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  • Beginner Reloading for Dummies?

    I have been thinking about reloading for a while and never got to far with it because I live in an apartment but since I plan on getting a house in a few months I figured I would start trying to figure what I would need to get and I have a ton of questions I was hoping to get help with.

    1) Is any brand Press better then others and what would be best bang for the buck? Looking for best general reloading purposes that will produce accurate rounds but does not have to be competition quality.

    2) Will all presses require a heavy duty table to mount it too or are there and stand alone presses?

    3) Are there are must read books that really explain things clearly to get started?

    4) What operating practices have you developed over time (preventing double loads, using wrong powder, making other mistakes) to minimize safety risks?

    5) Besides a press and dies what are the required tools and equipment? What make things easier but aren't necessary?

    6) Any other tips or experiences you can share that would have been helpful to you when you first started?

    Thanks all!
    www.AvidArms.com I'm STIHL out of conditioner!!
    Finally joined the ranks of broke homeowner
    Am I short stroking or going to fast?

    I know he has a bush

  • #2
    to get started something minimal and simple. good dies have a lot more to do with the quality relaods than the press itself.
    My opinion is that you try some of the actual setups people have and see them in action and read before you jump into massive investments.
    When buying a lot of things w/o knowing what is the right balance for you a lot of stuff simply remains unused and many promised solutions end up simply being not
    so good.
    Send me a PM and will get together and you can see my presses and then you can decide what feels the right thing for you. You will learn more in 2hrs than
    all the stuff we can post here for days.
    Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

    Comment


    • #3
      i jumped in with a Dillon Square Deal progressive press. The store where I bought it helped me to set it up and walked me through my first few dozen reloads.
      I took press home and installed it on a small 12"x 12" grinder tool stand and could not be happier.
      This press has it's limitations - it only reloads pistol caliber, but I only plan to reload 9mm and 357/38
      High Peaks Guru, but prefers twin peaks

      we will need a separate class for my wife and for my girlfriend.

      Comment


      • #4
        That's brings up sething else, would I be better off with progressive? Is single stage only better for more consistency?
        www.AvidArms.com I'm STIHL out of conditioner!!
        Finally joined the ranks of broke homeowner
        Am I short stroking or going to fast?

        I know he has a bush

        Comment


        • #5
          WTF ... u had a huge note and just refreshed by itself and lost the entire content. I better call you R. lol.

          you know me ... yada yada yada.....

          Get a lee turret entry kit that gives the best of both worlds. A lee is fine. Anyone who says they do not work they do not know waht they are talking about.
          I will give you the book and all the materials will post here...
          I hate loosing a long nice post . AGRR!!
          Last edited by Meketrefe; 10-31-2014, 04:29 PM.
          Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure why you lost it, it autosaves what your typing if that happens. But trust me I know how frustrating that is.
            www.AvidArms.com I'm STIHL out of conditioner!!
            Finally joined the ranks of broke homeowner
            Am I short stroking or going to fast?

            I know he has a bush

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree 100%.... Nothing wrong with a Lee.... I'm sure Akona, like myself, has double of some die setups so whatever you want to "borrow" ask away.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think single stage vs progressive has more to do with your budget as well as the quantity you intend to shoot/reload
                Old enough to know better, still too young to care

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a progressive, a turret and a single stage, they all server a purpose. If I had to choose only 1 it would be the progressive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    EvilD nice to see you again!! lol.

                    Ok so let me try again the post if I can remember everything....

                    While you decide what to buy you need to start reading some books. A simple ABC will give you a good starting point. I will give you a book so it is free. The rest one can use online guides
                    and media and data from manufacturers. No need to buy expensive books that are obsolete and sometimes have obsolete data like the popular lyman.

                    Everyone can use a simple single stage press. Don't go crazy in expensive kits wiht lots of stuff because most likely you will end up using the most things that do not come with many kits but it is a good place to start. Even if later you buy a progressive, many folks resort to their single press to work on reloads to take to the range to play with charges and bullets depths. Nobody brings a progressive to the range. An old RCBS or even a simple and light LEE are very tipical for this. Regrading the moving parts, good quality dies have more to do with the quality reloads than any reload. I have a Lee breach lock that is great to take to the range for that purpse. I also have redding with a huge ram and frame to work in the largest magnums and brass forming including those
                    supermagnums but it is very heavy to bring to the range and overkill for most purposes. Amazing press but for what it is. I also use progressive presses for several calibers and it is great but
                    always resort to the single stage press to resolve issues that cannot be resolved on a progressive press. Like swaging primer pockets, disssabling rounds, swagging bullets, etc...and not just reloading.
                    With all that said there is perhaps a strong case for a light affordable turret press like the lee. wiht that one could leverage both worlds, use it like a simple single stage and also use it as a semi-progressive with the auto index. The lee's priming system is not great but it actually works and one could always get an additional priming system. So it is a great beginners starting point for a good budget. And I always suggest this because before people dump massive amounts of money in equipment one should get some experience and little by little and perhaps trying others
                    options and studying investing in the things that one actually is going to use. I have invested thousands in equipment that is catching dust and other equipment that I never thought would be using much is the one that I am using the most. Convinence, reliability, consistency are things you learn to be very important over the years. Also things that adapt to one's specific circumstances in terms of space, budget, etc...

                    Before one jumps into any conclusions please read this. These are important steps and considerations to make the best of your reloading results and experience.

                    - Cleaning Brass:
                    Brass needs to be cleaned. One could wipe off a few cases but in reality people are going to look for way to efficiently clean large volumes of cases. The trumbler is an option that most people go to and using corn or walnut media. The tumbler does a good job cleaning but also can be messy, dusty and media gets trapped on the flash holes. Stainless steel is a new thing but too abrassive and it can damage the brass. So some of these media can be too abrassive and the cases must be washed from chemicals and abrassives to preserve the dies. When one gets a taste of sonic cleaning then there is no need for much more using a simple washing formula and no need for expensive additives. But in reality to start reloading all one needs is a nice jar with a wide opening,
                    some baking soda, 1/2 gallon of simple green, hot water and an old towel. nothing else is really needed to get brass super clean and ready to be sized and prepared.

                    -Brass Preparation.
                    Preparing brass is key to accuracy. Some folks might just want to reload for volume bulk shooting and do not care about accuracy but if you care about
                    accuracy consistency is key and consistency starts with good brass preparation. Brass must be clean of debris, dust and abrasives ideally washed.
                    Then with proper lubrication depending on cartridge and not too much when needed. Reloading kits might come with a manual trimmer and manual chamfering and deburring tool. For a small amount whether is a precision cartrige or not this would be fine but when you talk about a certain volume then one will get tired soon w/o the assistance of powered tools. Lee has a trimmer where one can adquire a pilot for each caliber to do a precise measure consistent for every case.
                    So after segregating the brass and resizing one could trim the brass wiht this pilot and trimmer attached to a powered unit like a drill. But then for the trimming
                    and chanfering one would need additional power unit to finish the same case or do it manually that can be tiring too. RCBS and others provide a powered station with several spinning heads and one can actually find an adaptor (or fabricate one) to mount the lee gauge into one of these stations. Other multi rotary head stations have a stop for the shell holder and a pilot so there is no need for the lee gauge but the lee works well with those that do not have a stop if adapted and then use the other heads for the trimming, chamfering and pocket cleaning or even removing military crimps form the pockets.
                    Most brands offer a manual trimming shaft that is like a little lathe where one can setup the shells and then trim with a predefined stop. These are also manual systems and one would have to do the chamfering and deburring and pockets in a separate operation.
                    These can also be attached to powered units and some like RCBS and lyman even sell integrated power unints to make the trimming faster. Now these
                    might require further steps.
                    Some makers offer trimmers that cut selecting the depth of the cut from the shoulder and some can be held with the hand and the trim will be done from that
                    shoulder to the case. some even integrate this with the press like Dillon. The problem with these cutters is that they are not that consistent and they cannot be adjusted or easily adjusted. So while speed might be there, consistency is not. Some even offer cutters that do 3 way cuts that means they trim but also cut in angle inside and outside therefore aoviging burrs and the need for chamfering and deburring. These systems can be expensive and while initially well thought out they do not deliver consistent cuts, with one exception. Forster offers 3 way cutters for every caliber to be added to their trimmers. These can be setup for any case on this caliber given one has the proper shell holder that is a collet type and will also work great with straight cases.
                    The forster 3 way provides the fastest cut and also super consistent with differences in the 1 or 2 thousands tops. So save yourself a lot of headaches and money and save for this. In the mean time you can use the affordable yet efficient lee trimmer with pilot system. A power station is a must but one could also achieve the same with one of two inexpensive drills or screw drivers attached to the tools needed to prepare and finish good consistent brass.
                    For primer pockets and military crimps I avoid the swagging tools. They work by swagging with massive presssure and with that pressure comes deformation of the web of the case. I prefer to do a simple cut using a tool in the power station. If they loose primer pocket pressure then it is time for the brass to retire
                    and I do not swag anything on that area. There might be exceptions with exotic cases or converting brass for obscure calibers but that is not the rule for popular brass.
                    So the less one spends in this area at first until one gets an efficient easy to run setup is the way to go. Specially because your hands will get tired and you still want quality brass that doesnt' take for ever to prepare. For low volume people this does not apply.

                    Priming system.
                    A reliable priming system is key. Many kits come with a hand held priming system but presses should be albe to prime efficiently.
                    The good ting about the hand held priming system is one can easily detect the primer pocket pressure and decide if the primer is too lose to either segregate that round or to toss it away. Presses can also give the necessary feedback to decide if there is enough primer pocket pressure and depending on the cartridge and load one can decide if that is going to hold. There are tricks to resolve this but when primers start to loose tension most likely it is time to discard the brass. Tube fed primer systems are super reliable and preparation is reasonable system. The best progressive presses use primer tubes that must be pre-filled with the primers from a primer tray. With prarctice one can do 100 primers in 5 minutes or even more.
                    RCBS also uses a stripe system but these must be filled before hand too if they are not found preloaded and that is more expensive. I don't see any advantage of the popular tube. RCBS, Hornady, Dillon tube systems are super reliable. Primer reliability is a very good thing.
                    This is one of the weak points of the lee progressive systems. The primers drop from a tray vs. a tube and the priming push rod and everything is not as reliable as the other brands. It can be made reliable but it requires a person that is willing to debug and play with it.
                    The lee system in the single stage presses and the turret presses is somewhat reliable. A lot better than the progressive and since those presses really reuqire an extra step or stroke for the operation then it is acceptable IMO. these might also require some tinkering but they are acceptable.
                    Redding and RCBS single stage systems are also tube fed but require some tuning. Here the gold goes to hornady and dillon for 100% reliable operation.
                    But in the single state presses this is not so critical because many calibers here are going to be rifle calibers, many times match loads loaded in different stages and priming might be done with the hand priming tool while watching the walking dead or some other stupid show. It is not a critical operation as it is more tactile feedback than anything else.












                    Last edited by Meketrefe; 11-06-2014, 07:34 PM.
                    Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My input in-line:

                      1) Is any brand Press better then others and what would be best bang for the buck? Looking for best general reloading purposes that will produce accurate rounds but does not have to be competition quality.
                      ***Unless you reload for competition shooting, you can probably do fine with a single-stage press. I have had a rockChucker for EVER and it has served me well.

                      2) Will all presses require a heavy duty table to mount it too or are there and stand alone presses?
                      ***Generally, you have to mount your pres to something sturdy.

                      3) Are there are must read books that really explain things clearly to get started?
                      ***Get the latest Lyman manual to start.

                      4) What operating practices have you developed over time (preventing double loads, using wrong powder, making other mistakes) to minimize safety risks?
                      ***Never have more than one power open at a time. Check your brass for stress before every reload. Toss anything that looks iffy.

                      5) Besides a press and dies what are the required tools and equipment? What make things easier but aren't necessary?
                      ***Get a hand priming tool.

                      6) Any other tips or experiences you can share that would have been helpful to you when you first started?
                      ***Go SLOW and be meticulous. It could be your ASS if you mess up.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lots of good info here. I bought a Hornady Lock'n'Load progressive press, but I had been using my dad's Lee singles stage press for years. I like the ability to change calibers easily without having to lose my settings. It makes life a lot easier when you reload for multiple calibers.

                        You can also get the single stage model, but if you reload for pistol, the progressive saves tons of time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AKONA View Post
                          WTF ... u had a huge note and just refreshed by itself and lost the entire content. I better call you R. lol.

                          you know me ... yada yada yada.....

                          Get a lee turret entry kit that gives the best of both worlds. A lee is fine. Anyone who says they do not work they do not know waht they are talking about.
                          I will give you the book and all the materials will post here...
                          I hate loosing a long nice post . AGRR!!
                          ^^^^^^^This^^^^^^^^^^
                          That's what I have. I like it because you can use it single stage or you can put the indexing arm in and go progressive(that progressive part made me shiver ). The Lee turret is great unless you are looking to crank out a bunch of pistol ammo. If your looking to reload a couple hundred the Lee is fine.
                          Read lots of manuals, watch videos and go over someones house who already reloads and watch. I'd show you but I'm sure that there are Reloaders in Roch that can show you. I went over to DaBills house for show and tell. Helped a lot seeing it done.
                          If I were you I would definitely take up AKONA on his offer to come over. That dude is just a fountain of knowledge!
                          "I see Nuthhink..... I know nuthink!!!!!"

                          I still have problems.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the info guys and look forward to hearing more as it comes to you guys, once I am about to get it all set up I would love to take you up on offer akona that way after I can practice a lot on my equipment and not forget stuff .
                            www.AvidArms.com I'm STIHL out of conditioner!!
                            Finally joined the ranks of broke homeowner
                            Am I short stroking or going to fast?

                            I know he has a bush

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No prob. Added more content above. Might want to start a sticky on that one. I will continue adding. Need a rest. LOL.

                              I found this video online that gives an idea on the turret. The only thing if one can get the press only dirt cheap and add
                              the priming and then I would use a case activated hornady powder measure. I would also add the lee trim system with
                              pilot but for pistol might not need it at first.




                              Last edited by Meketrefe; 11-07-2014, 03:00 PM.
                              Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

                              Comment

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