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Old November 26, 2019, 10:22 PM   #1
flyboy015
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Inherited some equipment, new to reloading!

Really looking forward to this section of TFL! I was given some reloading equipment from my father-in-law's friend, as he wanted to be rid of it. Pretty good starter kit, I have:

-Old Lyman press with mounting bolts
-RCBS 505 scale
-Lee handheld primer
-RCBS old school powder measure
-bullet puller
-case deburring tool and primer pocket brush
-dies for .41 Magnum and .223 Rem

Looks like I still need to grab a set of calipers, some shell holders and holders for the primer tool, 9mm die set...and of course powder and primers...and I can start reloading the gallon freezer bags of 9mm and .223 I always knew I was keeping for a reason! Of course I'm reading up on all I can. I understand strict attention to task at hand and good organizational skills will go a long ways in terms of safety. Double and triple check EVERYTHING!

I'm certain this forum will be incredibly useful and informative. I'm reloading mainly to get out to the range more often (I'll have more ammo!) and also to see if I can match or exceed the best .223 Rem factory load I've ever fired out of my AR...Hornady 50gr VMax! Also known as $uperformance! And at over $1.10 a shot from my LGS, I can't wait to potentially make some up for not even half that price!

If I can ask one thing...mainly...does anyone have suggestions or tips for setting up a shop area for reloading? Thinking of doing it in my relatively vacant attic; for one, I have a n empty 10' bench already set up, and being in the attic will keep my 3-1/2 year old out of curiosity's sight.

Cheers all!
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Old November 26, 2019, 11:25 PM   #2
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Well, my reloading stuff is all mobile. All the equipment fits inside a large heavy plastic tool box. That may be an option for you as well (minus your large press).
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Old November 26, 2019, 11:52 PM   #3
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I also reload in my relatively spacious, non-conditioned, attic. Here are a few suggestions which have made my space more comfortable and efficient.
First and most importantly, plenty of good lighting. I use two, 4 foot, two-tube light fixtures. I've been considering LED, but my old fixtures throw plenty of light without shadows. To increase efficiency, I stapled a few white foam boards to the rafters to reflect the light and another to my reloading bench.
Second, I have a fan and portable heater. My climate is probably more moderate than yours, but minimizing perspiration dripping onto your bench is preferred.
Third, I like using old copy paper boxes to store supplies. They stack well and are free to me.
I actually enjoy the calming concentration required when reloading and having favorable results at the range. I keep a binder with reloading data so that I don't have to reinvent the wheel.
I also have a RCBS 505 scale, but I only use it to check my inexpensive digital scale. Watching the 505 bob up and down, waiting for it to settle is very inefficient.
Digital calipers are also the way to go.
If there are any low rafters, you might want to buy some foam pipe insulation a place it over the bottom of the rafters. I few good bonk and you will want to buy some.
Last, but not least, buy at least a couple of reloading books. The ABCs of reloading and latest Lyman reloading manuals are a good start.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy.
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Old November 27, 2019, 12:21 AM   #4
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The climate in the attic is of interest. Heat accelerates the breakdown of powder, so storing it where it gets hot is undesirable. Humidity affects powder. Very dry powder has about 12% faster burn rate than powder kept in 80% RH, according to Norma. It also weighs about a percent more, which should be allowed for when weighing loads.
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Old November 27, 2019, 12:47 AM   #5
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Looks like Santa delivered a bit early!

You got some of the major pieces, need a few minor ones..and will find a LOT of things useful as you go along, though they aren't strictly "needed".

The more we know about the specific of what you got, the more we can help.

-Old Lyman press with mounting bolts
WHICH old Lyman press? single stage "C" press? (Spartan in the 70s, grey color) turret press? (Spar-T)?? something more recent, in orange??
or something else?

Consider this, get a couple large C clamps from the hardware store (if you don't already have some) Clamp the press to the bench if possible. You can load that way, and you can test things, and different spots before drilling any holes...

-RCBS 505 scale
good scale, "old school" on the other hand batteries never go dead,
Somebody will tell you that you need to get some check weights and they're a good idea, but you can tell if the scale is "reasonably on" weighing a bullet or three. Won't be precise, but if you weigh a (nominal) 115gr 9mm bullet and the scale balances at 80 or 130, you need a new scale. If its close to stated weight, the scale is probably ok.

-Lee handheld primer
Lee has made several different designs of handheld primer units over the years, one of the old ones I had (single primer at a time) used proprietary screw in shellholders. Those are hard to find now days. If you can easily find the right shellholders, you're better off replacing the hand primer with a new one that you can get shellholders for. I've been using RCBS for some years now, uses the same shellholders as the press.


-RCBS old school powder measure
Not sure what you mean by "old school" I've been using the same RCBS Uniflow measure since the 80s. DO you have a powder measure stand? or the flat oval bar that allows you to mount the measure to the press? You'll want one...

-bullet puller
handy tool, when you need it. Is it the die type that goes in the press or the Hammer type kinetic puller?? either way, set it aside, for now...

-case deburring tool and primer pocket brush
Primer pocket brush, useful right away, deburring tool when you get to the point of trimming cases.

other items you're going to need (besides reloading BOOKS)

loading block (for holding brass during the loading process, necessity if you're using a single stage press)

Calipers (for all your measuring needs Digital is easy to read, but does run on batteries) Dial calibers are about as easy and don't need batteries. Vernier calipers take a certain amount of learned skill to read correctly to the last decimal place...)

case lube (9mm carbide dies don't need it, but .223 absolutely will)

FUNNEL (don't over look, more useful than you think! get one in the reloading dept, not from kitchen supplies. Standard type has a hole small enough for .22 cal case mouths and a tube that will fit up to .45 cal cases)

Primer flipper tray (even if you don't have a primer feed system, yet)

Another thing to think about is boxes for your reloaded ammo. Trust me, eventually freezer bags just won't cut it.

Later on you can look at case trimmer, tumbler and other additional tools..

Workspace need decent lighting and no "high winds". Noticeable drafts make scales unhappy, balance beam or digital.

Attic in PA can get pretty warm in summer. Recommend STORING powder and primers in a different, temp controlled, place.

here's a tip, no matter what they claim, nobody ever saves money reloading. What you get is more ammo for the same $

also, don't make it a chore. Its FUN! you're making your own ammo, your making something no one else has...for me, its a labor of love (to a point, of course) hope it will be, for you, as well.

Small steps at first, you'll get there. Beware of information overload. Tips and tricks to get "match accuracy" are for later on...focus on basics now, more later on.

I've been reloading since the early 70s, and there are several folks here with more experience than I have, or in different areas. NO question is a dumb, we all started out knowing nothing, and some of us had to learn before there was an internet and a place like the Firing Line.

Please, when you don't know, ask. When you think you understand, ask. When you KNOW, still won't hurt to ask...

Welcome to the next level, and welcome to TFL!
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Old November 27, 2019, 01:07 AM   #6
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Where in PA are you located?
I live in Altoona, work in Bedford with frequent trips to Johnstown and the Clearfield/Dubois area.
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Old November 27, 2019, 06:21 AM   #7
jetinteriorguy
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Welcome to a great hobby/obsession. Lots of good advice here already. As has been stated, powder storage is important. You should store it in a relatively climate controlled environment along with primers, although primers aren't as sensitive it's still a good idea.
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Old November 27, 2019, 10:05 AM   #8
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Look closely in the box the dies are in or on the press itself. The setup is too complete for there not to be a shell holder or two mixed in somewhere.

And as mentioned, don't forget the funnel and a manual. Have fun.
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Old November 27, 2019, 12:10 PM   #9
kmw1954
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The friend that started me long ago had his setup in an attic that you couldn't even stand upright in. Had a nice wood floor, plenty of light, a window at each end for ventilation and a bench with plenty of room to sit at..
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Old November 27, 2019, 02:13 PM   #10
flyboy015
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Quote:
The more we know about the specific of what you got, the more we can help.
WHICH old Lyman press?
It's orange, with a tiny bit of rust here and there, but otherwise in good condition and the ram is smooth and well oiled. Great tip on the c-clamps and not drilling unnecessary holes!

Quote:
DO you have a powder measure stand? or the flat oval bar that allows you to mount the measure to the press?
I have the bar you speak of.

Quote:
Where in PA are you located?
I live in Muncy, work in Williamsport.

Good tips gentlemen on lighting and powder storage. I'll definitely keep my powders together and store them out of the attic when possible, maybe a small plastic tote with a lid and some desiccant packs. The attic space itself is huge, you could play basketball in the center of it, as the ceiling is 25' high. Traps a lot of heat though...you put half an hour in up there, and you'll produce enough sweat to run a small grain mill! I think a larger gently-used AC unit might fit that bill. I do need better lighting though...I'll have to get on that ASAP.
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Old November 27, 2019, 03:11 PM   #11
TimW77
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"Consider this, get a couple large C clamps from the hardware store..."

Even better...

Get "Vise-Grip" type C-Clamps...

Works much better!!!

TW
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Old November 27, 2019, 04:41 PM   #12
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Sounds like the press is an Orange Crusher, if it's an O-frame press. I've been using mine since the mid 80's, pretty much good for a lifetime of hard use. It is an overcam design so make sure you know how to set it up. You kind of develop a feel for it. It should just be tight enough at the top of the stroke to remove all the play from the press linkage but not too tight so as to damage the frame or dies. So just as it feels nice and snug it will pass this point and cam over at the end of the handle stroke. It's especially crucial not to be too tight with carbide dies or it can damage the carbide ring in the die.
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Old November 27, 2019, 06:36 PM   #13
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The first thing you need is a book. Lyman's is good. You cannot learn this stuff one question at a time on the internet. Study up.
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Old November 27, 2019, 11:19 PM   #14
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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I too have a bench with quite allot equipment bolted to it. Although for a few years now I have spent so little time reloading at that home bench. It's basically become a handy storage area.
If I need cartridges I have along with me a >Travel Bag.
It carrying specific dies powder hand tools and components I'll need afield or at the Range on that outing. For me I've found it more economical targeting a few cartridges rather than wasting a box or more.
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Old November 27, 2019, 11:32 PM   #15
flyboy015
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Quote:
Sounds like the press is an Orange Crusher, if it's an O-frame press. I've been using mine since the mid 80's, pretty much good for a lifetime of hard use. It is an overcam design so make sure you know how to set it up. You kind of develop a feel for it. It should just be tight enough at the top of the stroke to remove all the play from the press linkage but not too tight so as to damage the frame or dies. So just as it feels nice and snug it will pass this point and cam over at the end of the handle stroke. It's especially crucial not to be too tight with carbide dies or it can damage the carbide ring in the die.
Yes! That's it! Really appreciate the info! I'm sure it will take some getting use to, in order to develop the feel.
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Old November 28, 2019, 02:02 AM   #16
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if its a sweat shop, its not a good spot to store powder. A tote bin to keep powder cans in, in a room temp place is good.

Always ALWAYS ALWAYS keep the powder in its original containers. Same for primers.

ONLY one can of powder on the bench at any time.

Do not store powder in the powder measure hopper, even just overnight. Get in the habit of emptying the measure when you are done loading, returning the powder to its original can (jug whatever) Then put it away.

Ok, Orange crusher, cool. Check with Lyman (and/or look online) to see if you can get a manual for it. Also look to see if there is a "primer catcher" for the press. Very handy accessory, basically a plastic cup that clips on the press and keeps MOST spent primers off the floor when resizing.
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Old November 28, 2019, 08:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy015
Really looking forward to this section of TFL! I was given some reloading equipment from my father-in-law's friend, as he wanted to be rid of it. Pretty good starter kit, I have:

-Old Lyman press with mounting bolts
-RCBS 505 scale
-Lee handheld primer
-RCBS old school powder measure
-bullet puller
-case deburring tool and primer pocket brush
-dies for .41 Magnum and .223 Rem

Looks like I still need to grab a set of calipers, some shell holders and holders for the primer tool, 9mm die set...and of course powder and primers...and I can start reloading the gallon freezer bags of 9mm and .223 I always knew I was keeping for a reason! Of course I'm reading up on all I can. I understand strict attention to task at hand and good organizational skills will go a long ways in terms of safety. Double and triple check EVERYTHING!

I'm certain this forum will be incredibly useful and informative. I'm reloading mainly to get out to the range more often (I'll have more ammo!) and also to see if I can match or exceed the best .223 Rem factory load I've ever fired out of my AR...Hornady 50gr VMax! Also known as $uperformance! And at over $1.10 a shot from my LGS, I can't wait to potentially make some up for not even half that price!

If I can ask one thing...mainly...does anyone have suggestions or tips for setting up a shop area for reloading? Thinking of doing it in my relatively vacant attic; for one, I have a n empty 10' bench already set up, and being in the attic will keep my 3-1/2 year old out of curiosity's sight.

Cheers all!
Congrats !! You have begun down a path of shooting independence and personal gratification. You are also way ahead of the curve and now have saved about $1K by obtaining much of the needed components. I got started into handloading back in 2012 and did so from the ridiculous "gun panic" that started in 2012. I still have an unopened 500 pk box of Remington Thunderbolt .22LR that I paid $74 for online that sit on my shelf as a painful reminder how stupid people get when the political gun atmosphere goes bad. Anyway , I echo what others say and handloading up in your attic will pose issues with widely varying ambient temps. I don't know how hot your attic gets in July but as a new handloader you need to stay focused and i'm not sure that will merge with handloading in 95F temps. I also recommend you dedicate a very rugged well built workbench and bolt down your press to the table. When you start getting into larger rifle calibers (especially NATO casings) you will be exerting some heavy arm pressure re-sizing . Clamping the press to a table is ok, but you will get some press flexing. I have lower back issues and I have mad a max effort to get my reloading bench set up ergonomically so as to minimise back and arm fatigue. Early in my handloading experience I was SO gung ho loading like 50 rounds a night and I gave myself tendinitis in my right elbow, let me tell you that was HORRIBLE pain and forced me to quit for several months and still to this day my elbow is not 100%. I have both my presses set up in my basement to run comfortably standing or partially sitting on a bar stool. My basement has a very consistient temp of about 63F and low humidity.





So good luck moving forward , and take advantage of a great reloading component buying atmosphere and stock up a little at a time weekly !
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Old November 28, 2019, 01:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy015
…with a lid and some desiccant packs.
Avoid desiccants. Norma says they ship powder from storage in 40-60% RH. You'll find other powder companies do something similar, though some go up to 70%. Western told me they use 60% RH and 70°F. Those levels will be what the makers developed their load data with. If you desiccate the powder, it will be drier than those numbers, increasing its burn rate, forcing you to lower the charge to stay at their reported velocities. It will also take the water out, lowering the powder weight that contains a given amount of energy, driving your charge weights down still further.

Also note that water molecules are very small; the smallest compound molecules known. To them, a mirror finish looks like a collection of ridges and valleys. For this reason, Norma points out they can also move through the areas of contact between the bullet and neck and primer and primer pocket walls. For that reason, if you move an assembled cartridge from one set of humidity conditions to another, over a period of about one year, the powder moisture level adjusts to what it would have been if the powder had been stored in that new humidity in the first place. Sealants would slow that down a good deal, if you use them, but overall, keeping loaded rounds in containers with a desiccant is not a good idea for the same reason not storing powder in a desiccated container is not.
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Old November 29, 2019, 07:59 AM   #19
jetinteriorguy
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Another thought on temps working in an attic. If you run a fan or use a small portable type AC unit you'll be introducing a lot of air currents which can affect how accurately your scale can weigh charges. Remember these scales are sensitive instruments designed to weigh down to a grain, that's 1/7000 of a pound. Air movement tends to have a negative affect on this ability. The same holds true for electronic scales as well.
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Old November 29, 2019, 02:53 PM   #20
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"...Old Lyman press..." Which one? Some are better than others, but only because at one time Lyman made a press that was not a 7/8-14 thread. All dies are that now.
You need a manual too. The Lyman one is the most versatile. Buy one and read the whole thing(especially the how-to chapter) before you do anything else.
The thing most people seem to forget about is the bench. It needs to be solid and big enough be able to have all the tools, bins, trays, etc, on it while you load.
"...nobody ever saves money reloading..." Reloading isn't about saving money. It's about using the best possible ammo out of your firearms. Reloading lets you tailor the ammo for your firearm.
"...temps working in an attic..." It'll be too hot or too cold. Re-think the whole idea.
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Old December 2, 2019, 02:46 PM   #21
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This has been said more than once,but I'll re-enforce it.

Suppose you had no experience in a kitchen.

You buy flour,eggs,butter,milk,etc,and decide you are going to bake a cake.

We will forget about the cake potentially blowing up for now.

What are the odds you will get a nice cake,intuitively re-inventing the wheel?

Now,suppose you first gey a "Joy of Cooking" and a "Betty Crocker" cookbook..and study the basics,then follow a recipe?

Odds are,you'll make a pretty good cake.

You DO have some good basic tools.

I long ago abandoned the idea of reloading in the garage. Always too hot or cold,and powder/primers need stable temperatures.

Do consider that before you invest in your "spot"

The temporary clamps are a good idea while you figure out ergonomics.Bench and stool height,powder measure placement,etc ...how you hold and use your arms. If you load a few hundred at a time,your comfort will matter.

When you "settle in" to a process,then drill your holes. Solid and stable is good.
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