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Ok, I am finally getting started in reloading. I picked up a Dillon SDB and dies from a friend. 

 

I need a good “Complete guide to reloading” type book or webpage.  I need to know what all the associated parts (scales, tumbler, etc) that are required.

 

I shoot 38 Spcl (pistol) and 45 Colt (rifle). Any advice is welcome.

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You will get a lot of answers but some may forget to say you should get a flip tray to help load primers with primer tubes.  I prefer metal over plastic and got mine long ago from Dillon.

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Buy any of the reloading manuals; Lee, Hornaday, Sierra. They will give you plenty of starting info. Then get with someone who has been reloading for a while and pick his brain for everything you can.

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Safety glasses, good balance beam scale, 3x5 cards for notes and load data, some kind of brass cleaner, I have a wet stainless pin system that I love and a good sturdy work bench to mount the press on, ammo boxes and most important common sense.  Good Luck.

 

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Current Lyman reloading manual.

 

Then find someone in your club to mentor you. You want the shooter that reloads and all his rounds go bang and sound consistent every time. Avoid the shooter whose rounds go bang then poof.

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The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 4th edition.  It's got a complete instruction set for loading with lead bullets (or poly coated, which load mostly the same and with same recipes).    More loading data that is usable with cast bullets than any of the other loading handbooks, which focus mostly on high-performance jacketed bullet loads.

 

Here's one vendor with it in stock:

https://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item/000159817004/cast-bullet-handbook-4th-edition

 

And Yes, a local pard who loads and is willing to show you the ropes for a few hours could be "Gold Level Support"

 

Good luck, GJ

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       :ph34r:   What G. Joe said X 2,000!  More info from Lyman that is germain to OUR activity and performance levels.  AFTER you've read all you can, spilled some powder, crushed some cases and installed some primers sideways, a brief tutorial from a knowledgeable pard will be more meaningful.    Good luck.

We all started meekly and were humbled along the way.  I began in 1967 with Lee 'hammer & punch' loader...... 

Successful reloading is as satisfying shooting well.

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I agree with others, nothing can be better than a mentor to help you thru the process, and a good loading manual, while it can cause information overload, is helpful.

 

Years ago I made this video to show the basic process, on a single stage press as it's helpful to know what is going on in each die / step of the process.  You may note that I use a combo seat and crimp die here, where sometimes you may be using separate seat and crimp dies.

 

 

 

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Mentors are GREAT!

Remember that mentor have biases.

Absorb the basic mechanics and weigh the advice.

 

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I was fortunate to have access, through my club, to an NRA certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor.  See if there is one in your area; being able to talk with and learn from someone with both experience and certification saves you from potentially learning bad habits.

 

LL

Edited by Loophole LaRue, SASS #51438
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Have ya gotten a mentor yet???  If’n you pay for my plane ticket I’ll come out and help ya :ph34r:

 

When you set your press up get it at a comfortable height so you can sit and reach both the cases and bullets.  A bullet puller is also good especially when you’re starting out.  I use one of these Bullet Puller

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10 hours ago, Col Del Rio said:

Ok, I am finally getting started in reloading. I picked up a Dillon SDB and dies from a friend. 

 

I need a good “Complete guide to reloading” type book or webpage.  I need to know what all the associated parts (scales, tumbler, etc) that are required.

 

I shoot 38 Spcl (pistol) and 45 Colt (rifle). Any advice is welcome.

If you realize you are about to create a contained explosion and either hold it in your hand or put your face up against it, you probably realize ATTENTION TO DETAIL is in order. Have a place you can work uninterrupted.

 

Ability and desire to ask questions.

 

A good reloading manual from one of the folks named above. 

 

Your Google fu will become strong.

 

I started with a beam scale and a single stage press, lee dippers, and a handheld primer and components.

 

I have since added to my bench and tools, 

 

I cleaned my first bag of brass in a vinegar and dawn solution (not recomended). I now use a vibratory tumbler and lizard litter (walnut hull, but cheaper than the reloading brand).

 

A few questions you should ask:

 

How will you seat primers?

 

Do you have a way to measure and weigh powder charges?

 

Do you have case holders in your caliber for that press? 

 

Do you have a micrometer for measuring length and girth of cases and bullets?

 

Do you have trays to keep rounds separated during different stages of reloading?

 

Powder, cases, primers and bullets?

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CDR,  the advice above comes from straight shooters.  Have patience and you will develop good habits.  I second the motion on the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook.   Keep notes, identity your reloaded ammo by date, bullet weight, powder weight and type.  Load several dummy cartridges to confirm dimensions with a caliper without wasting powder or those precious primers.  Cycle them through the rifle and pistol.  Never reload when distracted or in a hurry.   That creates a situation asking for trouble.   Verify powder weight at regular intervals, and look inside each case before wetting a bullet to verify that powder was dropped.   Everyone has favorite powders (mine is Trail Boss) but you are at the mercy of the supply/demand problem at the moment. 

 

A mentor is helpful.  A question to an experienced reloader can solve a problem and/or move you along the learning curve rapidly.   There are NO dumb questions.

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Start with a single stage press. They never go out of style and even after you find yourself with the biggest and best press made you will still find the single stage will come in handy sometimes.

kR

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Advice in absentia is always fun. Here’s mine:
 

Since you’re starting with a SDB, understand the main difference between a single stage, a turret, and a progressive is how many rounds you can screw up before you realize there’s a problem. 
 

Don’t start with multiple cartridges — load one cartridge all the way around the press a few times to get familiar with what happens at each station, what to watch for, and have an idea what can go wrong before you move on to multiple cartridges.

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31 minutes ago, Ozark Huckleberry said:

Advice in absentia is always fun. Here’s mine:
 

Since you’re starting with a SDB, understand the main difference between a single stage, a turret, and a progressive is how many rounds you can screw up before you realize there’s a problem. 
 

Don’t start with multiple cartridges — load one cartridge all the way around the press a few times to get familiar with what happens at each station, what to watch for, and have an idea what can go wrong before you move on to multiple cartridges.

 

THIS^^^

 

My first progressive was a SDB and this is how I learned all of its ins and outs.

 

Since you are loading 2 calibers I highly recommend that each caliber have its own tool head. That way when switching calibers all you have to to is set up the powder measure.

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26 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

THIS^^^

 

My first progressive was a SDB and this is how I learned all of its ins and outs.

 

Since you are loading 2 calibers I highly recommend that each caliber have its own tool head. That way when switching calibers all you have to to is set up the powder measure.

 

And primer bar/feeder tube.

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A few thoughts to add to the preceding:

  • I bought my first batch of once-fired 44 mag brass from an indoor shooting range in Honolulu.  Such ranges can be an inexpensive source of brass.  Once-fired 38 Special is easy to find - 45 Colt not so easy.
  • Jewelers scales available online are suitable for weighing powder and are less expensive than balance beam scales.
  • You can load both 38 Special and 45 Colt cartridges with the same powder.  There are many choices.  I prefer powders that meter well, are bulky and burn clean.
  • Get a pair of safety glasses and wear them when reloading.
  • Coated bullets are displacing plain cast bullets for CAS.  They don't leave lead shavings and wax buildup in reloading dies.  They don't expose a reloader's hands to metallic lead.
  • A local bullet caster can offer the lowest prices on bullets since there will be no shipping cost.  A second choice is buying from a caster who ships using USPS flat rate boxes.
  • Check your reloaded ammo for high primers.  Primers that protrude just a little can fail to fire and may keep a revolver cylinder from turning.
  • Gauge you rifle rounds with a case gauge to assure they will chamber.  I run any that don't gauge easily through a Lee factory crimp die.  Dillon sells stainless steel gauges that won't rust in your tropical humidity.

Welcome to reloading !  

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As others have said, get the Lyman CAST Bullet reloading manual and for general use the Lee Reloading Manual, read em both. I really cannot second enough the idea of just running a single round at a time until you get comfortable with it.

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Many Sportsman's clubs and even some Community Colleges/adult education in rural areas will have classes.  I'd highly recommend checking for one in your area or at least try to get a member of your club who is an experienced reloader to  help you out to get started.

 

As far as additional equipment, I'd highly recommend starting with a wet tumbling set up rather than dry tumbling.  A bit safer with lead.  

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16 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Current Lyman reloading manual.

 

Then find someone in your club to mentor you. You want the shooter that reloads and all his rounds go bang and sound consistent every time. Avoid the shooter whose rounds go bang then poof.

This ^^^^^^^^^^^

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I’ve found now compared to when I first started is you’ll develop a sense of feel.  You’ll get a feel if your primers are seating, you’ll get a feel if press is running right.  Take your time setting up your dies and make sure you tighten the locking nuts well.  If you use a large size powder (like Trail Boss) try using the large powder bar.  Speaking of powder they have different shapes, it’ll be described in the reloading books, some will meter better than others in a SDB.  And what Sedalia Dave said, get a tool head for every caliber you load.

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Doesn't matter that you bought your Dillon second hand.  Call them to get help setting it up and getting started.

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Get the Lyman # 49 or # 50 .... 

AND READ the section On Getting Started !!!

And You can't go Wrong with Using RED DOT in .38 spl. , .45 Colt and 12 Ga. shotshells....

Or better yet Goex 3F ...

My Dad was my mentor 60 + years ago ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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A US Marshall and a BATF officer taught me how to run Dillon 550,  bless them.

 

Another vote for seeking mentors.

 

After reloading for CAS for 20+ years, I won a Lee Manual at a shoot.  It's a good book, I'll keep it.

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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I use Promo (Same powder as Red Dot) for everything except 45 Colt.  For 45 Colt, I use Trail Boss because the load of Red Dot takes up so little space in the cartridge.   I've never had a problem with Red Dot loads in 45 Colt, it's just they look so tiny in the large case.

 

I have found with 45 Colt that the loads have to be heavier to reduce blow back in a 73.   I use a 200 grain bullet with 5.5 grains of Trail Boss.  Some use heavier bullets.  In any case, it's much dirtier that my '73 in 357 and requires more cleaning.

 

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Looking at videos and getting a mentor would be great. 

 

If you are at all mechanically inclined, don't worry about a single stage as you do not need it unless you want to load precision rifle loads. 

For what we use, you do not need it.  You would then have to learn the slow process of single loading.  Then you would STILL need help to learn how to use your much more efficient press.

 

The Lee book is great and the recommended Lyman Cast book is great for information on loads for cast (and powdered) bullets.

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Here are some manufacturer's reloading sites.  The loading data in them can be used to supplement the manuals mentioned in the preceding posts.  I recommend bookmarking these sites.

 

Hodgdon Reloading

Alliant Powder

Accurate Powder Load Data

 

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