janfmo2
janfmo2
4 posts
Joined February 2017

Where to Begin...

The idea of reloading has been bouncing around my head for years. Now that I've decided to start, I have no idea where to begin, other than knowing to start here. I have no idea about powder, primers, which Dillon system to buy, caliber sets, conversion set ups, etc...
I primarily shoot handguns, 9mm, .40S&W, and .45 calibers. My collection of handgun brass is sufficient to start. I've been collecting it for several years. Hunting is the only time I use a rifle or shotgun; at some point I may want to work into reloading rifle ammunition, but not now.
So, I feel like I'm going to overwhelmed when I ask this, but here goes.....What is the best way to get into reloading and what products/equipment should I purchase first?

Thanks Everyone!
mibearbait
mibearbait
1 post
Joined November 2016

RE: Where to Begin...

I recently got into reloading. I attended a free session reloading that was put on by a local sporting goods store. I would check with them or check with a local shooting club. You can also gain some good information by watching some of the YouTube videos.
divejj
divejj
137 posts
Joined December 2012

RE: Where to Begin...

Where are you located? I've had a few new reloaders come over to my house and I let them see what and how I do things and see my reloading room. We shoot the breeze for a few hours and I'd help them set up their machine. I'm in the Portland, OR area and you're welcome to visit me.
Bucolic_Buffalo
Bucolic_Buffalo
64 posts
Joined June 2016

RE: Where to Begin...

Youtube's can be good. Keep in mind that everyone may find a different way that works for them.

Manufacturer's websites.

Reloading manuals. We all need them. Basic reference info. We often collect many. They will give you safe steps in the reloading process.

You will need a space for reloading. I bought a bench for my home office. A brother in law clamps presses to his wood working bench and shuffles things around depending upon needs. Garages, basements, out buildings have all been made use of. Keep in mind that steel rusts and extra attention to maintenance and lubrication may be necessary in some environments.

You will need a normal to cool place which needs to be dry for storage of primers and powder.

Asking questions is good. I have both progressive and single stage presses. Something to keep in mind is that the Dillion Square Deal B press will make good straight wall pistol rounds but uses proprietary dies. My XL650 will share the same dies my single stage press uses. But I found that I like the Dillon dies better for the XL650. With exceptions. So I own multiple sets of some calibers. That's ok. I make use of them. But as you can see, that proprietary die thing is really no disadvantage to me. I am not about to remove a Dillon die that is set for loading from a toolhead so I can use it for a resizing step prior to case length trimming. That is an example of how I choose to do things differently than someone else.

Have fun!
janfmo2
janfmo2
4 posts
Joined February 2017

RE: Where to Begin...

Thanks everyone. I've been reading over the last couple of years and often watch videos. I have a couple of manuals and several books that I've read. We have an in-law suite in the basement that is no longer occupied, unfortunately, but I've converted one of the bedrooms into my Gun room. So, I have space, it's cool and dry; I have a work table set up but will probably change to a a L-shaped bench.

With the calibers mentioned in my first post, which Dillon set up would you suggest for me to begin using? I liked the idea of just having to switch tool heads when changing to a different caliber to load...and powders!!!!! WOW!!! There is so many to choose from....any suggestions for these?
Bucolic_Buffalo
Bucolic_Buffalo
64 posts
Joined June 2016

RE: Where to Begin...

"I primarily shoot handguns, 9mm, .40S&W, and .45 calibers."

Those are straight wall pistol rounds that all require a taper crimp. No roll crimp. Unless that .45 includes 45Colt and then be aware that you almost certainly will be roll crimping that round into a groove on the bullet designed for that purpose. You may be aware, someone else may not. Know when and why to taper crimp and not roll crimp. It's in the books. All these presses will do these rounds.

If you are not ever going to do rifle rounds on this first choice of press, then you can choose any model. Doing tapered neck rifle rounds eliminates the Square Deal B. The dies for the Square Deal B only work on that press.

In using the Square Deal B, I found that my XL sized hands found the space to set the bullet on a case a little tight. I wished it was a larger unit. But I liked the auto-indexing feature. So I made the decision to go to the XL650. The actual quality of ammo cannot be told apart. They look the same, measure the same, make the same looking holes in the same place on paper.

It may, or may not be important to you that standard 7/8" dies can be used in all models except the Square Deal B. Dillon dies have some features that makes them a good choice in a progressive press. But I do use a few others. That ability is nice.

Auto indexing vs manual indexing. Just something you will have to decide for yourself. Auto indexing is a lot to watch. To fix something requires more careful attention. Either way, you will develop ways of double/triple checking your work.

It would help to ask around your local gun club and see if you can look over a few shoulders. I am in central IL. You would be welcome here. I'll try to comment about powders in another post.
janfmo2
janfmo2
4 posts
Joined February 2017

RE: Where to Begin...

I'm in central VA. The offer is appreciated Buffalo and I wish I was closer, but there will hopefully be some local re-loaders who will not mind me watching and answering questions.
Bucolic_Buffalo
Bucolic_Buffalo
64 posts
Joined June 2016

RE: Where to Begin...

Powders. Yeah, that's a big subject. My Brother in law says I am too old school. But I like what I like. I am a fan of Alliant and Winchester powders. I have others, but I always seem to be reaching for these more than others.

That did not really narrow it down for you. They both have numerous offerings. If you read enough you will see complaints/praise, of this or that is dirty, flashy, sharp recoil, leads the barrel worst, cleans copper from the barrel, meters poorly, meters well, etc. Everyone seems to have a different experience.

Read. Read some more. Have an idea what you want to do. Reloading manuals usually start at the top with the fastest burning powders and work down to the slowest burning for that loading. What that also means is, that usually the case will appear to be fuller with those slower burning powders, if they are bulky enough.

I use a lot of Bullseye. As long as the load is not on the weak side, it's not really dirty. Bullseye ignites extremely well and is not normally sensitive to where it is in a case. But it only fills a small portion of a case. So it could be easy to double charge a case. A dangerous thing to do. I also noticed that at first my XL650 seemed to drop some powder dust and some flakes from the powder drop. I think it was because it was so clean and new. That problem has lessened. I also use a "Lock-out" die, as a powder check (along with visually checking). It collected a bit of powder and dropped it until the new wore off. Still, expect to have to clean your press from some powder dust. Do not use a vacuum. Some powders may meter better and not drop as much dust.

Be sure to pay attention to warnings about under-loading. You need to stay within certain ranges to keep pressures safe. WW296 comes to mind. But there are others.

Not saying my choices are the best choices. Read everything! You might find those copper reducing powders appealing. Or may have to make use of what you can find on the shelf.
RandyIdaho
RandyIdaho
2 posts
Joined September 2018

RE: Where to Begin...

I know this thread is a little old, but...

Keep in mind that each caliber set up for a650 with a toolhead stand, etc. Will cost you about$350. It also takes about 40 min to switch calibers, especially when going from small primer 9 to .40 or .45 lg primer.

This is after they have been initially set up and adjusted properly. I usually run a minimum of 2000 rounds in one caliber before switching. If my volume went up some more, I'd buy a 650 for each caliber and be done with it. My opinion. YMMV.