reloading for dummies like me?

kindafishy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 21, 2010
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i'm seriously considering getting into reloading. never done it, i don't have a clue. i don't mind spending the money for good equipment, but don't even know where to start. dillon seems to be a big name. i want it as simple as it can be. looking mostly for NATO calibers, and eventually large rifle caliber, 300 win mag, 338 lapua, or similar. i havent landed on what i want there yet. all help appreciated! thank's!!!
 

la vida

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Jun 28, 2006
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I consider myself clueless about this also. But back when I was active shooting I started reloading. Bought press and dies and followed the instructions.
Didn't kill myself or ruin my guns. So I'm sure you'll do just fine.
Sold all my stuff l I nv ago and now wish I had it all back.
 
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Wild Bill

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A mentor would make the process faster but It can be learned on your own. Start with a single stage press and a set of dies for one caliber. Buy a reloading manual and pour over the how to section they all have. You tube may also be a good resource. A single stage press will always be useful even if you end up with a progressive press later. I have been hand loading for 40 years and have never had the need for a progressive press although I do have a turret press along with a single stage. Now if you are shooting competition going through hundreds of rounds a week, then a progressive press makes sense. Start simple, learn the ropes and let your experience and needs dictate further purchasing. One bonus for reloading is when this latest ammo crunch came on and everybody was paying high prices for ammo, I was purchasing components at great prices to get me through the panic.
 

JFK

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I started reloading this year as well. So far just for my 270. Couple ways to go about it.....buy a kit or buy everything separately. I bought a kit. In hindsight I probably would have bought separate components as I ended up having to buy quite a few extras and the kit came with some stuff I’ll probably never use. Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Lee...all make good single stage presses. I have a Hornady and I’ll say that there bushing system makes it really easy and fast to change dies. Get a manual and read a lot about reloading from reputable sources. Youtube has good instructional videos but stick with reputable companies not Billybob in his basement. Pick one caliber and work with that case, powder, bullet combo till you are comfortable with the process. Develop a process that you stick to every single time and write everything down in a notebook. Searching the internet will yield tons of info, much of it from benchrest shooters who nerd out on every conceivable detail to squeeze out as much accuracy as possible. Most can be ignored when you are starting out. Focus on the basics and work loads up slowly. I wouldn’t spend time loading .556 plinking ammo on a single stage press but thats just my opinion.
 

Arima-bob

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i'm seriously considering getting into reloading. never done it, i don't have a clue. i don't mind spending the money for good equipment, but don't even know where to start. dillon seems to be a big name. i want it as simple as it can be. looking mostly for NATO calibers, and eventually large rifle caliber, 300 win mag, 338 lapua, or similar. i havent landed on what i want there yet. all help appreciated! thank's!!!
I’m gonna start doing it too Scott. Once my garage is finished, I’m going to set up a bench.
 
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jonrx7

I like girls, boos and fishing. Simple life.
Apr 21, 2008
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First, go buy a reloading book. This will give you a birds eye view of the process and some idea what is involve. it is the best way to start without breaking the bank. then decide if want pistol and/or rifle rounds, and how fast? progressive or single stage press. If you shoot rifle you will need a single stage. Don't be afraid to buy used.

John
 

the_tunaman

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Jun 28, 2017
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Best advice above - buy a reloading manual first. They have a lot of invaluable information in the front, nearly everything you will need to know about reloading, and then the various recipes in the back. You will find that you are referring to the information often while you are learning.

Best bet is to buy a couple - I personally think that the Hornady guide is the best, but the Lyman is also highly rated. While you can find all of the load data and reloading details on the Internet these days, they are still worth having as a definitive reference and you will find the expert data you can trust to be accurate and unquestioned.

I always advocate a Dillon 550 for someone wanting to start with a press. It often times will be the first and last press they will ever buy or need. It is the best of both worlds - it is progressive and can knock out volume when appropriate, but it can also run in single-stage mode for precision rounds. I find myself using it in that manner more often than not, as I do quite a bit of long distance shooting these days.

One of the best features is the tool head, where you can have the dies all set and adjusted and then just work each stage independently. I currently have nearly 30 toolheads with dies all set, as I load for over 15 different calibers.

Also, the decap/size/prime cycle all in one motion saves precious time when you are running in progressive mode.

Reloading is interesting, and very worthwhile for many (especially these days). If you’re looking to just do one handgun caliber and are thinking it will save you money, forget it. While you can save some money reloading, if you do things right, overall you won’t likely save much and once you factor in the costs of equipment it will take a long time to realize any savings.

You need to be meticulous - the various steps aren’t hard but if you aren’t paying attention you can get into trouble and possibly ruin your weapon, harm yourself, or just have a very bad day at the range. Sometimes it is easy to double-charge a case, and the Internet is full of stories where some enterprising soul decided to push a load too far and found out the hard way that there are limits not to be exceeded. Always start a new load on the low side and work your way up until you find the sweet spot where *your gun* likes that combination of powder, primer and projectile.

It is a deep rabbit hole, but it is fascinating and rewarding for many.

Good luck!
 

Nighthawks

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If you decide to go with a single-stage press, make sure you pick one with a very large frame opening, like the Redding Ultramag. It handles even the longest of the old British double rifle cartridges with ease (I've loaded some), so .338 Lapua would be a piece of cake.
 

Aggro

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Hit about ten sources for loads before venturing into just one. Do an average of it and then start low and ladder up. A chrono is really helpful but reading pressure signs will keep you from losing an eye or worse. There are so many videos out there, just look at an average. Go slow and enjoy the process, it's a lot of fun. I'm reloading like crazy right now cause, for some reason, I have a shit ton of spare time.
 

Aggro

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I started reloading this year as well. So far just for my 270. Couple ways to go about it.....buy a kit or buy everything separately. I bought a kit. In hindsight I probably would have bought separate components as I ended up having to buy quite a few extras and the kit came with some stuff I’ll probably never use. Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Lee...all make good single stage presses. I have a Hornady and I’ll say that there bushing system makes it really easy and fast to change dies. Get a manual and read a lot about reloading from reputable sources. Youtube has good instructional videos but stick with reputable companies not Billybob in his basement. Pick one caliber and work with that case, powder, bullet combo till you are comfortable with the process. Develop a process that you stick to every single time and write everything down in a notebook. Searching the internet will yield tons of info, much of it from benchrest shooters who nerd out on every conceivable detail to squeeze out as much accuracy as possible. Most can be ignored when you are starting out. Focus on the basics and work loads up slowly. I wouldn’t spend time loading .556 plinking ammo on a single stage press but thats just my opinion.
I keep all my load data on a thumb drive and my laptop hard drive, plus the cloud. When I go chrono loads I update all of them at the same time but keep a backup. You don't want to lose any of that hard earned data for your loads. But then, I reload for 25 or so calibers. I can't keep all that in my head.
 

jonrx7

I like girls, boos and fishing. Simple life.
Apr 21, 2008
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Lee classic press is quite impressive. Large opening and long stroke , this press is great. They actually have this press for use with 50BMG. Resizing rifle rounds can be a pain in the ass if you don't have the right tools.

John
 

jsquez

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Jun 8, 2015
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Maybe a little late to this but i will throw my 2 cents in anyway.. I started reloading with my grandfather when I was 13 years old 20 years later I have a room in my house decided to reloading shooting and fishing of course.. one thing I have learned if you going to be in it don’t go cheap because you will end up buying better equipment down the road... if it’s something you may not continue to do just get yourself the lee beginners set it’s what I I started with when I got my own stuff mainly because money was tight I’ve loaded thousands of rounds with those presses. Won a couple long range comps with ammo loaded on a cheap lee... over the years I have acquired many presses Lyman Redding c&h rcbs ect... imo the best single stage press is a forester coax I use it at my gunsmiths and it is the shit... currently I have 4 single stage rcbs rc rc2 set up along with progressive shotgun press... and a Dillion 550 just hanging out.. I wouldn’t suggest using a progressive press on rifle ammo but that’s just me..
the press is one thing u can go cheap on but don’t skimp on your dies rcbs forester c&h Redding..

One thing that wasn’t mentioned is what are you trying to achieve not every firearm will like the same loads and it gets pretty expensive experimenting with powder until you fine that one load your rifle likes. I have 2 custom built 243 both with 5r 1/8 Krieger barrels one likes likes rl19 the other h1000.. and my factory 243 likes 4064..

Good luck on your decision it’s a great thing I haven’t bought factory ammo in 15 years besides rimfire

FC9B7D72-CD9F-4AF0-98DE-9058C36D28DE.jpeg
 
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jsquez

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One thing that wasn’t mentioned was brass... not all brass is created equal and if u plan on shooting a lot on the same cases you may need to invest in quality brass Norma or lapua. I have had good luck with federal brass get 10 plus loads on a case before the necks start splitting...

If u plan on just using range brass not shot from you firearm make sure you get full length dies after that you can neck size and be ok... I always full length but I know a lot of guys that only neck size.. its just a preference thing
 
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kindafishy

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 21, 2010
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at this point i'm not into doing custom loads and trying to finely tune a round. more about access to ammo. although i'm sure once i get into it that may change.
 

Sirgonzolot

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at this point i'm not into doing custom loads and trying to finely tune a round. more about access to ammo. although i'm sure once i get into it that may change.
You will be doing custom loads! Reloading manuals give you information on cup pressures and sami specs and are different in that powders for their recipes vary slightly. This is information you need I E more manuals. When you reload you make a ladder with your powder choice, brass choice, bullet weight choice and how well you can be consistent from round to round along with other processes. A ladder is 5 or so of each powder weight charge of the specified weight, but you make them with slightly different powder weights from lowest to highest. If safe powder charge is 24 grains to 27 grains you could do 24,24.2, 24.4,24.6,24.7 . Or you can go 24,24.5, 25,25.5, 26 and so on, you get it. Say you were reloading 223 rounds for a Remington bolt action. What you buy off the shelf is the average of testing many rifles and that what a company may use as a recipe. Thats why when you purchase amo it is good to buy a few brands to see which works best in your rifle. They are all different. Now a ladder for your one rifle, your 223 bolt you can take out say 6 sets of 5 rounds to test. Once you find a great powder and test a few and pick the best, you can, with a bullet comparator begin to measure and find the most important part for your recipe, inside the throat measurement of your rifle. Where the OGIVE is in comparison to the lands and grooves in your rifle is your number nay, main ingredient you have for that rifle forever. For that rifle that is your magic number of where you start. Each bullet style and weight takes this much care for measurements and weighing and case prep. (Yes there is a shit tone of more info to learn throughout the whole reloading process but each step is a process.) Thats not to say the COAL could be longer for that bullet you chose if the rifle has and internal mag or a detachable mag cause each rifle made in a different style, for a different bullet weight and some for longer distances. These reloads are very different than say an AR rifle. COAL is what fits in the magazine. Works in a bolt action but probably not the best as accuracy. Within COAL and powder recipes of course, you can find a magic load. Needles to say you ARE making custom ammunition Brother. 100% . I had a Great mentor. Trapper Jon. He used to have a radio show and help people get rid of vermin and pests naturally. But the man Had every book made on reloading. All of them. I will put a post up he told me about Guitar strings and rifle barrels. Short and sweet but it made me understand what I was doing and where I wanted to be with a specific load and bullet for a rifle. Then the world of bullet trajectory, fps, bullet drop, BC of the bullet , spin drift, wind drift. Thats just for us regular people. The sniper info is fun but, its another book. The Coriolis Effect makes you say WHAT?
Sorry if this is so long and confusing.
JSQUEZ, great reloading bench setup brother!
 

Justin Joy

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All Great info above.

The Bad this is the worse time to get into reloading Prices are sometimes double what they normally are component's are outrageous right now also Primers per 1k going for 80 and up when normally they are 30-40. Powder good luck finding it. People that Plan for the Future ( Not a Hoarder) have plenty on hand. stuff does not go bad if stored properly

Equipment is hard to come by also unless you have patients to what for a back order to be filled.

First get a few Books
Lee's Book on handloading is a great book also.

Second decide what you want to load and work around that for equipment.

Most reloader's will have a single and a Progressive press. Usually red Hornady or Blue Dillon single stages press RCBS, lee, the list goes on. Some more than that

Component's: Projectiles, powder, primers, Brass if you can find it at a decent price buy it!

All my rifle loads are done on my single stage press 243,257 wthby mag, 7mm, and 300Smag. time consuming but worth it in the end. I can load all on my Hornady LNL but I like to work my loads carefully on my rifles as I am going for accuracy. Not Plinking.

223 and 380,9,40,44 and 45, all are loaded on my Progressive press. Faster and I only shot these for the range.

I have factory ammo for self defense purposes.

Reloading is rewarding when I got into it 11 years ago I was nervous but over time and the amount of money saved was great in my eyes. Before I left Wa State my family of 4 would go shooting every weekend over 1000 rounds down range from different calibers Some calibers like 380 would barely get shot as we all hate that caliber. 9, 40 44 and 45 we would put a dent in the reloads. But in one weekend I could replenish the stash.

Remember to just take your time and ask questions. and work your loads up. if you do not want to buy a Chrono. then gauge your loads off snap from the shot and groupings That's what I did at first before I spent the coin on a chronograph.


Plenty of forums on this also. Tons of Info now
 

Sirgonzolot

Well-Known "Member"
Jan 17, 2021
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Name
Stephen Gonzalez
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All Great info above.

The Bad this is the worse time to get into reloading Prices are sometimes double what they normally are component's are outrageous right now also Primers per 1k going for 80 and up when normally they are 30-40. Powder good luck finding it. People that Plan for the Future ( Not a Hoarder) have plenty on hand. stuff does not go bad if stored properly

Equipment is hard to come by also unless you have patients to what for a back order to be filled.

First get a few Books
Lee's Book on handloading is a great book also.

Second decide what you want to load and work around that for equipment.

Most reloader's will have a single and a Progressive press. Usually red Hornady or Blue Dillon single stages press RCBS, lee, the list goes on. Some more than that

Component's: Projectiles, powder, primers, Brass if you can find it at a decent price buy it!

All my rifle loads are done on my single stage press 243,257 wthby mag, 7mm, and 300Smag. time consuming but worth it in the end. I can load all on my Hornady LNL but I like to work my loads carefully on my rifles as I am going for accuracy. Not Plinking.

223 and 380,9,40,44 and 45, all are loaded on my Progressive press. Faster and I only shot these for the range.

I have factory ammo for self defense purposes.

Reloading is rewarding when I got into it 11 years ago I was nervous but over time and the amount of money saved was great in my eyes. Before I left Wa State my family of 4 would go shooting every weekend over 1000 rounds down range from different calibers Some calibers like 380 would barely get shot as we all hate that caliber. 9, 40 44 and 45 we would put a dent in the reloads. But in one weekend I could replenish the stash.

Remember to just take your time and ask questions. and work your loads up. if you do not want to buy a Chrono. then gauge your loads off snap from the shot and groupings That's what I did at first before I spent the coin on a chronograph.


Plenty of forums on this also. Tons of Info now
Man, you reload thinking you'll save money, but you shoot twice as much! And then you get better and have really, really accurate amo, that you refuse to go to the range with! I enjoy the time. Its like building models.
 
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Justin Joy

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Man, you reload thinking you'll save money, but you shoot twice as much! And then you get better and have really, really accurate amo, that you refuse to go to the range with! I enjoy the time. Its like building models.

I love reloading when it comes to buying a new pistol or rifle. as I get to work loads up but once I have the load dialed in. It is just clock work at that point. set and load.

But 100% accurate on saving money yes but you do shoot a lot more.

a buddy of mine just bought a thousand Small rifle primers for 80 bucks. That is crazy to me.
 

jonrx7

I like girls, boos and fishing. Simple life.
Apr 21, 2008
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Back up plan B, buy a 22LR for plinking incase the ammo prices and availability is not there. Welcome to the new world.
 

Justin Joy

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Back up plan B, buy a 22LR for plinking incase the ammo prices and availability is not there. Welcome to the new world.

Last Time I checked 22lr it was just as bad as everything else. I have not bought 22 in over 10 years. I still have Plenty not as much as I should have but I have plenty.

Usually it is the first to go as it is not Quote un Quote reloadable it is but not at a cost effective manner.
 

jsquez

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I love reloading when it comes to buying a new pistol or rifle. as I get to work loads up but once I have the load dialed in. It is just clock work at that point. set and load.

But 100% accurate on saving money yes but you do shoot a lot more.

a buddy of mine just bought a thousand Small rifle primers for 80 bucks. That is crazy to me.
I just traded 4500 primers for a fishfinder... why spend money when you can barter
 
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Justin Joy

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Sep 7, 2019
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Justin
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I just traded 4500 primers for a fishfinder... why spend money when you can barter

Wanna trade you boat for all my reloading equipment lol Just Kidding

Thats not a bad deal good trade.
 

DOGHOUSE26

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Feb 22, 2004
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.22 Bricks are going for $75-$100 in auctions now
9MM $800 -1100 per 1000
Russian 9MM & 223 $650-900/1000

Yikes!