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Ammo and Reloading Factory Ammunition, Reloading, Components, Load Data and more.

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  #1  
Old 07-01-2008, 10:17 PM
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Default Reloading 101

Handgun Reloading 101

Being new to the Forum, I have been reading and posting all over. After visiting the “Ammo and Reloading” section I thought, with the price of supplies going up, up, up we should consider reloading more.
I started in 1989, to save a couple of dollars. At that time you could reload .38 special 148 grain Hollow base Wad cutters for 3 or 4 cents a round.
With the possibility of more oppressive and restrictive laws and the certainty of higher prices I think those who do not reload should consider it.

I’ve gathered a few beginner level kits and necessary components from various websites and compiled them here along with links to a number of suppliers. If you are interested in starting reloading as a hobby, or just to shoot cheap, click the links below for info and pricing.
The items below are the most basic, as you search you will find many other “must have” items. I promise you’ll get “Hooked”. Have Fun.




Pictured above (from lf to rt-Top bottom)

Lee Basic Reloading Kit, Lyman Reloading Kit, Lee Challenger Reloading Kit.
Next a RCBS Accessories Kit, and the Lyman Pistol and Revolver Reloading Guide. A Manual or Guide is a must have. There are many Reloading manuals out there with the formulas for darn near every round ever made, and a RCBS Reloading Kit.

These are all Single Stage Press Kits, (manual, one step at a time) for handgun this will usually mean four steps. These items are specifically for Handgun although some will reload small rifle calibers like.223 and .30 carbine as well as others.

Moving down there’s Large Pistol Primers, a 4-die set (handgun) each caliber has it’s own set. Some die sets will do double duty with proper adjustment. I have used 9mm dies to load .380, 44-40 dies for .40SW, .45 dies will do .45 ACP.45 LC, and .45 Auto Rim, and of course .38/. 357 will share the same set.
To the right of the die set we have Small Pistol primers. The reloading Manuals tell you which to use for a specific load/handgun. The other pictured items are Bullets, Powders and Brass, Primed and unprimed

With the right combination of these components you can assemble quality Ammo. You will find and be directed to the more expensive “Progressive Press”, a fine piece of equipment, fast and reliable for the most part. However if you are a newbie, I think single stage is best. Single stage is slower making you pay more attention to the loading process, the “walk before you crawl” school of thought.

I will not provide step-by-step instructions for the Reloading of Handgun Ammo here; this is info only for the curious. I will however tell you the FIRST step; Buy a Reloading Manual and read it.
I bought my first kit from Siegel’s in Oakland on Lay-Away and was given the Manual with my Down Payment. I was told to read until I paid it off ($125.00) so I wouldn’t “Blow myself up. I bought a RCBS Partner jr. kit and I still have and use it. I do one stage a day as time permits, on rainy days I can do 50 or so rounds in an hour. That gives me 100-200 rounds for the weekend shoot.
Go to your favorite Store, buy a Manual, give it a read, or search the “net” for “Reloading” there are links below.
After you get the fever and buy that “Dillon Progressive” you’ll be cranking out a 100+ complete rounds an hour, here are some Product Links
www.midwayusa.com
www.dillonprecision.com
www.rcbs.com/
www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/
www.leeprecision.com/
www.nosler.com/
www.reloadbench.com/
www.alliantpowder.com/
www.wideners.com/
www.saami.org/
National Reloading Manufacturers Association
www.cabelas.com

Recommended Products for the Beginning Reloader
(Rifle & Pistol)
Most of these Items will come with a Kit. You can mix brands and take advantage of product sales. Shop Around for the Best Deals!
Not included; Dies, Powder, Primers, Bullets and Brass

1.Reloading Manual: Accurate Arms, A-Square, Barnes, Hodgdon, Hornady, Lapua, Lee, Lyman, Nosler, Sierra, SPG, Speer and Vihtavouri.
2.Press: Single Stage, Turret or Progressive
3.Dies
4.Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them)
5.Case Tumbler: Media, Polish, Sifter, Bucket and Clear Lid
6.Loading Block (caliber specific)
7.Case Lube (you won't need if using carbide dies)
8.Case Neck Brush
9.Dial Calipers: Stainless Steel or Electronic
10.Case Trimmer
11.Deburring Tool
12.Primer Pocket Clean
13.Primer Tray
14.Priming Tool (if the press doesn't come with a primer attachment)
15.Powder Scale
16.Powder Funnel
17.Powder Trickler

Recommended Products for the Beginning Reloader

Recommended Products for the Beginning Reloader
(Rifle & Pistol)
Most of these Items will come with a Kit. You can mix brands and take advantage of product sales. Shop Around for the Best Deals!
Not included; Dies, Powder, Primers, Bullets and Brass

1.Reloading Manual: Accurate Arms, A-Square, Barnes, Hodgdon, Hornady, Lapua, Lee, Lyman, Nosler, Sierra, SPG, Speer and Vihtavouri.
2.Press: Single Stage, Turret or Progressive
3.Dies
4.Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them)
5.Case Tumbler: Media, Polish, Sifter, Bucket and Clear Lid
6.Loading Block (caliber specific)
7.Case Lube (you won't need if using carbide dies)
8.Case Neck Brush
9.Dial Calipers: Stainless Steel or Electronic
10.Case Trimmer
11.Deburring Tool
12.Primer Pocket Clean
13.Primer Tray
14.Priming Tool (if the press doesn't come with a primer attachment)
15.Powder Scale
16.Powder Funnel
17.Powder Trickler
18.Powder Measure (nice for faster powder charges)
19.Bullet Puller
20.Plastic Ammo boxes and labels
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Last edited by depmac983ret; 07-01-2008 at 10:21 PM.. Reason: correction
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2008, 10:25 PM
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Mac asked if he could post this starter guide here - I gladly agreed, as a means to help build up our community of knowledge.

If you find this guide useful, please let us know by posting here. I'll sticky this for now and monitor replies on this.

Thanks-
Turby
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:34 PM
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Wow thanks I have been looking into this a lot lately, lots of info I have learned and more in one post!
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Old 07-02-2008, 1:25 PM
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It's great I wish someone did this a year ago.
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Old 07-02-2008, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rue View Post
It's great I wish someone did this a year ago.
The thing is, no one should have to do this. RCBS has a step-by-step reloading instructional for free on their website. All you have to do is read how to reload, then from there you can figure out what equipment you need to buy. There are tons of manuals out there that teach reloading. The NRA book is excellent and is only $10 or so.

The problem with trying to write-up an intro to reloading is that it's already been done via the reloading manuals out there.

Just because it's not on Calguns, doesn't mean the information is not out there, already published.
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Old 07-02-2008, 6:17 PM
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Ocabj. As I said in my post info is out there. What I was hoping for was an increased interest in Reloading among us Calgunners. I have seen postings on the Forum of fellow members trying to find the cheapest prices on ammo. I also state that California law is actively trying to restrict and control ammo sales and aquisition by private citizens. Maybe I should have titled my thread : when SHTF and You CAN'T BUY AMMO, here's what you should know how to do. Reloading is a fun hobby and I thought I could stir up some folks that might want to give it a try. There's more subjects for discussion here than OLL's and WTS/WTT. Give the thread a Chance before you slam it. I'll bet if you posted Reloading info from your wealth of knowledge, Calgunners would want to hear from you because YOU are one of US, someone we can trust.
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Last edited by depmac983ret; 07-02-2008 at 6:19 PM.. Reason: add text
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Old 07-02-2008, 9:15 PM
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As the mod who sticky'ed this, I would like to ask that we keep the comments constructive. Compliments are fine.

I am aware that this information exists - I personally own several reloading resources, hardcopy. However, I am also aware that many people today don't sit down to read paper any more - they prefer to read it online.

If you think about it, much of what we talk about on Calguns is not new at all - shooting tips, ammo selection, stopping power, etc.. all of it has been hashed over somewhere, whether it be in American Rifleman, Shotgun News, American Handgunner, or even Guns & Ammo. Yet, we still enjoy exchanging ideas and pontificating upon the same old subjects. Why? It's fun! It's our hobby, and we enjoy it even if we are covering the same thing 100 times.

Let's get back to focusing on the important thing - does this post help our community? I personally think so.

Turby
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Old 07-03-2008, 7:07 AM
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Thanks Turby
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Old 07-03-2008, 9:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Turbinator View Post
Compliments are fine.
Glad to hear that, because this is a great idea, and having this info in one sticky might save some of the repeat questions. Thanks for taking your time to help educate those of us who are at the beginning of the learning curve...
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Old 07-03-2008, 9:14 AM
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If you can pull a slot machine arm, you can reload.
In super simplified terms, reloading is only a matter of pulling the press handle a few times per cartridge to re-size the case, remove the primer, install a new primer, put powder in the case and seat a new bullet.
Of course there's a whole bunch of details, but those are nothing more than guidelines and methods of doing things.
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Old 07-03-2008, 9:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
If you can pull a slot machine arm, you can reload.
And actually it's better than playing a slot machine, 'cuz every time you pull the handle, you get something out of the machine!!

Turby
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Old 07-03-2008, 9:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbinator View Post
And actually it's better than playing a slot machine, 'cuz every time you pull the handle, you get something out of the machine!!
This is even better:



Up to 4400 rounds per hour.

http://camdexloader.com/2100Pistol.aspx
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:34 PM
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Once you go dillon you rarely ever go back.



http://www.dillonprecision.com
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ivanimal View Post
Once you go dillon you rarely ever go back.
If you twist my arm, I'll post the picture of my reloading bench...




































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Old 07-03-2008, 10:45 PM
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Old 07-13-2008, 10:36 AM
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Great thread. The wheels for reloading are just starting to turn in my head. For what its worth,

Thanks... To Writer and Mod


Now, I am a strong believer in buy good and buy once. Is this the Dilon setup? I plan on reloading .308 and .223... Probally .45 as well down the line
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Old 07-13-2008, 1:51 PM
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Great thread. The wheels for reloading are just starting to turn in my head. For what its worth,

Thanks... To Writer and Mod
You're absolutely welcome, thanks to depmac983ret for writing this up in the first place.

Quote:
Now, I am a strong believer in buy good and buy once. Is this the Dilon setup? I plan on reloading .308 and .223... Probally .45 as well down the line
Dillon has my vote. I am biased becauase I've owned a Dillon Square Deal B for over 10 years now, and it is still going strong as ever. I did break a primer feed return spring once, and they sent me 3 of them for free batched with an order I was placing at the time.

You'll see it quoted elsewhere here as well, they have and will rebuild used Dillon reloaders for you for free, even if you aren't the first or original owner of the unit. I believe this coverage does *not* apply to the Super 1050 as this model is more geared towards commercial reloaders, or individuals interested in mass production of ammo.

Even their lowest cost pistol ammo progressive press (the Square Deal B) gets you cranking out rounds at a rate faster than you could probably use them up.. unless you're a serious competitor, in which case I'd figure you would have started reloading a long time ago and you'd already know the value of reloading and Dillon.

For the calibers you state above, rifle calibers, I think you'll find a lot of people here recommending the 650 - I have not personally used one but I would concur here, the 650 isn't the cheapest but it is very versatile and can do all the major calibers you'd probably be shooting.

Once you get started, it's hard to stop.. it's addicting and the ability to fine tune your ammo loads to your own needs is just fantastic. You'll also find yourself chasing every single piece of brass, if you're like me.. sometimes I feel like a tightwad, hunting down every last piece of my spent brass in the dirt or at the indoor range.

Turby
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Old 07-15-2008, 7:54 PM
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I want to see Randall's bench as well.
Webhost is down.
I got an email today that their main switch went down last night and won't be back up until tomorrow morning.
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Old 07-16-2008, 9:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
If you twist my arm, I'll post the picture of my reloading bench...





So I have to ask, what are your impressions of the case trimmer? Do you feel that it sizes and trims the brass to a high degree? I just got one to do a mass sizing and trimming of .223 and would appreciate any feedback or tips.

Thanks,
Shon
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Old 07-16-2008, 9:07 AM
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So I have to ask, what are your impressions of the case trimmer? Do you feel that it sizes and trims the brass to a high degree? I just got one to do a mass sizing and trimming of .223 and would appreciate any feedback or tips.

Thanks,
Shon
When combined with a 650 with a casefeeder, the Dillon trimmer is the fastest way possible to size and trim large amounts of 223.

I run an RCBS lube die to decap and lube the cases.
I had to modify it to have a larger lube capacity otherwise you have to stop every 100 rounds and add lube to it.



Search "dillon trimmer" and you will find more specifics on how I do it.
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Old 07-16-2008, 9:50 AM
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Thanks for the info.
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Originally Posted by Walter Sobchak
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Old 08-24-2008, 2:46 PM
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Do most people reload these days for the customized loads or to save money on the rounds themselves? Also, if you decide to sell your reloads are you considered an Ammo Manufacturer and then have to get a special license for it? What can one expect to spend on a good setup to make a few hundred rounds per day spending maybe 2-3 hours per day doing it? Or is this just unrealistic? I'm interested in making .223s 7.62x39m, 9mm, .45ACP, and 30-06, and perhaps even .308. From what I've read so far the different bullets sizes all are the same process but with different die sizes for the sizing of the cases, etc... Not sure if this belongs in the 101, feel free to move this post if it doesn't belong in this thread.

Thanks,
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Old 08-24-2008, 3:05 PM
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Originally Posted by djbooya View Post
Do most people reload these days for the customized loads or to save money on the rounds themselves? Also, if you decide to sell your reloads are you considered an Ammo Manufacturer and then have to get a special license for it? What can one expect to spend on a good setup to make a few hundred rounds per day spending maybe 2-3 hours per day doing it? Or is this just unrealistic? I'm interested in making .223s 7.62x39m, 9mm, .45ACP, and 30-06, and perhaps even .308. From what I've read so far the different bullets sizes all are the same process but with different die sizes for the sizing of the cases, etc... Not sure if this belongs in the 101, feel free to move this post if it doesn't belong in this thread.

Thanks,

The Reasons to reload are:

1. Better quality ammo, ammo can be tailored to your gun
2. Save money

In order to sell your reloads you would need to be licensed as an ammo manufacture

Depending on what setup you went with you could spend from a few hundred to over a $1000 to get setup. I just spent about $500 getting set up with a Rock Chucker press, die for 3 calibers, scale, tumbler and a few other accessories.
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Old 08-31-2008, 4:56 PM
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Default Lee Classic Reloader

would anyone here suggest the Lee Classic Reloader kit for a first-time reloader? besides the physical workout & noise, what's the upside to spending over $100 for a big fancy setup as opposed to $19 for the Lee Classic. i understand that other implements are necessary, such as case trimmer, tumbler, etc. all thoughts welcome. this is in reference to .308 Winchester, if that makes any difference.
ed
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Old 09-03-2008, 7:41 AM
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Originally Posted by edfitzfish View Post
would anyone here suggest the Lee Classic Reloader kit for a first-time reloader? besides the physical workout & noise, what's the upside to spending over $100 for a big fancy setup as opposed to $19 for the Lee Classic. i understand that other implements are necessary, such as case trimmer, tumbler, etc. all thoughts welcome. this is in reference to .308 Winchester, if that makes any difference.
ed
In addition to owning a Dillon Square Deal B, I also own a Lee single stage - I think this is the classic you are referring to.

As a single stage, you'll need to change the dies every time you want to change operations. In a progressive press, you're going to save a lot of time, and possibly aggravation and frustration, because you won't need to change the dies at all if you are reloading a single caliber.

You can crank out many more rounds on a progressive than you can on a single stage, given the same amount of time. The speed overall given the time savings on the die changes and the simple repetitive motion used on a progressive gives you a tremendous efficiency advantage over a single stage.

The quality of the Lee single stage is ok, but it is not close to the feel and operation of the Dillon reloader. Both use cast metal, but the Lee cast metal just feels cheaper. The handle motion isn't smooth and easy, as it is on the Dillon.

You could effectively reload on a Lee - but if you want to get started, my suggestion is to get started at least with a progressive, and my bias is towards Dillon. You'll have so much fun reloading your own rounds, that it won't feel like a chore and you'll actually look forward to each session.

In my humble opinion, it's worth the money to save for a progressive and years later, you'll not need to upgrade to anything. If you start with a Lee single stage, you'll always keep thinking that one day you'll upgrade to a full progressive press.

Turby

Last edited by Turbinator; 09-15-2008 at 3:45 PM..
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Old 09-09-2008, 9:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
If you twist my arm, I'll post the picture of my reloading bench...


Do you need a part timer to help you reload.
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Old 09-09-2008, 9:46 AM
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apparently he likes blue
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Old 09-09-2008, 9:58 AM
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apparently he likes blue
I have a couple red presses too.
A Pacific 007 in my old shop and then a CH Tool Turret and a Lee Classic Cast.
I bought the Lee to load 50bmg, but it's really too short for that.
It does ok for sizing rifle cartridges so I leave it mounted to a piece of 2x12 and clamp that the the table out in the yard when I need to use it.
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Old 09-15-2008, 3:01 PM
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I keep reading about Dillion and Lee preses, I was debating on purchasing a Hornady LNL progressive press. What is everyone's opinion on that press comparison to the Dillion and Lee.
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Old 09-15-2008, 3:04 PM
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I keep reading about Dillion and Lee preses, I was debating on purchasing a Hornady LNL progressive press. What is everyone's opinion on that press comparison to the Dillion and Lee.
Better than a lee, not as good as a dillon.
Priced accordingly.

The vast majority of competetive shooters use dillon and have for a LONG time,
well before the internet was the source of information that it is today.

There are 4 kinds of Dillon users:
those that started with a lee,
those that started with an RCBS,
those that started with a Hornady
and those that started with a Dillon.
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Old 09-15-2008, 3:30 PM
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Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-15-2008, 3:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
There are 4 kinds of Dillon users:
those that started with a lee,
those that started with an RCBS,
those that started with a Hornady
and those that started with a Dillon.
I like that quote.

Turby
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Old 09-15-2008, 9:14 PM
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I like that quote.
I didn't add that you will rarely find someone that's used a dillon and then actually goes to another brand...
People tend to settle into dillon for the long haul.
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Old 09-15-2008, 9:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
I didn't add that you will rarely find someone that's used a dillon and then actually goes to another brand...
People tend to settle into dillon for the long haul.
I was reading about the Dillon Square B and it seems like it only loads pistol calibers. What do people use with the Dillon line to load rifle rounds?
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Old 09-15-2008, 9:40 PM
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I was reading about the Dillon Square B and it seems like it only loads pistol calibers. What do people use with the Dillon line to load rifle rounds?
The square deal is the orphan child.
It only loads pistol cartridges and it uses funky dies.
Most people that have them have one dedicated to each cartridge and leave them setup.

Start looking at the 550 and 650.
Both work with rifle length cartridges and take normal dies.
The 550 is manual advance and can take a casefeeder for pistol cartridges only.
The 650 is auto advance (can also be run manual advance too) and will accept a casefeeder that fits pistol or rifle cartridges.
The 650 is a significant upgrade from the 550 for several reasons: auto advance, rifle casefeeder and powder check station.
The combination of auto advance and a powder check station makes it almost impossible to load a squib or double charge a case.
It's much easier to do that on a 550 if you are not watching what you are doing.

I whole-heartedly recommend starting with the 650.
The initial cost is higher, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
I started with a 550 and now wish I had started with a 650.

I can tell you all about dillon presses as I own more than a couple.
One 450, three 550's, two 650's and two 1050's.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
The square deal is the orphan child.
It only loads pistol cartridges and it uses funky dies.
Most people that have them have one dedicated to each cartridge and leave them setup.

Start looking at the 550 and 650.
Both work with rifle length cartridges and take normal dies.
The 550 is manual advance and can take a casefeeder for pistol cartridges only.
The 650 is auto advance (can also be run manual advance too) and will accept a casefeeder that fits pistol or rifle cartridges.
The 650 is a significant upgrade from the 550 for several reasons: auto advance, rifle casefeeder and powder check station.
The combination of auto advance and a powder check station makes it almost impossible to load a squib or double charge a case.
It's much easier to do that on a 550 if you are not watching what you are doing.

I whole-heartedly recommend starting with the 650.
The initial cost is higher, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
I started with a 550 and now wish I had started with a 650.

I can tell you all about dillon presses as I own more than a couple.
One 450, three 550's, two 650's and two 1050's.
I've been reading up on Dillon's now. Where's the best place to buy? From a local shop or am I better off from a shop online? I'm planning to do lots of loading over time... is a 650 recommended for someone who hasn't done any reloading? I've been reading up about it with the Speer #14 book and of course will read the manual on the 650 and do like the fact that you mentioned it almost guarantees no squibs / double loads. I don't mind investing the money up front since I've already spend about $1000 on rounds in the past 2 months alone... I'll be recouping my investment in the next 12 months easy..not counting the money I'll make back by selling loads to my family / friends.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:51 PM
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I've been reading up on Dillon's now. Where's the best place to buy?
I'll be recouping my investment in the next 12 months easy..not counting the money I'll make back by selling loads to my family / friends.
First, you should not make ammo for anyone else.
Selling reloads is actually illegal if you don't have an ammo manufacturing license.

You can start on a 650, just disable the auto advance and run it as a turret press.
Load one case at a time, moving it through each station.
Once you get comfortable with what's going on, start running two and then three cases through the press at a time.
Before you know it, you will be running fully progressive and you can hook up the auto advance again.

Order your dillon press through eguns.com
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
First, you should not make ammo for anyone else.
Selling reloads is actually illegal if you don't have an ammo manufacturing license.
He is right, you could however still allow your family/friends to use your press. You could still charge them a per round fee for the usage of your press. Just a thought.
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Old 11-07-2008, 5:37 PM
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So from what I've read so far, no one is using the RCBS or you think it is not a good one.
I just bought one and feel that it is a good set-up or am I just miss informed?
If you are using this set-up ( I haven't got it up and working yet) how many rounds do you get an hour? and what problems do you have or not have?
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Old 11-09-2008, 5:32 AM
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I use RCBS! I still use a RCBS Single Stage "Pardner Press" I prefer the hobbiest approach. I prep cases up to the last step (powder, bullet). I work one caliber @ a time when I prep. I've done this since 1989 I do 100-200 a night, (wife stays away), she won't come near to "Gun stuff",
I now have over 2000 rounds of ready to go ammo in six pistol calibers, .223. and 30 Carbine. That's over 2000 rnds of EACH caliber all done on my RCBS press with RCBS dies, never had a problem.
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