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Old December 16, 2014, 08:15 PM   #1
quintonhall
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newby to reloading

Got a super blackhawk in 44 mag. Was thinking this could be a multipurpose gun for carrying on tractor, camping and such. With small game loads and large game loads Rotating cylinder would allow selection of ammo needed.

I would like to keep as economical as possible to reload. I was thinking about getting the lee classic loader ($30), Lee #90432 round ball mold ($20), Lee #90299 240 grain swc mold ($20). I don't plan to reload a lot, so slow is fine with me. Is this a workable solution for tools?

Can get wheel weight lead for casting. Was thinking if possible to load both the round balls and the swc for same velocity to allow same sight to be accurate enough for both. Is there a powder and primer that could be adjusted for amount to work with both?
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:17 PM   #2
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Could even go with double ball loads if needed to get same bullet weight as the swc?
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:19 PM   #3
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Start with factory made bullets from Missouri Bullet, Rocky Mountain Reloading, Dardas, or one of the many other friends of this board.

Bullet making is a hobby unto itself. You won't want to try learning both reloading and bullet making at the same time. Walk before you run.
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:28 PM   #4
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Additionally.... given equal investments in nice reloading equipment, OR the same amount in nice bullet making equipment.... I think most guys on this board would tell you to get a better reloading outfit and skimp on the bullet making equipment.

Reloading is going to be VERY unrewarding and even frustrating when it takes 4 hours to reload 50 rounds.
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:42 PM   #5
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Thank you rfwobbly. What would be your recommendation on budget equipment?
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:43 PM   #6
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Get a press, any is better than the Lee Loader. Get a 44 magnum die set. Buy a decent powder scale. Starting out I agree that you'd be ahead of the game buying bullets. Skip the round ball stuff. For small game like rabbits or squirrels, buy some Speer shotshell capsules and load them with 7 1/2 or even #6 shot. The Speer Shotshells spread the shot about an inch per foot so at 20 feet you'd have about a 20" pattern. CCI 300 primers for light loads and CCI 350 for full power loads with powders like Win 296/H110. A good reloading manual such as Lyman's 49th. Just my opinion, because loading your own gives you the ability to play.
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:46 PM   #7
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I agree.

There is much to learn here before you start playing with unlubricated lead ball loads in a .44 Mag.

Unless kept at very low velocity plinking loads, you will suffer from very nasty barrel leading.

Lead bullets are grease lubed in the grease groves.

Lead balls are not.

Develop a accurate 240 grain SWC load and use it for everything.

Mixing loads in the cylinder like you suggest is never a good idea, as neither load will shoot to the same place anyway.

May I suggest the first thing you need to buy is a couple of good reloading manuals.

Like Lyman #49 if you have any desire to load lead bullets.
The Speer manual also has some swaged lead bullet data in it.

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Old December 16, 2014, 08:48 PM   #8
quintonhall
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rg1 from what I have read the shot shells or only good for snakes up close. It seems the rifling in barrel spins the shot so that you get a donut pattern with a big hole in center. Is this incorrect?
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Old December 16, 2014, 08:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Thank you rfwobbly. What would be your recommendation on budget equipment?
Really GOOD reloading equipment has been made since the late 60's. In your shoes I'd try to locate a local guy aging out of the business and buy him out. Most likely he's got a Rock Chucker press by RCBS or similar. RCBS sold them by the millions in the 1970's. They make ammo just as good as anything around today, and they come with excellent scales and powder measures. You can buy the same thing today brand new, but instead of being made in the USA from cast steel, it's aluminum cast in China. So older is actually better. Place a note on the bulletin board at your local gun club or shooting range. Look on your local CraigsList. These things are sitting around everywhere.

Hope this helps.


Hint: One big help for you is to place your location in your Profile. Friend, we can't even start to help you if we don't know where you are.
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Old December 16, 2014, 09:00 PM   #10
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Shot shells work fine if you load them with #6 shot or larger. Taken you don't have many shot in a capsule but it only take one to do the job. The smaller shot does not penetrate pelts very well. Good for birds and that's about it.
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Old December 16, 2014, 09:03 PM   #11
rcmodel
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No, correct.

The Speer shot-caps are a big improvement in patterning from bare shot in a rifled barrel.
But still far from perfect.

I killed a flying Mallard duck years ago at about 15-20 yards with one out a .357.

But it was far more luck then skill or pattern density that far away!

But un-lubed round balls aren't much better.

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Old December 16, 2014, 09:38 PM   #12
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Get a press, dies and a scale. You will be much better off and you can add things as you need or want. Buy lead or plated bullets, like a 240 SWC and work up a load that you like. Try to stick with one load and you will be better off as the POI will be the same and you will actually hit stuff. Confidence is very important in a handgun.
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Old December 16, 2014, 11:58 PM   #13
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Welcome to the forum and to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

The Lee Loader (the Mallet-driven "Whack-a-bullet") will work, but once you add a few (necessary for safety and flexibility) accessories, you are looking at $100 to $150.

$30 Loader

$25 to $150 decent scale

$50 at least two loading manuals for the load recipes as well as the information in the early chapters on the "How-tos" and "Whys" of loading.

$5 a proper mallet (DO NOT use a steel hammer)

$25 hand priming tool (tapping a live primer into a case makes some people nervous)

$10-$30 Heavy glove (to protect your hand from the potential popped primer)

$15 Safety glasses (use your shooting glasses if you must, but a dedicated pair in your loading box is better, for convenience's sake)

A press (even a hand press) is a LOT quieter than the mallet tool. It will take a minimum of 5 strokes of the mallet to load each round, probably around 8-12 most of the time. All that banging on "live ammo" can be unnerving to onlookers. It isn't unsafe, but it just...well, you know.

A scale (and that loading manual) will allow you to choose a MUCH wider range of powders and power levels than the meager choices the Lee Loader allows.

Once you complete a loading setup (with the Lee Loader or a basic setup built around a press), the difference is very small. About $30-$40 out of $150 or so. And you will be MUCH more versatile, relaxed and quiet. Very likely much faster, too, though there are some speed demons on the Loader who can keep up with an average press user.

Good luck.

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Old December 17, 2014, 12:09 AM   #14
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Another way of looking at it

I wrote this essay a while back and forgot about it when I penned my first post in this thread. Maybe this writing style will resonate better.

If you load in any kind of quantity, you will be limited by the mallet-powered Lee loader. It makes good ammo, just not very fast, very conveniently or very quietly (every whack of the mallet will make everyone else in the house jump, unless you live near a railroad or an airport). Don't get me wrong. They work GREAT. I have one for every caliber I load. I just don't use them in preference to my press.

Consider the cost of entry: 1 loaders, a mallet and a block of wood on which to work (don't want to dent the dining room table, now) will set you back about $40 or so.

One set of dies, priming tool and a press capable of handling all the calibers you listed will set you back around $100.

The lists of peripherals you will want to supplement either of the above two basic setups are identical for comparison purposes. (e.g. a scale, chamfer tool, calipers and stuff) I left out of the list a press-mounted powder measure and other tools, because hey are truly optional and I want to compare directly the press to the Lee Loader, we have to set those aside for the moment and consider you will be scooping powder with the dippers.

So, you can choose a press for $100 and load quietly and smoothly. Or you can choose the Lee loaders for $40 and do a lot of banging on a workbench.

Other differences: I understand that occasionally a primer will go off. I have never done that or met anyone who has, but I believe it does happen, probably one out of a thousand or ten, but you probably want to wear ear protection when it does. (Wear eye protection with either system ALWAYS.)

All in all, an extra $60 is not much in the grand scheme of things to gain the quiet and the versatility of the press over the Lee Loader.

On the other hand. The Press will actually (ill-kept secret here) cost you a WHOLE LOT MORE! See, you will have this endless supply of ammunition begging to be shot. You will go to the range more often and stay longer. You will even buy more guns to shoot all this ammo you produce so cheaply. The Lee Loader is not immune to this phenomenon, but its lack of speed does provide a limited immunity to this disease.

Good Luck,

Lost Sheep
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Old December 17, 2014, 01:02 AM   #15
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I would save the trouble, and buy a Forster Co-Ax. Much quicker to change out the dies. I have re-loaded 44 Mag for 20 years now. Out of the same Forster Co-Ax btw. Its also extremely quiet if you keep it well oiled (I just use Bortech gun oil). Once you have the dies set, they snap in and out of place with no adjustment (As opposed to other systems where you have to screw them in). Other things to think about.

Brass Cleaner, I recommend the RCBS, as it heats and cleans. Ultrasonic cleaners do an amazing job of cleaning inside the cases, and primer pockets. Once I ditched a tumbler for an ultrasonic cleaner, I never looked back. Do the right research and learn how to use these properly, and you will find you can clean much more than just brass with them. I would suggest using a universal decapping die before cleaning. That way the primer pockets get cleaned by the ultrasonic cleaner.

Powder Scales. I prefer electronic scales like the PACT. But their is nothing wrong with an old balance scale (I have one that's from before I was born I still use) or even a press mounted dispenser.

The type of Die Set you invest in. Some require case lubing, but a Titanium Carbide set will allow you to reload and skip case lubing.

Priming. The Co-Ax has a built in primer on top, which works just fine. Or you can hand prime.

Trimming. You need to decide if your going to trim your cases, you will get multiple answers on if you should or should not. I will say this, use your best judgement, and do your research.

Before you do anything, find a reloading manual. One for a couple dollars at half price books is good enough. The steps haven't changed in forever, and one from the 1980s can get you a good idea of what you are looking at. Read it, understand it. I have hand-loaded ammo using a Lee Kit and Rubber Mallet. Its a lot more work than just simply using a press is. When you think economical think time spent, and think performance obtained. Repeat-ability. As well as the ability to expand in the future. A good press will last you a lifetime, as will a good set of dies that you take care of. I wish you luck, and I hope you come to enjoy reloading!
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Old December 17, 2014, 01:39 AM   #16
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I bought a Lee Breech Lock Challenger kit for less than $150 when I started out. Add in a set of dies and you're looking at less than $200 for everything you need to load for your 44. You can also piece together what you need, but not as cheap.
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Old December 17, 2014, 04:22 AM   #17
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The Lee Classic Loader gets a little nerve racking pretty quick. Having to hit every case with a hammer a few times just isn't fun.

If you want to test the waters before you make a big investment and you want to keep things simple I suggest the very basic single stage press Lee puts out for only $23.99.
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precisio...ess-90045.html
Add a set of Carbide 44 Spl /44 Mag dies for another $25.89 and you have a much better setup than the Classic Loader. The Lee dies include a shellholder which saves you another $5 to $8.
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precisio...ial-90516.html

Add some of the tools mentioned above and you will be able to make very good ammo. An on press Ram-Primer will cost you $11.99 or you can buy a hand primer for $19.99
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precisio...ime-90106.html
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precisio...-xr-90230.html

Buy a good scale because the good ones last a lifetime.
A funnel will cost you only a few bucks.


If you decide to keep loading and you buy better equipment the dies are always good with any press you buy and the scale and priming tools are always needed when reloading. The inexpensive single stage press can be used for decapping in the future.
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Old December 17, 2014, 07:41 PM   #18
quintonhall
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I was thinking of using the lee classic in a press instead whacking them in. As for as calipers and scale, I have those in my workshop already.
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Old Yesterday, 05:41 PM   #19
Dudedog
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Lee turrent.
That way you can load and shoot them faster.
The Lee kits have everythin gyou need but dies. Some people don't like the Lee scale but I have never used one so I can't comment.

Lost Sheep is correct about shooting more!

More money but a great value IMO.

There are many threads here about what you need to get started about presses, scales and other goodies.
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Old Yesterday, 06:29 PM   #20
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Here's my recipe for casual reloading for a straight walled case in a single caliber: New or used Lee open C-Press, used dies, used scale or dipper set, or make your own dipper with a case. One powder, one bullet, one primer. One manual or 2. If you decide to upgrade, everything you have can be sold again to offset the next upgrade or kept as backup. Reloading isn't for everyone, and the cost of entry doesn't need to be high. Don't rush, be frugal. Lots of deals still to be made. I picked up an unused RCBS case lube pad with an unopened tube of RCBS case lube for $5 at the last gun show I went to. Lots of dies under $30.
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