New to reloading


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Jech
May 19, 2010, 10:59 AM
Hello all,

I'm a new guy when it comes to reloading and a friend of mine recommended I check out THR for some good info on getting started. So far I've been really impressed with the knowledge base here so I wanted to post my shopping list and get some feedback...

*Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press
*Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure w/Riser
*Lee Safety Prime Small and Large Primer Feeder for 2006, Later Reloading Press
*Lee Deluxe Carbide 4-Die Set 45 Auto
*Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler 110 Volt
*RCBS Model 505 Magnetic Powder Scale
*Lyman Impact Bullet Puller
*Lyman 6" Stainless Steel Dial Caliper
*Lyman's 49th Reloading Guide (already have Speer/Hornady's lastest)

I'm starting out reloading 45 auto for my SA XD45 Tactical and eventually want to load for my Ruger SP101 357mag also. Are there any other "must-haves" that I'm missing?

After alot of price comparison, Midway seems to have the lowest prices on most of this stuff (minus buying used), is there another place I should be looking for a better deal?

Thanks! ~ Jech

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Walkalong
May 19, 2010, 11:13 AM
Midsouth Shooters Supply (http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/)

Grafs (http://www.grafs.com/)

Wideners (http://www.wideners.com/)

Kempfs Gun Shop (http://www.kempfgunshop.com/)

Some more places to check. I use Midway a lot. Good company to deal with, but so are these aothers. Sometimes their shipping is high, so I always check around.

I have gotten by all these years with a simple set of beam scales.

Welcome to THR

josephbw
May 19, 2010, 11:38 AM
I also have a Lee Turret press. I have found that the Lee adjustable charge bar (for powder) is easier to use and will allow you to get any powder weight you want (in between the limits of the charge bar). The disc system leaves a lot of gaps in between the powder settings you may want. The ACB will work fine with .45 and .357.

You will also want to get another extra turret. That will make changing from one caliber to another very quick.

A few good reloading books like Lyman, Hornady, etc. are essential. You can also get load recipes from some of the powder manufacturers and some of the bullet manufacturers.

You will find that you will not be able to get the last 1 or 2 primers out of the primer feeders. This is normal, and you may want to get a pair of tweezers to manually place the last primer(s).

Good luck with your new addiction, and be safe.:)

josephbw
May 19, 2010, 11:40 AM
One nice thing with Graf's is the $4.00 shipping with any order. Of course that doesn't include any hazmat fees for powder or primers.

hub
May 19, 2010, 12:18 PM
I bought a similar set up to yours, and I bought most of my stuff from Midway as well. One reason I went with Midway is they had almost everything I needed in stock at the time.

Don't forget to try and find some coupon codes online they can save you quite a bit. Since my order well exceeded $500 I broke them up and got some discounts. Also don't forget to consider additional shipping vs discount though. When I used the coupons Midway had the best price at the time.

I used these with success at the time.
$50 off $500
$30 off $300
$20 off $200

That was several months ago but here is the link. You add it in the promotion code box in the check out before you pay.

http://www.retailmenot.com/view/midwayusa.com

I just started reloading this year but have been a member of THR since 2005.
One of the things I love about THR is the wealth of knowledge here, everyone from people like me asking newb questions that you may not have encountered yet your self to the experience of the guys who have been doing this for years posting their past results, problems, and solutions.

In the last five years I've posted less than 500 times, that's not because I'm not on here all the time but because I can usually find the answers to my simple questions pretty easily using the search function. Chances are most of my questions have already been asked and answered here before.

Good luck and welcome to THR!

Legionnaire
May 19, 2010, 01:01 PM
Jech, welcome aboard! I'm a relative newbie myself. My original shopping list looked very much like yours. Key difference is that I went with a beam scale ... and I would again. I like the RCBS 5-0-2 or 5-0-5. Regardless, I'd add a set of Lyman scale check weights.

And as time permits, make sure to read this thread on tips and tricks (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=218188) related to reloading. There is a wealth of information there.

hub
May 19, 2010, 01:11 PM
Are there any other "must-haves" that I'm missing?

You definitely need some load manuals.

I have Lyman Cast, Lyman 49th, Hornady 7th, Nosler 6th, and Lee 2nd. Not all bullet weights and powder combinations are in every book so I would at least get two.

For info using the Lee equipment and basic reloading the Lee is good, and has a pretty good variety of loads.

I like the way Nosler shows most accurate load tested and load density but they only list loads for their bullets which I have not used yet.

The Hornady 7th is a good manual for Hornady bullets just like Nosler. I also like that it has loads for 5.56 vs .223 and 30 06 loads and 30 06 loads specifically for the M1 Garand.

I think the Lyman 49th is one of the best and is one of my favorites for pistols. It has more specs for each load, show loads for jacketed or lead bullets from different manufactures, and also shows pressures.

If you think you might load a lot of lead, the lyman cast book is a good one too.

I also look up online info from the powder manufactures for reference or back up.
http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/index.aspx

hub
May 19, 2010, 01:18 PM
I like the RCBS 5-0-2 or 5-0-5. Regardless, I'd add a set of Lyman scale check weights.

Like you I also bought a beam scale to double check my digital scale. To be honest I really don't use it much at all, my digital scale came with a test weight and has been totally reliable so far.

If I'm reloading with match bullets I also use them to check accuracy while I'm loading.

SASS#23149
May 19, 2010, 02:59 PM
I"ve gotten by for a long time without an electronic scale.My buddy has one,and my beam scale always agrees with his weights,and with jacketed bullet weights.You may just 'want' one,but I read so many reports of this brand or that brand 'wandering',I'll do without thanks. your call.
I"d suggest a 'go,nogo ' guage,they dont cost much and it's easier than removing your barrel to test fit the rounds.very handy for the caliber ur working with.

UltimateReloader
May 19, 2010, 03:20 PM
Jech- Sounds like a good starter list.

I wrote an article:
what you need to load pistol (http://ultimatereloader.com/?page_id=332)

which is a checklist you may want to look at before you hit the "confirm order" button.

Good luck!

Walkalong
May 19, 2010, 03:37 PM
Be sure to check out some of his cool vids while your there. Great stuff. A wealth of info on presses all in one spot.

Jech
May 19, 2010, 04:27 PM
Silly me forgot to write down what manuals I have. Speer #14 and Hornady #7 already on the bench, sounds like I'll be grabbing Lyman 49th also. I'm planning on getting cast bullets either from MBC or Oregon Trail.

As for the issue of scales, I've probably spent the last week alone filtering through hundreds of reviews and dozens of forum threads about scale X versus scale Y. The RCBS 5-0-5 seems to be the definitive answer for virtually anyone. In a perfect world, I'd just buy a Dillon D-Terminator and the 5-0-5 but I'm on a budget :P

Originally, I wanted to use a digital scale to quickly weigh each completed round for uniformity and also to verify that a double charge was not thrown. I was guessing that loading 45 auto for target practice with 200gr RN bullets and charges of 3.-5.5 grains (Unique) that a double-throw might be unintelligible due to the natural variance in case/bullet weight but I'm anal retentive enough to want to check. If this is unfeasible or simply unnecessary, I'll add the 5-0-5 to my list and scrap the digital.

Will post more later, gotta head back to work, thank you everyone for the responses so far!!

Walkalong
May 19, 2010, 04:49 PM
I was guessing that loading 45 auto for target practice with 200gr RN bullets and charges of 3.-5.5 grains (Unique) that a double-throw might be unintelligible due to the natural variance in case/bullet weightCorrect. You cannot weigh them to see if they have a charge or not, especially with a very light charge.

If you see every powder charge you seat a bullet over, you will be OK. Stay away from very dense powders at first. Use bulky ones like Unique, 700X, Solo 1000 etc.

josephbw
May 19, 2010, 05:28 PM
Originally, I wanted to use a digital scale to quickly weigh each completed round for uniformity and also to verify that a double charge was not thrown.


When you get your new scale, weigh a bunch of brass. You will find that there is enough variance between headstamps, and even between brass of the same headstamp, that it will be almost impossible to tell if a certain round is overcharged with that small amount of powder.:)

Jech
May 19, 2010, 11:41 PM
So an RCBS 5-0-5 it is! I've been reading more and have come to a few other conclusions...

-The "Pro" version of the AutoDisk would make life a lot easier and possibly cleaner (fewer powder spills?)
-Adding an adjustable charge bar would be very helpful with lighter target charges
-Double Disk Kit is overkill since I don't plan on loading rifle calibers any time soon.
-Brass Tumbler is more or less optional. Still investigating alternatives....
-Case trimming, primer pocket+flash hole cleaning is completely unnecessary for handgun loads unless I'm shooting hot magnums out of my 2" SP101

Now all I need to do is figure out what kind of bullet would make a great starter and I'm ready to go. Of the cast bullets I've seen so far, the diameters are either .451 or .452. Does it matter of the two which I get? Also, different companies offer a confusing range of bullet weights and types. The noob in me thinks I should stick with the classic 230gr RN but reloading is about experimentation and catering to your gun right? Would an RNFP or SWC be a better choice and is there anything wrong with buying a lower grain since the bullets are just plain less expensive?

hub
May 20, 2010, 12:40 AM
Would an RNFP or SWC be a better choice and is there anything wrong with buying a lower grain since the bullets are just plain less expensive?

My 1911 shoots MBC's 185gr lswc (bullseye #2) great with about 4.5gr-5gr of Bullseye and not much leading. I do separate the bullets into groups by weight, maybe not nessarary but i've got pretty darn good groups with them.

Jech
June 5, 2010, 04:31 PM
So I've ordered my goodies and have some discoveries to report...

In the same day, I ordered the lyman loading manual, press, .357 dies, powder measure and bullet puller through Grafs via Fedex, then ordered the .45 auto dies, scale, ACB, safety prime and riser from Midway via UPS. The Fedex order showed up yesterday in great condition etc. After a bit of research, the Midway/UPS order won't be here til tuesday *at the earliest* :( Apparently using "UPS Basic" actually means that UPS picks up the shipment, carries it most of the way then drops it off at the local US Postal service office for a letter carrier to deliver! O_O Even if I wanted to, they won't let me put a hold on it and pick it up Monday from the local UPS Center, they're contractually obligated to hand it off to the USPS who takes another 1-2 days to deliver it. What a ripoff! Lesson learned...Fedex for me from now on!

Anyways...so now I have the press mounted to the bench, setup the powder measure and started configuring the .357 dies. After a few hours of tinkering and testing, I successfully made my first "test" round (unprimed, no charge). Boy did that feel good!

In tuning the bullet seating die, I eventually produced 4 rounds with OAL's of 1.566", 1.573" and 1.582", and 1.595". ((for the record, I'm working with MBC .357 Action! 158gr LSWC bullets here)). Now I have some questions! The shorter two of the four rounds don't look right to me, when held side-by-side next to one of the bullets, it looks like I've seated them well past what appears to be a crimp line (canneleure?). The longest round at 1.595" looks much closer to the crimp line and chambers in my SP101 just fine but is 0.005" too long according to my manuals. Any suggestions / light someone can shed on this? Also, It seems damn near impossible to pull the bullets that have been through the factory crimp die...am I just not swinging hard enough? xD

Geno
June 5, 2010, 04:38 PM
Welcome to THR!

I do have magnetic scales that I can use, but for ease, I prefer an electronic scale. I paid about $17.00 for a Frankfrod Arsenal through MidwayUSA.

For projectiles, it's hard to beat Sinclair Intl, especially for the high-quality items. link: http://www.sinclairintl.com/

Geno

W.E.G.
June 5, 2010, 04:54 PM
I didn't see CASE GAGE on your list.

If you don't use a case gage for quality control on .45 Auto you will soon be screwed.

Walkalong
June 5, 2010, 06:26 PM
The shorter two of the four rounds don't look right to me, when held side-by-side next to one of the bullets, it looks like I've seated them well past what appears to be a crimp line (canneleure?). The longest round at 1.595" looks much closer to the crimp line and chambers in my SP101 just fine but is 0.005" too long according to my manuals. Any suggestions / light someone can shed on this?
Lead bullets have a crimp groove. Seat the bullets so that you can roll crimp into that groove. If it is a good crimp groove (most are), and if your dies are set correctly, you can seat and roll crimp with lead in one step. It is of course easier to set it up to crimp separately. You mentioned FCD, so I guess you are crimping separately in a fourth step. Don't over crimp.

Here are a couple of pics of roll crimps and lead bullets.

Link 1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5871460&postcount=30) - 38/.357 - Crimped in a 4th step

Link 2 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6257173&postcount=50) - .38/.357 - Seated and crimped in the same step

Link 3 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5873477&postcount=32) - .44 Spl/.44 Mag

When seated and crimped properly in to the crimp groove, that is the correct O.A.L. for that bullet, regardless of what a manual says. I trim all my revolver brass so I get a more uniform crimp, but many do not trim.

RustyFN
June 5, 2010, 08:48 PM
I didn't see CASE GAGE on your list.

If you don't use a case gage for quality control on .45 Auto you will soon be screwed.

Wow I guess I have been lucky these last few years. :D Actually I do use the barrel but not to gage every round only to make sure OAL and every thing is good. A case gage won't tell you if your OAL is good or not.

Jech
June 5, 2010, 10:21 PM
@ W.E.G. - My .45 auto dies haven't showed up yet so I'm just working with my .357 for the time being.

@ Walkalong - Yes, I'm using the deluxe carbide 4-die sets from lee. With the bullet seating/taper crimp die, I'm only removing the 0.005" flare that the powder flow-thru/expander die applied when charging the round. I'm using the FCD for the final crimp. Looks like something around 1.595" to 1.602" comfortably crimps in the groove on these bullets. It's longer than the manuals but it chambers easily in my revolver with room to spare so I'm not risking binding up at the breech.

Walkalong
June 6, 2010, 10:34 AM
I still don't own a .45 ACP case gauge.

I do have a 9MM, because I have a 9MM with a very tight (SAMMI minimum) chamber. I gauge all the sized cases and scrap the few that fail. Then I load them, but I don't gauge them again. No problems.

Jech
June 6, 2010, 06:40 PM
Took my first 10 rounds to the range last night!

Started with Winchester SPM primers, 3.7gr of Unique pushing 158gr LSWC MBC .357 magnum bullets. Hornady listed it as a starting charge, should be around 750fps.

All were shot at 7 yards away from a 24"x18" cardboard sheet with two 6" circles (coffee can + sharpee). First shot scared me pretty bad...no hole in the target >< I had no idea what kind of kick or muzzle blast to expect, it was substantially less than my factory .38's. Worried about a squib, I shined a light down the bore and was relieved to find it clear. The rest of the loads shot fine and without issue.

Time to develop some real loads now =)

Walkalong
June 6, 2010, 07:46 PM
Congrats. Exciting isn't it.

Time to develop some real loads now
Yep. Something a bit more than a toot. :D

Jech
June 7, 2010, 02:12 AM
Just got back from the range with the new loads and have mixed reports.

I worked up 5 loads of 10 bullets each at 4.3, 5.0, 5.7, 6.1 and 6.7gr of Unique. All produced noticeable leading increasing in severity the hotter the load was. I put the 4.3 and 5.0 loads down range, started the 5.7gr loads and observed wildly inaccurate placement. From 7 yards, they were up to 12 inches low and/or left from my point of aim. Boresnaking a few times every 5 shots seemed to help but accuracy was still poor the rest up the way up through the 6.7gr loads. I'm presuming it's from the leading which appeared much heavier on the bottom of the bore closest to the cylinder, virtually none in the middle or near the muzzle.

I searched around the forum a bit and it sounds like either I'm not pushing them fast enough or pushing it way too fast. I'm leaning towards not fast enough since I saw the same leading yesterday on the 3.7gr "tooters" (my new official nickname for soft target loads xD). Speer lists starting with 5.5gr of Unique @ ~970fps then maxing with 6.0gr @ ~1030fps but "not going higher or excessive leading may result". Several folks here have said that 7.0gr is still a "mildish" magnum load, some even go up to 8.0+. I'm not really worried yet about damaging my gun being the beefy Ruger that it is. Also, factory Remington UMC .357 125gr JSP's still kick substantially harder, louder and with more flash. Without a chronograph, I really have no idea how fast I'm shooting...could loading them hotter still possibly help? Also, I have a 1lb container of Hodgdon H110 I wanted to try next but just learned that it really doesn't like snubbies being the slow burner that it is. Could it at least be worth a try?

...and yes, it's the most fun I've had in a long time =)

Jech
June 7, 2010, 02:21 AM
Almost forgot...Even my 6.7gr loads felt softer than the factory ammo I was accustomed to. After boresnaking the bulk of the visible lead those JSP's made the bore look clean as a whistle. Seems like such an efficient way to clean the bore :P but now I hear that can be dangerous >.> oops...

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