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Reloading Basics -- How do I get Started?

FrogdogFrogdog Member Posts: 2,815 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2008 in Ask the Experts
Can anyone tell me what are the basics needed to get started reloading? Is there a good starter kit and guide out there somewhere?

I'm interested in getting started, but don't know how to go about it, and don't want to blow myself up. Plus I have a variety of calibers that I'd want to reload.

Thanks.

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    NwcidNwcid Member Posts: 10,674
    edited November -1
    Read, read, read, did I mention read?

    Get some good books. I hear there is one called the ABS's of reloading and is suggested time and time again. Also good reloading manuals from the big makers like Speer, Hornady, RCBS, ect will do you good. When reloading always try to have 2 sources to reference just incase there is an error.

    Might try some of the big websites like RCBS, not sure if they have that kind of info on them. The other good way along with reading is find someone that does it. Did I mention read?

    Oh yeah forgot to add that there is a reloading section right here on GB too. Just a couple links down from the ATE forum. [:)]

    EDIT:
    If we are talking about dies I use to like carbide dies till I got a set of the Hornady TiN dies. I will not buy carbide anymore and have replaced the ones I did have with these. To me these are to carbide what carbide it to steel.
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    dfletcherdfletcher Member Posts: 8,164 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Aside from "ABCs of Reloading" (really a great basic book) you'll need a reloading manual and I'd suggest Hornady for starters. I have that and Sierra, Speer, Lyman & some others - but Hornady is a pretty popular bullet supplier, chances are you're going to use their products so if you've got to start with one that might as well be it. Lee has a good reloading book with probably more loads than anyone, but their not brand specific on bullets and don't contain some basic info such as OAL or primer used.

    You should buy a good brand starter kit that includes a press and powder scale and other basic items, don't know if they include a powder measure but I'd get one of those also. You'll also want to figure out how you're going to prime your cases - on the press or using a separate tool. I use the press for large primer cases, a Lee handtool for small simply because I don't like switching out the primer arm.

    Then reload away. I'd use the basic kit for a while and not go crazy buying all sorts of extras until you develop your likes and dislikes. But, eventually do buy what you like. For example, you can buy regular steel handgun dies or carbide dies for more $$$. Regular steel requires lube, carbide does not and is more convenient. If you find yourself buying steel just because it's cheaper, there's a good chance you'll tire of lubing and buy the carbide anyway. So figure out what your preference is before you spend money.

    Lyman and RCBS make very good products and kits, Lee is inexpensive and OK for starters, but I think alot of reloaders "graduate from" Lee to other brands. But I do still use their cheap as heck powder measure for long grain (IMR) rifle powder, the thing does work.

    Check out Midway even if you don't buy from them, they include customer reviews of products and that can be a help.

    And hopefully you're reloading for fun and better accuracy. I've been reloading since about 1974 and found it's a very expensive way to save money. Best of luck.
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    11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,584 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Another vote for ABCs of reloading. Carbide dies never sem to wear out, and careful shopping can net you some good bargains. Stick with a single stage press when you get started- takes a little longer, but less chance of making an error.
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    Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,734 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    LEE kit is OK, but will require upgrading some of the pieces (comes with LEE's data ummm manual/advertising). RCBS kit = top of the line for single stage presses. Comes with the Speer manual
    I like the manuals from Sierra and Nosler (but I also use their bullets for almost everything).

    Spend the extra coin on your handgun dies by stepping up to carbide. Skip the carbide and stick to basic steel dies for bottleneck cartridges. The advantage of carbide is less/no lube required on straight wall cases, but even with carbide you need to lube for bottleneck cases.
    Avoid the spray lubes, and go straight to Imperial Sizing Die Wax or Hornady's "Unique" case lubes. For the same price as 1 spray can, you get a lifetime supply of the most highly rated sizing lubes around.
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    thunderboltthunderbolt Member Posts: 6,038 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Get a cheap Lee single stage press to experiment with and get your feet wet. Can be bought cheaply at on line auctions like E...
    Buy Lee 3 die sets and you can still use them if you upgrade to the three stage turret press. All can be resold if you want a fancier rig later on.
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    JimmyJackJimmyJack Member Posts: 5,440 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What ever you do follow a reputable recipe from a published manual. Abs olutely do not listen to some * on a forum or elsewhere with a Hot load. I back off published recipes, but never alter them.I also refuse to shoot anyone elses reloads except maybe for a very close friend who I trust more than myself. If you follow cookbook, you will have success and fun.
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    jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I started with a Lee anniversery kit. Does the job, though the O frame challenger press that comes with it is a bit springy and I once broke a toggle link- which lee replaced for free.

    Now their classic cast press is another matter entirely and is as beefy as the RCBS stuff you might consider. But cheaper. I'd go with that press. Also a powder dispenser- RCBS for ball, Lee for stick (they both have their preferences with binding issues you see), a decent scale to check weights, dies, etc.

    Case lube- no reason to pay for Imperial sizing wax. It IS great stuff, but is just anhydrous lanolin that Imperial repacked and charges 3X as much for. Talk to a pharmacist, he should be able to order you some, or buy off fleabay. Personally I favor Lee's sizing lube anyhow as it truly dries (unlike the waxes) smells nice, and is nice to handle.
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    flyingtorpedoflyingtorpedo Member Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    As mentioned read and read. I started with the ABC's of reloading and Lyman's Reloading Handbook and I really liked them. I also started with, and still use, a cheap anniversery kit. It gets the job done just fine. My Lee powder dispenser works great for both ball and stick powders. I had no probelm with the Lee beam scale like some do, but for speed if you decide to stick with reloading you will want a digital scale. Like Jonk, I like Lee's lube as well.
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    tsr1965tsr1965 Member Posts: 8,682 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    One of the best things you can do is go get yourself a good reloading manual from Barnes, Speer, Hornady, or Sierra. They have in depth sections on stepping you thru it. READ it first then ask questions...JustC, and Nononsense on these forums are excellent sources of information. Now that you have READ and ASKED questions, go buy some equipment. My suggestion is the RCBS Roch Chucker Supreme Master kit. Don't get the cheap equipment, as it will take the joy out of it. The RCBS is the best compromise of quality, price, and warranty. Remember to ask questions....!

    Best
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    OdawgpOdawgp Member Posts: 5,380 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Reloading is illegal [;)]

    read read and read
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