Where do I start?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Jackman, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Okay I want to reload .45 acp Colt model 1911. .38 acp Colt model 1906 and Savage center fire High Power .22 model 99,,,,,,,,,, and the question is where to start and what to buy I have a Gander Mt. store nearby so have checked a bit found this unit for the .45 acp (links bottom of page) and they also have a complete kit that sells for 350 dollars Rock Chucker brand.

    Any thoughts appreciated a real green horn here :D about to jump in need good stuff but don't want to buy too much or spend more than needed ....


    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    First off, get a good reloading manual. Hornady is up there with the best. Read the front of the book where it tells you what you will need, and how to reload safely. All the nominclature is explained in the manual. Then start looking in the books for the ammo you want to reload. Decide how fast, or how slow, you want the bullet for that caliber to go. Always stay within the min/max for all loads given. Once you know something about what you are doing, and how to do it, you will have a real good idea of what you will need to get it done.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    If it was me, and I had the extra cash, I'd get the Rock Chucker. My rockchucker has been serving me well for some 35 years.

    I don't think people should start with a progressive press. Lots of folks say, "Start with what you're going to end up with", but I feel that starting with a progressive is like learning to drive in a Porshe on the Autobahn. You'd learn more with a slower car on slower streets.

    With the rockchucker kit you will still need to buy dies and shell holders. That will run you from about 30 bucks per caliber (Lee) to about 50 bucks per caliber (everybody else).

    The kit has, in my opinion, some things you don't need. I've got lube pads, but don't use them. Use spray lube. Much easier and cleaner. The hand primer? I primed on my rockchucker with the built-in priming arm, for the first 20 years or so. Still don't use a hand primer. I think it's a waste of money, although many people like 'em. While it's true that you will need allen wrenches, most folks have a set somewhere around the house. Why pay extra for the RCBS-marked one? And I've never found a need for the case-neck brushes.

    Howsomever, you might try parting out the kit, leaving those things out, and compare. Ala carte, as opposed to the value meal. Might turn out that, even with the unnecessary stuff, the kit's cheaper.
  4. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    I have to second the RCBS Rock Chucker press and kit. Like Alpo I got mine many years ago and it was what I started with and it is what I am still using today. Not a single component has worn out or given me problems all these years. I did switch to the Lee hand primer a long while back as I just like them. They are cheap and you have to buy a shell holder for each of the different case groups. I have worn out a couple of them and broke the handle on a new one I just got this year but I still like them better than any of the others I have tried.

    Read LD's posts as they are excellent.

    Follow Carver's advice as those manuals are absolutely necessary and invaluable.

    When you buy dies for you hand gun calibers I recommend you spend the extra and get the carbide dies so you don't have to mess with lubing the cases ( doesn't apply to your rifle cartridges).

    Read and read some more and enjoy.
  5. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks good info :cool:, I'll be reading up for sure but mostly I am a hands on learner so getting started is what works best for me, I read LDbennett's links the single vs progressive helped in the understanding the differences, I think the progressive is more suited for me since I want to load pistol ammo mostly and also progressive seems less time consuming than the single I know that goes against what Alpo posted but I only want to buy this stuff once so I think progressive may be the answer. Am I assuming correctly that the progressive can load other caliber bullets with just a change of the tooling?

    Whats your thoughts on this Lee progressive?
  6. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Hey Todd just saw your post and another vote for the Rock Chucker , got to ask is it a slow process loading with the Rock Chucker , how long does it take to load say 50 rounds of .45 ammo?

    Thanks Jack
  7. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    Jackman, I can't give you a good answer to that question and the reason is I don't think I have ever started with a bunch of fired cases and worked continuously till I was finished and had box of completed cartridges.

    Some day when I feel like it I will deprime an size maybe a couple hundred cases and put them in the tumbler to clean and shine them up. Shinny brass is not necessary it is just one of my hang ups. Another day I will bell and prime all those cases and put them in jar. They may stay there for a month or more till one day I want to load and will get them out put in the powder and seat the bullets. I am sure that a progressive set up is much faster but I just enjoy doing it my way, you know how that goes.

    I load hundreds of 9mm, 38spl, 357mag, 45apc, 45 Colt and lesser amounts of .223 and 30-06 each year. It is an enjoyable relaxing task for me and I have never felt the need or desire to get a faster set up but that is not meant to knock them. There are hundreds of sized primed cases in jars in the gun room just waiting for me to put in the powder and bullet. Speed has never been an issue with me in the loading process. The multiple times I have to handle a case gives me many chances to check that things are going as planned. It is just the way I started and have stayed with it all these years. I'm an old timer and have to take what ever I am doing slow and steady to get all the enjoyment I can :D
  8. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    The reason for starting slow (ya gotta learn to walk before you run) is you will need to understand every aspect of reloading metallic ammo. You'll need to know the whys and wherefores of each step, and get the "feel" of each operation. This is usually accomplished with a single stage press, 'cause on a progressive many things happen at once, and some of the operations are automatic. Sure, you can jump right in with the most complicated auto-everything progressive, but you will experience frustration and problems with your ammo. Not just my opinion, all you have to do is look at a few forums and see the questions/problems new reloaders have with progressive presses, and a lot of it is just basic stuff. Perhaps you can pop out some safe ammo that will go bang most of the time without ever reading a "How-To" manual (ABCs of Reloading, Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook, Hornady's 4th Edition (or 3rd?), but the odds are against it.

    If all this preparation to begin reloading is too slow for you, I'd suggest you continue to buy ammo...

    BTW Lee progressives don't have a reputation for reliability.

    Go slow, be safe, and enjoy...
  9. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Good place to start. It's what I use, and started with. Just go slow, take your time, and double check everything. Once you have some experience under your belt, then you can go for speed.
  10. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    i just got into reloading and my choice was used equipment. i got everything i needed to get started for around 100 dollars.

    you cant learn reloading on the fly. you have to get a manual and read and understand it before you start. there is a lot of variables that can cause you trouble. by trouble i dont mean the occasional jam. i mean a blowed up gun or face/hand.

    in order to safe and proficient at reloading you really need to have an understanding of what happens inside a cartridge and a gun when it's fired.

    you need to understand the factors that can increase pressure and why they increase pressure. basic knowledge in physics is a must
  11. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    A progressive is a fast way to make pistol ammo for sure, as a newbie it is also a fast way to make your wallet lighter before you are certain you want to stick with the hobby. Budget yourself at least $700 and closer to $1000
    to start reloading with a quality progressive press and all the related tools to reload. If I were to start all over, I'd buy a used single stage and dabble with it for 6 months then jump to a progressive. You then can equip the single stage for rifle catriges and a progressive for pistol cartriges, which IMHO is a properly equiped reloading bench.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  12. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    North Florida
    Some good info here. I started out with a lee progressive 1000 and was sorry I did. I reloaded several hundred rounds and SEVERAL of those rounds werent worth a hoot. I hated the primer feeder because it didnt feed right about 1 out of every 5-6 rounds and if you dont watch real close you will drop your powder into a non primed casing. Way to much going on for a beginner. I would recommend a single stage for a beginner and pro alike. You will end up with a quality round and feel good about your product. The lee made me loose interest for quite a while. Good luck and follow the advice to read up first!!
  13. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth

    Reading the manuals first will get you headed in the right direction, after that, start looking for used equipment; there's plenty of good quality used stuff out there. That being said, there's also junk out there too. Research what you want and then go find it. I have bought several items off of flEa Bay and gotten some good deals.

    Good Luck and welcome to TFF !
  14. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Okay a big thank you first all good advice :cool:, I have my course mapped out now and will start out reading up and gather info while at the same time scour locally for used reloading equipment (looking thin so far) ifn nothing turns up used I will most likely buy a new progressive (I know not advised) , I will be loading mostly pistol ammo and also the description of the progressive unit seems to appeal more to me than the single, the excellent info on this site combined with trial and error and light loads for vintage firearms shooting nothing more than paper targets eventually will get me to the point of really know what I am doing...
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
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