Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

Exchange tips and ask for help about reloading your favorite round

Moderators: Inquisitor, admin, ForumModerator, WebsiteContent

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
cooper
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:40 pm
Contact:

Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#1 Post by cooper » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:00 pm

I've decided to begin reloading this year. I sort of get this way with hobbies. When my first reloading equipment arrived and I told my wife what I was doing, she said, "Of course you are."

Anyway. Here's what I've done so far. I read through the "Getting started in reloading" thread (thanks shinzen). I bought the Lee Manual a few months ago and started working my way through it. I wasn't going to order anything until I got through it all, but I've since then watched loading components and equipment evaporate from the face of the earth. Who would have seen that coming? :rolleyes: So, I'm ordering what I can while I can. I've got brass, so I guess I'll spend time getting that ready while I look for other components.

The centerfire guns I shoot and will load for:
- Ruger Blackhawk 357 magnum, 6.5" barrel.
- Marlin 1894c 357 magnum.
- Rock Island 1911 45 ACP.

The plan is to start with reloading 357 magnum and 38 special, then eventually 45 ACP.

I don't have a place to set up permanently, so I'm going with a hand press for now. Here's my setup so far:
- Lee Breech Lock Hand Press Kit (includes Hand Press, Ram Prime Unit, Powder Funnel, Resizing Lube and one Breech Lock Quick Change Bushing).
- Lee Deluxe Carbide 4-Die Set.
- National Metallic Digital Caliper 6" Stainless Steel.
- Lee Improved Powder Measure Kit.
- Lee Safety Balance Beam Mechanical Powder Scale 100 Grain Capacity.
- Lee Breech Lock Quick Change Bushings Package of 2. Another forum said I would need this.

Everything has arrived already, except for the hand press, which is backordered and supposed to arrive in February (we'll see).

So here are the questions:
- What else do I need (besides components -- brass, bullets, powder, and primers)?
- Any recommendations for components? Specifically primers which seem impossible to find.
- I've got some brass that I gathered and have been keeping clean and dry, so I'll start with this. I've also got some brass that I was lazy with and has been outside in a bucket for a couple months and is now full of snow--do I need to throw this away, or is it usable?
- Any recommendations for cleaning brass? A tumbler I guess, but there's a million of them.
- Should I avoid loading 38 special and just load down 357 magnum to 38 special levels? I've seen this recommended to avoid buildup in the chamber / barrel. I like to shoot 38 special from my revolver and 357 from my carbine.

Any advice appreciated. I'm a cautious guy. Very cautious. So any thoughts on safety especially appreciated.

User avatar
Mason
Moderator
Posts: 8280
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:27 am
Location: Hampton, Virginia
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#2 Post by Mason » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:20 pm

A set of dippers and trickler can speed things up.

Buy any primer that meets specs right now. I've never noticed much difference between brands.
The brass that has been outside will be fine. I'm sure someone will chime in with no tumbler cleaning instructions. It's a citric acid process IIRC. Its popular here.
If you can safely load .38 level loads in 357 with the components you find, by all means do it.
'Sorry stupid people but there are some definite disadvantages to being stupid."

-John Cleese

User avatar
Ylatkit
Helpful Contributor
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:44 pm
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#3 Post by Ylatkit » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:08 pm

The book The ABC's of Reloading, the one written by the guy with no hands.

User avatar
Heretic
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 12:16 am
Location: 4 Corners
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#4 Post by Heretic » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:25 pm

A small bit of advice about the hand press - when sizing / decapping, keep count and empty the primer reservoir in the ram every 25 cases or so. If it fills up, you can get a situation where one too many primers hangs the shell up in the shell holder. It's rather a PITA, and will definitely break your rhythm and workflow. (BTDT!)

User avatar
CDFingers
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 23987
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:09 pm
Location: Member LGC: norCal
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#5 Post by CDFingers » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:36 pm

Ylatkit wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:08 pm The book The ABC's of Reloading, the one written by the guy with no hands.
Probably another one, too. The big companies like Hornady and Lee and all those guys have manuals.

RTFM

Straight wall, rimmed, pistol cases will be the best and easiest to start with. I work this way: I take a twenty round rifle or fifty round pistol box. Rifle is five groups of four. Pistol box is five groups of ten. You make five different loads for a box. You start with the low end of the published load from the manual, make five for example, then add .2 gr and make five more, .2 for five more and so on. You end up with five different loads spanning a grain. You take good notes. Same with revolver.

You'll refine a load by doing the same thing but varying by .1 gr while centering the weight of the five groups on the load from the previous batch that gave you the best measured target groups (and most consistent velocity).

Eventually you'll get a chronograph and add velocity to your notes.

CDFingers
ImageImage
As Stagger Lee lit a cigarette she shot him in the balls.
Blew the smoke off her revolver, had him dragged to city hall.

User avatar
cooper
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#6 Post by cooper » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:45 pm

Thanks for the pearls of wisdom.

User avatar
Crow
Been around awhile
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:22 am
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#7 Post by Crow » Tue Jan 05, 2021 11:46 pm

I'd go through every website that sells the components you need that are out of stock and set email alerts. Most websites will let you do this, and that way you get notified when things like primers come in.
Crow
Progressive still stuck with a single stage press.

User avatar
cooper
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#8 Post by cooper » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:18 am

Crow wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 11:46 pm I'd go through every website that sells the components you need that are out of stock and set email alerts. Most websites will let you do this, and that way you get notified when things like primers come in.
Crow
Excellent idea. Thank you.

wooglin
Been around awhile
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#9 Post by wooglin » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:32 am

I load 327 Federal, just using dippers. The smallest dipper(0.3 cc) gives me a slightly overpowered 32 H&R load while the second smallest dipper (0.5 cc) gives me a little bit underpowered 327 load, both in 327 brass. The trick was finding the right powder/bullet combination that would let me do that, though I could do the same with two different powders obviously. When I get around to loading 357 I'll likely do something similar rather than also getting 38 brass.

Recommend getting the Cast Bullet Handbook (Lyman) -- cast bullets are a significant cost savings.

Rust
Been around awhile
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:45 pm
Location: Eastern Washington State
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#10 Post by Rust » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:50 pm

I have a few random thoughts, all just my opinion based on my experience.

A lube pad, a neck brush, and a chamfer/deburr tool would be good to have.
158 grain bullets in 38/357 are easier than lighter bullets to get consistent results with, especially with lighter loads.
When you go to buy components, get powder and primers that play well with each other. Faster powders work well with standard primers, but can't be loaded to highest velocities. Slow ball powders like H110 & W296 need a magnum powder and will deliver the high velocities, but don't work well for light loads.
I have a set of Lee dippers, but I've never been able to get consistent results with them without weighing each charge.
I only use 357 brass in my 357. If I shoot 38 through it, after that 357 brass sticks. It requires more than a standard cleaning. Not all 357's exhibit this.
The Blackhawk is a big, heavy gun, and light 357 loads that are a little hotter than a hot 38, still feel mild.

Looks like you might have to be patient finding stuff. Good luck.

NuJudge
Been around awhile
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:53 pm
Location: SE Michigan
Contact:

Re: Starting to reload in 2021. Advice requested.

#11 Post by NuJudge » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:55 pm

After I moved into an Apartment of my own, I put a top made of 2X12 boards on top of a 2-drawer file cabinet, and used that to put a reloading press on. You can use a hand press, or a 310 tool, but you will be severely handicapped. When I look places like Craig's List, I always find presses for sale, cheap. Most persons from firearm enthusiast families have several presses, powder measures, scales and other devices from deceased relatives' estates sitting in their basements.

You can not afford to make mistakes reloading, so you need to SEE things like powder charges in the cases. For me that has always meant Task Lighting. Use powders where they bulk up enough so that a double charge of powder will be clearly visible, and a charge that is short is also very visible. High intensity task lighting is good. If you are going to use dippers to determine charges, some powders are awful and you should avoid because they don't meter well this way (eg 800X). LOOK in every charged case before seating a bullet, to see that the charge is right.

Lyman's manuals have usually given a range of loads, and then highlighted loads which typically shoot well in any gun that will shoot well. Their manuals have discussions on many of the above subjects also.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests