Just getting started in reloading...


PDA






jcalys
February 17, 2011, 10:46 PM
So I've been wanting to start reloading for a while, and I took my first steps tonight. I bought and read "The ABC's of Reloading" a few months ago, and did a lot of reading on this forum. I decided to I wanted the Lee Classic Turret press. I went to Cabela's tonight and they had the press in stock, so I said what the heck? And the Classic Turret, Pro Auto Disk, and .40 S&W Lee Deluxe Dies came home with me. I need to buy the Auto Prime, and I'm sure I'll need other accesories too. Now I have questions...

First off, I live in an apartment so space is somewhat tight. At the moment I don't have anywhere to mount the press. I need recommendations on a good bench, table or something to mount my new hobby onto. The max space I have is 54"x30". I'm up for building something, but it needs to be simple, as in, no mortise and tenon or dovetails, I have a circular saw and a drill. Also has anyone used the Lee reloading stand? I just saw it tonight in their catalog.

I mostly shoot .40, so I decided to start reloading that, since I've saved the most brass for it too. What manuals do you guys like for beginners? Powder recommendations for .40? Bullets?

I also need to get a scale. I almost picked up the Lee safety scale, but I've read mixed reviews on it. I'd like to keep it under $50 for the scale, but I can flex. I plan to reload for other calibers once I get the hang of it (.38, .223, etc). What else do I need?

Thanks in advance...

If you enjoyed reading about "Just getting started in reloading..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
ColtPythonElite
February 17, 2011, 10:48 PM
Mount your press to a board, then clamp it to your table/bar/ or whatever when you want to use it.

My first bench was simple. It was only about 28 inchs long and 23 inches wide. I used 2 pieces of 2 x 12 side by side for the top. I used 4 x 4's for legs and built a simple band around the top and bottom with 2 x 4's to hold it all together. It was heavy and worked for my Rockchucker. That was 20 years ago when I lived in an apartment. I still have that simple little bench sitting in my basement with my dehumidifyer sitting on top of it.

A-FIXER
February 18, 2011, 12:41 AM
You can mount it to a drill press stand, it would be self contained this way. Then you can find a small printer stand at wally world this would allow for you powder drop and a place to work on you rounds you'll have a place for you tumbler and items below in the stand.

dmazur
February 18, 2011, 01:10 AM
You might consider a Black and Decker Workmate. I believe these are still available. I think the top is around 15" x 24", but the legs take up a larger footprint, closer to what you described. You can easily clamp a board to the top of the Workmate with a pair of C-clamps, and the board can be drilled to mount the press. The board wouldn't have to be the full width of the Workmate top. The Workmate doesn't take long to set up, just a few seconds.

Re: scale selection, I'd look at a RCBS 10-10. This is a little higher in price than the budget you named, but it is a top quality balance that will last you a lifetime. It is one of the only mechanical scales I know of that is designed to "self-store". That is, the plastic case encloses the disassembled scale and keeps it dust-free. It also can be set up and leveled in a few seconds.

The combination of these two things should be pretty good for working in an apartment.

Lost Sheep
February 18, 2011, 01:46 AM
jcalys,

Welcome to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Recently, I just repackaged all the stuff I regularly use and will share with you the pieces of my reloading setup and how I store/transport them.

3 Toolboxes:

One is 23" x 10"x10" and contains my press (Lee Classic Turret), mounting system (a 2"x6" board that I clamp into a portable workbench or anything handy) a small 4"X8"X1.5" fishing tackle box to contain all the small parts & tools and the primer feeding system. There's room for a couple of manuals in there, too, but I store them on my bookshelf, with one next to the computer.

The second (15"x8"x8") contains all the gunpowder handling parts. Scale, funnel, Lee Auto-Disk Powder measure/dispenser and a set of Lee's measuring scoops/dippers and my loading safety glasses (as opposed to my shooting glasses).

The third (15"x7"x7") contains seven sets of reloading dies, mounted in their turrets inside their plastic storage cylinders, ready to plug into the press and use.

With my folding workbench, I can set up my reloading room anywhere in just a few minutes.

I also recommend a dropcloth. Spread it out to catch any spilled powder, dropped primers (live or spent) and the inevitable carbon and primer residue that comes out of spent cartridges.

Good Luck,

Lost Sheep

Steel Talon
February 18, 2011, 02:01 AM
I had once lived in a small apt. when I was young. My place had a pantry type closet. I made a small table that fit in the bottom of that closet. made sure it was secured w/o leaving any damage to closet. Set my simple get buy load equip up. Pull up a hair and go to town. When through return chair close closet door. No one the wiser.

Lost Sheep
February 18, 2011, 02:16 AM
There are several schools of thought regarding scales. I subscribe to all of them. I can do that because I realize that some schools of thought are appropriate for some loading styles and some appropriate for others.

Some people weigh every charge. Some measure by volume with confirmation only by a scale every few charges. I personally know of one handloader who loads without a scale at all, relying on the Lee Powder Dippers and their accompanying table of weight/volume relations.

My first scale was an RCBS 1010. It is great. It does pack up into its own self-contained shell, but I have to figure it out every time I pack it up. Like a puzzle.

I acquired a Lee Safety Scale in a trade and did not think much of it. Then I got a copy of the instructions. At a quarter of the price of the RCBS 1010, I think it is a GREAT scale. You will have to learn to read a Vernier , but once you lock the little slider into place, you are home free.

In my opinion, the Lee Safety Scale is the least costly way to accurately verify that your Auto-Disk is dropping the amount of powder you expect.

If you want to use a powder trickler to "trickle up" to a desired load, I suggest using the Lee Scoops/Dippers to drop an initial charge and the powder trickler to reach the desired load. The Lee Safety Scale is just right for this job, as is any other beam scale (but cheaper by far).

I do suggest using a scale to verify the powder charge to be used in a cartridge of the intensity of the .40 S&W. It is nearly as high as .357 Magnum, but in a smaller volume, so a small variation in propellant will make a fairly significant difference in peak pressure.

Lost Sheep

jcalys
February 18, 2011, 10:48 AM
Thanks a lot guys. Any advise on what powders to start with? Just looking for a target/plinking round to start out with.

jeepmor
February 18, 2011, 11:05 AM
Power Pistol and Bullseye go a long way in regards to rounds per pound of powder. Unique and Blue Dot do well also. There are plenty of others, these are just my local goto powders.

Have fun and welcome to a new hobby.

ColtPythonElite
February 18, 2011, 11:16 AM
Unique is about the most universal powder there is. If I could only have one powder, it would be Unique.

cfullgraf
February 18, 2011, 01:42 PM
First off, I live in an apartment so space is somewhat tight. At the moment I don't have anywhere to mount the press. I need recommendations on a good bench, table or something to mount my new hobby onto. The max space I have is 54"x30". I'm up for building something, but it needs to be simple, as in, no mortise and tenon or dovetails, I have a circular saw and a drill. Also has anyone used the Lee reloading stand? I just saw it tonight in their catalog.

.

At a time in my distant past, I relocated to a new job. I moved ahead of my family and household goods. I decided to take some reloading along for entertainment. I build a stand for the press out of 2x4s that I could easily transport in the car. I then would move it next to a card or kitchen table to work off of.

Footprint of the stand was about 18" square and was tall enough to sit in a chair and operate. I also hung the powder measure off the stand.

I can pick up the entire unit, press and stand, and move to anywhere I want. It could easily be stored in a closet or a corner of a room. I can move the stand around and put the press in a comfortable operating position.

I liked the stand so well that I still use the concept although the stands are metal and a bit trimmer now.

Welcome to the hobby.

rfwobbly
February 18, 2011, 01:48 PM
Welcome to Reloading !!

• Mounting can be easily done by affixing your equipment to 3/4" plywood and then clamping that to existing table tops, as per...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_E3bV2jGIaSg/S3YuIUhTSHI/AAAAAAAAAq8/hfJwg8SBQbY/s720/Lyman_Tmag2.JPG

I'd suggest a 12x12 piece so that you can get at least 3 clamps on it. You can get small scraps like this for free at Home Depot, where they cut up large sheet for customers.

• You'll want to get a good reloading manual (suggest Lyman #49) and then use 1 of the 15 or so powders in the manual. You DO NOT want to wander outside the suggestions of the manual until you gain a lot of experience. Telling you load combinations known to be SAFE, is why the reloading manual exists in the first place !!!

• As for bullets, I would suggest a medium weight plated bullet from Berry Mfg, or other. These are going to load smoothly and easily, and shoot without smoke. Then after you reload 500 of those and got your process refined, then you can try some less expensive lead bullets or more expensive jacketed bullets.

Enjoy your new hobby. Ask LOTS of questions. ;)

If you enjoyed reading about "Just getting started in reloading..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!