Thoughts on 60 years of Reloading
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Thread: Thoughts on 60 years of Reloading

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    Thoughts on 60 years of Reloading

    When I loaded my first cartridges almost sixty years ago, I started with a hammer powered Lee Loader. Loading for a war surplus M98 Mauser purchased from Montgomery Wards, I was able to fashion cartridges that were reasonably accurate (3" at 100 yds.. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse.) Had sufficient power to kill a deer, as evidenced by being able to shoot through a 2-3" pine sapling. No chronograph necessary. My entire reloading kit (including components) fit into a shoe box with room to spare. Cartridges were expensive back then costing anywhere from $3.50-$10.00 per box, depending on what you shot and where you shopped. I could manufacture a box of 20 deer loads for less that $1.50. The driving force for reloading was purely economic. Once I learned (or believed) that factory cartridges were not as accurate as expected, I concluded that I could make better and more accurate ammunition than the factories and cost be damned. Traveling down that slippery slope, the little shoe box has burgeoned into a massive loading bench packed with tools and components that takes up 1/3 of our garage, and the monster keeps growing. Sometimes, I miss that little shoe box.
    Last edited by Sawfish; 06-25-2019 at 01:09 PM.
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    I started out helping my grandpa and uncle with an old Pacific press. We were loading rifles only. We always got busy before deer season. I was 10, so that was 56 years ago. That press is gone. I later got into multiple calibers and handguns, even shotguns. I've got a bench and the presses are mounted on 2x12s which I swap out clamped to the bench. I have even taken up casting over the years.

    When I was in college, I had a couple of those Lee hand tools since I moved nearly every semester. Now, I have the end of my back deck walled in with a shooting slit in the back of it. I can do a load, turn around and fire it over the chrony, try another load. No more making a load and taking it to the range. It was a dream of mine I'd had for years, so we bought a house in the woods and I'm living the dream. I'm sorta glad I moved beyond those hand tools on the kitchen table.
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    Much like the OP I started my reloading out of necessity. I first started loading 12 ga shotshells for rabbit, quail, squirrel so I could hunt with my neighbors and step dad. I was about 10 years old and when given the opportunity to learn how to reload it was like being given a new shotgun. I probably made a pest of myself to our neighbor who owned all the equipment but I helped him on his farm to make up for it. I bought an old Lyman press and a set of 30 06 dies at an estate auction. Since I didn't have on 06 I sold them and scrounged enough money to buy a set of 30 30 dies which I still have. I've collected reloading and casting equipment and tools for over 50 years now and have a room in my stable dedicated to reloading. I don't use it much anymore since being diagnosed with lung cancer and I hope it will go to someone who appreciates and will get use of it.
    230JHP and Sawfish like this.
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    I started my reloading on a Lee Turret press and .32 S&W Long. When I first got the revolver I was buying a case of ammo at a time for $4.50 a box of 50. Then I got away from shooting for a while and when I came back I found .32 S&W Long costing nearly $1 a cartridge. Welcome to reloading. I actually found it fascinating and relaxing. I guess my reloading only goes back a fraction of the OP's but I'm hooked.
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    60 years at ANYTHING is impressive. Here's wishing you another 60!
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    I just started reloading (mainly to save on 45 colt) recently, but now loading 38,357,9mm,45colt, and 45acp. I do it partly for the sanity time in my shop, and partly to make rounds that function accurately. I just had my first squib , primer but no powder on my first 9mm run.. my fault was being distracted that night. That lead pill was hard to bang out of the barrel, but all ok, no damage to the pistol. Now I have a LED strip light mounted to the top of my Lee classic turret machine head, so I can verify visually my powder charges. Live and Learn.
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    Last edited by silverstring; 06-25-2019 at 06:49 PM.
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    Good stories! I to started out mild and meek. Went wild with progressive loaders and half a basement full of equipment. Now back to the single stage reloading. It's therapy now more than quantity lol

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    I'm still using the ol' Lee Loader...it's kinda therapeutic. Sixty years is a good run!

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    Kinda the same story -- started with a Lee Loader that Dad got from a friend to reload for .222 sometime in mid to late 60s. Got on my own, and started with a Lyman Spar-T, then traded up to a Dillon 450. Now it's a Dillon 550b on a bench, with multiple calibers, multiple tool heads, and many of the associated accouterments, yada-yada-yada.

    Never really wanted to go back. I understand the therapy and simplicity angle of single-stage reloading, but I reload so I can get to the therapy of shooting.
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    Started loading paper hull shotgun shells in early 60's, also handgun and rifle cartridges.
    Sawfish likes this.

 

 
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