Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Rev. Chad, Nov 11, 2012.
First... read this, then buy one of the reloading books listed.
I own ~ 10 presses and I just bought another RCBS Partner press.
They are about $70 ~ $75 + shipping
Some of the best shots in the world use them.
I like them, and I am a lousy shot.
The love is universal.
I like Lee carbide die sets for handguns
They are ~ $30
You would also need small pistol primers, powder, and a funnel to get started.
I would start with a pound of Unique, but dozens of different powders would work.
The powder may look like $15/ pound on line, but shipping includes hazardous materials charge [haz mat] which makes ordering just one pound not practical. It is better to go to the nearest stocking dealer, gun store or gunsmthing and just buy one pound for $25.
Same thing for the primers.
They may look like $31/1000 on line, but it is better to buy small quantities locally.
So it is at least $145 + Shipping to get started on 38sp with MY choices.
But you will not out grow any of that equipment, except the little yellow dipper in the die set.
You will soon want to move up from the dipper to scale and powder measure.
That is at least $42 + shipping and with other brands, can be a lot more.
I have no doubt that LEE is in development of a new progressive based on the LEE Classic Turret. If that happens, you can then get an update kit that would turn the Classic Turret into a full progressive with a production rate of 400 - 500 rounds per hour. Like I said this press will grow with you and is capable of very good precision.
Lee Classic Turret Press!
I have 2 Hornady lnl progessives,RCBS Pro 2000 and others.
Love the progressive loaders but dollar for dollar the Lee Classic Turret is the most press for the money and great to learn the game on. It is very relaxing to pump out reloads on,low stress!!!
1 - How many rounds do you plan to reload per month (or year)?
2 - How much money do you want to spend on equipment?
For lower volume production (a few hundred rounds per month) the Lee will work perfectly. I started on the Lee Classic Cast press and I love it.
However...when my volume needs started increasing i had a choice to make. I could keep using the Lee and crank out 100 rounds per hour...and spend 4 hours a week in the garage pulling a handle on a press...or I could buy a progressive and spend an hour to do the same amount.
I ultimately upgraded to a Hornady LNL. I still have the Lee for calibers that I don't won't be reloading in large amounts.
Figure out the answers to the questions above and then come back to us. You're going to get lots of good advice here...I know I did when I started out.
I also use the Auto-Disk powder measure, but if I was starting over i'd buy the "Pro Auto-disk" and will eventually upgrade to that measure because it's frankly easier to deal with for a number of reasons.
Single stage presses are just too dang slow for pistol caliber reloading, they're great for Precision reloading for a rifle, but I can turn out 200-300 complete rounds of .45 on the turret press in the time it would take me to just size/deprime and re-prime the same number using a single stage press and a hand priming tool
If you are wanting to get started cheaply you can look for a used press.
You can look on this board for the for sale forum and also on http://thefiringline.com/ for the for sale forum. eBay always has some presses and other reloading tools, if you can play that game.
Something like a Partner or RCBS JR3 will do a nice job for you for not too much outlay if you can find a used one.
You should read the stickies on this board about getting started. It is also recommended that you buy a reloading manual and read that for starters...... and yes, holler if we can be of any help. Lots of knowledge and experience on this forum.
As a bare minimum you will need a press, shell holder, set of dies, powder dippers, powder funnel and a be-burr tool. I would also prefer to have a scale and powder measure. Sure makes it much easier and the scale takes out the guess work. I have never loaded with just the dippers. Got a scale with my first set up. If you go with the scale and powder measure, you can forget the dippers. Again some of this may be found used.
Welcome Rev. Chad
I'll jump in here and join others in recomending the LEE CLASSIC CAST Turret press. ( this is their model made with a CAST IRON base)
Every company out there makes good presses,.. but with that said, many people (including myself) feel this is the Best all around, do everything well press for the money today. It is a quality machine with a lot of nice futures and will last a lifetime.
While your at it,. LEE Carbide dies are a good choice too.
UNIQUE would be an excellent powder for 38 spl. & 45 LC.
You will need reloading books,... Lyman's current book ( #49) is a great 1st choice.
LEE's Modern Reloading ( 2nd addn..) is a good 2nd choice. Mr. Richard Lee has written a lot of good technical info found in the front of the book not easly found elsewhere.
Welcome to a great site, don't be afraid to post any questions you may have, there are many good people here ready to help.
Here you go, $229 after rebate...
They have great customer service, also.
I started on .38 special, and I'm glad I did. Revolvers are more forgiving than bottom-feeders, so it's a great way to start. I started with Clay's powder and bumblebee lead bullets because they were both available at my LGS.
I really like Hodgdon-family powders. They have lots of load data free on their web site that you can cut and paste into a spreadsheet, then sort by columns you're interested in. Plus H4895 and Trail Boss are just cool for reduced loads for rifles.
I have the Lyman and Lee manuals because they both include lots of loads for lead bullets. If you're interested in that, they're good ones to get. Plus they both have good introductory text.
(more than one is recommended)
My favorites are :
1. Lyman 49th Reloading Handbook - has a GREAT how-to section & the widest array of reloading data found in any manual.
2. Modern Reloading by Richard Lee - just be aware that he feels his reloading equipment is far superior to any other brand. (I've found that to not necessarily be the truth).
When you finish that - then I'd recommend a Lee Classic Turret press.
It's great for beginners because you can remove the auto-advance spindle & use it like a single stage.
Once you figure out what you're doing you can re-install the spindle & make 3x the ammo in the same amount of time.
How strong is your reloading bench?
My bench is made with 2X10's with 1 1/4" work bench material glued and screwed from the bottom side that is attached to a 2x4 lagged to the wall with a simple 2X4 box leg system. I have it set up in an L shape and it has worked very well for the past 20 plus yearrs. I am 6ft 4inches tall so I made mine 40 inches tall and is 30 inches deep so I do not have to sit on a short chair and can stand up to load if I want without my back getting sore. This is a very sturdy bench and does not move no matter what I am loading or doing on the bench. I have been toying withthe idea to dress it up and have been looking at different ways to dress up the top and the front of the bench and possibly add drawers or doors to one section. been looking at adding a laminated hardwood top and shelves and or building some cabinets for storage. I have reviewed many of the pictures of other members set ups and did not see any that were any stronger than mine. THe nice thing is that I have very little in mine since the lumber was all donated or salvage so my main cost is in screws and glue. My reloading room is 12x20 room set up in my basement and I am still working on finishing it as time and money permit. I hope to submit pictures when finished.
Go to eBay and search for reloading press, or RCBS reloading press, or you can be as specific as you want. I recently got a nice RCBS Jr 3 press there for what seemed like a very good price.
Here is an example of a very strong press for an almost giveaway price.
The only problem with these old Herter's presses is that they do not use standard shell holders. You may find what you need on eBay, or you can get an adapter that allows the use of standard shell holders. You can also order from Herters.
My Herters press is about 56 years old, and just as good as the day it was new. I went the adapter route for shell holders. Now any of the standard shell holders work.
Also you might shop the sales sections of any gun forums you may frequent. Interesting what used equip shows up in these venues.
if you buy the auto indexing value kit, all you will need is a tumbler and media(bought mine at harbor freight for $45), die sets for 45 and 38, Id suggest a extra drop in turret but it isnt necessary, safety prime system, autodisk powder measure riser and a set of calipers.
though the auto index is nice in theory, I dont like it as it makes it diffucult to pull the lever. i removed mine and simply turn the turret on the upstroke with my right hand while grabbing either a bullet or a new piece of primed brass with my left.
That sounds like something is out of whack with your particular press. I've worked with two different Lee turret presses, one of the older 3-holers, and the 4-holer that was my first pistol setup. Neither shows an undue amount of resistence with the indexing rod in place. it's more than without the rod, but certainly not enough to be called "Difficult".
the Only issue i've had with either one is that on the downstoke out of the sizing die, when i'm repriming the case, since the portion of the rod that does the actual indexing conicides with the same portion of ram travel as the priming station ( i use the regular two sided primng ram/arm, not the safety prime) and requires a "Down to prime, slightly up to clear priming arm, down to finish index" proceedure, I have to be careful not to over-index the expander/charging die.
So in a way my issue is that the indexing feature is actually a little too effective at that one station.
Oh, i will add that I did have one incident where the index-rod became a PITA, but that was because the little nylon or plastic bushing that actually drives the index system wore out. as soon as i swapped to the spare bushing that Lee ships with all the turret presses, back to being trouble free and easy.
I will be loading for .357/.38
This will be my first press and my introduction to reloading. I have a friend who has been doing it awhile on a progressive. For me with children a single or turret price fits the bill nicely.
I do want, later int he year, a 45LC/45ACP revolver and will load for that as well.
I am building the workbench in a week or two. Buying a scale and some books very soon as well.
For me besides the obvious reasons to reload, it would be more of a relaxing methodical downtime in my work area. Time to clear the head I guess. Plus I want to reload lighter .357 loads for just target and heavier for other reasons.
Layman question...could I use the same die for .357/.38?
Any suggestions on powder for .357/.38? I didn't read the entire thread.
Thanks in advance.
Separate names with a comma.