Shotshell vs. Metallic Cartridge
Ok, I was thinking about starting to Reload my own shells or bullets, mainly for the reason of saving money. I buy my own ammo, and as you can imagine it's hard for a 14 year old, (even though I do wrok), to pay for a box of 12 gauge ammo or a box of bullets once or twice a month and still put money in his savings account.
Anyways, My question is What do you consider easier, or better for a new Reloader to start off with? A Metallic Cartridge or a Shotshell? Which would be more... forgiving of small errors?
Personally, Im leaning towards shotshell becuz A- I'd get more use of it since I always seem to have a shotgun with me, B- I could Load shells for friends who waste shells on squrriel, and C- I'd get more practice, and it seems easier than a metallic cartridge. So Please tell me what you think and Any other suggestions for a starter would be greatly Appreciated.
Thank you all, Josh
I think you should start with the metallic rifle cartridges.
The reason for this is that they will make you take your time, and you'll know when you've done a good job because you'll be rewarded with tight groups.
Do not reload for anyone else. Sad state of the world today is that if you have a double charge in a case, you are liable for any damage to your friend.
Start slow. Weigh each powder charge individually and pour it in. Use a single stage press - don't try to get ahead of yourself with a turret or progressive press yet; this is encouraging mistakes.
I would do it in this order:
1. Buy a Speer reloading manual. Read it from front to back.
2. Get one of these: Lee Precision, Inc. Reloading Tools and Equipment: Anniversary Kit While a Lyman or RCBS would be better, they are much more expensive. The Lee stuff will work for you until such time that you can afford a better setup.
3. After you learn to use the beam scale, get an electronic scale.
4. Buy a bunch of once-fired brass. Clean them, then run them all through the resizing/decapping die. Don't forget to lube them. Size as needed. Take about a week per thousand cases.
5. Prime each case. This should go a bit faster, but don't rush.
6. Affix a powder through expanding die. Count the cases into lots of 100. Start with the primed brass on one side. Weigh the charge, dump it into the case through the die, and then stand the case in a tray.
7. Affix the bullet seating die. Work with trial and error and a good dial calipers to get the proper length set. If the bullet has a crimp groove, just seat it to there.
8. Apply a light crimp to the neck if you do this in a separate step. Don't go overboard; mostly just take the bell out of the neck.
9. Load 10 rounds and fire. Check for pressure signs. If all looks good, you can load the rest in 100 round batches (or whatever number makes you comfortable).
I suggest the high numbers of cases be done the first time out for one simple reason: It builds muscle memory. When I started loading .45acp, I bought about 1000 rounds of spent brass and decapped all of them. By the time it was time to load them, I was familiar with the feel of the press.
I did take one shortcut: I used a powder dipper, confirmed the charge weight with a scale, and just used the dipper, carding it off each time. I got pretty good charges - not as accurate as a powder thrower and not NEARLY as accurate as weighing each charge, but consistent enough for defensive handgun practice.
After you shoot the loads, I'd stick to only resizing the necks if you're reloading for a particular rifle. The cases should now be fireformed to your chamber, and accuracy will increase.
You can now also play with COL: Put a bullet into an empty case's mouth, so that it fits fairly loosely. Hand chamber the dummy round and close the bolt. Slowly open the bolt, and measure the COL that the rifle has sized the round down to. Subtract a couple thousandths to keep pressure down, and start seating your bullets at that depth. This will reduce the jump from the case mouth to the lead when firing.
Hope this works out for you, and be glad I'm not advising the use of a Lee Classic Loader, though I probably should have ;)
And remember, DO NOT RELOAD FOR OTHERS, and DO NOT SHOOT OTHERS' RELOADS.
I started with a MEC 700 12 ga loader. There is little you can do to screw things up. Charge bar drops the shot. Bushing regulates the powder. You have to adjust wad tension, but that is uber easy. Crimp station will come preset or darn close. Very easy to crank out quality ammo.
I use my MEC to load everything from 1 1/8 oz dove and quail loads (that shoot as good as the expensive AA loads from Winchester) to 0 buckshot (that I cast my self) 12 pellet, buffered loads that are my main SHTF fodder to 7/8 oz Foster slugs (that I also cast myself) at 1580 fps that are very accurate and hard hitting (ask anyone that was at the Texas meet and greet).
A MEC 600 JR or 700 are resonably priced and very reliable loaders.
I also have a Dillon RL-450 and RCBS Rockchucker. Metallic loading is a bit more complex as with most loaders you have to set the powder distribution system with a scale, adjust seating depth and crimp etc. The operating pressures are higher with metallic cartridges so mistakes can be more catastrophic.
i would go with whatever your going to get the most use out of. in your case sounds like shotshell. there isnt a big leap from one to the other.
my advice: NEVER EVER NEVER reload for someone else. never sell or give your loaded ammo to others. they can be your bosom buddy for life till something goes wrong and lawyers get involved...
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