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1st Time reloader with question

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

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  1. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    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!

    Russellc
     
  2. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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!

    Russellc
     
  5. 2bfree

    2bfree Member

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

    ArtP Member

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    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:

    http://www.natchezss.com/product.cf...ce=pj&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=43737

    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

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    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.

    rc
     
  8. ArtP

    ArtP Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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,

    Russellc
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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. :)
     

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  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    Except in 9MM. :)
     
  13. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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

    Russellc
     
  14. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    Russellc
     
  17. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    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.

    Russellc
     
  18. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    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.

    Russellc
     
  19. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    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 Member

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

    Russellc
     
  21. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    There is nothing wrong with starting off using Lee reloading gear.
    I started off using an $89.00 Lee 50th Anniversary Kit a couple of years ago.
    I still use the same single stage press along with a set of Lee dies for my .308 which shoots very small groups.
     
  22. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    The 4-hole Lee Turret press known as the Lee Classic Turret is the way to go if you go turret (which I recommend). The 3-hole regular turret and the 4-hole Deluxe turret are perfectly adequate for 9mm and .223 but the Classic Turret has some significant advantages over the Deluxe.

    Larger vertical opening
    Superior spent primer handling
    Cast iron of the Classic Turret wear better than aluminum of the others

    I recommend the Turret over the single stage because the kind of quantities I predict you will be shooting will be easier to achieve on the turret than on a single stage. You can operate a turret exactly as if it is a single stage (batch processing) if you want to and as a turret (batch processing or continuous processing) if you want. But a single stage does not give you that choice.

    When I was loading on a single stage, 50-60 rounds per hour was what I could do. 100 in an hour was completely unreachable.

    When I loaded my very first 100 rounds on my Classic Turret, I did 100 rounds in 47 minutes (including keeping the primers and powder filled and boxing up the finished product).

    So, when I decided to repopulate my loading bench in 2010 I replaced almost everything with new stuff (except my scale and a bunch of hand tools), I went with the best that money could buy. Caveat: The best for me may not be the best for you, but the gear I bought was best for me and without consideration for cost.

    See this thread:

    www.rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-...you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

    You can start with $150 and be minimally equipped for one caliber, and can expand from there as you have the money and feel the need for more tools. But you will have spent nothing on items you will later discard.

    $300 and you have a really good setup. (Kempf's Gun Shop online for their kit plus a couple manuals and a scale). For each additional caliber, figure $50 more.

    Now, if you start shooting 500 rounds a week, you will want something with a bit more throughput, like a progressive.

    Lost Sheep
     
  23. RussellC

    RussellC Member

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    Hmmmmamazon lists 4 different "The ABCs of reloading" by 4 different authors. Who wrote the one you have?

    thanks,

    Russellc
     
  24. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    I have heard you can get a copy of ABCs of Reloading for a Kindle or other digital reader for one dollar. But it has no pictures, diagrams or drawings.

    I have also heard that the earlier editions are better than the more recent ones.

    The ABC's is a book compiled by editors and periodically the thing changes. Mine was written in 1975, when I first started loading.

    Lost Sheep
     
  25. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    10 Advices for the novice loader.

    I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universally mentioned, so I put together this list of 10 advices.


    Much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".


    So you can better evaluate my words, here is the focus of my experience. I load for handguns (44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 9mm, 357 Mag, 480 Ruger) a couple hundred per sitting and go through 100 to 500 centerfire rounds per month. I don't cast....yet.


    When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. My setup was simple. A set of dies, a press, a 2" x 6" plank, some carriage bolts and wing nuts, a scale, two loading blocks. I just mounted the press on the plank wedged into the drawer of an end table. I did not use a loading bench at all.


    It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly.


    I still believe in a minimalist approach and and try to keep my inventory of tools low. I do not keep my loading gear set up when not in use, either, but pack them away in small toolboxes until the next loading session.


    Now, here are my Ten Advices.


    Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.


    Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of (or any) money on equipment.


    Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps found in their early chapters. The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well so give better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others. The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging.


    I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Containing no loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. I am told the older editions are better than the newer ones, so the library is looking even better.


    There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started, but some are better than others. Filter all casual information through a "B.S." filter.


    Only after you know the processing steps of loading can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack. If builging your own kit from scratch, you will be better able to find the parts that will serve your into the future without having to do trade-ins.


    Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?


    Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Generally you get what you pay for and better equipment costs more. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Aluminum generally takes more cleaning and lubrication to last forever. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you think Ford/Chevy owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better. RCBS equipment is almost all green, Dillon-blue, Lee-red. Almost no manufacturers cross color lines and many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. Make your own choices.


    About brand loyalties, an example: Lee Precision makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker (though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes, as Lee has been an innovator both in price leadership which has introduced many to loading who might not otherwise have been able to start the hobby and in introduction of innovative features like their auto-advancing turret presses). But there are detractors who focus on Lee's cheapest offerings to paint even their extremely strong gear as inferior. Ignore the snobs.


    On Kits: Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started. Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops (negating the savings you thought the kit gave you), but you will have gotten started, at least.


    On building your own kit: The thought processes you give to assembling your own kit increases your knowledge about reloading. You may get started a couple weeks later than if you started with a kit, but you will be far ahead in knowledge.


    Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy. Progressive, turret or Single Stage? Experimental loads? Pushing performance envelopes? Don't get fancy.


    While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the mechanical steps of loading right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, bullet seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a voluminous, "fluffy", powder that is, one that is easy to see that you have charged the case and which will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it.


    While learning, only perform one operation at a time. Whether you do the one operation 50 (or 20) times on a batch of cases before moving on to the next operation - "Batch Processing" or take one case through all the sequence of operations between empty case to finished cartridge - "Continuous Processing", sometimes known as "Sequential Processing", learn by performing only one operation at a time and concentrating on THAT OPERATION. On a single stage press or a turret press, this is the native way of operation. On a progressive press, the native operation is to perform mulltiple operations simultaneously. Don't do it. While you can learn on a progressive press, in my opinion too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of (unless you load singly at first). Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME. Until handloading becomes second nature to you.


    Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.


    On the Turret vs Single stage the decision is simpler. You can do everything on a Turret EXACTLY the same way as you do on a single stage (just leave the turret stationary). That is, a Turret IS a single stage if you don't rotate the head.


    Learning on a progressive can be done successfully, but it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than on roller skates.


    Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of almost every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one.


    Advice #4 Find a mentor.


    There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers; 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")


    I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.


    After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.


    Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness


    Your loading bench/room is tantamount to a factory floor. There is a whole profession devoted to industrial engineering, the art and science of production design. Your loading system (layout, process steps, quality control, safety measures, etc) deserves no less attention than that.

    Place your scale where it is protected from drafts and vibration and is easy to read and operate. Place you components' supplies convenient to the hand that will place them into the operation and the receptacle(s) for interim or finished products, too. You can make a significant increase in safety and in speed, too, with well thought out design of your production layout, "A" to "Z", from the lighting to the dropcloth to the fire suppression scheme.


    Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology


    Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Ballistic testing has produced some new knowledge over the years and powder chemistry has changed over the years, too. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.


    Read previous threads on reloading and watch videos available on the web. But be cautious. There is both good information and bad information found in casual sources, so see my advice #10.


    Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)


    When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying for features you don't need. "The delicious flavor of low price fades fast. The wretched aftertaste of poor quality lingers long."


    Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride) rather than tool steel.

    T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.


    Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.


    Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children (present of future - lead is a hazard, too. Wash after loading and don't eat at your bench). Enough said?


    Advice #10 Take all with a grain of salt.

    Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and can easily hit "7" instead of "4" because they are next to each other on the keypad.


    Good luck.


    Lost Sheep
     
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