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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Question newbie looking for help

Howdy folks. I am looking to get into reloading. I am looking for advise on how to get started with the basic tools to reload safe rifle and pistol rounds. I looked on various web sites and looking at kits they offered and the " kits" look like alot of stuff that I would not need.

It has been my experience that kits offer stuff that would be cheaper but add bling and not real tools that will last. I learned this lesson when I got kits for fly tying. I did order a reloading manual. It should be here in few days! But what tools do I need to get started. And what tools should I avoid? Any issue with buying used stuff?

Thanks Koz

will hunt for food....
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 11:05 AM
tdd
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Whoooo boy....

Ok, here goes.....

First- with reloading, like anything else, there's stuff you NEED, stuff that's GOOD TO HAVE, and stuff that is just a waste of time and money. In my experience and opinion, what you like/want/use at first will morph over time as you gain some experience and familiarity with the process and start develop what it is you will use and makes your time more productive/enjoyable.

Also- as a newbie, you want to focus on the ammo you make being safe first, functional as a close second (will probably happen with it being safe, but you get my drift). Tweaks for optimal performance will come when you're feeling pretty solid at making safe/functional ammo.

And--- don't go into this thinking you're gonna save money. You're not. What you'll get, though is as or more important than saving a dime. You'll most importantly get freedom from the whims of the market. Lay in a good supply of components once you've got a load developed that you like, and you're set for as long as your supplies can hold out. No more hoping they have your brand/flavor on the shelf. That's a huge relief, trust me. You'll also be shooting more for about the same money, but again, don't try to justify this solely based on the finances. It's kinda like trying to justify deer hunting with all the "free meat".

Ok, all that said.....

You NEED to do these tasks to accomplish successful metallic cartridge reloading:

1- Take fired brass and put it back to proper dimensions (resizing)

2- Decap (remove spent primer) fired brass

2a- for straight-walled cases, you'll need to expand the case mouths (pistol and straight-walled rifle rounds, ex. 45-70)

3- Measure the length of the brass and trim it to spec as/when needed

3a- Deburr/chamfer as needed

4- Seat a new primer in the prepped brass

5- Dispense and weigh powder charges, and transfer into a case with no spillage

6-Seat a bullet

6a- Measure overall cartridge length

6b- Crimp case mouth (mainly pistol rounds, but also for rifle ammo to be used in lever guns or real hard kickers, it's a good idea)

Now....what gear is needed to accomplish the above?

Steps 1 through 2al also 6/6b- you'll need a die set for every round you intend to reload. Good middle of the road brands are RCBS and Hornady. Lee is ok, and is a little cheaper, Redding/Forster are very good, but pricier.

Steps 3 and 6a- a set of dial or digital calipers that measure to the 1/1000 (0.001) inch precision. Look at Cabela's, Midway, Brownell's, etc. Harbor Freight as them too. You shouldn't need to spend more than about $30 for these.

Steps 3/3a- a case trimmer is needed. There are ways to minimize needing to do this task, but it can't be avoided entirely. Several brands out there, pick one from the main players and you should be fine. This is one area you'll probably upgrade at some point to make easier. Trimming brass sucks. There's no way around that. A tool to deburr and chamfer is needed, and they're cheap. RCBS makes a good one that's cheap.

Step 4- either a separate hand primer tool, or a press that has a case priming capability. Most presses are capable, but hand priming tools are really nice to have and I greatly prefer them. It's also more challenging to get ham-handed and damage a primer if you use a hand-priming tool vs a press where you can exert massive amounts of force that aren't needed or desirable to apply to a primer. Good handpriming tools are available from Lee, Lyman, Hornady, and RCBS. I had a Lee and made a lot of ammo with it until the thumb lever broke. I got a Lyman to replace it and like it better. Many are very found of the RCBS. Pick one and roll with it. They're all workable and do the same thing.

5- Two tools needed here; you'll need a powder dispenser. Manual versions are available from the brands I mention above. Pick the one you like and can afford and go with it. I have a Lee and it's very cheaply made, but it works. I have an old Ohaus that is built like a tank and works too. Just a matter of budget and preference. You'll also need a scale that will measure to the 1/10 (0.1) grain level of precision. I recommend a balance scale to start, as they're pretty fool-proof and the laws of physics don't go screwy on you like electronics can. Electronic scales are pretty reliable, but a balance scale is something every reloader should have, imho.

Obviously, you'll also need a press.

This gets you the bare minimum to do the job. I would suggest some trays/loading blocks that hold 25 or 50 cases where you can have your batches of cases while you're working on them, as this helps keep some order to things.

You'll need a sturdy workbench where you mount your press. This should have good lighting and surface area sufficient for you to do the work. It needn't be the size of an aircraft carrier. Most "standard" work benches/desks are plenty big enough. It needs to have some strength to it in order to handle the stress of working the press when resizing brass. Most presses will put some fair pressure on the work bench during that operation. A fiber-board desk or "workbench" is going to get destroyed in short order.

You have a loading manual, which is good. Get a couple more...pick the brands of bullets you tend to want to use.

I could go into how I have all my stuff setup and how I do all this, but it will likely not make a lot of sense till you've got some experience in this hobby.

Good luck, and ask tons of questions. Don't be afraid to ask, it's how you learn. This is one hobby where learning from one's mistakes is a risky approach. You'll make mistakes, we all do....but we want them to be ones that don't result in damage to a gun or your physical well-being. So ask all the questions you need to ask. Twice if needed. Or three times.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 11:07 AM
tdd
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And I just saw you're in SE PA. I'm near Cabela's, and I'd like to get back into fly-tying and have been away long enough that I almost have to just start as if I never did it before.

Maybe we can assist each other here.....

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-01-2017, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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awesome tdd!

will hunt for food....
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-09-2017, 10:21 AM
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Another option is to start with a lee loader, as I did. You already have a manual coming. I'm hoping it is either the Lyman or the lee manual. Read it and most all of your questions will be covered by what is in the book. The very basic of reloading equipment are a bullet puller, .001 calipers, a beam scale, primer pocket cleaner deburring and champhering tool, and in the case of rifle brass, a trimmer of some sort, A single stage press, dies, and brass cleaning device, sizing lube.
With the lee loaders, you will only need a scale, trimmer of some sort, sizing lube, and a non-marring hammer.

Then you will need projectiles, the apropriate primers, brass to reload, and the right powder. After you have all of these things, you are ready to start reloading. And above all else, take your time and be safe, it can kill you or someone else. Ask lots of questions and check your work.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-09-2017, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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thanks I am so excited.

will hunt for food....
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-09-2017, 04:44 PM
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I don't know what kit in particular you've looked at, but it seems to me that RCBS has a kit for pretty much every different budget that you could imagine. My set up is based on an RCBS kit.

At Minimum I'd say you're going to need:
Press (that can prime cases)
Scale (at today's prices there really is no excuse to not go digital IMO)
Dies (I like Lee because they're cheap and include the shell holder)
Shell holders
Trimmer
Deburring Tool
Tumbler and media
Calipers
Can of spray lube
Funnel

And you're probably going to want some kind of powder dispenser + trickler, and a loading block.

Someone correct me if I left anything out.
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Last edited by Marcus99; 06-09-2017 at 04:47 PM.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-09-2017, 05:27 PM
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Id be browsing on Ebay for a name brand used press in nice condition, like an RCBS
Rockchucker. A balance scale, and a powder measure would round out the basics.
Regular dies like RCBS and others can be found there also for about 1/2 the price of new.
I'm still using the balance scale (REDDING), and the powder measure and also some dies that belonged to my father bought in 1951. They never wear out so don't hesitate to buy
good used stuff.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-09-2017, 09:47 PM
tdd
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Craigslist can turn up presses surprisingly often, too.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:01 PM
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Koz, I sent you a message about a bunch of extra, duplicate items that I have available that I'd be willing to let go at very cheap prices to get you started.
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