The full scoop on re-loading....?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Tony Mig, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    The Sorprano State
    I'm kicking around the idea of trying my hand at reloading pistol ammo.
    I'm intrested in reloading .38/.357 Mag, and .40S&W. I got a sales flyer from Midway USA today, and they have a Lee outfit for sale for well under a hundred bucks. This unit has everything except the needed dies. I also noticed that it doesn't come with a case tumbler.
    How important is tumbling the cases before reloading.....can they be cleaned with a brush instead.....?

    Who and where can I find a book that explains the nuts & bolts of the reloading proccess......?

    Is it better...(and or cheaper) mold my own bullets, or buy them from a supplier......?

    I'd hate to shell out $70.00 for this reloading outfit, only to find out I need to buy another thousand dollars worth of equipment to load up a box of cartridges....

    Any and all help is appreciated......
  2. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    I'm sure there are many that would like these same answers.

    I for one will look forward to any and all information as I have just started reloading myself. Have delayed due to the move but will get back to it before too long so SoMo and I can do more shooting more often.

  3. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Start by buyin the Lyman reloading manual and reading it cover to cover. Twice.

    Read the manuals that came with your reloading equipment and practice prepping your brass on the machine.

    Buy a reloading manual and read it cover to cover. Read the Lyman manual again.

    Load two rounds without powder or primer. Try these in your gun and under your calipers for size, appearance, function, etc. BE CRITICAL.

    Buy a reloading manual and read it cover to cover. Read the Lyman manual again.

    Load a box of rounds with powder and primers. Check EACH round as you load for shape, only one powder dump, powder did get dumped, primer seated just below level of case back, bullet seated to proper depth, no wrinkles, dents, or other wonkers.

    Take them to the range and try them.

    Buy another reloading manual and read it, cover to cover. Read the Lyman manual again.

    Go for it.

    Some steps can be shortened if you can kidnap an experienced reloader you trust to help. It is great fun, but a fussy, fussy hobby. It has to be done right.

  4. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Now, for the other questions. Yes, you can clean cases in the dishwasher, in a bucket, by hand or anyway that doesn't use ammonia (weakens the metal.) Tumblers do large amounts faster and easier.

    Casting bullets is a hobby in itself. You can save a little money by casting your own, but it takes time and more equipment. I would recommend you wait on that one. I cast for the black powder guns, but not for the cartridge guns (yet.)

    Hit me up if you have specific questions as you get going.

  5. Silencer

    Silencer Well-Known Member

    No, you need a case tumbler, for sure. I once resized some once-fired .44 mag cases that received a simple hand cleaning. It was a big mistake. The resizing die was damaged with nicks that left scratches on my resized cases. Not a good idea for .44 mag. Adding a few hundred cases with some media into a tumbler and leaving it for a few hours is simple enough and performs a necessary step.

    I never got into this. I didn't have enough time, plus didn't shoot enough to really make this financial effective for me. Sorry.

    Do you have a link for what you want to buy, and an item number? It would help to know what is all included.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2003
  6. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    You are absolutely right, silencer. I did not emphasize that enough in my post. However you clean the cases, they must be CLEAN.


  7. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Tony, follow Pops and Silencers advice. You need the Lyman Reloading manual and you need to study it carefully. Midway sells this and also good tumblers. I have two of theirs.

    There are two areas which I consider critical and dangerous. The first is the primer. These can cause major damage if they go off during the reload process. They must ALWAYS be seated below the case rim. I usually run my finger over them during the process to make sure I feel a depression. If they are left protruding beyond the case, it could cause a slam fire. Slam fire is when the primer hits the recoil shield and goes off when firing a round due to recoil.

    The second is powder choice. For pistols, I ALWAYS choose a powder, that when put into the case, exceeds more than half the case capacity. This way, if you accidentally double charge a case, it will overflow and will be noticed immediately. No blown up guns with double charges!

    I would advise a beginner to use a single stage press while learning. It is too easy to make a mistake when you are learning. You have to give reloading 100% OF YOUR ATTENTION when working on it. No interruptions until complete.

    Moulding your own bullets is a hobby extention of reloading and is a science unto itself. Unless you have an area outside the home where you can work in the back yard or driveway, as I do, do not mould indoors. The lead fumes are not forgiving and stay with you forever. It is also quite dangerous from a molten metal standpoint. This is not to discourage you, only to caution. I have been moulding for many years and all the tire stores in my area are use to me begging for wheel weights. :D :D :D
    However, it is quite a lot of fun and also pleasurable knowing you brought an animal down with a bullet you made in a cartridge you reloaded.

    Stick with the advice given by the people in this forum and we can make it a safe and enjoyable, not counting money saving, hobby for you. We are here to help in any way.
  8. WyomingSwede

    WyomingSwede Guest

    Hornady puts out a good manual too, as also does Sierra. Most if not all of the manufacturers have a info/tech support line if you have questions.
    Reload only when you have a clear head and are feeling serene.
    Use the same procedures over and over and go by the book. Dont mix components and only use what is recommended. Never keep two open cans of different powders on the same bench.
    This is not baking a pie...if you mix & match...the pie wont blow up in your face.
    I love can produce superior ammunition to any factory round and tailor it to your needs...not the "flavor of the month crowd".
    Welcome aboard will enjoy it. There is nothing in the world like harvesting a big buck with a rifle you built and rounds that you loaded yourself.

  9. Tony Mig

    Tony Mig New Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    The Sorprano State
    I've thought about getting into this before, but when you look through all these catalogs, with page after page of so much different equipment...electronic scales, calipers, reamers, sizers, chamfers, tumblers, dies, shell holders......and this is before you even get to the brass, bullets, primers or powder.....

    This Lee Anniversary kit says it includes everything you will need except for the dies, but it doesn't include a tumbler, media sepperator, media........and on, and on, and makes me wonder exactly how much money am I really going to save....????

    I guess I'll buy a book or two, and read them cover to cover, then figure out if I want to invest in this game......
  10. WyomingSwede

    WyomingSwede Guest

    If you do decide to do this game...get a can of Hornady One-Shot spray lube. Best thing since sliced bread...doesn't affect powder, just spray it on when your brass is in the rack.
    Don't have to mess with lubricted pads or any of that junk.

    My $.02


    :D :D :D
  11. frosty

    frosty New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Tony Mig,

    hello and welcome to TFF.

    Don't get overwhelmed by all the products out there. It is just a wide selection of the different companies offering the same thing.

    You will need the following,.... so print it out.

    1. A single stage press.........(any brand to start off with, Lee is cheaper (cast aluminium) but o.k. 2 yr warranty, RCBS costs more but lifetime warranty, Lyman good brand, Hornady good brand, Redding good brand, Dillon excellent press/company but expensive no B.S. warranty for life)

    2. A set of dies for the caliber you want to load.....(any brand)

    3. A reloading book.....(Lyman, Speer, Hornady, etc.) READ IT, READ IT, READ IT, READ IT, READ IT, DO WHAT IT TELLS YOU, DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN!!!!!! Read it again.

    4. A bottle or two of powder...(choose this after you read the book)

    5. A tumbler and media.....(cleaning cases is important to the life of the press and to the proper functioning of the weapon)

    6. Primers get 2 to 3 hundred to start with eventually get a thousand to a box if you want...(choose this after reading the book)

    7. A hand primer to prime the brass..(this is easy, safe and fast for a beginner to learn how to prime) (any brand, Lee is good, RCBS is better, depends on your money)

    8. Bullets for the caliber...(lead is easy use and cheap, Hard cast lead is better than lead just costs a bit more, Plated is better and cheap costs a bit more than Hard cast lead, Full metal is more expensive but just as good.)

    9. A caliper for measuring case length.....(plastic, steel, etc. they will all do the job, mine is plastic and works perfect)

    10. A scale to measure powder...(Lee is good, Lyman is good, RCBS is good but will cost a little more, Hornady is good but again will cost a little, they all will measure just fine just depends on your money)

    11. A powder measure to put powder in the cases.....(Lee is o.k. but could be better (plastic),RCBS is very well made and accurate but costs a little more, Lyman is very good also, Hornady is good but can cost a little more)

    12. Shell holders for the cases in the press...(RCBS will use the same shell holders in the press and in the hand primer, Lee will need two different holders one for the press and one for the hand primer)

    Yes you will like this hobby and it will pay for itself in no time at all it usually cuts the price of ammo in half or even more.

    Welcome to the addiction..............
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2003
  12. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Good advice in a concise package, frosty.

    I started with an RCBA Rock Chucker set and then added a small tumbler. With the dies I needed, it set me up pretty well.

    Tony, with one of the sets and just a few add-ons, you can get started with very little comparative outlay. It is a good hobby and the satisfaction of shooting your own ammo can't be beaten.
  13. bompa

    bompa New Member

    May 25, 2001
    Western Mass.
    Everyone seems to think that a tumbler is necessary to clean brass..Well when I started reloading over forty years ago there was no tumblers and we did all right ..Hot water and dish soap in a large jar,add brass and shake for a while then rinse with hot water and spread the brass out on an old towel and let dry..You don't get brass that looks like new but it is clean and loads well..
    If I remember right there was some acid based cleaners available that made the brass brighter but always wondered if it wasn't bad for the brass,also it could burn you if not carefull..
    Hot soap and water and rinse,deprime first and it will clean the primer pocket also,and air dry may be slow but it works and is not expensive..No extra equiptment needed also..
  14. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Location location
    Bomba, the man who taught me to reload felt the same way you do about tumblers, a wonderfull gentleman of German descent who served in two wars, very intelligent fellow, (lol...If you cant tell I really admire the guy) but I have to contend, after a short time of tring my hand at cleaning brass I found the tumbler to be well worth the expense, in fact it wasn't long before I had 2 tumblers running over in the corner of the reloading nook of my garage...I must admit I felt a little sheepish the next time my confidante came over and we went out to look at my handywork, I didnt want him to think that his young friend had fallen for the latest gimmick, this fear disappeared when he saw some of my completed product, "this is that brass we picked up off the range?" yes sir, "you sure this isan't new brass?" Well, I'm not going to say he ran out and bought himself a tumbler, but he was impressed, and for the money, time and effort saved, I have to say, they are well worth it.

    Tony, have you read through the manual yet? What do ya think?

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2003
  15. bompa

    bompa New Member

    May 25, 2001
    Western Mass.
    Crpbeth I didn't mean to say that a tumbler was not a handy item to use just wanted to point out that it is not a nessary item for a starting reloader..Sooner or later we all get one and enjoy the convience of it.. I have found that media,ground walnut,can be had at the pet store at a very resonable price,but have read that a weldng supply store might have the stuff for even less..Might have to buy larger amount,don't know but will look into it..As for an aid to help clean that grungy range brass I have been using a bit,couple of cap fulls, of Hoppies #9 for years.. I know that someone will say that is no good because of the presence of ammonia and will destroy brass.. I have never had any problems at all,a little goes a long way..

    Tony everybody is right when they say read a manual and then select the tools that you need,or think you need,carefully..In my estimation the kits contain ,all too often, items that are really not needed for a begining reloader..Use the K.I.S.S. principal it works..
    Go slow and be carefull and enjoy the fruits of your labor..
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