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How to get started

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by random, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. random

    random Active Member

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    I'm interested in reloading, but really have no idea at all where to begin. Can anyone help me out learning what to do?
     
  2. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Member

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    Read, read and read some more. I started two years ago by reading The ABC's of Reloading and a few other beginner books. Watched YouTube videos and read forum posts about reloading. Then got a couple reloading manuals and read them. It was really fun learning to reload and firing my first reload was an adrenaline rush. There are some very knowledgeable folks here that can answer any questions you may have.
     
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  3. Windini

    Windini SWDD Charter Life Member

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    Afriend gave me a single-stage Lee press, and I bought a set of .38 special dies from Titan Reloading online. I also picked up a copy of The ABC's of Reloading, and that was my start.

    Do some homework, pick an easy-shootin' caliber to start, get your gear together (that's half the fun!), get the ABC book, and read, read, read.

    When you're ready to do your first loads, set reasonable goals (20 rnds, say), go slow, check & double check every step (especially after charging the case), go to the range, wear your safety glasses, and have fun!

    Then do it again.

    Focus on calm, steady work & check steps with safety in mind and you'll be fine.

    Keep us posted!
     
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  4. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    Ditto on what has already been mentioned. I generally recommend to anyone getting started to begin with a Lee Classic Turret press. If you are only interested in loading for rifle, then you might consider a good single stage press instead. If you want to load large quantity of ammo, then you will probably end up with a progressive press, but the turret press is a good way to learn and you can load about 250 rounds per hour with it. I have a progressive press but I use it only for semi-auto pistol calibers, I load everything else on my turret press.

    I'm not far away from you, if you need help setting up your equipment, I would be glad to help.
     
  5. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Come here.
     
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  6. CZfool68

    CZfool68 Int'l Man of Mystery Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I have almost everything you need in the classified’s except powder. For a steal. I’ll throw in the ABC’s of Reloading book too. Then go find a class or mentor. The offer above seems like a wise move. Good luck, enjoy and be safe.
     
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  7. random

    random Active Member

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    A lot of what you said was another language to me :) But I suppose I'll understand better after some reading. Thank you for the offer, I very well might take you up on it!

    Thanks! I'll take a look this evening.
     
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  8. Button Pusher

    Button Pusher Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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    Start some stretches to warm up and then pickup as much brass as you can. ;)
     
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  9. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    As said above, read 2+ manuals and get with someone that knows what they’re doing while they’re reloading.
    I found the info in the manuals click in place when walking someone through the steps.
     
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  10. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Active Member

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    Book learning is good, as are videos, but having a knowledgeable mentor looking over your shoulder is well worth it. If possible, I'd recommend taking up the offers here.
     
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  11. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    No problem.

    Most of what I talked about were the different types of presses. Here is a quick rundown:

    Single stage. A single die is mounted in the press, a single operation performed on a single round with each pull of the handle. Since it takes multiple dies and operations to load a single round, this is the slowest way to create ammo. Loading multiple rounds are done in batch mode, where an operation is performed on all rounds before moving to the next operation. Maybe 100 rounds per hour.

    Progressive press. There are multiple dies and multiple operations happening with one pull of the handle. A loaded round is created with each pull of the handle. This is the quickest way to load ammo, but it can be a little overwhelming to a new reloader with everything happening at once. A progressive press is also expensive, and not really needed unless loading lots of ammo and time is a consideration. 400 to 600 rounds per hour, more if an automatic case and bullet feeders are used.

    Turret press. Multiple dies in the turret, but only one operation happening at once. The Lee turret presses are unique, though, since it has an auto-index option that allows successive operations to occur without having to handle the cartridge but once. 200-250 rounds per hour with auto-index. For beginners, leave out the auto-index and run like a single stage press. Most of what I do with my turret press is without the auto-index.

    Do a search for reloading tutorials, lots of information out there.

     
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  12. Blammer

    Blammer Happy to be here

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    first thing I always recommend is to go and buy one book.

    the hornady reloading manual set.
    read the first several chapters, they will give you all the basic info you will need to start reloading. And they have a glossary of word definitions in the back you can look at.
     
  13. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    There are a couple of key things I would recommend. Yes....read all you can. Find a mentor is possible.

    But, as some one that has reloaded for 50 plus years, I would offer the following.

    You want to develop proper technique and understanding. I would not start with s turret. Just my feeling. To understand the basics, I would stick to a single stage press. RCBS jr or equivalent will last a lifetime. If you decide to do a turret or a progressive later on, keep it for short runs of when you experiment. I am setting up a Dillon XL750 and will keep my 4 sets of dies and RCBS Jr. for quick loads of 25 or so.

    Second....do NOT scrimp on the Powder Measure. I am assuming you will be reloading for accuracy and not wanting to dip and weigh every charge. Most powder measures come or can be purchased or upgraded so that you have TWO drums or cylinders. One small for pistol and the other universal or large.

    You did not specify Rifle vs Pistol. All your tools will work for both. But, for better and consistent accuracy, if you are going to start with pistol, then get the Small Cylinder option.

    I was looking for a powder scale for a friend in your situation. The “precision” micrometer models are worth the initial investment. I shot rifle and when I started concentrating on pistol, I purchased a small cylinder for my RCBS Uniflow. Made the world of difference. I have a friend that also did the same and he purchased a small micrometer cylinder for his Redding #3. We both made Uncle Nick’s baffles and our charge weights are within 0.05 gr.

    Right now, Midway has the RCBS Competition Small Micrometer measure on sale. For most rifle loads, this probably has the capacity for them also, but not the bigger magnums where you put in a LOT of powder.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012952122

    You can purchase a powder baffle that keeps the powder “pressure” of mass consistent or you can google Uncle Nicks Powder Baffle and download the sheet and cut one out in 10 minutes.

    No matter what you do or evolve into, you are going to need a good beam powder scale and a pair of calipers. Don’t scrimp there as as you move on, they will stay with you.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  14. Windini

    Windini SWDD Charter Life Member

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    Thanks for the Uncle Nick's! Learn something new every day/I hope to be baffled soon.
     
  15. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    Are you are thoroughly baffled, find posts on way to prevent ignorance from CRIMPING your style

    I overcrimped out of ignorance and finally got a lesson over the phone from a bench shooter

    No more issues as my crimps are set to around 0.030 and a LOT easier
     
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  16. Windini

    Windini SWDD Charter Life Member

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    All this new input is crimping my style.






    :D
     
  17. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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  18. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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    Some good info in this recent thread as well. I still stand by my post in there too.
    https://www.carolinafirearmsforum.com/index.php?threads/looking-to-get-started-advice.51449/

    That’s for equipment. As for knowledge, which is definitely the more important aspect... for me, it was YouTube and reading forums. I learn a TON that way, from auto to carpentry to tech, it’s a medium that just works for me and the info is plentiful. If you have someone who can teach you, that will be quicker.
     
  19. Harold2689

    Harold2689 Shooter Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I don't get on these forums that often anymore, because I've been really busy (I'm way more busy now that I'm retired than I ever was when I was still working) but a few years ago I was totally in your shoes. I acquired a Dillon 550B manual progressive, and a Dillon XL-650 Auto indexing press. Having never even thought of reloading, I had no clue. But I read everything I could lay my hands on about reloading, and one of the BEST resources is this forum! The people here answered all of my questions and gave me excellent advice. Take it!!!

    Since I had never reloaded before, and SAFETY was my first concern, I did something that some of the guys here probably got a good snicker from, but it worked for me. I had no idea what the press was supposed to feel like when everything was working normally, and I didn't have anyone helping me with the initial setup, so I started out making a few DUMMY rounds with NO powder, and NO primer. That was pretty much part of setting the dies up for the powder charge, (which also "flares" out the mouth of the case so a bullet can be started) seating the bullet depth, and crimping to remove the "flare" from the powder die. (I only reload pistol ammo at this point) I safely learned the operation of the press, and there was no danger involved except making sure your hands and fingers are out of the way before you pull the lever.

    But when it came time to start loading live rounds with primers and powder, I was almost paranoid about the primers. I didn't know how the press was supposed to feel, and from all that I read, the primers were the most dangerous component. In order to learn, "hands on," with no danger, I re-used some of the spent primers I removed when I de-primed my brass! I loaded USED primers into the priming system (after they were tumbled and cleaned so as to not dirty the priming system of the press) and learned how the auto priming system on the press works, how to set it up, and most importantly (to me) what to expect as far as the feel of the press as it functions normally. I went through all the operations of reloading with NO DANGER if I messed up. I produced several beautiful rounds, perfectly primed with USED primers! I learned what my press was supposed to feel like when everything was working normally, with no danger. It may have been overkill, but it built my confidence, and I feel that it was the best learning exercise for me. The old timers may have had a good chuckle at me, but I learned, and I learned safely.

    Since then, I now have several thousand rounds reloaded under my belt without a single problem with any round that I reloaded. Mistakes, yes, I've made plenty. But learning as much as I could about my particular equipment allowed me to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. If you are starting out as green as I was, I would recommend doing the same thing yourself until you become familiar with the "feel" of your particular equipment.

    Ask questions here. You have some of the best knowledge and experience right here. Good Luck, and always be safe!

    Harold
     
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  20. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    I graduated to a Dillon XL750 a few months ago, after I had been handloading (Pistol and rifle) since 1969. That was also a learning process. I would add the following to the previous post.

    The best safety device that one can put on a Dillon (650 & up) is the Powder Check system. It is (or could be) a life saver. In all my years, I did double charge one time. Fortunately it was a light target load and was in a 1911. It really went bang. No damage to the gun (was factory inspected) and it spooked me.

    I am usually methodical and systematic. But if you load short runs or change the charge weight for maybe 20 rounds and then do a lot of powder weighing, that got me out of sync and I dropped a double charge. My advice on short or test loads. Do not use a tray and then cycle through the 20 or so rounds. Hold each shell and then weigh the ones you are sampling and then put them in the tray and manually inspect. I did that and still missed the double charge. Some folks like Unique as it is virtually impossible to overcharge.

    On the Dillon, I also use a gooseneck LED light and still keep an eye on the powder level, but the Powder Check is the best insurance.

    One final note on the Dillon, I am using 4 powders (2 each for 9mm and 45). I decided to purchase a second powder measure with the Dillon as the price for a caliber change upgrade kit had the measure thrown in at half price.

    I have since ordered 2 more and will have one dedicated for each powder. Many of the folks I talked to that are long time Dillon reloader warn about having the wrong powder and not paying attention. I have used 4 different colors do Duct tape and banded the Dillon hopper as well as banded and labeled each powder container. So Bullseye is Red Tape with a Yellow Brother label. That ensures, or at least tries, that I will only put Bullseye into the proper hopper. Also I have the Armanov dial on the adjustment screw head. I can then easily go to the proper setting when I change charges.

    One final recommendation. Whether you use a single stage, turret or a progressive, i recommend that you purchase a loaded round gauge. Lots of folks make them. Most Bullseye shooters will use an LE Wilson as they are on the tight side, so you have almost zero feeding issues. Understanding HOW to crimp and how to set up your dies and measure was discussed on another thread. BUT, the proof of the pudding is when you drop your handiwork into the gauge. Really, to me, critical for tapered 9mm, but also handy on 45. Would never reload without it.

    My thoughts....
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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