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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after pouring over the forum and reading all of the info. I have decided to begin reloading. This isn't meant to elicit responses of Blue vs. Red unless there is a glaring reason why I should choose something over the other. Let me preface by saying I am very mechanically inclined, professionally trained and also detail oriented. So I would like to think I won't be too far behind the learning curve.

My plan is to load, .223, 9MM .40S&W, .45ACP, .44mag and .38. Maybe others in the future.

So for equipment this is what I have chosen. What I am looking for is advice on things that will make my life easier or if I should possibly go with something else. Like I said I have read a bunch, but there is so much out there it's easy to miss something.

Case prep:
WFT that I will bench mount with a motor
Dillon super swage since I have a load of milsurp brass
harbor freight vibratory tumbler

Press and dies:
Hornady LnL progressive, omitting the case and bullet feeder for now.
Hornady dies as well as Lee FCD and a powder cop

Various:
Scales undecided
Powder trickler
I have a very sturdy heavy table.
Calipers I have already along with tons of hand tools.

Consumables for now
Brass, tons I have collected
VV powder
Federal primers

If there is something in your mind I need or could omit, please tell me. The amount of knowledge here is vast, and I don't know or can read everything by any means.
 

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Welcome to the forum, get a reloading manual of your choice and read it cover to cover. Then go shopping for everything, wish I had done that.
 

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As always, BEFORE DOING OR BUYING ANYTHING, I recommend you go to your local library and get the following books: Lyman #49 (current) or #48 (which I actually like better for the articles). Lee MODERN RELOADING 2nd ed (ignore all the lies about the Lee so-called "two year warranty", it is worthless and not worth the time and trouble to bother with. The "warranty" and "love it or return it" guarantee are mentioned some 32 times in the book), and DBI METALLIC CARTRIDGE RELOADING 3rd ed (it has been stolen out of most libraries as it actually told you up front what was good and what is trash. El hinto - see my comment about the Lee warranty). Read all three cover to cover. All three cover reloading, but all three cover it from different angles and you WILL learn a lot! Then get every other reloading manual you can find and read those. Then get the reloading manual(s) for the powder(s) you are going to use, and get the manual(s) for the bullet(s) you are going to use and read them and keep them handy.

Not a thing wrong with any item you have listed, but read the books first anyway.

One item not listed is a case gauge for each cartridge. No, they are not an absolutely needed item, but they do make life easier.
 

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So after pouring over the forum and reading all of the info. I have decided to begin reloading. This isn't meant to elicit responses of Blue vs. Red unless there is a glaring reason why I should choose something over the other. Let me preface by saying I am very mechanically inclined, professionally trained and also detail oriented. So I would like to think I won't be too far behind the learning curve.

My plan is to load, .223, 9MM .40S&W, .45ACP, .44mag and .38. Maybe others in the future.

So for equipment this is what I have chosen. What I am looking for is advice on things that will make my life easier or if I should possibly go with something else. Like I said I have read a bunch, but there is so much out there it's easy to miss something.

Case prep:
WFT that I will bench mount with a motor
Dillon super swage since I have a load of milsurp brass
harbor freight vibratory tumbler Looks like you have this covered.

Press and dies:
Hornady LnL progressive, omitting the case and bullet feeder for now.
Hornady dies as well as Lee FCD and a powder cop Sound choices.

Various:
Scales undecided If you go with a beam scale a RCBS 505 is simple to use and very dependable.
Powder trickler I prefer the Redding trickler, its is nice and heavy making it easier to use than some of the light weight aluminum tricklers.
I have a very sturdy heavy table. Don't forget plenty of light. Something that can be adjusted and aimed will do.
Calipers I have already along with tons of hand tools.

Consumables for now
Brass, tons I have collected
VV powder
Federal primers

If there is something in your mind I need or could omit, please tell me. The amount of knowledge here is vast, and I don't know or can read everything by any means.
As has been pointed out get your reference material. Internet sources can be used but it will be a lot easier to have two (at a minimum) reloading manuals handy. There will be lot of other tools, dies, and equipment you will accumulate over the years but this should get you started.

Good luck, load safe
Grumpy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I forgot to mention. The first thing I did a few months ago when I became interested was to buy all the manuals I could find at the time. I have read them over and over. They were very helpful. I understand why that is everyones first answer. They helped a ton.

Thanks for all of the answers so far. I see there is a vast wealth of knowledge here.

Now hopefully I can find someone in my area to show me the ropes.
 

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Hoosier1911shooter, Welcome to the Forum.

It looks like you have done a lot of homework, Good for you...!!!
Too many people want to take too many short cuts that lead to problems later.
This forum is a good next step.

At this point, as you collect your needed supplies and get ready to start. You may not find anyone in you area to help.
I would suggest starting by setting everything you can up and making "Dummy" loads. Meaning everything but live primers and powder.
When I did this years ago, I actually carefully deprimed many pieces of brass and reseated the primers in the brass as if they were live and even used the correct amount of powder....It may be a waste of time to some, but it gave me the confidence that I needed to get familiar with the process.

I had one thing on my side, I had two old time handloaders as my guides.
But they were not with me all the time. I had to take the initiative to carry on myself. Too much hand-holding is not good either. ( IMHO )

Several guys at this forum are the best....Since you have done your part, ie reading and learning the basics on your own, they will be very happy to help you with anything you may need.

They will jump in soon to help in your questions.

Welcome to the addiction.
Don2
 

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I second the 505 scale. I have a digital but I trust the 505 more. I can use a powder trickler and I never worry about a light breeze or CFL lighting tainting the results. It's a very good scale.
 

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If you're going to use powder dippers, do it only with target loads. Make sure you get a scale and measure a huge, whopping scoop of whatever size dipper you are using, in order to establish what amount of powder can POSSIBLY be put into your ammo with that scoop.
If the number exceeds the maximum load, or is even close, don't use the dipper for that caliber.
It just so happens that I load .45, with Bullseye powder, and a .5cc dipper. It turns out perfect. The absolute highest amount I have gotten was 4.8gr, still within the safe range, and my consistent scoop is 4.4-4.5, which turns out a gentle, accurate load. If you're loading in the light target load range, primer type becomes quite irrelevant.
If you're loading hot loads, do it without a powder dipper. Likewise, be very mindful when loading the powder, because some powders will fit a double charge in the case. Likewise, if loading close to the max, use the exact primer type specified on the load data you are using.
I would also suggest starting with Unique powder. Though dirty, it is VERY forgiving to variations in powder weight(for example: the difference between a target load and a full load with unique may be a whopping 3gr, where as bullseye it might be as little as 1gr). Likewise, a double charge of unique, in the 45, will spill out of the case, thus telling you immediately if you've made a mistake.
I have reloaded probably 10k plus rounds, and have never had a double charge, nor have I ever loaded a round too hot. I have loaded bullets with no powder twice. In that case, the bullet doesn't travel down the barrel enough to allow the next round to be loaded-it just turns out to be a very annoying mistake. However, squib loads are very dangerous, so don't load too light either.
Be VERY careful. Always pay attention to what you are doing-even lock yourself in a quiet room if need be. Reloading with distractions is like driving a car at 100mph, you might always be fine, but one accident can be major.
Never exceed printed load data, and I would even start 10-20% lower, depending on if the load is already a target or hot load. Also, carefully mind bullet weight when using load data. When I use bullseye, a 185gr bullet it quite a bit lighter then a 230gr bullet with the same powder charge.
From what I understand, lead rounds and jacketed rounds should have different powder charges even in the same weight, but with target loads I have never noticed a difference.
If you have an accident in a well built gun, you will probably get away with a damaged gun and slight injuries(always wear eye protection). If it happens in a cheaper built gun, it might just blow up and either kill you, someone around you, or cause life changing injuries. Whatever the circumstances, ANY accident is bad.
I have personally seen someone double load their ammo. Luckily, it was a 1911, and the gun absorbed most of the impact. It blew his magout the bottom, split his grips, and warped his barrel, but he was unharmed.
Ironically, the only gun detonation problem I have ever had was with a factory round. My browning Buck Mark blew the top off and send twisted plastic and springs everywhere. Luckily, it was a .22 and noone got hurt. Browning also repaired the gun for free. My point being, if done properly with care, reloading is safer then shooting factory rounds.
 

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Safety glasses. :) I think you knew that, just forgot to mention.
Get plenty of light, you can never have enough light.
Boxes for the loaded ammo. And some way to label the boxes.
I don't favor the WFT trimmer because I do dozens of different rifle,
but you only need it for 223 so that's not bad.
Chamfer and deburr tool for the trimmed cases.

Right from the start, I would suggest seat and crimp in separate steps.
You can certainly use your seating die to do both, it's just that
separate steps are so much easier and greatly reduces the chance of
damaged bullets or buckled brass.

Your choice of press is excellent, it will do everything you ask.
Sometimes I prime off press, that's where a separate
priming tool is good to have. You might not need that for a while,
I'm just mentioning it.

Some sort of magnifier to closely inspect components,
it always seems to happen that you want to take a closer look.

And while mentioning that, eventually it will be good to collect
'backup' tools like calipers, beam scale, and so on. You may not
need them soon, but eventually the backup will be handy.

Scale:
The beam type scale is always right to have.
Electronic scales are surely handy. Get both if you can.
If you can't get both right now, you might consider
starting with beam scale first. You can go either way,
I'm just suggesting something that seems to work.



Components:
You already have books, and some VV powder, and Fed primers.
OK, now is the time to be smart.
Buy bullets that match your published load data
for the powders you have on hand, or can get readily.
You can't believe how many guys come on to this Reloading Bench
every month -- every single month without fail -- opining
"I bought this powder and these bullets, and now I can't find data. Help!"
Well, the help we can give is to advise buying the powder & bullets
that match the data, because you can't always find data after the fact.
 

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Cannot recommend the RCBS Lockout Die highly enough!

If mine broke, I would stop reloading before I got a replacement!

The Powder cop checks, but squibs or 2charges can still get by. The RCBS Lockout Die LOCKS THE PRESS.
 

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Looks like you are already off to a great start with a ton of info. Now, just start collecting everything on your list and start the process. It's always fun to start new projects, especially when there is a finished product that you can be proud of...and save money doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you everyone for the replies. Some very excellent information provided. I do have one question regarding process.

Do most of you clean your brass then deprime, prime all at the same time on the progressive? Is there any worry about the pocket not being clean enough?

For 5.56 I will have to do it off press due to crimped pockets. Is it worth it to buy a single stage to do this?
 

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I've never thought twice about the primer pocket. But then I'm using a progressive and seldom even see the pocket empty. Handling the brass only once, goes in the press with spent primer, and comes out a finished round.
 

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I always clean my brass before anything else. I also suggest using the RCBS Lockout Die as an added safety. I would get a beam scale at this point. They last a lifetime and don't have the possible issues that digital scales can have.
 

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Do most of you clean your brass then deprime, prime all at the same time on the progressive?

Yes.

Is there any worry about the pocket not being clean enough?

Super match grade or very long range hunting ammo pays attention to primer pocket.
Practice or plinking or blasting or short range ammo, it makes no real difference.

For 5.56 I will have to do it off press due to crimped pockets. Is it worth it to buy a single stage to do this?

Of course, it's a personal decision based on opinion & experience, but I highly recommend
a single station press on the side for lots and lots of tasks. It's a handy tool.
Thousands of handloaders don't have a single station and thus don't use it.
It seems like a handy thing to me, I use it regularly. I just used it today
to neck some 308 brass down to 243 because it's Sunday and no stores are open
for 243 brass. So I used the single station press to make some. Handy indeed!
Pays for itself a thousand times over.
:)
 

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223/5.56 & other bottleneck rifle --
Don't forget about measuring and trimming case length.
That usually interrupts the sequence on a progressive.

:)
 

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Thank you everyone for the replies. Some very excellent information provided. I do have one question regarding process.

Do most of you clean your brass then deprime, prime all at the same time on the progressive? Is there any worry about the pocket not being clean enough?

For 5.56 I will have to do it off press due to crimped pockets. Is it worth it to buy a single stage to do this?
Presently I am using a single stage press and clean the primer pockets out of habit. With a progressive or turret press this adds another step so cleaning the primer pockets somewhat defeats the speed gained with a turret or progressive press.

I will be ordering a turret press in a couple of weeks.

And although I may get flamed here I have never, ever, cleaned brass. I'll wipe it off with a towel and blow the grit out. That's all I do. Some wrinkle up their noses up at my grungy looking brass. I started reloading before tumblers were even invented.
 

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Welcome Hoosier!

Other have hit the references so I'll skip to equipment-

I'd recommend the RCBS 10-10 beam type scale. It's accurate, reliable and doesn't require electricity! Their trickler is good too but if you are getting a progressive your greatest concern will be with calibrating the included powder measure to throw the desired charge. They're handy but not absolutely required.

Don't forget a set of calibrated weights for whatever scale you choose!

Federal primers are good but unless they are all you can get don't limit yourself. I've had very good service from CCI's, same deal for the VV powders. I hear that they're good and clean burning but part of reloading is cost effectiveness. For .38 and .45 there are far more economical powders like Clays and HP-38.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Black Friday was good!!! Found my LnL press at Grafs for a heck of a deal and some free stuff to go with it. If you are on the fence about buying one i'd check it out. Don't blame me when your wallet lightens though please:)
 

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welcome to the forum, lots of good info here so I wont add as I also am fairly new to reloading. I will just say take youre time and ask questions if needed. Good luck
 
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