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I want to start reloading
#1
I have no clue about it. I sort of understand the concept but not all that much. I will most likely be loading .40S&W 12G 9mm and 7.62x39. We are moving soon and I have the whole unfinished basement to myself to frame to my liking. I figured I'd put in a gun room where I can clean, store and reload. What should I get first? Should I start saving my brass now? Should I just wait and buy brass in those huge bags of it? Should I start with a cheap loader or save up and get a nice expensive one that does everything?

Some enlightenment would be appreciated please Big Grin.

Pictures with responses on things I wouldn't know would also be much obliged.
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#2
I would start saving brass now. I'm already saving for calibers I don't even own yet. Angel

Next, buy a book or two on reloading and read them, a couple times if necessary to get an understanding of the process. Reloading isn't difficult, but it does require an understanding of what you're doing and attention to detail.

My personal recommendation is to start with a single stage loader. They're relatively inexpensive, and kinda force you to take your time and learn what you're doing. Even if you decide to move on to a progressive, a single stage can still come in handy, for low production calibers, working up a load, etc. Of course, you may find that you can load enough to keep yourself happy with just a single stage, and not need to spend the money on a progressive.
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#3
There are a few important things to ask yourself first.

1. What is your goal with reloading? Are you trying to save money? Because you will need to go through a lot to even recoup the costs of the equipment. I have spoken with people who wanted to do it to save a few dollars, to end up hundreds in the hole.

If you want to do it to save a few buks while learning more, having control of your loads, and have a fun hobby, then it might be right for you.

2. Do you have the time? I built a whole new bench just for reloading. That took one afternoon. Then to prep, load, and check the finished product, it takes time. When I load, I dedicate about two, to three hours at a time.

3. Do you have the patience? Reloading is more trial and error, than anything else. I went through several loads before I settled on what worked for my .45acp defense loads. I took information from manuals, tweaked, and tested. Then I went back, tweaked, and tested. And did it till I found what worked for me. That alone was a lot of time behind a chrono, and on paper. Will information from a manual work for you? Yes, of course. And if that is all you want, by all means it works fine. But I like being able to adjust my loads and see why works best in all my toys.

For me, I find it relaxing. Using the beam scale, an my calipers, it is all so simple. Black and white. I just lost my job. They shut down our entire location. To have the control, where Ivan say how much powder, what round. It centers me. When I am locked away in that room, just me and my tools. It is very calming.

And yes, I would recommend saving every piece of brass you can. I have a bucket in my room. Anything I find at the range that I don't load or shoot, goes in the bucket.

As for what to use, it depends. A progressive press is fantastic. Only if you have the need for it. I use a lee classic single stage. It works for me.
This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. -Ben Franklin
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#4
I got extremely lucky and was gifted a Herter's press, which saved me at least $100. I'm also working off of my friend's reloading manuals, information from the internet, and my friend's guidance. I still had to get the adapter and dies, scale, and priming tool. I still need to get myself a tumbler and powder measure as well at some point.

All in all I'm looking to spend around $60-75 more if I order everything online and find some stuff used. Total cost will have been roughly $175-200, minus the press. You can find used single stage presses online, so I'm just taking a swag here and saying estimated cost to start up will be around $275-300 in equipment.

Reloading manuals are great, and offer tons of data. You can find some of that data online as well, but it's always good to have the manuals. It's also incredibly helpful to have someone who has a fair amount of experience in reloading to help you out. My friend is mentoring me in some of the finer points in loading pistol and rifle rounds.

From my understanding, progressive presses are great for pistol rounds since most pistols aren't overly sensitive to reloaded rounds. You can use a progressive press for large quantities of rifle rounds as well, such as for USPSA or IDPA matches as well. For really accurate and consistent loads, however, stick with a single stage since you'll have a lot more consistency from one round to the other.

It is definitely time consuming at first, but you'll start to find that it's not overly so when you start getting experience. It used to take me a couple hours to load 500 pistol rounds on my friend's progressive press. Now it takes me half of that if I find my groove, and it's only getting faster. It'll take me longer on a single stage press, but I can take 20-30 minutes of my day to work on some of a new batch of ammo throughout the week and be able to crank out a decent number of rounds.

Depending on how much you want to invest in the beginning, it may take some time to recoup what you spent. I got lucky and only had to spend half of what I initially estimated since friends have chipped in with some of their old gear. It'll still take me 2-3 batches before I break even. However, considering that I shoot USPSA matches monthly and practice in between, that'll be easy to do.

One thing I've enjoyed is that I can work and tune my ammo to what suits my gun and myself. I can make some wickedly hot rounds that are just on the edge of being safe, or I can make some really soft loads that my wife can try out to get a feel of things. I'd recommend against the overly hot loads, but I'm just saying, you can make them.

I'm planning on getting Gold Dot bullets next and making my own carry ammo that'll fly faster and perform as good or better than ammo next, and at around 2/3 the cost of buying factory ammo. I'll be working up some hunting loads for my .30-30 soon enough as well, and be able to get some rounds that easily outperform the factory loads since they'll be tuned to specifically work with my rifle.

Lots of fun options if you have the patience and find the time.

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#5
I was able to trade for a complete RCBS reloading setup complete with several cans and a keg of powder. Then over the summer, I got lucky and bought an entire Lyman setup for $75. I bought dies for 8mm, 30-30, 9mm, 223/556 and prices ranged from $18 to $40.00 for new dies. Powder costs me $23 a can. Bullets depends on where I get them. Vmax costs me $56 for 500 bullets, and 45 cast bullets cost from Pennbullets $48 for 500.

Ive saved my brass, only had to buy 8mm brass. I have saved a fair amount, and my investment has already paid itself back via more shooting at the range. I also find it as an enjoyable hobby. So for me, it's been win-win.

I'm not set up for shotgun yet. I'd have to buy a shotgun reloaded for that.
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#6
Lots of info out there, most of it good. Here is but one of the better sites IMO: http://www.three-peaks.net/reload.htm
From a trailer park on a strip cut where my neighbors call me Mister.
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#7
I'm thinking about going with a progressive reloader. Perhaps Lee but I really like the Dillion. Like the one in Hickok45's reloading video. He made a great point about starting with the progressive. (you are eventually going to want to upgrade, so you're just wasting the money on the single stage.) I like how the dies don't rotate and you can pull out the WHOLE die set from the press and insert another with out having to change ANYTHING. I'm not all about the saving money part. I just like the fact I made my own ammo and I can fiddle with it and personalize my loads. I also have a lot of free time even if working. I never sleep, so I want to mass produce a nice little ammo collection. I will eventually start casting my own bullets. Which knowing how to do all of this will make it great if shtf I can literately make my own ammo. I also want to start making my led melting machine and the birdshot maker (out of my own melted down lead)... So far I'm inbetween a Lee or Dillion.
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#8
Casting boolits opens up a whole different can of worms. Trust me, I just got into that recently.

From the way it sounds, your head is in the right place. Progressive or single stage will work fine once you start working with it.

I will warn you, my reloading bench is a time machine. My hand touches that lever, and all of the sudden I have lost three hours and have a pile of ammo.

I would recommend finding a local person to show you the ropes. A good friend of mine gave me a lot of guidance, also helped me assemble my bench.
This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. -Ben Franklin
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#9
Connal;46029 Wrote:Casting boolits opens up a whole different can of worms. Trust me, I just got into that recently.

From the way it sounds, your head is in the right place. Progressive or single stage will work fine once you start working with it.

I will warn you, my reloading bench is a time machine. My hand touches that lever, and all of the sudden I have lost three hours and have a pile of ammo.

I would recommend finding a local person to show you the ropes. A good friend of mine gave me a lot of guidance, also helped me assemble my bench.

Yeah I have a feeling it will be the same for me. I'm not all to good with math and it seems like their isn't all that much involved lol... The problem is I'm moving Dec 27th to Highspire PA from York county PA I will know absolutely nobody except for a girl I know up that way. So I will be on my own for awhile. I'm not to worried about it. Trial and error.
DON'T TREAD ON ME.
One Man Wolf Pack.
Always stay invisible.
Proud to be a loser at PA2A Whack
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#10
This is a great thread. I've been thinking about starting reloading, also. Good stuff here... Twothumbsup
Regards,
Paradigm
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