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Old November 29, 2013, 04:18 AM   #1
brentfoto
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Need advice-getting back into reloading

Hi-

Haven't been here for a while due to various reasons, and no-I haven't been in the 'pokey'. But I haven't reloaded for three years and wanted to get back into it, but in a limited manner due to present circumstances beyond my control.

I've come full circle as I started with a Lee Loader, and eventually graduated to a Dillon SDB, Lee Classic Turret Press, and two other Lee presses that were single stage. Actually, that's not really full circle-it's a half-circle.

Because of my situation and the fact I traded all of my reloading equipment, and that I can not reload in a defined work space with bench, etc., and do not want to make a racket, I have already made my decision to go with the Lee Breech Lock Hand Press, and that, for the time being, I would only be loading .45acp.

So, keeping in mind that cost of factory right now is a major consideration, can anyone recommend the way to go with primers, brass, powders and bullets, keeping in mind a decent powder for the .45 caliber and inexpensive bullets. And I was also wondering if large pistol primers would be mandatory, or can one get away with small pistol primers or will they just not fit or pose a danger?

I never loaded 45 Auto before. I know what I need re everything else with respect to the initial equipment setup with carbide dies and various accessories.

What I'd ask for are opinions how to go inexpensively with:

Powder - would only want a lb. or two.
Primers would want 1000
Bullets would want 500-would prefer FMJ/RN-HP's not necessary if cost much more; might also consider lead bullets, but need cons as well as pros.
Brass - want at least 500-I don't need to go with Starline at this juncture
Would want clean brass because I don't have a tumbler, no more than once fired is okay-

so that I might reload box of 50 at a materials cost (powder, brass, primers, and bullets) of $10-$15 a box. Possible?

Firearms will be for a temporary period a Para 13-45, and for the majority of shooting, a SA XD-45 Tactical with 5" barrel.

I will be shooting target and do not really anticipate shooting competition, especially with this setup. I just want to have fun doing some reloading and shooting, though I may make the XD my HD weapon.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by brentfoto; November 29, 2013 at 04:26 AM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 07:20 AM   #2
1stmar
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Need advice-getting back into reloading

A couple of recommendations. Looks like you are trying to keep costs low. I would recommend used brass. With 45 pressures you will get many reloading a from them, if you don't over crimp you can easily get 10-15. Whatever brand you can get will be fine as long as you don't mix brands your accuracy potential should be high. The lighter the bullet the cheaper it will be, try 185gr lead swc. And for powder I use clays, not sure what charge you will need for 185 but for 250gr I am using 3.2gr. At 7000 grains per pound that's 2187 rounds per pound. Your charge will likely be different. I use winchester large pistol primers. You cannot use small pistol primers unless your brass is small pistol. The vast majority of 45acp is large pistol primers. You can clean brass with some soap and water, you don't need a tumbler. Buy small quantity of bullets up front to see what your pistols feed. I have a lee breach loader it will be fine for 45acp. You may be able to get brass cheap (free) at a public range. Initial investment would probably be :
$30 for press
$20 for dies (check ebay for used dies)
$40 for 500 rounds
$35 for primers
$30 for a pound of powder
?? For brass depending in where you get it. 45 is easy to come by

You'll need something to weigh the powder. You can use a lee dipper (not a fan myself but some use then exclusively)

Last edited by 1stmar; November 29, 2013 at 07:30 AM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 08:49 AM   #3
Gunnels
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Used brass is readily available on Craig's List. Search on 'reloading brass'. That will get you started. After that pick up what you can off the floor of the range. I always return from the range with more brass than I took.

Bullets, consider shooting lead or plated bullets. They are much cheaper. Jacketed hollow points are pricey. Not really necessary if target shooting targets.
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Old November 29, 2013, 09:18 AM   #4
Misssissippi Dave
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Using lead or plated bullets should not be much of a problem with either pistol. Jacketed bullets will probably cost more the either of these. 185 or 200 grain bullets will cost less than 230 grain bullets. It does take more powder per load to load lighter bullets but powder is the cheapest component. Unless you are using VV powders, it shouldn't make a big difference. You can use several different powders so see what is available locally. Powders like W231/HP38, WST, WSF, AA2, AA5, and several others could be used. I prefer fast powders with light bullets in this caliber. Medium burn powders could also be made to work.

I use both small pistol and large pistol primer brass. It just depends on what I have available at the moment to load. The difference in the load amount could be the same or at most .1 grain more powder with the small primer brass. Many people won't reload .45 with the small primer so often you can find them easier and/or cheaper. When you have both you do need to keep them separated. Primers for one do now work in the other.

Since you are looking at small quantities you might be best off looking locally for primers and powder. Hazmat fees will eat your budget up quickly when you purchase small quantities. You get great pricing on primers and powder on line but, you have to purchase a lot at one time.

Brass cleaning can be done with a large plastic bottle with cap, dish washing liquid and some warm water. Put in the brass, soap and water in the bottle. Put on the cap and shake. When done, rinse the brass and place on an old towel primer side up to dry. Be sure it is completely dry prior to loading. You don't need pretty just get rid of the crud.

Last edited by Misssissippi Dave; November 29, 2013 at 09:25 AM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 09:22 AM   #5
jamaica
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Cleaning brass is for appearances only. I loaded for many years before I even heard of tumbling brass. With a carbide die you are not going to scratch it nor wear it out whether you polish your brass or not. If they happen to fall into mud just wipe them off with a cotton rag. Otherwise, just size and load them.

Lead may be cheaper than jacketed bullets. That is the only thing I shoot in 45.
I have had no problems with leading in the barrel.

For powder, you may have to see what you can find. Titegroup, 231, or Unique work well. AT around 5.5 gr or less you can get over 1200 rounds per pound.

Cleaning primer pockets? Really not necessary either. A little black left in them doesn't prevent the new primer from seating and as long as the flash hole is open they work fine. If you insist, you can clean them up a bit with any small pointed tool, like a nut pick.

As others have suggested, 45 brass is easy to come by. See what you can find at the range.
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Old November 29, 2013, 10:38 AM   #6
Misssissippi Dave
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If you can't find any brass, you could always get a few boxes of the cheapest factory ammo you can find with a brass case. Shoot them and reload them many times over. .45 brass doesn't wear out very fast. A long time ago, I started with 100 pieces of .38 brass and eventually got 200. I would take 100 to the range than bring it home to reload. The next time I took the other 100. I don't remember how many times I loaded them. It was a lot of times. You can do the same thing with .45 brass.

I now shoot and load a lot more ammo. I'm still rotating brass. I just use larger amounts. If I find a good deal on factory ammo with brass cases I will still get it to keep for when I need some more once fired brass. It has been a while since I added any of that to my stock. I don't buy new brass unless it is for something I can't find in factory ammo or the cost of factory ammo it way to high. I did buy some .357 brass this last year since it was the only way I could get any brass to load these calibers at the time. .45 brass should not be much of a problem finding now in either once fired or even new factory ammo.
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Old November 29, 2013, 11:09 AM   #7
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"Powder - would only want a lb. or two.
Primers would want 1000
Bullets would want 500-would prefer FMJ/RN-HP's not necessary if cost much more; might also consider lead bullets, but need cons as well as pros.
Brass - want at least 500-I don't need to go with Starline at this juncture
Would want clean brass because I don't have a tumbler, no more than once fired is okay-"


Holding cost to a minimum (that sounds like me), high velocity and super expansion bullets are not needed to hit paper.

Look locally for powder and primers. This will save that stupid hazmat shipping fee. Your local small gun shop can be your best friend but the 'big stores' may be the only source for now.

As to what? HP38 (normally cheaper than it twin 231) is one of the better (IMO) powders. Any large Pistol primers will work (I have a thing about buying russian product...). Also look at/for your other needs.

On-line, check the many bullet makers. I like 200 grain SWC for my .45s, you may want something different. I also buy from Missouri Bullet (one of my grand daughters lives 5 or 6 miles from them and I can stop in for a pick up with no problem). This doesn't rule out other makers products. Lead - pros - cheaper, works great, doesn't lead the barrel at .45 velocities, is cheaper (Oh, I said that). Lead - cons - lube can smoke some.... can't think of any others right now. Jacketed bullets - pros - look nice and shinny, can be pushed very fast to the point of damaging weapons. Jacketed bullets - cons - expensive.

Brass... on-line or local listings, there is used stuff there. I, just order from Star Line. As I never loose a case, 500 Star cases will last me the rest of my life.

Cleaning brass. I went for years using an old 'tee' shirt to clean my brass. It works.

Load with care,

OSOK
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Old November 29, 2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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Careful with buying the cheapest brass. A lot of the cheap stuff is coming with small pistol primers. So if you go that route you might hold off buying your primers until you know the size of the primer pockets you'll be loading for.

Depending on where you pick brass from you might have a hard time getting a decent amount quickly. I'm in Utah and I'll head to three of four places to pick brass. 9mm and .40 are king right now. I've got ten to twenty pounds of each. That's from a summer of picking. 45 brass probably won't even break 500 pieces.

Also there's a lot more people picking brass so pickings tend to be slim. Bullseye is probably your best bet on powder. I agree cast lead is the way I'd go on bullets.
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Old November 29, 2013, 12:53 PM   #9
brentfoto
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Thanks, I really appreciate the responses thus far. I do have more questions and instead of addressing each one of you by name, I am going to try to put all together-partially in this post, and I don't mean to slight anyone or offend anyone by doing so.

There are some great suggestions. In the past, when money was not an issue, I used to buy a lot of stuff from Powder Valley website, Grafs, Midway, etc. Well, for my small current needs, I do think that I will buy locally, at least with respect to powder and primers from my LGS, and all these suggestions will be helpful because powder choices will have to depend on supply-what they have in stock.

About the primers, the reason I asked about size is because I can get 1000 small pistol CCI for $25.00 plus tax at my LGS- Black Friday sale (Turner's Outdoorsman in SoCal). Limit to one box but that is all I need right now: http://www.turners.com/engage/displayads_bf.php

I think part of my confusion with respect to primers was related to using small pistol primers for magnum loads in .357, whether to get the small magnum pistol primers or the regular. I opted for the regular ones.

I've always been under the impression that to shoot .45 one should and can only use large pistol primers due to size of the hole and it is considered a large pistol caliber.

Anyway, I only intend to reload .45. Will check on their price for large pistol primers, also, if I can reach them today-but not on special, no doubt.

I did purchase some WWB 45 Auto last night and that stung a bit and compared the primer sizes and saw a definite and large difference in primer size and pocket hole compared to 9mm.

(OH, and BTW, it is 45 Auto, so don't ask if they have .45acp in stock at Wamart. I think that a lot of shooters have missed out on that one when in stock but told that '.45acp is not on the shelf'. I will save the brass after shooting it. If anyone here is interested (unlikely, but you can pass on the info to others about asking for 45 Auto), price was $43.57 plus tax for 100 (230gr FMJ).

Last edited by brentfoto; November 29, 2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 01:11 PM   #10
Crunchy Frog
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Traditionally .45 ACP cases were made to accept a large pistol primer. Obviously a small pistol primer could not be used-it would be too small. In recent years some factory loaded .45 ACP ammo has been produced with small pistol primers-the case was manufactured with a small pistol primer pocket. If like me you buy secondhand brass you are likely to get a few of these but the majority of .45 cases are set up for large primers.
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Old November 29, 2013, 01:13 PM   #11
brentfoto
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Thanks for that info, Crunchy. I will have to go with Large pistol.

Later-Over the telephone, I was quoted $4-$5 a box (100) by the checkout lady at Turner's as ball park for their large pistol primers. They are so busy that I'd have to wait to speak to a salesperson.

Last edited by brentfoto; November 29, 2013 at 01:33 PM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 01:31 PM   #12
brentfoto
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I will be going to LGS Tuesday anyway and will purchase some primers and powder at that time. I will call them over the weekend to find out what they have in stock, and can be more specific with my questions.

In the past, and for other calibers, I've used Bullseye (like it a lot), Accurate No.5, Unique, Hd110 (don't remember-for magnum .357), 231. The equipment had sat idle in a paid storage facility (along with many other things) for the past 3 years and I couldn't use it! All components that I had left over went with the trade of my reloading equipment and it is somewhat ironic that now I am going to have to buy some of the same components, but the trade was definitely worth it!

Large part of motivation for wanting to reload again, though on a small basis, was that part of the trade involved receiving the XD-45 Tactical. I really did not have plans to shoot .45 at this time.

Thanks for responses thus far from 1stmar, Gunnels, MS Dave, jamaica, oldpapps, Valornor and Crunchy!

Last edited by brentfoto; November 29, 2013 at 03:12 PM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 01:48 PM   #13
NWPilgrim
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Need advice-getting back into reloading

Agree with everything above. Buy local if possible, lead bullets are great and half the price of jacketed. If no lead bullets locally then some manufacturers ship flat rate, about $10-$15 which is still much cheaper than jacketed or factory ammo. Penn bullets are great, low price, and flat rate. Also bought some from Missouri Cast Bullets, and Dardas at good prices.

You don't need 500 cases. Just get as many as you plan to shoot in one session. Heck, that box of 50 you just bought is a good start. Go out to where others shoot frequently and allow picking up stray brass, shoot that box and see if you can't find 10-20 extras to pick up. Reload those 70 and do it again. Also, let your friends know you need .45 brass. Someone might have it and not reload it, or will pick some up next time he shoots. Another reloader might be happy to just give you 50-100 cases.

The case is the most expensive component do you really want to focus on limiting your cost here.

Lots of powders from fast to medium work well in .45 ACP so get whatever you can locally. My favorite is W231/HP38, but Bullseye, AA2, AA5, Unique, Universal, and probably a couple from Ramshot would fine as well.

Vast majority of cases will be large pistol primer pockets. I have reloaded thousands of .45 cases and have not encountered a small primer .45 case. Especially among US ammo headstamps it should be large pistol primers.
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Old November 29, 2013, 01:58 PM   #14
brentfoto
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Great advice, NWPilgrim!

Maybe my LGS sells cast bullets. Will see about it and also copper plated.

And, yes, I will hopefully have 100 WWB cases after I shoot with the XD-45-good place to start, and a motivation for picking up the pack of 100.

In any given range session, not likely to shoot more than 100, but may want to go successive times over the period of a week, and will need extras in stock.

Last edited by brentfoto; November 29, 2013 at 02:07 PM.
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Old November 29, 2013, 02:10 PM   #15
Crunchy Frog
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The primers I have seen on the shelves locally have been in the $4/100 price range.

I shoot a lot of lead bullets. They are cheaper in bulk and if you can find a local source so that you don't have to pay shipping that will save you some money. Most of the lead bullets I see on store shelves are significantly more expensive. Keep in mind that lead bullets from the large manufacturers (such as Hornady) are swaged lead which are much softer than your average "hard cast" bullet. Some indoor ranges won't allow you to shoot ammo with lead bullets. Some shooters don't like to use lead bullets for other reasons. If either of those apply to you I'd recommend the plated bullets.

NWPilgrim, one explanation for the .45 ACP ammo with small primers that I heard was that the ammo used lead-free primers that were only available in a small size.

I use a casefeeder when loading .45 ACP and am a little lax about inspecting my brass after tumbling-I just dump it into the casefeeder bin. I "find" those small primer pocket cases as they go to station #2 on my press and go "clunk" when I try to reprime them. I'm too cheap to throw them away but I have a container on my bench where I toss them.
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Old November 29, 2013, 03:14 PM   #16
brentfoto
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Yes, I would seriously consider lead. Will look on calguns.net as Craigslist is a no-no in my part of the country, even for brass, or so it appears.
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Old November 29, 2013, 03:38 PM   #17
Misssissippi Dave
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The lead free ammo normally takes the small primer. The brass head stamp normally has the company name with NT (non toxic) on them.

Federal Champion and some CCI also have the small primer in .45 auto/acp which ever you care to call it. There is a .45 auto rim and that is something different.

Winchester White box, RWS, most Remington, S&B, and many others use the large primer. I don't toss any of them until they are not safe to reload.

When plinking or general range use many people don't even change the powder amount if they load both types of brass. Depending on the powder used, you probably wouldn't see more than a few fps difference between the small and large primer cases. Some methods of dispensing powder may vary enough to make the difference a moot point. Normally you would have to use a chronograph to measure any difference between the two. The only problems with loading both types of cases is you have to sort them by primer type at a minimum and you have to keep both sizes of primers on hand.
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Old November 29, 2013, 04:39 PM   #18
JimDandy
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Keep in mind non-jacketed rounds are probably only an option with an outdoor range. If you have an indoor pistol range like either of mine, they require at least a partial jacket on anything bigger than 22LR.
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Old November 29, 2013, 05:17 PM   #19
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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You could buy all at once.
Or if not in a real hurry. Check out the estate sales in your area. Allot of old timers have some pretty decent equipment and supplies that have no place to go after they pass. Sadly their offspring have a difference of opinion nor the time to get involved with dads favorite pastime. So its sold to the highest bidder or pre-sticker-ed at a rock bottom price. This would be my suggestion for someone wanting to get back into reloading.
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