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Old May 11, 2012, 09:09 AM   #1
BoogieMan
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Considering reloading

A lot of you guys rolling your own on these forums. I have been toying with the idea of reloading myself. I looked at a few setups but they vary so much in price and features. I like the turret style loaders that give you a cartridge with every pull. Are they as good as the single station type? Can I get into a setup like that that is upgradeable for reasonable ($300-$500) money? Would I have the option to add stuff on like the auto feaders that make them even quicker? Will they give me accurate powder charges? Do any of them offer the ability to load shotgun as well as bullet?
Finally, am I even asking the right questions?
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Old May 11, 2012, 09:16 AM   #2
Doyle
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Shotshell reloading is totally different than brass reloading. The entire setup is different so you won't find a machine that does both. As far as single stage vs progressive, the answer depends on what you are reloading. If you are shooting lots of stuff that doesn't require pinpoint accuracy (i.e. pistol ammo, .223 plinking, etc) then a progressive will certainly speed things along. However, if you are looking to reload precision rifle ammo than having a couple of single stage presses may be a better option. The reason for multiple presses is that you can leave one set up for depriming/sizing and another set up for seating.
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Old May 11, 2012, 09:19 AM   #3
sserdlihc
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Start here:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171
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Old May 11, 2012, 09:32 AM   #4
darkroommike
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One more thing to consider, if you are brand new to reloading, a single stage press will give you more control and slows things down to a newbie-manageable level. I don't consider it money wasted but a short classroom on reloading, and you will find other uses for the single stage press as your skill level increases. I have two single stage presses, both Lee, a Lyman Ram prime lives in the little C-press full time (I bought it for the Lee Reloading Manual that came with it actually). And I use the other for everything else, so far, but it eventually will be dedicated to 7.62x54r.

and p.s. Lee makes very good, inexpensive shotshell loaders, too. Like all their products they offer very good value for the money. May not be the "production" press for the guy shooting trap league, but good enough for the guy shooting a few boxes per year.
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Old May 11, 2012, 11:58 AM   #5
bossman
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I started out with a single stage to learn the reloading not knowing if it would be for me. Turns out I love the hobby and also found out the single stage serves all my reloading needs. If you're really pressed for time the turrent might be what you need. I just work at my own pace and don't have to many things going on at once. Very fun and relaxing jump on in.
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Old May 11, 2012, 12:07 PM   #6
603Country
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Listen to the advice about starting off with the single stage press. Go slow until you are completely familiar and comfortable with reloading. One thing you don't ever want to do is to get into a hurry and get sloppy with the process.
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Old May 11, 2012, 12:55 PM   #7
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For most people starting with a single stage is much cheaper, and simpler. You can really learn all the aspects of reloading and manufacture a decent amount of ammo. I used my starter Lee Challenger single stage press for almost 20 yrs.

A progressive is way more expensive for the basic setup and for each additional caliber (shell plates instead of shell holder, case feeders, primer feeders, bullet feeders, etc.). For some people that shoot a very high volume like competitors, it may make sense to invest in a progressive right off. But, for most beginners without huge demand a single stage is a cheaper, easier way to start.

Turret presses are kind of in between. I eventually upgraded to the Lee Classic Turret. It is still fairly inexpensive and you can easily operate it as a single stage to start with. Yet it offers much faster switching between calibers (dies stay adjusted in their own turrets) and faster reloading. And it is simpler if you just want to load up 10 rounds of something.

The breech lock single stages from Hornady and Lee offer the quick change, always-ready die setup similar to to turrets but in a single stage.

If you are not sure about reloading and just want to try it out and see how it goes, or have a limited budget, then definitely get the single stage, and consider getting a breech lock version. If you definitely want to reload and plan to shoot a few hundred rounds every month then you might want to start with a turret like the Lee, and use it as a single stage at first to learn.

Don't get lured into trying to pump out vast quantities of ammo in a short time regardless of the type of press you get. Always keep safety, quality and learning as your primary goals, and quantity in about last place priority. Read the sticky thread about starting reloading, too.
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Old May 11, 2012, 05:13 PM   #8
Misssissippi Dave
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For shotgun loading I like the Mec 600 Jr. It does everything you need and will produce a fair amount of ammo.

Single stage loading is probably the best way to learn metal case reloading. If you have the money and want to produce more ammo such as pistol ammo then you will probably be more satisfied with the Lee Classic Turret. Once you have a good grasp on the loading process and have some mechanical ability you might want to move up to a progressive just to be able to do the volume some shooters want or need. Most people with a progressive press still do all their work up loads on either a single stage or turret press. You can do work up loading on a progressive press. A single stage or turret seems to keep things under control easier. There is just less chance of making mistakes doing things slower in my opinion.

I prefer the slower options for rifle ammo. .223 ammo will work just fine on a progressive press but I still think the turret is the right press for most people. Shooting semi-auto and full auto pistols will eat up a lot of ammo in short order. This is where the turret and progressive presses seem to shine. I go through far fewer rounds when shooting revolvers, rifles and shotguns per hour so high output of ammo really isn't needed by me.

I have not loaded shotgun ammo in some time. I find it just doesn't save me enough money any more and I don't shoot enough of it any more to reload it.

Think about what it is you want from reloading. It might help you to figure out what you want or need. I suggest you start with a single round that you will be shooting the most or is the most expensive to buy per round. You do need to be more careful when loading high pressure ammo then a low pressure round like .38 specials. Necked down rounds also take a greater amount of care to do them right. I think the easiest rounds to start loading are .38 specials and .45s.

Listing the rounds you want to load and their intended use would be helpful to be specific.
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Old May 11, 2012, 06:24 PM   #9
Mac Sidewinder
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I love my Lee Classic turret press. It may be slower than a progressive but I am so paranoid about reloading that I physically watch each case being completed. That's hard to do on a full progressive (without slowing the process down to a turret pace). I also don't shoot enough to warrant a full progressive either. I shoot around 300 rounds a week. Easy enough to complete on a turret.

I am a much better shot because I reload though. It's not really that I am producing that much better ammo (I hope its better) but that I can afford to shoot more since the cost per round is much lower than manufactured ammo.

However you get there is up to you but I'll tell you it's alot of fun.

Mac
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Old May 11, 2012, 07:11 PM   #10
Bigdog57
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A turret press is my preference, as I am set up to reload seventeen different calibers - each has it's own turret, and it becomes a 'plug&play' system. I don't like wasting time constantly removing and installing dies into the singlestage (it serves for special functions now). I do have the index bar removed, and perform one operation at a time - just my particular style. I don't need speed, just versatility.
For someone just loading a couple calibers, a singlestage is fine.
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Old May 11, 2012, 09:10 PM   #11
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
A lot of you guys rolling your own on these forums. I have been toying with the idea of reloading myself. I looked at a few setups but they vary so much in price and features.
Welcome to reloading (you know you will)
What are your needs? What calibers will you load for and what quantities? Will you leave your gear set up all the time or store it away after loading sessions? What kind of shooting do you intend (hunting, competition, long-range tack-driving, casual plinking, etc?). How much shooting experience do you have?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
I like the turret style loaders that give you a cartridge with every pull.
For metallic cartridges, there are single stage presses, turret presses and progressive presses. Only the progressives give you a cartridge with each pull because they do multiple operations simultaneously. They operate in continuous mode (cartridges go in empty and come out ready to shoot continuously). Single stage presses operate in batch mode (cartridges go into the press 20, 50 or a hundred at a time, get each operation performed on the batch and then you switch to the next operation and pass the batch through that process and so forth.) Turret presses can operate in batch mode or continuous mode, but you still have to operate the handle multiple times because the press only does one operation at a time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Are they as good as the single station type?
There is some disagreement on the answer to that question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Can I get into a setup like that that is upgradeable for reasonable ($300-$500) money?
These might give you some ideas
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/2938...andloader.html
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Would I have the option to add stuff on like the auto feaders that make them even quicker?
Progressive without case feeder is like orange juice without sunshine. If you go progressive, my advice is to get the full boat from the get-go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Will they give me accurate powder charges?
Depends on the powder measure and the powder. Some work better together than others. Also, what do you consider "accurate". Some people have shooting needs that have stricter requirements than others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Do any of them offer the ability to load shotgun as well as bullet?
I have heard of presses (mostly out of production now) that can do both, but pretty much, the answer is "no".
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
Finally, am I even asking the right questions?
Yes and no.

The first answer to the first question to be asked is what sserdlihc said in post #3. The second answer is the book "The ABC's of Reloading". The third answer is to read the early chapters in almost every reloading manual out there. Those early chapters invariably describe the loading process. Read different manuals and you will get the writing styles and concentrations of many different authors/reloaders.

I will post a list of web sites later.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:19 AM   #12
Lost Sheep
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Thanks for asking our advice.

My first advice: Read "The ABC's of Reloading", an excellent tome on the general processes of reloading. Some people have found it a little intimidating, but just remember, handloading is not rocket science. It does involve loud noises and things that go very fast, but it is safer than driving and a lot simpler than baking a souffle or changing a tire. Just follow the directions assiduously.

Let me share with you some posts and threads I think you will enjoy. So get a large mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you keep on hand when you read and think and read through these.

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=230171

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheHighRoad.com's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"
thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=238214
www.thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=238214

"Budget Beginning bench you will never outgrow for the novice handloader" was informed by my recent (July 2010) repopulation of my loading bench. It is what I would have done 35 years ago if I had known then what I know now.
rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html
http://www.rugerforum.net/reloading/...andloader.html

and this one, titled "Interested in reloading"
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543


My post, Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332
www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=430391
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

If you think you might go for used equipment, here is some encouragement, titled "How much to start reloading....dirt cheap! "
Thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439810
http://www.Thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=439810

Good luck and thanks for asking our advice

Lost Sheep
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:18 AM   #13
Uncle Buck
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Wow! Lost Sheep, have you ever thought of writing your own book?

BoogieMan (And any other new reloaders), Lost Sheep has the answers and they appear to be very unbiased. He definitely knows what he is talking about and his advice is definitely sound.

I started with a single stage press, the RCBS Rockchucker. I still use it and I am reloading for eight different cartridges. I have played with the idea of getting either a progressive or a turret type press, but what I have works for me. The learning curve was easy and I shoot quite a bit.

There are other members here that started on a progressive and they say the learning curve on their progressive was small and easy to learn. But the majority of folks recommend a single stage press for beginners.

Do you know any other reloaders in your area you could watch and maybe use their press to see what you like?

I like the single stage press for a variety of reasons, the biggest is that I handle my cartridges several times between beginning and final completion. I have caught a split case twice while using a hand priming tool.

Regardless of your decision, you have a whole lot of friends here on this board that will be able to help you. Let us know what you choose.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:36 AM   #14
joshf128
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As always it is impossible to follow up a great post by Lost Sheep, but I just wanted to say that MAC stole the words out of my mouth.

Quote:
I love my Lee Classic turret press. It may be slower than a progressive but I am so paranoid about reloading that I physically watch each case being completed. That's hard to do on a full progressive (without slowing the process down to a turret pace). I also don't shoot enough to warrant a full progressive either. I shoot around 300 rounds a week. Easy enough to complete on a turret.

I am a much better shot because I reload though. It's not really that I am producing that much better ammo (I hope its better) but that I can afford to shoot more since the cost per round is much lower than manufactured ammo.

However you get there is up to you but I'll tell you it's alot of fun.

Mac
I spent about $300 getting setup with a Lee Classic Turret with all of the trimmings (calipers, scale, autodisk powder measure, safety prime, tumbler) and it is everything I NEED to reload. I usually don't reload more than 100 rounds at a time just because I like to keep focused on what I'm doing. All that said, I find myself craving a single stage to deprime/resize/prime, so as others have said it's hard to go wrong with a single stage to get the feel for things.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:44 AM   #15
10Ringmagic
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I started out with (and it's still my only press), a Lee Classic Turret. You have to pull the handle four times to get a finished round, but that also allows you to carefully watch each step being performed. I can load 150 rounds per hour on it comfortably, and with full confidence that each cartridge is loaded correctly. As others have said, changing calibers is a breeze, just change out the turret for another one that you have preset the dies in for your use.

Last edited by 10Ringmagic; May 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM.
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Old May 12, 2012, 10:34 AM   #16
BoogieMan
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Guys thank you so much for the kind and informative posts. I have a lot of reading to do before taking the plunge. The last thing I want to do is get a setup that I find is not scalable or limits me. As some others said the shotgun cartridges will probably take a side line. I am not shooting that much sporting clay anymore and I dont shoot an oddball gage like a 28 or 16 where the shells are expensive. Always 12 or 20.
I picked inexpensive calibers when I bought my pistols. Currently .22 (i know not re-loadable) 9mm, 40. Mail order 9mm is running about $12 per fifty so if reloading cut that in half to $6 per 50 it would take me about 2500 rds to recoup my cost not including my time. I only shoot 30-06 for hunting so I only use about 10 rds a year although they are a bit pricey at $2 each. I have hunted for the past 30 or so years but higher volume shooting is relatively new to me so I am going to wait a while and see how it progresses and if I loose interest or not. Fishing is still my primary passion and I tie my own 90% of the time there. Just dont like buying off the shelf for anything. I will be reading all the links ands info you provided me with and keep you up to date on my progress.
Cheers
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Old May 12, 2012, 10:48 AM   #17
Tragnon
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Another $0.02

I started reloading quite a few years ago, and packed up my stuff when I moved. I started with a Lee 1000 Progressive, set up for .38/.357. I found a formula that worked for me, and just cranked out tons of it. For me the progressive was a really easy start, once I had a formula that worked for me.

Now, I'm loading .38, .357, 9mm, .300 Savage, and .45 ACP. The progressive is pretty much idle, as I have shifted to a pair of single stages. I also cast my own bullets for all the above.

My short answer is, if you plan to run one load, and want mass production, go progressive, for versatility and experimentation, single stage is the way to go.
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