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Thinking about getting started with re-loading. Where to begin?


Glockster35

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I have long wanted to start reloading. I guess now is as good a time as any.

Where does one start? I know Dillon makes the best presses, but they are kind of spendy. What would you use if you were just starting out, and money was very tight?

Beyond the press, what items are MUST have to get started? Do I need to clean the brass, or should I just start out buying cleaned brass online?

My goal is to load something similar to the Team Glock loads that AA&A produces, as that is my round of choice for competition shooting.

Eventually I do want to be able to reload 9mm, .40 and .45, maybe some .223 and .308 down the road too.

Thoughts?

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This: http://www.brianenos.com/pages/dillonfaqs.html#accdillon

Brass is one of the most expensive components to buy new, so buying brass and only using it once doesn't make much sense. You will need to clean it.

Not counting the press, off the top of my head.

Dies

Calipers

Case Gauge

Powder Scale

Primer Flip Tray

Primer Tubes

Vibratory Case Cleaner

Media Separator

Brass Cleaning Media

Case Lube (not "necessary" but recommended)

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I think a good starting point from a knowledge perspective is this book:

http://www.amazon.com/ABCs-Reloading-Definitive-Novice-Expert/dp/1440213968/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326765894&sr=8-1

You could try to glean this information off of various web sites and/or forum posts but it would take you long enough that I think the book is a good investment.

As for what you need, take a look at this Hornady kit. I'm not recommending this exact kit, but reviewing the parts list will give you a good idea of what you need to get started:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/749997/hornady-lock-n-load-classic-single-stage-press-kit

If money is super-tight the obvious recommendation is a single stage press. However, since you seem interested in reloading pistol ammunition I recommend looking at the Lee Classic Turret press. People are pretty split on the quality of Lee's progressive but I've run across very few owners of the Classic Turret who didn't speak highly of it. The Classic Turret isn't a progressive by any means, but when loading large quantities of ammunition (as one typically does with handgun rounds) it can save significant time over a single stage press.

As for cleaning the brass, most people recommend at least a basic cleaning if only to knock the grit off and keep it from dirtying up the sizing die. A vibratory tumbler with either walnut or corncob media is your best bet here. I suspect you're better off buying the tumbler than just continuing to purchase cleaned brass - a lot of the economics of reloading come from the fact that you're reusing the brass.

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I should clarify my original post, I meant buying new/clean brass to get started with. I fully understand the need to re-use brass eventually. I have some brass in an ammo can around the garage somewhere, but not enough to do a whole lot with. So I will need to buy brass initially anyway to create a stockpile of it.

I looked at the Lee Progressive loaders, they are much cheaper that the Dillon presses, but are they that much lesser quality?

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I want to start reloading. Where does one start? I want to reload 9mm, .40 and .45, maybe some .223 and .308 down the road too.

Glockster, most important questions for you to consider:

1. how valuable is your time? e.g. I'm semi-retired, so my time is not very valuable - I have lots of spare time

2. how many cartridges of each caliber are you hoping to reload/year?

I would imagine that if you are shooting 1,000's of rounds of 5 different cartridges a year, that

money is NOT too tight? If you are shooting 100's of rounds of 2 calibers, you might be wasting

your money starting to reload.

It will cost you 100's of dollars to start to reload 5 calibers - you must have the time to do that,

and you must have the volume to justify the expense of reloading.

Think through your objectives here - that will save you a lot of time in the future.

As an example, a Square Deal from Dillon will cost you a little over $700 with all the extras - and

then you can reload the pistol cartridges only - in three calibers - that doesn't include brass,

powder, bullets or primers. Buying 5,000 primers, 5,000 bullets, 1,000 cases and 4 lbs powder will

cost you $700 extra (round numbers). That $1400 will buy you 100 boxes of ammo ($14/box), approx.

Of course, once you've amortized your equipment, the next 100 boxes will cost you only $7/box:)

If you give us some more info - we can help you more thru the thought process.

Your first decision is how much money do you want to spend to get started?

Jack

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My best education came from the guys who currently reload - I could not replace their knowledge with any book.

As far as what you need - you're on the Enos forum - call Brian, he will get you set up with everything you need, that is what I did. Buy Dillon, their customer support is second to none and they are the industry standard that everything is compared against (IMHO). I know that can be a hard bill to swallow, but depending on what you are reloading, you might seriously look at a square deal B - sans the accessories, those things are hot to trot out of the box.

BUT if all your buddies use Hornady or RCBS, do what you feel comfortable with so that you can look to them for support when things get crazy.

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A Dillon RL550 is a long term investment that will pay for itself very quickly. I would bite the bullet and purchase that press or a 650 to start off with. Nothing wrong with a second hand one, especially with Dillon's warranty where they'll replace broken parts even if you aren't the original purchaser.

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You can buy clean, case rolled ready to load single headstamp 9mm brass on the USPSA Classified Website for about 4 cents a case.

I recommend Ken Marx. There are others.

In addition to the stuff listed, you will need access to a chronograph

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Jack,

I plan on re-loading 9mm for starters, as that is what I shoot most often. Probably about 1-3k per year more if I start competing again. Once I am comfortable, I would venture into .40 and .45. I plan to stick to handgun rounds initially for the first couple of years.

I have been buying AA&A Team Glock Loads for quite some time, and love them, so that is my goal, to create something very similar.

My time, well on the weekends, I can have plenty of time to re-load. I currently spend most of my weekends tinkering around building Kydex holsters and pouches (side business).

The budget, I would prefer to stay under $500 for initial start up, not including brass, bullets or powder.

I do not have any friends locally that reload, just moved here. I can get bullets locally, but not sure about the brass and powders yet.

ACEKC, thanks for the info on the book, will look for it.

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Everybody's got an opinion, here's mine. Your first purchase should be a rock chucker master reloading kit. It has everything that you need in the way of tools except dies and shell holders. Buy carbide dies whenever you can. Load on this setup for a year.Get acquainted with the basics. THEN go get yourself a dillon reloader. There is a lot happening with a progressive loader. With a single station press you will better understand what's going on. One piece of advice I will give you is to take the barrel off your gun and drop each piece of brass in the chamber after sizing and then after completing your reloading of that cartridge.If it doesn't drop in drop it in the junk can.

BTW, even after you have gotten your dillon loading machine you'll want to keep your rock chucker. You will find many uses for it in the years to come.

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Having started with a single stage and attempting to do volume, it sucks. Now what you can do is run most progressives as a single stage by running individual brass through at a time monitoring the stages. Now I have a LNL and the priming system is different from a Dillon which I *think* will not retain live primers if not used like the LNL, but you can always decap with the progressive then hand prime, the assemble with charge and bullet etc. And when your ready, you go all out progressive. I think a SDB or a 550 would make a good candidate for this kind of following every step with a single piece of brass, but I also don't like that they only have 4 stations and I prefer auto-indexing.

Case feeders are nice too.

No press is perfect, they all have their little idiosyncrasies but I like mine.

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I plan on re-loading 9mm about 1-3k per year more if I start competing again.

I have plenty of time to re-load.

The budget, I would prefer to stay under $500 for initial start up, not including brass, bullets or powder.

I can get bullets locally

Glockster, I'd wait to see "if you start competing again" before I did anything else.

Loading 3,000 rounds of 9mm with "plenty of time to reload" means loading 60 rounds/week -

this means you can buy ANY reloader and be happy - the slowest reloader will load five boxes

a month in no time at all.

So, you do have the option of buying a single stage press - very inexpensive, very good way

to learn how to reload - very durable - very good for rifle down the road.

The Square Deal, in one caliber, with the other things you'll need (case cleaner, scale, etc)

will cost about $500 - if you feel like spending the money - your option - it is faster -

you will be able to load a month's worth of ammo in one hour:)

I'd start with the single stage press (I used one for ten years:) - save some money - get

into competitive shooting now - it is really a BLAST. You'll meet people who can help you

with reloading - and as you have questions, feel free to ask right here on Brian's forum.

p.s. don't buy any supplies locally - order from Powder Valley everything but bullets -

order those from Montana Gold by the case - order a case of 3,750 124 grain bullets to start

= that will last you a year. Order everything else by the case and save some money.

Good luck,

Jack

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Give Brian Enos a call. Don't buy a single stage press unless you want to hate reloading. I would save up and watch for a used Dillon 550 or wait and buy a new one from Brian. I started with a Dillon and found it to be no big deal learning how to use it. I've been using it now for 25 years and it works great. If you have any problem with it ever Dillon will fix it for free. They are the best !

Brian can get you started with what you need, no more, no less. Save up and do it right the first time !

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Give Brian Enos a call. Don't buy a single stage press unless you want to hate reloading. I would save up and watch for a used Dillon 550 or wait and buy a new one from Brian. I started with a Dillon and found it to be no big deal learning how to use it. I've been using it now for 25 years and it works great. If you have any problem with it ever Dillon will fix it for free. They are the best !

Brian can get you started with what you need, no more, no less. Save up and do it right the first time !

This site is full of serious enthusiasts, so I think it's hard for some of them to understand that not everyone is shooting 5 days a week.

I have a single-stage, and I like reloading. I spent less than $200 to get started, including dies and a case tumbler. Sure, I want to get a progressive press later this year, but for loading a couple hundred rounds a month, I think a progressive press is a waste of time and money. I've been loading about 500-ish rounds a month for the last year. Basically I just spend a half-hour before bedtime 2 night a week loading. The single-stage press is small, so I can leave it set up in the office by the computer, and just kill 15 minutes loading 50 rounds while the wife is getting dressed and putting on makeup for dinner.

Now if you need to load 1000 rounds a month..... you should probably get a progressive press right away.

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I almost went the single stage route because of advice I had read on different forums. I'm soooo glad that I didn't. Reloading was fun for me at first but now it's just something I have to do to be able to shoot as much as I need too. Some people try to make it out to be brain surgery, but as long as you are super careful and pay attention to detail you will be reloading like a pro in no time. I went with a square deal because I knew a guy that was selling one and I knew I was only going to loading 9mm for a good while. I'm glad I did. It's a really easy machine to setup and maintain and I can load a few hundred rounds in an hour, and that's going at real slow pace, watching every powder charge and checking the charges every 50 rounds or so. If you think that you are going to get serious about shooting, whatever you do don't get a single stage. You'll be kicking yourself in the butt if you do.

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I only consider myself a moderate enthusiast. tongue.gif But here is my thought. I just went from a 550 to a 650. I absolutely did not need to do so. I just wanted to. If I had to I COULD load what I shoot(<10k per year) on a single stage but I just don't want to.

That being said, get a Lee single stage or turret press. There are so many threads about the problems with Lee progressives that I would not take the chance. But you will ALWAYS find a use for a good single stage press even if someday you are on here bragging about your new 1050!

For way less than $500 you could get a

Lee press

Lee dies

Midway Tumbler and separator

Good scale and calipers from Brian

And a few good books

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So many ways to go. I have a Lee hand loaded, RCBS Rock Chucker and a Hornaday AP LNL. I use all 3 for various things. But if I were helping a friend start out, I'd go with the Lee Classic Turrent. You get the single stage experience but the Turrent makes it easy for you to move a faster process than single stage. I have a friend who has one and I've considered getting one myself. They aren't too expensive and hold their value and sell pretty well used. But you will probably keep it even if you buy a progressive later.

I like my LNL but I agree that a slower approach to reloading is best to learn with. If you go with a progressive, get a RCBS Lockout die. A lot can go wrong quickly with a progressive. Overcharges and squibs. Dillon may have an equivalent, don't know but it's better than a powder COP. I've loaded single stage for years with no problems, but I've had both overcharge and squib before the lockout die with the progressive. You might ask if you have the LNL why would you consider a turrent. Because I'd leave it setup for 223 that I don't load all that many at a time.

Edited by blueeyephil
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Now if you need to load 1000 rounds a month..... you should probably get a progressive press right away.

Agreed. Over the years I've sold thousands of 550's to guys who have never seen/touched any sort of reloading press. And during that time I have not had one phone call from a customer who found his new 550 too difficult to get familiar with / begin churning out ammo with.

be

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I've been using a 550 for 20 years, I've lost count of the number of 9x21, .38 super, .38 supercomp, .45acp, .223 and .308 I've loaded but it's got to be hundreds of thousands of rounds and never had a problem. It's the first and only press I've ever owned and I don't see buying a new one anytime soon and if I do it'll be another 550

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