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General beginner reloading questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by High Altitude, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. High Altitude

    High Altitude

    Nov 19, 2005
    I am just starting to get into reloading. I am going to go with a Lee classic turret press setup and start with 9mm. I have some general questions.

    Is there a good scale for not a lot of money that would work for a beginner? What do you guys think of the lee safety scale? I am trying to find a scale that would work for now and then I would probably upgrade in the future.

    Any suggestions on your favorite websites to buy components at? I am trying to get a handle on costs so when at the local gun shops or gun shows I know if something is priced well.

    Suggestions on what powders to use for 9mm for a beginner reloader? I am thinking Unique but are there some others.

    Are Wolf primers reliable?

    Last, I just purchased ABCs of reloading. If you where only going to purchase 1 or 2 reloading manuals, which would you suggest?

    Thanks guys, hopefully in the next few weeks I can start making some ammo.
  2. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    The Lee scale is cheap, accurate and a bit of a PITA to work with. More money will get you more convenience. I used the Lee scale for decades until I inherited my father's Lyman (Ohaus) beam scale.

    Unique is a great powder for 9mm.

    I like the older mauals better. Less perpetuation of urban myths in them. I have the Hornady Third edition and like it a lot. It doesn't have all the new powders in it since it's from the early 1980's, but Unique has been around for literally 100 years, so it has Unique data for 9mm. Check out Ebay etc for a copy. There are lots of good manuals, but I really only use the Hornady 3rd edition.

  3. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The Dillon beam scale, best bang for the buck IMO. I wouldn't buy a Lee scale, but I'm a hater when it comes to cheap/poorly designed equip. Newb powders for the 9mm begin w/ Unique IMO, WSF, PowerPistol, HS6, Universal, all good choices. Wolf small pistol primers have been problematic for some reloaders. They do not have the best QC & not all that much cheaper than some other brands, shop around. PowderValley, Natchez, Midsouth, Graf's all good places to buy in bulk.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  4. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  5. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    The only reason to get a Lee scale is so you can truely appreciate the replacement.

    Since you have ABCs, you might want to consider the Loadbooks for the caliber(s) you will be loading. Heavy on data, light on technique.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  6. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    I will sell you my Lee scale $20 shipped. PITA but works fine. Enjoy.

    Have you read my Sticky?
  7. High Altitude

    High Altitude

    Nov 19, 2005
    I have. All the information on the forum has been very helpful.
  8. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    The big question here for scales is: How are you dropping the powder?

    Are you hand weighing each charge?

    Are you using a separate powder measure that drops uniform charges?

    Are you using an automatic powder measure that is part of your LCT?

    I have a decent beam scale (Redding) that I use every so often to verify charges. I drop 10 (TEN) charges and measure the total. After loading for a while I will drop another 10 and make sure that the scale still balances out to zero.

    If you go the automatic route you can get away with a beam scale.

    If you go the hand measure route you are better off getting a digital unit and a trickle unit.

    Since you have the LCT I would recommend that you invest in the Pro Autodisk Powder Measure.

    I would also buy the Adjustable Charge Bar. As long as the charge volume is of a decent size it is very uniform in its drops and can be dialed to less than 1/10th of a grain accuracy.
  9. sig357fan


    Apr 8, 2008
    SW OH
    I just recently place and order with Kempf Gun Shop, actually called in the morning and talked to a guy to place my order, all the items I wanted were in stock and it shipped that day and was received a few days later.

    I use a lot of Lee products but have never had a Lee Safety Scale, I use a RCBS 505 purchased 20 plus years ago and is still my main scale.

    buy a good scale-once, considering that it is possibly the one item most responsible for safe reloads, don’t skimp on the scale.

    I have an Adjustable Charge Bar for the Auto Disk measure but have only had good luck with ball powders.

    I get load data from POWDER MANUFACTURERS WEBSITES or printed reloading manuals, I have several I’ve gotten over the years and often compare the data between them, BUT I ALWAYS START AT THE MINUMUN AND WORK UP until I get the results I’m looking for.

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  10. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    The most important tool you can pick up as a reloader is a good Chronograph.

    It is important to compare several books as well as several reloading sites on the net to determine what an acceptable starting charge is. Comparing the listed velocity of the book or site to what your chronograph shows can quickly let you know how much room you have to work with.

    Reloading data is a suggestion of where to start and what lengths to load to. I worked up a new load for my .40 and just changing the OAL by .01 changed the velocity by 25 fps. Changing the charge weight by .1 grains changed the velocity by 50 fps. This is all data that requires a chronograph to determine.

    Books and sites will give you a general idea of what to expect from a certain weight of bullet but no book or site can list every possible bullet profile and weight. Sometimes you just have to make an educated guess as to where to start. Shooting the test loads across a chronograph lets you know how the combination actually performs. We had a shooter that we chronographed last night who's 9x19 loads were averaging 1,450 fps. He knew they were hot but he did not know they were that hot.
  11. albyihat


    Aug 3, 2007
    SW Montana
    +1 for the dillion beam scale.
  12. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    I use a Lee single stage kit and use the scale. All the Lee stuff has worked well for me including the scale. Unless you are going to reload extreme target type ammo or really large amounts the Lee equipment should work well.
    If you want target type ammo then maybe upgrade to a more expensive system but many folks reload with Lee.
  13. High Altitude

    High Altitude

    Nov 19, 2005
    OK guys I am getting ready to order some equipment on-line but today I went to the local gun shop to get some components. I picked up 1lb of Unique and 500 Federal small pistol primers. These are the ones in the blue box, number 100, say champion on them. These where the last 5 boxes of small pistol primers in the store.

    I have a question about bullets.

    Since I am going to be shooting these rounds out of a glock with the stock barrel (9mm) I was looking for FMJ bullets but they didn't have any. They did have Berry but I believe these are plated.

    Is it OK to shoot these bullets out of a Glock with the stock barrel? Are they going to lead up the barrel?

    Next on the list........... I am trying to beg the wife for a small space in the house to set up a very minimal reloading bench :whistling:
  14. firefighter4215


    Nov 2, 2009
    The Lee scale works fine for me. In retrospect a digital scale would've been better. But I got it new on ebay for $17 after shipping, so for now I'm good to go. Very simple to use.

    ETA--plated bullets are fine for a Glock. No leading.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  15. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    Nothing wrong with berrys.
    Right now I am buying Precision Delta as they have the best current value in 9mm. But you do have to buy 2K of them from them. $79 a K.

    Most of the time you are going to get a pretty good discount by buying your primers by the K instead of the hundred.

    FMJ bullets = Full metal jacket A type of bullet.
    berry= a brand of bullets

    1. FMJ - Full metal jacket
    2. CMJ - Complete metal jacket
    3. JHP - jacked hollow point

    • Berry
    • Precision Delta
    • Ranier
    • Montana Gold
  16. albyihat


    Aug 3, 2007
    SW Montana
    Berrys are fine for a glock. Plated bullets load more like lead then Jacketed, so keep in mind that data for jacketed bullets will produce different results for plated the only way to know is to chronograph and watch for pressure signs. I have loaded thousands of plated in my stock glock and had no problems keep loads to the low end and you will be fine. If you get a chrono you can start to play with the load more. With plated bullets I generally get the same velocity as jacketed but using less powder. I think berrys recommends keeping velocity under 1200fps I know Rainier says to do this.
  17. sellersm

    sellersm disciplinare

    May 28, 2009
    Berry's plated bullets are fine. If you look on their website, you'll see they recommend starting loads as you would for lead bullets, and don't exceed the mid-range of the recommended charges (not max!!). I've not had any problems with various plated bullets in all my handgun loads.

    +1 on the Dillon beam, and +1 on the Lee Pro Autodisk to go with the LCT.

    As to the reloading bench, Franklin Arsenal makes a very small footprint stand that gets favorable reviews. Or mount your press to some wood and then use C-clamps to clamp it onto a desk/table that you already own.

    Welcome to the reloading world!
  18. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    I started with the LCT, 9/45, and Unique powder. No problems. I stick with CCI primers. Have shot a few hundred Berry's in 9mm, no issues. Berry's is the cheapest non-lead bullets I've found.

    Unique fills up the 9mm case pretty good so I get a few flakes of Unique jumping out on the downstroke after charging the case, not a big deal since I reload in the garage.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  19. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    The last order I made was for 10,000 primers and 16 lbs of powder.

    Primers were about $27/K including hazmat and shipping.

    Powder was about $122/ 8 lbs including hazmat and shipping.

    Bullets are Precision and are about $90/K.

    Buying bulk online can save you a ton of money.
  20. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I think PD is still cheaper than Berry's, unless you are finding a deal, & they are jacketed not plated.