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Got to try my hand at reloading today


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I was offered the opportunity by a coworker/friend to stop by their place today and learn how to reload some ammo. I was kinda ho hum about it at first but thought I'd try it. It turns out it was pretty fun. We used his RCBS Rock Chucker to load some 9mm and .45 ACP rounds. He showed me how the set up worked and how to use the loading books. The cases already had been prepped (with some exception to the 9mm brass) and the primers installed so that helped. The trickiest part was getting the equipment set up properly and the powder to measure correctly for the loads we were using. Once that was done, and seeing a few examples of how to load the powder and press the bullet into the case, I got to take my crack at it. It took me a little while to get somewhat of a rhythm down. I managed to make about 100 rounds of 9 mm and 100 rounds of .45. After we were done, he let me keep what I made! From other posts I read about learning reloading, now's a bad time to start with availability and pricing issues. Hopefully things will settle down over time and I will seriously look into investing into the equipment and supplies. I wish I had gotten into reloading sooner but better late than never I suppose.

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It’s a bit tedious but immensely rewarding after you’ve crafted some ammo that you can go out and shoot.

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Glad you liked you experience Lock n' load. Many years ago like mid 70's I had a customer and he let me go to his place and load up .38's. It got me hooked. Nice of your co-worker friend. It is a hobby in itself. I find it peaceful, when you are reloading and you are focusing on what you are doing, you don't even think about life's challenges like mortgage and car payments. Plus at the end of your reloading session you are X number of bullets ahead in your quest to have ammo on hand whenever you feel like shooting. Then you get to pick up the brass and start all over again. It really is a viscous cycle!! LOL  Btw it isn't about how many you can load in a session it is about the quality of your creations.

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I started reloading in the 70's thinking it would provide cheaper shooting.  Quickly I found that I didn't spend less money but I got to shoot more.  As time progressed, my reloads improved in quality.  At current prices and availability reloading will save money until my supplies run low.

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The thing I got to looking into is whether to go with a simple set up or maybe a progressive system. He uses a manual scale as he doesn't totally trust the digital scales. Any pros or cons to either?

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Manual scale is slow, digital is ok, That is what I use, just be sure to check calibrations every so often. 

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I spent the morning reloading all my empty 38 and 357 cases this morning. I'm good for the next year. We use a multiple Rockchucker set up. 

Nice not to have supply worries.

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Personally I got to the point where I recognized the benefit of a progressive but at the same time if I am loading hunting, self defense, or long range I run it as a single step press. 

As too scales I see no difference between a balance beam or a well calibrated digital except that a digital, especially a trickle charger has a time benefit. The beauty of reloading is its up to you and what you find the most rewarding. Ultimately that's what reloading is about. We do it as a majority in my mind as a satisfying and sometimes relaxing way to reflect and learn more about our hobby by turning it into a craft. 

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I started with 30-30 because I bought the press from a cowboy action shooter. I have dies for my .45 ACP now and still hanging on to the 45 LC dies. I'll have one I'm sure. Next is .32 ACP.

Now someone have a clue where I can get some primers?? 

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9 hours ago, lock n' load said:

The thing I got to looking into is whether to go with a simple set up or maybe a progressive system. He uses a manual scale as he doesn't totally trust the digital scales. Any pros or cons to either?

I have a LEE progressive. you can take the shaft out and run as a single stage. I like LEEs carbide dies. Also with the LEE you can change the turret so it makes caliber changes faster. That's the opinion of a starter as I haven't loaded anything except 30-30 range loads. And for what I use normally it is cheaper per round.

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I would start with a single stage press and upgrade later if you see the need. If you do, you’ll still find uses for the single stage press.

I have balance beam scales as well as a cheap little Frankfort Arsenal pocket electronic scale. I compared weights between them for quite a while before I decided to trust the electronic scale. It is more accurate than I have use for. I use it almost exclusively now as it is faster.

After nearly 40 years reloading, I’ve yet to find the need to replace my single stage press.

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On 1/24/2021 at 11:44 AM, lock n' load said:

He uses a manual scale as he doesn't totally trust the digital scales.

Smart man, good manual scales that are accurate is a must, unless you spend lots of money the digital scales are so so, IMHO. I started with rockchucker single stage and still load all my hunting and defense ammo on it. I have a Dillon Square Deal B progressive that I load .40 S&W and .38 special for training/practice ammo and can easily load 300 per hour. It took me awhile today to load 200 .357 hunting rounds on the rockchucker. BTW both my presses were used, got the Rockchucker at a pawnshop and the Dillon off of evilbay. The Dillon is still under warranty also, if you find one in a ditch and it is blue they will honor the no b.s. warranty no questions asked.

Edited by Dirtshooter
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. One of the more tedious aspects of prepping the loader was adjusting the powder dispenser. It's kind of a trial and error process it seems. Maybe there's and easier or faster method? You have to loosen the "locking collar" and then make adjustments to the screw and then tightening the collar back without turning the screw. Not the correct terms I think but you probably know I mean. 

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11 minutes ago, lock n' load said:

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. One of the more tedious aspects of prepping the loader was adjusting the powder dispenser. It's kind of a trial and error process it seems. Maybe there's and easier or faster method? You have to loosen the "locking collar" and then make adjustments to the screw and then tightening the collar back without turning the screw. Not the correct terms I think but you probably know I mean. 

After the first 5000 rounds you'll have it down...😉

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35 minutes ago, Raoul said:

After the first 5000 rounds you'll have it down...

And he will want to load another 5K or so. Lock n load, don't worry about how long it takes to get the powder dispenser set. Just remember you are making custom ammunition, not the run of the mill that we buy just to get by. Just double check yourself and don't assume anything. I won't load if someone stops by unless I am teaching them to load. If you stop by to chat I will finish the round I am working on and turn around and talk as long as you want. No computer, no T.V., no distractions.  I like to stay focused and it is a good thing to forget all your every day worries. It is a fun hobby don't turn it into work. It sure is a good feeling to break a clay with a reload, kill a turkey with a reload or a deer. And it is a really good feeling to look at the growing pile of ammo. But it is addicting don't say we didn't warn you.

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Addictive and extremely satisfying. Great winter project when shooting is called because of weather. I like doing custom loads for target vs carry.

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