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3909 Views 22 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  dozier
i was thinking about starting to reload, i know nothing about it.. just shooting alot of 40cal., join a lil group of idpa shooter or style of shooting and they meet at least once a week... is the cost of reloading cheaper than 90 bucks for 250rounds of factory ammo??

can anyone set me in right direction... dillion vs. RCBS, costs, difficulty, etc, etc????? any help or information would help..
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I just did a few quick calulations, figuring a 7.0 grn powder charge. Powder at $22.95 a pound, primers @ 31.95 and Winchester 180 grn jacket hollowpoints @ $200 a thousand plus some rounding up for sales taxes etc and came up with roughly $70 per 250 or $280 a thousand.
However these cost can be cut significantly by buying in bulk, using lead or FMJ bullets etc.
Like eveything else on here you are going to get all kinds of different opinions and my press is better than your press etc.
IMHO simple put, if you are going to reload and may be loading rifle in the future get a Dillion RL-550B and be done with it.
You can not go wrong with a Dillion and their customer service and support is second to none, their no BS lifetime warranty really is a no BS lifetime warranty.

PS. I reload .45acp 200Grn LSWC and 230Grn LRN for about $116 a thousand currently.
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Whether it is economical depends as always on what you want to load and how many.

It will cost you probably $600+ to get started if you are thinking progressive press. Lots of small things, scale, calipers, dies etc.
So, if you shoot one caliber and don't care about a particular load it's probably not a good investment.

If you want a particular load you may have no choice. I shoot Bullseye and load .45 and 9mm for that. I also load rifle but currently not on a progressive press.

I agree with hgunner on the RL550. I have Star progressives for my pistol but the RL550 or the Hornady L&L would be my next press to give me better options.
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thanks your both for ur input, it seems that that RL550 is the way to go!! where do you buy in bulk at.. is there a certain website or company, or just need shop around.... i do need to load, 9mm, 40cal, and 45.. maybe after i get that hand guns don i could try and load some 308....

thank you again
I don't know how to really answer the buy in bulk question.
I travel a lot for work mostly same day trips so I know of and hit most of the shops in a 200 mile radius. I find a good deal I stock up. Go the gun shows and buy powder is 4 or 8lbs caddies instead of a pound at a time. Primers I found a little place about 45 minutes away always has good prices on primers and I'll buy 5k at a time. Bullets I use Missouri Bullet Company you can order off the internet. However I get to the Kansas City, MO area a couple of times a year so I'll drive down to their shop and buy direct. He gives me a good discount for cash and I pay no shipping. I guess you just get into it and you find your ways and your places to buy.

Also as to if its worth it, here I can get 100rnds of WWB .45acp for $35.97 + .10 for Ammo Tax + 9.75%sales tax. So that's $39.57 a box. Currently a Dillion RL550B with 1 caliber comversion kit is $429.95 + $62.95 for a Dillion 3 dies carbide die set. So the total is $492.90 thats roughly 13 boxes of WWB.
So 1300 rounds of WWB from wally world is what a press and dies cost you. Yes you need a powder scale and primer flip tray and other odds and ends. So for the cost of 2k of WWB your on your way and it doesn't take long to pay for it. I've had mine for 20 + years and its paid for itself over and over again. Oh and if I need a replacement part I call Dillion, they ship the part free and they pay the shipping too.
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Missouri Bullet Company makes good .40 S&W bullets. I haven't bought any for the .45 yet but that's next.

Carbide dies

A good brass cleaner/polisher with crushed walnut shell media

a good powder measure

Lots of brass, primers, bullets and powder

At least 3 reloading manuals (just like car repair manuals, something you need to know isn't in the first book you buy, and maybe not in the second book as well).

Patience, concentration, observation, consistency in method - all are necessary.
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Ask around at IDPA and IPSC matches, someone near you casts bullets and you can buy those lead bullets for $70 per 1000, sized, lubed and ready to go. If you buy powder by the 15 lb keg, from say, Graff and sons, in Mexico, MO, you will save a lot. ditto if you buy 10,000 primers at a time. Your fired cases can be reloaded about 10x each, for an autoloader, so the cost of the brass is about nothing. So the cost is really about 12c per shot. Look on Ebay for used, sometimes NIB Lee Master Loadall progressive loader, $200 or so. 1000 rds per hour, not 100 rds per hour, that is if you get the bullet feeder device. The single station presses load about 100 rds per hour, meaning that you working for about minimum wage, with $200 tied up in gear that you can't sell for more than $50. The Lee progressive will always sell for $150 or so, so it is by far the better deal.
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Your not shooting Benchrest at 1000 yards right? I would look into a Lee turret press, they are much cheaper than others. You can probably get a complete set up for $300 or less.

However before you buy anything read up on reloading it will help make your decision
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u don't want just a turret press, you want a PROGRESSIVE press, which is a turret, but 4-5 operations are being done with each stroke of the handle.
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Here's my recommendation which is worth just what you pay for it: buy a Hornady L-N-L single stage press. Unlike presses, you put bushings on each die and then can do a quick change from x to y die in like 30 seconds without worrying about setup.

Start off by learning how to reload safely on the single stage. If you only load rifle rounds, you don't need anything else. The basic process is 1) de-cap & re-size on the press, 2) case prep (ugh!) which is not done on the press, 3) prime, which is better done by hand or a bench primer, 4) charge each case with powder in a loading block giving you a chance to double check each and every case before moving on, and 5) seat the bullet - only the second time you use the press.

Sure, handloading for pistol rounds uses at least 3 dies. Much more press time and case prep is almost non-existent. I prefer crimping in a second step following seating the bullet, so that's 4 dies. I've just moved to a Lyman turret press for dies 2-4 but still use my single-stage for de-capping & re-sizing.

I'm just more comfortable NOT being in a hurry when reloading. When I read some guy saying "I just bought my Dillon ____ and was cranking out X rounds per hour the first day", I pray that they are no where near me on the firing line.

Seriously, the single stage press will serve you for rifle rounds forever plus it will give you a safe start. After you really understand the process and are comfortable with every step, then decide on which progressive (or turret) press will work best for you.

BTW the Reloading section of the 1911 forum has a good group of guys regarding reloading for pistols. Glock Talk might also be helpful.
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the lee progressive can be used as a single station press and stupid people can't be saved from themselves, you know. Only the gov't even tries to do that.
Do you have (or plan on getting) other guns in other calibers? Do you plan on shooting more than a few times a year? If so, you will save money in the long run and have better and/or customized ammo by reloading. You may not save money the first batch because of tool costs, etc, but saving over time is another question. I'm sure I have spent into the thousands on reloading tools and gear over 30+ years, but I'm also sure I've still saved money in the long run. And I can make much better ammo than I can buy, especially when you start talking rifles and long range shooting.

I always hesitate to encourage a beginner to get a progressive press. There are just too many things that can go wrong and using a progressive just amplifies the risks - too many things to watch for at the same time, including things you may not even know to watch for yet. I strongly suspect that most KABOOMS caused by bad ammo involve a progressive press - not because there is something wrong with the press itself but because it requires more skill, more knowledge, and more concentration to use. It's like almost any kind of work - you don't start out with the most complicated and expensive tools, you work your way up.

A good single stage is great to learn with and will last a lifetime. If you move into rifle loading, you'll want the single stage for that anyway. RBCS makes a Piggyback unit that turns a single stage Rock Chucker into a progressive for pistol loading. It's not as sexy as a Dillon, but it works just fine and costs a lot less. I own at least 5 presses and I still use the first one I ever bought.

My suggestion is to get a Lyman Reloading Manual and read it carefully. It will explain every step of the process, what each tool does, and why you need or don't need each tool for a particular type of cartridge. After you understand what's going on, then you can answer most of your own questions about which tools you need to get started. (There are several other reloading manuals, but IMO the Lyman book gives the best explanations.) Lots of guys have lots of opinions on which brand of tools is best, but really almost any of the major tool brands can serve you well. Lee makes a good Classic press, but I can't really recommend their other tools. There's a reason they are cheaper than anyone else (just my opinion based on trying them and almost every other brand out there).

ETA: I agree with the other guys about joining a forum that concentrates on reloading. I recommend Handloads.com mainly because there are lots of experienced members in all kinds of ammo AND I guarantee you won't get any flaming or arguing that you tend to find most other places.
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I can not add much to what has already been said about the basic reloading set up. Buy good tools.

To maximize savings, you need to learn how to scrounge two things, brass and lead. Scrounging brass saves big bucks vs buying new or once fired brass. Scrounging lead lets you cast your own bullets and that gets your cost per round down as well.

Next, learn where the bulk retailers are online. Powder valley inc. or Wideners Reloading are two good places. Buy powder and primmers together, that way the hazmat fee is spread amongst several items.

Example: I like to feed my M1 Garands, they are hungry beasts. So I buy 4 eight pound jugs of IMR 4895 and a 5000 round box of Primers. The hazmat fee is 22.75 / 5 items = 4.55 per item. If you order these items seperately you are paying 22.75 hazmat fee per item.

Bulk buying powder and primers always saves money in the long run.

If you are buying jacketed bullets, keep an eye out for factory seconds, you can often get then at half price and if you buy enough you can get free shipping.

Good luck and remember you will never spend less money, you will get more rounds for the same money. The cheaper the round costs, the more you will shoot.
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Dillion 550

Buy a Dillion 550. You will be very happy with it and it will do all you ever need to do. If you start reloading you will end up buying the Dillion. Might as well buy it first and save money overall.
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very good point to start with the basics
buying in bulk means 15 lb kegs of powder, 50k primers or more at a time, 5,000 rds of brass, 10k cast bullets at a time (to get free shipping is VERY important with bullets). Check with places like Graf & Sons, in Mexico, MO. Look in the Shotgun News paper for bulk buys on oncefired brass and on "seconds" of the jacketed bullets. Better yet, practice with 9mm, carry 135 gr CorBon jhp's in your .40.
Buy a Lee or RCBS Starter kit and try it out. If you like reloading and plan to continue shooting your current volume you will eventually want to go with a Dillon.

I started on a single stage press, upgraded to a 550 and this winter plan on getting setup on a super 1050 with a bulletfeeder and posibly an auto drive.

Dillon is the cats meow imo. :)
I like what’s been talked about here. Here's my two cents. Get a used setup off Craig’s list or similar and read a good book or two. If you stick with it and most don’t, go get the Dillon 550 down the road. Dillon rocks, and you can use it for just about everything. It's costly, but oh so worth it in the end. An education first with the lesser expensive stuff might save you lots of frustration later. If you were a rifle shooter only, a single stage is more than enough. Pistols are a different story. Your arms will fall off with a single stage if you stick with high volume shooting. Like mentioned earlier, with any progressive loader, mistakes are easier to make because of the vollume.
I upgraded my setup to include a Lyman T-Mag II turret press for pistol rounds a month or so ago. Loading pistol rounds on the single stage just got too tedious. Now I use the single stage for re-sizing/de-priming and a bench priming tool for Step 1. Step 2 is charging the cases with powder as a batch in loading trays. Step 3 is bell, seat & crimp on the turret press. It definitely saves time over the single stage, and I don't shoot pistols enough to justify the cost of a progressive press.

For rifle cartridges, I will always use a single stage press. There are only 2 dies after all, and it seems like I'm always experimenting with powder charges, etc.

If I could buy just one press, it would be Forster's Co-Ax. Quick die changes like the Hornady but it has the reputation of being the most accurate and robust single-stage press out there.

What works for me may not be "best" for anybody else.
Here is my 2 cents, if it is even worth that! One can not have too many presses!

Like several have said, start with a single stage press and learn the processes of each step. You will need a single stage for de-priming and sizing so length can be checked and trimmed as needed. Shell length is important on the .40. After those steps a progressive works great.

I highly recommend finding a mentor in your area that would be willing to show you the steps in reloading. They can help you learn from other's mistakes, not your own. I also recommend as many manuals as you can get your hands on - Hornady, Lyman, Lee, Spear, Sierra, and so on. They all have info on how to reload, the Lee is the most detialed.

Look for a used set up. I bought mine 15 years ago used (RCBS) and got about $800 worth of equipemnt and components at the time for $250. It was well worth it and I have been adding to it ever since, each piece of equipment has it's own purpose and I can justify keeping it.

Good Luck!
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