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Old November 12, 2017, 06:12 PM   #1
SonOfScubaDiver
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I'm Ready To Start Reloading

Well, after months and months of watching videos, reading up on the subject, and lots of inner debating on which route to take, I can say that I am ready to start reloading. I'm excited about it! I'm going to start with 38 special. I'm going to go with lead hollow base wadcutters loaded to around 700-750 fps to get the ball rolling. I have 800 rounds of once fired brass, with another 500 rounds of factory ammo on the way. That should give me plenty to play with for a good while. The idea is to eventually add .357, .380, .40, and .45 (haven't bought the gun for that one yet).

So...this is my equipment list that I'm going to order next week as soon as I get paid.

Lee BL hand loader
Lee 38 spl 4 die set
Calipers
Loading manual
Primer pocket tool
Lee Scoop Set
Digital Scale
Lee Hand Primer
Tray
Hornady 148gr LHBWC bullets

I will buy the primers and powder locally.

Yes, I know in a previous post I said I've read some bad things about Lee products, but I have to admit that they offer way more than other companies for beginners like me.

So, whaddya think? Have I got enough to get me going or what?
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Old November 12, 2017, 06:18 PM   #2
Dano4734
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I just started myself. I took the advice of others here and bought a rock chucker. GladiI did. Every singleoone of my reloads have been perfect. All exactly the same. You can find a used one on eBay like I did for 60 bucks. They are amazing presses. Dies all over eBay also. Thanks my suggestion
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Old November 12, 2017, 06:52 PM   #3
GeorgeandSugar
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I started with a Lee Classic Press. I have it set up for each caliber I reload. I use it like a single stage press. I deprime and resize. Then hand prime with a RCBS universal hand primer. I am happy and satisfied with my drops. There is some slight variations depending on the powder. However, I am pleased with the results. Seat my bullets. All my reloads are used at the range. I use factory ammo when I carry, until I feel confident in my abilities. So far, so good. It's been a lot of fun.


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Old November 12, 2017, 06:53 PM   #4
SonOfScubaDiver
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The bench mounted press will come later. Right now I'm stuck with the kitchen table and not a lot of room to store stuff. I do have a small closet under the stairs that will eventually become my reloading room, but it's going to take a while before I can get that closet converted, and I don't want to wait any more.
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Old November 12, 2017, 06:57 PM   #5
Smoke & Recoil
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I give...what is a (lee BL hand loader) ? Show a link if you can please.

Never mind the link, I found it...Lee #90685
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Last edited by Smoke & Recoil; November 12, 2017 at 07:06 PM.
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:08 PM   #6
SonOfScubaDiver
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Lee Breech Lock.

https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/65...YaAj6dEALw_wcB
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:14 PM   #7
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Dude, a hand held press?
Are you sure?

Why buy something that you know will have to be replaced? Spend a few extra buck and get a bench mounted O frame press. The hand held thing is going to get old quick. A c-clamp will hold a light aluminum O frame press on the kitchen table just fine.

Lee and RCBS make very decent O frame aluminum presses for not much more than the hand held.
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:17 PM   #8
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I'd skip the Lee scoop set. I started with the Lee "perfect" powder dispenser and still use it when on my single stage press. IMHO the scoops are junk. Some people like them, 90% of people don't. I had a hard time getting repeatable results and the whole point of using them is to make the process quicker. Mount the dispenser onto a 1x4 board and clamp it to whatever surface you are using.

You don't mention which calipers, scale or reloading manual you are getting. For 38 special the calipers shouldn't be necessary. Just crimp the brass into the crimp groove.

I'd recommend the Frankford Arsenal digital scale. It's cheap but it works. Some people insist on $100 scales but it isn't necessary.

Last edited by reddog81; November 12, 2017 at 08:09 PM.
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:21 PM   #9
Smoke & Recoil
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Lee #$90180, 63.48 on ebay with free shipping.
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:44 PM   #10
SonOfScubaDiver
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Hammerhead, it wasn't an easy decision. What I wanted to get is Lyman's Turret Press, but I also have a storage issue that I have to take into account. The hand press will be fine to get me started, and I will have something I can use if and when I decide to try different loads while at the range. For now, anything that mounts onto a table is for later, when I can get a permanent area set up for reloading. Wish I had a basement!
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Old November 12, 2017, 07:47 PM   #11
SonOfScubaDiver
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Reddog, that beez the one I'ma git!
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Old November 12, 2017, 08:26 PM   #12
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Me, I started with one of those hammer Lee things, got me started.

Then I got a RCBS junior, worked fine for hand gun, no so much for rifle.

RCBS had a sale and I got the Rock Chucker.

You got to start somewhere.

Now looking back I could write a small book on what I think is the best setup (CoAxe press). That press is also like $400.

As much as I like it, the two presses (and a Rock Chucker my brother gave me in reserve) do what I want.

The junior goes to the range with me these days as a COAL adjuster only.

Hand press would work fine for that down the road.

The only stuff that now just sits is the beam scales.
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Old November 12, 2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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I started out years ago using the Lee Breech Lock and eventually got the LCT. The great part about doing that is I use the Lee Breech Lock all the time to deprime brass while watching tv so I still use it a lot.

You will enjoy doing it the way you are ...it will really give you a good feel for reloading and observe each step more closely. It's a lot better than getting out there on a progressive press and just cranking out ammo.
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Old November 12, 2017, 09:17 PM   #14
TJB101
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I'm Ready To Start Reloading

As with a few other folks mentioning the same thing I also started with a Lee Classic and then upgraded to a turret. LCT. Both are great. Get a good powder throw, case gauge, beam scale (digital is nice but beam is perfect). It’s a never ending battle.. upgrade, supplies, new gadgets. Keeps me busy, very relaxing, saves money (not)
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Old November 12, 2017, 09:48 PM   #15
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No.. Your not ready..

Powder trickler.
Set of calipers to measure with.
Then you'll be ready..

I use the Lee scoops to get close, then trickle to final powder weight.
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Old November 13, 2017, 09:44 AM   #16
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Lose the powder scoops, go with the PPM. When you say primer pocket tool, if your. Referring to the primer pocket cleaner, completely useless and not needed for the calibers you list. Last but not least, skip the digital scale and get a decent balance beam scale, such as a RCBS 505. Nothing against your list, just giving advice based on my own experience of slightly over 30 years. Regardless of whether or not you take my advice, I do think your on a good track and no doubt you'll enjoy the art of handloading. Just remember, above all else be careful and safe.
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Old November 13, 2017, 10:23 AM   #17
BBarn
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Your list has what you need to get you started. But I will offer a few suggestions/comments.

Personally, I would go with a bench mounted press, and powder dispenser instead of the scoop set. My first reloading setup (shotshell) was a bench mounted press that I mounted to a small piece of plywood and clamped to a table top. I would do that instead of a hand press. A powder dispenser can also be mounted in a similar manner and charges dropped over the edge of the table top.

For 38 Special and other handgun cartridges I never bother with a powder trickler. Rifle cartridges with long extruded powders are a different story. I almost always use a trickler with those.

I started with a beam scale, but use a digital almost exclusively today. I think starting with a digital is fine.

I started with a primer pocket tool as well. I know many people don't use them routinely, but I always use one to clean the primer pockets. I suppose it could be put off if funds run low.

With the 38 Special you may not need one for now, but if you load other more powerful cartridges (especially rifle) you will want to get a case trimmer. For now with the 38, you can simply set aside any cases over 1.155” long (measured after sizing).
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Old November 13, 2017, 11:03 AM   #18
robhic
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Quote:
... skip the digital scale and get a decent balance beam scale, such as a RCBS 505.
I agree. I got a digital at first but if you take too long between uses, it would shut off. Beam scale stays on setting unless you hit, change or drop it. Beam is also a bit less critical of breezes, etc.

I started with a LEE LOADER (The one known as the "Whack-A-Mole") using a hammer. Lasted about a month....

Got an RCBS RockChucker and like it.
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Old November 13, 2017, 03:04 PM   #19
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Throw the Lee Scoop Set away and use a scale(digital is easier to read). Those silly scoops can vary the powder charge plus or minus a full grain.
"...Loading manual..." Buy the Lyman. It's far more versatile than any bullet or powder maker's book.
"...lead hollow base wadcutters..." 148 grain HBWC's use 2.5 to 2.8 of Bullseye(usually about 2.7. That's been the .38 target load for eons.). Load 'em flush with the case mouth and NO crimp. And buy all your components locally. Ask your local gun shop if he has either swaged HBWC's or cast DEWC's(Double Ended) or where to get 'em. Cost less in the long run. Usually come by the 500 or 1,000. ACME Bullet Company wants $198.00 per 2500. Vs $25ish per 250 plus shipping for the Hornady's. Swaged are better though.
"...to eventually add..." A Lee Loader for each will get pricey. Better to save your money for a regular press, loading bench, dies and shell holders.
"...they offer way more than other companies..." Nope. All the companies have a Beginner's Kit. Tells you what you need if nothing else. Everybody forgets the bench though.
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Old November 13, 2017, 04:24 PM   #20
RC20
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Quote:
Last but not least, skip the digital scale and get a decent balance beam scale, such as a RCBS 505.
I have to disagree with this kind of advice.

I have been reloading for 60 years (helped my dad when I was a kid!)

Personally I like digital scales. They are quicker, more accurate (make me feel better) and versatile to me.

Spent my time dribbling powder onto a beam, for me that is ungh.

The choice is a preference. To say that a digital is wrong is simply wrong. It may not be your choice.

I don't think a beam is wrong, I just think the digital is better and for me it certainly is.

And a digital is not wind free, it can have electrical interference as well (probably about gone with LED Shop lights)

Probably the most missed aspect is the use of the powder pan as a constant check on calibration. They do drift off and you do have to watch them.

But its also so fast and easy reading about it is the hardest part.

You calibrate the scale and then weigh your pan. You zero the pan.

When you lift the pan off (powder or not in it) you get a negative number that HAS to be the same as the pan weight. You do that as you move the powder to the case or as you are going back.

If its off more than 2/10, you just zero it again, pull it, make sure it is right pan weight.

If not you do a full calibration. If it won't calibrate then you replace it.

A beam is ok backup, but I have both a digital scale with a built on trickler (Lyman) that is pretty fast and an auto dispenser.

The beam sits up on the shelf looking very iconic.

I have a subscription to Handloader magazine, I am amazing how behind the times they are.

Now don't get me wrong, I hate change, my wife rightfully says I am a stick in the mud (or stuck in the past) - I don't do Facebook, I don't do snapchat, I don't Twit or Tweet.

I sure do digital scales!
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Old November 13, 2017, 04:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
I agree. I got a digital at first but if you take too long between uses, it would shut off. Beam scale stays on setting unless you hit, change or drop it. Beam is also a bit more critical of breezes, etc
.

No its not, a digital scale is very sensitive to any air flow.

If its the kind that times out (battery) then you just turn it back on!

Now don't get me wrong, if it does not suit you that's more than fine, but to say give it up for that kind of reasoning is simply wrong.

Now, present what annoys you about them, that's what advice is about, then the OP can decide for himself.

And he has it and he might as well try it and see ?

Heavens forbid, he might like it! Then where are we?
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Old November 13, 2017, 04:33 PM   #22
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Re: scales. The OP said his space was limited, and that he is reloading handgun cartridges. A digital scale stores easily and is plenty accurate enough for what OP is doing.
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Old November 13, 2017, 06:34 PM   #23
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Getting the hand press is a great start. It will very, very, very quickly teach you a bench mounted press was the way to go from day one.

Even with a clamped bench mounted press you can easily fit all the tools into a medium size tool box and store it in the closet when not in use.
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Old November 13, 2017, 06:45 PM   #24
SonOfScubaDiver
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Wow! This is great! Along with all the suggestions in the thread, some of you have sent me PMs offering advice if I need it along the way. That is so awesome! It really means a lot to me. I've only made a few gun toting friends so far (4), but none of them reload, so they haven't been able to offer much advice. One of them does want to come over and help out though, when I get started, because he's thinking about getting into it too. Thank you!
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Old November 13, 2017, 07:02 PM   #25
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No, you're not quite ready yet. Looks like you have been advised on tools for assembling the rounds. But like the rest of us, you will probably make some bad loads or mistakes along the way that may require disassembling the round (s) to recover the components. For that you will need a bullet puller. There are two common types, an inertia puller that is a general type, and a collet type requiring a separate collet die per bullet caliber. Get one of the inertia types, the only downside being that light bullets can be difficult to dislodge. The inertia puller looks like a plastic hammer.
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