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Where to start...


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Just like it says, where is a good place for someone with zero reloading experience to start out?  I've been reading through some info online, but would like to get some input on good reading material or good people to talk to before I go crazy with this.  I know the sooner I get started reloading the quicker I can recover the costs of the equipment...so I'm looking for the right start.  I've enjoyed reading the recommendations on powders and presses, but I know if I ran down to the store the salesman would do his job well and sell me everything he can.  Can anyone recommend a good book or good online site that will explain the basics? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reloading can be done at a lot of different levels of cost and involvement.  I have always been a poor boy with neither money nor time.  Things do change.  I do not like to get more involved or spend more money than necessary.

Call up RealGuns.com.  Read articles and projects.  There are good articles about reloading;  about ammunition;  about guns.  Free.

I started with a Lee Loader set.  For the most part,  I still prefer using these little cheap kits to more involved and more expensive equipment.  The little Loader sets are very precise if used properly.  For small amounts of ammo they are great.  If you are loading hundreds,  maybe even just dozens of rounds of the same stuff you need a lot fancier equipment.  I tend to be loading one or two dozen rounds of a given load or caliber at a time and the Lee kit does fine.  I actually prefer to set up loading blocks and deprime and prime cases along with whatever other case prep stages I am using.  Then add powder to all and then put bullets into the cases.  We all tend to think about only our primary shooting;  case prep for heavy loads of big rifle ammo can be very different than loading light target pistol ammo.  Try mixing several calibers like 308 Win followed by a few 7 MM RM's and then 30 or 40 44 RM loads in two different bullet weights maybe with different powders.  Each type and recipe MUST be kept completely isolated from whatever else is going on just for safety.  I am not comfortable with automatic powder measures;  I use a beam powder measure and a trickler and weigh every load.  Then I use a gauge to see if the cases all have the same amount of powder in them.  No empty cases and more important no double loads.  I would note that I am highly aware of how difficult it can be to get a lot of powders to flow into the cases. 

I use an electronic caliper to measure every completed round,  too.  That is more involved than it sounds;  there are things to know and special tools to help get proper measurements.

These big 308 semi's may all need full-length case resizing every time.  A dedicated heavy duty press would be good if you have the space to set up a good bench.  Resizing every time the cases are loaded is hard on the brass and will seriously shorten case life.

Just as a note,  I have two 308 Win bolt guns.  The Rem 700 is forgiving and will do well with just neck sizing load after load.  The Savage 11 needs new factory  every time but sometimes will condescend to being fed full-length-resized loads that were used the first time in it.  The Savage will not take brass that was first fired in the Remington.  Just my guns and my experience?

The components used and the recipes followed need to comply with a qualified source of information and then take into account what guns are being used.  It is dangerous to just load up ammo because it is "in the book."  That load may be intended for something like a "Super Snortfire Mk VII" handgun,  12 pounds of ultra-high-strength stainless steel;  your gun is 12 ounces of compressed tinfoil with a paper-thin liner tube of something in the barrel  that might or might not react to a magnet?  FWIW,  I own one of those.  It was made by Colt,  does well with light loads of 38 Special,  more a collector's item than a serious weapon.  I actually load for and shoot a S&W of considerable vintage that has stood up to a lot of 357 Mag loads that were way too hot.  BUT never again!  It is well known that accuracy and effectiveness come from loads well below maximums.

I was amused the other day that some of my reloads for the bolt guns that have done well on the range were barely able to cycle the action of the LR-308.  That was more because of the characteristics of the powder used than the total energy imparted to the projectile.

I am not an "expert."  Everything I do is an experiment that uses all the best information I can find.  There is more to learn and more to know than any of us can do alone.  Like,  misteakes.  It is important to pay attention to the errors others made because each of us will not live long enough to make all of them ourselves?  Mainly the misteaks I worry about are the ones that can bring a sudden end to

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  • 1 month later...

A couple good loading manuals will give you all the info you need. If you know anyone that loads, ask if you can watch the next time they load. I learned from a book and never had a problem. Agood single stage press is always useful and will last several lifetimes. Beginners should always start with loading blocks. The first tool you should buy is a kinetic bullet puller. The first time you need it you will understand why. If you don't have a good reloader to guide you, buy all your equipment brand new. If you have a good reloader to guide you, buy your equipment used and save a lot of money. Lock the door and don't let anyone watch you or talk to you while you load. Distraction is the mother of destruction in the loading room. Secure your equipment behind locked doors, especially primers and powders. Get a notebook and log every round you load, just a one line entry with the date, caliber, number of rounds loaded, and the recipe used. Take your time, and enjoy the process, loading is very relaxing. For even more fun try casting your own bullets.

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