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Old June 11, 2000, 10:49 AM   #1
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As noted in a prior thread, I am going to jump in to the world of reloading. I have the Lyman and ABC books on the way.

I think I am going to go with the Dillon SDB. I don't shoot rifle, so I
think the SBD would work well for me. I plan on starting out using it as a single stage. Once I am comfortable, I will give its progressive feature a try. I only plan on reloading .45acp. I can buy the 9mm for
about $110 per 1000, so I don't think I will reload it.

Once I read the books, I will buy the equipment.

The SBD comes ready to go. I assume I will need a powder scale and calipers, correct. I think I will buy digital ones as ebay has some auctions that are very reasonable: digital scales ~$70 and digital calipers
~$30. Do I need a tumbler, or will a bucket of water and soap do? Anything else that I MUST have?

1. Which powder should I use? I only plan on loading .45. I want 1
powder for both a light recoil plinking round and a standard round to shoot
bowling pins. Match grade accuracy is not important, but it must be clean
burning so it is not smokey and so the gun doesn't get trashed.

2. Which bullet for plinking (LSWC, FMJ, LRN etc) and which for bowling
pins (hollowpoint)? The bullet should be inexpensive and not cause alot of
lead/copper fouling in the barrel.

3. I have 1500 rounds of once fired brass (mine) so that should not be
a problem.

4. Primers? I know nothing about them.

Old June 11, 2000, 01:34 PM   #2
Join Date: July 2, 1999
Posts: 93
Well, Im quite new myself, but I'll try to help out.

A tumbler is not a must. The water with vineger(sp?) will clean the cases. It wont really poilsh them though. You can buy a tumbler from MidwayUSA for 40-50 bucks, and the corn from a pet store for about 2 bucks per 4 pounds.

A set of scale check weights is a good idea as well. Especially if you buy one used.

A cartridge headspace gauge might not be a bad idea either.

Powder? I dont really know, I only shoot rifle currently. I *think* that Unique would be a good choice though.

Primers? You can go with Winchester Large Pistol, Federal LP, CCI...

Bullets? Regular FMJs should be fine for your applications. However, hard cast lead bullets might not be bad for just plinking. You can save some more money this way.

One last thing, good choice on the Dillon. I dont own one yet, but probably in less than a year I will be upgrading to an RL550B.

Sorry about the long post. Hope this helps.

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Old June 11, 2000, 07:12 PM   #3
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Good choice on the dillon.I would allso go with the dillon digital scale.Its about 160 but with the lifetime warrente well worth.You get what you pay for.Powder?I use industrail pistol powder from maine cartridge co.10$ a pound to your door.Email me if you want there phone and address.It is just a little faster then unique and works well in any pistol cal I used it in.38-357-9mm-45acp.Slugs?good hard cast works well.You didn't say what your are shooting.I use a sig 220 and I use a lot of 200 and 185 gr cast even for competion.
The slugs cost me 36$ a 1000.Primers I buy at gun show in 5000 lots for about 65$Use winchester or cci.If I can be of any more help feel free to email me direct.

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Old June 11, 2000, 09:54 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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You might check out RAE's "Reloading Basics" thread; bring it back to top.

A good plinking load is around five grains of 231 behind a 200-grain LSWC. 5.8 grains makes it an IPSC Major load. BeemerB can provide you some loading data for his $10 powder; I imagine the manufacturer will, also.

Buy a "Lewis Lead Remover" and learn just how easy it is to clean lead from a barrel. (I guess they're still in business; I bought mine around 30 or so years ago.)

Can't help you on Bowling Pin bullets; if you don't get an answer here, ask in the Competition forum, or in Handguns.

Have fun, Art
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Old June 11, 2000, 11:12 PM   #5
Join Date: January 25, 2000
Posts: 92
I just got a Dillon catalog yesterday, and the have a press called an AT500 that is a single stage press built on a 550B frame. If I understand the concept, you could use the AT 500 to learn how to reload, ans sort of "check the water". Then you can upgrade the AT 500 to the 550 B if you decide later that you really want a progressive.

This is not advice, this is my own pipe-dreaming! :-)

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Old June 12, 2000, 12:19 AM   #6
Guy B. Meredith
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I just began reloading as well. I am shooting .38 spl for the most part for action pistol, but will probably move into .357 magnums for silhouette, pins, etc.

Reloading can bring you some real savings--even for those 9mm. Right now my cost is about $76 per 1000 for .38 spl using fairly conservative prices of $12/1000 Winchester Small Pistol (WSP) primers, $18/lb of Accurate Arms #2 powder and $52/1000 West Coast Bullet copper plated RN bullets(shipping included).

The final product is real luxury as the bullets are copper plated and the powder VERY clean burning. I can shoot a couple of hundred rounds and the gun is cleaner than one or two boxes of factory loads--no leading and minimal carbon. I've run only one cursory accuracy test, resulting in 10 shots in a 1" group at 15 yards for this fairly inexperienced shooter.

I understand that the West Coast Bullet copper plated bullets can be had for $36 to $45/1000 and I did pick up a case of 5000 primers at a gun show for $50 so am looking forward to some ammo at $58 to $62 per 1000.

Egad! That's less than half the price of bulk ammo and the bulk ammo has that filthy lead and carbon creating lube! I was buying a similar product from a reloader FFL with a slightly dirtier powder for $150/1000!

I would assume that the copper plated bullets might be interesting in an auto for better feeding.

I went against the fashion trend and bought a Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Progressive. Has five stations, a self contained case actuated powder measure that can be used on three of the five stations for different die setups, is auto indexing, dumps old primers down a tube into your choice of containers (check out the primer dump on the SD) and holds cases on the shellplate with a spring that allows you to pull a case from any station for inspection. Took me a couple of afternoons to set up, but I have never handled reloading equipment and am very cautious, reading and re-reading every scrap of instruction.

I also was able to pick it up from a dealer for $250 as they were discontinuing Hornady presses. The actual street price of $320 isn't bad for something with versatility of the Dillon 650 or better.

Do not even try reloading without a scale. The Hornady L-N-L powder drop seems to be extremely consistent so I am only checking weight for setup--5 charges before going into production and two or three after introducing the vibration of case sizing and bullet seating. From there maybe an occassional check every 50 to 100 rounds. For these few checks an electronic scale does not seem to be worth while. A recent article on another site indicates that accuracy differences between the electronic and beam scales is negligible.

I like pretty ammo, so got a vibratory cleaner. The copper of the primers and bullets make a fine fashion statement in combination with the bright and shiny brass.
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Old June 12, 2000, 03:46 PM   #7
Join Date: May 1, 2000
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16
I too have only been reloading for a short while, but I'm staying cautious and having fun. I have a SDB in 45acp. Here are some things that I hope will help in your decision making.

Primers: I've been told that the Dillon's don't like the CCI primers (they tend to be a little on the large size), and are more likely to get stuck in the primer feeder. Personally I like the Remington primers, but that's just me.

Powders: I am currently using Alliant Bullseye and it tends to be pretty smoky. I am going to try the Vartollies (sp?)(boy I think I butchered that name) next as I hear that it's pretty clean.

Scale: I've found that the Dillon powder measurer throws a consistent charge. I know this because I check it regularly. This being said you might just buy a balance scale to start. Since you're only loading 1 cal. and not changing your loads that often you will probably just be using it to setup and check your loads. But then again, it's always nice to get the good/fun stuff right off the bat.

Tumbler: Convenient to have. Just dump the used brass in after the range session, and let it go until ready. Remember to get the cleaning media (walnut, and or corn cob) from the pet store.

Bullets: Sorry can't help here.

Hope some of this helps out.
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Old June 12, 2000, 04:11 PM   #8
Paul B.
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Faiello5. Congratulations on joining the ranks of the reloading clan.
I would get a case tumbler. Shiny brass is so pretty, and it does look professional.
My suggestion for powder is WW-231. It meters in a powder measure like pork fat through a goose. Flake powders such as Unique do not meter as well through powder measures. Scale check weights are a good idea, but if you want to save a few pennies, get several different bullet of known weight, and use those. Most electronic scales do come with two check weights for calibration. My RCBS did.
As to which bullet to use? I don't shoot pins so I cannot help you there. I cast my own, so if you can find bullets that match the Hensley & Gibbs #68, a 200 gr. bullet, you should get good results for plinking,target, and general all round fun use. Other bullets I cast are Lymans #452389, 185 gr. wadcutter. Very accurate in the .45's I have that will feed it. Lyman #452460, 200 gr. Only fair in my semi-autos, but shoots weel in a Ruger .45 Covertible with the ACP cylinder. RCBS #45-230-RN, a conventional 230 gr. round nose. Seems to duplicate hardball in most of my guns. All bullets are cast of wheel weight metal and have a BHN number around 12 to 15 depending on the age. A batch of WW metal I bought back in the early 1970's casts harder bullets than current WW metal. Both can be heat treated to BHN 27 to 31, but that is not neceassary for hand gun bullets, unless you are going for hot .44 Mag. loads.
Good luck on your new hobby, and I hope you get as many years enjoyment out of it as I have. I don't post loads on forums, but if you want them, you can E-mail me for what I have used.
Paul B.
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Old June 13, 2000, 08:30 PM   #9
Rocky Road
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(Here's that ole Texican with another L O O O N G message.)

Congratulations on taking the plunge into the wonderful world of hand loading!

Dillon says not to use CCI primers in their progressive presses. I had a thousand left over from years back and they were nothing but headaches. There's something about the bevel on the mouth of the primer cup. I have used a LOT of CCI stuff over the years, but Rem, Fed or Win pimers will serve you a LOT better in the Dillon presses. (Whups! I note that Hammer has already commented on this.)

SDB is a fine press for the money but consider getting a 550B. It is much, MUCH easier to switch calibers when you want to load something else, as you inevitably will. Either that, or resign yourself to getting another press later, and just leaving the SDB set up for .45. I am looking for a good used SDB now so I can do exactly that. I shoot probably 10 to 20 .45 rounds for anything else, not including .22 rimfire.

You can get a good cartridge headspace guage from Midway, reasonably, but I always just take a .45 barrel and drop the loaded rounds into the chamber. It is only minor headache to disassemble the pistol. I use a scrap barrel for my checking.

230 gr RN lead bullets with 5.4 gr of W-231 is a great load. The plated or jacketed 230 bullets need some 6.3 gr Unique to duplicate factory hardball velocity. I keep meaning to try some other powders, but this load is quite accurate for me. One caution: Cast bullets lubed with the black stuff and Unique powder are messy and smoky if you shoot on indoor range. If I was limited to use of ONE powder for pistols, I'd choose Unique,for extreme versatility, but it can sure be messy with that black lube and lead bullets.

I have two friends who load with the Hornady progressive, and they are pretty nifty. One thing I know: NOBODY has product support and customer service like Mike Dillon's outfit. Call 800-223-4570 (What a neat phone number! Think about it.) and they'll ship you a replacement for ANYTHING you break or bend, your fault, their fault, nobody's fault. And they don't take until next month to do it, either.

Vibratory case cleaner is nearly a must. Shiny, not necessarily polished,cases funciton much better hrough an autoloader, and there's the element of pride, too.

If you use the liquid cleaning method, be certain to neutralize the vinegar or ammonia with a thorough fresh water rinse, and then DRY THE CASES COMPLETLY. Cookie sheet and warm --220 degree oven-- do it in a ouple of hours. (No, don't use the microwave to cut drying time.)

Art's old Lewis Lead Remover works great, and I think Outer's/CCI markets it now. I like to use a worn our bore bush wrapped in unrolled pot scrubber (One brand is Chore Girl) and this pulls lead right out of the barrel.

Eveyone who has written on this topic has had some very good information. Some of it differs, but it is all good stuff, and none of it will get you in trouble. You pays your money and you takes your choice. I do hope you enjoy your handloading career as much as I have mine. It's not ALL about affordable practice, either. There's something special about the first trophy or ribbon you win in a match shot with your own ammo. And, while I can't prove it, I kinda believe the venison harvested with home grown ammo tastes just a little better.

Best of luck---

---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---

[This message has been edited by Rocky Road (edited June 13, 2000).]
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Old June 13, 2000, 11:07 PM   #10
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What is this "industrial pistol powder" you mentioned?

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Old June 14, 2000, 11:16 AM   #11
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The Lyman will give you lots of ideas for powder choice.

I'm going to be starting soon, and will echo Paul B's suggestions of Winchester's 231... at least for the 9. It has the highest potential velocity for almost all bullets, and the write-up on the powder mentions it's accuracy potential.

Any suggestions on where to buy powder and primers online?
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Old June 14, 2000, 12:29 PM   #12
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You'll be REAL happy with the Dillion. I used a RCBS for years and the Dillion really will turn them out. Watch the seating on the bullets - I got some bullets that were suppost to be hard but sure left alot of lead in the seating die. Won't make that mistake again. I tried the Winchester 231 in 200 gr. SWC works pretty good. Best of luck.
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Old June 14, 2000, 12:30 PM   #13
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You'll be REAL happy with the Dillion. I used a RCBS for years and the Dillion really will turn them out. Watch the seating on the bullets - I got some bullets that were suppost to be hard but sure left alot of lead in the seating die. This caused them to seat alittle deep. Won't make that mistake again. I tried the Winchester 231 in 200 gr. SWC works pretty good. Best of luck.
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Old June 14, 2000, 05:12 PM   #14
Rocky Road
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Oh, yeah--
JHANKS's msg reminds me: While discussing the wonderfulness of Dillon's products, didn't even mention their excellent die design. You'll do yourself a favor if you spend the extra money and purchase their dies. They seem expensive when compared to price of some other pretty satisfactory dies, 'specially used ones picked up at the local gun shop or gun shows.

Dillon's seating and crimping dies have inserts that are removable from the die body without having to unscrew die from the tool head, simply by popping a spring ring. This makes it a snap to clean bullet lube and shaved lead out, without having to readjust the die when you put it back. It encourages good cleaning practices and uniform seating. Also, Dillon dies have a fairly subtle radius at the opening which saves a lot of crushed brass and fingers being pinched, not to mention speeding up the reloading process. I still use RCBS dies for a couple of numbers of which I load little, and figure on writing off a lot of cases when I load .380, for example. Slows things down, too.

On my D-550B, I'm set up to load SIXTEEN different cartridges at present. I also have dies and converstions to load .32-20, .32 ACP and .25 ACP but haven't gotten around to setting up a Dillon tool head for these two. I load most rifle ctgs on an old RCPS single-stage, though.

The Dillon is so fast and easy to use, I almost resent spending ANY money on factory ammo. I previously mentioned that I'm looking for an SDB to leave set up for .45 ACP, but what I'd really like is another 550B, so I won't have to change back and forth between large and small primer systems.

Now that I've gotten myself all fired up, I think I'll go home and load some this evening.

---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---

[This message has been edited by Rocky Road (edited June 14, 2000).]
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