Shall I start to Reload?


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I know that buying walmart winchesterUSA 45acp ammo at 29.95/100 is plenty cheap, but there is a "creative" side that wants a new hobby. Shall I reload?

So I go do Dillions website, and wow, their cheapest reloader, with the bare minimum will set me back about $700, before buying supplies. Looked at their "Square Deal B". I used their interactive purchase guide, and it was nice, and added a lot of $$$ <g>.

Is there someplace I can go to do some research online?

Do you reload? Why? What equipment do you use?

Anything you can tell me, or point me in the right direction...much appreciated.

I know that buying walmart winchesterUSA 45acp ammo at 29.95/100 is plenty cheap, but there is a "creative" side that wants a new hobby. Shall I reload?
That's a personal decision. You can get creative with reloading. I personally like 9mm flat point, truncated cone or semi-wadcutter rounds however I don't see 9mm factory ammunition utilizing that type of bullet. Often times you need to take a .38 special or .357 bullet and use it with a 9mm case to get that combination.

If you own multiple calibers especially some exotic or expensive calibers you get a quick return on your investment reloading. I have three 10mm pistols I own that I rarely take to the range because of the cost of factory ammunition. I know I can reload 10mm for much less than what I can buy it for. If you shoot revolvers the brass can last forever with the proper light target loads. I own several .357 magnum revolvers and bought a .44 magnum last November.
So I go do Dillions website, and wow, their cheapest reloader, with the bare minimum will set me back about $700, before buying supplies. Looked at their "Square Deal B". I used their interactive purchase guide, and it was nice, and added a lot of $$$ <g>.
Dillon's are expensive, but they have great customer service. They will take care of you if you have an issue. I have heard of people buying used stripped to the frame presses back to Dillon with a note asking to invoiced or quoted for a reconditioning fee instead they get a completely reconditioned and upgraded press using the stripped frame that was sent them with no bill.
Is there someplace I can go to do some research online?
Google ammunition reloading and you'll most likely find some forums on the topic. If you have specific questions, I'm sure that one of us here can answer it.
Do you reload? Why? What equipment do you use?
Yes. What got me started in it was the economics of it. It is less expensive to reload if you price out the price per round. I bought an RCBS Rock Chucker Master Reloading Kit back in 1993. Reloaded some pistol ammo for awhile then stopped. I had other priorities going on in my life which caused me to not be as active with anything firearm related as I am now. Reloading also takes a bit of time to do, if you're pressed for time then it's not something for you. I was also a bit younger and didn't have as much disposable income on any expensive hobbies such as shooting.

What's getting me back into reloading is the availability of ammunition. It flies off the shelf at superwallyverse as soon as they stock the shelves. I also own firearms in varying calibers. The Rock Chucker is getting dusted off because of the availability of ammunition and the fact I have caught the black rifle disease. I'm going to be building some multi caliber AR-15s; (9mm, .45 ACP, possibly 10mm, 5.56mm, 5.7x28mm, 7.62x39mm, 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC).

Some of the more exotic calibers are expensive to buy factory. For practice ammunition, it typically is less expensive to reload whether you're using a mainstream caliber or not.

I bought the Rock Chucker for three reasons.
  • Availability of different caliber dies from the manufacturer
  • It can be upgraded to a progressive with a Piggyback III (IV of you have a Supreme) conversion unit
  • It can be used as a single stage shot shell loader with RCBS shot shell dies if you can find them.
The only thing I do not like about the original Rock Chucker is that it can only handle ammunition up to .223 Rem/5.56mm in length. Great single stage press if shoot only shoot handguns and AR-15s. However if you shoot more powerful rifle rounds with a longer overall length you need a Rock Chucker Supreme (2nd generation Rock Chucker) or another press.

I am also buying a second press this year. A Hornady Lock-N-Load AP. It's comparable to the Dillion 550B or 650. I'm going to use that to mass produce ammunition or handle longer rounds that my Rock Chucker cannot handle. My Rock Chucker to develop the prototype load and only load 50 or so rounds to get chrony data on the range. Hornady and Dillon are in a whizzing match now over the progressive press market.

I do recommend you start out with a single stage to learn the process then upgrade to a progressive or see if you can find what you want used. Lots of people buy the equipment, find out they don't have the time or the patience to reload then sell their equipment. However, with the current federal political climate you may have a bit of a challenge finding used equpiment now. Anything firearm related, I tend to keep and hoard.
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Buy a couple of different reloading manuals, they all seem to be pretty good, and read the "how to" sections. Depending on your budget, either buy a starter kit or go all out on a progressive press and accessories.

It would be really great if you could get together with someone else who reloads and get a little "on the job training", but it's not required.

It's a lot simpler than it appears to be.
Try looking into Midway. I use and have loaded 10's of 1000's of rounds with a Lee Loadmaster. When I use Jacketed bullets it costs me about $8.00 per box to load 45's and about $5.00 to load 9mm. I say GO FOR IT!!!
If you can afford the cost Dillon is the way to go. You need to be mechanical minded to have a loadmaster as they require adjustments occasionally and plastic perts require regular replacements. Lee does replace parts free. I have extras of the regular service parts and when I get a few broken ones, I send them in for replacements. Bullets can be bought in bulk at a very reasonable price from Montana Gold in Kalispell, Montana.

Good Luck!!! As was mention in previous posts, Get a good book on reloading, many are available, and study up on it. It's a great hobby and if you shoot a lot can save you a lot of money.
I bought a Dillon 550B. Lee makes a much cheaper press, but you get what you pay for. Dillon presses hold their used value. Machines a few years old can bring 80% of their new value. The machines you're looking at are progressive, which means for each handle pull you produce one round. I can do 400 rounds per hour on the 550B. The Lee turret press requires 4 handle pulls per round, so production wouldn't be nearly as high. A good quality press will produce good results and in the grand scheme of things, is not all that much more money. My 550B with the press, set up for 9mm and 45ACP, a digital scale, some spare primer tubes, a case tumbler with extra media, 500 45 bullets, 500 9mm bullets, 1000 large primers and 1000 small primers was a little over $900.

A Square Deal B setup would be less money. The die/caliber conversion kits are less money. The only thing with the SDB is that it can only load pistol calibers and it takes special dies. All other Dillon presses take standard dies available from anyone and can also load rifle rounds.

I figured loading 45ACP I can pay for the machine in 2100 rounds. I'm paying $20 per 50 for new ammo. I can reload 45ACP for about $6 per 50. I load 9mm and 45ACP. The payback on 9mm is not as high, but it is still a little cheaper than Blazer Brass at Walmart. The big payback will be if they tax ammo. The tax will probably only cover factory loaded ammo, not components like bullets, powder and primers.
joesmo, some of the other forums speak more to handloading and reloading. (Ironically, that is where I found out about this great site!) Several questions come to mind:
How much do you plan to shoot?
What do you plan to shoot? By that I mean what calibers?
How much do you want to spend to set up to reload?

When I started, just over 1 year ago, I wrote down the questions I wanted answered then looked (and lurked) for the answers. I read any stickys that dealt with loading ammo. (If you go that route you will find that most of your questions will have already been asked and answered.) Take the good advice given by DarrellM5 and get a book or two on reloading. You might decide after reading that you have lost the desire. My guess though is that it will only fan the flames! Then start considering which loaders will do what you want to do. Then, if necessary whittle them down to the price you are willing to pay. That worked for me.

I really wanted a Dillon. Great stuff to be sure. But when I added up the cost of the press and the accessories I would need it was out of my price range. If money had not been a problem...
I ended up purchasing a Lee Classic Turret Press (LCT) in a kit form and got everything I needed to load 45acp for $330.70. I'm talking the whole Ball O'wax. This included the LCT press and 4carbide 45acp dies, a tumbler, caliper, upgraded powder dispenser and safety prime system, scale and kinetic bullet puller. The LCT is a semi-progressive press that produces 1 round for every 4 pulls of the handle as opposed to a full-tilt-boogie progressive press that produces 1 round with every pull. The LCT can also be used as a single-stage press which is a nice feature if only for the reason that a newbie like me wanted to get comfortable with the machine. I can throw up to 200 rounds per hour with it, slower than a progressive but plenty fast enough for my needs. I now load not only the 45acp but 380 and 357sig. Adding the dies and turrets costs about $40 per cailber. And changing dies is literally a 1 minute job. Well, 30 seconds to be more exact. Stick with carbide dies whenever possible. A number of vendors sell the LCT in a kit form. The Lee Precision website lists many vendors. I found Kempf Gun Shop there and I bought my kit from them. BTW: I don't work for them. When I decided I was ready to "make the move" they had everything I wanted in stock and were ready to ship it. It came quicker than I would have imagined. Regardless of which brand you purchase there is help here on the internet waiting for you. Good luck in your decision and purchase. You are about to discover that reloading will be another hobby that you will really enjoy. Oh, and one last thing: just wait until you fire that first round that you "built". If only you could capture that smile on your mug... :biggrin:

+1 for the Lee stuff. It is not heavy equip like some of the more expensive stuff, but it will get the job done.

Press -You can buy a $35 C-face press or upgrade to the lee turret press for $90.
Dies-Lee 45ACP 4-die set $32.49 Link Removed
Scale-Frankford arsenal digital scale $30 Link Removed
Priming-You need the lee ram prime for a single stage press $10 or the safety prime for the turret $15.
Bullets - this is subjective but the Rainier plated RN are about $70 for 500.
Powder - 1lb of bullseye will run about $20 and will load about 1400 rds at 5 grains.
Primers - 1000 CCI primers $30

By my math that is about $203 to load your first 500rds (includes loading equip, powder, primer, bullet). Add $65 for turret with safety prime
$95for each 500 after that (includes powder, primer, bullet)

Assumes no brass cleaning or minimal cost method like vinegar, dishwashing detergent, salt, and hot water.
Powder measure is Lee scoop.

The Lee Deluxe turret kit is $109 at Cabelas Link Removed
Save money, custom loads, no more money going to wal-mart. Sounds like a good idea to me!
Shall I start to reload?

When I was competing every weekend, I decided to look into reloading, as I was buying reloads from a friend, which was putting a strain on him, as he was also competing. I saved and went to Dillon Pecisioneering in Phoenix and got about $400 worth of equipment. I reloaded both .45 ACP and .38 spl, and found out it was addictive. I made a stab at casting my own bullets, but in the Arizona heat, I decided to buy cast lead bullets by the half gallon milk carton. I quickly found reloading to be a fun activity, and it sure helped stretch my shooting dollar. I hope to one day be able to get back into it, as the prices on ammo are now out of sight.
We fired 300 hand loaded 9mm rounds yesterday. Not a single misfire and every one of them was more accurate than Blazer rounds. That's the sort of thing that makes reloading all worthwhile. We also found that my wifes CW9 likes rounds that are slightly lighter than my PT92, so I load rounds for her 1.5 grain lighter. You can't do that sort of thing buying factory ammo.
Well, I bought the Lee Delux kit. made a few stupid mistakes and trashed about 25 pieces of brass (forgot to reset the tool that dumps the powder and opens the brass for the bullet). I NOW KNOW!

I loaded about 75 pieces, and wanted to take them to the range before I did too many.

Thanks alot for all the help!
joesmo, Reloading is like sex. Once you start you cant go back.
Start with a RCBS Rockchucker, it's quality and will load from .17 to 50 cal. Any other single stage press will do.
Lee make inexpensive carbide dies.
A case tumbler is nice, but you do not have to have it.
A micrometer to check your OAL, and case length.
Use the (dipper) powder measure (they work fine), or invest in scales, electronic or mechanical.
Check used bookstores for reloading manuals, or get new info online from the manufacture.
Follow the rules, you will love it.


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