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Old May 27, 2013, 10:05 PM   #1
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Suggestion on good ammo reloaders needed

I recently acquired my first 357 and quickly learned that ammo is pricey to say the least... Ok, I knew it before I bought the gun, but I did not realize how hooked I am going to get on all this target shooting thing. Going on the range weekly shooting 100-200 rounds at $20 per 50 becomes cost prohibitive. And that's not even Magnum loads, I am shooting very plain 38 Special.

I know that I should get into reloading to resolve this issue, the problem is that I can not do it right now. My housing/ living situation will not permit me to get into the basics of reloading for at least a year. Mean while I checked out the Internet and learned that some shops reload and sell reloaded cartridges. The prices seem to be in the neighborhood of $150 for 1000 of plain 38 Special and about double that price for the same quantity of 357. I can live with these prices, but there are two concerns:

1. A few places that I found have 3 to 6 months waiting period. I understand they are busy, and willing to wait even a few months, but up to six months is a bit too much.

2. Since this is not really a "manufacturers" I am not sure how reliable they are as far as quality. After all this is something that can explode in your hands...

So, can someone recommend here or by PM a reliable reloaded with acceptable prices and less than tree months waiting period. Or am I being naive?
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Old May 27, 2013, 10:27 PM   #2
farmboy
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Start reloading, buddy! I'll get you started:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/650...hand-press-kit

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/943...er-measure-kit

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/309...ial-357-magnum

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/962...d-priming-tool

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/217...nual-softcover

This will get you started. Most of this stuff is backordered at Midway, but search the 'net. You'll find it.

Don't order online. Call them, or Brownells. They'll guide you towards a few other things that can make reloading easier.

Add a can of powder, primers, and some bullets, and you're set. You can keep nearly all of this stuff in a couple of shoe boxes under your bed.

Good luck, check back here often, and have fun!
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Old May 27, 2013, 10:38 PM   #3
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I know that I should get into reloading to resolve this issue, the problem is that I can not do it right now. My housing/ living situation will not permit me to get into the basics of reloading for at least a year.

The OP stated the above and reloading is not an option at the moment.
I would find a local shop, ask what (whose) components they are using . You know primers, powder, casings ...

If it is a Local shop try a 100 rounds and see how well the work.
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Old May 27, 2013, 10:53 PM   #4
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Yes, thanks for the links, I am saving them for the future, but as I said: my living situation does not permit me to do reloading myself for a little while...
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Old May 27, 2013, 11:12 PM   #5
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Yikes.......sorry!

I assumed that you were referring to the living/housing thing as an issue of not having the space to store and use equipment.
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Old May 30, 2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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Factory Remanufactured?

There are a few around that reload for commercial sales. If they are more economical remains to be seen. 38SPL, 357MAG are the calibers I started reloading and have not bought any from the retailers.
If one was to do an internet search for remanufactured ammunition I'm certain you can find a few in your area. There are a couple in the South East with good reputations.
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Old May 30, 2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
There are a few around that reload for commercial sales.
That's exactly what I was asking... I don't think location within the US really matters much, as they can ship. I found a few online, but they all backup for over three months. And when I have to pay $30+tax on my local range for a box of basic target .357 Magnums I cry :-)))

So, if anyone knows of a commercial reloader with a decent reputation which has a shorter waiting period, please share.
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Old May 30, 2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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http://www.youngsenterprises.com/

I buy handloading supplies from Robert, he and his business are first rate

http://georgia-arms.com/bulkquantity...nedheat-1.aspx

Another with a good reputation, they have tables at some of the Florida gun shows.

I was thinking about shipping costs.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:05 PM   #9
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Perfect! I will be placing an order with Georgia Arms! Shipping cost adds a little, but even at $149 with shipping for 500 rounds it beats any prices I saw online for 38 Special! Thanks.

UPDATE: Georgia Arms site says 3 to 6 months waiting period. I will call them tomorrow to clarify, but looks like same story as with other sites I found...
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
when I have to pay $30+tax on my local range for a box of basic target .357 Magnums I cry
If I could find boxes of 357 Mag for $30 I'd be dancing, not crying.


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Old May 30, 2013, 05:14 PM   #11
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Well, I hear you... perhaps the price is not that bad, but for me it's too much. Lately I am on the range weekly and fire a few hundred rounds. I just can not afford these prices. I have .22RL revolver en route to resolve this issue, but still...
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:20 PM   #12
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I would seriously take issue with the idea that you just can't handload on your own now, at least until I've heard specifics more detailed than what you've offered. I say this not at all to be adversarial, I'm simply using my own experience to counter the idea.

I taught myself to handload with a Speer book and the absolute shoe string budget of a 17-year old without the help of anyone and definitely without much assistance from the guys at the gun shop who didn't take a "kid" seriously when he bought components from them. And less than 2 years after I started all on my own, I moved my extremely small collection of necessary tools to my one single bedroom in me & six buddies' rented college party house where we played more cards and drank more beer, threw more parties and blasted more music then, well, ANYTHING else. That was more than 20 years ago.

Bottom line was that I reloaded .38, .45 and 10mm Auto on a plank of wood on the corner of my hand-cobbled waterbed frame before I -EVER- moved my handloading bench out of state where I went to school. Though I had a lot less experience under my belt and no internet to pick brains and seek help, I made ammo back then to similar standards that I make it today... which is to say, terrific.

Unless there is some condition or scenario that I'm missing or is completely random and uncommon, it would be a bit difficult for you to successfully convince me that you couldn't give it a go yourself.

One of my local buddies moved half a country away to take on a new job and he lived in a motel for the first few months before getting a place and moving his family and life there also. This guy is in his 50's and he was loading .38s and .45s on the dresser in his motel. I knew exactly how that felt. He simply picked some of the simplest of his needed tools and he made ammo in his motel room, because like me...that's what he enjoys doing.

Handloaders just -LOVE- to try and drop jaws of those who buy factory ammo by dropping nearly unbelievably low dollar-number on what THEIR box of ammo cost them to produce, and I don't feel the need to do that. Fact is, those guys and their low numbers aren't telling you about how much they have invested in their equipment and the fact that getting THAT number so low only comes when you are willing to buy bullets many thousands at a time, and primers the same way. We spend a -LOT- of money to get that "per box" number so low... but my point here is simply to say that .38 Special and .357 Magnum are a couple of places where you can really, REALLY make an obscene victory over the price of factory ammo. 9mm, .40 S&W, not nearly as much. .38 & .357 ammo is really expensive, so it's one heckuva great place to start if you have the desire to make your own.

Really -- we can help.
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
I would seriously take issue with the idea that you just can't handload on your own now, at least until I've heard specifics more detailed than what you've offered. I say this not at all to be adversarial, I'm simply using my own experience to counter the idea.
I feel a little awkward to be put in the position to answer this question, but if this is such an important matter, here...!

I am going through some marriage related issues because of which I have chosen to leave my home (along with most savings) and move in with relatives as a temporary measure. I am planing to buy a house within a year. Mean while I live with two women who are scared of guns and I could hardly talked them into allowing my keep my revolver in the house. The deal was that I will not keep any ammo in the house and this way they feel "safe" (no comments please). Any ammo I buy stays at my friend's house for now and we go to the range together. If I go by myself I simply buy ammo right at the counter on the range.

Now envision one of these women walk on me while I am putting bullets into cartridges... yeh, that would be something!
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:50 PM   #14
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, in the future, simply use the PM function to send a private note for anything you don't feel needs to be broadcasted.

I feel your pain. I'm a slight bit ahead of a similar schedule that you are on, if that helps any. (likely, it doesn't!)

When you find yourself in a slightly more tolerable position, please look us up in the Handloading area of this site and we'll band together to bury you under mountains of quality assistance.

In my opinion, no real revolver enthusiast should be stuck in life shooting factory ammo. Yuck, I can hardly even type that out!
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:53 PM   #15
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But because I'm a wise-guy who either really wants to help (or maybe just be "right"), I think that you and your buddy that safeguards your ammo are FINE candidates to be NEW handloaders in whatever part of your buddies abode that houses all this ammunition.

You'd learn together, on your tools, set up at his place. He will cry like a little girl when you get your own place and move your most excellent tools out of his joint, and you go forth and prosper with the ultimate in handgun ammunition: your own hand-rolled fodder!
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Old May 30, 2013, 11:58 PM   #16
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, in the future, simply use the PM function to send a private note for anything you don't feel needs to be broadcasted.
It's ok, I did it on purpose. Firstly I need to learn to declare these things, as I am still shy about saying it out loud, even though I know it's life and nothing our of ordinary. And secondly, I have a feeling I would hear from twenty more reloading enthusiasts about it, if I don't clarify why exactly I can't do it right now. Without such clarification it does sound like I am just hesitant to do it. I am not, just have to wait a little longer before I can start. I will certainly take you up on the offer and will see you Handloading area of the forum the minute I move.

P.S. I suspect my buddy can't wait for me to get a house and start handloading, as he would make me do it for him and his girlish 9mm as well
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:24 AM   #17
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At 200 rounds a week, consider a progressive press. A Dillon RL550, RCBS dies, and caliber kit for .357/.38 will set you back a little over $500. The other gear, a scale, calipers, trays, etc., about $200 more.

Save all your brass.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:30 AM   #18
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PBR Ammo has a customer supplied brass reloading option. You ship them your spent brass, and they load it up for you. Not sure what kind of backlog they are experiencing at the moment.

https://www.pbrammo.com/catalog/customer-brass-program
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Old June 2, 2013, 08:19 AM   #19
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For Lee reloading supplies..

http://www.titanreloading.com/

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Old June 2, 2013, 09:31 AM   #20
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One other thing you might want to do is to find someone locally who "really knows his stuff" Pardon me if I left out some of the ladies I found one a few years back and, to this day, am shocked at his knowledge. It's like having a living encyclopedia who's your friend. We share a lot of other things in common and our wives like each other which is a bonus. Guys like him are rare!

Good luck with your endeavor
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Old June 2, 2013, 11:36 AM   #21
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I am using a lee hand loader and carbide dies. For compnents i use recycled brass, I have Hodgdon HP-38 powder, cci 500 Small pistol primers and either 158gr LSWC or 158gr Hornady XTP's. this is what I have been able to com up with since I only started reloading about 4 months ago. Right now i am on a quest for some Alliant 2400 or Hodgdon H110 and some Small pistol magnum Primers.
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Old June 2, 2013, 11:27 PM   #22
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Start accumulating components now - get what you can when you can, as they aren't easy to come by (at least around here - my local reloading supplier does have primers, but limits you to 100 per visit.) You have been saving your brass, and you can learn to cast bullets (casting equipment pays off pretty fast if you shoot enough.) But primers and powder can be hard to get when you want 'em, as can bullets if you're not going to make your own. So start stocking up.

As far as reloading equipment goes, you will indeed want a progressive press eventually. But I promise that you will also find a single stage press to be immensely useful, even if only occasionally, so give some thought to them as well. You've got a year to do the research. But start that sooner than later, as sometimes bargains pop up, and you have to know enough to spot 'em.
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Old June 2, 2013, 11:56 PM   #23
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Part of the joy of reloading is you can tailor loads to get the maximum accuracy out of your handgun. Many of us started with a Lyman 310 or Lee Loader, nowadays the Lee or Lyman hand presses let you use carbide dies, and when you do get a bench mounted press you will have already mastered
handloading procedures.
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Old June 3, 2013, 01:44 AM   #24
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Check with your local police department to see where they buy their practice ammo. Local (insured and licensed) loaders often do not advertise, as they have enough business simply by word of mouth.

As far as reloading at your friend's house is concerned, that seems like it might be a workable solution. But loading for someone else is generally a bad idea until you are expert enough to be certain that you will have zero defects. Damaging a friend's gun (or a friend) is a severe way to learn a lesson. I suggest you learn together and each load your own.

I disagree with kilamanjaro's advice about a progressive. 200 rounds a week is well within the capability of an autoindexing turret press. When I started loading, I used a single stage and was satisfied with 50 rounds per hour. Ultimately I tried a progressive for a number of years and found that monitoring multiple simultaneous operations drove me crazy. My turret press can do 200 rounds in 90 minutes, including setup and teardown.

I keep all my loading gear (to do 7 calibers) in three toolboxes, the largest of which is 23"x10"x10". (Excluding a case-cleaning tumbler and the folding workbench on which I mount the press and components)

If your friend has a similar impediment to loading, loading at the range might be possible. Or, as you have determined, simply waiting is an option and 22 rimfire is a great way to practice.

In the meantime, I will post some links to some reading to give you food for thought.

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Old June 3, 2013, 01:46 AM   #25
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10 Advices for the novice loader.

I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universally mentioned, so I put together this list of 10 advices.


Much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".


So you can better evaluate my words, here is the focus of my experience. I load for handguns (44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 9mm, 357 Mag, 480 Ruger) a couple hundred per sitting and go through 100 to 500 centerfire rounds per month. I don't cast....yet.


When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. My setup was simple. A set of dies, a press, a 2" x 6" plank, some carriage bolts and wing nuts, a scale, two loading blocks. I just mounted the press on the plank wedged into the drawer of an end table. I did not use a loading bench at all.


It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly.


I still believe in a minimalist approach and and try to keep my inventory of tools low. I do not keep my loading gear set up when not in use, either, but pack them away in small toolboxes until the next loading session.


Now, here are my Ten Advices.


Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.


Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of (or any) money on equipment.


Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps found in their early chapters. The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well so give better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others. The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging.


I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Containing no loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. I am told the older editions are better than the newer ones, so the library is looking even better.


There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started, but some are better than others. Filter all casual information through a "B.S." filter.


Only after you know the processing steps of loading can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack. If builging your own kit from scratch, you will be better able to find the parts that will serve your into the future without having to do trade-ins.


Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?


Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Generally you get what you pay for and better equipment costs more. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Aluminum generally takes more cleaning and lubrication to last forever. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you think Ford/Chevy owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better. RCBS equipment is almost all green, Dillon-blue, Lee-red. Almost no manufacturers cross color lines and many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. Make your own choices.


About brand loyalties, an example: Lee Precision makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker (though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes, as Lee has been an innovator both in price leadership which has introduced many to loading who might not otherwise have been able to start the hobby and in introduction of innovative features like their auto-advancing turret presses). But there are detractors who focus on Lee's cheapest offerings to paint even their extremely strong gear as inferior. Ignore the snobs.


On Kits: Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started. Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops (negating the savings you thought the kit gave you), but you will have gotten started, at least.


On building your own kit: The thought processes you give to assembling your own kit increases your knowledge about reloading. You may get started a couple weeks later than if you started with a kit, but you will be far ahead in knowledge.


Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy. Progressive, turret or Single Stage? Experimental loads? Pushing performance envelopes? Don't get fancy.


While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the mechanical steps of loading right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, bullet seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a voluminous, "fluffy", powder that is, one that is easy to see that you have charged the case and which will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it.


While learning, only perform one operation at a time. Whether you do the one operation 50 (or 20) times on a batch of cases before moving on to the next operation - "Batch Processing" or take one case through all the sequence of operations between empty case to finished cartridge - "Continuous Processing", sometimes known as "Sequential Processing", learn by performing only one operation at a time and concentrating on THAT OPERATION. On a single stage press or a turret press, this is the native way of operation. On a progressive press, the native operation is to perform mulltiple operations simultaneously. Don't do it. While you can learn on a progressive press, in my opinion too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of (unless you load singly at first). Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME. Until handloading becomes second nature to you.


Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.


On the Turret vs Single stage the decision is simpler. You can do everything on a Turret EXACTLY the same way as you do on a single stage (just leave the turret stationary). That is, a Turret IS a single stage if you don't rotate the head.


Learning on a progressive can be done successfully, but it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than on roller skates.


Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of almost every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one.


Advice #4 Find a mentor.


There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers; 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")


I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.


After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.


Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness


Your loading bench/room is tantamount to a factory floor. There is a whole profession devoted to industrial engineering, the art and science of production design. Your loading system (layout, process steps, quality control, safety measures, etc) deserves no less attention than that.

Place your scale where it is protected from drafts and vibration and is easy to read and operate. Place you components' supplies convenient to the hand that will place them into the operation and the receptacle(s) for interim or finished products, too. You can make a significant increase in safety and in speed, too, with well thought out design of your production layout, "A" to "Z", from the lighting to the dropcloth to the fire suppression scheme.


Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology


Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Ballistic testing has produced some new knowledge over the years and powder chemistry has changed over the years, too. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.


Read previous threads on reloading and watch videos available on the web. But be cautious. There is both good information and bad information found in casual sources, so see my advice #10.


Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)


When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying for features you don't need. "The delicious flavor of low price fades fast. The wretched aftertaste of poor quality lingers long."


Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride) rather than tool steel.

T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.


Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.


Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children (present of future - lead is a hazard, too. Wash after loading and don't eat at your bench). Enough said?


Advice #10 Take all with a grain of salt.

Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and can easily hit "7" instead of "4" because they are next to each other on the keypad.


Good luck.


Lost Sheep
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