Starting out on a budget

jimbires

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
1,695
Location
clearfield county , Pa
I'm not sure what's included in the newer reloading books . I taught myself to reload by reading a Lyman reloading manual that came with my starter kit , this was 1976 . it had a section that explained the process fairly well . there used to be a book titled the ABC's of reloading , not sure if it's still in print . I think you need a book that explains the very basics to get started .
 

XSIVSPD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2016
Messages
375
Location
Palmer, AK
I started out as cheap as possible. Just for hunting since my 375h&h was so expensive to feed. I was also living in a small apartment at the time, with a roommate. I picked up a lee hand press and a Lee 4 die set (Full length, collet neck, bullet seater, and crimp die) as well as the same set for my 308 win. For a powder scale I picked up a cheap hornady digital scale (have to re calibrate it occasionally as it does drift) and used the lee dippers that are included with the die sets to get close and then trickled more powder in to get exact. I didn't tumble, just used some of the case wash (forgot which brand)


I know it's a cheap, not well regarded solution, but my 375 was sub moa, and many of the 308's groups were sub 1/2 moa.

Just have to take your time and make sure you're consistent. Make sure you set the dies up properly.

I've moved on to turret presses and an auto powder thrower, but if I'm loading low volume stuff I still use the lee hand press while watching tv lol
 

bullet man

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
86
Location
dallas ga
Any recommendations on manuals I bought a nosler one but looking for a 2nd and 3rd to buy
get the speer manual that is how I learned I read the ABC'S of reloading as well then dad said you're on your own 40 years later I'm doing fine. research study take your time and ask questions you will be ok
 

Ranger1994

Active Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
42
Location
North Carolina
Any recommendations on manuals I bought a nosler one but looking for a 2nd and 3rd to buy
If you get the RCBS KIT it will come with the manual, same with Hornady or Lee i think. I started with RCBS Speer bullets,, cheaper, but good hunting bullet w/in 200yds, and Nosler bullets and manual. Speer walks you through pretty thoroughly on setting up with your kit and getting started loading. From what I've heard Lee is good but I don't have their manual, so can't say for certain. Nosler and Hornady are good manuals too, but I found the Speer to be more "beginner" friendly. Again Speer bullets are good, maybe not "the" best, so buy a box of 100 of their 30 cal 150 or 165 gr Hot Core and give it a try.
PLEASE READ AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARNINGS. Dont start out at max powder charges, start where they tell you to start with the powder you've chosen. Good luck.
 

Kgkimerer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
198
Location
Kansas
You've already heard a bunch of opinions. People will also tell you that Savage or Thompson rifles suck. YMMV. Here's my opinion.
There's the philosophy, buy once, cry once. You'll hear it when getting into reloading, but reloading is one of those things you'll discover you either love or can do without, so my suggestion is to start out on a budget minded set of components. Reloading gear is one of those things that, if you sell, you get back most of what you put into it.
The notion of reloading to save money is pure hooey. If you reload and love it, your ammo will cost you 1/3 of what you pay retail, but you'll shoot 6-10x more. Then you get the added benefit of tuning your ammo for what works in your rifle. From personal experience, I would have never thought of pistol ammo behaving differently in my EDC, then started testing different recipes of powder and bullets. Whoa, my groups tightened up significantly with the right mix. With rifle ammo, you can take something that is a MOA shooter at best and get 1/2 MOA with a good load. Of course, this presumes you are doing your part. Reloading ensures you get to do a lot more practice at doing your part. Bonus!

As far as components and gear:
  • Nothing wrong with Lee Precision stuff. Yes, some of it is made more cheaply than others. As far as a single stage, I think their aluminum one (Challenger?) is undesirable, but their Classic Cast (iron) one is bolted to my table, along with a Forster Co-ax. It is a rock solid press.
  • If there are gun boards / communities local to you, look for a RCBS Jr press. Typically they're old and can be had for $50. They turn out great ammo.
  • Dies can be found on sale, as well as used. As long as they're not rusted or gauered up with filthy brass (running sandy brass into your press, for example), they will work fine.
  • You can find dies from Lee, Hornady, Forster, Redding, Lyman, RCBS, CH4, Whidden and several custom manufacturers. Hornady has their "Get Loaded" rebates, which combined with the free bullets you will get, almost make the dies free. Personally, I'm not the greatest fan of Hornady dies, but they work and I have eight or nine sets. My favorites are Redding, Forster, and for custom, CH4. I'm sure Whidden are awesome too, I just haven't popped for any yet.
  • Bare arse minimum set up parts you will need:
    • Your press and a solid bench/table to mount it on. Yes, I used the kitchen table for a few years. Not a wise choice if you like keeping wifey happy.
    • A good reloading book. Recommend Lyman. I think any of them are great too. Be sure to study the safety section of the book first.
    • You MUST have a good scale. You can get a 10-10 beam scale for $50. Well worth it. You can also get digital scales. They're easier and faster to use. I have a bunch of scales. The notion of using a powder dipper, while it's what I did when starting out, is ridiculous. The point of tuning your ammo requires you to vary powder charges. You need a scale for that.
    • You do NOT need a powder measure or trickler, but they do make the job easier.
    • You MUST have a set of calipers. The Harbor Freight digital ones will do just fine. I've also found accurate, inexpensive ones at places like O'Reilly Auto Parts. I started out with cheap, vernier calipers ages ago. My first digitals were the auto parts store ones. Over time, I have upgraded as good deals come available and now run all Mitutoyo gear. They're worth it.
    • Though not necessary, I recommend you get some case prep gear. I have found this Lyman tool indispensable.
    • Dies for the calibers you shoot.
    • If your press doesn't have a primer attachment, you'll need a primer tool. I find the RCBS one to be very good. Couldn't stand the Lee hand primer, and my Hornady one works well also.
    • No, you don't need a tumbler or anything. You can wash your brass by hand or just wipe it down with 4/0 steel wool or a fine scotch brite pad. I got rid of my vibratory tumbler and now use an ultrasonic bath, a stainless pin wet tumbler (Frankford Arsenal or Harbor Freight Rock Polish drum), or do it by hand with 4/0 steel wool.
    • After so many firings, your brass will stretch to the point it will no longer fit your chamber. When this happens, you'll need a brass trimmer or just expect to get a maximum number of uses out of each case.
    • As far as chronograph, you do NOT need one until you get into long range precision. Then your reloading gear needs will change significantly.
    • The only time I used new, virgin brass is when I couldn't find 1x fired stuff or wanted a specific quality like Petersen brass.
So there you have it. Others will add more, since we all started somewhere. Not everyone was born with a big blue press bolted to their bench, though they are sweet.
Recommend, once you get your gear together, watch and learn from a reloader -- someone who you consider to be blessed with common sense.
Once you start reloading, the best advice I can give you is to follow published load data. After you become seasoned, you can start to experiment.
BULLSEYE!
This is what you need.
 

SamuelBerryhill308

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
323
Location
Lincolnton nc
If you get the RCBS KIT it will come with the manual, same with Hornady or Lee i think. I started with RCBS Speer bullets,, cheaper, but good hunting bullet w/in 200yds, and Nosler bullets and manual. Speer walks you through pretty thoroughly on setting up with your kit and getting started loading. From what I've heard Lee is good but I don't have their manual, so can't say for certain. Nosler and Hornady are good manuals too, but I found the Speer to be more "beginner" friendly. Again Speer bullets are good, maybe not "the" best, so buy a box of 100 of their 30 cal 150 or 165 gr Hot Core and give it a try.
PLEASE READ AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARNINGS. Dont start out at max powder charges, start where they tell you to start with the powder you've chosen. Good luck.
Thanks I'll have to find a speer manual also I seen your from nc as well nice to meet you
 
Last edited:

aushunter1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
859
Location
Australia
I have a few manual including a Speer#14, the best of them is by the author Nick Harvey.
I have the 9th edition but there is a 10th.

I do refer to it to compare load data but I will always choose the data from the actual powder manufacturer over any other source.

I got it mainly because half the book is about the reloading process both basic & advanced, techniques, tools, components etc.

It is an Aussie manual but has load data for all powders.

Great manual if you can get it.

Just remember you can get load data from a number of sources, its the practical side of it you want.

I would go into a store & look through them, find the one with the best practical info in it.

Dont just by something without not knowing whats in it imo.

NHLUCKY-13_web.jpg
 

XSIVSPD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2016
Messages
375
Location
Palmer, AK
There's also a lot to learn watching YouTube. Between thoroughly reading most of the applicable cartridge stuff on here and you tube I learned a lot.

A lot of powder and bullet manufacturers have their data on their websites for free.
 

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