Never reloaded because I never had the time or a good place to work.
Now, I have a brand new workshop and a son in law that wants to start reloading for long range rifles. I imagine he will be shooting a 7.62 or something similar (has not purchased yet). My needs are predominantly for pistol caliber as even my rifle is in .357 Magnum. I have done quite a bit of Cowboy Action shooting so I imagine that reloading my 38/.357 revolvers and rifle is in the cards. My LTC handguns are 9mm and 45 ACP and it looks like an AR-15 is in my future.
So, help me decide what to buy. Single Stage or Progressive system? Which manufacturer or model? I hear that RCBS is one of the better manufacturers but input would be appreciated. Will probably get one of my cowboy buddies to coach me (and my son in law) through the first couple of reloading sessions.
|The Unmanned Writer|
Get the RCBS master reloader kit.
Inside is a book.
Read it three times then buy the rest of what need.
ABCs of Reloading is another good book.
Only in an insane world are the sane considered insane.
Someone been lying to you,not a bad press but Dillon is a much better option.
I started with rcbs but went to Dillon for speed and quality
I would start with a simple reloading manual. Besides the loading data, they go through most all the steps to reloading, safety, etc..
Once you read through one or two, Hornady, Sierra, whatever.
If you plan to switch around between cartridges, something less than a progressive press is easier. A ‘turret’ press is somewhat in between.
I’ve always gone for quality & safety over rounds per hour. You don’t need every item in the reloading section to get started. Yes, get a manual, read, then a press of sorts.
I have stuff from most manufacturers, yes quality levels can vary. If I reload just a few 45 Colt rounds do I need $100 dies? No.
Yes, manual or ‘how to book’ to get started. Then pick an easier round 1st.
|Son of a son |
of a Sailor
This is a difficult question to answer, especially without knowing your budget. I started off with a Dillon press in the early 90's (which was and remains dedicated to .45 ACP), then I added a Lee classic cast single-stage press, as well as a Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive. I like all 3 for different reasons/tasks. For precision rifle, or most rifle for that matter, I recommend starting with a single stage press. You learn the basics better, and if you add a progressive press later, there are good reasons to have both on the bench. I must warn you, it's addicting! Just prior to typing this I slipped into the garage to process some Lake City 5.56 brass on the single-stage. Have fun and stay safe.
Floridian by birth, Seminole by the grace of God
Purchase the good reloading manuals FIRST, and read them!!! Learn the language and the parts. Then, decide what press will be best for you.
|and this little pig said:|
Yeah! I'll second this quote!!! Mine has been lent out to many people. Please do not let the author's "hands" deter you from reloading. This book was the first one I read before starting 20 years ago. I still refer to it from time to time!
Then, experiment so that you'll get a real good feeling on what you might/might not do as far as straying from the reloading manuals data. Get a good feel for signs of over-pressure by looking at primers and cases. Don't ignore those signs.
Don't overlook youtube for reloading instruction, there are several good one's and they're easy to pick out.
I had Hornady Lock n Load and now have two Dillon 650's. Red and blue are both good machines but IMO Blue is the better machine. I started on a turret and after about 2000 45 acp I knew I had to go progressive. Working up a load on a progressive is a bit of a pain but it's worth the trouble for volume loading compared to a turret or single stage. I did just add a Redding turret press for low volume loading without disturbing the Dillon setups.
|Not One of |
the Cool Kids
Seriously, it's a lot. If you don't have an in-person mentor, going slow is the best path. I started loading in 1990 with a single-stage RCBS Partner Press. That's what I still use. I like the control and brass prep gives me some quiet time.
|Plowing straight ahead come what may|
Amen on what mark60’s post recommends...Here is one who is very detailed (sometimes to the point of being anal and hard to watch but gets the point of safety across)...
Link to original video: https://youtu.be/W60SPnL7ZFA
You mentioned you shoot CAS...we are almost all reloaders...check with your local club to see if another Cowboy Action shooter will mentor you and make recommendations on equipment and components
As far as equipment don’t overlook LEE...I’m still using an inexpensive LEE C press that is over 30 years old for some things such as resizing cast bullets...the kit in the YouTube video can still be had on Amazon Prime for under $150...Of course being a thrifty ol’ bastard (some say “cheap” )... my main press is a 1985-86 model Dillon RL 450 with upgrades on primer and powder (Dillon is IMHO the gold standard on presses if you want to purchase a progressive press To start with )...
The reloading manual “Modern Reloading By Richard Lee” is informative and easy to understand for those just starting out...the Hornady is also a great manual...just be careful when using Internet forum posted data Unless it’s from one of the powder manufacturers official website
I would recommend starting out with a powder in both pistol and rifle with a wide spread of calibers...for pistol Alliant Unique or Hodgdon Universal cover a lot of uses (my CAS .45 Colts are loaded with Hodgdon Clays or Alliant Claydot) Rifle powders are somewhat more specialized depending on caliber but IMR 4198 or Hodgdon H335 can cover quite a few bases...just remember in this market if you check your reloading manual and find a suitable powder for your use and find it in a store or online...buy as much as you can afford...same with primers...they will last longer than we will if stored with love and care
It’s nice not to be ruled by the ebb and flow of the current situations concerning ammunition availability...good on you
"we've gotta roll with the punches, learn to play all of our hunches
Making the best of what ever comes our way
Forget that blind ambition and learn to trust your intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may
And theres a cowboy in the jungle"
A big note, if you want to start reloading you need to start looking for powder, primers, and projectiles. Powder isn't too hard to come by but primers and bullets are drying up quickly or have pretty much dried up.
Sorry for being MIA but had other issues to handle. Thank you all for your input and direction. Looks like I have some reading to do.
My son in law is trying to get on an Army shooting competition team and I imagine will be reloading for the caliber he will be using. Has not purchased it yet. I will be reloading primarily pistol caliber ammo for Cowboy Action Shooting (38 Special and .357 Magnum). Secondary will be my reloading for my LTC firearms and my son in law's handguns so that will be 9mm, .45 ACP and .40 calibers. My critical decision is my Cowboy Action generates a need for large quantities of ammo while my son in law's needs focus on a much smaller volume but very accurate ammo. Do I focus on the quantity, which would dictate a progressive press or as many have indicated, get a single stage to lean on and deal with the high round count later?
One needs to factor in a budget then how much you realistically plan to reload. It takes more setup to switch around with a progressive, though with different ‘heads’($$) it can be done.
I switch around a good bit, a turret type suits me fine. The 38 spcl/357 is a great round to get started with.
As posted, start looking for primers now, maybe set up email notifications of stock at a few sites. Last I looked inventory was rather spotty.
Starting off one really has to focus on quality/safety, which of course is always paramount going forward.
Here’s a free reloading book download, should be helpful tips.
|Son of a son |
of a Sailor
Primers are indeed scarce. I just ordered 7 pounds of various powders, and it wasn't too hard to find what I needed. Bullets are mostly available too. You might find some primers in local stores, so that's one place to look. I'm glad I have several thousand of each type on hand, but I would still like to get some more.
Floridian by birth, Seminole by the grace of God
If budget is no object:
For your single stage press, look at a Redding T7 or a Forster Co-Ax.
For your progressive, look to Dillon. Also, if you find a good deal on a L-N-L, you could give it a look. However, you’ll probably go Dillon down the road anyway, especially if you’re going to use a case feeder.
Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. -Epictetus
As stated above, get a mentor. Then get a Dillon.
Reloading classes are available at some stores.
Get yourself a cheap Lee single stage with the necessary accessories like dies and scales and a book and start with the 45. After you learn the basics get a progressive. I like the Hornady LNL. It is a pretty simple press and doesn't break the bank. Lee dies with the carbide sizing die are good dies and will last a long time. If you are pressed for time buy your ammo. I like to reload because of the cost saving and it is a relaxing hobby. If you really want to start reloading and need a powder measure since I have a couple lying around not being used I will karma you one of them. Just email me the info. Good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.
|Get Off My Lawn|
Demand for reloading supplies is not as bad as ammo, but it is a challenge in today's world. Thankfully I bought all of my components in down years. ABCs of Reloading is a great starter book. I went straight to a Dillon 550B and it is still my only setup, a great press. For me, reloading is concentration and routine. And be prepared to be a brass hound.
"I’m not going to read Time Magazine, I’m not going to read Newsweek, I’m not going to read any of these magazines; I mean, because they have too much to lose by printing the truth"- Bob Dylan, 1965
Make several phone calls and find someone willing to teach/train you. I found a guy that will spend all the time I need with me for $35 an hour. He was highly recommended. Totally worth it IMO.
"Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway." Steve McQueen...
I loaded on a single stage RCBS for 20 years or so and it was and is the perfect press for may Long Range / Match stuff as well as other rounds that I don't load a lot of.
2 years ago, I sprung for a Dillon 650 and Quick Change kits for .223/5.56, 45 ACP and 9mm.
I wished I would have bought a progressive a long time ago.
This weekend, My brother came up from Tennessee and we loaded 4,000 5.56 rounds, 3,000 9mm rounds, 2,000 .45 ACP rounds and 400 .45 Colt rounds. That would not have been possible on my trusty old RCBS.
The Progressive press does not replace the single stage, but if you plan on doing any bulk / high volume loading, look at a Dillon.
Yeah, I used to have a couple of guns.
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