Starting reloading - good list?

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    betafu2
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    Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:02 pm

    I'm looking to get into reloading this winter and I've been doing my homework. I'd like to get in for low-middle outlay, since I'm not sure if I'll dig it or not (I know the odds are I will, but it's easier to sell to She Who Must Be Obeyed if I'm in under 500 bucks.)

    I found this list after watching some videos and I'm curious what y'all think:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxK_wgIwcxk&src_vid=r7R3gZbr-Xc&feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_900114123


    TOTAL COST: $402

    Buy List:
    Lyman Reloading Handbook $20 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...

    Lee Anniversary Kit $130 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003...

    Lee .223 Dies $40 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002...

    Caliper $12 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

    Lyman Universal Case Trimmer $80 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

    Frankford Bullet Puller $17 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...

    Lyman Case Prep Multi Tool $24 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004...

    IMR 4320 1lb $30

    CCI #400 1000 Small Rifle Primers $37

    Sierra GameKing 55gr SP 100 Rounds $12

    Now I DO have access to a guy I study jiujitsu with that reloads on a progressive, so I know i could lure him over to help give me tips even on a a single stage for a handful of adult beverages of his choice later on. And I know going single-stage I'll be sacrificing time but I was thinking maybe it'll help me focus on each step and make mistakes more glaring. My goal would be to reload 9mm and .45 for IDPA and range to start, and when I finish my AR move to .223 and maybe .380 or .357/.38 Special when I get that Ruger GP100 I'm lusting after.

    Last question; this may be dumb but is setting up a reloading bench in the garage when I have my water heater across the room a horrible idea? Feel free to flame me for being dumb!

    Thanks in a advance y'all!
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:04 pm

    A few things I would recommend:

    1. Buy at least 2 reloading books.  When you have a question about a load, it is good to cross reference from a few sources.  Also, the different books will have load data for different bullets, powders, etc... combinations.  You can also find load data from bullet and powder manufacturers online for free.
    2. Sizing lube, I have tried lots and I like Imperial sizing wax the best.  It doesn't smell bad, and I've never had a case get stuck with it.  A little goes a long way.
    3. Lee dies work just fine, but there are a few downsides to them.  I like to swap out the lock rings on all my lee dies, I hate that o-ring lock.  Also, the lee factory crimp dies for rifles are nice--I like them a lot.  I like to seat and crimp in two steps.
    4. Electronic scales save time.  Lots of time.
    5. 9mm and 45acp are good starter calibers, and 357/38 is even easier IMO.  223 is a bit more involved and takes more time but isn't too hard. Necked rifle cases require lubing, trimming, chamfering/deburring, etc...
    6. Starting with a single stage press is good.  Eliminates lots of complications.  After you get the overall reloading process down, you will see how a progressive will save time.
    7. I think you will be just fine with a water heater across the room.
    8. A hand primer will save lots of time priming cases if you are loading on a single stage press.  Not sure if that is included in your anniversary kit.
    9. I didn't see a tumbler in the list--you will want to get one.

    If you have any questions (I am sure that you will) feel free to post them here.  Combined, we have several years of reloading experience.

    PS. Your links to amazon products must be to your specific cart or something because they don't work for us.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:08 pm

    Awesome thank you! Yeah, the tumbler isn't listed there (the guy that put that list together hand-cleans his brass.) My wife has a rock tumbler from the last decade when she was making her own jewelry .. I -think- I can use that for tumbling the brass. I've been listening to the Gun Dudes and they advocate that stainless steel stuff for tumbling the brass.

    I haven't tried the links, it was off the guy's Youtube page so maybe he had a list or something set up?

    I did hear about the two to three book idea before and I forgot about it.

    Thanks Commastah!
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:45 pm

    That rock tumbler should work fine--a little bit of lemishine and dawn will make all your cases clean and shiny like new. I like stainless steel wet tumbling my brass--it comes out really clean and doesn't gunk up the dies. Regular corn cob/walnut shell in a vibration tumbler works fine too.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:21 pm

    I'm cheap, so I use the walnut shells in the tumbler. I buy huge bags of it at pet stores. Some people (lesser people, mind you) use it for bird cages.

    One other helpful hint I'd add is to start looking for powder now. It's not easy to locate. Personally, I use gunbot.net to watch for powders. I have to pay the haz mat fee, but I buy a lot of powder at a time which helps spread the cost out.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:23 pm

    So it sounds like the order will go:

    Book(s)

    Powder buying now.

    Etc.

    Cause I have to know what powder to get, I think?
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:02 pm

    I'm worthless when it comes to loading .223/5.56. Have no experience in that caliber.

    Since you mentioned starting out with 9mm and 45 acp, you might try to find a powder that works for both. Right now, it's hard to find Alliant or Accurate powders, but the Hogdon and Winchester powders are seen semi-frequently on gunbot.net.

    I am using Hogdon's Titegroup a lot right now for 9mm (115 fmj bullets). The load I use runs around 1050 fps and is enough to reliably cycle a Glock 17 and 19, but has minimal recoil. I could load it hotter, but my kids love shooting low recoil 9mm, so I stick with this load for now. I've used it for 45 Colt (not ACP) and it gave a nice accurate load. I assume it would work with 45 acp, too, but am not certain.

    In the past, I used Alliant's Power Pistol for both 9mm and 45 acp and was happy with the results. I've not used anything but Power Pistol for 45 acp, just because I focused a bit more on other calibers before the powder shortage hit and remain pre-occupied with those.

    The powder company websites (hogdonreloading.com, accuratepowder.com, alliantpowder.com) all have recipes for calibers and can help you find one powder for both calibers.

    My personal preference is Accurate powders with No. 5 and No. 7 being the most versatile. I like these best because they are very fine powders and meter very well in my Lee Autodisc powder dispenser. But, as you will soon learn, in today's market, sometimes you have to go with what you can find versus what you prefer.

    You might check your local gun shops for powder, too. I've heard rumors about local stores having ample powder, but that's definitely not the case around these parts.

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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:53 pm

    You might check the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Single Stage Press Kit It's got just about everything but dies and case lube. They go on sale all the time. I don't have any experience with other brand's kits - you'll get a lot of good advice here.

    And: The ABCs Of Reloading: The Definitive Guide for Novice to Expert (ABC's of Reloading) The author's writing style is dryer than hell, but he knows his stuff and explains it well.  

    And you're asking all the right questions. Congrats, you're over the hardest step!
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:02 am

    Basically what Corn said.

    But I don't see a need for a case trimmer or case multi-prep tool. You may end up needing a case trimmer when you get to rifle cases, but I have never trimmed a pistol case. Ever. Even HOT .38 Super loads. The multi-prep took is AGAIN useful for rifle cases - maybe. But for the moment you don't need that.

    TiterGroup will work in all the pistol calibres you mentionied. I reload .45 Colt, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W with it. I will be moving to Trailboss for the .45 Colt, but the others stay. I use an older Winchester powder for my Super, of which I have a ton so don't have to move to anything else for a long time for those rounds (IPSC major loads for .38 Super - 130 gr at 1440 fps).

    Get a Lyman final crimp die for any calibre you reload; it resizes your case one last time and applies a taper crimp - the only crimp IMO.

    Imperial wax I use to form cases - like .20 Tactical from .223. I use One Shot for regular reloading. It's a spray so easy to use. A LITTLE will go a LONG way. I usually put cases in a small box, spritz a bit into the box, then shake the cases. They seem to get lubed fine.

    Buy steel calipers. The plastic ones suck. You will want something that is durable, reproducable. You don't need an electronic set (although they are nice) - just a decent steel caliper. Look them up on the web. You can find good ones sold by machinist places that are less expensive than "gun" stuff. And probably better.

    Make sure your kinetic bullet puller comes with at least three heads for different size cases. There are bullet pullers that work in a press, but they are more expensive and don't really work that much better except if you have to pull a BUNCH of bullets.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:26 pm

    Oh wow, y'all weren't kidding, this powder stuff is rare'n gold out there!

    Thanks everyone! I'm putting together my list and I'll let Mrs Betafu know that The Internet said it's ok to do in the garage. Smile
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:50 pm

    That's what the Good Lord had in mind when he invented garages.

    If I see TiteGroup come available on gunbot.net, I'll try to let you know here.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:53 pm

    Thanks Jed and thanks everyone else!
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:01 pm

    Devereaux wrote:Buy steel calipers. The plastic ones suck. You will want something that is durable, reproducable. You don't need an electronic set (although they are nice) - just a decent steel caliper. Look them up on the web. You can find good ones sold by machinist places that are less expensive than "gun" stuff. And probably better.

    Amen on the metal calipers. You can find some digital metal ones that are not too expensive.

    Devereaux wrote:Make sure your kinetic bullet puller comes with at least three heads for different size cases. There are bullet pullers that work in a press, but they are more expensive and don't really work that much better except if you have to pull a BUNCH of bullets.

    My lyman hammer came with 2 head pieces and can pull everything from 500 mag down to the little bitty calibers

    As far as powders go, I really like Unique even though it is a bit dirty. I load 9mm, .357/38, 45 colt, 45 acp, .44 mag, as well as light cast loads for various rifle calibers. Unique is one of those "buy on the spot" powders for me; if I see it anywhere locally, I buy it right then. There are lots of .223 powders to choose from (cfe223, h335, h322, BL-C2, W-748, Varget, R-15, TAC, etc...). I personally prefer ball powders like TAC for easy and consistent metering. Makes loading faster with rifles. If I were to only pick 2 powders for as much loading as possible, I would pick Unique and Varget--you can load an awful lot of calibers with those two powders. But, because I am not limited to two powders, I buy lots of variety and load lots of different types of loads.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:15 pm

    I will second Corn's recommendation. I always buy Unique whenever I find it.

    2400 is another powder I will buy on the spot.
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:27 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:...2400 is another powder I will buy on the spot.

    Yes, that is another powder I will buy on the spot.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:28 pm

    Oh wow I was just checking out the prices for hazmat shipping - 30 bucks. OK, I'll be doing the rounds of Academy/Gander Mountain/Walmart and mom and pop gun shops around here I think. Although http://www.uplandoutfitterstexas.com/ is within driving distance, I may just ask him if he can order it for me and have it locally for me to pickup.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:29 pm

    In listening to the Gun Dudes, one thing that one of the guys recommended was a 3X5 index card or note on your smart phone with your list of powders in preferred order for each caliber - I may do that this week for when I go shopping. So I can know 'OK, this one is in the top 3, this one is bottom 5, this one isn't on the list but may work.'
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:59 pm

    Yeah, I have a google spreadsheet with all my reload data on it. That way, I can "remember" what powders go with what bullets and the respective load data for each. I can access it on my phone, computer, tablet, etc...
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:25 pm

    B2 - Lots of guys pool their needs and order a big batch at once, since hazmet fees are per shipment, not per pound.

    I would suggest that you try a pound of something, since you are still considering whether you will like this or not. If it turns out you are "in", then you ought to be buying in 8lb sizes (except TrailBoss, which comes in 5 lb cans).
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:09 pm

    Beta --- TiteGroup is available right now at Natchez, if you're willing to pay the HazMat fee:

    http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=HDTG1&src=ppj&utm_source=pj&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=43737
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:30 pm

    Most amusingly I debated this yesterday, decided to do it today, was already out of stock! I just had a hard time paying 29 bucks for shipping for a 18 dollar container. OK, I learned my lesson!
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:41 pm

    Well, for what it's worth:

    (1) When I order powder through gunbot, I usually get at least 4 pounds. That helps spread out the hazmat fee. If I was looking to get just one pound to try it out, I'd probably keep roaming gun shops and gun shows till I fount it.

    (2) Seems to me that Hogdon (which makes TiteGroup) is putting out a fair amount of powder lately. If you decide that you want to order TiteGroup over the internet, I'll bet you'll see it come up again in the next several days.

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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:55 pm

    TJ is right - buying small amounts is not worth doing on the internet. Go to your gunstores and find the one with the best price and buy that. They will have amortized the hazmet fee over multiple bottles/cases.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by betafu2 on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:21 pm

    Yep I've done some research this morning, looks like a 20-ish minute drive to Gander Mountain (not bad) or 60 to Cabelas to see what's local - no other local gun store orders it because of the fire code and hazmat restrictions. But I'll get it done!
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    Re: Starting reloading - good list?

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:26 pm

    I think I must live in the firearms Utopia. Within about a 10 min drive, we have like 6-10 gun shops and several more pawn shops with ffl's and even more basement/garage ffl dealers. Then again, when it comes to shortages, there are that many more people fighting over the same supplies.

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