Which to start with?


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jotto
January 20, 2010, 04:36 AM
In the not too distant future I will have completed my take over of the basement at my house from the wife. A portion of it will be devoted to my firearm collection/reloading. My Step-Father is a a long time reloader and I have purchased numerous books, guides, etc. on the topic as well as reading a great deal on the internet about reloading to begin with.

My question is what is a good caliber to start with? I understand that there are a lot of outside factors (firearm used, etc.) but all things being equal what do you all recommend? I believe (please correct if I'm mistaken) that reloading rifle rounds is a bit "easier" than pistol rounds. Someday once I'm established and have some personal experience I'd like to venture into pistol reloading but initially I'll stick to rifle. I don't really shoot enough shotgun rounds to warrant reloading.

Here is a list of rifle calibers I currently own:
.308/7.62x51
7.92mm/8x57 Mauser
7.5mm Swiss (K-31)
7.62x54R
7.62x39
5.7x28
.257 Roberts

If additional information is required to make any sort of sense out of what I'm wondering please feel free to ask. I'm in no rush to begin as I want to learn as much as I can "book" wise before I actually get wet. Having spent 13 years in the Cavalry I am well versed with firearms and shooting.

Thank you for your input and again please feel free to ask about any additional information you need or to tear apart any mistakes or mistaken beliefs I may have posted.

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evan price
January 20, 2010, 05:12 AM
Reloading straight-sided pistol cases is much easier than loading rifle cases.
I would avoid the 5.7x28 until you have more experience.

Of what you have listed I would start with the .308 because components are cheap and easily available, so in your learning you won't be having an accident and destroying a $.75 brass case, justa $.10 case. Also there are lots of loads already developed for .308 and it is simple to duplicate them and learn in the process.

Good luck!

loadedround
January 20, 2010, 08:11 AM
Being an old time reloader, I have to agree with Evan Price and start with the 308 Win. This is a good sturdy case, very reloadable in either GI or commercial grade and components are plentiful. In addition, much rloading data is available to start you out. Good luck and enjoy your new hobby! :)

qajaq59
January 20, 2010, 08:39 AM
I have to go along with the .308 as well. Brass is easy to get and easy to size and load as well.

jotto
January 20, 2010, 02:08 PM
Excellent feedback, thank you all. It's looking a lot like .308.

Claude Clay
January 20, 2010, 02:19 PM
another vote for 308

also because the same bullets (different weights, YMMV) and powder (many, not all) will work for the k-31
just need the dies.

rcmodel
January 20, 2010, 02:31 PM
Reloading for the 5.7 is not something I would likely do, even if I had one.

To many reports of very excess case stretching & case failures in the blow-back operated 5.7.
Lyman suggests no more then 2 - 3 firings before brass is toast due to excess resizing necessary from the shoulder blowing forward .050" or more each firing.

Deals like that make me nervous!

rc

Walkalong
January 20, 2010, 02:48 PM
I would avoid the 5.7x28 until you have more experienceYep. It's a beast all its own. best left to someone with more experience. Certainly doable, but not a beginners caliber.

Lyman suggests no more then 2 - 3 firings before brass is toast due to excess resizing necessary from the shoulder blowing forward .050" or more each firing.That's right. It doesn't stretch near the rear like normal bottlenecked calibers because of the type actions firing them. PS-90, FiveSeven, AR-57. The shoulder moves forward a LOT. It is disconcerting to the reloader who is used to trying to keep shoulder movement to a minimum. I recently sold my AR-57 upper, and the reloading quirk figured partly into the decision, but mostly I was bored with the caliber in an AR configuration. A bolt gun or a Thompson Center would be interesting in 5.7, and would not suffer from the quirks of the other actions. .22 in AR was just as fun, and a lot cheaper.

sheepdog
January 20, 2010, 03:02 PM
...308 would be my choice...
...nuts...another good man tricked by his wife into cleaning out the basement:uhoh:

qajaq59
January 20, 2010, 04:39 PM
Keep in mind that when you get around to loading for the K 31 the cases need to be full length sized. Treat that one like it was a lever action and not a bolt gun. The straight pulls don't give you much leverage.

slamfirev10
January 20, 2010, 05:04 PM
good advice here

+1 on the 308, then load the case that saves you the most money,

before i started loading i barely shot my 45-70, now at the range my shoulder gives out before my ammo does

jotto
January 21, 2010, 02:21 PM
.308 it is then. Thank you all for your input. Also good items to know about the 7.5 and the 5.7. I'll have to research further on both of those before getting into them. Although form the quick bits of info here I may just want to purchase 5.7 and not reload for it.

azar
January 21, 2010, 02:34 PM
After a quick glance I too would have to say .308. I would also +1 to what rcmodel and Walkalong said about the 5.7x28. No personal experience with it but I've heard enough people claim it can be quite temperamental when reloading it.

Once you've got .308 down, if it were me, I'd simply go in order of:
1) Which calibers you shoot the most
2) Which caliber would save me the most money per round by reloading
3) Which calibers are hardest to find commercial ammo

jotto
January 22, 2010, 04:57 AM
Ok now that we have that nailed down (thank you all) would someone be so kind as to list the comapnies that offer complete reloading set-ups? I know of RCBS and Lyman. What are the others?

Once you buy the basic "starter" set are you required to purchase dies just from that company or will any companies die set work in any press?

Now an opinion question.....what company is the best?

qajaq59
January 22, 2010, 09:03 AM
Jotto, Check this out http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214 and pick up a reloading manual. Between those two, and what info the guys supply, you'll be all set. Usually someone will post the complete list of do dads you'll need. I couldn't find it and it would take me forever to try and type it out. The dies ARE standard on all of the presses unless you get a real oddball. And I think you'll do well as a loader, mainly because you seem to think before you run off and do things.

jotto
January 22, 2010, 02:55 PM
Jotto, Check this out http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214 and pick up a reloading manual. Between those two, and what info the guys supply, you'll be all set. Usually someone will post the complete list of do dads you'll need. I couldn't find it and it would take me forever to try and type it out. The dies ARE standard on all of the presses unless you get a real oddball. And I think you'll do well as a loader, mainly because you seem to think before you run off and do things.
Thank you. My biggest concern was about the dies. I'll make sure to get a non-oddball press then. I figured that dies would be more or less to an industry standard but wanted to make sure. I'll definitly check out the thread you listed as well.

One thing that I'm reading about are the three types (that I see) of presses. If my understanding is correct there are single stage-complete one step of the process on each round, reset the press and start on the second step, turret presses that allow you to do all steps on each round without having to reset, and progressive that do everything more or less automatically.

I believe I would be best suited to start with a single stage, most steps, slowest, easiest to learn on and eventually perhaps upgrade to a turret and maybe a progressive. Does my grasp of the three types seem correct or would a single stage and a turret be about the same with the turret allowing a little less downtime?

Again thank you all for your assistance and input. My apoligies for the rather mundane and rookie questions.

qajaq59
January 22, 2010, 05:05 PM
Better to ask then screw up. And I don't know a single person that was borne knowing how to reload ammo, so we all had questions at one time or the other. ha ha

And I like a single stage for rifle ammo. For the pistol the more complex presses seem to do better. Or at least they are faster.

snuffy
January 22, 2010, 05:29 PM
One thing that stands out from what you have said so far, jotto. It's easy to be confused by the term "turret". Since Lee came out with what they call a turret, lots of people still don't understand the main difference. The Lee auto indexes to present the next die in the process as the press ram comes down. The others have to be turned by hand.

If I were you, I would look into the lee classic turret as your first press. It CAN be used as a single stage as you learn the ropes. Then after your early learning days, you can enable the auto indexer to produce ammo at a much faster rate.

Another thing that's been going around lately is; the new Hornady manual is sadly lacking in the instructional front of the manual. I guess they figure you already know how, just need loading recipes.

rcmodel
January 22, 2010, 05:31 PM
I always recommend a new reloader start with a single-stage press and learn how to reload with it.

Once you have nailed each step of the process, die adjustments, etc, moving on to a progressive should be child's play.

And you will always have uses for a single-stage press, even if you own six Dillon's.

rc

evan price
January 22, 2010, 05:45 PM
I second the Lee Classic Turret. Get the newer model with the smooth, round turrrets with 4 holes. It's as strong as a Rockchucker and a lot cheaper. A Lee turret press can be used just like a single stage, and won't cost that much more than a quality single stage. I like Lee dies, also, but that's just me.

Buy a couple loading manuals- one by a major player like Speer or Hornady, the other is the Lee book. Also start checking out the powder companies' web sites for data and load info.

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