i found this thread on how to measure hardness with pencils! $10 for a pack of 12 pencils with different hardness:Just getting started again myself. I still need to get a hardness tester, and a thermometer. I have everything else other than a mold for .44's. I do have molds for .45ACP, and .38/.357. I buy my lead at the junk yard. Wheel weights for $1 per pound.