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Thread: load/reload

  1. #1
    Member JamesMac's Avatar
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    Default load/reload

    I’m thinking of staring to load/reload and need some advice. If I pursue this venture I will start out loading/reloading for my hunting rifles and eventually maybe my handguns?

    I’m not a competition shooter and I don’t plan on starting.
    I hunt a lot and find that quality manufactured ammo is adequate. However I do like to tinker and I prefer doing things for myself; hence my new desire to start reloading.

    Should I start and is it worth the time and investment?

    I’m looking at picking up the book: The ABC’S of Reloading by Bill Chevalier. Has anyone read it and do you recommend it?

    Reloading gear:
    Who makes the best equipment at “the best value”?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    You sound like the perfect candidate for handloading.

    You were wise to start with the book. Although, I don't have that one myself, it comes highly reccommended.

    I suggest you use the book, to determine, step by step, each thing you will do, and then purchase a tool, or tools that you like for accomplishing each step.

    There's quite a few brands out there. You could end up using stuff from several of them. IMO, it's better to choose each tool separately rather than just buy a Kit, and find out that you don't like some of the items.

    A kit can be fine, and dandy. I'm only suggesting you consider each tool in the Kit separately, as to whether you would buy it over some other one.

    It's really amazing to me what some of the guys on this forum know about handloading. It's because they've done it. Experience is a great teacher. They're always helping each other.

    I say "go for it".
    You'll have fun, and learn a lot, and find out some of it is baloney, and what works for you.
    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.

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    You're basically in the same position that I was in a few months ago, except that I'd picked up a Rockchucker Supreme kit on sale a couple of years ago ...never opened the box until just recently. Especially with the rise in prices for factory ammo, I'm glad I did. For making 500 S&W Special type rounds (full size brass, light loads), it costs me about 1/3rd of what they want for it at the store. Won't take long to pay for the reloading stuff. And if you keep an open eye for good deals and buy in volume, you can save a lot on bullets and components too. Someone recently pointed out a sale on 180 gr Nosler Partitions that were factory seconds for something like $11 a box, AND they had a lot of experience with Nosler seconds and could detect no difference between the first-cut bullets (accuracy or performance) and the seconds ...a real steal of a deal. My first bullets were purchased at less than half price by buying them from someone online. And it's fun. I really enjoy going out to the shop and whipping out 50 rounds for another weekend of shooting. I know 50 rounds per weekend isn't a huge amount of shooting, but now it's affordable and it would NOT be if I were shooting only factory ammo. So even if I spend just as much in the long run, my shooting skills will improve a lot more than if I were not reloading. Maybe that's the best part.

    Brian

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the best thing you can do is go over and watch one of your buddies re-load a few rounds AFTER you have read all you can read about the process. It just seems to make more sense if you can see it done with your own eyes. I am not trying to imply that its brain surgery or anything like that, but it will help take the uncertainty and anxiety out of it if you watch someone else do it instead of just reading and doing all on your own. You would be surprised how one of the most basic of reloading skills for example; (lubing cases before de-priming and re-sizing) can cause such fear and loathing if done improperly! Any fool can read the book and figure it out by trial and error, but it is much more fun and easier to see it done correctly and thereby save yourself the unhappy trip to Sportsman’s to buy the “stuck case removal tool” to get that stuck case out of your new die after you have ripped the rim off of it! The opposite will be the pile of cases with giant dents in the shoulder due to excessive lube………….either way, a bummer for sure, and if you actually watch someone lube cases correctly, your like “hey………that’s so simple, now I get it” time well spent in my opinion!

    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Even then after loading who knows how many rounds (several thousand). The stuck case remover might still have a use.

    I have owned several guns that I never shot a factory round through them. Reloading is just too much fun.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    That'sa good point or several, from Alangaq:

    A stuck case can ruin a beginning reloaders day. It don't help mine none either.

    Don't get TOO greasy, BUT make sure some is on the BASE of any bottle neck case, especially if you're using RCBS dies.

    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.

  7. #7

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    One bit of advice that was given to me when I started reloading, (Murphy was the culprit) was buy and use the book from the manufacturer whether it is the bullet or powder you are using and having both would not be a bad thing either.

  8. #8
    Member JamesMac's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thank you!

    Smitty, TananaBrian, Scott, Rmiller, Dutch069:
    Thank you for all the feed back! I’m going to give it a go!

    Maybe I’ll upgrade my life insurance first ;- )

  9. #9
    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Wink Newbie handloader

    JamesMac, congrats on your decision to do things for yourself. Good job man.
    As for getting started loading, I can give you a lot of pointers as to what works and doesn't, and what is hype. I have been at it far less time than many on here I am sure. Just under 20 years. But I have been a gun nut since before I could even lift a rifle. Ok, now that my credentials are out of the way...
    Yes, buy that ABC's of reloading book. It's a gold mine of info that's very well needed. Also the Lyman reloading manual is like that, it's a huge manual with lots of info in it. I don't give a hoot for Lyman's data, it's a bit weak, but it is ok and can be used for sure starting out. Get a Nosler and hornady manuals. You'll likely use more info out of those 3 manuals than most any other. Barnes is really good too and mandatory if you wanna use their bullets. Some data can be had off the net, but be extremely cautious about how much info you get from here, or any other site. Sorry folks, I had to say that, ya'll know as much as I do that there's folks on the net that will try to kill you online if given the chance and some data that is spewed on loading sites is just ridiculous man. Ok, with books out of the way:
    I would look at the Redding, RCBS, or Lyman Turret single stage presses. All three of those are great presses, and I have used all. Yeah, Lee is cheaper, but not as rugged. the turrets give you the ability to set up 2 or 3 sets of rifle dies and leave them set up depending on how many holes the turret head has. Don't believe anyone that tells you that they aren't as strong as a standard "O" frame press is. Baloney. as a matter of fact, WaterGremlin on here has a Redding turret press and you could load 155 Howitzer loads on that thing if they would fit the gap. Lyman, and RCBS runs closely behind that redding for build toughness.
    Go with a Redding, or RCBS scale. A Scale is mandatory, and you can't load without one. If you get a good one first, you won't have to go and buy another one when you get PO'd at the cheapo...
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...842&t=11082005

    you SHOULD also go with a powder measure. they just throw a close measurement of powder so you don't go crazy with a trickler trying to trickle a lot of powder into a case that a Lee Dipper dumped short. I started with those, but they went to the landfill. Too slow and I don't feel that they are accurate enough for my loads. I know there are folks on here that likely use them, and that's fine, but a powder measure is way faster and more efficient. RCBS, or Redding. don't bother with a hornady. you'll be unhappy. Been there.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...260&t=11082005

    Do yourself a favor and learn to dispense and weigh powder manually before you go with one of the electronic deals like this: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...731&t=11082005
    They can be finicky for a beginner. Wait a couple years and then decide if you really need it.

    As for trimmers, you'll need one for rifles. There are some cheap methods to do this, namely the Lee cutter and lock stud deal. These are good quality, but the only drawback with them is that you can only trim your cases if they are too long. They are set up to trim to SAAMI length, no more, no less. you COULD grind and adjust the studs, but why bother? Don't fool around, and buy yourself a Wilson case trimmer and a Sinclair base to sit it on. You can be in one of these for a bit less than a $100 bill. They are the best trimmer, period. There is a Gracie one, but there's no way it is as good as a Wilson from what I have seen. WaterGremlin got one at my suggestion, and he can attest to how smooth this thing cuts. Midwayusa has them, but you'll have to go to Sinclair International to get the base and clamp mount for it. here's a link: http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/...WTR&type=store
    This is for the Trimmer alone. I think in the Sinclair catalog, you can buy the trimmer, base, and lock deal all together at a discount. here is the clamping stand: http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/...TLC&type=store
    You should also get this stand/base: http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/...800&type=store
    This all works together to give you the best and most concentric trimming that you can get without trimming your cases on a Bridgeport Lathe! It's really a great tool. Be sure and buy the power screwdriver adapter for it along with the chamfer tool bit and handle. That's to chamfer the cases so the bullets seat smoothly. Just do some looking on the Sinclair site and you'll see it along with many other tools that are useful. If you look for too long on the Sinclair site, be careful, you could get divorced because of that website alone. It's considered "gun porn" among us accuracy buffs..

    Next is a primer seater. You CAN use the press for this, and about all of them come with a provision for seating primers, but most of them require you to TOUCH the primers. This is a no-no. The oils on your hands, or case lube as it were, can contaminate the primers and ruin a hunt for you.
    the RCBS hand primer is good, I have one, but sometimes it's finicky. Ironically, I can recommend the Lee hand primer tool without reservation. it's a great tool. Here's one: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...875&t=11082005
    I don't know anything about the Hornady one, although I looked at the one at Sportsmans and it looks like it's built well. So take your pick. With the Lee version, you have to buy a set of their special little shellholders.

    You should be sure and get the primer pocket cleaners. About any of the brands work fine. I personally use the RCBS more than any of my others.
    One tool that I have found to be very helpful is the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) bullet seating gauge. Here is one: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...611&t=11082005 These things are super easy to use and will do the very best job of determining what length to seat your bullets to make the loads shoot right in your gun. You will need to buy a specially modified case for each caliber you use. They run like $5 or so.

    Be sure to also get a tumbler. Yeah, you can wipe cases to clean them and that's ok, but it's a waste of time, and these days, who ever has enough of that? Spend your time doing something else and tumble the cases to keep them clean. Your reloading dies will thank you. Dirty cases scratch the dies and they don't work as smoothly anymore. and cleaner cases just look better and satisfy you that your building a quality product.

    Well, hopefully, I haven't offended too many folks on here, but I have found these products to be great and work well for me. Good luck! Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions for me on any of this stuff.

  10. #10
    Member JamesMac's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Awesome!

    Whelenator:
    Thank you very much! This is tremendous, I appreciate your time and effort in providing me with this "very" detailed and sound advice. I will certainly PM you with my rookie questions after I read the appropriate literature and actually start reloading. Again, than you Sir!

    Regards
    Mac

  11. #11
    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Default Newbie handloader

    JamesMac, I am very glad to pass this on. The more folks are into this sport, the better. There is safety in numbers.

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    Default I will be brief (for me)

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesMac View Post
    Smitty, TananaBrian, Scott, Rmiller, Dutch069:
    Thank you for all the feed back! I’m going to give it a go!

    Maybe I’ll upgrade my life insurance first ;- )
    Don't forget fire insurance. (I have never had a fire in 30 years)

    Good advice all around so far, so I will hit the highest points (even if they have been hit before)

    ALWAYS wear eye protection around primers or powder

    Do your research before you spend too much money or (heaven forbid) touch a grain of powder.

    Find a mentor (you can, by way of payback, mentor someone else in the future)

    Go ahead an buy a reloading kit. You will develop your own taste for brands and type of equipment and eventually replace almost everything you started with. My only pieces of original equipment are my scale and my powder trickler.

    Learn all the steps of loading using a single stage press. You can go to a progressive once you are fully confident and competent. For reloading bottleneck rifle cartridges a double-linkage press is easier to use, but any full O-frame press will do. You are likely to keep that double-linkage press forever, though.

    don't pinch your fingers in the press.

    Welcome to reloading.

    Larry (Lost Sheep)

  13. #13
    Member JamesMac's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thank you Larry!

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