Let’s Get Started
Let us assume that you have your work area set up and have the dies that you need for the particular caliber that will be loaded. We will start with a rimless straight case that is commonly found in modern auto pistols. They would include the 380, 9 mm, 40 auto, 10 mm and the 45 ACP. You should have a there die set which includes the sizer, belling die and bullet seating die. Also don’t forget the shell holder. Your dies should be tungsten carbide as they last a lot longer and are only a few dollars more. Also it isn’t usually necessary to lubricate the cases as you would with a typical steel set. Several companies offer these dies at reasonable prices.
Before you start to load all of you brass should be inspected. If they have been shot then you could have splits in a few of them especially after a few firings. Cases need to be sorted by caliber and to make sure that you don’t have any thing in the cases such as a smaller one or a pebble. If you try and decap a case with something else inside then you will break your decapping pin which is annoying. Always have some spares just in case. If you are loading general target loads it isn’t necessary to sort by brand. As long as they are quality cases in good shape brand purity isn’t that important. Competition and other specialized ammo is different. If the brass is grungy then you might consider cleaning it. There are a couple of ways to do that. I like a vibrator type of tumbler with some crushed walnut and cleaning solution. An hour or two will make them look like new as well as making them easier to inspect.
Once they are cleaned and inspected then you are ready to start. You put your shell holder in the ram making sure it is all the way in. Next your bring your handle all the way down and screw your sizing die in until it touches the shell holder. You then slip your case into the shell holder and bring the handle all the way down. That sizes the case as well as takes out the spent primer. You should feel a little resistance, which is normal, but if it is excessive or too easy then there is a problem. You would need to stop and find out what is going on. If you can’t figure it out chances are the answer lies on one of the reloading manuals you bought. You did buy a couple didn’t you? The sizing is necessary because a case expands upon firing and won’t hold a bullet unless properly sized. You can perform this on all of your empty cases prior to going to the next step. Once you get the rhythm it goes fairly quickly even with a single stage press.
Single stage press with die set