Author Topic: Reloading - Is It Right For Me ??  (Read 4667 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Reloading - Is It Right For Me ??
« on: October 10, 2013, 10:03:33 PM »
This thread is meant to become a "stickie" covering the various facets of the reloading hobby. It's not intended to cover the mechanics of reloading, but rather the cost, setup and other associated concerns so that people with an inclination to reload can get a better understanding of the physical and financial requirements.

Reloading does have a financial "payback", which we'll talk more about later, but obviously the more you shoot, then the faster the payback arrives. Therefore this article is primarily aimed at the popular CZ pistol calibers of 9x19mm Luger (a.k.a. 9mm Para Bellum), and 40 Smith&Wesson. Lots of people reload for rifle too, but generally the shear volume of pistol ammunition is the true 'driver' for making the decision to reload.



What Benefits Can I Expect?
The hobby known as "handloading" and/or "reloading" returns 3 import benefits to the shooter...

  ► Financial savings on ammo generally running about 50%. Initially this is used to pay off the equipment purchases. Later on, when the equipment has 'paid its way', this changes into simply shooting more ammo for the same price.
  ► Greater accuracy through the ability to tune your load to the gun. For most shooters, shot groups will shrink by one half. Recoil, smoke and flash are some of the other ammo qualities that can also be "tuned".
  ► Availability of ammo on short notice, or during shortages that affect the general public has become a huge incentive recently. Since reloaders buy components in lower-priced bulk quantities, when shortages or price spikes hit they are able to "coast" though these periods, while others pay outrageous prices or do without. This "coasting" period can easily last 12 months or more, depending on the supplies at hand.

One added benefit that should not be overlooked and cannot be understated is that reloading is genuinely fun and highly therapeutic. If your job is stressful and hectic, most new reloaders report they love reloading because it's so relaxing. Additionally, if you count on weekend shooting as your time to 'get away from it all', there are numerous people who call reloading their "rainy day" shooting event. It's definitely a way you can enjoy your shooting hobby on weekends when the weather just won't let up.

While only one of these attributes might initially attract you to the hobby of reloading, at some point you'll be really glad the others tagged along.



I'm Interested to Know More
If any of the assets appeal to you in any way, then you may be a candidate for reloading. In days gone by only gunsmiths, machinists and engineers reloaded due to the requirement to use delicate measuring instruments and their background in math and all things technical. These days, with the advent of inexpensive digital instruments and the internet to aid research, those barriers have come tumbling down. Now, anyone with any maturity, with the right equipment, can gain the knowledge to successfully and safely reload their own ammo. The primary personal characteristics required are the ability to read and comprehend, the ability to search the internet, patience to work slowly, enough clarity of mind to stay focused, and some minor mathematical ability. If your daytime job already has you measuring things, weighing things, or juggling numbers, then you're a natural for reloading.



What Equipment is Needed?
The requirements for reloading are simple: A reloading press to hold and exert the pressures needed to reform metal parts. Reloading dies to reform the cartridge parts for your exact caliber. A scale graduated in Grains to weigh the powder. A hand-held 6" caliper to make detailed physical measurements of the cartridge dimensions. [Bottleneck rifle cartridges also have the additional requirement of a "case trimmer".] This is a bit simplistic, like saying that all you need to drive to work is 4 wheels and a motor. Of course, there are lots of accessories available to make individual reloading tasks easier, faster, or more fun. So while most people might agree that seats would be nice in their car, not everyone wants or needs electric windows, 4-way audio, or GPS. Just as there are dozens of accessories available for your car, the same is true with the options in reloading. Where you go with the options is more of a personal choice, and like the car metaphor, is one that you can upgrade as you advance in the hobby.



What Components are Needed?
The typical firearms cartridge consists of only: the 1) reusable brass cartridge case, 2) a bullet of the correct caliber, 3) a suitable powder, and 4) a primer to ignite the powder. So if you are collecting your brass, then all you need is new powder, primers and bullets. Powder is generally sold in 1 lb (7000 grain) containers, while the typical 9mm pistol cartridge needs about 4.5 grains. Therefore, 1 lb of powder is enough to reload over 1550 rounds. Bullets and primers are sold in 100, 500, and 1000 piece lots. These last 2 are obviously consumed on a 1:1 basis with the cartridge.

A quick consultation of the larger internet seller's web sites (Graf & Sons, Powder Valley, Rocky Mountain, Mid-South, Natchez, Midway USA, etc) will show you that, depending upon your personal component choices, the typical pistol round can be reloaded for a cost between 9 and 12 cents each. Compare that to Walmart.



What Space is Needed?
When I reloaded in college, all my reloading equipment fit into a 2 foot square box that was kept on the top shelf of a closet. The press was permanently bolted to a board, which when needed was then temporarily clamped to the kitchen table. Of course, as you get older you might wish to have a more permanent setup. The point is, your reloading setup can take as little or as much space as you'd like. But, the most important point to remember is that no matter how large or small your setup is, the quality of the ammo produced is always better than what you can buy in the store.



Where Can I Learn More?
While there is tons of stuff on YouTube, most of it is BS. I would advise you to steer clear of YouTube until you've studied enough to know "good" reloading practice from "bad". However, there are 2 well respected resources I know you'll enjoy and they set very good examples for cleanliness and safety...

• The first is a book available from some public libraries, Amazon, or any gun store called The ABCs of Reloading
• The second is an online video resource where he demonstrates almost every reloading machine made. The web site is called The Ultimate Reloader...  http://ultimatereloader.com/

With the book you can learn the process. With the web site you can see it being done correctly on a wide variety of reloading machines, with excellent camera work.


 ;)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 07:37:46 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 10:58:59 PM »
Brass - The Foundational Component
Even if you are only remotely interested in "handloading" or "reloading", no matter what the reason, then the first thing to do is start collecting brass cases today. For American reloaders, these cases must be "Boxer primed" brass (or nickel-plated brass) and of name brand manufacture. Brands like Winchester, Remington, Speer, Federal and Star Line are favorites, but are not the only ones. There are lots of European brands with very nice brass. When in doubt the rule is: As long as it's not steel or aluminum, then pick it up.

Why pick up your brass? Well obviously without brass to reload, one cannot "reload" ! But the answer goes deeper than that. The brass cartridge case represents about 2/3rds the cost of new ammo, and yet the brass is the only component not consumed in the process of shooting. So every time you recycle brass by reloading, you are saving about 50% on the cost of your ammo. It's those savings that pay for your reloading equipment and the reloading components. (More on that latter.)

Start by buying ammo with good brass, and then begin picking it up. A good day at the range is when you shoot 100 rounds, and then come home with 300 pieces of brass !!  ;D

Also, you'll need more brass than you think. If your plan is to have 400 rounds ready to shoot, then you might have 500 cases in the cleaning process, and another 200 sized and ready to reload, while last week's 300 pieces of brass are still in the trunk of the car. Then too, every reloading session will reveal 4-5 pieces that are ready for the scrap pile. So having 400 rounds ready every week, could require a total collection of 1000 to 1500 pieces of brass.

Therefore, if you even suspect that one day you might want to reload, then start today by picking up every piece of brass you see. In that way, when you do start reloading, you'll already be fully stocked on one of your most important reloading components. And if you don't start reloading, then your brass collection will be worth cash to someone who does.



How to Store and Segregate All This Brass ?
Reloading is a process which always evolves into "batches". That is, not all your brass will be in the same condition. Some of it will be in the cleaner, some will be partially reloaded, only a small amount will actually be ready to shoot at any given time. Therefore sorting, movement, and storage become the novice reloader's first hurdle.

This task is greatly simplified with seal-able, stack-able, plastic buckets such as the ones the large sizes of Folgers coffee, CoffeeMate creamer, and gallon ice cream come in. Seal-able because there is a certain amount of disagreeable dust associated with dirty brass. There will also be a strong desire to keep prepared brass clean by keeping it dust-free and pristine. Stack-able because everyone has numerous reasons to keep their hobby items neatly stored when not in use. If you don't have any reasons, then your significant other will be able to find some for you ! Plastic because brass, which tarnishes easily in the presence of some materials, won't chemically react with this container material. And too, these handy, inexpensive containers are the ones most often discarded after use.

It's been said that a Folgers can holds from 600 to 800 pieces of 9mm brass, which also means that these containers are about the perfect size for the common reloading batches.

 ;)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 07:59:02 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 06:52:03 PM »
Explain More About the Benefits
Cost. We've already talked a great deal about cost. The savings come directly from recycling the brass. Brass represents about 2/3 the cost of new ammo. Since brass is by far the highest price component, the easiest way for factories to make cheaper ammo is by supplying you with shoddy cartridge cases. Blazer ammo sometimes comes with non-reloadable aluminum cases; Russian ammo (like Tula and Wolf) comes with non-reloadable steel cases.

You'll reap the benefits of reloading brass cartridge cases as long as you have a ready supply. Considering that since most shooters leave their brass where it falls, gathering a huge collection of high-quality brass casings doesn't take long. The process makes sense once you understand that paying $18 for a box of 50 pistol rounds, then leaving the brass behind is the same as leaving $12 on the ground.  :o

Not only that but it makes little difference what shape the brass is in. Any crimps, dings in the case wall, or oval case mouths are ironed out "good as new' by the reshaping process known as "sizing".  Any unsightly discoloration caused by laying on the ground can be quickly removed through various cleaning processes. In short, as long as the brass is of the correct caliber to fit your gun, and is not split or cracked, it's good to be reloaded. And any brass you find that won't fit your gun can be easily traded for brass that will !!


Ammo Tuning. When you go to your local gun shop or WalMart, you're lucky to have the choice between 3 different types of ammo, even for a popular caliber like 9mm. When you reload your own ammo, the number of variations in ammo is almost infinite. This is because you have your choice of possibly 500 bullets spread over 5 or so weight categories. Then you have the choice of 30+ powders to propel the bullet. Then each of these combinations can be loaded with powder at different power levels. Somewhere in that mix of possibilities is a bullet-powder combo that you and your gun are going to love. And too, most of the possible combinations are not available in any store at any price. As an example, have you ever seen any 147grain target ammo at WalMart? I bet not, but this is a very popular formula with reloaders for pistol competition.

If you're a lady shooter, or your wife/ girl friend would like to learn to shoot, it's absolutely no problem to take your favorite reloading formula and use less powder to produce an under-powered "target load" for someone with smaller hands and/or less hand strength than yourself. Reloading is a God-send for anyone interested in beginner instruction.

Does your current ammo smoke too much, leave too much filth inside your gun, or have to much muzzle flash? This is not a problem for reloaders either. Changing powder brands or tweaking the load recipe can easily get you around these annoyances.

The point is, when you choose your own bullets, powder and primers, you've instantly got 100% control over the way the ammunition behaves in your gun. And when you make 100 rounds per hour, versus 10,000 rounds per hour like the factories, keeping the quality level higher than 99.9% is no problem at all. Reloaders have complete control over the entire ammo making process.... right down to the shine on the finished product!


Availability. When you buy and stock your components by the thousands, then shortages become ancient history. There are generally 2 types of shortages reloading alleviates: momentary and long term. Let's talk about both. Have you ever been at home on Friday evening and had a friend call to invite you shooting the next morning? That's when you remember that the stores are already closed and you'll be standing in line instead of enjoying the fun. When you reload, it's no trouble at all to sit down at your reloading press and crank out 100-200 rounds on the spur of the moment.

National shortages can also be caused by unexpected political changes. What good will a gun do you in times of political turmoil if you have no ammo? During the recent round of political chest pounding, factory-made ammo was non-existent for nearly 7 months. During that same time though, reloaders were able to shoot on their regular schedule and enjoy their shooting sports hobby. This even though reloading components also eventually dried up. Since reloaders buy in bulk, most are shopping the sales during good times and stocking up. Then, when bad times come and no components are offered, they can simply "coast" on through. Since politicians are by their very nature unpredictable, this type disruption will surely return at some point in the future. Reloading gives you the means to "Be Prepared".

Simply put, if shooting on a regular basis is important to you for practice, competition requirements, or simply to put food on the table, then the only way to assure yourself a ready supply of ammunition "24/7" is to build it yourself.

 ;)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 03:10:30 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 09:27:40 PM »
What Will It Cost to Reload ?

COST OF COMPONENTS
The cost of components is easily checked online at any of the major component suppliers previously named. While bullets can be purchased from manufacturers and their distributors without issue, powder and primers are another deal. Powder and primers must be shipped with a Hazardous Materials (HazMat) label which adds another ~$27 to each shipment. So buying an $18 can of powder and adding the HazMat fee doesn't make sense. I highly suggest you by your first powders and primers from your local gun store until you are sure what you want. Later on after you have found favorites, you can buy in volume off the internet. At that point, the HazMat fee can be applied to a single shipment of 5000 primers and 20 pounds of powder, thereby making it much more affordable.

COST OF EQUIPMENT
First of all, before diving into this topic, you've got to understand that reloading equipment is a lot like automobiles. And just like automobiles, people drive everything from 30 year-old Chevys to brand new Mercedes. Some of the choice in automobiles is based on what you can afford, and some of it is based on the "features" you feel you want/need. All of the reasons are highly personal. So I won't be recommending any certain brands in this series. What I will try to do is to try to help you think in ways that will help you arrive at the right choice for you.

Secondly, it's important to realize that, just like automobiles, there really are no "junk" reloading machines for sale. All the equipment currently for sale is very high quality and is generally built to last 20+ years. It may not be optimal for your needs, but new or used, it will produce great ammo. Due to the long life expectancy and lower cost, a lot of people choose to go with used equipment as their first purchase.

Define the Job. A Mercedes is a great car, but for a guy who starts each day picking up a load of concrete block it's not very practical. In fact, it's downright laughable. Vehicles are optimized for a particular job, and reloading equipment is much the same way. So the first choice is to define what job you want do with your reloading equipment. Look into the next 5 years of your shooting sports hobby. Is it pistol only, pistol plus rifle, or rifle only? And if it's mixed, what's the ratio. While you may own a nice deer rifle, if you only use it to shoot 10 rounds per year, then including it in your planning could skew your results. However, if you currently shoot auto pistol and want to add an AR (which will definitely shoot a higher volume than the deer rifle, but not as much as the pistol), then that's a good match. So 100% pistol? 80% pistol/ 20% rifle? Or a 50/50 mix?

Define the Volume. You wouldn't buy a Fiat 500 to commute 350 miles each day; nor would you buy a Ferrari to commute 2 blocks. One of the most decisive feature sets available to the reloader is the volume of output per hour. If one is able to match the volume of finished ammo output to their realistic ammo requirements, then your press will have the fastest payoff and return the highest personal satisfaction. Let me explain. If you can realistically afford (time AND money-wise) to shoot 500 rounds per week, then buying a press with an output of 100 rounds per hour is going to be extremely discouraging. Just the reloading time alone will take you 5 hours! And that doesn't count the time needed to collect and prep brass or purchase replacement components. On the other hand, if you purchase a press with an output of 5000 rounds per hour, but you realistically need only 50 rounds per week, then you probably spent way too much. Try to see into the future and look at possible life changes. Will you shoot more next year after retirement? Will you shoot less next year due to the new baby? IMHO, volumes are one of the most important keys to successful reloading equipment purchases.

Important note here: If you already own 1 CZ pistol and plan to buy 2 more next year, it's highly improbable that your shooting volumes will rise. This because you'll still have the same number of hours to shoot, and you can reasonably only shoot one gun at a time. Therefore a new gun may add a second caliber to your reloading plans, but rarely more volume.

The most important thing I can tell you is that if you correctly match the press to your needs, then all your initial reloading equipment should completely pay for itself within 9 to 12 months. Whether it's a used kit for $50 or a new, top of the line $8000 investment, if correctly matched to your needs it will be completely paid off in well under a year. Therefore, when you go shopping don't be confused by the amazing array of equipment available. Each vendor has staked out a niche in the reloading market, all you have to do is discover where you fit. At that point your choice will narrow to 2 machines at most and your decision will be very simple.

TIME-MONEY MATRIX
Another way to help solve the daunting choice of reloading machines is to look at your personal time-money situation. A student with no cash reserves, but lots of time, might be better served to spend that time looking for used equipment. Great reloading machines have been built since the early 1960's. It's very easy to find good used equipment from the 1970's that will make ammo every bit as good as the newest equipment made today. And due to standardization within the hobby, there's a great deal of parts interchangeability which makes repair simple and cheap. Actually, a great many reloading equipment manufacturers will send you the repair parts for their presses free. That's right, I said FREE !

To get back to the car metaphor, if you currently drive a 20 year-old pickup truck, are accustomed to a little tinkering, can ignore a little rust, and are doing just fine without the latest in-dash GPS guidance system, then good used equipment may be a great choice. An added bonus for those who seek out used equipment is that it's usually for sale by someone who is "aging out" of the hobby. Often times they simply want to see the equipment go to someone who is excited about reloading and will use the equipment. These type deals usually come complete with books, tools, multiple die sets, powder, primers... in short everything you need. This also includes a phone number of someone you can call to ask questions!

I once answered a CraigsList ad for a "reloading business" for $800. The first thing the seller did was drop the price to $500 and give my kid (who was with me) a can of 200 rounds of new Russian ammo! The final price ended up under $500 and completely filled a pickup truck. There were over 40 die sets, 5 reloading machines, 2 Dillon tumblers, 20 pounds of powder, and 11,000 primers, just to name the big stuff. I sold all the machines and dies on Ebay for enough to buy a new, high-end progressive press. 7 years later I still have not used up all the primers and powder. I still use the tools and books from that deal today. So miracles do happen and real bargains can be found.

On the other hand, a busy business person with expendable income, but little time to spare, might pursue a brand new reloading machine that's more highly automated. One that has the ability to turn out several hundred rounds in a very short time. Any person who has grown accustomed to having all the options on their car may see a benefit to having a high end reloading machine. Most of the features are really nice and allow users to run off 1,000 rounds or more between adjustments. But again, just like a car, you pay "big bux" for those luxury features, and if your volumes aren't high, then your payback period can get extended far into the future.


The bottom line is that good used equipment can be had for little or no money at all. New equipment starts at about $130 for a complete setup, and can go as high as $8000 for a fully automated, high-end, 10-station press. Generally speaking though, most shooters with moderate ammunition needs can get a brand new, reasonably fast machine and their first set of components for about $200 total.

If you are currently paying $30 for ammo each week, then you'll be paying $15 for the same amount of reloads, and your $200 investment will be completely paid off in less than 14 weeks, or 3.5 months. If you are currently paying $100 for ammo each week, then you'll be paying $50 for the same amount of reloads, and your investment in a $800 fully progressive setup will be completely paid off in 16 weeks, or 4 months.  :o

That short payback period is why I preach the advantages of shopping by "ammo volume" rather than simply "price". Face it, if you knew that the 4-door Mercedes sedan was going to pay for itself, then you'd be crazy to buy the 2-door econo tin can! And too, just like automobiles, in reloading you generally get exactly what you pay for. So if you didn't pay a lot, then don't expect a lot.

 ;)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2016, 09:19:39 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 07:24:50 PM »
What Are the Safety Concerns?
As you probably guessed there are safety concerns when reloading ammunition. These are real and need to be understood. However, with several easy to implement procedures these concerns can be mitigated to such an extent that the most dangerous thing about reloading will be going down the basement steps to get to your equipment. In all truth, unloading ammo (shooting) is far more dangerous than reloading ammo.

Lead (from bullets) is a major fear, but in reality a minor concern. Solid lead is almost zero concern, the real hazard is breathing or ingesting lead dust. Lead bullets can be handled, loaded and shot without any fear as long as you wash your hands afterwards. Some people go so far as to wash their clothes after reloading and shooting, but that's a personal thing. If you already have health issues, then simply buy "plated" bullets from Berry Mfg, Rainier, or Xtreme. Plated bullets have a copper coating that totally encapsulates the lead. These type bullets cut your lead exposure to almost zero.

Actually, your highest exposure to lead is not from reloading at all, but rather from visiting indoor shooting ranges. Next time you visit an indoor range take a pair of white cotton gloves with you. A couple of swipes on the horizontal surfaces will tell you all about their housekeeping standards and exactly what you're breathing! All the gray dust on your gloves is lead!

► Modern smokeless Gun Power is not an explosive, nor is it dangerous to handle. The folk tales about gun powder stem from the older "black powder" used before 1880. Black powder is indeed, a true explosive. Modern smokeless powder is merely flammable, and works by making copious amounts of hot gas. It's the expanding hot gas that pushes the bullet down the barrel, not an "explosion".

Smokeless powder will keep for 50 years or more as long as you keep it cool and dry. Always store it in the original containers, which will keep it safe from static electric sparks. As long as safe storage procedures are observed, you are in greater danger from the aerosol cans under your kitchen sink.

Primers on the other hand are an explosive. They rate somewhere between toy gun "caps" and a small firecracker. Every 10 years or so, someone will have fantastic photos on the internet showing how one primer ignited during reloading. That works out to be 1 dangerous primer in 10 billion. Although exciting, no one ever gets hurt because modern reloading equipment is designed to direct the blast at the ceiling and not the user. Most primer mishaps are from dropping one on the floor and rolling over it with an office chair, or sucking it up with a vacuum cleaner. You can avoid any danger by simply wearing safety glasses during reloading and keeping the primers inside their static resistant packaging until ready to use. If you drop one by mistake, then by all means stop and pick it up.

► Of all these issues, breathing Tumbling Media Dust probably represents your greatest home reloading health risk. The latest fad is to tumble your cartridges in polishing media until they shine. While tumbling certainly does remove all the unsightly mung, the media itself picks up all the lead and other undesirable chemicals as dust. Tumbling is merely an option, and is not required to reload. If you do decide to clean by tumbling, then plan on tumbling and handling all the used media outdoors. Most porches and patios now have electrical outlets to make this plan easy to implement. And as always, wash your hands after handling any tumbling media.


So you can see that with a few basic, common sense safety procedures, reloading is no more dangerous than other regular household chores.


What About Kids ?
Kids are special and deserve protection. As with all things "gun", they need to be taught from an early age to respect firearms. You don't do this by keeping them away and trying to hide the guns. It's done by including youngsters at every step and training them. They think they are learning "guns" and treat is as a special privilege, what they are really learning is "gun safety".

When we were raising our 2 boys, we got a cheap gun safe (really a tin can with a lock) to keep the tykes from exercising their natural curiosity. Even the BB guns went in there, because there was no shooting until homework was finished. When it got to the point there was enough shooting to return to reloading, the room with the safe became "the gun room". We were lucky enough to have a basement bedroom with a door, and the door knob was replaced with a cheap dead bolt. When I was gone, the door was locked. When I was reloading, the door was wide open and the boys were always invited to come in and help. There were no secrets. The boys even helped by locking things up at the end of the evening.

I found that those few hours once a week were very special father-son times. We would talk about any subject, and share that special time. By using the scale and caliper, both my boys learned a practical use for mathematics. By cleaning and oiling the press they learned the importance of tools and to care for the equipment. By helping make adjustments, they learned to work with precision. Having their young eyes around made reloading safer for me too. And having agile young hands around meant I never needed a $500 bullet feeder! I laugh now, but it truly was a "win-win" situation.

And after the door was locked, then we both washed our hands.

 ;)


Footnote: The plan worked! 20 years later both boys have good technical skills, college degrees in the technologies, and steady employment. Now if I could only get them to visit!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 08:12:36 AM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 04:30:02 PM »
Down the Road - What Happens After I Start Reloading

ADDING THE SECOND CALIBER
Once the major investment is made in the press, all it takes to add a second caliber is a set of dies and any special powder or primers. In other words, for under $60 you can add a second or third caliber to your reloading schedule. If you are loading handgun and decided to add another handgun it could be as inexpensive as $30 because a great many handgun calibers use the same powder and primers. For instance handgun cartridges as vastly different as 9mm and 38 Special use the same powder and primers, and sometimes even the same bullets! 38 Special and 357 Mag even use the same reloading dies, so adding 357 Mag to 38 Special reloading is a no-brainer!

The down-side to this is that after 5 or 6 calibers, you'll find yourself looking at new guns just so you get to reload those new calibers!  ;D


RIFLE RELOADING
One important consideration before you purchase your press is a) is it strong enough to reload rifle?, and b) will it physically accept my rifle caliber? As has been said, the reams of pistol reloading usually drive the purchase of most reloading presses, but you may also own a rifle and want to add it to the mix one day. Since the smaller pistol cartridges drive the reloading market, not all presses are strong enough to reload the much longer bottleneck rifle cases. So if a rifle is in your future, make sure your subject press is strong enough.

Secondly, some of the older but still common rifle cartridges like 30-06, 7mm, 7.62x54R were designed when powder took up a lot more volume. Therefore these older style cartridge cases are physically longer. That extra 1/2 inch may, or may not, fit under the ram in some modern presses. If these calibers are important to you, then check that your caliber is listed in the "applicable calibers" list for the press. Or take a cartridge with you to the store and test it.

Rifle reloading is different from pistol reloading in several respects. The longer bottleneck cases "grow" in length due to full-length re-sizing. To offset this growth, the case must be trimmed back to spec length with a small metal lathe called a "case trimmer". As with everything else in reloading, you can spend from $35 to $600 on a trimmer. Again, let your personal volumes dictate whether you need one with an electric motor or not. I personally only reload rifle calibers one weekend a year. So a 30 year-old hand crank model (which I adapted to use a drill motor) is doing just fine for me. If I keep it oiled it cuts as good as anything on the market, and I'm in no hurry.


CAN I SELL MY RELOADS TO FRIENDS?
No. The Federal law for reloading is a lot like the laws for home-brewed alcoholic beverages. You can reload as much as you want for your own use, but you cannot reload for others. If your sister or brother-in-law want to buy reloaded ammo from you, then sometimes that means they want you to do all the work while they enjoy the low cost. Having a reloading press can be a bit like owning a pickup truck. Everybody's your best pal... when it's time for them to move.  ;D

A much better plan is to simply tell them, "You bring your own components and I'll teach you how to reload your own ammo." If they are truly interested, then they'll come over and get hooked on reloading themselves. Having 2 or 3 reloading pals can really make the cost of components and equipment come down as you 'team up' to share equipment and make larger and larger purchases. Sometimes you'll see these multi-person purchases called "group buys".


 ;)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 03:46:52 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline Wobbly

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7960
  • Loves the smell of VihtaVuori in the morning !
Re: Reloading - Is It For Me ??
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 07:29:03 AM »
Finding a Mentor

Reloading books and videos are great, but like any hobby that involves personal safety (think bungee-jumping), sometimes it really helps to have an experienced partner look over your shoulder before you take that first leap. Placing a notice on bulletin boards at gun clubs, shooting ranges, and the like is a great way to meet experienced reloaders.

You might also try this trick: I placed a small notice on my company bulletin board simply saying "Reloaders please call extension 838". Notice how obscure this is. Nothing about "guns" or "ammunition" to alarm the general populace. Very discrete. The point is, 8 people called me that week; 6 experienced reloaders and 2 people looking to get into the hobby. Not only did I already know all of them, before this I had no idea any of these people even owned guns. Bottom line: 1) Gun owners and reloaders rarely call attention to themselves. And 2) you probably already know a person who could mentor you in reloading. Since that time we've been shooting together at a range near work during lunch, and doing 'group buys' to save on HazMat and shipping fees.


Asking More Questions

As you roll this information over in your mind, you're certain you have more questions about your personal situation. Can I reload in a closet? Where could I do this in an apartment? Will 30 year-old powder still be useable? Is XYZ brand brass any good for reloading? Could someone explain progressive presses?

Your closest and best contact area for those questions and any others is the Original CZ Forum Ammo & Handloading area. We pride ourselves on being helpful to novice reloaders, or simply those who need further clarification. Our motto here is "there are no silly reloading questions, except the ones you didn't ask". I think you'll enjoy the easy-going camaraderie of the forum. In no time at all you'll enjoy associating with old friends... you didn't even know you had!

 ;)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 08:33:56 PM by Wobbly »
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

 

anything