I wanna start reloading! But I have questions...


February 20, 2011, 07:32 PM
I have a 45 and my brother has the 9mm. Were probably gonna reload for both. I want to make this a hobby and after several days of reading and videos Im already addicted to the idea of doing this lol!

Anyway's, I notice that the brass is somewhat expensive depending on new brass or once fired brass...Here is my question, Do you guys use once fired brass? Is it ok? I know there is a good chance to get mixed H/S and I also noticed that small primer is not really a good idea and that is should only be boxer.

The 500 count once fire brass is almost half the price of what new would cost and I can understand that you can save money and shoot a lot more which is why Im considering it.

So whats your guys take on this? Once fired brass ok? I found some on reloaders auction 500 count of 45 acp for $43 without shipping Deprimed cleaned and polished?

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February 20, 2011, 07:37 PM
I buy some new brass. I also buy some once fired brass. I shoot alot of multiple shots brass.
Once fired, if you are sure it is in good shape, should be fine.

February 20, 2011, 07:37 PM
Yes once fired brass is fine. I have never bought brass. All of my brass has come from the ground at the range I shoot at.

February 20, 2011, 07:38 PM
Once fired brass it just fine. That's pretty much all I use. For most stuff I even get range brass that I polish up myself. Just check it out if it is mixed brass. on 45 you can get a few small primers or mil crimp primer pockets. If you watch out for those, you'll be good.

Simon B
February 20, 2011, 07:39 PM
All i use is once fired brass for my pistols it works fine as long as you clean and inspect it but heck i do that to new brass. Stay away from any thing other than boxer primers.

February 20, 2011, 07:40 PM
Some ranges sweep up sell brass. Note that it way well NOT be just once fired. I bought some this way and it made me pretty nervous pretty fast and I fired it a few times and heaved it.

February 20, 2011, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the reply. I will tend to buy from auctions but probably be more towards store anyways.

How about the Montana bullets? They had them for a good price? Any body got info on that?

I know that the powder is just plain expensive but then again after watching a youtube video I think he poured the whole jug in there and said he can make 1000 bullets with that much powder....Is that 1 lbs? 4 lbs? 8 lbs?

February 20, 2011, 08:14 PM
Anybody familiar with the Star Line Brass?

Old krow
February 20, 2011, 08:17 PM
I don't know much about the Montana bullets, except that they generally get good reviews. I have an order in with them now. We'll see.

You should be able to get +1000 rounds out of a lb of powder. One lb = 7000 grains. In my 45 ACP I have been using 6.1 grains of Unique. If every single spec went into the rounds it'd make 1149 rounds. 8 lbs in that load would yield 9180 charges.

IMHO it isn't necessarily worth it to try and chase out the most economical powder.

I don't buy a lot of brass for mine .45. Sometimes I'll buy ammo, and I generally look for Winchester as I like their brass. I pretty much use what I have or what I pick up. I cull through it all when I get home.

Anybody familiar with the Star Line Brass?

They're pretty popular, most people are going to be familiar with them. If you're going to buy brass you might as well spend the extra and get them. :D

February 20, 2011, 08:22 PM
Sweet thanks alot Old Krow, I had found that Star Line was actually more of a better price for thier count of brass! Montana had some pretty good pricing for thier bullet as well.

I been searching for a few days or so all the items needed for the bullets to figure cost of 50 rounds. Found a calculator for that and it said it would be about 20 cents a round. Of course not factoring in the cost of the press and all plus you can get free brass if you just pick it up of course hehe

35 Whelen
February 20, 2011, 08:30 PM
Why would you buy new brass? After you fire it, what do you have? Once fired brass!! So save your money and buy once fired brass. I have unhesitantly been picking up and loading range brass for my .45 for over 25 years. Never, ever had a single problem.

February 20, 2011, 08:33 PM
If you are loading for a custom gun built for accuracy (say a benchrest rifle), then you should buy virgin brass just for that rifle.
If you are loading for a handgun, particularly one that throws brass all over the country, you will want to save money.
Most people pick up their own brass, from their factory loads, for use in reloading. This way, you know where your cases came from and you don't have severely "Glocked" brass or tired "9mm Major" brass in your collection. While doing this, they will generally pick up any range brass they can get their grubby little hands on.
I tend to pick up any brass I can and inspect and sort at home.
I have never paid for once-fired brass. All of my brass started out as new or free pick-up brass.
For 10mmAuto, 9x21, .45WinMag, .32-20, .32S&W Long, .223 Rem, and other "special" brass, I always buy new.
Now, for an "official" response, the loading companies say to only use new, virgin cases when reloading and NOT to use any once-fired cases of unknown origin.

Josh: Must pic a nit--nobody makes bullets using gun powder. You "make" loaded rounds with gun powder. The bullet is seated over the powder.

February 20, 2011, 08:38 PM
Well. for now I do not own a rifle but am looking to get one soon but even tho the equipment says to only use virgin brass, Im more than that most reloadres due use them and I mean this gun is actually gonna be my carry gun and my range gun.

I wouldnt mind better accuracy but im also a bit concerned withe price spike were gonna get in April so the same box of Remington UMC I bought for 21.49 is gonna cost 15% more.

So the savings also make it worth it if you ask me. ...

February 20, 2011, 08:46 PM
Once fired brass is fine, even if it's really more than once fired, as long as you check it out before loading. (I even check out my own known brass before reloading it. It's just a good habit to get into.

Keeop in mind, the larger quantities you purchase your components in, the cheaper per piece price you can get. If you plan on shooting a lot, it's well worth it to buy in quantity. 4 lbs. of powder is cheaper than 4 1 pounders.
Primers by the 5000 (case). etc. The initial outlay kinda smarts, but the savings over time can be considerable.

February 20, 2011, 08:48 PM
Thats true Seracher and I cant wait to get started. Although I would be a beginner I seen how the progressive works and I would so much prefered that one over the Single Stage. Pumping out 50 an hour is just fine but the progressive can pump out at least 200+ an hour ( or was that the turret )? seems like a much better idea to me anyways! Like I said I had seen a youtube video about this and the guy was using a Progressive

February 20, 2011, 08:51 PM
I have a 45 and my brother has the 9mm
Exactly how I got started.

Once fired brass is great stuff. Range brass or bought from someplace like thebrassman (http://store.brassmanbrass.com/servlet/StoreFront) or TJ Conevera's (http://store.tjconevera.com/oncefiredbrass.html) etc.

OFB really saves money. Same head stamp is nice, but not a big deal, especially in .45 ACP. I shoot a mix of range brass in 9MM and .45 ACP and my loads can shoot better than I can hold.

Lead is the cheapest. Missouri Bullet Compant (http://www.missouribullet.com/) gets rave reviews. "Poly coated" like those from Precision Bullets (http://www.precisionbullets.com/index.html) are next and after that plated or jacketed, depending on the deal you can find. Montana Gold (http://www.montanagoldbullet.com/), Precision Delta (http://www.precisiondelta.com/), Berrys (http://www.berrysmfg.com/), X-Treme (http://www.xtremebullets.com/plated.htm), etc

February 20, 2011, 08:53 PM
Thanks Walkalong. I cant wait to get started

February 20, 2011, 08:58 PM
I've got 45 and 9mm cases that have been loaded over a dozen times each. they still work. 9mm and 45 are not very demanding calibers to load for. Don't get caught up on headstamp and how many times it's been fired. just start picking it up at the range or whatever. If you were local I'd give you a thousand of each. I'm drowning in it. Bass pro in dallas has an indoor range where the just sweep it up and dump it into 5 gallon buckets. I help myself on the way out the door. you probably only need a couple hundred to start with. if you pick up all yours and whatever else you find at the range it will grow in no time.

for handgun, don't bother with a single stage press. start with a turret. I like the lee classic cast.

Doc Rizzi
February 20, 2011, 09:00 PM
Starline brass is fine. Like the others, I mostly sift through the brass buckets at the range. The only brass I have ever bought has been for calibers that are not usually tossed in the trash at the range such as 8mm Mauser brass or 7.62x54 brass. You would be well with finding 9mm and .45 brass. You will best spend your dollars on quality reloading equipment. Unless you are reloading for competitive shooting where you need to crank out the rounds, a single stage press should be your most inexpensive route to get started. There are always used presses on the market from folks that are upgrading from when they first got started. I would recommend buying quality new dies though. Since you are only looking at reloading .45 and 9mm to start with it won't be that expensive. Over time you will probably expand your collection of calibers. Midway USA has a wide range of prices for your equipment if you want to buy new. There is a bit of equipment you will need beside the press and dies too such as a digital scale, powder measure, trickler, a good pair of calipers to measure your OAL, a hand held primer press, lube pad, lube, some shell holders, vibratory case cleaner and cleaning media, and in your case, large and small pistol primers. You can probably get by with buying one powder that you could use with both 9mm and .45. Check that out. You will also want to start making your binder with your load options. You can glean that off the internet by downloading the loading data from Hogdon loading site or one of the other handloading data sites. It is a fun and rewarding hobby but it is a hobby that has little tolerance for sloppy or inattentive work. You can hurt yourself, others, or your firearm if you don't pay attention. If you are truly starting out for the first time I would recommend having someone with reloading experience show you how to set up your equipment for an effective reloading bench and then work with you until you are proficient. Have Fun!

February 20, 2011, 09:01 PM
The only real appealing part to the single stage is the price but after seeing how the loading is done on it, Im not sure I wanna go that route. As for now, All I have is 50 rounds new. So yeah....I will keep my fire brass to my self and If I ever go to the range around here I will definetly pick up some.

February 20, 2011, 09:07 PM
Thanks for the Tips Doc Rizzi and yes t will be truly the first time I ever would have even tried this at all. I never knew that you was allowed to go thru the buckets at the range for the brass! That an easy saved 50-100 bucks!

I am not sloppy in the things I do but I due have a small tendency to forget So I will always have the manuals and load data on hand.

Im also gonna go with the Carbide Dies simply because it elimnates the need for the lubing process.

February 20, 2011, 11:09 PM
I reload my 9MM and 45 brass many times without problems also. I reload hundreds at a time with a single stage press. If you do it in batches with a loading block to hold 50 rounds for each stage it is really fast when you get used to it IMHO. I second the idea of finding someone local to show you the ropes when you start. The ABC's of Reloading is an excelent book to read and might be available at your local library. Also buying propellant and primers locally will save on Has Mat charges when buying small quantities while trying to find what propellant works best for you. That is a good way to start, at least until your propellant choice is known then I would buy in larger size packages and combine with primers from on line sources.
Welcome to the world of reloading.

February 20, 2011, 11:16 PM
"...will tend to buy from auctions..." Don't bother. Auction site prices can be nuts. You don't really know if it really is once fired either. You have no idea at all with 'range pick up' brass.
All brass you load is at least once fired.

February 20, 2011, 11:24 PM
I will stay away from the auctions then. You make a very valid point at that.
They do have the book but it has to be ordered thru another library... Still worth it!

Now, I don't think that I will actually be reloading several hundred rounds per hour so Im thinking maybe to go with the Single stage or turret press.

Im thinking maybe MAX would be about 150-200 an hour 100 per caliber anyways.

February 21, 2011, 12:28 AM
I really like the consistency of Starline Brass. I really wouldn't worry a bit about once fired or range brass. I would recommend trying to get a single brand or sorting it by brand so you can weigh the finish cartridge to make sure you aren't way off. Winchester seems to have the greatest weight variation though (up to 8 grain weight variation in empty brass). All others seem to be within a grain or two of each other.

Although, any brass will show a bad load. I had completed .45 rounds weighing from 292 to 300 grains, but the one squib I found was 286 grains.

March 7, 2011, 10:03 PM
I know it's an old thread...but

Here's another good source for brass. I got my current batch here, and it's all been good so far. About half way through the bag.

March 7, 2011, 11:12 PM
I would recommend trying to get a single brand or sorting it by brand so you can weigh the finish cartridge to make sure you aren't way off.

My experience has been that the bullet weight variation makes weighing finished rounds pointless. Even if the cases are identical, you still can't say within 1 gr whether you have the correct powder charge.

March 8, 2011, 12:17 AM
RCBS makes progressive equipment, that attaches to a single stage press. I use RCBS single stage press both ways. My suggestion for you is to load single stage until you get familar with the process of loading a given bullet. There are lot things that you will learn from a one-at-time approach. I think that most of us here that have been reloading for a along time, would agree that there is those "little things", that you pick up over time, that will stand you in good stead once you start to load with a progrssive.

as for OFB I use it all of the time, but, I also buy from time to time new. Like some one here has already said if you were local I would give you 9mm brass, that I am drowning in. I finally stopped picking the 9mm up at the range. sbs

Lost Sheep
March 8, 2011, 02:38 AM
I buy all my brass new (and already loaded).

My once-fired brass is all personally once-fired by me.

Of course, I have not bought brass in a long while, as my supply of empties seems endless.

Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice

Check out these web sites, posts and threads I think you will enjoy. So get a large mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you keep on hand when you read and think and read through these.

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheHighRoad.com's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"

"Budget Beginning bench you will never outgrow for the novice handloader". This was informed by my recent (July 2010) repopulation of my loading bench. It is what I would have done 35 years ago if I had known then what I know now.

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

The first draft of my "10 Advices..." is on page 2 of this thread, about halfway down.

Minimalist minimal


or if the links do not work, paste these into your browser




(posts are #11 and #13)


Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)


Good luck. Always wear eye protection, especially when working with primers and don't pinch your fingers in your press. Be safe. Always, all ways.

Lost Sheep

March 8, 2011, 07:36 AM
Not me. I use all the range brass I can get. I buy once fired, as well as new if I need to.

I can understand why beginners would be more at ease starting with new brass though.

March 8, 2011, 08:17 AM
Most of the brass I use is once fired. I've been hand loading for the better part of 30 years, and haven't bought new brass other than just a couple of times. That was because the particular brass was a difficult cartridge to find at the range. But considering you are going be starting out with two relatively common cartridges, the 9mm and the 45 ACP, I would look for some range brass. I just started loading 9 mm for the first time in like 20 years, and needed brass of course. In the course of maybe a month of checking my favorite shooting spots, I picked up close to 1500 rounds of brass. Nearly all of it was good once brass and all but a hand full was the good headstamps. I'll be honest with though in this respect, range brass needs to be tumbled and inspected well. Keep the stuff that isn't pitted or non reloadable, ect. and toss the rest. Also, there are a lot of online places to purchase inexpensive once fired.

If your going to buy new brass, the one's I've had good experince with are Star, Winchester, and Remington. Federal is excellent brass too, but it seems a little bit harder and can get brittle after a few cycles. Additionally, if your buying your brass, avoid nickel if possible. It has a couple of little quirks that can be troublesome. It can scratch your dies and the chamber of your firearms, so I've been told. But the one issue I've had with it is, pressures seem to be some what higher when loading with it. I'm not exactly certain as to why, but I'm thinking it may have something to do with it's thicker walls. Maybe less internal space, or, possibly because it doesn't flex as much when firing like standard brass?
Welcome to the world of hand loading and THR!

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