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I was wondering what is the minimum amount of equipment I will need to start reloading? I am thinking that I would be apt for it as I hear it is tedious and has repetitive motion. I have always found some sort of zen in things like that. I am not particularly concerned with saving money right away. If I come out ahead eventually, that is great. I am just new to this concept and I want to make sure that I can produce quality ammo for myself without any kind of catastrophic failure. I like my fingers too much for that.
 

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Haha, wow. Ok, so getting a little more elaborate, what do I need?
 

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Old School.
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Frist get a manual or two. Lyman,Speers, or Modern Reloading by Richard Lee. They are a few of the ones out there, and the front part of the books have a lot of good info on getting started. Get back with us on about how much you want to spend to get up and going. Figure about $100 for your primers,powder, and bullets the frist time around. We will be standing by. Good luck.:thumbsup:
 

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Dong Tam, RSVN '69/'70
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If you order Modern Reloading by Richard Lee from the Lee website they will send you a single stage press for free.

After my last order from Lee I got a letter telling me they had some factory second stuff available. All the stuff was mechanically perfect and guaranteed but there were cosmetic mistakes (scratches, bare spots, and runs in the paint). Long story short, I got a 4 position turret press (with one turret and both primer sets) for $68 and I bought 4 extra turrets for $7 each.

Don
 
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first determine your needs.....2-500 rds @ scession or 1-2k.

then look at your wallet.

compromise:)

i started reloading earlier this year and after crunching the numbers bought a lee classic turret press, dies for the calibers i shoot, extra turrets, scale, lee pro powder measure kit,
calipers, case gages and trimmers that i needed for the calibers i'll reload.
the micro charge bar complements the measure kit and you can purchase the hopper lifts directly from lee precision for $4.00 in case you want to reload rifle cases or spend twelve more dollars and purchase the double stack kit which will also give you four more chargeing dsics. you'll need the extender lift tube for the powder measure and the large and small primer kit is worth the extra. oh! you'll need a reloaders manual. 2nd edtion lee sells for $13+ good book for the beginner.

check out the videos on the lee precision web page to get an idea of what you need and how the equipment works.

clean and oil the press when you get it. i use synthetic auto oil 10w30.
take your time with the set up and you'll enjoy your equipment and the money saved can go for bullets,powder,primers,cases, .....and beer:)

sewerman
 

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The picture above is good for reloading a single caliber. I have always used a RCBS single stage press. Im working on helping a friend get set up to reload. I have given him a press (est. $120) a scale, lube pad, and lube. All he needs to buy is the dies, and powder dispenser. He knows he can use my books and anything else he might need.
 
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Ok now I am interested as well. How many rounds can you typically assemble in an hour with entry level equpiment or the equipment pictured above? I would only be reloading 40 for the most part and maybe 9mm.
 
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I purchased the Lee 50th anniversary kit for about $104 and a set of carbide dies for ~$37. Add bullets, powder and primers and you are ready to go for less than $200. O- I forgot, get a loading manual. That is all you will need.
 

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Will a cheap reloading kit ~ $200 still give good results out in the range? Will it at least be better than boxed stuff?
 

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Greetings...

Ok now I am interested as well. How many rounds can you typically assemble in an hour with entry level equpiment or the equipment pictured above? I would only be reloading 40 for the most part and maybe 9mm.

The better question is How many a DAY -

Reloading is a very time consuming activity. Unless you have access to a factory floor's worth of well trained and disciplined child labor.:aureola:

The real enemy to the reloader is Hurrying. Hurrying will get you injured, maimed or worse. The ONE thing that you must always keep in mind at every step is that you are privately manufacturing potential time bombs, and no one is looking over your shoulder...

To address the concerns of the OP:

Expense of Basic kit:

3 or 4 (more is better) reloading books which you MUST read and become familiar with. These books are NOT cheap, nor should they be. Costing on average $50 or more each. They are essential. So budget at least $150 just for books, and days to read them.

As for the actual hardware - remember the golden rule - you get what you pay for. Just like in auto mechanics - using cheap or defective tools can lead to your destruction.
I say this for your own safety - Sure, buying that yard sale RCBS or Lee single stage press, there may be NOTHING wrong with it - but since you are just starting out - You don't possess the experience to recognize the potential problems that you may encounter, so buy new simply for your own safety. Once you've made many thousands of roll-your-own rounds - THEN you can start safely collecting yard-sale bargains - remember - hurrying can get you killed...

All the major manufacturers make "Startup" kits - containing all the essential basic tools and hardware that you need in one-box...
Basic hardware - around $250 - $300...

Soon enough you won't be satisfied with BASIC hardware, and you'll want that fancy digital scale and electric powder measure - And those aren't cheap either!!

Powder, bullets, cases, primers - depends on what you are loading. Same with Dies and other tools.

You'll quickly discover that reloading is NOT really an economic savings mechanism. About the best that you can expect - is that you can make the very best that you can buy, for about the same price as the cheapest you can buy. If you are getting into reloading because you think it's going to save you money - You are in for the wrong reason. There's really only ONE reason for reloading - Accuracy, actually, the proper term is Precision. Factory loads are quite accurate, but well made hand loads are precise. The ultimate goal is making the very best food that your gun can eat...

The best way to learn reloading without the up-front expense - is simply: Hang out at your local Mom and Pop gun store and get to know the people who reload. Volunteer to be their labor in exchange for the training. Apprentice yourself to at least 3 or 4 of these people because you'll discover that they ALL have bad habits and bad information to teach you. Don't make fun of them for that - They all have their own destiny. Some of them may even teach you something useful, and may even donate some of their older tools to your effort.

---------

Q: How long does it take to load 1000 rounds of 9mm?
A: About a week...
And That's spending 8-12 hours a day.

The process once you have all the parts:

Day 1:
Inspect, Clean and reinspect cases - You are physically handling each and every one of 1500 cases just to reload 1000. Because at every step - typical loss rate is about 10%. At this stage, you're probably going to find about 150 cases that you'll destroy because they are non-serviceable.

Day 2:
Decapping - removing the old fired primers. Time spent includes setting up your press, and running every case though - by hand. Then cleaning up all those primers, ash, dirt, showering etc. A VERY dirty job...

Day 3:
Inspecting, lubing, resizing, cleaning, measuring, trimming - Again, you'll lose another 10% of your starting cases just from the mistakes you'll make setting up the resizing die, and the trimmer. A good press and dies combines day2 and 3...

Day 4:
Weighing, polishing, sorting, selecting and priming - Sorting out over and under weight cases - Consistency is what you are looking for here. Again, you'll lose about 10%. Putting the new primers into what's left of your starting cases.

Day 5, 6 and 7:
By Now it's probably Friday if You started on Monday, you now probably have less than 1000 perfect cases left - and now you finally actually get to start setting up your powder measure, taking samples and weights. Does your powder measure give you a consistent powder throw? You'll spend hours making sure that it does.

Because even ONE mistake of measuring here can KILL you, or worse - someone else.

You get to hand measure every grain of powder, then double check it, then triple check it - then you get to clean up the entire table when you drop a case and spill it all over your equipment - and you will!!

Setting up your press to swage in your bullets. Measuring each and every one for overall length, average weight, etc.

Then reinspecting every single assembled cartridge yet again.

Boxing them up, labeling them, keeping your records straight etc.

And that's AFTER you've spent a month testing and tweeking your recipes to find the perfect recipe and components for that ONE single gun because it's even easier to make BAD ammo than it is to make tolerable ammo. Making great ammo takes attention to detail and a very critical level of judgement.

Did I mention that reloading is a very time consuming and expensive process? :yikes1:

But the rewards are definately worth the investment - when you can go to the range, and can consistently astound the pretenders with your own creations.

There is however, one downside;
As you become more and more educated and experienced - you will start to notice more and more, just how ignorant and misinformed others around you seem to have become, and that can be a hard to accept shock to many people. Do not worry - this is you becoming responcible for your own circumstances. It is said that ignorance is bliss - you will no longer be ignorant, and the obvious consequence will ensue. Prepare for this disturbing reality.

Reloading is a life lesson - Once you possess the ability and the liberty of reloading your own ammunition - You discover that the lessons learned can help you in other ways too. Such as Reloading your life - being prepared to overcome. Like everything else in this universe - Some people "Get" it, and some don't. Knowing your weapon and your ammo to the limit of the uncertainty principle - Gives you a confidence in your equipment that you cannot buy in a store...

Unfortunately these days - I cannot recommend getting into reloading at all - Simply because of the near impossibility of finding components.
Primers are nearly impossible to find - and where there were once hundreds of cans of powder on my local shelves - last week there was exactly 2 cans of powder to be found in the entire town! Neither that I use.
 

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If you order Modern Reloading by Richard Lee from the Lee website they will send you a single stage press for free.

After my last order from Lee I got a letter telling me they had some factory second stuff available. All the stuff was mechanically perfect and guaranteed but there were cosmetic mistakes (scratches, bare spots, and runs in the paint). Long story short, I got a 4 position turret press (with one turret and both primer sets) for $68 and I bought 4 extra turrets for $7 each.

Don


Hi BangBang,

Here is the link to what you are referring to. I have a question about this.

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1245089703.4994=/html/catalog/rlpress2.html

Scroll Down on thsi site.

For 40 bucks that I will be spending on the book + press, is it worth it?

Or should I get the book seperately for 13 bucks and a better press, perhaps a turret press?

I'm a beginner, and I dont care if it takes me one hour to make one round. I just want consistent and cheap ammo.

Thanks!
 

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Old School.
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If it was as bad as Kandaja says, nobody would reload. It is nothing like that. He has taken everything to the extreme. I started out on a Dillon SDB and loaded quality ammo right away. I loaded .45acp's mid range and they worked perfect in my 1911.

If you can change the oil in your car, you can learn to reload. It's not rocket sicence.
 

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Gotcha, I should be able to reload. I've picked up a wrench once or twice :) When I built the smallblock.

Now I am debating whether to get the Lee 4 hole turret press or just the single stage press. The 4 hole turret press is 160 bucks for the kit, cant go wrong with that.

What is really confusing is the die sets, they dont have one comprehensive die set. The website sorta has scattered die sets and I dont know if one die from one set will overlap with another die from another set.

I guess I need to buy the books first.

For instance, the website shows the Lee crimp die.

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1245102793.85=/html/catalog/dies-crimp.html

Should I buy this seperately or does it come with the deluxe kit shown here?

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1245102793.85=/html/catalog/dies-dlxrifle.html
 

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Old School.
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Please do yourself a favor and buy the 4-hole turret and don't look back. Buy dies in the sets of three or four and seat in one hole and crimp in another. If you are going to get a Lee outfit besure and get the adjustable powder bar. Start out with .38spls or .45acps till you get the feel for it. Go slow and pay attention and you will do just fine.

If you rebuilt a small block you will do just fine with the mechanics of reloading. Yes you will spill powder, drop primers all over, and chrush a case now and then. It's all part of learning about a great hobby within a sport. If you stay with it you will pay for your equipment in due time. Good luck.:thumbsup:
 
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Starting out

I have a Lee single stage press and have done thousands of rounds on it. I may go to a Dillon Progressive press, but turret presses are ridiculous. With a turret press, you manually rotate the turret to change the die being used. When doing 200 rounds in a day, your hand is worn out or torn up, and you end up leaving the turret in one position and, say, resizing and depriming all the cases for the day, then rotating the turret and expanding all the case mouths, and so on. Go one extreme or the other. Single stage or progressive. Don't get too wrapped up in the polishing and cleaning the cases, this stuff is really only cosmetic. You can have dirty cases wear out dies over time, but you don't need a tumbler and media to clean them. I use the Iosso liquid case cleaner and it works fine. As far as die sets, a three die Lee carbide set works well for pistol cartridges. The Lee starter kits are good, but the Lee powder measure with it's plastic dispensing drum is terrible, especially in dry areas where static electricity is already a problem Go with a Hornady Lock-n-Load or RCBS Uniflow powder measure. You don't need to weigh every charge, as the extreme member stated earlier. I weigh every tenth charge. As for how long it takes to do a certain number of rounds, that depends on you. I clean my cases the day I shoot them, because cleaning takes no active participation except rinsing with my liquid cleaner. On the days I actually load, I set a certain number of rounds I want to do, say 500. I might resize and deprime all of them at one sitting, then reprime them all with my Lee hand primer. If I still have time before dinner, I might go ahead and charge, seat, and crimp a few of them. Then I do the remainders the next day.
 

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Do you clean your brass before or after you de-prime the spent round?

Because, if you de-prime first, you would have put a dirty/gritty round in the sizing die.

If you clean first, and then de-prime, you would have an area in the primer pocket that is still dirty.

Thanks!
 

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You Can get too anal on this cleaning thing you know. Clean the cases when they are dirty. Normally I tumble before I do anything but sometimes after I de-prime. Then I have to insure that the flash hole is clear on each case. You don't want to get too active on the primer pocket because it doesn't take much to get them oversized. Then the primer won't seat right and you could get some gas back through there, which is not good.

Alan
 
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