View Full Version : Reloading?

27th March 2007, 23:22
I have been wondering if any fellow gun owners on the forum take the time to reload your own ammunition?

I have been thinking about getting into it, but I would like to hear from some of you guys about your experiences. It definitely seems like a fun thing to do as well as a cost efficient way to get quality ammunition. I have a bolt-action .308 that I love to shoot, but at $0.70 a round for quality ammo it gets pretty expensive. I'm just looking for a conversation on the whole ordeal so any ideas you've got are fine with me! :)

27th March 2007, 23:36
I did for decades.
Since I weighed each charge to make them consistant it was a pain.

I gave it up and buy factory loads.

28th March 2007, 02:21
I started to reload because it was getting harder to find good surplus ammo for my M1 Garands. It is amazing how my shot groups tightened up with consistent powder loads in these old battle rifles. I also handload for my bolt action Savage .223. That rifle is a tack driver with my handloads. The initial outlay of money can be steep and if you do start reloading, find someone who knows how to handload and have them show some basics and get some books on the subject and read about it.

28th March 2007, 03:27

I reloaded 168g boattails for my Garand and the shot groups got REALLY small, but I cheated and used a scope.

I alo handloaded a .270 and got great groups.

The main reason was when I went shooting pistols and revolvers for a day, I'd burn 500 - 1,000 rounds of various calibers. Then I'd have to reload for a couple weeks. It was the only way I could shoot so much.

Reload for high quality or saving money.
I suspect technology had improved but I found a progressive loader only good for .45ACP because the loads could vary too much for tack-driver accuracy.

I used a single die loaded (RCBS) and a powder measure, trickler, and scale to weigh each charge for the rifles. Especially the .45-70

28th March 2007, 04:03
Reload for .223, 7MM Mag, .308, .30-06, 7X57, .444 Marlin, .45-70 Govt,
.38/.357, .44Mag. .45 ACP, .500S&W. Still need to get dies for 7.62X39, 7X54,
.30 carbine, .380 auto, and a good 12Ga. setup.

28th March 2007, 05:09
Thanks for your input guys. I'm really starting to think it will be a good investment. The initial input of money isn't really that bad, but it does require some thought prior to making the choice. I'm really focusing on reloading for the bigger rifle rounds because they get ridiculously expensive over time. I'll read more on the subject and I guess we'll have to see what happens! :)

28th March 2007, 06:56
Reload for .223, 7MM Mag, .308, .30-06, 7X57, .444 Marlin, .45-70 Govt,
.38/.357, .44Mag. .45 ACP, .500S&W. Still need to get dies for 7.62X39, 7X54,
.30 carbine, .380 auto, and a good 12Ga. setup.

9mm,45ACP,45LC,.357,.38 special, .40 S&W,.308, 300 WinMag, 30-30, .223,
12 ga, 28 ga, 20 ga, .410.

All hard ammo on a Dillon 800B progressive-600/hour with 45ACP-@ $.06 ea.
All shotgun (except .410) on a Dillon 900. 12 ga 1200+/hour, less with the 20 & 28. Slightly more than $2.50/box. .410's are a bitch.

Takes < 15 minutes to change gauges/calibers.

I do it not only for the cost savings, but I can control recoil,velocity,pattern spread with the shotguns and velocity, recoil, group size & function with the hard ammo.

With a progressive, you don't have to load in advance with the shotguns-with the hard ammo you need a little forethought.

Go for it.:spineyes

28th March 2007, 13:05
I haven't reloaded in a while, but I'm getting back into it...definately worth it for a bolt .308 if you shoot a lot...heck, I'm considering reloading "blasting" ammo for my AR since ammo prices are getting so high...and you can still find surplus components at pretty good prices.

29th March 2007, 15:51
Yes, I have Reloaded for 34 years. I started with a Lee handloader for a British Enfield. It would take a long time to list all the Calibers that I have loaded since and how many presses I have worn out. I currently use a Lee Turret Press as the Dies can be changed to a different caliber in seconds without adjustments.
In the past 25 years that I have been married to this wife,,,,:doh We have fired somewhere in the neighborhood of 75,000 Rounds. I stocked up on the Standard Cal. Bullets that we shoot way back and have been really happy that I did. The prices of everything has gone up many times. I am so in to this that I even stock spare presses and powder measures. Short of Competition, I have only weighed the first few charges, then spot check as I am loading. It's a Pain in the Butt to reload but saves a fortune. Be aware, it can be Extremely Dangerous...

29th March 2007, 21:10
I reload for 9MM Makarov, .44 special, 8MM Mauser, .38 special and .357 Mag. My wife knits and I reload, I figure it's sort of the same thing.

29th March 2007, 22:55
I too reload for numerous calibers, and enjoy it. Right now my press is out of commission (moved and haven't set it back up yet), and it's driving me nuts. I would highly recommend looking into a Dillon press. I started out with an old single stage press, then moved to a Lyman Turrett, and about 6 years ago moved to a Dilllon RL550b. Man, what a great machine. Kindof high dollar to start out with, but IMHO you'll be saving $$$ because you'll avoid the "upgrades" later.
Let us know what you do, we'll be glad to help you.

30th March 2007, 05:29
I have been reading about the whole thing for the last couple days, and I have changed my mind about basically everything I thought I wanted/needed.
I was originally going to buy one of the Lee Anniversary kits, but after reading more about it it seems most people recommend piecing together everything yourself. The kit is definitely easier to start out with, but it just seems that it will be better in the long run to just buy the good stuff first time out. It also looks like Turret presses also have an advantage because constantly changing dies looks to be one of the most time consuming parts of the whole deal.
Once again, thanks for your guys' help and I will continue to learn about reloading and what I might be getting myself into! :D

30th March 2007, 13:15
I reload every time i shoot, 110gr's 2ff, .535 round ball with .018 patch. or 80gr's 2ff, shot wad, 1-1/8oz's of #6 shot -- oop's ,wrong guns. ---- My dad taught me years ago, if you want tack driving amo to fit each firearm its fun, but if you shoot pistols alot it get's time consuming. Just be careful and read the books it's not that hard. i reload for about 10 different calibers.

31st March 2007, 04:31
I enjoy reloading my own ammo. Its a good idea to calculate how many rounds a year you may use . With my old RCBS Junior press and Lyman powder thrower it takes me a total of maybe 2 hours to reload 100 rounds , but I'm retired and have time to spare . I once loaded 600 rounds of 9mm on a friends Lee progressive press in 4 hours. I also reload because factory ammo for my 7x57 is very lightly loaded.- Pete

31st March 2007, 05:40
Reloaded for many years. I had a high volume press for pistol (mostly 9mm) and .223 and a turret press for low volume or higher accuracy rifle. For development and very low volume stuff I used a Lee single die press.

I loved reloading, the science behind it and the solitude (kids weren't allowed to bug me when I was in my reloading room). It was also the only way I could load up the rounds for my 45-70 pistol and some heavy loads for my 45-70 rifle.

With the laws the way they are up here I stopped shooting pretty much but kept my stuff so if it ever came down to it I could start up again with the Government none the wiser.

Reloading will help you learn your weapon much better, give you great flexibility(especially with special loads - low velocity, cast bullets, etc.) save you money in the long run and is a great hobby.

Not to start a debate but I recommend that you never use handloads in a self defence weapon (my opinion).

Good luck and good shooting!


31st March 2007, 07:45
Not to start a debate but I recommend that you never use handloads in a self defence weapon (my opinion).

I've heard that if you use handloaded self defense ammo the lawyers will use it to make you look like some insane person who needs something more lethal than what you can buy! And that may be true, but it doesn't look good in court! :D

31st March 2007, 13:31
That's what I've heard too, I keep my home defense and carry pistol loaded with +p factory ammo just in case

1st April 2007, 04:17
I have reloaded for 4 years now. I have reloaded shotgun 12 gauge, but it is cheaper to buy them already loaded than it is to load them so I quite that. Now it is 7mm, 243 win, 40 s&w, 22-250, and 30-30. I find it relaxing, but I haven't had the chance to go shooting on a large scale lately.

Terry C.
2nd April 2007, 02:26
I reload .38 Special practice ammo for my .38 and .357 revolvers, but for serious use (carry and home defense) I use only factory ammo.

On the other hand, I am relying more and more on reloaded ammo to feed my Ruger New Vaquero. Even the cheapest factory .45 Colt ammo is pricey.

Also, I the thumb-buster loves the Holly Black. Factory loaded black powder ammo is available, but expensive. BP ammo is easy to assemble if you follow the correct procedures, and I always have BP on hand to feed my smoke jones.

2nd April 2007, 18:26
Are 'ya into CAS?
Do you shoot Holy Black in any long guns?

3rd April 2007, 01:20
I just bought a Mosin-Nagant so I guess having to deal with surplus corrosive 7.62x54r could push me into reloading! :D

Terry C.
3rd April 2007, 03:36
Are 'ya into CAS?
Do you shoot Holy Black in any long guns?

I'm a SASS member, but I've never really been active (too many other things going on).

I have a a bit of a smoke addiction. I have a .50 percussion rifle, a ¼-scale Napoleon (1.156" bore), a .69 micro-mortar, and a .50 handgonne (cannon-on-a-stick).

The Napoleon weighs over thirty pounds and burns 500 grains of FFg for a salute charge, or 250 grains of Fg to propel a lead ball (2065 grains cast from wheelweight alloy, 2144 from pure lead).



3rd April 2007, 07:08
Looks like you could trailer it behind the Sporty. Perfect for breakin up street brawls...........

5th April 2007, 02:06
Ammo has really gone up. Makes reloading worhwhile. Ive been doing it since 1972. If you are going to shoot a centerfire its the only way to go. Get a manual first, the Lyman is probably best. A Lee turret press is what I recommend for new guys. Good luck and if you have any questions ask here.

5th April 2007, 05:20
Anyone have a favorite load for a .44 special Bulldog? I've been working some up using 200g XTP's and Bullseye.

5th April 2007, 19:38
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I have gathered shellplates are only used on progressive presses. I can't figure out whether I should be buying a shellplate or not?! I am not going to buy a progressive, and I thought that regular presses just use shell holders. Thanks for your help guys! :D

5th April 2007, 22:21
I'm a reloader/handloader. I just relized that my hi volume reloader is a Dillon 650 XL. No wonder I love the thing. With 9 kids reloading is a must. Though I am down to just three at the house, all of the them shoot and help reload. My daughters are the most interested and knowledgeable and out shoot all but one of their 6 brothers. We go through unknown amount of 9mm, 38spl, 223, 22-250, 40cal, 10mm and 44spl. While the 650XL is our high volume press, we also use rcbs reloader specials with "piggyback" attachments. these are just left set up for 9mm and 38. We also reload for 6mm/284, 280 ackley improvd, 308, 30-06, 303 British, 300 Savage, 257 roberts, 30-30, 22 hornet, 218 Bee, and others. It is a family event, or a way to slip into solitude. A room is completely dedicated to reloading. we do a lot of plinking, varmint hunting, plinking, and just having fun perfecting our abilities with the firearm and devoloping different loads. I guess we are probably down to 3-4000 rounds a year now. I sure miss the days when all of the kids were still here. but I am free of that huge food bill!

5th April 2007, 22:43
If you have a progessive press, then generally you need a shellplate to hold the base of the case as it is sized, deprimed, primed, powder loaded, bullet placed/crimped, etc.

Generally, a single stage press will use a "shellholder" for the same purpose.

Not all cartridge cases have the same measurement or design. A shellholder for a .308win/7.62nato will work on a 243, 270 or 30-06 and even some .45 acp cases. it will not work a 300 winmag, or 9mm. Shellholders from one manufacture to another can vary depending the type/brand press you have.

There are a bunch of good reloading books out there. I have many. I really liked the Speer reloaders handbook when I started out. The first part of the book will give history of reloading and possibly the company. This is followed up by an explanation of the process of creating a hand loaded cartridge. The final part is the "recipes" This will help you decide what powder, case, primer, and bullet combination will work for you. Unless you have a friend who is into reloading. I would spend a lot of time reading up on these things. There are many reputable companies who manufacture reloading gear. Some of the more popular are Lee, RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, Dillion and I'm sure I left 10 or more off the list.

I don't know about stuff on line. I used to spend many hours looking at a varmint hunters bulletin board, but I haven't in 3 or 4 years. A lot of good info there. If you have specific questions I might be able to help you with, PM me. I'll try to get you headed in the right direction.

I will tell you that it may not be cheap as you think to get started. However, if you amoritize your cost over a lifetime of shooting, it will more than pay for itself. If you are shooting a couple of hundred rounds a year out of a 9mm or 38. It will probably cheaper in the long run just to pay for the store bought stuff.


26th May 2007, 14:47
I've been reloading for 30+ years, and have several centerfires that have never had a factory round in them. Initally the goal was more accurate ammo than the factory could supply. Now days the quality control from the factories is better and if you find something your gun likes that's a bonus, but it's still unusual that you can't make a firearm shoot better by tailoring the load. All things considered, you probably won't save any money by reloading, but you will shoot more and usually end up with a more accurate arm. Now, you can save some money by casting your own bullets...but that's a subject for another thread.

3rd February 2008, 19:34
I reload on a Dillon 550b. 1k rounds of 45acp for less than $100 bucks.

8th March 2008, 18:47
Wow didn't think i'd find topics like this on bike forum! I belong to sniper's hide and one of the originals in Kotonics 6.8 forum.

I reload for accuracy, economy, and availibilty.

I load for about 6 people including my own arsenal, its a pain sometimes. I shoot match, Former Marine Sniper so attention to detail thrills me.

for her carry ladysmith i load light fast nasty hollows, then some hog loads for some pistols, long range 44 mag stuff for a friend for deer. .45 shotshells for my dads sa to shoot squirrels in the yard, etc etc etc.

like smoke too! ps love the yard cannon, i have a mortar, they say you can load it with candy and shoot in the air for kids to go collect in the yard....wouldn't it taste bad? have way many bp revolvers and rifles, both caplock and flint. i love deer hunting with 'em.

Anyway reloading is good, stay safe, maybe find someone to tutor ya at first, could pick up some great tips and tricks. when in doubt of a load, pull bullet and do it again.

Also if ya wanna try some good diff factory loads ya might find some good stuff that way. Look at Black Hills ammo, great stuff and cheaper than rem or federal. guys at the matches regulary place with the black hills stuff. when i was in the service and shot inter-service match we were given black hills. try it and may well save you time reloading so ya can spend more time on the scoot!

10th March 2008, 08:12
Wow, I'm a handloader, too. Never would have guessed that we'd be discussing this here.

4th April 2008, 20:45
Good to see other handloaders on the board. Handloading your own cartridges is a very rewarding hobby and you can tailor your loads to your particular firearm, Everything from cat sneeze loads to full power loads if need be. Also getting started in handloading doesn't mean you have to break the bank to get involved either. Here is a link to an interesting article on handloading on a shoestring.

The price of factory fodder is going through the roof, and it is more cost effective rolling your own than buying factory stuff. Especially if you cast your own bullets. And theres nothing like controlling your own bullet supply!:banana



Get yourself a good handloading manual or several different ones for that matter. Lee Modern Reloading, Lyman, etc. Read them, then read them again as these will be your bibles.

There are many opinions as far as presses and equipment go but IMO the Lee CLASSIC cast turrent press is the best deal going and is a fine turrent press indeed.