reloading equipment decisions

reloading equipment decisions

Postby Remek » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 10:19:48

I should start by saying I have purchased a couple of reloading manuals.

I wish to start reloading my .45, 9mm, and 5.56x39. The only experience I have with reloading is using my dad's equipment and supplies to reload shot shells.

I am reading and finding that there are way too many choices, and chances for dissatisfaction for me to make a reasoned first decision on equipment.

My original thought was to buy a deluxe kit from RBCS, but I am unsure from reading about the quality of the components. I'd rather have a component that works and not care for it too much than to have one I like but breaks down.

Is there a reference on any site, or a book, recommending particular components for reloading?

Any advice would be appreciated.
"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
Thomas Jefferson


National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Member   Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member   Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Member  
User avatar
Remek
VGOF Silver Supporter
VGOF Silver Supporter
 
Posts: 1065
Joined: Mon, 03 Jun 2013 13:59:57
Location: Fredericksburg, or that is the nearest recognizable locale
First Name: Rob

My Arsenal:
An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

Next Firearm:
I would never touch something like that!

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby Palladin » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 12:53:12

You pretty much get what you pay for... determine your get started budget, and go from there. Then later, when you want to ramp up production,

Dillon Dillon Dillon. :thumbsup:
Now is the time for all good men to get off their rusty dustys...


User avatar
Palladin
VGOF Platinum Supporter
VGOF Platinum Supporter
 
Posts: 4154
Joined: Mon, 05 Oct 2009 22:06:43
Location: Louisa
First Name: Glen

My Arsenal:
Wrist Rocket and a pocket full of 00buck...

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby NovaHunter » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 15:35:05

I started on the deluxe RCBS kits, and now have two Rockchucker presses; they are strong and haven't had any issues with them. The second one I got was my best friend's Grandad's that I bought from the family after the Grandad passed away. It's got to be at least 20 years old and haven't had any issues using new dies or anything in it.

My advice to anyone starting out reloading is to start on a Single stage first. It takes a lot longer to load on one vs a progressive, but you really learn each step very intricately. And, more importantly you make mistakes on each step that affect 1 loaded cartridge as opposed to potentially a few dozen if you make a mistake and don't catch it on a progressive. It's easier to fine tune loads on a single stage and then once you have a load you like buy a progressive and set it up to do that particular load in volume. I think alot of mistakes are made with guys dumping tons of money and buying the biggest, highest cyclic rate progressive press they can afford and thinking they'll be able to turn out 500- 700 rnds in an hour. You can turn out 700 rnds an hour on a Dillon 1050, but you better darn well know what to look and feel for otherwise it's easy to get squibs or bad crimps or no primers seated, etc....

After loading a few hundred rounds of .45 ACP on the Single stage RCBS I got a Dillon Square Deal B and set it up for 45 ACP and just leave it for only that round. I can load about 200 rounds an hour on it, which is fine for the amount of shooting I do with my 1911, and the loads are +or- .1 grains at that cyclic rate. I now use my Single stage to load .308 Win, .223, and 300 BLK.

I like Dillon alot. I've also used the 1050, and it's a great machine when it's running but troubleshooting it can be a big pain in the arse. Would not recommend it at all for someone new to reloading.

Once I started loading there's a bunch of things I added along the way. I added a RCBS manual trimmer as trimming is pretty much required for bottleneck cartridges. Added a powder trickler as well after spending way too much time adjusting powder loads with tweezers or small spoons. If you are processing your own brass you will need a tumbler. An electric powder dispenser and scale is on my list for Christmas and would greatly speed of my loading of rifle rounds on my Single Stage. A kinetic bullet puller is a helpful tool for taking apart the Eff up cartridges. If you are reloading mil-spec brass for 9mm or 5.56 then you will probably be working with crimped military primer pockets, so you will want to buy a tool that swages the primer pocket. There are cheap hand tools that make this task very manual, or you can buy $350 brass processing centers that trimm, debur, and swage and all you have to do is hold the brass in the station. Depends on your budget and how much time you want to spend doing minute tasks.

Above all though, be safe, pay very careful attention to EVERY round you load, and stay within the limits of published load data. It's a fun hobby to get in to.

Ryan
Ryan Gleason

Sic Semper Tyrannis


User avatar
NovaHunter
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Shooter
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 12:58:14

My Arsenal:
SAR-XV Centurion
SAR-SV Gladius
Kimber 1911
Sig P229
Remington PSS
Remington 700 BDL
Mauser K98
M1 Garand
Other Misc firearms purchased over the years....

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby jdonovan » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 23:01:36

I'm a NRA certified reloading instructor, and I'll be running a class later this Fall/Early winter. I've got 4-5 others interested, and need to cap the class at 6 due to space constraints.

Generally you get what you pay for. There are lower priced brands that make serviceable equipment, that are fine for occasional, lower volume use. And there are higher end options like the Dillon previously mentioned, but a well setup dillon and supporting equipment can set you back more than a nice AR-15.

IMO the sweet spot in the price/quality curve is the hornday/rcbs/lyman tier. Solid quality equipment that doesn't cost a mint, and if taken care of can be willed to your kids.

When your reloading exceeds 1000 rounds per month, there are other choices, but for the non-competition shooter, a single stage press, or a manual index progressive will likely keep you well supplied with ammo.


User avatar
jdonovan
VGOF Gold Supporter
VGOF Gold Supporter
 
Posts: 1956
Joined: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 10:03:02

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby splode » Thu, 24 Oct 2013 03:20:46

All these guys are pretty much hitting it on the head. As you progress your shooting volume will dictate what direction you need to go.

I started reloading on a Lee Classic Turret a little over a year ago. I like the Lee because it seemed like a nice middle ground between single stage and progressives, all at a reasonable pricepoint. You set your dies into the removable turret and you can swap calibers in seconds. It auto indexes and spits out about 100 pistol/revolver cartridges per hour (YMWV). You can even pull the auto index rod out and it functions like a single stage. That's very helpful when batch loading rifle cartridges. All in all it was a good learning experience and helped me understand and fine tune the craft.

But, as I reloaded more, I shot more. Then I started doing steel matches, burning through ammo, and that's when it hit me... Man, I'd really like a progressive... and eventually, I will get one, but I won't retire the Lee. It will still have a long and productive life on my workbench.


Active, Reserve or Veteran of the United States Air Force  
splode
Pot Shot
Pot Shot
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 04:07:33

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby Remek » Thu, 24 Oct 2013 09:42:18

Thanks guys, that info is very helpful!

The reason I have decided to reload is because my shooting (handgun) has gone from 400-600/week down to less than 50. The prices are getting better, but I have learned now, and I want to weather storms like last year.

Money is not a big problem for me, yet. Luckily I have a well paying job and stability (for now).

I don't want to get into the >$1000 range up front, but having the ability to expand is nice. Having the option is always good.

I have been reading a ton lately, and though many advise against it, I am leaning to a progressive system so I can pump out volumes in short time frames (time is precious to me, and 400-600 rounds/week, where I want to be again, would mean a lot if I can only pump out 100 an hour).

@jdonovan: I am unsure if I can attend, it would depend on where and when, but I am PM-ing you for more information. Thanks!

@everyone: thanks! you are being most helpful!
"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
Thomas Jefferson


National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Member   Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member   Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Member  
User avatar
Remek
VGOF Silver Supporter
VGOF Silver Supporter
 
Posts: 1065
Joined: Mon, 03 Jun 2013 13:59:57
Location: Fredericksburg, or that is the nearest recognizable locale
First Name: Rob

My Arsenal:
An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

Next Firearm:
I would never touch something like that!

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby jdonovan » Thu, 24 Oct 2013 23:53:34

Remek wrote:I have been reading a ton lately, and though many advise against it, I am leaning to a progressive system so I can pump out volumes in short time frames (time is precious to me, and 400-600 rounds/week, where I want to be again, would mean a lot if I can only pump out 100 an hour).


The cost of a good single stage press is $100-$150 ish. I think just about all of us active reloaders still have a single stage press, and still use it, even though there are bigger faster presses on the bench. So a single stage isn't 'wasted money'.

If you just want to go progressive, I can't say enough good things about a dillon 550b. And at $450, its a good deal on a progressive thats going to be hard to out grow. Until you're running 2000+ a month, the 550 will keep up. The dillon numbering system bears a bit of relation to cartridges / hour. I can say a 550 will do 500/ hour but it might take an hour to get all the supplies staged and ready to go to hit that 500/hour, but it is possible.

If you could give 2-3 hours a month, the 400-600 range is easily achievable on a 550b. Single stage 75-100/hour is a realistic target. All a question of how much time you want to put in.

So my bench at home...

forester co-ax (single stage, used for load prototyping, and low volume high precision loads)
dillon 550b - used mostly for mid-volume stuff. I'll run 100 hunting loads here, do some higher volume of loads the co-ax has worked up
dillon 1050 - HIGH VOLUME stuff. Its setup with a motor, case feeder, bullet feeder etc.. This press will run 1000+/hour, and unless I'm doing a run of 4k+ I don't even set it up to run... lower volumes get run on the 550.
To get that 1000/hour its a full time job keeping it fed with components, and there is _NO_ down time for the operator.


User avatar
jdonovan
VGOF Gold Supporter
VGOF Gold Supporter
 
Posts: 1956
Joined: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 10:03:02

Re: reloading equipment decisions

Postby Remek » Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:52:50

Thanks J. I understand from your post that the 550b seems the way to go if I want to go progressive. Not that I "want" to go progressive (it's always nice to save money), but if I want to get back to proficiency on my handgun, I feel I need to shoot 400-600 rounds/week. At that rate, from what you are saying, a single stage means 4-6 hours/week + setup time, but the progressive would be more like 1.5 hours (once up to speed) + setup time. I think that speaks for itself, and it conforms to what I have read on the 'net.

I am still crunching, and there is no rush. I might even get to your course without one. But at this moment, it sounds like the 550b is the way to go.
"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
Thomas Jefferson


National Rifle Association (NRA) Member   Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Member   Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA) Member   Gun Owners of America (GOA) Member   Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) Member  
User avatar
Remek
VGOF Silver Supporter
VGOF Silver Supporter
 
Posts: 1065
Joined: Mon, 03 Jun 2013 13:59:57
Location: Fredericksburg, or that is the nearest recognizable locale
First Name: Rob

My Arsenal:
An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

Next Firearm:
I would never touch something like that!



Return to Ammunition and Reloading

Who is online

Registered users: Google [Bot]

Please Support
Our Sponsors