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View Poll Results: Can you get started reload 380acp for $100 or less?
Yes you can here is how... 5 27.78%
No you can save up money for a good setup.... 13 72.22%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 26, 2012, 10:24 PM   #1
380acp
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Get start for under $100?

Can I get started reloading in my studio apartment for under $100 with dies and stuff or should I wait. I only want to reload 380acp as that is all I shoot at this time a lot and it hard to find locally and cost a load when I do?
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Old March 26, 2012, 10:42 PM   #2
dacaur
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Lee hand press, set of dies, pound of powder, some plated bullets, and 100 primers.... be close to $100... I say go for it.

Edit-
Hand press $43
Extra bushings $7.50
Dies $30

Scale - $20, you could get by using the dipper included with the dies rather than getting a scale if you had to.

Buy these localy:
pound of powder $25
250 plated bullets $25
100 primers $3.00

$150ish....

Last edited by dacaur; March 26, 2012 at 10:55 PM.
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Old March 26, 2012, 10:53 PM   #3
FrankenMauser
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Lee Breech Lock Hand Press Kit: $42 (wait for it to go on sale for $35 or so)
RCBS dies: $46 (again, wait for a sale price around $38-40)
OR
Lee dies: $30 (don't wait for a sale price, it may take years)

Buy a cheap scale, or give the Lee dippers a try ($7).
The Lee Safety Scale is cheap ($24), but is incredibly sensitive. Contrary to what you may think that actually makes it harder to use.

Buy a reloading manual for the brand of bullets you plan to use, or compromise and buy the Lee manual ($13). (You must buy the Lee manual, if you decide to try the dippers without a scale.)

With the hand press and any of those choices, you can pack it all up in a small tote for storage.
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Old March 26, 2012, 11:23 PM   #4
hk33ka1
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Lee Hand Press Kit $41.88
Lee .380 Dies $27.30
Lee Dipper Kit $7.78
Lee Manual $17.98

$94.94 plus shipping from FS Reloading in WI

Then you need .380 brass, small pistol primers and say Win 231 powder or Hodgdon Titegroup.
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Old March 27, 2012, 12:55 AM   #5
Lost Sheep
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How much to start reloading....dirt cheap!

Here is some encouragement, titled "How much to start reloading....dirt cheap!" Read through the posts, as there are many links to other resources in them.

http://Thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439810

Thanks for asking our advice.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 27, 2012 at 01:14 AM.
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Old March 27, 2012, 01:49 AM   #6
Lost Sheep
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What kind of quantities will you reload?

It is possible to get loading for under $50 with the Lee Loader (uses a mallet to power the process) Mallet not included in the "kit". But it is slow, a bit noisy (with all that pounding) and scary for anyone watching you. But the setup if about $30-$35 and the size of a paperback book. Add a wooden, rawhide hard rubber, brass or plastic mallet and a piece of wood to absorb the impact (so you don't dent your coffeetable) and you are set.

Get a $25 Lee Safety Scale (about $25) and you are MUCH more flexible in your choice of powders and you are started. The Lee Safety Scale is as accurate as any you will find under $250, but devilishly hard to use if you are not familiar with how to use a vernier. Put the scale at eye level, have good, bright light and READ THE DIRECTIONS. I had one that came to me without directions and I really did not like it. After I got a set of directions, I liked it much better.

Most people who started with the so-called "Whack-a-bullet" Lee Loader move on to a press. The plans outlined by the people who posted already are excellent.

I believe in trying to buy the best press you can get (even if you have to compromise on some of the peripherals for a little while). You can add peripherals as you find the need for them. So, the following suggestions may not fit your need, I will share them with you. I will not be offended if you go another way. I consider buying "cheap" and trading up later is a waste of money (though I recognize that sometimes you have to).

Single stage presses (either hand press or bench mounted) will do an admirable job. By the way, even though you have limited space, I recommend a bench-mounted press over the hand press if you will be loading at home. Why? The hand press requires both hands and does not have the leverage of a bench-mounted press. Having a hand free is nice for picking up components with one hand while operating the press with the other. Having superior leverage is not so important with a smaller cartridge like the .380, but if you get a 9mm (tapered case requires a bit more force), .38 or.357 and larger, you will appreciate better leverage.

The bench-mounted press can be operated without a bench. I mounted my press on a 2x6 and wedged the board into the drawer of an end table. (The press tilted back at a convenient angle to operate it, too. Sometimes I would just strap the board to the top of the table-padded, of course.) Nowadays, I still use the same board. But now it is clamped into a folding workbench.

My press, 7 sets of dies and all my peripheral equipment except my brass cleaner fits in three toolboxes the largest of which is 24"x11"x10" outside dimensions. Powder, bullets and brass don't take up much more room.

If you wind up shooting more than 100 rounds per session (and reloading same), I recommend considering a Lee Classic Turret. The Lee Deluxe Turret is no slouch, either, especially if your budget is REALLY tight. But the Classic Turret has a number of advantages. Superior spent primer handling, stronger, larger opening (for sticking those 380 bullets on the cases).

Single stage production rate is about 50-75 rounds per hour, at best. Auto-advancing Turret press can triple that. The Lee Loader (Whack-a-Bullet) does about 25 per hour, but if you are REALLY fast, you can top that. I haven't used mine in decades.

My philosophy is to buy a good press, dies and scale. Add automatic powder dispenser and primer dispenser later if you have to cut corners.

However, if you can budget $300, the Kempf's Gun Shop Lee Classic Turret kit will have you loading in grand style with no compromise (The $220 kit has press, dies, primer dispenser, powder measure and 6 ammo boxes to which you will want to add a manual or two and a scale.) After 35 years of loading, that is what I chose to use.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Be safe, always, all ways.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 27, 2012 at 02:02 AM.
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Old March 27, 2012, 06:02 AM   #7
warningshot
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I voted no, but...

He might get lucky and find some one who wants to fire sale some used equipment at a gun show.

Great question. If the OP is for real & deceant guy, I'll donate either a manual, or a block, or a funnel, or 50, 1x fired Federal .380 brass. I have (less than 100) odd-ball .355 cast bullets that weigh 90 or so grains too.

If anyone eles wants to throw-in I think this dude can get rolling on 380s for less than $100. Say the word and I'm in.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:36 AM   #8
bossman
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Wait. You more than likly can get started for that price, But I wouldn't recommend doing so. The Lee Dippers are a shot in the dark (guess) without a good scale.
Drop the dipper set as the dies come with a dipper. Get a caliper for OAL.

I understand not wanting to spend big bucks, but I have to recommend saving up and doing the reloading thing with the right peices involved.
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Old March 27, 2012, 10:27 AM   #9
lee n. field
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Quote:
Get start for under $100?
Can I get started reloading in my studio apartment for under $100 with dies and stuff or should I wait. I only want to reload 380acp as that is all I shoot at this time a lot and it hard to find locally and cost a load when I do?
I'd have to check current prices, but the answer would be "just barely".

Lee Hand Press, Lee Autoprime*, appropriate shellholder for the priming tool, a reloading funnel, and a Lee .380 die set. The Lee dieset will include a powder scoop and shellholder, and a data sheet. Buy powder and bullets to fit what you find on the data sheet.

You might get in at about $100, without consumables. You will want to be getting more stuff. Try and squeeze in a pair of loading blocks, to keep organized.

The good news is you will be able to use all this stuff once you have more of what you need.

*a ram prime die can be had cheaper, especially in the Lee, but is way slow compared to a priming tool. A ram prime die is for people who need to dial in their primer seating depth exactly. You won't need to do that.

Quote:
Lee
Lee
Lee
Lee
Lee
Notice a pattern here?

Quote:
It is possible to get loading for under $50 with the Lee Loader
I don't think there's a .380 Lee Loader kit.
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Last edited by lee n. field; March 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM.
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Old March 27, 2012, 12:23 PM   #10
380acp
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Thanks for the info guys! I in Columbus State Community College so being broke after 150 dollar textbooks is the normal way of life. I work part time job I have 200 piece of brass to start as I been police at the range. I like to shoot this summer are the outdoor ranges in our state parks in bersa 380. What is a op mean?
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Old March 27, 2012, 01:33 PM   #11
David Bachelder
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$100.00 ? I don't think so.

OP means original poster .... I think.
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Old March 27, 2012, 01:41 PM   #12
380acp
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Ok I was wondering. Thanks.. I am looking at the links and I might be able to swing this but wow it be tight. Vote is 7 no 4 yes so fair so maybe I should hold off. The lee stuff looks like what I need so I dont know
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Old March 27, 2012, 06:11 PM   #13
GP100man
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Alls that really needed is a press , dies ,scales & I bet ifin ya watch the cleassifieds ya can pick up some really nice used equipment .

Once ya get the basic equipment the rest is just stuff to load faster !!

I loaded probably more than my share using the lee whack-a-mole loader !!

Don`t skimp on scales
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Old March 27, 2012, 06:17 PM   #14
beex215
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trust me, you dont want to go in for only 100$. that hand press would get tiresome very quickly depending on how many rounds you wanted to do. 100$ only gets a single stage press kit. thats what i bought and that got old very quickly. it was just too slow. i went into a progressive just a few months after i bought the kit. $500 gets you a nice set up with a fair amount of componets.
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Old March 27, 2012, 07:27 PM   #15
serf 'rett
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While it may be possible....I went with the "no" because the pain of higher quality cost once, but with low quality, you pay every time you use the equipment.

My best suggestion is find someone who reloads. There may be someone in your area that would be willing to help you "learn the trade" and let you load a few rounds on their equipment (you may have to get dies and consumables). This would give you a feel for whether you want to jump into reloading and the equipment options.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:10 PM   #16
Lost Sheep
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$100 to $160 starting kit.

For those who skipped the link in post #5 (which connects to a thread with a BUNCH of posts and links right on point to this thread), here's a budget to assemble a starting kit; $100 to $160.

$30 to $90 press
$35 Lee's 3-die carbide set
$23 Lee's primitive (but very accurate) Scale
$10 The One Caliber/One Book loading manual for the 380 ACP
$0 ABC's of Reloading from your local library
$0 short length of 2x6 or 2x8 with holes in it to mount your press
$2 Carriage bolts for mounting the press
$0 rope or belt to tie the press to a coffee table, or you can just wedge the board in the drawer of an end table
$0 Home-made paper funnel (or just pour carefully) for transferring powder into your cases (or you could buy one for $4)
$0 a loading block to keep your cartridge cases organized made with a board and a 1/2" drill, or you could buy one for $8

Last week's newspapers or an old towel to pad the end table from the 2x6
Dropcloth (to catch dropped primers or powder spill) use an old sheet.
A bowl from which to dip the powder with the Lee dipper (or a teaspoon)


You will not be loading efficiently. You will not be loading fast. But you will be accurate and safe.

As funds permit you can add things that will make you faster and increase the convenience, but you will not have to be trading in your early purchases (losing money in the process) for better stuff. You can simply add things like:

Primer dispenser
Calipers
Powder measure/dispenser
Bullet puller
and so forth.

Good luck

Lost Sheep
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:12 PM   #17
LakeCruiser
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patience my be in order here too

I chose to start slow a little over a year ago. I watched eBay and the buy/sell forums for the items I wanted to get started. I wasn't in a hurry and just picked up items a piece at a time. I just bought ammo during this time and saved the brass for my "start date". I ended up with mostly Lee equipment which is working just fine. I have accumulated around $400 in equipment and components. Spreading the purchase out helped me afford the whole setup to make my reloading easier, more accurate, safer and more enjoyable.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:22 PM   #18
Lost Sheep
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How many boxes of bullets can you get for $300

If you bought $55 worth of bullets and powder, the "One Book, One Caliber" book for the .380 ACP and added it to the Kempf's Gun Shop Lee Classic Turret kit, you would get at least that many rounds of shooting and be loading in high style with (the core of) a first-class loading setup.

After the initial batch, your ammo cost will be 1/3 or 1/4 of what you are paying now. What are you waiting for. Skimp on your lunches and lattes and go for it.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep.

$210 Classic Turret Kit press, dies, powder measure, primer dispenser and ammo boxes. The core of a first-class bench.
$10 One Caliber/One Book loading manual
$25 powder
$30 500 lead round-nose bullets.
$20 500 primers
$295

Good luck.

Sorry for busting your budget, but in the long run, I think you will like the idea. How long will 500 bullets last you?

Lost Sheep

P.S. Don't even THINK about selling ammo to help with the budget. Federal offense.

However, going halves with a shooting buddy with whom you can share the purchase price is an option. As long as you each load your own, not federal law that I know of is being broken.
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Old March 27, 2012, 09:34 PM   #19
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Check the Pawn Shops. Several times I've been offered a box of reloading stuff, including a press, for under $100. Dies and such you don't want become trading material.
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