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Old April 8, 2000, 05:37 PM   #1
Eric of IN
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Join Date: April 4, 2000
Posts: 425
I have pretty much decided on getting a reloading press. Sensop has already informed me that I can't just get one press and reload both shot shells and centerfire cartridges on the same one, so I have a few more questions. Is one method of reloading easier for a beginner to learn? Is there more cost savings with 12 guage reloading as opposed to .45 acp reloading? I shoot more shot shells, but .45 practice ammo is more expensive. I think that's all I need to know for right now, but look for "Dumb quetion III" in the not too distant future.

Formerly Puddle Pirate.
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It annoys the antis.
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Old April 8, 2000, 07:01 PM   #2
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Location: Ohio USA
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Don't sweat the dumb questions. It may be trite, but the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. When dealing with the tremendous pressures involved in firearms, even the most experienced will ask often and triple check the answers. ( I'm far from the most expeienced, so I check five or six times, then ask, then check a few more times to verify.).

To answer your question, it all boils down to how much you shoot, and how much time you want to invest in reloading. If you shoot 50 to 200 rounds of .45acp a month, you can get by with a basic single stage press. More shooting, and you will want to consider something a bit faster, such as a Dillon 550b. The Dillon is a progressive, meaning with each pull of the handle, you complete all stages of the reloading process. a.) Size/deprime, b.)expand case mouth/prime/charge with powder c.) Seat bullet and crimp. ( Yes the .45 acp uses a crimp, but it is called a taper crimp, as opposed to a roll crimp used in a revolver round like the .38 Special- A taper crimp applies pressure to the smooth sides of the .45 slug, while a roll crimp turns the case mouth down at the front and rolls it under. Revolver rounds have a ring in the slug for that purpose, the ring is called a cannalure(sp) on jacketed slugs, and the front driving band on lead slugs. The 45acp taper crimp leaves the front of the case mouth sqaure so the it can headspace on the lip of the cartridge.) A single stage press means you have to swith dies for each stage, and run the cast through 3 or 4 times, depending on the setup.
I use a Lee turret press, which is a variation of a single stage press. With the Lee, I size/deprime all cases at one sitting, generally around 300 or so cases. Then the next evening, or weekend, I prime the cases and set them aside in bags marked w/ case brand and date, as well as brand of primer. The next sitting, usually the day before I shoot, I charge the cases, seat the bullet and then crimp. The sizing/deprime and the prime stages are somewhat mindless, meaning they don't require a lot of attention. With a Lee hand primer, I can watch TV, and prime at the same time, checking each primer for fit by touch before it goes int the bag. The powder charge, and bullet seat/crimp stage is critical, and requires undivided attention. This is usually done when I have nothing else going on. If there is something else to do, I pass on this stage until I can devote 100%, wide awake, sober, undivided attention to it. The same rule applies to the other stages, but not quite as strict. If I go out to dinner, and have a beer or two, I will deprime/size, but never never never prime or charge any rounds. This way, I can spread out the time involved using a single stage press, and finish what I intend to shoot in pretty short order. If I tumble 50 empty cases one week, size and prime them the next week, then the charge/seat/crimp stage only takes 20 min or so for a box of 50 rounds. My Lee turret press retail for under $100.00, while the Dillon sells for $325.00. The Dillon is well worth the extra money, as witnessed by everyone that owns one. Lee equipment is inexpensive, and you pretty much get what you pay for. The Dillon is steel, while the Lee is aluminum and cast metal. The dillon, while costing 3 times as much up front, will last 100 times longer, making it a better long term investment. I'll let some one else explain shot shells, and I'm sure i made a couple of minor boo boos here, but I think you can get the general picture on center fire basics. ( Real basic, as there is a whole lot more, and even at this length, this just barely brushes the surface). Keep asking those not-so-dumb questions. I've been reloading for 20 years, and am surprised at the number of *bad habits* I managed to pick up along the way. It' an ongoing learning process. 'almost as much fun as the shooting part.

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Old April 8, 2000, 08:25 PM   #3
Bud Helms
Join Date: December 31, 1999
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 13,155

Have you been to the shotgun forum and asked about cost savings? I don't load shotshells, so I can't give a comparison. I know many of the guys in that forum do load shot shell and metallic cartridges, so you will get some good advice there, I have no doubt.

Good luck. Bring on the questions ... RAE is correct. In reloading, the unasked questions are the dumb ones.
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Old April 8, 2000, 09:14 PM   #4
Join Date: January 19, 2000
Posts: 17
my uncle has a friend who relods shoot shells. To make it worth it you have to shoot one heck of a lot of shootgun shells. Still it will take you quite a long time to even pay for your reloding stuff in the money you have saved. in other words its not worth it unless you shoot a whole bunch of shot shells
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Old April 8, 2000, 09:46 PM   #5
Join Date: April 5, 2000
Posts: 58
For shotshells, I use AA or Blue Magic hulls, WW209 primers, Windjammer or AA wads, and the appropriate amount of Green Dot or Red Dot powder. Winchester has a very nice brochure-type reloading booklet that lets you tailor the load to your needs. I have a Remington 870 pump, if you have an auto you'll need to find a load your gun likes best for feeding and ejection. I use a MEC 650 Jr, it works fine, is not expensive, and handles 50 or so rounds an hour.
For 45ACP, you can't go wrong with Bullseye or WW231 powder, WLP primer, and a cast bullet of 200 to 230 gr. I recommend you get a reloading manual such as the Speer, Sierra, Lyman, or Hornady (your library might have one), the "45 Auto" reprint from the NRA, and DBI book's "ABC's of Reloading" by Dean Grennell. You'll likely want to start by reading and accumulating reloading books. You don't need to get into bullet casting unless you shoot more than 500 rounds a year. I use an RCBS Rockchucker (single-stage) with a Lyman 4-die set, and I have an RCBS Ammomaster. The Ammomaster is tricky to set up and use, I can't vouch for any others. If you shoot more than 100 rounds a week the progressive presses earn their keep.
Lee is the least expensive, the others (Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Lyman) are higher and similar in price. You might end up like me with a filing cabinet full of reloading equipment, always looking for more, and using it all. Get a single-stage press anyway, they are always useful.
As far as cost, without considering the equipment investment or my time I can load shotshells for about $2.50 a box (I buy reclaimed shot from the trap range) and 45ACP for about $4.00 a hundred using range lead for cast bullets.
Join the NRA, if you're not already a member, the American Rifleman magazine has nice articles about reloading every issue.
Good Luck!

"Our most pressing problems...are at their core moral, not material, problems." Richard Nixon
"We should not substitute the state for the parents or the family." Lee Kwan Yew

[This message has been edited by B24H (edited April 08, 2000).]
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Old April 9, 2000, 08:55 AM   #6
Patrick Graham
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Join Date: January 18, 1999
Location: Kokomo, Indiana USA
Posts: 674
Get MEC for shot shell reloading.
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Old April 9, 2000, 03:34 PM   #7
Bill Daniel
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Join Date: February 10, 2000
Location: Bowling Green, KY.
Posts: 428
I have reloaded shot shells for Sporting Clays for years and can easily reload for half price factory loads. If you shoot alot you will pay for your reloader in short order. I like Ponsness- Warren for my shot shell reloader.

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