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Old October 17, 2012, 01:37 AM   #1
Aaron1100us
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Would like to reload some day

Thinking it might be economical in the long run to reload now that my wife and I shoot more than just a couple calibers. We shoot .40 S&W, .380, 357 SIG, 7.62X54 and 12 guage. Can I reload all of those with one reloader? Or do you need a different reloader for each caliber? I hear Lee Precision makes good reloaders, just don't have any idea what all I would need, what type and what the cost would be. Thanks

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Old October 17, 2012, 03:37 AM   #2
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All of the ctg's you listed will work fine in any single stage press with the exception of the 12ga.- That will need to need to be processed on it's own setup.

There's literally TONS of variations and alternatives to putting together a reloading setup. So, to avert any 'favorites' debates, as far as which brands of dies, scales, case prep tools, etc- let me most respectfully suggest grabbing a couple copies of reloading books off of amazon or some such source and studying those front to back before you proceed any furhter.
Two books I find very informative are "ABC's Of Reloading" and "Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Manual". Not only do they list many various loading recipes for your cartridges, but histories, used components, minimum and maximum loads. ALSO, in the front of these books are very detailed instructions, steps, considerations, and required equipment for reloading.

Once you and your missus have looked the books over, and get an understanding of the elements involved as far as time constraints, safety, reloading area setup, etc- THEN it will be so much easier for folks here to guide you through 'specific' issues rather than such a broad 'general' area.

For me, reloading is very much a worthwhile project, and highly enjoyable to boot. I don't knock folks who use progressive presses- I enjoyed one myself while I was the guy who cranked out practice and training ammunition for the Sheriff's Office I worked for. But, after 14 years of using my single stage- I still haven't graduated up to a progressive for my personal use. I enjoy the time and precision I get from the single stage (which happens to be a Lee and an obsolete Herter's by the way). Anyway, for the new reloader getting his/her basics down- I do recommend a single stage.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:19 AM   #3
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Probably not going to be able to load that 7.62x54R either. If you buy surplus, it's probably steel cased, berdan primed, cases. Please heed the advice of the previous poster and buy "ABC's of reloading" and "Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Manual".
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:25 AM   #4
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Thanks, I'll get those books ordered.

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Old October 17, 2012, 06:32 AM   #5
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Brass is available for the 7.62x54R commercially. No problem there. In fact, of all your cartridges, this round benefits the most from handloading. If you have not yet done so, find out what the bore is - these rifles vary. My RCBS dies came with two expanders, .308 and .312. Bullets are readily available in either diameter, more for .308 of course. +1 on single stage - I added a turret this year, but the old Rockchucker gets a lot of use.

Ammo prices being what they are, especially for .380 and .357 Sig, you can save some money there. Think practice ammo - it's difficult to improve on the performance of commercial offerings in these calibers.

Shotgun shells are another story. More like volume production and more expensive setup. Haven't tried that, but then I am not a competitive shooter.
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Old October 17, 2012, 06:49 AM   #6
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For a while, at least, "The ABCs of Reloading" was available free in Kindle format. I grabbed it. You might check to see if it is free now (I think I got it from Amazon). Not the same as a full-color book you can put page markers in all over the place, but a handy take-along for when you have to wait for your wife to get something done.

My reloading teacher and mentor was very precise with his loading and I picked up all those habits, so, like 10-96, I have a couple of single-stage presses and can use a friend's progressive when I want to crank out bulk plinking or practice ammo. The only think I recommend caution about is buying a cheap all-in-one kit because you tend to get an OK starter press in a box filled with many crappy other parts, like the powder scale and measure - so that you soon find yourself buying proper ones and similar other components, often of a different brand. For example, you might buy a Lee press but an RCBS hand primer (the original one, not the universal, btw).

Best single thing you can do, IMO and if possible, is to visit the bench of a reloader, look at all the stuff and ask questions. If you have a copy of a catalog like Midway's along, even better because you can get suggestions, piece by piece.

If you don't shoot a whole lot of shotgun, you might be better off collecting a good quality bullet setup before even looking at shotgun-shell reloaders.
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Old October 17, 2012, 07:47 AM   #7
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If you are a Prime member the ABCs is still free on Amazon via their lending library.
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Old October 17, 2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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The current ABCs of Reloading is junk. Invest in Lyman #49; it will tell you want you need to know.
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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The question you need to ask yourself is if you are looking to save money, or shoot more. Saving money by reloading is a myth. Now---shooting more, THAT'S what usually happens. You'll spend twice as much and shoot 5x as much. Just to keep it in the proper perspective...
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Old October 17, 2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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You can reload all of that with a simple single stage press plus a shotshell reloader.

For reloading your 12 GA Lee makes a nice setup for less than $50 - comes with everything you need except consumables (the "dies" for 12-GA are built-in - shotshells use a different system than cartridge reloading, and the powder and shot feeds are built in). If you want to spend more money MEC has some nice stuff, but at many times the price. The Lee setup works fine for medium volume use.

Oh, and the 7.62x54R comment is wrong. I just reloaded a box of it this morning. There's new brass available for it, as well as reloadable brass-cased ammunition. There are fewer bullets available for it than standard .308, but I cast my own so it's not an issue.

This is what I use for 12 gauge

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Old October 17, 2012, 11:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
The current ABCs of Reloading is junk.
With such insightful commentary it's no wonder this forum is so popular....
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Old October 17, 2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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.357 SIG

Another comment. I would save reloading 357 SIG until you get some experience with the other pistol calibers. It's a little tricky to reload due to being such a short-necked bottleneck cartridge, and bullet setback (read - excessive pressures) can be a problem.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:56 PM   #13
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Yes, you can reload all of the metallic calibers ...using a press like the Dillon 550 or the Dillon 650 ...both good solid options / and way better, in my opinion, than any press that Lee puts out. Lee isn't a terrible press ...but it has some issues / and you can do a search to get input on that...and you'll get a lot of input on presses from single stage - to progressive presses / progressive presses are very popular for handgun ammo where you typically want a larger volume / and I think its fair to say that both Dillon and Hornaday have most of the upper end of the market - both good machines / although personally I prefer the Dillon ( and the 650 model).

http://www.dillonprecision.com/

In shotshells....MEC ....has a huge majority of the market...and they also have single stage presses ...to a mid level press like the Grabber model, that I would recommend - to the 9000 series which is their top of the line right now.

http://www.mecreloaders.com/

Reloading is another part of the gun hobby for me...and I've been reloading for a long time / like others said, I just shoot 3 or 4 times more with the same ammo budget. But mostly I like customizing my loads...to what I like for each of my guns ...especially in terms of the grain of bullet and velocity on metallic / and in terms of shot weight for shotshells and velocity --- where in a 12ga, for all the clay target games, I like a 1oz shell of 8's at about 1225 fps...for Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays.
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Old October 17, 2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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Cost? My set up for loading 9mm and 40S&W was about $600. RCBS Rockchucker kit and dies plus a number of extras like small metering drum, Hornady quick change bushings, digital and mechanical calipers, 24 Berrys ammo storage boxes, Imperial die wax and other stuff.

Can be done cheaper, but I have no regrets about anything I've bought, including everything in the RCBS kit.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:10 PM   #15
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My wife and I both compete in IPSC and shoot about 1,000 rounds of 9mm between us each week for practice, so a Dillon 650 with a case feeder is a necessity. But if you and your wife expect to shoot a lot less, a set up like that is probably overkill.

With a much cheaper and simpler Lee Classic Turret Press, you'll easily be able to crank out over 100 finished rounds per hour, and that may be good enough for you - at least to start off with. For the shotgun, like the other poster I also suggest a Lee LoadAll for around $50. With that setup you should be able to produce about 40 to 50 finished shotshells per hour depending on what you're loading.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Probably not going to be able to load that 7.62x54R either. If you buy surplus, it's probably steel cased, berdan primed, cases.
Plenty of Brass cased Commie -Ought Six out there ...Prvi's PPU line is inexpensive, Boxer Primed, Brass cased, and not bad for factory ammo...... Both Hornady and Sierra have .311-.312 bullets for reloading.

Quote:
I would save reloading 357 SIG until you get some experience with the other pistol calibers.
Keep it simple to start with .... try 9mm target loads at first... then .40 .....

As for jumping straight into a spendy progressive like a Dillon ..... I'd learn on a single stage so that I understood eveything before I tried multi-tasking with the progressive...... The Lee Kit can be had for 100 Bucks, $25-50 for dies.....

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423...nniversary-kit

I can't see how an RCBS kit is $400-$500 better ......
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Old October 17, 2012, 07:23 PM   #17
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Whatever route you take, start saving all brass NOW. If you dont reload for that particular cal, you can swap it, give it away or sell as scrap. Save your sgn shells too.
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Old October 17, 2012, 09:10 PM   #18
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Don't wait. Study up some and go.

Don't wait. Study up some with a few books, assess your ammunition needs and jump right in.

Loading is not rocket science, but does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so some care is needed, but if you can change a tire without losing your lug nuts and make a batch of cupcakes without scorching yourself you can load your own.

Almost all loading manuals have "how-to" instructions in their early chapters with the later chapters devoted to load recipes/data and often some chapters on external ballistics (bullet flight paths, bullet drop, etc). The ABC's has no load recipes, but is written by a number of authors and compiled by editors. Each new printing is somewhat different and the older ones (from the '70s through the '90s) are said to be better than the newer ones. I cannot testify one way or the other, but your local library will probably have a few you can read and you can judge for yourself.

Why reload? Let me count the ways:

Economy: Depending on what cartridges you are reloading (and whether or not you want to count your time and the up-front equipment costs) you can save anywhere from just a little to 80% or more of your ammo costs. (9mm is very close to no savings. 500 S&W, my friend's ammo costs are $0.75 per round, factory loaded ammo is $3.00 each for comparable ammo. More exotic calibers (especially rifle calibers) can save even more. Some rounds are not even available on a regular basis at any price.

Quality: Ammo you craft yourself can be tuned to your firearms particular characteristics. Handloaders for rifles quite often find some individual guns have quite striking differences in group size when shooting tuned ammunition.

Knowledge: As you study reloading, you will, perforce, also study internal ballistics. The study of internal ballistics leads into the study of how your firearm works.

Customization: Ammo you load yourself can be tuned to your particular needs. My friend with the 500 S&W loads full power loads and "powder puff" loads that clock 350 grain slugs a little under 800 feet per second. I know that's more than a G.I. 45 ACP's power and momentum, but they shoot like 22 rimfire in that big, heavy gun. Great for fun, familiarization, training and letting the curious bystander go for a "test drive" with a super-light load, a medium load, a heavy load and, if they are still game one of the big boomers. This tends to avoid the "rear sight in the forehead" mark.

Satisfaction: Punching small bunches of small, medium or large holes in paper or bringing down a game or food animal with ammunition you crafted yourself has a good deal of satisfaction. Same reason I prefer to make my own biscuits instead of store-bought.

Smug satisfaction: When the ammo shelves are bare during a market or political scare, loaders are demonstrably less affected by the shortages. A couple of pounds of powder, a thousand primers and bullets (or few pounds of lead) and a hundred cartridge cases wouldn't fill a small book carton, but lets the loader know he can shoot while price-gougers take advantage of non-loaders.

Self-satisfaction: The repetitive, calm, attentive concentration of the reloading activities is often found to be so much fun as to bring to the shooter's mind the question, "Do I reload so I can shoot shoot or do I shoot so I can reload?". Some find loading to be as satisfying a hobby as shooting or fly-tying or many other hobbies.

The more fanatical among us combine a couple of the features I have mentioned and, instead of shooting for bullseye accuracy at the range, reload in a search for the "magic load" that achieves perfection in a given rifle. Then, they move on to the next target, which is another rifle and another tuned load. But you do have to be at least a little fanatical to even get it. It is the hunt they seek, for they enjoy the quest more than the goal.

I am sure there are many other reasons, but these are the main ones I can think of.

Thanks for asking our advice

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Old October 17, 2012, 09:20 PM   #19
Lost Sheep
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How much to get in?

Serf 'rett is about right. But you don't have to start out full bore. You can go slow.

You can start with $150 and be minimally equipped for one caliber, and can expand from there as you have the money and feel the need for more tools. But you will have spent nothing on items you will later discard or outgrow.

$204 will get you up to a really nice setup for one caliber. $287 and you have a really good setup.

$422 and you have just about everything you need to load one caliber, 100 rounds per hour at an easy pace or up to 200 if you are faster than me (and I am slow) on a continuous basis for as long as you want.

(NOTE: These dollar figures are from June/July 2010, but you should still be able to match them if you shop carefully.)

Budget another $100 for miscellaneous small tools plus $50 per additional caliber.

See my story of repopulating my loading bench here:
http://www.rugerforum.net/reloading/...andloader.html

See my "10 Advices for the Novice Handloader" here, post #10. Post #9 has a bunch of links you might find useful. They are largely threads from other people new to or asking about reloading/handloading.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show....php?p=5115715

Good luck.

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Old October 18, 2012, 07:08 AM   #20
Aaron1100us
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Thanks for all the info. I want this to be another part of the hobby as well as maybe saving $$ in the long run. Going to start with the 7.62x54 first. Would like to do the 357 SIG first but it sounds a little more difficult. 357 SIG is $35 for 50 at local stores, $20 + shipping online. My daily carry is my G33 but I don't get to shoot is as much as I would like. I get Tula .40 for my G22 at Wally World for $12 for 50 so thats not too bad. My Wife shoots Tula .380 and that's even $14. Will order some books tomorrow. I love making/building this so I think this will be fun. The .22's get shot the most of course, 535 rounds for under $20, love it.

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Old October 20, 2012, 07:56 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron1100us
Would like to do the 357 SIG first but it sounds a little more difficult.
I wouldn't be too worried about loading 357sig. It was the cartridge that I started with and if you have the proper information and caution it's really not a big deal.

I learned everything I needed to know here on this forum. I did buy the Lyman 49th Edition and the ABCs but I find the information overly basic and generic. This isn't a fault in the manuals, it's my learning style. Others find those books to be excellent resources and I do highly recommend both.

In particular with the 357sig, proper sizing, crimp and choosing your powder wisely will solve all your issues. Yes, it's a bit more to learn and watch than maybe 9mm, but it's really not a big deal.
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Old October 20, 2012, 10:29 PM   #22
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No you won't save any money in the short term (I got mine cheap years back and more hand me over by a brother so I am feeding off past cheap as it were now I am back into it)

A kit is nice because while not always the best it gets you all the nit noid stuff you need to get going. Hard to figure out what you want and need if you have not done it. Some like one direction and others like another which is why there is a lot of choice. What works for you may not work for me.

I am adding to it now, I like the digital scales and got a cheap one (it actually worked better for how I am trickling powder as opposed to a higher qulaity one on sale that had the controls int he way)

Good tumbler has been added (that's one area I would go with the Ultra Vibe 10, expensive but well worth it as its quiet and does a fantastic job and yes I prefer dry media cleaning).

357 Sig should not be a problem, just follow instructions to the letter (Lyman's is pretty good I understand, I picked my stuff up from a lot of sources over the years).

If you can make an educated guess as to how much you need to crank out, that would dictate which direction you want to go.

I would be more inclined to go single press (two or three actually) anyway to start with to learn the art and then go progressive latter if you want.

Me, I have two Rock Chuckers and a Jr and that still does me fine. I load in 50 load lots or less most of the time, never more than 100.

My brother got a progressive and does ok with it now but a lot of issues and a mod (Hornady). Lot of fiddling. Dillon might be the better way to go but more expensive as they are the established top dog.

Get Carbide dies and if going single, competition dies are worth it as they work far better and are easier on bullets.

I go for the 4 dies setup for pistol straight wall as I have moved to the crimp as a separate step anyway and it saves a lot of adjustment fiddling.

And I agree with the following almost 100% and that's sang something

Quote:
All of the ctg's you listed will work fine in any single stage press with the exception of the 12ga.- That will need to need to be processed on it's own setup.

There's literally TONS of variations and alternatives to putting together a reloading setup. So, to avert any 'favorites' debates, as far as which brands of dies, scales, case prep tools, etc- let me most respectfully suggest grabbing a couple copies of reloading books off of amazon or some such source and studying those front to back before you proceed any furhter.
Two books I find very informative are "ABC's Of Reloading" and "Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Manual". Not only do they list many various loading recipes for your cartridges, but histories, used components, minimum and maximum loads. ALSO, in the front of these books are very detailed instructions, steps, considerations, and required equipment for reloading.

Once you and your missus have looked the books over, and get an understanding of the elements involved as far as time constraints, safety, reloading area setup, etc- THEN it will be so much easier for folks here to guide you through 'specific' issues rather than such a broad 'general' area.

For me, reloading is very much a worthwhile project, and highly enjoyable to boot. I don't knock folks who use progressive presses- I enjoyed one myself while I was the guy who cranked out practice and training ammunition for the Sheriff's Office I worked for. But, after 14 years of using my single stage- I still haven't graduated up to a progressive for my personal use. I enjoy the time and precision I get from the single stage (which happens to be a Lee and an obsolete Herter's by the way). Anyway, for the new reloader getting his/her basics down- I do recommend a single stage.
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Old January 19, 2013, 05:54 PM   #23
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If I were just starting out, I would get an older copy of ABC's of Hand loading, every good used book store will have them.I would look at the Forster Press from Midway USA.The Forster is the Cadillac of presses. You can reload everything from 17 Bee to 50 Caliber on the same press, Die's just snap in.After you have adjusted a die set for a particular caliber, you don't need to readjust any thing, just snap the die set in and away you go.Forster has just two sets of self adjusting spring loaded bullet jaws. No used primers on the floor. All in all with a good reloading manual and a Forster press and dies you are ready to go.
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