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Posted: 5/15/2002 5:04:49 PM EDT
For various reasons I am very interested in getting started with reloading. Cost of ammo, a reliable supply if needed and pure hobby are my main reasons for starting. I have no experience with reloading at all....so would someone please tell me everything I need to buy in order to be able to start loading my own rounds? Since I am new, I want to be safe above all things...so something relatively inexpensive and easy to use would be fine with me. Also, what reloading manuals do you folks rely on the most? Any and all answers will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Oh, and BTW, I plan to mainly load pistol and rifle cartridges.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:12:52 PM EDT
Suggest you start over on the reloading forum. My self and others try to answer reloading questions there. You will find a lot of usefull info there.

Just to get you started though I's suggest you get a good reloading manual, like the Lyman, and start reading it. Pistol is easier to reload than rifle, so I'd suggest you start with some straight walled pistol caliber. I find 45 ACP a very forgiving caliber.
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 5:48:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:08:15 PM EDT
ChargingHandle,I must agree with thebeekeeper on the RCBS kit,as for books other than the Speer book that'll come with it.I'd get all that you can afford,starting with Hornady and Accurate Arms has a new one that I like.Also you should go to dillonprecision.com and order a catalog...lots of good stuff.If your interested you can e-mail me,I'll give you some recepies that I use.
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 3:58:03 AM EDT

Here is what I recommend:

- Call Dillon at 1-800-762-3845 and ask for their catalog;

- Go to the AR15.com and Thefiringline.com reloading discussion areas and do a search on the various types of reloaders (i.e. Dillon, RCBS, Lee etc.).  Read people's comments from those who own them and note the tone and frequency of satisfaction and delight.

- After carefully reviewing everyone's comments, do the logical thing and call Dillon again and order their RL-550B or RL-650, depending on your budget, needs etc.  You can also order the Dillon budget reloader AT-500, which is convertible to a progressive reloader and costs much less than the RL-550B.

- Try to resist the "start with a single stage reloader" advice, it will lead to frustration and extreme boredom IMO and experience.

- Contrary to popular opinion you can:
- Learn to reload using a progressive
- Reload precision rounds with a progressive
- Start small (read inexpensive) with a progressive.

Keep in mind that the most expensive way to buy something is to buy what you really don't want and then have to replace it with you what really wanted in the first place.

If you're sure you're going to want to reload for a long time and want to reload many different calibers, then my advice is to look no further than Dillon.  The RL-550B will reload anything from the .25 auto to the .460 Weatherby and everything in between (sorry, no .50 BMG!).

If it sounds like I'm biased towards Dillon, you got it exactly right, being a RL-550B owner since around 1988 or so.  Calibers reloaded: 9mm, .40 S&W, .223, 7.62x39mm, 7mm-08, .308, 30-06, .44 Mag and probably a couple of others I've forgotten.  Pistol calibers (ex. .44 Mag) are usually the typical progressive as fast as I can reload them operation.  Rifle and .44 Mag calibers are usually reloaded one at a time using the -550B as a multi-single stage press.

If you go with Dillon, you won't be sorry.

I hope this helps.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:18:08 AM EDT
Quoted: Charging,

Here is what I recommend:

If you're sure you're going to want to reload for a long time and want to reload many different calibers, then my advice is to look no further than Dillon.  The RL-550B will reload anything from the .25 auto to the .460 Weatherby and everything in between (sorry, no .50 BMG!).

If you go with Dillon, you won't be sorry.
View Quote

I concur 100%.  

I started reloading on a 550B, and don't regret it.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:47:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:50:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:54:31 AM EDT
What about starting with a Dillon 650 ? Wouldn't that be better then a 550 ?
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:58:32 AM EDT
Charging_Handle, if you want to start cheap, you can get the Lee kit for $67.99 plus shipping from [url]www.midwayusa.com[/url].    Then later, you can always add a nice Dillon progressive press if you decide to.  You'll still be able to use all of the parts, including dies, priming tools, powder scales, etc. with the new press.  Also, keeping the single-stage setup isn't a bad idea.  You can always use it for other things.z
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 7:58:46 AM EDT
my best suggestion is to get a book and read.  Understand EVERY STEP of the process.  
If you're going to be reloading for rifle, a single stage press to start with will work good.  I usually do this.  That way I can resize a batch, then measure/trim them, chamfer and prime.  Then I charge a batch of 50, seat the bullets, then crimp (if needed)  

Understanding the process is key.  There are TONS of different presses and dies, but the process is the same.  It's an easy process, and can be very rewarding (on paper, and to the wallet)
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 8:38:32 AM EDT
The first thing you need to do is to decide whether or not you are going to load BLACK POWDER or Smokeless Powder Ammunition. BLACK POWDER Ammunition requires some different equipment and techniques.

Next you need to decide where you will set up your work space for reloading. The work space should be kept CLEAN, ORGANIZED, with GOOD LIGHTING, and Good Ventilation. It should also be in a place where you will NOT be easily distracted AND it should be in a place that is AWAY from your Firearms.

Next you should figure out what calibers you are going to initially start to reload for and whether it is going to be handgun or Rifle (or both) Ammunition.

The next step is to buy a [b]Lyman's Reloading Manual[/b]. You will be buying many other manuals in the future, including Sierra's Manual. But while [b]Lyman's Reloading Manual[/b] is cheap and no frills..it has a [b]LOT of info for the beginner on HOW to reload[/b].

A discussion on Presses and Kits is now in order.
There are a lot of good presses and reloading kits out there. Basically Reloading Presses fall into 3 categories: Single Stage, Turret, Progressive.

Single Stage and Turret presses are good for beginners, because it makes it easy to see what is going on.

Progressives are nice and fast but I think they should be your SECOND press.

Good Press Manufacturers.
There are a lot of really good presses out there. Some are better than others..some of the BEST ones are the most expensive and the hardest to get parts for or customer support.

Probably the BEST Single Stage press for your money is the RCBS Rock Chucker. You can get this press and virtually everything you need in the "Master Reloading Kit" from RCBS.

When it comes to Progressive Presses..Dillon is the way to go.

Reloading Dies: I like Redding Dies. Dillon makes a good Die.

Oh yeah..you'll want to get a Brass tumbler.

Here are some links for you:
For RCBS..go here
and here..


Reloading Supplies
Another place..

Good Information can be found at:

These guys make bullets with very high ballistic coefficients..

If you ever decide that you want to make your own BULLETS..go here..

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 8:48:54 AM EDT
I will concurr with a lot of the others here, if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, tie your own shoes, roll up a car window and drive the car at the same time, then by all means, get the Dillon.  Don't waste your time and money goofing with something from the stone age.    In the future, you may find that there are some weird things you can't do with the Dillon very well.  Buy a turret press.  I'm convinced that the single stage, excepting use for Benchrest competitors, should be extinct, but there are all the old timers still telling newbies that "Its the only way to start" and all that BS.  Its almost as if they feel its a rite of passage.  BS.  Start with a good progressive unit.

Concerning the 550 vs. the 650, here's when I get all 'ol fogie on you.  I prefer the 550 because of the added control of the manual indexing. There have been times when I wanted to re-do somehting or back up, and with the auto-indexing, it makes the decision for you.  The manual indexing does not add a substantial amount of time to the process.  I say 550B
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 8:55:19 AM EDT
Thought I'd throw my experience in.

I've been reloading for about 7 years now. I started off in Nevada with a Rock Chucker press. I did the single stage for a while. Got bored and bought an RCBS Partner Plus progressive add on. It was junk. Had to keep adjusting and all every other round. I also bought RCBS dies all the time because they were cheap.

Moved to Phx a few years later and a friend gave me a Dillon 550. It sat around 2 years because I was so disappointed with my experience to date. Took the boxed Dillon press to Dillon for an inspection (make sure it was all there and working since it was used). Picked it up a week later. No charge to do this. Those guys are great. I now use only the 500 and Dillon dies. Sent the crap back to RCBS to display as "what you shouldn't do to make money as a business strategy" wall.

I reload 9mm, .38, .40, .44 Mag, .45 ACP, .223, .308 and 30-06 with it. I have become friends with the guys at Dillon and am up there every chance I get. They stand behind everything they sell even when it shouldn't be expected. Mike himself is a very nice, wonderful man. I hope to get in on one of the machinegun shoots they have sometimes.

I agree that RCBS is cheaper, but you won't find service and support like you will from Dillon. You will never get rid of your press once you get it. You can get the AT500 and upgrade when you get the money into a 550. You can always add new stuff. I never get out without spending $100 each time at least, I swear!!!

All my dies are now Dillon, too. You also get the Blue Press catalog which isn't hard on the eyes....

Take care!
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 4:11:14 AM EDT

See the difference in how people discuss Dillon vs. the other reloaders.  That should provide a pretty good clue as to where to you spend your hard-earned money.

Please let us know what you decide and why.

Good luck.

Link Posted: 5/17/2002 4:51:51 AM EDT

I'll probably get the Hornady Lock and Load progressive.  Cheaper in the long run and just as good as the 550.  Approaching 650 because of the indexing.

I suggest getting a single stage first to learn and you will always use a single stage for something.  
Link Posted: 5/17/2002 5:14:50 AM EDT
Wow! Thanks for all the responses. To be honest I haven't yet decided on what brand to buy...I was just looking for what things I would need to buy. LOL. But with that said I will check more closely. Seems some like Dillion, some like other stuff.....I'll research them a bit more and then make my decision. It will be a few months before I start anyway, so I should have plenty of time to make a good decision. Again, thanks. You were very helpful and I may contact some of you later...the ones who said that would be ok anyway.
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