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Newbie Reloader

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ScotZ, Jan 4, 2009.

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  1. ScotZ

    ScotZ Member

    Jan 5, 2007
    I have been "around" firearms my entire life.(50 years). Most of the people I know that reloaded are dead now.(my Father,Uncle etc...) Reloading is one thing I wish I would have paid more attention to when they were doing it. I just took it for granted that I could ask them anything,anytime. I would give anything for just one more minute with my father. My fathers philosophy was if another man can "do it" then you can either pay him or learn yourself. It was my choice. Well I have chosen to reload my .40 cal pistol cartridges. I bought a Lyman S/T from a fellow on here and I need to get the rest of the stuff I will need. I am just looking for suggestions for equipment that I may need to do a good workman like job when I get started.

    I am reading a book that my uncle had when he died, it is called "Basic Handloading" by George C Nonte Jr. Just looking for some suggestions and advice. No hurries. Money is not much of a problem. I simply dont want to buy something I dont need. I want to get started on the right foot.


  2. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    North Carolina
    I'm sure you have an idea of what basic items you need to do what you propose. A good powder measure, powder scale and dies and a method to prime the cases, either the press or hand held primer installation tools. A few load manuals are also necessary.
    The most important thing to possess, IMO, is common sense. That's a virtue that's lost on a few that post on this site.
    I'm sure your years have given you the insight to include patience in your quest to reload.
    Good luck!

  3. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Cornelia, GA
    Scot -
    Welcome aboard. I sure miss asking my dad questions, so I know just how you feel.

    Here's some additional suggestions...

    • Reloading is the "same", but powders have changed over the years. Absolutely DO NOT trust any of the loads you see in the old books. Instead buy yourself a new Lyman manual issue 48 or 49. This was recently voted the manual to have by something like 24 out of 28 responders in a recent thread here. That will list all the modern pistol powders and you can decide from there on powder and bullets.

    • One of the most often overlooked instruments you must have is a 6" caliper to make the various measurements required to insure safe reloading. I would recommend a digital readout model that does both inches and MM. These can be cheaply had at stores like Northern Tool, Harbor Freight, etc for about $25.

    Hope this helps!
  4. rg1

    rg1 Member

    May 26, 2006
    You need a good solid bench. Quiet time that is uninterrupted, free time to set at your bench sometimes for hours, and like NCsmitty said, patience.
    Your purchase of the Spar-T press is good to get started. The "sticky" at the top of the page , for new reloaders, has some good advice.
    You need some good reloading manuals recently published. Lyman 49th, Sierra, Speer, Hornady are good examples. If for instance you plan to shoot Nosler bullets I recommend their manual. Some of the powder company manuals are great for comparison too.
    For .40 pistol a good set of Carbide dies from RCBS, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, or Redding will be required. Safety glasses, good set of dial calipers, powder scale, case trimmer if you load for rifles and some pistol cases. I highly recommend an electronic powder scale from Pact, RCBS, or Lyman. There are others. However I wouldn't be without my RCBS 5-10 balance beam in case the power is off. You could go high tech and get the RCBS or Lyman scale and powder dispenser all in one.
    The basic tools you can find in the kits they sell with presses. Some handy and recommended tools to start out with would be a primer pocket uniformer such as Possum Hollow primer pocket uniformer, inside flash hole deburr tool, a good case gauge to check loaded rounds to make sure they are correct and won't cause jams or misfires. With your press I might consider a "ram prime" tool to seat your primers. Some like the hand held priming tools from RCBS or Lee. I prefer the press. Another piece of equipment you'll need is a vibratory case cleaner. Cleans dirty range fired cases and protects your dies and also will make dirty brass nice and shiny if that's what you want. Also removes sizing lube from lubed rifle cases.
    Most of all you need to do a lot of reading and then get started. Powder, primers, bullet choices comes next.
  5. BoltOperated

    BoltOperated Member

    Jan 4, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Your Bench

    The one thing I will chime in on here is the importance of the bench. One of the few things in life I did right the very first time was my reloading bench. Simply put, the heavier, the better!

    You will appreciate the steadiness of a good heavy bench every time you pull the press lever - I swear this is true. Of course, there are probably a dozen different ways to get a good, solid bench but here's what I did.

    For two reasons (weight & storage) I chose a triple 18-inch-cabinet base in solid oak. These were typical kitchen cabinet bases of 24-inch depth. In addition to solid construction, they gave me three drawers across the top as well as three enclosed bases. I screwed/glued them together at the front and back through the frames. I placed a solid maple countertop (2-inch thick, 5ft long) with a poly-finish on this unit and again, screwed/glued the top in place. I used steel L-brackets beneath the top to screw it to the base, construction adhesive at all contact points. I also used the overhang on one end (not the front) for my press location. I drilled the top and through-bolted the press in place. NOTE: You must plan for any overhang needed on your top for mounting of your press when using this style of cabinet base because the cabinet base may interfere with the operation of the press. In other words, make sure your top is not "just big enough" to cover the base cabinets but big enough to give you overhang where it's required for your press. On the back, for convenience, I mounted a nicely finished common 2x6 (upright, on edge) for a backsplash, caulking the joint where the maple top meets it. It keeps the "stuff" from falling down the backside into the abyss and makes for an easy clean-up.

    On a carpet floor, this unit has excellent stability. If you screw the backsplash into the wall studs, even better. I can say that my bench does not budge when I crank down on the RockChucker! It is rock solid, especially since the cabinets are loaded with tools, brass, bullets, books, etc.

    This set-up isn't exactly cheap but what is that actually works well?

    Good luck with all,
  6. ar10

    ar10 Member

    May 23, 2007
    I'd look at everything first, mainly space, before jumping into buying things.
    Like what are you going to use the reloader for? a rifle, handgun, combination of both? Are you shooting a lot? Is it target shooting and/or hunting?
    There's a whole bunch of things to think about and look at before buying the equipment.
  7. easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca

    easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    I'm sure your father would give anything to spend another minute with you.
    I still think of my father everyday and it has been 28 months and 16 days since he passed. We shared of lot of interests together (model airplanes, motorcycles, guns, music) and it was a very sad day 14 years ago when I had to leave him and my mother to move to Canada. I really, really miss him it hurts.

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