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Is reloading hard , and what I need to get started, seriously

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by datruth, Jan 2, 2008.

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  1. datruth

    datruth Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    I have been shooting for a while, since I was 12 years old, but I buy my own ammo , and as everyone knows , its expensive , but I have heard , It is much cheaper, I have a few questions. What does it take to start, will I be able to make ammo for all my firearm calibers(45acp,30-06, a little 10mm and soon 308/7.62x51), I also have glocks It voids the warranty to shoot reloads, is it worth it? and being that I have bought factory ammo, can I make reloads as safely and just as reliable, as factory ammo and still duplicate the performance , I know you all can help a rookie get into " rolling his own" rounds that is thanks:)
  2. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    cheaper... i dunno. maybe. your cost per shot is much lower, but you end up shooting a ton more. so, your call if it is cheaper.

    to start, walk into your nearest gunshop and tell the counterguy that you want an rcbs master kit. that will get you about 90% or more of what you need, not including consumables (powder, bullets, primers).

    warranties.... about any gun i ever bought had the warranty voided within minutes of me getting it home. usually because i would take it apart and make it operate better - and because it got fed handloads right from the first shot. so, if the warranty is a big deal, maybe you want to re-think it. i couldn't care less about a warranty, you might like 'em.

    reloads safe and reliable... yes. i don't shoot that factory garbage anymore because it is not as accurate, or reliable as my handloads. i perform my own qc, and that means more to me than somebody in a factory far away that may or may not be doing it, and if they are i doubt their standards are as high as mine. so, if your work is sloppy and you will be loading self defense ammo, you might want to reconsider. but if you take pride in your craft and aren't afraid of experimenting, and aren't afraid of making a superior product, handloading is for you.
  3. SDC

    SDC Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    People's Republic of Canada
    First off, you won't ever REALLY "save money" by reloading, you'll just end up being able to shoot MORE, and you'll be able to provide your own ammo when you want it. Reloading isn't difficult, provided you're willing to read and follow instructions, and pay attention while you're doing it (the consequences of NOT paying attention can range from embarrassment up to a destroyed firearm and/or permanent injury/blindness). Having said that, it really depends on exactly what your plans are; do you plan on feeding a match schedule that'll require 2-300 or more rounds over a weekend, or do you only want to load up a couple of boxes of rifle or pistol ammo every now and then? If you're thinking of some sort of volume production, a progressive of some sort (likely a Dillon 550; http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/23594/catid/1/RL_550B ; these require a separate set of dies and a conversion kit for each calibre you want to load ) would probably be your best bet. If you just want to learn how to reload, and are happy with fairly slow production, something like a Lee O-frame press is just fine, but you can get what they call a "press kit" that has everything you need except for dies, powder, primers, and bullets (you supply your empty brass); http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1199331688.3668=/html/catalog/rlpress2.html . With either of these, you'll need at least one or more load manuals that'll give you the "recipe" you need to follow, and if you stick with it, you'll quickly see that some things work better than others, and you'll want to change or add certain things. An electronic scale is a BIG help, and I found the Lee scale to be a huge PITA to read. In any event, being able to reload also means that you'll have at least a limited supply of ammunition that you'll be able to depend on, instead of needing to run to the store when you're out. HTH.
  4. evan price

    evan price Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    http://www.ohioccw.org/ Ohio's best CCW resour
    As far as "warranty" for a Glock, as long as you don't blow it up with a bad handload, anything you're going to do won't hurt it, and if something is defective, Glock will stand behind it (who says they were reloads???)

    As far as lead reloads, I fired lead in my Glocks all the time, I just clean them after range trips = no problems.
  5. bl4ckd0g

    bl4ckd0g Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Prestonsburg, KY
    It first depends on how much time you are willing to spend on reloading, then there's the startup costs. Don't believe all of the BS that you spend the same. I shoot the same quantity as I did before I reloaded.

    If you haven't done so already, pick up the ABC's of Handloading, then decide for yourself. Also, the NRA offers handloading courses which I regret not taking when I started to roll my own.
  6. wworker

    wworker Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    I noticed yesterday that there are a few videos on how to reload on youtube. I watched 4 videos on reloading on a Dillon 550B turret press, very informative.

    I'm not reloading yet, but preparing to do so.

    I don't know about the overall cost of reloading yet, but to me, it will be part of my hobby. That's how I justify it one way or the other.
  7. kestak

    kestak Member

    Jul 22, 2007

    I reload since a few months. I knew almost nothing to guns last May 2007, now I own many guns and reload 9mm, 380ACP, 45acp, 357mag and 44mag. Here what I can say:

    1 - Your best friends are www.thehighroad.com, www.therigingline.com/forums and forums.handloads.com www.xdtalk.com (This last is geared toward xd guns, but the ammo can msg board will answer any question and those are a bunch of happy campers). You'll get answer to all your questions.
    2 - You will wish you would have begun before to reload. So, don't wait.
    3 - You will not spend less money, but you will shoot a lot more at a cheaper cost per ammo.
    4 - I can talk only for Dillon, if you order a Dillon, do it through Brianenos.com, do the order then write to him and ask him if you forgot anything important.
    5 - I bought a 550B with 2 calibers at first. I should have bought all my calibers at the same time. I would have saved money. P.S.:Get the micrometer powder screw at uniquetek.com.
    6 - Find a friendly range to be able to pick up your 9mm, 40 or 45acp brass for free. It will cut your costs a lot more.
    7 - Did I say I should have begun to reload before???? :)

    Thank you
  8. PTK

    PTK Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    I find reloading relaxing and fun, almost as fun as shooting.
  9. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    NE Georgia

    Read the stickies at the top of the forum, there's a sticky there written just for new potential reloaders. Next, get the manuals suggested in the stickies, read them and then you'll have a better idea what you might be interested in and what your options are.


  10. James41

    James41 Member

    Dec 16, 2007
    1.Is it cheaper?
    Cheaper per shot than most factory ammo yes, but you will find that you will probably be shooting more so in the long run it might not be. Reloading takes on a life of its own and is a great hobby, so sometimes you find yourself shooting more in order to have the emptys to reload....:)

    2. Is it safe?
    That depends, are you a safe person? If your a stumble foot that is always banging yourself and dropping things and in general an accident looking for a place to happen, then no. However, if you can read and understand simple rules and procedures and can work safely and smart, then yes.

    3. Can you make ammo for all your guns?
    Simple answer here....yes

    4. Can you make ammo to match factory?
    Certainly you can, actually you can make ammo that will beat factory performance if you take your time and use a little common sense.

    It is going to cost you a bit to get started depending on just how deep into the pool you want to dive. Doing both pistol and rifle you will want equipment that will do both. Depending on just how much shooting you want to do will dictate just what equipment you will need.

    You can start out with a single stage reloader if you don't mind the time it takes to go through all the steps and don't need a large volume of product. That would cost you probably between $100 and $200.

    If your like me and don't want to spend a lot of time doing the same thing over and over and you need more volume, then you will probably want something more like a Lee Turret which is a bit more, but produces more and faster. Probably in the $200 to $250 range.

    Now if you want to produce volumes of high quality ammo i would probably recommend a Dillon 550b, which is what i have, or something matching in the RCBS line. Both will do excellent work and give you years of performance. Here you are looking from $500 to $600 range.

    By the time you get your equipment and then buy the powder, the primers, the cases, the bullets that first cartridge is gonna cost you a bunch.... the good news is they get cheaper as you go and it's a lot of fun along the way.
  11. jfh

    jfh Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    datruth: You've gotten some good, varied advice, and some accurate observations--how much you save depends on how much more you end up shooting.

    I'll go a little further--

    1. First of all, you can get set up for much less than $350.00 for the gear (not the components), but that amount really will cover everything from a tumbler and media forward to boxes for the finished rounds.

    Without igniting "press wars" here, I suggest you google here, in this forum, about the Lee Classic Cast Turret Press.

    This press can function as a SS press as you learn, as a turret when you load rifle, and as an auto-indexing turret when you get up to speed. Here's an article that is an exhaustive review of it, and it also details his reloading experience with it.

    This press will handle all your calibres--FWIW, start with a straight-walled pistol cartridge; .45ACP is an excellent beginner's round to work with.

    2. About Glocks: Since I have blown up a Glock while shooting a reload, I will not recommend it. (And, no, I am convinced it was not a double-charged case, but that's another story.) However, aftermarket barrels are readily available now (they weren't when this happened), and it would be easy to change to conventional rifling.

    3. Since you load pistol, I would NOT recommend you start with a Single Stage Press. Yes, you may eventually want one as well as the Turret--but that is another issue.

    One last thing--as you start getting more and more (and often conflicting) advice here, think more and more about the "kind of" shooter you are. If you are "process oriented"--and here, think about whether or not you enjoy the 'finer points,' like how you hold your firearm, like to shoot accurately and practice marksmanship techniques--then I would recommend the Lee products.

    If you are "goal oriented"--think about 'buying a box a ammo and shooting it up'--then you are probably should consider Dillon products.

    And, ask any and all questions--people here will help a newbie get oriented.

    Jim H.
  12. Eljay

    Eljay Member

    Mar 14, 2007
    You can't really consider the cost for the equipment into the per round loaded cost, because the equipment will all ways hold a large percentage of it's value. If it's not for you, sell it. I use Lee equipment and find the buy in cost to be reasonable, and have gotten some fantastic deals on the used market. I have a Lee Challenger, Turret, and 4 Pro 1000s and couln't be happier.
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    It is hard to learn to handload one question at a time on the internet.
    Get the book. Books, plural.
    The ABCs is usually recommended.
    Any of the bullet company handbooks; I learned mostly from Lyman and Speer.
  14. rigmech

    rigmech Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I personally am a single stage kinda guy. I had a progressive press and gave someone a great deal on it to get it off my bench. I like to have 100% control over every stage of the process. Sure its a LOT slower, but I'm not interested in pumping out 400-500 rounds per hour. With my routine, and three single stage presses, I can still get 100-150 rounds per hour pistol rounds. Could care less about how long my rifle rounds take, Perfection not masses is what I'm trying to produce there. anyway, my $.02 worth
  15. ForneyRider

    ForneyRider Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Forney, TX
    I got the Lee Pro 1000 kit from MidwayUSA for ~130$.

    Powder is 18-22 bucks for 1 lb. 1lb = 7000grains.
    Primers are ~3$/100 count.
    Bullets are pretty varied, depending on cheap FMJ or Barnes.
    Cases - go to a range and pick em up. :) unless, of course, you shoot obscure rounds like .41 or 10mm. :) Then buy some or save your empties.

    The Pro 1000 won't do .30-06. I put a .270 Win die on mine and couldn't even de-cap very well. I just had to try. ;) But it will spit out a bunch of those other rounds you mentioned. Caveat: It is more complicated than a single stage.

    I was lurking on the HighRoad and several other sites for a couple of months and bugged the heck out of some reloaders for info before I started.
  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    Welcome to reloading. There are many reasons to reload -- and reduced costs (or more shooting for the same price) is only one of them.

    If you are in doubt, get a Lee Handpress Kit. It's low cost and has everything you really need, and uses standard dies. If you decide reloading is not for you, you haven't lost much. If you decide to become an advanced reloader, the Handpress Kit goes to the range with you, and you use it to work up loads right there at the shooting bench.
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