Please Help Out a Newbie


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firemanstrickland
July 3, 2011, 09:24 PM
Hello All,

I have been considering reloading/handloading for quite a while now. I have to credit a good bit of the knowledge I have gotten from THR. Thank You. OK, now, I need some suggestions.

1; I need a suggestion on what brand and type of pistol powder, and brand and type of primers i should start out with. .45ACP 230 gr. fmjs (1911)

2; I need a suggestion on what brand and type of rifle powder, and what brand and type of primers i should start with. 5.56x45mm 55gr. fmjs (ar-15)

3; I need some ideas on how to have a loading bench set up that is not permanent. I live at a fire station, i will be moving out eventually.

4; I need some advise on case prep and cleaning, do I HAVE to get a Tumbler, what can i do to clean the cases without having one?

5: I plan on using lee equipment, why do some dies come with a factory crimper and some dont? what is it, do i have to have it?
Thank You for the help, and btw, im sure i will have more questions, Thank you for your knowledge and patience

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esheato
July 3, 2011, 09:54 PM
Both of those cartridges are fairly forgiving, but handloading does require attention to detail and a healthy sense of restraint. Stick to the load manuals and you won't go wrong. You do have some manuals right?

If not, most manuals are written by either projectile or propellant manufacturers. If you like Sierra bullets, the Sierra manual is probably a worthwhile addition to your library.

45 ACP; Titegroup, 231, Unique, Bullseye, Power Pistol. Primers are whatever you can get locally...I like Winchester, but just make sure you start low whenever you change a component.

223; H332, Varget, H335, IMR 4895, BL-C(2), 748...options are really endless. Again, primers are whatever gives you the performance you want/need.

You shouldn't need magnum primers for either of these. Large pistol for 45 ACP and small rifle for the 223.

Do you have some performance parameters in mind? Trying to duplicate a factory load possibly? Narrowing your scope a bit will allow us to suggest components that match your requirements.

I don't have an answer on your portable workbench as I have a garage full of loading stuff.

Welcome to the cult. ;) There's no turning back now.

Ed

firemanstrickland
July 3, 2011, 10:08 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome Ed. I do own manuals. Two of them, The abc's of reloading and The lee modern reloading manual, I currently have .45 and .223 specific manuals on order from midway and i am trying to get a hold of speer and lymans manuals. My rifle loves the federal 5.56 xm193f.
I would like to duplicate these loads. My 1911 really doesnt care, It will eat anything just about. I just want relatively cheap 230 gr. fmj's

esheato
July 3, 2011, 10:30 PM
Do they have to be FMJ? True FMJ is second in expense to JHP. A economical alternative is the plated bullet (think Berry's or Rainier). On the least expensive end, loading cast lead bullets will bring down your costs significantly, especially if you can find a local caster (shipping is what ruins the value of them). Take a look at Missouri Bullets...great people, very responsive to customer requests/complaints, super fast shipping and they're on THR.

XM193 specs are here: Link (http://www.federalpremium.com/resources/xm193.aspx). H335 (ball type powder) is a great propellant to replicate military loads.

Hodgdon has an online reloading center located here: Link (http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp). Bookmark it, you'll use it all the time.

If you need to run your costs, some great calculators are located here: Link (http://www.10xshooters.com/calculators/Rifle_Reloading_Cost_Calculator.htm)

Perfesser
July 3, 2011, 10:37 PM
For a portable bench: get small portable work station and install the press in the middle of the long side of the top. Mine is a Hirsh. The top looks like some sort of pressboard but it hasn't cracked or torn yet with Lee presses mounted. It has a 'footprint' about 2' x 3' so it can be stashed in a corner. Just realized I've had this one a LONG time and they might not be available any more but there may be something similar out there.

Hobby stores still carry Thumbler's rock polishing tumblers and they work great with walnut shell tumbling media; corncob takes a lot longer because it's soft. Takes longer than a vibratory cleaner but it's a lot quieter.

Too many bad reports on the tumbler that Harbor Freight sells to say try it...most people say the motor doesn't last long.

esheato
July 3, 2011, 10:41 PM
My brother has the extra large Harbor Freight tumbler, been running it pretty hard for a few years and no probs yet...but you do take your chances with them. I've got a Thumlers, two THUMS up (haha). Really quiet but they do take a bit longer.

Walkalong
July 3, 2011, 10:48 PM
1; Any primer brand will work just fine. I tend to buy Winchesters, but have shot plenty of others with complete success.

2; Hard to beat H335 or W748 for the beginner, but many powders work well in .223.

3; There is a long thread showing bench set ups with some really neat setups that take little space and are portable.

4; As long as the brass is clean of dirt it is OK to load. Some folks just wipe their brass down with a clean wet rag, and many folks here use home made solutions to clean brass. Tumblers are sure nice though.

T Bran
July 3, 2011, 11:01 PM
Before I built my crude bench from jobsite scrap I used a Black n Decker workmate and still do for some things they fold up pretty small and you can mount your press on a piece of 2x12 just clamp it in the jaws GTG.
T

highlander 5
July 3, 2011, 11:08 PM
Just replaced the motor in Thumbler's after 35 years. Model UV-18

firemanstrickland
July 4, 2011, 12:00 AM
I plan on using lee equipment, why do some dies come with a factory crimper and some dont? what is it, do i have to have it?

tommyintx
July 4, 2011, 12:26 AM
Welcome to THR!

1; I need a suggestion on what brand and type of pistol powder, and brand and type of primers i should start out with. .45ACP 230 gr. fmjs (1911)

For powder, i recommend Winchester 231 or Hodgdon HP-38, they are ball powders that meter well, also Bullseye (probably the best .45 ACP powder of all time), unique, and clays. Primers of the Large Pistol type, and any brand should work well. Availability is chief concern, I use winchester and federal, as usually one of the two are in stock at all times. If you want FMJs, but still want to save money, i highly recommend barry's plated bullets or Rainer's plated bullets. they are lead bullets, but are plated to prevent leading of the barrel. You will save the most money here over true FMJS or JHPs, without having to deal with leading. This caliber is VERY easy to load for, and accepts a very wide variety of powders, and is very easy to load accurately.

2; I need a suggestion on what brand and type of rifle powder, and what brand and type of primers i should start with. 5.56x45mm 55gr. fmjs (ar-15)

For .223, another very easy to load caliber, you can get away with literally dozens of powder options.. You can go BLC-2 route, which is again a spherical ball powder which will meter well, and function well in gas operated semi-automatics.. great in ar-15's. you can order surplus powder if you like, such as wc844, which is a ball powder similar to h-335, another good option. For more accurate ammunition, i recommend H4198 and H4895, benchmark, and Varget. Primers here, for automatics, i prefer Remingtons # 7 1/2 primer. from what i've been told it has a harder cup, which is less likely to pierce on a strong firing pin, in an automatic. They are also cheap, and readily available. Or Winchesters Small rifle primer, or federal's #205 or 205M. You can get 55 grain FMJ bullets online from places like hi-techammo.com gibrass.com natchezss.com, and midway.com. If you get pulled bullets of the 55 grain FMJ commercial/military variety, you will save alot of money. I would recommend going this route, and then stashing one or a few bricks (1000 round packs) of emergency ammunition. You can get 250 packs of high quality ammuntion like Nosler Ballistic tips for around 36-38$ online, which puts you at around 150$ or so for 1000 premier bullets. These do well for hunting small to medium game, and are much more accurate and consistent than FMJS. the plugged hollowpoint design feeds much better in semi-automatics and ar-15's than hollowpoints (at least for me.)

3; I need some ideas on how to have a loading bench set up that is not permanent. I live at a fire station, i will be moving out eventually.

If you look above at the stickied "show us your reloading" post, there are pages and pages of designs both permanent, semi permanent and portable. This would be a great place to start, and many of the people would be more than willing to share and send you designs/drawings on how their specific system was built.

4; I need some advise on case prep and cleaning, do I HAVE to get a Tumbler, what can i do to clean the cases without having one?

You don't HAVE to. I highly recommend it, as it is inexpensive, and i would much rather run clean ammunition through a weapon versus dirty brass.
even a cheap midway.com generic vibrating tumbler with some corn cob or ground walnut WITHOUT a polishing agent/cleaner will suffice, if you aren't worried about asthetics. at least then it will remove any debris and obstructions from cases. Most of the other options are more expensive and a bigger hassle (washing cases requires rinsing, and drying racks, stainless media is not only expensive, so are rotating tumblers, ultrasonic cleaners require attention, chemicals and the above drying dilemma) whereas with a regular vibratory cleaner you can dump cases in, leave it on somewhere and come back an hour or so later, or even leave it unattended overnight, and have brand new looking shells in the morning. Media lasts a long time, when it begins to look dirty throw in old used dryer sheets, and they will clean the residue from the media, making the media cleaner, and prolonging it's life.

5: I plan on using lee equipment, why do some dies come with a factory crimper and some dont? what is it, do i have to have it?

I use a crimper for all automatic weapons. I prefer dillon's taper crimp design, as it's alot less troublesome to fool with. There should be a sticky somewhere on Lee's FCD (factory crimp die) that can shed more light on the subject.

And again, welcome to the high road, and good luck on your new hobby!

dbarnhart
July 4, 2011, 12:35 PM
45 ACP Bullets:

The lowest cost I am aware of is at Precision Delta, $119/thousand INCLUDING SHIPPING:

http://www.precisiondelta.com/detail.php?sku=B-45-230-FMJ

The next lowest is TheBulletWorks.net, $123/thousand but does not include shipping.

dbarnhart
July 4, 2011, 12:41 PM
Regarding .223 bullets:

The lowest price I have found is TheBulletworks.net, $75/thousand:

http://www.thebulletworks.net/category-s/73.htm

Here are a couple other suppliers for the same price, albeit in larger quantities but include free shipping:

http://store.brassmanbrass.com/servlet/-strse-Rifle-fdsh-Pistol--dsh--Bullets--dsh--%28Not-Loaded-Ammo%29/Categories

https://secure.mooseweb.com/montanagoldbullet.com/pricelist.tpl

Captaingyro
July 4, 2011, 01:50 PM
As to your question about crimping, most seater dies have a crimping function built into the die body. As the round finishes its travel up into the die, it is crimped by the die itself. Semiauto dies do a taper crimp, and revolver dies do a roll crimp. The Lee dies do have this function; see the end of the description here:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=661032

The instructions that come with your dies will explain all this.

The problem with crimping with the seater die is that it does a pretty good job on light crimps, but can crush or warp cases if you try to crimp too much. This happens because you're crimping and pushing the bullet deeper simultaneously.

If you choose to seat in a separate step, you simply back the seater die up a turn or two so that it doesn't crimp, then use another seater die (with the seating stem backed off) or a factory crimp die to do the crimping.

I think most people would suggest that you start out crimping during the seating step; just don't overdo it. As you get more experience, you might decide you want to go with a factory crimp die. In my experience, the taper crimp you need for .45 ACP can be done pretty well with the seater die.

mdi
July 4, 2011, 01:53 PM
This was my portable reloading station before I got a dedicated reloading area. A scrap piece of counter top with a 2x4 screwed to the bottom, and I bolted a press and vise to the countertop. Clamp the top in my workmate and I have a stable work/reloading station...

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