The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 24, 2005, 01:02 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: June 1, 2004
Posts: 104
Newbie wanting to start handloading - looking for advice.

Made a nice entry into the firearm experience once I was of age and have since met and made a few non-shooters into shooters.

At this point, I'm thinking about getting into reloading: I'm starting to read the lyman's guide, asking friends if they load (and how), and going through threads on this forum and others.

I'm currently in a fairly small apartment, but that will change in a few months. I'm quite mechanically proficient, have good lab skills, and am usually patient and meticilous to detail.

With that said and trying to keep within a $500 initial budget ($500 to buy all the things I need to begin my first 100 rounds, including bullets, primers, etc.), what should I be interested in?

I shoot on average, 200 to 300 rounds a week and am not yet involved in any leagues (IDPA, IPSC, etc.). Unknown if I will since I'm moving in a few months.

I shoot the following calibers: .45ACP, .38, .357, .40S&W, .22, .17MHR.
Would like to move on to a rifle caliber of some sort but my latest urge is still a lever action in a pistol caliber.

Do I want to go for a single stage press and work up or go straight for a dillion? I want the thrill of the hobby but I also want to save myself from buying more machines (or outgrowing them). From what I hear, if I buy something good chances are that it'll last longer that I.

Any advice would be helpful!
goosevr1 is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 06:59 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: November 7, 2004
Location: Mid-Michigan
Posts: 439
Just my opinion of course.....

Just get a LEE anniversary kit. It comes with just about everything you need to start. If you find you don't want to keep loading, you're not out much. If you do, you can spread out the cost of upgrading to heavier gear a piece at a time. Don't discount LEE dies either. I had a couple wacked dies, one from the factory, the other I broke the carbide being stupid, and they were replaced without question in under a week. Other than those two dies, my dies just keep plunking along and make great ammo.

I still have my kit (2 yrs) and the only changes I plan to make are getting the cast press and I have already swapped out (for pistol calibers) the Perfect Powder measure for an Auto Disk which is the best swap I could have made. The AD is awesome.........

Like I said, just my opinion. Just take your time and have fun with it, cause it is fun........
donkee is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 08:26 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: November 17, 2004
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 270
Dude, why are you asking the SAME QUESTION again and again!!

Having said that, get a turret press and you'll still be well within your budget.
This press has 7 stations so technically you could mount two sets of dies for two calibers on one turret, and save some money that way.....

Awesome turret press
sindiesel666 is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 08:35 AM   #4
Bass Man
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Missouri
Posts: 92
I agree. Just get the Lee Anniversary kit. I just got into reloading on an even tighter budget then that. I got the Lee kit-$79, Lee dies-$24, built a bench from scraps from work, and got supplies for $43 for the first 500 rounds and $16 was powder and still have a lot of that left. I saved my brass before I had the equipment so I didn't have to buy that. I used steel wool on the cases first and then my wife got me a tumbler for Valentines day. Don't skip on the polisher steel wool sucks. She also got me those Frankford arsenal plastic ammo boxes and they are great. I made my own loading block and use a kitty litter scoop to seperate the brass from the media so I've kept my cost down. I you don't mind spending more Midway has the Rock Chucker kit on sale now and I'd get it. The Lee stuff works great but isn't the best. The plastic powder measure flexes a lot and the scale is a pain to set. Then with the RC you can upgrade it with a Piggy Back and make it progessive.
Bass Man is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 08:42 AM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: February 7, 2005
Location: WNY
Posts: 14
Take a look at the Lyman reloading kits at Natchez Shooter's Supply, or Midsouth Shooter's Supply.

Depending on which kit you choose, the Lyman kits have a heavier cast press, trimmer, powder measure, scales and complete manual.
I started with one many, many years ago, and I have no regrets whatsoever.
There's a lot of other good equipment out there, but pound for pound, and dollar for dollar, this is the best "start" setup out there in my opinion.

I've added several Dillon's for mass production, but I still have the turret and single stage Lyman presses from years gone by.
One note though; "cheapest isn't always the best".

A good balance of durability and economy should be paramount.

Handgunr is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 10:13 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: September 15, 2004
Posts: 109
My vote is for the RCBS Master Reloading Kit. It will last a reloading lifetime.
MAUSER88 is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 01:02 PM   #7
Dave R
Senior Member
Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
If you'll be mmoving soon, be aware that there are a couple of ways to mount presses temporarily that'll give good results, but still be easy to move, and don't require drilling holes.

I just use a pair of appropriately-sized "C" clamps to clamp my press to a table. Resizing takes a lot of force, so it needs to be a sturdy table. You can also mount the press to a piece of 2X4 or 2X6, and clamp that to the table. You can temporarily strengthen a table by cutting a length of 4X4 post that just fits between the table and floor, underneath where the press goes.

I keep all my reloading gear in a couple of Rubbermaid tubs, and just mount the press in the kitchen or on the picnic table when I need to do some reloading.
I am Pro-Rights (on gun issues).
Dave R is offline  
Old February 24, 2005, 05:50 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: October 15, 2004
Posts: 934
The Dillon and the costs for additional cartridges will more than blow your budget. If you are willing to stick to shooting .38/.357 for a while, you can come in under budget and add changeover kits as you can afford them.

If you buy a good turret press and quality accessories, you will be locked in. Your money is all spent.

I'd hunt around to see what is available used. Basic outfits can often be found used for a hundred bucks with some components thrown in. A spare press is a very handy thing to have around. Failing that, I would go with the Lee kit even though I dislike that scale and measure. You can get started for $100-$125. You still have $400.

Spend the few months learning the basics on the cheap rig. After you are moved and settled in, buy the Dillon with the $400. You can hang onto the cheap rig for odd jobs, or you can sell it to someone else just getting started for enough for a changeover kit.

During the starting stage, I would suggest that you mount your equipment on a 3/4" plywood base. Countersink your bolts from the bottom and glue some felt to the underside. Just move the whole thing and C clamp it to any handy surface when you want to use it.
Leftoverdj is offline  
Old February 25, 2005, 12:40 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: May 11, 2002
Location: high up in the rockies
Posts: 2,289
Start with a good turret or single stage pess like the Redding T-7 or Boss! Remember, reloading tools are a lifetime investment IF you buy quality. The Redding will outlast you. Eventually, you will want a Dillon 650. But even after you get the Dillon, you'll still use the Redding quite a bit, for rifles especially, and for working up loads in all calibers.

A Redding t-7 turret, (or a Redding Boss sngle stage) a good scale, powder measure, dies and a few componemts should stay under $500. I would also recommend a Redding powder measure.

A good scale, either beam balance or electronic is a must, as is a set of scale check weights. If you get a beam balance scale, the brand name isn't too important as long as it is manufactured by the Ohaus scale company. Their scales are the standard by which others are judged.
If you think a mighty military force is expensive, wait 'til you see what a weak one costs.
cheygriz is offline  
Old February 25, 2005, 08:42 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: April 29, 2001
Location: Where the Red Sox meet the Black Bears
Posts: 561
There is one other piece of equipment most people forget to mention. When you reload ammo, you would benefit from using a chronograph. It is device to measure bullet speed throught the air. The loading data in books always gives a velocity in feet per second (fps) for each load listed. Without a chronograph, you have no idea what you are getting — actually shooting in the dark <g>. This is not something you will use every time you shoot, but is very usefull when working up loads and/or trouble shooting (there's that word again).

Depending on how much you spend, they can make useful calculations for you, and can print them on paper. They are battery operated, and you will need to have a photo camera-type tripod.

Chronographs can be had for $100 - $200. I like the PACT myself.
Thirties is offline  
Old February 28, 2005, 07:51 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2001
Location: S.W. Michigan
Posts: 560
$500 budget? Get the Dillon 550. It handles rifle calibers very well. Shooting that many pistol calibers, you'll really want the progressive. And you'll still have it 15 years from now, because you won't break it or wear it out. When you do buy a centerfire rifle, you'll already have the press and powder measure.
There are three kinds of men:
1) The ones that learn by reading.
2) The few who learn by observation.
3) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves..........
Dogjaw is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:21 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07699 seconds with 9 queries