New to Reloading
Ok so I have a couple of questions that I hope someone can help me with. I recently purchased a Lee Classic Turret and the ABC's of Reloading. Somehow I found the resolve to leave the press in the box until I finished reading the ABC's to make sure I didn't do anything dangerous. But I am still left a little confused. I have done plenty of reading but haven't found anything for my situation.
I will be reloading 45 acp as those are the only dies I currently have however I will be looking into 9mm .223 and 3030 once I get my bearings. Is there a certain powder that would work well for all of these? If not what seems to work best for .45 acp. Also does the type of primer matter in conjunction with the powder. I know I will need large pistol primers for the .45 however does brand matter?
I also do not have a steady source for the materials. I have a LGS that stocks some stuff, a Gander Mountain in town with a very sparse reloading section, or a Cabelas that's about an hour away. What I mean is if I got a Hornady reloading book however used Barry's bullets instead could there be an issue as long as they are the same grain and shape?
Finally books in general, I know more books is good as more references for loads are best however I don't have the means at this point to purchase 8 30-50$ books so are there a couple that give good loads for the cartridges I listed previously?
I know this is a lot however I really appreciate any and all feedback you guys have to offer.
Check out LoadData.com, they have a $29.95 yearly subscription and load data from most of the recent and older manuals. It helps cover the bullets/loads not listed in my Hornady, Speer and Lee manuals without having to buy a half dozen other manuals. You can search their data before you purchase the membership to see if you're interested. It won't give you the actual powder charge until you sign up. It will list the loads and which manual(s) they came from and when you click on the links provided it will show you the powders being used, cartridge dimensions, some tech notes and warnings and other info depending on where the load came from.
Chances are you'll need at least two different powders, one for your pistols and the other for rifles as I couldn't find one that covered all four. If you check your reloading manuals you'll see some powders listed in both rifle and both pistol calibers in several bullet weights, that's how I determine the powder for my pistols and rifles when I first started. (using the same Lee Classic Turret press) A quick glance at my Hornady manual showed H 355 in both the 30-30 and 223. Load Data showed BullsEye for my 9mm Luger, 9mm Makorov and 45ACP pistols rounds.
Primers from CCI, Winchester, Remington and PMC have been shooting fine in my 45ACP, 9mm Luger and 9mm Makarov. I've only used CCI in my 30-30 and 270 Win loads, but most well known brands will work.
I have to buy most, damn near all, my reloading equipment and supplies online as there is very little reloading in this area. The big disadvantage is the HazMat charges on the primers and powder.
H335 will work in the 223 and 30-30. I have good accuracy with it in the 223 but have not used it in the 30-30. It is spherical and meters well. I will be trying it out on 7.62x39 in the near future. Hodgdon - The Gun Powder People
Bullseye is a good all around pistol powder but has a bit of muzzle flash. I will be trying v-N340 out after I use up my Universal Clays.
Midway USA and Midsouth Shooters is a good online distributors for reloading components, but be aware that midway ships powder and primers separate charging a separate hazmat fee for each one. Midsouth will ship both of them together and only charge one hazmat fee.
Two things to learn before you start to reload:
The importance of proper case expansion and how to establish the proper COL for your gun.
Load data is the same for all jacketed bullets of the same weight. In all cases, you start ONLY with the lowest starting load you can find (say, from looking in two or three loading manuals) and working your way up. One of the most significant warning signs of over pressure is recoil harsher than factory ammo of the same bullet weight. If you have to use a COL that is shorter than listed in the manuals, you will almost certainly hit max pressure before you reach the max load listed in the manual.
Likewise, lead bullets and bullets with a thin plating of copper are "the same."
If you can't find data for your weight of bullet (buy the Lee Manual as it has LOTS of data), use data for a similar heavier bullet.
Remember, the load data ONLY shows what they got with their gun and equipment and this is only a indication of you will get in your gun.
The .45 is a relatively large case loaded to a low pressure. It performs best with very fast powders.
The 9x19 is a relatively small case loaded to a high pressure. It performs best with slower powders.
An excellent powder for both would be in the following burn rate:
Green Dot (Alliant)
Universal Clays (Hodgdon)
Of these, I get the best results with AA5 and Unique.
When you get ready to load, first use one or two cases to set up the dies. Use no primer or powder in these inert dummy cases. Take the barrel out of your gun and use it as a case gage.
1) Verify that the sized cases freely drop in the chamber with a nice "plunk" sound and fall out if you turn the barrel over.
2) When you expand the case, use a caliper to verify that the case ID is expanded to 0.001-0.002" less than your bullet diameter. If using jacketed bullets (best when starting out), your expander should meet this criteria.
You also want to flare/bell the case mouth so the case mouth does not contact the bullet during seating.
3) You should seat the bullet close to the maximum COL. Remove enough flare/bell so the inert round drops in the barrel. The inert round should not completely chamber, as the COL will likely be too long.
Mark the bullet ogive and case mouth area with a Magic Marker or Sharpie.
When you drop the marked-up round in the chamber, rotate it around (back and forth) so the part of the chamber interfering with fully chambering will "scratch" the round. If the scratches are on the bullet, you need to seat the bullet deeper. If the scratches are on the case, you need to eliminate more of the flare/bell.
Seat the bullet deeper in small increments until the round finally chambers fully.
4) Put the barrel back in the gun and use the inert rounds to verify that the rounds fit your magazine and feed and chamber in your gun. Generally, when you find the longest COL that fits, feeds, and chambers, you will find that turning the seating stem in 1/4-1/2 of a turn will give you a COL that is optimum for your gun with that bullet. Label and save the dummy rounds in case you ever need to set up dies for that bullet again.
Workable loads for handgun can be had with many pistol powders
231, Red Dot, Blue Dot, Green Dot, Unique, etc will work. Each will be a compromise as 9mm and 45 have different characteristics. I currently use Red Dot for most of my handgun loads.
Likewise for the two mentioned rifle calibers. I compromise with W-748 or BLC-2 that work in .223 up to .30-06
if the Cabela's carries powder and primers, i would do the hour drive because of the haz-mat fees that would be placed on your online order. also order the Lee load data book, it has a lot of useful information that is valuable to the new reloader, i have it and i highly recommend it and i paid like $13 for mine. if loading for pistol and rifle, you will need different powders as the powders are made for either riflle or pistol, not both. the sources mentioned, Midway and Mid South Shooters Supply are excellent and i use both, and would be great for whatever your reloading needs, bullets, cases, reloading tools, everything but powder and primers. hope this helps out and good luck.
Free stuff is available;
Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide
Load Data « Accurate Powders
Reloading books need not cost $30 to 60 dollars to work. These 2 should get you going just fine:
Modern Reloading 2nd Edition Revised Reloading Manual
Reloading Handbook: 49th Edition Reloading Manual Softcover FWIW, I found this to be a very good all around book. If you will only have one manual at first, IMHO this would be a good one to start with.
For .45, you may wish to consider cast as well:
Cast Bullet Handbook: 4th Edition Book
As for a starting powder, I would recommend Win 231 (HP38). Good all-rounder that will work well for you in 9 mm when you decide to get it going. It's also pretty common.
I use Bullseye a lot as well. Unique is pretty good as well, but some powder measures don't meter it well.
Thank you all for the info. I will start looking into those powders to see if my lgs carries them. I knew that the 9mm and .45 were going to be different just didn't know if any specific powder could be used for both. But it looks like to get optimum performance I will have to get two different powders but that's fine. Thank you all again for your help and if I can ever get off on call at work I will get everything put together and let you guys know how it went.
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