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Old December 1, 2011, 12:09 AM   #1
Once Fired
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Brand(s) of components for reloading?

Hi all

Doing my homework on getting into reloading, reading up on recommended books, etc. One thing I haven't seen so far is a recommendation list for brand / manufacturer for the components. There are plenty of rec's for the reloaders, and which tools to get, but not nearly as much on the materials.

Does it make a ton of difference which brand casings you get, etc? I figure it does, as with anything else since quality can vary so extensively. I'd like to get a type know for its quality so I can re-use over and over, as much as is sensible.


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Old December 1, 2011, 12:19 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if you're looking for rifle or handgun or both but here's a thread a started on this very subject a while back...
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Old December 1, 2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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Pistol cases don't matter much, as long as it is not steel or alum. I try to use lake city 223, 308 and 30-06 Rifle cases they last almost forever. As for reloading presses, I use Hornady, and Lyman because the ram goes past top dead center, and can't over seat the bullets. hope this helps.
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Old December 1, 2011, 12:31 AM   #4
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I'll chime in on primers. Not much difference between brands, use whatever works, is available, or is cheaper in your area. One thing to note is, once you work up a load, keep the same components. Don't change unless you work up the load again with the new components.

Best way to reload the cheapest is to buy in bulk. Hard to do at first, but if you buy powder in 8 pound jugs online, you get the very best price. Same with primers. Buy 5,000 in a case and the price is a lot lower. See if you can find a loading buddy locally to split orders and you will cut the hazmat charge on powder and primers in half.

Powder will vary according to what your reloading manuals recommend for a particular bullet weight and shape. Select the bullet first, then the powder for that bullet. Many times for handgun you may be able to use the same powder for several calibers. Rifle less so, but always use the manual recommendations. Start with a low load and carefully work up each load until you find what works best in YOUR firearm.

Oh yeah, NEVER trust any load that you find on the web until you have verified it with at least one manual. Believe about half of what you hear, and about one tenth of what you read on the net.
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Old December 1, 2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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Note that certain loads in the books will be very component specific and Lee only recommends certain brands of primers for some of their primer tools (for safety reasons) so it's a good idea to re-read your load data and stick close when starting out.
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Old December 1, 2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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What will you be loading?

Rifle? Pistol? Caliber?

What will you be using reloads for?

Target? Hunting? Self defense? Plinking? Competition?
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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Old December 1, 2011, 11:07 AM   #7
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In general:

Primers, pistol........Federal
Primers, rifle..........Federal or CCI
Powder, pistol........ww231 or Li'l Gun
Powder, rifle..........IMR
Bullets, pistol.........Home cast
Bullets, rifle..........Sierra

I've use about everything else you can think of but these are what I use for serious loads. Plinking loads can be anything I can cook up.
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Old December 1, 2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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Excellent replies, thanks!

This gives me some great information. I appreciate it.

I plan on reloading for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Although frankly the idea of reloading plastic shot shells just feels odd, and I'll have to work harder at the research on that side to be thoroughly convinced of its safety compared to brass.

I am looking for maximum utility. Mostly for plinking, then self defense & target, and possibly for hunting over the long term. No truly competitive shooting planned.

The overall idea is maximum versatility with the smallest set of components. I am trying to keep it as simple as possible, spending once and getting precisely what I want for the long haul, while providing myself a respectable level of output over the long term. So, I plan to go progressive on the reloader, to minimize the number of reloaders I buy over time, for instance.

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Old December 2, 2011, 12:57 AM   #9
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Dies for handguns:
Hornady New Dimension seem about the best for me.
Sizing die: the Hornady New Dimension goes down lower than my other sizing dies. This eliminates a lot of the "Glock bulge" problems. For most cartridges, I have the die up off the shell plate so it doesn't size the case web.
Exapnder die: The Lyman M-die is often the best for lead bullets. RCBS makes the best general-purpose expanding dies.
Case-Activated Powder Measures: For inexpensive excellence, nothing beats the Lee Pro Auto-disk and the Lee PTE dies. I always use the Lee PTE dies with a powder funnel attached when working up loads.
The two CA-powder measures I have worked with the most are the Hornady L-N-L and the Dillon measure. The Hornady gets the nod for most consistent charge drops and the quickest charge weight setting. The Dillon get the nod for simplicity. I recommend the Dillon for most users.
Bench-mounted powder measures: RCBS and Lyman.
Seating die: Again, I like the Hornady. You can remove a c-clip and the insides parts can be removed and cleaned. Next would be the Dillon. It is even easier to disassemble on the press for cleaning and the reversible seating stem is fairly universal.
Crimp die: Don't see any difference in taper crimp dies, so I tend to buy Lee. For roll crimp, I have not found any that beat the Redding Profile Crimp dies.
Digital Scale: Hornady, Lyman, Dillon, and RCBS are all very good. Don't scrimp on the scale.
Beam Scale: RCBS 10-10 or Ohaus equivalent.

I have no experience with "benchrest" type dies.
I find that the Lee sets are excellent. I really like the Lee case neck sizing die and, if needed, the Lee Rifle FCD.
If I thought I needed them, then I would look into the Forster Benchrest dies.

Calipers: any good 6" dial.

Case trimmers: Lee for general use. Forster for precise trimming, reaming, and outside neck turning

Primer pocket uniformer, flash hole deburring, etc.: a buch of hooey, but if it makes you happy, go for Sinclair. RCBS, and Lyman.

Overall case length gages: Hornady, if you must

Case lube: Lee or Dillon

Case cleaning: 30 minutes in 20/40 corn. Any more than that only if you compete in the international "Shiniest Case" competitions I hear about

Progressive Press: Hornady L-N-L without the case feeder, Dillon 650 WITH the case feeder, Dillon 1050.

Turret press: Never understood these things until Lee brought out the auto-index feature. Thus, the Lee Classic Turret is the only one I would consider.

Single-Stage press: Forster Co-Ax. Next, the Hornady L-N-L single-stage, then the Lee Challenger Bushing press.

Primers: Winchester, Remington, CCA, Federal

Bullets: for rifles, I always look to Sierra first. For handguns, I use cast lead almost exclusively. If not cast lead, then jacketed from Montana Gold or Precision Delta.

Powder: I find that AA2 is the best in my guns for accurate light target loads. AA5 is almost universally accurate in the non-magnum cartridges (very accurate in .38 Super and .40S&W). 2400 always seems to be the most accurate for magnum rounds.
It is also hard to best the accuracy and ease of use of Bullseye, Red Dot, Green Dot, Unique and Herco. Most say they are dirty, but they sure aren't that sensitive to specific charge weights and are almost all very accurate. In fact, in many cartridges, 6.0gn of Unique is almost a magic load.
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Old December 2, 2011, 01:13 AM   #10
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Get the best equipment and components you can afford, seldom will you be sorry. Not all my eqipment is the same brand. I believe, not one company has the best "Everything". I have a couple LEE press', I like em. Some people do not, with very good reasons. I have Lee, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, & Forster dies. I like all of them and use all of them. My point is to do your research for what you are wanting and get the one you like the best, you are the one that has to use it. Been doing this for over twenty five years, if I get something I don't like I get rid of it. Good way to save money on stuff is pawn stores, auction sites, and moving/garage sales. Friend got a big box of stuff(forster press, redding dies, components, and a bunch of 7mm mag casings) for a hundred bucks. The guy was moving from the west coast to the east coast, didn't use it anymore, and didn't want to haul it 3000 miles. Once ya get started reloading, keep a logbook. Keep track of everything about a load, including which weapon you fired it in & the results. Just my two cents worth. Hope you enjoy reloading, obviously a few of us do
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Old December 2, 2011, 02:13 AM   #11
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Good Stuff

For starters, you're new to reloading and not sure if it's totally for you I wouldn't go for the pricey stuff yet. Actually, you never really have to anyways. If you have time to kill I suggest you get a single station press or a 3-4 station turret. Lee Precision is the way to go. They make high quality, easy to use, practical equipment and usually have bottom dollar pricing and great warrantees to boot. there are lots of great manufacturers out there but Lee presses are all I use for metallic reloading. I can't see the sense in paying more for a press that does the same thing as my inexpensive one. For shell reloading it's MEC hands-down. They have mastered the process in my book. Start of with a 600 Jr. Mk. V. For good large caliber pistol brass check local ranges and gun shop for recycled brass. If you're buying new I suggest Starline. Usually though, I am my own source of recycled brass as I buy new ammo to infeed in to the process. Look at Cabela's reloading supplies. Berry's Bullets are a good buy - also @ Cabela's. Some good powders to start with for pistol: Hodgdon 'Lil gun and HP38, Alliant's American Select, for cowboy action IMR's Trail Boss is great - awesome for .45 Long Colt. For primers go with cheap cause they are all very similar: Magtech, CCI, Winchester...I don't care if it's magnum grade or not - only time it really matters is in really cold climate conditions. By Richard Lee's Modern Reloading Second Edition. It's full of useful info for newbies and has lots of good recipes from a master reloader. Lyman's new reloading book is a must have too. A few other neccessities are a dial caliper (Ebay) no more than $25 and scales. I use a Smart Reloader brand digital scale for $35 - works great. If you are frugal and a good shopper you can get started for under $250 and you can add as you go - and you will add because it's like an addiction - there always will be something else you will want/need.
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Old December 2, 2011, 02:18 AM   #12
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Always buy carbide dies if you can! They are worth it because they last a life time and require less case lubing!
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Old December 2, 2011, 02:19 AM   #13
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I plan on reloading for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Although frankly the idea of reloading plastic shot shells just feels odd, and I'll have to work harder at the research on that side to be thoroughly convinced of its safety compared to brass.
Loading shot shells is perfectly safe, the pressures generated are much lower, usually between 7,000 and 11,000 psi. They have even used a different scale, LUP instead of CUP or PSI.

As far as component brands are concerned, mostly it is a matter of what works best for you in your gun. Higher price does not always mean better product, if it did nobody would buy a Lee anything. I have my favorites and you will have yours.
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Old December 3, 2011, 12:30 AM   #14
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re PISTOL components:
Three types of bullets 1. Lead 2. Plated (copper plated lead) 3. Jacketed
I prefer 124/125gr for 9mm light loads

Being new to reloading I suggest starting with Jacketed or Plated.
Montana Gold (FMJ or CMJ) A very good bullet with free shipping
Zero fmj
Precision Delta fmj
Berry's RN OR HBRN bullets
Ordering can be from the Manufacturer but sometimes distributors give better prices (don't forget to include any shipping costs when choosing).
Powder Valley
Shooters Connection
and many more

Powders: Buying locally will save big bucks on small orders due to the HAZ-Mat shipping costs.
Powder Valley
Graf and Sons
and numerous others

Primers: Again, Haz-Mat fee for ordering.
Powder Valley
Graf and Sons
Shooters Connection
and "sales" at Mid-Way and many others
OOPS ADD: CASES Whatever you do, go to a range that allows case scrounging. The single biggest expense is the brass case. I have never paid for a pistol case. I have loaded 30K. For 9mm I prefer WIN cases.

Hope this gives you a start

Last edited by 1SOW; December 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM.
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Old December 3, 2011, 02:56 AM   #15
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I have bought both high priced reloading tools and budget tools,they all make good ammo,but I have had more problems with the budget stuff than the higher priced stuff.It does no good to "save" money when you spend more than you save driving back to the store or post office to send the defective item back.Remember your buying tools to use for a lifetime, possibly,and you should get what you will be happy with, try to find someone locally with equipment and look at it in use to get an idea of what you like.
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Old December 3, 2011, 06:39 AM   #16
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For shot shells I would recomend considereing what, and how much you shoot before taking a plunge to reload for them. It is perfecly safe to reload shot shells provided you follow the directions.

Now that said sometimes you can buy bulk birdshot loads cheaper than you can buy the components to reload them for 20 ga, and 12 ga. Now if you are shooting 28 ga there could be some savings. Also if you are shooting slugs or buckshot then reloading could offset the cost of those.
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Old December 3, 2011, 11:04 AM   #17
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I got a very cheap LEE shot reloader that was darn good for showing me how it was done. Then I got a MEC Jr. and have been having all kinds of fun. You just can't buy some of the loads I've done. I think it's well worth it. What else ya gonna do with your spare time but drink.
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Old December 3, 2011, 12:00 PM   #18
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I don't currently reload shotshells but my brother had a MEC, Jr. and he could reload his hulls several times and shot some pretty heavy loads, I would think that if trap or skeet were your thing you could get many, many light loads out of your hulls. Just like metallic cartridge reloading you keep track of how many times you've reloaded your "shell" and discard any that are starting to look a bit "ratty".
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Old December 3, 2011, 12:02 PM   #19
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For rifles and 45 Colt I prefer RP and Starline brass, all other handgun cartridges are whatever's available but WW seems to work best. Cartridge case life is affected by loading processes, firing pressures and chamber dimensions but the above seem to hold up best for me. I lose (and scavenge) so much 45 acp brass I don't really know or care much about durability, WW just seems to load and clean up better but I'm liking what I see of Top Brass cases.
I use and like so many powders that I'm not loyal to any particular brand but the Hodgdon family is where I generally wind up. Using mostly Federal primers for rifles these days, WW primers for pistols. Favorite bullets are RP, Hornady and my own cast, depending on the cartridge.
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