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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2011 at 18:05
tejas View Drop Down
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    First off, not only have I never reloaded a single round, I've never watched anyone else do it either. Unless You count watching videos online. I am tired of spending big money on ammo. My wife is even more tired of it.
    I would be reloading for the following calibers: 308 Win,  7mm-08,  .243,  270 WSM, 6.8 SPC and 45-70.  The kit I'm looking at is this one:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=622290

    I understand that most people recommend a single stage for beginners, but if I read the info right, this one can be used as a single stage. Or, should I just spend more money and get a Hornady or another brand? What other accessories will i need besides what comes in a kit? I know I need dies for each caliber. I am planning to just start with reloading 270 WSM since that is the most expensive ammo I buy. Should I consider starting with something else or is one caliber the same as another, difficulty wise?
    Thanks for you'r help. Oh, if anyone lives near me that is willing to show me in person i'd surely appreciate it. I live in central Texas.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2011 at 18:52
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tejas I hate to be the bearer of bad news but to start up reloading is a expensive proposition.Took me about 9 months to start recouping my money,but worth it if you can do it.The Lee you are looking at is fine,I use one myself as well as a Dillon 550B.Stay with the single stage till you get the basics.Try & find some one even if it's at a store to show you how to reload.Reloading is alot of fun,saves money,helps in your accuracy,BUT can be Dangerous.Not trying to scare you just trying to make you aware there are hazzorids involved!

Get yourself the following:
 
Reloading manuels...look for the ones 2or3 years old you can usually get them for half price or even buy used.
A caliber to measure length & diameter of the brass.
 
This + the kit are your basics,this is all you need to start.Make sure you have a well light area to work in & hopefully a strong bench.No distractions of any kind[children,pets,wives & phones]Good reloading & keep asking questions....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2011 at 19:31
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Agree with above.
 
A good work area and dedicated bench are almost a must.  It doesn't have to be huge or exotic.  I went with this - http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shooting/Reloading/Tools-Accessories%7C/pc/104792580/c/104761080/sc/104635080/2x4-Basics174-Bench-Kit/739882.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fshooting-reloading-tools-accessories%2F_%2FN-1100198%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104635080%3FWTz_l%3DSBC%253BMMcat104792580%253Bcat104761080&WTz_l=SBC%3BMMcat104792580%3Bcat104761080%3Bcat104635080 and it works just fine.  Go bigger and fancier if you have the time, room, and money.  Make your reloading area as man friendly and comfy as you are able.
 
To add to the above list, a note book to keep good notes of your loads, how they worked (shot) and to finally write down your "pet loads" once you find them.  As you get started, read some manuals and write down the steps in your note book.  When the time comes to acually get started - follow your notes and steps.... IN ORDER.
 
Cabelas ammo boxes or other plastic storage bins for keeping once fired brass in for each caliber, twice shot brass, etc. 
 
A small tool box to hold odds and ends to keep your bench clean.  Inside, a small cresent wrench, pliers, allen wrenches for locking your die lock rings.  I'm sure you'll add more as you find out what you need.
 
I want to say that after I spent around $300 for the RCBS kit, I ended up spending another $300 - $400 just to get everything else I really needed to do things right.  Some things are not necessary, but do make the job faster, easier and more enjoyable.
 
Start by picking up a couple reloading manuals.  I know that Hornady's 7th edition starts out with a couple chapters of reloading basics.  Get more than one manual!!!!!!!  This will give you peace of mind, cross referencing powders and powder charge weights.  Hodgdon online is a good resource as is there printed manual.
 
Know going in that you are most likely going to have to pony up the funds for several hundred dollars in just equipment.  Then, once you get going, several more hundred in components - powder, primers, bullets, and brass if you don't have a supply on hand.  Buying your powder, primer and bullets in the biggest lots you can afford will save you money.   I roughly figured that I'd have to reload around 6000 rounds mostly .223 and some 9mm to get to the break even point in my quest to save money reloading.  Of course that estimate is based on my equipment costs, and the cost of the components I bought at the time.  Those prices change with the market, so you can't really apply it to your situation in an apples to apples comparison.  It's not going to be an immediate return on your investment, unless you have alot of time to reload and shoot a hell of alot.
 
Over the span of several years and the fact that you can taylor your loads for your guns, you'll get to that break even point somewhere down the road.  Don't tell your wife, but getting into it and set up will take an investment to do it right.
 
For whatever reason, I decided that I wanted to go with RCBS.  I requested a catalog from RCBS online.  Once in hand, I was able to study that thing, and looking through it I was able to see all the "other little things" that most definitely makes the job easier, faster, and is some cases more accurate.  Alot if not all of the kits out there are just starter kits.  There is alot more that you can add...... or not.  It's really up to you and your budget.


Edited by FireEMT5 - April/02/2011 at 19:34
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2011 at 23:40
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Some other misc. tools and gadgets you may or may not find useful around your bench:
 
brass tumbler - media of your choice - walnut/corn cob, or (stainless steel media - tumbler more expensive)
media separator
Hornady lock-n-load bushing kit
extra loading trays - universal or CNC milled specific to your caliber
calculator
digital calipers
flash hole reamer tool
lyman case length gage
shell holders for your dies, collets
brass trimmer - hand crank or electric
Misc. hand tools - crescent wrench, pliers, assorted allen wrenches
Spare decapping pins for your decapping die(s) - to me a must have.
Bullet puller - for when you mess up and want to save components.
Stuck case remover - a must have!  Sooner or later you will inadvertantly stick a case in one of your dies.  Without this, your reloading session stops until the stuck case is removed.
Plenty of storage containers for storing all your brass, separated into batches of brand, times fired, weight, etc.  I personally use Cabela's dry storage ammo boxes.  Others use various brands of clear tupperware type containers.
 
Once you get set up and going, and if time permits, go through all the steps and prep batches of brass.  Label and store this prepped brass separately, so that when you need to reload some rounds quick, all you'll have to do is prime, charge and set a bullet.  As you will find out, the brass prep is the more time consuming component of reloading.  Once this is done, the actual reloading - priming, charging, and bullet seating is much quicker.  Once this is all done, I go an extra step and put a coat of sealant on the primer and around the bullet where it meets the brass.  This step is probably not needed, but it's just extra insurance in my mind and I love to putz at my reloading bench.
 
I loaded up over 1000 rounds of .223 and 1200 rounds of 9mm this past winter, plus prepped another 500 rounds of .223 brass and 1000 rounds of 9mm on a single stage press.  Yes it took time, but it's time I find enjoyable and I gain satisfaction from knowing just how good my rounds are for my guns.  I'll be ordering another 2000 rounds of .223 brass soon to keep me busy.Big Smile
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 00:00
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Tejas if I were you I would go with the http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=646599 kit the press itself is worth the extra money the scale infinetly better than the lee scale RCBS is worth the extra money compared to lee at least in my experience... If your looking to cut costs just go with basics to start (ex instead of electric hand trimmer deburrer etc go with the hand tools a bit more work but just as accurate and cost much less) Build your own bench to have your own desired setup (makes working much easier).. Avoid things uneccesary for what your trying to accomplish also unless your trying to be pinpoint accurate at increasingly long ranges stuff like flash hole reamers primer pocket cleaners will tend to be busy work until they have been fired numerous times.. Think about what your trying to accomplish not only with your costs but with your shooting before you buy all your tools.. If you get the RCBS kit it comes with most everything you need even a Speer reloading manual... You will still need a couple things but this kit will get you closer with a higher quality initial setup... Good luck and welcome to the fun that is reloading Thunbs Up
Patrick
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 00:39
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+1 on the Rock Chucker!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 00:40
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Go green and dont look back HAHABig Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 00:48
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Oh and also I would start with 308 since you can get extremely cheap once fired brass you wont feel so bad about messing a few up if it happens... But if you do get once fired military brass get a deswagger to remove the militarys primer crimp! they make multiple styles but I find the best working one is the press style hand ones are hard to get it fully removed and the RCBS Trim mate setup for deswagging seems to be teadious at best
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 08:37
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    Thanks for all your replies. I guess I should've posted what I was trying to accomplish. 75% of the ammo I shoot is at the range, I want it to be as accurate as premium factory ammo. For this, I don't care about bullet terminal performance, velocity and so forth. The other 25% of the ammo I shoot is for hog and/or coyote hunting. My preferred hog hunting ammo is the new Barnes Vor-tx 168gr ttsx.  I have been able to find good, cheap .308 to punch holes in a piece of paper and have saved my brass for several years. I have several hundred .308 shell cases.  I really don't mind having to purchase the .308 ammo because other than my hog hunting ammo it CAN be found cheap.  All the other calibers I listed in the post above is a whole different story. The last ammo order I placed was two boxes of 270 WSM, two boxes of .204, one box of 7mm-08. Total cost was over 150.00.
    I realize that it costs money for the reloading equipment, but at least you have something for you're money, other than an emty ammo box and some brass cases. The initial investment doesnt bother me. The continuing rise in ammo cost does because it disappears in a cloud of smoke. (haha)
    Assuming I get the RCBS you folks recommend, what else do I HAVE to have ? Please include a set of dies as well.  Some I looked at, have one die, some two and some three. Have no idea which to choose. Also let me know what is needed, but not really essential. Thanks for all you're time. 
    
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Edited by 300S&W - April/03/2011 at 15:43
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2011 at 10:37
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The Lee press kit you are looking at is just fine. Lee makes good stuff!
I suggest you get Lee's collet die set for the caliber you want to start with.
 
You can find reloading formulas on Hodgdon's and other powder manufacturers' websites.
 
You will be VERY glad you didn't settle for a single stage press if you ever start loading handgun ammunition.
 
You do NOT need $600 worth of equipment to start reloading!  As a matter of fact, you could get started for as little as $23.00 (plus the cost of a cheap hammer-sized mallet) if you get a Lee Classic pound-a-peg reloader (available in .270 and .308).  This isn't a bad way to learn the drill, by the way!
 
That's how I started over 40 years ago.  I've gotten much more sophisticated equipment over the  years because I enjoy reloading and wanted it.  However, the little Lee loader kit still works fine!   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2011 at 14:15
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i have the rcbs master kit, works great, i like lee seat dies better than rcbs, but with the 45-70 rcbs you get a roll crimp.

and the frankford arsenal (silver) scale is great for the $$

and join handloads.com all available manuals are there for 29.95 more info than you can imagine
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2011 at 14:18
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calipers too, harbor freight has a good digital one for cheap, and the same as all the others, just different name.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2011 at 15:32
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A turret press is not going to be near as fast as a progressive.  You are not really going to gain that much speed over the single stage.  Especially if you get one with quick change dies. 

I started with a Hornady Progressive and have no regrets at all.  I use it way more than the single stage I bought later on.  I mostly use the single stage for load development and once I get my load figured out I load pretty much everything on the progressive.  It is just so much faster and easier.  Less time wasted making the ammo means more time shooting and more ammo to shoot.  Big Grin  I can pump out 300+ rounds in an hour with my progressive.  Spend a few Saturdays a year reloading and you can have all the ammo you need for a good long time. 

As far as saving money.  Not sure that will really happen  Wink  That is why I started into reloading as well.  But I bet have have spend $5000 on reloading tools and stuff since 01 when I started reloading.  But I can make some pretty nice ammo non the less.  The best part is when you need some (if you have a good supply of components stored up) no need to go buy it, just make it up yourself. 


Edited by supertool73 - April/04/2011 at 15:34
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2011 at 17:49
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    Thanx for all the information. I'm still kicking it around. I,m going to go to Cabella's this weekend and look at the stuff in person. Now that I have an idea of all the stuff I need, I'll be able to price it when I get there.
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Just keep in mind Cabelas is by far not the cheapest route to go to get your stuff.. You can probablly knock off an easy hundred from what you price out there just by taking the time to look around.. Although their media tumblers were reasonably priced if I remember right...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/05/2011 at 06:00
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  These guys pay shipping:
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2011 at 09:18
tejas View Drop Down
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    Ok, I pulled the trigger on some reloading equipment. (pulled the trigger, get it?) I bought an RCBS Rock Chucker supreme kit, digital calipers and a Lyman reloading manual. I also bought the stuff needed to reload 270 WSM. In hindsight, I should've started with a caliber for one of my bolt actions. These go in a Browning BAR. My reasoning was the high cost of factory 270 WSM ammo.  I purchased an RCBS Fl die set, IMR 4350, Hornady 130 gr interlock SSTs and CCI magnum rifle primers. 
    I loaded up my first 20 rounds yesterday from Federal brass I had saved from factory ammo. It was all within .002 of being the same length. I DID measure it all. I followed all the instructions that came with the kit and in the reloading manual including lubing the cases, full length sizing and so forth. I measured every powder charge and charged the cases as follows: 
53 grns, 5 rds
55 grns, 5 rds
57 grns, 5 rds
59 grns, 5 rds

    I seated the bullets to the cannelure, and tried one in the Browning. When the bolt slammed the cartridge in the chamber, it stuck. Tried a couple more bullets, they did the same. I determined that the neck size of the case is too large, at least I THINK that it is. I did some research on the internet and in my reloading books and decided I should try crimping the ammo. I followed the instructions, lowering the die an 1/8 of a turn at a time and finally got the ammo to feed and eject properly by hand. 
    I went to the range and tried it out although it was windy as heck here yesterday. The ammo shot surprisingly well. The rounds I loaded to 55 grains shot a 5 shot 1 1/2" group. Thats better than most factory ammo has done in this rifle.
    Heres my question(s): Should these bullets be getting stuck in the chamber without having to crimp them? Should I send my die set back and get small base dies? Should I order a separate crimping die? Should I just keep doing what I did with these? If I do that will I be able to try a bullet without a cannelure and try to get the bullet closer to the rifling by making it a bit longer ? ( not touching the rifling of course )
    I read the post below, about crimping but my problem is that the rifle won't work properly without crimping. Thanks for you're help.

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Hello there tejas,

First lesson learned here. First Make a dummy round. I always make a dummy round for my rifle. One for each bullet I use. 

I first start off with the brass. I will size it and make sure it chambers in my rifle without any trouble. Once that is done I set up for seating the bullet. I will seat the bullet to where I wish it to be and chamber it. If there is no problems, I then crimp that bullet and write all the info on the case that I need with a sharpie, i.e case length, overall cartridge length. This dummy round is later used to set up my dies again for that round if I ever need it. It also checks each step of the process for chambering so you will know which part of the process needs fine tunning to get it to fit.

If crimping alone is what is making it fit then I would wager that your brass is too long for the throat and the crimp is tapering that last little bit to make it fit. If this is the case you should be able to tell from chambering the sized brass only. Just do not let it slam home the round to check. If that is the case trim it a little and try that. Federal brass is a little soft so it might be stretching from the expander ball. Do yourself a favor buy some winchester or lapua brass it will pay off in the long run.


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the shoulder may be too wide, make sure that you are fully sizing the case. if you are seeing light between the die, and case seat, you'll have your bullets sticking. i had this problem in my ar, i shoot a lot of 223 , and was rushing the sizing process. make sure that the seat and die touch.
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    Thanx ya'll, I'll try trimming the brass and tightening up my sizing die a bit.
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You shouldn't have to crimp anything in order to make it not stick in the chamber.  It seems odd that crimping your rounds fixed the problem.  Trimming the brass and screwing the resizing die down a bit seems to be the right way to go.  I've got a piece of crap trimmer and if I don't chamfer he heck out of the outside neck after trimming I've have cases that have stuck in the chamber.  
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Edited by Bitterroot Bulls - April/11/2011 at 00:39
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2011 at 19:43
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Originally posted by ckk1106 ckk1106 wrote:

You shouldn't have to crimp anything in order to make it not stick in the chamber.  It seems odd that crimping your rounds fixed the problem.  Trimming the brass and screwing the resizing die down a bit seems to be the right way to go.  I've got a piece of crap trimmer and if I don't chamfer he heck out of the outside neck after trimming I've have cases that have stuck in the chamber.  


He screwed the die down to get the crimp.  This probably knocked the shoulder back a little further.  In fact, the neck probably didn't get crimped at all.  The case was just sized enough to chamber better, in all likelihood.

Did he screw the resizing die down to crimp or the seating die.  Should have been the seating die which wouldn't have knocked the shoulder back... I think.  Maybe I'm wrong.
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    Ok, trimmed down my brass to 2.080. Speer manual #14 said trim to 2.090 which is what my brass was at already, and what I used on the previous batch. The RCBS die instructions says to set your sizing die as follows: Screw your sizing die down until it touches shell holder, lower shell holder, go an 1/8 - 1/4 turn more. This time I went a hair over a 1/4 turn. I took some good advice and made a dummy round to start with and guess what? Worked perfectly. Fits right in the chamber with your fingers and with no slop. So, next I made five hot rounds exactly the same size as the dummy. Checked them in the rifle and they worked fine too. I remeasured the OAL of the cartridges to make sure that the bullets hadn't moved from being cycled in the action and they were fine, went to the range and shot a group that I didn't think my BAR was capable of shooting. Apparently, having the extra OAL that I wanted (to get bullet closer to the lands) helped. Also, not crimping them may have helped, no idea. Someone above questioned whether they were actually crimped or just made shorter with the die. I think they were actually crimped because I thought I had to seat the bullets to the cannelure, then when they kept getting stuck I backed the plug way up and the die down a little. It seemed to push the edge of the case into the cannelure. The instructions say to do this in one step (seat and crimp) but obviously at this point I couldn't. Anyway, I'm getting side tracked. The help I got from ya'll was great and I'm very happy with my first efforts at reloading. Now I just need some more dies, bullets, powder...


Edited by tejas - April/10/2011 at 20:05
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