Potential Reloading nOOb

chevydeerhunter

Well-Known
Feb 23, 2008
1,063
38
San Antonio
I bought my 1911 from a friend who reloaded his own ammo. Along with the gun, I got over 600 rounds of JHP's and wadcutters. I also got a lot of brass and Speer practice plastic rounds. I ended up selling the brass since I didn't think I'd do any reloading. Well now, the inevitable has arrived. I'm down to my last 100 rounds of wadcutters and I'm seriously thinking of starting to reload my own .45's. I know in the long run it'll be cheaper since I plan on really stepping up my practice time and doing a little IDPA shooting.
I've purchased two books on reloading, but I'm asking the real-world reloading guys to chime in on what would be the best way to get into it as far as the actual setup. I don't want to go broke buying the best, but I would like to spend my money wisely. I figure that if I use it enough and want to upgrade, I can sell the entry level stuff to help finance the better equipment. Mind you, I only plan on reloading my .45ACP's now. I may get into loading my own 7mm Rem Mags in the future since they take a bigger chunk out of the wallet. Thanks in advance.
 

machinisttx

Member
Mar 4, 2008
64
6
I advise either a quality single stage or turret press. Either one will still be useful 20 years from now(and will still be in great shape if properly maintained).

If you're going to need lots of pistol ammo, you should also look into a progressive after you get the basics down. Here I wholeheartedly recommend any of the Dillon progressives. The Square Deal B is limited to a few pistol calibers and won't load rifle ammo. The 550 is the next step up and will load either rifle or handgun cartridges---BUT the now available casefeeder will only work for pistol cases. The XL650 is another step up, and features automatic indexing along with the casefeeder working for both rifle or handgun cartridges. The 1050 is a commercial grade machine and probably way overkill for your intended use(also, it's lots of $$$$$).
 

chevydeerhunter

Well-Known
Feb 23, 2008
1,063
38
San Antonio
A friend who does a lot of reloading said I could get into an entry level kit for about $250 or so and since I'm planning on reloading only my .45, it's probably all I'll need.
 

Bob Loblaw

Member
Feb 28, 2008
145
16
Buda, Tx
I wouldn't recommend buying a "starter" press. If you plan on reloading alot of ammo, go ahead and get a progressive. I bought a single stage lee anniversary kit several weeks ago, and I'm already looking for a progressive. It's just too cumbersome and time consuming, I feel like I threw away all that money that could've gone toward something that'll produce 500rds an hour. As it is I reckon I spend 5 hours loading/cleaning for every half hour of shooting. So who cares if your saving money when you could be saving time? $.02
 

chevydeerhunter

Well-Known
Feb 23, 2008
1,063
38
San Antonio
I wouldn't recommend buying a "starter" press. If you plan on reloading alot of ammo, go ahead and get a progressive. I bought a single stage lee anniversary kit several weeks ago, and I'm already looking for a progressive. It's just too cumbersome and time consuming, I feel like I threw away all that money that could've gone toward something that'll produce 500rds an hour. As it is I reckon I spend 5 hours loading/cleaning for every half hour of shooting. So who cares if your saving money when you could be saving time? $.02
Great point. I'd much rather spend the extra cash and have a decent setup rather than throw $150 away that could go to brass or something else. I think I know what I'm doing with part of my stimulus check!
 

chevydeerhunter

Well-Known
Feb 23, 2008
1,063
38
San Antonio
What about Lee presses, specifically the Lee Pro 1000 or the Load-Master? Quality? I've seen a few of their progressive "starter" kits for about $250 and I'm one of the 'you get what you pay for' people so I'm assuming it could be a waste of money.
 

LHB1

Active Member
Mar 4, 2008
311
16
Houston
Quote: "What about Lee presses, specifically the Lee Pro 1000 or the Load-Master? Quality? "

You can get opinions on both sides of this question but not from me. I do not recommend Lee equipment to my friends who want to get into reloading. Based on my experience (started reloading in '64), I suggest better quality equipment such as RCBS or Hornady. Many people like Dillon machines but I prefer the two brands mentioned. There are several good brands of dies: RCBS, Hornady, Redding.

As for single station vs progressive presses, I think it is better to start with a quality single station press. It will continue to be useful for many years even if you add a progressive press later. I still use an old Bair (similar to C-H) 3 station H press which is about 35 years old, even though I now have three Hornady progressive presses. YMMV.
 

Bullseye Shooter

Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
510
16
Texas Panhandle
Just wanted to add an opinion. If you have never reloaded before, it is nice to learn on a single stage press, since you have to get the basics down about how to resize, bell, prime pistol cases and learn about weighing powder charges, etc.
Jumping straight to a progressive type machine may cause some headaches, if you do not have someone locally who can show you "how-to" when you run into a problem.
Which brings up the point; do you have someone who can help you get started?

I started loading when I was in high school on an RCBS Junior, for my .243. When I started shooting Bullseye back in the '70s, there were very few progressive type machines out there. Luckily, I picked up a used, but in good condition Star Machine Works press in .45 ACP with an extra tool head for .38 Special. Dillon used the Star design as a springboard for his line of presses. Stars were in production before WW II in San Diego and are still made by a guy Pioneer, California.

The knowledge I gained from my early reloading efforts gave me enough insight on how to make sure the Star was producing rounds that were not only consistent but able to function through my Bullseye guns. Any progressive press needs to be set up, so that all the stations are doing their function correctly; resizing, depriming, priming, belling, powder drop, bullet seat and crimp.

Beside the press, whatever you choose, remember; you'll still need some kind of scale to check powder charges, a full length case gauge, a set of calipers, powder funnel for filling the powder tube on a progressive machine, primer flipper tray, primer pick-up tubes, etc. etc.
 

chevydeerhunter

Well-Known
Feb 23, 2008
1,063
38
San Antonio
Great points all the way around. The guy who sold the 1911 to me has reloaded for almost 40 years. I was just telling my wife that if he hasn't sold or gotten rid of all of his .45 components, he could help me out. He uses a single stage setup exclusively because he shoots competitively and likes the control and consistency.
 
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