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Thread: Where to Start?

  1. #1
    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    Default Where to Start?

    New to reloading Ė I purchased an RCBS press and kit and it will be waiting for me when I get home in August. Curious, if anybody has any recommendations as to which caliber may be best to start learning my way around the press, process and fundamentals of reloading, or does it matter? Iíve got the following:

    9mm
    10mm
    45 Ė ACP and Colt
    44 Ė Revolver and lever
    223
    30 REM AR
    308
    300 WSM
    338 WM
    45-70
    375 H&H

    Iíve been doing my research, and getting real excited to start. I havenít purchased any dies yet, and still need to pick up a case trimmer. My simple mind is leaning towards starting out on the 10 mm and 44. Any advice or thoughts, or am I over thinking this?

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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    Reloading itself can be really simple, if you're just wanting to reload and put powder and bullets in a case then I'd start with the 44 or one of your pistols. But for me I reload so I can get the most accurate round for my gun and if it was me I'd be looking to reload either that 308 the 300wsm or one of your other rifles.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    ...I'd start with the 44 or one of your pistols....
    Same here. Added benefit, you're going to be shooting lots more now, so you'll get LOTS of practice at the bench.

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    Buy carbide sizing dies for the straight walled pistol loading. No sizing lube needed.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  5. #5

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    That's a very good suggestion. I have them for most straight wall cases, and really regret that I can't say it for ALL my straight walls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That's a very good suggestion. I have them for most straight wall cases, and really regret that I can't say it for ALL my straight walls.
    2 words. Lee Dies.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Start with the caliber you use the most.

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    As mentioned I would pick one each of pistol and the bottle cases and start there. When I started I was lucky to find a mentor that really helped me get started. Having someone that knows what they are doing can really speed up the learning process.

    One note of caution I would pass on is to always keep pistol and rifle powders in separate storage areas and never work with them at the same time. Pretty hard to overcharge a rifle case, it can be done but if you fill a rifle case with pistol powder the results can be devastating. Use published data and don't be tempted to rely on internet recipes. Once you get some experience and knowledge, proceed with caution, but stick to published data until then.

    Very rewarding to roll your own ammo and harvest game with it.

    Be safe and have fun.

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    Before I saw what ones you have, I thought .38 or .357 to start. .44 or .45LC in a handgun is in the same line. I assume these are for revolvers. I like Unique powder for plinking loads in these. You might want to start off with lead bullets.

    For your starting rifle reloads: I'm not sure what rifles you have, but I'd suggest either the .223 or .308 in a bolt gun. Same ones in a semi-auto, but be ready to use powders in the right burn rate (very important if an M14 style or M1 in .308) and a bit more concerned about case sizing, bullet shape, and OAL to make them work right.

    Most reloading manuals have a good "how to" chapter. Several DVDs out there. youtube? if you're more up to date than me!

  10. #10
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    I would throw that RCBS pad and sizing lube away and get a tin of "Redding Imperial Sizing Die Wax" It is just so much easier and cleaner to use, I used the RCBS for 50 years, and now I'm a convert to Redding. Carbide dies for straight wall cases is a must. Stock up before the election just in case. lots of reloading data online, I use http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data a lot[only works with IE, not Firefox].
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
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  11. #11
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    That's some good advise. I still have stuff from the Clinton election...I have some cheap components now.

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    Thanks guys Ė

    Iíll just be rolling plinking loads to start with, and based on ya'lls feedback decided I will start with my 44. Iíll work my way up to my rifles in time, again starting with range loads. Looking forward to all the possibilities for my 338 and the wife's 300 WSM.

    Regarding lead bullets to start with, Iím contemplating gearing up to cast my own for the 44 and 45-70 in the near future.

    Iím still researching load data and all the powder variants Ė thanks for the Hodgdon link. My neighbor bud is a re-loader and convinced me to start, so I do have a good resource/mentor on hand. Itíll take a while, but one of these days I might be THAT guy at the range Chronoín my super killer match loads.

    Agreed about upcoming election Ė Iím sure there will be another run on ammo and components.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    I would throw that RCBS pad and sizing lube away and get a tin of "Redding Imperial Sizing Die Wax" It is just so much easier and cleaner to use, I used the RCBS for 50 years, and now I'm a convert to Redding.
    I'll second that. What a difference in the reloading process.

  14. #14
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    The semi auto firearms are sometimes tricky to load for. At least less forgiving than a wheel gun or bolt gun. You are on the right track with the 44. Plinking loads are really easy and cheap to make, but not the only use of your reloading bench. The real advantage comes from tuning your ammo to make more accurate rounds for your rifles. I have suggested the book "ABC's of Reloading" to many new to the art, it covers everything pretty well.

    Looks like you have a bunch of different pistols. The powder for those is still kind of hard to come by. Figure out what you might want and look for powders on the shelf when you are in the sporting goods stores. It is refreshing how well 3 bears does with powders. Sportsman's is doing a good job lately too. The 308, 223 and 375 guns can use similar powders. If you find varget, Reloader 15, CFE223 or the like, you might be able to use the same powder for all three rifles. If you are really budget conscious, most of your rifles will shoot well enough with IMR 4064. Get a few pounds of that and you can get passable accuracy and velocity. Everybody should have a jug of IMR 4064 just because. It is very versatile.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by Daved; 03-16-2016 at 09:03. Reason: grammar

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    Member wiiawiwb's Avatar
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    Having that neighbor available is an invaluable asset. Use him.

    I don't reload for rifle so I didn't have that consideration. I started reloading 45 Colt and read as much as I could get my hands on. I also looked at a ton of YT videos. This is a long video but is the best I've found out there. The guy walks you through each and every step and explains as he's doing so. He's using an RCBS press. I've watched it 3 or 4 times.



    So many aspects to reloading become personalized. For example, all of my bullets are Hi-Tek coated lead. I just like it better.

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    You really are jumping right into the middle, considering the different kinds of cartridges.

    I would group them, as below, into similar type cartridges that load the same way.

    Note, that the 44 mag and 45-70 do not load the same way, since the 45-70 won't be loaded with a carbide sizing die.

    I would start with the bottle -neck cases. Next 45-70. Next 44 mag. Next the auto cases.

    9mm
    10mm
    45 Ė ACP and Colt

    44 Ė Revolver and lever

    223
    30 REM AR
    308
    300 WSM
    338 WM
    375 H&H

    45-70

    Smitty of the North
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  17. #17
    Member outaMT's Avatar
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    That is an excellent video Ė that was one of the first ones I found when I started my research.

    The press kit I bought comes withthe Nosler reloading manual, 7th edition. Along with that Iím definitely getting the ABCís of reloading. Does anybody know if the 9th edition is the latest? Lots of arrows point to the Lyman reloading manual 49thedition so Iíll most likely pick that up as well. Any other manuals you guys recommend?

    Iím learning about reloading quirks with the auto rounds, so will be holding off on those calibers for much later down the road, if I even decide to reload them. Regarding rifle loads, Iím reading/hearing that belted mags may not be best to start learning on. True, false? When I do move into rifle rounds, I'm probably going to start with my 308.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by outaMT View Post
    That is an excellent video Ė that was one of the first ones I found when I started my research.

    The press kit I bought comes withthe Nosler reloading manual, 7th edition. Along with that Iím definitely getting the ABCís of reloading. Does anybody know if the 9th edition is the latest? Lots of arrows point to the Lyman reloading manual 49thedition so Iíll most likely pick that up as well. Any other manuals you guys recommend?

    Iím learning about reloading quirks with the auto rounds, so will be holding off on those calibers for much later down the road, if I even decide to reload them. Regarding rifle loads, Iím reading/hearing that belted mags may not be best to start learning on. True, false? When I do move into rifle rounds, I'm probably going to start with my 308.
    False.

    I would ignore all the BS about Belted Cases, and go ahead on, not looking for trouble.

    IME, most Belted Mag cases are large and MAY be "hard to size", in which case, using a Neck-Only sizing die will simplify things.

    I found the 338 WM to be easy to load. I'm betting you will have more trouble loading the WSM, but if you get to that point you can consult with someone on this Forum who loads for it. I don't, just heard they could be difficult.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  19. #19
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    If you're going to load some all copper bullets, Barnes, I suggest you get their manual.

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    Great video. Lot's of great help on this site (thanks again, SOTN!) I'm just getting started reloading 45LC. I have everything I need now and got it all set up after a badly needed organizational makeover of my shop. I hope to finish loading a few rounds this coming weekend. I was just wondering about powder. BrownBear suggested Unique. I have some Vihtavuori n320 which I was considering trying again. Has anyone here had any success with the n320? I'll probably just set that aside and try to find something like the Unique if that is known to work better. I'm just planning to load relatively light loads with lead bullets for recreational shooting. The gun is a Ruger SRH 454, but I have no plans to load the 454 for a while. Shooting all of the factory 454 loads I care to shoot isn't going to break the bank!
    Louis Knapp

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