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#5971776 - 10/11/15 12:44 PM Beginning hand loading
hermano W Offline

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 743
Loc: Austin County
I am seriously considering starting to hand load. I have zero experience and no one to teach me. I have thought a good beginning point would be to prep brass. I have accumulated a lot of once fired brass. I would like to purchase equipment that I'll still be satisfied with after I've gained some experience, so here is my question: what would be a good choice of equipment for a brass prepping station?

Edited by hermano W (10/11/15 12:45 PM)

#5971791 - 10/11/15 12:54 PM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
maximum Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 1788
i don't have a motorized brass prep tool.
i've been loading since the 80's and still
use the used hand tools i started with.
get you a universal decap die and a lee
hand press to use it with to start off.
add a lee primer pocket cleaner for around $3.00
if you're not going to load volume you won't
need to spend thousands on tools.

Edited by maximum (10/11/15 12:55 PM)

#5974555 - 10/12/15 09:41 PM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
BooneDog Offline

Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 237
Loc: Argyle,TX
***** Warning it is very addictive but tons of fun. First buy some manuals and start reading how to literature. I started years ago with Lee single stage press kit. It worked great for everything but was slow and tedious so I upgraded to a RCBs rock chucked and 504 scale. It was great until I started doing pistol ammo and the process needed to speed up so I got a turret press. it is still a learning experience.

Prepping brass is the most non fun part of the process. I use a drill and a country boy design that I made up. Using lee trim system and Hornady primer swagging attachments. Not the most efficient but in my budget and thousands of rounds processed successfully.

#5979410 - 10/15/15 05:27 PM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
Slow Drifter Offline

Registered: 04/09/09
Posts: 4546
Loc: Central Texas
Is the once-fired brass from the firearm you'll be reloading for, or brass from other guns that you've picked up along the way? The answer will influence my suggestion.
"I have no idea what WW-III will be fought with, but WW-IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

A. Einstein

#5988560 - 10/22/15 06:53 AM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
BassCat'99 Online   happy
Pro Tracker

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1291
Loc: Stratford Texas
Like Maximum stated, "get you a universal decap die and a lee
hand press to use it with ". I would then also get a decent stainless pin tumbler. 1. decap,2. clean, COL length check. If using crimped brass ream between decap and tumble. I've got an inexpensive bench drill press and I chuck the pocket reamer in and quick press and it's done. I do this by hand, press is just for spinning and holding reamer. Tool I got was either from Brownells or Midway, has camfer bits also and lrg and sml pocket reamers in a hand tool with storage internal.
Remember you do not have to spend alot to do good work, the Lee press I got was used and came if a few Items for less the $30.00
22 Creedmoor

#5988664 - 10/22/15 08:10 AM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
tenyearsgone Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 1616
Depends on what you're shooting.

If it's .224 caliber, you're most likely going to be decrimping 5.56 brass so the Dillon Super Swage or hand primer pocket decrimper is a must. I just use a hand decrimper because I want to maximize space on my tabletop. For trimming, I employ a Hornady hand trimmer. Make sure to get a chamfer/deburr tool to clean up the case mouth after trimming. You'll also need some sort of tumbler and a way to sift the brass.

It's very unlikely you'll need to trim until your brass has multiple firings, so don't think you'll need to spend gobs of time on brass prep. They make tools to clean the primer pocket but as long as the flash hole is clear you don't need to do it.

Reloading is really easy. A manual like Lyman's 49th is okay, but here in the 21st century there's plenty of other media online along with dvd's. I get most of my load data off the powder or bullet manufacturer's website anyways.

#5988737 - 10/22/15 09:10 AM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
GLC Online   content

Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 4908
Loc: BenBrook Texas
Read books, watch videos for sure but ask questions when you are unsure of something. Saved me a lot of grief when I first started loading. A lot of good people on this site will help you out even if you need some one on one visual/hands on instruction. Never guess, always be sure. Fore sure SAFETY FIRST!!!!!!

#5989898 - 10/22/15 09:13 PM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
GasGuzzler Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 2203
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
I don't cut or ream any more. I reform. Get the RCBS swager if you plan on reloading military or crimped brass. Much better on the brass than cutting and 1/3 the price of the Dillon bench mounted "thingie"....
Pass the gravy.

#5990580 - 10/23/15 11:47 AM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
Fitzwho Offline

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Midland, TX
I just recently started reloading. I reloaded 12ga shells in high school for trap and skeet shooting, but up until a month ago, I had never reloaded a rifle casing. It is addicting. I am working up loads for a rifle that I don't even have a barrel for currently.

If you know what you will be reloading, and it is a single, specific round, a single stage press will do you just fine. If you want a little more ease of use and may add different rounds to load down the road, I would go with a turret style press. This is the route I went (currently loading for 6.5 Creedmoor and 35 Whelen). Picked up the Lee Classic Turret Press and additional 4-hole turrets. This allows you to change out calibers in just a few seconds once you have the turrets set up with each of the required dies.

As far as powder handling, you can get away with a good scale, powder funnel, hand priming tool, and dippers and stay on the less expensive side of things. I went with a digital scale.

Other than the above and components (bullets, powder, primers). Case prep is the most labor intensive part of the entire setup. Tumblers, media, polish, primer pocket cleaners, flash-hole deburring tools, calipers, case trimmers, etc.

Once clean, I run through the brass with the Lee Case Trimmer loaded on my cordless drill and make sure every one is trimmed to length, then debur and ID chamfer the necks, add primers, measure out powder for each and start seating bullets. But what do I know, I haven't even loaded 100 rounds yet.

#5991471 - 10/23/15 09:58 PM Re: Beginning hand loading [Re: hermano W]
GasGuzzler Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 2203
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Recently bought Lee case trimmers for .32WCF, 9X19 Luger, .357M.

Houston, we have a problem.

I like, own, use Lee stuff but Lucy gots some splainin' to do....
Pass the gravy.


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