Author Topic: Reloading Newbie  (Read 2945 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2013, 12:18:35 AM »
As a man in my mid 30s I'm young enough to occasionally do something stupid, but wise enough to listen carefully when an old experienced guy speaks.  One thing I've lead from the old hand loaders is to bring appropriate tools along to the range.

You know 2 things in my range bag at all times in case of squib loads?

Wooden dowel + mallet

Offline endurance

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2013, 08:43:10 AM »
The S&W was ruined because he was too embarrased to take it to a gunsmith. He tried to drill the lead semi-wadcutter bullets out with an electric drill. The rifleing was destroyed because the drill "walked" all over the inside of the barrel. It could have been shootable but he buggered up the rifleing at the muzzle too, which is the last part of the barrel that the bullet touches as it goes downrange. If that rifleing is damaged, the accuracy is gone.
I could easily see that happening.  I was lucky that I could remove the barrel and drill the bullet from the back side (where it was flat).  I can't imagine going after a rounded bullet from the front and having any success without having the right tools (I used a Makita cordless with no vice or anything :o ).  Obviously a vice and press would make the odds of success much higher.
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2013, 10:18:58 AM »
A guy in my office who's supposedly a serious black rifle guy, just this month started reloading .223.  He was telling me about all the elaborate gear he bought:  digital scales, electric case trimmers, and premium dies.  I was initially impressed, then realized he was "sold" all of this by a very capable salesperson.  His component costs alone (match grade bullets, premium new brass, etc.) aren't saving him much money, even by today's prices.  Perhaps silliest of all, he does all his shooting at an indoor 25 yard range.

God bless him for learning to reload, but he's making it extra complex with no real benefit given how and where he shoots.  He absolutely refused to believe I was able to hand load accurate .38spl plinking rounds for about $0.10 each.  I guess a range trip is in order :)

The upside to this recent surge in the reloading hobby, many folks will not take to it, and the used market will have a solid supply for tools and components in a few months.

Offline endurance

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2013, 11:01:32 AM »
A guy in my office who's supposedly a serious black rifle guy, just this month started reloading .223.  He was telling me about all the elaborate gear he bought:  digital scales, electric case trimmers, and premium dies.  I was initially impressed, then realized he was "sold" all of this by a very capable salesperson.  His component costs alone (match grade bullets, premium new brass, etc.) aren't saving him much money, even by today's prices.  Perhaps silliest of all, he does all his shooting at an indoor 25 yard range.

God bless him for learning to reload, but he's making it extra complex with no real benefit given how and where he shoots.  He absolutely refused to believe I was able to hand load accurate .38spl plinking rounds for about $0.10 each.  I guess a range trip is in order :)

The upside to this recent surge in the reloading hobby, many folks will not take to it, and the used market will have a solid supply for tools and components in a few months.
This is exactly why I've been acquiring components, but not buying a press before now.  I calculated out the cost per 1,000 for 9mm if you averaged in the cost of a fully set up Dillon 550, plus the cost of powder, primers and bullets and at the price of ammo at the time (which was $9/box for me), it would have taken more than 20,000 rounds to pay for itself.  At the same time, it would have only taken about 2,300 rounds of 5.56 at the time, but for me, that's still several years worth.  Of course, now it would be a completely different calculation, with 5.56 now at $700/1,000 (lowest gunshow price I found) vs. $350 a year ago.
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Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2013, 04:11:33 PM »
Dowel and mallet are going into the range box.


I have all high end accessories and I will reload in style.  Then again the ex paid for half of it and he used his employee discount at the time.   8)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2013, 06:01:53 PM »
I repeatedly hear people say stuff like "my time is worth more", so I NEED a progressive press.
I'm sure I'd make use of one, but frankly, I enjoy reloading. 

The 2 hours I spent loading 200 rounds last Friday was awesome, the ammo shoots awesome and anyone who feels I wasted my time is not awesome.   ;)


Offline bcksknr

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2013, 10:24:47 PM »
It was a .357 and I believe the only way to salvage the gun was to have it rebarreled. I actually don't know what ever happened to it. He probably tossed it into some lake to avoud having to explain all of this to a buyer.

Offline ag2

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2013, 12:20:24 AM »

The upside to this recent surge in the reloading hobby, many folks will not take to it, and the used market will have a solid supply for tools and components in a few months.

I had the same thought.  I'm crossing my fingers on this.  Hopefully the panic will recede and the market floodgates will open in about a year or two.  I would not mind having another press and also a shotshell press.  I enjoy reloading now, but I call it my "when I am old and grumpy hobby".
Mild-mannered beans, bullion, band aids, bullets prepper cautiously watching history repeat itself.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2013, 06:14:34 AM »
Lots of decent points so far.

My experiences, with almost 60,000 rounds reloaded since I started a few years ago:

I started on a Dillon 550 and added a 650 later.  You can learn on a progressive, but just like with single stages don't rush things and have NO distractions in the room with you.

Now I load 9mm, 45 and 223 in quantity on the 650 (a casefeeder = spoiled reloading brat), and 44mag, 45-70 govt on the 550.
I also have a single stage press, a cheap but quite solid Lee classic(?), a sturdy cast iron utility tool.  I've used it for a lot of things including pulling bullets from mistakes and reclaimed rounds, fixing crimps on loose 223 due to processed brass that had a too wide case mouth

I cast for all my reloading calibers except 223 quite successfully, including 9mm. 44 mag hot loads are the only ones I need gas checks on

smurf is right on the misconceptions about hard bullet alloy = less leading, quite the opposite in most cased and this is where people give up.  I have gravitated to an alloy mix that is softer than standard wheel weights and thanks to good fits with the bores of my guns and careful load tweeking and documentation until I found to perfect mix.

Cast bullets are easier on your guns barrels than jacketed and are more accurate (once you find the formulas for each gun)

Re: Components
remember components don't go bad. shelf life is effectively forever under reasonable conditions.

If treat it like a lifetime scavenger hunt and let your friends and peers know that you reload and/or cast, you'd be surprised what comes your way.  I have had a lot of free lead sources materialize this way and have only tried tire store WW begging twice (years ago my-ex tired store wouldn't even sell me one bucket, note "ex")

wheel weights are everywhere in the road and gutter and crosswalks. keep your eye out when you are on foot and just start picking them up.  Between mrs cohutt and I, we collect about 30 or 40 lbs per year this way out of habit. (OK maybe a little ocd but you have to be committed lol)

buy more components steadily even when you have a good reserve, it probably means supply is good for a change and you will never regret it. components don't lose value unless purchased in haste during a panic (ie possibly today). remember they don't go bad.

Join gun forums where reloading is popular and check the buy/sell/trade boards regularly. You can almost always find fair prices in these and sometimes great deals. i've made trading deals and friends on ar15.om, glocktalk and glockpost as well as castboolits.

if you find a deal on components common calibers, jump on it especially if an almost free give away (ie yard sales and general "my ex left me this buy if fast please and get it out of my sight" situations).  Even if you don't load those calibers there are a lot that do, see previous point about trading/selling in forums.  I manage to accumulate a lot of 40 brass snarfing  up stuff at the range; i don't have or want a 40 and have traded the brass for components i do use on several occasions.   

Which reminds me, I have about 4 or 5 gallons of cleaned 40 brass in good shape if anyone is looking for it, lets talk ;)

pick up all brass at all ranges where you shoot, let your non reloading friends know you reload and to please save all their brass. you can sort through calibers and condition of brass later, just pick it up when you can find it. see previous points

above all remember free beats cheap every day of the week. 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 06:46:55 AM by cohutt »

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2013, 09:55:03 AM »
Thanks for the tips.   I will have to keep an eye out for components. 

It looks like I need to look into casting bullets once I get the hang of reloading.  The only casting I have done is sterling silver and lead has to be way easier than than since the melting point is lower.  I do worry about lead poisoning.  Any good references on the safest ways to handle the lead?

Also how often would you have to anneal the cases?  How many times can you reload a case before the rim case hardens too much?  It would be easy for me to anneal them since I used to be a jeweler.   Is it something I even need to worry about?

 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2013, 04:31:51 PM »
Primers remain a weakness in the component chain.  If I get some spare time, I might actually attempt the mad-max trick of recharging with ground up "strike anywhere" match heads.  By no means do I think this will be cost or time effective, but I want to know how/if it works.

Aside from an old timer taking ill, or passing away, I've never seen someone wanting to liquidate primers.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #41 on: February 01, 2013, 07:50:30 PM »
I picked up some bullets, powder and some primers today.  Not everything I wanted but enough to get me started.

I love living in NH...Ran into another TSP member while I was there. :)   

 Still need to find more components to cover all the calibers that my husband and I shoot.  I also need to set up bench the press is going on bolt the press to it.

Offline trekker111

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2013, 12:40:50 AM »
It looks like I need to look into casting bullets once I get the hang of reloading.  The only casting I have done is sterling silver and lead has to be way easier than than since the melting point is lower.  I do worry about lead poisoning.  Any good references on the safest ways to handle the lead?

Also how often would you have to anneal the cases?  How many times can you reload a case before the rim case hardens too much?  It would be easy for me to anneal them since I used to be a jeweler.   Is it something I even need to worry about?
,
As for casting in general, casting molten metal, is casting molten metal, but the molds for bullet are so much more user friendly, and the equipment more economical. As for the lead, just make sure you do it in a well ventilated area, wash your hands afterwards, and follow the same safety precautions you would with any molten metal.  I have several reloading  manuals, but the manuals from lyman are the only ones i buy immediately after they are released, and even an older one if i happen to see one. The articles in them are well worth it, and there is a treasure trove of info on casting bullets among them. Lyman also has several resources valuable to bullet casters in addition to their reloading manuals and quality equipment.

As for the rest of the questions, it depends on a plethora of variables. The only time i anneal cases is if i am doing something like forming one case into a different caliber, like when i make full lenght brass 410 shotshell cases out of 303 british brass, or if i start getting case neck splits in brass that i don't think should be developing them yet.

Case life varies due to the cases design, the load you shoot, the amount of sizing applied, and the quality of the original brass. I have 45-70, and 45 colt, cases that i use with cast lead bullets and black powder (low pressure) that have 10 loadings on them, have only been trimmed once, and are showing no signs of nearing the end of their lives.  I have 45-70 cases that were loaded with high pressure smokeless powder loads rhat only made it through 3 loadings before i started losing cases to signs of head separation. I guess 6 or 7 loads would be around average. Full lenght resizing also works the brass more than neck sizing, or partial lenght resizing, but semi auto's usually need full lenght resizing for reliability, if not a fl resize in a small base die, which works it even more.

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2013, 07:50:35 AM »
Thank you for the tips.
I will use the press one stage at a time till I get the hang of it. 

I will stock up on primers, bullets, and powder when I can find them.  I was teasing my husband that we will need to stop in every large gun shop on the way to visit his family. :)

I need to inventory what I have.  The ex worked at a gun shop when we first bought the press so I have quite a bit of stuff to go through.  All of it has been carefully stored in a dry climate controlled area with the powder and primers away from each other.   

I have primers, powder, brass and bullets to get me started on handguns.  I need to start working on getting everything together for rifles.   

I will keep an eye out for a shot gun press.  Good to know they turn up at yard sales.  It is on my list of things to acquire and learn how to use.

KTP usually has good used presses too.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2013, 08:51:05 PM »
I will stop at KTP the next time I visit the in laws.  Maybe I will go shopping with my FIL at Cabella's too.

Offline hillclimber

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2013, 09:09:23 AM »
I was gonna take a drive down to Cabellas to pick up some reloading supplies, but now I wonder if Kate bought everything. LOL! Just kidding. I'm still going. I need to pick up some .224 projectiles.
i have to sand my driveway first though, starting to look like a hockey rink.
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Offline cohutt

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2013, 11:02:01 AM »
Projectiles:
When things return to whatever the "new normal" is going to be, you can do much better for some widely used calibers online in 500 and 1000+ quantities.
TJ Conevera, Wideners, Zero's direct store-
I've ordered from these in the past and have been pleased with prices and shipping costs etc (all us USPS FRBs @ $11 per 70 lbs)
I was pleased at the time but it is safe to say that I am ecstatic now as many of those purchases were put back under my reloading bench. (The best deal was the hornady 55g w/c bulk boxes for a tad over $50/1000 delivered.  Of course there was a guy named Bush in the white house and people weren't freaking out over executive orders and such at the time. Would like to see that again but i'm not hopeful) 
I would recommend doing the equivalent of Jack's "copy canning" with reloading supplies. Every time you purchase 1 unit of anything, just purchase two and put one back for the future.
 You won't be sorry, these things don't go bad......

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2013, 11:46:53 AM »
Last night I stopped by a Cabela's.  Powder stocks were low, esp. the "tactical" stuff.  I ran into a guy holding a can of IMR TrailBoss (I immediately knew he was a cast lead brother), and asked how he was coping.  Apparently he was one of the prudent ones who has 5000+ primers stocked up.  He was a little snarky when I mentioned I'm down to a few hundred, but he's correct.

Oddly I found a good selection of premium revolver ammo.  38spl+p Hornady XTP rounds were actually on sale. 

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2013, 05:44:30 PM »
Montana Gold Bullets seems to have most of their calibers and styles still available.  You can order direct from them.

https://www.montanagoldbullet.com/pricelist.html

 I just ordered 1,000 .40 JHP bullets and it  said expect delivery in 7-10 days.  All of my other bullet suppliers are out of stock for 9mm, .40 and .45: Dardas, Penn, Missouri, Zero/Roze, Powder Valley, Grafs, Wideners, Natchezss.com, etc.

I totally agree with Cohutt about building up your supplies over time.  Keep at it.  In the past I have occassionally let one component or so get depleted and it is no fun to discover just when you need to buy more bullets, or primers, or powder so is everybody else and the shelves are are.  And he is true about supplies accumulating once you start it.  I have never bought brass cases except for some .44 Special, and I now have at least 2,000 cases for each primary pistol and rifle caliber I shoot.  I figure I will lose 0% - 5% at the range depending on location and conditions, and i toss about 1% - 3% during reloading inspections. But, I pick up about 10% - 20% and many range/gravel pit trips.  Plus I buy the occasional factory box and occasionally shoot with non-reloaders and get their brass (my favorite type of shooting buddy!!).

In fact, I am going to try his suggestion about wheel weights and lead in general.. I have put off casting my own because I have not found a source of low cost lead.  But I am going to get the basic equipment and try it out and let friends know I am collecting lead.  And I am going to keep an eye out for those wheel weights on the road shoulders and gutters.  I think he is right that it will start accumulating without much effort.
There have always been times like this, and there will be again. Will we rise to the challenges or get run over?

Offline armymars

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2013, 07:36:11 PM »
The Dillon 650 might come with a powder checker. I did the squib load thing and was able to drill out the 6 bullets in the barrel. The gun still shoots fine. They were loaded light so I didn't notice the difference. I just thought I was missing the paper. OPPS! When you size the lead bullets, size them to the throat of the cylinder. Not the grove dia. This will allow you to use hard cast bullets most of the time. I use the NRA#2 lube mix. It's soft, is a mess, but works well. Cheaper to. Read, read, read and read some more. I've been loading since 1974 and still learn new things. Good Luck.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #50 on: February 03, 2013, 08:12:27 PM »
I do have the powder checker.    I just pulled out the 2 reloading books I have.  They are now my current bedside books...

Offline trekker111

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2013, 08:14:08 PM »
I was gonna take a drive down to Cabellas to pick up some reloading supplies, but now I wonder if Kate bought everything. LOL! Just kidding. I'm still going. I need to pick up some .224 projectiles.
i have to sand my driveway first though, starting to look like a hockey rink.

Seriously, i would call first. I'm glad i called before i drove down to sportsmans warehouse. It would suck to drive down and have them be out of what you want, and right now with .224 bullets, at a big store, they probably are.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2013, 08:24:05 PM »
I was gonna take a drive down to Cabellas to pick up some reloading supplies, but now I wonder if Kate bought everything. LOL! Just kidding. I'm still going. I need to pick up some .224 projectiles.
i have to sand my driveway first though, starting to look like a hockey rink.

I haven't hit Cabellas yet.....   

I still need to figure out what I have.  Apparently I have boxes and boxes of stuff stuff to go through.I forgot how much reloading stuff I have including lots of brass and lots of brass. 

Offline cohutt

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #53 on: February 03, 2013, 09:09:39 PM »
I do have the powder checker.    I just pulled out the 2 reloading books I have.  They are now my current bedside books...
I set up and use the powder checker on the 650 now only when I'm using fast powders; I've been in Squibsville once but knew right away due to the (lack) of recoil and failure to cycle (a Kimber 1911).

I'm more concerned with a double charge than a squibb;  fast powders like Titegroup allow a double charge where the bullet will still seat fine in both 9mm and 45acp.   Slower fluffy powders like Unique overflow both of these cartridges when double charged.

Offline PorcupineKate

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #54 on: February 08, 2013, 09:42:26 AM »
I scored primers!  I stopped in a small mom and pop store and picked up small pistol, small rifle and large pistol primers.  Now I just need FIRST Robotics build season to end so I have time set everything up and reload!

Offline hillclimber

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2013, 12:25:02 PM »
I have primers, and plenty of them. I learned that lesson years ago. I don't worry much about calling ahead before driving down to Cabellas. So much to look at down there that I always seem to find sumpthin' I need. It's pretty hard to find anyone in the firearm dept that really knows what they're talking about as far as reloading goes. If you have a specific item number they can tell you if they have it, but that's about it. I've found that the help in that dept doesn't know half of what they "think" they know. I find this typical of most gun stores. Doesn't even bother me, I take the missinformation for granted. Then again I'm not your average buyer either. 8)
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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2013, 03:32:10 PM »
When supply normalizes again, I'm seriously considering throwing down a few hundred bucks and stashing a few thousand primers.
Given my recent adventure into casting bullets, it makes sense to adjust for this supply bottleneck.

Some dude on craigslist had CCI small pistols, asking $60/thousand.  I offered $50 each if I bought 3x, and he basically told me to pound sand.   

Offline hillclimber

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Re: Reloading Newbie
« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2013, 08:33:42 AM »
When supply normalizes again, I'm seriously considering throwing down a few hundred bucks and stashing a few thousand primers.
Given my recent adventure into casting bullets, it makes sense to adjust for this supply bottleneck.

Some dude on craigslist had CCI small pistols, asking $60/thousand.  I offered $50 each if I bought 3x, and he basically told me to pound sand.
He'll get it. He knows that. If he doesn't sell out first, he may get more than that. It's all about the timing.
I know a guy who just sold 500rnds of Wolf 556 for over $800. The internet is a wonderful thing :o
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