I Know NOTHING!!! Need help please...
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Thread: I Know NOTHING!!! Need help please...

  1. I Know NOTHING!!! Need help please...

    Ok, so I've decided that I want to start shooting more than just 3-400 rounds a year, and that includes handgun and rifle, and to be able to afford that and to make some nice accurate rounds, I've decided to try my hand in hand loading. The problem is, I am the only person in my family who is really into guns, so I don't really know anyone at all locally who I could get some good insight from. So here I am...I know absolutely nothing about reloading so I need yall's help.

    The calibers I'm planning on reloading are going to be .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, 40 S&W, .45 ACP, and .308 WIN. Now the .308 isn't really that important right now so if rifle setups are different then we'll not even worry about that. I should also mention that I'm not really in any hurry and I don't expect to get started within the next week or even the next month. The reason I say that is because I had looked into a few single stage starter kits but then I figured I may as well save my money and get something nice and efficient. So what all will I need to properly and efficiently load each of these calibers so that I can get to shooting on a regular basis?

    I've seen a few videos of guys demonstrating there setups, which is what caused me to need to start this thread...because some of them resize casings and some don't. So I am having a hard time understanding when that or certain other things are necessary to do and when they aren't. I guess to keep it simple, list everything that I will need to properly and safely hand load my ammunition, and then if you have any specific brands you prefer then you can throw those in a separate paragraph. If I know what I need to get, I'm usually pretty good at taking it from there and doing my research and finding out what specific brand I need and what not. But I am definitely open to any and all suggestions.

    So now I'm done rambling and I'll open it up to you guys. Thanks in advance!

  3. #2
    Did you know the NRA offers reloading courses? That might be worth looking into.
    S&W M&P 45; Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum; Charter Arms .38 Undercover

  4. #3
    There will be many different answers for you but here is mine.

    The NRA course is excellent if the instructor is excellent, same as any course you take.

    I started with a RCBS single stage and learned everything I needed to know about about each step in the process. That really worked for me.

    Once I had a real good handle on all the steps and pitfalls that can happen in each step, I bought a Dillon progressive because the single stage wasn't yeiding me the volume I was looking for.

    I am glad I learned with the single stage because I know I would not have learned as much if I started with the progressive. There is no reason a person couldn't learn as much starting with a progressive but in my case, I'm sure I wouldn't have. Single stages MAKE you learn, with progressives it's too easy to be lazy if that's what you may be prone to. They do pump out some ammo though.


  5. Thanks for the info so far guys. And I'm definitely going to look into the course. But lets say I get me a progressive press...what does it not come with that I will absolutely need? What all do I need to get if I want to change from loading .45 ACP to, lets say .380 ACP? I know I need a die, but besides that is there anything else that is required to change out before I can load a different caliber? Also, stuff like case trimmers...are they a must have?

  6. #5
    Call and talk to the Dillon folks. Very helpful and eager to help get you started the right way.


  7. Quote Originally Posted by Keykutter View Post
    Call and talk to the Dillon folks. Very helpful and eager to help get you started the right way.

    Yeah probably gonna have to go that route because I went to the NRA site and the nearest reloading class they have going on is 6 hours away. Full time student + part time job = no time for that!

  8. #7
    Like the others on this topic, I wanted to reload, but didn't have anyone or any classes available for a long time into the future.

    Unlike most others though, I have worked for years as a quality manager in pharmaceuticals, and have extensive lab experience. I also served as a logistics officer in the Air Force, so I was very familiar with machinery and labs, handling volatile materials, etc.

    I decided to get a couple books, and read up on the history of cartridge designs, how primers work, what differences there are in various kinds and brands of powder, cartridge defects and things to look for...

    Spent a little money buying a Lee single stage press, die sets for .357 magnum and 9mm, an RCBS primer tool, a set of powder funnels, a small electronic scale, a micrometer, bought a sturdy surplus bench at Home Depot. Also got a tumbler and corncob media, but was pretty disappointed in the results. I plan to do this a lot (as I'm shooting every weekend at a minimum), so I got a Hornady ultrasonic cleaner and the two cleaner solutions they sell, one for brass and the other for gun parts cleaning. I've gotten excellent results with this now, having clean shiny cases to start with inside and out.

    I just began reloading with all this a couple weeks ago, and so far am having a lot of fun with it. I started out very small, just 10 rounds of test fire ammunition, working a series of powder contents from minimum load to maximum, then went to the range and test fired. I was impressed that the loads fired exactly like I was hoping they would, building my confidence. I set my die to give me a correct OAL (overall length) by using a factory brand cartridge, and just initially adjusted to that. I double checked everything with the micrometer and scale. As a quality nerd, I'm very precise in all my steps, and very methodical in my process. As such, I'm taking my time, but have excellent rounds that I am confident in, and that I'm not afraid of.

    My own synopsis is that reloading is not hard to do. Be meticulous, and don't try something you aren't comfortable with w/o trying it as a test case (ie setting bullets into a cartridge doesn't require powder or a primer to determine if you have the exact technique and all to do it exactly right). I'm far from an expert, as I haven't done anything but begin, but I'm sure time and experience will come with practice.

    I took one more plunge and got a few plastic reload ammo box containers from Midway, and I spent for two reloading trays as well (also Midway, mine are good for use w/ both .357 magnum and 9mm), these are working very well, and I'd recommend them.

  9. #8
    Dillon is top self stuff, u can't go wrong there. Go check out some u tubes on it also.

    But I have been using a lee loader for thirty some years and it works great for what I do. Above all get a good powder measure, scales, calibers to check ur rounds and a good reloading book for loads to use. 100 to 400 rds a month u can get by easy on a single stage press. If u take ur time u can buy single stage presses used dirt cheap through people upgrading or getting out of it.

  10. I would not recommend a progressive for a beginner. Buy a cheap single stage like the LEE Challenger(you'll need it for the .308 anyway). Start slow and pay full attention to every step in the process until you are fully aware of what can go wrong and how to make accurate, safe ammunition. I've been loading for 45 years, starting with a bunch of assorted equipment bought at an auction w/o any guidance.
    The first thing you need is a good loading manual like the Lyman. Read it through and then read it again particularly the safety and technical sections. Then get a second manual from the bullet or powder maker you prefer so you have a second source to cross reference.
    Equipment wise, there is not much difference in the pistol calibers. The bottleneck rifle cartridges are different and require some additional steps and tooling. I'd suggest picking the pistol calibers you use the most of and go from there.

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