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  #1  
Old 04-29-2012, 5:01 PM
cycle61 cycle61 is offline
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Default Reloading newbie questions

Getting into reloading to either a) affordably feed my .44, or b) spend the same amount of money and shoot a lot more.

I've been doing my homework, lurking here, and reading what feels like every reloading thread and site on the internet. Here's my proposed starter kit.



We've been saving all our brass for an eventual tumbler purchase, but will probably start off buying a box of Starline brass, 500 or so, to push that back a bit. I'm looking at various suppliers of plated and cast bullets, still deciding. My preference for factory ammo seems to be 240 grain bullets, I'm enjoying the Magtech SJSP's although the cases do seem to get stuck after a few dozen rounds.

Powder and primers, I don't know much yet. I've heard Hogodon H110 recommended for the magnum rounds. Open to suggestions.

Last edited by cycle61; 04-29-2012 at 5:06 PM..
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Old 04-29-2012, 5:20 PM
Bill Steele Bill Steele is offline
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You will want some calipers to measure OAL. If you are deatil oriented and patient, the scale that comes with the Lee kit will work fine. If you are less of the above, maybe getting an RCBS 505 or Dillion Eliminator would be a good investment.

I mainly shoot 240gr Elmer Keith style lead semiwadcutters (240gr LSWC) out of my .44RM, Missouri Bullet Company or SNS Casting are good sources.

I prefer Accurate #9 for full power .44 loads. It will get you right up there with H110/W296, but is less finicky and downloads (when you want to slow things down some) really well, something H110/W296 does not do well.

Use magnum large pistol primers.

Good luck, have fun.
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Old 04-29-2012, 5:25 PM
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Since you probably aren't going to be loading hundreds of rounds at a sitting for a .44, a single stage press is good. Carefully choose your equipment. Different manufacturers have different philosophies on how to build equipment, and since you are going to be repeating the reloading steps many thousands of times for the life of the equipment, something that's a minor annoyance or slightly slow you down will cost a lot over the long haul.

Personally learned points: A digital scale is nice! Saves lots of time and frustration. Make sure your press has a way to catch spent primers. A tube with a jar setup is best. A tray setup is OK, the ones that kick it to the floor really sucks. A case cleaner is a must. Yes, you can shoot black sooty loaded rounds, but really? Spend a couple of bucks more for plated bullets to lessen lead exposure. Pick a powder that will flow through a volumetric powder measure nicely. Flake powders tend to bind the rotors. Check loading manual and load for economy, not super hot magnum danger rounds. There is invariably going to be some variation on your loads, and you want to design in a safety factor.

Who knows, you might start to enjoy the reloading process as much as the un-loading process.
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2012, 6:32 PM
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Precisiondelta.com is a good, inexpensive source for jacketed projectiles, which if you're going to load full power .44 Magnum is a good idea. No leading and no ripping the plating off your bullets when you shoot them.

I use H-110 for my .460 S&W Magnum but you have to be careful with it since you can only download 3% from published loads before you get into inconsistency and pressure problems. Another powder is probably a better choice to start with, especially if you want to be able to load .44 Special rounds as well. Your dies should handle both, so the only thing you need is the cases.

Midway has the Lyman 1200 Pro tumbler on sale right now for $47. I've been using one for over a year with no problems. Once fired brass is available in the Marketplace all the time and you might even check craigslist for it.

You'll want large magnum pistol primers for .44 Mag and regular large pistol for .44 Special. If you've got a reloading supplier near you, you can get them in 100 packs for about $3. No need to buy 1000 right off the bat if you're trying to be concious of your initial investment. Just be aware that reloading supplies are in short supply these days so get enough to last you a few months, at least.

Bullets don't go bad, so again, watch the Marketplace for people selling excess. People that reload get rid of guns, too. So when they do, they usually have extra components they need to get rid of. I've gotten some killer deals on bullets, brass, primers and powder there, for things I didn't need right at that moment, but eventually needed and put to use.

If you've already got a lot of brass accumulated, I'd go ahead and get the tumbler, dies, book, loading block and press kit. You don't have to have a kinetic puller on day one. Any misloads can always be put aside to be dealt with later on. By getting those things right away, you can go ahead and start cleaning, decapping and resizing your brass, while you're reading through the book. After that's all done and you've read the book two or three times, pick up some bullets, powder and primers.

Good luck to you.

CORRECTION - Precision Delta does not offer bullets for .44 calibers
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Last edited by NotEnufGarage; 04-29-2012 at 7:03 PM..
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2012, 6:41 PM
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HEY NOW! I am an EXPERT at being a reloading Noob! Hope you like to read. If you do not, sorry in advance...

Glad you asked your questions here. Check out some of the other posts in the reloading forum as well.

Let me tell you what I see you missing...

FIRST the powder. I say go with Bill on the powder. If you are looking to reload 44 mag then you should use the AA#9.

WHY? Because Bill knows what he is talking about, so do other folks on this forum. BUT, I am building up 44mag loads right now and I am using AA#7 (because I did not THINK to order AA#9) with plated bullets. So far I got them to around 1100-1200 and they are working great. Just because it is a 44 mag does not mean that it has to shoot at magnum velocities. Remember that. When nobody is looking you can shoot the lower powered loads and still feel good. Just keep a few power ones around in case you wanna show off

As far as powder goes, I THINK you will end up using H110 so pick up a bottle, on top of that pick up a bottle of AA#9 and whatever else you want to get. Maybe even 2 bottles of each since you can use them with other loads. MAYBE even get a bottle of red dot or greet dot, one of them was supposed to play nicely with plated bullets. I have blue dot and THOSE sounded like 9mm/40 cal poppers at the indoor range. I say to get these powders because it is good to have a choice and you can certainly use them all for 44 mag. AA#7 gives a good feel at the higher limits and I have yet to use the AA#9 but I am really trying to get a bottle because I wanna try those loads out next. The H110 is what you will move on to to TEST that envelope. Those will give a pulse to your mag loads and you will FEEL the shockwave as 23.1gr ignite and scare those around you.

As for your primers and your powder, GET it all from powdervalleyinc.com They have REALLY SEXY shipping (like around $14.00 for a nice shipment)
AND they will only charge you a hazmat fee for the primers and the powder. Midway will charge you TWO hazmat fees. Powder Valley has REALLY good prices on primers too. Widners also has good stuff. Pick up a few thousand of the LARGE PISTOL primers. Some folks say get some magnums, I dunno if I totally agree there but then again, I am NEW. All of my stuff I shot yesterday did not need magnum primers but if you can look at your loads ahead of time they will tell you to use a magnum or not. You can ALWAYS use Large Pistol Primers in other calibers (45 maybe) but magnums I dunno, unless you get freaky calibers. Get 2000 magnums and 3000 LPP primers, mix it up. You have that hazmat fee so it is best to buy a LOT and make it worth it. I think Widners and sons have good prices too but they were out of stuff. Oh yeah, Wolf/Tula primers are good to use as far as I am concerned. A primer is a primer. It is like ford/Chevy. pick yer poison. Wolf/Tula are WAY cheaper then the others.

Midway had good prices on the rainier 240gr leadsafe plated HP but I have been hearing that Lately X-treme bullets is cheaper. I would check them out too.

I see a Lee Modern Reloading manual in your order. REMOVE IT. That is what I got started on and I have had nothing but questions and frustrations and well, let's not get into that here... I also have a Lyman 49th edition and I have heard that the Hornady and Sierra books are really good too. the Lee might be good for a SECOND book JUST to see how they do it but I almost took mine out and shot it the other day. but then I remembered that there are still some printed recipes in it so why would I destroy those? Even though they are out dated and inaccurate they are still recipes... Lee will give you all of the reasons why you should ONLY buy LEE equipment. This is us, this is our gear, oh look at how to reload, buy our stuff... That is the Lee book in one sentence. It has gotten me into MANY arguements because I had questions afterwards. Finally I found out that the secret is to read it from the back to the front. Because it tells you HOW to decipher the loads AFTER it puts them all there for you to read. Not before.

I might be picking up a RCBS 505 scale tomorrow. The problem with many digital scales is that the ones reloaders tend to use are setup for GRAMS and they are good for measuring .01 GRAMS. Yes many convert over to grains but what it means is that there is no such thing as a 23.0 grain load on H110 in 44 mag. Your scale will show it as 23.1 or 22.9 but 23.0 is nonexistent. IF you get a digital scale Just do your research because I got a Smart Reloader SR650 and I am mad that it is not as accurate as I want. Of course a good beam scale like the 505 would be a better choice for load development. If I had to get another digital scale I would try a Jennings JSVG40 because I THINK it has a 20 year warranty but it is accurate to .005 grams which SHOULD translate nicely to .1grains and I am willing to bet that it would be a better scale for someone as paranoid as me. AND it only costs about $80 and all is good...

Kinetic bullet pullers are all about the same. If you can get a local one for $15 it could save you a dollar or two. You might also want to consider getting that 44mag factory crimp die. I have one and I might not need it but I am glad that I DO have it because I think it makes a difference in my crimps. I destroyed a case already on my first 44 mag loads. Not with a factory crimp though. They are looking perty.

Look for a Competition Electronics Pro chrono DIGITAL also. You need that to check your velocities. They are on sale right now at Midway for $99 and you can ALWAYS get a printer or remote for them later on. I LOVE mine even though I am still figuring out how to use it right.

As for brass. Gunbroker has 44 mag brass ALL the time. I picked up 1500 44 mag shells for (once fired) for $240 after shipping. Mainly because I like shiny things though.

The trick to reloading CHEAPLY is to buy in large QUANTITIES. That bad thing is if you decide it is not for you, tell me and I will give you $100.00 for all of your stuff No seriously, the bad thing is that you had better like it if you buy in large quantities cause you are committed at that point. I am now scrounging estate and garage sales for bullets looking for good prices. I got some speer 230gr .45 ashtray hollowpoints yesterday for $7.00 Not bad for 88 of them..

Good luck and have fun. Sorry if I stepped on any toes but if I have a chance to offer MY opinions, then it is just that, my opinions and I am a fully qualified NOOB in the reloading department but I am dialing in my stuff and getting my loads in order...

Last edited by stilly; 04-29-2012 at 6:47 PM..
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2012, 7:10 PM
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A word or two on brass cleaning...

I have a thumler and I use it for wet brass cleaning. If you do not shoot a lot then get the harbor freight special for about $35.00 and use it but I wanted the wet cleaner because I did not want to deal with TOXIC dust and buying cleaning media all the time for super expensive prices (unless you go to a feed store to buy it).

There are some good threads here on cleaning your cases with SS pins and water. I started one

On top of that, if you are like me (and God forbid that you are) you might want to pick up a Lee Hand Press for about $25.00 from midway (that was what mine cost) and get a Lee universal decapping die then use the shellholder from your 44 set on the die to deprime all of your brass.

The mentality is like this, use the decapper in front of your tv or whatever you do at night and deprime your shells that you have collected. Then clean them, then reload them. That way the only press subjected to the dirt is the handpress. Yeah it is a few more dollars but would you rather sit in front of your press with dirty primer pockets or watch tv and get a headstart on them?

I like doing things like that. When I got my thumler it was so easy to just start tossing batches in to be cleaned... MATTER OF FACT, THAT is the ONLY part of reloading that is SOLID and REPEATABLE... I can give you a recipe for cleaning shells with water and pins and it will not matter how long your truck is, how many doors your house has, or how many outlets are in your garage. They will always be nice and clean... Can't say that about loads because there are too many variables.

wow, I will never stop surprising me with the things I think up.



Experienced reloaders the world over are LTAO right now...
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2012, 7:11 PM
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Get a case guage.
In the the 3 die set, does it have the combo seater/crimper die?
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Old 04-29-2012, 7:31 PM
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Ahoy there!

couple of other suggestions:

Check Amazon for some of your supplies. If you do Amazon prime, free for one month, it's saves on shipping.

Digital caliper: Neiko caliper

Reloading manual: Lyman 49th edition

get a case length gauge and lock stud, cutter is included in the anniversary kit, the gauge and holder aren't included.

some bushings. Kit only comes with one.

I like using the balance beam scale. It's a little slow but my loads are very consistent.

As far as using a bucket to catch the spent primers after decapping, the kit comes with a catch tube.

ammo case? maybe? So you can keep tabs of your different reloads.... type of bullet, type of powder, type of casings.... yada,yada,yada.
Or you can just use freezer ziplock bags
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Old 04-29-2012, 7:36 PM
stilly stilly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceflinch View Post
Get a case guage.
In the the 3 die set, does it have the combo seater/crimper die?
I think all of the Lee carbide die sets have the seater/crimper die.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:43 AM
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Starline makes some nice brass, I use nickel plated for my .44 mag and regular brass for my .44 special to make separating the two easier.

Hard to tell from the picture above, but I don't see a primer flip tray in the Lee kit. If it's not there, you'll need it. Oh, and a 2nd load manual is nice as a backup and comparison for both load data and procedures.
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Old 04-30-2012, 7:02 AM
cycle61 cycle61 is offline
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Lee manual removed.

Lyman manual added.

Primer flip tray added.

(2) 2-packs of bushings, case trimmer/lock stud, case length gage, and depriming die added.

I'm up to $227 now.

Thanks for the information on powders and primers, the AA#9 looks like a good way to go. Being able to load lighter is important, as I definitely want to be able to do some .44 special power rounds for my girlfriend to shoot. She's a bit intimidated by the magnums at this point. Hopefully I can find some supplies locally (San Jose/Santa Cruz area) to avoid shipping/hazmat/etc for right now.

I would classify myself as a patient and detail-oriented person, definitely. I've watched some videos on the included beam scale, and I can see getting along with it for a good while. I have good digital calipers already, so that's covered. Regarding case length gauges and trimmers, how necessary are those on rounds being used exclusively in a revolver? My understanding is that many semi-autos are finicky about length, revolvers not so much. Or am I confusing OAL with case length? How much does .44 brass stretch with normal rounds? Do I need a separate crimping die, and should I get the separate de-priming die to keep the sizing die clean? Will my head explode before I figure all this out?

Thanks again.

Last edited by cycle61; 04-30-2012 at 7:16 AM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 7:28 AM
Bill Steele Bill Steele is offline
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When I first bought my RCBS 1010, it came with a factory defect that I was able to address. Until I was totally comfortable with its repeatbility, I used a Lee Perfect Scale to double check my loads. A $20 scale checking a $150 scale's accuracy.

You don't need to trim straight walled handgun brass, it doesn't get longer when sizing. Some guys trim their revolver rounds as a consistent length will yield a more consistent crimp (roll crimp for .44RM). Not needed yet.

You don't need a primer flip tray. When using Lee equipment, anything that requires primers to be flipped comes with a built in flip tray.

Just use you gun to do chamber checks for now.

I like using a separate crimp die, but I do not like the Lee FCD, especially with the larger calibers, like .45 ACP and .44RM. For now, just get the three die set. On a single stage press, crimping while seating will eliminate an extra step. If you find you like reloading and start shooting more, you may decide to move up to a press like a Lee Classic Turret or a progressive, at this time get a crimp die. My recommendation at that time would be to buy a Dillon crimp die from Brian Enos.

Personally, I would leave the Lee book on the list. It has by far the most load data, not critical, unless you happen to get some esoteric weight bullet or powder brand, many times Lee is the only place I have found a starting point for a less than mainstream load. In addition, his information on loading lead is really insightful. I think Lyman is a terrific book, I just wouldn't make it an either/or proposition.

You don't need a separate de-cap die. If you start loading for precision rifle, get one then.

Be conservative when you start out, have fun.
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Last edited by Bill Steele; 04-30-2012 at 7:47 AM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 7:39 AM
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First buy a couple of loading manuals and study up. To make big "as possible" savings you have to shop sales and order from the online warehouses this takes large outlays of $$ to buy bulk but the savings add up in the long run.
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Old 04-30-2012, 7:47 AM
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Since you're loading for revolver (assumed) you don't need a case gauge or worry about overall length. As long as your loaded ammo isn't to long for your cylinder, you're fine.

Use a regular balance scale and a powder measure, set up your powder measure and check it every tenth round.

You might want to try W296 powder as it
meters really smoothly.
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Old 04-30-2012, 8:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle61 View Post
Lee manual removed.

Lyman manual added.

Primer flip tray added.

(2) 2-packs of bushings, case trimmer/lock stud, case length gage, and depriming die added.

I'm up to $227 now.

Thanks for the information on powders and primers, the AA#9 looks like a good way to go. Being able to load lighter is important, as I definitely want to be able to do some .44 special power rounds for my girlfriend to shoot. She's a bit intimidated by the magnums at this point. Hopefully I can find some supplies locally (San Jose/Santa Cruz area) to avoid shipping/hazmat/etc for right now.

I would classify myself as a patient and detail-oriented person, definitely. I've watched some videos on the included beam scale, and I can see getting along with it for a good while. I have good digital calipers already, so that's covered. Regarding case length gauges and trimmers, how necessary are those on rounds being used exclusively in a revolver? My understanding is that many semi-autos are finicky about length, revolvers not so much. Or am I confusing OAL with case length? How much does .44 brass stretch with normal rounds? Do I need a separate crimping die, and should I get the separate de-priming die to keep the sizing die clean? Will my head explode before I figure all this out?

Thanks again.
Well I can pretty much tell you that shooting from a revolver is fun but it will kick a bit more than a Deagle. I was not into reloading when I had my Colt Kodiak. I have heard and read that some folks NEVER really trim their cases. In a revolver the case is usually fully supported by the cylinder and as such it is only when you start having crimp problems and you get really deformed cases which could take a few loads to do. I dunno about the longevity with .44 but so far mine are up to 2+ and they are looking good. Another person I talked to said his .45 shells last for like 20-30+ reloads. Take care of the brass and do not do any CRAZY loads and they will last longer. All of that case checking stuff is like a spare tire though, if you need it it is good to have and what do they cost? a few dollars more?
I think OAL is the cartridge AFTER seating the bullet. Case length is just that, the length of the CASE. WOOHOO! I just got a call from XTREME bullets! $60 shipped for 500 of their 240gr 44 mag FLATPOINTS and they are rated to 1500 FPS! GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! (that is cheaper than my rainier 240gr hp rated at 1250 fps that I paid $71 + shipping from midway for)

Sorry, where were we? With you shooting from a revolver your brass will last a bit longer. My Deagle punishes the brass. He rips it out and throws it against the back wall and when I look at it it has teeth marks on the rim and an extra smack on the head. Last I checked revolvers were more civil.

As far as the powders go. Good for you. I am relying on Bill and bubbapug1 that they have a lot of experience with that AA#9. I have not used it yet but then again, I am on my 90th reloads today to go test the 44 mag out. I can tell you for certain though that AA#7 has good speed but is really soft. I got it to where it did not cycle properly. but in a revolver shooting that load at about 1100 fps your GF should have no problems. AA#9 is prolly right up there slightly above it. The H110 though, EEEDOGGY! I only loaded it up with 23.1gr of that stuff and a max load is supposedly 24 but it depends on the source. I got some 23.6 loaded up for today. Gonna come back with my highbeams on for the rest of the day...

I am torn on the manuals. (no pun intended) I think you should for sure own one or two or three, obviously the more the merrier. HOWEVER, there is a LOT of free information out there also and even though it may not be published and accepted as gospel in a printed media form, when it comes down to it, any errors in the book that YOU follow and blow yourself up with can not be put on them anyways so just compare loads to others and keep that. and do NOT take your Book of Lyman as infalible holy words like I did. I did that because the Book of Lee kinda gave off that vibe. I had to make the sign of the cross and genuflex (sp?) before I opened it up and read any of it. Now it sits by the toilet... To Bill's credit, YES the Book of Lee is like the dictionary of loads and there are a TON of loads in it. That is the ONLY thing that kept me from blasting a hole in mine at the range. But they do not tell you what those loads were tested with and compared to what I have been making they are off. Of course any good chef has many cookbooks and if nothing else they are great for load recipes. Your dies will also come with load recipes and they wil ask you to send a dollar for more I think. Of course it is your money so yes, it is a good thing to keep it on the list BUT just do not read it first. Read the Book of Lyman first. The Book of Lyman has about 1/5 as many loads it seemed but it was not The Book of Lee so I was happy to rebel. I bet a reloading magazine would be cool to have too. Each month they can publish a load data block for specific calibers... That would be cool. There is also a cool place to check out called handloads.com They have GREAT resources there and even cost calculators so you can see what your powder + bullets + brass will end up costing you per shot.

I dunno what kind of student you were but it might be kind of hard to read the how to manuals and NOT do anything. I was kind of pressured by my friend because he wanted to see how to use the press I got but he did not want to sit around and stare at me reading the book so I experimented here and there. I am GLAD that I painfully made my way through all of those chapters though and I even skipped a few on casting and loading for rifles. I figure that I will return when I get there.

I only decap with a hand press because I want CLEAN primer pockets and the last time I checked I tumbled (on accident) shells with spend primers still in them and after letting them sit for a day under the fan and THEN decapping them, there was still water in the primer pockets. Plus with the primers still in it kind of creates a vaccuum and does not let the water just flow out as easily as when there are no primers. This could be an issue with the ss pins sticking inside as well... But it is al up to you, some folks have no problems with dirty primer pockets. It could just be that I am a spent primer phobe...

Okay I am spent (yes pun intended) so now I am gonna go and see if that metal 505 scale is still available. I dunno how old it is but it was rather nice and in the box all wrapped in plastic and all. I am excited about getting an analog scale. (0o0o0o next I will be excited about starting a mid morning fiber routine...)

Have fun.

Last edited by stilly; 04-30-2012 at 8:18 AM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 8:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Steele View Post
...
I like using a separate crimp die, but I do not like the Lee FCD, especially with the larger calibers, like .45 ACP and .44RM. For now, just get the three die set. On a single stage press, crimping while seating will eliminate an extra step. If you find you like reloading and start shooting more, you may decide to move up to a press like a Lee Classic Turret or a progressive, at this time get a crimp die. My recommendation at that time would be to buy a Dillon crimp die from Brian Enos.

...
This is in direct contrast to The Book of Lee in that it states that all of Lee stuff is the best and most reasonable and priced better than all else who oppose.

With that said, why are these other crimp dies better to have then the Lee FCD? Will you please expand upon this answer? I still do not have a clear idea about factory crimp dies except that the Lee will not crush your case like the bullet seater/crimp does and what is the difference between the crimp for the 44mag FCD and the 44mag carbide bullet seater /crimping die ?

I know I was horrified to see that brass case smashed on one side and I NEVER want to do it again.

Last edited by stilly; 04-30-2012 at 1:25 PM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 9:39 AM
Bill Steele Bill Steele is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stilly View Post
This is in direct contrast to The Book of Lee in that it states that all of Lee stuff is the best and most reasonable and priced better than all else who oppose.

With that said, why are these other crimp dies better to have then the Lee FCD? Will you please expand upon this answer? I still do not have a clear idea about factory crimp dies except that the Lee will not crush your case like the bullet seater/crimp does and what is the difference between the crimp for the 44mag FCD and the 44mag carbide bullet seater /crimping die ?

I know I was horrified to see that brass case smashed on one side and I NEVER want to do it again.
Lee makes a lot of claims about the FCD. I have read people claim the FCD will do a consistent roll crimp on revolver rounds regardless of the length of the brass, what a crock.

The thing I don't like about the FCD is the carbide ring at the mouth of the die. This ring will contact the case mouth when loading with headstamps that have slightly thicker brass or when loading lead bullets (.430+ in .44RM), screwing up that area of the round before the crimp portion of the dies gets to the case mouth.

Many like the FCD to size the Glock bulge in brass or to correct sizing errors when loading oversizd bullets in thicker brass headstamps, etc. It is a "bigger hammer" approach to loading. It will assure your round will chamber, but can also make it less accurate.

The claim that it won't crush cases is about the bottle neck rifle version of the FCD. This a completely different design than the handgun version and gets mixed up by many uninformed on the net (guys just parroting what they read from someone else). The LFCD is a terrific crimp die for rifle round use.

The normal Lee sizing die has a tight mouth and will size the glock bulge fine, so using the LFCD to take a Glock bulge out is primarily for use with other brand sizing dies that are designed for progressive presses with radiused mouths.

For me personally, the only nice design feature of the LFCD is the knob on top of the die to adjust crimp. With the dies I prefer, you must loosen the lock ring and screw the die in and out to adjust crimp. That is the only thing I like about the Lee FCD (for handgun rounds).

I think there is more misunderstanding about the FCD than just about anything out there. Most of the misinformation is caused by Lee themselves.

YMMV.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:47 AM
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Is the lee FCD the one that comes with the kit, or an upgraded one sold separately?

I think I mentioned it above, but I'll add: This is going to be for my S&W M29 revolver. Hopefully that helps.

How does one set up a chronograph at a range? I went to Los Altos over the weekend, really enjoyed shooting there much more than I did at the indoor places. Do they let you set up something a few feet in front of the firing line, or ???

Last edited by cycle61; 04-30-2012 at 10:50 AM..
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:54 AM
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The LFCD comes in the Deluxe 4 die set.

Each range has different rules about chrony's. Most indoor ranges don't allow you ahead of the line at any time (hence the trolley for targets), so velocity measurments indoors is less likely.

I use a friend's private land for my chrony testing.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:46 PM
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I emailed Los Altos regarding their chronograph policy. Also picked up a 1# jug of AA#9 and a box of 1,000 large pistol primers at Sportsmen's supply. Prices higher than internet of course, but no shipping or hazmat. Should be enough to get me started, and decide if I'm going to do it enough to order bulk.
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Old 04-30-2012, 1:55 PM
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2400 is the powder for 44mag
http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/2400.aspx
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Old 04-30-2012, 4:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle61 View Post
I emailed Los Altos regarding their chronograph policy. Also picked up a 1# jug of AA#9 and a box of 1,000 large pistol primers at Sportsmen's supply. Prices higher than internet of course, but no shipping or hazmat. Should be enough to get me started, and decide if I'm going to do it enough to order bulk.
Accurate's start load for 240 LSWC is 18.1grs with a max 20.2gr, for jacketed 240gr 17.8gr start and 19.8gr max.

For light target loads for my 6" Model 29, I load 14.5grs under a 240gr LSWC, your girlfriend should like this loading, just a little over 1000fps. I do use magnum primers (Winchester Large Pistol at a minimum) when loading #9.

Have fun.
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Old 04-30-2012, 7:42 PM
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Thanks for starting this thread, found some good info here. As a new reloader of rifle rounds I don't have any amazing technical info to add in regards to pistol reloading. I do agree that having more than one manual is a good idea. A digital scale, in addition to a balance beam, might be nice too.
On a side note: That looks like a midway shopping cart. If you go that route try one of the promo codes here:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...261836&page=15

Good Luck.
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Old 05-01-2012, 6:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Steele View Post
Lee makes a lot of claims about the FCD. I have read people claim the FCD will do a consistent roll crimp on revolver rounds regardless of the length of the brass, what a crock.

The thing I don't like about the FCD is the carbide ring at the mouth of the die. This ring will contact the case mouth when loading with headstamps that have slightly thicker brass or when loading lead bullets (.430+ in .44RM), screwing up that area of the round before the crimp portion of the dies gets to the case mouth.

Many like the FCD to size the Glock bulge in brass or to correct sizing errors when loading oversizd bullets in thicker brass headstamps, etc. It is a "bigger hammer" approach to loading. It will assure your round will chamber, but can also make it less accurate.

The claim that it won't crush cases is about the bottle neck rifle version of the FCD. This a completely different design than the handgun version and gets mixed up by many uninformed on the net (guys just parroting what they read from someone else). The LFCD is a terrific crimp die for rifle round use.

The normal Lee sizing die has a tight mouth and will size the glock bulge fine, so using the LFCD to take a Glock bulge out is primarily for use with other brand sizing dies that are designed for progressive presses with radiused mouths.

For me personally, the only nice design feature of the LFCD is the knob on top of the die to adjust crimp. With the dies I prefer, you must loosen the lock ring and screw the die in and out to adjust crimp. That is the only thing I like about the Lee FCD (for handgun rounds).

I think there is more misunderstanding about the FCD than just about anything out there. Most of the misinformation is caused by Lee themselves.

YMMV.
Know what? I actually understand all that you are saying about this. This is either sad or impressive to me. Well, it can't be sad because this is stuff that we should know as reloaders so it must be an impressively good thing. I have suspicions (sp?) about the dies altogether and what you are saying is an annoyance for alot of cast lead shooters prolly who like to have an oversized lead bullet on top so that they get that nice seal and reduce the leading in their barrel. Yes? Those that do not want to shoot with gas checks or jacketed or plated cause they are shooting cowboy cheap. As far as die construction, I have never looked underneath the skirts of any of my dies except the universal decapper after I broke the third pin trying to decap a berdan .30-06 shell that was TOLD to be just military crimped... No, it was berdan, not crimped. After looking at those enos and dillon dies, I think they are cool in that you can drop out the insides for cleaning with just a cotter pin or whatever and they hold their adjustment. That is great, but they are also what about $63 EACH? Yeah, Lee makes it tough to buy other dies when they price theirs so low. I had already bought an FCD for the 44mag and the 9mm. I will proceed with caution.
I only bought it for the 44 mag because I wanted to know that as a noob I am doing the most that I can do to have a fully functioning round at the end of the day. BUT, I still do not know that much about crimping. The lee die crimps AND seats the bullet or sizes and crimps depending on which you get. I am going to guess that ALL of the lee bullet seating dies crimp as long as you drop the die down more and then adjust the bullet seating depth with the knob on the top. THAT is my hypothesis based on what I have seen.
Sorry, I ran off on a tangent again...

It is funny that you say that the Lee sizing die will remove the glock bulge. I ALMOST bought one of those Redding RX dies for the 40 cal because of all of the 40 cal that I pick up and the Lee literature never addressed the issue that people have with 40 cal unsupported chambers. So then why Lee makes no mention is odd to me but why do all of those other folks rush out to buy those bulge busting die kits for $35+ when they can just get a Lee sizing die in the set for $10 less? Makes no sense. (said the pot to the kettle) And to think that I was going to get one when I started loading .40. LoL. Glad I waited.

Anyways, good stuff to know. I heard that some folks opened up that carbide ring or removed it altogether and just use the die to crimp, but how would that be any different then a regular crimp from their lee bullet seating die? Heh...

Mr. cycle61: If you ever want to add a factory crimp die later on you can always buy them for about $13-$20 by themselves. There is a killer website that is called fsreloading.com. IF you have the urge to buy anymore LEE stuff, check them out. They have some of the best prices on dies of course we all have our opinions of dies as you can see and mine has been steadily reduced to lee dies are GREAT for beginners (like me!) but certainly do your research.

OMG those balance beam scales are SWEET! I was able to crank out about a round per 40 seconds last night when I was reloading my 44 loads to test again. I picked up an rcbs powder trickler and that 505 scale was easily dialed in (despite that it was missing a pan) and loading things to an EXACT amount is awesomely easy now. For load development they can not be beat except by one of those cool auto dispensing scales that cost about 4 times as much...

Last edited by stilly; 05-01-2012 at 7:02 AM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 7:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeb View Post
#$^%#$!!!!!

Now I have to get a LB of AA#9 AND 2400 in my next order. OH I am collecting powder bottles AND brass now...

I am thinking out loud on this one BUT, I see they have a load there for:
210gr Gold Dot
23.5 gr
velocity about 1566

Based on what I have read I should be able to substitute:
200gr Plated Xtreme (now rated to 1500 fps!)
23.0 gr
Velocity expected about 1300-1400

Yes? Anyone wanna check my math? I am almost guessing on the velocity based on powders and stuff.

Have you used 2400 in any 44 mag loads? Any other powders? How have they performed/contrasted to each other?
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Old 05-01-2012, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
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....That is great, but they are also what about $63 EACH? Yeah, Lee makes it tough to buy other dies when they price theirs so low. I had already bought an FCD for the 44mag and the 9mm. I will proceed with caution.

Lee dies work fine, I am just not a big fan of the FCD for handgun. I prefer Dillon, but they cost 50% more, for some people that is too much, I totally understand.

Anyways, good stuff to know. I heard that some folks opened up that carbide ring or removed it altogether and just use the die to crimp, but how would that be any different then a regular crimp from their lee bullet seating die? Heh...

If you remove the carbide sizing ring from your FCD, the collar that does the crimp will just fall out. The ring holds the adjustable collar that is the crimper. Reaming it out would probably result in a dull reamer.
Finer points in bold.
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Old 05-01-2012, 7:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Steele View Post
Finer points in bold.
Interesting. I think I had seen that some had reamed (maybe one in the discussion) but others talked about removing it somehow. Maybe just grinding it down or whatever.

Nonetheless, I have all my dies so I can afford to replace one here or there with a dillon to see the difference.

BUT, if I happen to walk into China Harbor and find those same dies for $9.99 each I am gonna be a bit upset.

Last edited by stilly; 05-01-2012 at 2:20 PM..
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Old 05-01-2012, 8:50 AM
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I was using a Lee FCD for 45 ACP. It needed lots of experimenting to get it somewhat right. Then a strange thing was happening when using it. I could feel a strong "bump", both on the way in and out. It also needed a stronger press of the lever to crimp. It worked, but I wasn't happy.

I followed Bill's advice about getting the Dillon die and the difference is literally night and day. The crimping stage is so much smoother; initially I was thinking that it failed to crimp, that's how much smoother it was. Even after reloading about 500 rounds with it I'm still surprised when I crimp. All the other Lee dies are good. I don't know if this is everyone's experience, but it was mine.
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Old 05-01-2012, 2:22 PM
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Yeah that bump might be the sizing die dropping down over it all? I want to try those Dillons now. I might have to stand on the side of the freeway holding a sign that says: Will work for a Dillon crimping die!
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Old 05-01-2012, 2:49 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah that bump might be the sizing die dropping down over it all?
Not sure exactly what you mean, but that bump was definitely caused by the FCD. And I had cleaned it, there were no shavings in there, or who knows what else... Many use it successfully though, so it's not all that bad. However, I wouldn't go back to it after the Dillon.
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Old 11-29-2012, 9:23 AM
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So I completely forgot about this thread last week when I bought my press at Cabelas' in Oregon. Ended up with the Lee Breech Lock Anniversary kit, so scale, powder thrower, primer feed thingy and press are all there. Picked up a Lyman 1200 tumbler since it was only $10 more than a bag of brass, and ordered the Lee Manual off Midway for $12. First round of about 100 cases have been tumbled (dusty, have to move that operation to the garage or cover it somehow), sorted, deprimed/resized, and now primed as of last night. Interesting how different the various brands of brass feel (I have about 45 each of S&B and Magtech) during each step. The S&B seem thinner, and were notably harder to resize since I'm assuming they stretched more when fired. They were also more difficult to seat the new primers, and three of them actually went in crooked and got bent.

The press is not mounted as securely as I like, so that may have something to do with it. I have an 8x8" piece of 3/8" aluminum plate that will be drilled and tapped for the mounting bolts, 1/4" bolts into an OSB desktop will have to suffuce.

I have a pound each of Accurate #9 and Trail Boss, and a box of Hornady cast lead 240gr SWC bullets. Apparently the Hornady bullets don't like magnum velocities, and the #9 shouldn't be loaded light, so I'm going to load the first couple rounds with Trail Boss powder and get the feel for some light loads that both my gf and I can practice with easily.

Tonight will be charging the cases and setting/crimping bullets, I'm excited to finally have my first home made ammo!

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:05 AM
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Looks great.... Congrats and good luck!
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Old 11-29-2012, 6:44 PM
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My advice... stay away from digital anything. Get an analog scale and micrometer. Digital just leads to trouble.
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Old 11-29-2012, 7:39 PM
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I have a digital micrometer, but the scale is the analog Lee safety scale. Powder dispenser was definitely finicky with the bulky Trail Boss powder. Had to tap in on the side on both the up and down strokes to get a repeatable charge. Ended up weighing 100% of them to make sure, never saw a variance of more than a tenth of a grain once I got the technique a little more sorted out.

And the first press with the bullet seating die, well... Manual didn't really specify to screw it ALL THE WAY OUT before testing. Oops. Ignore that little guy in the corner.

OAL length is 1.625" +/- 0.002, fits easily in the revolver and didn't look like it was going to compress the powder at all.

Here's 8 different loads, 5 rounds each, from 6.0 to 7.3 grains, heading to the range tomorrow to see how they do.


Last edited by cycle61; 11-29-2012 at 7:41 PM..
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:54 PM
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7.0 grains, definite winner.



Zero FTF or any other problems across the whole set. The 6.0 gr loads went through the paper sideways, I'm assuming too slow to get a good spin in the rifling, and some of the loads grouped okay but had 1-2 inexplicable flyers several inches away from the other impact points.

Figure I'll load up a bunch of these at 7.0gr and give them a more thorough run. Recoil and muzzle blast was nice and mild, a little more than the .44 specials we tried last month, and certainly within the range that'll be comfortable for both of us to practice with.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:16 PM
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I loaded 500 rounds of 45acp with my lfc and it worked flawless ...different strokes i geuss cause i love it
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Old 12-02-2012, 2:58 AM
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Quote:
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Hopefully I can find some supplies locally (San Jose/Santa Cruz area) to avoid shipping/hazmat/etc for right now.
Markleys in Watsonville has components, and from what I've bought there the prices are decent.

Eta: didn't realize thread was old and you've obviously already got everything.

Last edited by mroels; 12-02-2012 at 3:02 AM..
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Old 12-02-2012, 3:51 PM
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Default Lee Factory Crimp Die

I would also add Lee factory crimp die to the list. I find the the seating/crimping die sometimes damages the casing, set the seatting die a little higher so it does not crimp them crimp in a separately. For my pistols & 7.62x39 I been using a Lee 4 hole turret press w/ auto indexing and find that it make reloading less of a hassle changing out dies.
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Old 12-02-2012, 8:04 PM
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Markleys in Watsonville has components, and from what I've bought there the prices are decent.

Eta: didn't realize thread was old and you've obviously already got everything.
Sorry about the old thread bump, I actually found it again after asking a bunch of questions in another thread. I'll check Markleys next time I'm down that way. Still keeping an eye out for decently priced local supplies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moyneur View Post
I would also add Lee factory crimp die to the list. I find the the seating/crimping die sometimes damages the casing, set the seatting die a little higher so it does not crimp them crimp in a separately. For my pistols & 7.62x39 I been using a Lee 4 hole turret press w/ auto indexing and find that it make reloading less of a hassle changing out dies.
Turret press may be in my near future, but I'm taking it one stage at a time right now.

I really wasn't sure how to tell if the rounds I made were adequately crimped. With the higher powered ones, I fired 3-4 of the set, unloaded the last two, and checked to see if OAL had changed. Any definite way of determining how much crimp to put on them, or is it again trial and error?
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:00 PM
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Loaded up 100 of them with the 7.0 grain load. Mixed headstamps this time, from a batch of brass I bought here on CG. The slight differences in case length visibly affect how much of a crimp the Lee die puts on them. It'll be interesting to see if they shoot differently.

Should I be trimming my brass, at least the first time, to get a consistent case length?
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