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I am considering getting into reloading. I have 2 9MM, a 357 revolver and a 1911. The best I can figure is to continue to buy the 9mm loads because they are so cheap and I need to shoot FMJ bullets.

I am interested in loading special and 45 rounds. I shoot about 600-800 rounds per week in all the guns.

I am considering a Lee turet press or a Dillion 550B. I know from reading the other threads, that everyone will say buy the Dillon if you can afford it. But I am concerned that it might be better to start on the Lee or something similar to "learn" the trade before moving into the progressive machines.

Does it make sense to start with a AT 500?

Also, I'm a little confused about the Lee "factory" crimp die. Is it any better than what you get from dillon.

A further note, I do not own any rifles at this time.

Thanks for any help you can share. Also would be interested in the best training resources. Thanks
 

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Awright, here are my opinions on Your questions and issues. Compare with published information and go by the book when there is something specific in print.

[I am interested in loading special and 45 rounds. I shoot about 600-800 rounds per week in all the guns.]

That is a good deal of shooting and certainly justifies reloading unless it is mostly 9mm econo-ball.

[I am considering a Lee turet press or a Dillion 550B. I know from reading the other threads, that everyone will say buy the Dillon if you can afford it. But I am concerned that it might be better to start on the Lee or something similar to "learn" the trade before moving into the progressive machines. Does it make sense to start with a AT 500?]

I am not experienced with the Lee or any other turret machine, although I loaded a lot of ammo on an RCBS single stage before going progressive.
I don't think you have to learn on a single stage press, although it will always be convenient to have one for special projects when you don't want to upset your progressive adjustments for a few rounds. I don't think you need to buy the AT500 and then upgrade to progressive, that just runs the overall cost up.

I DO think you need to learn to reload in single stage operation. But you can run one round at a time through a D-550 (sort of like a turret press) and have complete control over each individual step in the process. It will not spill powder or primers. Just don't get cocky and try to go to progressive operation before you understand exactly what is happening at each station.
READ. Dillon has pretty good instructions and you will need a real loading manual like Lyman No. 47 in addition to powder company load data. I don't know about training for reloading, but there are plenty of manuals and even videos on the subject. Most of us reloaders are self-taught.

[Also, I'm a little confused about the Lee "factory" crimp die. Is it any better than what you get from dillon.]

The Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die resiszes the loaded round a bit in addition to crimping the case mouth. It is very helpful in getting reliable cast bullet loads, especially for autos. Nobody, Dillon included, makes anything that will do the same job.
 

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Dillon offers a video for their presses for $5.95. It will take you trough setup and loading.
 

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The Lee turret w/auto index is one heck of a buy for the money. Not a Dillon but solid enough and you can do 200+ rounds per hour once set up.
 

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How much is your time worth? At 800 rounds a week, I'd say go progressive reloader. If you have to spend 4 hours per week reloading, just the time saved would justify a progressive. (4 x $10/hr = $40 vs 1 x $10/hr = $10 feel free to adjust what an hour is worth to you) At that rate you'd have enough extra cash for a progressive in no time. When I started, I sold ammo to my friends for about $20/1000 above reloading cost to help pay for the equipment. They got ammo at below store cost, and I was able to pay off some gear, as well as start investing in higher precision equipment.

Also, don't overlook used equipment. That can take much of the bite out of the initial price.



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-Electric Armadillo-
"You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend." - Yasir Arrafat (On going to war over religion)
 

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With your round count, go straight to the progressive. Consider the Dillon 650, the RCBS 2000, or the Hornady L n' L AP. The Dillon is probably the fastest. Just start very slow and make sure you are doing everything right. It would be best to have someone with experiennce helping you get started.

Single stage is nice to learn the process on, but your arm would fall off after the first week!
 

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Oh, man,,,,,,I shoot a lot and I have a single stage, your round could blows me away and I know that my single stage and I have a love hate relationship...

I love shooting the ammo it produces, but I hate using it.

I'm dying for a progressive. Learn slow on a progressive, take your time at first then crank it up later.

Why spend a few hundred bucks to learn, only to turn around and spend a few hundred more again later. I would get a Lyman 47th edition reloading manual, read it a time or two then go forth and save money and time


Thanks,
H4444
 

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Originally posted by Boss:
But I am concerned that it might be better to start on the Lee or something similar to "learn" the trade before moving into the progressive machines.

Does it make sense to start with a AT 500?
I don't know if I'm gonna catch flack from the regulars or not...

I have not been reloading for a long time...almost a year. I load for three calibers: 9mm, .38/.357 and .45 (same ones you are planning on). I started on a Dillon 550 I picked up on eBay (of all places). I had never done reloading before, had never seen it done, and didn't have anyone around to ask (save for posting questions on the Internet). I started slow, loading some rounds for my wife's .357. I think it took me something like 30 minutes to produce those first 20 bullets. I was going very slow, watching each step, one round at a time. I didn't load up a gob of bullets because I wanted to test them out first. The .38 didn't take as long to get used to, because it was so similar to the .357. I now have a couple of "standard" loads for each caliber, and can load them fairly quickly.

When I started loading for the 9mm, it was the same way (slow, and one round at a time), only I had to be a lot more careful about the length, and how much crimp was applied. It took a bit, but I finally came up with a couple of loads that work very well in my Ruger P-85.

I just started loading for my Kimber, and these were the quickest loads to develop. I'm trying to tune a load for a good light 200gr LSWC that's accurate and light enough to not knock over my daughter or middle boy when they accompany me to the range.

And, for the record, I've had one squib load. It occured when loading .38spl. Fortunately, the bullet didn't get stuck in the barrel. There was a bit of a pop, and I could see the bullet curve its way out of the barrel and roll around on the ground maybe 10 yards ahead of me. Once I was able to breathe again, I checked out the gun, and stopped shooting that box of bullets. I did successfully shoot up that box of bullets, and haven't had another squib.

Given how much you shoot, I'd say go progressive. You can always run the rounds through it one at a time until you're comfortable with the process. Best advice: Take your time, use common sense, go slow at first, and don't load up a lot of rounds without testing them.



Good luck!

-- John
 

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When starting out, I'd suggest that you start reloading revolver rounds first. They are a little more tolerant of mistakes not involving a high primer. Due to a revolvers design, they are a lot safer if you do something wrong, (i.e. double load or half load) Get comfortable with revolver rounds before moving to auto rounds.

Also, Lemme save you some money here. Don't start out reloading with new brass. Use range brass to learn. Its free, and you won't cry if you happen to trash some.


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-Electric Armadillo-
"You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend." - Yasir Arrafat (On going to war over religion)
 
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