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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Thinking about dabbling into reloading, and had a few questions:

1.) What equipment would a beginner need? Any recommendations for something cheap, effective and versatile?

2.) Can you use the same equipment (press and what-not) to do both handgun and rifle cartridges? I plan on reloading my .45 as well as my 7mm-08.

3.) What is considered essential equipment to reloading and what is good/beneficial to have, but not absolutely necessary?

Thanks guys! There's so much info out there I don't even know where to begin. I see hand reloaders, single stage kits, progressive kits. Then you have things like dies, case gages, etc. It starts to get REALLLY confusing!
 

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I would say to start stocking up on powder, primers and bullets to begin with. The Lee classic single stage will work for both 45 ACP and 7mm rifle. You should be able to get started with the classic press but may wish to increase your production ability. In that case look at turrets and progressive presses. Keep in mind, that not all turret and progressive presses will work on rifle and pistol. If you have the time a single stage is your best bet. Lee and RCBS have interchangable dies. Some of the dillons have proprietary die sets so you want to avoid those unless you have a ready access of the dies you need. Now the criticals:
1 - Press of your choice
2 - die set for each caliber round (I HIGHLY recommend carbide die sets, 4 piece if you can get them)
3 - powder measure
4 - powder scale
5 - digital Micrometer
6 - reloading books
7 - brass cleaning method (tumbler, ultrasonic or chemical)
8 - case trimmer
9 - kinetic bullet puller (because you will screw up at least once)
10 - PATIENCE - you will not learn the fine art of reloading overnight. it'll be trial and error and reading and asking questions and more trial and error and you will never be satisfied with your finished loads.

If you opt for the Lee Classic you can get full kits which include almost everything to get started (minus dies tumblers and bullet components) for under 140 bucks. you can scratch build a tumbler for under 20 bucks if you have a spare electric motor and plywood. you can chemically clean your brass for under a dollar (dish soap, vinegar, table salt and water). I clean my brass chemically then rinse, dry and tumble for an hour or two.
I think I was literally just under 250 bucks including dies, tumbler, media and components to reload 9mm, 45 acp and 38 super (though I'm waiting on my wife's first range trip to do the 38 super). The Nice things are I can always expand and I can piece together exactly what I want for calibers or upgrades to the press.
 

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I have thought about this too. Ammo isnt cheap -except for my 22. Are there any concerns with exposure to chemicals, etc that are used in the process?

Tks.
 

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Hey guys,

Thinking about dabbling into reloading, and had a few questions:

1.) What equipment would a beginner need? Any recommendations for something cheap, effective and versatile?

2.) Can you use the same equipment (press and what-not) to do both handgun and rifle cartridges? I plan on reloading my .45 as well as my 7mm-08.

3.) What is considered essential equipment to reloading and what is good/beneficial to have, but not absolutely necessary?

Thanks guys! There's so much info out there I don't even know where to begin. I see hand reloaders, single stage kits, progressive kits. Then you have things like dies, case gages, etc. It starts to get REALLLY confusing!
1. A single stage Lee press (Challenger or Classic Cast) or a Lee turret. The turret will give you a bit more speed for handgun, and it can be used as a single stage while you're learning.
2.Yup.
3. Essential: Dies for each caliber of course. A good scale. A powder measure. Technically you could weigh each charge with the scale but you'll find it so slow you'll consider a powder measure essential. For the rifle you'll need a way to trim the cases, the inexpensive Lee trimmers are fine.

Nice to have: A case tumbler, a dial caliper, some sort of primer feed for the press, a primer flip tray. A spare turret for each caliber.

Probably some other stuff I can't think of at the moment.

The best pricing I've found on Lee equipment is at :https://fsreloading.com/
 

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I have thought about this too. Ammo isnt cheap -except for my 22. Are there any concerns with exposure to chemicals, etc that are used in the process?

Tks.
The only thing you need to worry about there is lead. If you're buying cast bullets, just wash your hands after handling them. If you're casting your own bullets it gets more involved, but that's out of the scope of this conversation I think.
 

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1990: have you read the two stickies at the top of this forum page? There is a lot of basic information in both of them; also I recommend you buy a reloading manual, doesn't matter who's or which one. The ABC's of Reloading is a very good starting point.
Welcome to the addiction!!!!!!!!!!! Bullet casting is next; BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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I always recommend either the Lee Classic Turret (can be used as a single stage) or the Lee Classic Cast single stage (2 different models). I also recommend Lee Dies especially for pistol as their die sets often cost what a single die would from other makers. Now I don't say Lee simply because it is less expensive but these presses will both last a life time if not longer. Not every thing Lee makes however I would recommend but the powder dispensers, and some priming systems work great as do many of their specialty dies.

Now the main thing is books, get some and not just one. I recommend the first 3 as the ABC's of Reloading (no load data but a great source of basic information), Lee's Modern Reloading 2nd Edition and Lyman's 49th Reloading Handbook for starts. I also have Lyman's Black powder book as well as their Cast Bullet handbook. After that your best source of load data besides the books are the powder makers sights as most have it listed or downloadable PDF files. Other books such as Hornady, Speer, Nostler etc usually only cover the bullets they make with limited powders while Lee's, Lyman's tend to cover a larger selection of both. There are also other books that come in handy as you can never have enough information.
 

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Budget is a big question.

Get 1 manual to start, read it and see what you think. Watch some of the many videos on YouTube. This will give you a general idea of what is involved and how the different types of presses work.

Pistol and rifle reloading has some differences, so make sure you get an idea of what id needed for both, I would pick a press that can handle both.

My preference is the Lee Turret Press; it can also be used as a single stage press by removing the index bar.

Have fun, be safe, ask any questions you have, and always check multiple sources for reloading data.
 

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1990: have you read the two stickies at the top of this forum page? There is a lot of basic information in both of them; also I recommend you buy a reloading manual, doesn't matter who's or which one. The ABC's of Reloading is a very good starting point.
Welcome to the addiction!!!!!!!!!!! Bullet casting is next; BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




I'm additicted. Also, didn't take long to want to start casting!!:D
 

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I'll add another vote for the Lee Classic Turret. I went for the kit, which has everything you need to get started except for the
dies. The press will let you load rifle cartridges up to (I believe) 3.5" long with indexing, or if you convert it to single stage will do
cases over 4" long. As far as extra equipment, the first things you will probably want are a set of calipers, a bullet puller, and, perhaps
an electronic scale (although the beam scale included in the kit is very accurate and easy to use). A brass tumbler is also nice to have,
although not really needed (there are plenty of alternative ways to clean your brass). Also, although the kit comes with a case trimmer,
it doesn't include the trimmer guage, so if reloading rifle, you may want to pick one up.
 

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I also highly recommend FS Reloading for any Lee product as they are flat cheaper than others, shipping costs are about the same and very fast in delivery if a not back ordered item of course. However their site tells you if it is in stock and if back ordered when they expect to have the item in stock.
 
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I have thought about this too. Ammo isnt cheap -except for my 22. Are there any concerns with exposure to chemicals, etc that are used in the process?
Tks.
Yep a few things!
one was already emntioned and that was lead exposure.

One thing that most people never realize or know is that reloading powders ( modern smokeless) contains Nitro Gylcereine and that can be fatal if enough of it gets into the blood stream, usually this happens from inhalation , but depending on your health status and exposure it can be from producing headaches and dropping your blood pressure to actully dropping your blood pressure to 000 /000, which is pretty bad.
Now this is not likely to happen unless you are pouring powder from one can/ to another etc and got your nose right in it and do it for many, many times but it is something to be aware of.
I have never had any problems with this at all and have litterly handeled hundreds of pounds of powder over the yeras and a simple dust mask should prevent this.
 

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The only thing you need to worry about there is lead. If you're buying cast bullets, just wash your hands after handling them. If you're casting your own bullets it gets more involved, but that's out of the scope of this conversation I think.
Interestingly I read a report on lead toxicity and never really thought about it but seems the highest amounts of free lead was found during sifting tumbler media from the tumbler after polishing brass.
 

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I have been casting and hand loading since 1956. I had my blood/lead level checked at my physical in 2011. It was so low as to negligible. I wash my hands and take basic precautions, ventilation, etc.
 

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1) Lee Turret

2) Lee Turret

3) Lee Turret kit

It will probably be the first and last press that you will need to buy. We routinely discuss this 3 times per month. Get your re-loading manual, Lee prints an excellent one, and start shopping. I don't think that you will regret it, I certainly didn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
1. A single stage Lee press (Challenger or Classic Cast) or a Lee turret. The turret will give you a bit more speed for handgun, and it can be used as a single stage while you're learning.
2.Yup.
3. Essential: Dies for each caliber of course. A good scale. A powder measure. Technically you could weigh each charge with the scale but you'll find it so slow you'll consider a powder measure essential. For the rifle you'll need a way to trim the cases, the inexpensive Lee trimmers are fine.

Nice to have: A case tumbler, a dial caliper, some sort of primer feed for the press, a primer flip tray. A spare turret for each caliber.

Probably some other stuff I can't think of at the moment.

The best pricing I've found on Lee equipment is at :https://fsreloading.com/
Thanks for the link.

So going with this kit:

https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-value-4-hole-tp-kit-90928.html

I'd also need some way to prime, correct...such as:

https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-safety-primer-feed-lgsm-90997.html

Then add these for .45:

https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-gageholder-45acp-90162.html
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-4-die-set-45acp-carb-90968.html
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-resizing-lube-1-tube-90006.html

Then besides the actual cases, bullets and primers, as well as the books...that should be it correct? I have a set of digital calipers already, and I have a source for a cheap tumbler.

How come I don't see any 4 die sets for rifle cartridges? Is it because they don't need the resizing die?

1990: have you read the two stickies at the top of this forum page? There is a lot of basic information in both of them; also I recommend you buy a reloading manual, doesn't matter who's or which one. The ABC's of Reloading is a very good starting point.
Welcome to the addiction!!!!!!!!!!! Bullet casting is next; BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can only imagine!
 

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AHA!!!!! The hook is set and now the reeling in starts. Welcome to the obsession!!!!!!
 

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That's the kit that I bought. The "Deluxe" has got a cast aluminum (?) case whereas the "Classic" is a cast iron base. I don't believe that there is any issue with the strength of the unit either way as the Deluxe is designed with gusseted mounting flanges. The real difference between the two is that the Deluxe drops the spent primers into the hollowed out base and needs to be emptied if you don't drill a hole in you bench for them to drop through. The Classic has a tube which is designed to divert them into a bucket. If you can find the Classic in a similar kit, I would opt for that model.

The Safety Prime will give you almost everything you need to prime on the press...except for some reason they keep the Riser a secret. It's a 10.00 component that you absolutely need to prime on the press as you won't get clearance between the Primer body and your Auto Disc powder hopper.

It sounds like you're on the way to becoming your own manufacturer of ammunition. Read the book and watch the videos available on You Tube.

When I started loading .223 I bought a Pacesetter three die set which is the Re-sizer/De-capper, Bullet seater die and the Factory Crimp die. The fourth one that you'll get if you want to do your powder charge on the press is the Universal Charging die. These are not carbide dies so you'll need to clean your brass and lubricate it before you let your dies have at them. Scratch them and you'll be buying new ones.

I like to use the Lee Sizing lubricant that comes in a tube for 3.00 or so. Get a small spray bottle (I use an eyeglass cleaner bottle) and squirt a bit of the lube in the bottle and mix it up with Isopropyl alcohol. About 1 part lube to 4 parts alcohol. Put your rifle brass in a zip lock bag and spritz it down...tumble mix and spritz again. A couple of times will usually leave a light coating of lube on the brass which can be loaded almost immediately.
 

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If you get the Carbide Die set for .45acp you do not need to lube the cases. If you do rifle cases you will need to lube them.
 
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How room do you need to re-load?

Do you delicate an area of the basement\home just for re-loading?

Is static electricity an issue?
 
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