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I was talking to the counter help at the range I use and the subject came around to reloading. Now I am a novice at things gun related but have a interest and am learning all the time. I understand I can save money by reloading my casings but I want to know some pro's and con's. Cost of initial outlay for equipment, difficulty with the process, and danger factors. I am sure that as with most things one can go as extrem as they want but I just want to save some money at the range. BTW, I currently shoot 230 grain FMJ, American Eagle brand.
Thanks in advance for your help and as always I have learned a lot from this site. Maybe one day I can have a catchy Fraze attached to my post's.
:p
Joe
 

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Well for Christ sakes maybe I should look beyond my fingers at the screen before I post. I am sorry for posting a repeat message and not searching ahead of time.
:mummy:

Joe
 

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I just spent most of last night studying Brian Enos' Reloading FAQ, which answered most of my questions about things like, " what all do I need", "how much does it all cost", etc.
Granted, this page only covers Dillon, but that's what I plan to go with.
I came up with about $640 for an RL 550 (all new equipment) for everything you need to get started reloading 45acp.
Hopefully, I can find some of this stuff used.
Good luck. :)
 

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Joe,
You asked for Pro's and Con's about handloading. Here's my opinions:

PRO:
1. Cheaper than buying factory.
2. Able to "tune" your loads to your specific gun & needs.
3. It's just a fun & interesting thing to do if you're a curious "experimenter" type person.

CON;
1. Big upfront investment in equipment.
2. Must make decisions about what powder, bullet, OAL, etc. to use.
3. Takes your time & labor that could be spent doing other things.
4. Must plan your time so that you have plenty of ammo reloaded for your shooting sessions or matches.
5. Always on the lookout for good deals on reloading components.

Initially, there will be a short learning curve, but after that there won't be much "difficulty" with reloading. And, as far as safety, IMHO, if the person doing the reloading pays attention, avoids distractions and follows safe procedures, safety will not be a problem.

Rod.
 

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I have read a lot on here so far about the merits of reloading. The biggest benefit I see so far is the savings. But then I look at being able to get 1000 rounds of 230 grain .45 ACP FMJs already loaded for $187 (CCI reloadables) plus shipping, and they are factory made, and have great reviews. Then I look at new brass, and new bullets and the cheapest total cost of those two together is $179 for new brass and bullets. That does not include powder, primers, and shipping. So am I just looking in the wrong areas? Is there someplace to get good brass, bullets, and powder for cheap? Even if I buy once used brass the reloading costs still seem to be higher than just buying the ammo bulk. All prices came off of Midway's website by the way. So I'm just trying to figure out if I am going to save money reloading or not. I have a guy wanting to sell me a good press but I just don't see the profit. Somone please enlighten me!! :scratch: I want to get into reloading, I'm just wondering would it be better to just buy bulk ammo.

Thanks,
Greg
 

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Hi Guys,
I have been reloading for over 30 years. Here is my take on it. Reloading is my hobby just as much as shooting is. I enjoy reloading quite a bit :) .
In my case I shoot quite a few wildcat rounds and must reload for them as you can't buy ammo over the shelf for them.

The first thing you will have to determine is how much you really shoot and how many different calibers you shoot. If you are shooting over 1,000 rounds every month or two----START Reloading now as you will save money. If you are only using 1,000 rounds of say 45acp every 6 months then just keep buying the best deal at Natchez or other online ammo outlets. Here is a quick break down for some reloading ammo costs

1,000 FMJ 200 grain 45acp Montana Gold bullet tips $85.00 delvd.
1,000 Winchester pistol primers $16.00 per m Purchased at gunshows
one pound of powder $18.00 at gunshow (will load aprox 1400 rounds)
Fired Brass... Free from range pickups or from fired factory ammo...You can get from 10-15 loadings per case as well.

Cost of 1,000 rounds just for components:
$12.85 powder
$85.00 FMJ bullets
$16.00 pistol primers

$114.00 per thousand rounds or 11.04 per hundred rounds or .11¢ per shot.

Any Dillon press you might buy holds a terrific resale value down the road so I would not even figure that in the mix. Also several other posters will tell you to use CAST bullets which costs 1/2 less than the FMJ's so now you are really saving money. Also powder and primers can be purchased in large case quanitys and save more as well.

This is just my 2¢ and I hope it helps with your decision to become a reloader.
 

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I just added my expenses for reloading Win. 230 gr. JHP with V.V. N340 powder to duplicate Win. factory velocity, it comes to 15.6 cents per round. I don't consider the cost of brass, I have been using the same lot of nickel plated Speer forever.
 

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"So I'm just trying to figure out if I am going to save money reloading or not. I have a guy wanting to sell me a good press but I just don't see the profit. Somone please enlighten me!!"

The brass is used multiple times before being worn out/lost/damaged. If you get 5 loads from a piece of brass that costs $0.10 new, that is $0.02 per round.
The real savings occurs if you can afford the up front cost of bulk purchases. Bullets by the case, powder in 8 pound kegs, primers in lots of 5,000.
I can do 230 gr. .45 ball for about $0.07 each (not counting brass). The brass I have is IMI purchased in ~10,000 shell lots every few years. It lasts at least 10 loads and counting. That makes the brass cost about $0.005 (1/2 a cent).
At 1000 rounds/week I am running through ~50,000 a year. The savings really start to rack up.
Even cheap .45 is $8 per 50, or $.16 per round. I save at least $4,000 a year.
 

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Thanks for all the good info guys, I really wanted to know where the savings were going to from. The press the guy is going to sell me is a Star and he says is a simple pull the lever operation :) . Now I just need to figure out how to do everything right. I've never reloaded before so even though I have a machine that will do "everything" for me I still need to learn how to clean, and resize my casings. Also my buddy said that it would be good not to use nickel casings since they will foul up part of the press some how :scratch: . Any comments on that?? Once again thanks for all the help, I just don't want to buy this thing and then have to go buy rounds at Academy to go shoot... Or blow up my gun. :mad:
 

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gregthehand said:
Thanks for all the good info guys, I really wanted to know where the savings were going to from. The press the guy is going to sell me is a Star and he says is a simple pull the lever operation :) . Now I just need to figure out how to do everything right. I've never reloaded before so even though I have a machine that will do "everything" for me I still need to learn how to clean, and resize my casings. Also my buddy said that it would be good not to use nickel casings since they will foul up part of the press some how :scratch: . Any comments on that?? Once again thanks for all the help, I just don't want to buy this thing and then have to go buy rounds at Academy to go shoot... Or blow up my gun. :mad:
The company that makes Star reloading equipment is long out of business, no?
What are you going to do if you need parts/support? Suppose you want to change calibers -- is it possible on the press you're buying??

IMO, if you're truly shooting > 1k rounds per month, from handguns, then you can do a lot worse than a $289 Dillon Square Deal B press set up in the caliber of your choice.

Figure another $300 for "everything else", at least - case tumbler, scale, calipers, fixing up your workbench, etc. etc. etc.
 

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There is a fellow on this board who used to have lots of spare parts for all the Star reloading machines. However I don't remember his name. Maybe do a search on Star Reloading and see what comes up. A Star is a great machine, but in my mind the Dillon stuff is just a bit better and has a great warranty as in Lifetime no hassles...
 

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Here's my take. I've been reloading with my own equipment for 13 years. Before that I used my dad's equipment. My dad was shooting bullseye in the late fifties, sixties and early seventies. For years he made do with a single stage press.

My first press was picked up at a gun show for what seems like $20; a "C" frame and the brand escapes me. At the time of its' purchase I only was reloading for .270 Winchester. I already had brass. Dies cost me about $10 and I bought a Redding powder scale. IIRC (If I Recall Correctly) the whole set up cost me less than $60. I added a Lee auto prime and a lee trimmer and shell holder to finish out. All told I spent less than a "C" note. This press served me well even after I started shooting my first .45 Auto and several wheelguns. By then I had also started casting my own bullets.

For casting I started with a borrowed mould for .45 auto and a Lee mould for .45 Colt and a Lee furnace. That expense was about $120.

Now back to your questions. I then progressed to an RCBS RS-5 press and a Piggy-back II and still use this to this day. My dad tried a Piggy-back II, didn't like it; he then tried a Dillion 550, didn't like it either! He did like a few of the things that Dillon has: primer tube warning device, low powder warning, that sort of thing.

He Purchased a Hornady progressive and found a buy on a used Star. In his opinion the Star is the best loader he has ever used.

MY conclusions: If cost savings is more important to you than speed then start with a single stage press. If speed and cost are important and you can get your friends Star for a reasonable price you could do a lot worse!

As far as the cost per cartridgeyou can simply leave the cost of the brass out of the equation if you are thinking of reloading .45 ACP. This brass lasts so long and you'll be buying more guns that you'll want to "break in" with factory ball before your first 1000 or so once fired cases wear out! You've already paid for the cases anyway or you will shortly just by learning to pick up your brass after each shooting session.
 

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I think I have decided to go with a Dillon 550B. The reason for this is that the guy wanting to sell me the Star wants more than what the Dillon will cost new. Now I just need to learn how to use it. Let me tell ya'll if you can't tell that I have never reloaded ammo , nor have I ever even SEEN someone reload ammo. So now I know what press I want. I know I will need a tumbler to clean my old brass. I don't know about a trimmer, or how to set everything up or anything. So who knows the book I need to learn how. I have asked this question before but I don't know if the books I was shown were exactly what I was looking for. Any suggestions? Anyone live around Houston and just want to show me how?

-Greg
 

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Dillon has a video on how to work the 550. Buy the video now and check it out. Also ask the Dillon guys at the 800 number what reloading books they might suggest for a new reloader. There are several books out now that explain the ABC's of reloading. Some of the real big stores like Cabelas and others have lots of books to look at along with more videos. I personaly started 30+ years ago with the Lyman reloading manuel. A very big and thick book... BTW you do not need to trim 45acp brass. I have never ever seen a 45acp brass to long. See if there is a Dillon dealer in the Houston area and they usualy have a display model set up to mess with.
Have fun with your new hobby...

Also contact Brian Enos at http://brianenos.ibforums.com/ and ask him what books and tools you need to start. He is one of Dillons biggest distributors and he can save you a few bucks on shipping. You can also buy direct from Dillon.
 

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Sounds good. So basically all I have to do it clean de-prime, and then reload? What about .40 S&W, and .38 Super? Sorry about all these questions but I really like to do a job right. I found a guy that says he will sell me a 550B new, and shipped for $311. From what I have heard that seems to be a good deal. Then I guess I'll get me tumbler, some casings, powder, etc etc. Can't wait to start!!!

Greg
 

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Hi Greg,
Great price on the Dillon if it has the shell holder PLATE of your choice and a die holder included. Sometimes dealers sell Dillon stuff cheaper by with holding parts that the Dillon Company includes when shipping... Check with Brian Enos or the factory for the complete price... There is NO more discounting on a complete press other than some shipping discounts from vendors so they delete parts to make the press look cheaper---but it is not cheaper---just missing parts for the lower price... Also you do not have to de-prime a case before reloading for the most part, especialy 45acps... The first die in the press at station one is the re-sizer die---as it resizes the case a rod goes down into the case and knocks out the primer---this is done on the DOWN stroke of the handle---on the up stroke you insert a new fresh primer into the case primer pocket... That is the only thing that happens on the UP-Stroke.... All the other functions occur on the down stroke---case sizeing, powder drop, bullet seating, case/bullet crimp... After you start the first 4 cases into the press at every pull of the handle you get a loaded round... A VERY good loaded round... I think you might be OVER thinking this a bit...It is pretty simple. Get the Dillon video and watch it.... It should calm all your fears.. Reloading is NOT difficulte at all or hard to learn. Safety first and everything else is pretty simple.... IT is NOT Black Magic.... :)
 

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OK here is the stuff the guy sent me in an email that he said I should need. I deleted any references to who it came from so it won't be advertising. I want to make sure I am not getting screwed on any of the prices, and this is indeed all I will need. I took off the calipers (have some), dust cover (I'll use a pillow case), and a quick change (I'll hold off for now).

Itm Qty P/N Description Each Extended
1 1 RL 550B Auto indexing reloader, Interchangeable tool head auot prime, auto powder measure load Rate 500-600 1 Conversion kit in .45ACP $350
2 1 c58-22183 Roller handle (optional recommended) $30
3 1 C58-22051 Strong Mount (optional Recomended) $38
4 1 c58-22214 Bullet tray (optional Recomeded) $33
5 1 c63-16306 Low Powder sensor (optional Recommended) $38
6 1 c63-13606 Flip tray $13
8 1 c63-10483 digital scale $140
9 1 Lyman Manual Reloading manual 47th Edition $24
10 1 Bullet puller Seperates your mistakes (hammer) $15
11 1 Tumbler Cleaning brass tumbler $40
12 1 c63-22049 pick up tubes 4 pak $16
13 1 C58-14404 .45 ACP Dies $55
14 1 C58-14621 RL 550B Instuction manual on VHS $6
15 1 c63-14398 .40 cal 3 die set $55
18 1 Dillon Calendar 2006 Calendar NC
Total $853
 

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I'd like to throw a little monkey wrench into tis discussion. I started reloading for my handguns on an RCBS Ammomaster (no longer made) about 15 years ago. I still use it. I was at your level exactly and I succesfully taught myself to reload. I also made my share of errors and my reloading and shooting buddies straightened me out post haste. I would NOT recommend this method. I now have a single stage press and that is where a novice should start. Spend a few bucks on the single stage, or find a good used turret press, and learn how to carefully craft your reloads. It will pay off in the long run and you will build valuable experience.
You can always set that Dillion up and crank'em out when you have the base knowledge. There is very little margin for error in this hobby and the results can be catastrophic.
The biggest mistake novice reloaders make is trying to go too fast. When you're reloading ammo, accuracy is first, consistency second and speed a distant third - if not fourth or fifth. IMHO
 

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Hi Greg, looks like you have a pretty decent list.. I will add my 2¢ onto your list

1 1 RL 550B Auto indexing reloader, Interchangeable tool head auot prime, auto powder measure load Rate 500-600 1 Conversion kit in .45ACP $350

2 1 c58-22183 Roller handle (optional recommended) $30
I have both the roller handle and the standard handle... I like both. You can always buy the roller handle later on

3 1 C58-22051 Strong Mount (optional Recomended) $38
4 1 c58-22214 Bullet tray (optional Recomeded) $33
3 and 4 are useful if you load standing up or use a high bar stool. I have my presses mounted to a heavy desk and sit down while reloading so I do not have a need for the mount or the bullet tray. You need to decide if you want to stand or sit while reloading... Again these can be ordered at a later date.

5 1 c63-16306 Low Powder sensor (optional Recommended) $38
I do not have one of these...I just keep an eye on the powder remaing in the powder reservoir... This would be a personal choice... Remember that a pound of powder will fit into the reservoir and you get over 1200 rounds of loaded ammo per pound of powder depending on your powder charge. So you will not be running out of powder very often...Just pay attention to the powder level everytime you reload your primer tube.

6 1 c63-13606 Flip tray $13
You will need the flip tray for sure

8 1 c63-10483 digital scale $140
I have both a digital electric scale by Pact and a RCBS 10.. I mostly use the RCBS manuel scale and trust it more. Manuel scales are much less price wise. I have a friend who LOVES his Dillon Digital... Your choice

9 1 Lyman Manual Reloading manual 47th Edition $24
Good book for the beginner

10 1 Bullet puller Seperates your mistakes (hammer) $15
Not sure if you need this right away.. If you think you made a mistake with round while reloading--just set it aside in a junk box and save a bunch and despose of them at the range in the water bucket..Again, your choice. I personaly have used a bullet puller very rarely in the 30 years of reloading ammo... Your choice

11 1 Tumbler Cleaning brass tumbler $40
You will need a tumbler and CLEANING Media. Also a bucket and strainer of some sort to seperate the cleaning media from the brass... Midway sales a decent set up for this as does RCBS. I just use a big bucket and a plastic strainer with extra holes drilled into the bottom of it.

12 1 c63-22049 pick up tubes 4 pak $16
Nice to have but you get one tube of each size with the press... But nice to have extras and do all of your primer loading at one time instead of every 100 rounds.... Again your choice

13 1 C58-14404 .45 ACP Dies $55
These are great dies and made to work on a progressive press. It includes a seperate taper crimp die as well... This is a good choice for a beginner.

14 1 C58-14621 RL 550B Instuction manual on VHS $6
Good choice for a beginnner as well

15 1 c63-14398 .40 cal 3 die set $55
Again nice dies but can be purchsed later and you should also get the 40sw conversion kit and a spare tool head so you don't have to keep resetting up your dies... Always buy the spare tool head for each caliber loaded.

18 1 Dillon Calendar 2006 Calendar NC
Free is always good :)
 

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I disagree on starting with a single stage press unless someone gives you one for free. Good pistol ammo needs to be loaded in 4 steps. Size, prime, powder drop, bullet seat and bullet crimp. That is pulling the handle 4-6 times for one loaded round...
If you want to learn this way... One bullet at a time, this can be done on the Dillon 550 very easliy. Just insert one case in station one and then advance it all the way through the system watching every die process along the way. Do not insert any new brass untill the initial piece is finished... Watch the Dillon Video for the 550 and everything will be very clear to you how the machine works. BTW, you can also load VERY slow on the 550 picking up speed as you learn the process. Some loaders only get 50-100 rounds per hour where others get 500+ per hour.
The premise to start on a single stage press has been hashed to death on this forum and many others. If a person has any kind of mechanical ability then the Dillon 550 should a great press to learn on. It is no different mechanically than a turrent press.
 
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