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Reloading noob

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by C.R., Nov 11, 2016.

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  1. C.R.

    C.R. Member

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    so I have been thinking hard about taking the plunge and getting into reloading. I was thinking about a single stage press,what are all of the dumb things to have on hand to start up a loading bench? I suppose to start I have a .44 mag and I have saved up a bunch of brass over the years waiting for "Some day" I guess first step is cleaning up the cases ? what then? My thoughts are being that I already have a pistol in .44 I guess I need a rifle in the same caliber, and if I get a rifle,I might as well ste up a reloading station. Can I do both pistol and bottle necked rifle brass on the same press ? I know the dies arent all the same , I guess Im looking for the most universal unit...help !?
     
  2. mr wack

    mr wack Member

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    Yes you can use one press for all your reloading , dies and shell holders are interchangeable on almost all presses.
    Just pick your color and your good to load rifle and handgun cartridges on your new press.:evil:
     
  3. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I've used a single stage press for decades in loading for rifles (bottlenecked and straight wall) and handguns and have no plans to add a progressive press.

    For the 44 Magnum, just make sure you get carbide dies; it will save you the trouble of lubeing. I like RCBS so when I started reloading I bought an RCBS kit; I still use the press and powder measure from that kit that are now over 30 years old.
     
  4. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    I believe you will find a wealth of information right here in the links of this thread, sort of a reloading library of wisdom. Some of the very best and match grade ammunition I have loaded over the years was done on a single stage press, a RCBS Rockchucker. With a tight budget there is also Lee products like a Lee "O" press and the list of names goes on. Many manufacturers offer "starter kits" which can be a good thing. It saves you buying pieces and parts but also includes a few things you don't need. I gave my brother a Rockchucker kit a few years ago, it was just easier than buying all the stuff individually. Nice move on your part saving the brass. I still use an old tumbler but many guys have gone to rotary washing methods. When my old vibratory tumblers wear out I will likely advance but some have been going 20 years. Starting with 44 Remington Magnum is as easy as starting with anything else.

    Anyway, the first link I posted to out library is a good start.

    Ron
     
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  5. Doublehelix
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    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    RCBS is a great place to start and they have great equipment that will last you for many years.

    Dare I say that you should also consider looking at a Lee Classic Turret Press (LCT) which can be easily used as a single stage press, but as you progress, you can use it in a more automated mode. It still only works on one case at a time, so there is less chance of confusion compared to a progressive press, at least in my mind anyway! o_O There are other turret style presses, but with most of those you need to advance the turret yourself. Some love that, but I think there is less chance of making an error when the turret progresses to the next die automatically. You can still use the LCT in a mode where you advance the turret manually if you want. I think it gives the best of all worlds.

    It is reliable and very economical. You can get the press alone for just north of $100, or a kit that includes everything you need for just north of $200. I caution you however that the Lee beam balance scale that comes in the kit is not well regarded.

    Best of luck!
     
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  6. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    case tumbling is nice, but not critical. Generations of handloaders never used them with great results.

    A single stage press is the most universal, it works for both pistol and rifle, and will also continue to be valuable after you upgrade to a turret or progressive.
    You must have a press, dies for each caliber and, with some systems you'll need a shell holder for each caliber. The dies you use for .44 mag pistol will be the same you use for .44 mag rifle.
    You will need a method of priming the shell and a method of dispensing the powder. even if you just use a dipper system, a scale is needed to verify your charge weight.
    If using a single stage press, you will need a shell tray and a powder funnel.
    You must also have at least one reloading manual, multiple manuals is preferable.
    The Lee scale that has been mentioned is perfectly serviceable, it is as accurate as any balance beam. Some people take issue with reading the verneer scale and the time it takes to settle. There are higher quality scales available at a higher cost.
    Read the Getting Started thread at the top of this Reloading forum, begin studying your manual(s) and ask questions as you need.
    Load, shoot, repeat.
     
  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    When I started about 5 years ago, I got a Lee classic turret kit from Kempf with a set of Lee dies (4-die carbide pistol), an MTM digital scale, and auto disk powder dispenser. I bought some cheap-ish digital calipers and an inertial puller. But before I bought any of that, I bought two reloading manual(Speer and Hornady are the ones I started with) and read them cover to cover.

    Since then, I've added 3 rifle caliber and 3 more pistol calibers. I had to get a loading block for rifle, since that requires some amount of batch processing, and I acquired various other things, such as case gauges and chamfers and pocket cleaners and so on. But you can load a large quantity pretty easily with what I started with.
     
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  8. wiiawiwb

    wiiawiwb Member

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    I bought exactly what I wanted item-by-item rather than going with a kit. I knew there were items in the kit that I wanted to upgrade, such as the scale. I also knew there were things in there I didn't want. What was the point of getting things I didn't need and paying for it in the process?

    I would recommend that you spec out every item that you will need, and want, and get them from the start. The chances are high that you can get them all from one place such as Brownells, Grafs, Natchezz,Sportsmans Warehouse, or Midway, to name a few. Brownells is who I chose and they have a no-questions-asked guarantee. Tough to beat that.
     
  9. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Pistol is an auto. A revolver well everyone knows what a revolver is. If I was going to load for a auto I planned on using it much I'd suggest a progressive. A revolver is pushing it for a single stage but still in reason if your only going to shoot 50 a week but I'd do all rifle rounds on a single stage so you might as well start there & upgrade later. Of course this is just my option & some guys never outgrow a single stage. But for myself I'd given up on trying to keep up with reloading until I bought more presses. That's including upgrading my single stage to a Lee Classic Cast.

    Edited to make it legible. Sorry I don't see to well & miss things typing on a phone anymore.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  10. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    I would start out with a single stage press kit and use the Hornady quick change bushings for the dies.
    If really get into reloading move up. You will always find a need for the single stage press.
    I have 3 single stage presses. One is converted to a progressive for 9mm.
     
  11. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Start with the single stage, and if your shooting elevates to the round count that justifies a progressive, well you're a lucky guy! Brands I'd recommend are RCBS (single), and Dillon. (progressive)
     
  12. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    Each to his own on this.
    BUT...

    You can not go wrong with these:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/RCBS-ROCK-C...093524?hash=item33c2890c14:g:L2QAAOSwImRYH9Qc

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/RCBS-UNIFLO...434060?hash=item4d4e32cd8c:g:Od4AAOSwFV9XxJJX

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/RCBS-Reload...220198?hash=item360c9364e6:g:tY4AAOSw5cNYI9No

    ^^^These are the three main tools that I bought in 1971 when I started reloading.
    The quality of these speak for themselves on the fact that I still load most all of my rifle loads on these tools. Most of my handgun loads are done on a Dillon RL550...Bill.
     
  13. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Probably don't shoot .44 Mag as quick as 9mm or .223 but I would check out the Lee turret press. It can be used as a single stage until you are ready to try to load faster and is quite a bit faster than a SS for pistol rounds.
     
  14. MADDOG

    MADDOG Member

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    "what are all the dumb things to have on hand to start up a loading bench"

    The ABC'S of Reloading and a good reloading manual.
     
  15. murf

    murf Member

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    a single stage press is all i have ever used (pistol and rifle). you don't have to clean your cases (just keep your dies clean). dies from most any major die maker will serve you for a lifetime (the carbide suggestion is a good one). read, and then reread, the front section of a good reloading manual before you start your reloading journey. ask a lot of questions and don't do something if it doesn't seem right. this endeavor can be dangerous.

    have fun with it,

    murf
     
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  16. edleit

    edleit Member

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    Start with a good reloading manual... I found the Lyman 49th to be a very good resource (the 50th was just released). A good friend of mine provided good advice, along with a copy of "The Complete Reloading Guide" by John & Robert Traister, which I find myself re-reading on numerous occasions.

    One thing that I find invaluable is keeping copious notes on your process; for me this includes recording load data, calculations of volumetric density of different powders used, range results of new loads, and more. Everyone finds the right balance of information that works for them. It's also very useful to refer back to if you lay off for awhile, and makes it easier to verify the makeup of a particular lot of stored ammo in the future.

    In terms of equipment, that's been covered pretty well, but you sure can't go wrong with a solid single stage press like a RCBS Rockchucker. I prefer priming off-press, so a manual priming system such as those made by Lee & RCBS allow the user to "feel" the primer during the seating process. An inertial puller is a really handy tool to have when it comes time to take apart the inevitable "OOPS", especially when first trying to determine proper seating depths.

    Last, but most important of all, stay safe! There are plenty of folks here who are willing and able to answer questions that range from the most fundamental to most advanced... tap on their shoulder and you won't be disappointed.

    Ed
     
  17. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I don't agree you have to throw a bunch of money at books. If you like books by all means but if suggest looking one over from the library & printing data from the powder manufacturers' web site. There is also a app for that.
     
  18. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    For a single-stage setup on a budget,

    https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precisio...id=1479132630&sr=8-3&keywords=lee+breech+lock

    https://www.amazon.com/Frankford-Ar...=1479132659&sr=8-2&keywords=frankford+tumbler

    https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-49th-E...TF8&qid=1479132686&sr=8-1&keywords=lyman+49th

    These 3 (except I got the press with the hand primer, my mistake), tumbling media, individual dies, and components. Should have you about covered, except for tools like brushes, calipers, and wrenches. That is basically my entire setup. As has been said, some people do not tumble their cases, but I use range pick-ups, so I do. Also, Hodgdon's website has load data, if you use their powder. Lyman's 48th is available in a free .pdf download.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiHpZ_Pt6jQAhUE2yYKHQD3AXUQFggbMAA&url=http://www.j-how.net/test/Lyman%2048th%20Reloading%20Handbook%20%5Bblackatk%5D.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEaGtHh0WO0rKg2JbbHMDy0AfLeSg&bvm=bv.138493631,d.eWE

    And I use Reloading Assistant app, which is basically a compilation of different sources. I like the book, and use the others as cross-reference.
     
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  19. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I started on a RCBS Jr press ~40 yrs ago. I leaned how by school of hard knocks. There was no internet back then and I did not have a mentor. So used the local library. My main use was 357mag and a few 308W. Any press is capable of producing good ammo, it's all on the operator. Some are a lot easier to operate and setup than others. All I had was a basic set, press, powder dispense, and scales. I mainly used Ni plated brass so the only cleaning I had to do was wipe it off prior to sizing. Back then the dies were not carbide, so lube was required. It wasn't till ~25 yrs later that I got a tumbler for cleaning. If your really clamped for funds use the library as your reference or online load data from the mfg. The hardest thing to learn is proper sizing of the bottleneck brass. And if you decide to crimp getting it right without buckling it. My suggestion is learn to do this on a SS press. If a rounds does not chamber figure out what is wrong and correct the problem. Loose the LFCD if you have one. This die in my book is a crutch to fix a problem from a improperly setup die.

    btw. I gave my RCBS Jr press including scales and dies to my neighbor. He had been watching me for some time so I got him setup and running. Then surprised him one time when he came over to load. He was only hand loading 380's and 38 spl at that time.
     
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  20. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    Carbide dies are great for handgun cartridges so you can do without lubricating the cases. But I've noticed that it takes a lot of effort (for me) to resize 44 mag without lube while using carbide dies. If you notice the same, then I would recommend lubing your 44 mag cases. Good luck and happy loading!
     
  21. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    I would highly recommend that you increase the limit on your Visa card.
     
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