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  1. #1
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    Default New to reloading

    After mauling it over for some time, I have finally decided to jump into reloading. I have purchased the following equipment:

    Presses
    RCBS Pro Chucker 5 (5 stage progressive press)
    RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme (single stage press)
    7x Pro Chucker 5 Die Plates

    Shell Plates
    RBCS Pro Chucker Shell Plate #44 (500 Magnum)
    RBCS Pro Chucker Shell Plate #32 (7.62x39)

    Dies.
    Lee Precision 90288 500 S&W Magnum 3 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision 90931 500 S&W Magnum Collet Style Crimp Die
    Lee Precision 90177 500 S&W Magnum Quick Trim Die
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90963 9mm Luger 4 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90447 380 Auto 4 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90964 38 Special 4 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90965 40 S&W 4 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90968 45 ACP 4 Die Carbide Set
    Lee Precision Deluxe 90967 45 Colt 4 Die Carbide Set

    Misc.
    Quick Trim Die Tool
    7x Pro Chucker 5 Die Plates, each die set comes with the individual shell holder

    I do not have all the shell plates or die sets. Iím shopping around at the moment. Prices vary widely between sites and calibers. It was less expensive to purchase the 4 die sets with the factory crimp die than to buy them separate. Iím currently $1400 in and no reloading supplies yet or books yet.

    I plan to use the single stage press for all the case prep work, depriming, resizing and trimming. Use the progressive press for expanding, charging, seating and crimping. Thatíll leave a station later for something else.

    I have enough to start with 500 Magnum but I think that would just be foolish. I bought those parts because they were scarce. Iíll start with something else but havenít decided yet. Got a lot of reading to do first.

  2. #2
    Senior Member square target2's Avatar
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    You're going to need some other tools like a powder measure and scale. I would recommend staying away from lee on the powder measure and get a RCBS. The lee are real cheaply made and i hear people all the time complaining they leak powder. I do a ton of reloading and just use a cheap franfurt arsenal digital scale. They work very well. I actually have two and check them between each other often and also check them with a beam scale i have but i never actually use the beam scale for loading because they can be a pain. Don't be afraid to buy more than one book. I have 3 i use the most. Lyman and Lee and then the lyman cast bullet book if you're going to use cast bullets but many(not all) of the loads are in their regular book. There are a ton of other books too but they are mostly bullet and powder brand specific where the other two are not and cover so much more. A hand primer will come in handy and i like Lee's over the RCBS but they just changed their design in the last year so i can't say if that one is good or not. My RCBS will pop the top cover off when priming but maybe i just got a lemon. With the list of de calibers you posted you probably won't need a trimmer but if you get into any rifle calibers you will. Straight wall pistol for the most part does not stretch enough to worry about and auto cases will actually shrink over time but the differences in case lengths won't really affect anything. Case gauges/ammo checkers come in handy when loading. Check out lymans multi caliber ones. You can get one that will do everything on your list except the 500S&W and its maybe $20 or so. You'll also need a set of calipers, don't skimp on those and buy a set from harbor freight or get a plastic set. Get a set from RCBS, Lyman etc. There are some other things you'll need as well. A way to clean your brass. You can go dry, wet or use a sonic cleaner. For starting out a decent dry vibrator works fine. Loading blocks come in handy and you can make them if you're a wood worker or just buy them. I like the frankfurt arsenal one but they are a little more expensive than some others that will work fine. A kinetic hammer will also be useful and i'm sure i'm forgetting some other small tools that you'll need or come in handy.....Prepare to save some money!!!! lol

    I would recommend you start with 38sp and do it all on the single stage to get yourself familiar with all the steps and how everything works before you jump into the progressive after reading through one of the books you buy. . 38sp is one of the easiest calibers to load IMO. When you start in the semi auto calibers shoot some in your guns before you load a bunch. Just because you see loads in the book does not mean they will cycle your gun correctly. make sure the load has enough power to eject the case and pick up the next round, no stove piping etc.<----- ive actually made this mistake a few times. Nothing like having 500 rounds to shoot up that won't reliably work. Please do not start out loading for the 500, one little mistake can be bad on those high power calibers.
    Popeye, gvaldeg1 and Philmo11 like this.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by square target2 View Post
    You're going to need some other tools like a powder measure and scale. I would recommend staying away from lee on the powder measure and get a RCBS. The lee are real cheaply made and i hear people all the time complaining they leak powder. I do a ton of reloading and just use a cheap franfurt arsenal digital scale. They work very well. I actually have two and check them between each other often and also check them with a beam scale i have but i never actually use the beam scale for loading because they can be a pain. Don't be afraid to buy more than one book. I have 3 i use the most. Lyman and Lee and then the lyman cast bullet book if you're going to use cast bullets but many(not all) of the loads are in their regular book. There are a ton of other books too but they are mostly bullet and powder brand specific where the other two are not and cover so much more. A hand primer will come in handy and i like Lee's over the RCBS but they just changed their design in the last year so i can't say if that one is good or not. My RCBS will pop the top cover off when priming but maybe i just got a lemon. With the list of de calibers you posted you probably won't need a trimmer but if you get into any rifle calibers you will. Straight wall pistol for the most part does not stretch enough to worry about and auto cases will actually shrink over time but the differences in case lengths won't really affect anything. Case gauges/ammo checkers come in handy when loading. Check out lymans multi caliber ones. You can get one that will do everything on your list except the 500S&W and its maybe $20 or so. You'll also need a set of calipers, don't skimp on those and buy a set from harbor freight or get a plastic set. Get a set from RCBS, Lyman etc. There are some other things you'll need as well. A way to clean your brass. You can go dry, wet or use a sonic cleaner. For starting out a decent dry vibrator works fine. Loading blocks come in handy and you can make them if you're a wood worker or just buy them. I like the frankfurt arsenal one but they are a little more expensive than some others that will work fine. A kinetic hammer will also be useful and i'm sure i'm forgetting some other small tools that you'll need or come in handy.....Prepare to save some money!!!! lol

    I would recommend you start with 38sp and do it all on the single stage to get yourself familiar with all the steps and how everything works before you jump into the progressive after reading through one of the books you buy. . 38sp is one of the easiest calibers to load IMO. When you start in the semi auto calibers shoot some in your guns before you load a bunch. Just because you see loads in the book does not mean they will cycle your gun correctly. make sure the load has enough power to eject the case and pick up the next round, no stove piping etc.<----- ive actually made this mistake a few times. Nothing like having 500 rounds to shoot up that won't reliably work. Please do not start out loading for the 500, one little mistake can be bad on those high power calibers.
    +1

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    No worries on the 500 magnum. Those will be one of the last. Not starting with a 1/4 stick of dynamite, haha. I agree on the 38 special. The 45 Colt might be the next. Reasonings I had were that those cowboy loads should have a little room for error on the hot side. 38 special will be tested in a .357 Henry and the .45 Colt in a Ruger Blackhawk, both overbuilt to handle much hotter loads than I’ll be loading, in the event a mistake is made on the hot side they have less chance of exploding. As you already mentioned, the factors involved in auto rounds complicate the process.

    I appreciate the list of tools and brand recommendations. A tumbler, caliper, scales and powder measure are on the list. I get anything else listed above on my list too.

    As for the cast trimmer, 500 magnum is a pretty good size piece of brass under a ton of pressure. Want to make sure the crimp depth and seating depth are consistent. The case length will directly impact both of those. With that gun, there is no room for error. We’ve all seen what happens when there is a little too much pressure in a S&W revolver. In fact, that one scares me to reload at magnum specs due to all the above mentioned. I will likely hand load 500 Special rounds for plinking, just save my brass from the factory loads.

  6. #5
    Senior Member NGF Addict! AgedWarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philmo11 View Post
    No worries on the 500 magnum. Those will be one of the last. Not starting with a 1/4 stick of dynamite, haha. I agree on the 38 special. The 45 Colt might be the next. Reasonings I had were that those cowboy loads should have a little room for error on the hot side. 38 special will be tested in a .357 Henry and the .45 Colt in a Ruger Blackhawk, both overbuilt to handle much hotter loads than I’ll be loading, in the event a mistake is made on the hot side they have less chance of exploding. As you already mentioned, the factors involved in auto rounds complicate the process.

    I appreciate the list of tools and brand recommendations. A tumbler, caliper, scales and powder measure are on the list. I get anything else listed above on my list too.

    As for the cast trimmer, 500 magnum is a pretty good size piece of brass under a ton of pressure. Want to make sure the crimp depth and seating depth are consistent. The case length will directly impact both of those. With that gun, there is no room for error. We’ve all seen what happens when there is a little too much pressure in a S&W revolver. In fact, that one scares me to reload at magnum specs due to all the above mentioned. I will likely hand load 500 Special rounds for plinking, just save my brass from the factory loads.
    The most important thing you can do is take your time familiarizing yourself with the process. The peculiarities of some cartridges will become more obvious as you gain experience. I would recommend using the data for the applicable bullets you are using when ever possible. If you like Hornady bullets, then use their data, and buy their manual. There is a lot of additional data available from powder manufacturers that is quite good too. I recommend the Hodgdon manual that is published as a magazine every year as another viable source of data. Avoid using another manufacturers data for your bullets. For example, do not use Speer data to load Hornady bullets; while you might find a lot of overlap, the two different bullets are often seated to different depths and have differing bearing surfaces that affects load pressures. You mention a desire for consistent seating depth and crimps; good call! Doing so will only enhance the accuracy of your ammo.

    There is is a lot of reloading experience here at NGF; lean on that experience when you need to.

    Finally, I would urge you to think through the process to develop a safe and effective order/sequence and routine. One helpful idea is to rotate the brass in the loading blocks as you progress up through the steps so you can, at a glance, verify that each case is at the same condition and, of course, see that your powder charges look consistent throughout the block. When I load a batch of rifle ammo that is not already primed, I start with the cases mouth up until primed then mouth down so when you are done they are all butt up with visible primers to do a quick double check for a primer possibly not seated fully. Then, as you charge each case with powder you turn them over one at a time to charge them; when done you can easily see if they are all charged uniformly. Turning them one at a time helps prevent accidental over charging or failure to charge, and the scan of the loading block is a quick double check. Obviously you do not need to follow my routine, but make sure you have one that is systematic and allows you to double check prior to the next step. Things will not be the same when you go progressive, but you still need to be systematic and observant! Enjoy!
    Philmo11 and square target2 like this.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Zhills's Avatar
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    Welcome to the fun. Safety, safety, safety!
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    Senior Member square target2's Avatar
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    A couple more things. If you're going to build a bench make sure it's sturdy and can hold some weight. Make it bigger than you think you'll need. I think I'm up to 23' of benches with shelves behind them and under them just dedicated to loading, brass prep and storage. You probably won't need near that much but go bigger than what you think you'll need. like agedwarrior said, when you figure out a system you like stick to it as consistency leads to safety. Start saving plastic container like coffee cans, ice cream tubs, nut containers etc for brass storage. plastic trays like gladware also come in handy for doing brass prep to keep cases in different stages separated. When loading single stage try to do 1 step at a time for all brass you plan on loading at that time so you don't have to keep switching dies around. I see guys who are loading 200 rounds do 50 at a time and then start over for the next 50. There is one exception though. If you're loading more than 50 round only charge one loading block and then seat the bullets. Having several tray laying around with powder in them can easily be bumped and knocked over. Or if you have to leave you don't want them sitting there like that. Keep only one can of powder on your bench at a time!!! Keeping more is how fatal mistakes can happen. Load your hopper of your powder measure and keep the powder can right next to it. As soon as you're done seating your last bullet empty the powder hopper back into the can and put it away. I actually break this rule once in a great while as i have several machines set up and sometimes (like right now) have them all going but the powder is right next to each machine that's using it and i don't move them. Right now I'm on a loading tear because i recently had back surgery and this is my therapy. I also had to move a ton of stuff on the bench because i can't do too much lifting or bending so here is my organized chaos....Got one machine doing 9mm, another 45acp trying to do a little each day and doing a batch of 50 rifle too most days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by square target2 View Post
    A couple more things. If you're going to build a bench make sure it's sturdy and can hold some weight. Make it bigger than you think you'll need. I think I'm up to 23' of benches with shelves behind them and under them just dedicated to loading, brass prep and storage. You probably won't need near that much but go bigger than what you think you'll need. like agedwarrior said, when you figure out a system you like stick to it as consistency leads to safety. Start saving plastic container like coffee cans, ice cream tubs, nut containers etc for brass storage. plastic trays like gladware also come in handy for doing brass prep to keep cases in different stages separated. When loading single stage try to do 1 step at a time for all brass you plan on loading at that time so you don't have to keep switching dies around. I see guys who are loading 200 rounds do 50 at a time and then start over for the next 50. There is one exception though. If you're loading more than 50 round only charge one loading block and then seat the bullets. Having several tray laying around with powder in them can easily be bumped and knocked over. Or if you have to leave you don't want them sitting there like that. Keep only one can of powder on your bench at a time!!! Keeping more is how fatal mistakes can happen. Load your hopper of your powder measure and keep the powder can right next to it. As soon as you're done seating your last bullet empty the powder hopper back into the can and put it away. I actually break this rule once in a great while as i have several machines set up and sometimes (like right now) have them all going but the powder is right next to each machine that's using it and i don't move them. Right now I'm on a loading tear because i recently had back surgery and this is my therapy. I also had to move a ton of stuff on the bench because i can't do too much lifting or bending so here is my organized chaos....Got one machine doing 9mm, another 45acp trying to do a little each day and doing a batch of 50 rifle too most days.

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    Congrats on the great looking loading bench! Also, congrats to Philmo11 for embarking upon reloading. This was absolutely one on the most rewarding aspects of shooting and shooting sports that I ever engaged in. For years, most of my guns never saw a factory round.
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    Reloading tips, 1-- read and understand the reloading manuals printed by the major bullet makers These books will have all the info you need, and when reloading keep the distractions out of the loading room, you must pay attention to what you are doing.
    2--same as number 1
    3--same as number 2.
    I have been hand loading for over 40 years and so far have never had a bad round. Did make the mistake of following another fellows recipe for a 7mm STW. Way too hot for my rifle but no blow ups just a stiff bolt. I load several pistol and revolver rounds, 220 swift, various 6mm's, 280's, 7mm mags.
    All my center fire presses are single stage, KISS.
    I do have 3 progressive Ponsness Warren progressive loaders and boy you best keep on your toes.
    I could write you an encyclopedia on loading but common sense is your friend.

    Good luck and enjoy
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    Yes i second making it bigger than you think what you will need. I need to add on again lol. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
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