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Old April 24, 2000, 11:47 AM   #1
Derek Zeanah
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I shoot 30-06, .308, .45, and (not very much) .38 Special. I’d like to reload due to cost (especially the 30-06 ), but I don’t know where to start.

I was hoping y’all could point me in the right direction.

1) How hard is it to reload? Is this something I can pick up on my own, or is it difficult enough that I'm stupid to not have a tutor?

2) What equipment will I need at a minimum?

3) Where is a good place to buy? How about used? It seems like the good equipment lasts forever, and people move from single-stage presses to progressives…

4) What’s the one piece of advice on reloading you wish you’d been told before you started?



[This message has been edited by dzeanah (edited April 24, 2000).]
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Old April 24, 2000, 01:21 PM   #2
LongDuck
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To answer your questions:

1) How hard is it to reload? I taught myself by reading through many load manuals and getting to talk with a few people who've been doing it for awhile. If you know of someone who is into reloading, it can answer many questions when they arise, or this forum is also an excellent place for additional information. Occasionally, though, it's nice to have someone look at your rounds to see if there's anything obvious that you're missing. For me, that was getting the right taper crimp - I played and played with it, but an experienced reloader pointed it out very quickly and my problems went away.

2) What equipment will I need at a minimum? To start, get a reloading manual like Lyman's #47th Edition and read it from cover to cover (even the load maps will help you understand how it works). The manual is your foundation for the future, and will answer many questions of the 'how-to'. After that, you'll have a good idea of what you'll need to get started for your level of commitment. For me, that meant a single stage press, powder measure, powder scale, calipers, minimum case gauge and components - your list may differ based on what you're doing.


3) Where is a good place to buy? MidwayUSA - free shipping, great service.
How about used? Only if it's a Dillon progressive - lifetime guarantee and built to last.
It seems like the good equipment lasts forever, and people move from single-stage presses to progressives. This is true. Most people who get the reloading 'bug' end up moving to progressive presses fairly quickly (I'm still 'single-staging' it, though!). The initial investment is much higher, and it takes longer to make your money back on the press in reduced ammo costs, but they are fast, efficient, and fairly trouble free, IME. I reload shotshell progressive, but all pistol and rifle rounds are done single-stage for consistency.

4) What’s the one piece of advice on reloading you wish you’d been told before you started? I thought I'd save money - I don't. I just shoot more. Most people say that there's a monetary cost reduction in reloading, but it's really just a hobby - an extension of the shooting sports that *starts* when you get home from the range. It's relaxing and scientific and lets you work with precision instruments and tools, which many 'gadget-guys' love. I do. I thought I'd save money as an added bonus, but you won't. For the reduced cost of ammunition to make it yourself, you're buying in bulk quantity, which lets you make ammunition for 1/2 cost or better savings - this only lets you blast it downrange faster knowing that it didn't cost you much.

You will, however, become a better shooter, because more practice results in better skills. HTH,
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Old April 24, 2000, 06:06 PM   #3
Paul B.
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Dzeanah. Look's like Longduck did a pretty thorough job of advising you. There isn't too much more I can add. I would suggest getting a few other reloading manuals as well as the Lyman. One of the others just may present something in a manner you find more understandable.
Learning to reload is relatively easy. Learning to reload "smart" is not.
There used to be a book available called PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF LOADING AMMUNITION by Earl Naramore. It's been long out of print, and if you can find a decent copy on the used book market, you can expect to pay about $100 for it. (My copy cost $99.95 plus shipping and handling, so I'm sure of the price) A lot of the information is outdated now, but when I read it (library copy) years ago, I was impressed by what the author had to say. I've always felt that anyone who took up reloading should read it, even if it does get quite dull in places.
Longduck stated that everybody sooner or later goes to a progressive press. In 40 plus years of reloading, I haven't yet, but I'm thinking about it.
I don't feel they are necessary for your rifle cartridges. If you have not yet accumulated several thousand cases for your .45 and .38 brass, you really don't need a progressive for those either. It's kind of a"you have to learn to walk before you can run", type of thing. Use a single stage press, and learn the basics thoroughly.
I just finished up loading my supply of .45 ACP for the year. 2500 rounds on a Rockchucker. Course, I'm retired and have all the time in the world. Now I start on the .38's, then the .357's, .44's (Spl. and Mag.) I've only got about 7500 to go. Now you see why I'm thinking about a progressive. They'll be ready to reload again about this time next year.
For the handgun rounds, I STRONGLY suggest getting carbide sizing dies. Go the regular dies and you'll spend more time cleaning sizing lubricant off your brass than shooting. A real pain.
RCBS makes pretty good reloading equipment. I have two Rockchuckers. (Got one in a package deal at a swap meet with a bunch of other stuff) The one I use is better than 30 years old and still going strong. The other is being stored, just in case. I figure my great-grand kids will be using that one, long after I'm gone.
Midway seems to have rerasonable prices. I've gotten a lot of stuff from Huntington's, but they are a tad expensive.
Anyway, good luck on your reloading, no matter which way you go. If you run into problem, holler.
Paul B.

[This message has been edited by Paul B. (edited April 24, 2000).]
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Old April 25, 2000, 04:35 AM   #4
Bud Helms
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>What’s the one piece of advice on reloading you wish you’d been told before you started?[/quote]Read a reloading manual before you spend a penny on any equipment. Start with Lyman. Then another. Make it Hornady. Then another. Make it Speer. Then another. Make it Sierra. Get a certain level of comfortable theory under your belt before you jump into it. There is a lot to know and the details are where it is fun. At some point in the reading you will be overcome with the desire to get started. I can guarantee that whether you will admit it or not, if you get into reloading, a few years down the road, if you don't do this you will know you should have. And you will be saying the same thing to the next newbie reloader you try to help. BTW, we're all still learning.

Actually I had the advantage of getting exactly this advice. It made a wonderful difference in my beginning reloading.

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited April 25, 2000).]
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Old April 25, 2000, 07:56 PM   #5
ArmySon
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>What’s the one piece of advice on reloading you wish you’d been told before you started?[/quote]

Getting a Dillon progressive. I started off like many others on a single stage press. Then eventually went to the Dillon. Now I can reload hundreds of rounds in a matter of an hour. In my opinion, learning to reload on a progressive is NOT very difficult. Same principles as a single stage. However, you must pay careful attention to detail. Don't go blazing away and trying to show off on your new press. It will only lead to trouble.

Buy as many manuals as you can afford. They have extremely valuable information. Later down the road, you'll page back through them for different load data. You will start off just loading one or two calibers. Next thing you know, you'll be buying different caliber guns just so you can reload for it.

The myth that reloading will save you money is so untrue. It is true IF you maintain the same amount of shooting because after the intial cost of brass, it's very cheap. However, like MANY of us, you will just end up shooting a lot more and getting MUCH better due to more practice.

My biggest piece of advice, DON'T EVER BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Any jerk that tells you otherwise when it comes to reloading is an idiot.
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Old April 26, 2000, 12:26 PM   #6
Hutch
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I've advised this before, but the finest intro to reloading I've seen is "The ABC's of Reloading" by Dean Grennell. He is a fine author, and is very easy to read. You won't go wrong with it.
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Old April 26, 2000, 04:49 PM   #7
Trigger Jerk
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Dont' be afraid to but used RCBS. They have the same gaurantee that Dillon does. I have used it a few times and they have even replaced pieces that I lost (how could that possibly be a warranty problem) and paid the shipping to my door.

You can find a lot of used reloading equipment on ebay.
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Old April 27, 2000, 05:25 AM   #8
Bud Helms
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dzeanah,

If you can possibly make it out this coming Saturday to the Fort Valley Gun Club, come on out and let's talk reloading. I'll bring my manuals.
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Old April 27, 2000, 08:53 AM   #9
Hueco
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I am thinking about getting into reloading also, dzeanah. But for me, it's just one calibre -- .458. I went last night and talked to the guys at the shop about it. I can back up every word that these guys here have told you...I got it all last night, almost to the letter. At first, I wanted to reload for cost too. But like the guys have said -- you won't save a dime. Sure, the indivdiual cost of each round can be reduced, but when you shoot more, you spend more. For me, a cost reduction doesn't matter. My .458 is the only rifle that I shoot that really cost anything (my others are .22mags and .22 LRs -- they might as well be free!). The RCBS Rockchucker can be fitted with their Pggyback system and be made into a progressive press. That way, you don't have to buy an entirely new press, just a new part. And let me make a prediction, once you start reloading, you will get the "wildcat bug." I haven't started yet and I already have it! Good luck!!


Hueco
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Old April 27, 2000, 09:33 AM   #10
Art Eatman
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About the only place I'd differ a bit from any of the above is that for serious rifle, I like to use a "C" or "O" press, and weigh every powder charge. I'm the same for max loads in my .44 Maggie, for that matter. A little extra time is a lot cheaper than wreckage of my gun or my body.

I use my Dillon progressive mostly for .45ACP and under-max loads.

Since a lot of my stuff is as much as 50+ years old, I'd have to say that "good used" dies and presses work just fine, thank you.

It will probably say so in the books, but do your reloading one step at a time: Clean all the brass. Then, resize all the cases. Then, reprime all the cases. Then...You get the picture.

Keep components separate, and don't lose track of any ID. For instance, if you see a loose primer on the bench after you're all done with loading some pistol and loading some rifle, don't assume you know what that primer is. Put a drop of oil in the cup and toss it to the trash.

And ID your loads as to bullet, powder charge and type, and the date. Five or ten years later on, it will indeed help your memory! (I'm still shooting some .243 I loaded in 1968.)

Have fun, Art
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Old April 27, 2000, 10:10 AM   #11
Derek Zeanah
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sensop:
dzeanah,

If you can possibly make it out this coming Saturday to the Fort Valley Gun Club, come on out and let's talk reloading. I'll bring my manuals.
[/quote]

I wish I could, Sensop. Kind of sucks to live so close to like-minded people, but to be unable to meet. The way I keep the wife in med school is to commute to Atlanta (85 miles each way), and the way I get a 4-day workweek is to work weekends.

Someday. But not soon, I'm afraid.

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Old April 27, 2000, 06:27 PM   #12
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hueco:
The RCBS Rockchucker can be fitted with their Pggyback system and be made into a progressive press. That way, you don't have to buy an entirely new press, just a new part.
Hueco
[/quote]

I'd suggest you ask around before you go for the RCBS Piggyback, it gets generally lousy reviews. I have a friend that had one, and he had way more problems than he should of. It's a pretty chintzy gadget, if you want a progressive press, buy a real one.


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Old April 27, 2000, 08:23 PM   #13
Bud Helms
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dzeanah,

Anytime. Use email for questions, I am at your service.

Oh, keep the wife in med school? By all means! So, you plan on early retirement? As in, as soon as she goes to work, you can retire and be a kept man? Now, that's a plan!

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited April 28, 2000).]
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Old April 28, 2000, 11:11 AM   #14
Bill Hebert
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Dzeanah - How'd you come up with that name? Anyway, to answer part of your original question - Yes, if you must, you can learn reloading on your own. That's the way I had to do it. The fellows here at TFL are great in offering their experience to others. Just realize that I wish I had a reloader here in the area that I could have watched reload. It would have saved so much trial and error. If I had learned that way, I suspect I would have "copied" his/her methods rather than "developing" my own methods. I bought a "cheapie" Lee press to start. I soon realized I was bitten by the reloading bug. Just about that time I "found" a used Pacific single stage press for $20 which I still use. I've seen and handled a Dillon 650 progressive press and it is a Cadillac for reloaders. For me, reloading 1000 rounds per night would mean all my brass would be loaded in a couple of weeks. I hate to go to bed at night because I love the quiet time I spend reloading back in my shop. What this rambling is about is that you will have to decide how you want to go with this -but know that you have lots of help however you decide here at TFL. Good luck. Bill
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Old April 28, 2000, 11:39 AM   #15
jtduncan
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I agree with the above comments. I started out on a 40 year old Lyman Spar T turret press with 6 die stations. All I could get was 120 rounds per hour.

Just bought a Dillon 550. If you're a member at a gun range/shop, you should be able to talk them into a 10% discount. For an extra $150 or so, you can pump out 300-400 rounds an hour.

I just love reloading but with summer coming . . . I've got a 6 year old who I want to teach biking and baseball too and a lovely wife I'd like to go hiking with.

many of us forget the time element when we buy presses. if your time is valuable to you, get a progressive. You can always start out slow with it, 100 rounds an hour and speed it up.

With a single stage, 100 rounds an hour is considered screaming fast.

the setup will cost you about $500 but if you reload 5 cases of 45 acp or some rifle ammo, you'll quickly recoup your investment towards cheap shooting with better accuracy and reliability than that factory crap like PMC.

Go Dillon right out the box and enjoy your life!

------------------
The Seattle SharpShooter
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Old April 30, 2000, 05:59 PM   #16
Walt Welch
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The 30-06 was the cartridge I started reloading first. In 1957, when I was 13 yo. I got several reloading manuals, talked it over with some friends in the gun club, and loaded thousands of rounds with absolutely no problems.

However, I did some things to make sure it was safe. I used heavy bullets (180 gr.) with 4831 powder; the load for this combination basically filled the case. No chance of a double charge.

Handgun ammo loaded with fast powders requires much more caution.

Try the '06. It will be a lot of fun. Walt
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Old May 2, 2000, 01:39 PM   #17
Hammer
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You might be able to find a good used press (whichever one you decide on) on some of the auction boards out there (i.e. ebay.com - hunting, auctionarms.com, gunbroker.com). Compare prices with new presses from the manufactures, and places like midwayusa.com and in time you might be able to find a good deal on the press you want.
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Old May 2, 2000, 10:10 PM   #18
Mike / Tx
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As Hammer pointed out their are some good deals to be had at the online auctions. I have purchased some great stuff from E-Bay. If your not in too big of a hurry and look around in there you can get some great buys on not only used but new equipment as well. Most of it is RCBS but for the beginner it will work just fine and hsa the same warranty as the others. Get some retail prices and decide what you can afford to pay and start bidding. I got a brand new Uniflow, a maybe used a couple times Rockchucker and a couple of partner presses for little more than a hundered buck for all of it. It comes and goes and you just have to watch it for a couple of days or a week or two but the deals do come.

As for the advice, most of it has been covered twofold. The best thing to remember is that there are no dumb questions and that lots of help is always just a hollar away.

Good luck and get back here if you need anything at all.
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