Looking to start reloading

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by victorzamora, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. victorzamora

    victorzamora New Member

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    Hey guys, I've been reading through a bunch of threads and have read all of the stickies, as well as watched a bunch of reloading YouTube videos. I'm an Engineer, mechanically inclined, and don't mind "fiddling" as long as it's worth it. I'm also of the persuasion of "buy nice or buy twice."

    I only have two calibers I intend to reload, and they're "high capacity" calibers: 9mm and .223/5.56. I'm not doing any accurate target shooting, just putting holes in paper. I'm trying to get started in IPSC/IDPA/ZSA/3Gun type stuff and I expect to need a larger amount of ammo. The reason I want to reload is partially for cost and partially for availability. If something bad happens and Uncle Sam starts banning stuff and people geek out, I'm not ready to give up shooting. I went nearly a year without firing a shot because of complete lack of ammo.

    So, I've pretty much decided on a Progressive Press. One thing that's got me teetering is the amount of "peripherals" I'd need to get started. Besides a Progressive Press kit and consumables (powder, brass, primer, bullets), what else is a necessity for reloading? Is there a reason to talk me out of reloading or a Progressive Press?
     
  2. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    I hope you are looking at the Dillon presses. I would get a case prep station, RCBS is nice. A Dillon large capicity case cleaner. A quick collet case trimmer like the Lyman. You will need a reliable set of powder scales. I like the Balance beam scale like the RCBS 10-10. There will many more toys you will want as time goes by. :D
     

  3. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    There is no negatives all plus I would jump into it.
    It does sound like you been reading some of our other posts .
    as I've stated plenty of times I use the lee loadmaster I do like it does fine for me another thing you will need to get is a brass tumbler and eventually a way to check your case lengths .
    first couple times it's not needed as far as I'm concerned and yes YouTube is awesome place to kinda see what everything and how everything works
    Now if money is not a concern obviously Dillen is highly highly recommended but when I got into it that was not an option

    One
    Big
    Ass
    Mistake
    America
     
  4. victorzamora

    victorzamora New Member

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    nitestalker: I'm definitely aware there will be plenty of toys I'll want....but I'm wondering what I'll NEED. There IS a difference (but don't tell my wife that :D ).

    So, the four that I'm looking at are Dillon (550 or 650), Hornady LNL, and Lee Loadmaster. Dillon is consistently the highest rated excluding price, but there are questions as to whether or not it's worth the price over the other ones. All the reviews have pros/cons for all of them, and I'm stuck there. I really appreciate fantastic design and quality, and have always liked to get the higher end (partially why I'm going Progressive) so Dillon has appealed to me more and more. I'm just trying to get a "total cost" for reloading gear before I buy bulk manufactured ammo for my AR and all of my 9s.
     
  5. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Being able to shoot during an ammo shortage is a great reason to reload. I do not own a Dillon. If I had money to blow I might think about it. I have a Lee Pro 1000. It is high maintenance. I am always tinkering with it. If you have the money to get into a high end press, I would not recommend the Lee. If you are on a budget, I would buy one. You simply have to pay attention to what you are doing. I can push out about 300-350 rounds of .45 ACP in an hour with mine when it is working the way I want it too. I can do about 100 an hour on my single stage RCBS.
     
  6. BtDoctur

    BtDoctur New Member

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    Single Stage press here too. Just take your time. One night sizing,de-priming, and cleaning.
    another night for primers, then being UN-DISTURBED one night to powder and seat bullets
     
  7. jebsca

    jebsca New Member

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    You are talking about a few good ways to need a LOT of ammo every week. That does point to going progressive. Just don't be the guy we all know (or maybe we are that guy) that gets the 1 ton truck cause he's going to get a camper.

    I have a LNL, and am very happy with it. About the only thing I have to mess with when running it is tighten up the shell plate every 50-100 rounds. Other than that, just take care of it before and after reloading, and it has done me well.

    Keep in mind, some people will point out it is easier to start out on a single stage press. It worked for me and I liked it. Others will say save the money and just go progressive. I have some tools that will not work on a progressive, so I do not see getting rid of my single stage, besides the fact that I have some calibers that hornady does not list shell plates for.

    Good luck.


    Sent from my smart phone using my not smart hand.
     
  8. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Most of us use Dillon because they are very dependable. The Dillon Progressive presses will load thousands of rounds in a short time. The single stage is slow and tedious when feeding modern Semi-Auto firearms. Dillon's big selling point is it's warranty. They have the no "BS" guarantee for a life time no charge. I have a Dillon 450 that is 40 years old and it is still ensured by Dillon. :D
     
  9. Rocky7

    Rocky7 New Member

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    Get an intervention before it's too late.
     
  10. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    IMO, even a person that owns and uses a progressive loader, should also own a single stage loader as well. a single stage comes in handy for lots of jobs when reloading.
     
  11. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    And if you can't get an intervention, get a copy of The ABCs of Reloading- and read it before you buy anything.

    After you read that, buy a good load manual. I like Lyman and Speer. THEN start shopping for equipment.
     
  12. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    Spot on...:D

    That said, I really like Dillon Precision.

    Don't want to swamp you with info, but

    before you set things up full blast, you

    may want to load cartridges one at a time for a while.

    Get at least three good reloading manuals. ABCs of reloading,

    Lyman, Hornady, and Speer are all good.
     
  13. victorzamora

    victorzamora New Member

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    ABCs of reloading seems like a logical next step. Thanks. Also, I have no intention of jumping blindly into the progressive head-first. My plan was to reload a few mags slowly and just see how they turned out. I'd subsidize my shooting with factory loads. This would accomplish two things: Give me more brass and let me compare my loads to factory loads. My plan on loading is to go a little stingy on the powder, so I think I'm on the safer side. I don't mean barely any powder, but light-to-factory reloads. I'm hoping I can find a balance to help mitigate some risk of a double-load and save a little bit of money doing it that way. This would all be in small batches before I started cranking out ammo.

    As for single stage, I've thought about it. This might be my naivete showing up, but if I'm slow and careful then anything I can do with a single stage I can do with a progressive, can't I? Also, it seems like the single stage presses need more "peripheral equipment" that would be useless once I got the progressive up and running. All of that would just make it less likely for me to reload, and much less likely for me to step up later and get a progressive. I thought about getting a single stage later and using it for precision loads. Like if I ever want to stretch my AR, or for the 308 I'm hoping to get (as soon as I can get a long-range shooting range). A buddy lives near a really-long shooting range and is considering getting into serious long distance shooting. For that, I'd probably get a single stage because there seems to be more control over the process and you're not shooting the volume that a SA handgun or AR put down range. I mean, 50 shots through a precision rifle is a lot of shooting in a day while 50 rounds through an AR is just a tease.

    Is my assumption right that a lot of the "peripherals" needed for a single stage press are superfluous with a progressive? Also, what all is a necessity with a progressive?
     
  14. CamoToe1

    CamoToe1 New Member

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    From the sound of your posts your biggest concern is volume. People start out with progressives all the time, and do fine. Here's a tip though. Just because you have the components and a press that can crank out 1000 rounds in a few hours, start with small batches! There is definitely a learning curve.

    Dillon is the gold standard...but, I would suggest the Hornady LNL. You will appreciate their engineering. Hornady's Die Bushings are top notch. This allows for quick caliber conversions in a single stage or progressive press. Also, it allows you to choose which station you want to run your dies in without needing to readjust each time you change it up. Simple things like the design of their die lock rings makes me believe they have put the thought into these presses. The Hornady will be cheaper up front and with each new caliber you load for.

    As for the peripherals, you'll end up buying them either way... You'll still need to weigh charges, prep brass, clean brass, etc. the only thing you'll be able to skip on are loading blocks. At $12/each you're not saving much there.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  15. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    I have to agree here. I started out with a progressive (LNL) because it was gifted to me. I'm still "new" at it. I did a few thousand pistol rounds and am now doing my first bottleneck rifle rounds. There is a definate learning curve. I already know that I want to add a single stage that can be "dedicated" to certain operations whenever needed.
     
  16. string1946

    string1946 New Member

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    I have a dillon 550B and once set up it will crank out some piles of ammo. I sent it back to the factory last week for them to go through it and adjust/replace any parts needed. Dillon may not be the cheapest equipment out there but its something you and your kids will have the rest of your lives or till the troops kick your door down but I guess those might be the same thing. I have the Dillon large case polishers, media seperator and primer pocket swage and they are all top notch. You will want a simpler press to load small amounts of test ammo too. I use a Lyman T-Mag for that but most any single stage press will do. I started reloading on a Lee turrent press and it did fine and loaded a lot of ammo but the aluminum frame finally gave up the ghost. I have RCBS and a Franklin Arsenel digital scales and both work fine but a balance beam scale will work too. Calipers either dial or electronic. Mine came from Lowes Building Supply. Loading blocks but you can make those. Powder funnel. Case trimmer and I like one I can chuck a drill to. Case polisher, I have the Dillon, Lyman 1200 from a flea market and a ultrasonic that ends up cleaning alot more than just brass. You won't save money but you will shoot more and to me the reloading process is theraputic (no spell check but thats close enough). Oh most important of all, SEVERAL load manuals.


    Sent from my SCH-I925 using Firearms Talk mobile app
     
  17. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    There is a volume of mis-information here. The progressive Dillon uses the "Star" advance. It is not auto-advance. You can use its powerful leverage as single stage if you choose. Each operation on the Dillion is simply a single stage operation in sequence.
    This sounds like the arguments for keeping muzzle-loaders, when Winchester offered a progressive lever loader.:rolleyes:
     
  18. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    I agree, Hornady also makes great gear, and the LNL is a fine system.

    But you will want to double-check the occasional powder load, and

    run into situations, here and there, where the basic gear is needed.

    So don't feel like you are wasting your money on the single stage gear.



    A couple tips:

    1.-As you shoot, try to recover the brass, and put it back into

    the original boxes. Makes it easier for keeping uniformity in the reloading

    process.

    2.-I usually wait till I have 500 rounds of reload-able used brass before

    investing in a die, powder, primers and bullets for a new caliber. #1 helps

    with #2.

    3. - Take record-keeping seriously. Even if you don't have CRS, it gets

    hard to track unmarked boxes of reloaded cartridges after awhile.

    Especially when you're trying to track load work-ups, and prepare

    special rounds.
     
  19. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i keep notebooks for the loads i work up for most of all my loads. if i get good results with that load, i can easily duplicate that load by looking up the information in one of the notebooks.

    if i try out a new load, i write down all the information and then add to the notes after shooting it, detailing it's group and accuracy. if that load showed promise, then i know that i can make adjustments to the powder charge or the seating depth to see if it becomes more accurate.

    another point is this. if you are working up a load, make only one change at a time to see it that change helps or hinders your goal for that load. if you make several changes, you have no idea as to what worked or what didn't.
     
  20. vincent

    vincent New Member

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