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New Reloader (Hopefully!)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Michiganteacher, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Michiganteacher

    Michiganteacher Member

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    I picked up a RCBS JR3 press, RCBS Uniflow Measure with a stand, RCBS beam scale, set of .223 dies, some manuals, and another assorted small odds and ends for $100 today off Craigslist. Super nice guy, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years.

    My goal is to load for for .450 Bushmaster, the .223 was just a bonus.

    Looking forward to reading through the posts on the forum here and learning a lot!
     
  2. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Congrats and welcome to the cult. I mean club.

    Read the manuals a few times. Watch as many videos as you can.

    Reloading isn’t hard, but it’s vital that you be safe. Take your time, be organized and enjoy it!

    Also keep good notes!
     
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  3. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    Welcome to the addiction. You got a great deal on the gear. The scale alone is worth about what you paid for everything. I've used RCBS scales for decades. I believe single stage presses are the best way to start, they minimize the chance for error. Get a couple, at least, of good reloading manuals for technique and load data. I've found the Lyman manuals to be a good place to begin.

    There is a real satisfaction in shooting ammo you have loaded yourself. Enjoy.

    Jeff
     
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  4. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    Sounds like you made a haul! Got most of the gear already. Grab some components and read a reloading manual a few times. There is TONS of good info in the stickies at the top of the forum here, read up and welcome to the addiction!

    Btw, ask questions. The people here are always willing to help.
     
  5. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Nice gear with which to begin and for a great price! As the rest already indicated, READ up on the subject and ask questions. Be diligent on all your measurements. BTW, did a set of calipers come with the purchase? Oh yeah, don't expect to save money...what often ends up happening is that we reloaders end up shooting more often than if we were purchasing and shooting up factory ammo. o_O
     
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  6. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    A lesson I'm currently learning the hard way after first year of reloading. Whatever space you think you'll need, try and double it. I've found my bench is cluttered to the point of criminal more often than not and by the time I clear a spot again my drive to pull the press is gone. Other than that enjoy what I find to be a very therapeutic hobby.
     
  7. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    Keep good notes
    In a few months or years, you won't remember what you did.

    Pay attention to what you are doing.
    Resizing or depriming is fairly mindless, just pump the handle. Once you start assembling rounds, pay attention !

    Keep good notes. Really.

    Have fun.
     
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  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Glad to welcome you aboard. I started on my grandfathers gear in the early 60's and a long time ago bought out an old reloader to start on my own. If you know anyone near you that reloads that can mentor you that is a bonus IMO. Go slow, pay attention to detail, and constantly check what you are doing especially if you stop for some reason. This can be a rewarding hobby as long as you keep it safe.
     
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  9. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Another here with a very warm Welcome to the group! Most of the time I try to convince new people to look on the used market for equipment as it is a great way to get started with little investment. Unless that press was absolutely abused it will last a good time.

    Once started the best thing to do is to start building a routine and then stick to it. That way when something feels out of sorts or not right that means it probably is. Repetitive motion, repetitive process. And yes get a notebook and keep a log of what you are doing.
     
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  10. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Welcome Aboard !

     
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  11. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Welcome brother to the fun!

    Be safe!

    have fun
     
  12. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    Welcome Aboard! If you like shooting then reloading will make it 10 times more fun. I've been loading over 45 years and still find it very rewarding to increase the accuracy of a gun by tinkering with the right powder/bullet combination. I will give you the best advice you can get. It is what I was advised and I followed up the advice and made it much easier, safer and less frustrating. 1st follow the suggestion made by @Hokie_PhD and read the manuals several times. Get more manuals and read as well as watch videos. If possible go to some reloading classes. Several vendors in this area offer reloading classes at gun shows. Last but not least, try to find someone in your area that is an experienced loaded and go watch him do some loading. Not sure where you are located, but check the forums and ask around at gun shops and gun shows. Most shooters that load are good guys and would not mind a bit sharing some of their knowledge. Once you are hooked, there is no going back. And remember, loading won't save you money, but it will let you shoot a lot more spending the same amount and you will be shooting ammo that is more than likely superior to what you can get off the shelf.
     
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  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Welcome, I’d just start with the 450 it will be easier too learn with and the most money saved.
     
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  14. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    Welcome, from another MI resident. You'll find lots of good information from these fine people here. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    -Jeff
     
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  15. Michiganteacher

    Michiganteacher Member

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    Thank you all. Lots of good information to go through here.
     
  16. hdbiker

    hdbiker Member

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    Great buy. Read the fundamentals in the books and ask questions . RCBS equpt. and customer service is top notch. I agree with Hooda, keep records, I wish I had. hdbiker
     
  17. Ramone

    Ramone Member

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    As others have said, read the manuals. Research powders and bullets before buying ( it's really frustrating to end up with a components that you can't find data for ). Start collecting containers for used brass, cleaned brass and finished rounds.

    You didn't detail the ' odds and ends ' but make sure you have calipers, loading blocks, an inertial puller. Loading blocks can be as simple as a scrap of wood with appropriate sized holes drilled, I like using the plastic trays that better ammo comes packaged in, which you can usually scrounge up at the range.

    My best advice is to start by running small batches of 20-25 rounds at a time, Deprime, Clean & Dry, Prime, Charge and seat as separate operations. Double/ triple check your charges before seating. Check zero on your scale every few rounds for staters. Keep thorough notes, not just on the process, but of the results.
     
  18. MeanBean

    MeanBean Member

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    Welcome to reloading! You've come to a great place! As someone who who is still less than 6 months in to this hobby, I can say with out a doubt that this is easily the best resource I've found, save for the basics from the manuals you should have already read. The wealth of information already posted here (stickies and the search bar are your friends) and the knowledge and willingness of the community help you solve a problem or share their experiences is phenomenal. Don't be afraid to ask although a quick search may turn up the answer you desire.
    Start slow, check and recheck at all steps of the process, work your loads up from 10% under published max (numbers may vary from resource to resource), maximum charge should NOT be your goal, an accurate and repeatable round should be.
    While my 2500 round made count significantly pales in comparison to most on this site, every time you pull the lever on the press, measure your powder charge, measure your COAL, or fire your work up rounds is valuable experience and an opportunity learn.
    Good luck and happy reloading!
     
  19. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Welcome to reloading. Reloading isn’t a hobby, it’s a religion. Excellent price on the tools you bought. As others have pointed out you’re gonna need a few things to get going. A good set of calipers is a must. You will also need a tumbler or vibratory case cleaner to get the lube and powder residue off your cases. Attempting to shoot ammo that is dirty or that hasn’t gotten all the lube off will sooner or later cause you problems. You will need a case trimmer. Now you can spend what you want to on one of these. I’ve had the best luck with the manual case trimmers made by RCBS, Wilson and Forrester. Trimming cases is my least favorite part of the process but it is very necessary and will sooner or later cause you serious problems if ignored. You will need a case chamfering / de-burring tool. Lyman makes a nice one that comes with the attachment for cleaning primer pockets. I recommend a hand held priming tool.

    If you don’t mind, a little friendly advice:

    ONLY ONE CAN OF POWDER ON THE BENCH AT A TIME. ONLY ONE CAN OF POWDER ON THE BENCH AT A TIME!!!

    A good bit of reloading is about how things feel when you’re doing it. People on this site can tell you how but they can’t tell you how something is suppose to feel. If all of a sudden you’re getting way too much resistance STOP! Don’t force it. Investigate what’s going on to see what the problem is.

    Wear eye protection when priming cases and point the mouth of the case in your hand held priming tool away from your body and face when priming.

    You may notice that one or two primers are not exactly flush with the back of the case after the bullet has been seated. NEVER attempt to force the primer flush on live ammo. That a good way to create a small grenade that could explode in your face. Do not attempt to fire these rounds either. Pull the bullet. Dump the powder and then reseat your primer.

    Problems with case lube is common with beginners. Too much of it and you end up with oil dents on the shoulder of your case. Too little lube and you get the case stuck in your die to the point that you may damage the die in getting the brass out of your die. The business of lubing cases is pretty much like the story of Goldie Locks and The Three Bears...Its gotta be just right. (And Goldie Locks was basically guilty of breaking and entering, but that’s another story.) I would avoid case lube pads and liquid case lube. The pad becomes a magnet for dirt and brass chips that will eventually get on your case and will score your resizing die to the point that the die will put a scratch all of the cases that are run through it. Get yourself a tin of Imperial Sizing Wax made by Reading and apply the lube with your fingers.

    Cleanliness is next to Godliness in reloading. Case lube, even Imperial Sizing Wax, will eventually build up in your resizing die to the point that you will end up with oil dents on your case. Clean your resizing die at the start of each reloading session with a good de-greaser. Denatured alcohol, gun scrubber or even your wife’s nail polish remover will work just fine.

    When resizing bottle necked cases, the last thing you want to hear and feel is the case chatter when you’re pulling it back over the neck sizing plug. There’s just enough slop in most presses to pull the case neck out of alignment with the body of the case if undue force is used in extracting the case from the sizing die. Use a nylon brush of the appropriate caliber and brush the inside of the case neck before resizing. Some people put a little case lube on the brush. I dip mine in Frankfort Arsenal Motor Mica (White graphite) after brushing the case necks. Bottom line is that you want the case pulled back over the expanding plug with as little effort as possible to avoid case run-out that will destroy accuracy.

    This one’s a bit controversial but, I use small base resizing dies on any rifle brass that I’m going to run through a semi-automatic rifle. Quite a few people get away without using small base dies. I did until a got a hold of an AR15 that had a tight chamber. Ended up pulling the barrel out of the receiver, chucking it up in a lathe. Then cut the back off the case and had to use a chamber reamer to get the rest of the case out of the chamber. Small base dies will work your brass to the point that it will shorten case life. Considering the cost of brass against the aggravation of going through what I went through with the AR15, I’ll just replace my brass.

    You may end up with a ton more questions once you get going. Send me a message if you would like me to call you.
     
  20. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Another Michigander, welcome.
    You've started with a good purchase of the basics. I believe you should evaluate what your shooting needs will be in the near future. And, save the expensive add-ons until later. Personally, I reload several calibers, but do not shoot that much because of other constraints. I haven't found the need to advance into a high production mode, so I have essentially stayed with the basics. You will identify what you need/not need.
     
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  21. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Go to App Store, look for reloading assistant. I think it’s still free on Android if you have such a device. On apple it’s a pay app, but it automatically pulls data from the big manufacturers websites and consolidates it. That’s good for a relatively new cartridge like the bushmaster is because you won’t find any data in older loading manuals and new ones are not cheap.
     
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  22. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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  23. santacruzdave
    • Contributing Member

    santacruzdave Contributing Member

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    Lots of great advice above. Welcome to the highroad. Be safe and let the fun begin.
     
  24. Michiganteacher

    Michiganteacher Member

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    There is a ton of information here - thank you for the welcome and the advice.
     
  25. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    Welcome to the hobby! As others have pointed out you are starting with good equipment. When you take your first loads to the range, well that is a priceless experience. Make sure you read the how-to sections on those manuals. YouTube helps too, but beware that some of those guys have no clue.
     
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