What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

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What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by Rob Kovach on 10/10/2012, 12:31 am

First topic message reminder :

After seeing ChrisD42's post about what to use instead of reloaded ammo, and being that I just started reloading, I wanted to make a post to encourage people to start reloading by taking some of the mystery out of what you NEED to get started reloading--as inexpensively as possible...

#1--the reloader. If I had to do it over again, I would buy a Lee 1000 pro. It comes with dies, case loader, primer loader...Just pull and push the handle, and set a bullet on the case. The reloader does the rest. Joe Fobes has been using one of these and he likes it. https://fsreloading.com/lee-pro-1000-45-acp-90638.html ONLY $170 with shipping!!

#2--a powder scale. I have a manual boom scale--but it's a pain in the butt. If I had it to do over again I'd buy this: http://www.fedtacticaldirect.com/Hornady-Electronic-Scale-1500-GS-50107_p_26598.html Digital Hornady scale shipped for only $30 You need to have a scale to set up and double check the amount of powder your reloader is putting into the cases.

#3--A Caliper to measure your Crimp and Overall length. I recommend the Harbor Freight Tools #47257 http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-digital-caliper-47257.html which is $19.99 online right now. They have a plastic one that is satisfactory for $7.99. There are always coupons for HFT in most sportsman, American Legion, and NRA magazines, and I've seen these for less than $15 on the coupons, or use one of the 20% off coupons to get a discount on HFT items.

#4--a Brass tumbler. I used some of those coupons to buy Harbor Freight Tools model #67617. http://www.harborfreight.com/5-lb-metal-vibrator-tumbler-67617.html Though the reviews say it's poor quality, I actually like some of the design features over some of the brand name ones, and it has been working great for me. Currently $54.99 (-20%off coupon = $43.99) Because of the reviews, I have been making sure I don't overload this thing. It has a 5 lb capacity which is full to the halfway mark (where the nut and washer are) with media, and about 200 .45ACP cases. (about 1 quart ziplock bagful). The only thing that some of the "made for reloading" vibratory cleaners have that this one doesn't is a sifter to get the media out of the cases. I use 2 kitty litter scoops and an old cake pan. It works great.

#5--Ok, this isn't a "need" but it works great as a reloading bench...and it kept me from drilling reloader mounting holes in my wife's kitchen table. I'm using Harbor Freight Tools model #93454 workbench.
http://www.harborfreight.com/60-inch-workbench-93454.html I paid $127.99. It has 4 felt lined drawers, and a wood jaw vice. A nice shelf for all of your supplies. It works great, and is of respectable quality. This item is frequently on sale, and again, I used a 20% off coupon.

Now Consumables:
Bullets: Zero 185 LSWCs=$55ish/500 Zero JHPs=$65/500
Primers: $30ish/1000
Cases: You should be picking these up for free
Powder: Bullseye for $25ish/lb
Case Cleaning Media $25 for enough to last a LOOONG time.

In summary, It looks like you can get all of the bits you need to get started reloading for under $600. And that includes the components to make your first 1000 rounds! If you are buying storebought ammo at $30 for a box of 50, you will spend that on the ammo alone! If that doesn't convince you to "bite the bullet" then nothing will!

Once you get this far, if you have any questions, just get on the forum--we'll be happy to answer them so you can get started reloading too!


Last edited by Rob Kovach on 10/10/2012, 12:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by bdas on 3/3/2017, 3:12 pm

desben wrote:I really like my Lee Classic Turret press as well. ... Expect about 150 rounds per hour.

I really like my Lee Classic Turret press also, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how people can safely make 150 rounds per hour with one, as is often claimed (not picking on desben here, you see 150-200 rounds/hr claimed by lots of people).  If I have 2 hours to do some reloading, I can generally make about 100 - 120 rounds, IF (and only if) everything is ready to go.  Yes, that includes some setup time (filling powder hopper, calibrating the scale, etc.) and cleanup time (putting powder away, washing hands, etc.), but hey, those are unavoidable aspects of reloading (properly).  If I need to do any case prep work or if I'm switching to a different load, it's much slower than that.  So, I suggest that people keep their expectations lower, like maybe 50 or 60 rounds per hour.


desben wrote:Time is free; just reload instead of watching TV Laughing

I have the opposite perspective... for me, time is the biggest cost of reloading.  (I wish I had more time for reloading and TV watching, but I don't.)

Dave

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by LenV on 3/3/2017, 5:56 pm

I have never felt the need to give up one or the other. My load rate might slow down or stop for instant replays but the work must go on. True. You really can't/shouldn't do both at the same time but you can listen for the cheers.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/3/2017, 6:01 pm

LenV wrote:I have never felt the need to give up one or the other. My load rate might slow down or stop for instant replays but the work must go on. True. You really can't/shouldn't do both at the same time but you can listen for the cheers.

That tv belongs in a museum.
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by JKR on 3/3/2017, 6:42 pm

That old Rock Chucker sure looks familiar. I was a high power competitor for 30 years. Loaded ammo by the bucket full on that press. In those days our idea of a great progressive press was two RCBS Rock Chuckers! 

Hey Chris, I've got a TV like that too.

Jim

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by james r chapman on 3/3/2017, 8:50 pm

JKR wrote:That old Rock Chucker sure looks familiar. I was a high power competitor for 30 years. Loaded ammo by the bucket full on that press. In those days our idea of a great progressive press was two RCBS Rock Chuckers! 

Hey Chris, I've got a TV like that too.

Jim
+1. Rock Chucker loaded everything!!!
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by zanemoseley on 3/3/2017, 10:02 pm

I've been reloading for a few years, loaded everything from rifle and pistol to shotgun. If I were buying a press DEDICATED to loading match 45 ammo I would ONLY consider a progressive press. I loaded on my rock chucker for a short time but after 600-800 rounds of single stage loading I jumped into a Hornady LNL and haven't looked back. With progressive presses the learning curve is much higher however the payoff is huge.

I also recommend going with a press that has enough stations to allow the use of a powder check/cop. This rules out the Dillon 550 typically. The RCBS powder check has saved my butt on multiple occasions, usually when my powder drop drum binds up or a linkage gets out of whack resulting in no powder being dropped. Believe me I've been on the line next to someone that has had ammo with occasional squibs, it's not what you want, double charges are even worse.

Buy once, cry once. A rock chucker is great for a few pistol rounds and loading rifle ammo but if you compete in bullseye get a progressive.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by Doug Tiedt on 3/3/2017, 10:37 pm

Great thread.

Youtube can provide plenty of reloading demos, but as a beginner, how do you know which ones
you can trust?  Reading the reloading manuals is a must, but they can show you how things should
look.  Not having someone nearby to sit down and teach me, I did go the video route, here is the
DVD that convinced me I could do this and not blow up my rifle or pistol:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/HORNADY-RELOADING-DVD/1889209.uts?productVariantId=4013626&WT.tsrc=PPC&WT.mc_id=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=04037751&rid=20&gclid=Cj0KEQiAxeTFBRCGmIq_7rGt_r8BEiQANdPqUt23UyUKtuwUQyi-wExZ3BWbsbj6mMKoOE-SBNrmSPUaAnYD8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

This is an old DVD, have a laugh at it if you want.  The process with a single stage press hasn't
changed much.  If I haven't reloaded in a while (months), I go back and watch the pistol section
to refresh my memory.  I hope someone finds it useful.

Doug

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by LenV on 3/3/2017, 10:46 pm

In my picture above you can see my Lee turret press that has put out 10's of thousands of rounds for me. I would like something in a progressive so I have been doing a lot of research. Almost pulled the trigger on a Dillon 550 as they seem the most versatile. And cost less to change calibers. Then I notice they are manual indexing and require enough hand movements to sort of defeat the purpose in my mind. I then looked into the Square deal and was impressed. They cost more to switch loads but not prohibitive. Then I watched the video and saw that little tiny space there was for the loader to put his right hand into to put the empty case into the holder. Well that won't work. I really don't need a 650 at my age and remaining years to justify the cost so I needed to look for something other then Dillon. The Hornady LNL looked good but some of the tight fitting places and inserts made me wonder about them. Nothing that wouldn't work but for the cost I thought I could get more. That brings us full circle back to Lee. It turns out that I can get the Load Master in 45acp and all the goodies to load 38 super, 9mm and 38 special for around 400.00. If I want to add a bullet feeder sometime down the road they are not expensive (or very reliable according to reviews) I already trust Lee so that is probably the way I will go. I think, maybe.  NFI

Len

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by Cheapshot on 3/4/2017, 12:04 am

Great information from all. Much appreciated.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by HenryA on 3/6/2017, 11:52 am

There is no reason to avoid used equipment if cost is an important factor. Any decent brand used press will load excellent pistol ammo. Loading one at a time is not really a problem until you get into high volume shooting and the utter simplicity of a single stage press can be comforting.

There are lots of workflow questions to be settled when first starting. A well organized workflow can help you produce ammo that is higher quality, as well as being easier, faster and safer for you.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by LenV on 3/17/2017, 10:07 pm

Update: After double/triple thinking this I decided to go with my first decision. I must say that after all the horror stories I heard about setting up this press I was really surprised at how easy it was to set up. You can't actually pay much attention to the instructions but they are helpful after you set it up and need to tweak things. As an example they have you adjusting the powder feed before you install the dies. Yea that makes sense. Another weird thing I didn't understand is why have a ammo catcher that is full every 20 minutes. I mounted it on a metal plate added a light bar above it and fixed the little catcher problem. I loaded 400 rounds in about three hours of not working at it very hard and getting the feel for it. There is no free lunch however. When you are doing 5 cases at the same time don't expect the level of effort to be the same as doing it with a turret press. Overall I was happy with the results and would recommend the Lee Loadmaster to do your 45's. This one was on sale Optics Planet then they knocked another 10% off on one of their frequent sales.


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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by desben on 3/18/2017, 10:44 am

Hi Len, I look forward to your update as you gain more experience with the LoadMaster. There are many videos on tips and tweaks for it online. As I understand it you may require a bit of tinkering before it runs smoothly. I use a Classic Turret currently and this would be the logical "upgrade".

When you talk about "level of effort", are you referring to the pull weight on the lever, or the mental concentration required to monitor everything?
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by LenV on 3/18/2017, 1:17 pm

Pull weight. That is why I had to add a metal plate(s). There is more plate under the plywood surface then is showing on the top. I actually have it running pretty nice now. Found out the best position to pull lever from is where you also have a good view of the brass feed and primer tray. Colander works like magic but still has a very occasional upside down case. Also, unless your OCD enough to count bullets coming out of press you need to keep an eye on the tray. One hundred primers seems to go very quickly. The instructions don't really explain what your adjusting on the case feed. I found out that if you adjust it too tight it drags hard on the system but feeds cases great. Adjust it loose enough that it works smooth with no drag and it will not push case all the way forward. Very small turns with Philips to tweak. Powder dispenser and primer depth very straight forward. 400 more 45's then I will set it up for 38 super.

Len
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NFG got himself a press

Post by trapshooter72 on 3/19/2017, 8:34 am

I had started a thread asking about the Hornady LNL AP In the Ammo section.Unfortunately it got away from me, but another reloading set up became available with some extras. On my bench is a LNIB Dillion SDB(.45 dies), 2000 Remington LPP,1500 Fiocchi LPP, 1lbs of Clays, 500 Fed brass,200 230grn FMJ, a Franklin Arsenal tumbler, and a pos electronic scale and caliper(plan on giving away). I have a nice scale for my shotshell reloading. I plan on buying the strongmont for the press as well as Win primers, Bullseye powder, and 185grn lswc bullets. My question is in case preparation. What type of media to use in the tumbler and is there a need for a case lube or anything of that nature I'm overlooking. I'm reloading for an indoor load at the moment and suggestions are welcomed.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by willnewton on 3/19/2017, 8:57 am

Len, I also ordered a Lee Loadmaster at the same time you did, but have not set mine up yet.  Nice to see you got it up and running.

I have been reading about the various tweaks, upgrades, and accessories.  http://forums.loadmastervideos.com/forums/index.php

I also ordered a stand and parts from inlinefabrication.com, just as I did for my Lee turret.  I researched and priced all kinds of presses and it came down to a Lee Loadmaster vs. Dillon 650. 

 I purchased the Lee and case feeder upgrades, bullet feeder upgrade, new stand, and bins.  Then I bought a used S&W 625-4 revolver with the money I saved vs. the Dillon.

Now that is smart shopping!  Cool
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by willnewton on 3/19/2017, 9:06 am

Trapshooter, I use an ultrasonic for an initial case cleaning, then switch to a tumbler with a mix of walnut shells coated with a squirt of liquid car polish.

The wet cleaning keeps the nasties contained under water and keeps the walnut shell media clean longer.  Don't overfill your tumbler or you will get rotation, not tumbling.

Don't buy "walnut tumbling media", buy "walnut reptile bedding" and save some bucks.
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by trapshooter72 on 3/20/2017, 9:22 am

WillN, great suggestion on the reptile bedding. My son uses it on one side of his snake enclosure, worked like a charm. Not to sound ignorant, but what about case and bullet lube. Do most quality bullets come with a lube ring, ready to load? Should clean cases be prepped with case lube prior to running through the press. I'm going to change my reloading routine some from shotshell. With the amount of prepping it makes better use of time to run large quantities at a sitting.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by LenV on 3/20/2017, 10:21 am

trapshooter, In a kind of marathon weekend of playing with my new LoadMaster and playing cards with visiting family I managed to load just under 3000 rounds of 45, 38 super. 9mm and 38 special. I did not use any lube of any kind on the cases. In the past I have occasionally used a quick spray of Hornady "One shot" over a bag full of new brass and shook the bag. Since all of this brass had ben ran thru my dry tumbler I didn't even need to do that. On the subject of lube ring on the bullet. I have never bought a bullet that needed to be lubed. I don't know of any manufacturer of lead bullets that don't send them out the door pre-lubed.

Len (I only use carbide sizing dies)
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by trapshooter72 on 3/20/2017, 10:24 am

Thanks Len, appreciate it

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by bdas on 3/20/2017, 12:48 pm

LenV wrote:I have occasionally used a quick spray of Hornady "One shot" over a bag full of new brass and shook the bag. 
I do the same thing, but I spray the Hornady "One Shot" case lube into the bag first, then put the cases in the bag, close the bag, shake for ~30 sec, dump the cases out on paper towels, give the solvents a few minutes to evaporate, and start loading them.  

Spraying first (before putting the cases in the bag) prevents lube from getting inside some of the cases, which is not needed for straight-walled pistol cases like 45 Auto and 9mm (or so I've read and been told).  Maybe getting lube inside a fraction of the cases is irrelevant, but given all the talk about small differences in crimp making noticeable differences in group size because the case is "releasing" the bullet differently, I figured getting lube inside the case mouth (and probably only on one side) of a few random rounds is an inconsistency I'd rather not think about, especially when it's so easy to avoid, by simply spraying first.

My only complaint with the Hornady "One Shot" case lube is that, at least for my first can of it, when the amount in the can started to get low, the lube made the cases noticeably sticky.  It didn't do that when new/full, and my second can doesn't do it (but it's still new/full).  I do shake it every time before I use it, but maybe not enough???  Anybody notice that it made their cases sticky (especially when the can it getting low)?

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by Rob Kovach on 3/23/2017, 4:03 pm

Looking back to the beginning of this thread and seeing that it is still relevant was rewarding.  Seeing the names of the commenters who are still here, and others who we don't see anymore it fun as well.

I still use that same Lee Pro 1000 before every match and league night--and it cranks out a lot more tens now than it did back then.
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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by trapshooter72 on 3/23/2017, 5:10 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but what reloading reference book do you metallic reloaders recommend?  My reload inventory of .45 is becoming depleted and I would like to come up with a nice indoor load. I have always used Winchester primers for my shotshell reloading, but currently have 2k Remington LPP & 1.5K Fiocchi LPP. Are these suttable for light loads? Seams like Winchester LPP are the primers of choice with a faster burning powder. Whats your pet indoor .45 load?

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

Post by HenryA on 3/23/2017, 9:21 pm

I don't know which current reloading book is the first choice these days, and much reloading data is on-line. For your particular purposes you can get what you need right here. There are several similar go-to loads and I am sure others will chime in with theirs soon. I predict there will be about 3 or 4 powders listed as favorites.

I'd go with a 200 cast SWC and 3.8 grains of Vitavouhri N310. For a 185 grain JHP bullet, try about 4.5 grains of the same.

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Re: What you need to start reloading.45 ACP

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