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Jaa600

Reloading

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I’m thinking I may start reloading my own ammo. I don’t reload now because I don’t shoot enough to justify buying the reloading equipment. I’m thinking of picking it up as a hobby. Any thoughts?

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Go for it. I have been doing it for years, although I haven't pulled a handle in a while. My suggestion for a beginner would be pick up a rcbs rock chucker kit. They are inexpensive and come with enough to get started minus dies and components. You can pick up neater tools along the way as time and money allow. Unless you can be lucky and buy somebody out. I could talk all day about it but just a couple things to think about before hand.

1.   you really need a clean "QUIET'' place to do this. If you have your kids running around and wife disturbing you every 5 minutes you are setting yourself up for a mistake that you just might not want to. Garage, basement, man cave whatever...

2. Place everything out on a CLEAN bench with no other components to mix up and go to work. Do not load 257 Roberts loads with some .243 loose bullets laying around and again make a mistake. A clean bench will help you out

3. I like to place all my cartridges in a loading block to where if do get disturbed you can tell exactly where you were and what you were doing. Flipping the cartridges over each time makes this easy.

4. I started with one round and built around that. Don't go hog wild, you have to walk before you can run so to speak.

If you enjoy to shoot you will really enjoy this, it just completes it. I strongly suggest taking your favorite rife and perfecting it, then move on to the next favorite toy. This isn't rocket science BUT it takes care and finesse. Good Luck

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Remember it is a hobby.  After you get started you will not save any money.  Last year i made the $1000.00 club buying molds from NOE plus all the other brands I  have.  Just ordered a case of SP and one of SR from Midway.  Could not pass up the free HasMat.

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Been reloading for 50 years. At my peak, I did hundreds of rounds a year in many calibers. If you cast bullets they are about the price of 22 ammo, hunting rounds are more. I really find it an enjoyable pastime, as well as improving the performance of all my guns by tailoring the loads to each one. All my equipment is RCBS, most is 50 years old and functions flawlessly.

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X2 I started reloading with a lee hand loader and a plastic mallet for a 45/70 Springfield trapdoor about 45 years ago and still got it and the rifle. but have graduated to a faster method now. usually just load for my own guns and a few family members and friends Missouri Mule is right start small time, no distractions, clean bench, and so on purchase a good reloading manual I now have several and a good scale to weigh the powder charge with better than factory accuracy and the ability to manufacture a custom super accurate load for your favorite shooting iron russ              

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its a great hobby,,+1 on the RCBS ''rockchucker'' 39 years for mine

first thing to purchase is a reloading manual  then go to ''one book/one caliber'' it has all the data from all the reloading manuals for say .223 or 300win mag ect.

Mike

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I just looked it up, the rcbs rock chucker supreme kit like cabalas sells for like $330.00 is a good starter kit. It has the manual and block, along with a bullet proof press, "no pun intended". The auto prime tool works awesome, and the scale is very accurate as well. Some of the things I bought along the way are a LEE dipper set. It has a chart with a whole set of dippers, I use this more than a trickler. I weigh every load of coarse. The powder dumper rcbs works OK, it is a little tedious to set up and once you get the hang of it very accurate. The trick is to do the exact same movement every time and you will get good results. I shoot coffee cans of 38 specials out of my smith and Wesson and this is a good place to use that tool. I aim in the middle of the chart and go with it. I also bought a lyman trimmer and like it a lot. Like WSX said above, remember at the end of the day it is a expensive hobby. When you go in and spend a couple hundred bucks on components every trip to the store it adds up. I did shoot a lot. As you can probably tell I have gotten several guys into the program that wanted to learn and enjoy that as much as anything. I always have them come over and we build 20 rounds for one of their guns. I have 25-30 sets of dies so most of the common ones ive got. If they enjoy that I let them build some on there own coaching them. The key is to get some good books. My speer manual that came with my rcbs kit has some really good info. After that I have picked up dozens more books and manuals for reading pleasure. It turns into an addiction if you let it. Last thing is it would be my recommendation to start with a bottle neck cartridge or a straight wall pistol. These are the easiest to produce and get into the field.

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Been reloading for 50 years also. All the advice here is spot on. When you do get a bench, either build it or buy a heavy duty one. There is some serious pressure applied when resizing rounds. The heavy table helps hold it in place and it is also quieter.

I pretty much done it all including casting bullets. It is a great hobby and is like therapy to me. 

RCBS stuff is like IH, if they made it it will do what it is supposed to.

Have fun and shoot more!

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All he comments above at good ones. I picked up most of my major components used from a gun dealer I know. A lot of them were older but still work like new. I should invest in an electric powder dispenser but haven't yet. I still measure every charge to exactly what I want. The "hobby" is very enjoyable and rewarding.  The reloading block is very nice to keep everything on task. Do each step to each cartridge and move on. 

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what calibers are you thinking about?  Reloading for a revolver is a little different that reloading for a semi auto pistol and both are different than reloading for a rifle.  I used to shoot competitively and ran about 10 to 12,000 rounds per year with three presses.  I mostly reloaded during the winter months as something to do on snowy cold days.  I found it to be a very good way to unwind after work, better than watching TV.  You really do need it to be distraction free as forgetting what you have done can lead to big problems.  I have had several friends damage guns and hands with over or under loaded cartridges.  

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8 hours ago, Doug in NY said:

what calibers are you thinking about?  Reloading for a revolver is a little different that reloading for a semi auto pistol and both are different than reloading for a rifle.  I used to shoot competitively and ran about 10 to 12,000 rounds per year with three presses.  I mostly reloaded during the winter months as something to do on snowy cold days.  I found it to be a very good way to unwind after work, better than watching TV.  You really do need it to be distraction free as forgetting what you have done can lead to big problems.  I have had several friends damage guns and hands with over or under loaded cartridges.  

.223, .243 and .308.  Maybe later get into .45auto. 

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I put a new scope on my .243 awhile back and finally got around to sighting it in today.  It’s shooting less than 1” groups at 100yds. sighted 2 inches high. That should be zeroed at 200 but I didn’t check it. The wind picked up and I got cold. Maybe I’ll try it again later in the week. It’s suppose to warm up but a chance of rain.

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6 minutes ago, Jaa600 said:

.223, .243 and .308.  Maybe later get into .45auto. 

45 auto is a little more tricky. I bought a gauge go/no go from dillan precision and that helps me on setup. The .223 are tedius and the necks like to crack especially on nato ammo, so quality control is important. .243 and .308 are fun.

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2 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

45 auto is a little more tricky. I bought a gauge go/no go from dillan precision and that helps me on setup. The .223 are tedius and the necks like to crack especially on nato ammo, so quality control is important. .243 and .308 are fun.

I’ve heard that about .45.  I’ve heard the brass is thin and it gets damaged when ejected. I’ve never looked at the casings that closely. 

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Yes because the 45 auto is chambered by the end of the casing since it had no rim like most bottleneck cartridges. So you resize and crimp and bullet seat mean everything. Its the difference between one that will chamber to one that gets lodged in the chamber. Most of the newer guns don't damage the brass to bad to my knowledge. But I would not consider myself a know it all by any means. 

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Yes, auto's (for the most part) are headspaced on the chamber mouth.  I have never had much problem with them.  I guess a Go-No go gauge would be easier, but I just disassembled the gun and used the barrel hood to gauge my depth.  One you get your dies set up and have a good batch of casings, you don't need to check them much.  If you buy pistol dies be sure to get carbide!  That way you don't have to lube the cases, which is a big time saver.  I have loaded lots of 45 and 9mm that way.  Bottleneck rifle cartridges all need to lubes for sizing, then cleaned and reloaded.  Be careful with 223 ammo as the SAAMI specs are different for 223 v 5.56.  

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Of what you are listing I find .45 to be the easiest and the .223 and .308 to be the hardest.  If you deal in military brass the .223 and .308 both need primer pockets reamed that is step you only do once but extra steps when you are doing a lot of rounds add up.  some of this also matters more if you are reloading for a self loader rifle versus a bolt or lever gun.  they are a little more forgiving on length, and the trimming of brass unless you are really going for high accuracy.

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