Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: How did you learn?

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default How did you learn?

    For some reason I seem to gravitate towards non standard cartridges. The cost of factory ammo keeps me from shooting as much as I would like. Now I am starting an AR project (technically 2) both of which are going to be odd cals. So reloading seems like the best answer. I have not read up on it much yet but plan too. I just want to know how most people learn? Did you solicit help, or have someone that showed you? I am a tool/gear/gadget guy to some extent and I hate spending money on crummy stuff. I think that has stopped my from picking this up in the past. I hear so much about the different products and I question what what dies, presses, what dies work w/ what presses etc that I get frustrated and don't mess w/ it. I know that they have the rockchucker kits and others but in all of the things I have done from a kit I have never felt like I couldn't have done better for less if I just bought the best individual componenets the first time around. I will certainly stop reloading if it turns out to be plagued with equipment hassels. I would like to be able to crank out 500, .223 rounds then bang out a box or 2 of 325 and 270 wsm.

    Does anyone give lessons or is there a class somwhere?

    Too bad it wasn't an elective in school, it could be added into the Gov't class as a practical application chapter on the 2nd ammendment.

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Missing Palmer AK in Phonix AZ.
    Posts
    6,416

    Default

    Learned from Dad when I was a kid, I followed him everyplace and he put me to work any way he could think of with guns, cows, horses, trucks, constriction, and anything happening on a large ranch.

    You can do fine alone but there are advantages to having a mentor teach you. Either way you go read the ABCs of reloading and any other books you can find. I enjoy reloading every bit as much as I do shooting, you will enjoy it and get hooked.
    Andy
    On the web= C-lazy-F.co
    Email= Andy@C-lazy-F.co
    Call/Text 602-315-2406
    Phoenix Arizona

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    257

    Default Look me up when you get home

    More than happy to let you see how things work before you go dropping the coin. I have pieces that I don't like, but they're functional so I haven't replaced them.

    Between what you can read and what you can learn from someone else you should be good to go in short time.

    Mike

  4. #4

    Default basic RCBS

    If you start out with a single stage press, as I would suggest if you are new to it, then beginning with one of the RCBS kits, such as the RockChucker Master kit is an excellent way to go. It is good quality equipment and provides most all of what you need to begin and will prove useful even after you are knowledgeable. There are lots of different manufacturers around but RCBS does just fine, no B.S. I don't suggest you dabble in some of the newer styles such as electronic scales and powder dispensers and definitely progressive presses which require you to be skookum on all the basics to stay out of harm's way,until you are comfortable and stuffed full of the essential data. I also suggest getting a book on "How to Reload" instead of just a reloading manual. I'd study it before beginning the actual enjoyment of reloading. If you have someone in mind who you are sure knows their stuff, then that is a plus. Reloading is a great activity that, despite what some say, can save you some sheckels as well as refine your loads. I can't stress enough avoiding shortcuts and experiments especially when you get to that point when you think you got it down pat, as we all do. Have fun.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    301

    Default

    I started about 6 mounts ago. I had been wanting to reload for sometime before that so I read everything I could. As others have said ABC's of Reloading is good, and most reloading manuals have a good how to section. Most public libraries have a reloading manual or two. One manual that sticks out to me as better then the rest is Hornady, just because they do a good job of explaining head space with pictures.

    As far as equipment goes there is defiantly enough options to make anyone's head spin. I gave up trying to figure it all out and got a RCBS Rockchucker kit. I have no completes about any of the equipment in it and think that for a beginner it was well worth the money. I do think that he kit should have had more equipment though. RCBS also makes kits based on there other presses as well some of which are a little cheaper. I went with Rockchucker because they have a reputation for being a very strong press. For general reloading you do not need a press that strong but I wanted one in case I wanted to do case reforming at a latter date.

    The equipment that I soon found I wanted but the RCBS kit did not have were. A a set of calipers, powder tickler, and a case trimmer. The lack of caliper make the kit non functional though in my opinion. I was irritated with RCBS for not including calipers, especially since the kit comes with a manual that talks about the need to check case length, and set overall length correctly. Fortunately my roommate had an old set of vernier calipers I could use. I used small measuring spoons to move powder in place of the tickler, which was a pain but worked. I avoided trimming cases as I just checked them (with the calipers) to make sure they were under max length. However, I have since gotten the extra stuff I wanted off of Ebay. Would I buy the kit again, in a heart beat. I just think they should have defiantly had calipers in the kit. The powder trickler can be done with out but I think they really should have included one. I can understand not including a case trimmer as I ended up getting a Forester trimmer and not RCBS. I really like that the Forester trimmer can trim most all common cases with only three collets at $10 each, while the RCBS trimmer would need 9 holder plates at $10 each to do the same thing.

    Your wish to make 500 .223 rounds at a time will likely require a progressive press. I have not used a progressive but did look at one for about an hour once trying to figure out how it all worked. I defiantly would not start with a progressive, way to complex, and way to much happening at one time. That first set of loads I did were a steep enough learning curve as it was I would not want to try to learn a complex press at the same time, save that for later.

    If I later get a progressive, I think I would still use my Rockchucker a lot. I could keep the progressive setup to do pistol rounds or something else I wanted a lot of, and use the single stage press to do the 20 or so rounds for my hunting rifle. Since you like odd rounds, a strong single stage will open up new possibilities to you such as very rare rounds or wildcats for which you have to make your own brass from other calibers. This is part of the reason I got a the single stage rockchucker, my dad has an old 99 savage in 250 savage and ammo is hard to find. With the single stage press I could make brass for it from 308 if needed, (I would also need a neck turner, but at least I have half of what I need).

  6. #6
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default

    i read my but off then found a forum member to mentor me a bit.. safety first... keep in mind there are several thoughts behind it all... some guys want speed, some accuracy, some economy, and some... are those that enjoy the trade...I did good i think hooking up with CZ IN Ak... first time.. showed me the basics. for hunting loads. explained the pa rams for reloading, and the things to look for.. he made me do it all the hard way.... dipping and weighing... and i have finally been able to shoot those 50 off... ready for a cleaning and second time around ... then i think i will get started on my own for sure as i can...


    but most importantly i think a Mentor is a good thing to have when dealing with explosives...some one to look over you shoulders and SAY "i was waiting for you to do that....."
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  7. #7

    Smile slowly..

    I read about it. I still have the old Rockchucker that was purchased in the early 70's. I read lots of stuff by Bob Hagel and Ken Waters. I made a few mistakes and learned to never load ammo if I was in a hurry. It takes the fun out of it. I usually do my loading in the winter unless I am starting with a new rifle or load and need to spend time at the range.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,815

    Default

    You learn mostly by reading and doing.

    Don’t splurge on Equipment. (Not right off the bat.)

    Most Handloading tools are good.

    I wouldn’t buy a kit, unless you want everything in it. (What is suitable for one person might not please others.

    You probably won’t be cranking out 500 at at time, for a while anyway. In other words, there’s more to it than shooting the rounds you make.

    It’s the fun and accomplishment from the handloading itself. You will probably learn to enjoy it, like AD does.

    Here’s my “List” again……

    Minimal, but adequate handloading List

    -- Press (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, and other things.)
    -- Case Trimmer (You will need one eventually.) (OR, you can use a file, but only if you have to.)
    -- Chamfer Tool (A pocket knife will work.)
    -- 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.) (BTW, you can trickle powder with your thumb and forefinger.
    -- Powder Funnel
    -- Loading Data

    Yew, kin dew it.

    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.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,568

    Default

    I was about 10 years old (this was in 1963) and a kind gentleman who lived down the street took me under his wing and taught me how to reload handgun cartridges and how to cast bullets.
    When I was 12 purchased a MEC shotgun shell reloader and never looked back.

    If you have a handgun I would suggest you start reloading for it to get your feet wet. Read a few manuals and ask a lot of questions. Double check for the correct powder and then double check each case to make sure you didnt do something stupid.

    It really is not rocket science. Just pay attention to what you are doing.
    Tennessee

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,815

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Double check for the correct powder and then double check each case to make sure you didnt do something stupid.

    It really is not rocket science. Just pay attention to what you are doing.
    Absolutely.
    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.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    301

    Default

    A primer pocket cleaning tool was another thing I needed that my kit did not have. I had read someplace that a 223 case could be made into a cleaning tool. So, I squeezed the neck flat with a per of pliers and filed it till it fit the primer pocket. By pinching the case just back of the neck I could make it scrape the sides of the pocket more or less. I used it for about 200 loads and liked it.

    One day I was in a store and saw the wire brush type pocket cleaners and figured it had to be better then my home made job so I bought it. Long story short I used it twice and gave it up. I think ABC's of reloading was where I learned to make my home made one and it is better. I have also found that the first time cleaning pockets there is much more there and it is harder to remove then what remains from my reloads, not sure why.

    One word on mentors. I had learned a lot about hand loading from books and the internet including this forum. When I started reloading a friend heard about it, I knew he did considerable shooting and hunting so I listened. The problem was a lot of what he said was in direct contradiction to every manual and most web page I had read. That said he had some good ideas on some stuff. So yes a mentor can help but be careful and compare what they say against manuals and other sources or they may lead you down some scary trails. I would say a mentor is a help but read up on what you are doing first so you know they are not telling you to do anything that may be unsafe.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Eureka MT
    Posts
    3,048

    Default

    I learned from a Speer loading manual, #5 I think, about 45 years ago. For my 15th birthday, my dad took me to a store that sold guns and reloading stuff and bought me the lee, in the little red box, 12ga reloading kit. There was no press. You used a wooden club and pounded the shells in and out of the dies. He included a pound of Red Dot, 5# of shot, a box of wads and a couple of boxes of primers and I was on my own. I next got an Rcbs Jr press and started loading for 38spl. then 7mm Mag and on and on. I now have 4 presses, A lee hand press, a Lyman All American, a Rockchucker and a Dillon 550. For someone starting out that is going to shoot more than a couple hundred rds a year I would go straight to a progressive. I know that sounds a little abrupt for a beginner, but I would use it as a single stage until I figured out what was what. The dillon or the Hornady Lock and load are as tough as anything else and can easily form cases or anything else you would use a press for and they are much faster than either a single stage or a turret press when you go progressive. If your going to shoot a lot you might as well start with something that will load fast or slow and work your way up. When you get back to Ak. I would be happy to show you the different presses and help you load some of your own. You would have to bring your own dies for the new stuff (short mags and such). I have dies for the 223. Start with the ABCs of reloading and a couple of loading manuals and read read read. And the other folks are right, It ain't rocket science. Good luck however you go.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    505

    Default By all means, if you can, find a mentor.

    I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.

    After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.

    Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post.

    Do your own independent, confirming research when ANYONE gives you new facts on the web.

    Also remember, even the idiotic stuff might have a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere.

    Always wear eye protection, especially when working with primers.

    Check out this thread for a whole bunch of starting advice,
    http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
    or, if the link does now work, paste this into your web browser
    rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

    Good luck, good shooting and don't pinch your fingers in your press.

  14. #14
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    Thanks for the good info and thanks Mike for the offer! I would definitely like to get a chance to work through the process with someone else. I think the main thing is that I don't want to buy stuff that I will quickly want to upgrade. It sounds like spending the money on a solid heavy duty single stage press will be well worth it even if I do go to a progressive press down the road. I am working on gathering the pieces for an AR build and I am still not sure what I am going to chamber it in. I definitely want a 6mm something er other for varmints. I am also leaning toward getting a 300 Olympic upper as well. For those I think I will be money ahead if I can get into reloading! There are so many 1-off cartridges coming out to fit the AR 15 that certainly some will die. Heck I would love to be able to run a Barnes TSX through my 325 WSM, not to mention testing something in the 160-170 grn level for bou.

    I hope that one day some years down the line when I am an old man my kids will respond to a question like this in the same manner that ADfields did. I learned a lot from my dad in the field. He was not an exceptional hunter in fact he was extremely unsuccessful! I learned to enjoy the woods primarily because I was spending time with him. Despite getting wet and going home empty handed, I never felt like I missed out for not killing something and I obviously still enjoy it today. I hope to be able to pass that on to my kids (well everything but the unsuccessful part) and reloading seems like a great way to enhance the overall experience.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    257

    Default 100% agree..

    with the "becareful of who you choose as a mentor"!!!

    As with just about everything else in life......

    specifically with reloading.... if you get told to "do this with this" and that's about it.... find another teacher


    man, I wish it was that easy in highschool!!!! HA

    Lujon -- keep your nose in the wind & look me up after you get settled back in at home.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,815

    Default

    bandhmo:

    I highly reccomend a Primer Pocket Uniforming Tool. Not only, for uniforming the first time, but also cleaning the Primer Pocket thereafter.

    Plus, you'll never have a problem getting the primers below the case head, either.

    I agree with ya on the Mentor too. It's a wonder some people survive, considering the crazy things they do. Handloading is something to take seriously.

    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.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •