Quantcast
  1. Upgrade efforts paused for now. Thanks for your patience. More details in the thread in Tech Support for those who are interested.
    Dismiss Notice

Help...I want to reload, what do I need?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by DogBonz, Oct 4, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    NJ
    I’ve always wanted to reload, and now that I’m about to order my 6.5 Grendel upper, it is looking more and more attractive given the cost of Grendel ammo. My question is what do I need to get started? I’m talking soup to nuts. What do I need, and wht would be nice to have? What type of setup should I get? I have heard good things about the RCBS “Rockchucker. Is this a good press? Also, besides a reloading manual, are there any good “how-to” books out there.

    I would be reloading the 6.5 Grendal, .223 and .45, and maybe 36-06. I’m not looking for volume really, more for a way to shoot for less. I have about 1200 once fired 45 casings so far, and about 2-3 lbs of Win 231 (I think that’s the number). So I think that I just need bullets and primers for the 45’s. Is win 231 ok for 45 acp? I realize that I would need different powder for the Grendel, and probably for the .223 and ’06 also.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Messages:
    2,152
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    The RCBS Rockchucker is great. You'll need the press, and dies and a shell holder for each caliber (some shellholders fit more than one caliber.) You'll need a powder measure and a scale. You'll need a reloading book. If you shoot bottlenecked cartridges you'll need a lube pad and some case lube.

    Get a bullet puller, one of the hammer-types. They don't cost much and are very useful. You can prime on the press, but a lot of us buy the Lee handheld primer tool.

    WW 231 will work fine in the .45 ACP. Buy carbide dies for the .45 ACP. They are worth the extra cost.
     
  3. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,542
    Location:
    NE Georgia
    Thinking about Reloading and Reloading Equipment Basics

    Before you get any of the reloading equipment on the equipment list below, you’ll want to do some reading. You won’t need all of them, but here’s are some good manuals to
    start with:

    The ABC's of Reloading (I strongly advise starting with this one.)
    Metallic Cartridge Reloading (I strongly advise buying this one second.)
    Speer Manual
    Modern Reloading by Richard Lee
    Lyman Metallic Reloading Handbook
    Hornady 5th Edition Reloading Handbook (2 volume set)

    1. A reloading press- you’ll need to know what type of cartridge and in what quantities before a press can be advised, think on how much you think you'll shoot. This is the most important set of decision making you have regarding selection of equipment – how much, what type and in what quantities.

    Generally speaking, a single stage press may be better for more accurate cartridges in rifle and providing solid control of the reloading process for a new reloader. The only drawback is the volume of produced rounds versus the effort required can be low. The RCBS Rock Chucker, the Lee Classic Cast Press, Redding Boss and Forester Coax are all excellent choices. (However, the new Lee Classic Turret Press, capable of 200 rounds or better per hour, is beefy and may very well be a good choice for rifle as well. I should note you can easily reload smaller calibers like .223 on most progressives, but for ultimate accuracy, the competitors seem to go with a single stage for their long distance round building.). If you go with the Rock Chucker or Lee Classic Cast press, I'd suggest also getting a Hornady Lock N Load bushing conversion kit for the Rock chucker or Lee Classic Cast press with another 10 additional bushings. The Lee is the least expensive of the bunch, is the latest single stage out and has compared favorably with the Rock Chucker and like the Rock Chucker, will accept the Hornady Lock N Load Conversion Bushing kit. With these, you adjust your dies once, tighten down the lock ring and next time you want to change dies, you just insert, twist and snap/lock in and you're done changing dies in about 2 seconds. I use these on my Lee Classic Cast press. I have found them to be wonderful. BTW, I use my single stages to do specialized tasks and to reload quantities of less than 100 rounds at a time, such as hunting rifle ammunition.


    For reloading pistol, you’d want to consider a turret or progressive press. If you are new, a turret would likely be the better choice (Unless you desire to reload large quantities in excess of 200 rounds an hour or a 1000 rounds a month.), to have a bit more control and to get an understanding of what’s happening, though a progressive is “do-able,” you run a larger risk of making a mistake that could harm you or damage your pistol/rifle. Good brands of turrets are Lee Classic Turret Press (4 station, automatic advance), Dillon (AT500, 4 station), RCBS (88901, cast iron) and Redding (T7, cast iron). For the lowest price, the Lee will do an excellent job and is a more advanced design than the others, providing 200-300 rounds per hour (About what the average Dillon 550 owner gets, if they’re honest.) get you started at a reasonable price and if you decide to stay with it, you may want to go progressive.

    If you find you reload a large quantity of rounds and want to go full blown progressive, excellent brands are Hornady (Lock N Load {5 station fully automated; I have one and love it.}), Dillon (550 {4 station semi-automated turret or 650 station fully automated}) (I don’t recommend Dillon’s SBD because it’s dies won’t fit anything else, nor will any other dies fit it, so you’re stuck with Dillon dies and it doesn’t reload rifle.) and the RCBS 2000 (An excellent cast iron semi automated press with an excellent primer feed). A good economy brand is the Lee Pro 1000. The Lee is less expensive and can take some tweaking, but it can be done and it’s way less expensive to purchase, a serious consideration if your money is tight. Here’s a good how to website for Lee equipment:

    http://www.geocities.com/leereloading/index.htm

    2. Reloading dies for the caliber of your choice. I have Hornady, Lee and RCBS dies, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy and use Dillon, who also load excellent ammo and were specifically designed for progressive reloading. Rumor has it that Redding is the Cadillac of dies, but their prices reflect it. I would only explore the Redding and other higher priced dies if your plan is to reload for competitive purposes. For pistol, you'll want to buy carbide or TiN coated dies, so that you do not have to lubricate your brass to prevent it sticking in the die. For a single stage press (Or Lee Turret press), you'll need a shell holder that matches the caliber you're loading. For a progressive, you’ll need a shell plate.

    3. A Powder measure/dispenser (Many kits include these.) I like the Hornady, RCBS and Redding brands for these. I have both the Hornady and Redding brands. Of these, the Hornady has an automated version and is more consistent (to me) because of the automated feature. It came with my Hornady Lock and Load Auto Progressive Press. For more automated powder dispensing, the Lee Auto Disk, the Hornady Lock N Load and the Dillon measures offer case activated powder dispensing and expanding capabilities which is desirable if you wish to load pistol.


    4. A powder scale, no matter single stage, turret or progressive, you'll need one of these. I like the RCBS 1010, the Hornady and the Dillon scales. I have a Redding, but wish I had gotten the RCBS 1010 because the fine adjustment on the Redding is hard to see and can be bumped out of adjustment accidentally. My plan is to replace the Redding with an RCBS 1010 when I can, because of the positive fine adjustment on the RCBS 1010.

    5. A set of calipers to measure your cartridges with. I have a Frankford Arsenal set that's done well for me. I have recently replaced it with a 6” digital set I bought at Harbor Freight Tools (It’s done a great job since I’ve had it and I really like the digital feature.). Other folks spend a lot more money, but these have been more than accurate enough for everything I've loaded, including high-power rifle cartridges for competitive purposes.

    6. A reloading manual- I have and like my Speer #13, but Hornady, Lee and a couple other folks make excellent ones. I haven't heard much about Lyman's reloading manual, but their lead bullet manual is very good. A good loading book on the basics like the ABC's of Reloading and Metallic Cartridge Reloading can help you understand the process a lot better. Read them a couple times it will get you to a good understanding. Read the directions that come with your press, dies etc.

    7. Some snap lid plastic storage containers with bins to store all the little pieces and parts from the equipment. It might not be a bad idea to look at plastic fishing tackle boxes, as they have lots of storage compartments.

    8. Some Akro plastic bins to hold your brass, bullets and loaded cartridges while you're in the process of reloading. If you're loading single stage, you might need some cartridge blocks to regain the brass in various stages of production. Buy the cheapest bins out there, such as Harbor Freight; they're all plastic so you gain nothing by paying more.

    9. A couple of adjustable wrenches, one six inch and one eight inch. There may be other hand tools, but if you have a toolbox, you may already have them. Or you can identify the correct size wrenches you need for a better fit when adjusting things.

    10. A kinetic bullet puller and a collet bullet puller to correct your mistakes. Why both? The kinetic puller to cover oddball calibers you decide to buy and load and the collet puller to cover the calibers you load the most. I had the kinetic made by Frankford Arsenal in the past, but because of price changes, I now recommend the RCBS one, because of their excellent warranty (They’ll exchange it if it breaks, no matter how long you’ve owned it.). BTW, the collets for the Frankford Arsenal fit the RCBS. I like the Hornady and RCBS collet pullers, because of their operation speed and they don’t spill the powder everywhere.


    11. A brass trimmer. I have an RCBS Trim Pro automated version and have recently added the head that chamfers. Makes it real nice if you’re processing large quantities of brass that need trimming and chamfering. I used to compete in high-power rifle, reload lots of rifle cartridges that need to be trimmed to length occasionally. For smaller quantities of brass, a hand trimmer would be sufficient and much more fun to use. You will need to check your brass is not over the maximum allowed length. After trimming, you will need a de-burring tool cleans up the inside and outside necks so the case-mouth isn't sharp and bullets insert smoothly without damage. RCBS offers the Trim Mate to automatic this, as well as the chamfering heads for their Trim Pro. Most automatic pistol cartridges do not need to be trimmed. IF you're loading for serious competition, consider the Gracie and Giraud trimmers.

    12. Cartridge gauge. These are nicely convenient to check to see if your reloaded cartridges are within SAAMI specification.

    13. Case lube - I use Hornady One Shot on my rifle cartridges, but I find it and their cleaner lube handy for lubricating moving parts on my progressive that I don't have grease and oil getting into. For rifle cartridges you can lube with a pad and case lube (such as the one included in the RCBS kit) or use something like Hornady one-shot or try out Imperial Sizing Die Wax, which is another excellent product. My recommendation is the One Shot or the Imperial wax over the messy lube pads.

    14. Brass - I recommend you research and buy a better brand of brass, particularly what the majority of folks shooting your caliber are loading, it'll generally be (but not always) the best compromise of quality and price. Occasionally something new comes along that whips the "standard" pretty badly. Though sometimes, it’s about the same price to buy preloaded cartridges, shoot them and reload the brass. You come out about the same cost wise, but get to shoot it more. Don't forget once fired range brass as well, particularly for pistol.

    15. Powder - Again, start with the "Ole standby" for your cartridge (if one exists) and then move out to other brands as you gain reloading experience. Post on the net and folks will provide you with what the “Ole standby” is.

    16. Bullets - FMJ is great, but lead is cheaper. I'd advise buying them in bulk, 500 to a thousand at a time. You'll want to learn how to reload before you even think about making your own lead bullets. Depending on the caliber you're shooting, this will certainly result in significant savings. This is for range practice. For hunting, go with the best bullets you can afford for the type of animal you’re hunting. Once you've gained some reloading experience, you may want to save even more and cast your own bullets like I do.

    17. Safety glasses, wear them while you're reloading, just like you do when you're shooting. Nothing like making a mistake, then blowing up a primer and losing an eye to ruin one’s day.


    18. You will need to clean the brass. Bose's Guns, (http://www.bosesguns.com/) has a Frankford Arsenal combination that does well, it's the one I have. Another more expensive alternative would be the Dillon combination (Dillonprecision.com). Other manufacturers make other good ones as well. The ones mentioned are the ones I’m familiar with.

    Finally, build yourself a nice, stable reloading bench. Some make their bench huge, with lots of surface area. I suggest to you that rather than do this, you make the bench just big enough to set up a reloading operation with AKRO plastic bins (bought cheaply from an industrial supply outfit in large quantity). You will need a single "universal" reloading tray to hold the cartridges while they are primed and charged, waiting for bullets.

    Having owned both large and small bench setups, I've found setting up two or even three smaller benches and making shelving units to store the accessories and reloading components works better for me.

    I've had to move a time or two and the huge benches were a real problem. With a bench narrower than the width of your doors, if you have to move, you don't have to disassemble it (Much more convenient not to have to disassemble when you're busy as hell trying to get ready to move.) Also, make it short enough you can move it around corners within your house.

    Some links:

    http://www.leeprecision.com/
    http://www.redding-reloading.com/
    http://www.rcbs.com/default.asp?menu=1&s1=1
    https://www.hornady.com/shop/
    http://www.bosesguns.com/
    http://www.fmreloading.com/
    http://www.dillonprecision.com/
    http://www.kempfgunshop.com/index.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2006
  4. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    NJ
    WOW! Thanks guys

    That is some great info. I was thinking of going with a single stage until I got the hang of reloading, but maybe I should get a turret. I’m not really concerned with volume. The way that I see it, I usually shoot only once a month, (I know, I know, I wish I could get out more, but right now it just isn’t possible) so that leaves 29 days a month to reload. I usually only shoot about 200 rounds a month of 223, 45, and 9mm, and only about 20 rounds of 30-06 (and that, maybe 20). I’m not going to bother reloading the 9mm because it seems like I can buy it for about the same cost as the components. I don’t have the Grendel upper yet, so I don’t know how much I’ll shoot that. For 223, and 45, I just want some cheap ammo so that I might be able to shoot more. For the ’06 it would be hunting ammo, and for the Grendel, I might want to get into competition, so I would be looking for max accuracy. I know that max accuracy will take a while, if not a long time to get right, but I’m willing to work at it.

    As for equipment, I see these as tools, and therefore, don’t mind spending a bit more to get quality stuff. For instance, I’m not a auto mechanic, but most of my auto related hand tool are SnapON. I know that it’s over kill, but I buy good stuff because I know that it will always work when I need it.

    The ranges that I have gone to in the past have not allowed lead bullets, they have to be FMJ or plated, so no lead.:mad:

    Thanks once again for all of the great help.
     
  5. fighterthiefmage

    fighterthiefmage Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Good Luck on your reloading. I am thinking about starting as well. Snap on stuff is not cheap. I admit I have a lot as well but was once a mechanic. Unless you use your tools daily you may not notice or need the difference. I especially enjoy the rachets, screwdrivers, and wrenches.
     
  6. TheGrouch

    TheGrouch Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Bloomington, IL
    The RCBS Rockchucker is an excellent press. I use it for rifle reloading and a Hornady LnL AP for pistol.
     
  7. stealthmode

    stealthmode Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    459
    very informative post
     
  8. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
    You should get a case cleaner, and you are in luck. Cabelas has one on sale for a great price:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/

    Check on the:RCBS Vibratory Case Cleaner and Media
    It is marked down from $99 to $59
    Which IIRC, that is what I paid for mine a couple of years ago. It is still going strong.
     
  9. MAUSER88

    MAUSER88 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Messages:
    669
    Location:
    NJ
    IM sent
     
  10. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    NJ
    Thanks guys

    As always, lots of great info. Keep it comming. Also, any tips, hints, suggestions, or wise remarks will be apprecaited.

    Thanks
     
  11. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    478
    Location:
    Southern California
    Super Post

    Dave--I am going to Bookmark this thread. Your discussion for new reloader people is awesome! I will refer guys to it in the future.:D
     
  12. Tarendol

    Tarendol Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    31
    I've been thinking of doing some small scale reloading myself, and if I get a K31 like I want it would be an ideal time to start. But can I ask what the start-up cost will be? Most people seem to have setups that are many hundreds of dollars, a bit out of my reach at the moment. Can you start small and move up?
     
  13. cabowabo

    cabowabo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Messages:
    33
    Dr. Dickie stated

    "You should get a case cleaner, and you are in luck. Cabelas has one on sale for a great price:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/

    Check on the:RCBS Vibratory Case Cleaner and Media
    It is marked down from $99 to $59
    Which IIRC, that is what I paid for mine a couple of years ago. It is still going strong."

    And you'll get a $20 cabelas card to boot!!! Got mine yesterday, not the bigest cleaner but man is it quite.
     
  14. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    478
    Location:
    Southern California
    Lee Turret Press Kit

    Tarendo--look hard at a Lee DeLuxe Turret Press Kit with 4 hole turret press . Add a Safety Prime unit. Buy a copy of Richard Lee's "Modern Reloading", 2nd edition. That plus a set of Lee DeLuxe Pistol dies would give you everything you need to get going.(If you wanted to spend more money, then I would recommend the New Lee Classic Turret Press which is one ruggged piece of gear. But that isn't available in kit form and you would have to order things in pieces--it would probably be around $200 for one caliber. See below for the lower price alternative based on a kit.)

    You can use the turret press as auto-indexing or single-stage, as you wish.

    Check this website to get some idea of cost--

    http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products/reloading/leeprecision/kits/90928.html

    Other suppliers will be slightly lower in price but these people are shooters and they can advise you on what you should have, or not have.

    For about $160 plus shipping you would have a very good setup that would last for a long time. If I was doing it, I would go for a little more $$ and get the Classic Turret press, but either would work well. I have the Classic Turret setup and love it.(it can be used single stage also.)
     
  15. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,908
    Location:
    Virginia
    If you're going to be reloading a lot of surplus military brass with crimped boxer primers, I'd recommend getting a dedicated decapping die. I have one from Lee, cost less than ten bucks at the time, and works on everything from .22 to .375 Mag. I keep mine in a cheap old single station press.
     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    46,725
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    Do some study on prices. Remember that a loading press can't really wear out, absent being left out in the rain for years. A good used press can save some good money for buying other stuff.

    Sometimes at gunshows a fair amount of good usable equipment shows up. I've bought dies, powder measures and scales, and the little "stuff" that goes along with the deal.

    Art
     
  17. ojdidit

    ojdidit Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    57
    just marking thread
     
  18. donttellthewife

    donttellthewife Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Oregon
    I didn't see anybody list a chronogragh as a needed tool, I think it is a must have tool to check your loaded ammo. Some of the ways I've saved money reloading are as follows.

    Cleaning media---- pet store crushed walnut or corncob, used for animal bedding, or harbor frieght has bulk amonts of crushed walnut for their sand blasters. For polish a compound in the media I have had good results with Nu Finsh car polish, for really dirty cases I grind up some chrome polish that is nomaly used on a buffing wheel it is white in color (don't use rouge or tripoly it makes mess of everything) and throw it in media.

    Powder---- If you can find it, military surplus powder can save you a ton of money. Don't try this until your more experianced, you have to work up your loads very carefully, no two lots are same. Always keep a eye open for sales, I don't know about your local sporting goods store, but here in the northwest Bi Mart has been great.

    Bullets---- Buy in bulk, for pistol plinking I've had real good results with plated bullets, just don't load them to hot. For rifle plinking bullets I've use nothing but military pulled bullets and have had excellent
    results (Pats reloading supply)

    Presses---- Buy used, all of mine are. Put an add in Craigslist under wanted section. Find someone in your area who is willing to show you the "ropes" almost all reloaders are willing to teach what they know (leave a note for help at your local range) I bet someone will step up, I have and now I got more shooting buddies and more people to go in with for group buys of components.

    Have fun and good luck
     
  19. lcarreau

    lcarreau Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Arlington, tx
    I have reloaded for a few years and own a chrono, but I have honestly never used it. I load mostly pistol and stay within published guidelines. I also shoot at relatively short distances.

    -Lonnie
     
  20. donttellthewife

    donttellthewife Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Oregon
    Well, when you go to an indoor range and the lighting is not good enough about 6 feet out from the firing line for the eyes of the chrono to see the shadow of the bullet pass over them. You'll have to manufacture a custom light source that mounts to the guide wires. When you've done that and the range is full of shooters you will be able to tell them just how great your reloads work. Then they will want to know how fast their factory ammo is, but they're afraid they'll shoot your fine chrono setup, so of course you will shoot their gun and ammo for them and after the 5th or 6th shot everyone will marvel at all the small parts of chronogragh all over the shooting lanes. So without a chrono how could you entertain that many people at once. True story, and I don't pull to the right so much any more.



    Seriously though, it's because I use plated pistol bullets, if you exceed the fps the plating comes off as the bullet exits the barrel, powders get old or have been degraded some how, and I want to know that I am not over pressuring anything. I also use surplus powder, that's the only safe way to use that powder. I keep notes on all aspects of the rounds I load and trust no one but myself to keep safe, I don't know how you could be 100% sure you were doing everything possible to stay safe without one.
     
  21. Dr. Dickie

    Dr. Dickie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
    Now, if you are serious about re-loading, and you want to save money (note: re-loading does not save you money, it just lets you shoot more:D ), get yourself a C&R license.
    The discount that Midway and Brownells gives you is worth its weight in gold.
    Only thing better is if you have a local connection for bullets and powder, cheap.
    Course, the down-side is, the C&R is a license to spend money on all those Mil-surps you see:neener:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice