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How to start reloading on the relative cheap?

This is a discussion on How to start reloading on the relative cheap? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Hi all, looking to get into reloading, and need some help. I am looking for a simple, relatively cheap system that can help me cut ...


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Old January 11th, 2017, 11:55 AM   #1
 
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How to start reloading on the relative cheap?

Hi all, looking to get into reloading, and need some help.

I am looking for a simple, relatively cheap system that can help me cut down on the cost of ammunition, especially 357magnum and 10mm. I can take or leave 9mm, but it probably wouldn't hurt.

I don't want to run out and buy a reloading book (not a manual for specs) but like a 500 page book with all types of presses, dies, etc.

I want something relatively cheap that can help me reload my brass, here's what I'm thinking.

Brass catcher $50
Single stage press $100
Dies $50 or so
Pound or two of powder $20-40
Primers $5

Not sure what to do about bullets, I was thinking I could cast my own, pick up some cheap lead from a local machine shop or online. I'd buy the off the shelf bullets for hunting, etc. but this will mainly be for the range

What would you recommend?



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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:35 PM   #2
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Before you buy anything, do yourself a favor and research reloading. Get a copy of The ABCs of Reloading and study/read it. It doesn't have any load data but it will show you what reloading is all about and you'll learn what tools and equipment you'll need.

I've been reloading for a very long time and have no need for a "brass catcher". I started with a Lee Loader, 1 lb. of Bullseye, 100 CCI primers, some generic lead SWCs, and some brass I picked up at the local police range and a plastic hammer, in 1969. I don't care for kits and I've researched each tool and piece of equipment individually, as I needed it.

If you can find a catalog from any of the larger reloading equipment vendors you can see what's available and how much it'll cost you (web sites are too specific, each item has separate web pages). The ABCs will show you what's needed but you have to decide what you want to reload to make the best choice for you needs (caliber) and why (hunting, target, beer can hunting, or SD)...
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:38 PM   #3
 
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If you want to reload, buy a manual and read it. NO OTHER OPTION
A single stage press will be great for .357 and 10mm. Buy cheap 9mm range ammo.
I say the Lee Starter kit with press, scale,powder measure, funnel and case prep tools is a good inexpensive way to get started. Then you only need components and all the ancillary accessories for reloading like loading blocks, calipers, inertial puller, shell holders, etc.
Powder runs $25/lb here, primers are $4/100 and cheaper by the case. There is no such thing as cheap lead. Projectiles are expensive, but Missouri Bullet Co, Oregon Trail Lazer-Cast, Berry's Plated Bullets, Nosler, Hornady, and Speer have all provided quality bullets. Loading on a single stage press is slow, but you can turn out high quality ammo. How much is your time worth? Do you have a secure place to set up a bench where it is safe from little hands? Do you have blocks of uninterrupted time to devote to loading at the bench. Loading requires concentration and attention to the process so jumping in an out between other things is not a good (or safe) idea.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:42 PM   #4
 
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I'm fairly new to reloading myself but buy a reloading book and read it first before you buy anything. What I did, and for my amount of reloading did me fine, was get an all in one kit. I went with a lee kit and its okay but if I did it again I would have went with another brand. The lee kit all works but the scale was hard for me to use. If you want to use cast bullets you should read iowegans post in the library on lead bullets. I could go on for a while about all the little bits I wish I would have known but I've gotten off track enough. I hope you have a good and safe time with the hobby. P.S. you dont save money..you just shoot more.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 12:49 PM   #5
 
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What's your annual shooting volume? That will help determine what equipment is required to keep up with your shooting needs, how much you need to pre-invest in order to save money per round fired, and more.

Casting bullets is a separate hobby, quite valuable to many. But unless you have prior experience with it, it's probably not a good idea to start both casting and reloading at the same time. You increase the odds of having issues, some safety related, because at this point it's not possible to even know what it is you don't yet know. At the start I'd advise stick with name brand bullets that you know will actually fit your chamber and barrel as well as survive firing.

You know your firearms and shooting environment better than any of us, but a brass catcher might not be any better than a cleverly modified cardboard box and a towel. Or a tarp. I know my 1911's ejector has a vile sense of humor, but even my 9mm pistols aren't always cooperative with where they eject brass.

Any of the major bullet manufacturer's books will have an extensive forward section on the reloading process in addition to the rear section on loads by caliber. Hornady 9 or 10 (the latest) and Sierra V are particularly well done. Lee pushes Lee equipment and does no testing on their own. Lyman's book is often recommended, though I have not personally found it (Lyman 49) as useful as Hornady and Sierra.

Youtube videos can be a great source of learning giving you a chance to observe the equipment in action. You may have to sort through a 10 minute video for 30 seconds of content . . . or turn off the obnoxious audio at times . . . but I found it a great source. Some of the manufacturers have online mini-tutorials on reloading . . . google is your ally there.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:18 PM   #6
 
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Good advice above. Do some reading/research first.

Right now, I'm using a Lee single stage (I, too, started with the Lee Loader and a hammer).

Lee dies for 38/357, 45, 223. I use the Lee dippers for powder measure, not weighing every charge (but I do double check powder weight/dipper when I start just to be sure and I don't get real fancy on loads). Bullets are usually Hornady or Berry's, and I do cast my own for 38 and 45 to supplement purchased ones.

A single stage press lets you get your feet wet without being "complicated". Dies can be used on other systems if you upgrade, or a single stage will serve for years.

As mentioned, casting your own can be part of the overall shooting experience, but I'd recommend holding off and focusing on the finer aspects of reloading before tackling that. I've done a fair amount of muzzle loading over the years, and my bullet casting comes from that. You also have to be careful of the alloy content to reduce leading in your gun's barrel.

You don't need a brass catcher for a revolver. Catchers that "attach" to semi-autos are unwieldy (though a brass catcher can work well on an AR-15 rifle). If outside, use a tarp to collect brass. If an indoor range, hopefully they will let you pick up your own brass - and a lot of people shoot 10mm and leave their brass, so you can scrounge that, too.

In any case, enjoy !!

Last edited by rainmaker; January 11th, 2017 at 01:29 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:31 PM   #7
 
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get an rcbs reloader package and a set of dies and primers and powder and read the manual and then slowly start.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:42 PM   #8
 
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Check out the Lee Precision Anniversary Challenger Kit it's listed for $117.00 on Amazon and has just about everything you need to get started except dies and shell holder.
Considering everything that comes in the kit, it's about the least expensive way to get started with a single stage press.
There are more expensive set ups if you wish to up grade.
I started in 1967 and still use a single stage press. Actually I have three and one turret, you can always find a use for a single stage press .

Gary
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:50 PM   #9
 
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If you want to do this inexpensively, don't even start with casting. That's a whole 'nother rabbit hole.

Just buy some plated, or cast, bullets from an online vendor, and start with those.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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Read, read, read and read a little more. No matter your shooting volume...if you are starting out, start with a single stage kit. I started with a Breach lock kit and I'm still using it. After a year,I started casting my own. I shoot a lot and life is good.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:24 PM   #11
 
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You left out a powder measure and a reloading manual. You can cut your startup expenses a bunch by looking for used equipment, and check the sales for powder, primers, and bullets. I look for prices to come down after Jan 20. Check the classifieds here and places like castboolits.com for equipment

As others have said, get a reloading manual and read the intro section before doing anything else.

Take your time, have fun, and be safe.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:46 PM   #12
 
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You could try the Lee Classic for 357 if you want to start out really cheap and to get the basic concept of reloading. That's how I started. All you need is the Lee Classic, rubber mallet, the ABCs of Reloading and ammo components.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:53 PM   #13
 
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I agree with everyone about getting a loading manual and reading the intro pages. I also recommend asking a lot of questions on this forum, and watching every YouTube you can find on the subject. That's how I got started, and I have never stopped looking for ways to learn more.

The people on this reloading forum are the best and are always eager to answer questions and offer advice without being judgmental.

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Old January 11th, 2017, 04:11 PM   #14
 
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Thanks all for the replies, I'll pick up a reloading manual.

I shoot at a public indoor range, don't live way out in the country, or near an outdoor range (nearest outdoor range is an hour away and only open on the weekends). The range I shoot at has RSO's that sweep brass constantly. Even though you can pick up your own brass, good luck trying to find it because it'll likely be swept it downrange. Irritating, but oh well. I may make my own brass catcher out of PVC pipe and netting and make it so it can attach to a tripod.

I am thinking a single stage press, a good reloading manual, a set of dies, powder measure and funnel, and some premade cast bullets to seat in the cases.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 04:19 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357mag View Post
The range I shoot at has RSO's that sweep brass constantly. Even though you can pick up your own brass, good luck trying to find it because it'll likely be swept it downrange.
The people at the range where I shoot know that I reload, and tend to leave me alone with their brooms. Nevertheless, I stop and sweep up my brass every so often just to make sure. I carry a small broom and dustpan in my range bag for this very purpose.

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