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Old March 25, 2010, 02:43 PM   #1
JTofGPD
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Reloading Newbie to be

Hello!
I am new to the forum and new to reloading. I have shot for years, but with the hike in ammo prices, I am getting tired of paying so much for ammo and sacrificing range time for groceries.

I do not have a reloading press or any of the equipment yet. (Told you I was a newbie). The calibers I would like to reload include: 44 mag, 40sw, .380 ACP, .357 magnum, .30-30 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 9mm.

Ideally, I would like to shoot an average of 250 rounds of handgun ammo (mainly the .380 and 40 as they are my carry calibers) a month and 50+ rifle rounds a month. Will purchasing the reloading equipment be worth the investment with shooting the amount I would like to shoot?

Also, what is a good press? Is the new Hornady Lock N Load better than the RCBS rockchucker?

I plan on buying a starter kit, but getting the Speer manual first reading it, and then purchase a reloader and start reloading...

Thanks!
Jeremy
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Old March 25, 2010, 03:25 PM   #2
bobelk99
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The RCBS Rockchucker is hard to beat.

Before you buy the gear as a cost saving project, run all the numbers very carefully. Sometimes it is false economy to reload.

That said, if you reload, you will shoot more, spend a lot of time in prep and followup, shoot better and enjoy it a lot.
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Old March 25, 2010, 03:39 PM   #3
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And after you run the numbers, consider buying used, (not abused) equipment. You'll cut your costs in about half for that, leaving more for components. Remember to buy components in bulk for max savings
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Old March 25, 2010, 04:15 PM   #4
seanhagerty
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I just started myself. I got the Lee Challenger Press kit. I am pretty happy with it. Only loaded about 100 rounds thru it, but my first shooting day was a good one. I would say don't worry about the costs and get you kit to get you started. Lotsa manufacturers out there, just pick one you are comfy with and go at it.

Sean
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Old March 25, 2010, 05:25 PM   #5
uncyboo
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Quote:
Before you buy the gear as a cost saving project, run all the numbers very carefully. Sometimes it is false economy to reload.
Agreed that in some cases it can be false economy. However, it is nice to have a stash of components that you can assemble yourself when it does come down to spending on groceries or ammo. If you have the stuff on hand, all it will cost you is a little time. The money's already spent. Next time you get a little extra jingle in your pocket, replace the components, and don't load them till you have to.

On the rifle rounds, it usually works out to your favor to roll your own, cost and quality-wise.

With the current shortage of .380 ammo and brass, I bet there are lots of folks that wished they could handload some....
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Old March 26, 2010, 08:02 AM   #6
RickV
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Try this it will give you a breakdown on cost vs savings.

http://10xshooters.com/calculators/H...Calculator.htm

Here is the main page it has more calulators.

http://10xshooters.com/calculators/index.htm
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Old March 26, 2010, 08:36 AM   #7
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A couple of my opinions may run a bit opposite to what you've read and perhaps, what you've heard. First off is that used equipment is great, but don't get your hopes up. The best used equipment comes from the widow or family of someone who has passed away, or from someone who has specifically had you in mind to use their former equipment. Get it anywhere else and it will most often cost you damn near as much as new equipment. Especially avoid E-bay. Prices on their often go above new prices. Hard to believe? Try it. Bottom line is that if you can luck your way in to some used stuff, DO IT, but if you sit around waiting for it, you might be waiting for a long time for a good deal.

Picking up die sets and helpful pieces to your equipment used? ABSOLUTELY! And try the classified section in forums like this one to find some.

In the mean time, try to figure out how much bank roll you are talking about. IMO, if you are the kind of person who has a few free hours a week (give up TV or watching sports and it comes quickly!) then I think you are best off starting single stage. The difference in startup costs is huge... much less money to get rolling single stage than any decent progressive setup. And it would make very good sense for you to pick two calibers, like .380 and .40, and start with those. Maybe also grab one of the rifle calibers to learn on, as it's a bit more involved than loading handgun rounds. Add the other calibers as you learn more about the process. You will break the bank if you decide not only to buy a press and all the other tools, but die set (and caliber conversions, if you go progressive) all at once. And if you had to then buy components for all those calibers, you'd break a rich man's bank.

As for the general economy of it, get used to to idea right now that no matter what anyone tells you, you can not and will not save money. If it works out, you WILL end up having a LOT more ammo for your investment, but there is no way, NO WAY that you will spend less money.

At it's most simple, you have four pieces. The brass, the bullet, the powder and the primer. If you have been collecting all your brass, you are a step ahead. It's the most expensive part of a reloaded round. But if you can keep all/most of your brass, or you can find a source for decent used brass to get started, you'll save a lot of money.

The next most expensive part is the bullet. So if you can get your bullets cheaply, your reloading dollar can go much further. And the best way to get ANY of the components cheaply is to buy the largest amount at one time.

It's a real catch-22 of reloading. If you want your ammo to cost the least, you have to spend as much as possible to buy in bulk. So when you are first getting started, you won't be saving a whole lot as you test different items to see how well they work at your bench and in your guns.

Do I sound like a downer, or that I'm trying to talk you out of it? Not at all! I absolutely LOVE this hobby, I enjoy it as much/MORE than shooting. It's a lifestyle now and I'd never give it up. But it's not the easiest thing to jump in to, especially if finances play a key part. (for almost everyone, that's exactly how it is)

I think you'd be very well served by the Lee Classic Cast single stage press. It's a good bit cheaper than either of the two you mentioned and it's every bit as good or better.
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Old March 26, 2010, 08:51 AM   #8
RickV
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Quote:
The next most expensive part is the bullet. So if you can get your bullets cheaply, your reloading dollar can go much further. And the best way to get ANY of the components cheaply is to buy the largest amount at one time.

It's a real catch-22 of reloading. If you want your ammo to cost the least, you have to spend as much as possible to buy in bulk. So when you are first getting started, you won't be saving a whole lot as you test different items to see how well they work at your bench and in your guns.
Sevens hit the nail on the head. I always buy my bullets in bulk usually 1000 at a time. Once I get 500 loaded I place another order. Same thing with primers and powder. I usually go in with 2 friends and we place a big order and split the Hazmat and regular shipping charges. We max out that 48lb Hazmat fee . I almost always have a few extra pounds of the powders I use and 5-10K of primers. There are two reasons for buying this way first to avoid price increases and second to make sure that the temporary shortages are a non issue.
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Old March 26, 2010, 09:26 AM   #9
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you just gotta love reloading.as soon as you are ready to punch out a few rounds you will see.just don't let the wife/girl friend get made at you.trust me you will be one of us.when the bug bites it bites hard.and after all of the buying is all said and done you want regret it.makeing little bug hole's with a load you make will take away the pain from spending the money.

so welcome to the site and world of reloading/shooting.just keep in mind safety and read alot to keep your mind fresh and sharp.you cannot read to much when it comes to this sport.again welcome.
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Old March 26, 2010, 10:05 AM   #10
Sevens
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Quote:
I always buy my bullets in bulk usually 1000 at a time. Once I get 500 loaded I place another order. Same thing with primers and powder. I usually go in with 2 friends and we place a big order and split the Hazmat and regular shipping charges. We max out that 48lb Hazmat fee . I almost always have a few extra pounds of the powders I use and 5-10K of primers. There are two reasons for buying this way first to avoid price increases and second to make sure that the temporary shortages are a non issue.
EXACTLY right, every bit of it. BUT... that's impossible for a brand new reloader to buy a bunch of stuff in bulk when he has no idea what works, what's available, what powder he wants to use, etc etc.

It's a tough gig to get started in. But we are here to help!

I say get yourself a Lee Classic Cast or a Lee Classic Turret to start. Buy three sets of dies... Lee Carbide 3-die pistol sets in .380 and .40 S&W and one rifle die set... get the three die set that comes with the collet neck-only size die, the full length size die and the bullet seating die.

Buy 1,000 small pistol primers, pick a brand that you know you'll be able to find. Winchester, CCI, whatever. (I use CCI) After that, then worry about which bullets and powder to start with.
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Old March 26, 2010, 12:10 PM   #11
BigJimP
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It looks like most of your shooting is handguns - and all of the single stage presses are very slow ( say 2 or 3 boxes an hour at the most ..).

A progressive press - whether you go with Hornady LNL, Dillon SDB, Dillon 650, etc --- are much more productive. Dillon 650 as an example will easily put out 1,000 rds an hour / even the Dillon SDB will handle 400-500 rds per hour...

In 9mm, I show my cost at about $6.25 a box vs $ 12-$15 retail / in .45 acp its about $ 9.75 a box vs $ 20 retail ..... So yes, there is a big savings / if you buy your bullets in case lots. You should start slow / buy 100 bullets in one mfg / one grain for one caliber - load a couple of boxes and see how you like it. Pick a powder / test it .... etc ...

In my handgun calibers ( 9mm to .44 mag ) I stay with one powder, Hodgdon TiteGroup - which I like very much. Its clean, meters very well ...but its a low volume powder in a case ( meaning you could double charge a case if you're not careful ) - so it isn't necessarily a "newbie" powder ... but if you go with a press that has a "powder check die" it will give you a lot more safety, if you set it up and use it properly.

In Dillon equipment - having the powder check die - cannot be done on the SDB or the 550 / only on the 650 model or 1050 ... but the Dillon 650 is a press that will last at least a lifetime ...
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Old March 26, 2010, 01:40 PM   #12
DocAitch
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Welcome to Reloading

Hello JT,
Although I'm new to this forum, I am an experienced reloader with approximately 100,000 straight walled pistol rounds under my belt. I just want to hit some high spots. Reloading is not rocket science but it does require care and commonsense, and you must be willing to follow directions and ask questions.
When you are developing a load, pick a realistic end point. I choose to stop increasing the charge in my pistol rounds when they cycle the action reliably. I don't shoot well enough that a 1/2 " difference in group size at 25 ' makes any difference to me. If you are a bullseye shooter, then accuracy development is worth while, otherwise it is a waste of time. Aiming for maximum velocity or trying to duplicate factory ballistics seems to be a waste of time to me (and foolish), and going for max velocity surely lowers the life span of your fire arms. When I shot bowling pin competition I generally loaded a hotter round for the competition but otherwise all my loads are near the bottom of charge range.
Keep good records and label your loads, trusting to memory may work for a while but eventually you will come across a box of unlableled handloads about which you can remember nothing (and for which the safest course of action may be to pull the bullets and dump the charge into the flower bed-..."was that Universal or W231 or maybe TiteGroup? was this the batch that had the squibs?"). Ask me how I know this.
Label your powder dispenser with the current powder and return it to the original container when the session is done.
I second Seven's recommendations in general. If you can find a local store that has reloading supplies-get starter amounts there -(100 bullets, 1 pound of powder ,1000 primers)- until you pick what you like and then explore large orders.
All of the reloading manuals have general sections on reloading- Speer is good, Lyman is good (especially for cast bullets), Lee has a huge database etc. but I like The ABCs of Reloading(~$18.00) for a general overview. My most consulted manual is the Lee because of the size of the data base, but the second most frequently consulted is the Hodgdon's 2010 Annual Manual(~$9.00)
I have no experience with either of the two presses that you mentioned, but I do have both the Classic Cast and the Classic Turret press from Lee . I know people who have started reloading on progressive presses, but it is an expensive step and I believe not the best way to learn the processes.The Lee Classic presses are the best values out there as far as I'm concerned. The Classic Turret can be used as a single stage by removing the indexing rod (a 30 sec operation), and has the huge advantage that you can leave each caliber's dies set up in a tool head and just change tool heads and shell holders for a caliber change.
Initially, I would recommend "batch" reloading where you perform the same operation on 50-100 cases, then proceed to the next step for all the cases, etc. until all are finished. Use 1-2 loading blocks. This will allow a visual inspection (use a flashlight if you need to) of every case to check the powder level-this is tne most critical step in reloading-most the major/dangerous bad stuff happens from no charge or a double charge (the other major foul ups are usually due to powder mix ups).
Once you are familiar with these steps, you can consider putting that indexing rod back in- this allows you to complete a round from start to finish without removing the case from the shell holder. The efficiency is gained from not having to move the case in and out of the shell holder for each step. It's a huge time saver, but requires the utmost concentration, and the safety step of the visual powder check of multiple cases side by side is lost.
I agree with starting with a straight wall pistol case. You usually don't trim these cases (or deburr or chamfer them) and don't have to lube them if you use a carbide sizer die. My choice for an initial caliber is 9mm Parabellum because I think the case is proportionately tougher compared to the .40 and has a lower pressure (but this opinion is not strong enough to argue over).
Good luck, I am sure that you will enjoy your shooting more once you start reloading. It is a big step to crank those out first rounds (and pull the trigger on them).
If you can find somebody local to you you might be able to get some lessons and encouragement, and that person might have some little used or unused equipment lying around that you could purchase (or borrow).
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Old March 27, 2010, 03:14 PM   #13
CZ MAN
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Welcome aboard

ASK , AND YOU WILL FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR RELOADING
DELEMA...... LIL ' GRASS HOPPER.... HERE YOU WILL FIND THE
WISDOM YOU SEEK.....

ASK ON
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Old March 27, 2010, 05:01 PM   #14
Lost Sheep
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Check these links

JTofGPD, welcome to the forum and to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Everything Sevens said is precisely right. Thanks, Sevens, for relieving me of a lot of typing.

At the top of this forum is a thread (that is "Stickied" permanently at the top) It is easy to find because it is always near the top (right now it it sourth from the top). Here is a link:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171

There are other sites to learn the answers to your questions, previous threads on reloading; here are a couple I recommend.

http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...fbd5ae1f754eec
The second one is a thread started by a new recruit to reloading which the moderators of RugerForum thought highly enough of to make it "sticky" so it stays on the top of the list of threads.

I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Short on data, yes, but I found it full of knowledge and understanding of the process. Check out offereings in your local library. Dated, perhaps, but you can taste-test their writing style. Richard Lee's book "Modern Reloading" has a lot of food for thought, and does discuss the reasoning behind his opinions (unlike many manuals, and postings). Whether right or wrong, the issues merit thought, which that book initiates. It is not a simple book, though and you will find it provocative reading for many years.

Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well. As far as load data in older manuals, the powder manufacturers and bullet manufacturers may have better information and their web sites are probably more up to date. But pay attention to what the ammunition was test-fired from. (regular firearm vs a sealed-breech pressure test barrel, for example)

Find a mentor. There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")

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. There is nothing like a tutor, or better yet, a mentor. A longer mentoring period might have changed my reloading style, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. Then I educated myself after that. 30 years later, I am still learning and above all, paying attention to what others may teach me.

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. (A different kind of reloading, eh?)

Lost Sheep
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Old March 27, 2010, 06:07 PM   #15
johnw63
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I'm new to reloading myself. I spent the last 6 months learning up on it and reading a lot. I load 40, 9mm 223 and 30-06 now changing to 260 remington. I got a Lee Classic Turret kit from Kemp's Gun Shop in Indiana. I love the Lee classic turret because it is way faster than a single stage press, but not as tricky or complicated as a progressive auto press. Good Luck!
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Old March 27, 2010, 07:38 PM   #16
CZ MAN
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For the reloaders to be

AS THE QUESTION OF RELOADING , YOU SHOULD 1ST LOOK AT WHAT YOU PLAN ON SHOOTING VS. THE INVESTMENT .. YOU STATE THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL CAL.. THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO RELOAD. EACH CAL. IS A DIFFERENT DIE SET $$$$ , PLUS THE EQUIP. $$$$ AND THE COMPONENTS $$$$$.... THATS A BIG INVAESTMET UP FRONT.......

I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU START OFF WITH THE CAL. THAT YOU SHOOT THE MOST... BUY THE BASICS , MANUAL , SINGLE STAGE PRESS , SCALE , DIE SET ( CARBIDE ).. SAFETY GLASSES , MEASURING CALIPERS .. MAYBE LIKE A LEE CHALLANGER KIT..EVEN INCLUDES A HAND PRIMING TOOL ( which i preffer over priming on a press / better feel ) ... LATER YOU CAN ADD ON AS NEEDED ..... BUT BE CAREFULL OF KITS WITH USELESS ADD-ONS :barf: THAT YOU MAY NOT USE.....

AS FAR AS THE ECONOMICS YOU NEED TO DO SOME HOMEWORK ON THE SUBJECT .....

I PREFFER LOCAL SUPPLIERS CAUSE THEY SAVE ME $$$$ FREIGHT CHARGES... AND HAZ-MAT FEES WHEN YOU BUY PRIMERS AND POWDERS.....

UNLESS YOU BUY POWDER / PRIMERS IN LARGE QUANT.. THOSE FEES EAT AWAY AT YOUR SAVINGS . EVEN BUYING BULLETS , BUY IN BULK NOT 100 RD RETAIL BOX'S......... SAVE THE $$$ AND USE THE SAVINGS ON THE EQUIP. UPGRADES....

BUT REMEMBER IF YOU BUY FROM LOCAL RETAILERS YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT 4 UPS TO BRING YOU THE GOODS... AND YOU GET TO BUILD A RELATION WITH THE GUN STORES / WHICH CAN HELP YOU WHEN YOU NEED TO BUY A NEW TOY , OR HAVE ONE REPAIRED , NEED ADVICE ETC..... TRY GETTING FULL SERV.. AT AN ON-LINE STORE.... I SHOULD KNOW I WORKED AT A GUN SHOP AND LEARNED BOTH SIDES OF THE COUNTER.....


AS YOU ADD TO YOUR SUPPLIES , SEE WHAT POWDER OR COMPONENTS MAY WORK ON YOUR OTHER PROJ.... BE RESOURCEFULL.


CZ MAN

--------------------------------------------------------------------

BOY'S KEEP THEM PRESSES A RUNNING , THEM ARE MORE TARGETS COMMING OVER THE'M THERE HILL'S .....

TAK , TAK , TAK , TAK , TAK TAK TAK... CHARLIE STOP MOVING THAT THERE SELECTOR ON THAT PEE SHOOTER OF YOURS.......
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Old March 27, 2010, 07:49 PM   #17
CZ MAN
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For the reloaders to be

AS THE QUESTION OF RELOADING , YOU SHOULD 1ST LOOK AT WHAT YOU PLAN ON SHOOTING VS. THE INVESTMENT .. YOU STATE THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL CAL.. THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO RELOAD. EACH CAL. IS A DIFFERENT DIE SET $$$$ , PLUS THE EQUIP. $$$$ AND THE COMPONENTS $$$$$.... THATS A BIG INVAESTMET UP FRONT.......

I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU START OFF WITH THE CAL. THAT YOU SHOOT THE MOST... BUY THE BASICS , MANUAL , SINGLE STAGE PRESS , SCALE , DIE SET ( CARBIDE ).. SAFETY GLASSES , MEASURING CALIPERS .. MAYBE LIKE A LEE CHALLANGER KIT..EVEN INCLUDES A HAND PRIMING TOOL ( which i preffer over priming on a press / better feel ) ... LATER YOU CAN ADD ON AS NEEDED ..... BUT BE CAREFULL OF KITS WITH USELESS ADD-ONS :barf: THAT YOU MAY NOT USE.....

AS FAR AS THE ECONOMICS YOU NEED TO DO SOME HOMEWORK ON THE SUBJECT .....

I PREFFER LOCAL SUPPLIERS CAUSE THEY SAVE ME $$$$ FREIGHT CHARGES... AND HAZ-MAT FEES WHEN YOU BUY PRIMERS AND POWDERS.....

UNLESS YOU BUY POWDER / PRIMERS IN LARGE QUANT.. THOSE FEES EAT AWAY AT YOUR SAVINGS . EVEN BUYING BULLETS , BUY IN BULK NOT 100 RD RETAIL BOX'S......... SAVE THE $$$ AND USE THE SAVINGS ON THE EQUIP. UPGRADES....

BUT REMEMBER IF YOU BUY FROM LOCAL RETAILERS YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT 4 UPS TO BRING YOU THE GOODS... AND YOU GET TO BUILD A RELATION WITH THE GUN STORES / WHICH CAN HELP YOU WHEN YOU NEED TO BUY A NEW TOY , OR HAVE ONE REPAIRED , NEED ADVICE ETC..... TRY GETTING FULL SERV.. AT AN ON-LINE STORE.... I SHOULD KNOW I WORKED AT A GUN SHOP AND LEARNED BOTH SIDES OF THE COUNTER.....


AS YOU ADD TO YOUR SUPPLIES , SEE WHAT POWDER OR COMPONENTS MAY WORK ON YOUR OTHER PROJ.... BE RESOURCEFULL.


CZ MAN

--------------------------------------------------------------------

BOY'S KEEP THEM PRESSES A RUNNING , THEM ARE MORE TARGETS COMMING OVER THE'M THERE HILL'S .....

TAK , TAK , TAK , TAK , TAK TAK TAK... CHARLIE STOP MOVING THAT THERE SELECTOR ON THAT PEE SHOOTER OF YOURS.......
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Old March 27, 2010, 07:57 PM   #18
oneounceload
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Reloading, while it may seem scary, is not rocket science nor is it difficult. The savings will come from buying components in bulk - that might take you a while to discover what works, but when you do find that magical combination - buy components in bulk - that means primers in 25,000 lots, powders in 8# jugs - both of which can be shipped for one hazmat fee. Many folks immediately think that time trumps understanding - I do not subscribe to that theory.

IMO, one is best served by starting on a single stage press of good quality so that you can see the processes one stage at a time - yes it is a little longer to load, but you have a much better chance of not having a double or non charge - you can easily check each primer seating, etc...

I have used both single stage and progressives - I have had more issues with progressives, especially the primer feed, than anything else....unless you're shooting a huge amount each month, it might be easier and less expensive to start on a single stage and then upgrade later
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