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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a Dillon Square Deal at a great price (thanks Mr. Jones!) and have everything all put together and functional. I also have 3 reloading manuals and almost a dozen load guides of one kind or another that I'm currently reading my way through. My question is this. I have the regional distributor for Dillon in town and he will check the press out, teach me how to use it, and get my first loads set up -for $40. While I feel like I would benifit from having an experienced reloader walk me through a few things I don't really want to pay the guy $40 for 1 hour of work. As I feel like I have the process and mechanism of the press already felt out all he'd really be doing for me is watching me do my first few loads and help me with adjustment, etc. Do you think I need that kind of supervision, or can I start reloading without it. I am very aware of the importance of details as I have spent many hours in a laboratory trying to make small pieces work together, and I really feel like I can do this on my own if I'm careful. But because I do value my continued health and well-being I thought I'd ask you guys what you thought. Do I spend the $40 and get walked through the process, or do I proceed very carefully on my own testing each step in the process one by one until I have a loaded round. Thanks in advance,
Scatmanblues
 

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I started reloading about a year ago. The only "instruction" I got was from books or asking questions at the range.

Follow the instructions to the letter. Anything you're not clear on, ask someone who knows. Lot's folks here fit that bill.
Triple-check each step untill you're comfortable, then just double check.

Reloading is by no means difficult. Just requires attention to detail.

Dave
 

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I never paid anyone to "show" me how to reload, but it's really up to you. The process is not all that difficult to understand. The first station on the press sizes the brass and primes it at the end of the upstroke of the handle (this is the part the beginners are always forgetting). If you forget to push back on the handle on the upstroke you'll have some powder all over the place, but other than that it's no big deal. The second station bells the mouth of the case and drops the powder. You have to adjust the amount of the belling and of course set the powder measure up for the weight you want. You want to be sure to never double charge a case! The third station seats the bullet. You have to set the seater die for the desired overall length of the cartridge. The fourth station crimps the bullet. You will have to set it for the desired amount of crimping. The main things to try to avoid are forgetting to prime a case and double charging the powder in a case. The way I do that is to pay attention to the level of powder in the case before you place a bullet at station three every time you are seating a bullet there. That should keep you out of trouble. I hope this all helps. It never hurts to have someone help. You don't have any friends who reload that might be able to help?
 

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It's your money...it's your choice.

The reloading manuals all have quite complete step-by-step instructions. If any one manual is lacking detail in the process, the others can cover it.

You say you already have lab experience, so this is redundant, but I'll say it anyway.

Take your time until you're comfortable with the process, and no distractions of any kind. Follow procedure until you know what's going on and why. After your confidence has increased to the point where it seems to be automatic, then you can get creative.

Enjoy!
 

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I believe Dillon has videos you can buy. In fact I thought they came with new presses?

Personally I suggest you chill and just do it - it's not very hard.

Email me if you have questions. I have a SDB that I use to crank out zillions of 45acp.

------------------
Have a great day!

[This message has been edited by dla (edited 10-13-2001).]
 

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The Dillon video is 5.95 give or take a few pennies. It is pretty good. I've been loading on a single stage press for 30 years and moved up to an XL-650. I learned a couple of things about setting up and more importantly about caliber conversion. Don't know much about the Square Deal but for 5-6 bucks I guess you can't go wrong with the video. After that Dillon support is top notch if you have questions or problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replys everyone. I was pretty sure I could go it alone, I just wanted to get some feedback from everyone to make sure there wasn't anything I would likely screw up without supervision. I feel really comfortable about the mechanics of the process, I just value my fingers, etc. enough to verify my decision. The Video idea is great if its that cheap -I'll give Dillon a call about it. Thanks guys,
Scatmanblues
 

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$40 sounds reasonable. There are a number of downsides to potential errors, at the machine & in the gun worth far more than $40. Consider it insurance.
I agree, the video is necessary for beginners.
Also, the NRA should be able to refer instructors certified in reloading for a complete course.
 

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Originally posted by Chico:


(snipped for brevity)

Also, the NRA should be able to refer instructors certified in reloading for a complete course.
Excellent point. NRA certified means you stand a much better chance at getting your money's worth than with someone who isn't. Before you plunk your money down for this guy's input, you might want to ask him if he's NRA certified to teach reloading.
 

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I'd stick with a good manual since reloading is really a very simple process.

I don't think I'd care much for any person wanting to charge me $40 for this kind of instruction.
 

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FWIW, I started reloading on my own like alot of folks. But I will tell you it would have been worth $40 to me to have an experienced hand get me through my first few questions and batch of reloads.

Unless you are accustomed to getting experienced service for free, $40 isn't out of line. Try getting a plumber or electrician out to the house for less; and trust me, hanging a ceiling fan or changing a hot water heater isn't any harded than reloading.

If some poor stiff is out there offering his knowledge to strangers (and you strangers know who you are) trying to make a living ( and taking time away from his business) give the guy a break for trying to cover his costs and make it worth his time. Chances are, if he did spend an hour with you, he'd have to take 6 - 12 more phone calls from you answering questions before you got going. On top of that, there are a number of folks out there that would screw something up, blow up their gun or hurt their finger and the next call would be made by plaintiff's attorney wanting compensation for "faulty" instruction.

So use his services or don't, but please don't diss the guy because he won't be your best bud and work for you for nothing. I have helped a couple of friends get started and I will tell you for $0 that it is easily $40 worth of work getting a newbie up and running. There are tips and tricks in this hobby that I have never seen covered anywhere in any reloading manual.

If you give the Dillon Regional Distributor $40 to set foot on your property and help you make sure you've got a piece of *used* equipment functioning properly, you'll have his personal reputation and the entire Dillon corporation behind you. Dillon service and support is legendary as you will learn. If your experience with used Dillon equipment turns out to be anything like mine, the 40 bucks will be paid back many times over. He'll probably have a trunk full of parts to solve any problem he finds instantly. It seems like a pretty good way to get started on a great relationship.

Besides, sometimes free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
WalterMitty,
That was a very good reply, and a perspective I hadn't thought of. I really in no way intended a slight to the man -he has a very good reputation around town and has never been anything but helpful and courteous. My primary question was aimed at finding any risk I wouldn't be able to discern from a reloading manual, and if only instruction could remedy that risk.
I agree that there is no substitute for experience, but I feel that where that experience can really be most benificial is in advanced training. The fundamentals are just that -basic steps that are shared by every aproach to an activity. They can be taught by anyone with an average skill, or learned by anyone with careful study. A novice is almost always incapable of grasping the subtle points of any discipline. Give Joe Torre a team of little leaguers and after a season you will still have little leaguers. They may have more discipline, or more ingrained basics, but they will not show a performance level so far above what a good, solid high school coach could impart. Where you see the difference in ability is what a great coach can do with talented or more experienced players. Thus the Yankees. My point with all this is that I really feel like my money will be better spent if I hold off on the instruction until I am experienced enough to really appreciate what I'm getting -and until I'm really needing help with the subtle art of creating "that" perfect round for me.
I can have confidence in that choice because of my already learned attention to detail and experience in wiring and scientific research. I accept that my responsibility is to be careful before careless and slow before anxious. Hope this isn't too involved, but you caught me on an intellectual day, and I felt like stretching the old brain a bit to dust t off.

Scatmanblues
 
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