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Posted: 6/1/2001 12:16:00 AM EDT
I've been thinking about getting into reloading for a while now. I don't personally know anybody who does it so if I started I would be fumbling into it blindly. Is it a good way to save cash if you enjoy shooting? What's the best way to get started?
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:25:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:34:00 AM EDT
Read every thing you can get your hands on about it. Talk to as many "experinced" reloaders as possible. Get a subscription to Handloader, at first alot of it may be over your head but you'll catch on.[uzi]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:38:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/1/2001 12:36:08 AM EDT by misterhemi]
If you plan to reload many calibers in the future I would HIGHLY recommend a progressive press, like the DILLON RL-550 [others may say Lee or RCBS]. A progressive press will save some time on changing calibers as well as reduce the amount of time reloading of done right. If you ONLY intend to load one caliber MAYBE a single stage press would be alright but I think this is only good for low quantities of ammo. For anything else ->DO<- get the progressive, the difference is night and day. You won't believe the difference, really!! Regarding the savings, consider the cost of new brass. This is what you're paying for when buying ammo unless you use brands like Wolf or some surplus. I personally prefer reloading as I make much better ammo than I can buy. Its much more accurate and cost less! I try to encourage people to reload in the event that ammo is restricted or regulated. If you have a good stock pile of components it will have less of an effect on you and if ABSOLUTELY necessary you have ammo if needed should *[u]S[/u]__t [u]H[/u]it [u]T[/u]he [u]F[/u]an* (SHTF).
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 12:59:54 AM EDT
I've done some reloading. Basic rock crusher type set-up. I always end up spending most of my money on new guns, and then have nothing left for ammo. (commercial or hand-loaded) Buy a good reloading manual and read it thoroughly. Speer or Sierra possibly. After you have a basic understanding start asking questions on the reloading forum. And yes, consider a progressive press. With my basic system it takes an hour or longer to do 50 handgun rounds.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 1:48:19 AM EDT
I would buy a Dillon 550.Just run one round at a time till you understand how everthing works.Get a manual,a new one.Scale is a absolute must.It turns out for some to be a nice hobby as its self.I know one guy who only shoots so he can reload!
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:36:54 AM EDT
Reloading is a great hobby and a must if you burn up a lot of ammo or even if you only want to reload for accuracy. Go to the Reloading Forumn for more complete information. I started with Lee but found it a total waste of my money and moved on to Dillon (550) within two years. Single stage is good for low volume rifle reloading but progressive is the way to go for pistol. The truth is that you can save as lot of money reloading but the extra savings will go into more ammo so I cannot say that my shooting costs are lower. Reloading takes a lot of time and especially patience so if you are strapped for time do not bother. Getting in a hurry and working without total concentration will produce bad results. Evaluate what ammo you want to reload vs the cost. Reloading .223, 7.62x39 and possibly even 308 does not pay out. I reload 38 special, 44 special and mountains of 40 and there is big money to save. I reload 38 special for around $3/box and 40's for around $4/box depending upon what components I'm using. Think long and if you decide to reload buy top equipment. Dillon may cost more but you will have it and total customer support for your lifetime.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:42:55 AM EDT
Yes as said earlier it is a hobby unto itself. If I were to add up all the equipment cost and time spent doing it I figure I would be way ahead to get a job at McDonalds asking if you want fries with that and buy match ammo. But reloading is much more rewarding and gives you a good reason to shoot more (experiments).
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:47:13 AM EDT
I'm with Getsome. I only reload .300 win mag as for me, it makes $$$ sense. I use a single stage and it does take a while, but you just don't go through .300 that fast. Unless you are a reloading fanatic, an expeirmenter, or a match shooter, reloading calibers available in bulk or surplus makes very little economic sense. Reloading will greatly increase your understanding of ballistics and thus the mechanics of firearms.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:48:57 AM EDT
Yes, I do reload. Like Getsome, I believe that reloading does nt save you money...however, it does allow you to shoot from twice to three times as much on the same amout of money. You also understand your rifle/pistol more. I believe that loading for .223 Rem and .308 IS profitable. Sorry, I don't waste my barrel with Wolf anyway, so it doesn't come into the picture. The only thing I can compare my reloaded .223 or .308 ammo to is Fed Gold Match. However, it costs me about $4 per 20 for match grade .223, and about $7 per 20 of match grade .308. That's a huge savings compared to buying Fed Gold Match off the shelf.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:07:31 AM EDT
Ditto what frontsight said. I'm currently in the process of loading 1000 rounds of .223 for a prairie dog trip. 8 lbs powder: $108 1000 rnds brass: (I'm not sure...around $50?) 1000 primers:$12 1000 bullets (Sierra 69 gr. HPBT Match): $116 Total: $286 for 1000 rounds with lots of powder left over. Compare that to match grade hunting ammo at upwards of $20 per box of 20 and it's a huge savings. And I'm reloading 1000 rounds on a single stage press and I'm not bitching. It's fun.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:11:54 AM EDT
Hey Frontsight, you should also tell him how many rounds you reload a year to get that return on your investment with .223 or .308. Many people do make it feasable, but they shoot FAR more than I (and most) do in a year. I also don't understand how you guys trim so many cases. I understand that pistol shooters generally toss cases that have stretched beyond spec, but I trim often. There is no way I could justify a progressive for the amount of shooting I do.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:41:48 AM EDT
I've been reloading since about 1987, and I use a Lee Challenger single-stage press almost exclusively. I started reloading (.357) because of the cost of ammo, but now I do it because I can build more accurate ammo than I can buy (and for a lot less money). I did buy a Dillon Square-Deal B progressive press for pistol calibers when I bought a .40, and I bought a conversion kit for .45, but I find that I really can buy it for not much more than I can build it in those calibers unless I want to use premium bullets, and I don't use either for long-range shooting. I still build my .357's on the Lee (T/C Contender, 180gr FMJ for silhouette). Now I'm looking at selling the Square-Deal and buying a Dillon AT-500, which is a turret press, based on the 550, but doesn't have all the bells and whistles. For a novice reloader, I really recommend the Lee Anniversary kit. It comes with everything you need to get started except for a reloading manual, dies, and components and you cannot beat the price. Progressives are nice, but MUCH more money. [sniper]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:43:12 AM EDT
Reloading is great. Buy once fired prepared cases. Thrimmed, full length sized, deprimed, ect.. You will spend so much time depriming, trimming, and sizing that it is worth the extra $10 or $15.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:50:55 AM EDT
First determine what rounds you plan to reload. The more common rounds are better since there is ample used brass (practice loads). I find purchasing surplus is usually cheaper and saves time for .308, .223, 7.62x54, 7.62x39, but is practical for odd rounds like 6.5x55... Likewise, I reload 9mm, 45, and 38/357, and then purchase .380 and other rounds where brass is not ample. Low end reloader, start with the 550B which supports both rifle and pistol rounds.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:59:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:06:26 AM EDT
I do, just started. Got the RCBS Partner Press kit. $134 for everything but components! Sweet deal and RCBS is THE company for durability so I hear. BTW anyone with a extra set of dies in .270 or .308??? I have a 2-die set of older RCBS dies in .222 I want to swap! shadow@vci.net
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:12:39 AM EDT
No, I coach my kids LL teams, and I work. The rest of the time I shoot! I am trying to interest my older son in reloading for good old dad, though! [8P]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:34:16 AM EDT
I jumped into reloading about 6 months ago.. I found a near new Dillon 650 for $315. I'm reloading 9mm right now, setup almost ready for .223, and will eventually reload 45acp.. Thanks to my new Kimber Custom... It helps to know someone who has been reloading for a while to help you out.. Also get good manual.. Chris
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 8:53:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/1/2001 8:59:43 AM EDT by Frontsight-]
I do shoot quite a bit. Once I got a Dillon, shooting a small amount just wasn't an issue anymore. I plan to shoot about 3K through my AR this year, and roughly the same through the NM M1A once I get a load nailed down for my new NM AR. I'll probably shgoot 2-3K through the FAL, but I WILL use surplus for that, as surplus ammo is cheaper than my reloading for .308, and the FAL jsut doesn't respond to ammo tweaking like precision rifles do. I also shoot about 4K through my 1911 each year, and another 2-3K goes through my wife's 1911. I haven't started reloading for my .22-250 yet, as I just don't have the time to shoot it. The reason I choose not to shoot surplus through my AR is that it's my competition rifle, and HP rifles, with their fast twist rate, go through barrels very fast. I'd much rather make every shot count and not "plink" with my AR. If you do not care about the accuracy as much as the "bang," the reloading does NOT make sense...just buy surplus and enjoy, However, if the accuracy is important, then you just about have to reload in order to get a decent amout of practice in. I concurr with buying fully processed USGI brass...I'm getting very good uniformity out of it for .223 Rem. I also use surplus Mil powder...in this case, IMR 4895. So far my loads are shooting at 1.5" at 200 yds, but I'm not really done testing yet. I may find an even better load. Oh yeah, my cost breakdown? I get dealer price from Midway, so my 69 gr. HPBT comes out pretty good, however, if you're Joe Blow and you don't use 69 gr. HPBT, then you'll beat that price with your standard 55gr. HP without the dealer price. My powder, from hi-tech ammo is $68 per 8 lb. keg (including shipping) and is very accurate in my rifles so far. Brass is $42 per 1K fully processed, including shipping, from Scharch's, and I get primers for $15 per 1K at the local gun show.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 9:51:44 AM EDT
Yes, check out dillion precision
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 10:04:01 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 10:14:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/1/2001 10:21:48 AM EDT by warlord]
Originally Posted By misterhemi: I try to encourage people to reload in the event that ammo is restricted or regulated. If you have a good stock pile of components it will have less of an effect on you and if ABSOLUTELY necessary you have ammo if needed should *[u]S[/u]__t [u]H[/u]it [u]T[/u]he [u]F[/u]an* (SHTF).
View Quote
I agree. In L.A., the city council has passed a city law saying that no ammunition is sold a few days(7 days?) before Jan 1, and July 4. In a SHTF scenario they could ban the sale of ammo all together. If you need help, and you don't know anybody that can help you, I think Dillon has a reloading video available. You have to be real careful when handling and storing primers and powder, even they are not explosive, they are flammable and can burn quite fiercely when on fire. Also a lot of people clean/polish the empty cases with a vibratory tumbler to shine things up a bit, I would recommend that you do that process outside so you would not contaimenate the area with lead residue. Another advantage is that you don't have to load full power factory loads. You could load some lower power target/practice loads. This will keep you and your gun from getting beaten up, I do this for my 10mm Bren Ten, my ammo for it is pretty much equivalent to lower power factory 45ACP. Other than that have fun. This is just another aspect of shooting.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 2:47:23 PM EDT
If you're shooting volume a progressive press is nice to have. If you're shooting for bench rest/target accuracy a single stage provides more control over the load. Dillon 550 is the way to go on a progressive. RockChucker is the hot single stage press, with the RCBS RS5 being a great second choice. I load for accuracy. Takes me maybe five hours to load 50 rds. But on a good day they're grouping mid-3's MOA. Lots of $$$ for the initial investment. I wouldn't invest unless you ENJOY reloading. (It's a second hobby.) I think I probably spend money on reloading gear faster than I save it on reloaded ammo. Your local library has TONS of reloading books.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 3:02:19 PM EDT
You will not save any money by reloading because you'll end up shooting a lot more. Personal experience.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 4:04:57 PM EDT
Yes, I do reload. It's relaxing, kinda like knitting does for my mums. [heavy]
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 9:30:35 AM EDT
Have been reloading since 1964 when my high school buddy and I both got Ruger 357 blackhawks. A box of 357's was 6 dollars a box back then! Bought a RCBS rock chucker and still use it today! I load for .38/357,9mm,30 carb.,243,225 win.,223,30-06,25-06,40 SW,45L.C.,45 auto,44spcl.,44 mag.,45-70. Still enjoy doing it by hand and you can really get some tack driving accurate loadings for each of your weapons by hand loading. [:D]
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 1:51:57 PM EDT
Here's my take on it: I've been reloading for 18yrs. It is a must-do if you're going to experience the true Zen of guns. About 80% of the cost of ammo is the brass case. As an example, I just got done reloading a box of .41 magnum for a friend. They normally cost $22 a box at the range we shoot at. My total cost was just over $9. That's a huge difference. In calibers like .45 Colt, .44 Spec/mag, .41 mag., etc that have a high cost/box it's well worth it. For common surplus calibers, like .223, 7.62x39, 9mm, etc. the cost savings is much less, and it gets to be a trade-off between ammo cost and what your time's worth. I've also tailored the load slightly so it performs well in that specific gun, but isn't as loud or kicks as bad as factory. That's the second benifit of reloading. You can "roll your own" to fit a specific barrel/chamber. Then there's the last reason to reload, and that's for enjoyment. It connects you to your shooting no other way can. You are building the ammo specifically for your gun, that you may have built yourself. I guess it's a "mad scientist" thing, but I like doing it all myself sometimes. The best thing to do is read as much as you can on the subject. The NRA has some fine references on handloading, and the various reloading suppliers are a wealth of information. Ross
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