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Old June 11, 2005, 09:05 PM   #1
tork
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new to this forum, looking for pointers.

i just aquired some re-loading stuff.
went to pick up a rifle cabinet, and got more than i bargained for.

i call it stuff cause i dont know what it is.

looks like a bench mount press thing, and a few boxes of dies, a brief look at the instructions seems its for pulling the primer, opening the brass, then pressing a new one in.

i plan on reloading 38/357 just for the cost efficiency. and i have a set of dies for that caliber.

so is there a good place for basic information?
and i what other equipment do i need?
what presses the primer in?
what measures the powder? and is it by weight or volume??

i also got about 15lbs of lead... is it common to cast one's own brand or is it more efficient to just buy them??

thanks guys.

Ryan
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Old June 11, 2005, 11:09 PM   #2
Smokey Joe
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Basic info

Tork--First of all,welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading! The basic info you want is all in a great book for new AND experienced reloaders, called The ABC's of Reloading to be found @ your local gun shop, online, or at a gun show. Or order it from Krause Publishing, www.Krause.com

The standard advice is, STUDY UP BEFORE BUYING stuff! That way, you know what you absolutely have to have, what you want in addition, and the stuff that can wait until later.

ABC's will give you all of that, plus explaining what each piece of equipment is for and how to use it SAFELY. Not that reloading will hurt you, IF you do it sensibly and follow the directions, but we are dealing here with some fiendish pressures and hot gases, and frankly, if you do let the genie out of his bottle, he will bite you. You have to follow the recipies, not just "invent things" on your own.

For recipies you also need a loading manual (ABC's is NOT a manual, it is a how-and-why book); the best IMHO is the Lyman series. Lyman's 48th Edition Reloading Handbook is a general work; they also have one for cast bullets specifically, and one for pistols and revolvers specifically. If you only get one, get the 48th edition one. Lyman doesn't make powders, bullets, brass, or primers, so their stuff is not biased toward one brand of such.

You ask about casting bullets--that is a whole nother operation, with its own safety concerns, associated risks, and pleasures. Someone better versed in casting should comment on where to find the basic info on that. For beginning reloading you're better off buying bullets, IMHO, just to keep the number of variables you're working with, down a bit.

You ask about cost efficiency. Many reloaders get into it to save a couple $$. Some reloaders do stay at that level, and enjoy it. Others who continue in the hobby spend lots more, they just shoot lots more. Others tune their loads for each gun, or each use, and find their niche that way. You will find your own way and it will be right for you.

If you can find an experienced reloader in your area who will help you get set up that would be a big help, but you also need to STUDY UP on your own so you are sure you know what's going on.

Anyhow, welcome, have fun, be safe, reload lots, and post progress reports!
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Old June 11, 2005, 11:32 PM   #3
bergie
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Stuff

Well, there is a lot of "stuff" you can buy when you start reloading, or you really can get by with just some basic equipment. The first thing you need to spend some money on is a couple of books. Actually, you can get a lot of information from reloading equipment and component catalogs, go to the company websites. If there is not a sporting goods store nearby that carries a good selection of manuals, you can order them online from Midway or Cabela's among other places. The manuals put out by the reloading equipment manufacturers pretty much all have sections that tell you how to set up and use the equipment. Some companies also have videos that cover the basics of reloading. There are also some very good books on reloading that are not "tied" to any one manufacturer. The NRA puts out a book called the "NRA Guide to Reloading", or as mentioned above, "The ABC's of Reloading" both good how to guides, the NRA book is very basic, and the other one contains a lot of really good information.
This forum is an excellent resource for information, you will find that the regulars here probably have 100's of years of cumulative experience. Start by just browsing back through the posts and doing searches, you will find that most of the "new guy" questions have been answered many times before. If you have questions, ask them, be safe.
OK, you have a press and dies, and are going to get manuals, other equipment you will need, will be (since you asked about these):
priming tool (this is what presses the primer in, it can be done on some presses, but most people use one of these. It consists of a tray to hold some primers, a shellholder, and a lever operated ram that pushes a new primer in.
Powder measure and scale. Powder is measured by weight, but is most often dispensed for use by volume. Since all of the different powders have a different weight per unit of volume, powder measures are adjustable for volume, you adjust the dispenser unit to "throw" a specified "charge" weight. Most powder measures have a container at the top that drains down into a tube. the tube is mounted on a type of valve assembly, when the handle is turned one way the powder drops into the tube, when it is turned the other way, it closes off the container and dumps what is in the tube. The tube is adjustable for volume, you check the volume against the weight on a scale and adjust the volume until you are dispensing the right weight.
You will also need a caliper for measuring both the brass, and the assembled rounds, and adjusting dies. A few miscellaneous tools for prepping and cleaning the brass, and a loading block to hold the cases while you are assembling the ammo.
Trust me, it really isn't that difficult, and a good book such as the one mentioned above will explain it a lot better than I can (plus they have pictures )
As far as casting bullets, I'm not going to be much help there. I've thought about trying it, along with casting fishing weights and jigs, but just haven't had the time to get into it.

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Old June 11, 2005, 11:35 PM   #4
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I'm here too!

Welcome
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Old June 12, 2005, 12:24 AM   #5
Leftoverdj
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Tork, I am a hard core caster, but get comfortable with the basic reloading process, first.

Best advice I have for you is not to listen to the guys who make reloading sound complicated and expensive. This ain't rocket science.

You squeeze the brass back to shape, and knock out the old primer, usually as one step. You put in a new primer, expand the case mouth a bit, and add a suitable powder charge. Then you seat the bullet and crimp the case a bit in a last step. That's all there is to it.

The folks who complicate it have generally been loading less than a year themselves. The old timers mostly started on Lee Loaders and know how little is really needed.
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Old June 12, 2005, 03:57 AM   #6
Smokey Joe
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Not rocket science, eh?

Leftoverdj--I've been reloading about 40 yrs. That long enough for ya? Started on a Lee Loader myself, OK?

If The ABC's of Reloading had existed at that time, I'd have saved myself an incredible amount of uninformed mucking around, and gotten answers to any number of very basic questions that I had to dope out the answers to myself, the hard way. Nowadays, you don't have to do it the hard way, and nobody ever should have had to.

I agree it's not rocket science, but with all due respect, I repeat that the BEST (easiest, cheapest, and safest) way to learn a new activity is to do your homework first, before spending $$ on stuff you may or may not need, or doesn't work together.
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Old June 12, 2005, 04:18 AM   #7
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National Reloading Manufacturers Association:
http://www.reload-nrma.com/
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Old June 12, 2005, 08:09 AM   #8
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#1 "pointer" to any new reloader, PATIENCE.

Read, start slowly, follow the directions, ask for advice, load small batches before going on to mass production. Use the rule, if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. There's lots to learn so just take your time and enjoy.

That said, ABC's of Reloading and Lyman #48 are both excellent resources that should be around any reloading bench. These two resources will get you well on your way.
Take Care
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Old June 12, 2005, 12:32 PM   #9
Leftoverdj
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Smokey Joe, we disagree on timing, not essence. I get new reloaders started NOW. Any experienced reloader can get a beginner turning out safe, reliable .38 Special loads in an hour. That's with one powder, one bullet, and one charge from the right dipper or rotor. He cannot get into any serious trouble unless he double charges. He's got an immediate supply of shootable ammo and the satisfaction that comes with that.

If he needs, or wants, to go past that, he can put a lifetime into it, as you and I have done. Most do, but some don't.

I knew a very experienced PPC shooter who had never loaded but one load in his life, but he loaded about 10,000 a year of those. That one load was Federal cases, Federal primers, 2.8 grains of Bullseye, and a 148 grain HBWC. That was all he needed to know about reloading. He didn't own a scale, didn't own a loading manual, didn't have but one bushing for his powder measure, and sure did not own calipers.
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Old June 12, 2005, 06:04 PM   #10
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Got any pictures of what you bought? It would be easier to fill in the holes if we see what you already have.
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Old June 12, 2005, 06:46 PM   #11
Smokey Joe
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Not much disagreement

Leftoverdj:
Quote:
If you can find an experienced reloader in your area who will help you get set up that would be a big help, but you also need to STUDY UP on your own so you are sure you know what's going on.
An experienced person available to the beginning reloader is, I agree, an invaluable resource. I've "turned on" a few people myself: Come on over, we'll work on my equipment, I'll give you a recipie, and you can make some shootable ammo. It's usually all downhill from there for the new reloader.

I guess my assumption was that Tork doesn't have anybody local to ask, or he wouldn't be asking on the I'net.
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Old June 12, 2005, 10:38 PM   #12
Leftoverdj
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Quote:
An experienced person available to the beginning reloader is, I agree, an invaluable resource. I've "turned on" a few people myself: Come on over, we'll work on my equipment, I'll give you a recipie, and you can make some shootable ammo. It's usually all downhill from there for the new reloader.

I guess my assumption was that Tork doesn't have anybody local to ask, or he wouldn't be asking on the I'net.
Whole world is local to the net, and Tork has hundreds of people to ask. Take longer than an hour, but with the essentials on hand, it could be done in an evening.

Let's try just helping the next newbie instead of setting up hurdles.

Last edited by Leftoverdj; June 12, 2005 at 11:33 PM.
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Old June 17, 2005, 05:22 PM   #13
tork
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thanks for the responses, and im not worth starting arguments over. patience and time is the one thing i have.... i dont have to learn by tomorrow, and i still need to make more brass available, by empting them into a backstop

common sense says that the only thing i dont have is a way to measure the powder.

if i get a chance ill snap some pics.

i got "dies" and a press thing

is there anything i dont want to cheap out on?
do i need to buy top of the line powder lead or primers? or anything of that sort



later
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Old June 18, 2005, 11:10 AM   #14
Leftoverdj
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Tork, look at the bottom of the sizing die for an insert ring. If the sizing die is one piece of steel, you will need case lube. If it has the ring, it's carbide and no lube is required. Check to make sure you got the shellholder for .38 Special and get one if you need to. You're going to need a priming tool. I like the Lee AutoPrime II because it uses the regular shell holder. Others prefer the handheld Lee AutoPrime. You'll also need some loading blocks.

Powder measure is where the argument starts again. If you have the money, buy an RCBS Uniflow and a scale. Those will run you over $100. If money is tight, buy the Lee Pro AutoDisk and a .38/357 Lee expander die if your dies are not by Lee. That's about $40, and you can get by without a scale for a while. If money is really tight, get the Lee dipper kit for about $10.

I suggest that you stick with loading .38 Special for a while. That means buying small pistol primers, powder and bullets. I would suggest WW 231 for the powder and bulk cast .358 bullets, either 148 gr WC or 158 gr SWC.
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