Want to start reloading...some advice please

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Want to start reloading...some advice please

Postby plainsman » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:18 pm

Where do I start? I'll be loading 3" and 3.5". Whats a good press to start with...etc.. Any advise/tips? Thanks in advance :salude:
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Postby thaner » Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:38 am

I like the Mec products. Shop around as the MEC site is kind of high on their prices. Precision Reloading is a good place to look. Also check out Midway. Just look around before you buy. Sometimes you can get a deal on ebay.

With the Mec they say to go with the sizemaster or steel master. I have heard they are the best with steel shot as they have the collet sizer, as do some up the upscale progressive presses, that is best for steel bases on the mag. non-tox hulls. 600’s and the 650 variants use a ring sizer that is OK for brass but hard to use with steel. If you are only loading steel go with the steel master. You can also convert other presses for steel use if you have on or get a good deal on one.

I just set up a deal to swap someone a 600jr. mark 5 in 410 for the same press in 12. I plan to get the steel 3 1/2" conversion kit from Midway for about $40 and the short kit that fast converts the 3.1/2" press back to 2 3/4" and 3". With the MEC you need the short kit to do both 3 1/2" and 3" or you need to covert the press back and forth and that take some time and not worth the $30 or so for the short kit.

I figure I will only have $40 to get started plus $10.00 for the shot bars. With this in mind you can buy a 600 jr. Mark 5 on ebay for maybe $50 and covert it for under $100 not including the short kit, but you need that with any of the 3 1/2" presses as far as I can tell. I have a Mec suppersizer to take care of the steel bases so if you don't have one you will have to add in the cost and see which way to go. For me this worked out much cheaper than getting a steel master.

You can check ebay or other sources to see if you can get a deal on a steel master, but I have not found one yet. I have found a few sizemasters and grabbers, and a lot of 600’s that could also be converted.

All the previous presses are single stage and Mec does make some real nice progressives and I own some of those also, but if you are just getting started or if your like me and only load small amounts of non-tox vs. lead you may want to save your money and go with a single stage. I shoot a lot of targets and the conversion time to change over all my settings is not worth the hassle if I can put something together for under $100.
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Postby thaner » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:08 pm

My previous post gave info on the Mec loaders. Here is some other data that you may find useful.

I am just doing the research my self so anyone who has more experience with the steel and other non-tox reloading feel free to correct me, but here is what I know so far.

You can load higher velocity loads than what you can buy and you can also very closely duplicate the loads you can buy if not better quality in some cases.

Steel looks like it is reasonably cost effective to re-load, but bismuth and Hevi don't look like they are at this time. I may be wrong but if I were going to invest in all the equipment to start up I don't see the pay back for as many shells as I would shoot in a couple of years. You need to figure how may you will shoot and the cost of the reloads and see what the pay back is. I figure I can load a high quality mag. 12 load for about $8-$9 a box of 25 depending on the lenght and where you get you hulls and if you buy hulls how many times you reload. It also depends on where you find your supplies and what volume you buy in.

Steel powder looks like the trick for steel loads; it’s made by Alliant. There are other. Alliant also has some good load data. Hodgdon has a power called long shot that looks promising and has some good data for Bismuth, which loads with the same wads I use for heavy lead loads.

There are several good manuals you can find about anyware that give good lead data and general shot gun reloading info. Precision Reloading has what looks like a real good book that I think I will get that is supposed to cover all the different shot types and is supposed to have a lot of loads.

Powder companies like Alliant, Hodgdon, Winchester, IMR, and others have loads in their books and you can get these free. Many recourses for components, but so far I run into Reloading specialties and Precision Reloading wads about everywhere I look. Both also sell shot.
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