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Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1071
New to reloading

Hi All,

I'm a life long shooter and hunter but never reloaded in my life. Never actually pulled the handle although I know how it works. The last few years I've gotten into competitive handgunning and am going through ammo like crazy. I plan on buying a reloading press very soon, probably next month. My needs are as stated, lots of handgun stuff and probably some rifle, but not as much. My question is what do I need to get started? Obviously a press, but what else do I need? Also any good literature or videos for a beginner (and I mean ground level first timer)? I know enough to know it can be very dangerous if you don't have good instruction and pay attention. Advice ?
Thanks,

Todd

Don Fischer's picture
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Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3190
New to reloading

I like single stage presses and do most my handguns stuff on one. But shooting competatively, that could be tedious! For my 9mm I have a dillon 550, I think it's a 550. All you would really need is a scale to weight the powder chg to set it up. A friend left me a 650 when he died and I couldn't put it together so sold it. The 550 does work well once it's set. I have other dies for it but it was so much trouble for me to set up, I'm never taking them off again.

The 550 is the press Nosler used to use for all their load testing, maybe they still do.

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Location: Muskoka Ontario
Joined: 09/04/2007
Posts: 351
New to reloading

The Lee anaversery kit is a good cheep way of starting out and it comes with a loading book with riffle and handgun loads, but it also walks you through start up and how to load amunition.
right from the basics.
F.K.

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
New to reloading

I also shoot competitive handgun and I am using the Dillon 650. The 550 will also serve you well. The dillons have a great track record and lifetime warranty. I reload about 15000 rounds of 40S&W per year in mine and have yet to get a bad round.

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Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1071
New to reloading

Thanks for the advice guys. If I go with a progressive press do I need things like a case cleaner? I know I need a powder measure. What about trimming cases. If I'm not loading a lot of high pressure rifle stuff, do I have to trim cases? sorry for all the questions but I really am a beginner at this part of shooting.

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
New to reloading

You don't need a case cleaner but you will find the press cycles easier with clean brass and your gun will cycle quicker with clean brass. I shoot IPSC so faster is always good. A powder measure will be needed to set your press for your load and periodically to check the load to make sure it is staying consistent. Cheap electronic jewler digital scales work well and does a good quality beam scale. (RCBS makes a good one). Case trimming is not really needed if you are loading straight wall handgun loads unless you load an extreme amount of times with the same brass. What type of comp. shooting do you do? IPSC and IDPA use a large amount of ammo.

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Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1071
New to reloading

Thanks Chester (and all you guys) for your patience with the newbie. I shoot IDPA and USPSA. Mostly 45 acp or 40 s&w so it's all strait-walled low pressure stuff but it will be high volume. I also want to start shooting 3 gun so .223 will also eventually be on the list but not in the volume the pistol stuff will be. Also I eventualy want to work on hunting loads for my .338 mag, but again the volume will be low there. Just a few rounds for the range and hunting field. Thanks again so much for the help.

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
New to reloading

I shoot 3-gun as well and usually load my 223 on a manual turret press. You are not loading near as many rounds as the handgun so it doesn't have to be as fast of a press. If you do use your progresive press, you can buy a complete set-up for your 223 that you sit aside (called a quick change tool head for the dillon 650) when loading handgun and quickly put on when loading your 223. It will have your powder charge and all your other 223 dies all together for a quick conversion. Make sure when you buy your 223 dies that they are small base dies. They allow your ar-15 to cycle the ammo more reliably by making it a little bit smaller during the resizing. They can be hard to find but it is worth it.

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
Posts: 610
New to reloading

chester, I've got a similar thread going and was wondering about the small base dies, ive seen them elsewhere but I havent had any luck finding the dillon carbides in a small base what brand are you running for your 223

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Moderator
Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
New to reloading
csumerall wrote:
chester, I've got a similar thread going and was wondering about the small base dies, ive seen them elsewhere but I havent had any luck finding the dillon carbides in a small base what brand are you running for your 223

I use RCBS small base dies. To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of Dillon dies. I love their presses but their dies don't perform as well IMHO. The base tends to be larger so the dies feed the casing easier without jamming but it never seems to resize the brass at the very bottom (rim) of the casing. That bulge has caused a lot of jamming for some of the other competitors.

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
Posts: 610
New to reloading

Have you tried the redding dies? Someone was telling me about their Pro carbides, and how they were like butter.

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