New to rifle and pistol reloading

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Skeeter225, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Skeeter225

    Skeeter225 New Member

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    Hey ya'll,
    I have loaded shot shells for several years and am wanting to start reloading rifle and pistol rounds as well. Can someone point me in the right direction to get started? I plan on reloading .223, .300WinMag, .308, .338LM, .40SW, and .45.
    What I have been reading and have looked at this is a lot different than loading shot shells for duck season. Thanks.
     
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    Its much more straight forward to reload brass cartridges than shot shells.

    I'd seriously consider implementing a method to detect "double charges" in the pistol cartridges before seating the bullet.
     
  3. Skeeter225

    Skeeter225 New Member

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    Seems kind of confusing right now. I keep hearing folks talk about whether or not to use F/L or neck dies, someone told me not to use a progressive loader while someone else says its ok. Any input on what I need to get started would be a big help. I do use a progressive loader for shot shells.
     
  4. Shortmagman

    Shortmagman Well-Known Member

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    I use a Dillion Progressive press to load all my handgun rounds, and I load from a 32 HR mag. up to and including a 454. For all my rifles, from 223 up to and including a 338 Win Mag I use a single stage press.

    Since you are just starting I would recommend that you buy a single stage press. You can do all you loading on that press. If and when you want to load you pistol rounds on a progressive you will have learned a lot you can go and buy yourself a progressive, and I like the Dillions. I know people that use the 550 to load 223 ammo that they shoot in matches out to 600 yds..


    As far as dies are concerned buy the f/L first then as you learn more you can add a neck sizer for certain rounds.
     
  5. Skeeter225

    Skeeter225 New Member

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    Thanks for the input. That is pretty consistent with what others have said when I asked. Can't wait to get started, but, don't want to I want to make sure I have all the info and materials I need before load the first round.
     
  6. g0rd0

    g0rd0 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds as if you are no stranger to progesive reloading. Shot shell reloading is way more complacated that cartredge, I started with shotgun and left it many years ago (around here unless you have a poor supply of shells it really dosn't pay to reload shot shells).
    Saying that and with experiance with reloading shot shells if you I would get myself a Dillon 650 or a hornady locknload. Both can be used as a single stage and both reload pistol and rifle with easy change over. Hornady locknload changes over easyer than Dillon (IMO for what that is worth).
    Both Dillon and Hornady have excellent customer service
     
  7. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest that you purchase a Sierra loading manual. Read the section on how to reload two or three times. It will tell you what you need to reload with and it has suggested accuracy and hunting loads that I have found are pretty much on the money. This will save you a lot of work looking for a load. I would start out with a single stage press. Sometimes you can find them at gun shows or shops used. I would get one that is made of cast iron or steel not aluminum. I would get a beam scale like the RCBS 505. STAY AWAY FROM THE LEE POWDER SCALE. Digital scales are too much of a pain in the bum for beginners. I have been hand loading everything for about 35 years and have used most makers stuff. Lee does make some good stuff like dies and hand priming tool that is cheaper than most. If loading for a semi auto pistol round I would suggest that you get a set of Lee CARBIDE dies with the LEE FACTORY CRIMP DIE included. This factory crimp die will solve a lot of head scratching trying to get your rounds to function. To start out you will need to get full length dies for rifles then down the road you may want to play with neck sizing, progressive loaders etc. It is kind of like when you wanted to get your drivers license. Learn to drive the family car first then some time down the road you may want to get a hot rod to play with. One other piece of advice I will pass on to you. Search for accuracy first in a load. Velocity will take care of it's self. Best accuracy in rifles rounds is usually for me found between 1 and 2 grains of powder below max listed loads. If you want to start out with all new load tools one of the best kits for the money I have seen is from Midway USA (midwayusa.com). It is the Lyman Crusher 2 Single Stage Press (Expert Kit) Product # (564-020) It runs around $330.00 Good luck and good shooting.
     
  8. RickInFL

    RickInFL Active Member

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    I do the same ... load all of my pistol cartridges with a Dillon 650 and load my rifle (thus far only .270 Win) on a Lee single stage press and would second Shortmagman's suggestion of starting out on a single stage press and maybe moving up to a progressive at a later date. You'll more than likely find that the single stage will still get plenty of use.
     
  9. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Hey Roy...

    Around here we call that a flashlight with a focused beam.....lol
     
  10. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Lets distill this down a bit and simplify things in as much as you are starting out (and probably on a budget...

    Go get yourself a single stage press, RCBS Rockchucker, Lee, Lyman, preferrably any brand that comes as a 'complete kit'. Myself, I use an RCBS Rockchucker and always will because it will outlast me.

    While Dillon builds a nice machine, it's expensive and Dillon's have proprietary features, get a press that you can use any manufacturers dies in and thats NOT a Dillon, especially not starting out...

    Keep it simple, no press priming, no multiple station (turrett) presses. Single stage die changout.

    Purchase a loading manual, all the manufacturers publish them. I recommend Sierra or Berger but I have all of them because I use every manufacturers bullets and each manufacturer has on staff paid ballisticians that spend countless hours perfecting various loads for their bullets, always start out with their recommendations.

    Your listed calibers encompass both straight wall (pistol cases) and bottleneck (rifle cases). Each design takes different dies and procedures.

    Typical straight walled pistol brass takes a 3 or 4 die set and typical bottleneck cases take a 3 die set. Straight walled cases will have a sizer die (with decapping pin), a seater die and a crimp die and some have a powder through loading die (Lee). Bottleneck cases take a Neck Sizer die, a full length sizer die and a bullet seater die. Decapping pins come with all die sets btw.

    Starting out, forget about bushing dies and bump dies and micrometer bullet seaters that comes later. Get the basics, learn the basics and read the reloading manuals first, every manual will have a section explaining reloading and what to do and what not to do..

    Bottleneck cases 'grow' with each ignition so you'll need a trim die or a case trimmer (go read my review on the WFT trimmer in the review section of this forum). Straight wall cases usually don't 'grow'.

    But keep it simple at first. single stage press and die sets.

    As an aside, I have always used a beam scale (the one that RCBS offers with their Rockchucker Supreme Reloading kit and I've never had an issue. While it's not fast, I don't reload fast. Getting in a hurry is an invitation for disaster like a double load...lol

    The key to reloading in any caliber is take your time, follow the instructions in the reloading manuals and above all check and recheck your loads (powder) in your cases and COAL.

    Must haves...
    *Correct (for caliber) die sets
    *Reloading Press
    *Powder scale
    *Powder charging tool (for throwing charges)
    *Primer seating tool
    *Calipers (digital or analog) for checking case length and COAL
    *Case lube (for bottleneck cases)(straight wall pistol cases don't need lubed to size)
    *Caliber specific trim die or case trimmer (for bottleneck cases)
    *A dedicated loading bench or somewhere where you can concentrate and arrange your components without interruption....

    Forget about all the fancy stuff for now and concentrate and get proficient on the basics, then progress to the finer points like case annealing, bushing dies, bumping shoulders, stainless tumbling, flash hole deburring, VLD case mouths and all the things that proficient reloaders do to increase accuracy (and spend more money:D)

    If I were you (I'm not and I realize that), I'd get a complete starter kit like the RCBS Rockchucker Supreme or the Lyman or a Lee complete starter kit. All will have the basic, necessary tools and components (except die sets), to get you started and all come with their specific manufacturers reloading manuals.
     
  11. Skeeter225

    Skeeter225 New Member

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    Thanks for the info ya'll. I have three books on the way already. Pretty sure I ordered the Sierra one with them. I figure ya can't learn too much. Lol.
     
  12. sandbar782

    sandbar782 Well-Known Member

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    I too went from reloading shotshells (~16 yrs) for trapshooting to reloading rifle cartridges in the last 12 months. The advice given here is perfect, 100%. Read the manual, get all the components, then get started. Good luck.