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Thread: First Timer in Handloading Forum

  1. #1
    Member Valley Trash's Avatar
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    Default First Timer in Handloading Forum

    And I have to say, after reading through a few of the threads, that you guys are a lot smarter than the average AOD forum members.

    Anyway, handloading has always been one of those things I would like to try. I have a few questions that I thought you guys could give me an honest answer to. They include:

    1-Could a newbie actually purchase some basic equipment, do some homework, and then create a load that is as safe and as acurate as a factory load? Or does it take years to develop this skill?

    2-How much would it cost to get started (equipment to start loading in .300 wm)? I'm sure it's a range, depending on the quality you want, can you tell me that range?

    3-How much loading do you have to do to make it cost feasible? I'm sure that if it's a hobby, it doesn't much matter.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    And I have to say, after reading through a few of the threads, that you guys are a lot smarter than the average AOD forum members.

    Anyway, handloading has always been one of those things I would like to try. I have a few questions that I thought you guys could give me an honest answer to. They include:

    1-Could a newbie actually purchase some basic equipment, do some homework, and then create a load that is as safe and as acurate as a factory load? Or does it take years to develop this skill?

    2-How much would it cost to get started (equipment to start loading in .300 wm)? I'm sure it's a range, depending on the quality you want, can you tell me that range?

    3-How much loading do you have to do to make it cost feasible? I'm sure that if it's a hobby, it doesn't much matter.

    Thanks in advance!
    1--YES, with a little practice and study of a Handloading Manual.

    2--Cost varies, price out the list below.

    3--That, of course, would depend on how much you hafta sink into your handloading tools, as to how long it takes to pay for them in savings. If you consider only the componets for your handloads, it should be cheaper, than factory loads.

    I would suggest, you get a Manual, and read up on it. See if it's something that appeals to you.
    ************************************************** ********
    Minimal, but adequate Reloading List

    Press (Especially, If you are loading a large bottle-necked case, get a heavy press)
    Dies (For the cartridge you will be loading)
    Shell Holder (One that fits your cartridge case)
    Case Lube
    Rag.
    Primer Pocket Cleaning Tool (You could use a slotted screwdriver of the right size.) (Better yet, use a Primer Pocket Uniformer.)
    Dial Caliper (To measure case length)
    Case Trimmer (You will need one eventually.)
    Chamfer Tool
    Primer Seater (The press may have a primer arm to seat primers with.)
    Powder Scale (Even if you were using a powder measure, you’d need a scale to set it.)
    Powder Funnel
    Loading Data

    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.

  3. #3

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    I have to agree with Smitty's repy, with some more words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    1-Could a newbie actually purchase some basic equipment, do some homework, and then create a load that is as safe and as acurate as a factory load? Or does it take years to develop this skill?
    Yep, I did. I read a few different manuals and talked to a few buddies who were hand loaders and I worked up some good handloads right out of the shute.

    2-How much would it cost to get started (equipment to start loading in .300 wm)? I'm sure it's a range, depending on the quality you want, can you tell me that range?
    As Smitty said, cost will vary. I'm a construction contractor and I know the value of good tools. Before you get into this you should decide how serious you are about it, and if you're really serious then get the good tools and components and that could run $500 - $1000 for starters. I strongly recommend not getting a kit. Shop and buy each piece for function and quality.

    3-How much loading do you have to do to make it cost feasible? I'm sure that if it's a hobby, it doesn't much matter.
    That depends on a lot of things, such as how much shooting you do. If you hand load you will almost certainly do more shooting. You'll probably experiment and develop a few different loads. Generally, people who handload spend a lot more $$$ than those who shoot factory ammo. It's not hard to do the math. Figure the cost of bullets, brass, powder, primers, tools etc. and you can figure how much you're paying per round which in the long run will be cheaper than factory, but you will almost certainly shoot more.

    There are a lot of good threads on this, check them out.

    Happy Loading

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    Welcome VT.

    The start-up costs for handloading are a committment, and Smitty gave you a great list to get you started. The only other starter items that I would add are a case tumbler (for cleaning used cases) and a bullet puller (for the times that you seat the bullet too deep...and you will).

    Of course, once you get started there are all kinds of additional stuff that will tempt you.

  5. #5
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Talking Welcome to the obsessio - er, hobby

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    And I have to say, after reading through a few of the threads, that you guys are a lot smarter than the average AOD forum members.
    Flattery will get you far in this world. Along with some equipment, components, caution, and time, it'll even get you some fine handloads to shoot through that .300.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    1-Could a newbie actually purchase some basic equipment, do some homework, and then create a load that is as safe and as acurate as a factory load? Or does it take years to develop this skill?
    As we chant at the Obama for President rallies: "Yes we can!"

    Read two manuals. Think it through. Assemble your tools. Read 'em again.
    Work up your loads carefully, asking trusted, experienced loaders if you run into something you don't understand or you get hung up. You may not beat factory accuracy and velocity in your first little while loading, but you can almost certainly match 'em, and do it for less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    2-How much would it cost to get started (equipment to start loading in .300 wm)? I'm sure it's a range, depending on the quality you want, can you tell me that range?
    Sky's the limit. On the cheaper end, you can get a brand new kit for about $300 plus shipping and $50 or so for dies. If you have the time and inclination to surf for quality used gear, you might knock some dollars off that number. Initial outlay for components doesn't have to be more than $75 or so on top.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley Trash View Post
    3-How much loading do you have to do to make it cost feasible? I'm sure that if it's a hobby, it doesn't much matter.
    Yeah, the hobby approach is best.

    To do the math, figure out what you'd save per round over the factory ammo you buy now, in the way you buy it now. Be realistic - don't assume you'll be buying factory ammo by the case if you currently get it by the box. Don't assume you'd buy bullets by the thousand unless that's really what you plan to do.

    If you work in a job where the number of hours you put in is up to you, and added hours mean added money, figure in the value of your labor. If this is going to replace some of your TV/video game time, your labor is free. (See the value in the hobby approach?)

    I haven't run the numbers since the recent run-up in component (and finished ammo) prices, but my practice loads for the '06 about a year ago were around 90 cents cheaper than factory. My hunting loads were about 60-65 cents cheaper (the difference being the pricey bullets I load for game). That's with a conservative estimate of 6 loadings before I have to replace my brass. You could maybe add a few pennies to those (outdated) numbers because the .300 Win. burns half again as much powder per round.

    Of course, if you're running the numbers for payback period, you need to estimate whether you'll shoot more when it's cheaper per round, and when you're enjoying the loading and load development process. In that case, your absolute dollar savings disappear fairly quickly in additional rounds fired. On the flip side, it's tough to quantify the dollar benefit of becoming a better shot because you practice more.

    Then there's the time value of money, and whether to apply a discount rate based on your savings rate or the current escalation in ammo/component prices.

    See why the hobby approach is best?

    My Dad once simplified it by saying: "That first shot runs about $400, but after that they're nearly free."

    If you're like most of us, you'll find it really rewarding to take game - or just shoot a great group - with ammo you put together yourself. It will become a hobby at the least, and more likely a minor obsession. Welcome!

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default

    I really like 8x57 Mauser’s quote from his father; My Dad once simplified it by saying: "That first shot runs about $400, but after that they're nearly free."

    I think that pretty well sums it up! Although I suspect that the $400 figure is a bit low now days. Do be careful, you might just find that you enjoy re-loading so much that you start branching out into other crazy aspects of our sport like bullet casting. Yep, you guessed it, that first cast bullet will cost you about $400 but the rest are nearly free!
    “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 Valley Trash's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for all your responses, some good info and advise. I did pick up the Nosler Reloading Guide toay, so I'll start reading that.

  8. #8

    Default First timer

    These guys have a wealth of knowledge and great ideas. Like many of them I am from a family and group that has reloaded for a long time. That being said I consider myself a first timer everytime. I make sure that when I am looking at a new load I always (repeat) always read at least two different reference books to see what the data says. I then work from the bottom up. I do have to say that I disagree with the statement about not getting a kit. I will not say which kit I purchased (I have purchased more then one) but if you purchase a kit they will usually get everything you need to get started. You can then decide what in the kit you do/do not need and what you need to purchase extra to make it work better for you. I would say that the most important thing is SAFETY and make sure and double check your self and your equipment often because a mistake here can at a minimum make you change your shorts and at the worst seriously hurt yourself or god forbid someone standing next to you. Finally one of my chiseled in stone rules ( I NEVER go against this one) is DO NOT shoot someone elses reloads unless you were there or are willing to trust your life to that person.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabear99687 View Post
    Finally one of my chiseled in stone rules ( I NEVER go against this one) is DO NOT shoot someone elses reloads unless you were there or are willing to trust your life to that person.....
    DOUBLE TRIPLE, on that one.

    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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    Default Reloading

    Any new reloader needs a case trimmer and a stainless steel dial caliper. Lee equipment is a good first step... cheap enough to allow room to grow into higher cost gear as needed/wanted. Single stage press... learn the basics and be safe.

    It's a great hobby and economical entrance into shooting....

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