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All you need is .... and you can reload your own ammunition!


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I finally decided to give in to The Dark Side and start reloading.  Don't tell me I am getting into it at the wrong time; there is never a wrong time to make a mistake.  Anyway, I watched a few YouTubes put out by the likes of Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Dillon, and Hornady, and all of the company reps said "all you need is a press, a set of dies, and your brass, powder, primers, and projectiles, and you can start reloading."  Yeah .... but no.  You can't.  You need a whole pile of accoutrements, accessories, and all kinds of additional gadgets and gizmos.  It is just a huge racket; buying a press, or even a "press kit," is only the beginning.  But I'm all in, so I signed up for the racket and started buying more and more stuff.  As wife Bullion Rose tells anyone who'll listen, I'll get into any new hobby that involves lots and lots of "kit" -- and reloading definitely qualifies.  So, here's what I discovered you need to buy in addition to "a press, a set of dies," and components.  You ALSO need: something with which to mount the press to your bench so you do not need to reach down below your knees each time you raise the press's ram; something to measure out powder charges; something to mount your powder charge measuring thingy to either your bench or your press; something to keep the weight of the powder in the powder charge measuring thingy's hopper from causing irregular powder charges from being thrown; something to check that the powder measures thrown by your powder charge measuring thingy are nearly identical from one powder charge to the next powder charge; a reloading handbook to figure out what the actual right powder charge is; the right shell holder; a separate "universal" decapping die (which doesn't come with aforementioned set of dies) so that you can decap your dirty cases without getting crud all over your sizing die, or worse; a case cleaning thingy; crushed walnut and/or corn cob media plus cleaning solution to put into your case cleaning thingy with your dirty brass; a separator thingy to separate your cleaned and/or polished brass from the crushed walnut and/or corn cob media; a primer pocket brush; a case lube kit which has at least one case brush, a pad, and some case lube solution (which if you do not use, you will ruin your sizing die and/or your un-lubed cases); at least one case tray (preferable universal) for holding the cases at each step of the reloading process; a primer flipping tray; a case length trimmer if you want to crimp your cases, including all of the shell holders and pilots that you might ever need for the case length trimmer; a deburring and chamfering tool if you plan to trim your cases (which you need to do if you are going to crimp your cases); a caliper (which you should already own anyway); a case gauge for each caliber you plan to reload (yes, of course you can just take a bunch of measurements with the aforementioned caliper but who really wants to do that when you can just drop a case into a gauge to find out that you screwed the pooch); a bullet puller for unmaking your mistakes; and, last but not least, a sense of humor.

 

Yes, this is all tongue-in-cheek, sort of.  I knew full well that I was getting a new hobby, and I could see in every Youtube I watched that every reloader's bench had A TON (literally hundreds of pounds, okay maybe a few pounds and not 2000 lbs) of extra goodies mounted to the bench, hanging on the pegboard, sitting in little bins on shelves, etc etc etc.  I just had to experience it myself to really understand the "insider's joke" told by Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Dillon, and Hornady: "all you need is a press, a set of dies, and your components, and you too can reload your own ammunition."  No, Joes and Janes, no, you cannot.  You need to buy a lot more stuff from Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Dillon, and Hornady, and THEN you can reload your own ammunition.

Edited by Nostrum Damus SASS #110702
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Well, a very long time ago, I sat in a rented apartment living room with a little boxed kit from Lee, brass, bullets, primers and powder and turned out rounds that went bang and generally hit something.  A reminiscence only, having experienced more pleasant and convenient methods, I'd be hard put to go back. 

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And the really tricky part is that you will always need that one more piece of equipment that you figure you just can't live without.  Welcome to your new obsession er, hobby.

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ive found reloading to be one of the pleasures of shooting our game , i agree its not the best time to look for reloading components - ive always reloaded 45colt and 12ga , but a couple years ago - just before covid decided to add 38spcl to my experience , it has been challenging to get it going these days but ive managed , i now have a couple years supply made up , just because the times are tough it can be done with perseverance and prudent shopping , some networking among the fellow shooters can help as well , 

 

i now have sufficient components to load more for a few years worth on top of my supply of loaded for all of what i load , if i dont fall into ill health i think i can stay active for quite a while yet , i do enjoy my reloading and im never in a hurry .....its what makes it fun , its also satisfying to shoot all summer what you loaded in the off season , im in the process of doing the same with my 4570 - i say that as ive not yet settled on a load that ill stick with long term , thats fun as well - illl be at that for a bit yet then stock a supply for that as well , 

 

whatever you do - enjoy doing it , as i said its very rewarding in a selfish kinda way , the little pleasures in life , this can be one of them , 

 

came back to add - you dont need everything to start and as you go you will find there are a lot of things that might be nice but are not necessary to fulfill your needs , all of my reloaders are used , some quite old but serviceable and fill my needs just fine , by all means get what makes you happy , but keep in mind you can go a long way with a few simple pieces of equipment , 

a good scale is a necessity , good dies as well , but a simple press will get you started and serve a long while , a good caliper is as well , then buy only components that fit your loads - buying extranious because they are available can result in a lot of wasted storage space and needless expenses 

Edited by watab kid
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I dread everything about reloading, except reloading itself. Getting everything prepped, double checking my adjustments and power drop, loading the primer tubes bum me out. But once I get going, the rest of the world fades away and I'm all about that one task of reloading.

 

OK, tools and gizmos, I'm in to that. :D

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I've reloaded since I started in this game. Some of my other guns have never seen factory ammunition and I haven't bought CF ammo in several years. Saying that the process is a chore. For this game I'm not looking for accuracy, just reloading with the minimum of fuss but being consistent.

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Let's see....you forgot you will need loading trays, powder trickler, powder funnel, handheld depriming tool, bins and more bins to hold your ammo during different processes, bullet boxes to store your finished product, a locker to store your loaded ammo..........

 

 

 

 

 

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And someday in the far future, when you think you have everything you need, you will win a new Dillon 650/750 reloading press at a state match raffle.  Of course it won't come with the case feeder, powder check or any dies.  There won't be enough room on your small reloading bench to put this new press. Time for a reorganization with a proper reloading bench including better lighting and AC power.   My wife still laughs at my free Dillon 650 that ended up costing me $1,000.  

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I gave my brother a Rock Chucker, then a Square Deal and knew he was hooked when he bought his own 550. He likes gadgets as much as I do. Thingies Forever

 

Imis

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All good comments and advice.  Yes indeed, I bought as much stuff "pre-owned" rather than brand new as I could find, including the single stage press, the powder measure, the dies, some of the tools.  And yes, I forgot to include the two new worklights to better light up my bench area (though I've needed that for a long time anyway).  I find all of my time in my shop to be therapeutic in the extreme; the sadness, unfairness, and otherwise harsh realities of the outside world are not allowed in there, generally speaking.  This new "obsession" is just one more form of therapy and even after buying all of the "kit," it still costs much less, and is more effective at helping me clear my head and think straight, than most other forms of "relaxation."  Peanuts, really, in comparison to what my 38' twin-inboard sportfishing machine used to cost me every single day of the year, before she was moved on to a new owner/financier.  Or what my golfing friends tell me they spend on their obsession.  It is all good, and while not cheap by any measure, is not as expensive as some make CAS out to be, in the long run.

Thanks to all for the encouragement to do this.  

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Initial cost can be off  putting, but over the long run you're saving quite a bit of money reloading, if you're doing the same amount of shooting.  Regardless of the increased cost of components, the cost of factory ammunition for the same amount of shooting is prohibitive.   Don't forget safety glasses and tools.  The last opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

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@Nostrum Damus SASS #110702  Welcome to the Darkside!  Remember if you’re going to load BP only use tools/components that are BP friendly.  I load SG and .45C with black and I don’t use a powder measure, I use Lee dippers, the powder measure on my Dillon and MEC are not compatible, it takes a little longer but that’s OK with me. 

Now here’s one of the good things about shooting Dark.  I was at a local match shooting Frontiersman this past weekend, the air was still, the humidity was high and it had recently rained, this all adds up to lots of gnats and other flying bugs.  Folks on the posse were complaining about all those pesky bugs, then it was my turn to shoot.  I turned around and told em’ “I’ll take care of it”, then I shot the usual 10, 10, 4+ stage.  When I was done no one was complaining and I swear that I saw one of them little buggers coughing as he flew by.  By the third stage someone said (looking at the cloud of smoke), hope the neighbors don’t call the fire department.  Ahh the joys of shooting warthog BP loads. 

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Imagine if you will, a reality filled with devices you did not know existed, whose price tags exceed some peoples yearly incomes, yet now knowing they are out there you can no longer continue living in this continuum without them. We take you now to one mans journey into a world known only as "The Reloading Zone"

(With apologies to Rod Serling) :P

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

BTW just like guns in a dark safe, reloading stuff will multiply in a dark room!

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I've been reloading since I was 12 years old when my dad, GOD rest his sole, began to teach me how. I love to reload, and I love to clean my guns. Whenever I need to go to may "ZEN" place to relax and calm down it's out to my loading bench. There I am in a whole other world away from life's problems at least temporarily. Thanks Dad!

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I used to be able to back away from my bench, push in my chair and close the closet doors. All self contained in the closet. Now it is the whole room, a cabinet in the hallway and a dresser full in my sons old room. My bride is NOT, no, I mean NOT! happy with that. OHOHOH! I forgot to mention one whole wall of the GARAGE! I cast too.

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You have only begun, so you can probably locate whatever item you are looking for in your reloading area.  Wait until you've been at it a few years.  Then, you suddenly need one of those gadgets you bought in the beginning (or whenever) and can't find it, so you go buy another!  (You will find the first one shortly after buying the new one.)

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6 hours ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

And someday in the far future, when you think you have everything you need, you will win a new Dillon 650/750 reloading press at a state match raffle.  Of course it won't come with the case feeder, powder check or any dies.  There won't be enough room on your small reloading bench to put this new press. Time for a reorganization with a proper reloading bench including better lighting and AC power.   My wife still laughs at my free Dillon 650 that ended up costing me $1,000.  

@La Sombra this is gospel truth right here! 

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That's a humorous post, but in case someone is reading it seriously, you don't really need all those things.  I was reloading for about 25 years before I bought my first caliper, a couple years after that I bought my first tumbler.  I still haven't bought a case gauge; just take the cylinder out of your revolver and you have one.  You can get by just fine with a Lee Anniversary Kit and the appropriate dies.  Caliber-specific trim guides also.

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20 minutes ago, Diamond Jake said:

That's a humorous post, but in case someone is reading it seriously, you don't really need all those things...

True, but he who dies with the most toys wins. :)

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35 minutes ago, El Catorce said:

@La Sombra this is gospel truth right here! 

Every dang penny worth of truth!

TINSTAAFLOP (There is no such thing as a free lunch or press.)

 

I am on my  way back to the shop to reload!

La Sombra

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26 minutes ago, Diamond Jake said:

That's a humorous post, but in case someone is reading it seriously, you don't really need all those things.  I was reloading for about 25 years before I bought my first caliper, a couple years after that I bought my first tumbler.  I still haven't bought a case gauge; just take the cylinder out of your revolver and you have one.  You can get by just fine with a Lee Anniversary Kit and the appropriate dies.  Caliber-specific trim guides also.

DJ -- what you say is absolutely true, of course, as to many of the items.  But taking the chamber out of my .45-70 Browning 1885 High Wall to use it as a case gauge is a bit impractical.  And I'm curious to know what you did before you got a tumbler?  I can't imagine reloading the absolutely filthy brass I bring home with from the range.  Also, I haven't convinced myself that a separate hand-priming thingy is necessary either, particularly since I'm starting out with a single stage press equipped with a perfectly sensible, easy-to-use priming arm.  But in a moment of weakness, I know I'll pick up a used one for a sweet price.  RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

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2 hours ago, Nostrum Damus SASS #110702 said:

DJ -- what you say is absolutely true, of course, as to many of the items.  But taking the chamber out of my .45-70 Browning 1885 High Wall to use it as a case gauge is a bit impractical.  And I'm curious to know what you did before you got a tumbler?  ...

 

I suppose a High Wall doesn't need a case gauge any more than a bolt action does.  Load a dummy round with sized case but no primer or powder, seat the bullet to what you think is correct, and see if it chambers.  If not, seat the bullet a little farther and try again.  When you get it right, crimp it hard so the bullet stays put and use it to verify your die settings on future loadings.

 

As for no tumbler, there are several recipes on line for the "NRA Case Cleaning" recipe.  Put the de-primed cases it a sealed bucket, swish them around a lot, then rinse and dry.  They don't come out shiny, but very clean.  Works good enough for brass from smokeless powder, but I admit I finally got a small wet tumbler after I started shooting Black Powder in SASS matches. The Lee Universal De-capping Die is a great thing, but I consider that part of the "necessary dies".  Mine still has the $9 price tag on it.

Edited by Diamond Jake
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2 hours ago, Nostrum Damus SASS #110702 said:

 I haven't convinced myself that a separate hand-priming thingy is necessary either, 

With it, you can sit in your easy chair and prime while watching TV and keeping the bunkhouse boss company.:rolleyes:

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1 minute ago, Eyesa Horg said:

With it, you can sit in your easy chair and prime while watching TV and keeping the bunkhouse boss company.:rolleyes:

That would require me to first buy a TV, something I have not owned since 2016.  After years of not finding anything worth watching (other than nature shows that look much better on my friends' ginormous wall-sized TV screen, so I watch them over there), I unplugged the cable, canceled the service, sold the TV, and haven't regretted the move for even one minute since then.  Are you telling me that a TV is ANOTHER piece of kit that no one at RCBS, Lee, Hornady, Dillon, or Lyman told me I'd need, in addition to a press, a set of dies, and some components? :D

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26 minutes ago, Eyesa Horg said:

With it, you can sit in your easy chair and prime while watching TV and keeping the bunkhouse boss company.:rolleyes:

I have seen this off and on for over 40 years. Never tried it myself. I have used a Lee primer tool on many hundreds of cases , but not while watching TV. It was enough of a job just keeping the primers lining up and getting the empty case in the shell-holder without trying to watch a TV screen at the same time. I reckon multi-tasking is not one of my good things.:lol:

Rex :D

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1 minute ago, Rex M Rugers #6621 said:

I have seen this off and on for over 40 years. Never tried it myself. I have used a Lee primer tool on many hundreds of cases , but not while watching TV. It was enough of a job just keeping the primers lining up and getting the empty case in the shell-holder without trying to watch a TV screen at the same time. I reckon multi-tasking is not one of my good things.:lol:

Rex :D

I only do it when priming my 45-70. I let my Dillon do all the others. I generally only do 50 of the 45-70 at a time.

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The one accessory you neglected is possibly the most important and at the same time, universally ignored.  A good one is priceless, an average one is still valuable, a mediocre one is valuable in that it provides a negative example... a may of where you don't want to go if you will!   I don't think I've ever encountered  a poor one... doesn't mean they are non-existent.  But surely must be rare!  I'm talking about a mentor.  While they may cost a few cups of coffee or a few beers, they can save a boatload of grief by pointing out pitfalls and areas to concentrate on.  The wisdom that comes with experience can as simple as advising you where to look for the little known answers...  to keeping you from repeating mistakes and deadends in terms of experimentation.  

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Griff said:

The one accessory you neglected is possibly the most important and at the same time, universally ignored.  A good one is priceless, an average one is still valuable, a mediocre one is valuable in that it provides a negative example... a may of where you don't want to go if you will!   I don't think I've ever encountered  a poor one... doesn't mean they are non-existent.  But surely must be rare!  I'm talking about a mentor.  While they may cost a few cups of coffee or a few beers, they can save a boatload of grief by pointing out pitfalls and areas to concentrate on.  The wisdom that comes with experience can as simple as advising you where to look for the little known answers...  to keeping you from repeating mistakes and deadends in terms of experimentation.  

 

 

I agree.  I had one about 30 years ago.  He taught me bunches about muskets and musket ammo a lot of which carried over to Cowboy and other shooting.  Unfortunately he died about 4 years ago.  But I still use the knowledge he shared with me.

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Clairee Belcher:
"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."

Steel Magnolias 1989

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i think , after all these posts you get what i was saying , you can stumble in or you can read up or you can ask , most of us will answer honestly of what w9orked or didnt , before you buy it , some may actual save you some money we squandered , 

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