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Suggestions for getting started in reloading


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#1 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 01:17 PM

I'm looking to start reloading and I have no experience whatsoever.  I want to purchase equipment that I can use now as well as in the future.  It is my understanding that I probably want a progressive press.  I have heard that Dillon is pretty much the standard to look at.  I'm looking at maybe a Dillon 550C essential 9mm package.  9mm is mainly what I want to load along with maybe occasionally some .380 ACP.

 

https://www.dillonpr..._136_26712.html

 

Would this be a good package to start with?  What other equipment do I need as well.  Any other suggestions or help would be appreciated.  Thanks.



#2 Rilo

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 01:21 PM

I'm looking to start reloading and I have no experience whatsoever.  I want to purchase equipment that I can use now as well as in the future.  It is my understanding that I probably want a progressive press.  I have heard that Dillon is pretty much the standard to look at.  I'm looking at maybe a Dillon 550C essential 9mm package.  9mm is mainly what I want to load along with maybe occasionally some .380 ACP.

 

https://www.dillonpr..._136_26712.html

 

Would this be a good package to start with?  What other equipment do I need as well.  Any other suggestions or help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Has everything you need to get started. Dillon is very good. If you don’t have spp you are screwed right now.



#3 Smallbore

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 02:03 PM

May not be the best time to start because primers are not available.
That said, for pistol calibers I like my Dillion square deal b. It is compact with a short stroke that auto advances for next stage. The minor disadvantage is it takes propietary dies. Not been a problem for me. It is limited to pistol calibers.
I have a Dillion 550b set up for 45acp. It manually indexes for next stage. I like the press but the little Dillion gets most use.
There are fancier powder drops but Dillion is accurate.
I forget what came with a reloading press but you need pickup tubes for primers, a flip tray, calipers and a scale. A reloader book is handy but recipes can be found on line. Respect these numbers.
What else would be a strong bench, good lighting, quiet environment, concentration and patience.
Run the press slow. My bench height allows for sitting on a stool.
Run only a few round then fire them to know they will function before you run a large batch.
Wise to have someone show you the ropes.

Unless you do a lot of shooting at normal cartridge pricing it will take some time to break even. If you put a value on your time you will never break even.
Reloading like any hobby is fun but not cheap.
You might also want a bullet puller.

#4 Looper

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 03:06 PM

For the frugal reloader: Lee Classic Loader

    https://www.midwayus...uct/1012833230/



#5 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 03:42 PM

Thanks all.  I probably shoot 5k -7k rounds a year so I figured I might save a few bucks.  But my main reason is because I want to do it more as a hobby and control the type of rounds I shoot.  I figured loading my own would be a good way to make the kind of loads I want. 

 

I'm not in a hurry to start but figured I have ton of once fired brass so I might as well start prepping it.  Is that something I can do without actually getting a press, bullets, primers, etc?  What do I need to get started prepping the brass?  A tumbler?  Sorry for so many questions, but I don't have anyone to show me the ropes.  I figure many of you have lots of experience and might be able to point me in the right direction.



#6 Rilo

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 03:51 PM

A tumbler or a sonic cleaner allows you to prep brass.



#7 Nanook

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 04:47 PM

You can clean the brass without dies, but removing the primers requires at least a dedicated depriming tool. Several are sold. 

 

Many loaders use universal decapping dies which don't resize the brass so when the brass is cleaned the primer pockets are also cleaned. It's an added step, but some do it. Tumblers are cheap, and there is also a method using stainless steel pins and water to clean brass. 

 

If you shoot that much per year, Dillon or the like is a good bet. Other brands like Hornady and RCBS also make progressive presses. I have Dillon, but there's nothing wrong with the other brands. Dillon's warranty is called 'no BS' and they stand behind it. Lots of people use Lee products, but I can't speak to them since I've never owned one of their presses. 

 

I've heard a lot of people tell those just starting out to start with a single stage, but with your volume that will get old quickly. 

 

While you're waiting for equipment, buy some manuals and read them. It will give you a leg up for when you actually start loading. 

 

There is a lot of good info on the net, too. You Tube has loads of videos on the subject. 


“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices.” -- George Orwell

 


#8 luckydawg13

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 05:51 PM

for a new reloader i would start out with a single stage kit like this https://www.midwayus...2025?pid=531246   


Kid's that Hunt and Fish don't Mug old Ladies 


#9 luckydawg13

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 05:54 PM

not mine and i dont know the guy just saw the add https://www.thehighr...ichigan.874719/


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#10 Alby

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:11 PM

I use a vibrating brass cleaner with a combination of corncob and crushed walnut shell. My mix is about 2/3 cob and 1/3 walnut. Harbor freight has the cob but I get the walnut from a pet store where it’s called lizard litter. I also add into the media about a cap full of Liquid Nu finish car polish. If you add this make sure it is polish and not wax. The polish adds a nice shine to the brass. I usually also throw in used bounce dry sheets cut into quarters. The dryer sheets pick up a lot of the carbon and other debris out of the media. If you go with a vibrating cleaner run it outside as there will be lead floating around. I wear a mask when I am working with used media just to be careful. With my tumbler, Lyman, I can clean about 400 9mm or about 300 45 in around three hours.
In normal times you don’t save a lot of money reloading 9mm however you will shoot more and will find a load that your guns like.
To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them.
-- George Mason

Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt

#11 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:44 PM

Thanks everyone.  Is there a good book on reloading that anyone can recommend?



#12 Rilo

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:45 PM

Hornady does a decent one.

 

https://www.hornady....oading/handbook



#13 Smallbore

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:46 PM

I have couple Frankford case tumblers. $45.00
Corn cob medium works well. I use regular brass police from Menards.
I prefer the Dillion strainer

Being cheap I use ground up walnut shells sold for repitle aquariums. It is dirty but cleans well.

#14 Alby

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:56 PM

The Lee book is very good and gives an excellent guide for the reloading process. You will need to ignore the continual sales pitch and his claims of being responsible for everything good in reloading. Beyond that it has a lot of good information. All books should walk you through the reloading process. You may need a book by the mfg of the bullets you are using as the correct info may not be in other books. Reloading is really pretty easy but you need to be careful and check your work because bad things can happen if you make mistakes. You can learn this by reading the books but if you are a hands on learner the NRA training site lists classes available. The class will walk you through the process and cover the equipment used.
To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them.
-- George Mason

Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt

#15 luckydawg13

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:17 PM

Get more than just one reloading manual the lyman 49th and 50th are also good to have

Kid's that Hunt and Fish don't Mug old Ladies 


#16 luckydawg13

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:19 PM

What caliber do you plan to reload for

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#17 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:48 PM

What caliber do you plan to reload for

 

Mostly 9mm and maybe occasionally .380.

 

Does the Lyman book show a step by step process?  It's included in the Dillion 550C essential 9mm package I'm looking at.  



#18 lee n. field

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 08:53 PM

I'm looking to start reloading and I have no experience whatsoever.  I want to purchase equipment that I can use now as well as in the future.  It is my understanding that I probably want a progressive press.  I have heard that Dillon is pretty much the standard to look at.  I'm looking at maybe a Dillon 550C essential 9mm package.  9mm is mainly what I want to load along with maybe occasionally some .380 ACP.

 

https://www.dillonpr..._136_26712.html

 

Would this be a good package to start with?  What other equipment do I need as well.  Any other suggestions or help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

 

I would start with buying the Lyman manual separately, and reading the informational chapters.  This will give you an understanding ("book learnin'") of the process.

 

Ideally, I would say you should start with a single stage press.  There's way too much going on at once with a progressive for a newbie to keep track of.


"Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why would you have the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, and not light,"

#19 NRApistol

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 09:26 PM

I agree with starting with a single stage press. You need to learn the steps one at a time. I shoot about the same amount of 9mm yearly that you do. I've been using an RCBS single stage for over 35 years. I like doing one thing at a time. I remove the spent primers and clean brass then put it away. Next when I have enough, I prime them and store them. I keep most of my reload brass in this stage. I keep defensive ammo and a couple of bricks of loaded range ammo on hand.  If I have a shoot coming up I can load whatever I want by bullet weight, powder charge and powder type.  


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#20 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 10:32 PM

I have heard the term "buy once, cry once" so I wanted to buy something I could grow into and not have to buy a single stage now and a progressive later.  I had also head that you don't have to use all the stages of a progressive press and that you can use it like a single stage.  Is this not the case?



#21 luckydawg13

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 04:27 AM

you will always find a use for a singe stage press on your bench   


Kid's that Hunt and Fish don't Mug old Ladies 


#22 modeler1945

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 07:13 AM

The Lee book is very good and gives an excellent guide for the reloading process. You will need to ignore the continual sales pitch and his claims of being responsible for everything good in reloading.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks Lee is a little high on himself. Otherwise good book with lots of info.

 

Does the Lyman book show a step by step process? 

 

Most reloading books have some form of step by step instructions. Some more than others. I have Lee, Lyman, Nosler, Hornady. I believe all talk you through the basics of each step. I find myself using the Lyman the most for data, but I reference all of them. If you shoot a particularly brand of bullet, it is certainly worth getting that manufacturers manual (Speer, Hornady, Nosler, ect). 


Did you ever see a match-grade round traveling three thousand feet per second go through a window?

 

...No one does. 


#23 modeler1945

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 07:14 AM

 

The Lee book is very good and gives an excellent guide for the reloading process. You will need to ignore the continual sales pitch and his claims of being responsible for everything good in reloading.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks Lee is a little high on himself. Otherwise good book with lots of info.

 

Does the Lyman book show a step by step process? 

 

Most reloading books have some form of step by step instructions. Some more than others. I have Lee, Lyman, Nosler, Hornady. I believe all talk you through the basics of each step. I find myself using the Lyman the most for data, but I reference all of them. If you shoot a particularly brand of bullet, it is certainly worth getting that manufacturers manual (Speer, Hornady, Nosler, ect). 

 

And you don't really save money reloading. You shoot more.  :frantics:


Did you ever see a match-grade round traveling three thousand feet per second go through a window?

 

...No one does. 


#24 Kingcreek

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 08:07 AM

35 years of reloading talking here...
You are correct you can use a 550 for single functions. That said, my first press was a single stage and I still use it for some things. It's on my bench next to 2 Dillon progressives. The 550 package is an excellent way to get much of what you will need. Great company with a great no BS warranty.
Something else to think about. My Dillons are worth more used than I paid for them new and have loaded many thousands of perfect rounds over many years. Everything from 9mm range bangers to match .308 and .300 mag hunting loads.
My reloading experience is limited to 6 handgun calibers and 5 rifle calibers. I used to compete in high power rifle and practical pistol and shot 8-10k rounds per year. I never had a bad round in competition, only a few in practice, never any catastrophic failures.
Good luck, go slow, be careful.

#25 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 09:08 AM

Thanks everyone for all the good advice!



#26 Kingcreek

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 01:50 PM

If you’re going to load more than one caliber or think you will ever load rifle, the 550 is a better choice than the square deal. Square deal is pistol only, requires special Dillon dies, and isn’t as convenient to change between calibers. The 550 uses any standard dies.
I like Dillon dies because they are radiused a little more specifically for progressive loading.

#27 lee n. field

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 05:15 PM

I have heard the term "buy once, cry once" so I wanted to buy something I could grow into and not have to buy a single stage now and a progressive later.  I had also head that you don't have to use all the stages of a progressive press and that you can use it like a single stage.  Is this not the case?

 

As a possible intermediate step, consider a Lee Classic Turret Press Kit.  The Classic Turret is a fine press, and if you remove the indexing rod, it functions as a single stage.  The "kit" package gets you pretty much everything else you need, except for a die set.


"Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why would you have the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, and not light,"

#28 cnwfan3

    No no no, I said dart gun, not fart gun!

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 01:22 PM

Any suggestions on what power to use for 9mm?  I read that Vihtavuori N320 is a good clean burning powder and the less cleaning, the better.

 

Also, is there a big difference using copper plated bullets as opposed to Jacketed?  I was looking at Xtreme bullets because they are fully covered (no exposed lead at the base) but they are copper plated not jacketed.  I know Freedom Munitions uses Xtreme bullets and I have shot Freedom rounds many times.  I read you can't load them too powerful or you will have issues because they are plated and not jacketed, is this true?



#29 NRApistol

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 02:01 PM

I use Blue Dot and Unique Powder for power
In 9mm, jacketed or plated makes little if any difference

 

Nosler


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#30 Smallbore

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 07:36 AM

N320 is clean. I have used it. Currently I am using Winchester 231. Many good powders.




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