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chorst294 06-23-2008 06:12 AM

I need help reloading!
My Sgt. is giving me a work bench loaded with all the equipment needed to reload. The only problem is, I have no idea how to even begin. Could somebody please point me in the right direction for some type of Idiots Guide to reloading. I'm moderately poor and would really enjoy being able to shoot a lot more with the cost savings of reloading.

msmyth 06-23-2008 09:03 AM

Go to your loca library and pick up a copy of ABCs of Reloading. Or, pick up a copy of Lyman, or Lee reloading manual. Grat hobby, but addictive. You won't save money, you'll just shoot alot more for the same price as factory. Enjoy!

RL357Mag 06-23-2008 03:17 PM

You'll save up to 40% over the cost of factory ammo, and you'll eventually be making ammo which is more accurate than factory ammo. I produce match grade .223 ammo for about $135 per 300 rds. I use Sierra Matchking 69gr. BTHP bullets. That kind of ammo will run over $1 per round in the store. A lot of experimentation is involved to find the optimum combinations of type of powder and bullet weight. Every gun has it's preferrences. Handloaders Digest by Ken Warner is a good starting place. Any of the ammo manufacturers books are good, especially the Sierra Manual. Never use max loads..always use starting loads and work up. Generally Sierra bullets produce the best accuracy in rifle cartidges, but bulk bullets made by Remington are good for people interested in saving money and producing fairly accurate ammo. Ask lots of questions and always use caution. If there is ever a question about how much powder you placed in a case, dump it and start again. If using a bench powder measure, periodically check the powder throw with a scale to verify consistent powder throw. Spherical and disk shaped powder granules will throw more accurately than extruded powders, but these powders generally have a faster burn rate and may not be appropriate for large cases with large volume loaded with heavy bullets, which generally require a slower burn rate. A good generall rule is not to reload rifle cases more than 5 times. Brass stretches and weakens requiring frequent case trimming. Do a lot of reading before any reloading. It's a safe and fun hobby if common sense & patience are applied. Good luck!

G21.45 06-23-2008 05:04 PM

:) And, don't forget that all of the major reloading equipment companies have free technical support phone lines, too. ;)

chorst294 06-23-2008 05:18 PM

Thanks for the info. It looks like I'll be doing quite a bit of reading before attempting my first reload. I don't want my pic on here showing results of stupidity while reloading. :D I am very interested in saving money. I don't know about you guys, but the cost of ammo has gone through the roof around here (Central FL).

BigO01 06-23-2008 07:16 PM

chorst294 the cost of components keeps going up also my friend , if your 100% sure you will be taking the plunge even if it will be a year away I suggest you try to decide on a few of the calibers you will be reloading for and stock up on a few things now .

Here are a few on line Sites by powder manufactures to help in choosing powders and bullets for when you get started .

Here are a few sites that are very reputable and sell not only reloading stuff but just about anything gun related you may want between them .

I have personally bought more than a few thousand of dollars of stuff from MidWay , Cabelas , and Cheaper Than Dirt , and I hear Natchez has a excellent reputation . Lastly there is Graf's their store is close enough I shop there in person and they have excellent pricing and customer service .;jsessionid=A0OCGBGRNIWW1LAQBBKCCOVMCAEFKI WE?_requestid=105373&_requestid=53929

Please save yourself some $ and DO NOT order powder and primers and have them shipped to you as there is a Hazmat dangerous materials shipping charge of $20 per package tacked on top of the shipping fees and Powder and primers can NOT be shipped together in one package .

So even if you ordered in extreme quantities like say 100 Thousand Primers and 70 LBs of powder you would be looking at $40 just in Hazmat Fees then they would add whatever the shipping cost would be on 2 packages .

Find a good local source for those two components .

If your Sgt is giving you reloading Dies for straight walled Handgun rounds like the 45 ACP or .357 Magnum be sure to ask him if they are carbides dies . If they are you will not need to lubricate them to reload them if not you will need put some type of lube on them to get them in and out of the die .

If you find yourself in need of Dies , Lee products have worked for me for 20+ years now and their prices are very reasonable .

The basic process is pretty straight forward Die 1 is a resizing/depriming Die it forces the case back into factory dimensions and pushes out the spent primer . Then you must first install a new primer , Die 2 expands or "Flares" the case mouth slightly "As per your adjustment of the Die" to help it to accept the new bullet and in many reloading operations it also allows the powder charge to be dispensed directly into the case , Die 3 is your Bullet seater die it pushes the bullet in and can be adjusted to "Crimp" the bullet to hold it firmly into place . Die 4 as many handgun die sets come with is a special crimp Die only , because some reloaders like it to be a totally separate operation from the seating .

There are slight variations on this . For instance with many rifle rounds you may do what is called "Neck sizing" only and buy a special Die set for it , Rather than the entire case being resized all it will size is the case neck . It is used by owners of Bolt action rifles to greatly extend the life of their case because after firing the case body is sized to exactly the dimensions of the chamber of that 1 particular rifle . IT is NOT something you should try for Lever , pump or Semiautomatic weapons because the now slightly over sized case body may not function through the weapons action as it would if it had been full length resized . It is also not a suitable thing to do if you have more than one weapon in a particular caliber .

O and I will give you one EXTREMELY serious warning that many a reloader has ignored and ruined their guns because of it . Never and I mean never ever become so engulfed in the whole saving money aspect of reloading that you try to develop rounds that are below the listed minimum for a given bullet powder combination to either A stretch your powder supply/savings or B to develop some type of quiet round that you wish to attempt to shoot in your basement or backyard . You might just make what is referred to as a "Squib" load , a round with just enough power to get the bullet out of the case but NOT out of the barrel . Whats happens when you fire a second shot with the barrel solidly blocked can be disastrous for the guns and your personal health .

Ignore the above and you may just wind up with the nickname of "Stumpy" or "Patch" for the rest of your life .

RL357Mag 06-23-2008 10:49 PM

And don't do the stupid thing I did...don't reload late at night when you are tired...I did...and I forgot to charge a case with powder. This caused several bullets to get backed up in my barrel requiring a re-barreling. Luckily the barrel didn't burst and the manufacturer replaced the barrel for free. Unfortunately God won't do the same.
You may want to check out the following supplier - I have dealt exclusively with them for many years and they are the cheapest I have found. Also they package primers and powder in such a way as to avoid paying two hazmat fee's!

robocop10mm 06-25-2008 08:19 PM

+ 1000 on getting a good manual or three. Read it (them) cover to cover and gain as much knowledge as you can.

pistolwhip23 06-26-2008 04:15 AM


Originally Posted by msmyth (Post 28950)
Go to your loca library and pick up a copy of ABCs of Reloading. Or, pick up a copy of Lyman, or Lee reloading manual. Grat hobby, but addictive. You won't save money, you'll just shoot alot more for the same price as factory. Enjoy!

I agree, i just dont think its worth the time and effort to reload ammo. especially that i have a glock and recommend not to.

RL357Mag 06-26-2008 12:03 PM

Reloading for handguns which you carry only enables you to practice more than you normally would, whcih is a good thing. Someone once told me if you are not reloading, you are not shooting enough! Of course if you can afford to shoot thousands of rounds of factory ammo it's not an issue for you, but at over $40/100 rds. of .380 ammo and $60 + for .357 or .40 ammo I need to reload to stay in shape. It's advisable not to use reloads for carry guns because of the "intent" argument that some DA's have used in defensive shooting trials. I don't know enough about that to comment about it, but I do know that reloading saves me a ton of money especially for my rifles. It also allows me to make ammo that outperforms factory ammo costing 40% more. It's also nice to have a skill that someday may allow you to shoot when others can't.
PS - I know of no gun manufacturers that actually recommend the use of reloads. That's a universal liability statement that is intended to avoid lawsuits caused by negligence or irresponsible behavior. Over the years at shooting ranges I've heard people discuss how they loaded really "hot" loads for this or that gun. That's one more reason I don't go to public ranges - you never know who the idiot is standing next to you on the firing line.

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