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Old December 25, 2012, 12:00 AM   #1
Supermech21
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Getting into reloading, one step at a time

So I have the ability to shoot on my local military installations firing range for $4 a visit (member price). A lot of the locals shoot a box or two and leave, and don't save their brass... I have slowly been accumulating brass until this last trip I brought home about 25lbs of brass... It's about 12-15 different types of ammo but the largest majority is 40 and 9mm. So I have a 2012 hornady handbook for reloading and am ready to start, but I have some questions...

-A lot of the brass is banged up and rim fire, who can I sell this too? Is the local metal mill the best spot?
-Some of the ammo is a little more aged, when I run it through the tumbler will the media be able to fix this?
-What is the best way to prepare the ammo (unfinished) for long storage?

My idea was to separate the ammo into size, clean, de prime, then prep for storage. And when I have enough ammo saved up ill get a single press and die for the rounds I want to reload. Is this a sound plan? I'm doing this because I have access to decent amounts, want to get into more comp shooting, and think it would be a fun hobby.

So what equipment are you running, tumbler type, de primer, measurement tools, lubrications?

Current set up, still have another 10lbs or so to sort!

Last edited by Supermech21; December 25, 2012 at 07:57 AM.
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Old December 25, 2012, 12:45 AM   #2
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Sweet deal on brass! As far as prepping it goes I would get a universal decapping die and sort/inspect it all carefully as you decap it. Take any rimfire and damaged brass to your local recyclers. Any brass that is pitted, rusted, bulged,or generally deformed in any major way should be recycled as well. Minor dings or scratches are usually safe. The tumbling process should eliminate any tarnishing or discoloration and clean the primer pocket somewhat as well. Storage is as easy as a ziploc bag or those handy plastic totes in your photo. Maybe a small amount of desiccant in each tote to help with moisture control and you should be in great shape until you decide to load it. I just received some old 6mm Remington shells to reload along with some Sierra bullets in what appears to be quite an ancient box. Shells were brown and very rough, sent them out just as bright and shiny as the day they were manufactured I think. Good luck in your efforts and bring your questions here, there are many members here that know far more than I and are more than willing to help.
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Old December 25, 2012, 12:51 AM   #3
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Sorry I neglected your final question . I am currently running an RCBS rock chucker single stage press with Cabela's standard vibratory tumbler with ground corncob media. The Supreme kit I bought from RCBS has just about everything you need to start. The only thing I would like that's different would be a turret press instead of the single stage. Once you start loading several calibers having preset dies set in turrets makes changing calibers a breeze versus resetting the die every time you switch.
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Old December 25, 2012, 01:01 AM   #4
Supermech21
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Thanks for the info! My wife helped me sort but that's about as far as reading the number and putting in a tote... I'll have to inspect them as I de prime the rounds.

Would you recommend your tumbler or another brand for my size operation? What do you recommend for a de buring /chamfering tool?
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Old December 25, 2012, 01:06 AM   #5
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Reduce your image size when you post a picture out of simple curtesy.
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:48 AM   #6
Misssissippi Dave
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I have a couple of suggestions. For pistol cases you don't need to case length for the most part. Rifle cases are a different thing. When you clean pistol cases leave the primer in the case. This will keep the pockets from getting filled with media and adding a lot more work for you to do. I have not noticed any improvements in my ammo be cleaning primer pockets as compared to not cleaning them. I don't load rifle ammo so I'm referring to hand gun ammo only.

I normally just sort brass by size and clean it. It is easier to see cracks and pitting on brass that is clean. If you are using corncob in a vib. type tumbler you can add some NuFinish car polish to the media and let it mix without brass for 15 to 30 minutes then add the brass. It will help to clean the brass a little quicker and keeps it from tarnishing a lot longer. Don't add more than a cap full. More is not better. Dillon brass cleaner is another additive you can use but without the NuFinish it will tarnish quicker.

You can take any cases that won't pass your inspection to a recycler facility and get paid for the brass. You can also add the primers to the bad brass and recycle that as well.

As a minimum for loading pistol ammo I suggest a turret press or possibly a progressive. A single stage will load them just fine but most people reloading pistol ammo soon find they need more ammo produced per hour than can be done with a single stage press. YMMV. I believe there are several threads here with lists of other things you will need to produce same ammo.
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:57 AM   #7
Supermech21
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I appreciate all the help. I think I'm headed in the right direction now. Last question, for storing this ammo for a long time, after its been cleaned just put it in a tote? Or zip lock it? Are these the best methods?
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hook686 View Post
Reduce your image size when you post a picture out of simple curtesy.
I'm sorry, I'm on a iPad and have to load images, i couldn't see this issue from my view.

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Old December 25, 2012, 08:20 AM   #9
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I just store mine in zip lock bags or ammo cans, never had an issue. With the zip locks you can write caliber and quantity on them, that's a plus. Welcome to handloading.
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Old December 25, 2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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I use freezer type ziploc bags even for finished ammo. I have used tupperware as well. Dry ammo boxes work well too. I keep some blocks from factory ammo on the bench to place finished rounds in. I do this as a method of counting what I have loaded and a quick way to check that I have seated all primers correctly. I do write on the bag what I have in it.
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:05 AM   #11
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well first great score on the brass....I do the same thing at Bragg's range! Over time you will end up with more brass than you can handle. As someone else posted NuFinish car wax is the best for a media type tumbler...make sure to mix it with mineral spirits about 3 parts Nufinish to 1 part mineral spirits...this help trust me. Also another little trick is to save your used dyer sheets. once you have a bunch cut them up into 2x2 inch squares and throw a few of the squares into the tumbler and the dyer sheets will pick up any dust that collects keeping the dust down inside the tumbler.
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:13 AM   #12
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For storage I use anything I have available. I.E.

Plastic 3 lb. coffee cans.
Large plastic 1 gal. jars
2 gal. wash pails
Some go into gallon size freezer bags

Ok now you do not have to tumble pistol brass. A simple washing will get anything that would scratch you dies off. I used to use a one quart Gatorade bottle with a shot of dish soap, a bit of vinegar, and fill with water to almost full. Place the cap on. Shake for a while pour out into a dollar store strainer. Then dip them in clean water a couple of times to rinse. Place them on a towel to dry.

For the rim fire brass put it into a bucket, save it with any rejects, when you get a 2 gal wash pail full then call a few local scrap yards. You will get a few dollars for it. Though make sure to ask on the phone if they take scrap gun brass. Not all of them do.

For equipment knowing what your budget is will help more than anything.

It would be hard to go wrong with a Lee Classic Turret Kit with the Pro Auto Disc powder measure, and the riser for it. As well as the Safety Prime system. It is a great deal, and will serve you well for a lifetime, and a few generations more.
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:18 AM   #13
Supermech21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgang78 View Post
well first great score on the brass....I do the same thing at Bragg's range! Over time you will end up with more brass than you can handle. As someone else posted NuFinish car wax is the best for a media type tumbler...make sure to mix it with mineral spirits about 3 parts Nufinish to 1 part mineral spirits...this help trust me. Also another little trick is to save your used dyer sheets. once you have a bunch cut them up into 2x2 inch squares and throw a few of the squares into the tumbler and the dyer sheets will pick up any dust that collects keeping the dust down inside the tumbler.
Awesome post!! Thanks dude, those are the secrets and tips I was hoping for...

I shoot at mckellar's lodge too!
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:31 AM   #14
Supermech21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m&p45acp10+1 View Post
For storage I use anything I have available. I.E.

Plastic 3 lb. coffee cans.
Large plastic 1 gal. jars
2 gal. wash pails
Some go into gallon size freezer bags

Ok now you do not have to tumble pistol brass. A simple washing will get anything that would scratch you dies off. I used to use a one quart Gatorade bottle with a shot of dish soap, a bit of vinegar, and fill with water to almost full. Place the cap on. Shake for a while pour out into a dollar store strainer. Then dip them in clean water a couple of times to rinse. Place them on a towel to dry.

For the rim fire brass put it into a bucket, save it with any rejects, when you get a 2 gal wash pail full then call a few local scrap yards. You will get a few dollars for it. Though make sure to ask on the phone if they take scrap gun brass. Not all of them do.

For equipment knowing what your budget is will help more than anything.

It would be hard to go wrong with a Lee Classic Turret Kit with the Pro Auto Disc powder measure, and the riser for it. As well as the Safety Prime system. It is a great deal, and will serve you well for a lifetime, and a few generations more.
Good info on cleaning the ammo, but I still would like to tumble it.

I'm not sure what my budget is. I have time and I'm just in the accumulating stage, so I can buy parts slower to build my set up. I used to think a progressive was to much for my goals, but if it helps safe guard me from making a rookie mistake I would gladly pay the extra!

I will likely collect between 5 and 30lbs of ammo a month and would like to reload as much as I can, what would your recommendation be?
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:45 AM   #15
m&p45acp10+1
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The turret is not a progressive. It loads one round at a time. It can be used as a single stage, or turned to auto advance. You would start with, and finish one round at a time.

The Breech Lock Challenger Kit runs for roughly $110 to $120 it has most of what you would need. Add a better scale, and a dial caliper. I have been using one for the past 3 almost 4 years. It is still going strong. My upgrades have been few. Mainly a better scale.

Though I will at some point in time pony up for a Classic Turret. My set up came from a trade, and I seem to spend all of my money on more supplies, or new guns.
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:58 AM   #16
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As to some of your other question from the OP, I use Dillon equipment. It is made to process pretty large amounts of brass and ammo. I don't think the Dillon vibrating tumble is right for everyone. Both sizes they sell may be more than the average reloader might need. When you are processing a lot of cases of a single caliber they are hard to beat. They are on the expensive side as well. It seems you will pay more to do more in less time for most every step in reloading.

For pistol brass I normally use a little One Shot case lube on pistol brass. Not every piece of brass gets lubed. When I start feeling more resistance I give the next group of brass to be loaded a bit of lube. Carbide dies are the only ones I will use to load pistol ammo.

Dial calipers are the most durable. Better ones like starlett will normally last a life time. You can get by with ones from Harbor Freight. Don't expect those to last forever. Digital calipers are the easiest to use. Most of them do have problems working well in very cold temperatures. If you are working in heated area during the winter you should be fine with digital. The mechanical dial types don't have temp. problems for the most part. The same can be said of scales. Digital are the fastest and easiest to use. Most have problems with temperatures if they only work with batteries. Mechanical have fewer limitations but are much slower and sometimes harder to use.

I do have a suggestion about cleaning brass in a vibrating tumbler. Most of them do seal pretty well while they are doing the cleaning. When you go to pour out the contents, do it outside with the wind to your back. You don't really want to be breathing in any dust from this stuff. Dryer sheet at the bottom of the bowl will reduce the amount of dust produced and also make your media stay cleaner longer. I got a box of Bounce dryer sheets just for my tumbler and use them. I don't cut them up. I just poke a hole in them and place it over the shaft for the lid to the bottom of the tumbler. I can clean several thousand cases prior to replacing the media. I got a 40 pound bag of corncob media from Grainger (20/40) and it has lasted a long time. Read that as a few years.

Cleaning brass in a vibrating tumbler seems to work best and the quickest when you are close to max capacity for the tumbler. This is one reason to get one that is the closer to the size needed to clean the batch sizes you plan to do. If I only put 100 .357 cases in my tumbler to clean it takes at least two to three times longer (possibly more) to clean them compared to cleaning about 1000 9 mm cases.
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Old December 25, 2012, 02:52 PM   #17
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Step one

ABC's of Reloading. See if your local library has one or get one from Amazon for $17 (electronic one is $1, but has no pictures). I understand some of the older editions are better. The book is a compilation of many authors assembled by editors.

Then get any loading manual, whose early chapters will be devoted to describing the loading process.

Bless you for taking the rimfire brass. Most of it winds up in landfills, which is a shame. Selling to a metals recycler is much better.

Welcome to reloading.

Lost Sheep

p.s. I have an article I wrote for the novice which I will post next.
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Old December 25, 2012, 02:54 PM   #18
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Considering taking up reloading?

You need knowledge. About the process, about the load recipes that are safe and about the tools. A mentor would be nice.

At a bare minimum, You need 3 tools, without which it is physically impossible to load, but unwise until you also have some good judgement. You know where good judgement comes from? Good judgement comes from bad experiences. You know where bad experience comes from? Bad judgement. The wise man learns from his experience. The TRULY wise man learns from the experiences of others. So, read manuals and threads and talk to experienced loaders wherever you can.

The three tools:

A press, because fingers are not strong enough to form metal.

Dies for 9mm because fingers are not accurate enough to form metal to fit.

You need a way to mete powder (most likely a scale, but some use calibrated dippers).

Other tools can wait until you discover the need for them. Except for certain things without which it is possible to load, but foolish. Eye protection. Calipers. Notebook. Dropcloth. Stuff like that.

Calipers, because not all components you buy are exactly the right size and when you load, you are changing some sizes and need to measure seating depth, cartridge overall length, etc.

Bullet puller because eventually you will assemble a cartridge you don't want to shoot for some reason.

Other tools as you find the need.

Manuals and instruction books. Lots of manuals. And web sites. Reliable ones, like the bullet manufacturers and powder manufacturers, not someone who doesn't have "skin in the game".

The early chapters of manuals are devoted to "how to load" information and the rest are load recipes. The bullet and powder manufacturers have lots of good advice and load recipes specific for their products. The excellent tome "ABC's of Reloading" has no load recipes, but excellent descriptions of the loading process, written by a selection of different authors.

Casual sources (like forums) are good sources of education and information, but you have to verify everything you find from casual sources.

Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post.

Do your own independent, confirming research when ANYONE gives you new facts on the web.

Also remember, even the idiotic-sounding stuff might have a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere.

I have compiled a few web sites that seem to have some good information (some of which came from me).

Go get a large mug of whatever you sip when you read and think and visit these sites.

For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214

I am looking at getting into reloading for the first time
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971

Just bought my first press. Needs some info tho.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358

Considering reloading
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115

Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow, for the novice handloader.
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/2938...andloader.html

Thoughts on The Lee Classic Turret Press
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951

Interested in reloading
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

Newby needs help.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391

I hope you enjoy the reading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep

disclaimer:

I do not know you, so if my advice seems over-obvious, take into account my ignorance of your experience level. Also, other readers of all experience levels are reading.
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:02 PM   #19
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I'm sorry, I'm on a iPad and have to load images, i couldn't see this issue from my view.

I know nothing about an ipad. However some folks are still with slow internet connections. Some still with dial-up. Large image sizes load really slow. Second a large image really stretches out the display.

The ipad has no way to resize an image ?
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:47 PM   #20
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As he always seems to, Lost Sheep has given you more than you will ever need to know to get started. He and a few other on this forum got me up and running just about a year agoo and I have been making better than factory ever since, to the tune of a good 12K rounds (all on an LCT). In that time I have had no duds, no feed problems and only 2 rounds that needed multiple strikes to fire (I realized I was babying it when seating .380 so as not to crush the case)

That leads me to lesson 1 (of about 1000 that you will pick up shortly)- always seat primers completely to ensure positive strikes. Run your finger over the back of EVERY cartridge when you box it and pull any that do not have a flush or slightly below flush primer.

Happy loading!
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:48 PM   #21
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The type of press used by an experienced re-loader normally will not make any difference in the finished product. The main difference you might see is the amount of ammo produced per hour. The only major exception might be for the person re-loading rifle ammo wanting the most precise load they can get. They will measure every powder charge and probably every other component as well. They will also use a single stage press.

What I'm trying to say is you can make good ammo with a Lee press just as you can with a number of other presses from different manufactures. How many round per hour you can do reliably will vary by the type of press you are using. Faster presses are more complicated and require a higher degree of mechanical ability to make them work reliably. Keep this in mind when you finally get to the point of getting a press. Some of the high end presses also come with a life time warranty that is useful when it is used a lot over many years.
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:45 PM   #22
Supermech21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hook686 View Post
I know nothing about an ipad. However some folks are still with slow internet connections. Some still with dial-up. Large image sizes load really slow. Second a large image really stretches out the display.

The ipad has no way to resize an image ?
I'm not sure why your still bringing this up, I apologized, deleted original picture, and reposted a medium sized photo.

I don't think it's that big of a deal.
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:56 PM   #23
Supermech21
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Thanks for all the help guys, I have read some of the stickys but everyone has a specific question that is unique in there own right. I appreciate the help for the noob.

I have decided on a single stage, I want to focus on quality and not quantity/ speed. I feel that starts down a path of inconsistency and open variables. More importantly I want to clean the primer pocket before automatically loading a new primer.

I have been reading reviews and watching videos all day on handheld primer loaders, I was convinced I wanted a rcb2 univ hand priming tool (link below), but after reading reviews I'm a little skeptical for the price. Personal opinions?


http://www.midwayusa.com/product/319...vc=subv1329291
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Old December 25, 2012, 07:59 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by tkglazie View Post

That leads me to lesson 1 (of about 1000 that you will pick up shortly)- always seat primers completely to ensure positive strikes. Run your finger over the back of EVERY cartridge when you box it and pull any that do not have a flush or slightly below flush primer.
I appreciate the insight, I read and re read about this as its one of my bigger concerns!
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Old December 25, 2012, 08:20 PM   #25
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Plastic 3 lb. coffee cans.

Lee folks like Folgers cans
Dillon folks like Maxwell House cans

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