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Easiest CALIBERs to RELOAD?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by cleetus03, Sep 23, 2009.

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  1. cleetus03

    cleetus03 Member

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    I have just gotten the bug to self-educate myself with Handloading and Reloading. I know pretty much absolutely nothing on the subject, so bear with me on my following question's.....;)

    1. Whats the general consensus on the easiest/simplest calibers to reload? (Lowest on the tedious scale)

    2. How much does saving your brass cut down on the price of reloading? (A LOT, SO-SO, Minimally)

    3. Roughly speaking, at what number of handloads does it take to start becoming cheaper than well.....WallyWorld target bulk pack's?


    P.S. (I own the following centerfire calibers; 9mm, 30-30, .270, .38 special, .357 mag)


    I appreciate yalls time & patience in answering these questions and look forward to reading your reply's!:)
     
  2. TRguy

    TRguy Member

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    easiest? hummmm

    None are complicated. If you can read a recipe and a manual you can reload.

    Straight wall cartridges (9mm, 45/70, 38/357, etc....) requires a flare to the cartridge wall versus a necked brass to properly seat your bullet. So an extra step versus necked brass reloading.

    learn to set your seating die with proper crimp

    save your brass, saves you money

    Necked cartridges require you to trim your brass prior to reloading. Always resize new brass, don't take it out of the factory bag and start flaring, priming......always resize your new brass.

    save money????? ha! count your time and you are saving nothing.....I just love loading my own, spending time doing it. It's a hobby and not truly a money saver once you factor in time, cleaning, sorting, trimming, working up loads.

    I will say I probably don't shoot enough cause I have three card board moving boxes of loaded ammo I am waiting to get around to shoot.

    Have fun....oh yeah get a quality manual, I use Lyman 49th edition currently with online hodgdon data.

    I use a hornady lock N load for 45acp, 38/357, 9mm, and 5.56

    RCBS Rockchucker single stage for 45/70, 243, & 308
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    1. .38 Spl or .45 ACP are great ones to start on. (9mm is pretty easy, but not as forgiving as the low pressure .45 ACP) Pistol calibers are less "tedious" to load than rifle.

    2. A lot.

    3. Depends on a great many variables.

    Onced fired 9MM and .38 Spl brass is free or cheap. Once fired .357 is pricey these days. Rifle brass (.270 & 30-30)is of course a good bit more than pistol brass, but there can be more room for savings with rifle calibers.

    How much invested to get started reloading? What bullets? Lead, jacketed? etc etc.
     
  4. cleetus03

    cleetus03 Member

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    ^Wow thanks for the tips TRguy!
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    1. No easy ones from what i read on this forum. Reloading book or online can take you thru each step of reloading.Read the instruction. 2. Check the price of new unfired brass and compare to new factory ammo in the calilber of your choice (a lot). 3. Depends on calilber, pistol brass lasts till you loose it using target loads. 270 average maybe 8 loading, midrange pressure. Max 3-4. Good reading on the RCBS website. http://www.rcbs.com/guide/default.aspx Us old guys learned from books, still might be the best way as there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. I am sure i have given bad info because not all dies/reloading equipment is exactly the same.
     
  6. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Learning curve...

    Cletus 03--Good on you wanting to learn BEFORE you begin making, or mis-making, ammo! And good questions--Pity that there isn't a hard-and-fast rule for answering the ones you ask!

    The "standard text" for learning the reloading of ammunition is, The ABC's of Reloading, put out by Krause Publishing. Get it @ yr local gun store, gun show, Amazon or the like, or you can order from the publisher: www.krause.com They must be doing something right; the book is in its 7th edition.

    The ABC's covers ALL the bases, from beginner to post-expert. Should be on every reloader's bookshelf, well thumbed, IMHO.

    For your questions: My opinion:

    (1) Easiest, most forgiving cartridge to reload IMX is probably .45 ACP. Of the ones you list, .357 Magnum/.38 Special are next to it--don't try for hot-rod super-fast loads at first--That last few feet per second are not the be-all and end-all of reloading. Plus, the best accuracy is seldom found at the extreme upper end of the pressure/velocity scale anyhow.

    (2) Greatly. The brass is the most expensive component of most cartridges, the exceptions being where you have relatively cheap, common brass, and are using a really high-falutin' expensive bullet. (For example, .30-'06 rounds with Nosler Partition bullets--the brass is for free at every public range, and those particular bullets are pricey. Very good bullets, mind you, but pricey.)

    (3) It depends. For one thing, you'll start right off making higher-quality ammo than the cheapo Wally World stuff--you have better quality control and will be more careful with each single round than a huge factory can ever do. That higher quality means that you should be comparing your reloads to the better stuff, not the cheapo Wally World stuff. If you use free range pick-up brass, it's cheaper than buying new brass or buying once-fired brass. Some reloaders shy away from range pick-up brass, but that's what I--and many others--began with and it worked for me. If you use lead pistol bullets, those are cheaper than jacketed bullets. Some powders are cheaper than others, although with powder you should buy the one that best will do what you want, not the cheapest one that will get by. And the prices of all components are going up asymtotically. But then, so is the price of factory ammo. So how much you save how fast, will vary.

    You follow the directions, don't skip steps, be careful, inspect, inspect, inspect. Your time is your own, for pitys' sake. Use it.

    Then there is the factor of exactly what equipment you buy that you have to amortize before you start saving money, and that varies by quite a bit, too. Here again, The ABC's will help you get an overview of what equipment is out there, and what you actually need to get started, as opposed to what you'd like if you bought all the shiny bells & whistles.

    So. You are Doing It Right. That's a Good Thing. Oh, and welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading!
     
  7. raz-0

    raz-0 Member

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    Absolute simplest has to be .45 acp. Large components that aren't a pain to handle. Low pressure cartridge with a nice large extractor groove, so the brass lasts and lasts. Only downsides are price of bullets and brass, and that with dense fast powders, you ahve the case capacity ofr a triple or quadruple charge. But you still save a lot over factory ammo.
     
  8. Lee Roder

    Lee Roder Member

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    Keep it simple

    +1 on low pressure cartridges. Start your reloading journey with jacketed and not cast bullets. You will experience fewer issues. Just my own opinion.
     
  9. .45Guy

    .45Guy Member

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    I have an affinity for rather esoteric chamberings, so the absolute easiest I have done would be .35WSL. It took a little work to get things going, but once up and running, it was sweet and easy.
     
  10. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    IMO of coarse

    #1 .38, strait wall, runs the dies beautifully and has a roll crimp which is easy to see and judge. There is also fudge room for mistakes if shooting out of a .357 gun. The downfall is most powders do not fill the case even half way, so one must be vigilant not to double charge. Once again though in a .357 there is a bit of fudge room from boomboom.

    #2 A ton, nice part about a wheel gun as above is most keep their brass together at the range then throw it into the trough or bucket at once, pick it up in hand fulls. The other nice part is your not chasing YOUR brass all over the range.

    #3 That all depends on you, I cast my own bullets, so I can do a batch of .38s with my bullets for roughly the cost of primers, powder and lube in the bullets. Maybe $5 per hundred. If your buying bullets they will range anywhere between .06-.12 a piece on the cheap. Say .04 a primer (and thats high) and .02-.06 in powder.

    Good Luck.........
     
  11. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

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    I learned on 45ACP and loaded for it only about 5-6yrs before I moved on to other calibers. Heck for the first 2yrs I used the Lee dipper and AA#5 (loaded thru my first brick of 1K primers that way) before finally getting an Auto Disk powder drop. Did some stupid stuff too with that Lee dipper. Luckily I quickly figured out that it wasn't the thing to keep doing and didn't blow myself or gun up in the process.

    After a few good years of loading (actually semi) knowing what I was doing with the .45, I then moved on .38spl and 9mm at the same time...

    I think 9mm is a bit easier/safer between the 2.... but Walkalong has a good point. The 9mm's small case capacity makes it unforgiving with fast powders (and I use Red Dot). Pressure can spike in a hurry - but I don't think you can blow up a 9mm gun like you can a .38spl (well maybe if you ran a compressed charge of ZIP). I really like the 9mm because its small case is easier to tell if you have no powder or a double charge by just glancing in it....

    The .38spl case by comparison is so long that you can't even see 3gr of powder in it without taking the cartridge off the press and shining a light in it.... Then trying to tell the difference (by eye) between 3gr or 6gr of powder in that very long case.... I've seen a few guns destroyed by people accidently double charging a case when loading Bullseye or Red Dot in .38's. There are high volume powders (like Trail Boss) that make this easier and safer but I don't think they are as economical as the faster burn rate powders and they don't have the history for accuracy yet.

    The mechanics of loading both are the same. If you ALWAYS follow good safety practices in your loading, either will be a good starting caliber for you.

    I check the powder charge on a scale of every 10th round, when I load a batch of 45 or 9mm. By comparison (maybe I'm paranoid), I check every 5th round on 38spl...

    Good luck getting started
    Will
     
  12. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "Easiest CALIBER's to RELOAD? "

    Goodness! Are ANY of them difficult to reload?
     
  13. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    Hmm. Plus one step...minus about 5.

    Oh, and this.
     
  14. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

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    It's great to hear about your interest in reloading. The stickies on the top of this forum are a great way introduce you to the basic concepts, but they are no substitute for getting a manual to learn the process.

    Here's my thoughts on your questions:

    1. Both rifle and pistol reloading can both be tedious and require attention. If you don't have a meticulous attitude toward it, it can be dangerous. Almost everyone has heard of a 2nd hand or 3rd hand story of someone destroying a firearm or hurting themselves from being reckless. Some people get into reloading and don't like it because they would rather not put the time into it, but that's for you to decide. As others have stated, it is probably best to start with a low pressure round like the 45acp or 38 special. I would also add that it would be beneficial to start with a revolver or bolt action cartridge since these remove the additional requirement of getting a semi-auto to cycle.

    2.&3. The cost of the bullet and the brass are the major costs to the cartridge, compared to the powder and the primer. Saving brass saves money, but how much depends on the caliber. I don't know if anyone has said this yet, but if your main goal for reloading is just to save money, you will probably be disappointed. I'm not saying that it can't, but by the time you buy equipment and components, the breakeven point is substantial - and even greater if you factor in your time. Reloading is a hobby for most of us and should be understood as such. The ammo you reload is for your use only and cannot be sold without a ton of fees paid to the government. Even so, it is a great liability to let others shoot your reloads. If you are a casual shooter, a $13.99 box of Federal 30-30 or .270 ammo at Walmart is hard to beat. The breakeven point is different for every caliber. I reload because I think it is fun; I can make ammo that is more consistent than what I can buy; and I can develop lower power loads that are more fun to shoot. If any of these appeal to you, welcome to the club!
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    First...excellent post rklessdriver

    Good news is with medium burn rate powders good for medium to full loads in 9MM (such as HS-6, AA #5, Unique, N330, etc) they will fill the case enough so that a double charge will spill over or at least be very obvious.

    I like 700X and N320 for light loads in 9MM, and they are also bulky enough to be very obvious if there is a double charge.

    The little case that can cause pressure problems if their is very much bullet set back also helps us see double charges.

    The reverse of the .38 Spl, where that big case and low pressure round is more forgiving, there is plenty of space for a double charge, or even a triple charge with some powders. I like bulky powders for .38 Spl like 700X and Clays, but even with them one has to be careful. It is still a small charge by volume.

    It's a trade off. Pros and cons with either.
     
  16. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Like said above, straight walled cases are probably the easiest, like 9mm, 38, 357, & 45.

    Lots, the brass is the most expensive part and the only one you can re-use(unless you use lead & recast it yourself).

    That will depend on a few things. How much do you think you will load per month? How much time will you have to dedicate to that number? What kind of budget do you have to do this? Do you have a place to reload in peace with no interruptions(very important). After all that you can decide which brand(color) to go with.

    Before anything else, is is often recommended here to read the ABC's of reloading and also get Lyman's 49th before you start. They will give you a better understanding of the processes, what they do, and what you need to do it.
     
  17. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    Isn't 9mm a tapered wall? My .38 feed through my dies 100% easier than the 9mm casings.
     
  18. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    9mm is tapered. My bad. It is real close to my eyes to be straight-walled that I group it that way, but it is tapered. :eek:
     
  19. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    One other thought on 9mm and although I agree it is fairly easy to reload. For a newb starting out as I was, the military crimp would put a damper on the reloading session. Its OK if you know about it and can either ream them out or cast them aside from the other brass, but those few that get through can bring the session to a screeching halt.
     
  20. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Member

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    I really like the .45 ACP. Straight walled and short so it resizes with little effort. I use Lee carbide dies and set a medium taper crimp in die #3.

    Can't get the no lube carbide dies for rifles BTW.

    I charge powder with 50 rounds in a case holder. The mouth is so wide it is very easy to inspect and make sure all cases have equal charges.

    Re: case expense, check what the non reloaders toss at the range. Scrounging is a great money saver. And I am not proud and will ask a guy with a factory ammo box if he minds if I pick up his cases. I stay well stocked in good quality 45 ACP brass this way but could also get a lot of .38 SPL or 40 SW.

    Had one guy at the range who had just started reloading talking about the high price of .223 cases. I sent him to the buckets and he found 150+ once fired cases. Thought he was going to hug me but I don't go for that sensitive sh*t. ;-)

    Consider cast bullets. I got some great ones for 45 and 44 mag from Friendswood Bullet Co on the internet. Consistent weight and on the hard side but not so brittle that they shatter. My range loads are about 2/3 of max and target loads lower. Have seen no leading at all. And they are sure cheaper than factory jacketed. Just remember to give your cases a bit of extra bell if you load lead so you do not shave the bullet.

    Primers suck. I usually have to find them at auction and those guys scalp you. The Russkie Wolf primers tend to be cheaper and more available and work just fine in my pistols. They are a bit big so will take a bit of an extra squeeze with your hand prime tool. No biggie.

    Now the fun begins, obsessing until you find that perfect load for your pistol and fire that awesome 4 leaf clover bullseye group. The Holy Grail of reloading. You are doing it right if you lay awake nights calculating loads in your head. ;-)

    I once bought some medium soft custom cast .357 DEWCs. Shot a cloverleaf at 25 yards and brought the target, signed by a state trooper buddy, in to my components dealer. Told him I wanted 10,000 more. He told me the caster had died. Went on to say poor guy apparently had some sort of stroke or seizure while casting, dropped onto the table and poured all the molten lead onto his head. Said they had to kind of chip him off.

    All of that, especially those details, kinda freaked me out. My trooper friend was with me and he talked me out of leaving the store and jumping in front of a truck. I have asked God many times but have never received any word or revelation why such an artisan was so cruelly taken before he could cast my 10,000. Still kinda hurts.

    But welcome to the joys of reloading.

    Tom
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I am at 140 something loads tried in .45 ACP....Some are pretty danged good. Had fun trying them all. They just kept adding up. :)
     
  22. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Strange, I read more Internet Dear Abbys about trouble with .45 ACP reloads than any other caliber, maybe all other calibers. If you are happy with replicating hardball, you will do ok but if you want to use bulk cast bullets in mixed used brass, extra attention will be required.

    I think the .38 Special will be the easiest pistol caliber to learn on, .270 won't be hard but it will be different.
     
  23. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Casting, castigating, castradi, whatever...

    Noveldoc--The Lord moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. I interpret your (come on, slight) misfortune, and the custom caster's major misfortune, to be a sign unto you--It's time to start casting your own bullets.

    Or "Boolits" as the casting hobbyists would have it.

    Then and only then, YOU will have ultimate control as to the quality of the bullets you shoot in yr .357.

    Yeah, up 'til now I've been buying mine, too. But I'm about to get into casting my own.

    Good luck some day making another cloverleaf.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Sure do, but I don't understand why. :confused:
     
  25. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    IMHO, the 45 colt is the easiest, but not by much over 44mag/spl or 38spl/357mag. Revolver cartridges seldom have chambering/feeding issues or OAL problems. Roll crimping is easier to do in the same step while seating than taper crimping. Both are probably the same if you take the extra step to crimp separately from seating. 45 is generally easier just because the components are bigger and easier to handle.

    Andy
     
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