reloading advice

reloading advice

Postby czub » Mon, 07 Nov 2011 09:46:08

Im now seriously considering getting into reloading and need some advice. I will be reloading .40/10mm for now with others soon to follow i'm sure. I can narrow it down further by saying i am a perfectionist and have no desire to quickly produce lots of rounds. So I'm looking at single stage press kits, reading up and it seems lee, though cheap, are not "bad" presses.
I guess the issue is more will they produce good consistant ammo if i do my part?
What about their cheap beam scale? should i just peice together a kit with a better scale?
Powder trickler?
Dail calipers/digital?
Any concerns I might be missing?


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Re: reloading advice

Postby M1A4ME » Mon, 07 Nov 2011 19:19:36

I've been using a Lee press (don't know the model number) for a couple of years along side my RCBS press. I use the Lee for handgun reloading and .223 rifle reloading. No issues so far with the press. I also use Lee carbide dies in .45 acp, 9mm and .40 S&W.

Are you getting a powder measure? I've got three different brands of measures and the only one that works worth a darn is the RCBS uni-flo. I'm using a Lyman scale right now. Works great. Can't speak one way or the other about the Lee scale.

I use the Lee primer tool as well. Still working great after all these years.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby Jakeiscrazy » Mon, 07 Nov 2011 22:01:21

czub wrote:Im now seriously considering getting into reloading and need some advice. I will be reloading .40/10mm for now with others soon to follow i'm sure. I can narrow it down further by saying i am a perfectionist and have no desire to quickly produce lots of rounds. So I'm looking at single stage press kits, reading up and it seems lee, though cheap, are not "bad" presses.
I guess the issue is more will they produce good consistant ammo if i do my part?
What about their cheap beam scale? should i just peice together a kit with a better scale?
Powder trickler?
Dail calipers/digital?
Any concerns I might be missing?

As far as the Calipers good. The dial style tend to break from what I have read and the vernier style are hard to read although the most durable. That leaves digital style the only downside is replacing your batteries. You can get gauge blocks to ensure that it's still accurate every time you go to use it. From the reviews this one seems pretty nice http://www.amazon.com/Neiko-Stainless-D ... cr_pr_pb_t.
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Re: reloading advice

Postby czub » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:00:22

Thanks for the info so far. Great stuff. I have heard not to use powder dippers but never a reason, so I plan to get a measure. I may use the lee that comes with the kit, I have read ball powder meters better so I might just start out with that. Anyone know who has the best prices on at least plated bullets? $51 for 500 135gr rainier plated are the cheapest .40 I have found. Nosler has a good price, $74 for 500 135gr jhp.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby M1A4ME » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 07:07:55

What are you reloading it for? I recently tried some of the plated bullets (Rainier and Berry's) in my Glock and the groups were more like patterns from a shot gun. They went every which direction and made funny looking holes in the paper (already starting to tumble???).

I'm going to try the plated bullets in my BDM and I've bought some Hornady bullets for the Glock.

Just thought I'd share in case you're reloading for a Glock.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby ShadowByte » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 08:11:43

I started reloading earlier this year and did quite a bit of research prior to jumping into it. I eventually went with the Lee Classic 4-hole Turret press (get the classic if you do, it is built like a tank). I like it a lot and love the fact I can turn it into a single stage press in 2 seconds, or I can have it as a turret press. I used it in single stage to get the hang of things in the beginning, which made me comfortable with how things worked and the various stages. Its also fairly inexpensive compared to the other brands, so it makes for a nice starter press that will last a long time.

Lee makes a powder measure that loads through the die and works fairly consistently with the powder I have used (titegroup), off by .01 grain at times, but it could also be my scale. If you go this route, make sure to do several dummy powder loads prior to the real thing, usually 5. It takes a little bit at the start to get consistent, but after 5 it is usually good. They make a primer loader that works fairly well too, once you get it setup right and get the movement down.

I like how you can swap out turrets as well, as a friend and I use it for two different size dies, so I don't need to readjust anything when we switch between the two. Plus when I start reloading .223, I just need to get another turret plate and the dies and I can swap that out as well.

Good reloading manuals are another thing, accurate data is imperative to have.

Definitely take it slow and check your work in the beginning, grain weights/OAL, etc. Once you are more confident, then you can spot check every few, etc. I posted back in Feb/March on here and there was a lot of good advice thrown out in that thread as well, definitely give it a look too.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby czub » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 13:26:42

M1A4ME wrote:What are you reloading it for? I recently tried some of the plated bullets (Rainier and Berry's) in my Glock and the groups were more like patterns from a shot gun. They went every which direction and made funny looking holes in the paper (already starting to tumble???).

I'm going to try the plated bullets in my BDM and I've bought some Hornady bullets for the Glock.

Just thought I'd share in case you're reloading for a Glock.

Yeah, for a glock 20 with kkm barrels in .40 and 10mm. Maybe they do better with conventional rifling? Do you think they were bad undersized to do that poorly, lopsided, or what?

Another thing I have been trying to get a handle on is what are the deal breakers as far as case damage? Besides the hugely obvious like splits, seperations, and totally mangled. Do the cases with little dings from hitting the slide on extraction get tossed? What about slightly D shaped case mouths?


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Re: reloading advice

Postby Palladin » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 19:08:21

Proofmark Plateds cut one ragged hole at 25' w/ my 45XD, as long as I load them like cast lead.

D mouths are okay if they'll go into the resizing die.

I love my Frankford Arsenal case gauge - If the completed round drops in the gauge with a 'snick' I know it will chamber flawlessly in my gun. I can feel with my thumb whether or not the headspace is right. Same with the OAL. If the cartridge doesn't drop in because of a nick on the rim from the ejector, I just spin the it around and insert it backwards, using the case gauge as a deburring tool. All completed rounds go thru the case gauge. I have digital calipers, but only use them during setup.

Again, this is in a 45XD, 40 Glock Mileage may vary. Some folks would probably say I'm off topic.

Read, read, read. :coffee:
Attention to detail is paramount with fast burning pistol powders.
Here's and old post from when I just got started reloading. post20023.html?hilit=%20case%20mouth#p20023

I straightened and reloaded the dinged cases in the pics - they split when fired. I toss those cases now, I personally don't think it's worth it.
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Re: reloading advice

Postby czub » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 20:40:36

Palladin wrote:I straightened and reloaded the dinged cases in the pics - they split when fired. I toss those cases now, I personally don't think it's worth it

Thanks for the info.
I don't have any cases nearly that bad, just small dents about a third of the way down on most of my 10mm cases. None of the .40s have them.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby jihgwt » Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:31:52

Digital powder scale is the way to go ...try ebay.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby jdonovan » Mon, 14 Nov 2011 09:15:48

Maybe they do better with conventional rifling? Do you think they were bad undersized to do that poorly, lopsided, or what?


One of the common mistakes with the plated bullets is to use jacketed bullet loading data. What you need to do is use all-lead load recipes. The plating is very thin and easily damaged if pushed too fast.

Another thing I have been trying to get a handle on is what are the deal breakers as far as case damage? Besides the hugely obvious like splits, seperations, and totally mangled. Do the cases with little dings from hitting the slide on extraction get tossed? What about slightly D shaped case mouths?


Just about anything that will resize to new-looking I'll reuse. Mouth dents more than about 1/3 diameter I'll toss, cracks, splits, large bulges all goto the bucket for the scrap dealer.

I'll also strongly suggest the digital scale. They are not much more than the beam scales and much faster to use.

I'd prefer one that can utilize check weights and be calibrated at the start of each loading session. Especially with pistol ammo being off 1/2 a grain is a big deal when you are using charges in the 3-5gr range.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby jrswanson1 » Thu, 17 Nov 2011 13:49:52

I've never had a problem using the Lee dippers since I didn't use them for max/bleeding edge handloads. I still have all of my fingers and eyes. I like Lee pistol die sets, their 10mm set has worked for me since 1991. Single stage presses are what I always recommend for beginners. Get the basics down first, then move to the high speed/low drag progressives. I'd recommend getting an RCBS Partner Press, since it's a basic O style press. And get a decent digital press that plugs in. I've had problems with digital presses that run strictly off of batteries.

If you have the budget, though, get the RCBS Rockchucker kit. Don't get the least expensive one, and don't get the most expensive one. The mid priced version has everything you need expect the dies and expendables. And get a separate digital scale. The analog ones only go up to a certain weight, and you can't check bullet weights with them.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby 38superfan » Wed, 30 Nov 2011 08:07:12

I've really just got everything set-up for reloading in the last few months. I went with a Lee single stage, Lee carbide dies (45acp) and the Lee Ram Prime set (which is awesome!). The only regret is that I bought a Hornady Cam-Lock Trimmer. It was a pain to get it set-up the first time, but I eventually found some videos on YouTube and got it straightened out. The other downside is cranking through trimmimg 50 cases at a time will eventually give me carpal tunnel syndrome and it already hurts my elbow. Maybe there is a powered solution...that's probably my next purchase.

I took my time getting all of the equipment because I couldn't afford to buy everything at once. I made a bench out of plywood, 2x6's and 2x4's once I got all of the equipment.

That being said...I went to The Range in Stafford last saturday with 150 rounds that I worked up and they all fired flawlessly (and accurately!). It only cost me $8 to shoot and I'll reload the cases again.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby JoeLittleBear » Thu, 08 Dec 2011 09:55:58

Been reloading since 1968.....Started with the Lee loader....which involves using a plastic mallet....using various hand held punches....not only is this device painfully slow but it has a propensity to occasionally detonate the primer being installed...not only does this cause one to jump abruptly but it has earned myself several sessions of being roundly and soundly cussed by my wife, particularly if she was sleeping at the time this happened....There was no physical danger to oneself since the powder had not been installed at this stage...except the threat of a frying pan being administered to one's head by an angry wife.... My next move was to purchase a single stage press....which worked quite nicely....however, it requires performing one single task,....such as depriming , sizing , and re-priming..to all the unloaded casings involved before changing dies and going to the next stage which is charging the cases with powder,,....then changing dies again to perform the final stage of loading the bullet into the cases... My problem is : you can easily invest half or two-thirds of your money into a single-stage set-up....when ...for a few dollars more...you could have had a turrent press with an auto- index system which will automatically rotate to the next stage....with about three strokes of the press handle...you have a finished round...cartridge,...or "bullet" ( in the street venacular ) My advice is: ....You know you are going to want this later....and now you have your money invested in the single stage set-up..... it pays to shop....and I don't mean just E-bay....some of those sellers want the full purchase price or more for used equipment and you have a used product,....shipping charges...and NO warranties... Check with reputable dealers like Titan Reloading, MidwayUSA...and even LEE Precision....who manufacture Lee Reloading Products..... I found that I could buy a new 4 hole turrent press for $ 61.oo with $ 5.00 shipping charges and have it delivered to my home... a set of dies in whatever caliber you choose can be bought new for $ 17.00 from Titan or Midway....sometimes for $ 5.00 if you shop on E-bay....( Check Free Shipping . com ) to get your shipping charges.....up to $10.oo per purchase back ) Best to buy primers and powder at gunshows....common carriers like UPS can charge $ 25.00 "Hazardous Chemical " fee on a single pound of gunpowder or a box of primers... empty cartridge cases...and bullets are exempt from this charge... Watch for sales.....from Midway, Titan and others....often you can buy for 50% off normal prices....You should definitely have SCALES for accurate loading...not necessary to have digital scales....the beam scales can weigh powder charges to 1/10 of a grain...( 7000 grains to a pound ) .....The most important thing is to have consistent charges.....doesn't matter so much if your scale is 1/2 grain different from someone else's.....just that each of your loads are equal to each other...AND...be sure to buy a RELOADING Manual....which will tell you where the minimum and MAXIMUM amounts of each type powder are allowed... Trust me....you DON'T want a firearm to blow up in your face.....this involves pressures of 50,000 or more... Good Luck and Happy Reloading.... Joe LittleBear....lakota51@verizon.net


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Re: reloading advice

Postby JoeLittleBear » Thu, 08 Dec 2011 10:06:48

Begging your pardon Sir....but I have been reloading since 1968 and I often check the weight of loose bullets on my Lyman D-5 beam type scale, .....up to 500 grains..... to be sure they are returned to the proper box....I also have a complete set of the Lee dippers and have found that they always measure out on the LOW end of the loading scale....this is smart on the part of Lee so as not to be liable for an overload...I heartily recommend a scale to insure consistent loading ...yet having the sufficient power for the proper functioning of autoloading rifles and pistols.....
jrswanson1 wrote:I've never had a problem using the Lee dippers since I didn't use them for max/bleeding edge handloads. I still have all of my fingers and eyes. I like Lee pistol die sets, their 10mm set has worked for me since 1991. Single stage presses are what I always recommend for beginners. Get the basics down first, then move to the high speed/low drag progressives. I'd recommend getting an RCBS Partner Press, since it's a basic O style press. And get a decent digital press that plugs in. I've had problems with digital presses that run strictly off of batteries.

If you have the budget, though, get the RCBS Rockchucker kit. Don't get the least expensive one, and don't get the most expensive one. The mid priced version has everything you need expect the dies and expendables. And get a separate digital scale. The analog ones only go up to a certain weight, and you can't check bullet weights with them.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby JoeLittleBear » Thu, 08 Dec 2011 10:20:21

If you want a good set of digital calipers at budget prices...Get out your telephone book....or go on line and see if there is a Harbor Freight store in your area.....I bought a digital caliper on sale for $12.95 which had vbeen marked down from $29.95 and find it is consistent with a set by Starrett....which cost ten times more.....certainally accurate enough for your use....
Jakeiscrazy wrote:
czub wrote:Im now seriously considering getting into reloading and need some advice. I will be reloading .40/10mm for now with others soon to follow i'm sure. I can narrow it down further by saying i am a perfectionist and have no desire to quickly produce lots of rounds. So I'm looking at single stage press kits, reading up and it seems lee, though cheap, are not "bad" presses.
I guess the issue is more will they produce good consistant ammo if i do my part?
What about their cheap beam scale? should i just peice together a kit with a better scale?
Powder trickler?
Dail calipers/digital?
Any concerns I might be missing?

As far as the Calipers good. The dial style tend to break from what I have read and the vernier style are hard to read although the most durable. That leaves digital style the only downside is replacing your batteries. You can get gauge blocks to ensure that it's still accurate every time you go to use it. From the reviews this one seems pretty nice http://www.amazon.com/Neiko-Stainless-D ... cr_pr_pb_t.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby JoeLittleBear » Thu, 08 Dec 2011 10:35:58

If you are using an autoloader....dings in the side of the case and the mouths of the cases being malformed are most likely caused by " stovepiping " that is...the powder charge is so low that the slide doesn't come all the way back and the end of the empty case gets caught in the slide as it closes on the next round....You should weigh your powder charges on a scale and please use a reloading manual, such as the Lyman 49th edition.....don't use the minumum or the MAXIMUM charge....use something midrange....EXAMPLE : For the .40 cal.S & W......Using UNIQUE powder with a 180 grain jacked HP the range is 4.9 grains minimum to 5.6 MAXIMUM......I like a 5.2 ( FIVE and two-tenths ) grain load.....operated consistently in Stoger, Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Ruger handguns...
jdonovan wrote:
Maybe they do better with conventional rifling? Do you think they were bad undersized to do that poorly, lopsided, or what?


One of the common mistakes with the plated bullets is to use jacketed bullet loading data. What you need to do is use all-lead load recipes. The plating is very thin and easily damaged if pushed too fast.

Another thing I have been trying to get a handle on is what are the deal breakers as far as case damage? Besides the hugely obvious like splits, seperations, and totally mangled. Do the cases with little dings from hitting the slide on extraction get tossed? What about slightly D shaped case mouths?


Just about anything that will resize to new-looking I'll reuse. Mouth dents more than about 1/3 diameter I'll toss, cracks, splits, large bulges all goto the bucket for the scrap dealer.

I'll also strongly suggest the digital scale. They are not much more than the beam scales and much faster to use.

I'd prefer one that can utilize check weights and be calibrated at the start of each loading session. Especially with pistol ammo being off 1/2 a grain is a big deal when you are using charges in the 3-5gr range.


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Re: reloading advice

Postby HighExpert » Sat, 23 Feb 2013 20:11:16

The dents "can" be caused by low charges but just as often are caused by the ejection port of the firearm. This is why the port is lowered on just about all .45acp competition guns. It allows the brass to escape without banging into the slide as it comes back into battery. Lots of "carry", "street" guns have the problem of denting the casings.. It is no big deal, they straighten out nicely. Most of what I have read in this thread is right on. Above all, keep asking questions. Good Shooting.

P.S. My favorite loads for .40S&W are:
.40 S&W
JHP 155gr
6.5 Unique
1.118 OAL
1120 FPS

.40 S&W Practice
JHP/JFP 155gr
5.7 Bullseye
1.118 OAL
890 FPS


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Re: reloading advice

Postby M1A4ME » Sun, 24 Feb 2013 08:39:45

Hadn't been back to this one for awhile.

My plated bullet loads (Berry's and Rainers both) work great in the Browning, both XDMs and the new M&P. I had to get a Wolf barrel for the Glock to get groups vs. patterns (some of the bullets were tumbling at as little as 8 or 10 yds. when fired from the Glock. Its just a barrel thing with the Glocks and the replacement barrels from other makers "fix" that problem for me.


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