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Old November 10, 2012, 12:42 PM   #1
OttoJara
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Starting to reload

OK guys. I just bought a 45-70 and have been looking into loading my own rounds. I want to start off as cheap as possible. I'm looking at the Lee Classic Loader. Besides brass what eles will I need to get started. What kind of powder? What size primers? And, where's the best place to get them? There is a gun show monthly just a few miles from home. I've seen reload stuff there but never paid it any mind. Any and all info will be helpful.
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Old November 10, 2012, 01:19 PM   #2
jmortimer
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I like hand priming and using powder dippers. You will need a scale, funnel, and some large rifle primers. As for powder, you need to decide where you want to be power-wise. Low, Med, or High. High can be brutal with the .45-70. For plinking there are many sources for decent cast bullets. For hunting I would go with Beartooth Bullets. Get Modern Reloading by Richard Lee, good first manual.
Here is link to some load data, I like to use Unique or 2400 or RL-7 for low to high.
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Old November 10, 2012, 01:20 PM   #3
m&p45acp10+1
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If you are getting the Lee classic loader then you will need a non metal mallet. A Dial caliper is helpful to have. A cheap digital scale would not hurt to have.

You will need bullets, powder and primers.

The thing I would suggest would be reloading manual. The ABC's of reloading is good one, and can be found at just about any library in the country. Or can be purchased for less than $20 online.

Before attempting to reload you should understand what you will be doing as far as the process, and components used. What to not do under any circumstances, and safety procedures to follow.

For loading I would suggest starting with Trail Boss powder. It is fairly forgiving, and can be loaded by the volume it takes up in a case. The directions are on Hodgdon's web site, and are downloadable in PDF form. You can make a dipper by cutting down a case.
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Old November 10, 2012, 01:23 PM   #4
Lost Sheep
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Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice.

Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice

For small amount of ammunition, the investment in the Lee Loader might be best. At least the price of entry is low (about $25-$30, right?).

Add a mallet (Do not use a steel hammer. Steel on steel is not advisable.) A wooden, rawhide, plastic or very hard rubber is much better. Even a brass hammer, but not steel.

A chunk of wood underneath the tool helps reduce damage to your work surface and can be replaced with another scrap when it gets all dented.

Use a drop cloth spread out under your chair and work surface. It will make cleanup simpler and will catch the (inevitable) powder spills, dropped primer (either live or used) and the gritty, burnt trash from the spent primers. Don't use plastic sheeting. It is noisy, lets primers roll away and the static it collects causes spilled powder to scatter. Cloth drapes better, too, laying flat and not tangling up your feet.

The Lee Loader comes with a single powder measuring dipper, but that severely limits your capacity to choose different powders or power levels. The entire set of dippers costs about $15-$18 and will allow you more flexibility.

Even having the set of dippers, however, does not make it easy to get the charge you want for adjusting the power level of your ammunition. Most loading data comes in weight, not volume, so you have to use the Lee conversion chart to figure out what you are getting. Even so, if you desire a charge weight in-between what the dippers give you may be tricky, so a scale is a good idea.

A scale to actually weigh the powder directly is far more flexible. $25-$30 will get you a Lee Safety Scale. It is accurate to .1 grain. (Note: Gunpowder is measured in grains, which is a unit of weight. 7,000 grains make a pound. Do not confuse grains with granules/grains of powder.)

The Lee scale, while accurate, is not easy to read. (Put it up on a stable shelf at eye level in good light is my advice.) Ohaus makes scales that, while no more accurate, are easier to operate. Ohaus makes almost all the scales sold under the nameplates of RCBS, Dillon, etc. Those scales cost from $75 to $180. I don't recommend electronic scales. Many do, but I don't. Gravity is reliable. Electronics can be affected by the electronic emanations of flourescent lights and by low battery power.

Having a scale will allow you to customize your loads (with the information contained in loading manuals or from powder manufacturer's web sites) with infinite variety.


So:

A Lee Loader can fit in a jacket pocket, but you have to add the mallet, a work surface, eye protection and ear protection (the repeated banging of the mallet is not good for your ears) you wind up with a shoe-box full of gear.

If, however, you take out the wood worksurface and put in a scale, take out the Lee Loader and put in a set of press-mount dies, take out the mallet and put in a Lee Hand Press, you can load much more flexibly and quieter.

$30 Lee Loader
$10 Mallet
$0 Scrap wood worksurface
$0 Eye protection and ear protection, which you already have for your shooting (DON'T YOU?!?)
$10 protective glove for your off-hand (just in case a primer goes off)

$35 Lee Dies
$30 Lee Hand Press
$0 Eye protection and ear protection, which you already have for your shooting (DON'T YOU?!?)
$7 loading block (not necessary, but recommended, $0 if you make it yourself)

To either choice, I would add the $25 Lee Safety Scale (or a better one if you choose), the $15 set of Dippers and a couple of loading manuals (Lee's book and Lyman's, perhaps)

The price difference is not that much once you consider all the accessories you will eventually find you want.


The hand press is your ticket for both simplicity and portability.

Starting slow and learning every step is the smart thing.

While I don't want to second guess your decision about the Lee Loader but I will anyway because I think a press will serve you better. Though either will let you learn the steps, the press lets you see very closely how it is loaded and with conditions even more controlled than with the Lee Loader.

The mallet driven tool requires you have a sturdy work surface and be away from other people who will be annoyed by the hammering. The hand press can be operated quietly seated in front of a card table. (Though, the scale I recommend needs to be on a more stable surface.)

The Lee Loader is perfectly adequate and probably as fast as the Hand Press. And is an investment commensurate with 20-40 rounds . For about $25 more, you can have a much quieter tool that is not unnerving to onlookers waiting for the explosion (said explosion is virtually impossible, but EVERYONE thinks about it - probably from watching old cartoons).

Check out these videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-LA2G_Sy4I Lee Loader
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6IoNCtFHwUhttp: Lee Hand Press.

The continuum of convenience and speed goes up from there

If your shooting goes up past 50 rounds at a session, you might find yourself thinking a press actually mounted on a tabletop would be convenient. It is. And faster than either the Lee Loader or Hand Press. But the price starts to climb past $100. Maybe up to $200. But that is barely 7-10 boxes of ammunition.

Lee makes a $30 single stage press that is an EXTREMELY basic setup, but the Challenger or Classic Cast single stage will last your lifetime or more.

If you want more speed, a Turret press and some accessories will get you up to 100-200 rounds per hour rather than the 30-50 available with the simpler tools. But the bench-mounted single stage press or the turret is no more complex in operation than the hand press. You are looking at $250 for the setup.

If you still want MORE speed, a progressive press can give you 100 to 1,000 rounds per hour. But they are more complex and will cost you some serious money. $200 to $1,000

Food for thought. If you think the gear is costly, add up a year's worth of retail ammunition purchases and compare.

Lost Sheep


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Last edited by Lost Sheep; November 10, 2012 at 01:31 PM.
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Old November 10, 2012, 01:26 PM   #5
jmortimer
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^ Good Advice
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Old November 10, 2012, 10:00 PM   #6
OttoJara
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OK, so about $100.00 will start me off good with a Lee Hand Press and dies. Where is a good place to buy these goodies?
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Old November 10, 2012, 10:18 PM   #7
jmortimer
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https://fsreloading.com/
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Old November 10, 2012, 11:41 PM   #8
Lost Sheep
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Don't forget the accessories

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttoJara
OK, so about $100.00 will start me off good with a Lee Hand Press and dies. Where is a good place to buy these goodies?
You should also get:

Manual or two.

Scale to keep your loads certain and safe

Calipers to verify your cartridges' and components' dimensions

Loading block to keep your cases from tipping over

Notebook to keep things organized

Case lube to ease the loading process and keep the brass from sticking in the dies

A set of Lee Dippers (or make a few of your own) to make meting powder convenient.

A powder trickler for the convenience of bringing powder charges up to weight. A trickler can be had for $20 or you can make a hand-held one out of any good-sized bottlenecked cartridge.

When you decide to upgrade your press to a bench-mounted press, all these other accessories will be handy, so don't scrimp.

Just off the top of my head.

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Old November 11, 2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech...h_notes.htm/49
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