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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks.

I have been thinking about reloading for some time now, mainly because of cost, since I shoot a lot- mostly .45 acp and 9mm luger. The problem is, I don't have a clue where to even start. I've never reloaded before, and never even seen it done, except in some videos on youtube.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is advice on how to learn. Maybe some recommendations on specific books and videos, preferably ones that not only teach how to reload, but also explain exactly what kinds of things I need to buy to get started.

Thanks!
 

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Thanks, She9. We've discussed this a few times and the best advice I can give is that if you can recoup your investment in a reasonable period of time (reasonable is what you decide) then it's worthwhile. If you go on to MidwayUSA's website and look at one of the RCBS kits, as an example; that will show pretty much what you need to get started. The scale and powder measure can be safely replaced by cheaper and easier Lee dippers, but everything else is necessary to get going. Look around here to get some ideas: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=646599&t=22164010

9mm plinking ammo is too cheap for me to even try to save money by reloading -- the only 9mm I load anymore is defensive. .45ACP can be done economically if you have the brass already, and can get by with either lead or plated (as opposed to jacketed) projectiles. Jacketed bullets have gone sky-high in price. I used to purchase them for under $0.05/each and they now cost almost $0.16 apiece. No more military surplus available, either – ‘least not that I or Dogsoldier (another reloading Guru) can find out there.

Cruise the gun shows and the auction sites for a good used loading press. Perhaps local newspapers and garage sales, as well. Don't let anyone bullshit you into thinking you NEED a brand-new, loaded to the gills progressive press like a Dillon or an RCBS Pro 2000. You do not. A single-stage press is all you really need for loading a couple of boxes a week. Used dies are often available also. Unless they're grossly abused, dies last forever, and if they are grossly abused, you'll see that in their external condition most of the time. Look inside for scratches and even take a #2 lead pencil and poke around the interior of the dies. Bad scratches can be felt that way. If the stem (the screw-in part of the resizing die) is not bent, you should be good to go. If it is and the rest of the die is in good shape, you can replace it for $4.00 to $10.00. That may or may not be worthwhile to you.

Mr. Baldy has written extensively and authoritatively about the breakeven point, in order to help determine whether or not it's worthwhile to reload. I'm pretty sure he even attached a link to a calculator program to help determine relative savings of reloading.

As one of the members stated recently, "It's a hobby within a hobby". That's really true. Many of us feel that reloading is a relaxing and enjoyable activity. A good friend of mine, whose regular, full-time job involves working on equipment worth many millions of dollars, put it best when he spoke of "the mental and emotional relaxation of repetitive and mindless tasks". He tried my progressive press one time and said "Screw This". He has probably reloaded at least 10,000 rounds on a single-stage press.

The last thing I'll mention is this: If you want to save money by reloading, that's fine. If you think you'll spend less money by reloading, you're probably kidding yourself. What you will do is take all of the "savings" and sink it back into your tools and components. You'll shoot more for the same money. Happens every time!
 

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Old School.
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The frist press I ever bought was a Dillon SDB and with all the goodies it came out to about $500. I set down and figured how long it would take me to pay for all of it with my savings from loading my own. The answer was 31/2yrs. Not bad when you look at a life time piece of equipment. Then it hit like Mr Gunrnr said, more dies, tools, and manuals and yes a bigger press for I could do it all. Now I probably will not live long enough to pay for all my stuff and I am adding new stuff all the time. I don't care anymore as I enjoy reloading almost as much as shooting. If you need any help give us a holler. We will do all we can to help you to get going. Good luck. :thumbsup:
 

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Ruler of Ramnation
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I still use the Lee original loaders for my rifles. $15 max for each caliber set. Handgun is more volume oriented and I'm not yet into that. Most of my supplies have come from Midway USA, and take the advice of our handgun reloaders for the rest. Rifle loads can cost $30 for 20 rounds easily...still the more expensive compared to handgun even at today's prices. There will come a point in time when handgun reloading will equal out to the purchase of new factory ammo in components alone. Rifle will only get higher over time since it's always been more expensive. Well, at least that's my reasoning for not reloading for handgun calibers for now.
 

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Harley Dude
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If you are involved in any type of firearm competition reloading is almost a necessity. You can learn to load light target loads and insure that each and every cartridge is perfect. Your accuracy will increase and you will learn what loads work best for the guns that you use.

I started reloading back in the 1970's with a Pacific Single Stage Press and all the accessories. I don't think I paid much over $100 for the whole setup, dies and all. I added more dies over the years and a powder measure or two but what it saved me in ammo costs in 30+ years of reloading allowed me to buy a few new guns, I am sure.

I recently sold that press and accessories for about $150. A good press can last a lifetime, if you take care of it.

In 2001 I bought out all the reloading equipment from an estate sale. A three year old Dillon Press, scale, dies, etc and his old RCBS single stage press and accessories. I paid $300 for the whole shootin match and sold off all the RCBS press and equipment for about $200. So I picked up a good $1,000 worth of reloading gear for $100 net. I have added additional calibers to the mix of equipment but my investment has been reasonable.

My point, there are lots of deals available in reloading gear if you shop around. I have seen them up on the bulletin boards in various gun clubs that I have belonged to over the years in several states.

Its a wonderful hobby that will reward you with knowledge about the various calibers that you choose to shoot. The payback will be large if you stick with a inexpensive press and shoot competition.

But like buying a new Harley and pulling off the stock mufflers, boring out the engine, adding tons of accessories, new seats, fancy wheels, etc. You can take that hobby to a whole new level. You can do the same with reloading.

I have a friend that has 5-6 presses. He can load single stage, multi stage, shotgun and on and on. He has the equipment to melt down the lead alloy to make various types of bullets. His investment in reloading could buy you a new truck. But that is his hobby and he was seriously into it at one time. Not quite as much these days but when he wants to play its all there.

Good luck with your search for reloading equipment. RCBS has a starting kit that comes with everything you need for a reasonable price. You will just have to add dies for the calibers that you want to load.
 

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I'm among the lucky few. Every piece of equipment I own and every batch of components I have in stock are paid for by friends and strangers. Most of the loading I do for myself (most, not all) is likewise subsidized by my adoring fan base.

The very first setup I had was paid for within the first couple of months, because I knew a few police officers who knew a few police officers who wanted cheeep ammo to practice with. I loaded enough .38 Spl and .357 Mag. those first couple of months, back in 1976, to pay for my brand new RCBS Junior press and the set of dies that I still have today. Later, I did more and more and started acquiring different caliber dies, of course I first got all the popular ones, rifle and pistol, regardless whether I shot them or not, just so that I could get experience loading those calibers and also to create revenue to purchase other tools and components.

Now I have a fairly extensive library of dies, a decent selection of tools and some choice of brass, projectiles and powders. Being a Certified Firearms Aficionado (gun nut) I now buy dies for calibers I hope one day to shoot, thus giving me the excuse to purchase the actual gun at a later date.

Here’s some of the stuff I've accumulated over the years:





 

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A little more, but I don't want to be a bandwidth hog:




The cans range from the 1880s to the 1980s and will soon have a new home. My lovely and talented wife just refinished what was formerly a mantel over a fireplace we used to have and will be a trophy shelf over the window above the reloading tables. I plan to move the powder can collection there once it's instaled.

 

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Harley Dude
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Got a nice setup there Gunrnr. If we need any reloads we know who to call!

I remember seeing a post put up in Gun Broker some time ago where the guy had a whole garage set up with multiple presses. It was a reloaders wet dream come true. Looked like an advertisement for one of the big reloading houses but it was just a home hobby shop and was a first class setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm going to take it slow, and I've started by ordering this book: http://www.amazon.com/AbcS-Reloadin...bs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199412614&sr=8-2
For now, I figure I can read and learn, and begin collecting all my brass whenever I go to the range. That way, I should have a pretty good amount to get started with once I buy my tools and such.

Quick follow up for GR regarding that set up you linked at Midway: would characterize that as a "complete" set up? In other words, does it have pretty much everything you need to get started? Also, is it something that could serve with no problems for a long time, or is it likely I would start thinking about getting something more advanced within a year or so?
 

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Red State Rising
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Not to step on GR's toes, but from the research I've done that RCBS setup is fairly complete. It has everything you NEED to reload, for the most part. You may consider picking up a tumbler for cleaning brass, and depending on the caliber you're reloading, you may need to think about getting a case trimmer, as the OAL (Overall Length) of the case stretches when being fired. There are a few other tools that are considered necessary for reloading, the main one that comes to mind is a caliper. You may already have one if you have a decent tool collection. They really come in handy to check the overall length of brass, and finished reloads to make sure you're setting your dies correctly.

And now, I'm sure I've missed something, so I'll step aside for GR, the reloading guru.
 

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The RCBS kit I referenced does have everything you'll need to get started except the actual dies. As I mentioned, if you want to save a couple of bucks, you can use the Lee powder dippers ( http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=943305 ). They work fine and are accurate enough for most applications. But yes, I would strongly suggest the kit because you do save a few bucks and you'll have everything you need.

The book you ordered is fine. It has many tips that will help you get started. The one I and others have recommended is Richard Lee's "Modern Reloading" ( http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Reload...=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217880876&sr=1-4 ) Which has tips as well as extensive load data.

Now, you ask about needing more in the first year -- Probably. Phiya is correct about the case trimmers for rifle cases. But there's a cheaper solution for that, as well. Again, Lee comes to the rescue with a manual trimmer ( http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=515804 ) And, again, if you're only doing 100 or fewer cases at a time, it's a good way to get the job done without plopping down your entire life savings. BTW, the current model of the Lee manual trimmer is 100% better than the one I used. Much easier on the fingers! I made do with the manual trimmer for many years before getting the RCBS trimmer and later the power version.

Hope this helps.
 

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Red State Rising
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ah, how could I forget to mention you'd need dies. See, that is why GR is the guru. :D
 

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I saw this setup on another forum a while ago. Thought it was fairly compact and pretty well done:

 

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Red State Rising
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Those green trays on the right connected to the bench are patented by "slide out inc." My grandfather is the holder of the patent. That, his invention of a ladder rack on most industrial vans requiring a ladder, and air force retirement have given him an amazingly nice elderly life.
 

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Did he sell rights to Akro Mils/Meyers Industries? Wow...I'll bet he has a comfortable life. As well he should. The company I used to work for used those bins by the thousands. RCBS uses them in green, of course, and naturally Dillon's are blue, but the same brand.
 

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Red State Rising
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I know he sold rights to manufacture the design to a few companies, and slide out also manufactured their own. He travels all over now, and flys little planes for fun. He also teaches recreational piolots how to fly airforce formations as a hobby. Seems to have a pretty good life out in Tampa, Fl.
 
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