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A few more reloading questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by M4J0R T0M, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

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    Hello all,

    I have been doing a lot of research here and on a few other forums and I almost ready to jump into reloading. I do have a few questions though...

    Do I need to buy a "reloading specific" scale or can I just pick up a cheapy digital scale from Harbor Freight?

    My next questions is concerning tumblers. Do I really need one to start off with? I have a local guy who is a Dillon dealer and been reloading for like 40 years. He says it's really not that important, that I can just kind of clean them off and make sure there is not any dirt or sand in the cases. I don't know if I should trust that or not.

    This same guy is more than likely going to be the source for my components since I won't have to pay shipping. He also said that a reloading manual wasn't that important. Is he just taking for granted the fact that he has tons of knowledge and forgetting that I don't?

    Another thing he didn't mention was a case trimmer. I will be reloading .223 and several popular pistol calibers. Do I need one?

    I have decided to go with a progressive press and narrowed it down to either a 550B or a LnL. Hmmm, Red or Blue koolaid? After reading many reviews and watching videos on both, I have decided they are both great presses, but I cant decided between the two. Do any of you guys have experience with both presses and if so what do like about each? I will list the things I like about both so you guys have some insight. I like the LnL because it's a little cheaper, comes with free bullets and I self indexing. I like the 550B for is reputation and reliability, its solid warranty and because of all the great reviews.

    Ok, enough questions. I'm off to the bookstore to get a Lyman 49th and I expect all my questions to be answered completely when I return....the clock it ticking....:whistling:.....:supergrin:

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    I would not get a cheap electronic scale. I wouldn't say a scale has to be expensive, but it should be accurate, which is something a lot of cheap scales aren't known for. Also make sure the scale measures in Grains, otherwise you'll need to convert grams to grains to figure out your charge weights... Not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but some folks swear this can cause an issue(which it could if your math was off)... I'd get a quality beam scale(dillon, rcbs 505) before I got a cheap electronic.

    Some folks can clean their brass in the sink, but it gets old pretty quick. You have to wait for the brass to thoroughly dry and make sure all moisture is gone before loading the brass.

    I would question anyone that tells you not to have a data manual. Maybe he gets his data online, I don't know. There's places online that have handloading data, but you really should have a manual to cross reference it. A lot of it is submitted by users, and may not be a safe load(although a vast majority of them are safe). The Lyman is a good choice...

    I would start out loading 1 pistol caliber, and learn the ropes of the press, the procedures, etc. Once you're comfortable with that, go ahead and move on to your other pistol calibers or your rifle. Loading rifle is a different procedure. I don't reload rifle, but I *think* you will need a case trimmer for rifle, as it stretches when shot.

    As for which press, there's plenty of info about both, research them both and make an informed decision. Personally, I'm not a fan of starting on a progressive, but thats another thread.

    IGF
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010

  3. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    Hey, at least you're doing your research before jumping in... good for you.

    A scale is one thing you really don't want to skimp on... not money wise but quality wise. It is the one piece of equipment that even if used properly can get you hurt if it's not accurate. A very old quality used scale for $5 at a garage sale is infinitely better than a $50 newer inferior scale. Don't get cheap on this item... buy quality.

    No, you don't need a tumbler... nice to have but you don't need it. Many of us started loading before anyone ever heard the word tumbler. Visually check your brass, wipe it with a rag or wash and dry it. If you use carbide pistol dies you don't have to worry about lube on the cases.

    If you load .223 at some point you will need a case trimmer. Depending on how much you shoot will depend on what trimmer you want to get and how much you want to spend. Generally speaking you don't need a trimmer for pistol cases although there are some exceptions.

    You DO need a manual... several in fact. The Lyman manual is a very, very good place to start.

    I'm sure you understand that you have just brought up the most contested topic in GT history; BLUE or RED. :supergrin:

    When Unclebob wakes up from his nap he'll tell you that the onlr real presses start with the number 650 or 1050. Both great presses to be sure.

    Others will tout the no BS warranty that Dillon offers... and in my experience they are true to their word... no BS.

    Some of the more adventurous folks around here decided to spit out the blue Kool-Aid and try the previously lees traveled path of the Hornady LNL.

    Which is better... ask a Ford or Chevy truck owner... the answer will be just as elusive.

    I will simply give you my opinion as it relates to me. I own and use two Dillons, (550B and SDB) and two Hornady LNL's.

    As mentioned above, the Dillon warranty is just plain great... but then again so is the Hornady warranty. On the very few occasions I've had to call Hornady they have responded in the same timely manner as Dillon and charged me the same price for parts that for one reason or another needed to be replaced... zero. I imagine they are very cognizant of Dillon's reputation and are working at earning that type of brand loyalty.

    While both manufacturers produce top of the line machines and do virtually the same thing there are minor differences in their designs and these differences appeal to people in different ways.

    Our very own Little Stevie (C4W) feels that the 550B is the simpler of the two machines... I feel just the opposite. Does that make either one of us more right than the other... of course not, it's just a difference of opinion. (Of course educated and scholarly men readily concede that my opinion carries more weight. :supergrin:)

    You certainly can't go wrong with either the LNL or a Dillon... you'll be more than happy with either. Since your friend is a Dillon dealer you'll surely be able to play with one of their products... try to find someone with a LNL, work with it for a while and make an educated decision.

    I wish you the best of luck and many years of loading madness.

    Jack
     
  4. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    I suggest reading that book for the next week. I suggest not taking too much reloading advice from that friend with out checking it out in your book first. Only thing I would say countrary to that book is in regard to trimming cases for 9mm and other calibers. If your worried about it get a case gauge and check them after reloading. But most people never trim the common pistol cases. Good luck with your new hobby. Be safe.
     
  5. Bob2223

    Bob2223 Jack's buddy!

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    I agree with Jack's opinion on the LNL.
    Hey, I must be one of those educated and scholarly men? :rofl:

    Bob
     
  6. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

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    Thank you Jack. You certainly seem to be on the ball here in the reloading forum! Thank you and everyone else for your replies. Is Colorado4Wheel and C4W the same guy, been wondering for a while?

    Where should I look for an appropriate scale?

    I know about the battle between blue and red. I don't expect you guys to tell which one to buy or which is better. Just tell me what your experiences are and what you guys like about them.
    The guy isn't a friend. I actually only met him once, he is just the only local supplier for reloading equipment and components. So I went to his shop and picked his brain. I think he knows what he is doing, he still has all his fingers intact and no ugly scars on his face!!!:cool:

    I think he has just been around for a long time and is kind of old school in his thinking. I think he was just trying to save me some money, he actually gave a small manual with load data for most popular rifle and pistol calibers. I think it was made by a powder manufacture, maybe Hogdon? Not really sure. He said for me to just call him with any questions. Plus he offered to basically train on how to use the Dillon.

    But, I still want to learn more than just what "he thinks" is important so I went and got the ABC's of Reloading. Barnes didn't have the Lyman's.

    Why should I start with a pistol caliber? I was thinking of starting with .223 because that's the only caliber that I share with my dad, and he going in half on the press. We were gonna start out together reloading .223 and then move on to .40 for me and .45 for him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  7. DEADLYACCURATE

    DEADLYACCURATE Senior Member

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    You guys always use all the good answers before I get here. :crying:
     
  8. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    ...Tom:

    Yes, Colorado4Wheel and C4W are one and the same... just don't tell him, he hasn't figured it out yet.

    I believe Indy is suggesting that you start with pistol since they are the easiest to load and understand. It's a good way to learn... there are many more variables in rifle calibers... as a matter of fact, you already have the ABC's of reloading, read the chapters on pistol and rifle loading... I think you'll see the difference and realize that Indy is giving very good advice. (God it kills me to admit that.)

    Actually I'd take it one step further... start your reloading journey with the .45. With the exception of the .38 it's probably the easiest round to load, and while very forgiving it offers enough loading variations to keep you from getting bored for a very, very long time.

    If your dad is local to you it might be an excellent opportunity for the two of you to learn loading together.

    I'd give up all my tomorrows to spend five minutes loading with my father... hell, I'd give up all my tomorrows just for the chance to say I love you one more time.

    Have fun.

    Jack
     
  9. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    I wasn't necessarily saying start w/ pistol.. most people tend to shoot pistol more than rifle, so its easiest to learn pistol, then proceed into rifle. If you're the opposite of that, then thats fine, start w/ rifle. I'm just saying I wouldn't "start" would 4-5 different cartridges.

    IGF
     
  10. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    :rofl: gonna have to go buy me a frame.. :)

    IGF
     
  11. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

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    MT, a lot of good information already posted, so I won't repeat it. I did not have a tumbler for the first 20 years of my adventures into reloading, BUT I was reloading on a single stage and was not crafting near the amount of pistol rounds that I now run thru every month. I'd start without one, but be ready to throw in the towel and get one soon.

    Starting out on the pistol side will be a lot more simpler than starting on .223. Straightwalled cases do not require lubing before reloading IF your pistol dies are carbide. ALL bottleneck cases require lubing before sizine regardless of whether the dies are carbide. Further, on .223 you are very likely to run into crimped primers, which will require either swaging or reaming the primer pocket. Being a bottleneck case, it will grow in length with each firing which will eventually require trimming, chamfering and deburring, all of which require more tools. What I'm saying here is that the bottleneck cartridge is a lot more to deal with than the straightwalled 40S&W and 45acp.

    Also, keep in mind that the 40S&W is a high pressure round which is yet another reason to steer you first to the very forgiving 45acp round. When you do begin reloading 40S&W, be very careful in your powder charges and COL (cartridge overall length) by following closely published data. You do not want to create excessive, detrimental pressures..... Remember, reducing the COL reduces the internal case volume, thus increasing pressure. Lengthening the COL increases case volume, reducing pressure.

    And, yes, I use C4W as a nickname for "Little Stevie", aka Colorado4Wheel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  12. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

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    Yeah, he lives about 10 minutes from me. We work together so I see him everyday. The plan is for us to learn together and spend time together reloading but I have a feeling I will be doing most of the learning and reloading. Which is fine because that means he will probably be doing most of the "providing". :supergrin:

    I am also going to get my two oldest kids involved. My oldest daughter has taken a liking to shooting and she is pretty darn good. I am very glad because we finally have something in common and something we can do together.

    Thanks for the advice and it makes perfect sense. My plan was to buy the press set up to load .223 and learn on that. Then, after I am comfortable with everything I was going to buy a .40 conversion and my dad was going to buy his .45 conversion and go from there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  13. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    My Dad is still around, and while he's not an avid shooter, when he is gone, some of my fond memories of him will be him, me and my brother shooting skeet at the range.

    Good times..

    IGF
     
  14. fredj338

    fredj338

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    All my heroes have given you good advice. Best scale for the money, Dillon balance beam. Like Jack said, the scale is NOT where you go cheap, after all, you are measuring powder & the wrong charge of the wrong powder can certainly ruin at least your day.
    Tumbler, great time saver, but I reloaded for years w/o one. You can be as simple as a dmap towel to get the dust & such off, inspect & load. There are various liquid methods as well, some even just put them in the dishwasher (not me), but requires drying. Eventually you may want to get one, but not required to make good/safe ammo.
    AS to the reloading manual, the guy is a bonehead on that. Not only is one important, IMO, two are mandatory. Then cross ref that w/ the powder manuf web site data. WHy, because all data is NOT the same. You will liekly NOT be loading the exact bullet/case/powder & primer combo. So multiple sources are great for getting an average data point or matching components as closely as possible to what you are using.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  15. johnjohn

    johnjohn

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    Get a manual no matter what anyone says.
     
  16. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

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    I just got the ABC's of Reloading and going to start reading it today.
     
  17. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Good read, a must for newbs, but NOT a data manual. Look for Lyman #49 &/or Speer #14.
     
  18. BobbyS

    BobbyS Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner

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    I have been out of reloading for awhile....too long? I learned to cast and reload with my older brother when I was about 14. Reloaded all kinds of calibers.

    I wanted to get back in to reloading. I only had one old Hodgon data manual on hand and after a quick review I went out and got the latest Lyman reloading handbook. It has an enormous amount of information.

    I have quite a bit of reloading experience but have yet to load even one round. I got my press cleaned and set up about a month ago but; I knew I needed to retrain myself to make sure I would be safe as possible. So I read and reread my handbook and lots of info on line. In the end YOU have to make the determination of what you are loading is safe.

    It's a great hobby..............just be safe and you will enjoy it!
     
  19. M4J0R T0M

    M4J0R T0M

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    Well I just finished the first chapter of the ABC's. So correct me if I'm wrong, but the ABC's is showing me the basics of reloading and the Lymans and others are data manuals showing me load data like, bullet weight, powder charge and other things to actually make the rounds.

    Also guys I think I have decided on the Hornady LnL. They are on sale right now at Cabelas for $399.00 with $5.00 shipping. I can't wait to start shooting my own hand loaded rounds.
     
  20. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    Think of the ABC's as a text book in a cooking school... it teaches you how to use a stove, oven, pans, etc.

    A loading manual is the actual cook book with recipes that you refer to after you've learned how to use the utensils.

    Powder is the same as a condiment... watch how much sugar you use, that can make you blow up too.

    Damn, now I've made myself hungry. :whistling:

    Jack