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Teaching yourself how to reload

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by karnaaj, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. karnaaj

    karnaaj Well-Known Member

    I'm curious as to people's feelings on teaching oneself to reload. Good idea or bad? I helped my father do some reloading as a teen but that was 30 years ago using equipment that was already 20-30 years old. No presses at all.

    If this is practicable what are some recommendations as to books/videos on the subject? TIA
  2. capbuster

    capbuster Well-Known Member

    Yes you can teach yourself to reload. I would recommend that you obtain some literature on the subject.The price of a good reloading manual is not that high and it will give you a great start on your road to loading your own ammo.If something is not clear,ask questions. Fellow reloaders can certainly emphatize and will be glad to assist you.
  3. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I taught myself to reload in 1963. I started with a used Hollywood press that I bought from a college professor and a manual. Still have them both and now load for about 23 different calibers. We used to do things like that before there was an internet......

  4. Navy joe

    Navy joe Well-Known Member

    It is perfectly acceptable. I did it.

    -You must have an updated reloading manual.
    -If in doubt, don't try it.
    -Safety is your primary goal, after that good performance.
    -Learn good habits the first time and stick to them.

    My first press was a Dillon 550B. I am the impatient sort so the day I got the press I had 200 rounds made. They all worked great. To do that, I had been reading THRs reloading forum for a while. I had a Lyman manual and had read it to the point I was familiar with all the terms and abbreviations used. I followed Dillons manual, weighed powder about 1000 times before I got my powder setup right and then I went to town.

    Essential tools:
    -Reloading manual.
    -An accurate scale. I use an electronic Dillon but there are plenty of cheaper options in manual balances.
    -Accurate calipers.
    -A case gage for your caliber.
    -A bullet puller so you can undo mistakes.

    Essential skills:
    -Good scientific method. A scale accurate to .1 grain is usless if you do not verify the zero often, bump it around or let it get dirty. Likewise good calipers are usless if you clamp down on them one time but measure loosely the next.

    -Good scientific method, write everything down. Every load I have ever made is written down. Date, caliber, case, bullet type/weight, powder, primer, OAL, crimp if applicable, number loaded, and after I shoot them performance notes.

    -Patience and concentration. If you are tired, stressed, or distracted you should not be loading.
  5. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Well-Known Member

    Yup, I did it as well . .did alot of reading first and really took my time. (still do)

  6. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Well-Known Member

    i kinda am self taught. this board kinda held my hand through the process though so i wasn't really 'on my own'. looking back its really not too bad. if your around CNY you can come check my stuff out to see if its for you.
  7. presspuller

    presspuller Well-Known Member

    I think it is better to be self/ book taught than to trust a "friend" to show you. The "friend" may have some habits than aint the best in the world to have.

    Go slow and PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING and you will do just fine.
  8. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Well-Known Member

    I taught myself. I read the manual and asked a lot of questions on here. I also read a lot of other threads. Take it slow, read a lot and don't be afraid to ask questions and you should be fine.
  9. Hawk

    Hawk Well-Known Member

    Self-taught works (so far).

    It helped that my first two presses came mostly set-up by the factory.
  10. the pistolero

    the pistolero Well-Known Member

    Depends on the person. I taught myself more or less, read the various threads here at THR and talked to several people who reload about the process itself. But I also took it very slowly, weighing about every other charge at first, measuring OAL several times, and even weighing the completed cartridges. I don't go quite that far now, but every tenth charge still gets thrown on the scale and every tenth complete cartridge goes under the calipers.
  11. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Well-Known Member

    I taught myself how to reload in June 2007.
    A friend and I learned together, and he loads a lot of rifle rounds on a single stage and I load a lot of pistol rounds on a turret press.

    Together we've probably put together a few thousand rounds. He claims his .223's are just as accurate as factory, but he builds 500 rounds for about $30. I load .45acp and 9mm. Neither of us have any books on the subject (except for the ABC's of reloading, which is pure garbage history information, not good for someone interested in reloading for the first time. It's sitting on a shelf, it's yours if you want to pay shipping.) It does, however tell you how to measure chamber pressures, which is great....if you have the equipment.

    Anyhow, reloading is only as exact a science as you want it to be. I weigh my charges on occasion and as long as they're within .2 grains (.1 grains on 9mm), I'm happy. I really just want to shoot for cheap, so I always load to the "minimum" or just under the minimum listed charge weight.

    Once you get going, order your supplies from www.powdervalleyinc.com they are the cheapest, and I use them for everything.... well, except www.brassmanbrass.com has a special of $29 for 1000 9mm 125 grain LRN right now.

    Get a lee press... and there are videos on how to set them up on lee's website... google "lee precision".

    I started out weighing every single charge, now I weigh every 500th or so.
  12. baz

    baz Well-Known Member

    I'm in the process of "teaching myself" right now. But I'd know nowhere as much as I do in the short time I've been reloading without this forum. It is much better than having someone teach you. What if that someone doesn't know as much as they think they know? When I have a question, and post it here, I get a variety of answers. It is like being a single student in a classroom full of teachers. If somebody's full of it, it will probably be obvious. If you take it slow, make conservative choices to start, and use good sense, and ask questions here when you are in doubt, you'll do just fine "teaching yourself."
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I taught myself back before there was such a thing as THR. Bought a couple of books and went from there.
  14. Neophyte1

    Neophyte1 Well-Known Member

    Teaching onself to reload

    Hey Folks: I'm new to HighRoads, and the information available today is by, and far superior to what most of the "Old Timers" [with total respect intended]:)
    Most if not all 'OT' had only a book, basic tools, and a hankering to do there on thing.
    Respected Knowledge, and still alive to tell about it. :what:
    I have met Engineers, Dr's., House wives, construction workers, and the world of curious minded folks.
    Having an admiration, with a curious mind, we all [now] enjoy a time of plenty of proper managed info. How much has changed since the onslaught of us. A plenty. Yet it basically remains the same.
    These 'OT' survived by placing there trust in the Books, and good sense.
    Be good, and Be safe, and Be Responsible, and then I want you to write about your experiences; so I can enjoy [vicariously] through your eyes.

    Many thanks, Craig
  15. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Me too! I started with the LEE Anniversary Kit that included the LEE reloading manual - it's got everything you need to read in that manual. That kit + dies + calipers + reloading block for the rounds (optional but recommended) + case length gage and pilot for trimming the rifle calibers you reload and you're in business. There's plenty of reloaders here to answer whatever questions you might have.
  16. karnaaj

    karnaaj Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the replys. guys. I feel better about going ahead and giving this a try. Now, what do you recommend for presses and such? Single stage or turret? Initially I will be reloading pistol ammo but will want to branch out to rifle ammo in the near future. I know about Midway, are there any others I should know about? I checked out kellyj00's sites which I appreciate.
  17. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Well-Known Member

    I started with "The ABCs of Reloading" - I read that darn near cover-to-cover several times. I just saw the neweste version at Borders, and it looks very good - I think it has colored pictures of every step in the process.

    Then I thought I was going to buy myself a Hornady Lock N Load Classic kit, so I bought the Hornady manual.

    Then a friend at work who had bought a Dillon gave me an old Lyman turret press (T-Mag?).

    So I bought the Lyman reloading manual. You don't really have to have the same brand reloading manual as your press, but several folks suggested that I have at least two.

    I had read a lot, so I felt ready to start.

    The main thing I learned is to relly stop and think when something doesn't seem right. I was loading a complete round at a time - which was a mistake for other reasons. I had just crimped the bullet, and I looked over and saw a load still sitting in the pan on my scale. I started to just move on, but then I thought, "Wait that load should not be there!" So I went out and bought an inertial bullet puller, and sure enough, I had a squib.

    Since then, I have loaded about 2K rounds - still pretty much a newbie. But I do still have all my fingers and toes.

    Go slow, be methodical, and have a lot of fun!

    My hat off to folks who start with a progressive - I started with the turret press, and that seemed complicated enough to me. I know folks who learn on a progressive, so it can be done. Not sure that I could have done that.

  18. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    that's how I'm learning (I won't say learned...because there's still so much I don't know).

    I'm a "gear head" so it all made sense.

    didn't have the luxury of a mentor....other than the guys on this forum (who have been extremely helpful...thanks THR Reloaders)

    be humble....read....be patient....ask questions....don't try to cook up super hot loads....respect the tools and materials.....and have fun.
  19. Cavediver

    Cavediver Member

    I'm in your shoes right now.
    I've been reading for several weeks now, it's almost time for an order.
    My first press is probably going to be a Lee Classic Turret from Kempf Gun Shop
    My wife and I go thru about 600 rounds per month right now, another 3-400 more if we do 2 local IDPA matches per month.
    The classic turret is not the fastest way to make rounds, but it'll be a good introduction. If I find that I need more speed, I'll upgrade to a progressive and keep the turret for long guns and other calibers that I don't shoot too often.

    For now I'm still collecting and cleaning brass, reading and researching.
  20. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Self taught with a lot of help from a 46th Edition Lyman loading manual and some help from my resident Gunsmith over 20 years ago...If you "self teach" Make sure you do a lot of reading and go slow...:)

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