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Author Topic: Oh, goodness; where to start?  (Read 4292 times)

chiwar7178

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Oh, goodness; where to start?
« on: October 26, 2009, 12:39:26 am »
THE NORSEMAN:
Quote
500-1000 rounds per month?  Time for a progressive unless you have a lot of free time on your hands.  This type of equipment will run somewhere between 400-700 dollars.
1000+ rounds per month?  Time for a serious progressive set up with a case feeder most likely.  Costs to set this up will run from 500 to well over 1000 dollars.

First a little information about what I shoot, and how much:
Rifle calibers: 5.56x45mm (semi only)--1000 rounds/month, 7.62x51mm (semi and bolt)--100-200/month, .50BMG (bolt only)--25-30/month
Pistol calibers: .38 Special--minimal, 9x19mm--500/month, .40 S&W--500/month, .45 ACP--500/month

Roughly, 2100 to 3000 rounds per month.  The .50BMG stuff won't be reloaded until I can find some boxer-primed rounds and/or brass (don't shoot enough of it--shot .50BMG before, and it HURTS after a few shots--paid for, but I still have to pick it up from my dealer next month), .38 Special doesn't get shot a whole lot, and I'm not sure if reloading 9mm plinking ammo would really be worth it.

* Rule #1: Never, ever, ever, ever exceed powder charge for any given round (also, different powders require different powder charges--even from batch to batch of the same brand powder) and start with lowest listed loading.
* Rule #1.5:  Never, ever, ever, ever trust ANYONE else's reloads--no way to verify if they followed #1.
* Rule #2: Don't do anything that would cause me to strangle my cat.
* Rule #3: Don't ever use reloaded ammunition for self-defense.

I know the basic components of reloading: brass, primers, powder, bullets, and primer sealer (optional).  Also, case preparation: tumblers w/ media (walnut shells, ground corncobs, and ceramics), case lube (wax is the way to go, apparently), neck sizing dies vs. full-case resizing dies (see next point), priming cup brushes, primer removal pins, priming tools, and bullet pullers (in case I :banghead).

I also know that, for rounds being fired in a semi-automatic, full-case resizing dies are pretty much required.

The meat of my questions:
-What is a progressive press?  I see them here and there online, but the picture looks the same as any other--I may not know what I'm looking for though.
-Case feeder?
-Anything above that is totally wrong?
-Any recommendations for me as far as where to get equipment?  Reloading area layout?  Any across-the-board trusted brands (i.e. "you can't go wrong with...")?  Any brands/products to avoid like the plague?
"Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium."
--Latin: "I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery."

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    ksuguy

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #1 on: October 26, 2009, 12:54:29 am »
    A Dillon 550 or 650 would be your best bet.   For the .50 BMG, you'll probably want to buy a separate single stage press.  It's so big that you won't be able to load it on a progressive.

    A good place to buy from is BrianEnos.com.   His website offers package deals that make ordering all the stuff easy.   
    Kansas

    M1911a1lvr

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #2 on: October 26, 2009, 12:02:25 pm »
    Well you could keep your costs down. By starting with a Lee Classic turret press, has 4 stations and is auto indexing. Costs about 120 bucks. Lee Precision has good equipment, plus you can order there starter kits and have it all delivered to you home. All you need is a bench to work off of. Plus find someone who does reload already and have them show you how.
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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #3 on: October 26, 2009, 05:58:32 pm »
    You shoot so many calibers that it will be hard to have just one or two reloading setups.
    It might take as much time to change one press over from one caliber to another as for the actual reloading.
    Unless you do marathon reloading sessions for one caliber, and then change the press and stuff over for another, it's a real pain.
    If you decide to change the recipe, the huge pile of reloads are now kind of expensive dust collectors.
    You might want to consider separate, inexpensive, but effective, presses, like a turret, for each of the handguns.
    Then each can be quickly used as needed.
    Then maybe something sturdy for the rifles, like the Dillon or Hornady LNL progressives for the high volume one and maybe a separate single stage for the low volume bolt action round.
    But, unless you are looking forward to reloading, as an enjoyable hobby in its own right, you can see where this is going.
    Lots of money for equipment and lots of time to reload for all these calibers.
    Just a thought - or two.

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    only1asterisk

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #4 on: October 26, 2009, 11:24:32 pm »
    If I were to shoot $500+ in ammo a month, I'd have a couple of presses for sure.

    I'd want a single stage press for load development and precision rifle use.   Most full size Iron O frame presses will serve, but you'll want that is .50 capable.  I'd have two or even three.

    For the progressive, I'd go with Dillon 650 and skip the case feeder. 

    You'll need a .50 capable trimmer and a scale that will weigh 1000 grains. 

    Quality calipers and micrometer.

    For a tumbler, you might check out a cheap concrete mixer. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91907

    Whether loading practice 9mm is worth it is largely a measure of what your time is worth.  Consider this: My practice 9mm cost about what WWB does if I pay myself $50/hr.  The ammo I load is vastly superior to WWB being the full equal to Federal's old match load.







     

    « Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 02:32:56 pm by only1asterisk »

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #5 on: October 26, 2009, 11:50:31 pm »
    That 50 BMG?  RCBS Rockchucker Supreme.  It's a single stage, but it also has 2 things you need for 50 BMG reloading:

    1. The strength to re-size that big case.

    2.  The ability to accept the special 50 BMG dies.

    A progressive press basically does everything for you except place the slug in the case mouth automatically.  There are even companies out there that build adapters to do that.  But you're talking serious money here.

    A case feeder?  Just what it says.  It automatically feeds cases to the progressive press, saving time and fingerprints on brass.  Usually a couple hundred bucks.

    Where you're just starting out, I'd get the rockchucker supreme kit from somewhere local or midway along with at least 2 other reloading manuals and make sure reloading is something you want to get into heavily before laying out big bucks.
    « Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:52:24 am by THE NORSEMAN »
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 12:39:56 am »
    If you are shooting that much then I would get a Dillon 650 progressive with the case trimmer.  It can be setup to load all of the calibers you mentioned except the 50 and that can be covered by the Rockchucker that Norseman mentioned.

    Start out by loading the 38 special.  It is the easiest to learn.  Loading for autos is a little more complicated, loading for rifles is even more so.

    The big Dillon tumbler should cover the amount of brass that you go through.

    My process for handgun ammo:
    Tumble and run through the Dillon to load.

    For rifle:
    Wash in homemade liquid cleaner to get most of the heavy junk off, dry, then tumble.
    Lube, size, and deprime in Rockchucker.
    Wash again to remove the lube then dry.  Sometimes I tumble again.
    Trim cases using Lee trimmer.
    Check cases with Dillon case gauge.
    Run through the Dillon to load.

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    chiwar7178

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 03:51:56 am »
    I'm not sure if I'll be reloading for high-volume stuff, just so long as I can get factory ammo cheaply; however, I do want the ability to do so.  My .308 Win.: I really need to roll my own for that one if I'm to squeeze out every ounce of accuracy I can.

    I looked at brianenos.com and I'm thinking that I'll either get one of the starter kits there, or just buy a Lee anniversary loading kit off of Cabela's.  I won't be firing a whole lot of the .50BMG, so I think I can get away with a single-stage press since I won't need to use full-sized case dies on it (assuming of course I can find some rounds that are boxer-primed--currently, I'm stuck with using berdan-primed mil-surplus stuff).

    I currently have 2k rounds of M118 168gr FMJBT rounds from Igman that are boxer-primed in military brass, when I get down to about 500 rounds of that, I'll clean up my brass and reload them in small batches and fiddle around with primers, charge weights, seating depths, different bullets, different powders, etc. in order to improve from ~1MOA down to a hopeful .5MOA.  Possible, yes; realistic: it has yet to be seen.  Only one way to find out though.

    5.56x45mm is a totally different matter altogether--I've used about 2500 rounds of PMC Bronze 55gr FMJ rounds and I have maybe 50 cases that aren't bent to hell and back (both the Mini-14 AND RRA AR-15 tear up the brass, a crease in the brass that puts the neck at about a 10-degree angle to the case walls :o ).  I'm looking at buying a few thousand more rounds of Lake City M855 SS109 62gr FMJBT so I can have some brass to reload with.  :giggidy

    As far as wanting to reload, I'm kindof iffy on it; however, with the way things are going now, I may have to reload to continue to shoot as much as I want to.  Also, there's the ability to squeeze out more accuracy with rounds I've rolled myself.  Money-saving is a distant second place as far as reloading goes--kindof like a lawful-good side-effect. :devillol

    I know that, generally, I enjoy performing repetitive tasks that require attention to detail.  Those type things engage my mind and keep me from doing what I normally do when I have free time: think about things that aggravate me.

    Nathan - Who will go to college not necessarily to get an education, but to give him something to do while he decompresses from a year out in the desert.  That is, of course, because I can't live a Charlie (Sheen) Harper lifestyle...  :'(
    "Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium."
    --Latin: "I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery."

    THE NORSEMAN

    • To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. - Richard Henry Lee
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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 09:21:33 am »
    Quote
    As far as wanting to reload, I'm kind of iffy on it; however, with the way things are going now, I may have to reload to continue to shoot as much as I want to.  Also, there's the ability to squeeze out more accuracy with rounds I've rolled myself.  Money-saving is a distant second place as far as reloading goes--kind of like a lawful-good side-effect.

    1.  Reloading is for those winter days when you can't do much else.  You spend a season developing loads that work well in your guns, and then, when the snow flies, you spend a grand total of 5-6 eight hour days assembling 5-600 rounds per hour on your progressive.  Here are the results:  6 days X 8 hours X 600 r.p.h.= 28,800 rounds loaded. Adapt as needed to your schedule and ammo needs of course.  The key here is keeping enough components on hand that you reload when you WANT TO, not because you have to.

    2.  You've noted the possible match accuracy component of the equation.

    3.  Saving money?  No sir, you won't.  You'll buy more manuals, reloading tools or reloading components.  Happens to everybody.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Deer Hunter

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #9 on: November 01, 2009, 10:37:47 am »
    I manage to save money.  A box of my loaded 9mm rounds cost me around 4-5 dollars.  Wolf at the local shops are going for over twice that.

    g.willikers

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #10 on: November 01, 2009, 03:55:07 pm »
    As for the question as to whether reloading can save money, ask someone who shoots .44 Mag, .45 Colt or one of the many other calibers that can cause sticker shock.
    Trust No One

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #11 on: November 01, 2009, 04:06:14 pm »
    G.wilikers-  Add almost any center fire rifle caliber to that list as well.

    You do save money as far as cost per round, and in some cases, savings can be at or above the 80% mark vs. commercially produced ammunition, especially if the brass has been reloaded more than once, you cast your own bullets, and consider the time spent loading ammo as recreational time rather than work.

    But you generally don't save raw dollars.  If you are used to spending say 100 bucks a week on ammo, you'll most likely still spend that same 100 bucks a week on components.  After loading them into assembled rounds, you'll have somewhere between 2 and 4 times as many rounds for your hundred dollars, but it's still 100 dollars spent.
    « Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 05:08:47 pm by THE NORSEMAN »
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Blackeagle603

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    Re: Oh, goodness; where to start?
    « Reply #12 on: November 02, 2009, 12:34:44 am »
    Look carefully at the total cost of a loading setup with accounting for all the caliber  change overs you have in mind.  

    From '76 to 2007 my RCBS JR and batch processing kept me going fine. I got the JR and a set of 30-06 dies in a trade for a $7 Carcano and $10 to boot I threw in.   I always thought when I got a progressive it would be a Dillon 650.

    I wound up with a Hornady LNL-AP. It's been really sweet deal. I'm sure the Dillon would have too, but, in purely economic terms the Hornady was the better deal.  The savings in LNL-AP caliber change overs adds up. Add to that the Hornady free bullet deal when you buy a new press and the total cost comparison wasn't even close.

    Still if I had a 650 I wouldn't kick it out of bed. :-)

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