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Old October 11, 2004, 11:12 AM   #1
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Want to learn how to reload.

I am an avid shooter, I go out every weekend and plink whatever I can find. Ammo is getting expensive and I was wanting to learn how to reload my own shells. Specifically .44 mag, .45 ACP, and .22 RF. Any and all advice would be welcomed encompassing instructions, equipment needed, and cost. Thanks.
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Old October 11, 2004, 11:22 AM   #2
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You cannot reload 22 rimfire cases....A good reloading book [ABCs of Reloading (?)] and one from the bullet makers such as Speer Reloading Manual. You need bullet, primers, powder , reloading press and dies. It is safe as long as you are careful and follow proper procedures.
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Old October 11, 2004, 02:07 PM   #3
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Ive been thinking about trying to learn to reload also. I was wondering how much $$$ it takes to get started. Dont you need a press, caseings, powder, ect? Does it really save you very much money? I have little to no knowlege of how to reload, so correct me if I have the terms wrong.
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Old October 11, 2004, 03:18 PM   #4
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as to cost, $300-400 would set you up with an RCBS Master Reloader's kit plus the non-included items you would need. You could of course do it for less or more, depending on quality of equipment you wanted to start with and whether you could find some good used.

Cost alone (saving money on ammunition) is probably not a good reason to get into reloading. Hand-loading is an activity and learning experience in its own right. If you are serious about it, you will probably want to explore the nuances of the many variables (powder, bullet, case, primer, seating depth, crimp, etc) which means building alot of ammunition just to test. If you are not serious about it, well ... maybe you should stick with factory ammunition.

But FIRST, get a good book (like Speer's) and read it through. The experienced folks here can provide excellet help with specific problems, but do not expect to get a comprehensive overview you need from reading the forum.
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Old October 11, 2004, 03:34 PM   #5
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This is the kit that I just recently started reloading with and I'm quite happy with it so far. Including buying this kit, dies, adding a set of digital calipers, and buying the components (minus brass, already had that), I think I've put about $150 bucks into my first 100 rounds of reloads. Now, that's definitely a lot more than it would have cost to buy factory loads, but I know that once I get more comfortable with reloading, then I'll be saving a lot of money. (BTW: I'm reloading for .40 S&W right now).

My suggestion, buy The ABC's of Reloading, study that, then decide on your equipment. Once you get your kit, but a couple of reloading manuals (I only say that part because every one else does. So far I'm reloading from 1 manual and the load data on my bottle of Hodgdon's Titegroup powder)
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Old October 11, 2004, 03:39 PM   #6
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Ditto much of the above. Also, I started by reading "ABC's" and also a very good video produced by the Varmin Hunters Association. I posted a review of the video here.

I am a bit of a reloading newb, but already have to agree with a comment that I read somewhere else that "reloading is like a 1 inch thick layer of icing on the cake called shooting!"
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Old October 11, 2004, 04:41 PM   #7
Dave R
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I have heard several good comments about the Lee Anniversary Kit, which supplies (most) everything you need for about $89 at Midway.

I did it the hard way, and bought a cheap press, used, for $20 and started from there. Bought everything else used, too. A buddy gave me his old balance beam scale when he bought a digital scale. So I think I was out less than $60 when I loaded my first rounds.

Lessee, from memory...
-Press $20
-Balance beam powder scale (gift)
-Dies $0(first set came with a rifle)
-Powder $16
-Primers $1.60
-Bullets $10
-Speer No 13: $18

OK, so maybe closer to $70

I prolly woulda had a much easier time with the Lee Anniversary Kit.
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Old October 12, 2004, 08:48 AM   #8
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For you folks trying to make up your mind on reloading, here is a set of three articles from Real Guns that has a lot of information to help you make the decision on whether to jump in.

Good Luck...

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Old October 12, 2004, 01:44 PM   #9
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Ive been thinking about trying to learn to reload also. I was wondering how much $$$ it takes to get started. Dont you need a press, caseings, powder, ect?
General musings:

Read through Lyman's manual, or one of the others, first. That way you'll have a good idea what you need. Speer is also good, and less than $20.

Absolute minimum to do anything will be about $50. The practical minimum is about $200, plus consumables.

Up front, buy the best quality you can afford.
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Old October 12, 2004, 03:04 PM   #10
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Up front, buy the best quality you can afford.
I'll concur and add a bit to that. If you are willing to take your time and hunt for deals online, you can actually put together a pretty nice setup for a reasonable amount of money. I managed to do it over the course of a month and saved about a hundred dollars, ending up with what I think is pretty nice gear. You also get to pick what you want this way, unlike kits where you get what they give you. This way you aren't ditching parts when you decide you want something nicer.
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Old October 13, 2004, 02:46 AM   #11
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Several years ago I bought the RCBS Rock Chucker kit and still use it with just a couple of upgrades (power trimmer). Then I bought their big lead melting pot (electric) and lubrisizer. I haven't looked back.
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Old October 13, 2004, 08:54 PM   #12
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I started the same as Dusty, with an RCBS Rock Chucker kit. With a couple upgrades, dies, and consumables I had about $300 invested when I shot my first handloads. This included a tumbler and a couple extra loading manuals-you can never have too many manuals.

Up front, buy the best quality you can afford.

I agree. As a long time auto mechanic, I have learned to never skimp on tools. If you buy quality tools now, they will last a lifetime.
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Old October 15, 2004, 10:03 PM   #13
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Here's a guide that I and some others came up with for this often asked question on the internet.


1. Do you have the patience to do detailed work away from distractions, (TV, Children, guests)?
2. Do you have a secure area that can be dedicated strictly to a loading bench?
3. Do you thoroughly understand what goes on inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger?
4. Are you mechanically inclined? In other words can you understand and follow instructions exactly, to make needed adjustments to equipment? Do know how to use measurement tools such as calipers and micrometers?
5. Read the front sections of several reloading manuals. I suggest one manual, printed by a company that sells reloading equipment AND bullets. The other one should be by a company that sells only powder. Case in point Hornady then Hodgdon. After reading and understanding the “HOW TO” section in those manuals, find someone who already loads to show you how and talk you through a box of shells. Better yet find a NRA Metallic/Shotshell Reloading instructor and take a basic reloading class. See links below for locating an instructor.
6. Never be in a hurry. If you are pressed for time, this is when a mistake will be made.
7. Do not under any circumstances smoke, eat or drink, especially alcoholic beverages. The reasons are obvious, but I’ll state them anyway. Smokeless powder burns at a very high temperature; it makes a dandy accelerant to start a fire. Drinking causes loss of motor skills and judgment.
8. Wash hands thoroughly when you are through. You are dealing with lead in many forms when handling bullets and primers.
9. Walk before you run. Buy a single stage press to start out with. The progressives are neat and useful when doing large quantities of ammo. You will always have uses for the single stage loader for special loads later.
10. Stay with the basics at first. The tools for neck turning, flash hole uniforming, primer pocket uniforming and checking concentricity will be useful after you get some experience.
11. To start with, stay in the mid-range of the suggested loads for medium power levels. Save the maximum loads for when you have more experience.
12. Buy the best equipment you can afford. It will last a lifetime; the cheap stuff will wear out and need replacing.
13. Have ONLY the bullets, powder, primers and empties on the table that you are loading at that time. Put everything away as soon as you are done, in a separate place.
14. The only stupid question is one that doesn’t get asked. If you’re not sure, ask somebody. Use common sense, logic is a great tool for a Reloader.
15. Maintain a log of all loads developed with the test results. Label all boxes with the load data and date of the load.
16. Every Step is an inspection point.
17. The last thing you do before the bullet goes in " Look in every case to verify the powder charge".

Links for Reloading help and instructors Bullet company, very good ballistic support group. Bullet company Bullet company Bullet company Bullet company Powder company VihtaVuori Powders Dillon Loaders Mec loaders Precision Reloading and Shooting specialist All Lyman Products. Great hunting and shooting site with list of instructors NRA with links to NRA certified instructors

Basic steps to reloading. This is a short edited version from the "NRA GUIDE TO RELOADING".

There are 17 steps of which most are for both rifle and pistol and one for pistol only. This is will mark with an * .
n 1. Inspect cases,
n 2. Clean Cases
n 3.Organize cases by batchs
n 4.Select proper shell holder
n 5.Insert and set up sizing die
n 6. Lubricate cases
n 7.Resize and deprime cases
n 8. Measure case length
n 9.Trim cases
n 10 Deburr and Chamfering
n 11.Clean Primer Pocket
n 12.Expand Case mouth (*)
n 13.Prime Cases
n 14.Measure powder chargeand charge cases
n 15.Check powder charge in case
n 16.Seat bullet in case
n 17. Identify the reloaded cartridges (Mark the box etc.)
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