My first reloading machine SBD


mcd45

New member
I just ordered it, can't wait to start using it. Does anyone have advice as to what to watch out for or pay special attention to? I'll be loading 45ACP, maybe some 9 after a bit.

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walknotinfear

New member
Take your time. It is very important you read your reloading manual. The most important thing in reloading is the correct powder charge. Get yourself a good quality scale. A reloading manual will give you some examples of starting loads. Take those numbers and back that number down by 10 percent. For example my loading book said 4.2 grains of powder. So I start of with 3.8 grains, I make 20 of those, than I make 20 rounds at 4.0 grains and than another 20 rounds at 4.2 grains. I than will shoot those 60 rounds and get a feel of them. If I really want to know whats going on I will chronograph the rounds. PM me if you have questions. There is tons to know (OAL, the proper crimp, what type of smokeless powder, types of primers, bullets, lead bullets, case trimming, etc.)
 

pbagley

New member
Welcome to the wild world of reloading. It's a great way to be more involved in this shooting hobby. I'm not sure you'll save money if you include the cost of the equipment, but you do have more control over the ammo you shoot and this is a good thing.

Good choice on the press. I bought the original RL450. Not A or B, they didn't exist yet. If the SDB had existed then I would have bought one. When the original Square Deal came out a friend bought two so he wouldn't have to change dies. He also had two Star presses, and he was quite pleased at the time with the SD's. not quite Star quality, but very good values and match quality shells with a little effort on his part.

Components - I buy powder and primers from the local retailers. I buy projectiles from Berry's or Rocky Mountain Supply (RMS), not to save money but instead to get what I want. I'm trying the Berry's 200gr plated SWC in .45ACP, hoping I can get similar results to the old jacketed 200gr SWC. These feed just fine in my CW45 and 1911, YMMV. Also trying some 9mm 115gr plated HP's (RMS), not for expansion but instead in search of better accuracy than the Berry's 115gr plated RN's. Waiting to warmer temps here in MN to give these a try. You may want to try cast bullets. I have very good accuracy from a 200gr Lyman mold in the the 1911, but the CW45 has a rough bore and needs the plated bullets.

Setting up the press is possibly the most difficult part of the process. Time consuming, do not get in a hurry. I agree with everything walknotinfear said. Small changes in powder charge make bigger than expected differences in function and accuracy. For my 1911 I'm looking for good 50 yard slow fire groups. For light target loads Bullseye or WW231 work very well. Be very careful on powder charges. A double charge will easily fit in the case, and this will ruin your day at the range. I've seen it happen to a match shooter with a 1911.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. We're here to help.
 

walknotinfear

New member
I spent hours setting up the 550b Dillion when I first got it. Trying to figure out what OAL (over all length), setting up the correct amount of powder (I locked in 4.0 grains of Hodgon Titegroup and haven't changed it in years), the proper crimp (stage 4 of press), the right amount of belling out of the case (stage 2 on press), etc. I should of just gotten a square deal because all I reload is .40. My biggest fear is double charging a case (round). I did have a squib load once. Not sure what happened but I guess I either didn't put powder in the round or the powder funnel malfunctioned. So now I look into each round before I place a bullet on stage 3 of the press. Once you get used to reloading it becomes a way of life. Even your friends will beg you to come over and want to make ammo. I have a few friends who come by and use my set up. If memory serves me well it cost me close to $1,000 for my entire set up. I have made my money back. I saw a box of .40 (50 rounds) selling for $30 dollars at the range today! I can make 50 rounds for less than 5 bucks.

One more thing to add. You will also notice that the ammo you make will have less recoil than the retail ammo you buy from the store. I shoot only .40 caliber. I cronographed some retail .40 and they were going about 1200 ft per second. The rounds I make are going about 965 ft per second. I can definitely tell the difference in the amount of recoil between the retail ammo and what I make.
 

wolf_fire

New member
I spent hours setting up the 550b Dillion when I first got it. Trying to figure out what OAL (over all length), setting up the correct amount of powder (I locked in 4.0 grains of Hodgon Titegroup and haven't changed it in years), the proper crimp (stage 4 of press), the right amount of belling out of the case (stage 2 on press), etc. I should of just gotten a square deal because all I reload is .40. My biggest fear is double charging a case (round). I did have a squib load once. Not sure what happened but I guess I either didn't put powder in the round or the powder funnel malfunctioned. So now I look into each round before I place a bullet on stage 3 of the press. Once you get used to reloading it becomes a way of life. Even your friends will beg you to come over and want to make ammo. I have a few friends who come by and use my set up. If memory serves me well it cost me close to $1,000 for my entire set up. I have made my money back. I saw a box of .40 (50 rounds) selling for $30 dollars at the range today! I can make 50 rounds for less than 5 bucks.

One more thing to add. You will also notice that the ammo you make will have less recoil than the retail ammo you buy from the store. I shoot only .40 caliber. I cronographed some retail .40 and they were going about 1200 ft per second. The rounds I make are going about 965 ft per second. I can definitely tell the difference in the amount of recoil between the retail ammo and what I make.


Just so that you are aware, the energy of your round (assuming the same bullet size) will be only 64% of what the retail round has. If you reduce your velocity by 80%, which you claim, you reduce your energy to 64% of that retail round. Therefore, you will definitely notice a reduction in recoil... you have reduced the energy the bullet and you receive by 36%! You may want to look up if that type of energy will have the same types of effects on the BG you are trying to stop. A reduction of more than a third of your energy will have a large effect on penetration and expansion.
 

mcd45

New member
Thanks for the replies/information, my moderate ocd will come in very handy during setup. I am also going to get 2 more loading manuals to go along with the Hornady I have to get a better idea of what I'm doing.

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pbagley

New member
Mr walknotinfear, I salute you for your frugal reloading. The best price I'm finding for plated bullets is $10 per 100 for 9's, $14 per 100 for .45's. With primers costing $3 per 100, and powder running between $1 and $2 per 100, the total is just under $15 per 100 for 9's and under $19 per 100 for 45's. That's half of factory prices. Take your cost of equipment, translate that into factory practice ammo, then double the count. Now you know how many you have to reload to break even. So if the equipment cost you $1000, and ammo was $20 for 50, then the equipment translated into 2500 rounds of ammo. When you've reloaded 5000 you have saved the equipment costs.

But the real value is in tailoring the ammo to your gun and intended use. Light recoil loads, hunting loads, what ever.

Mr wolf_fire, I do not recommend using reloads for SD carry. Buy premium defensive ammo. Your life is worth the $20-30 per box of 20-25 rounds. May you never need them.
 

wolf_fire

New member
Mr wolf_fire, I do not recommend using reloads for SD carry. Buy premium defensive ammo. Your life is worth the $20-30 per box of 20-25 rounds. May you never need them.


Regardless of one's take on whether to use reloads for SD or not, one should practice with the same weight bullet and same energy with their practice rounds as they do for SD. The reason being is so that the effects of firing will be the same.

One should not be surprised at how their firearm handles in a SD situation. With that said, one should not practice with rounds that are 1/3 the energy of their SD rounds.

Getting to brass tacks, one shouldn't load for comfort, one should load to simulate practicing for the SD situation.

If one is only plinking and not practicing with an EDC weapon, I concede on all points mentioned above. Then, absolutely, tailor the loads to whatever one likes.
 

walknotinfear

New member
I agree. I do not carry reloads for my personal carry. The reloads are for when I compete at local matches or at the range.
 

pbagley

New member
+1. I got into reloading in the early '80s to save money. That was with a single stage RCBS Jr. Time consuming, but cheap with a cast bullet maker a few miles from home at the time. Then I discovered (with help from the local bullseye club) that I could make my own match grade reloads for about the same cost as plinking reloads. Later came the RL450 and the ability to make ammo faster with very good quality - good enough to get me to 2550 in 3 gun bullseye competitions. The barrier to Master was not the reload's fault. If I had shot .45 first the scores for each stage would still be the same order, with the highest in .45, next in CF, and lowest in .22, assuming .22 was last.
 

flintlock62

New member
Make sure you have the right powder charge. You should start at the lower end of the recommended charge, and work up. Never exceed the maximum charge. Don't trust the dispenser, you need a scale to weight the powder on to verify the charge setting is correct. Next is making sure the primer is fully seated. The bullet COAL should be as marked in your reloading manual. And finally, the correct amount of crimp It should be neither under done, nor over done. Don't load too many right off. Go out and test them to see if the load is what you want, then go back home, and make adjustments.

What powder(s) are you using?

I just ordered it, can't wait to start using it. Does anyone have advice as to what to watch out for or pay special attention to? I'll be loading 45ACP, maybe some 9 after a bit.

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mcd45

New member
Either power pistol or titegroup, still working that out.

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walknotinfear

New member
I only use Titegroup. It is an awesome powder for the .40 caliber I make. ( 180 grain FMJ Montana Gold bullets, 1.125 OAL, 4.00 grains TiteGroup, Winchester small pistol primer, Federal once fired brass). I normally get a tab bit over 930 FT per second and make 165 power factor for major in a USPSA pistol match.
 

flintlock62

New member
I have heard many people liking Tightgroup. I didn't mean to imply I don't like it, I've never used it. I have used Power Pistol.

I only use Titegroup. It is an awesome powder for the .40 caliber I make. ( 180 grain FMJ Montana Gold bullets, 1.125 OAL, 4.00 grains TiteGroup, Winchester small pistol primer, Federal once fired brass). I normally get a tab bit over 930 FT per second and make 165 power factor for major in a USPSA pistol match.
 

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