Lets talk about reloading. My first press was a Lyman 4 stage turret press I bought used. I don’t think lyman even makes them anymore. I bought that press sometime around 1988 or 1989, along with some other stuff from a guy I used to work with. Fast forward from 1998 to 2003, I found out the guy I bought the press from died, so I gave the press to his best friend. The last time I saw that old press, it was sitting on a file cabinet in the friends office. I can not even start to count how many thousands of rounds I ran through that turret press.
My next press was an RCBS rockchucker, and finally a piggyback. The RCBS is a solid press that is good for reloading just about anything from 9mm, all the way to 300 winchester magnum and above.
If you want to get into reloading, I highly suggest buying a starter kit. Just about all reloading companies sell some kind of starter kit that includes just about everything you need to get started reloading:
Tray to hold brass
Calipers – in some starter kits but not all
Single stage presses are the best ones to learn on, and then move to a progressive press. With progressive presses you have several things going on at once. If there is a problem with a round, you need to be able to know at what stage the problem is happening.
Invest into some good carbide dies for pistol calibers, and get something with a lifetime warranty.
Lee is a good quality product for the money. Its no RCBS, but Lee is not junk either. A buddy of mine bought a lee progressive press setup in 9mm. The powder hopper was a little small, but it otherwise did a good job.
Some good brand-names are Hornady, Dillon, RCBS, Lyman, Redding, and Lee. The majority of my equipment is RCBS.
At one time my buddy and I had our presses setup side-by-side, his lee and my piggyback. The only major difference was, my buddy had to fill up his powder hopper more often then I did.
Before you start
Get yourself a reloading manual, and read that manual “before” you attempt reloading for the first time.
Read the manual again.
Be able to cite the safety rules on reloading.
Read the manual yet again.
Go over your equipment and understand what every part does and how it works.
Take the time to look at the parts closely.
Did I mention reading the manual?
Reloading requires a lot of attention to detail.
When you start setting everything up
Turn off the TV
Turn off the radio
Do not smoke while reloading, better yet, stop smoking altogether.
Focus on what you are doing, try not to have kids running around, or anything else that can distract you.
Make sure the press is firmly secured to the bench.
To calibrate the scale, adjust the leg until the scale reads 0 with the pan in place.
Take notes on what you are doing. Notes are VERY, VERY important in reloading. There is no room for guessing when you start dumping powder in the case. You never want to ask yourself anything like “did I use 5 or 8 grains of Bullseye in 9mm?” Bullseye is not a good powder for 9mm to start with.
When I was keeping notes, every caliber I reloaded for had its own section in the binder. I went to the local china-mart, bought a 3 ring school binder, and inserted sections for every caliber I worked on.
Date your notes and how many you reloaded.
Try to use the same type of primer in all of your reloads and keep notes on the primers.
Start low and work your way up with the charges.
Buy a chronograph.
Watch for signs of excessive pressure – this is where your book comes in. The book should give examples of what signs of excessive are, make sure you read that section a couple of times.
Post your comments in this forum thread about reloading questions.