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 Competition Shooting and Reloading
 For NEW reloaders, PLEASE READ.
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bpost
Moderator

Faroe Islands
36720 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  7:49:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
NOTE: the links are broken, the companies change part numbers and links like we change underwear. Trying to keep up with the changes is almost impossible. If you are looking for a particular product checking on the GunBroker Auction site is a great place to start looking. You can always ask here for advice too.


There are many threads on starting to learn and practicing the art of reloading. Reloading is a mix of very simple mechanical processes coupled with an art that only time and experience can teach. Please do a search (tab in the upper right) on the subject. if you do not like tinkering with things, fixing stuff and learning mechanical operations reloading may not be for you. If you do like that kind of stuff, by all means, join us in the fun. LETS ALL DO IT WITH SAFETY FIRST AND ALWAYS IN OUR MINDS.

This is my suggestion for you to start the process of learning and performing reloading in a SAFE manner.

Buy a reloading manual and read it: the book ABC's of Reloading is a great place to start, you can't have too much information, you can't get too much data.
I recommend the Lyman 49th Reloading Manual and the Hornaday Reloading Manual, as a good pair to have.
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=217655
http://www.midwayusa.com/Search/#hornaday%20manual____-_1-2-4_8-16-32

If you plan on shooting lead pistol and rifle bullets or getting into casting the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook is priceless.
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=867465
The Mecca for casting projectiles is:
http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/
There is more information on casting there than you could absorb in three lifetimes.

Equipment; I can not in good conscience recommend a progressive press as a place to start; there is simply too much of the art to learn and you can't learn it on a progressive.

I know some will disagree with the following but I stand by it too.

If you want to be as stubborn as a rented mule and insist on getting a progressive as your first press please do not get the Lee. It is too quirky for novices. If you insist on a progressive get the Dillon, RCBS or Hornaday.

Reloading Presses: the GB auction side has some very good deals for used presses, presses are hard to wear out to the point of being useless; all you need to make sure of is it takes 7/8-14 standard reloading dies and the common universal shell holders made by all manufacturers. Ask the seller questions, bring your concerns here for advice and opinions.

If buying new, look at the kits available from many retailers, they are a great way to get 90% of what you need.

I found the Lyman kit to be a very good value and super quality:
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/10551
Don't over look these too:
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/14706
(I love Redding quality)
RCBS is a world leader for years:
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/12960
And finally Lee, many here swear by the equipment as a great value providing great service; I don't like the products except for Lee dies and bullet moulds, but your mileage may vary.
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/7524

Powder scales, powder measures and case trimmers and dies.....

DIES.........Just about any of them will work fine. I have purchased several sets of Lee dies and find they work just as well as the others, Redding are my favorite because of the finish quality. If you are seeking ultimate accuracy, competition seating dies and even a Type S neck sizing die might be warranted; but you need to LEARN TO WALK FIRST.
Carbide dies are very important for pistol, use them. If you don't use carbide for pistol you will have to lube the cases; I still lube some high pressure pistol cases like full bore 44 Mag and .357 Mag loads, it makes sizing a lot easier, lubing about every fifth case makes life a lot easier for these pressure expanded empties.

CASE LUBE........Forget the grease and spray...... yes it will work but buy a stuck case remover because you are going to need it using the stuff....Just sayin' If you want to do it right from the get-go buy IMPERIAL SIZING WAX. A two ounce tub will last you for thousands of cases and you will not get one stuck unless you do something really odd.

PRIMING TOOLS........ I have used this for many years, you can feel the primer seat and it uses the same shell holders as your press. It makes priming a breeze.
http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=33573/sku=63-09460/Product/RCBS-Auto-Priming-Tool



POWDER MEASURES..........The RCBS Uniflow powder measure is the standard, I have one and use it for standard pistol loading. For bulk rifle I use the Hornaday because it has a larger hopper; the Lyman 55 is set to dispense one powder charge for a competitive 45ACP load used for 50 yard slow fire. All of them are accurate with most powders. A powder measure does not weigh powder, it is a volume, controlled and set by the reloader, consistent technique in operation is the key to repeatable results. Again, learning the art and feel is key to success.

All of them work fine, including the Lee I had, it worked fine, but gave it away to a guy I don't like very much.

For serious powder control and critical loading I use the RCBS 1500 Combo and love it but is not needed by a beginner to make superior quality highly accurate ammo.

A NOTE ON POWDER SHAPES. Powder comes in ball, flake or disk and sticks. Ball powder meters easiest in a volumetric measure followed by flake then stick. Some stick powders are so small they rival ball powders in ease of metering. Don't pick a powder by its shape, pick one that does the job you want done!

CASE TRIMMERS....... they all work fine, even the type you use in a press and file the top of the case off are very useful. Buy the one you like, see the auctions for a used one.

SCALES....being an older fart, I still double check the electronic scale against a 40 year old RCBS 505 scale. Many folks use the inexpensive electronic scales with complete satisfaction. Please follow the calibration instructions and follow the manufacturers recommendation for care and storage. The important thing is to treat the scale with care, be gentle.

CALIPERS......yes, get one you can afford, we are not building a nuclear sub so even the cheapo 20 buck plastic one will be fine.

BULLET PULLERS...... Kinetic or puller type. Kinetic will work for 95% of your pulling needs. Puller types are best for rifle bullets, especially military ball that is sealed with tar of paint.

COST SAVINGS......... yes, you will save about 60% over factory ammo, but you will shoot more balancing it all out. Just look yourself in the mirror and lie, we all know it is costing more in real expenditures but we know the cost per trigger pull is a lot less than factory. Reloading is as much a part of the sport as the guns are.

I hope this helps some of you, shooting and reloading is my passion, there are many years of experience available here to help you along the way. Jump in and enjoy the fun!!!!!!!!!

I am sure some will have things to add so I'll leave it open for a few days.

Best,
Bruce

GunBroker.com Moderator

The Largest Auction Gun Store Online including Pistols, Shotguns, and Rifles





Edited by - bpost on 09/28/2015 3:09:03 PM

floorguy24
Senior Member

1306 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2011 :  01:10:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I found this very helpful before jumping into reloading. Good post!
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BAT60in
Starting Member

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  7:06:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Excellent article, and a good refresher for me. Just got back into shooting after a 12 year hiatus, and want to start reloading again. I know full length sizing dies should be used primarily for bolt action or single shot rifles. However, when reloading for an AR-15 or M1A it is kind of confusing when RCBS offers AR Series dies, small base dies, and neck sizing dies for semi automatic rifles; or, Redding offers a Deluxe 3 die set. How can one make an educated decision as to what would be the right dies for their usage?
Thanks again for an excellent article!
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Webchase
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2013 :  2:31:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey thanks!
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JamesNorris
Starting Member

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2013 :  8:06:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
F.Y.I , I owned a Dillon 550 and loved it. I saw a Dillon 650 for sale real cheap, and I bought it. I ended up not really needing the 650 and decided to sell it. I sent it to Dillon for adjustment and they said it was easier to send me a new one than it would be to fix the old one and sent me a BRAND NEW set up press, and guaranteed it for life. You will never,ever find a better company to deal with.
SOLD

Jed Norris
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deathrunner60
Starting Member

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2017 :  10:13:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been giving thought to "jumpin in" for a while now. Glad I came across your post. I did a small amount of reloading some 35 years ago so it's safe to say I remember enough to be dangerous. Of course safety will be my first priority as I venture forward. Here is what I have: Hornady M2 case tumbler; RCBS model 502 reloading scale, powder throw and press; reloading blocks,funnel, deburring tool 17-45,etc. Speer reloading manual 1995 hard cover, Most of this equipment hasn't been used in years so it's still in good shape I'm just wondering if it might be out of date. Do you think I should update any of it? Your thoughts. Thanks for the post and your reply.
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11b6r
Advanced Member

USA
15529 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2017 :  11:18:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
BPOST- Thank you for an old but excellent post. The only thing I would add- go get a good pair of safety glasses and WEAR THEM. Sooner of later, you will have a primer pop- and you will be glad you had your glasses on.

"Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine."
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perry shooter
Advanced Member

17211 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2017 :  6:34:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks BRUCE YOU are great for more than flying an airplane.
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