New to reloading--suggestions

Do-nothing

Sergeant of the Hide
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Minuteman
May 29, 2019
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Hi All,

I bought my neighbor's very lightly used Dillon XL 650 for a song this past summer. Too good of an offer to refuse. I reloaded pistol rounds 40+ years ago with a RCBS single stage press but that knowledge is long gone. I purchased the Dillon and sat it aside because the price of ammo was so low, reloading did not make much sense. Now, the world is ending... I am going to set the press up and start to purchase components. Now for my dumb questions:

1. How do I know what size primers to purchase for once fired brass? I have Federal, S&B, and Fiocchi. I will be reloading 9mm, 45ACP, and 38 Spc.
2. I know it is a personal choice but what powder do you suggest to get started with? I understand I may want to use a different powder depend on the caliber. Not looking for anything special to start--just good performance and clean burning if possible.
3. Any other suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

DownhillFromHere

Aim > Impact > Take a Nap
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Nov 30, 2017
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I don't mean to sound snarky in any way, but your question is akin to asking what tires do I put on my car and what gasoline should I put in it. It's just too broad. And, right now, your choice of powder and bullet may be more related to what you can find than what you actually want.

Being truly old-school, I would strongly recommend a good reloading manual. The foundation of my metallic cartridge reloading was built on the Speer manual, which included all the steps and underlying whys&wherefores as well as actual load data. My old manual had a variety of photos of results of carelessness/stupidity (destroyed guns, not destroyed hands/faces). I also bought a Lyman manual, but it was not as complete as the Speer book (Again, this was forty years ago; things changes).

Hopefully you have a local gun store (LGS) where you can buy small amounts of bullets (100-250), powder (1 pound), and primers (a few hundred) to try. Buying small amounts of bullets online kills you in shipping (weight); same with powder and primers (hazmat). That's my $0.02. Other opinions will vary.

Finally, starting out with a Dillon 650 is like learning to drive in a race car. Be careful, pay attention. Pay LOTS of attention to powder charging and priming. It's not rocket science, but you need to pay attention. I've been reloading metallic cartridges for forty years and shotshells for well over fifty, and when I'm at the bench there are no other distractions at hand. I cringe when I read about people watching TV and such while doing one or more reloading operations.... others may do it, but not me.

Good luck.
 

Ryridesmotox

Hood rat
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Mar 15, 2019
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Since your starting on the progressive... send one case through at a time until you get used to how things operate. Having multiple stations running at a time is hard to keep track of.

As far as primer sizes. You have to look and see. 9x19 is small pistol. 45 can be large or small (women newer stuff is small), 38 special is small pistol.

You will need to look up powders for your intended bullets in each cartridge.
 

Do-nothing

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May 29, 2019
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Thanks. Components are starting to sell out and I was looking for some idea of what to grab if I can find anything at all. Going to buy what I can and set it aside. Still have a decent supply of the ready-made stuff so no rush. Going too take it slow and get things set up and running smoothly before I actually start reloading. Not taking anything snarky at all. Reloading is serious business. I have a lot to learn and everybody has or develops their way of doing things. I am looking for suggestions because I don't want to pick up something that turns out to are crap just because it was available. Going to my local gun store tomorrow.
 

clcustom1911

Non Sibi Sed Patriae
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Oct 23, 2017
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Hi All,

I bought my neighbor's very lightly used Dillon XL 650 for a song this past summer. Too good of an offer to refuse. I reloaded pistol rounds 40+ years ago with a RCBS single stage press but that knowledge is long gone. I purchased the Dillon and sat it aside because the price of ammo was so low, reloading did not make much sense. Now, the world is ending... I am going to set the press up and start to purchase components. Now for my dumb questions:

1. How do I know what size primers to purchase for once fired brass? I have Federal, S&B, and Fiocchi. I will be reloading 9mm, 45ACP, and 38 Spc.
2. I know it is a personal choice but what powder do you suggest to get started with? I understand I may want to use a different powder depend on the caliber. Not looking for anything special to start--just good performance and clean burning if possible.
3. Any other suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks,

Jerry
1. Small pistol primers for 9mm and 38. Large pistol for 45acp.

2. For 9mm and 45, you can use AutoComp, Win231, Unique, and so many others.

Please please get at least 1 reloading manual from either Sierra, Lee, Hornady... I personally have reloading manuals from all 3.
 

Do-nothing

Sergeant of the Hide
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May 29, 2019
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Thanks guys. Manuals will be purchased. I used to scuba dive as a younger man, much younger... We had a saying, which I assume is still used: There are old divers, there are bold divers, but there are no old bold divers. I intend to apply the same reasoning to reloading. I'm going to be methodical and make sure I understand each step before proceeding to the next. I've already figured out you don't fill the shell to the top with powder (Just KIDDING!).

With ammo selling out and reloading components following closely behind, I was looking for some guidance on primers and powder so I could pick those up while they can be found. I do appreciate your guidance and suggestions.
 

Ryridesmotox

Hood rat
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Mar 15, 2019
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If you're looking for a recommendation on brand of primers, I get CCI for rifle and I'm burning through Winchester pistol right now. For pistol, I get whatever is cheap. Its ISPSA blaster ammo, as long as it goes bang, I dont care. But rifles, I like CCI because I can get them at my local shop and I buy them by the 1k
 

Gustav7

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I bought the Lyman 49th edition manual 9 years ago when I first started loading. I bought it because I saw on the internet that you needed a baseline powder charge, and type of powder to reload safely. What I didn't realize was the whole front of the manual was a massive index of knowledge about how to reload, components, do's and don'ts, etc. I read the whole front of that reloading manual twice. It was an invaluable piece of formal learning.

What I would do if you're loading for 9mm and 45acp is to look in a manual for powders that work well for both calibers. I think bullseye and unique come to mind. These two powders will work with 9mm, 45acp, .38spl, .357mag(lighter loads). Just remember for Pistol, a pound of powder goes a long way (roughly 1000 rds). You don't need an 8lb keg if you're just experimenting with different powders.

I run CCI primers, but for pistol you can run what ever they have available.

And whatever you do...understand that loading for pistol IS NOT THE SAME as loading for rifle. There are different rules, like lubing cases and shoulder setback, and the importance of trimming etc.

Like everyone else has said, we are telling you to pay attention NOT because we think you're dumb.... The most competent and intelligent reloaders have probably made a mistake at some point in their reloading days. And it usually happens because they/we weren't paying attention.

Best of luck
 
Last edited:

DownhillFromHere

Aim > Impact > Take a Nap
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Nov 30, 2017
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Thanks guys. Manuals will be purchased. I used to scuba dive as a younger man, much younger... We had a saying, which I assume is still used: There are old divers, there are bold divers, but there are no old bold divers. I intend to apply the same reasoning to reloading. I'm going to be methodical and make sure I understand each step before proceeding to the next. I've already figured out you don't fill the shell to the top with powder (Just KIDDING!).

With ammo selling out and reloading components following closely behind, I was looking for some guidance on primers and powder so I could pick those up while they can be found. I do appreciate your guidance and suggestions.
The funny thing is, sometimes you do end up filling the case up, or nearly so - at least to the point where seating the bullet compresses the powder. For pistol, especially light to moderate loads, this is not an issue at all. In fact, with .38 target loads using a powder like Bullseye, it is entirely possible to fit 4-5 times the correct load. My ancient Speer manual has a photo of a blown-up revolver whose owner had switched from a heavy load of slow-burning powder for stiff loads to Bullseye for a very light target load but failed to change his powder measure. Boom.

The thing about the calibers you specify is that it's kinda hard to assemble a "bad" load if your purpose is up-close blasting like IDPA- or USPSA-type shooting. For hardcore bullseye with .45 or .38, maybe load chasing an optimal load a la precision rifle is more a "thing." I never got that serious about paper-punching.

For the most part, I use powders that work for multiple calibers and shotgun gauges. For example, Hodgdon Universal Clays is suitable for moderate loads in all three of the calibers you specify, plus 12, 20, and 28-gauge shotgun. The ancient Alliant Unique is similarly versatile, albeit a very dirty powder.

For close-up pistol, I use whatever primers are cheap and available, typically Winchester and/or CCI. For my 6.5CM rifle, I have a few thousand Federal 210M match primers for my large-primer brass; I use CCI 450 small magnum primers for the SRP (small rifle primer) cases. Again, assembling pistol ammo is nowhere near as fussy as precision rifle. If it reliably goes bang and cycles autoloaders, it's good (well, assuming you're not overpressure).

It's easy to get pulled into the weeds with 9mm pistol bullets. For me, 115-125 grain bullets are my go-to choice; Montana Gold for jacketed and Blue Bullets polymer-coated for the great majority of up-close competition rounds. Polymer-coated bullets are significantly cheaper than jacketed or even FMJ bullets and are far, FAR less dirty and nasty than pure-lead bullets. Some competitors feel that heavy-for-caliber 147-grain bullets have a more favorable recoil impulse than standard-weight bullets. I've tried them and don't like them, not to mention they're more expensive because they simply contain more lead.

You have an awesome reloading press in the Dillon 650. Someone suggested running one cartridge at a time around it until you are familiar with the process - that's a great idea.

You are also going to need a scale, period. A beam scale and an inexpensive set of check weights is, in my opinion, preferable to cheap digital scales - I still use my 1979-vintage RCBS/Ohaus beam scale in conjunction with my A&D FX-120i lab balance.

If all your pistols are service guns like Glock or Sig, you can probably get by without a case gauge which allows you to insure your reloads are going to feed/fit properly. I learned the hard way that my full-dress Springfield 9mm 1911 and CZ Target Sport Orange pistols have FAR tighter chambers than my Glocks and Sigs which are designed to be, above all else, reliable.

Likewise, you can probably get by without a caliper by using a factory round to set your seating depth. But if you get one, I can tell you that spending $20 for a big-box digital caliper is going to be "disappointing." There's plenty of info on SH about calipers (and scales).

Have fun. Be careful.
 
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