Considering getting into reloading, what do I need?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by hkruss, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

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    As the title said, I'm thinking about getting into reloading. My question is this; if I just want a bare-bones set up, what equipment will I HAVE to have? If I get into it, I might want to invest more money later, but for now, I just want to know the essential equipment to get started.
    If there are areas I should spend a little more in, then please include your recommendations (you know, maybe something I will wish I had bought in the 'get-go').
    Keep in mind, I have NO knowledge of reloading, so try to keep it in simple terms for my simple mind!
    Thanks in advance
  2. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Simple, a reloading manual. Don't try or buy anything else until you have read it word for word, cover to cover. I really like the Lyman manual but there will be many opinions on which to buy. If you find out reloading is too big of an endeavor, your out the cost of the book as opposed to several hundred in scrap iron. Good luck, this forum helped me through alot and will usually err on the side of caution.
  3. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    ^^^^ +1 ^^^^

    312 is dead on and Lyman is a good manual. Get that one and once you decide to start reloading get at least one if not two more different manuals as cross reference.
    Please don't let this intimidate you. I started the same way. I was clueless. :D
    What are you thinking about reloading for?


    Art
  4. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    I agree on the manual suggestion but frankly in my opinion the manual would make more sense if you had the tools to look at and mess with while you were reading. It would help to know what you wanted to reload for so what I am going to suggest you could load both rifle and pistol. I would recommend an RCBS single stage press, a remote priming tool and RCBS dies. You will also need a powder measurer, powder scale, powder funnel, some case lube, and a vernier caliper for measuring case and finished cartridge lengths. I think RCBS makes a kit with everything I mentioned with the possible exception of the remote priming tool. I would also suggest talking to your local gun shop and ask if they perhaps have a learned customer who might be willing to help. As a suggestion don't go to the internet or like place to save a few bucks on the equipment if you plan to go to the gun shop to ask for help. You probably won't be well recieved. I hope this helps and you have many hours of accomplishments. Again read the manuals and pay particular attention to burning rates of powders and follow the loading data to the letter, meaning don't ever think you are chemist by adding a little of this or that powder different than you are loading with. After writing this I Googled Huntingtons Reloading and they have a kit with everthing I recommended including the remote priming tool that retails for $325.00.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  5. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    I like the Lyman turret press and they have kits you can get into for just alittle over 3 hun. The Tmag 2 you get a case trimmer a digital scale and a nice press. I like the turret press myself it is not as fast as a progressive but faster the single stage. Lyman is a very well built and thought out press very solid and will last a life time. The only thing I don't like is the auto primer feed, I handle each primer individully. You don't here to much about them on this forum and I have asked what others thought. It is a solid press. The kit includes Lyman's reoading manuel as well. You will need some kind of tumbler to clean your cases and media.All together I spent just under $500.00 with kit and tumbler.I have loaded thousands of rounds with it. It is simple to use and puts out high quality ammo.
    Tim
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    As for manuals I like the Hornady manual as it has illustration that explain how cartridges work with pressures in the 60,000 psi range and what the cartridge case really does. It helps to understand how a cartridge case works to be able to understand the significance of what you are doing to it when reloading it. Anyway, you can not have too many reloading manuals or too much reloading knowledge.

    Done wrong reloading can be extremely dangerous. So read before you leap!

    LDBennett
  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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  8. Haligan

    Haligan Well-Known Member

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    Their it is.
    Ya know I'm not a big reader. I read magazines and emails and stuff. But I have to tell ya I love firearms so much, when I bought my first reloading manual. I'll tell ya, I couldn't put it down.

    I think I made up my mind on whether to get into reloading between page 4 or 5.
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    me too, i got started with lymans 48th, and a lee anniversary kit.
  10. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and advice. I should have added that I'm wanting to reload .40 cal and .223 at this time (a couple of you asked what I would be reloading).
    I have a friend at work who might want to sell me his reloading equipment (never used). As soon as I find out exactly what he has I will check in with you guys to see if there is anything else I might need. Thanks again.
  11. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    http://www.leeprecision.com/

    Whether you like or don't like Lee, or even use their products,
    they actually have some very cool videos on reloading process available online.

    It really helps if you have questions or are unsure of the process, you can see
    almost all the steps online.

    I think most of the videos were done on a single stage press - 1 action at a time, but it should apply to progressive reloaders.
    The only difference is that the progressive does all the steps each time you pull the handle, no need to change the loading dies in-between.
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    in my opinion everyone should start out on a single stage, it is easier to gain an understanding of the process when you have to physically do it one step at a time. kinda like a single action revolver would be a thorough way to teach a new shooter exactly how a gun operates...
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    JLA:

    "everyone should start out on a single stage, it is easier to gain an understanding of the process when you have to physically do it one step at a time"

    If you use only one station at a time on turrets and progressives, they too are single stage presses. I advocate to anyone serious about reloading that knows they will be doing it for years to come to buy either a turret or progressive press as that is what they will end up with, if they do any volume at all. I tell them to start using the turret or progressive as a single stage first, then graduate up to one cartridge on the table at a time then finally to a full table of cartridges (progressives).

    I admit I started out on a single stage press (50 years ago when there were no progressive presses the common man could afford). It was not my press but a friends and I reloaded a couple of times and helped him a couple of times. That experience made progressive reloading inviting to me while single stage reloading seemed too tedious. When I got my first progressive over 25 years later (had a bit of time away from reloading!) I started loading single stage, then only one on the table at a time, using all the stations, and then progressive. That evolution took one reloading session for me but others might want to spend more time single staging it.

    I'll admit my first progressive was a LEE and it screwed up all the time and was broken the rest of the time. Using my Dillon replacement was as easy as falling off a log.

    I think it better, rather than buying a single stage press to learn on, to read everything on reloading you can get so as to be "expereinced" before you pull the handle the first time on any press. Yes, some of it will be meaningless but its importance will reveal itself over usage for virtually everything written in the reloading manuals.

    I hate to see new reloaders waste money on a single stage press and end up eventually with a good progressive. After all saving money is usually why they turn to reloading to start with. Progressives are as good a single stage press as any out there. At least the Dillon RL550B is! My ammo reloaded on my Dillon RL550B is as good as any loaded on a single stage press! The ammo made by anyone is no better than the effort put into it and bad ammo can come from any press.

    But they get to choose for themsleves. That's just my experience and suggestion.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I see your point LD, but allow me to make another equally as cost efficient... If you start out on a single and work at it until you are real familiar with the process, then go out and buy a dillon. you have a spare press on hand, i happen to use my first press as a lead bullet sizing station, so no money wasted, plus i have a 'go to' just in case something happens to my turret press and im in the middle of a reloading session...
  15. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I admit I started out on a single stage press (50 years ago when there were no progressive presses the common man could afford).

    I agree with everything you have to say on this subject. Like you I started reloading about 40 odd years ago. I started with as simple a tool as I could find, a hand press, one die at a time, and a good reloading manual. It was slow but then I was learning and only loading for one caliber back then. When I stepped up to something better I went with Lee and bought a turrent press. Thousands of rounds later, I'm still using it! Not as fast as a progressive, but then again, it keeps me out of trouble! >grin<
  16. gandog56

    gandog56 Member

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    Minimum
    A press (single stage, turret, progressive, it's up to you)
    Dies (Definitely recommend carbide for any non bottleneck cartridges)
    Scale (I prefer digital)
    Calipers (Once again, I prefer digital)
    Reloading Blocks (Unless you get a progressive press)
    Reloading Manuals (The more, the better)
    A bench
    Case lube (For any bottleneck cartridges)
    Nice to have but not necessaries:
    Lee Dipper kit
    Automatic powder measure (probably included you get a progressive press)
    Ammo boxes for finished reloads
    Primer Pocket swager (For crimped empty cases)
    Some type of hand priming tool
    Bullet puller (For when you mess up, and you WILL!)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  17. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    what you reload with is a matter of personal preference, what you need is Brains, Guts, Patience, and a Reloading manual or 2...
  18. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    Now that I know what you are going to load for I would recommend the Dillon 550b as LDBennett suggested. JLA mentined buying a single stag and then going to a progressive is what most of us have done because nobody but Star that I am aware of made a progressive loader when most of us old guys first started loading and for the price of a Star for even in one caliber in those days you could buy a late model car. I will caution you using the 550b as a single stag in my opinion would be as if not more difficult than if you just started using the thing. Just taking it out of the box and setting it up will teach you a lot. JLA's suggetion has a lot of merit as well and it would be much cheaper. It might help you to know that with the 550b you can load 300 rounds per hour with no problem. Where as with a single stag I would guess 30 to 40 rounds per hour of the two calibers you mentioned.
  19. gandog56

    gandog56 Member

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    You notice everybody is mentioning manuals? The more, the better
  20. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I find the most time consuming process in reloading to be case inspection and preparation, and since they dont sell machines that visually inspect every single case one at a time, you are kinda stuck as far as speed goes. but once all the prep work is done and primed brass is waiting to be made into live cartridges, i have found it possible to turn out 50+ rds an hour. Plus, you have a margin for added quality a single stage offers, and the likelyhood of loading a squib or a doubleshot is greatly reduced, i think its just safer for beginners, i will always have one...
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