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I think I am interested in getting in to reloading...

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by crazymjb, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. crazymjb

    crazymjb NES Member

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    Hey, title kind of says it all. I have been doing some looking around for a few months, and I am getting increasingly more interested in getting into reloading. I'll let the experts direct me, but I think that I would like to start on a single stage or turret press. A big reason for this is initial cost, lower volume of ammunition production (and honestly I would consider this another hobby so I don't need to be hyper-efficient), and the likelihood that I will be back in a smaller college apartment soon so a small setup may be all I can get away with.

    I was looking at something like the Lee four hole classic turret press, am I going the wrong direction? My understanding is if I moved up to a progressive press in the future that most big brand dies would carry over. I like the ability to use it as a semi-progressive and single stage press, and that it has a small foot print. With a more simple setup like this, what else would I need to get started? Powder measure, scale, calipers, tumbler/media, etc... Again to start out, I will be doing a relatively small volume at a time, and available space is a consideration.

    My priorities in ammunition are .40S&W, 30-06, .223/5.56, 9mm, and I see .45 and and .308 on the horizon. I know I will need to figure out the whole living in MA situation with regard to getting supplies, and I'm hoping that doesn't drive the cost up to unreasonable amounts. Also, there is nothing wrong with running cast lead bullets through handguns I'd assume, as I've seen .40 for around 70/1000.

    Thanks for any input

    Mike
     
  2. AmmoSapien

    AmmoSapien Member

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    Hey Mike,

    For whats it's worth I started out with the Lee Classic Turret press but moved on to a Dillon Progressive after about 3 months. The Lee wasn't bad, just "quirky" and I found myself spending more time tinkering/swearing at it than reloading. If I had to do it again I would have gone right to the Dillon 550 since it you can use it to work on one round at a time until you feel comfortable going progressive. Footprint seems to be the same with both presses and both can me bolted to a 2X4 and clamped to a sturdy desk. The big question is going to be, do you have more time than Money? Or more money than time? My Lee setup was about $350 for all the essentials, Dillon was twice that but at least 4 times faster and works perfect right out of the box.
     
  3. WanMan99

    WanMan99 NES Member

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    I use a Lee turret press and it is fine for my needs (.40, .45, .38, 9mm). I usually do a run of 250 - 500 of a particular caliber at a time and it usually takes me around 2 1/2 hours (no rush, just puttering along). I don't currently reload rifle calibers so I can't comment on how a Lee performs with the larger rounds vs. pistol cartridges. One thing you need to be aware of is how much space you will need for that may different calibers. I have a large storage room that I keep my shooting supplies in and it is amazing how much space the components take up. I don't think you will be able to pull it off in a college size apartment.
     
  4. M1911

    M1911 Moderator

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    I'd go with a Dillon 550b. Start with 9mm. Buy caliber conversion kits as you go.
     
  5. cfreedman

    cfreedman Member

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    With all of those calibers, get the Hornady LnL, you won't be disappointed. If you are like me and others, you will be upgrading to a progressive press in a few months and have "wasted" a lot of time and money on something like a Lee Classic.
     
  6. schermj

    schermj New Member

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    A Lee Challenger kit includes everything you need except dies for $105. And you can use the dies if you decide to upgrade to another press later. Pickup a small desk for free off Craigslist and you have a setup that gives you the capability to try reloading without using much space or making a big investment. Lee is definitely the Yugo to Dillon's Cadillac but they work and a single stage press is easy to learn on.
     
  7. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator

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    Turret presses are just serial in line masochism. I would get a 550B at a minimum and go up from there. They only way you will get hosed reloading is if you don't really shoot that much.

    You're wrong about being efficient. If you can't produce ammo (relatively) efficiently in the volume required then you'll just stop doing it, unless you have lots and lots of time on your hands and are very bored.

    I loaded pistol ammo on a single stage for a whole year and it sucked, although it did get the job done. I happened to have a lot of free time on my hands back then, if I went to go try the same thing today I probably just wouldn't be able to do it.

    -Mike
     
  8. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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    If you are going to reload rifle ammo, I'd get a regular single stage press and then move up to a progressive. The added expenses of most turret presses is not needed with the breach lock type adapters they have now. I have a LnL and I still do a lot of my rifle reloading with a single stage.


    B
     
  9. Knob Creek

    Knob Creek NES Member

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    When I started 35 years or so ago. I uses a single stage RCRS Jr. I had to load one stage at a time up hill both ways. My own opinion is that everyone should start with a single stage and then get a Dillon but always keep that single stage cause you will use it from time to time.
     
  10. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Consigliere Moderator

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    I'm not a big fan of turret presses.

    If you're interested in taking a class, I've got a few scheduled:

    http://www.massreloading.com/schedule.html

    If you take one of my classes and are dissatisfied, I will refund your tuition (and that goes for anyone that takes it).
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  11. Marcus99

    Marcus99 Member

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    I like my RCBS turret. It allows me to give individual attention and inspection to each round while permitting for a decent output. I don't get to the range often and I don't shoot 100's of rounds when I do so the progressive doesn't make sense for me. But say I find out last minute that I'm going to the range the next day with a friend, I still have the ability to put out 150rds an hour if I need to. I can crank out a lot of ammo for my Glocks but slow things down when I reload for my old Steyr...it's that flexibility that I like. Right now I reload 9mm Luger and Steyr (different cases), .40s&w, .38/.357, .380acp, and I'll be starting .223 and .30-40 Krag soon.

    The only gripe I have is the priming system, I have wasted dozens of new primers on it. It's a good concept that doesn't always work out well in reality. It can be very tricky feeding primers and takes some practice and tweaking. But once I got it right it tends to work well and greatly speeds up the process; resizing/deprime+expand case head+prime in about 3 seconds.
     
  12. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    take a class, wish these classes where around 2 years ago....I spent a year checking out and deciding what to get as I saved up a budget. I jumped in with a bunch of Xmass presents to self in 2010.
    I got a lot of time....I went single stage for now but have all the other goodies including dies for all my needs.

    One note if your doing small batches and space saving dont get a huge tumbler unless you got losts of brass. I have the bigger lyman model works geat when filled with the proper amount of brass and media, not so much with just a few hundred 9mm or 45 cases though.
     
  13. Len-2A Training

    Len-2A Training Instructor Dealer

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    PM sent to OP
     
  14. MisterHappy

    MisterHappy NES Member

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    If lower cost is part of the reason(s), as opposed to putting all the bullets through one hole a football field or two away, then you have to factor in your time. Listen to the Gurus that say "progressive".

    A single stage or turret press is not useless....but the efficiency derived from one finished cartridge per pull of the handle as opposed to one cartridge per 3-4 pulls (depending on what operations you perform), plus a trip to the powder measure [insert number of rounds being made in this production run here] will make a huge difference in "cost"

    If the experts say, "take a class", and offer a money-back guarantee....take the class!

    Good luck
     
  15. DukeInFlorida

    DukeInFlorida NES Member

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    When I started reloading, 38 years ago, I lived in a tiny apartment in Fiskdale (Sturbridge), MA. (Hinman street for those who wonder)
    The only space I had for reloading was the kitchen table. I bought a RCBS single station press, and bolted that to a board, and than clamped the board to my kitchen table. Worked well for the time I lived there, and was always able to make as much ammo as I needed.

    A progressive or turret press takes up a lot of real estate, especially in a cramped apartment.

    Go with a single station press for now. Even later on, when you might want something faster, you'll still appreciate the single station for doing small volumes, and test setups.

    Take a class. It's the fastest way to get going. And, you'll save tons of $$$ by not buying stuff you don't need, and by know what you DO need to buy, and why. You'll also learn how to save money on supplies, etc. Most importantly, you'll learn what things regarding SAFETY are critical to success. At the end of a day, you will be a confidant and successful reloader.

    My plans for FL seem to be hanging in the air at the moment, but my reloading room is totally dismantled. Otherwise, I'd still be doing classes also.

    Best of luck and success with your new hobby. It will serve you well!

    BTW, I still have that first RCBS single station press. It's been used all the time in all of those years, right up until it went in the moving crate. It will get used again, once the dust settles.
     
  16. mike01824

    mike01824 NES Member

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    I'm interested in getting into reloading aswell and I'm curious about the value of my time vs the dollar savings. How many rounds of say 9mm can you reload in an hour? If there is a better way to measure the time feel free to correct me.
     
  17. Bob J

    Bob J NES Member

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    Dollar savings depends a lot on what you reload.... Mark and I shoot a lot of calibers that are very pricey (50 Beo, 458 Socom, 500 Mag, 50 BMG etc)..... We run a 550B with die heads set up for each of the calibers (except 50 BMG which has it's own dedicated press) so change over/set up is pretty quick and our output is probably in the range of 300-400 an hour.... For those calibers the payback is huge....

    For more common calibers the payback is still there but not as quick......
     
  18. bill o

    bill o Member

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    I reload 100 rounds of pistol ammo on a Dillon 550 w/ casefeeder in 7 minutes. Some people see reloading as a relaxing activity that should be taken slow and enjoyed. I do not feel this way.

    As for saving money, it's been said a million times... you won't save any money, you'll just shoot more at a lower cost per round.
     
  19. mike01824

    mike01824 NES Member

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    Thanks Bob and Bill for putting it in perspective.


    And I agree with that! Its just the accountant in me thinking in dollars...
     
  20. crazymjb

    crazymjb NES Member

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    Right now, as I said, time efficiency isn't a big factor. I also plan on getting into a lot more longer range shooting, hence loading my own "match grade" ammunition, in which case I'd probably be wicked meticulous. If there is a place on every reloading bench (like it sounds) for a single stage press, I'd probably like to start down that route. If I get into it, I fully intend to pawn off the progressive press on a family member for a Christmas gift or something. I'm not playing the whole time is money thing right now. Would it be a mistake, financially, to start off with a single stage press?

    Mike
     

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