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Old December 17, 2012, 07:45 PM   #1
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Reloading Do's and Don'ts

This is a thread for a friend to read. If you wish to add to it feel free to share some knowledge, and helpful insights. I will add to this as I can.

Question 1

What does it take to get started reloading?

A: Well it depends on a lot of variables. I will try to keep it simple.

If you are thinking of starting to be able to shoot more with limited funds. It does not take a whole lot to get started. Though you have 3 things that you will need to invest.

Investment 1. Time. It takes time to reload. It takes time to read, study, and learn the steps involved. If you have little time to spare. Buy bulk reloaded ammo. Reloading in a hurry, or while pressed for time is a big disaster waiting to happen. It leads to expensive problems like medical bills for injuries from blown up guns. It leads to bills from the gunsmith to fix broken parts of damaged guns. It leads to many other bad things as well.

Also if you have a wife/girlfriend, and/or family that you do not get to spend a lot of time with. Buy cheap bulk ammo both you, and they will be more happy spending quality time together. (Children grow fast enjoy time with them. Also not spending time with the other person in your life can lead to that person not being there later on.)

Investment 2. Attention. You need to pay a lot of this. Attention to what you are doing is of utmost importance. There is no way I can stress this enough. Keeping distractions away while reloading is a MUST.

If you can not get that time where you have no distractions. Again buy bulk reloads, or ammo in bulk.

Investment 3. Money Starting out can be as expensive as you can afford to spend, and then some. It can also be done for little if one shops around. There is a point to consider your means, and needs. study, shop, go on a few forums ask around. You will get lots of feedback.

Question 2 & 3: What equipment will I need? And How Much will it cost?


Now about equipment:

(Note cost are guestimated, and I have given a generalized slot price. Shop around, also factor in shipping price. Sometimes the item that is advertised for $20 less on one site cost $30 more for shipping than another site may list. Again shop around. I will never advise one to go with a lower price on an unknown, or poorly reputed vendor over a reputable vendor with good customer service no matter how big if a bargain it is.)

Before buying equipment. I strongly suggest a reloading guide book.

I advise even if you have the money to avoid starting out with the pull the lever ammo factory progressive press to begin with. If you can afford one put that money to the side. Buy a single stage, or turret. get the basics down, then upgrade. If you are wanting the one that makes the most rounds in the shortest time. See what I wrote about the investment of time. If you just have to have something that makes ammo fast. A credit card with an online order for bulk ammo, with the extra fee paid for rush shipping will get you a lot of ammo delivered fast without having to mess with equipment.

Bare bones minimum money.

Option 1. Lee Loader (AKA Whack a Mole)

Even if you buy this one. Pay the less than $30 for a reloading guide.

Can be purchased for under $30 most places only works for one caliber.
If it is used for rifle ammo. You will have to fire factory ammo, and save the brass. You will only get a few reloads before the brass will not chamber any more.

You will also need a dial caliper (for handgun ammo this is a must making rounds too short is dangerous), a mallet of non metal. A cheap hard plastic one will work. Metal will damage the loader. A scale is helpful. The dipper that comes with it can be used for powders that are listed in the load chart with the instructions safely. Though a scale to verify with is suggested.

Total price is around my guess to be $50 to $70 depending. That does not include components.

I perosonaly know an old guy that comes to the range and uses one. He can reload a 30-06 quickly with one. He starts with factory ammo. Reloads them a few times. Then recycles the cases. His set up fits in a tackle box. It is great for those who have little space, and lot of time. (Note it makes a lot of noise.)

Option 2 Hand Press

The Lee hand press is under $50 from many online vendors. It works for a world of uses. A lot of seasoned reloaders use them for load work up at the range. If you are challenged in hand strength, or have ailments that make your hands hurt after squeezing a lot. A press would be a better option.

You will need dies for what you are reloading.
A dial caliper especialy for handgun reloading. (Again if they are too short it can be very dangerous.)
A scale is very helpful, to me it is near to a must. Many have gone for years without ever using one with no problems. Though I advise to get one.

Price without components will run from $95 to $150 depending on dies, scale, manual, and calipers. Even more if you buy the more expensive scales that I would never try to talk one out of.

On the note of space. The set up will fit into a large tackle box with no problem. Is portable, and much quieter than the Lee Loader. Though more space is needed. As well as it weighs more.

Ok Enough for now I have to start dinner my wife will be home soon.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.

Last edited by m&p45acp10+1; December 17, 2012 at 09:11 PM.
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Old December 17, 2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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I'd only add that the subject is beyond the space available on a forum online and certainly beyond the competence of 50% of the people who normally reply to beginning handloader posts.................oh, and that for the real handloader money and time and wifely considerations are at the VERY best----moot
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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Ask around your LGS and find someone who has been reloading for years. See if you can go to their place and let them go through the steps and equipment. Later at home, read over a couple of reloading books. If anything you were told contradicts the book, go by the book until or if you learn different by years of experience. BTW, your gun may not handle MAXIMUM LOADS. Avoid them, for now.
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:26 PM   #4
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Biggest don't I would say, is don't take shortcuts of any kind, and DO make sure you do everything safely and within the proper safety constraints.

As stated above make sure you have enough time and attention to do it safely an not rush through anything. As far as kids go (I have three daughters 8,5,3) two of which help me with the safe items such as taking spent primers out, flaring pistol case, etc... It's a great quality time spent and they get to start young for a lifetime to gain knowledge.
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:40 PM   #5
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I have a break in cooking dinner at the moment. So I will chime in for a bit.

Some of my best memories in life happened in the tack room of Paw Paw's barn learning about how to use the reloading press. It was over 20 years later before I did it on my own. (Still have some of his .38 spcl. loads BTW.)

For some folks simple buying in bulk is the way to go. The money they would have used on a equipment, and components would have bought a lot of loaded ammo. They would have had way more time to watch TV, or spend with the people that matter to them.

Most of my reloading, and casting happen when my wife is either asleep, or at work. We try to maximize the time we get together due to different work schedules. (we have no children between the two of us so no neglected young 'uns in the mix there.)
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:41 PM   #6
5R milspec
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Keep in mind this. Reloading is all about to what you want out of it.As long as its simple then its simple,if its more than that then its more.

Now with that said you make of it what you want it to be.This will be to what or how much you put into it.Always remember saftey comes first then great ammo.Read and read all you can till you are ready to load the first round of any cal.

Don't alway take it to heart to what your read on the net.Some not all will throw a bad pitch at ya.You have to be the one who can catch onto the bad throw.( then don't swing )

Please do keep you reloading room to reloading.This alone will be one of the biggest saftey key things you can do.Always have your head in the game,and not on something else,even allow something to take you away from it,even a small amount of time.If so walk away then come back to it.Making a note to what was done last has been a big help to me.Its not hard to forget what powder you last used or to what charge you last used. Notes are your friend so keep a log for all guns and to whats going on.
life is great but its better when you can own as many guns you wish to own.for me I haven't bought enough yet.
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