Author Topic: Trying to start small  (Read 4803 times)

Offline Squidi

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Trying to start small
« on: November 26, 2008, 12:31:21 AM »
Okay, I am buying my father some reloading stuff for Christmas trying to get him to start reloading and to try and figure out the details before I start doing it myself. The plan is I bought a Classic Lee Loader ( the kit where you hammer them together ) and I was going to get one of the loading manuals also.  I figure after hammering a few rounds together and having the primers, powder, bullets, brass, lube and whatever I'm forgetting laying around the investment in a press will seem like a logical next step.

So my questions is, which loading manual? Hornady? Speer?  And where can I buy really cheap bullets for plinking in .38?  Eventually I would like to just cast my own from scrap lead, but one thing at a time.  The cheapest ones i can find on Midway are $10.99 for 100 ( 10 cents a piece ), thats cheaper then the bottom barrel ammo but somehow not as cheap as I hoped.  If thats as cheap as it gets, that is good enough.  Just making sure.  Also, I would like to buy a manual that would have loading data for a good range of bullets, I mean it's great if the hornady manual has loads for their XTP super duper bullets but what about the plated or hardcast?  I have no idea what is in the manuals, I'm just guessing.

Also, since I have never reloaded anything, ever. I find the piecemeal systems a little confusing. I know that after you have a firm hold on the process then having a press from one company with pieces from another ( dies? ) is just getting the best part for job.  Considering I don't even know what some pieces are for yet, I don't know which one is best.  I think once I get a manual it will answer most of my questions. 

Thanks

millerized1

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 06:05:45 AM »
Lee makes some pretty nice stuff, have a bunch of "red" on my bench.  I'd seriously consider the Lee Hand Press or the Lee Anniversary Press for a starter set. http://www.leeprecision.com .  The Classic's are a nice start, but tedious and time consuming for all they do.  They were designed (IIRC) for the the guy at the shooting bench that wanted to change his load in real time: at the range.  They work, but for a little more money, the Lee Anniversary kits, in my opinion, are a better value and upgradeable.  But, they all do the same thing: reload one shell at a time.  They're also cheap on Ebay.  Only "bad" thing about the Classic's, it that you'll only ever reload 1 caliber with them, they're not upgradeable to another caliber.  I could go on with the plus's and minus's all day, but in the end it's your decision....and they all work.

As for things being interchangable, most are, some aren't.  There's a "standard" thread on most dies, and my RCBS and Dillon dies will work in my LEE or Lyman press'.  There are others that won't.  Parts and piecing together is the reloaders way. If you stick with a certain manufacturers items, your interchangablity nightmare will never happen.  Not saying it's THE WAY, but it removes some headaches.

 Hell, my father had probably 6 or 8 different manufacturers on his bench, with several wildcatted pieces added from either his personal construction or the gunsmith that originally owned the shop.  I remember growing up reloading some 22-3000 and 17-3000 shells that were completely hand produced, from the brass cases to the bullets, to the dies and press's  He even had a foot operated press that the original owner had constructed back in the early 40's.

For load data, look on the powder manufacturers websites.  They all have reloading data available.  I don't have the sites available in front of me (most gun related sites are blocked here at work) but they have pretty detailed info.  There are several reloading websites, by reloaders, for reloaders.  Again, you'll have to google them. ETA: they're now unlocked here:::!!!

Powder manufacturers data:
http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp
http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/Index.htm
http://www.imrpowder.com/data/index.php
http://www.accuratepowder.com/reloading.htm
http://www.lapua.com/index.php?id=850
http://www.ramshot.com/powders/

Reloading sites:
http://www.reloadbench.com/
http://www.accuratereloading.com/
http://www.reloadammo.com/
http://www.loaddata.com/
http://www.stevespages.com/page8.htm
http://www.reloadersnest.com/

By far the cheapest place I've found for bullets is Powder Valley.  Back when Midway INCLUDED shipping in their prices, they were about even.  Since, all my bullets that I don't cast come from PV.
http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/
http://www.montanabulletworks.com/

Awh, hell, here's the google link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=active&q=Cast+Bullets
Stay safe, never exceed maximum loads, start with minimums.  You'd be suprised how many loads will work better on the low side instead of the high side.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 06:13:57 AM by Millerized »

Offline firetoad

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 07:53:43 AM »
A suggestion that I might add to what great info Miller has already posted is to buy some manuals first.  Most of the manuals I have run across generally have a good intro to really show you how (and, in turn, what you need) to reload.  I personally have the Hornady manual and use the Lee load sheets and powder manufacturer's load sheets to cross reference data.  But, any other major player's manuals, Lee, Speer, etc., are just as good.  Hit up a Cabela's, Bass Pro or local gun shop and thumb through the manuals to find which one is best for you.

Best of luck in your reloading adventure and, most of all, enjoy!

millerized1

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 08:20:56 AM »
Ooops, forgot Handloader Magazine. http://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/index.cfm?magid=569
They've got a monthly look at the reloading world.  Usually a bit faster to press and sometimes more up to date than most reloading manuals.  Been a while since I'd looked at one, but they used to be pretty decent.

(they also have a link at the top to LoadData.com)

Offline kernal_panic

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2008, 09:16:58 AM »
Okay, I am buying my father some reloading stuff for Christmas trying to get him to start reloading and to try and figure out the details before I start doing it myself. The plan is I bought a Classic Lee Loader ( the kit where you hammer them together ) and I was going to get one of the loading manuals also.  I figure after hammering a few rounds together and having the primers, powder, bullets, brass, lube and whatever I'm forgetting laying around the investment in a press will seem like a logical next step.

So my questions is, which loading manual? Hornady? Speer?  And where can I buy really cheap bullets for plinking in .38?  Eventually I would like to just cast my own from scrap lead, but one thing at a time.  The cheapest ones i can find on Midway are $10.99 for 100 ( 10 cents a piece ), thats cheaper then the bottom barrel ammo but somehow not as cheap as I hoped.  If thats as cheap as it gets, that is good enough.  Just making sure.  Also, I would like to buy a manual that would have loading data for a good range of bullets, I mean it's great if the hornady manual has loads for their XTP super duper bullets but what about the plated or hardcast?  I have no idea what is in the manuals, I'm just guessing.

Also, since I have never reloaded anything, ever. I find the piecemeal systems a little confusing. I know that after you have a firm hold on the process then having a press from one company with pieces from another ( dies? ) is just getting the best part for job.  Considering I don't even know what some pieces are for yet, I don't know which one is best.  I think once I get a manual it will answer most of my questions. 

Thanks

the best thing to get him is either a lee anniversery kit or the lee deluce kit with the turret press.

the lee loaders work but are horrificly slow.

Offline quietmike

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2008, 02:07:02 PM »
I've always been partial to the Lyman manual. They really give a good overview of the process for beginners with step by step directions and also gives a little look into casting. I'll agree with the others about the Lee classic loaders, they work but you'll outgrow them really fast.
Another good place to look for some answers or just to look around-http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php Mainly devoted to casting, but all casters are reloaders. Good luck!

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2008, 09:11:59 PM »
I agree with the rest of the bunch here.
Go for the Lee Anniversary kit if you can, or at least a single stage press and Lee dies. The dies come with a dipper and some load info in the die set, so there is something at least to get started.  The kit will come with the scale, the great Lee load manual, press, powder measure, etc. I started on it, but have since moved onto the Dillon 550 for more production, but I still use the Lee press for certain things.

As for books, you can never have enough, but if one is all you will get, I vote for the Lee. Good variety, and they arent quite as biased as a bullet manufacturer may be, ie. Speer, Hornady, etc. Good variety of loads and powders.

As for cheap cast 38 bullets, try some of the cowboy action shooting bullet makers. I can get 500 for 20.00 if I recall, from a semi local guy. They arent the best cast, but they do shoot.
Cheycast bullets out of cheyenne, Wy is a good brand, but I dont have a price list handy for them at the moment.
DM

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2008, 10:37:18 PM »
Is there a "scrap" source for usable lead for bullets?  I'm thinking used wheel weights from places like Sam's Club or any tire shop.  And what about 12v lead acid automotive batteries?  Could that lead be recovered and used for bullets?  Forklift batteries, now there some lead!

Tim.


Offline quietmike

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2008, 02:39:22 AM »
Wheel weights are the best and can be used as-is for casting. STAY AWAY FROM BATTERY LEAD!!! The acid causes chemical changes in the lead that make it unsuitable, also heating that lead(and the acid it comtains is dangerous). Not worth the risks.

Doctors office and hospital remodeling are great sources sometimes (wall shielding in the x-ray room).

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 11:17:43 AM »
Yep what Quietmike said. Check with your newspaper/printing business, as they used to use Linotype lead for the process of printing the papers. I have quite a bit of that, and it is a good HARD lead. Mix it with some soft pipe lead, and you can make it pretty good stuff.

Also, check with your plumbers, city water dept, etc, for old lead pipe. That is a nice soft lead. Good for muzzleloading, etc.

DM

Offline kernal_panic

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2008, 01:39:02 PM »
Okay, I am buying my father some reloading stuff for Christmas trying to get him to start reloading and to try and figure out the details before I start doing it myself. The plan is I bought a Classic Lee Loader ( the kit where you hammer them together ) and I was going to get one of the loading manuals also.  I figure after hammering a few rounds together and having the primers, powder, bullets, brass, lube and whatever I'm forgetting laying around the investment in a press will seem like a logical next step.

So my questions is, which loading manual? Hornady? Speer?  And where can I buy really cheap bullets for plinking in .38?  Eventually I would like to just cast my own from scrap lead, but one thing at a time.  The cheapest ones i can find on Midway are $10.99 for 100 ( 10 cents a piece ), thats cheaper then the bottom barrel ammo but somehow not as cheap as I hoped.  If thats as cheap as it gets, that is good enough.  Just making sure.  Also, I would like to buy a manual that would have loading data for a good range of bullets, I mean it's great if the hornady manual has loads for their XTP super duper bullets but what about the plated or hardcast?  I have no idea what is in the manuals, I'm just guessing.

Also, since I have never reloaded anything, ever. I find the piecemeal systems a little confusing. I know that after you have a firm hold on the process then having a press from one company with pieces from another ( dies? ) is just getting the best part for job.  Considering I don't even know what some pieces are for yet, I don't know which one is best.  I think once I get a manual it will answer most of my questions. 

Thanks

get the Lyman Pistol and Revolver manual. very good data for both jacketed and lead bullets.

Offline has_been18

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Re: Trying to start small
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2009, 09:02:29 PM »
I really like the Lee Turret press I have.  The replaceable turrets (about $15) hold the dies so you only have to set them up for each caliber one time and NEVER again.  To change calibers, just change the turret with the dies in it, change the shell foot, and reset your powder thrower--takes about 3 minutes with the digital scale I got off Ebay.  It's a little more expensive than a single stage press, but still a lot less than the RCBS or Dillon set ups. 

The single stage presses are cheaper, but you have to screw out all the old dies and screw in the new ones, and check them every time you load a different caliber.  By the time I got everything reset, I was out of the mood for loading.

I have not used a progressive loader and never will.  They look like an accident waiting to happen.  You run out of powder and load some without a charge--look out!  You load some without primers and get powder everywhere.  I would rather do each step once and do it right.

Start to finish I do about 100 rounds an hour. 

I run a batch through the vibrator polisher I made out of a washing machine motor with a weight on the pulley to make it vibrate, attached to a piece of plywood--all mounted on a chunk of foam padding so it shakes nice.  Two coffee cans mounted to the plywood with a circular piece of plywood in the bottom of each can bolted to the vibrating base.  Cost was 8 bolts--already had the plywood lying around and the motor was free, too.

While the second batch is polishing, I decap and resize, case trim, reprime, charge with powder, and seat bullets on the first batch and put 'em in the loading block between stages.

HB

HB