Can O Worms....Thinking of reloading!

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by jlloyd73, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 Active Member

    Nov 28, 2010
    My brother has approached me with the desire for us to start reloading ammo. So I have been saving all our brass and thinking about reloading. While pondering this question for the past month or so and trying to do as much research as possible. I have found a few certain things.

    Reloading is complicated, but not impossible if you pay attention and are being safety conscience.

    There are a lot of different brands out there and and that sometimes people can be passionate about their brand over others.

    I really need to get a good book on reloading.

    With all that in mind I thought I would ask the experts here their opinion on where to really start. Currently we are shooting mostly .223, .308, .38 or .357 and .45. I have been looking at anything from Lee, Dillon and RCBS, but I am not sure what I really need as opposed to what I really want....example auto prime system, auto powder system, stuff like that. I know that I need to get the other things like a case trimmer, case cleaning tools (several items there), and a scale. I have a digital caliper and micrometer (but cheap from harbor freight....if it matters).

    I would like a progressive setup with the initial investment around $1000 with the first set of dies maybe carbide .223(is that realistic?) on a really good brand. What brands should I focus my time and research on and what things are really must have items? Keep in mind though that I would rather get the items that are actually going to make reloading easier to start with rather than trying to struggle through it......for example the auto powder system. Also I will only be looking at half the initial investment because this is a joint thing with my brother. Now he wants it to where he just sets it up and pulls the handle with a finished bullet popping out. (I told him I thought the case preparation would be the hardest part)

    I am not calculating the brass, powder or bullets in the initial investment either.......i figure that requires a whole different batch of research, but any advise on that would be appreciated.
  2. dsv424

    dsv424 New Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    Garland, Tx.
    Progressive + 1,000.00 = Dillon. Its a no brainer in my book anyway.

  3. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    First read the stickies up top by LD. Then buy a reloading manual. I highly recommend Lymans 49th edition for beginners and read the first portion of it THOUROUGHLY. Buy another manual in the mean time, always use at least two sources of data for loading.

    $1000 is a nice budget, it should get you into progressive reloading. Most reloaders on a lower budget choose Lee equipment and it works for them, often causes alot of termoil in this forum too (my flame suit is on). I would choose the Hornady LNL, or Dillon as my progressive, Dillon is known for the highest pricetag in the reloading world but comes with a lifetime warranty, the Hornady is a bit more affordable and available at retail stores such as Cabelas, Bass pro etc. and is of excellent quality, and also a lifetime warranty.

    The flip side - It may be wise of you to not rule out single stage and turret (semi-progressive) reloading as a beginner, you have quite a few different calibers you want to load for, progressive lend themselves a touch better to pistol reloading, and single stage presses offer a stout platform for precision rifle reloading, you want both??? I think a turret is a great option for you at first but opinions are like butt cracks round here.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  4. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    i say the best thing to do is buy a used single state press off ebay or a local swap meet. being a new reloader myself, my advice is that you need to do each step slowly and learn the details of why each is done a certain way. with a progressive press you're a lot more apt to not understand why a certain operation is done or done the way it is, and you'll foul up a whole batch of ammo or worse... your gun, hand or face.

    with 2 people working on the brass prep and reloading it will go pretty fast once you get a rhythm going. reload on your single stage for a year until you've really got a handle on how to set the dies up and why each operation gets done, then upgrade. then you have the single stage for say... a small run of 45/70 or something else you might not shoot a whole lot of.
  5. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    I agree with john.

    A used single stage press won't cost much, and it can be an excellent learning tool. The old cast iron presses are fantastic for resizing rifle brass.

    I don't recommend starting with a progressive press, although a turret press with the auto-index removed is OK for a beginner loading pistol rounds.
  6. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    o gpt everything i needed, press, scale, dies, shell holders, lee hand primer, shell holders for that, manual, lube pad, powder, primer, all for round 150 bucks. everything you need to start loading handgun calibers. i still need some things for rifle. but its no biggie, i'll either trade for it or pick it up somewhere.
  7. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Your first purchase needs to be a book...

    ABC's of Reloading is very good about explaining the process and tools. No load data. Focus on the process first, worry about load data later. Load data is available from most powder and bullet vendors on their websites.

    Lyman and Hornady Reloading manuals have load data, and they explain process & tools, just less so than ABC's.

    You can start out on a progressive. Some progressives (e.g. Dillon 550, Hornady LNL AP & RCBS Pro-2000) can be used like a single stage, but the manuals for those machines focus only on setting them up for fully progressive reloading.

    If you were starting out reloading only handgun ammo, I would bet you could easily get started on a progressive (particularly one of the three above). But rifle cartridge reloading is a bit different, and while it can be done on a progressive, it is easier to learn on a single stage press, especially if you are new to reloading of any kind.

    A good approach might be to purchase a progressive press like the AP or the Pro-2000, and also get a good single stage press (the Lee Classic Cast is a very good one). These two progressives have powder measures than can easily be used manually off-press with your single stage press. You'll also need the dies and the other tools for case prep & measurement (including weighing powder) as explained in a good book. Start out, learning how to adjust the dies, prep the cases, adjust the PM, etc. all with the single stage press. Make a few rounds of ammo, and test them (make sure they function and are reasonably accurate in your gun) One you know how all that stuff works, it will be much easier to get going on the progressive press, with fewer mistakes. Nothing cranks out mistakes faster than a progressive press.

    Oh, yeah, (speaking of mistakes) go ahead and get a bullet puller. I like the press-mounted collet type puller (especially for 22 cal rifle bullets) from Hornady (another good reason for a single stage press, even after you are loading progressively). Purchase collets separately for each of your bullet sizes.

    Hope this helps, and get busy reading...

  8. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    I am just getting started with reloading, RCBS has excellent web site support, the 20 step reload process is the cats butt :rolleyes:, really its a big help for someone with zero reloading experience, I have also found that RCBS seems to be more readily available than other brands , currently RCBS has a 50 dollar rebate ob any purchase over 300 dollars, I got the master reloading kit, .45 acp dies and a number 3 shell holder at 25% off and a 50 dollar rebate total cost 274 dollars :)...

    On edit the RCBS master reloading kit comes with the number 14 reloading manual, the dies and shell holder is separate and I am sure there is more to buy but overall the master kit is well supplied to get a new loader started.....
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  9. Jlloyd, I was having the same dilemma as you just over a year ago. I decided on the Hornady lnl progressive press. To go along with it I bought an electronic scale and case tumbler. For manuals I got the abc's of reloading and Hornady's book of cartridge reloading. I do not have Lymans manual but it must be good as it seems to be highly recommended by just about everyone. That was all I needed to get started loading 223 besides a whole lot of help from this forum. Since that time I have loaded thousands of rounds of 223, 9mm, and 45 acp. It's not as complicated as it seems once you get the basics down. Read and then read again your manuals, start slow, take your time and you will be just fine. If you plan to load lots of rounds I see nothing wrong with starting out on a progressive. Oh yeah, welcome to reloading, you will not save any money but your groups will get a whole lot better.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  10. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    If you are going to start out with a progressive, I strongly recommend that you stay away from the LEE progressives. I have more Lee stuff than anything but DO NOT go with their progressive presses. A $1000 budget will set you up nicely with a Dillon and it can be used like a single stage until you get the hang of it.

    You made the statement that reloading is complicated, but actually it is not all that hard to do. It takes several steps to complete a loaded cartridge but complicated is not a word that I associate with reloading.
  11. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Read read read. Know the books upside down and backwards! One thing an old man told me was "Can you load a black powder gun? It is the same basic thing. The only diffrence is the the case is the barrel and the precushin cap is the primer. Put it i one thing and you can reload." Still to this day i say that to myself as i sit down to reload. That old timer was right.
  12. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Yes to a degree, however the multitude of propellants and their burn rates of the metallic cartrige reloading world requires much more attention, due to the extremely high pressures involved.
  13. Zhurh

    Zhurh Active Member

    Mar 19, 2010
    Upper Yukon, Alaska
    All kinds of dvds out there too; they really have helped me.

    I'd really look at used equipment too, some real deals out there. Once a buddy was leaving Alaska and stopped to hunt & visit on his way out; mentioned he had a dillion 550 set up for a for 200 bucks in his camper. At the time, I wasn't sure what it exactly was and said that I wasn't interested. Regret that mistake, ha.

    You can really over spend if you don't watch too on new stuff. I've bought a few things that didn't work out so well for me. One can easily spend 2 gran setting up a bench with everything that you need; then later find out there was used equip available dirt cheap. I bought 10K primers & 50 lb powder & all kinds brass; don't regret those $$$, probably never buy anymore those supplies rest of my time on this earth and my grandkids will still be reloading too.
  14. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 Active Member

    Nov 28, 2010
    I want to thank you all for your input. I think I will start with a Lee single stage kit with my .308 because that is a gun I don't use as much, but the one that I want to get the most accurate bullets for. I was wondering if ya'll could check out the items from ebay on the links and tell me if these are a good deals and will get me started right. I talked to my brother and I told him that we should go this route and then jump over to a Dillon later in the year.

    Let me know what ya'll think please. I appreciate all the good info.
  15. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    You can still save about $25-30 total if you do a little more searching. PM sent.
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