1st Time reloader with question


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RussellC
May 27, 2013, 03:30 PM
Ok I have rounded up 1000 9mm brass, 1000 9mm bullets, HP-38 powder, and am about to get primers, but am holding put for local supply. I intend on the Lee 4 die carbide set.

Today I aquired from Natchez the following:

Lee case trimmer $4.49
Lee pocket cleaner $2.49
Lee Gage-holder $3.79
Lee Chamfer tool $2.49

Cheap enough even if I should have got something else.

For the press, I am also looking at Lee, and therein lies the question:

For a simple basic device which one? I have looked at their inexpensive hand held, Another basic Lee press that ran about mid $60s, a similar Lee with 3 turret head, same with 4 turrett head, mid $90s and so on.

Could some patient person school me a bit here on what I should get/
I am only doing 9mm, and later 5.56/.223, and dont want a progressive or any of the top line presses, this is on a budget, sadly.

Thanks in advance for any help here!

Russellc

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eam3clm@att.net
May 27, 2013, 03:40 PM
If you dont have a good reloading manual or too, you should get at least one. You will need a set of calipers that reads to .001. Also somthing to weigh powder with. The Lee breech Lock single stage press is a good inexpensive press to start with.

Sweet Agony
May 27, 2013, 03:48 PM
You might consider a RCBS Rock Chucker press, they are single stage and less than $175. That is what I have and as a newbee also it has been great. You can make mistakes and correct immediately.

I agree with eam3clm, you need a good manual, I have the Lyman #49 handbook and is worth the effort to find one. As everyone has told me go slow understand the basic's and enjoy reloading.

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 03:57 PM
I have the lyman 49th edition, and know i need scales, calipers and other items.
Thanks for the replies. I think i am going to stick with the suggested Lee press.

As to the other doo-dads I got, are they useful, or should i get better items?


Thanks again for the tips guys, I really need them!

Russellc

2bfree
May 27, 2013, 04:18 PM
Don't forget a bullet puller. Well spent 15.00 when you need it you need it ;)

ArtP
May 27, 2013, 04:38 PM
Looks like you have under $20 invested in tools.

I'd go ahead and buy the Lee starter kit, which sadly will duplicate some of those tools you just bought. But if you buy in separate pieces you will still spend more.

I'd go with this kit:

http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&brand=LE&prodID=LEE90030&prodTitle=Lee%20Breech%20Lock%20Challenger%20Press%20Kit&src=ppj&utm_source=pj&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=43737

I bought one 4-5 years ago and have replaced many of the tools, but all the tools do work, albeit a little slow and cumbersome. You can at least start working with that kit, then upgrade with no pressure to do so, when money allows. I still use the press and that's significantly what you're paying for in the kit.

rcmodel
May 27, 2013, 04:39 PM
As to the other doo-dads I got, are they useful, or should i get better items?Loading blocks to set charged cases in, so you can inspect the powder levels in all of them before seating bullets.

I hate to break the news, but you didn't need to buy the case trimmer set-up for 9mm cases.

I have never trimmed an auto pistol case in 50 years of reloading.

rc

ArtP
May 27, 2013, 04:48 PM
If money's tight, you really don't need the four die set. The forth die is what Lee calls a "factory crimp die". For 9mm a light taper crimp (or no crimp) is all that is needed and the seater die will do that task.

You need all three dies in the 3 die set: carbide sizer, flair die, seater die.

While I'm here, I'll also share that you should have some sort of powder thrower (measures by volume) for pistol reloading - after ten rounds you'll decide an electronic scale or beam scale, though effective, just doesn't cut it. A thrower is going to start around $40 and $60 is a starting point for a decent press. That's almost the same money as the kit and you'll also get a beam scale, priming tools etc.

mdi
May 27, 2013, 04:50 PM
Well, in my opinion you won't need to trim any 9mm brass nor clean any primer pockets. I've been reloading 9mm and 45 ACP for quite a while and I don't do either of those operations. As for the Lee die set; I'd forget about the factory crimp die and just go with a plain old, working for 100 years, taper crimp die (actually these semi-auto rounds are not "crimped". A taper crimp die is used to de-flare, straighten out the case mouth to insure good feeding/chambering).

A single stage press is an excellent start as you learn, step by step what each operation does and why it's done. I would recommend you separate the bullet seating operation and the "de-flaring" (crimp) operations; seat a batch bullets in one operation and re-adjust the die to de-flare in the next operation. Much less worries that way (too much crimp, too much force on bullet while crimping causing case bulges, etc.). Lee makes some presses that will prolly last your reloading lifetime (I don't think the 3-hole turret is available anymore) and a Lee turret, used manually with the auto index disabled, is a very good start..

Personally, I'm not a kit buying guy. I like to research each tool I need and buy it based on what I think I need/is best for me (I have Lee, C-H, Pacific, Ideal, Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, Lyman/Ohaus reloading tools, and mostly purchased by my needs, and not what a marketing exec. thinks I should have).

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 05:01 PM
thanks again, much appreciated info here. The trimmer was thought necessary because it was mentioned in the Lyman 49th editions recommendations. Under case trimming and deburring they state (under handgun info), "Case trimming is also recommended whenever loading new or once fired brass as they are often not a uniform length." They seem to feel this extra step gives uniform length and enhanced accuracy. Of course, they are speaking to handguns as a whole, not 9mm semi autos.

Similarly, they thought a slight crimp could sometimes be necessary, so I figured
I needed it, live and learn. I havent bought the die set yet so money not wasted.
so, no crimper needed, and sounds like no trimmer unless I want them all uniform. Likely for that small amount of removal, this cheapo trimmer I got wont be that precise.

Thanks again, great beginner info! Hopefully someone else on the fence will be schooled here as well.

Appreciate any and all tips,

Russellc

Walkalong
May 27, 2013, 05:07 PM
As posted, there is no need to trim 9MM cases. You don't need, nor do I recommend the FCD, so the three die set is fine. You need a reloading manual, a press, either a hand primer or a press set up to prime, a pair of calipers, a scale, and powder dippers or a measure.

.223 will add some needs, like a trimmer, something to ream or swage cases with crimped primer pockets, some kind of fine tool to feel the inside of cases, a chamfer/deburring tool.

Load blocks are cheap and very handy, so get one.

I still do not own a bullet puller. I use pliers to pull the odd one or two screw ups from time to time. There should never be a big quantity of screw ups because we check things very carefully before loading any quantity.

I just made a powder dipper for a buddy to use with the press/dies/cases/powder/bullets/primers I am giving him to start loading .45 ACP. He bought a hand primer. Dang, he came out really well. :)

Walkalong
May 27, 2013, 05:10 PM
so, no crimper needed,The seater will have a taper crimp built into it. Adjsut it to remove the bell or a hair more. We are not really "crimping" per say on auto calibers.

Should look something like this.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=153244&d=1322011199
Except in 9MM. :)

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 05:42 PM
Again, thanks for the input. I've learned more in these posts than the past month or two of investigating it myself!

Russellc

StretchNM
May 27, 2013, 06:37 PM
Russell, as far as your press, I say invest in the Lee Classic Cast single stage. This press cannot be beat for the money and even for more money. If you start reloading alot of 9mm, you may want to think about a turret press.

I disagree regarding the Lee Factory Crimp Die. It is true you do NOT need it. The seater die will crimp for you. However, using the seater to just seat the bullet, and the FCD to crimp, is the ultimate in precision, for my money anyway.

thump_rrr
May 27, 2013, 06:47 PM
What bullets did you purchase?
Lead, plated, or jacketed?
If you purchased lead bullets you may need to chamfer the cases so that lead is not being shaved off.
Then I would invest in the RCBS chamfering tool which is head and shoulders above the Lee tool.

I'm still using my original Lee Challenger press and it makes very accurate ammo so no worries there.
Once you begin loading large rifle calibers or begin wildcatting you may need a stronger press.

Edit: I would also get the 4 die Lee set which includes the Factory Crimp Die.
Even if you don't intend to crimp the die has a carbide sizing ring that can be used to post size in case you over belled the cases.
I post size and chamber check (plunk test) all ammo I use in competition.

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 06:49 PM
I saw that press, as well as a similar Lee that had 3 and another 4 turrets, still pretty inexpensive.

Russellc

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 06:54 PM
My bullets are two types, Berry's 124 gr (.356) round nose plated, another type I ordered this morning 115gr hollow points, plated from Up Ammo. Hadnt looked at cast bullets, glock doesnt recommend them, but I did get a stainless steel barrel as well, so I should be good there.

Russellc

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 06:58 PM
I will have a look at the RCBS Chamfer tool...at $2.49 I had a feeling this Lee wasnt exactly the "Buy the best and only cry once' selection, but if it were necessary at least I would have something.

Russellc

Lost Sheep
May 27, 2013, 07:04 PM
Again, thanks for the input. I've learned more in these posts than the past month or two of investigating it myself!

Russellc
A copy of "The ABC's of Reloading" borrowed from your local library will do wonders to fill in the omissions in your knowledge base.

Thanks for asking our advice and welcome to reloading

Lost Sheep

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 07:06 PM
I will check amazon for it...failing that there is a library not far from where I work.

Russellc

thump_rrr
May 27, 2013, 07:07 PM
I will have a look at the RCBS Chamfer tool...at $2.49 I had a feeling this Lee wasnt exactly the "Buy the best and only cry once' selection, but if it were necessary at least I would have something.

Russellc
There is nothing wrong with starting off using Lee reloading gear.
I started off using an $89.00 Lee 50th Anniversary Kit a couple of years ago.
I still use the same single stage press along with a set of Lee dies for my .308 which shoots very small groups.

Lost Sheep
May 27, 2013, 07:20 PM
The 4-hole Lee Turret press known as the Lee Classic Turret is the way to go if you go turret (which I recommend). The 3-hole regular turret and the 4-hole Deluxe turret are perfectly adequate for 9mm and .223 but the Classic Turret has some significant advantages over the Deluxe.

Larger vertical opening
Superior spent primer handling
Cast iron of the Classic Turret wear better than aluminum of the others

I recommend the Turret over the single stage because the kind of quantities I predict you will be shooting will be easier to achieve on the turret than on a single stage. You can operate a turret exactly as if it is a single stage (batch processing) if you want to and as a turret (batch processing or continuous processing) if you want. But a single stage does not give you that choice.

When I was loading on a single stage, 50-60 rounds per hour was what I could do. 100 in an hour was completely unreachable.

When I loaded my very first 100 rounds on my Classic Turret, I did 100 rounds in 47 minutes (including keeping the primers and powder filled and boxing up the finished product).

So, when I decided to repopulate my loading bench in 2010 I replaced almost everything with new stuff (except my scale and a bunch of hand tools), I went with the best that money could buy. Caveat: The best for me may not be the best for you, but the gear I bought was best for me and without consideration for cost.

See this thread:

www.rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

You can start with $150 and be minimally equipped for one caliber, and can expand from there as you have the money and feel the need for more tools. But you will have spent nothing on items you will later discard.

$300 and you have a really good setup. (Kempf's Gun Shop online for their kit plus a couple manuals and a scale). For each additional caliber, figure $50 more.

Now, if you start shooting 500 rounds a week, you will want something with a bit more throughput, like a progressive.

Lost Sheep

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 07:22 PM
A copy of "The ABC's of Reloading" borrowed from your local library will do wonders to fill in the omissions in your knowledge base.

Thanks for asking our advice and welcome to reloading

Lost Sheep
Hmmmmamazon lists 4 different "The ABCs of reloading" by 4 different authors. Who wrote the one you have?

thanks,

Russellc

Lost Sheep
May 27, 2013, 07:22 PM
I will check amazon for it...failing that there is a library not far from where I work.

Russellc
I have heard you can get a copy of ABCs of Reloading for a Kindle or other digital reader for one dollar. But it has no pictures, diagrams or drawings.

I have also heard that the earlier editions are better than the more recent ones.

The ABC's is a book compiled by editors and periodically the thing changes. Mine was written in 1975, when I first started loading.

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep
May 27, 2013, 07:25 PM
I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universally mentioned, so I put together this list of 10 advices.


Much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".


So you can better evaluate my words, here is the focus of my experience. I load for handguns (44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 9mm, 357 Mag, 480 Ruger) a couple hundred per sitting and go through 100 to 500 centerfire rounds per month. I don't cast....yet.


When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. My setup was simple. A set of dies, a press, a 2" x 6" plank, some carriage bolts and wing nuts, a scale, two loading blocks. I just mounted the press on the plank wedged into the drawer of an end table. I did not use a loading bench at all.


It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly.


I still believe in a minimalist approach and and try to keep my inventory of tools low. I do not keep my loading gear set up when not in use, either, but pack them away in small toolboxes until the next loading session.


Now, here are my Ten Advices.


Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.


Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of (or any) money on equipment.


Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps found in their early chapters. The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well so give better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others. The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging.


I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Containing no loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. I am told the older editions are better than the newer ones, so the library is looking even better.


There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started, but some are better than others. Filter all casual information through a "B.S." filter.


Only after you know the processing steps of loading can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack. If builging your own kit from scratch, you will be better able to find the parts that will serve your into the future without having to do trade-ins.


Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?


Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Generally you get what you pay for and better equipment costs more. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Aluminum generally takes more cleaning and lubrication to last forever. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you think Ford/Chevy owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better. RCBS equipment is almost all green, Dillon-blue, Lee-red. Almost no manufacturers cross color lines and many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. Make your own choices.


About brand loyalties, an example: Lee Precision makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker (though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes, as Lee has been an innovator both in price leadership which has introduced many to loading who might not otherwise have been able to start the hobby and in introduction of innovative features like their auto-advancing turret presses). But there are detractors who focus on Lee's cheapest offerings to paint even their extremely strong gear as inferior. Ignore the snobs.


On Kits: Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started. Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops (negating the savings you thought the kit gave you), but you will have gotten started, at least.


On building your own kit: The thought processes you give to assembling your own kit increases your knowledge about reloading. You may get started a couple weeks later than if you started with a kit, but you will be far ahead in knowledge.


Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy. Progressive, turret or Single Stage? Experimental loads? Pushing performance envelopes? Don't get fancy.


While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the mechanical steps of loading right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, bullet seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a voluminous, "fluffy", powder that is, one that is easy to see that you have charged the case and which will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it.


While learning, only perform one operation at a time. Whether you do the one operation 50 (or 20) times on a batch of cases before moving on to the next operation - "Batch Processing" or take one case through all the sequence of operations between empty case to finished cartridge - "Continuous Processing", sometimes known as "Sequential Processing", learn by performing only one operation at a time and concentrating on THAT OPERATION. On a single stage press or a turret press, this is the native way of operation. On a progressive press, the native operation is to perform mulltiple operations simultaneously. Don't do it. While you can learn on a progressive press, in my opinion too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of (unless you load singly at first). Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME. Until handloading becomes second nature to you.


Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.


On the Turret vs Single stage the decision is simpler. You can do everything on a Turret EXACTLY the same way as you do on a single stage (just leave the turret stationary). That is, a Turret IS a single stage if you don't rotate the head.


Learning on a progressive can be done successfully, but it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than on roller skates.


Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of almost every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one.


Advice #4 Find a mentor.


There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers; 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")


I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.


After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.


Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness


Your loading bench/room is tantamount to a factory floor. There is a whole profession devoted to industrial engineering, the art and science of production design. Your loading system (layout, process steps, quality control, safety measures, etc) deserves no less attention than that.

Place your scale where it is protected from drafts and vibration and is easy to read and operate. Place you components' supplies convenient to the hand that will place them into the operation and the receptacle(s) for interim or finished products, too. You can make a significant increase in safety and in speed, too, with well thought out design of your production layout, "A" to "Z", from the lighting to the dropcloth to the fire suppression scheme.


Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology


Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Ballistic testing has produced some new knowledge over the years and powder chemistry has changed over the years, too. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.


Read previous threads on reloading and watch videos available on the web. But be cautious. There is both good information and bad information found in casual sources, so see my advice #10.


Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)


When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying for features you don't need. "The delicious flavor of low price fades fast. The wretched aftertaste of poor quality lingers long."


Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride) rather than tool steel.

T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.


Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.


Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children (present of future - lead is a hazard, too. Wash after loading and don't eat at your bench). Enough said?


Advice #10 Take all with a grain of salt.

Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and can easily hit "7" instead of "4" because they are next to each other on the keypad.


Good luck.


Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep
May 27, 2013, 07:26 PM
I have compiled a few web sites that seem to have some good information (only some of which came from me).

Go get a large mug of whatever you sip when you read and think and visit these sites.

Sticky-contains much general information.
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214

Sticky-contains much general information.
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171

New guy considering if/how to get started reloading
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=678589

On the fence
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=678626

"Newby needs help." (A typical new reloader thread). My posts are 11 and 13
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391

"Just bought my first press. Needs some info tho." (A typical new reloader thread)
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358

"I am looking at getting into reloading for the first time" (A typical new reloader thread)
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971

"Considering reloading" (A typical new reloader thread)
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115

"Interested in reloading" (A typical new reloader thread)
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

"Is the lee classic loader a good starter loader?" A thread from someone considering the Mallet-driven Lee Classic Loader.
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497313
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497313

"Lee Classic Loader Kit" My post, Minimalist minimal is the seventh post down.
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332

"45 Colt question-Lee loader" Another Lee Classic Loader thread
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498638
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498638

"Best starter kit?"
rugerforum.net/reloading/33252-best-starter-kit-beginners.html
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/33252-best-starter-kit-beginners.html

"To kit or not to kit?" That is the question. My thread. Hard to read apparently
rugerforum.net/reloading/33660-kit-not-kit.html
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/33660-kit-not-kit.html

Informed by my 2010 repopulation of my loading bench (If I knew in '75 what I know now)
rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

Thoughts on The Lee Classic Turret Press
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951


Use what type of scale? (poll)
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448410
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448410

Good luck

Lost Sheep

RussellC
May 27, 2013, 07:40 PM
All great advice. I hear you and generally follow the buy the best and only cry once when concerning tools...but since my initial experiences will be 9mm only,
I figured the Lee press will do for my first loads.

As I progress, the "side tools" will be improved, and no doubt eventually the press. The Lee with the 4 turrets looks like the one, otherwise the simpler version w/o turrets.

I need to go slow and I have no interest in High power loads while learning, would just like to replicate factory 9mm ammo. These first batches I calculate
will cost about 45 cents....not that great a deal. But a bunch of my brass is new remmington which should reload several times and those batches will be much more reasonable!

Thank for all the info, at least I am beginning to feel more comfortable with all this.

Russellc

StretchNM
May 27, 2013, 08:00 PM
Russell, The Lee Challenger Breechlock kit will do you very well for your first reloads and many more. However, any Lee Classic series (single-stage or turret) will last you a lifetime. There is no "upgrading" from this press, though some would argue that the Forster Co-Ax might be an upgrade. "You get what you pay for" does not apply to Lee's Classic series. The only thing you don;t get is an insurance policy. Lee sells reloading equipment, not insurance.

I also believe, for your brass preparation tools, that you are not "less" when you buy Lee. You'll find they meet your needs with room left over. Their little Safety Scale I'll use in this example (I still use mine, refusing to pay $75 plus for a different brand for less accuracy): a guy in a thread posted that he operated with a Safety Scale for years. His heart yearned for a more expensive scale (brand is unimportant). When he got it, he found he liked his Lee better. Don;t let Lee's prices fool you. They are a Great American company and are leaders in the reloading world.

all357mag
May 27, 2013, 08:36 PM
I started with the Lee Challenger Kit. No regrets. Buy the Lee Loading Manual, bullet puller, and GOOD dial calipers.

RussellC
May 28, 2013, 03:38 PM
Thank you everyone for helping with this great info. What a resource this forum is. Special thanks to Lost Sheep, your info will keep me reading for some time!
This is exactly what I needed. Now I know which press and dies I want, and looks like more business for Natchez! What nice people they are. Lowest prices I have found on items they have. Plus, as an added bonus I discovered they have factory Glock mags for reasonable prices! These are factory and the 33 rnd is 1/2 the going price in these parts.

The past 2 days have left me with more reloading knowledge than ever before.
While most folks here have likely forgotten more than I will ever know, I have found a resource to learn reloading and for that, Thanks!!!

Russellc

Lost Sheep
May 29, 2013, 04:08 AM
Thank you everyone for helping with this great info. What a resource this forum is. Special thanks to Lost Sheep, your info will keep me reading for some time!
This is exactly what I needed. Now I know which press and dies I want, and looks like more business for Natchez! What nice people they are. Lowest prices I have found on items they have. Plus, as an added bonus I discovered they have factory Glock mags for reasonable prices! These are factory and the 33 rnd is 1/2 the going price in these parts.

The past 2 days have left me with more reloading knowledge than ever before.
While most folks here have likely forgotten more than I will ever know, I have found a resource to learn reloading and for that, Thanks!!!

Russellc
You're welcome.

Be sure to check Kempf's Gun Shop online for their Lee Classic Turret kit. It is, I think, the only one that includes a set of dies and does not force you to take their choice of powder scale. That, of course, means you have to add one, but at least you get your choice.

Sue Kempf was VERY nice to me, even while preoccupied with problems of her own. A truly caring person, in my opinion.

Most kits force choices on you that you wind up trading off at a loss eventually. I hate that.

Lost Sheep

Mohave-Tec
May 29, 2013, 10:09 AM
Before I read a second or third post in this thread, I'm willing to bet that the Lee Classic 4 hole turret press will dominate the thread. Outfitted with Auto prime and powder change, it is a snap to use.

Arkansas Paul
May 29, 2013, 12:31 PM
There is nothing wrong with starting off using Lee reloading gear.

Not only is there nothing wrong with starting off on Lee. There's nothing wrong with it for the advanced reloader either.
We started off with very good equipment, and RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit. It was very good and we never had a single complaint. It got stolen, and of course insurance didn't pay enough to totally replace everything. So we picked up a couple of used presses. One was a Lee Challenger single stage. The linkage broke and for $15 we upgraded it to the Breechlock system.
I keep looking for an excuse to buy another Rockchucker, but there is really no valid reason. The press works great. I use it for all my rifle stuff.
I also bought a Lee Turret and couldn't be happier. I personally would recommend that one for 9mm stuff. I have the plain Lee Turret press but the Classic Turret is better if you can swing a few extra $. I believe the difference is $77/$110 or something like that.
You won't go wrong with either.
The turret presses prime as well, so you could save a few $ on a hand primer for now.

Searcher4851
May 29, 2013, 12:53 PM
For a press, it's hard to beat the Lee classic cast turret. They are currently in stock at Natchez:
http://www.natchezss.com/brand.cfm?contentID=productDetail&brand=LE&prodID=LEE90064&prodTitle=Lee Classic Turret Press

Comrade Mike
May 29, 2013, 01:22 PM
No need to trim 9mm at all. The brass will split before its ever out of whack. I don't event measure it, someone out there probably has time to uniform pistol brass, or just really enjoys trimming, but it isn't me :D

Expect to make mistakes, and learn to trust your equipment. When I first started I measured every round I turned out. As I learned about tolerances and what my set up was capable of I learned to trust my equipment and speed up my operation.

Also, a GOOD scale is worth it's weight in gold. If you're hand weighing all powder charges as I do, do not and I repeat do not skimp on your scale.

Comrade Mike
May 29, 2013, 01:27 PM
Also, before you make the real thing. Try some dry runs without powder and primer to get a feel for the process. Make some dummy rounds to the same spec as what you plan on churning out.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/30/yqaqebyd.jpg

This is me a year and a half ago learning to use my .38/.357 seater die. Imagine if those were live rounds.

PS. The one on the far left is going to be patented as the .357 gas seal! :D

platypusfriend
May 29, 2013, 01:37 PM
I just started reloading 9mm, myself. Here's a photo of my equipment setup:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v371/thecrusader503/IMG_0264.jpg

Here's a list of what's in the picture:

- Digital calipers
- Digital scale (with 0.1gr resolution)
- Scale calibration weight
- Lee Breech Lock Hand Press
- Lee powder funnel
- Bullet puller
- Powder pan
- Allen wrench (for Lee Lock Ring Eliminators)
- Screwdriver (for digital caliper battery compartment)
- Printout of Accurate powder load data v3.5
- Lee deprimer and resizer die, with Lock Ring Eliminator bushing
- Lee Ram Prime, with standard Breech Lock bushing
- Lee case flaring die, with Lock Ring Eliminator bushing
- Lee bullet seating die, with Lock Ring Eliminator bushing
- Lee Factory Crimp Die, with Lock Ring Eliminator bushing
- Lee #19 shell holder

Everything fits inside a Pelican 1470 case. I'm actually happy that I didn't get a bench-mounted press. But, there are many who like them.

Happy reloading.

Arkansas Paul
May 29, 2013, 02:03 PM
platypusfriend, just out of curiosity, how many rounds an hour do you figure you can load with that setup? I have no experience with a hand press, but wouldn't mind having one to take to the range in case I want to roll a few of a certain load or do some experimenting on the spot.

platypusfriend
May 29, 2013, 02:45 PM
Paul,

I just tried to simulate your conditions (a few test loads), and loaded five rounds in 10:05, deprime to factory crimp.

Comrade Mike
May 29, 2013, 03:03 PM
Paul,

I just tried to simulate your conditions (a few test loads), and loaded five rounds in 10:05, deprime to factory crimp.

So a grand total of 30 rounds an hour.

James2
May 29, 2013, 03:30 PM
Manual, I like the Hornady since I use lots of their bullets.
Press and a bench to mount it on
Shell Holder
Dies for your caliber
Powder scale (You can use dippers, but for me I really like to know how much is going in them.)
Powder funnel
De-burr, chamfer tool

That is a bare minimum.

You will soon want to add a powder measure. Its a pain to dip and weigh each load.
Calipers are nice, but again not necessary to get started.
You may get by without a tumbler. I know I did without one for many years.

platypusfriend
May 29, 2013, 03:39 PM
So a grand total of 30 rounds an hour.

Basically, yes. On my little Pelican Case setup, I can load 30 rounds/hour.

The powder measuring is where most of the time goes.

platypusfriend
May 29, 2013, 03:44 PM
Manual, I like the Hornady since I use lots of their bullets.
Press and a bench to mount it on
Shell Holder
Dies for your caliber
Powder scale (You can use dippers, but for me I really like to know how much is going in them.)
Powder funnel
De-burr, chamfer tool

That is a bare minimum.

You will soon want to add a powder measure. Its a pain to dip and weigh each load.
Calipers are nice, but again not necessary to get started.
You may get by without a tumbler. I know I did without one for many years.

Trivia:

The 0.5cc Lee dipper gives me 6.9gr - 7.5gr (usually 7.1gr - 7.3gr) of AA#7, per "full" scoop. Never seen lower or higher.

I don't deburr, or clean primer pockets.

I disagree about the calipers. Avoiding a short overall length is important for 9mm, in my opinion. So is taper crimp not being too tight, especially if your overall length is long. Get a set of calipers!

Walkalong
May 29, 2013, 04:42 PM
Calipers are a great investment. Too inexpensive vs the usefulness to overlook.

Arkansas Paul
May 29, 2013, 04:44 PM
Paul,

I just tried to simulate your conditions (a few test loads), and loaded five rounds in 10:05, deprime to factory crimp.

Thank you.
I don't think I would want it to be my primary setup, but I definitely can see the advantages of having one.

Comrade Mike
May 29, 2013, 05:55 PM
You definitely want a set of calipers. 9mm is very length sensitive, push a bullet a hundredth too deep into a case and you're already entering the realm of dangerous pressures. Can you eyeball a hundredth of an inch? 9mm is one of the more dangerous calibers to reload for, don't believe me tell that to the guy who came into my buddy's shop who blew his Glock apart with a short round.

You can get into reloading cheaply yes, but don't skimp when it comes to safety. Would you rather buy a new 50 dollar caliper set or a new Glock + stitches?

Lost Sheep
May 30, 2013, 03:24 AM
Powder scale (You can use dippers, but for me I really like to know how much is going in them.)

I have no problem, conflict or issue with anything else in your post but that one line.

With that, I have two issues:

Some loaders (of the 1,000 yard match persuasion) swear by dippers.

All (non-electronic) powder measures mete powder by volume. Dippers mete by volume. My opinion: If your technique is consistent with a measure you can get consistent charges. If you technique is consistent with dippers, you can get consistent charges. With either, a scale to verify what you are getting is essential. One caveat: It MAY be more difficult to achieve satisfactorily consistent results with dippers than with a measure.

Please do not denigrate dippers as a powder meting method/tool. They do work.

Full disclosure: I do use a measure. Because it is more convenient and faster, but not because it is more accurate. Fuller disclosure: I verify the weight supplied by ANY method. That's just smart.

Lost Sheep

platypusfriend
May 30, 2013, 04:24 AM
I'm basically brand new to reloading, and I agree that, for the right powder-to-dipper match, dippers do work.

If you don't know what a dipper is, it's a little scoop that is designed to hold a specific amount of powder (say, 0.5cc). You dip the dipper into your powder, then empty the dipper into your funnel, and the funnel just sends it straight into your case. Some people do this without using a scale.

As I mentioned (or meant to imply) in a previous post, I use a dipper; however, I measure every charge to 0.1gr resolution. With AA#7 (Accurate No. 7) powder, a full scoop with my 0.5cc dipper will give a low of 6.9gr and a high of 7.5gr, with an average range of 7.1gr - 7.3gr. This entire range is within the SAAMI specs for 9mm, when using RAN or BRY 124gr RN plated bullets, according to Accurate's v3.5 loading data.

I don't have the impatience (or full rangetime calendar, ammo business, etc.) to demand a less-meticulous-but-faster method of measuring gunpowder.

Most of the time, the dipper throws 7.1gr - 7.3gr of AA#7 powder into the powder pan, like clockwork. They do work. But be careful if you aren't using a scale. And please be extremely careful if you are using a faster powder with 9x19mm.

Walkalong
May 30, 2013, 08:19 AM
A powder measure is a mechanically repeatable dipper.

Lost Sheep
May 31, 2013, 03:15 AM
A powder measure is a mechanically repeatable dipper.
Of course, a dipper has certain advantages over mechanical measures.

A dipper does not grind powder granules against one another as hard as a mechanical measure does.

A dipper is absolutely incapable of cutting ipowder granules
And
Very low cost.


The disadvantages are well known. The principal one being the difficulty of being consistent.
and
Speed.

Lost Sheep

Walkalong
May 31, 2013, 08:22 AM
Powder measures do not grind granules against each other, but they will cut the odd one or two here or there. The point being it is a volumetric measuring device that we assign weights to.

Dippers are just fine, as I have posted, and just like a measure, can be very consistent when used with care. The limiting factor to both are powder shape/size and the operator.

platypusfriend
June 5, 2013, 01:23 PM
With every dipper-powder-user combination, you'll find a "grains of powder" value that will give you the most consistency.

For me, with the Lee 0.5cc dipper, and AA#7, it is 7.3gr.

RussellC
June 22, 2013, 11:17 AM
OK, at first I had an issue with the bullet seating die, (Lee) one set of instructions (with the press, also Lee) the other with the dies were not consistent. One said to back it out 1 turn, the other 3 turns. 1 turn crunched a weird neckdown thing on top of the case, and mashed that shape into the lead buttet of another. 3 turns out, and everything is perfect.

Started using new Winchester brass, Winchester SPP, and Berry's Bullets 115 grain plated RN. Powder in HP-38. I loaded 5 rounds at 4.3 grains, 5 at 4.5 grains and 5 at 4.7 grains. All were at 1.125 OAL. All functioned through the pistol (Glock 17) without incident, with the 4.3 feeling a little soft.

Armed with this info, I loaded 100 at 4.7 grains. All looks fine. Thanks to everyone here!

Russellc

Henry45
June 22, 2013, 11:34 AM
You can get some decent digital calipers at Harbor Freight. For like 9.99. I have a set for a back up and they are as accurate as my Fowler's..

Kuyong_Chuin
June 22, 2013, 03:56 PM
Okay this is probably a stupid question, and I know "There are not stupid questions just stupid answers" before someone says it. Can a 40 S&W brass be loaded with a 40 cal lead round ball and used in a semi auto pistol? Reason I am asking is I found some Hornady Lead Round Ball - .40 Caliber .395" dia. 100/box for $8.79 and I thought if it would work it could make for some cheap target ammo.

bds
June 22, 2013, 04:48 PM
Lead Round Ball - .40 Caliber .395" dia. 100/box for $8.79
I wouldn't recommend it. You'll have poor seal with the barrel and massive gas leakage around the bullet to generate any consistent chamber pressures, not to mention heavy leading of your barrel.

At $8.79/100, that's $87.90/1000!

Instead, how about 155 gr X-Treme RNFP plated bullets for $107/1000 shipped? - http://www.tjconevera.com/x1015rnplbu1.html

Kuyong_Chuin
June 22, 2013, 04:57 PM
I wouldn't recommend it. You'll have poor seal with the barrel and massive gas leakage around the bullet to generate any consistent chamber pressures, not to mention heavy leading of your barrel.

At $8.79/100, that's $87.90/1000!

Instead, how about 155 gr X-Treme RNFP plated bullets for $107/1000 shipped? - http://www.tjconevera.com/x1015rnplbu1.html
Thanks I figured it wouldn't work but didn't hurt to ask. 155 grain plinking bullets would be great since that is the same grain as my Hollow Points. Thanks

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