Thursday, April 26, 2012

Selecting Components

Components for 32 mag and 327       

       Selecting Components

 Now that you have a good single stage press, dies, scales, powder measure and assorted other tools you then need to purchase at least one good reloading manual preferably several. You should read them and study which components you need for which ever caliber you elect to reload.   Let’s take a popular caliber such as the 45 auto to start. This applies to any other caliber chosen.  You need to buy components specific to that caliber. For instance for the 45 you need cases, 45 auto bullets ( not 45 Colt) powder and primers. This is where the reloading manuals come in handy. They will guide you toward products that are safe and useable for your specific caliber.

 Cases can be bought new or ones that you have already fired. In any event they should be inspected and cleaned, with a tumbler, which will allow you to find any defects such as splits. You need a specific type of powder for which the manual will help out on. The wrong powder will cause bad or dangerous ammo so that selection is very important. Bullets should be specific to gun and caliber used for best results. Primers come in two sizes, large and small. Then they come in handgun and rifle and are further broken down to standard and magnum. For most 45 auto rounds a large pistol standard primer is fine. There are a few cases that take small primers which can cause a problem if you mix them. I recently wrote on my blog about that subject.

 Do not try to be cute by using components other then what is recommended because that will generally cause you problems. Being cute will give you a chance to be well acquainted with a bullet puller. Stick with loads recommended by   the manuals. If you notice that I talk a lot about reading you are right. Failure to understand what components you are using and why will generally get you in trouble. Once you buy you components then you are ready to proceed.

 The single stage press should be securely mounted on a good work table with enough room to have a measure, scales and other assorted equipment in the same area. Good lighting is essential.  Most manuals will inform you how to set up your press and dies which will help you get started. All facets of reloading demand 100% of your attention at all times and if you are not willing to put in the effort then you might want to consider buying your ammo off of someone who is. Reloading is a safe and enjoyable hobby and if done right will give you many hours of pleasure and good ammo. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Equipment Needed For Reloading

My reloading bench.

What you need to reload
To have a good set up for reloading you need a good sturdy table in a room with good light. A new reloader needs a press s which should hbe a single stage. The reason for that is a new reloader needs to study and learn each step in the process. If you do something wrong your ammo won’t work. Do not have anything in the loading room that will distract you such as a TV or a cell phone that you are going to text on. You need 100% of your attention on the job at hand. After mount your press which will require you to drill holes in the table to mount it. It needs to be very tight and no rocking or other movemnent should occur. As for investment you are looking at about $400 to get started. If you seldom shoot or don’t pay attention to detail then you probably should not get into reloading. It does save money but you have to do enough shooting to make up for the cost of the equipment. Then you need supplies which we will go into later.
Other equipment is dies for the caliber you intend to load for. You need a scales and powder measure which also has to be mounted on your bench. You need a lube pad especially for rifle calibers. If you load handgun ammo and buy tungston carbide dies you won’t need to lube them. I highly recommend those types of dies even though they cost a little more. You need a few hand tools such as screwdriver and Allen wrenches. Rifle cases tend to stretch so you need a venier to measure for length and a case trimmer for that. Handgun cases seldom stretch so a trimmer might not be needed. If I run across some 9 mm cases that are too long I will chuck them rather then trim them as it is time consuning to trim cases. If you trim cases you need a chamfer tool to take off the excess brass. You need at least one good reloading manual preferbly several. Companies such as Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, Barnes and Speer produce good reloading manuals. I strongly recommend that you read them as they have a lot of good info on reloading plus the reccomended powder charges and loaded length among other good info. Read, read and read some more. I have all of those mnuals plus others such as Lyman. You have quite a few choices in brands for presses and dies plus other reloading equipment. Companies such as RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, Redding and Lee all make reloading equipment. I personaly use a RCBS Rockchucker press and dies because I am familiar with that equioment but any other brand is fine. You can shop around for a good deal.. Some companies offer a kit which has most of what you need to start and it would be a good idea to check those out as it will save bucks as compared to buying one piece at a time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Started

Typical Set of Dies

Getting Started
Reloading is a great hobby but it isn’t for everyone. There are several things to consider when you contemplate getting into the hobby. First of all you need to have some time to devote to learinng and doing reloading. You can’t do it if you have five minutes here and there. Another thing is you have to be the type of person who is patient and pays attention to details. Reloading demands that you pay attention or your ammo will turn out poorly. You will get out what you put into it. If you only plan on shooting just a few rounds a year it probably wouldn’t pay you to reload.
First pf all you need a space with good light to set up your equipment. Then you need a work table that is sturdy as you will be setting up some equipment. Let’s talk about dies. The dies are essential as you need a set for every caliber that you plan on loading. For straight case handgun ammo I strongly recommend tungston carbide dies. Whilke they cost a few dollars more they will last forever and eliminate the need for lubung your cases beforehand. Handgun dies typically come in a set of three. The first die sizes and decaps the case. Sizing is essential because if you don’t size it the case won’t hold a bullet securely. When a round is fired the case expends hence the need for sizing. The sizing die usually decaps the case which means that the old primer is removed. The second die bells the case which is necessary especially with lead bullets to avoid shaving them. Many set up also allow you to prime the case in that step. The third die seats the bullet and does the crimp. You have two types of crimps a roll crimp for revolvers and a taper crimp for most auto rounds.
We will get into more equipment in the following reports. I do strongly recommend against a new reloader getting a multi stage reloader until they throughly understand all reloading procedures. It would too easy to make a mistake which would result in making a large batch of bad ammo.