The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 7, 2007, 11:25 AM   #1
darko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2007
Posts: 499
A Bit Intimidated!!!

Hey folks,

I love to shoot (handguns) but can never seem to afford it these days with two young ones and a mortgage. With the seeming rise in the cost of factory ammo (not to mention cost of range time) and the fact that I have my eye on a 45LC (really expensive to shoot) I was seriously considering getting into handloading/re-loading. But I have to confess in all honesty that I am more than a little intimidated. though I get the jest of the process it seems like it could get fairly complicated when dealing with various aspects, i.e. calipers, measurments, etc, etc. I also have some degree of fear in that if I make a mistake I may damage/destroy a gun or worse, myself! I guess I was just looking to get a little feedback on pros/cons of handloading and any tips/wisdom some of you experienced folks may have on getting started.
darko is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 12:04 PM   #2
sundog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Green Country, OK
Posts: 730
Naw, you're not gonna save any money -- just shoot more.

If you had the wherewithall to cast your own bullets for that 45 Colt you're "ahankerin' fer", and load them on a Lee turret press, you could shoot for less then five dollars a hundred. Nothing wrong with plain base cast bullets, especially home brewed.

Once the initial shock of an equipment outlay to get you started is over, the only expense you have is primer and powder, provided, of course, you can find free or cheap lead.
__________________
safety first
sundog is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 12:35 PM   #3
Rimrod
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2005
Location: Behind enemy lines
Posts: 1,309
The fact that you typed a coherent question and posted it on the internet shows you have way more than enough intelligence to reload, based on some reloaders I've known.

It can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Buy a good reloading manual and read it over, if there is something you don't understand come back and ask. There are a lot of folks on here that will be glad to help you out.
Rimrod is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 12:45 PM   #4
deanadell
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2005
Location: Upstate, South Carolina
Posts: 639
DItto what Rimrod said

I felt that intimidation for years.....bought a Lee Anniversary reloading kit at a gun show and let it sit in the box in the closet for 3 years before I finally just got down to it.

Start slow. Read the directions. Re-read the directions. PAY ATTENTION. you should have no problems.
deanadell is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 12:50 PM   #5
Castaway
Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2007
Location: Dade City, FL
Posts: 90
Sundog hit the nail on the head. The last time I checked, a box of factory 45 Colts was around $24. I cast for my 45 Colt and not only is it much cheaper at less than $3 a box, but I also get fine accuracy with my homemade bullets/reloads. It's quite satisfying to take a deer or hog with one of your own loads.
Castaway is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 01:11 PM   #6
RSublime4Life
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 2007
Posts: 146
I was in the same boat a few weeks ago. I said in a post in the reloading section of this forum that I was also looking to get into it and was a little put off. I bought the ABC's of Reloading and a few reloading manuals (on the advice of some of the reloaders here). Getting ready to order my equipment this week. After doing the research, I realize I probably wont save any money but I will be able to shoot more for the same amount, along with the ability to work up loads for my guns. Read the books. Go through the Cabelas and Midway catalogs and look through the stuff to get and idea of it all. Once you've done that you will have a pretty good idea of where your at. My only warning: Reloading appears to be just as addictive as shooting itself. Resisting is pointless. Have fun!

-Russ
__________________
Names Russ, feel free to use it.

NRA Life Member
RSublime4Life is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 04:56 PM   #7
DBotkin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 14, 2006
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 302
There's one thing to watch out for. As I read through some of the reloading "How-To" manuals, I see a lot of advice and procedures that are really only applicable to some really involved shooting that you'll probably never have to worry about -- certainly not when you're starting out. For example, I have never worried in the slightest about variations in case volume between different brass manufacturers or lots for a given caliber. I don't feel the need to go to great lengths to check and obtain perfect concentricity in my rifle ammo. The list goes on. If I ever get into competitive benchrest or long-range shooting. maybe then I'll worry about it. Until then, under 1" at 100 yards is fine.

DO check case length - a $25 caliper or even a $12 go/no-go gauge will do fine. DO buy and use a decent scale, and a decent powder measure. DO label each and every batch with the date, powder type & charge, bullet type & weight, primer, etc. DO start with a conservative load and gradually work your way up, if you want something hotter. But it's not all that difficult, really, especially for handgun ammo. You just have to pay attention and follow directions. It also helps a LOT if you have someone experienced to show you how to do it a few times.

And, yeah, it's addictive. What isn't? Oh, yeah - cleaning.
DBotkin is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 05:23 PM   #8
kingudaroad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2005
Location: austin
Posts: 735
These ammo mfg's are really proud of their big bore handgun stuff. You show me someone who owns a big bore handgun and doesn't reload, and I'll show you a guy who doesn't shoot much.

Go for it! Its very simple and straightforward to load straight walled pistol. If you have some questions along the way, there are plenty of good folks around here to help.
kingudaroad is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 05:33 PM   #9
RSublime4Life
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 2007
Posts: 146
Quote:
It also helps a LOT if you have someone experienced to show you how to do it a few times.
This is the only problem I have had. I don't know anyone locally who reloads. I hardly know anyone that shoots. Of course I live in So Cal where its taboo to own a gun let alone be any kind of enthusiast.
__________________
Names Russ, feel free to use it.

NRA Life Member
RSublime4Life is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 05:38 PM   #10
Edward429451
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
If you're a little apprehensive about the reloading thing you should stick with the starting loads from the books until you get a feel for it and gain a little confidence in yourself and your equipment. There's absolutely nothing wrong with lighter loads. They're usually more accurate, easier to shoot and will kill anything so don't feel like you have to load max loads to be a reloader.

Each different powder will have its own personality so to speak, and will have a sweet spot of performance within the given load range and with different bullets. I suggest getting to know one powder at a time so you know its characteristics and what to expect. Don't assume that different powders will act the same way as any other powder even if someone may say they will, prove or disprove it through proper load development.

Don't give up on a powder if it doesn't give good results at first. It may want more or less crimp or powder to give good results, or a different primer. Read up on powders and burn rates in the load book.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 06:14 PM   #11
Zippy06
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2007
Location: S.E. MI
Posts: 117
+1 rimrod.
It's easy. and I only got 9 good digits.
Buy Lee, more bang for the buck.
__________________
Zippy06.
U.S.N. Vet. NRA.
Lee Turret(circa 1986). 9mm, .357 Mag., .40 S&W, .223 Rem., .30-30 Win., .308 Win.
G17, S&W 686, G22C, Colt H-Bar, Marlin, Savage 10FP. Be safe. Be happy
Zippy06 is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 07:49 PM   #12
CrustyFN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 4, 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 2,258
+1 on the Lee Classic Turret. IMO it is the best press to start with and you won't out grow it like a single stage. Once you get used to the press you should be able to load around 200 per hour. You would have to shoot a lot for the Classic to not meet your ammo needs. It is also very easy for a beginner to setup and use.
Rusty
__________________
I don't ever remember being absent minded.
CrustyFN is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 08:55 PM   #13
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 405
It's really simple. The primer ignites the powder, which changes to a gas, which expands the case, which releases the bullet, which goes down the barrel.

So you're gonna put the primer in the case, load the powder and seat the bullet then pull the trigger.

All you need is the equipment to do it, and, failing an friend to show you the ropes, buy a bunch of books, read about primer differences, powder burning characteristics, bullet choices and you'll be into it faster than you think. It's fascinating.

When I started I went to a medical meeting and happened to run into a doc who remarked that he also reloaded. Being a newbie, I got all excited and asked, "what do you think of ballistic coefficients and sectional density?" He walked away from me. I knew I was reading more than he did. How deeply you get into it is up to you but you have years to accumulate more than you really need to know.

Do it.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 09:17 PM   #14
oldcars
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2007
Posts: 375
Having just gotten into it myself, a tip that saved me a ton of money is buying used stuff. I bought three reloading setups from 3 different people. I paid $100 each for two of them and $200 for the other. The reason I bought three was they were all good deals and came with alot of consumables, dies, ect. that add up quick when bought alone. I "cherry picked" the best components, and will re-sell the others. When its all done I should be into my set under $150 and I will still be able to give two other people good deals on a starter set. I have enough bullets/primers/powder to last many years and I learned alot along the way. It realy is easyer than you think, just go by the book and be carefull, and it can be alot of fun. DONT USE any unmarked primers or old oppened powder. I'm glad I started out on a single stage press, alot less to learn.
oldcars is offline  
Old May 7, 2007, 11:01 PM   #15
BigO01
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2006
Posts: 138
Buy a Lee set up with the Proauto Disk Powder Measure and keep your loads in the mid range and for handgun rounds like the 38/357 45 acp and 40 S&W you willl never need to measure or trim a single case you will get a minimum of a dozen reloads per case and as many as 25 or more .

When the case finally stretches enough to split toss it in the trash and buy new ones when you get low .

If you're like me before I started reloading you keep maybe 1 box of shells around the house and when you want to go shooting it involves a substantial outlay to buy ammo to do so .

When you reload if you buy components in Bulk and you want to go shooting you just put them together and all it costs you is gas money and perhaps range fees .

I loaded all the mentioned rounds without owning a scale for years and still have all my fingers and have never had any kind of accident shooting at all . Just look up the charge in Lees instructions and use the correct disk hole .
BigO01 is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 06:40 AM   #16
qajaq59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2005
Posts: 139
If you can read and follow instructions you'll never have any problems reloading. The manuals are over a hundred years of knowledge all wrapped up in neat packages. Don't load when you are tired or distracted and you'll do fine.

And the most dangerous thing in reloading is driving to the range to shoot.
qajaq59 is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 08:27 AM   #17
darko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2007
Posts: 499
Thank You!

Thanks for all of the great advice! I'm really excited about it at this point. I actully have a freind here at work that does reloads for his Vaquero 44mag and has the press, etc, etc. He told me that if I want to buy the dies and hardware for the caliburs I need that I could come over and use his stuff. So I think that I'll start out by picking up a good reloading manual (the guy at Sportsmans warehouse pointed me toward the Speer one) and give it a good read or two to start with. After that I will pick up a die and the other stuff I need for my calibers and have my buddy show me the ropes on his equipment. I guess the next step after that will be getting the funds together and buy all of my own stuff. The fellow at Sportsmans warehouse pointed me towards a kit ($280) that looked pretty good (not sure of the brand) but I will have to consider exactly which to get. There is a Cabelas about an hour from here that I might also check out. I noticed some of you mentioned "Lee" as a brand to look into? At any rate this looks like a really fun/interesting hobby. I think the biggest problem I may run into is where to set up a loading bench. I don't have any extra rooms in the house and the garage tends to be a hot box. I might be able to make a small bench for my bedroom but the wife will probably not be to thrilled at the idea. I also have some concern about how to properly store the powder so as to not pose any threats to the house or my little ones? Anyway, I thank you all for the great advice and encouragement.
darko is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 09:04 AM   #18
PeteQuad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2007
Posts: 198
darko, I just recently went through a lot of the issues you are talking about. I bought the ABC Guide to Reloading, Lyman's manual, the Hornady manual, and the 2007 Hodgdon manual. I have also heard the Speer manual is excellent.

Based on my experience, I think the ABC Guide and the Lyman Manual were the best buys for a new reloader. The ABC one gives a good overall explanation of reloading, and the Lyman is powder and bullet agnostic so to speak, and also has good information. You will probably want to cross reference the recipes in whatever manual you get to at least one other manual. A good thing to do is to compare the information on a powder company's website to a manual; I'm having luck between the Lyman book and Hodgdon's website. Of course I will probably end up buying more manuals, jsut because I like them

My garage tends to be a hotbox too, but I decided to use it anyway. I found that the wooden cabinets I have in there don't experience as extreme temperature changes as the rest of the garage, so I am putting my powder and primers in those (in seperate cabinets). I was worried about the powder as well, but as time goes on I realize that it is actually safer than a lot of the gasoline and flammable cleaners I have lying around. I do plan on reloading with the garage door open to get some air.

Regarding the press, I bought the Lee Classic Turret press kit from kempf to start out. Read some of the other threads around here and you can get lots of information on that and other choices.

One thing - since you have a Cabelas nearby (lucky you!) you should check what powders they sell. This way you can start focusing on them when you look at the recipes. It helped solidify it in my mind. Buying powder and primers locally is great since you can pick up a pound (which could last for 1000-2000 rounds depending on what you are loading), which is not a lot to store, and try it out. Then you could pick up a pound of something else if you don't like it or want to load a wider variety of stuff. If you order over the internet, you have shipping + hazmat fees ($20), which means you'll want to buy in bulk, since a pound of powder only costs $15 - $20.

Just so you know, I haven't even reloaded a single round yet, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am taking my time getting prepped and I should be ready to try out my press as soon as the bullets I ordered arrive (maybe this weekend). Thanks to this site, I feel pretty well prepared
PeteQuad is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 10:11 AM   #19
Smokey Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 14, 2001
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 2,064
Starting out

Darko--Welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading! How I envy you, just starting out in this day and age of easy information availability!

You've been given a bunch of XLNT advice re equipment and learning. I'll just add my $0.02 in urging you to obtain and read, The ABC's of Reloading. It is The Standard Textbook on the subject.

Get it @ yr local sptg gds sto, gun sho, the I'net, or order from Krause Publishing, www.krause.com but by all means get it. Belongs on the bookself of every reloader, IMHO, well thumbed.
__________________
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe
Smokey Joe is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 11:14 AM   #20
benedict1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 245
+1 on Lee Classic Turret Press--A "Starter" Press that will last a lifetime!

Quote:
Regarding the press, I bought the Lee Classic Turret press kit from kempf to start out. Read some of the other threads around here and you can get lots of information on that and other choices.
Couldn't get better advice than to buy this press from Kempf's--

http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products.../KempfKit.html

It is a good place to shop--if you call and ask for Sue Kempf she will help you with what you need--she is very knowledgeable and also happens to be a Cowboy Shooter--SASS is her thing. She knows .45 Colt inside and out and can help you with load/bullet recommendations, etc.

It is a great press and they are good people to buy from--they won't sell you what you don't need and they won't hose you on S&H
benedict1 is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 01:47 PM   #21
darko
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2007
Posts: 499
After reading these last couple of posts I'm starting to consider taking my Glock 36 to the gunshow weekend after next and selling it off to raise the extra money to get started on this. I'm currnetly trying to rasie funds to buy the must have 45LC. I have raised about $200 so far. I figure if I sold my glock (which would be a bummer) I could clear enough to get the new pistol and perhaps one of these kits as well. I guess I'll have to think about that one for a bit. If only I had more money and less bills
darko is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 02:01 PM   #22
PeteQuad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2007
Posts: 198
Personally, since getting involved, I am as much interested in the reloading stuff as I am the shooting itself. I'm not sure I would get into this just for money savings, if I didn't want to reload. I do think that I might be able to make my money back in about 6 months of shooting tho. But by then how many more gadgets will I have bought for reloading?
PeteQuad is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 02:25 PM   #23
sundog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Green Country, OK
Posts: 730
Darko, check out the NRMA web site. You can then opt to get either or both of NRA Guide to Reloading and/or ABCs of Reloading, both very good 'how to' manuals. Understand the process. It might help you decide on what stuff you do and do NOT need to buy to start with.

Something to think about. Many years ago I traded off a nice .38 S&W for a shotgun reloading press (which I still have and use). I wish I still had that .38....
__________________
safety first
sundog is offline  
Old May 8, 2007, 09:31 PM   #24
skeeter1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 11, 2006
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 3,403
I got some calipers here:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/g9808

At 12 bucks, they're affordable, and I wanted dial calipers, since I already spend enough on batteries, so that ruled out digital calipers.

If you run low on brass, check with Bill Hoff at Southern Brass & Reloading,

z56panhead@bellsouth.net

Good honest fellow and decent prices. He's always got plenty of once-fired brass on hand for plenty of calibers.
skeeter1 is offline  
Old May 9, 2007, 12:33 PM   #25
deanadell
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2005
Location: Upstate, South Carolina
Posts: 639
Hey Darko....

Check EBay before you lay out any cash on new dies.....especially if you're going to try it out on your buddy's press first. I've made some REAL good purchases on EBay on some used Lee Carbide 3-die pistol sets.
deanadell is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14034 seconds with 7 queries