Unsure about reloading. Does or has anyone else not know where to begin?

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So my goal for 2012 is to buy fewer guns, save money to buy land ( not in mass ) and shoot the guns I have more. I have reorganized my "regular" shooting calibers to 4 ( I have other milsurp, but I now only have 4 calibers I want to stock in qty ) My calibers are 9mm .38spcl, 5.56, .30-06.

My reloading equipment is a Lee Turret press kit, Lee 5.56 dies and Lee, .30-06 dies ( both are 3 die kits ) I have a set of extra digital calipers as well.

So my question (s) are which caliber is better to start with?

Do I need a tumbler to clean the cases? ( I have very little room to work in )

How about priming the cases? the turret press seems a bit cumbersome for that process....

Did I buy crap for a press, or just the wrong press?

I keep worrying Im going to blow myself or my gun(s) up.

Guns that this ammo will be run through include

Kahr PM9 M&P9 S&W 342pd AK in .223 AR in .223 Savage Bolt in .30-06 M1 garand m1917
 

Rick1987

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I would recommend reading some books and taking a class. I did not take a class but I think I will in the future, I was able to learn from reading and watching lots of videos on YouTube.

I started with a dillon xl650. Some people say not to start with a progressive but it was no problem for me.

You don't need a lot of space, I have my setup in the kitchen and I live in a small apartment.


I also started loading .40s&w I think that's a pretty easy round to load.
 

marvelshooter

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Taking a class is probably a good idea if you have access to one. Lots of people, myself included, taught themselves successfully. There are lots of good books available. I am not familiar with the xl650 but as long as you can do one operation at a time like you can with Square Deal it will be fine to learn on. I would vote for the .38 special first as it is very to load for and very flexible as afar as component selection. It can be loaded as light or as heavy as you want without worrying if the gun will function. I am sure you will get plenty of opinions and this is mine. Good luck and post your progress.
 

Rick1987

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When I was learning on the xl650 or when I make adjustments I will run one case. It will run as fast as you pull the handle, so at first you can pull the handle pretty slow and take your time, watching all stations.
 
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I am in no way a professional at this, but I have reloaded 45 ACP successfully for a while. Take my opinions for what they are...

if you shoot a lot you need a tumbler, otherwise you can get by without one. I just got one, and man, life is so much better now. I as getting by without one, but the savings in time, and results are well worth it.

Of all those calibers you list, I would start with 9mm. It headspaces at the case, so watch your OAL.

I don't shoot a lot, so I use the lee turret with 4 dies. I can crank about 100 rounds an hour. Some need a faster/better setup. I don't.

I would say the crimp/resizing die from lee is a good investment. Its fantastic. All rounds properly chamber. Although not all rounds need to be resized, some do. I tested dropping some rounds that only passed through the first 3 dies on the chamber and some would not drop freely. I set the die to give almost no crimp. I would advise you to upgrade it to a 4 die setup.

Reloading is ridiculously easy. It just requires attention to detail and concentration on the task at hand.

If you feel overwhelmed take a class. The last thing you want to do is mess up and find out when you pull the trigger...
 
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Some good advice above - As a relative newbie too I'll offer my experiences:

Get with someone who already reloads, chances are they will asnwer all your Q's in depth better than any on line forum can offer

Absorb all the advise you get - some will be crap, some gold - figuring it out will be up to you.

Start somewhere easy - that is, less complicated - and move on from there. Start with straight walled calibers, 9mm is hard to mess up, 38/357 can be double charged and damage can be done - Now if you're diligent probably not, but possible non the less.

Work your press, ask to see other presses in operation and make your own judgements. The equipment you have bought will work - if you decide it does not work for you move it and go forward. You may find that it may not work for all things you need - a hammer can be a poor substitute for a screwdriver at times...

Consider yourself at the start of a road - enjoy the journey
 

Fixxah

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Save for a true progressive press. You can load individual cartridges until you get the hang of it. It's how I load for 45-70 and 30-06 still.
 
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You will need a way to trim the rifle brass eventually. You can probably get away without cleaning brass from the bolt guns, but from the semi autos, especially the AR, they get dirty. You can wipe them off with a rag if you want, but it's kind of a PITA.

I would go stainless tumbling and skip the dry stuff. Piece together your own kit, and you can save some money over the kit from stainlesstumblingmedia.com.

B
 

M1911

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Yes, you'll need a tumbler. Of those calibers, I'd start with 9mm. Pistol calibers are easier than rifle calibers because you don't have to trim. 9mm is a little easier than .38 Spcl because it is easier to see into the cartridge case. The .38 Spcl case is very tall and narrow, and it needs so little powder that you could triple charge it.
 

Bendad97

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1. Take a class if you ae new to reloading, ESPECIALLY if you intend to load shouldered/necked cases.

Why a progressive press to start? I am still loading with a Lee Single Stage and am doing very well at it. I am self taught, so I started simple, and after some trial and error, I have realized that simple is the way to go. Start with the 9mm, as it is a straight wall cartridge and easy to load.
 

Fixxah

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1. Take a class if you ae new to reloading, ESPECIALLY if you intend to load shouldered/necked cases.

Why a progressive press to start? I am still loading with a Lee Single Stage and am doing very well at it. I am self taught, so I started simple, and after some trial and error, I have realized that simple is the way to go. Start with the 9mm, as it is a straight wall cartridge and easy to load.

So you'd rather not load on a progressive now? I use a SS for de-capping/sizing, can't imagine loading thousands of rounds in a weekend on one.
 
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The best I can do reloading on a single stage with rifle cart. is about 200 hour FL resize/decap, seat primers, drop powder and seat bullet. Not much fun but I have a good amount of time to reload.


Things to consider---if your reloading small quantities you could buy a small ultrasonic cleaner or even a small tumbler. Harborfrieght has some small tumblers pretty cheap.
A good reloading data book and a GOOD scale, checking your powder drops inside the case before seating bullet should keep your gun and youraelf safe.
I been reloading 223 for my AR 30-06 for my Garand 38spl to shoot out of my 357 and 30 carbine at larger volumes than my other cals......I will be getting a progressive in the future as I see my time for reloading decreasing as my kids get older. 90% of my reloads are for plinking fun
my 38spls are .11 ea-----soon to be cheaper when I start casting my own.
45acp .06 ea I cast for this one
223 with hornady 55gn bulk FMJ .14 ea
223 with hornady 75grain match bullets .25 ea
30-06 plinkers with pulled 150 grain bullets .20 ea
30-06 168grain match FMJ HP .33 ea

have fun go slow.
 
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As a newbie, here were my findings last year.

I too work on a slim budget. I have been accumulating reloading gear. I could speculate that folks ultimately either...don't like it and dump their investment or, get hooked and pick up a Dillon. I started with a RCBS RS aka JR3. Read, a small, slow but capable press.

I picked up a Lee hand primer, calipers, Ideal powder drop, scale, funnel, shell block, imperial sizing lube, a few shell holders and that was about it. Since I compete long range rifle, I focus on accuracy, not speed. That said, I think money spent on a quality scale is my top priority. For accuracy you weigh cases, bullets and powder. I may only shoot a given caliber 2,000 times a season so slow is ok. And, for starting off, SLOW is very important. CLEAN, highly organized it also a good discipline. Everything should have a place. Work surface/area BRIGHT. KISS.

For me, as a newbie, I just hand prime 20 in my loading block. Then, measure and weigh powder for 10 shells and since most blocks hold 100, the charged cases go in a new row. Then, with a $2 LED flashlight look in those 10. Then carefully seat and press those 10 and repeat. I find mistakes happen when you are on the 89th case doing the same thing and you get bored.

To learn, I scheduled four meetings at fellow shooter's loading rooms. Schedule it, make it real, not a drive by. Hopefully if it is planned you'll actually load 100. I used a Dillon 450, 550B, Lee Single stage, RCBS RS. I will say, Dillons are very nice, fast but a steeper learning curve than a single stage. If volume is your end goal, I can see a Dillon is in the future. I learned a lot at each meeting and typically walked away with a few spare items to start to build my kit.

I don't know your Lee but as I understand it, it is a single stage press on steroids. Meaning, the turret has all the dies unlike a RCBS single stage where you have to change out each time you switch to a new operation. As such, you can simply spin the turret to do all the processes. Or, do 100 and then spin the head and do the next operation. I would be worried about flex but I've not used one. The good news, your shell holders and dies can all be used on other brand single stage presses.

My RCBS RS worked hard on full length sizing 30-30. Or I should say I worked hard. Ditto for your 30-06. Means a VERY ridged bench or simply a 4x4 lag bolted to a wall. I had to reinforce my bench. Now, I use a RCBS Rockchucker I picked up for $35 at a gun show. I long term loaned by RS to, of all things, the Dillon 450 owner. He has some low volume 32-40s to load.

On my wish list....case length trimmer and powder tricker.
My favorite book. Cast Bullets for Beginner & Expert by Joseph F. Brennan Jr. 12 pages of reloading cast bullets. Excellent.
Biggest mistake. Not realizing the importance of case length. Not realizing you need to bell cases for cast bullets.

In short, take a class, go to the houses of people who you respect and see/hear how they got where they are. Read. And most of all, be safe. If you're not a patient, methodical, analytical type person, reloading may not be fun.
 
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ARV

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I would say 9mm would be the easiest. Carbide dies so you don't need to lube the case. For primers, I like a hand priming tool, I can feel when they seat properly, and can tell when one manages to flip upside down. I use the old design Lee Auto Prime.

prime 1.jpg

But they have a new one that's supposed to be more comfortable to use

prime 2.jpg
 

Bendad97

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I have to say, I am just WAY too anal retentive to load on a progressive press. I like to feel each primer seat properly, and I want my paws on every round I or my wife & son are going to shoot. Not knocking progressive users, just saying how it is for me. As for production, I never consider it. I reload for the savings, but also because I enjoy the feeling of starting with nothing and creating something. I am probably most relaxed when I'm reloading.
 

Manomet

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You can feel every primer seat properly or not on my Hornady and you touch all the components and should look at each finished round. I think you should try one you might like it. As for where to start I would buy the Lee reloading manual and read it through and then do that again. Where are you in Mass. there are plenty of us that would let you come see how it's done and answer your questions?
 

DrRansom

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I have to say, I am just WAY too anal retentive to load on a progressive press. I like to feel each primer seat properly, and I want my paws on every round I or my wife & son are going to shoot. Not knocking progressive users, just saying how it is for me. As for production, I never consider it. I reload for the savings, but also because I enjoy the feeling of starting with nothing and creating something. I am probably most relaxed when I'm reloading.

Have you used a progressive press? I can't speak for them all, but my LnL has quite a bit of "feel" to the primer seating...as well as the rest of the process.
 

cda1210

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A couple of Saturdays ago I took the reloading class at GOAL in Northborough, MA. It was long but was well worht it. Being a GOAL memeber I got the discount also.

I would definately recommend taking a class. I had read through a few books on reloading but there is nothing like having someone there that has done it before and can answer your questions first hand. You also get a chance to actually load a few rounds to get a feeling.

I am in the process of getting all the equipment over the next few weeks/months. I am looking to start with a single stage press, most likley a Hornady, since I can take my time and get a good feeling of how things go together. If all goes well I may step up to the progressive press.

In this thread there was talk about people having watched/participated at clubs or at peoples houses. Any information on the next time this may happen? I am a memeber of Braintree and live just outside of Boston and would enjoy working with someone that has done this before.

Thanks in advance.

cda1210
 
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