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Thread: New to reloading

  1. #1

    Default New to reloading

    I do a lot of shooting, but with the rapidly rising prices of ammo, I want to get into reloading to try to cut costs, plus it would be a good hobby. Shooting mainly calibers like the 243, 300, 338, and 22-250, would I be able to save much money by reloading rather than buying factory ammo? Also, what would be a good reloader for some one who is just starting out, such as myself? What are some of the main things that I need to get to start out? I am a rookie at reloading so any advice would be helpful.

  2. #2

    Default

    Welcome Yoge, You've come to a good place to get some tips. I'm just a novice reloader, but I think that most folks here would agree that a Rock Chucker press is a good way to start. As far as costs go, that depends on how much you shoot and what you want to accomplish. Handloading for me has cost a lot more than buying factory ammo, but I don't do all that much shooting so the outlay for equipement and the costs of working up a load are greater than buying factory ammo. The advantage is you can taylor your loads to your wants and needs and you can usually improve accuracy. And also you have the satisfaction of making and shooting your own loads.

    Cheers,

    Mark

  3. #3
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    You don't need a heavy press like the Rockchucker. I started with a little RCBS Partner press I bought for $30.00 and reloaded up to .500 A-Square in it. I also loaded .50 BMG bullets into my A-Square brass using that press. I still have it.

    All you need are:
    Dial calipers
    Press
    Balance
    Dies
    Shell holder (usually comes with the dies)
    Case mouth chamfering tool
    Reloading manual

    That's it. You can get all of this for under $100.00 on eBay.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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  4. #4
    Member aknewbie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up check out the lee stuff.....

    You are in exactly the same position I was 3 or 4 months ago. Here is my advice- If you are trying to save some $, go to cabelas and check out the breechlock anniversary kit. It comes with everything you will need,(for $100) minus the caliper (cabelas brand $20), dies (lee pacesetter about $25), and case length guide to trim the cases. And if you buy all of that stuff from cabelas the shipping wont kill you. That is what I did and I have been having a blast. Good stuff for the money, and I havent figured out why people bash lee all of the time so dont listen to them. Just my 2 cents.

  5. #5

    Default

    I figured I would let the more experieced guys answer this thread, but I don't see a whole lot of response, so I'll throw a few more pennies in the conversation. I don't mean to step on anyone elses toes, but I personally would avoid buying a kit. I would recommend buying for functionality and quality regurdless of the maker, but some makers do have a btter rep than others.

    I have never used a Lee, so all I can say about them is I have seen some negative comments and I have seen others who are quite happy with Lee. I don't think I've ever seen any bad comments about RCBS or Redding presses and dies.

    The Partner press is a good press but might not provide quite the functionality and flexibility of the Rock Chucker. Example: I recently decided to get custom made dies for my 300 WSM and found out that the thread mount would be 1" instead of the standard 7/8 th's. The Rock Chucker could be adapted to that whereas most other presses couldn't be.

    RCBS dies are good and Redding dies are better for about $10 or so more.

    How about seating? If you are concerned with accuracy you might want to consider a competition seater. It also turns a two step process into a one step process.

    I mentioned earlier that I recently decided to get custom dies. They should triple or more the life of my brass and reduce the number of times I have to trim. They will also probably improve the accuracy of my loads. This is something I learned in this forum in another thread. A sizer and seater will run about $350, but will eventually pay for itself in brass.

    As for the other pieces, scales, callipers, primer seaters, trimmers, tumblers, etc. I would carefully look at everything that is available and pick what you need by functionality and quality. It will pay in the long run.

    Have fun loading.

  6. #6

    Default

    Best answer is to locate a good, experienced reloader in your neighborhood and spend time loading with him on his outfit before you buy. All of us use different tools and techniques somewhere along the line for what we see as better results, but the basics are pretty much the same. Even if your buddy gives you advice different than any of us, he'll be close at hand and familiar with your equipment when you set up.

    I bought a new Rockchucker in 1972, and I'm still using it today. Spread out over those kind of years, it was really cheap. A buddy just picked up one NIB at a thrift store for $5. I got one used in a garage sale for $2.50 to keep as a spare. His is shinier, so I guess you have to pay a premium for new.

  7. #7
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    You don't need a heavy press like the Rockchucker. I started with a little RCBS Partner press I bought for $30.00 and reloaded up to .500 A-Square in it. I also loaded .50 BMG bullets into my A-Square brass using that press. I still have it.

    All you need are:
    Dial calipers
    Press
    Balance
    Dies
    Shell holder (usually comes with the dies)
    Case mouth chamfering tool
    Reloading manual

    That's it. You can get all of this for under $100.00 on eBay.

    This is exactly my approach. I use a lee hand press and a couple lee die sets. I prefer RCBS dies and have a set of redding dies for my wifes 300 WSM.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  8. #8
    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Default Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!

    Hear this newbie to reloading. YOU WILL NEVER, EVER SAVE ANY MONEY, EVER AGAIN. Now that you've found out that you can actually load your own bullets, your life is done. I hope you aren't married, as your wife is going to wonder what in the world you need to spend so much time in the garage for.
    I said that about saving money because yes, as everyone has said, there are economical kits, and presses and whatnot out there, but you'll go in stages like everyone does. you can find good presses here and there. I just sold one that would have been a good press for you to start out on. Like one guy said, you'll hear 30 different suggestions from 30 different guys, but he wasn't kidding when he told you to go to a friend's house and try his stuff. That is the very best way to at least see what it's all about, and how it's all done. You might just love his method of loading, or you may want to run like he** from his house praying that he doesn't blow it all up before you can escape!
    Either way, it's a learning process that now won't ever stop, no matter what happens, or which brand press you buy. Most of them are good, if not awesome, and will give you years, if not decades of good service. Like one fella said, he got his press in '72...that press is a darn good place to start. The Rock Chucker is a great press, and will last 3 lifetimes, and CANNOT be worn out. I have a buddy in North Carolina that does his best to wear his out and can't. The Lyman Orange Crusher is also a good press, and I just sold mine to try something different. Something that the Cabelas catalog said was better, stronger, tougher, faster, whatever... most of this crap is marketing. in truth, you can buy whatever brand you find fits your budget, and color preference. They will all work well for you until the marketing gurus get to ya....either way, you are one of us now...embrace it..don't run from it...

  9. #9
    Member yogibear's Avatar
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    Default Just my two cents...

    but you spake(if that's a word) of costs. When I started out about 13 years ago, I had a Rock Chucker, now I have a Lee. I found they do the exact same thing, but the Lee does it at a fraction of the cost. As for dies, if you buy the RCBS dies (and I have two calibers in RCBS), you get the dies, that's it, average $10 higher than Lee and you still have to buy the shell holder. With Lee, it's all included.

    Lee is the hands down, no argument winner for the budget minded reloader. If you win the lottery, you can buy all the expensive gear that does the same thing.

    Whatever you decide, it was good advice to find someone close to you to show you the ropes. I'd also go to gun shows to look for a press. I found a Lee at a gun show for $10 for my friend. He bought it and is happy with it.

    Welcome to the world of reloading, it's fun and very rewarding when you take your first animal with it. Every whitetail I've ever taken was with reloads.

  10. #10

    Default Good info

    from the posters, but one thing I suggest, even if you know someone who reloads is to locate and purchase a book on How to Reload. There are several good ones on the market, and study it before buying any equipment. The guys are right, there is a lot of good stuff out there, enough so that it can get confusing. The other thought is are you sure you will enjoy it and continue on? Some people like reloading and some don't. Some Lee products are good and some aren't. The RCBS Partner kit is relatively inexpensive and better quality (in my opinion) then Lee. Lee dies are normally less expensive but are well manufactured and do have the shell holder included, which will fit in RCBS presses and will save you about 7 bucks.
    Some may say you don't need a powder measure, just use a scoop for placing a load on the scale to weight it, but if you use the coarser grain powders as for some rifle cartridges, you will have no joy trying to get consistent loads. A powder measure, like a used RCBS measure makes reloading a lot more consistent.
    We could all go on advising you in bits and pieces, but get the book and see how the process feels to you. By the way, if you have saved your empty brass and look for some deals on bullets and such, even with todays prices, if you shoot enough, you can save some money. I have saved up to 30% on some loads, but I don't need the special premium bullets that cost so darned much. There are still good bullets out there like Hornady and Speer that are less expensive and work just fine. My 2 cents. Have fun!

  11. #11

    Default Cost control

    HAHAHA!!!!
    I agree completely.
    You will start playing around with stuff, more and more trips to the range...
    My ammunition costs about 20%- 50% of the store bought, but I shoot 20 times as much. Net loss around 500% or worse. even if my 454 ammo only costs 15 cents a round, I don't leave the table until the money is gone.
    But it isn't very hard to make superior ammunition to the factory, any factory. Plus where can you buy 200 Grain Round nose soft points for a 300 Win Mag? Nowhere.
    Welcome to the rewarding world of reloading, save the money saving speech and investment stuff for the Wife. And you have just stumbled into a room full of hopeless addicts, "That old truck should make it a few more years.... I need an auto scale..."
    Mark

  12. #12
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    Default Cut rate bungee jumping...

    Getting into reloading as cheaply as possible rates right up there with cut rate bungee jumping and buying your parachute at the thrift store.

    By a little at a time or save to buy enough good quality equipment to get into it safely. If you don't shoot more than a couple of hundred rounds a year there is no reason, economically , to start the hobby. Also I think that "just getting into it to save money" (which never works) is a bad idea, the desire to learn it well isn't there. It isn't something that should be undertaken with cook-book thoughtless pursuit.

    You can get there with a;
    Data manuals-(Two) One by each of your favorite bullet makers.
    Press--buy cast iron for durability and resale value.
    Scale--balance beam or digital, of quality.
    Caliper-Dial or digital, not cheap plastic.
    Dies---A set for each caliber.

    Optional equipment;
    Primer seater-You can prime with the press but most starting out will have most of their problems with primers and priming. I would suggest a good bench mounted primer seater.
    Case trimmer-good durable with expansion capability (multiple calibers)
    Powder Measure- Speeds up the process, the good ones will maintain+/- .1 grains.
    Pocket cleaner/uniformer, deburring/chamferring tool, funnels, loading blocks, seating depth gage, powder trickler, all make better ammo and less work.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Getting into reloading as cheaply as possible rates right up there with cut rate bungee jumping and buying your parachute at the thrift store.

    By a little at a time or save to buy enough good quality equipment to get into it safely. If you don't shoot more than a couple of hundred rounds a year there is no reason, economically , to start the hobby. Also I think that "just getting into it to save money" (which never works) is a bad idea, the desire to learn it well isn't there. It isn't something that should be undertaken with cook-book thoughtless pursuit.

    You can get there with a;
    Data manuals-(Two) One by each of your favorite bullet makers.
    Press--buy cast iron for durability and resale value.
    Scale--balance beam or digital, of quality.
    Caliper-Dial or digital, not cheap plastic.
    Dies---A set for each caliber.

    Optional equipment;
    Primer seater-You can prime with the press but most starting out will have most of their problems with primers and priming. I would suggest a good bench mounted primer seater.
    Case trimmer-good durable with expansion capability (multiple calibers)
    Powder Measure- Speeds up the process, the good ones will maintain+/- .1 grains.
    Pocket cleaner/uniformer, deburring/chamferring tool, funnels, loading blocks, seating depth gage, powder trickler, all make better ammo and less work.
    Ditto... if you are reloading to save money, you are paddling up the wrong creek. It's just like with anything else that you need good quality tools for, and more so. Good quality tools get the best results. If you want to save $, go factory. And there isn't anything wrong with factory, you can get some good factory ammo.

  14. #14
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    Itís like snowshooze says.

    You will not shoot as much when you are using factory fodder, as you will when you handload. Iím sure, you could, but you wonít.

    For one thing the cost is too apparent, and inflexible. Although there is a huge variety of factory loads out there, it is still limited compared to what you can load on your own. And, ammo that is listed in the books, isnít always that available.

    A Hand Loader can load anything and everything, modern or obsolete, and if he donít know how, he can find someone who does, even if the brass has to be made out of something else. And THAT is just the beginning.

    We COULD save money if we wanted to. We KNOW how to do it. We DONíT because we donít want to limit ourselves on tools, components, OR shooting.

    I think Iíll give it up.

    Smitty of the North
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    You can't out-give God.

  15. #15
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    Default

    I think there is another advantage of getting into reloading and that is independance. You can stock up on powder and primers when you go to town and order bullets and brass to be delivered to your door (along with equipment) and have an almost unlimited selection of components, bullet weights, styles and type to make any caliber into a varmint gun or a moose gun depending on your ability to assemble good ammo with the right bullet for the job. I think this is one of the many reasons I handload and I wouldn't have it any other way. I rarely shoot factory ammo. It is one of those things where you accumulate equipment and components and continually try to make better ammo and ammo more suited to specific need. A really great hobby and a by product of being a gun nut.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  16. #16
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Amortize

    Ya gotta shoot a lot... if you decide to get into handloading, you now have an excuse to shoot more, so that you can save more. The more you shoot, the more you save...

    Figure...Cost of:
    Reloading Equipment
    Brass - Hopefully you've been saving, and have good brass (another arguement that will take over the thread )
    Primers
    Powder
    Bullets

    Calculate your initial expenses (books, scales, powders, bullets, primers, press, dies, calipers...) Add that up... there are lots of calculators (online, purchase, etc) to help you determine the cost per round.

    And when it's all over, you're hooked. And you buy more stuff.
    Now your cost per round is going the wrong way - gotta shoot more.
    After all the more you shoot, the more $$ you're getting out of the investment (press, dies, calipers, scale, etc.)
    Not much you can do about the expendibles (powder, primers, bullets)... but you should buy them in bulk; you'll save more money!

    Before you know it, you've got Dillon progressive presses in your garage so you can crank out more ammo, to shoot more, so you save more money...

    Oh, man it's an endless cycle.

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