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1st Time reloader with question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by RussellC, May 27, 2013.

  1. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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!

  2. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Sweet Agony

    Sweet Agony Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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!

  5. 2bfree

    2bfree Well-Known Member

    Don't forget a bullet puller. Well spent 15.00 when you need it you need it ;)
  6. ArtP

    ArtP Well-Known Member

    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:


    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.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  8. ArtP

    ArtP Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    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).
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  10. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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,

  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    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. :)

    Attached Files:

  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    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.

    Except in 9MM. :)
  13. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    Again, thanks for the input. I've learned more in these posts than the past month or two of investigating it myself!

  14. StretchNM

    StretchNM Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    I saw that press, as well as a similar Lee that had 3 and another 4 turrets, still pretty inexpensive.

  17. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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.

  18. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    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.

  19. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    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
  20. RussellC

    RussellC Well-Known Member

    I will check amazon for it...failing that there is a library not far from where I work.


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