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bare minimum to start reloading .45?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Spike_akers, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Spike_akers

    Spike_akers New Member

    Jan 22, 2013
    Richmond VA
    After getting my new kimber, and going through 400 rounds in two days, I've decided it would be worth my time to reload... What would the bare minimum be to start reloading? Obviously I'm looking to save money but want the right stuff. I've heard a turret press is better than a single stage for handgun ammo... Any help is appreciated
  2. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Turret press is the way I'd go. It lets you learn the single stages involved then you can use it to make about 100 rds an hour. Don't forget scale, check weights, calipers, handloading book, dies and lots of little stuff.
  3. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Senior Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    If I knew then what I know now

    I am out of town,or would post a lot more, but here is one thread that might be of use to you and my posts start at #11, which (humbly) I think would fit yoiur needs/usage (which seem very similar to mine) very well.


    Welcome to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

    Remember, the "Search" function is your friend. Search on words like "Newby". "Newbie", "Beginner", "Looking to start" and such as that.

    Loading is not rocket science, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so be safe, always, all ways. If you can change a tire without losing your lug nuts and bake a cake that rises and is even, you can handload. (Especially if you can concentrate well enough to do both simultaneously).

    Good luck.

    Lost Sheep
  4. bds

    bds Elder

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    Bare minimum would be:

    - Reloading manual (I highly recommend Lyman #49 Reloading Handbook)

    - Single stage press (Any O-ring press would work) or Turret press (I highly recommend Lee Classic Turret)

    - Vibratory case tumbler (I highly recommend Berry's 400 at $49) and tumbling media either walnut or corn cob.

    - Scale (I recommend RCBS 5-0-2 $72, 5-0-5 $89, 10-10 $143 or Dillon Eliminator $71 beam scales that are accurate to 1/10th grain over digital scales that are typically accurate to 2/10th grain).

    - Calipers (Frankford Arsenal SS dial caliper for $20)

    - Means to prime the case (hand prime or press prime - if you buy the press kit, these will be included)

    - Powder measure/funnel or press mounted powder measure like Pro Auto Disk

    - Dies (I recommend carbide dies so you don't have to use case lube to resize spent cases)

    - Bullet puller (I recommend the hammer type bullet puller)

    - Components: powders, primers, bullets. Check this thread for currently available components/equipment - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=8869797#post8869797

    Optional items I would recommend

    - Check weights for the scale $27

    - Nu-Finish liquid car polish to help clean and polish spent brass cases / dryer sheets to extend the life of tumbling media

    - Primer pocket cleaner (comes with Lee press kits)

    Here's a single stage O-ring 50th Anniversary press kit ($118) that has press mounted priming (You will need to still buy dies, calipers and case tumbler) - https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-50th-anniversary-kit-90050.html

    Kit Includes:
    - Lee Breech Lock Challenger Single Stage Press
    - 1-Breech Lock Die Bushing
    - Lee Large and Small Safety Prime
    - Lee Cutter and Lock Stud
    - Lee Perfect Powder Measure
    - Lee Chamfer Tool
    - Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
    - Lee Safety Powder Scale
    - Lee Powder funnel
    - 2 oz Tube Lee Resizing Case Lube

    Here's the Classic Turret press kit ($219) that is very popular with press mounted priming (You will need to still buy dies, calipers and case tumbler) - http://www.midwayusa.com/product/785993/lee-4-hole-turret-press-with-auto-index-deluxe-kit

    Deluxe Kit Includes:
    - Turret Press with Auto Index
    - Pro Auto Disk Powder Measure
    - Large and Small Safety Prime System
    - Safety Powder Scale
    - Case Conditioning Kit (Including: Case Trimmer Cutter and Lock Stud, Chamfer Tool, Large and Small Primer Pocket Cleaner, Lee Case Sizing Lube)
    - Modern Reloading 2nd Edition, Revised Reloading Manual
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  5. Spike_akers

    Spike_akers New Member

    Jan 22, 2013
    Richmond VA
    Even though I am a certified mechanic I can't say I haven't lost nuts and bolts before haha.. thanks for the link, Im not really worried about the actual reloading, just about what I will need... Thanks again for the link
  6. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Mentor

    Sep 15, 2007
    S.E. Minnesota
    Minimum setup?
    1. Lee "Reloader" single-stage press (it's cheaper than the Hand Press)
    2. Set of Lee dies with shellholder
    3. Hand primer
    4. Harbor Freight digital calipers
    5. Borrow a balance beam scale from somebody to verify your powder charge using the dipper than comes with the dies.
    You might want to make a couple of dippers of your own using a discarded 9mm or .40 case and a piece of wire, and you might want to buy your own scale.

    When you outgrow the press and move up to a turret or progressive press, you will still find uses for the old single stage.
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2009
    You could get by with less then suggested but if your going to keep up that rate even a progressive is a little slow.
  8. dsm

    dsm Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    Bare bones minimum? Ok; Dillon Square Deal B for 45, powder scale, cheap verniers, 45 ACP brass, Winchester 231, CCi Large pistol primers, Missouri Bullets 200 SWC. There you have it, high volume bare bones minimum(HVBBM). :)

    Won't take you a week to load 400 rounds!
  9. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Mentor

    Sep 6, 2009
    Manitowoc, WI
    A couple of reloading manuals!!!!!!!!

    Reloading (think small explosions) is a GREAT hobby, but you have to do it safely!
    Lyman's 49th Reloading Handbook is IMHO the best of the best.
    It has a GREAT how-to section & the widest array of data (what bullet & how much of what powder).
  10. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Participating Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    LV county KS
    I agree with Lyman having a great how to section but I couldn't agree less on the data. For certain calibers it has a ton of data but it is lacking severely on some popular calibers. Every time I talk to someone who interested in reloading I tell them to buy the Lyman first and read the how to section 3 times or more. Then tell them to buy Lee's 2nd edition for data. It's way more thorough on data.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    It's also old data, copied from the powder & bullet manufactures data, back when the first Lee manual was published.

    Lee has no ballistics testing lab of their own.
    And does no ballistics testing, even for their own bullet mold designs which are different then most.

    All the data in the Lee book was copied from other sources after the copyrights ran out years ago.

  12. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    What not to do is get sidetracked onto a hand tool like the old Lee Loader. It will turn out ammo, but very slowly, and it is a dead end. If you want to gain more power (e.g., to size cases) you start from scratch with an O press (or a big C press, which you can find from time to time - make sure you can get dies and holders).

  13. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Mentor

    Mar 18, 2009
    Central Arkansas
    If I was getting started on a tight budget, this is how I would start. You will have to find them in stock somewhere, but you can backorder. I recently backordered a turret press from Midway and it took about a month to come in.

    Press kit.


    Just over $150 and you're good to go. IMO that's the best way to get started inexpensively. You can go with the old style kit where you use a hammer, or a hand press, but shooting 400 rounds a range trip, you're not gonna want to crank out that many with those.
    Do many of your friends or family shoot?
    My dad, brother and I all shoot a lot and we went in together on our equipment and still frequently all pitch in on components or new gadgets we think we have to have. As soon as the craziness calms down, we're going to all go in on a large powder/primer order. It's a nice way to get the things you want and not have to foot all of the bill yourself.
  14. James2

    James2 Active Member

    Nov 27, 2009
    Northern Utah
    Manual, press (with priming arm), dies, powder scales, powder funnel.

    This is pretty bare essentials, but enough to get you loading. It will be slow. You have to dip powder with something and weigh each load or make a dipper as already suggested.

    I loaded for years with no calipers nor tumbler. They are nice.

    A powder measure like the Lyman 55 is a big help when it comes to measuring out powder.

    It may be well to bite the bullet and get something like the Lee Classic Turret for starters. It will work a little faster than a single stage. I think you can get it in a kit.

    I don't have a turret and have always loaded single stage. When doing single stage you do things in batches. Size them all, prime them all, seat bullets on all. The brass goes in and out of the press shell holder several times. With the turret the casing goes in the shell holder and runs the whole process by the turret rotating each stroke. The casing comes out loaded. Of course the single stage press is less money. Good tools will last a lifetime, You decide.
  15. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Participating Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    LV county KS
    I don't think it's out dated even if its copied information. Every .45acp, 9mm, .38/.357, .223, .30-06, 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and .40 load I've seen in the Lee checks out with at least one other source. The only load information I've had to get from other sources have been for 5.7x28, which Lee doesn't list, and any load using CFE223, which no manual lists unless its been published in the last year or two. But it's at least a good source for cross reference if nothing else.
  16. Fishslayer

    Fishslayer Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    People's Republik
    I would say turret press all the way. I have the Lee Classic Turret and I will say that it's about as idiot proof as it can be. I would say I have less chance of a double charge using it than I would with a single stage.

    Plenty of stickies & threads on equipment.
  17. GT1

    GT1 Active Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Even if that was the case, it still beats the Lyman hands down and is the first manual I pick up for its breadth of data regarding bullet weight and powders for a given caliber.
    The Lyman is ridiculously poor in that regard. I have it, and a Speer 14, which is also somewhat lacking.
    Besides being the most entertaining read, it is far from dangerous.

    Taking any book data as gospel isn't very smart, anyway. It is why we work up our loads.
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I highly recommend a Lee Classic Turret press for building handgun ammo. You can safely load between 180 and 200 rounds per hour with one. Remember to buy the Classic and not the Deluxe because it's a much better press for not a lot more money.
    Kemp's Gun Shop online has a good Classic Turret kit. Make sure to upgrade to the Pro Auto-Disk in the drop-down box on the bottom of the page. It's a much better powder measure and well worth the small additional cost. That kit even comes with a set of Lee dies so choose the .45 Auto and you're set...
  19. 4895

    4895 Active Member

    Mar 6, 2011
    Tucson, Arizona
    I think the bare-bones minimum would consist of the following:

    Lee Single Stage Anniversary Kit $100
    Lee .45 acp Carbide Dies $45
    Harbor Freight Dial Calipers $10
    Components (brass, bullets, powder, primers) $$$$
    Well-lit work area free from ALL distractions

    I would save your plastic/styrofoam ammo box inserts to use as loading trays (they are almost free)

    I consider the above to be bare-bones and should supply 50 rounds an hour of reloads. Reloading is cheap, mistakes...not so much.

    If you have the money, I would buy a Dillon Square Deal in .45auto ($300-$400) and not look back. Hands down, that press is just what you need if you only plan on shooting one pistol caliber. If you want to expand your pistol calibers it may seem spendy ($90 or so). It will only load pistol, but is auto-progressive. That means there is hardly any chance of a double charge. They are tricky to learn on and I recommend against it for the beginner. They are a surefire way to hurt that pretty Kimber of yours if you make a mistake. If you have to stop the loading sequence for any reason, I recommend you pull ALL of the rounds out of the machine and set them aside for completion AFTER you correct the original problem.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  20. jjjitters

    jjjitters Member

    Sep 7, 2012
    Don't go into this looking entirely at price and what is the cheapest way to go. Good quality will last and not have you constantly tweaking and making reloading a chore instead of fun. Some brands of equipment have a higher rate of defects or poor workmanship than others. Choose on quality and correct function, not just cheap, you'll get more enjoyment out of this second hobby.

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