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Me and a friend just went and bought a RCBS reloading kit. We got it all set up. We have a reloading book. Now here come the tricky part. Being new to reloading we have no clue as to what type of powder, bullets, primers, ect.. to buy. What would you guys suggest? We will be reloading 9mm, .45 ACP, and .44 Mag. The 9mm and .45 will only be used for targets. The .44 will be used for targets and deer hunting. Any help would be aspirated


Riceman
 

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Powder:
If the .45 is just for shooting, you may want to try Hodgdon "Clays". Cleanest burning powder I've tested. FPS isn't up too high, but doesn't really need to be for fun shooting. Hodgdon tightgroup is really accurate, but a little dirtier. These two powders is all I shoot, don't know about any others.
Primers: I use Win large pistol primers. No problems so far.
Bullets: I use Hornady 200gr XTP for paper and jugs and Combat target for my plastic humans. I have found that I shoot 200gr bullets more accurately and they have less recoil. FPS and energy are still high.
Bullet type and accuracy will come down to you and what your gun likes.
Welcome to reloading, the "Artistic science"!
 

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I noticed that you said you have a reloading book, but one is not enough, get more. Each one has some different info. Get the Lyman manual, it covers a lot cast bullets.

Powder, I use Winchester 231 for just about everything. I have tried the others and I just cant get away from the tried and true 231. The 44mag likes Unique or 2400.

Primers, I like Federal or Winchester. I will not use CCI for any reason, I just dont like them. Thats another story but we need to move on.

Bullets, I use cast Hensley & Gibbs #68 200 gr lead semi-wadcutters for my 45. You cant beat them for accuracy and you can usually get a 1000 for around $20. I dont shoot and load a lot of 9mm but on those rare occassions that I do I use lead 124gr round nose.

The best advice I can give is to stick with the data in the books. Dont get the idea that a little more powder wont hurt anyting.

Good Luck, and welcome to reloading.
 

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The best approach is to use the components listed in your reloading book. Select loads that meet your needs, and buy the components accordingly. For target loads, you can simplify by using one powder and primer brand for all loads, presuming your book has such loads listed. For instance, Winchester primers and 231 powder will probably be listed for target loads in all three calibers.

Hunting loads have different requirements. A slower burning powder is needed to generate the power for deer hunting, and a magnum primer may be necessary, depending on the powder selected.

If your book does not explain all this, you need a better book. The Hornady, Speer or Lyman manuals are good ones.
 

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I like Winchester primers, but the book will indicate what primers were used for the loads. May as well use their recommendation until you have different ideas.

As far as powder goes, I usually look for the highest velocity for the least amount of pressure (if provided).

It looks like you need to think about W231 for the 9mm and .45 auto, switching to 2400 for the .44 magnum loads. Neither of these powders will go to waste. Unique is another choice that doesn't meter well for me but is one of the most versatile powders for someone wanting to stick with one powder for everything.
 

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Heed Ken Neal's advice, get more manuals. And read them, they have a lot of good education. I always reference at least three different ones before I try a new load.

Unique will work for all three calibers, but I have seen a Ruger Super Blackhawk blown up by a double charge of Unique. I prefer H110 for .44. 2400 works excellently, but burns dirtier. I have been using W231 for .45. It's kind of dirty, but works well otherwise.

Make sure you understand crimping, especially in the auto pistols. A bad crimp can get you a KABOOM.
 

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Unique should work quite well for the calibers you intend to load. It burns a little dirty, but it generally gives good accuracy and can be loaded to a variety of velocity levels. Heed TrophyShop's warning regarding double charges. This can happen with any of the faster burning powders since a double charge will easily fit in the case, especially the .44 Mag. Assuming your RCBS kit is a single stage unit, it's a very simple matter to check for double charges by using a good light and looking into each charged case before seating bullets. It only takes a few seconds to check a block of 50 cases, and it's a critical safety step. Welcome to a great hobby!-TR
 

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I use Win 231, Bullseye, and Hodgdon HS-6 for 45ACP. Mostly use jacketed or plated bullets, 200gr and 230 gr by Speer and Rainier. Same powders as above for 9mm. For 44 Mag, I use Hornady 240gr HP/XTP, Win 296 powder, and CCI large pistol magnum primers. I've had good luck with CCI primers in all of the calibers you mentioned. Get a dial caliper if you don't have one. You'll want to get the cartridge overall length (COL) correct on 9mm and 45 ACP especially. If you can still get them, Midway LoadMAPS are good reloading manuals for 9, 44, and 45. Good luck, be careful, have fun.
 

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Riceman -- If you bought the RCBS Master Reloading Kit, you have the Speer #13 manual and it is excellent.

For the 44 mag, Hodgdon's H110 is THE powder for full power loads with all bullet weights (jacketed). The Speer manual's loads uses the CCI 350 primer with ball powders, but I personally prefer Federal's 155 primers for all loads in cartridges that use a LP primer. I also mostly load the Hornady 240 gr. HP/XTP and the most accurate load in my M629 is 23.8 grs. H110 for right around 1300 fps. (Starline cases, 240 gr. HP/XTP, Federal 155 primer. Bullet is seated to about the middle of the cannelue and tightly crimped. Sorry, but I have no pressure data.)

For general target shooting with the 44 magnum, get some 44 Special cases, some 240 gr. LSWC bullet, and some Alliant 2400. Start working up from around 11 grains. (My M629 give best accuracy with 12.6 grains, and yes that is more than is shown in the Speer manual.)

For the 45 ACP, get some 200 gr. LSWCs, Blue Dot and/or Unique. With Blue Dot start at around 9 grains and work up in 1/2 grain increments. All five of my 1911s achieve best accuracy with 10.5 grs. Blue Dot in Starline cases, Federal 155 primers, 200 gr. LSWC. Out of the 5" barrels of my full-size 1911s, this load produces 974 fps and produces about 18,500 psi in my pressure-test barrel. If using Unique, start at around 5.4 grs. and work up in 0.2 gr. increments. My accuracy load is 6.2 grs. for around 850 fps (5" barrels) and around 15,000 psi (test barrel).

Can't help any with the 9mm.
 
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