September 23, 2009, 11:43 AM
I have just gotten the bug to self-educate myself with Handloading and Reloading. I know pretty much absolutely nothing on the subject, so bear with me on my following question's.....;)

1. Whats the general consensus on the easiest/simplest calibers to reload? (Lowest on the tedious scale)

2. How much does saving your brass cut down on the price of reloading? (A LOT, SO-SO, Minimally)

3. Roughly speaking, at what number of handloads does it take to start becoming cheaper than well.....WallyWorld target bulk pack's?

P.S. (I own the following centerfire calibers; 9mm, 30-30, .270, .38 special, .357 mag)

I appreciate yalls time & patience in answering these questions and look forward to reading your reply's!:)

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September 23, 2009, 11:53 AM
easiest? hummmm

None are complicated. If you can read a recipe and a manual you can reload.

Straight wall cartridges (9mm, 45/70, 38/357, etc....) requires a flare to the cartridge wall versus a necked brass to properly seat your bullet. So an extra step versus necked brass reloading.

learn to set your seating die with proper crimp

save your brass, saves you money

Necked cartridges require you to trim your brass prior to reloading. Always resize new brass, don't take it out of the factory bag and start flaring, priming......always resize your new brass.

save money????? ha! count your time and you are saving nothing.....I just love loading my own, spending time doing it. It's a hobby and not truly a money saver once you factor in time, cleaning, sorting, trimming, working up loads.

I will say I probably don't shoot enough cause I have three card board moving boxes of loaded ammo I am waiting to get around to shoot.

Have fun....oh yeah get a quality manual, I use Lyman 49th edition currently with online hodgdon data.

I use a hornady lock N load for 45acp, 38/357, 9mm, and 5.56

RCBS Rockchucker single stage for 45/70, 243, & 308

September 23, 2009, 12:03 PM
1. .38 Spl or .45 ACP are great ones to start on. (9mm is pretty easy, but not as forgiving as the low pressure .45 ACP) Pistol calibers are less "tedious" to load than rifle.

2. A lot.

3. Depends on a great many variables.

Onced fired 9MM and .38 Spl brass is free or cheap. Once fired .357 is pricey these days. Rifle brass (.270 & 30-30)is of course a good bit more than pistol brass, but there can be more room for savings with rifle calibers.

How much invested to get started reloading? What bullets? Lead, jacketed? etc etc.

September 23, 2009, 12:04 PM
^Wow thanks for the tips TRguy!

September 23, 2009, 12:05 PM
1. No easy ones from what i read on this forum. Reloading book or online can take you thru each step of reloading.Read the instruction. 2. Check the price of new unfired brass and compare to new factory ammo in the calilber of your choice (a lot). 3. Depends on calilber, pistol brass lasts till you loose it using target loads. 270 average maybe 8 loading, midrange pressure. Max 3-4. Good reading on the RCBS website. http://www.rcbs.com/guide/default.aspx Us old guys learned from books, still might be the best way as there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. I am sure i have given bad info because not all dies/reloading equipment is exactly the same.

Smokey Joe
September 23, 2009, 12:49 PM
Cletus 03--Good on you wanting to learn BEFORE you begin making, or mis-making, ammo! And good questions--Pity that there isn't a hard-and-fast rule for answering the ones you ask!

The "standard text" for learning the reloading of ammunition is, The ABC's of Reloading, put out by Krause Publishing. Get it @ yr local gun store, gun show, Amazon or the like, or you can order from the publisher: www.krause.com They must be doing something right; the book is in its 7th edition.

The ABC's covers ALL the bases, from beginner to post-expert. Should be on every reloader's bookshelf, well thumbed, IMHO.

For your questions: My opinion:

(1) Easiest, most forgiving cartridge to reload IMX is probably .45 ACP. Of the ones you list, .357 Magnum/.38 Special are next to it--don't try for hot-rod super-fast loads at first--That last few feet per second are not the be-all and end-all of reloading. Plus, the best accuracy is seldom found at the extreme upper end of the pressure/velocity scale anyhow.

(2) Greatly. The brass is the most expensive component of most cartridges, the exceptions being where you have relatively cheap, common brass, and are using a really high-falutin' expensive bullet. (For example, .30-'06 rounds with Nosler Partition bullets--the brass is for free at every public range, and those particular bullets are pricey. Very good bullets, mind you, but pricey.)

(3) It depends. For one thing, you'll start right off making higher-quality ammo than the cheapo Wally World stuff--you have better quality control and will be more careful with each single round than a huge factory can ever do. That higher quality means that you should be comparing your reloads to the better stuff, not the cheapo Wally World stuff. If you use free range pick-up brass, it's cheaper than buying new brass or buying once-fired brass. Some reloaders shy away from range pick-up brass, but that's what I--and many others--began with and it worked for me. If you use lead pistol bullets, those are cheaper than jacketed bullets. Some powders are cheaper than others, although with powder you should buy the one that best will do what you want, not the cheapest one that will get by. And the prices of all components are going up asymtotically. But then, so is the price of factory ammo. So how much you save how fast, will vary.

You follow the directions, don't skip steps, be careful, inspect, inspect, inspect. Your time is your own, for pitys' sake. Use it.

Then there is the factor of exactly what equipment you buy that you have to amortize before you start saving money, and that varies by quite a bit, too. Here again, The ABC's will help you get an overview of what equipment is out there, and what you actually need to get started, as opposed to what you'd like if you bought all the shiny bells & whistles.

So. You are Doing It Right. That's a Good Thing. Oh, and welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading!

September 23, 2009, 01:01 PM
Absolute simplest has to be .45 acp. Large components that aren't a pain to handle. Low pressure cartridge with a nice large extractor groove, so the brass lasts and lasts. Only downsides are price of bullets and brass, and that with dense fast powders, you ahve the case capacity ofr a triple or quadruple charge. But you still save a lot over factory ammo.

Lee Roder
September 23, 2009, 01:03 PM
+1 on low pressure cartridges. Start your reloading journey with jacketed and not cast bullets. You will experience fewer issues. Just my own opinion.

September 23, 2009, 01:06 PM
I have an affinity for rather esoteric chamberings, so the absolute easiest I have done would be .35WSL. It took a little work to get things going, but once up and running, it was sweet and easy.

September 23, 2009, 02:34 PM
IMO of coarse

#1 .38, strait wall, runs the dies beautifully and has a roll crimp which is easy to see and judge. There is also fudge room for mistakes if shooting out of a .357 gun. The downfall is most powders do not fill the case even half way, so one must be vigilant not to double charge. Once again though in a .357 there is a bit of fudge room from boomboom.

#2 A ton, nice part about a wheel gun as above is most keep their brass together at the range then throw it into the trough or bucket at once, pick it up in hand fulls. The other nice part is your not chasing YOUR brass all over the range.

#3 That all depends on you, I cast my own bullets, so I can do a batch of .38s with my bullets for roughly the cost of primers, powder and lube in the bullets. Maybe $5 per hundred. If your buying bullets they will range anywhere between .06-.12 a piece on the cheap. Say .04 a primer (and thats high) and .02-.06 in powder.

Good Luck.........

September 23, 2009, 02:43 PM
I learned on 45ACP and loaded for it only about 5-6yrs before I moved on to other calibers. Heck for the first 2yrs I used the Lee dipper and AA#5 (loaded thru my first brick of 1K primers that way) before finally getting an Auto Disk powder drop. Did some stupid stuff too with that Lee dipper. Luckily I quickly figured out that it wasn't the thing to keep doing and didn't blow myself or gun up in the process.

After a few good years of loading (actually semi) knowing what I was doing with the .45, I then moved on .38spl and 9mm at the same time...

I think 9mm is a bit easier/safer between the 2.... but Walkalong has a good point. The 9mm's small case capacity makes it unforgiving with fast powders (and I use Red Dot). Pressure can spike in a hurry - but I don't think you can blow up a 9mm gun like you can a .38spl (well maybe if you ran a compressed charge of ZIP). I really like the 9mm because its small case is easier to tell if you have no powder or a double charge by just glancing in it....

The .38spl case by comparison is so long that you can't even see 3gr of powder in it without taking the cartridge off the press and shining a light in it.... Then trying to tell the difference (by eye) between 3gr or 6gr of powder in that very long case.... I've seen a few guns destroyed by people accidently double charging a case when loading Bullseye or Red Dot in .38's. There are high volume powders (like Trail Boss) that make this easier and safer but I don't think they are as economical as the faster burn rate powders and they don't have the history for accuracy yet.

The mechanics of loading both are the same. If you ALWAYS follow good safety practices in your loading, either will be a good starting caliber for you.

I check the powder charge on a scale of every 10th round, when I load a batch of 45 or 9mm. By comparison (maybe I'm paranoid), I check every 5th round on 38spl...

Good luck getting started

September 23, 2009, 02:43 PM
"Easiest CALIBER's to RELOAD? "

Goodness! Are ANY of them difficult to reload?

September 23, 2009, 02:43 PM
Straight wall cartridges (9mm, 45/70, 38/357, etc....) requires a flare to the cartridge wall versus a necked brass to properly seat your bullet. So an extra step versus necked brass reloading.Hmm. Plus one step...minus about 5.

Oh, and this (http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/apostro.asp).

September 23, 2009, 02:57 PM
It's great to hear about your interest in reloading. The stickies on the top of this forum are a great way introduce you to the basic concepts, but they are no substitute for getting a manual to learn the process.

Here's my thoughts on your questions:

1. Both rifle and pistol reloading can both be tedious and require attention. If you don't have a meticulous attitude toward it, it can be dangerous. Almost everyone has heard of a 2nd hand or 3rd hand story of someone destroying a firearm or hurting themselves from being reckless. Some people get into reloading and don't like it because they would rather not put the time into it, but that's for you to decide. As others have stated, it is probably best to start with a low pressure round like the 45acp or 38 special. I would also add that it would be beneficial to start with a revolver or bolt action cartridge since these remove the additional requirement of getting a semi-auto to cycle.

2.&3. The cost of the bullet and the brass are the major costs to the cartridge, compared to the powder and the primer. Saving brass saves money, but how much depends on the caliber. I don't know if anyone has said this yet, but if your main goal for reloading is just to save money, you will probably be disappointed. I'm not saying that it can't, but by the time you buy equipment and components, the breakeven point is substantial - and even greater if you factor in your time. Reloading is a hobby for most of us and should be understood as such. The ammo you reload is for your use only and cannot be sold without a ton of fees paid to the government. Even so, it is a great liability to let others shoot your reloads. If you are a casual shooter, a $13.99 box of Federal 30-30 or .270 ammo at Walmart is hard to beat. The breakeven point is different for every caliber. I reload because I think it is fun; I can make ammo that is more consistent than what I can buy; and I can develop lower power loads that are more fun to shoot. If any of these appeal to you, welcome to the club!

September 23, 2009, 03:10 PM
The 9mm's small case capacity makes it unforgiving with fast powders
The .38spl case by comparison is so long that you can't even see 3gr of powder in it without taking the cartridge off the press and shining a light in it....
First...excellent post rklessdriver

Good news is with medium burn rate powders good for medium to full loads in 9MM (such as HS-6, AA #5, Unique, N330, etc) they will fill the case enough so that a double charge will spill over or at least be very obvious.

I like 700X and N320 for light loads in 9MM, and they are also bulky enough to be very obvious if there is a double charge.

The little case that can cause pressure problems if their is very much bullet set back also helps us see double charges.

The reverse of the .38 Spl, where that big case and low pressure round is more forgiving, there is plenty of space for a double charge, or even a triple charge with some powders. I like bulky powders for .38 Spl like 700X and Clays, but even with them one has to be careful. It is still a small charge by volume.

It's a trade off. Pros and cons with either.

September 23, 2009, 04:18 PM
Whats the general consensus on the easiest/simplest calibers to reload

Like said above, straight walled cases are probably the easiest, like 9mm, 38, 357, & 45.

How much does saving your brass cut down on the price of reloading?

Lots, the brass is the most expensive part and the only one you can re-use(unless you use lead & recast it yourself).

Roughly speaking, at what number of handloads does it take to start becoming cheaper than well.....WallyWorld target bulk pack's?

That will depend on a few things. How much do you think you will load per month? How much time will you have to dedicate to that number? What kind of budget do you have to do this? Do you have a place to reload in peace with no interruptions(very important). After all that you can decide which brand(color) to go with.

Before anything else, is is often recommended here to read the ABC's of reloading and also get Lyman's 49th before you start. They will give you a better understanding of the processes, what they do, and what you need to do it.

September 23, 2009, 04:41 PM
Isn't 9mm a tapered wall? My .38 feed through my dies 100% easier than the 9mm casings.

September 23, 2009, 04:55 PM
9mm is tapered. My bad. It is real close to my eyes to be straight-walled that I group it that way, but it is tapered. :o

September 23, 2009, 05:08 PM
One other thought on 9mm and although I agree it is fairly easy to reload. For a newb starting out as I was, the military crimp would put a damper on the reloading session. Its OK if you know about it and can either ream them out or cast them aside from the other brass, but those few that get through can bring the session to a screeching halt.

September 23, 2009, 08:14 PM
I really like the .45 ACP. Straight walled and short so it resizes with little effort. I use Lee carbide dies and set a medium taper crimp in die #3.

Can't get the no lube carbide dies for rifles BTW.

I charge powder with 50 rounds in a case holder. The mouth is so wide it is very easy to inspect and make sure all cases have equal charges.

Re: case expense, check what the non reloaders toss at the range. Scrounging is a great money saver. And I am not proud and will ask a guy with a factory ammo box if he minds if I pick up his cases. I stay well stocked in good quality 45 ACP brass this way but could also get a lot of .38 SPL or 40 SW.

Had one guy at the range who had just started reloading talking about the high price of .223 cases. I sent him to the buckets and he found 150+ once fired cases. Thought he was going to hug me but I don't go for that sensitive sh*t. ;-)

Consider cast bullets. I got some great ones for 45 and 44 mag from Friendswood Bullet Co on the internet. Consistent weight and on the hard side but not so brittle that they shatter. My range loads are about 2/3 of max and target loads lower. Have seen no leading at all. And they are sure cheaper than factory jacketed. Just remember to give your cases a bit of extra bell if you load lead so you do not shave the bullet.

Primers suck. I usually have to find them at auction and those guys scalp you. The Russkie Wolf primers tend to be cheaper and more available and work just fine in my pistols. They are a bit big so will take a bit of an extra squeeze with your hand prime tool. No biggie.

Now the fun begins, obsessing until you find that perfect load for your pistol and fire that awesome 4 leaf clover bullseye group. The Holy Grail of reloading. You are doing it right if you lay awake nights calculating loads in your head. ;-)

I once bought some medium soft custom cast .357 DEWCs. Shot a cloverleaf at 25 yards and brought the target, signed by a state trooper buddy, in to my components dealer. Told him I wanted 10,000 more. He told me the caster had died. Went on to say poor guy apparently had some sort of stroke or seizure while casting, dropped onto the table and poured all the molten lead onto his head. Said they had to kind of chip him off.

All of that, especially those details, kinda freaked me out. My trooper friend was with me and he talked me out of leaving the store and jumping in front of a truck. I have asked God many times but have never received any word or revelation why such an artisan was so cruelly taken before he could cast my 10,000. Still kinda hurts.

But welcome to the joys of reloading.


September 23, 2009, 08:28 PM
Now the fun begins, obsessing until you find that perfect load for your pistol and fire that awesome 4 leaf clover bullseye group. The Holy Grail of reloading.I am at 140 something loads tried in .45 ACP....Some are pretty danged good. Had fun trying them all. They just kept adding up. :)

Jim Watson
September 23, 2009, 08:34 PM
Strange, I read more Internet Dear Abbys about trouble with .45 ACP reloads than any other caliber, maybe all other calibers. If you are happy with replicating hardball, you will do ok but if you want to use bulk cast bullets in mixed used brass, extra attention will be required.

I think the .38 Special will be the easiest pistol caliber to learn on, .270 won't be hard but it will be different.

Smokey Joe
September 23, 2009, 09:10 PM
Noveldoc--The Lord moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. I interpret your (come on, slight) misfortune, and the custom caster's major misfortune, to be a sign unto you--It's time to start casting your own bullets.

Or "Boolits" as the casting hobbyists would have it.

Then and only then, YOU will have ultimate control as to the quality of the bullets you shoot in yr .357.

Yeah, up 'til now I've been buying mine, too. But I'm about to get into casting my own.

Good luck some day making another cloverleaf.

September 23, 2009, 10:20 PM
Strange, I read more Internet Dear Abbys about trouble with .45 ACP reloads than any other caliber, maybe all other calibersSure do, but I don't understand why. :confused:

September 23, 2009, 10:34 PM
IMHO, the 45 colt is the easiest, but not by much over 44mag/spl or 38spl/357mag. Revolver cartridges seldom have chambering/feeding issues or OAL problems. Roll crimping is easier to do in the same step while seating than taper crimping. Both are probably the same if you take the extra step to crimp separately from seating. 45 is generally easier just because the components are bigger and easier to handle.


Smokey Joe
September 23, 2009, 10:51 PM
(Warning: Rant mode) that's just plain nasty about .45 ACP that I've recently discovered, much to my disgust: Speer has taken to making some of the cases with SMALL pistol primers, :what: while still having their cases with large pistol primers on the market. :eek: Everybody else, of course, since the Year 1, has been making .45 ACP cases with only LP's.

Of all the nasty things to do to a reloader!!!! you haven't lived until you've tried, and tried, and tried, to force a LP primer into a SP primer pocket,:banghead: then checked to see wotinell was the matter, and felt like you've been done dirt when the cause came to light.:mad:
WHAT IN THE BEEPEDY BEEP BEEP BEEP :cuss: can they have been thinking??????? Ye gods and Little Fishes!!

The only other such example of which I am aware is Remington's 7.62x39 cases, which use Small Rifle primers. The entire rest of the world, of course, uses LR primers for this cartridge.* Idiots. (/Rant mode)

There. I feel better. And, I know whose brass I will recycle on sight, and NEVER pay money for.

*I know there are foreign military cases in 7.62x39 with SR's, but those are also crimped in, and probably corrosive anyhow. So I don't try to reload them. Good brass isn't THAT expensive, and having to futz around and be frustrated is to be avoided wherever possible. I get enough of that at work.

September 23, 2009, 11:10 PM
I think the Winchester NT WinClean .45 stuff uses SP primers as well.

September 23, 2009, 11:12 PM
Strange, I read more Internet Dear Abbys about trouble with .45 ACP reloads than any other caliber, maybe all other calibers

Sure do, but I don't understand why.

Cuz .45 ACP is (mostly) shot in autoloaders. A lot of those "ammo" problems are really due to faults in the pistols and/or magazines. Not an issue with a wheel gun caliber.

Smokey Joe
September 23, 2009, 11:17 PM
Gryffid--I think the Winchester NT WinClean .45 stuff uses SP primers as well Nope, thank goodness. The Win NT's do use a larger flash hole, but Win says that when reloading these cases you don't load them any different from the standard ones. (Sorry, can't remember where I got that bit of info.)

I haven't noticed a performance difference between reloaded Win NT's and reloaded standard Win cases--thank goodness!

Probably the lack of difference has to do with the .45 ACP being such a low-pressure, forgiving round, especially when loaded to target velocities. Anyhow, no difference by my observation. And, regular LP primers work just fine for reloading the Win NT cases.

Jim Watson
September 23, 2009, 11:32 PM
There are two different editions of lead-free primer .45 ACP ammunition.

First generation Winclean was loaded with large primers and had large flashholes to vent the hot Dinol burn into the case. Winchester said that was ok to reload as per usual. The Hodgdon rep on the SASS wire just recently flew into a hissy fit and said not to reload cases with larger than usual flashholes. Hmm, the manufacturer says it is ok, the distributor says not. Me, I just pitch them into the mixed brass box and go ahead.

Present NT is made for small primers so as to use less of the hot Dinol mix. Federal NT primers are hard crimped to boot. I don't know if their flashholes are bigger than usual, just haven't paid attention to the few I see.
Winchester says not to reload them. Those of us crazy enough to try see nothing but a 25-40 fps drop versus large primer brass but no doubt some catastrophe awaits.

September 24, 2009, 12:45 AM
Smokey Joes and others,

Do you think it was really a sign when my bullet dude cast himself into eternity? I think there still is a huge amount of linotype metal in my late uncle's print shop. Perhaps if I listen carefully it is calling me.

But maybe will not be time. SP primers in 45 ACP? The AntiChrist has arrived.


September 24, 2009, 01:47 AM
cleetus03 Welcome to reloading

Learn the basics from one of the loading manuals, and establish good safe routines. Most manuals will walk you through the process. Flip through some and find one you like the basics are pretty much a standard.

P.S. (I own the following centerfire calibers; 9mm, 30-30, .270, .38 special, .357 mag)

The 38 special, 357 mag then the 9mm seem to be easiest in your list, the others will fall into place as you learn.

The biggest advantage is the Quality and Satisfaction you gain.

Working up a load will improve the performance of each one and you will gain a bigger understanding. While picking the load you like for you, instead of the blue tag sale at a super store.

I use more than one manual to cross reference and the manufactures data available on line. But there was a time is was just the book an myself. That was several 1000 rnds of ammo ago and a lot more if ya count the 45 ACP.

The savings get eaten up in more quality rounds fired.

September 24, 2009, 01:52 AM
Smokey Joe,
Looks like Jim Watson already covered it, but here's where I got my info


Smokey Joe
September 24, 2009, 11:01 AM
just have to sort the .45's from now on; get rid of the gol-durn SP cases.

Kudos to Jim Watson and to Gryffid for the information.

I've encountered only a few of 'em, so just pitched 'em into the scrap brass. If they become more numerous I guess I'll save 'em up and do a run of SP .45's. Or not.

What a PITA.
Yep, Winchester had to go mucking around with the components used in a 100 year old cartridge. Now we have to sort out small and large primer pocket 45 ACP brass.SP primers in 45 ACP? The AntiChrist has arrived.Where is SAAMI in all of this, and why does SAAMI allow such monstrosities?

September 24, 2009, 12:07 PM
Ive only reloaded 38/357 but I cant imagine anything else being any easier.
I have a Lee hand press and some very basic stuff and it all comes out pretty much perfect every time. No problems yet or complaints.
Heres a pic of my reloading and casting stuff.

September 24, 2009, 01:12 PM
From a practical standpoint I would suggest you start with the cartridge that you shoot the most. The proceeders differ slightly from straight wall pistol to bottleneck rifle, (the instructions are straightforward and very easy to follow) but sooner or later you're going to have to become familiar with each so why not begin with the ones you shoot the most often.

F. Prefect

September 24, 2009, 04:13 PM
Wow......thanks for all the feedback yall have given me! With that said first thing first will be me buying a reload manual and studying it from front to back!

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