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I've decided to start reloading,need input from you guys.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Warhawk83, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. Warhawk83

    Warhawk83 Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    I've decided on the Lee Pro1000 progressive press kit. This is what is included...
    # Caliber specific die set
    # Pistol Calibers include Carbide 3-Die sets, while the Rifle Calibers include Pacesetter 2-Die sets.
    # Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure with 4 disks
    # Pro 1000 Primer attachment
    # Case Feeder attachment with tubes
    # Shell plate

    I have read the new to reloading post but I want opinions, what else do I NEED?, because this is my first foray into reloading I only want what is absolutely necessary.I don't know if it makes a difference but I will be reloading .40 S&W.

    Thanks In Advance
  2. MNPyro

    MNPyro Member

    Jun 27, 2009
    I'm still waiting for my reloading hardware, but:
    Bullet Puller (just in case)
    The case collator is said to be very useful
    Caliper to check OAL
    Case tumbler to clean the brass
    -Tumbling media (corn cob, walnut)

    I am sure there's more, and others more experienced will chime in....
  3. helg

    helg Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    The set should allow to start, but it is minimalistic. With the set you have to use Lee loading tables to select proper powder disk, and use a factory round to set up seating depth and crimping for the die. Chamber of your sigma will be your case gauge - if the assembled round fits the chamber to the same depth as factory one, it is good to go.

    I believe you already have bullets, powder, primers and brass.

    Scale is good to get next. Lee tables are on a safe side. By checking powder with the scale and you can load it by weight. This allows you to load closer to maximum, if you need it.

    Case collator (I recommend it), caliper, tumbler with media and bullet puller will go next batch. Then, you may think of saving on bullets, which take most of the cost of your loaded round, so, you will get molds, melter, wheel weights, and lube/size kit.

    Check videos on Lee web site and on loadmastervideos.com. They are really helpful to start.

    With stock setup for 40SW you may need to use a trick with case feeder. It is easy to overcome, but anyway, case feeder is not the first thing you have to look for.
  4. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hot and Humid FL
    As mentioned - scale, calipers, bullet puller

    and MOST importantly - a reloading manual!
  5. Ghost Walker

    Ghost Walker Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    :) OK, So you want advice - Huh! My advice would be that if you haven't bought that Lee equipment yet - Don't!

    (I base this opinion on more than 40 years of reloading experience) ;)
  6. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    My friend bought one last Christmas. The most glaring problem he had was that the primer chute would jam up. I did some research for him and found that for some reason CCI primers didn't ever jam. He switched primers and never looked back. Yes there was other problems, but he was smart enough to find workarounds at the site below.

    This site is a treasure trove of advice, tips, and such for the Lee press.http://www.geocities.com/leereloading/

    Some learn to live the the Lee's quirks and can load 9mm or 45ACP as fast as the Dillon blue boys...others (I expect more mechanically challenged types) have trouble, lose hair, and cause a lot of talk in the local neighborhood about the crazy guy down the street.

    My friend has decided to buy more pro 1000's for a couple of other cartridges he wants to load, rather than go to the considerable trouble to change back and forth. After 2 or 3 of those, he's going to run out of room.:rolleyes: The money spent doing that would justify the RCBS Pro 2000 I ended up buying, for the quick cheap, and easy change overs of calibers. His works for him and he's happy...and I like my green machine...and that's what makes the world versatile.:)
  7. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

    May 24, 2007
    Brandon, Florida
    I bought the Pro1000 first, and I'd suggest buying a single-stage press first.

    I'm mechanically inclined, and the progressive press has given me nothing but headaches so far.

    Primers would not feed more than three before a jam.

    It looks like it will be a perfectly good press once I get everything timed, tuned, and adjusted, but until i have more experience, I don't how how the thing is supposed to be tuned. It's in the closet until then--no, I'm not selling it.

    Besides, the single-stage does teach you more quickly, when you can concentrate on what's going into the bullet, instead of trying to get them moving about right.
  8. The91Bravo

    The91Bravo Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    Clarksville, TN
    Make sure you have your small tools

    You Know...(the ones you realize you dont have when you have everything set up, no kids in the house, all your gear set up then... dangit I knew I was forgetting something)

    Primer pocket cleaner, chamfer/deburring tool, a loading tray helps or a shallow tray from a box of rounds you have bought. Make sure if you drop a case in them, you can easily remove it (not too tall)

    Take your time. If you feel comfortable, check twice, then move on. If you are unsure, STOP re-check the instructions, check your work, then feel free to post here or call your local gun nut. Do not move on unless you are sure. Especially starting out.

    When I first started loading pistol rounds, I was weighing each throw of powder.. Safe.. YES, Time consuming... VERY.

    Make up a batch of 50 pistol rounds, log what you did, powder charges, OverAll Length (OAL) and go test fire them.

    For your powder weight, start with the minimum, load 10 label the box, then load another 10 with a middle weight charge (between minimum and Maximum) then go shoot them, if all functions well, use that recipe and drive on.

    Good luck
  9. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Load 1 round at a time for a while until you know what is going on,and the machine is 'co operating.'
    speed is unimportant in reloading,safety IS important.
  10. sniper1259

    sniper1259 Member

    Sep 4, 2009
    Deus Machina; you dont own a Dillon, i can tell!! ( i own 5)

    Warhawk83; scale calipers and the data are all REQUIREMENTS for all presses no matter who makes it. and as you have decided to get into a progressive press expect it to take time to learn it. it took me over 3 months to finaly get a good pattern to my loading with my Dillon 550b. i later went on to get 2 more and 2 XL650 presses but im into loading for a living now with this economy (i cant get fired here!! sorry for the pun, intended!!)

    i am not familiar with the quirks of the Lee presses, but all progresive press have them. there is no book on the quirks for any or even all of the machines. you just have to learn as you go. just remember the basic steps and memorize them.
    remember the primary 2 rules of reloading
    1 safety first and foremost
    2 see rule number 1

    and as a free service to ever one here on the site i have decides to setup an email address for questions about reloading. i have 30+ years at it and i dont intend to slow down soon. not at 30,000 40,000 rounds a week!

    feel free to contact me at sniper1259@comcast.net and include a phone number if you want me to call (i have free long distance)

    let me know how it goes..
  11. 06

    06 Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Too close to Charlotte, NC
    Sniper, hope your business flourishes, wc
  12. pmeisel

    pmeisel Member

    Dec 28, 2008
    Warhawk, the scale and caliper are absolute necessities. And more than one manual. Lyman if you load cast (and maybe if you don't, it's my #1 go to) -- the bullet maker manuals are good if you prefer jacketed, get the ones of the brands you like.

    the powder companies have good data for their powders on line.
  13. helg

    helg Member

    Jan 2, 2009
    My first rounds on Lee progressive have been loaded without caliper and scale. Just plain kit out of the box plus brass, powder, bullets and primers.

    I did not have reloading manual either - the press came with VMD loading tables, and I get load data from powder manufacturer web site. As I mentioned above, seat/crimp die have been set by using a factory round, like shown on video at Lee web site. Gun chamber was my case gauge.

    Collecting loading manuals may be an exciting hobby. Now it is easy to find load data online for any caliber from many different sources, and this serves purpose that many loading manuals do. Youtube contains instructions for all steps of reloading, and the videos explain reloading aspects far better than words in reloading books.

    I would not disagree that caliper, scale and manual are useless. I do have the first two, and it allows to do much more in reloading. I would not say, however, that these are required to start. Look on a simple Lee loader kit, all in one little box. The kit does not have caliper and scale, but nevertheless it can be used to reload ammo.
  14. MaxV

    MaxV Member

    Sep 1, 2009

    All good info...just be sure to get more than one load recipe from 2 or 3 manuals on or offline to double check (typos can happen, especially online) you do not want to load ANYTHING without being positive you have the correct load range for your caliber. Not worth it.....safety safety safety...dont get in too much of a hurry. Once you get familiar with things the speed comes. Accuracy is way more important than speed. If you have the time, loading your own is rewarding and you have way more control of your shooting....
  15. jfh

    jfh Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    I will second Deus Machina's advice--LOUDLY SECOND IT.

    The point is, learning to reload on an auto-indexing machine is a recipe for disaster--as he summarized.

    Here's why:

    1. A progressive is designed to work on more-than-one case at a time--from three-to-five, maybe even more.

    2. All those operations are confusing to watch for a beginner, who is a) not only trying to figure out just what the operation does, but also b) trying to see that the press is doing it correctly--and all without the experience to know "correct."

    3. Now, add to that the quirks of a given press model, and the variances to the particular press at hand--QC variances in parts, or in factory prep--and you have a potential nightmare for learning to reload.​

    4. In sum, it causes a confusing amount of information overload that one has to deal with--safely.

    Early on, I loaded on a Lee turret, did some load development and sorted out a .45ACP for club level IPSC-like competition. I quickly shifted to a Pro 1000 since I was primarily building semiauto handgun fodder. I learned how to do that successfully, and I did move on to an (early version) Load-Master. At that time I was shooting 12,000 rounds plus a year (in seven months actually, here in MN) of .45ACP.

    The point is, the Pro1000 is great for churning out a sorted-out cartridge spec--a "developed" load, as it were. same components forever (yes, that can include 'mixed brass'). But it is less-than-ideal for getting to that point.

    To give you really good advice--and here, I will stay away from the brand / color wars--we need to know more about your reloading needs.

    You mention .40S&W--and also talk about rifle dies.

    Tell us more. All calibers, volumes per month, etc., etc.

    Jim H.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  16. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Cornelia, GA
    Honest opinions here

    Warhawk -
    I started on an RCBS single stage in 1980 and then sold it and bought 3 Lee Pro-1000 progressives later on. I could never get any of the Pro-1000s to go through a full reloading session without something happening. Even after swapping parts around between the 3 machines something always needed attention. And this is saying a lot because I design, engineer and install precision machines for a living.

    So if you want my HONEST opinion, then....

    • Start with a USED steel/iron single stage (RCBS, Lyman, CH, Redding, Hornady, etc). Look on CraigsList and try to buy someone's complete setup so that you get books, calipers, scales, dies, case trimmer, powder hopper.... all the accessories. Then learn the reloading process and safety steps going slow.

    • Then by the time you're ready for a progressive, you'll know what makes sense to YOU for YOUR type reloading. You'll already have your books, dies, calipers... all you'll need is the progressive press.

    You'll still need/want a single stage for de-capping, test rounds, specials, low volume rifle ammo, etc. You never outgrow your need for a good single stage press.

    • The Pro-1000 was Lee's first attempt at a progressive, and frankly it was not a good effort. The press itself is NICE... but all the accessories are seriously lacking, especially the primer feeding. Honestly, you'll find yourself constantly fiddling with the press and various accessories until you are sick. If you are not mechanically inclined you'll be lost very quickly. Lee makes much better progressives now than the Pro-1000.

    • If you simply MUST buy a progressive press, make sure to buy a minimum 4-position press. Sometimes you simply need 4 positions, maybe only because your die set is a 4-die set. If you have 4 or 5 positions and only need 3, then there's no harm. BUT if you have a 3-position press and you need more, you'll be in deep guano.

    • Realize that the accessories from one brand progressive will NOT adapt to another brand. So by the time you setup ANY progressive for 3-5 calibers you'll have too much money invested in shell holders, die adapters, etc to turn around and buy the press you really wanted/needed. So choose a progressive press VERY carefully my friend. Which gets us right back to point #1, buy a used single stage first.

    Reloading in itself is a huge learning curve. Progressive presses by themselves require another huge learning curve. Without a lot of mechanical aptitude and knowledge of ammunition, IMHO jumping right into a progressive reloading would be like learning parachuting and jungle survival skills by being pushed out the door of an airplane!! LOL
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