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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I gaze into my crystal ball I see a future where I may need to reload my own ammo. Any recommendations on getting started? So far, all local stores are sold out of the kits. Appreciate any help.
 

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I was in the same position back in 2012-13 during the post Sandy Hook shortages. I did enough research to know that components were hard to get, much like now. I ended up waiting til early 2014 to start loading. I ended up getting a Lee Classic Turret Press Kit. I have been happy with it and have turned out 40,000 rounds since then. If you can find them, get a manual or 2. Most explain the reloading process as well as having data to load your own, so you can read through that part to get familiar with the process. I watched a lot of Youtube videos to see different presses in operation, and like you, asked questions on forums.
 

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If you make the leap...let me be the first to say: Welcome to the asylum.
I've been reloading my own ammo since my Father got me started helping him when I was 8 yrs old and Gen Eisenhower was President. Coupla thoughts come to mind in no particular order for someone getting started from scratch:
1. Start with a single stage press. One operation at a time so you learn what's going on in each step of the process.
2. Avoid "gimmicks" to make it faster and easier. Craft every round like it is the only one you're making that day. All that "electronic this, and automatic that" stuff is fine and dandy ONCE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING.
3. You don't need a laboratory grade scale, but you need a scale.
4. Pick up a couple of loading manuals. Pay attention to their recommendations for loads and don't get "CREATIVE".
5. Pick up a decent caliper. You aren't building a rocket for NASA so don't over spend but you will need to be able to measure case lengths, bullet and bore diameters, etc.
6. Early on...don't get too caught up in all the "Case-prep" operations and equipment that's out there. Some, such as basic case trimming for rifle rounds are useful but there's a lot of other "stuff" that you won't need until or unless you're really trying to squeeze out every last bit of precision possible from the rounds you are building.
I don't know what you're thinking about loading for. In my experience...the easiest rounds to load for are straight walled pistol case such as 38 spl. Ezy-Peazy (very forgiving) and hard to screw up or wind up with rounds that don't work for one reason or another.
I see I'm running on...sorry. The best advice for a beginner is to spend time with someone who is already setup and reloading their own ammo successfully.
ENJOY..!!!
 

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Most of my dies and loading press came from flea markets. I pick items up as I see them. You don't need to spend gobs of money. The advice above is good to follow. As I see reloading right now primers are in available. Brass can be accumulated and used over and over with care. The tool and equipment you will purchase will last a lifetime with care. Powder bullets, and primers are the items that need to be purchased and can be regulated or taxed out of existance. I believe you will have to look into your crystal ball and prepare now to have a reasonable stockpile and safe storage area for components always keeping a basic reserve in hand. This is my set up simple but efficient. I can load about 40 different calibers between rifle and pistol. Primers are my limiting factor now since I'm down to 200 small pistol primers which I would use in the majority of my reloading activity.
 

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I have both, a progressive and single station, Even on the progressive which was my first in 1012, I have never tried to load fast even though is possible. No distractions and concentrate and enjoy the process. I did get a couple of reloading manuals that do describe the entire process and support equipment needed. I used Lyman's as it was better in actually describing tools to start out with, options, and advantages of those options. Welcome to the world of reloading. My single stage was used and in very good shape. Might look around some local adds and see what might be available.
 

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Frogger1776,

Reloading is usually a good idea for most people. I have helped several people get into this area of the gun hobby, and with the exception of one guy felt good about it.

I always tell any one who is wanting to started, that the first thing to remember is, that you will probably not save money by reloading. Stay with me here, and let me explain.... The reason is, that you will shoot more, and or buy more dies, ect, to reload more calibers with, or tools make better ammo with.
Coated cast bullets are a great savings over jacketed, and are usually available at a reasonable cost, when purchased in bulk. Another option is casting you own.... another hobby in its own right, but the ability to make your own bullets from scrap lead is priceless to many of us.

Reloading, is a great hobby, and will help guarantee, that you will have quality ammo when you want it. As was mentioned above, if possible, get with some one who already is into the hobby. This will be useful in many ways, as most are a wealth of info, and are usually more than willing to help a new guy into reloading.
Also, more often that not, many of these guys will have some starter or older equipment that can be purchased for less money that new stuff.

This is especially important right now, as reloading components, tools and equipment are selling like the last rolls of toilet paper did a few months ago! Most decent quality equipment will last many years, so the used stuff will be fine.

Take your time with this, buy what you can, when you can, and bide your time. We are all in hope that one of these days things will open up and components will be available again.
What ever you do please dont feed the scalpers that are robbing people right now. Anything over $50.00 per 1000 for primers is probably too much, as they were under $30.00 per 1000, less than a year ago. Powder the same way, $35.00 - $40.00 is top of the mark, as it was under $30 most places a short time ago.

Just about any reloading press will work, while some are stronger, more ergonomically correct, they will all get you there. Again, this is where an established re-loader can help. Possible let you load a few rounds, and figure out what you may like the best.
Dies, like many other, pieces are mostly about personal taste, many brands are available and all will work.

A quality scale, is one place that saving money is not a good idea. You need a quality reloading scale to accurately weigh and measure powder charges, powder measurers are sort of the same way. Manuals are a good idea, but using the data from the powder manufacture's site can be a suitable substitute. I will not use some ones else's data, or load data, from any online source like a gun forum. Look it up for your self..

No idea here, what you are loading for, but as was mentioned above, the 38 special is a forgiving place to start.
Your wife's Mod 15 that you mentioned a few days ago, is a wonderful candidate to start with.

Good luck with your endeavor, and please feel free to ask questions..

BES
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for the responses. Info was great and got me excited to get started. Ordered a RCBS kit and it should be here in early January. Most of the different kits estimated in-stock dates I found were iffy at best so I probably paid more than I should have. Once I get it and dig into it I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. I appreciate your help and apologize now for my future dumb questions.
 

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Thank you all for the responses. Info was great and got me excited to get started. Ordered a RCBS kit and it should be here in early January. Most of the different kits estimated in-stock dates I found were iffy at best so I probably paid more than I should have. Once I get it and dig into it I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. I appreciate your help and apologize now for my future dumb questions.
I would start looking for powder & bullets now. I bought my first pound of powder a month before I had the press set up. If you let us know what cartridges you intend to load we could likely make suggestions as t what powder you will need
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would start looking for powder & bullets now. I bought my first pound of powder a month before I had the press set up. If you let us know what cartridges you intend to load we could likely make suggestions as t what powder you will need
Thanks, looking at 40 S&W, 38 spcl, 223/556, 30-06.
 

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Thank you all for the responses. Info was great and got me excited to get started. Ordered a RCBS kit and it should be here in early January. Most of the different kits estimated in-stock dates I found were iffy at best so I probably paid more than I should have. Once I get it and dig into it I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. I appreciate your help and apologize now for my future dumb questions.
Hey Frogger,

Welcome to S&W!

Now...don't forget to look at: Estate, Divorce, Yard, Garage ....etc Sales!

Couple years back, our Rifle Mechanic picked up a new in the wrapper RCBS KIT... for $25 (Divorce Sale)

I have purchased all sorts of items, from lead to bullets, presses.......primers etc at any, all of the above.

Look on your Rifle Club Bulletin Board. Reloaders are always "up grading" and find they need to part with the "old" to make room for the "new"...

You can not have too many books! I like the H'Day, as it explains in detail the internal ballistics, and H'Day uses actual firearms for their data on their indoor 200yd range!

The Lyman, Lee, Hodgon (etc) Manuals are all good.

Rule of thumb? If the "Max" charge for a particular powder were to be 60gr (as in 30-06) then your start load would be 54gr with the "accuracy" load being 57gr of powder. Where Max is 100%, Starting is 90% and Accuracy is 95%.

In handgun, I like CLAYS for 45acp target loads. And UNIVERSAL does admirably for all of my cast bullet FUN!

There is no reason to spend big loot on jacketed bullets for handgun work. Cast bullets are way less.

HAVE FUN!

Later, Mark
 

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Hey Frogger,

One LGS does a lot of estate work.

A great place to get used reloading equipment & supplies (open boxes of .270 bullets, scales, presses....you name it)

If you see a local estate sale...(or have a friend/neighbor who passes) don't be scared to buy the whole "lot".

Use what you need, trade/sell the rest (the above mentioned .270 bullets) LOL

Later, Mark
 
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Before you buy anything, sign up for the NRA Metallic Cartridge Reloading course.

It will introduce you to safe reloading practices, help explain why you do things a certain way, and help you understand that reloading manuals are NOT recipe books - they are the documented results of measured experiments.

I had been reloading for 10 years before I took the course and the instructor course - and learned many things that make me a safer reloader, my rounds safer rounds and my satisfaction much higher.
 

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Thanks, looking at 40 S&W, 38 spcl, 223/556, 30-06.
Hey Frog,

For the 40 & 38...UNIVERSAL!

For .223, H 322 or H 335.

For the 06, H 4350!

You will not look back from these choices!

For the 40, WSP. For the 38 Fed 100.

.223 WSR. '06 WLR (or FED 210 in a bolt rifle)

You do not want to use a powder faster than UNIVERSAL in the 40, until you get a bit of experience! Tite Group, Red Dot (and other fast powders) can/will have UNPLEASANT PRESSURE SPIKES with just 1/10 of a grain!

The mid range (Universal) handgun powders are much more FORGIVING!

Hope this helps.

Fixin' to go do a bit of powder coatin' n such.

Later, Mark
489631
489632
489633
489634
 

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Frogger,

Glad you are getting some equipment gathered up. I feel for you, or anyone who is starting out in the current crazy times, where everything is sold out, and or on back order.
You cant go wrong with green reloading equipment! My choice too, but some times other colors get tossed in because of cost, or what happens to come along at the time.
Several options on manuals out there, and a modern manual is a necessity, for any reloader to have. Older manuals are ok, but powers change, and thus load data too.
The Lyman # 48 is available on line in PDF format in case you need it. It may not have the latest and greatest powders in it, but is still new enough to have all the old stand-by powders, and a ton of great info about reloading in general.

Its nice to have a mentor, if you can. So if possible, try to get with some one, while you are learning the ropes.
None of the cartridges you mentioned are really problem children, and are pretty straight forward to load for.
Auto loading guns, can be tricky, and its best to have small based dies, for these. 223, 308, 3006 ect.

The 38 special is a really good starting project, as the rimmed straight wall case is really forgiving.
The 40 S & W is not too bad, but is a little like the 9mm, small case high pressure, and some times a little change makes a big difference in pressure, and performance.

Post any questions you want, and there are many knowledgeable, helpful members here that will help you.
Most forums are good resources, and there is usually some that will call BS if some one give you bad advice.... Nice to have some one watching out for us, in the event of a mistake, or miss information.
Keep your questions coming, and we look forward to seeing your progress in this endeavor.
 
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Now and maybe never is the time to get into hand loading because components, especially boolets and primers are not to be found ANYWHERE. Bad as loaded ammunition right now.

Not an issue with me, I planned ahead a long time ago but for a new grasshopper, not good.
 

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.39 Special.

Easy to do with a single-stage press. (That's what I learned on.)

If Bidriss locks down high capacity clippy things, the revolver will be King.

Plus revolvers are fun to shoot; you can shoot .38s in .38 and .357 revolvers.
IMHO, S&W makes the best revolvers!
 

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.38 Special.

Easy to do with a single-stage press. (That's what I learned on.)

If Bidriss locks down high capacity clippy things, the revolver will be King.

Plus revolvers are fun to shoot; you can shoot .38s in .38 and .357 revolvers.
IMHO, S&W makes the best revolvers!
 
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