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How to get started in Reloading

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Colorado4Wheel, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Neldon

    Neldon Hill Country Boy & Proud Navy Veteran. NRA & USCCA Silver Member

    Likes Received:
    Jan 3, 2017
    After much more reading and talking, Dillon got the most votes for progressive of choice - no contest.
  2. noylj


    Likes Received:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Minimum needed to load 9mm Luger (or other strait wall pistol cartridge):
    Assume I have primers.
    Assume I have bullets.
    Assume I have cases.
    Assume I have powder
    Assume I have bought and read at least two manuals.
    I need a press. Lee Breech Lock Reloader Press for $37.99. Even has the Breech lock feature so once the die is adjusted in the die bushing, you can remove the die/bushing without disturbing the die set-up. $38.
    I thought the die bushing would be joke, but it really does make things easier and I found that they were well worth the price with my Hornady.
    Well, I'll need four die bushings (size, expand/flare, seat, crimp) as it makes no sense to have paid for a die bushing system and only use one die bushing. You can crimp and seat in one step but I found that accuracy improved by separating the two and a lot of beginners have a hard time properly setting up the die to do both (I could probably write over 1000 words just describing how to set up a die to seat and crimp): $8.99 x 2 = $18
    Need dies. I have no love of the Lee FCD except for bulge busting, so I would get the 3-die set for $32.99 and the Lee taper crimp die for $19.99. $33 + $20 = $53.
    If you like the Lee FCD and want to buy the 4-die set, that would be $44. The absurd thing is Lee has raised the price of the taper crimp die (was $10) to be the SAME as the FCD.
    Need to prime the cases. I could go with the Lee Ergo Prime for $34.99 or the Lee Auto Bench Priming Tool for $28.99. I could also use the Lee Ram Prime for $12.99. Of these, the easiest is probably the Ram Prime. Alternatively, I love the RCBS Automatic Bench Priming Tool for $71.99, but we are just trying to get started. So, $12.99 to $28.99.
    Powder measure or weigh out each charge? Well, I need a scale. You can load with ONLY the Lee dippers and the Lee load data for the dippers, but that gives you light loads only and most of us want to tune the loads, so we will need to know the powder weight.
    I really like my Lyman micro touch 1500 for $53.99, but Hornady has a nice G2-1500 for $32.99, but it is ONLY battery operated. I have used the Lee Safety Magnetic Powder Beam Scale and it worked well for $25.99, but it is so light it is very easy to move (and lose zero) and you have to learn to read the vernier scale. So, if you really wanted a beam scale, I would probably go with Lyman Pro 500 for $54.99. So, $53.99 for the electronic scale I like or $54.99 for the beam (that I don't like).
    So, you can now trickle powder into the scale pan using a spoon or other implement, even a real powder trickler for $12-$25, or you can get a powder measure. The most consistent powder measure I have is a Lee Perfect Powder Measure bench-mounted for $25.99. Now, you can also get the Deluxe PPM for $43.99 (metal instead of all plastic). I would probably get the Deluxe unit.
    You never have to trim a 9x19 case.
    So, just to get started, as they say:
    Press $38
    Bushings (4) $18
    Dies $53
    Prime system $29
    Scale $54
    Bench-mounted powder measure $44
    or $192 to have everything you NEED.
    You can add a 6" dial caliper ($35), but you don't NEED it.
    As you load more, you will probably want a different press, but this press will always be there for small jobs, depriming cases before cleaning, and Bulge Busting. The dies will last forever. The priming system, if you like it, will serve you well even for precision rifle loading. The scale will be good enough forever. The bench-mounted powder system will still serve you well for rifle loading.
    Alternatively, you have the Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press kit for $130.99 and you get the larger press, one (1) breech lock bushing (so you'll want to order at least three more--say four for $18, Lee Hand Prime XR (was this unit discontinued for the Ergo Prime?) and the set of special shell holders for the Hand Prime unit, Lee cutter and lock stud trimmer parts (not needed until you start loading bottleneck cases), Lee Perfect Powder Measure (I really like mine, but it is so cheap feeling being all plastic, I would really like getting the better unit to start off with), Lee chamfer tool (this unit only really works with bottle neck cases and is too small to chamfer the outside of small handgun cases), Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner (definitely NOT a needed tool), Safety Scale (most beginners don't like it), Lee powder funnel (works great and fits on the Lee PTE die so you can expand and pour the powder in the case in one step, and resizing lube (again, only really needed for bottleneck cases).
    With this unit, I could see the beginner quickly getting rid of the scale and powder measure (even though they work quite well, they just don't feel good) and wanting to upgrade the priming system.