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JohnR, Obviously you will need a press. Most people start with a single stage of some sort …. lots of options from the cheapest Lee to the best RCBS Rockchucker. Next you will need a set of dies for the cartridges you plan to load. You can load both 38 and 357 Mag with the same set. Most people buy carbide sizer dies so they don't have to lubricate each case, however standard steel dies are cheaper but you need a case lube pad and a tube of lube.

You will need a way to seat primers. Some presses have an optional primer system, otherwise you will need a handheld priming device. You will also need a few ancillary tools such as a powder scale and either a powder measure or a set of plastic dippers. You will also need a caliper to measure cartridge overall length.

As for supplies, you will need to buy some bullets. 38s and 357s take .357" jacketed or .358" lead bullets. The most popular weights are 125, 140, and 158 grains. I would start with 140gr jacketed bullets to keep it as simple as possible.

I would start with lighter loads in 38 Specials using Win 231 (AKA HP-38) powder. Later you can load magnums with the same bullets only you will need a slow burning powder such as Win 296. Both of these powders are "ball powders" that drop very consistent from a powder measure.

Both cases take the same size primers. For 38 Specials, you will need Small Pistol Standard Primers and for magnum loads, Small Pistol Magnum Primers. You can also use Standard primers in magnum cases if you use faster burning powder for mid-range loads.

You will need load data from a reputable reloading manual or you can find on-line data from some of the powder manufacturers. That about does it for the minimums. After you get some experience, you may want a case tumbler to clean/polish spent cases. There are tons of other optional items such as a powder trickler, case gauges, primer pocket cleaners, case trimmers, ultrasonic cleaners, ….. and the list goes on and on.

I just sold my presses and was surprised to see how much "reloading stuff" I have accumulated over the years. I have to say …. I used nearly all the stuff I bought but could have done without a lot of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #83 (Edited)
If someone I knew asked me your question I’d recommend the RCBS Supreme Master Kit, (about $288 on Amazon). It’s petty much a complete kit and gets you loading, throw in some dies, shell holder and calipers and you’re off to the races.

Anyone just cutting their teeth on reloading should avoid any type of progressive press.

Just my .03 cents worth, (inflation).
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Primers are punched out when the cartridge is getting resized....it’s part of the resizing die.
 

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I also thank you two guys for the getting started info. My friends who do reload are telling me I need much, much more that this to get started. I want to keep it simple for a while and learn the whys before I let the machine do some of the things for me. I looked at the RCBS on Amazon as well and I think that's how I'm going to start, plus my wife won't kill me for spending a grand to load $10 boxes of 9mm. (other calibers to come)

Bob
 

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I also thank you two guys for the getting started info. My friends who do reload are telling me I need much, much more that this to get started. I want to keep it simple for a while and learn the whys before I let the machine do some of the things for me. I looked at the RCBS on Amazon as well and I think that's how I'm going to start, plus my wife won't kill me for spending a grand to load $10 boxes of 9mm. (other calibers to come)

Bob
You can keep it simple if you want to . A lot of net experts will tell you how complicated and how much equipment you need and it's not true .
Handgun ammo can be made simply .

A Lee Classic Loader , plastic mallet , primers, powder , bullets and a powder scale (to check the powder scoop) is really all you need . I made many a box of ammo with this setup .

I have bench mounted presses but today load all handgun and 30-30 rifle with a little Lee Hand Press , no pounding with the mallet , sitting at my computer desk , kitchen or dining room table . Still using a scoop to measure powder..it's cheap and accurate . I still verify the scoop with a scale...not every charge but check the scoop when starting to load...just to be safe.

Handgun ammo cases don't really need much trimming . Lee sells some affordable tools for trimming ...they will even send you a free catalog...just ask them.

Reloading doesn't have to cost you an arm, leg and first born male child if you don't want it to. Lee Classic Loader $28.99 !
Gary
 

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I just received my new copy of the Lee 2nd Edition Reloading Manual (2019).

This book has THE most comprehensive work on cartridge pressure and lead hardness (BHN).
The author worked directly with the Hodgdon test labs to prove his theories of how to extrapolate pressure and velocity.
He does a deep-dive in to accuracy, velocity and pressure.

Hodgdon was the only powder maker willing to divulge pressure levels, so the author acknowledges the loads are Hodgdon-centric.
There are 38,000+ loads in this book, including 44 Russian and 45 Colt.

If you are computer oriented (I am), you can buy a legit copy of Lyman #10 in PDF form for $12.

I also have the current Speer #15 which also shows both CUP and SAAMI specs for each cartridge.
For a given cartridge, you can figure the ratio of CUP/PSI then apply that to a CUP value in a load to get the PSI.
This is more useful than Bramwell's generic calculations, because the CUP/PSI varies by caliber.
 

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bgavin, Copper units of pressure (CUP) measurement standards were developed about 100 years ago and were based on the number of pounds per square inch it took to compress a copper pellet in a special test jig using 9mm cartridges. The experts back in the day, assumed the same copper pellet crushing technique would apply to all bullet diameters. In more recent years, that was found to be untrue, especially when very accurate piezo transducers were used that measured in pounds per square inch (psi). As a result 9mm and 38/357 ammo have psi and CUP ratings that are very close. As bullets get larger in diameter, CUP becomes the larger number and obviously as bullet diameters get smaller, psi become the larger number. Examples …. a 45 Colt max CUP was rated at 15,900 CUP but only 14,000 psi. A 243 Win was max rated at 52,000 CUP and is now rated at 60,000 psi. The further you go from 9mm, the more dramatic the change. Because most rifle bullets are smaller than 9mm, their pressure ratings in psi are larger than CUP ratings.

In 1993, SAAMI went through an overhaul to modernize their standards. They came up with official standard measurement procedures using piezo transducers and began rating cartridge pressures in psi. Their plan was to eventually eliminate the old CUP pressure testing procedures, however, here we are 27 years later and SAAMI still maintains the old CUP standards along with the new psi standards. The reason being …. lab equipment for piezo transducer testing is very expensive so many of the SAAMI approved labs could not afford to buy new equipment when their old equipment was still serviceable.

Another wrench got thrown in the works …. also in 1993. It was a well known fact that 357 Mag, 41 Mag, and 44 Mag revolvers (especially S&W DAs) were not holding up well to the SAAMI max pressures so SAAMI decided to lower the max pressure limit. 357 Mags were lowered by about 25%, 41 and 44 mags were lowered by about 10%. If you try to convert the old SAAMI specs for these cartridges from CUP to modern psi, you will come up with some strange numbers.

Here's how it changed: 357 Mag went from 46,000 CUP to 35,000 psi. 41 Mag and 44 Mag went from 43,500 CUP to 36,000 psi.

When you see load data rated in CUP, the older crusher method was used, which is not very accurate and in some cases, dangerously high. Load data rated in psi is tested with modern electronic equipment and piezo transducers. It is very accurate and does not vary with bullet diameter.
 

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For flash hole uniforming and deburring I use an older Lyman Uniformer, it has an integral deburring tool and is universal with a conical neck guide/stop.
When I size cases whether give straight wall or bottle neck I give the case 2-3 rotations cycling it with each twist, this has led to run out typically <0.003" .
At the risk of branding, which is not my intent, I have found the RCBS Competition seater set to be very convenient for seating those 22 caliber bullets as it has a side window with a guide sleeve to place the bullet, no more pinched fingers. In addition with appropriate pieces it will accommodate many more cartridges. Other brands may offer this as well.
 

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Hi I am tumbling brass for the first time. They have been in the tumbler for 40 minutes already (24 grit wallnut media from HF).
They were range picked up and quite dirty. Now they look nice already. Even the inside of the cases, I looked with a flashlight. I've read it is two to three hours to completion but mine looks almost ready. Is it bad to leave them in for say, two hours?
In any case I'm impressed with the results!
 

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Discussion Starter #92
Is it bad to leave them in for say, two hours?
No it’s not bad, but it’s not necessary, it’s a waste of time in my opinion. As long as my brass feels “slick” , (about 40 minutes) to the touch it’s done and ready to be reloaded. Anyone who thinks “sparkling clean brass” enhances accuracy is chasing their tale, don’t get sucked into that line of thinking.
 

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Hi Frenchy: its good to do a periodic check during cleaning. When the cases look to your liking, time to remove them. You will find that over time your run times will increase. As the media breaks down and becomes dirty. I like to use case polish in the mix. Leaves cases looking nice.
 

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I have been playing around with my new Redding F/L die.
I am using a Lee Hand Press. I chambered a case from a round that I died in the same rifle. The case chambered well. Then I took a range-picked case that I tumbled and chambered it too. It was hard to close the bolt towards the end. I then set up the flu die to try out resizing. I pulled the ram and shellgolder all the way up and then screwed in the die until it made contact with the shell plate, and locked the die body ring there. I lubed the range-picked case through the die then tried to chamber that case again. It didn't chamber any better than the first test. I then took my press and lowered the die a bit so that the press handle had more compression after die full contact with she'll holder and locked the die in place. I ran the case through the die again, then chambered it and now it chambered better, with the same feel as the case that was fired once in the gun.
I can only assume that the initial setting for the die on the Lee Hand Press is not enough to full size a case, and that now the range-picked case is sized to SAAMI, or at least to the die's interpretation of what SAAMI dimensions should be.
I don't believe I would be able to bump size cases with this setup, since it seems this press can only fully resize to SAAMI.
Has anyone experienced this before?
I wonder how much more flexible a decent single-stage press would be. I am also lurking at a Lyman universal case trimmer but it is so expensive and I don't know if I can wait to trim cases. I saw a case whose mouth was very uneven but that one was a freak from the rest.
Still waiting on powder so I'm still experimenting with case prep for now.
Thoughts?
 

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Did you use a case gauge to verify if you have the die set correctly? Also did you measure the case length to verify it's with in specs?
 

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Discussion Starter #97
I don't believe I would be able to bump size cases with this setup, since it seems this press can only fully resize to SAAMI.
frenchy, you will defiantly be able to move the shoulder back when needed with your hand press, but the shoulder will not move fully forward on it's first firing, depending on how hot the load is it could 3 to 5 firings. You can take the brass fired out of your gun and just work the neck with a FL die by moving the die farther up from the shell holder. All you want to do is resize the mouth enough to hold a bullet, this won't move the shoulder. Once you experience a hard/stiff bolt you can take a number from the datum line and adjust your die down to get your desired amount of shoulder set back. Once you reach that number, lock the set-ring and leave it.

The problem you encountered with the range brass, (IMO) was that the chamber it was fired in was larger than yours and it needed a little more umph. Sometimes you have adjust a die a quarter turn deeper to you're working with range brass, that and it's a little harder with a hand press to get the amount of leverage needed.
 

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frenchy, you will defiantly be able to move the shoulder back when needed with your hand press, but the shoulder will not move fully forward on it's first firing, depending on how hot the load is it could 3 to 5 firings. You can take the brass fired out of your gun and just work the neck with a FL die by moving the die farther up from the shell holder. All you want to do is resize the mouth enough to hold a bullet, this won't move the shoulder. Once you experience a hard/stiff bolt you can take a number from the datum line and adjust your die down to get your desired amount of shoulder set back. Once you reach that number, lock the set-ring and leave it.

The problem you encountered with the range brass, (IMO) was that the chamber it was fired in was larger than yours and it needed a little more umph. Sometimes you have adjust a die a quarter turn deeper to you're working with range brass, that and it's a little harder with a hand press to get the amount of leverage needed.
Thanks yes I'll be experimenting for sure. Tomorrow I should receive at my house a chamber length comparator so I should be able to resize the range brass to exactly the same as my once fired brass.
In the same shipment I am getting powder, so things are finally getting real. Trailboss, Red Dot, Benchmark. Thinking about starting with Trailboss and loading ladder to experience loads.
I wish I had a trimmer though :S
 

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Discussion Starter #99 (Edited)
As reloaders we all know that brass doesn’t last forever. It eventually fails if it’s fired enough times. One way for it to fail is in the necks, they become brittle and split, the “fix” for that problem is to anneal the necks every few firings. Some of the benefits of annealing are longer case life, consistent neck tension (better SD, ES and accuracy) and your chamber will seal better.

Brass cartridges get work-hardened in two way, one is when we fire the cartridge, the other is when we resize it. Cartridge brass is made up of little crystals of metal called “grains”. When the brass gets “worked “ the grains shrink making it harder for the molecules to slip past each other which increases the hardness. Annealing or applying heat to a work-hardened area of the brass will cause the grain size of the metal to grow allowing the materials to lose strength, (get softer) which will allow the brass to stretch again without breaking/cracking.

Now there is a fine line when it comes to annealing, brass will start to anneal at 482*, but you only want to anneal the neck/shoulder region, not the body or case head. Annealing the entire case or over annealing is dangerous.....it can cause TOTAL CASE FAILURE when fired. Ideally 700* to 800* applied to the neck/shoulder region for a very short period of time is all that’s needed to get the job done. So we know it’s high heat for a short period of time, but what’s a short period of time? That’s where a product called Tempilaq comes in. Tempilaq comes in various temperature ratings, for annealing you want 750.* and 450*. The 750* Tempilaq is applied INSIDE the mouth of the case the 450* is applied to the case body, (just a stripe from the case head to shoulder). Once the Tempilaq has disappeared/changed color you’ve reach 750* and your case is annealed, the 450* on the case body is to show you that the body hasn’t gotten to hot. Yes there will probably be some change closer to the shoulder but if it has creeped past halfway on the body you’ve ruined the case and it should be crushed. Tempilaq is a really good product to have when you first start annealing but once you get the feel for it you don’t need it. The case necks will need to be cleaned after using Tempilaq too. Keep in mind that amount of time needed to anneal a case will vary from one manufacturer to the next....all brass cartridges are not created equally. I use Hornady brass so anneal time for me is consistent regardless of caliber.

When it comes to the cooling of the brass, there is some internet nonsense claiming that the brass needs to be water quenched to stop the annealing process. That is false, the annealing process stops as soon as it’s removed from the heat source.

You can go out and purchase an annealing machine by Annealeez, ($275) Bench-Source, ($550) or AMP, ($1395, plus needed extras) or you can anneal with equipment you probably already have. If you own a pipe torch, drill, some deepwell sockets, (7/16, 1/2 and 9/16) and steal one of your wife’s cookie sheets you’re good-to-go. The torch is your heat source, the drill spins your case, the sockets hold your case and act as a heat sink, the cookie sheet catches your annealed cases.

Here’s some pics of what I use and some before and after photos of some 22-250 brass. This is really easy to do guys, it’s not rocket-science.

ETA; One pic shows up twice so I left it.....I ain’t that smart.

4E6DE36E-632D-400B-B2E1-E718091DCE69.jpeg
71EF116A-8745-4971-8DC1-0F1B9755ACBD.jpeg
71EF116A-8745-4971-8DC1-0F1B9755ACBD.jpeg
687C50DB-A02F-4547-ADB0-2981B64D4369.jpeg
BA6AA03B-01ED-4993-BDC1-7321F3F53975.jpeg
 

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If this has already been mentioned, I apologize. I load for a lot of different calibers, especially in handguns. I use a number of different powders; W231, Unique, Power Pistol, H110, AA#7, etc. I have a rule. I always leave the powder container for the powder I'm using on the bench instead of putting it back in the powder storage box. When I finish loading the last round, I ALWAYS dump the unused powder in the powder measure back into it's original container. Don't kid yourself. You can't rely on your memory or the appearance of the powder. If you wait a few days and dump the powder in to the wrong container, the results later can be catastrophic.
 
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