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Old June 6, 2000, 01:26 PM   #1
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I'm going to get into reloading 9mm and (potentially) .308 and .44mag. I'll start doing it just to save a little cash (maybe), and see how deep the water gets from there. I've decided on a Dillon 550B. I've already got the Lyman manual.

It'll be a little while before I start because I'm building my own bench (my second EVER carpentry project... God help me ).

What else do I need (aside from dies)?
1)Tumbler? Obviously the easiest way to clean, but some people seem to just use a soapy bucket. Is there a reason to not do that?

2)Scale? This doesn't sound necessary with a progressive, but I'd want to buy it later if I got obsessive about consistency. This and a trickler seem to go hand-in-hand.

3) Calipers? I've heard that I won't have to trim pistol calibers. That conflicts with what the Lyman manual says. Is it true? What should I use to cut the .308's back with when I get that rifle? Do I need a special case cutter or can I use something like a Dremel?

4) Can I reload ANY brass cases? I have been saving my Sellier and Bellot for a few weeks, and hope to be able to reload them when I get the press.
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Old June 6, 2000, 01:44 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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1. Depends on how dirty are the cases. Whatever works is good.

2. How ya gonna set your powder measure to drop the right charge, without a scale?

3. Calipers are a Good Thing. To trim cases, use a case-trimmer; you can't cut a perfect circle with the Dremel.

4. Any brass cases which are not Berdan-primed (Two flash holes, not in center of case-head.)

Check the thread "Reloading Questions" and come back.

, Art

[This message has been edited by Art Eatman (edited June 06, 2000).]
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Old June 6, 2000, 01:50 PM   #3
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1) Get as many manuals as you can get and read, read, read. You never have a enough.

2) A tumbler is not necessary but it is very nice. I have a Midway 1292 and love it. not to expensive and works great.

3) You ALWAYS need a scale and the weights to check it. Never ever reload without checking the weight of the powder charge. To much powder or with some powders to little can cause very very bad results.

4) Calipers are very helpful. It is possilble to reload without them but I would not recomend it.

5) Yes you can reload pretty much any brass case. I would not recomend maximum loadings with a mix of cases, the small variations in case thickness can create over pressure loads. I reload a large mix of cases for 9mm including the S&B cases for practice with no problems but my loading stays about 10% under the max load which is just enough to cycle my guns with no problems.

6) Get a Diilon case gage. They are very useful for quickly checking resized and loaded cases for chamber fit.

7) Get a bullet puller. At some point you will need it. Trust me on this.

8) Always start 5-10% below the maximum recomended charge and work up from there.

This is all I can think of right now. I am sure there is more that others can add. You have started right though. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
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Old June 6, 2000, 02:43 PM   #4
Join Date: January 13, 2000
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Good decision to start reloading... it is a fun and rewarding hobby. From your questions, it is obvious that you have done some thinking. It is also obvious that some more thinking and reading and question asking are in order. That is not meant in a bad way at all. Even those with years of experience can never do too much thinking, reading and question-asking in regards to reloading. No question is dumb. Keep them coming!

1) while a tumbler may be nice, I have cleaned brass for years by just using a mix of water, vinegar, and concentrated citrus juice. My brass may not be real shiny, but it definately is clean.

2) As the other replies have stated, you definately NEED a scale to set your powder measure. The scale is without a doubt a tool that you MUST have.

3) You also absolutely NEED calipers, even if you don't need to trim pistol brass. (which I have never had to do, by the way) How do you plan to measure your over-all length (OAL) of your loaded round without them? (ie: how far to seat the bullet into the case) Midway has a good set of metal dial calipers on sale for $19. I couldn't imagine trying to reload without a set of these.

4)Any brass, boxer primed cases will work. S & B falls into this category.

Keep reading your manual, asking questions, and double checking everything before you get started.
Reloading is very enjoyable, welcome to the hobby.

PS: start setting aside money now for the new guns you will want to buy just so you can reload a new caliber! :-)
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Old June 6, 2000, 07:46 PM   #5
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No one addressed case triming.A numeber of hand powered case trimmers on the market.You will need one and a ID and OD deburring tool.Chack midway prices.They are the about the best.

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and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men
every day who don't know anything and can't read.
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Old June 6, 2000, 08:06 PM   #6
Bud Helms
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Art Eatman: ...
3. ... To trim cases, use a case-trimmer; you can't cut a perfect circle with the Dremel.


Mikul, for those chamberings which you won't be loading in large quantities, check out Lee's existing case trimming system and consider their new Zip Trimmer.

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited June 07, 2000).]
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Old June 6, 2000, 09:29 PM   #7
Big Bunny
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My 5c worth...Also buy a fully adjustable Quinetics kinetic or other bullet-puller to fit all calibres and don't load too many without testing in hot/cold conditions with full magazines as well as for accuracy etc.

Otherwise pulling up to 198 lead or Soft point projectiles from your own loads (and possibly damaging them... affecting accuracy) will cure you of such rashness in future!

***Big Bunny***
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Old June 7, 2000, 01:10 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the information.

Here's what I've picked up:
The scale and calipers seem to exist to check the press; which I had not considered.

The tumbler may not be necessary, but they need to be clean enough to check the brass for stress.

I need a case gauge.

A bullet-puller is a REALLY good idea.

I've also found out that on the 550B, I'll have to thumb the cases around. That's certainly not obvious from the Blue Press.

I've also learned that EVERYBODY loves Dillon's stuff. I spoke to someone who loads 600 rounds/hour on his 550B. WOW, that's one every 6 seconds! He reloads as a business.

I've got a bunch of questions about powder, but I'm just starting that part of the Lyman, and I'm sure it'll answer most of my questions.

Finally, unless I have REALLY strong willpower, I'm going to be spending a lot of money on "toys." Don'tcha love hobbies like that?

[This message has been edited by Mikul (edited June 07, 2000).]
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Old June 7, 2000, 07:23 PM   #9
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Well, lets see, nobody addressed building the bench. Since this is your "second EVER carpentry project...God help me", you are going to need a
new 10" table saw,
an 18 volt cordless drill,
a circular saw,
a reciprocating saw,
an air compressor and 50' hose,
an air nailer,
some nails, screws and lag bolts,
a framing square,
a "speed" square,
a hammer,
a flatbar,
about a half dozen 8' 2x4s,
a sheet of 3/4" plywood,
a sheet of 1/4" plywood,
etc., etc., etc.
Damn, reloading gets expensive!

Anything else guys?

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Old June 8, 2000, 11:10 AM   #10
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Bergie, thanks for thinking of me.

I'll be getting by with a single-speed drill and hacksaw for most of my work-working, but I'll be borrowing some tools as I need them. I do sense some creeping toolism. Hey! I didn't think about an air nailer. OOooh! What about the belt sander?

2x4's? Plywood? HA! I'm thinking of 4x4s and 2x8s, and perhaps a sparse amount of 1x4s.

If I can carry it, I didn't build it right. That's my motto.

My first project was a 2x2x4' chest. It weighs approximately 150 pounds. My neighbor is thinking of using it to reinforce his foundation.
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Old June 8, 2000, 12:48 PM   #11
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Cold Beer!! For the bench NOT reloading.
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Old June 8, 2000, 12:52 PM   #12
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bergie, you forgot the new computer and latest version of AutoCAD for the design work of the bench.... sundog
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Old June 10, 2000, 01:55 PM   #13
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Something very important has been overlooked here... a mentor. I have always been told that you should learn from someone that already posseses the skills you wish to learn. Therefore, one of the guys from this thread should be able to help you get started on reloading, and I hear Norm Abrams can be consulted for the bench contruction project (as long as you don't mind a camera and sound crew in your house for a week).

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Old June 10, 2000, 04:02 PM   #14
Paul B.
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The only thing that bothers me, is the question of whether a "Newbie" should start out with a progessive press, rather than a single stage press, with which to learn the basics thoroughly?
It doesn't take that long to load a couple of hundred 9mm's or even .308's with a single stage. When you are talking several thousand rounds, OK, but does a new guy have the skill to do it right?
BTW. Mikul. My reloading bench was my first evr casrpentry type project, and it came out fine. Built it in 1970, and it is still going strong. Been reloading since 1964 though. Next project is to refrigerate the reloading room, actually an outside shed. Gets too darn hot here in Southern AZ. Shed got to 114 the other day. Had to quit. Bummer.
Whichever way you go, welcome to the ranks of reloading.
Paul B.
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