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Old May 25, 2006, 06:18 PM   #1
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Thrifty Reloading Tips--- List yours

Hey guys, I'd thought we'd make a thread here dedicated to thrifty reloading tips; instead of having them all scattered throughout various threads. So whether you have something you made that works great and didn't cost a ton of $, or have found a great, little $ product to help reloading, post it. Maybe we can all benefit from this common wealth of knowledge!

Here's a couple of my, really basic ones to get us started:

1. Save the plastic cartridge trays from old factory ammo; they can be used as trays for reloading or storing loaded ammo.

2. If you use a MEC 600 for shotshell reloading and have accidently thrown away that little plastic tray that catches the spent primers, make a new one from the cardboard pistol boxes that are of similar sizes and cut it to have the right height.

3. The canvas bags from shotshell reloading, filled with sand, make great bench rest bags.

Lets get this thread going enough to become a sticky!
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Old May 25, 2006, 06:56 PM   #2
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1 When reloading .223 etc on a progressive I use two seating dies to seat in increments and improve concentricity. I save my straight line dies for singel stage ammo with weighed charges.

2 On target revolver rnds I don't crimp. I use a lee fcd set to just pass over the bullet. That way I still have neck sided rnds with no crimp and I can be sure the bell is not left to the point the rnd wont chamber.

3 I took one of the spring washers out of the shell holder for my rcbs trimmer. It works well and is much easier to use.

4 I took a piece of coat hanger and some press nuts and made linkage so I could use the lee bullet feeder on my pro 2000. I would like to try to make the case feeder work, but I havent tried it yet.
Will work for brass.

I apologise in advance for spelling errors.
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Old May 25, 2006, 07:48 PM   #3
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Buy your mail order supplies only from those who will ship in the flat rate USPS Priority Mail Box and buy enough at a time to get your money's worth. You can save as much as $20 an order on shipping alone.

Stock up when you can. Powder don't spoil in a lifetime in reasonable storage conditions. I'm shooting powder that cost me $5-$7 a pound.

Cast your own bullets. Mine run less than a cent each.

Make an offer on the "box and contents" when you run across one with gun stuff in it. What you can't use, you can sell or swap.

Look for the oddball stuff. Rifles for wildcat or obsolete cartridges run at least a hundred bucks under the same rifle for a standard cartridge. That is no problem for a reloader.

Buy a lot. Back in the mid-70s, I was buying Lyman moulds at $5 each from a distributor slowly going out of business. I've had 30 years use and could ebay them for an average of $30 each. Had I bought the whole batch, I could have gotten them for $3 each and they'd be worth $50 if left in the box.
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Old May 26, 2006, 06:41 PM   #4
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Scrounge range brass,even brass you don't reload for. It's one of the biggest costs in reloading.
Trade the other brass off for stuff you need or sell on ebay,gunbroker,etc.
Unalloyed tire shop wheelweights make casting handgun bullets or gas checked rifle bullets insanely cheap.
Surplus powder is another great way to save money. I've had nothing but positive results using it.
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Old May 26, 2006, 07:43 PM   #5
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Amen to poodleshooter RE: surplus powder!
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Old May 27, 2006, 01:38 PM   #6
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If you check the ingredients of spray gun cleaner and spray brake cleaner you'll buy the brake cleaner--it's really cheap at Wal-Mart. You can make powder drop tubes from the bottom half of screw together type ball point pens that they give away at the hardware store. Well, they give them away at my hardware store, anyway. If you need a longer one, try snitching the long straw from one of those oversized kid's drink cannisters; they chew them or lose them anyway. You can get anti static mats really cheap by ordering online. I got mine ages ago when they were expensive, but I've seen fair sized mats for $9.99 plus shipping online. Some people use dryer fabric softener sheets, but mats work 24/7/12/365.
Instead of buying moly bullets, or moly coating kits, treat your barrel with moly paste. It's safer for the barrel and you get a slight boost in velocity instead of a drop plus it resists fouling, saving on cleaners and patches.
It's not really reloading related, but instead of a trigger job, try treating the trigger parts with moly oil.
Unless you want benchrest tolerances, there is not really any difference between a $30.00 die and a $30.00 die SET. If you are going to buy a powder trickler, buy a heavy one the first time; you'll know why it makes a difference if you buy the light one.
Picking up range brass can be cheap or it can be a cheap disaster. Find out where the cops shoot, if they don't have their own range, and go right after they finish. You'll then have some reasonable chance to get true once fired brass. Unless of course, the range officer collects it.
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Old May 28, 2006, 11:27 PM   #7
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Picking up range brass can be cheap or it can be a cheap disaster. Find out where the cops shoot, if they don't have their own range, and go right after they finish.
Or just make friends with the cops and they may drop a can full ay your doorstep.
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Old May 29, 2006, 09:55 AM   #8
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(1) Rub a dryer sheet (i.e. Bounce or equivalent) all over your powder measure to help control static. Then rubber band the sheet around the measure and leave it there. Leave your self an opening so you can view the level. Periodically replace the sheet. Not pretty ... but it works well for me.

(2) For cast bullets in pistol rounds (and I guess rifle rounds, too), try a Lyman M-die. Instead of simply flaring the case mouth, it performs a two-step, straight-walled opening ... without overworking the brass. This helps keep bullet lube off the sides of the case, and also greatly assists in getting the bullet seated straight.
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Old May 31, 2006, 07:44 PM   #9
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For informal plinking (I've only done this with .30-30 but I bet you can do it with almost any rifle cartridge below .30-06 as long as you are sensible, and don't do so in an autoloading rifle):

8-10 grains of Unique under a cheap 150gr plated or lead-gas-checked bullet is a lot of fun. Kills critters well with little drop out to 50 or 75 yards. Good bunny stomper.

Anything from Lee Precision made of metal is wonderful. Their dies are a steal.

Anything from Lee Precision made of plastic should be examined carefully, put down, walked away from, considered for a fortnight, then forgotten about.

When you find range brass for a gun other than your caliber, keep it (as long as it doesn't belong to the guy in the lane next to you). When you have 50 or a hundred of a given caliber and you have a friend who shoots it, give it to him. He'll do the same for you. You both win. And you never know, you may end up winning a <insert strange caliber here> in a lottery one of these days, and be glad of having 100 pieces of oddball brass.
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Old May 31, 2006, 08:23 PM   #10
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Now this is a GOOD thread, lots of good info,, I wonder if it will morph into something else? I hope not,, just for a change, can we possibly keep on track???
My tip is,, when polishing/vibrating cases put a little Bon Ami in the media, it recharges it and the cases come out sparkling and better yet,, it is cheap
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Old May 31, 2006, 08:28 PM   #11
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Cotton swabs make great primer pocket cleaners. They also work well to clean out reloading dies.
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Old May 31, 2006, 09:19 PM   #12
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I use cotton swabs to apply the sodium silicate to the overshot wad on my brass hulls. Cheaper than brushes and they don't have to be cleaned after each session.

I also use them to seal primers with fingernail polish. Works better than the brush if you have 50 or more to seal.

I use BOLWAX to flux my lead pot, and make fire starters out of dogbed cedar shavings.

I'm sure I hve more, but those come to mind at the moment.

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Old May 31, 2006, 11:02 PM   #13
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Sharpie Idea

When I am trying different loads, I mark the primers with a sharpie. I use different colors so that I can keep track of the loads. The nice thing is that when the old primer in knocked out, the mark is gone.
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Old May 31, 2006, 11:53 PM   #14
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-Winchester Powder metal caps fit MEC Powder/ Shot bottles.

-Malto-Meal, Farina, Cream of Wheat or Instant Grits for buffering shot instead of buying buffering compounds such as Grex [tm] [Follow all rules in measuring total payload.

-Take a MEC Powder/Shot bottle to Mom & Pop hardware store, get an old fashion cork stopper to fit "bottom" - red caps "get lost" and those replacement caps get "loster".

-Tape the Allen Wrench to fit MEC on the loading handle , electrical tape works best.

Each Reloader gets an Allen wrench , and each one gets put back [slips back into electrical tape] after adjusting Cam, etc.
Murphy will find something else to lose, or misplace, but not them Allen Wrenches.

-Dental Picks : keep one with MEC 9000s and similar using that collet resizer
Electrical Tape


Reloading Room:

-Small fire extinguisher

-Extra Safey Glasses for Adults and Kids for visitors to Reloading area.

-Hand Cleaner, or at least Baby Wipes to clean hands - clean hands before leaving reloading area and leaving lead and other residue on light switches, door knobs ...etc., as you head to wash hands elsewhere in the house.


-Check weights : take a bullet(s) visit a Jewelry Store / Drug Store with Apothacary Scales, have that bullet(s) weighed and keep in a diamond paper with weight, and description of that bullet. [.223 = 54.7 gr, 45ACP FMJ = 229.4 gr..., etc]

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Old June 1, 2006, 12:20 AM   #15
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I don't lube every rifle case. Size one with lube, then size one without lube. I normaly can do a lubed case and then size two non lubed cases after that without getting a case stuck. Be carefull if you use this piece of advice. Saves alot of time lubing cases and my dies don't get so much gunk in them.

Ziplock bags. Usefull for storing primed cases, bullets, completed rounds, etc. Label with a sharpie. Cheap way to keep things organized.
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Old June 1, 2006, 02:45 PM   #16
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I hope we can keep this up,, It will be like Brownell's " Gunsmith Kinks" just a thread of great info.
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Old June 1, 2006, 06:31 PM   #17
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Boy, let's repeat that one. In an effort to 'spruce up' the reloading room, I aquired one of the better halfs nice shelving units to use for an ammo shelf. Those teeny little plastic clips that hold up the glass shelves said NO WAY to being stacked up with a whole lot of reloads. About 650 rounds of various ammo hit the floor and mixed rather well.

It took a little while but going through my notes, I was able to properly identify all of them and get them back into the proper containers. Yay. Good recordkeeping was invaluable in this instance. Whew.

On that note, .223 brass makes dandy shelf holders! The mouth end is inserted into the holes of the shelving sides that take the plastic shelf clips and offer more area to distribute the weight on the shelves.

More tips to follow as I remember them..
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Old June 1, 2006, 07:07 PM   #18
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Tack the Safety Rules of Reloading on the wall.

Waiting to see if anyone would mention this- tack the rules where you or any visitors can read them, remind.

Thrifty is - not having an incident.

Re: Notebook

Get the clear page holders to place targets in. This is REAl neat idea for kids.
Actual targets, playing cards, "stickers", index cards, etc.. Teach them kids young, and make it get a kick out of seeing improvment and can "read" what .22 ammo in which gun did what , at what age.

Re: Brooms and dustpans, including small bench sizes.
Thrifty? priced a new vacuum cleaner lately?
Vacuums are allergic to live case you were wondering...
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Old June 1, 2006, 07:13 PM   #19
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I take my glasses off so I dont wear them out

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Old June 1, 2006, 07:33 PM   #20
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Dont ever take up

save a ton o money......

too bad I didnt take my advice, oh well you cant take it with you when you die
Have a nice day at the range

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Old June 1, 2006, 08:52 PM   #21
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cheap tip

Don't bother buying a media separator. Just get a plastic bucket and colander (for draining pasta) from your grocery store. Put colander in the top of the bucket, and dump tumbler in. shake. Media separated.
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Old June 1, 2006, 11:53 PM   #22
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Two tips

Number one, "Gladware" makes excellent storage containers for your reloads if you run short on old boxes and inserts.

Number two, consider an ultrasonic cleaner for your brass (I think I got mine for about $35).
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Old June 2, 2006, 12:06 AM   #23
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Free Cigar Boxes.

MEC Charge bars, and anything else you can think of.

Now for really Nice! Go into a "Tobacco House" and check out the really cool wooden Cigar Boxes. These you will have to pay for. Then again these have character, soul, "handcrafted" joints/workmanship...not to mention they smell good and have beautiful Logos.

These work for storing reloading components, gun parts, etc.

Adds a bit of "character" if you present someone Reloading Acessories in one of these.
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Old June 2, 2006, 10:51 AM   #24
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Again with the record keeping: an initial investment of a few bucks for some 1.5” binders, one for each RIFLE/PISTOL (not each caliber) goes a long way. Keeps you from duplicating a sub par load (which will save a few dollars). Additionally, if you decide to sell/trade one of those guns, adding in the data book will sweeten the deal a few dollars worth. Unless you have reams of data in which case it may be evidence of a shot out barrel.

Make your own targets with a data block at the bottom with room for ALL the info. These get the 3 hole punch and go into the binders. Additionally, my targets have a blank space that I tape my chronograph data to.

Once I have a good load figured out, I use playing cards as targets; 5 shot groups on a card. These then get slipped into a cheap plastic 9 per sheet baseball card holders and write the pertinent info on the back of the card. These go in the back of the binder.
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Old June 2, 2006, 11:42 AM   #25
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I use playing cards as targets; 5 shot groups on a card. These then get slipped into a cheap plastic 9 per sheet baseball card holders and write the pertinent info on the back of the card.
I like that idea! My kids have a bunch of those tossed aside as they got older and disinterested in them.

A few others come to mind, inspired by this an other threads..

Black magic marker to dye slings black. Looks pro.

Empty box type cig packs will hold 20 rounds of .223 nicely and seal nicely with standard sticky load labels. 15 or 16 vertical, 4 or 5 horizontal across top.
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