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Old November 8, 2012, 12:39 PM   #4
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,402
Wow, I made some mistakes along the way ....been doing this off and on for around 50 yrs ( started as a kid with my grandpa, in school and service - didn't reload ...

....working full time - bought my own single stage loader in the mid 1970's ( RCBS) ----- then went to Dillon SDB - then to Dillon 425...

.....had a bunch of MEC shotshell presses - 650 Jr, - then Grabber

Finally upgraded to Dillon 650 with case feeder and powder check ....and MEC 9000 HN's for shotshells.
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I would have bought the Dillon 650 sooner ...primarily because of the powder check ....giving me that extra margin of safety. 650 gives me higher quality - and speed / 800 - 1,000 rds an hour easily. Easy press to use.

I would have bought MEC 9000 series loaders sooner. 15 boxes an hour easily off 9000-HN series. Easy press to use...

b. On metallic ....got talked into picking different powders for each caliber. In hind sight ....I would have been just fine with one powder for 9mm, .40S&W, .45 acp, .38 spl, .357 mag and .44 mag ( Hodgdon TiteGroup or Hodgdon Universal are 2 good ones today ).

c. settle on one bullet ....for me, its Montana Gold bullets....

d. found out late about using "case gagues" as I box up my reloads. Case Gague acts like the chamber in your barrels ....if a round drops in and out easily ...it checks sizing, length, etc.../ makes everything run 100%. I pick up the occasional burr on a case - that might jam in a gun .....or a small crack in case, that opened up after I seated a bullet...etc....

e. as you expand your operation ...its more important to stay organized. I keep better logs now / easy on a spreadsheet ....for bullet, powder, etc. I keep my scale, when not in use, in a tupperware container with a lid..keep dust & junk out of it. I have dedicated shelves and storage bins....for brass, manuals, etc....

f. Light - proper light ..is a big deal. Multi adjustable "drafting lights" are really nice ...good Halogen bulbs....

g. I keep a "QC" box - for each caliber I reload. In the QC Box ...I keep one factory round by caliber ( like a MagTech .357 mag 158 gr round, and a Win and a Federal cartridge, etc ) to evaluate overall length, etc - I keep a sample bullet for each mfg I reloaded at one point (a Berry's, a Rainier, a Montana Gold - for each weight of bullet in that caliber...)...so I can always go back to what I used to use ...as a reference....

h. spare parts...extra dies ...tools ....all that stuff seems to just grow ...and tossing it all into one drawer doesn't work. I have a small tupperware box for my set of punches, my allen wrenches for my press ....I have a separate box for my press maintenance parts, extra parts....a box for my powder bushings in my MEC presses, etc...

i. I used to reload standing up ....but over time, I figured out the bench at counter height is better...and a good bar stool to sit on ...is a big plus.

j. a spot to dump reloads...to sort them...etc ( I have a 4' by 2' table on my drill press in my shop / and I put a cheap terry cloth towel on it ....that's where I dump my reloads - for sorting and boxing. I also clean my guns there, work on my guns...( good light, good height, towel absorbs all the crud (toss it out when it gets nasty about 6 mos ) - put a new one on (garage sale towels are great).

and I could go on for another hour....but you get the point....
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