Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

New to reloading


Daedalus47
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello,

Due to ammo availability and price at the moment, I’ve decided that I need to start reloading. I would most likely only reload 9mm. I shoot mostly 9mm, 5.56, and 22lr so no odd ball calibers that would make reloading really worthwhile. 
Any advice or equipment recommendation for someone who’s never done it before?

Is it really worth it for me to just save some $$$ on 9mm or should I just suck it up and wait til things are back in stock and reasonably priced. 
 

im not really looking at experimenting with different loads for competitions, at least not yet. Haven’t run a match yet, so I figured I’d get good with factory or standard loads before experimenting with lighter stuff. 
 

thanks 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole "is it worth it" thing is very personal. I only load 9mm. It's what I shoot in USPSA and reloading to me is a means to an end. Its certainly "worth it" to me.

 

My cost to make a 9mm round is 10.5 cents. Even pre-apocalypse, it was still saving me about 8 cents per round when compared to cheap, factory FMJ. I shoot about 20-30k a year so that's a significant chunk of change. I've heard this same cheap anmo is selling for 30-50 cent per round currently. That's insane. I don't know for sure because I don't care. I reload. [emoji39]

 

Now, I'm not including my personal time in that cost per round. I probably spend about 3-4 hours per week with reloading "stuff". This includes picking up my brass, processing it and then actually loading boolits. I don't count this time as cost because it would be idle time for me anyhow. It would be occupied by something way less productive if I didn't reload.

 

But there are other benefits to reloading beyond hard savings. Your post alludes to one of them; being able to produce ammo on demand provided you were wise I didn't buy components like you would bread and milk. In other words, you buy in bulk for several months of supply instead of buying components on demand.

 

Another huge benefit is that you can taylor a consistent load to your needs, gun, sport, division, etc. This is a huge benefit in my opinion. I never have to worry about ammo not cycling or running in my gun well like you would every time you buy a new batch or brand of ammo.

 

I'm sure someone will post the whole, "you don't save money you just shoot more" adage. That's always been a silly premise to me. You do save regardless of if you shoot more, less or the same. However, you have to determine if the savings is a fair trade to the hassle you'll take on with reloading.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Daedalus47 said:

Hello,

Due to ammo availability and price at the moment, I’ve decided that I need to start reloading.
 

thanks 


So has everyone else. That's why components, especially primers are in very short supply.  I assume you're aware of that...no?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve seen component cost has gone up but still available and cheaper than the unavailable factory 9mm at the moment. Also, I’d probably end up buying components in the thousands at a time instead of a case of 9mm just when I’m down to a few hundred left. 

I’ve thought about getting into it previously, but the low cost of 9mm always kept me from it. 
If I end up spending more and shooting more, but saving some cash doing it, I’d count that as a win. 
 

Any recommendations on equipment? 
I’ve seen some real cheap kits, but I think I’d be willing to go in for $4-500 if I can make things easier on myself. 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the best value press out there is the Dillon 550, but starting from scratch that puts you closer to $700 getting started with dies, scale, bullet puller, calipers, tumbler, and some basic components.

 

That said, I started with a Lee Breech Lock Challenger kit and made a couple hundred rounds on it before buying my first 550.

Starting with a 550 or any single stage, both will be on your bench for decades to come. Can't say that about any of the other progressive press options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve seen various Dillon presses but havent looked into them much, but I will. 
 

I was looking at the Lee Pro 1000 9mm kit, seemed like an inexpensive start for doing 9mm only. 
 

I see a lot of reviews speak about reliability of reloading presses. Are they talking about parts actually breaking on the press/kit or the produced ammo not being correctly assembled? 
Like most things in the firearm world, I’m probably going to end up spending more than initially setting out to, but it’ll probably be worth it.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely recommend a Dillon 550 to start.  Yes the initial cost of a Dillon will be higher than a Lee setup but the Dillon retains its value and even appreciates.  So if you decide to get out of reloading in the future, you will recoup a far greater percentage of your investment.  Only you can decide what your budget is but the smart play is the 550 if you can swing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make sure you have the time to reload.   In the last 32 years I have seen more people buy equipment and sell it six months later.   Also start with a single stage press and work your way up. You will find the road less bumpy that way.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any time there is a hiccup in the progression of the press check each case that is either being filled or has been filled when the hiccup happened.  People get so fixated on fixing the issue that caused the hiccup they forget to check the casings and how much powder is in them. I try my best to look at each case that has been filled. I have double charged cases when fixing issues with the press. I have heard some people goes as far to clear every station to prevent issue if the press is halted for any out of the ordinary reasons. I don’t think you need to buy a single stage press for your first press. I bought a 1050 and I have zero issue with reloading. I did a lot of research and watched a ton of how to videos. If you have decent mechanical skills and some sort of attention to detail you should be fine. I would have quit reloading before I started if I started with a single stage press. If you shoot PRS maybe you can get by with a single stage. If you intend to shoot any amount of rounds during the course of the year go progressive. I will agree one of the major factors the size of your press should be based on the amount you intend to shoot. If you don’t know exactly I would go to a smaller press.
 

In the video in the link I do not know if this guy knows everything about reloading but I felt his recommendation on which press to buy for the amount of reloading you plan to do was pretty accurate. It’s one of the basis of me purchasing a 1050. 
 

 

Edited by Boomstick303
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will say. After making some adjustments after my 1050 arrived and taking my time to get the press running smooth I love my Dillon. One thing. Don’t force it. If the press locks up, take you time and inspect each station to find out what is causing the press to lock up. It can be one of the auxiliary systems locking up up the press. People break their stuff because they try to lower through a lock up. Case lube is your friend. Even with the carbide and fancy dies. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Daedalus47 said:

I see a lot of reviews speak about reliability of reloading presses. Are they talking about parts actually breaking on the press/kit or the produced ammo not being correctly assembled? 

Like most things in the firearm world, I’m probably going to end up spending more than initially setting out to, but it’ll probably be worth it.  

 

Lots of Lee things are good enough: the dies are especially well liked and about half the price of Dillon's. I use a mix of Lee and Dillon dies usually.

Whatever press you get there's about $200 worth of extra mostly-necessary gear: dies, calipers, scale, tumbler and media, and a bullet puller.

Dillon will be the most recommended press on this forum because this community loads in high volume and cares deeply about consistency and ease of use.  Other brands of press will produce ammo but with many more hick-ups and frustration along the way. If, like DannyD suggests, you end up finding reloading too much trouble for you, the Dillon press will hold 80%+ of it's value while the other brands might be 50%.

I recommend the 550 over other Dillons because it's an accessible price point for most and it's the most versatile machine. You can load cross-the-course rounds for High Power on one, you can load 338 Lapua, and you can load your cheapest scrounged brass 9mm.  It's a press that you never out grow, but many people also get a more sophisticated 650/750/1050/1100 in addition down the line.  I've bought the 550, sold it, and bought it again even with more elaborate Dillons on the bench.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again for the replies. Lots of good info. 
 

I typically go through about 5-6k rounds of 9mm in a year. Since purchasing my SP-01 and P210, I’ve been shooting even more 9mm lately. Getting into competitions won’t help me conserve ammo either haha. 

 

A 550c plus accessories isn’t much more than I was originally budgeting and seems like a good bet for me. I need to do some more research before making any decisions but I’ll report back with what I end up with. 
 

I’ve talked with some of the brass vultures at the local ranges but they’re usually guys who have been reloading for decades and do it for the obscure and expensive calibers. It’s nice to get other opinions and ones that are specific to 9mm. 

 

Any other recommendations or advice is always appreciated. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, anonymouscuban said:

The whole "is it worth it" thing is very personal. I only load 9mm. It's what I shoot in USPSA and reloading to me is a means to an end. Its certainly "worth it" to me.

 

My cost to make a 9mm round is 10.5 cents. Even pre-apocalypse, it was still saving me about 8 cents per round when compared to cheap, factory FMJ. I shoot about 20-30k a year so that's a significant chunk of change. I've heard this same cheap anmo is selling for 30-50 cent per round currently. That's insane. I don't know for sure because I don't care. I reload. emoji39.png

 

Now, I'm not including my personal time in that cost per round. I probably spend about 3-4 hours per week with reloading "stuff". This includes picking up my brass, processing it and then actually loading boolits. I don't count this time as cost because it would be idle time for me anyhow. It would be occupied by something way less productive if I didn't reload.

 

But there are other benefits to reloading beyond hard savings. Your post alludes to one of them; being able to produce ammo on demand provided you were wise I didn't buy components like you would bread and milk. In other words, you buy in bulk for several months of supply instead of buying components on demand.

 

Another huge benefit is that you can taylor a consistent load to your needs, gun, sport, division, etc. This is a huge benefit in my opinion. I never have to worry about ammo not cycling or running in my gun well like you would every time you buy a new batch or brand of ammo.

 

I'm sure someone will post the whole, "you don't save money you just shoot more" adage. That's always been a silly premise to me. You do save regardless of if you shoot more, less or the same. However, you have to determine if the savings is a fair trade to the hassle you'll take on with reloading.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

^^^ this is really good advice and well stated.

 

4 hours ago, Daedalus47 said:

I’ve seen component cost has gone up but still available and cheaper than the unavailable factory 9mm at the moment. Also, I’d probably end up buying components in the thousands at a time instead of a case of 9mm just when I’m down to a few hundred left. 

I’ve thought about getting into it previously, but the low cost of 9mm always kept me from it. 
If I end up spending more and shooting more, but saving some cash doing it, I’d count that as a win. 
 

Any recommendations on equipment? 
I’ve seen some real cheap kits, but I think I’d be willing to go in for $4-500 if I can make things easier on myself. 
 

 

I was where you're at until just over a month ago... I just bought my 9mm ammo because it was fairly affordable to do so, right up until it wasn't (and when/if I could find it) lol. Plus, this past year or so I'd developed a taste for shooting better ammo than just whatever FMJ was cheapest, and found myself paying more to get more action pistol oriented type stuff loaded to around 130 power factor like: Federal Syntech or smaller shop loaded 9mm from Impact Ammo and NC Shooters.

USPSA Masters and Grand Masters can probably shoot great and win matches shooting hotter whatever power factor ammo through a Hi-Point, but for most of us out there trying to just improve and shoot the next match better than the last, shooting the same power factor ammo most everyone else is helps, and it's more fun. Power factor is a funny thing, it matters and it doesn't, but when you've been used to shooting cheap 115gr loads that are zipping along and are snappy, and then you shoot heavier-for-caliber loads in 124, 135, 147gr making about the same or less power factor but with a much nicer recoil impulse, you won't want to go back. So shooting the better/funner stuff can get more expensive; yet another reason to load your own.

 

I was on a pretty steady diet of the Federal Syntech 150gr stuff (which is probably the best off-the-shelf/factory USPSA stuff) before I jumped into reloading, but in no time at all, the rounds I'm making are better: the recoil impulse is just as good, but they're noticably more accurate out of my guns, and they easily cost less than half of what I was paying.

 

That said, I've been shooting competition on and off for over a decade, and I've kind of had my toes dipped into the reloading thing for most of that time, thinking about it, but being on the fence (because 9mm had stayed fairly affordable)... But, I was picking up info, reading a LOT of old threads on here before I purchased a single thing or began reloading. This forum is a goldmine for knowledge for lots of shooting related things, but IMO it's also the best place to scrounge knowledge about reloading because competition shooters really shoot, most of the peeps around here burn thousands of rounds per year and have the experience that goes with that. Most of the stuff you read or see on here is proven, it's not just stuff spit out by guys who load just a couple hundred rounds here and there.

So, the best advice I can give you is to just look up all the questions you might have; you'll probably find most of your answers somewhere in the threads on here (TIP: you can google "whatever + Brian enos" and you'll be amazed at how much stuff pops up, like: "best 9mm reloading press + Brian Enos").

 

For equipment, be realistic about what you'll need to spend as some stuff is "buy once cry once"; if you want "a Glock", buy the Glock, don't settle for a Taurus, you'll regret it more than the little you save. Also, when scanning old threads, you'll see that a lot of guys are using the same basic stuff, don't ignore that, if it can be broken someone has probably broken it already on here, so don't be afraid to pay a few bucks more for stuff that's vetted and proven and has become a defacto "standard". It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get into, but if a $500 budget won't get you what you think you'll need, then wait and save a little longer.

 

IMHO, if you're hooked on shooting and will be doing it for years not months, buy the best press you can afford right off the bat, unless you're flush and rolling Gucci and can afford to just jump straight to a Mark7, make sure it's blue and says Dillon on it (remember what I said earlier about buying a "Glock"? Everything else is a "Taurus" lol). Beware the Square Deal B, it'a proprietary closed-system, you don't want that. Between this forum and Youtube you'll be fine.

 

Good luck and welcome!

Edited by ck1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m hesitant to recommend the Loadmaster but I like mine. I’ve never had a Dillon so I may not know what I don’t know. I loaded thousands and thousands on a single stage and then a turret so I had a good base of knowledge before I dove into a progressive. This may have helped me setup the Loadmaster with minimal issues.

One thing I feel to be very important for a new reloader who chooses the 550 or any manual indexing press. CHOOSE A POWDER THAT YOU CAN’T DOUBLE CHARGE.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, OdinIII said:


One thing I feel to be very important for a new reloader who chooses the 550 or any manual indexing press. CHOOSE A POWDER THAT YOU CAN’T DOUBLE CHARGE.

 

^^^That is something worth thinking about!

 

If you haven't thought about it yet, you will, but try to filter out some of the spookiness of the dreaded double-charge and/or squib-load that could happen by knowing yourself and being comfortable with what press you pick to work with.

 

The 550 is a solid press, many guys never sell them because they're so bombproof and can do many calibers without it costing a whole lot for caliber conversions. BUT, you need to inform yourself about the differences between a manual-indexing press and an auto-indexing press: because, while the 550 is

'technically" a progressive press because all the dies/stations can being doing different tasks at the same time and the shell plate moves, there are many (including myself) that don't really consider it a truly progressive press because it isn't auto-indexing and doesn't move/turn the cases for you with each pull of the handle. So, if you were to pull the handle to charge powder, then, let's say, get a text from work or something that distracts you for a minute, then you go back to the press and pull the handle again without indexing/moving/advancing the shell plate: if you don't catch it before you seat the bullet, bam, double-charge, a KABOOM is coming. Or, you're in the middle of 100 rounds starting to pull the handle on a powder drop and the phone rings, then you finish your call and go back to the press and instinctively advance/move the shell plate without dropping powder (you don't want a double-charge after all), again, don't catch it before you seat the bullet: you've made an empty primed-case that is either a loud snap-cap or if a little powder dropped into it, potentially a squib.

 

A manual-index press requires your complete and total attention or bad things can happen (...like all firearms related stuff really lol). If you can trust yourself with the responsibility of always keeping track of what's going on where, and always remembering when to (and when not to) advance the shellplate, then the 550 is probably the best thing out there for the money.

 

Now, a lot of guys may say an auto-indexing press is too much for a beginner, but I don't agree. IMO, if anything, an auto-indexing press can add a margin of safety as it advances/moves the cases with every pull of the handle, so one has to actually go out of their way to fak things up and intervene by removing and replacing cases to set up a double-charge or to miss dropping powder in a case... which can totally happen, like if your fixing an issue or something, but if you train yourself to be carful and respectful of what you're doing the moving shell plate usually helps.

 

Really with both types of presses you should visually verify your powder drops, if it seems wonky, dump it, don't take chances. (Some powders are harder to see/verify than others which is what OdenIII was talking about above: a powder like Titegroup doesn't fill the cases much, so it might be easier too miss a double-charge, whereas some others fill the case a bunch and a double-charge would spill over and be obvious). I just feel like a manual-index press requires more resolve to avoid screwing yourself accidentally lol.

 

Just something you should consider.

 

Chances are you'll end up with an auto-indexing press at some point anyway, so again, don't be afraid to spend more to get more. I'd recommend taking a hard look at an XL750, you can buy the case feeder when you can afford it (a when, not an if), and you won't outgrow it for a long time, if ever. A used 650 is also a great suggestion, though their priming systems are a little more unkind to beginners as it's "prime all the time" instead of "prime on demand".

 

I know it was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating, the Dillon presses hold most of their value or sometimes actually appreciate (a Super 1050 was $1500 10 years ago, now they're $2000, same machine), so while it might hurt a little in the short term, it may be worth spending a little more than your planned budget to grab something you won't have to upgrade from or can one day sell without really losing much.

Edited by ck1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Daedalus47 said:

Thanks again for the replies. Lots of good info. 
 

I typically go through about 5-6k rounds of 9mm in a year. Since purchasing my SP-01 and P210, I’ve been shooting even more 9mm lately. Getting into competitions won’t help me conserve ammo either haha. 

 

A 550c plus accessories isn’t much more than I was originally budgeting and seems like a good bet for me. I need to do some more research before making any decisions but I’ll report back with what I end up with. 
 

I’ve talked with some of the brass vultures at the local ranges but they’re usually guys who have been reloading for decades and do it for the obscure and expensive calibers. It’s nice to get other opinions and ones that are specific to 9mm. 

 

Any other recommendations or advice is always appreciated. 

 

Last year went through 24,969 not counting shotgun rounds.  Like I said make sure you have the time.  Also casted all the bullets I use.  Paid 259.00 new for my Dillon 550 sold it for 300.00. The guy that purchased it used it about 6 months and quit.  You are lucky to have all the videos to watch now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reloading is a hobby and for many a passion by itself. Do not start trying to justify it by the old “saving money” argument (except to a significant other who wants to know why you spend so much time in the garage).

 

It’s about experimenting, making the perfect rounds for your gun, discussing for hours the perfect powder, OAL, primers, Bullets and more. Who can complain about buying more tools, making a special place to go and spend hours of time, and finding out how their gun actually works.

 

Just do it.

 

BTW, I load for volume on a 1050 9mm, 40sw, 45 ACP, and 223/5.56. Everything else, 30-06, 30-30, 45 Colt, I still use a single stage Lee press.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, OdinIII said:

One thing I feel to be very important for a new reloader who chooses the 550 or any manual indexing press. CHOOSE A POWDER THAT YOU CAN’T DOUBLE CHARGE.

 

Ck1 also highlighted this comment but I want to do so again. This can save your butt as a new reloader.

 

Your first pound of powder should probably be Red Dot, Promo, or Unique as they're all very fluffy.  We had a guy on here blow up his gun with double charges of Tightgroup a couple weeks ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went straight to a 650 after learning for a week on a single stage press.  And with a Mr Bullet feeder.  There are press enhancements that make life easier like case feeder & primer on/off devices.  Vs the 550 I did generate a few squib loads.  And they always went in my wife’s guns - of course they did.  We couldn’t figure out why her brand new STI DVC would not go into battery.  Oh yea, a bullet was stuck in the barrel but just enough to save my a**.  And a round came out in her new 929.  Had to hammer it back into the cylinder with the squib rod.  Revo rounds need lots of crimp.  My guns were spared.
 

 Squib loads are 99.99% from when something goes wrong and you get distracted fixing the problem and pull the handle when things are fixed. I once knew there was a squib and shot it.  Its valuable to know what it’s like.  Not recommended for a double charge.  I’ve heard stories of guys picking up 9 major rounds thinking they were regular 9mm.  It’s never good.

 

off on a rant here but powder check dies take up valuable space on the Toolhead.  Never used one.  Well I did but ditched it early on. After deciding to upgrade I skipped over the 1050/1100 as if memory serves gives up something too to powder check.  I went to a Mark7 Evo, not giving up anything and the powder check die is awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My cost to reload 9mm or .38 Short Colt is bullet $0.10, primer $0.03, powder $0.02, plus brass.

Are you shooting something that requires jacketed bullets? I just switched to coated at $.065 each and I’m getting better accuracy than my old JHP load. I’m sure I should have spent more time tuning the jacketed loads but I’m tickled with the new bullets performance and significant savings.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Are you shooting something that requires jacketed bullets? I just switched to coated at $.065 each and I’m getting better accuracy than my old JHP load. I’m sure I should have spent more time tuning the jacketed loads but I’m tickled with the new bullets performance and significant savings.

You can get good JHP around $.01/round more than that if you buy 2-3k at a time.

It’s all personal preference but I just can’t see putting up with the smoke and mess of coated bullets, or the sub par accuracy of plated for $10/thousand. And yes I’ve tried them all.

To each his own.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you search my older posts, I created a spread sheet that breaks down cost of reloading various common calibers.

 

It’s worth it if you want it and can’t buy it anyway.

 

Dillon is tough to beat. Started with 550 then moved up to 650. I’d get an 1100 if I had the space. Still use the 550 all the time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...