When to start reloading? - Page 2 - MP-Pistol Forum

When to start reloading?

This is a discussion on When to start reloading? within the MP Reloading forums, part of the Smith & Wesson MP Forum category; I started reloading back in the early '70's, got my Dillon RL 550 B in the early '90's, then quit reloading from about '97-'08. During ...

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Old December 17th, 2014, 05:58 PM   #16
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I started reloading back in the early '70's, got my Dillon RL 550 B in the early '90's, then quit reloading from about '97-'08.

During that time, it was just as cheap to buy WWB Value Packs in 9mm and .45acp from WalMart, and rifle ammo from Georgia Ammo, than to load it yourself.

The '08 "celebratory Obama ammo and gun purchases" changed all that, and I've been reloading again ever since.

Consequently, during the ammo shortages throughout the last six years; I've been able to shoot as much as I wanted.

Last edited by Rick M; December 17th, 2014 at 06:04 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 03:47 AM   #17
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Start ASAP.

Components are beginning to become more widely available, depending on location. You can find most popular powders online. Primers are easily available online, as are bullets.

I shoot about 150 rounds per week. I load on a Lee turret press. It's what's considered cheap compared to dillon, rcbs, hornaday. Press cost me about 120, dies around 35-40, then component costs. So, not terribly expensive.

For me and my needs, it works. If your a bullseye shooter, or shooting thousands of rounds a month, it might not work for you. But lee makes decent enough equipment, I've loaded about 10,000 rounds on it over the last 2 years. I usually load 20-30 rounds per day (about 10 minutes) and I have enough for Sunday's at the range.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 04:53 PM   #18
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I only load one caliber so a single stage works great for me. This way I am sure of my powder drops and can do better QC inspections.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 05:18 PM   #19
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I started reloading when I started shooting more after I retired. If your shooting 100 rounds a week, it may be time to start reloading. As others have said, you will cut your ammo cost in half. I reuse my brass (of course) and my cost for reloading 9mm is about $.14 - $.16 cents per round. Cost depends on which powder I'm using (Unique, Power Pistol, Bullseye, etc). But beyond the cost savings, I enjoy reloading. I use a Dillon SDB and the initial cost is somewhat high, but to me it is worth it.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 07:31 PM   #20
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I'm ignorant of reloading.

Taking all the time involved and figuring time is money, for 9mm and 40cal, maybe 400 rounds per month total. Add cost of equipment and components either reused/cleaned brass or new (my range is horrible for collecting brass), am I really going to save money reloading?

I guess I'm asking...

Cleaning brass: how much time involved for 400 rounds?
Loading: seems like 100 rounds per hour on a basic Lee press is doable, correct?

So I see $.14/round (used brass) not counting time. That's $7.00 per "box of 50". Add half-hour of my time at $17 per half-hour and I get $24.00 for a box of 50 rounds.

Am I calculating correctly?
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Old January 13th, 2015, 07:37 AM   #21
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Look around for an RCBS reloading set up, they sell a package deal with the press, powder measure, scale, everything you need except dies, powder, primers, and bullets.

Stay away from the Lee stuff, it works but it's bottom of the barrel.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 10:30 AM   #22
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I once saw a post on here that said " You will Not Save money Reloading, You will Spend Less" and I find that to be the case. I bought a Hornady LnL, I made my own Case feeder. What started out as Just 9's & .40's is Now .380's, 38 spl, 357 Mag, 357sig .45, .223. A whole room of my house dedicated to it.. a Heater and a Stereo, it's like taking a mini vacation, me and the dog will go back there and Bang out a few hundred rds and both be Happy, then the wife is Happy cause she can shoot more
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Old January 13th, 2015, 12:49 PM   #23
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Forget single-stage or turret presses... too little capacity for your needs. Bite the bullet and get a progressive. Unless you are mechanically illiterate, you will have no problem running one.

Based on your situation, I would HIGHLY recommend the Dillon Square Deal. I used one for many years to feed my IPSC shooting needs, and found it to produce very high quality ammo easily and efficiently. Best of all, it comes ready to run right out of the box - just adjust the powder charge and bullet depth and start making ammo. It does use proprietary dies that are slow to change, but if you are going to switch calibers a lot you will want to go to a 650 anyway (lots more $$$). The best thing about Dillon is their "no-BS" lifetime warranty, which means it will hold its value almost forever, unlike many other comparable presses... when you decide to upgrade, you can get almost all your money back out of it.

To be honest, the biggest challenge you will face right now is finding pistol powder... it is still rare as hens teeth.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 04:46 PM   #24
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Best press for newbie

Love shooting my new 9mm Shield and also thinking of reloading as I can easily go through 100 rounds per week, currently limiting myself to 50 rounds per week. Is a progressive press the best choice to for a newbie at reloading? What are thoughts about starting with the Redding T-7 Turret press? Then progressing to a Dillon. I've been looking at the 550.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 06:20 AM   #25
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You've gotten some great advice on going to a progressive. I also considered a turret press as a first press then realized the cost wasn't that much less than a Dillon SDB or a Hornady LnL. I spent about a month making my decision between a Dillon 550b or the Hornady LnL and finally just flipped a coin. Both are outstanding progressives and their warrantees and customer service are comparable. The coin toss came up Hornady - primarily due to the 5 stations and auto indexing.

A progressive from either Hornady or Dillon will do you proud as would RCBS if you could find a reasonable deal on one. Buy a turret if you want to do rifle but if its only pistol, go progressive and maybe buy a cheap single stage press for those rare times you want to do something off the progressive. Some will insist that a new reloader should only start on a single stage until he has the process down pat. I don't subscribe to that (and I didn't do it myself) but I would insist that a new reloader fully understand each step he is trying to do and look in each case to be sure the powder charge is correct. That is the one thing that will really ruin your day if you screw it up! There are powder check dies, etc. out there but to my mind, nothing beats the eyeball.

In my case, I estimated that I spent maybe $500 getting started (LnL press, tumbler, scale, micrometer, etc.). And I can crank out around 300 - 400 rounds of 40S&W an hour at about $0.16 / round and that is taking my time being careful and with no caseloader. Basically, my initial investment was recouped by the time I cleared 2,000 rounds and from then on, I'm money ahead. I don't consider my time as a charge since this is a hobby. Plus it is darn good fun.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 06:52 AM   #26
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When I got my press set up I spent one evening on each station, understanding exactly what each die was doing and why. then after 5-6 evenings I made my first live rounds.

You can make ammo complete from a spent round all in one pass, however I choose not to. I hand prime every case. it gives me another chance to handle each one (to find defects) and I got tired of finding gun powder in the bottom of the tub cause one or more didnt get a primer
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Old January 14th, 2015, 04:21 PM   #27
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I started reloading last year. We have a store dedicated to reloading. The guys there helped me out a lot with learning. I have the RCBS single stage press. I load 9mm, 40cal, 45acp, and 223. I am now in the market to get a Progressive but I am glad I learned on a single stage. If you have anyone to show you the ropes, I would say get a progressive. If not single stage. Even if you start with a single stage, get a good one that will last a long time and you will always be able to use it. I can load about 100 pistol rounds in an hour. Hope this helps.

On another note. I am fighting between the Dillon 550b and the xl650. I like the auto indexing, but was told to get the 550b because of changing the tool heads is easier. Suggestions from anyone with experiance?
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Old February 14th, 2015, 03:31 PM   #28
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I have found that reloading is a whole other hobby as well besides shooting them.

Load development, especially rifle, is interesting.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Dinosaur View Post
On another note. I am fighting between the Dillon 550b and the xl650. I like the auto indexing, but was told to get the 550b because of changing the tool heads is easier. Suggestions from anyone with experiance?
No, the tool head exchange is identical between the 550 and 650 and the 650 has a 5 position tool head, not a 4. The extra opening is normally used for a "Powder Check" station that assures you have the correct powder charge as it will sound an alarm on a missed charge or a double charge. This is a great comfort unless you ALWAYS look into each case after the powder drop station.

Note the 550 can be set up with a powder check station but that requires using a single seater/crimp die instead of the more desirable separate dies the 650 allows even with the powder check.

The extra time to change calibers between the 650 and 550 is minor and mostly is due to converting the shell feeder parts.

The 550 is a wonderful and versatile reloader. The 650 even is more of the same.

Note to the poster who assessed his reloading time at $17/hour. Can you really get someone to pay you for that time if you weren't using it reloading? Hobbies are not paying propositions for the time involved and using your hourly pay to evaluate them means no one would do anything but work.

Last edited by Smith Shooter; February 15th, 2015 at 08:23 AM.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 07:53 PM   #30
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I started reloading in 1991 because I was shooting bullseye and I needed loads tailored to my custom 1911. It shoots low velocity Semi-Wadcutter loads that crawl down range. Besides being able to control the load, there's the money savings. Buy your components in bulk if possible(i.e. powder by the keg((8lbs)), primers by the 5k, and bullets as much as you can). And of course there is the enjoyment of sitting down and making your own ammo.

But the first time you hit the x-ring with the ammunition the you made, is priceless. The only thing left after that is to teach someone else to reload.

BTW - I've been thru several presses, including going to use a friends Dillon 1050. I am currently using a Dillon 650 and couldn't be happier. The 1050 is nice, but VERY expensive. Especially if you are doing multiple calibers.

Last edited by Rob5r; April 3rd, 2015 at 07:57 PM.
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