Time to start reloading...

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Guest, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    SkiingFool1974
    Member
    Posts: 8
    (4/19/02 9:56:29 pm)
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    Hi everyone. After spending over $300 on ammo, I've decided that I really need to start reloading. Does anyone have any suggestions on some good books to read to get more info? Any ones I should stay away from?
    Also, any idea how much the initial investment would run?
    Thanks,
    Evan

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 537
    (4/19/02 10:15:33 pm)
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    Evan -

    The BEST way to get started reloading is talk (and hopefully, visit) with someone already set up and doing it.

    Any of the major reloading manuals are chock full of info on how to get started and do the actual reloading processes. Lyman, Hornady (pricy), Speer, Hodgdon, Sierra, Nosler are but a few such manuals. The Lyman manual probably has one of the most detailed, as they delve into cast bullets in addition to jacketed. Each manual has their own particular slant to benefit their products, so you have to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    You can start out cheap with some of the lower end costing equipment and end up upgrading later - most reloaders do. Quality reloads can be produced on the enonomic equipment just as well as the more expensive stuff. Just depends if you mind doing a lot of personal effort, or want volume with the least effort.

    Minimum equipment to get started: (1) single stage press, (2) dies of each particular caliber, (3) loading block to hold cases, (4) powder funnel, (5) powder scale, (6) the requisite bullets, powder and primers.

    There's no black magic on reloading - pretty simple, really. The only thing is not to be cocky and think you're error proof!! Check, measure, then recheck every step of the way. Don't be foolish thinking your firearm's better than those listed in the manuals and load over the maximum charges they list. Yes, each manual will vary according to what type of mechanism was used to verify the loads - some use universal receivers (massive things) and swap chambered barrels around, others use acutal firearms to do the testing. Regardless, PAY ATTENTION and follow directions.

    Again, it simple, really. Enjoy your new hobby!!!

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 1784
    (4/20/02 7:06:55 am)
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    You might want to add a dial caliper to measure the overall length of your seated bullet in the cartridge brass.

    Or, take a factory loaded known bullet weight cartridge and put it in your seating die then adjust the die to lightly crimp on its setting. Then you would run the same bullet weight and shape into your brass and should come up with pretty close to the same seating depth as the factory round.

    But get that loading manual and start reading.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of reloading. You'll love it.

    Gunguy

    Zigzag2
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2979
    (4/20/02 8:05:29 am)
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    Evan, you are off to a good start already. As you've read by now, it's a fairly easy procedure.

    Be saftey concience...


    I'd also suggest you add a bullet puller to your list. (if in doubt of round... you can easily take it apart)

    load a few and try them.



    rayra
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 300
    (4/22/02 1:43:48 pm)
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    I've been reloading for ~16 years, spent about $900-$1000 in reloading equipment, and have loaded ~180,000 rds.
    Here's my thoughts -


    If monetary concers are pushing you to reload - there are some impressive savings bullet-by-bullet, and if you stick to the most rudimentary equipment, you can reload very inexpensively in $$ terms, but it will cost you much TIME.

    And if you step up to better equipment (a progressive press, digital scale, case trimmer and the like), you'll find yourself spending several hundred dollars.

    If you are going to be shooting / reloading for a lifetime, then, YES, it does save money.

    If you just bought the first 400 rds for your first weapon, and are thinking 'screw that, not paying $100 for ammo again!' - start with the minimal equipment, safer anyway, and minimum expense until you see how your shooting 'habit' waxes / wanes.

    The other 'Dirty Little Secret' of Reloading - Once you have all that cheap ammo, you'll shoot a lot more. 'pffft' go those imaginary savings (more like BANGBANGBANG, I guess).




    SkiingFool1974
    Member
    Posts: 10
    (4/22/02 5:10:43 pm)
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    Thanks for all of the info, it looks like I'm going to be doing some serious research and reading now.
    I've been doing some plinking off and on for about 10 years, but up until recently the closest range to me was several hours away. Now that I am 20 minutes from a nice range, I have been doing quite a bit of shooting. Also, now that I have several different calibers, I can't simply purchase 1,000 rounds and be done with it for a while.
    My main concern with reloading is safety, both in terms of the actual cartridges and safety while reloading. Currently I live in an apartment, so I will not reload here. I have a friend with a house out in the country, but I don't know if I trust things to stay put there and not "grow legs" (by the neighbors, not him).
    I have never had much luck running commercially available reloads through any of my weapons, but I'm assuming that is because there are so many possible combinations out there, they just pick the ones that work well for one specific gun. Am I correct with my thinking?
    Also, I've noticed that the reloads that I've shot are a lot dirtier than even the cheapest non reloaded rounds (Wolf, Blazer, etc...). I tend to get a lot of failure to ejects and other problems from the reloads, yet it almost never happens with the Blazer. Is this just due to bad quality powder, poor reloads, other problems, or is it just the nature of the beast?

    Thanks again for all of the info/advice!

    Evan

    rayra
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 305
    (4/22/02 5:25:49 pm)
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    sounds like you are a Prime Candidate to take up Reloading

    about your gear being somewhere else - a little bit of work can create some lockable storage for your equipment and combustible supplies - should help prevent missing gear and any dangerous mucking about.

    Reloading is as Safe as YOU are. The components are hazardous. There are some behaviours to avoid. There are some 'Safe' habits to learn (no distractions, no booze, double-checking shell casing powder content, safe materials handling, etc.).

    As for fouling, it really is nothing more than the choice of powders. Most bulk / commercial reloaders might go with a cheaper powder in their quest for the Almighty Dollar.
    I have no idea if it is the quality of the chemical composition of the powder selected, or the granule / flake type involved, that causes some to foul worse than others.
    Others with more insight on this will have to comment.

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 552
    (4/22/02 10:54:26 pm)
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    There are portable, knockdown reloading benches availabe commercially that are specificily designed with the apartment owner in mind. My first reloading venture (about 45 years ago) took place in our upstairs apartment. The Lee loaders are fairly light in weight, economical and produce acceptable reloads.

    Different powders burn differently. The newer Hodgdon pistol/shotgun powders are very clean burning, as well as the newer Winchester stuff. Functioning thru semi-autos requires diligent attention to case lengths, resizing and crimping. You'll have to tweak the powder and powder loadings to find the most proper amounts to feed and function thru the firearm without being either too light or too strong. The manuals will help you out in this regard - just don't get brave and load over the max listings.



    SkiingFool1974
    Member
    Posts: 11
    (4/23/02 9:28:18 am)
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    <<<There are portable, knockdown reloading benches availabe commercially that are specificily designed with the apartment owner in mind. My first reloading venture (about 45 years ago) took place in our upstairs apartment. The Lee loaders are fairly light in weight, economical and produce acceptable reloads.>>>

    Here's another question, how safe would it be to actually do the reloading inside an apartment? I would keep the windows open, not smoke, and turn off the gas heater, etc, but with safety being the highest priority, just how safe would it be?

    Thanks again,
    Evan

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 1813
    (4/23/02 1:02:22 pm)
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    You might think about getting a lockable storage cabinet or big storage trunk.

    Don't know if you've got little kids running around the place but you would have to be diligent about keeping their little prying sticky fingers out of your gear.

    C02 fire extinguisher...if it makes you feel safer. I don't have one in my upstairs loading room. But I do have a couple of gallons of cold water in my table top refrigerator in that room.

    Try to load in an area that has tile or Formica flooring...easier to clean up spilled powder than if it falls on a rug.

    I really don't see any reason not to load in an apt...go for it.

    GG



    rayra
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 307
    (4/23/02 3:48:34 pm)
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    No harmful vapors or such.
    Would be best to have a carpet-less floor, or maybe a dropcloth to catch some of the fired-primer grunge and/or spilt powder.
    Never tried vacuuming up powder, not sure I'd care to, either.

    Definitely, if your enivronment includes Reloading and Children, the goods should be under lock and key, and you shouldn't have the kids distracting you during the operations.


    Biggest hazard I'm aware of in apartment-reloading is letting your Landlord find out.

    10yrs ago in my Homeowner's-Association-afflicted Townhome, had a 'chat' with the Board about my equipment and fire safety. Showed them the very minimum of powder and primers I kept at the time, the containers I kept them in, the handy extinguisher, the fact that the goods were in the farthest possible location (in my garage) from any ignition source. When the conversation edged towards their still bringing it up at a Board Meeting for action, I told them I'd legally go after THEM - two of the board embers were motorcross enthusiasts who routinely kept several gallons of gas, and piles of greasy rags laying in their garage. A MUCH WORSE fire hazard. Made sure they'd understand I'd make sure the 'rules' applied equally to all.


    ldsteff
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 57
    (5/4/02 1:02:01 pm)
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    I think Sierra has about the best all around goodies for getting started,I have helped to newbies get started with the Sierra videotape,it starts out very simply and carries you right through to thelast step--They also have a great CD with all reloading data and ballistics information--If you can get with someone and watch them load that is the best,but keep your first setup simple--Ebay reloading is full of great buys on stuff guys bought that was too much for them--That is a great place to get slightly used equipment--hell most of it is used only once! try this site
    www.sierrabullets.com

    Dave3
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 66
    (5/20/02 10:37:07 pm)
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    I've only been loading for a couple years, and feel I did tons of research. I read a few books and and talked to the old boy at the gun club, and ask lot's of questions on brand x before I found out where everyone went. I think "Modern Reloading" by Richard Lee really put's it in black and white. Yes he pushes his products but he seems to emphasize the bare bones of what is needed. I bought his starter/annivesary kit for 70 bucks. I thought the scale and the powder measure left alot to be desired, but they worked. I was loadin', as time went on and I learned more. I new what to look for and found out what worked for me. I got another book with the kit and sent it and a "Lee Loader" to a friend, He is now a reloader. A "Lee Loader" is 14.79 in Midway's catalog (they call it "orignal Hand loader") and the book is 11.79 www.midwayusa.com What ever you chose there is nothing better than making a great shot with bullets you loaded. good luck.

    cosmo51
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (5/24/02 1:44:09 pm)
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    I have been reloading for many years. For what it's worth, here's what works for me. I choose not to reload for volume. I take my time and reload for the self satisfaction I get from producing the best cartridge that I can. One at a time ( by this I mean complete each stage on all cases in the lot before moving to the next stage) and no more than 50 to a batch. As a beginer, you need to master the basics before moving on to the progressive presses (if you so choose). I suggest that you start with a Lee Challenger single stage, bench mounted press. If you're handy, you can build a servicable bench with plywood and 2x4's. It don't have to be pretty. Wouldn't hurt to have a case cleaner to clean any fired cases before you size the cases. Get a Hornady balance beam scales. Weigh each load ( I don't trust the dippers for consistency). I like Lee dies and the Lee primer tool that fits on the press. I prime one case at a time, placing each primer in the tool by hand. The self feeding primer gadgets don't seem to feed primers well. I use Lee case trimmers, Lee primer pocket cleaners and the Lee deburring tool. To clean primer pockets, I fit my drill (inverted) into my vise then fit the primer pocket cleaning tool into the drill then just touch the primer pocket of the case to the spinning tool. To trim cases, I fit the Lee shell holder tool in the drill and trim the spinning cases. The case mouth can be deburred at this time. Get your hands on a good reloading manual (or two). Follow the instructions that come with the dies. Take your time. Double check your moves and don't let anything distract you as you load. Your confidence level will rise as you successfully complete each stage of reloading. Hope this helps some.

    Donny Henry
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 179
    (5/26/02 6:24:24 pm)
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    I'm right there with Cosmo...Although I find that my RCBS powder dumper is really quite accurate enough, for plinking, when it comes to "precision loads" I put each round under the microscope so to speak...I really dont see a progressive press in my future, simply because I like to take my time, and treat reloading as a hobby...Hope you enjoy it Fool!

    Skiing fool that is
    ~-~I'm your huckleberry.~-~
  2. oncefiredshells

    oncefiredshells New Member

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