What is the cost of getting started?

Discussion on reloading the 9x18 and any other cartridge
Post Reply
BorisThespider
Member
Member
Posts: 50
Joined: April 21st, 2011, 4:47 am
Location: Carroll County, Ohio

What is the cost of getting started?

Post by BorisThespider » May 13th, 2011, 4:29 am

I'd like to start reloading, especially since I only fire 9mm Luger and Mak right now. I am, however, on a very tight budget. What equipment needs to be purchased to get started? Where can I find a good starter's guide?

I don't need the fanciest tools and all the bells and whistles to get started, so I'd like to know how best to get started on a budget, but still have room for a slow expansion of tools down the road.

User avatar
juniustaylor
Elite member
Elite member
Posts: 1408
Joined: February 9th, 2010, 10:56 pm
Location: KV, MO
Contact:

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by juniustaylor » May 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

I started out with a couple die sets, Lee hand press, digital scale (RCBS), Hornady reloading manual, some bullets, and the powders you'd like to use. For trimming cases, I bought the Lee case trimmer / length gages as they seem to be a relatively cheap alternative to the hand lathe type. I later bought a Smart Reloader press from Midsouth Shooter's Supply. Can't remember the model of it, but it cost me $35. It works real well but has more noticeable "slop" than other name brand presses. A friend gave me a new Lee Perfect Powder measure and it is a good powder measure. It was around $20 and it makes the loading process a LOT faster than using the powder dippers that come with the Lee die sets (which I prefer hands down over RCBS dies). Anyway, you can get stuff on a "tight" budget. Probably if I had to do it over again I may have bought a better press rather than having 2 cheapo's, but I'm not worried about it. Live and learn. Also buy a bullet puller of some form. I bought the RCBS one since it looks a bit more heavy duty than some of the others. The kind that look like a hammer (inertia pullers). Do some further research and save some chips.
US Air Force Veteran - OEF/OIF

fish
Junior member
Posts: 41
Joined: July 15th, 2010, 9:06 am

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by fish » May 13th, 2011, 8:15 pm

I wrote this about a year or so ago for a friend. The prices may be a little dated. Also, you can go slightly cheaper with the Lee hand press, but I think this gives you a good idea on how to get started reloading and what you'll need. I'm sure others have different opinions on the tools and techniques that work well for them. This worked very well for my friend.

------------------------------
Getting Started Reloading
What you really need


Stuff I actually bought is in brackets [Like This]. Sources are Graf and Sons (www.grafs.com) and Midway USA (www.midwayusa.com).

-First and Foremost-
You need a reloading manual. One is good, Two are better.
[GRAFS - LEE MANUAL OF MODERN RELOADING 2ND ED Item Number: LEE90277 Price: $11.79]
[GRAFS- LYMAN MANUAL 49th EDITION SOFT COV Item Number: LY9816049 Price: $16.59]
If you’re just going to get ONE, get the Lee manual. If you want a third one, look for the Speer manual. There are many other good manuals. I like these three, in this order.

Get THIS Lee Anniversary Kit: [Midway item 423081 - Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit $81.99] It contains a single stage press and a lot of stuff you will need, and NONE of the stuff you DON’T need. When you get experienced at reloading, you will know if you want a progressive press. For now, just starting out, stick with a single stage press. Don’t forget you’ll need a bench to get set up on and bolt the press to!

-Case Cleaning-
You need to CLEAN once-fired and range pick-up brass before working with it in the press. POLISHING brass is OPTIONAL but makes it look pretty.

Cheap way to CLEAN:

Wash brass in water and dish soap. Agitate by hand.
Drain water and dry (hairdryer, lay in sun, or simple evaporation).

To CLEAN and POLISH:

Vibratory Tumbler: [GRAFS VIBRATORY TUMBLER 110v w/SWITCH & CLEAR LID Item Number: GR400 $45.99]
“Media” - Crushed walnut hulls [Lizard Bedding available at Petsmart $9]
NuFinish Car Polish (just a capful every 1000 cases or so, maybe less, should last forever)
Capful of mineral spirits every so often.
Optional: [GRAFS MEDIA/BRASS PAN SIFTER Item Number: GR5011 Price: $4.39] and 5 Gallon bucket or cat litter bucket to keep the media in and sort the brass.


-Case Prep-
A primer pocket cleaner is handy. This is included in the Lee kit.
The case trimmer CUTTER comes with the Lee kit. The kit also includes a case chamfer tool for use after you trim the cases.
Lee case lube is awesome and comes with the Lee kit. DON’T BUY A LUBE PAD. You may want one eventually but you don’t need one to get started. I bought one and don’t use it much.
You NEED calipers. [GRAF CALIPER STLSS DIAL 0-6" .001" ACCURACY w/CS Item Number: GR13 Price: $16.99]
A reloading tray is useful. This can be a block of wood with blind holes drilled in it to the proper diameter to hold the cases in the caliber you plan to reload. Or you can buy plastic trays for cheap. For 9mm trays: [MIDWAY item# 125282 Frankford Arsenal Perfect Fit Reloading Tray #3 9mm Luger 50-Round Blue $4.19]
There are also 'universal' trays that I find useful too.

-Stuff to buy for each caliber you want to reload-
Don’t mess around, buy Lee dies. Lee dies come with shellholders for the press, most other makers don’t come with shellholders. If they come in carbide, get carbide. If they come with a Factory Crimp Die, get it. Basically get the most deluxe set of dies available for the caliber you want to reload.
For 9mm: [GRAFS - LEE 9MM LUGER CARBIDE DLX 4 DIE SET, S/H #19 Item Number: LEE90963 Price: $32.99]
While the case trimmer CUTTER comes with the Lee kit, you need a “Lee Case Length Gauge and shell holder” FOR EACH CALIBER you plan to trim.
For Example in 9mm Luger: GRAFS - LEE 9MM LUGER CASE LENGTH GAUGE & SHELLHOLDER Item Number: LEE90153 Price: $3.59
(I have NEVER found the need to trim 9mm Luger brass. If you want to do the 9mm Luger to Makarov conversion you can start simple with the Lee case length gauge. I find it better to file down the Luger gauge then to buy the Makarov gauge. Better yet, when you graduate to 'serious', get a lathe style hand trimmer. YMMV.)

Also, don’t forget bullets, powder, and primers in the correct size and variety. I buy powder and primers locally to save on hazmat shipping costs.
You may want to get plastic ammo boxes, or you can just reuse old ammo boxes or use zip-loc bags.

-Press and Stuff (Actually LOADING)-
The Lee kit comes with a pretty nice single stage press. The kit also comes with a scale and powder thrower.
The press includes a prime-on-press apparatus to prime cases on the press called the “Lee Safety Prime” for all size primers. I feel this is superior to the Lee hand primer “Lee Auto Prime”.
(Note: this was written before the new square Lee hand primer was released.)

-Powder Measures-
The Lee kit comes with the decent Lee Safety Scale and the Lee Perfect Powder measure. Both work well if you know the tricks and read the manuals. There are some good YouTube videos from "Silicon Wolverine" on these products that give you all the tips and tricks for these products.
Don't get a powder trickler. I use a range pick-up bottleneck rifle case like 30-06 to trickle powder by hand.

-Fixing Suspected Screw-ups-
You may want something to take apart any loaded ammo you suspect you’ve messed up powder weights or when you find you seated the bullet wrong or to the incorrect depth. An inertial bullet puller will get the job done. [MIDWAY item 215517 Frankford Arsenal Impact Bullet Puller $13.29]


--------------------

User avatar
gunneyrabbit
Forum supporter
Forum supporter
Posts: 1221
Joined: February 5th, 2007, 8:52 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by gunneyrabbit » May 21st, 2011, 1:12 am

Plus one with Fish! But, if I may make a suggestion for a cleaning solution, you may want to try Lemy-Shine; may be spelled Lemi-Shine; I'm in another part of the state of Oregon at the moment and can't refrence it right now. Norm Sutton turned us on to this product and it makes the cleanest cases I've ever seen, inside and out. Cuts down your polishing time and highly polished cases may help with proper or improved case feed in your auto-pistoles. This product has been a must in my cleaning process since I first purchased it. Thanks again NORMSUTTON.
GR

User avatar
normsutton
Global moderator
Global moderator
Posts: 3559
Joined: February 26th, 2006, 6:59 am
Location: LAKELAND FL.
Contact:

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by normsutton » May 21st, 2011, 6:57 pm

Boris

save your money and get this kit http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/pro ... ctId/10551

this press will out live you and your grand children,lee dies are OK,

NORM
NORMSUTTON@AOL.COM
N.R.A. LIFE MEMBER 1976

ImageImage

BorisThespider
Member
Member
Posts: 50
Joined: April 21st, 2011, 4:47 am
Location: Carroll County, Ohio

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by BorisThespider » May 27th, 2011, 2:32 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. I probably will just save my pennies (and my brass) until I can afford a decent setup. It makes sense to not suffer through inferior equipment when I can just bide my time and get something that'll really see some use.

GeneCC
Member
Member
Posts: 86
Joined: July 25th, 2011, 7:13 pm

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by GeneCC » July 25th, 2011, 7:54 pm

Another good source for reloading presses is CH4D. Dave has been in the field for a spell and can deliver some nice dies and presses.

See here... http://www.ch4d.com/

User avatar
normsutton
Global moderator
Global moderator
Posts: 3559
Joined: February 26th, 2006, 6:59 am
Location: LAKELAND FL.
Contact:

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by normsutton » July 27th, 2011, 5:20 am

GeneCC

I have a lot of Dave's dies , they are top quality , and just love talking with him

NORM
NORMSUTTON@AOL.COM
N.R.A. LIFE MEMBER 1976

ImageImage

User avatar
Autosurgeon
Member
Member
Posts: 76
Joined: July 29th, 2010, 12:13 pm
Location: Lawrence MI
Contact:

Re: What is the cost of getting started?

Post by Autosurgeon » July 28th, 2011, 1:16 am

GeneCC wrote:Another good source for reloading presses is CH4D. Dave has been in the field for a spell and can deliver some nice dies and presses.

See here... http://www.ch4d.com/
Dave has made me a number of oddball caliber dies. Very nice to deal with and top quality where it counts!
Anything I post may be my opinion and not the law... you are responsible to do your own verification.

Blackstone (1753-1765) maintains that "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

Post Reply