starting from the begining.....


December 28, 2002, 01:53 PM
i've decided that i want to try reloading, seeing as how i can save some cash and master yet another skill why not??

only thing i have now is a will and some empty 44 mag brass...
i know im gonna need some kinda work space for all the equipment, and components... so out with the old and i have about 6-10 ft of wall space to work with...

so tell me about your workspace, what you've tried, what worked well for you, and most important what didn't work....

just off the top of my head i'll probally build a 16" bench the lenght of my available wallspace and have several 4 ft. sections of shelving above that...

once i have that i need some equipment, i've talked to some of the guys i shoot/hunt with, they all have different brands of presses, but they all agree on carbide dies for pistol cartridges... so what brands would you recommend in the way of presses, scales, tumblers, whatever ... that i will need...

i can order just about anything online, but localy i can get dillon and rcbs equipment...

who publishes some good overall handloading material, my primary reloads will be 44, 45, 40, 9x18, and 32 but i'd like to have some rifle and shotshell info as well....

what other things should i consider in doing this??

thanks for the help....

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December 28, 2002, 02:24 PM
I used Simpson Quick-tie connectors, a few 2X4s, a 2' X 4' piece of 3/4 inch plywood for the work surface and a 2' X 4' piece of 1/2 inch for the lower shelf. The bench is compact and solid. Best of all it cost me less than $85 in material and a couple of hours to build.

I have a Dillon RL550B. I highly recommend it. I also have a Thumblin Tumbler and a Dillon CM500 media separator on the shelf.

I keep calipers and other handtools on the bench, for adjusting the dies and such, in a small rack made from some of the scrap 2X4s.

December 28, 2002, 02:35 PM
I started with a RCBS Rockchucker, and a set of Lee carbide dies, a couple of loading blocks, a balance beam scale, a powder trickler and a bench made out of a solid core door, 2x4s and 4x4s.

You might be able to find doors for cheap, if they have imperfections and whatnot on one side.

December 28, 2002, 05:33 PM
You might consider a RCBS rockchucker kit. It contain most of the equipment you will need to get started. Dies may be extra.Even if you get a progressive press later, the rockchucker will be good to have on your bench. Reloading benchs can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. One fellow I know uses an old wooden desk for his setup. Another fellow C clamps his press to his kitchen table and does ok. I broke down a few years ago and built a bench from some plans available from the Natioanl Association of Reloading Manufacturers.

December 28, 2002, 05:56 PM
I second the recommendation for one of the kits, regardless of whether you go with a progressive or a single-stage. That way, you'll get most of the basic stuff you need.

Make sure to get protective eyewear and a set of calipers.

December 28, 2002, 06:32 PM
i assume progressive means more than one case at a time in different stages of reloading.....

i went to the almighty WM ealier and seen the rock chucker and the partner presses, the partner came as a kit and was $114, and i didn't see a price for the RC....

how about a list of all the parts that i need, i know i need a press, with the right dies... some way to measure powder, and that's all i've picked up so far...

December 28, 2002, 08:23 PM
The kits usually simply matters because they will provide you with what you need two start. I assisted two of my friends as they set up their rcbs rockchucker kits and I was most impressed. This is a partial list and you will be adding tools as you find you need them.Get a reloading manual(hardbound) as distributed by such companies as Speer,Hornady,Lyman,and others.Such books will teach you much about reloading and will serve you as reference books for years. I believe a copy of the Speer book come with the rcbs kits. The same company that owns rcbs,also owns speer,weaver and others.You will need your components. You probably have some once fired brass left over from your shooting sessions. You will also need powder, primers, and bullets.The manual will assist you in choicing your components or you can ask on line and I am sure someone will direct you the right way.Your press is the heart of your reloading setup. So if at all possible buy the beefy, top of the line model. You will never regret it. The rockchucker is one tough press. Buy a set of carbide dies for the pistol caliber you wish to load for.Most of mine are rcbs. You are not limited to that brand of dies since other brands are interchangible.With carbide dies you will not have to lube your pistol cases when you go to resize them. The dies for rifle cartridges are generally steel and you must lubricate them or suffer the fate of a stuck case as I once did many moons ago.You will need a shell holder for the paricular case you are reloading.You will need a powder scale to actually wiegh the powder charge that goes into a case. You will need a funnel to help you here and a caliper to measure things.Loading blocks to hold your cases are most useful. They are fairly cheap and could be made at home out of some scrap lumber. I think this would suffice. You could cut some more corners but these items except for the components will last you a lifetime.If you plan to load alot of handgun rounds, I would strong recommend a good powder measure.It will greatly increase your speed and it will be money well spent. rcbs makes a good one.

December 28, 2002, 08:41 PM
I started out loading .45's with the real basic setup. A Lyman manual, a Rockchucker, a set of dies, and a scale.

I'd pour powder into a cereal bowl and use a spoon to tap tap tap the powder charge up to level, then transfer it to the case and repeat.

That was about 18 years ago and Lord, how its grown!:p

December 28, 2002, 11:36 PM
I had to put mine in the only space aviailable at the time; a 4' space between the wall & the freezer in the laundry room.
I used a vanity base salvaged from a bathroom remodel and put a pre-formed formica counter top on it.
Not visible in the photo are the cabinets I built & mounted above the bench.
Someday one or more of the kids will fly the nest, I've got dibs on the bedroom. :p

happy old sailor
December 30, 2002, 12:21 AM
yesterday, take a good look at cisco's setup. it is all you will need for pistol reloading. take a real good look at his press. it is what i have and, again, will be all you need for pistol reloading. for rifle reloading, check out Hornady's lock n load press. if you plan to live forever, get the Rockchucker.

some time in the future you can spend the big bucks for a Dillon, or some other progressive. you will still find uses for the two aforementioned presses. so no money wasted there.

and get some reloading books, plural. don't smoke, don't drink while reloading. eye protection and pay attention. and best of all, enjoy.

December 30, 2002, 07:49 AM
Just an observation: I think after loading awhile you'll find the 16" depth of your bench to be woefully inadequate. There will be a variety of things you'll want at your fingertips and counterspace will become a premium.

If it were me, I'd seriously consider a workspace that was at least 24" deep if not 30".


December 30, 2002, 09:04 AM
I load 25.06 & .270 on the turrent. I used to unbolt it (held in place with wingnuts) and replace it with a single stage Lee but found the turrent works just fine.

December 30, 2002, 10:27 AM
well i have the room for a bigger bench, but i don't you know??

anyway i've already bought the wood and will probally build that today...

it's not strange for me to shoot 2-3 hundred of several different calibers at once so im wondering why i shouldn't go ahead and buy a good progressive press, msrp on the dillon 550b is 327, whereas i could buy the rockchucker now for 100, add the powder measure 80, and i couldn't find the piggyback on so now availability is an issue...

and since nobody has mentioned it what kinda press is that in the picture.... i can look at it all day long but until i know what it is ....:p

December 30, 2002, 10:43 AM
Although I still believe in the merits of a good single-stage press, given your consumption of rounds, I don't think you can go wrong with a progressive. The Dillon 550 is of course one of the best. I used a Lee 1000 for several years. Once I got used to it's ideosyncracies it was a tolerable progressive. Now I load on a Dillon 650 and the difference is night and day. Of course the difference in $$$ is equally night and day.


happy old sailor
December 30, 2002, 10:53 PM
yesterday, the press in the photo is a Lee Turret Press.
available in a kit that has everything you need to get started for about 80 bucks. all you need is a set of dies, hulls, powder, primers and a place to set it up.

get carbide dies and a couple extra turrets if you are loading several calibers. the dies stay in the turret. you change out the turrets to change calibers. have to transfer the powder measure over and readjust the discs for powder drop. you may also want to get the Lee Reloading Book as it has good info on die adjustments.

this is not a Dillon and is not Dillon quality, but, for 100 bucks or so, you are in the reloading business. what the heck, you may not like it and are not out that much if you don't. if you do enjoy this as many of us do, then think Dillon. jewel of the loading world. the little turret will still be useful for working up loads.

for the best prices on Lee products:

a 16" bench will get you by, but, stuff accumulates. if you have the space, go a little bigger.

hope this helps:

mark mcj
December 30, 2002, 11:58 PM
My happy place.

mark mcj

mark mcj
December 31, 2002, 12:00 AM
and another angle.

mark mcj

December 31, 2002, 08:12 AM
I just started reloading last summer and I went with the Lee Turret press to get started. I'd suggest checking out Ebay. I wound a guy who was selling his entire setup and I got a great deal on it. I built my bench into a closet in the spare bedroom. Here's a photo. (don't worry, the hunting jacket does not usually live under the bench)

December 31, 2002, 01:47 PM
Befor you buy anything,get some catologs from Midway,Midsouth,Graf&others.See who has best price,also watch for on sale items.Take your time and save some cash to buy MORE.

December 31, 2002, 01:56 PM
Is it Show Off Your Press Day?
Still working on setting it up, but I'm most of the way there.
The old single stage presses are under the bench.

December 31, 2002, 02:33 PM
I have the happiest bench in the world, no more caliber conversions for me!!!:neener:

January 1, 2003, 10:08 AM
You guys are way to "NEAT":eek:
Here's my "Pigpen":o

happy old sailor
January 1, 2003, 01:44 PM
that cardboardkiller sure shut my mouth. all i got for xmas was three socks, and they didn't match.

Northwest Cajun
January 1, 2003, 02:28 PM
Here is my refuge.
Dillon 550( that started out as an AT500) RCBS Partner press, Hornady case trimmer and Midway tumbler.
You cant see the tool heads but I have 5 of them set up for 30 carbine,.223,44Spl,.45 acp and 308&30-06. The RCBS uniflow that is on the dillon is for rifle powder and the Dillon powder measure is for the pistols.


Mike Irwin
January 1, 2003, 03:34 PM
Get yourself a copy of Dean Grennell's "The ABCs of Reloading."

I think it's still in print.

It's an excellent first book for use as an introduction to all aspects of reloading.

January 1, 2003, 08:12 PM
"The ABCs of Reloading." shows up from time to time on ebay, so do lots of others.
A trip to the local library can be productive too.

January 1, 2003, 08:23 PM
well i' got my bench and shelves ready....

and after i did some research on tfl, some man. websites and checked around on some prices i decided to hold off on the dillon for now....

instead i ordered the lee pro 1000.... hey if it's junk im only out 125 bux, if it's alright then i only spent 125 bux...

either way now on to other things...

i'll mostly be loading those pistol calibers listed in the first post, is there a powder that i can use for all of them? these reloads will just be for the range so no need for super speed, expansion or whatnot... i did buy the hodgons annual which has lots of loads for most of those calibers... each one list both hp-38 and universal powders, so i guess these 2 would be a good place to begin heh??

happy old sailor
January 2, 2003, 10:58 AM
if only one powder, think Unique.

you will be happier with your results if you have several.

with any progressive, be prepared to tinker. setup, startup, can try your patience, especially the Lee.

check for and remove all casting and cutting burrs. lightly lube all rubbing parts not powder and primer related. this little machine will not chomp, chompem out like a Dillon, but it will work after you and it get used to each other. watch that primer gadger, you may want to prime as a separate operation.

if this forum builds as i expect it to, there will be several thousand reloaders on it. hopeso. several someones will have the precise answer to any question you may ask.

January 2, 2003, 12:29 PM
Do yourself a favor. Get a progressive from Hornady or Dillon and you won't be sorry. You will get what you pay for in a reloader. A single stage will take forever to load any amount of ammo. I would rather buy ammo than putz around with a single stage.

December 10, 2006, 03:04 PM
How come you guys are so clean? Do you actually reload?:p

August 7, 2008, 08:19 PM
Do I understand you correctly? Your Walmart sells reloading equipment? Man, I have never seen reloading equipment in a Walmart.

The Bushmaster
August 8, 2008, 09:37 AM
Aah...Ya make the same mistake I do once in a while... Note the date on the posts. They start in December 2002 and end in December 2006...:D

August 8, 2008, 11:05 PM
I'm fully aware of the date. But that doesn't answer my question. Who has a Wally World that sells reloading equipment?

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