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Thread: Reloading?

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    I'm sure this will probably eventually be moved to one of the general categories...but, since I'm a Virginian (By choice...born and raised in Chicago and damn glad I'm out of that God forsaken liberal rat hole!) I'll ask here.

    With the scarcity/expense ofammo recently, I'm thinking of taking up reloading as a "hobby." One of my wife's former best friends used to own a pawn shop with a range in it. I spent a lot of time on the range and as a favor to my wife's friend, who would let me come in after hours to shoot, would spend a lot of time cleaning up the range for her. I've collected thousands of casesin .45, .38, .357, and 9X18Mak...the calibers ofour guns...and want to learn about hand loading.I'mlooking for info on the best places to go to for info to learn about it.

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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    Castboolits.gunloads.com

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    ccloud43
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    you could probably start with this site also

    http://www.handloads.org/

    but like HLH said, investg in some good reloading manuals. they will give you a lot more info for reloading.

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    Try http://www.midwayusa.com for books, supplies, and equipment. You also might try Bob's on Granby St. in Norfolk. You may be able to find some books at your local library to get started. I use Lee equipment. Be prepared to spend to get started. You will need a reloading press, and reloading dies for each type of ammunition you plan to reload.

    Right now it seems primers and casings are scarce. Midway has "Out of stock, No Backorder" on primers.


    Good luck. PM me if you think I can help.

    John
    Yes I carry a Bible and a Gun, your point.
    Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (meaning: "A defence of liberty against tyrants")
    Benjamin Franklin said, "A government that does not trust it's citizens with guns is a government that should not be trusted."



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    Wolf_shadow wrote:
    Try http://www.midwayusa.com for books, supplies, and equipment. You also might try Bob's on Granby St. in Norfolk. You may be able to find some books at your local library to get started. I use Lee equipment. Be prepared to spend to get started. You will need a reloading press, and reloading dies for each type of ammunition you plan to reload.

    Right now it seems primers and casings are scarce. Midway has "Out of stock, No Backorder" on primers.


    Good luck. PM me if you think I can help.

    John
    Yep, cast boolits.

    Primers aren't hard to find if you know what to look for. Federal primers are very easy to come by. Why???? No one likes them except people like me. Federal primers are softer and easier to fire than others. That's a plus in my book, especially with finicky guns. Federal primers are a little longer than others too and won't feed through things like the Lee Autoprime. So what, prime on the press. When I started loading I primed using a sheet of glass, a dowel and a mallet.

    But they are good reliable primers and can be had.

    You have cases but I haven't had any problem getting anything I want.
    You might want to consider starting casting. They go hand in hand and start collecting wheel weights. My opinion is they are a better investment than gold right now.

    Let me know if I can help.

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    Thank you all so much for the info. I've known about Midway for quite a while. I've bought magazines for my 1911,recoil springs for my Makarov,and a few other things through them before.

    I was going through a box of gun related things given to me by my step-father a couple of years ago when his uncle died and found an old Lee pistol reloading kit with all the tools toreload all calibers from .25 ACP through .45 ACP...and an instruction booklet too...but, no charge table. I guess this weekend I'll go out and start hunting down primers, powder, and bullets...there's a gun show at the VA Beach Pavillion Saturday and Sunday...I'll be there bright and early Saturday morning!

    As far as collecting wheel weights...another option would be buying bulk lead in the plumbing section at Home Depot or Lowes...then all I'd need is the molds.



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    fully_armed_biker wrote:
    Thank you all so much for the info. I've known about Midway for quite a while. I've bought magazines for my 1911,recoil springs for my Makarov,and a few other things through them before.

    I was going through a box of gun related things given to me by my step-father a couple of years ago when his uncle died and found an old Lee pistol reloading kit with all the tools toreload all calibers from .25 ACP through .45 ACP...and an instruction booklet too...but, no charge table. I guess this weekend I'll go out and start hunting down primers, powder, and bullets...there's a gun show at the VA Beach Pavillion Saturday and Sunday...I'll be there bright and early Saturday morning!

    As far as collecting wheel weights...another option would be buying bulk lead in the plumbing section at Home Depot or Lowes...then all I'd need is the molds.

    Plumbing lead is expensive and pure.
    Wheel Weights are already alloyed for most bullets. You may want to water drop or oven harden them or even add 2% tin to help fill out and harden, but as a rule, WW's are fine as is.

    If you know anyone from your area going to the OC dinner in Richmond Tuesday, I'll be happy to give you a box of primers to get you started. Just let me know what you want. (mall pistol, large pitol, small rifle, large rifle)

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    how much does that bulk lead go for?

    Plus, it would be dead soft pure lead, which tends to be too soft for anything more than light pistol loads.

    You would want to get some tin to aid in mould fill out, and alloy it with the lead.

    Wheelweights make a good alloy containing lead, tin, antimony, and arsenic.

    The lead lends the alloy it's weight and ductility, the tin lowers the surface tension of the melt and results in better boolit fill out and some hardness, the antimony and arsenic allow heat treating if you need the boolit to be harder.

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    peter nap wrote:
    fully_armed_biker wrote:
    Thank you all so much for the info. I've known about Midway for quite a while. I've bought magazines for my 1911,recoil springs for my Makarov,and a few other things through them before.

    I was going through a box of gun related things given to me by my step-father a couple of years ago when his uncle died and found an old Lee pistol reloading kit with all the tools toreload all calibers from .25 ACP through .45 ACP...and an instruction booklet too...but, no charge table. I guess this weekend I'll go out and start hunting down primers, powder, and bullets...there's a gun show at the VA Beach Pavillion Saturday and Sunday...I'll be there bright and early Saturday morning!

    As far as collecting wheel weights...another option would be buying bulk lead in the plumbing section at Home Depot or Lowes...then all I'd need is the molds.

    Plumbing lead is expensive and pure.
    Wheel Weights are already alloyed for most bullets. You may want to water drop or oven harden them or even add 2% tin to help fill out and harden, but as a rule, WW's are fine as is.

    If you know anyone from your area going to the OC dinner in Richmond Tuesday, I'll be happy to give you a box of primers to get you started. Just let me know what you want. (mall pistol, large pitol, small rifle, large rifle)
    I'll be coming up to Innsbrook next Saturday with a group of us from Hampton Roads. I'll PM you tomorrow. I was just thinking about something too...there's a Bass Pro Shop 15 minutes from my home...I drive by it on the way to, and back from, work. I know they have relaoding supplies; but, haven't really checked it out to see what all they have.I need to do that in the next few days...maybe Friday before I go to submit my CHP application.

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    I recommend you not use cast bullets. I used to cast bullets and still have everything needed to do so again if I wanted to.
    What I do recommend is getting plated bullets such as those made by http://www.berrysmfg.com/ . I been using them for a year now and they work great.
    If you plan on reloading up to ten thousand rounds a year the Dillon Square Deal B press is the way to go since 200+ rounds an hour is easy. For more than that a bigger Dillon press might be better.
    Perhaps if you would use a real computer you wouldn't have to apologize for not being able to do so many things on the internet!

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    Check out e-bay for wheel weight bars. Also, look for lots of reloading equipment. People often get out of the hobby and sell everything you need for 1/3 of what it would cost you individually.

    All of the powder sites have recommended load tables. Just check online.

    Get a good book or two and read before you start. There are a number of questions to ask before you start, like, How much ammo do you need to load monthly? Do you have an area you can dedicate to it (with abench and permanent press set up) or not (look at the Lee handpress)? What calibers and how many? (Dillon Square-B is good for pistol calibers but not rifle)? Lifestyle (e.g., can you devote an hour or two at a time, or need to reload in 15-20 minute increments because of kids, sitting in front of the TV, etc.)? Etc? There are some good beginner's threads on the sites mentioned above, as well as DefensiveCarry.com in the reloading section that go into these questions and responses/recommendations.

    Cast is fine, especially for .38/.357, .44 spl/.44 magand leverguns. I also use cast for .380 and 9mm, though I have used Berry's plated bullets as well with good results.

    Most recommend starting with a single-stage press (or even a handpress -- which is what I still use years later) to learn and then moving to a turret or progressive press later. You will always be able to use the single stage (e.g., as a dedicated deprimer/sizer or to load that odd caliber).

    Don't think you're going to save money. The intial investment will be between $100 and $500 to get everything you need (depending upon type of press, # of calibers, etc.). You will be able to reload more cheaply (e.g., at $7/box of 50 9mm instead of $15-20/box), but you will also shoot a lot more, basically evening things out. So think of it as not saving money (and you don't if you count your time as well as the component costs), but as a new hobby and a way to expand your enjoyment of the shooting sport (and the amount of ammo you can afford to put downrange).

    Get a vibratory cleaner to clean the brass. Don't even bother with the homemade recipes and techniques -- believe me, I've tried them all (from solutions with vinegar, salt, water and dishwashing detergent, to steel wool by hand, to putting the brass in a pillow case in the washing machine -- and every other optionin between). Just save yourself a lot of grief and spend the $60 for the Frankford Arsenal kit from Midway.

    A basic list of the required components you need is:


    reloading manuals (one or two good ones)

    press (handpress, single-stage, turret or progressive)

    scale (digital or balance beam, though many prefer balance beam for starters)

    priming tool (I use the Lee Auto-prime) and cardtridge holder

    powder dispenser (I use the Lee dippers; if you go with a dedicated turret or progressive press they have powder dispenser attachments)

    set of dies for each cartridge (I prefer the 4-die carbide sets from Lee for pistol cartridges...love the Factory Crimp Die)
    Optional:


    Caliper (to check OAL)

    case length sizing tool, debur tool, and primer pocket cleaner (the hand version of each about $5 from Lee; more expensive ones are available)

    bullet puller (the plastic impact kind is about $15)

    powder trickle flow dispenser

    case lube (for rifle cartridges or if you don't use carbide dies)

    powder funnel
    Supplies:


    primers (about $35-40 for 1000)

    bullets (about $60-80/1000 cast)

    brass (you already have that; each can be reloaded 10+ times)

    powder (about $22-$25/lb; depending upon the caliber each pound will load 350-2000 rounds ... just an FYI, each pound has 7000 grains; as an example, 9mm will use 3.5-5 grains per round, while .44 mag will use 17-20 grains; this varies by powder type and bullet weight)

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    Thanks everyone for all the info!!!

    I'm not really looking at reloading as a way to save money, I'm looking at it more as a way to ensure availability of ammo. I can see the antis, at some point, changing their tactics and saying..."Ok...you can have your guns; but, you can't have anything to shoot from them." (Maybe a little bit of what's going on now with the scarcity of ammo?)

    I was looking through Midway USA's site and found a newer version of what I've got...

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=246418

    Although, the instructions that I have say it will reload a mulitiude of calibers (maybe generic instructions to save them time/effort to reproduce for every caliber?), on the website they seem caliber specific. I was going through my brass last night and about 90% of what I've got is .45 ACP. The sizing die worked perfecty on the .45 casing so I think that's what I'm going to start out with. I still need to find out how many grains the powder measure that comes with the kit holds...I've looked on Lee's website and can't find any info.

    I have a 2 car detached garage behind my house with a large woodshop in it, so dedicated space isn't an issue and our only child is almost 16...so I can dedicate a few hours at a time to it.

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    The Classic loader is great for a backup, or part of your bug-out bag (I have them for that purpose). My brother even used one for years and tapped out ammo, one-by-one. However, it will get pretty tedious for a couple hundred rounds. I really recommend you look for a used single-stage press you can mount on a workbench in your garage, and get yourself a set of Lee carbide dies for $30 (you can find them used too). The reloading will go MUCH faster and be more enjoyable.

    As far as the dipper and how much it holds, tell me the size (e.g., 1cc) and I will tell you the approximate number of grains. Again, this will vary by powder. And I caution you, for some powders and cartridges, being off even a half-grain can be dangerous and lead to increased pressures. Pressure does not necessarily increase linearly; there can be significant jumps with just a little more powder added. The dippers are not extremely accurate, and it takes practice to "drop" a load consistently each time (BTW, never "scoop"...it packs the powder into the dipper). With larger cartridges, like the .44 mag, there isn't much difference between 17.5 grains of 2400 and 18 grains. However, for 9mm, there is a big difference between 3.5 grains of 700X and 4.0 grains. Again, get yourself a good book or two and read. Also, I always choose loads below the max. For example, I know that I can drop a load with dippers generally within 0.1 grains consistently. So, if in one example, the load range is 12.5-15 grains, I might choose 14.2 as my target, knowing that if I drop 14.3 or 14.4 I won't exceed the max. I also know I won't go below the minimum (which can also have disastrous results, as strange as that may seem). This is for range shooting. For maximum accuracy and consistency, I weigh each charge (use the dipper for the rough measure, then the trickle dispenser to make up the difference).

    For less than $100 you can get a used press (~$20), dies (~$25-$30), a Lee Auto-Prime (~$15), a set of dippers (~$12) and a digital scale (accurate to 0.1 grains, about $20-$25), which provides everything you need to reload (not counting supplies). That investment will hold you for a lifetime of reloading.

    Oh, BTW, I forgot a caliper on the Optional list above. You may need that to check overall length (OAL) of the cartridge for some bullets.

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    Don't be afraid of cast, but you will need to know a lot of measurements from your individual gun in order to be successful with them.

    As far as cost, I can load 1000 rnds of 9mm for $47

    I used to shoot 200 rnds a month, cost me $42 to do, so I spend an extra 5 and shoot 5 times as much.

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    thx997303 wrote:
    As far as cost, I can load 1000 rnds of 9mm for $47

    OK, tell me how you do that. I load for 9mm also, and here are my cost breakdowns (BTW, I will be conservative on prices and reflect last year's cost, not currently inflated prices):

    Primers -- $30/1000 = $.03/round

    Bullets -- $50/1000 = $.05/round

    Powder -- $20/lb = $20/7000 grains; just to make the math easy, let's say 7 gr/round = $.02/round for powder

    Brass -- let's assume I have a bunch, so $0

    That's $0.10/round or $5/50. So, 1000 rounds would be $100.

    How do you get it down to $47??? Even if you cast, it's still about $3/50. So, I don't see how you reload 1000 9mm rounds for $47.

    I used to use $5/box as my benchmark for 9mm, but now that figure is closer to $7 with the current prices of supplies (primers at $39/1000, powder at $25+/lb, and bullets at $60-$80/1000). So tell me how I can cut my costs by two-thirds!

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    I plan on getting a press in the near future....I'm looking at the Classic loader as just a way to get started and learn a little bit. I never thought about ebay for the press and dies...I'll have to check it out tonight. I'll have to look at the kit when I get home to see how many cc's the dipper is when I get home from work.

    One of the reasons under loading the round is dangerous is that you can actually get a slug stuck in the barrel of your gun without sufficient pressure behind it to propel it...which then leads to only one place for the expanding gas to go...back towards the shooter. In some guns it's more dangerous than others....revolvers for instance. I actually saw this happen a couple of years ago on the range and got into a long discussion with the range master...that's what first got me interested in reloading a few years ago, I just didn't have the time because at the time, I was finishing my degree...now that I'm done...I've got lots of time

    I have a wood shop in my garage so I have all kinds of measuring tools...digital calipers included

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    fully_armed_biker wrote:
    I'm not really looking at reloading as a way to save money, I'm looking at it more as a way to ensure availability of ammo. I can see the antis, at some point, changing their tactics and saying..."Ok...you can have your guns; but, you can't have anything to shoot from them." (Maybe a little bit of what's going on now with the scarcity of ammo?)
    BTW, they will also come after your primers, powder and lead bullets too. Don't fool yourself. We had to stop regulation two years ago that would have severely restricted the transport, display and supply of primers and powder in gun shops. And if you think the ammo shortage was/is bad, you should have seen the impact on primers. People were selling them on Gunbroker for $100/1000!!

    Add tothata Regulatory Czar that believes all hunting should be banned, and look for further taxes and regulatory restrictions on primers and powder next year, and in the years to come. They are already talking about outlawing reloading, since the bullets won't have the micro stamp, or have no accountability since you didn't buy them from "approved" sources. Look at the recent law passed in CA that restricts you to 1 box of 50/month, requires a driver's license to buy, you must sign for it and "register" the ammo you bought, no lead allowed, etc. And look at the current proposed legislation on restricting the amount of ammo one may store in their home (not passed yet, but a form of it is coming) and making it a felony if you don't turn in the excess!

    Dire times ahead, indeed!!

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    fully_armed_biker wrote:
    One of the reasons under loading the round is dangerous is that you can actually get a slug stuck in the barrel of your gun without sufficient pressure behind it to propel it...which then leads to only one place for the expanding gas to go...back towards the shooter.
    Yep, that is one possible consequence. You can also have excessive pressure build up in the chamber. The simplistic explanation is that because the powder doesn't fill the case enough, and there is a higher air to powder ratio, you actually cause an "explosion" of powder, rather than a burn, which leads to very high pressures. Normally, this is seen in larger cases, like the .45-70, rather than pistol cases. But still something to be aware of.

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    Try 30 cents per 50 cast rounds.

    I buy wheelweights, and 100 lbs of wheelweights costs me $20 to $30 dollars.

    That works out to 30 cents a pound, and when casting 125 gr boolits, you get 56 125 gr rounds to an exact pound, figuring around 6 for loss of dross.

    It's very simple really.

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    fully_armed_biker wrote:
    I plan on getting a press in the near future....I'm looking at the Classic loader as just a way to get started and learn a little bit. I never thought about ebay for the press and dies...I'll have to check it out tonight. I'll have to look at the kit when I get home to see how many cc's the dipper is when I get home from work.

    One of the reasons under loading the round is dangerous is that you can actually get a slug stuck in the barrel of your gun without sufficient pressure behind it to propel it...which then leads to only one place for the expanding gas to go...back towards the shooter. In some guns it's more dangerous than others....revolvers for instance. I actually saw this happen a couple of years ago on the range and got into a long discussion with the range master...that's what first got me interested in reloading a few years ago, I just didn't have the time because at the time, I was finishing my degree...now that I'm done...I've got lots of time

    I have a wood shop in my garage so I have all kinds of measuring tools...digital calipers included
    Biker, don't fool yourself. A friend got me into reloading in his basment. He told me about our local gun shop selling reloading equipment on consignment. I started out with a Dillion 550 Progressive,5 die sets that would handle 7 calibers...ALL FOR $300! Granted that was back in 1998. You don't have to start out with hand load equipment and work up. Hell I probably would not have started if wasn't for the progressive reloader. All I had to buy additional was the tumbler, scale, and additional dies.

    As it is now I need to clean and reset all my equipment as I've had a couple years of deployments in the way of shooting.



  21. #21
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    For you guys that cast your own "boolits" I am not seeing expenseand the extra time for sizing, lubing, and adding gas-checks to the projectile listed. (you are sizing and lubing, right?)

    I load all my own, I started with a 22-250 "Lee Loader" which is basically a single multi purpose die that only sizes the neck of the cartridge, It turned out the most accurate ammo I have ever fired, But it is tedious work.

    I upgraded to a 3-hole progressive LEE turret press, and use a powder measure that drops powder right through my expanding die. I use the Lee hand primer to get my cases primed first for the ease of using it.

    LEE sells a great kit for a single caliber in most of their presses, and yu can add trrets and dies to fit anything on top of that.

    Primers for small pistol rounds are still hard to find, I got lucky and bought a few thousand a couple years back, and using those little by little if I cannot find primers on the shelves.

  22. #22
    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    Well of course I am lubing and sizing. I just only count materials since I see the casting, lubing, and sizing as a hobby, not work.

    Though to be fair, I think the lube may add $5 to the thousand, and that's a very liberal guess.

    And yes, it's boolits when you talk about casting.

    bullets are those j word things.

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    Biker,

    Since you live in Hampton Roads, one suggestion I can make is that you call Superior Pawn on Virginia Beach Blvd and ask to talk with Jerry. He's been reloading for decades, and he is an NRA Certified Reloading instructor as well. I'm sure he'd be delighted to line up a class with you, and then you can learn what you're doing before you sink money into gear.

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    Start with the book ABC's of Reloading. It describes all the steps conceptually and practically, then you can get reloading books, equipment, supplies and components as you determine what will be best for you.

    I will give you my experience. I bought a progressive reloading thinking I would jump straight to the production line level. Don't. Buy a single stage press and learn how everything works first.

    Your Humble Servant,

    useful_idiot

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