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Old May 8, 2006, 08:38 PM   #1
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Basic reloading questions; please help

Well, I've been wanting to reload for a while but due to lack of time haven't started. I finally have some extra time and would like to start. I'm putting together an order w/ Midway and I have some questions that I hope you can help:

1. I'd like to reload 45acp. However, I don't see any .45 sized bullets. I see bullets ranging in diameter from .451" to .452", all advertised as "45 caliber". Which one is the right size ?

2. I'd also like to reload 9mm. I've got the same issue, only this time it's betwee .355" and .356" diameter.

3. The lead bullets w/o metal jackets are cheaper. I'll be shooting my reloads out of conventional rifled barrels, so I'm considering using these due to their price. I'm conserned about the health issues w/ non-jacketed bullets. In your experience, is there a lot of lead dust generated when using these types of bullets?

4. I'm guessing the larger primers I see on the 45ACP is called "large pistol primers" and the smaller primers I see on the 9mm is called "small pistol primers". Is this correct? (I didn't see any mentioning of diameters, etc. so I guess it's just large/small pistol primers.)

5. My reloading goals are mainly to down load the power factor of my ammo for use in steel challenge type shooting. I think my volume is going to be 200 rounds of each caliber per month. I'm not sure if I want 2 Lee Pro 1000 presses or 1 Lee Load Master, which setup would you recommend ? (I've picked Lee because of the price, and I'd like a progressive because they are faster.)

Thanks. I think these are my last set of questions before I put together my first ammo.
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Old May 8, 2006, 08:57 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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1. Most .45 ACP jacketed bullets are .451", cast are .452" as is usual practice. I shot some Magtech .452" jacketed and they did just fine, but most bullets of that diameter are made for .45 Colt revolvers. They would shoot, but might not be of a good shape to feed.

2. Same idea, cast bullets run larger than jacketed; plus .38 Supers are traditionally a thousandth larger.

3. Cast bullets generate enough lead fume to be the major source of airborne lead, alarums over lead compounds in primers notwithstanding. Indoor ranges are usually ventillated well enough to handle it and I don't see a problem outdoors. I've been shooting cast bullets for years and I am perfectly all right, all right, all right, all right, all rrr...
You can get copper plated bullets cheaper than real jacketed, but I prefer the "moly" coated lead from Bear Creek or Precision.

4. There are two sizes of US primers, small is .175" diameter, large is .210" with different specifications for rifle and pistol for four types. Magnum primers in each style to double the choices. Use small pistol for 9mm, large for .45; no magnums necessary.

5. I don't load on Lee and cannot comment except to say that I once had two Dillon Square Deals, one large, one small primer. I now load all .45s on a 1050 and all other pistol ammunition on a 550 which means I have to change primer feeds every now and then. If you get one press, get a large supply of brass so you don't have to spend time changing primer sizes very often. If you are going to shoot 200 a month each, get, say, 2500 pieces of brass each caliber and load a year's supply at a time.
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Old May 8, 2006, 09:52 PM   #3
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I recommend purchAsing a reloading manual/manuals before making your order.That way you can make your choice from the knowledge you learn from the books.If you have the money dont hesitate to buy more than one manual from different companies(example Lee and lyman)..It will be the most important decision and purchASE YOU CAN them over and over again..good luck
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Old May 8, 2006, 11:02 PM   #4
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reloading 45 acp & 9mm

I only reload 45 ACP and 9mm Luger, and I use a Dillon RL 550B press. I strongly recommend (instead of Midway) if you are not intending to shoot jacketed. Fully coated bulleted bullets (Precision Bullets) means no lead issues (except maybe from the primers). The best part is that their prices are "shipped to your door" prices. Stay away from Magnum primers because they change your load calculations. Yes, small pistol primers are for the 9mm, and large pistol primers are for the 45.

You NEED a couple good reloading manuals. Lyman's 48th Edition is the accepted standard, but I must say that the ABCs of Rreloading was the most informative by far. And you can't go wrong with Winchester 231 powder - perfect for both 45 and 9. Definately call Winchester to send you their Winchester Reloading Components Manual for free (great load data).

Do NOT go below the minumum starting loads listed, or you risk "detonation," or "squib loads" which would result in a bullet stuck in the bore (very dangerous if you do not realize it and try to fire another shot).
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Old May 8, 2006, 11:32 PM   #5
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i guess my suggestion would be to start reloading with a single stage press or two instead of any progressives.......... i've been loading for over 20 years and i still only load off of two single stage presses........... my bullets for .38 spl and .357 magnum are .358 if they are lead an .357 if they are jacketed..... i load .356 dia in 9 mm lead bullet they said get at least a couple of reloading manuals to compare what loads you might want to use............just stay alert and precise while charging the cases with powder.......... reloading is a fun and rewarding hobby for me ... i hope you it so too.....................
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Old May 9, 2006, 10:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for your responses. They've helped clear up my issues.
Yes, I was planning on getting a reloading manual just haven't received it yet since it'll be part of my Midway order

However, your responses have helped me decided to change the reloading manual I was planning to get (was planning to get the Hornady manual, but I'll get the Lyman and ABC's instead).

I've decided to get the 2 Lee Pro 1000 presses so that I don't have to mess w/ changing between 9mm and 45ACP. Also, I'm planning to shoot factory rounds, collect and reload those brass, then leave those brass at the competition. So reloading 1000's at a time is not practical for me.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old May 9, 2006, 11:43 AM   #7
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J11, I would suggest you get the Lee Manual. It's the most complete because it is a compilation of the data from the powder makers. Lee throws in the little Reloader press with it for about $20. If you are loading on two progressives, you will find the little single stage press indispensible for jobs such as decapping military brass and straightening dented case necks.
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Old May 9, 2006, 11:51 AM   #8
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Here's my take:

In .45 ACP, .451 bullets are generally copper jacketed bullets. .452 are generally lead bullets. The size difference has to do with how well they'll engage and follow the barrel rifling.

Don't get the Lee Pro 1000 progressive for a few reasons: First, as a newbie reloader you really don't want to be dicking around with the complexity of a progressive press where you'll have a greater chance of accidentally loading dangerous rounds, such as a double charge. Second, the Lee Pro 1000 does not have a glowing reputation of flawless operation - just search the forums concerning this and you'll find plenty of not so serious problems with just little annoyances, such as a less than stellar ability to handle primers, both loading of new primers as well as unloading of spent primers. Not serious problems, but more along the lines of the poor priming system slowing down the whole operation.

I would HIGHLY suggest the Lee Classic Cast Turret press though, along with the Lee Safety Prime and the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure, along with their Lee Deluxe Pistol Die Sets (four dies, which includes the Lee Factory Crimp Die). This is one of two stellar presses offered by Lee, the other being the Lee Classic Cast single stage press. With the Lee Classic Cast Turret press you load your die sets into the accessory turrets, and just change out the entire turret with all dies attached - you never need to readjust your dies - truly effortless. In addition, with the recommended outfit as detailed above, you WILL be loading 250+ rounds per hour of flawless/perfect ammo, guaranteed. Check this video over at Lee to see this arrangement in action:

Be sure you choose the Classic Cast press and not the original turret press - the Classic cast is made of iron, not aluminum, and the primer system is superior.

You will not find a better press for the money, period, and I'll back that up against anybodies recommendation, period. It's the perfect press for a newbie, and will be one of the best presses you'll ever use even as a more accomplished reloader. Obviously you don't know me from squat, but trust me on this one and you will not regret it.

And one last thing, because it is not clearly spelled out in any of the Lee documentation - if you do in fact go with my recommendation above, you must also purchase the Lee powder die riser as it is required in order for the powder hopper of the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure to clear the Lee Safety Prime as the entire turret rotates - look closely at the video above and you'll see it in place.

P.S. - lead or copper - yes, lead bullets are more dangerous for your lung health, but if you shoot an indoor range with a good ventilation system pulling the fumes away from you (down range) it should not be a worry. As well, outdoor shooting of lead bullets is pretty safe too. In all instances though, wash your hands well after reloading and shooting lead only bullets.

And as far as shooting metal targets, you'll want to try and always use lead instead of copper plated as you will experience less fragments coming back to hit you and others in the vicinity.
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Old May 9, 2006, 01:25 PM   #9
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I'll second this advice.

"I recommend purchasing a reloading manual/manuals before making your order.That way you can make your choice from the knowledge you learn from the books.If you have the money dont hesitate to buy more than one manual from different companies(example Lee and lyman)..It will be the most important decision and purchASE YOU CAN them over and over again."
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Old May 9, 2006, 02:17 PM   #10
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Please purchase some reloading manuals first and read them. Reloading is simple/safe process if done correctly, but it can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

There are many good books out there dealing with reloading ( and I have my share), the one I found most useful explaining the reloading process to a beginner is called "The ABCs of Reloading".

Also if you know anyone who reloads talk to them, but be on guard some of the same idiots on the roads also reload ( enough said on that)
"I am completely out of ammo... that's never happened to me before." --- Burt Gummer
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Old May 9, 2006, 02:47 PM   #11
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+1 on what Nortonics said.

Lee Classic Turret is an absolutely awesome press for someone starting out. It's not overly complicated to learn, you can disable auto-indexing if you want to so you can really control the speed.
Just be very careful not to double-charge the case that way. You'll be able easy to hit 200 rounds/hour with auto-indexing.
That guy in the Lee video is fumbling too much and doesn't have his components laid out very well, but you get the general idea how fast you can load on that press. I loaded faster on my manual-index turret press, but it all comes with practice, and for the most part I like loading slow and steady and keep the TV or radio off, to minimize distractions.

Good thing about that press is that you will not really outgrow it either. I still use my older aluminium one for small batches (200 or so) of 38 spl.
I'm planning to use for my rifle reloading as well.
I eventually got a Dillon 650, but damn, I would not recommend that one for a novice reloader at all.
Caliber change will cost you very little on LCT, even if you get the powder measure on top of the dies and turret, you're still around 50 bucks at most.

Also, Lee manual is fairly cheap and has a lot of good load data. Never hurts to have too many manuals. I think I read that Lee manual cover to cover before I even mounted my press. If you buy Lee dies, they also include the shellholder and load data as well, so it's like an extra bonus thrown in.
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Old May 9, 2006, 06:35 PM   #12
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YEs I have to agree also..I use a single stage but my cousen uses the lee turret and it is a very nice middle ground..I honestly have never used a progressive and have learned some good safe practice because of my single stage.It would be nice to have removable turrets so I can set my dies for different cartridges and leave them in the removable turrets..With my single stage you need to remove and readjust for every stage of reloading..BUT THAT HAS ITS BENEFITS.It makes you do things in stages. You get in a routine..It helps keep you from getting confused when you do things in orderly steps.SO I strongly recommend the turret press or single if you don't reload a ton of ammo at a time.Midway should be good if you change your mind on the press.let us know..Just watch the auto disk powder measurer with fine powders like h110 or h335.the one ive seen was leaky and my perfect powder measure sucks and leaks too with those powders no matter how tight or loose I adjust it...BUT!,My lee perfect powder measure is absolutly AWESOME!!! with medium extruded powder like h4895 and 2015 br,,Just absolutely spot on with measurement>THANK YOU LEE FOR inexpensive yet AWESOME PRODUCTS.
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Old May 12, 2006, 10:49 PM   #13
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Yeah! My stuff came. I was planning to use our old dining table as my reloading bench, but I couldn't find a suitable spot to mount the presses. Anyway, I decided to build one w/ wood that I have around. Note: not seen in the picture is bracing beneath the presses.

Here's a pic of my bench. Haven't had time to unpack the rest of things yet, but I hope evey thing will fit on it or below it.

Thought I'd offer closure by wrapping up this thread. Also, I made my order right after my second posting, so I didn't get a chance to consider the other responses. In hindsight, I think 2 turret style presses may have been a better choice since my volume is so small. According to Lee's Pro 1000 literature, the Pro 1000 press turns an evening's reloading work into an hour (or something like that).

Anyway, thanks for your responses. I'm sure I'll have more Qs for you in the near future.
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