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Want to learn reloading

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Climberman, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Climberman

    Climberman Unstealthiest Ninja

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    I'm completely new to reloading and want to get started.

    If you were about to get started to reload for a hunting rifle (30-06 and the main reason I want to reload for accuracy) as well as .223/5.56 and maybe 9mm for matches, what kind of press would you buy? How would you get started?

    Help me start a new addiction/way to spend money.
     
  2. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Nuts Over Lil D. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member Supporting Member

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    You tube
    Read the ABC’s of Reloading

    Also having someone experienced in it to spend some time with and help you get going is priceless. For what you want to do I’d start with a single stage press. And learn the process and how to make quality ammo without issues before I worried about adding a progressive press in the mix
     
  3. Tim

    Tim I am....an enchanter. Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I don’t think you can beat a single stage press for the .30-06 and other low volume rifle loads.

    Lee, Hornady....whatever. They’re all good to go.

    I get excellent results from Hornady Custom dies and their Lock N Load quick change system.

    A simple hand priming tool will be good to have as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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  4. REELDOC

    REELDOC EYES OPEN, NO FEAR Benefactor Supporting Member

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    Rock Chucker
     
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  5. Tatershooter

    Tatershooter Member Charter Life Member

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    Good advice
     
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  6. 11B CIB

    11B CIB Administrator Staff Member Charter Life Member

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    This exactly

    I read a ton but it didn’t click until I saw it in action. I was glad someone took the time to show me in person.

    I saw the basics in just a few hours but it still took time to figure out the “feel” for things on my own like I can tell when hand priming if the primer will seat, if it’s going to stick, etc but that’s after thousands and thousands of primers seated. And that’s just one aspect of it
     
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  7. Climberman

    Climberman Unstealthiest Ninja

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    Does it make a difference which single stage press then? I read about all the whiz bang attributes of each but don't know what's good and what isn't. Guess I'll start by watching youtube.
     
  8. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    I have a Rockchucker, a Lee C-press and a Lee Cast Iron turret with the old-school round primer system and autodisk. You know which one I use the most? The $35 Amazon-purchased Lee C press. I did add a nice little tray for primers under it. It does everything I need it to honestly.
    I deprime about a million pieces of brass every year, and sure a hand depriming tool would let me sit on my butt in front of the TV but I don't need the distraction once I'm in the hand loading frame of mind. I do listen to music on my very ancient iMac I used for load data and such.

    The Cast turret press kit is the best setup for under $250 IMO because it comes with everything you need. Works as a single stage but more convenient. Also works as a pseudo progressive if you wanna do mild amounts of bulk ammo. You have to pull the handle 4x a round unlike a Dillon.
    Comes with the autodrum which is a big improvement over the autodisc. Comes with the newest Lee manual which is convenient and every bit as good or better than ABCs of Reloading plus has load data nobody else has (458 Socom for instance)
    Take the plastic beam scale and sell it on Ebay for $20. Buy an old Ohaus or RCBS 5-02, 5-05, or similar US made beam scale. Get a cheapo digital scale if you really wanna be double-dog best (I weigh cast bullets with mine).

    I started out with the turret press, and I used it this morning to load 100 rounds of .38 before work. The rockchucker collects dust unless I need it to swage primer pockets, form cases, or other heavy duty tasks. It is a precision machine though.

    Unless I get a absolute smoking deal on a Dillon 650-750, I may just try the new Lee progressive press. It looks promising and I already have quite a few breech-lock collars.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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  9. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    Just about any O-frame press will do, a lot of people recommend the RCBS Rock Chucker as it is a good solid press. If I were to buy an O-frame press now, I would probably get the Lee Classic Cast, non-breechlock version. It is a good solid press and handles spent primers better than the RC, in my opinion.

    I have a Dillon 550 on one end of my bench, and a Lee Classic Cast turret press on the other end. I use the Dillon for my semi-auto pistol rounds (380, 9, 40, 45, 10mm) but I use the Lee for every thing else, most of the time I use it in single-stage mode. I agree with @Ikarus1 about the kit being a great deal, and about the scales. I think it is a great way to start. Whether or not you need a turret or a progressive press over a single-stage press really depends on how many rounds you expect to load. If you only shoot 200 rounds total a month, a single stage will do just fine.

    Do read a few manuals. I highly recommend the Lyman and Speer manuals, the tutorial information in the front sections are excellent. The Lee manual is good, but all of the data in that manual can be found on the internet from the powder manufacturers, and usually with additional information such as barrel length (important when comparing velocity) and specific brand of bullets used (important for seating depth).

    And, don't think you are going to save money by reloading. Think of it as a hobby, that will allow you to shoot more. :)
     
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  10. Slacker

    Slacker Liquor and Whores...

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    @Elenaidan

    This looks like a great use for that rockchucker you haven't setup.
    Can we Facilitate getting it to him?
     
  11. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    You can't go wrong with a solid single stage press. Buy used if you're just thinking about reloading.
    But...
    If you've really thought on the use go for a turret press (not progressive). This will let you set up for a particular projectile and not have to setup each station (size, expand, seat and/or crimp). Just index to the next station and go.

    For bottle neck rifle brass you will always need to check case length and maybe trim. This is due to the expander die pulling out of the brass neck. A true progressive press is not an advantage for bottle neck rifle brass. For straight wall it's an advantage.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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  12. Climberman

    Climberman Unstealthiest Ninja

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    Like this one?
    https://www.hornady.com/reloading/presses/lock-n-load-classic#!/
     
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  13. Button Pusher

    Button Pusher Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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  14. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I would also suggest a single stage. For now it’s really not much more expensive to buy 223 and 9mm than it is to make it, so start stockpiling components while shooting factory in those calibers and learning loading with the 30-06.

    Can’t really give you opinions on presses, I bought a Forster co-ax and like it, but have little experience with the other options
     
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  15. JimP42

    JimP42 Mostly harmless Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Yep. Start with a basic single stage, learn with 30-06. No matter what presses you get later (I recommend a Dillon 550 for a first progressive) you will still use the single stage for odd jobs.
    I started with a 550 (which was fine for what I needed it for first), but I have a Lee turret that I use for random stuff - decapping, pulling bullets, loading a few of something odd for a friend like 30-30, whatever comes up. Much faster and simpler for something quick.

    There are lots of good choices for single stage presses. The Lees are a great value. The Rock Chucker is awesome for precision ammo (very heavy duty, rigid, and very little slop in the press). Something like a Hornady with a lock and load bushing system is nice for swapping between dies quickly. (I just have several turrets with all the dies I use single stage, so that works too.)

    I got the Lee in a big mixed lot of used reloading stuff years ago. If you can pick up a bunch of stuff from someone getting out of reloading that can be a good way to get started.
     
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  16. Button Pusher

    Button Pusher Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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  17. BurnedOutGeek

    BurnedOutGeek What's this button do? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I want one of these for some reason I cant figure out. I dont need the kit, but the press is calling to me.

     
  18. Namerifrats

    Namerifrats Member

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    I'd suggest start loading pistol rounds first to get a feel for it. Much easier and fewer steps that rifle loads. Great way to start. Single stage, and read, read, and read. Stay away from hot loads. Stay within the load manual limits and don't load what Joe Blow online tells you his load is unless it comforms to what a load manual states.
     
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  19. Climberman

    Climberman Unstealthiest Ninja

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  20. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    YouTube is cheaper and more informative.

    Everyone that reloads has their own “recommendation”....and if it works for them....then that is cool.

    My advice, from 1968 when I first started loading....and was really just a novice until a few years ago when I started shooting a lot more would be this.

    RCBS is hard to beat....as are the other ones mentioned. If you don’t plan on making a career out of reloading, then the RCBS Jr. or the Rockchucker would be my choice. I have loaded 7 different calibers on my Junior. I will use it for calibers that I don’t load enough to use on my Dillon. I have loaded the big boy 7mm Magnum and it works. I have done 270 and 06 as well. If you start simple, you learn and then you can upgrade. I made a quantum leap to the XL750, but I did a lot of homework and talked to shooters that had loaded on the Dillon’s for years. Keep it simple...Single stage...good quality.

    If 06 for accuracy is your goal, then I personally would not go crazy and think that i absolutely had to have expensive Carbide die set. I read several articles that said that if the average handloader would use shell lubricant and was not an avid 200-500 rounds per week banger, that standard steel dies (RCBS, Hornaday, etc) would last 2 lifetimes. So, for bench rest 06, I would get a set on Ebay and start to learn. I loaded 270 and 06 for years without a case trimmer. I had some 1” groups with my 270, so I must have done something right. YES...the cases DO grow. A Case gauge or a pair of calipers would be my choice....actually I would spend MORE $$ on a good set of calipers as you need them for other loads.

    I would look for a good Reding or RCBS powder measure and a good scale. Beam is best. You don’t need a $400 digital. I know High Master and Distinguished Bullseye shooters that have loaded for years and they use the simple beam balance for checking loads. Later on, if you start to shoot competition, in rifles, MAYBE.

    Frankford Armory makes a good vibratory cleaning machine for less than $40. I have one and have run thousands of cases. Cleaning cases does NOT mean that they sparkle like a Rap star’s chains. Dillon tells folks to ONLY process cases for 30 minutes to knock off the powder residue. Cleaning in acid or with SS pins actually is bad for the Dillon’s. The flaring or belling of a pistol case mouth needs the lubricity of the burned powder in the mouth. They only recommend lubing cartridges that are virgin brass and you use cotton balls to get it gently inside the mouth. A coffee can with 50 or so cases and a bunch of cotton balls with a lubricant works....I experimented and it is cool.

    you need to read or watch some video’s on how bench rest shooters control shoulder dimensions and bullet seating. Perhaps someone here can reach out to you and talk.

    9mm is something that I thought was easy....until I learned that my “intuitive” crimping setup was all wrong. I got a case gauge (completed round) and then learned how to flare and seat and adjust (had way TOO MUCH...which is common) the crimp. Now my rounds fit and feed flawlessly and they all pass the “gauge”. Same for 45.

    I would shop eBay and look at what is listed here. Maybe $50 - 75 for an RCBS JR. MAKE sure it has the primer feed arm and tubes. $25 for 06 dies. $40 for a scale. $60 for a good powder measure. $35 for calipers. If you start to do Pistol, you need to get the Small Charge cylinder or drum for your powder measure. I would spend $80- 100 for a good quality one with both large and small.

    I fought with my RCBS Uniflo for years with the large cylinder....then got the small one and my Pistol loads cleaned up...as did my accuracy.

    good luck
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  21. Climberman

    Climberman Unstealthiest Ninja

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    Thanks for the information!
     
  22. Butter

    Butter Who’s in charge around here? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I'm going to be the only person to tell you to get a progrssive press, IF you are a good problem solver. If not, probably not the best choice right now. I started on a Lee Loadmaster and I'm glad I didn't start on a single stage press. Its wasn't long before Big Blue came into the house.

    If you find your way to Kannapolis, you're more than free to stop by OD HQ
     
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  23. Chihuahua Floyd

    Chihuahua Floyd Happy to be here

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    While you can get load data off of the internet, I would check at least three sources. And get a manual, so you can have an open book on the bench with you.
    I started with the Lee Anniversary kit. Upgraded to a used Rockchucker.
    Try to find someone to mentor you if possible.
    CF
     
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  24. Slacker

    Slacker Liquor and Whores...

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    No question, get the Lee 2nd edition manual.
    It's $20ish bucks and has more data than the others. I use Lyman, Lee and Hornady manuals but if I had to choose 1, it would be Lee.
     
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  25. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    Ditto. I have the latest Lyman Manual as the last one I bought had a 1973 copyright.

    I print out the load data for calibers and powders that I use and have them in one folder...for each caliber. I also shoot some powders that lave limited data, but the experienced shooters, like the Bullseye guys often post their experiments. When I find an article or a post with the bullet weight and type and powder and their range notes or test data, I will copy and past that into a Word doc. I DO look for verification on some other blogs to see if the velocity is in the same ballpark.

    I still think that for a just getting started or novice, the advice that I posted is pertinent. I am a retired manufacturing engineer, amount other work exploits, and debugging and setting up a Big Blue is sometimes a daunting task. Once you understand how to reload using a simple single stage press and get familiar with the techniques and such, then graduate.

    The key I found was to have a pair of mics and calipers and a case gauge. Assuming you choose and meter or throw a consistent powder charge (for a given bullet and powder) and then your rounds will pass the case gauge, you will be able to shoot and enjoy.

    As to the transition to a turret or a progressive, you need to understand what the dimensional characteristics or tolerances are. Then, however you manufacture them and what method you use is your call.
     
  26. Slacker

    Slacker Liquor and Whores...

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    Definitely, case gauge is a must.
    ESPECIALLY for rifle. Consistent headspace is tricky with mixed head stamp brass.
    The case gauge will save mucho headaches.
     
  27. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    It SHOULD be a requirement for 9mm. As a RSO, I see more 9mm feeding issues or “chambering” problems than anything else. Having experimented or owned a variety of 9mm, there is a lot of folks that typically overcrimp and bulge the cases. Glocks will eat anything. Some of the target and specially built guns are more persnickety. I bought the LE Wilson gauges as the BE shooters use them because they are a little snugger or machine on the tight side of the tolerance. Supposedly some folks have gauged shells and found that the Dillon gauges were larger and had an occasional issue.

    For the average reloader, if you learn to properly set a 9mm crimp, then you should not have an issue. However, on my Dillon XL750, I found it was easier to adjust the crimp by using the case gauge than the tedious measurement process. Won’t pass, keep adjusting the crimp down...a few degrees at a time...not quarter turn adjustments.
     
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  28. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    I don't case gage anything. I plunk it in the chamber it's supposed to fire from. That's the ultimate test of whether a case is going to chamber or not :D
     
  29. spittinfire

    spittinfire Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I’ve never used a case gauge on anything. If your resizing the brass and your dies aren’t worn out, why would I need another gauge to tell me they are the correct size?

    If I’m tuning something for a specific gun I’ll pull the action out and test fit to the barrel itself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  30. TomGCherry

    TomGCherry Active Member

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    I guess we have different outlooks or opinions.

    First....the case gauge will verify that the sizing die is not worn. NOW there are some shooters that will only use brass from the SAME gun for matches. YES, you COULD use your barrel as a gage....but with the gauge, you can see if the rim seats flush....as it should.

    Second.... OK....you have resized the case and it is perfect. Now, you flare and then charge and seat and crimp. I used the Target Shooter's procedure to ensure the proper crimp. I actually calculated the crimp reduction from the TPI of the lock ring or threads. I know that about 1/6 of a turn would give you the 0.012-0.015 crimp. I had that nailed down on the RCBS press and die and used my tightest barrel (a new SA RO that was barely fired....) as a gauge. I also used my CZ Shadow 2 Barrel which was supposed to be "TIGHT" and finicky. My rounds would sometimes drop out when inverted....sometimes not. Obviously the Glocks and my Smith would eat anything.

    I got my new Dillon XL750. I played with the 9mm settings and such. I had been advised by a "Distinguished" BE shooter to get the Wilson Gauges. He only gauges his match rounds and not the practice rounds. I found out that most of the Top or High Master or whatever and the Distinguished BE shooters do that. OK...

    So, I adjusted the Dillon for a flush fit. BINGO....worked in everything I had. BUT, I got curious. My single station rounds would not seat flush. That meant that I need a smidge more Crimping. So, all the hours of tinkering and adjusting and such got me CLOSE....but not perfect. I ran a few test cases and tweaked the 9mm single station setup. NOW, they drop in and out.

    I also found that there was some "mythes" about the CZ Shadow 2 and the "Leads" in the chamber or perhaps entry into the barrel. I had already run a "seat by chamber" test with some dummy rounds that I made up. I sized the cases and then used a pair of needle nose pliers to just barely get the bullet to fit. I then pushed them in manually (my thumb). I found that all the "you must seat these bullets really deep as you will have issues" was some voodoo work. The CZ's chamber was a little tighter, but the lead or overall length was fine. NOT as long as the SA RO.... You could easily seat any bullet (especially the 147) to the max length and it worked and fed and fired fine.

    That was when I realized that the case gauge could have saved me a LOT of work on tweaking or getting the crimp correct.

    It worked for me. NOW in all openness.... I was over crimping....and after I broke that habit....I was slightly undercrimping. By having the gauge, I was able to increase the crimp and it was in tolerance for the gauge....but not anywhere close to bulging as I had been doing. I guess it is just a matter of experience and attention to detail and knowledge.
     
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  31. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Acid Rain Maker Guy

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    I have a Lee. You can spend more, but they are all pretty much the same. I load my .223 Service Rifle competition ammo on mine, as well as .270, .380, 9mm, and. 38/.357.
    Where are you located?
     
  32. Djstorm100

    Djstorm100 Always have a plan Vendor

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    Buy once, cry once. Buy your self a Forster Co-ax. The floating system allows for better concentric over all. No need to buy new case head fitting like other presses.

    Welcome to come over and I'll show you a setup/ how to.
     
  33. Timfoilhat

    Timfoilhat New Member

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    I'd vote for a Redding T7 Turret as a first press. I just got into reloading in the past two years, and the old guru who walked me through the ins and outs of it said his only regret was not buying a turret press. The benefit is being able to set up every die exactly how you want them for any given load. Then you lock them down and don't ever need to mess with set up again, unless you want/need to make changes. Buy a new head for each cartridge you load and just swap those out. I'm slow as a snail loading rifle rounds, but they're accurate and consistent, and that's kind of the whole point isn't it?