Bedtime stories Series…..Part 2
So I’ve decided “It’s time for me to do this.”
Where to start, what to buy? This is the type of thing that can become overwhelming to a person who does not know. Luckily there was YouTube. Somehow on my searches I believe that the videos I started to watch were for more advanced users. Jumping straight beyond the importance of AT MINIMUM 1 reloading manual.
I first started with the Lyman
This is a good book, don’t get me wrong. A standard type construction paperback book. If you want to reload it is full of pertinent information to the process….HOWEVER, reading through the actual: Powder, bullet, primer data for my cartridge, it did not list the type of bullet I wanted to shoot. So from here I went to “pick the type of bullet” I wanted. Ultimately (for the time) settling upon a Sierra Bullet. “The Bulletsmiths” they call themselves. At Sierra it seems they do their research so I was inclined to go with them.
The Sierra book has become my go-to book. If I’m looking to load another cartridge, I see what bullets Sierra has available. Its construction is a hardcover binder, which, itself is convenient two-fold. It will lay open to the page you want… OR, you can take the page out of the binder and have that as the only part of the book inside your reloading zone. I use this book the most. Sierra bullets are well known and respected (plus the cost is good too).
So at this point I’ve read up on the process of reloading. I’ve got my book(s), primers, powder, and projectiles. Time to put theory to reality.
NOW…..at current count…there are A LOT of reloading presses, 10 off the top of my head. ranging from $100-the sky’s the limit $$. I also noticed my reloading manuals did not mention this type of “press”….. The Lee Loader. ($30-ish)
This is an advertised “all in one”…..”press”. Can be taken out to the field, or in front of the television (a good option for someone who can’t do a dedicated bench). It will decap, NECK size, prime, seat, and roll crimp your cartridge (that is a lot of jibberish if you don’t know how to reload..trust me it’s right).
What I will have to say, which the manufacturer fails to mention, is where it lacks. This is by no stretch of the imagination a precision machine. There is no accurate way to….Measure (In Grains)…. your powder charge. You will most likely buy a scale to do this. There is no way to trim your brass. You will most likely buy a trimmer setup. There is no way to measure you COAL. You will Most likely purchase a Caliper (I prefer a standard dial, don’t need a battery dying at the wrong time). And…after just one….or possibly a few shots, you will need to clean your brass. Also they don’t always mention that it only NECK sizes your brass, and is only useful for a bolt action firearm.
Oh..and a HAMMER, this “machine” REQUIRES a HAMMER (of the type shown in the picture above).
I’m not going to sit here and bore you more with all that is entailed with using a Lee loader, there’s plenty of YouTube videos out there that show this process….and many of them make it look easier than I found it to be. My advice to a beginning reloader is to find a Single Stage press KIT. A kit, with at minimum, a scale. I’m not going to suggest you do this, but in hindsight I probably should’ve gone with a single stage Lee kit of some sort. I currently have a lot of Lee equipment and I haven’t had a problem with…most if it.
So here I am with: 2 manuals. Cases, primers, powder, projectiles, a “press” and more research to do. How to Measure (In Grains) my powder, how to trim my brass…and how to measure my cartridge settings. For the purpose of a budget, this is the route I went…
For a scale I started with the Frankford Arsenal scale…
I don’t really have too many complaints about this as it seemed accurate for me. There are, however, both a lot of positive and negative reviews for these. There are a lot of options when it comes to scales. A beam type might be the best option for all reloaders, but for a budget, this and others suffice well.
For trimming brass I started with (and still use) the Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder coupled with the Lee Case Trimmer Cutter and Lockstud:
These two items are normally under $20 total, and are very accurate for trimming your brass. I recommend these if you’re on a budget. The Length Gauge and shell holder are caliber specific, while the Lockstud and cutter are more universal (up to a larger size round). But to play devils advocate here, I wouldn’t use this for a long period of time at one sitting. Your hands will hurt. Nevertheless, it is a very good option if you plan on reloading only a few different calibers.
As for measuring the brass and cartridges…. I chose a standard dial caliper. In my profession I have a caliper in my hand for most of my day. Using a caliper is like breathing to me….easy peasy. I opted not to use an electronic caliper because those pesky button batteries aren’t cheap….not always easy to find….and die when you least expect it. So…to save you the future trouble of having to stop your reloading session right in the middle of it all….well, it’s up to you.
In the next installment I’ll dive a little into case prep….
Until the next one…. Thanks for Everything.
I’m a down home family man that loves the outdoors, hunting, and enjoying nature.