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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been reading stuff here and elsewhere for a few weeks now and I figured I would give it a try but with the holidays coming, I have to give it a try on the cheap :D

So as laid out here "http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/51" I ordered:
  • Classic Lee Loader
  • Lee Chamfer Tool
  • Lee Case Trimmer & Lock Stud
  • Lee Case Length Gauge & Shell Holder
  • Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
  • Lee Improved Powder Measure Kit

To this, based on some issues I've read with primer installations, I have also ordered the Lee Auto Prime XR which Gander Mountain has on sale for $18.99 because Lee came out with the new Ergo Prime. Most reviews I've read say the XR works fine once you get used to it and is safer/faster/easier then the hammer method in the Lee Loader.

Downloaded the Hodgdon Basic Reloading Manual:
http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Hodgdon Basic Manual.pdf

They have a ton of info available on their site too. At some point I will pick up the Lyman and/or Lee reloading guides too.

At the moment I'm only getting to shoot a couple of times a month so being able to reload 100 or so a month will save me a little money but that's secondary to being able to play with the loads and find some nice, accurate setups for different distances.

I figure if I get to shoot more into next year, I'll see how things are going and maybe add an automatic powder measure or possibly just go full tilt into a progressive press setup but for now I'll see where this gets me to. I thought about shelling out the $150 or so once you get dies and whatnot for the Lee Anniversary Kit or something but my thought is that if I am only doing a couple of hundred a month, the Lee Loader is a cheap way to start and if I end up wanting to do more/faster/easier, a progressive is really where I'll want to be so this seemed a good intro level for me.

Total outlay was around $75 for equipment. Let me know if this sounds like a reasonable plan to you guys...
Thanks
-Jim
 

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I'd probably toss in a scale. I know that some like and trust the Lee measure kit but at some point you are going to want one to verify charges or just because it's faster or convenient.

You also didn't say whether it's for pistol or rifle because most people don't chamfer, trim, or clean primer pockets on pistol loads. If you are just starting out loading pistol is definitely easier than rifle and for pistol it might save you a few dollars. I'd also look for a second reloading manual since they often differ a bit on loads or may not carry your particular bullet or powder.
 

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Get a really good hammer and a steel plate to strike on, it'll make life easier. I started with a Lee loader about a year ago, good way to learn.
 

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If you're going to start out with pistol rounds you don't need that case trimmer but you do need a caliper for measuring. Get a good reloading book like the Lyman Handbook too.
 

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Lyman #49 seems to be a good one. And yes, you NEED a scale. There are many to choose from, so do a little research. Don't be afraid to ask questions here. These guys will steer you in the right direction.
 

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I've been reading stuff here and elsewhere for a few weeks now and I figured I would give it a try but with the holidays coming, I have to give it a try on the cheap :D

So as laid out here "http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/51" I ordered:
  • Classic Lee Loader
  • Lee Chamfer Tool
  • Lee Case Trimmer & Lock Stud
  • Lee Case Length Gauge & Shell Holder
  • Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
  • Lee Improved Powder Measure Kit

To this, based on some issues I've read with primer installations, I have also ordered the Lee Auto Prime XR which Gander Mountain has on sale for $18.99 because Lee came out with the new Ergo Prime. Most reviews I've read say the XR works fine once you get used to it and is safer/faster/easier then the hammer method in the Lee Loader.

Downloaded the Hodgdon Basic Reloading Manual:
http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Hodgdon Basic Manual.pdf

They have a ton of info available on their site too. At some point I will pick up the Lyman and/or Lee reloading guides too.

At the moment I'm only getting to shoot a couple of times a month so being able to reload 100 or so a month will save me a little money but that's secondary to being able to play with the loads and find some nice, accurate setups for different distances.

I figure if I get to shoot more into next year, I'll see how things are going and maybe add an automatic powder measure or possibly just go full tilt into a progressive press setup but for now I'll see where this gets me to. I thought about shelling out the $150 or so once you get dies and whatnot for the Lee Anniversary Kit or something but my thought is that if I am only doing a couple of hundred a month, the Lee Loader is a cheap way to start and if I end up wanting to do more/faster/easier, a progressive is really where I'll want to be so this seemed a good intro level for me.

Total outlay was around $75 for equipment. Let me know if this sounds like a reasonable plan to you guys...
Thanks
-Jim
Jimbowski….welcome to the Forum

It would be helpful to know what “calibers” you were going to attempt Handloading with the setup you have chosen.
Not only for more detailed advice, but some calibers load easier than others using the LCL system.

Since this is an “enthusiast” section of the Forum on the process, it’s fair to say that most Handloaders would probably consider the LCL system more survivalist equipment than home Handloading equipment in the year 2013.
As a matter of fact, I have two LCL in my bug out bag because of how well this equipment fills that niche.
So as far as loading goes…….you get what you see Brother.

As far as manuals go, since you are using the LEE equipment getting the LEE manual makes good sense.
ESPECIALLY if you are going to operate WITHOUT a scale and rely only on the LEE calibrated powder “dippers” to charge your cases.

Case trimmer mandated if you are loading a rifle cases, for what you are doing if handgun only you won’t “need” one
(reading manuals and you would have learned this)

But you should also strongly consider the current Lyman manual.
(Scale and or no scale)
On “balance” it is likely one of the better to provide the “needed process tutelage” so you can better obtain the depth and understanding behind the mechanical assembly process.
And unlike the LEE manual, is NOT a “compilation” of what is getting to be some rather long in the tooth data.

Good Luck :)
 

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Just to add what has been said here JimB1, If and when you look at scales, look at both the manual and digital type. Dippers are "ok", but scales, I think, are much better.
 

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Another minor item to add to the list of good ideas.
Back when I bought my first Lee Loader, I used a regular steel hammer.
It worked great, but....over time, the chrome started to come off and I needed a better hammer.
I had an old Stanley 16oz with replaceable heads. That worked great because it was not metal on metal. ( Hard plastic )
Maybe it was a fluke that the chrome was breaking up, but I stopped using a steel hammer on the others and all was good.
Just a very small hint.


It's a good idea to have a mechanical beam scale and a hard copy of a reloading manual handy, Lymans or Hornady are fine. Online data is great and pretty much up to date, but a hard copy IMHO is needed.

I have made great ammo with my Lee Loaders, it's just a little slow, but if your in no hurry...They work great.

Don2
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the advice. I'll be doing 45 acp, no rifles yet so thats the only centerfire ammo I'm using right now. I'll probably be getting the manuals sooner rather then later, just need to bury the expense a little so the wife doesn't notice it :rofl:

I figured for now I'll work with the dippers since most folks seem to think they work decently if a little under sized. I want to get a good scale but like everything else, cost prohibitive at the moment but you have to start somewhere I guess.

Far as the case cutter, I suspected it wasn't really needed so much but it was $7 and a few things I read said after a few reloads the case may stretch a little or the rim of the case may get warped and just need a little truing so I figured I'd rather have it and not need it then have to wait to order it and pay $5 or more to get a $7 part shipped. I had free shipping when I ordered the stuff today :eek:

On the plus side I have a pretty good collection of tools (very amateur woodworker) so I have several hammers. mallets and dead blow hammers of various materials that may fit the bill and a few sets of calipers digital and analog so that's pretty well covered. Just started thinking about building a small reloading bench so I have someplace dedicated to work. I have a few ideas but I want to try everything out and figure out space needed and stuff before I build that.

Time to start collecting shells at the range to practice with LOL
-Jim
 

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I've only been doing this for about two years. I went with the Lee Classic Turret Press, Lee carbide dies, and the Pro auto disk powder measure with the adjustable charge bar. I love it. The safety scale on the other hand is a waste of money. I bought a digital scale to replace it, then by chance a few months later bought a used rusty old 505 scale. Way better than the digital scale.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. I'll be doing 45 acp, no rifles yet so thats the only centerfire ammo I'm using right now. I'll probably be getting the manuals sooner rather then later, just need to bury the expense a little so the wife doesn't notice it :rofl:

I figured for now I'll work with the dippers since most folks seem to think they work decently if a little under sized. I want to get a good scale but like everything else, cost prohibitive at the moment but you have to start somewhere I guess.

Far as the case cutter, I suspected it wasn't really needed so much but it was $7 and a few things I read said after a few reloads the case may stretch a little or the rim of the case may get warped and just need a little truing so I figured I'd rather have it and not need it then have to wait to order it and pay $5 or more to get a $7 part shipped. I had free shipping when I ordered the stuff today :eek:

On the plus side I have a pretty good collection of tools (very amateur woodworker) so I have several hammers. mallets and dead blow hammers of various materials that may fit the bill and a few sets of calipers digital and analog so that's pretty well covered. Just started thinking about building a small reloading bench so I have someplace dedicated to work. I have a few ideas but I want to try everything out and figure out space needed and stuff before I build that.

Time to start collecting shells at the range to practice with LOL
-Jim

If I may, I'd like to say that everybody does NOT start with the best of reloading tools. Actually, the way your starting is kinda safe. If you really do not like it or for any other reason decide not to continue, you really did not spend much.
On that other hand ( Always one around ) If you like it and later you decide to upgrade, you will be more informed as to know what to buy and give you a good heads up to the whole reloading process.

I understand not having enough money and having to "Make Due"....I have been there...I've been injured for 23 years and a lot of them has been kinda slim.
Work with what you have and do your best to read everything on the subject and try to get some reloading manuals. It's just better looking at paper than staring at a monitor. PLUS...This forum is a pretty good place to hang out and READ and UNDERSTAND various procedures. These guys here will help in any way they can if you do your part learning the basics.

Everybody starts somewhere, and it's not at the TOP..!!!

END OF SPEECH for now.

Don2
 

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Thanks for all the advice. I'll be doing 45 acp, no rifles yet so thats the only centerfire ammo I'm using right now. I'll probably be getting the manuals sooner rather then later, just need to bury the expense a little so the wife doesn't notice it :rofl:

I figured for now I'll work with the dippers since most folks seem to think they work decently if a little under sized. I want to get a good scale but like everything else, cost prohibitive at the moment but you have to start somewhere I guess.

Far as the case cutter, I suspected it wasn't really needed so much but it was $7 and a few things I read said after a few reloads the case may stretch a little or the rim of the case may get warped and just need a little truing so I figured I'd rather have it and not need it then have to wait to order it and pay $5 or more to get a $7 part shipped. I had free shipping when I ordered the stuff today :eek:

On the plus side I have a pretty good collection of tools (very amateur woodworker) so I have several hammers. mallets and dead blow hammers of various materials that may fit the bill and a few sets of calipers digital and analog so that's pretty well covered. Just started thinking about building a small reloading bench so I have someplace dedicated to work. I have a few ideas but I want to try everything out and figure out space needed and stuff before I build that.

Time to start collecting shells at the range to practice with LOL
-Jim
Find a "friend" with a scale or someone here who's near you and you can "calibrate" your dippers using the scale. Take the dipper closest to the load you want that's just a little bigger and shave it down to get the desired load when level. The dippers are cheap and you can do this for any load with any powder you choose.
 

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Jim, welcome to the club!

With that in mind, here is a guide to various volumes (CC = cubic centimeter) that you'll see on the side of the dippers and what folks have found the various powders to weigh (in grains) in those volumes:

Using noylj's data above, I put it into a spreadsheet and took screenshots - hopefully it'll be useful:



Original thread: http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=340714

Just determine what the volume is of your dipper and match it against the charts above - you'll then have a pretty close idea of the charge-weight of your chosen powder, and you can then match that weight against your favorite reloading tables and see if it's safe.

For example, if I bought Clays powder - and determined that via reloading tables that my chosen 200gr bullet needed 4.0 gr of powder, I could use that chart to determine that the volume of my dipper should be 0.61 CC - and not 0.95CC :eek:

Obviously, you DO want to weigh the actual charge on a properly-zeroed scale, but that chart will give you a rough idea what your dipper will throw.
 

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Eye protection: ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY



And if you have to, I personally most highly recommend hold the rod during the priming bash with a gloved hand.
Just sayin'.....
 

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30+ years ago I got started reloading using Lee Rifle Loader for 22 hornet. Was the start of a life long hobby.

Never had a primer go off. Now in other situations I've had a primer go off...
 

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I would buy a scale. I started off decades ago with a dipper, trickler, and a scale. The scale is the heart of the matter to me on reloading. I can work around all else but the scale.
 

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Agreed on the scale. If money is really tight check on ebay for a beam scale. You can find good deals on good condition, used scales although most are overpriced at BIN or the up-bidding just gets stupid. It can be a bit tricky because you have to make sure everything is included and it's better when the seller shows a photo of the scale zeroed. The old Redding Number 1's usually go pretty cheap. No magnetic damping but a little mineral oil, or better yet, light silicone oil in the damping reservoir and they work great. Also good deals sometimes on older Lymans like the D5's and D7's, which are also great scales.
 
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