the 4-hole version). If I were just buying one press on a highly restricted budget, it would be my press of choice. It has almost all of the advantages of a single stage press but is far more flexible and will allow you to produce ammunition noticeably faster than with a true single stage should you decide to use the auto index feature.

It may take a slight bit of fiddling to get it working perfectly (the safety prime mechanism, in particular, needs to be at just the right height to avoid occasionally catching on the priming ram), but for the money it's well worth it.

One last thing: for the Lee auto disk pro powder measure, be sure to get the micrometer metering bar. It's only around $10 and it's much more flexible, though (naturally) there are going to be some powders (like, in my experience, Titegroup) that it doesn't work all that well with -- for those you can drop back to the fixed disk measures.

The Bushmaster
May 3, 2009, 09:33 AM
Aah...Thanks Fred...:neener:

Walkalong
May 3, 2009, 09:57 AM
To in sure that you get the same crimp on each and every finished cartridge you WILL need a case trimmer. If you are only doing .38 Special you can find something simple and relitively inexpensive...

And I don't care WHAT ReloaderFred and Deanimator say..
Me either.

With all due respect to Fred, who knows way more than I, trim those dang .38 cases if you want a consistent crimp.

Now, the questions is, does a good consistent crimp matter on .38's? Well, it does to me, cause it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. :D

I have worked up loads with untrimmed brass, only to finalize them in trimmed brass, and it sure is hard to tell the difference on target. :scrutiny:

Tequila jake
May 4, 2009, 12:39 AM
Wildyams,

I hear what you're saying about primers. I've been on several companies' websites and all I get is "out of stock."

ReloaderFred,

1. Where do I get the info about applying for a Class 6 license?

2. Do I have to join SAAMI? If so, what does it cost? If not, are there any advantages to joining?

Thanks for your help,

Tequila Jake

ReloaderFred
May 4, 2009, 01:30 AM
Tequila Jake,

You would apply for any Federal Firearms License through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). They have a website and you should be able to navigate through it to find the applications that you can download.

I don't have a clue where you would find the insurance to cover such a business, though. Years ago, I did load commercially for a short time, and it was the cost of insurance that made me see the folly of the venture.

You don't need to join SAAMI, though you could. You would be better off joining National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which I'm a member of. Rick Patterson is employed by NSSF, and is also Chairman of SAAMI.

Hope this helps.

Fred

PS: I think your alias is great. Do you shoot SASS?

Tequila jake
May 5, 2009, 11:46 PM
All,

I went to Bass Pro Shops in San Antonio today to get a press and components: they have NO powder, NO primers, and a very limited supply of handgun caliber bullets and brass.

I also checked on-line with Cabela's and MidwayUSA and they both are "out of stock" on all primers.

However, since blackpowder and substitutes, lead balls, caps, etc., are still available, it looks like I'll be shooting mostly muzzleloaders, at least for a while. But that's O.K., they're the most fun anyway.

Tequila Jake

lgbloader
May 6, 2009, 12:26 AM
Jake,
You'll find them here and there. Now is probably not the time to start trying to stock up on everthing. It will calm down. Look at gas prices a year ago.

LGB

Oyeboten
May 6, 2009, 12:41 AM
Hi Tequila jake,


Good luck in your venture..!


It's about the same with me...haven't re-loaded since the late 1980s...but, I t-h-i-n-k I kindasorta remember how...at least from where I'd left off anyway.

Case Length Gauge and or Case Trimmer is a very polite and practical thing to have and use, for uniform Crimp, and thus no Bullets walking 'out' as one is firing...


We picked a helluva time though, to get ( back ) at it...


Patience, and Luck...


Phil
l v

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