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I apologize if the info can be found in another thread somewhere. I checked and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, and I am looking for basic yet specific answers while saving time. I just have 3 questions regarding the approximate cost and items required to start reloading.

I know the 5 stage systems can run a lot. But if I decided to get a Lee single stage press (I watched a quick video demo on) or similar single stage press. My questions are:

1) Assuming that I could get most of my brass myself, what would be the approximate end cost if I wanted to reload my first 1000 rounds of 357 mag and 9mm with just a single stage setup in my shop? (Ex: $300 - $450)

2) Without getting into anything fancy, would the supply list be: The single stage press itself, a die for each of the 2 rounds, bullets (let's say basic FMJ for simplicity's sake), smokeless powder, a digital scale, measuring scoops, primers, brass, and reloading manual? Or is there more required than that to start out?

3) Is all of the info you need to learn as far as measurements and pressures for safe and proper reloading found in a specific manual? I often hear Hornady reloading manual referenced a lot.

Thanks in advance and again I apologize if missed the answer when scanning over thread conversations between folks experienced with reloading. Also sorry for such a newbie question, but I want to have the basics understood so that I can make an educated decision on if this is an investment I want to make soon. The only personal source I have is a friend who bought an expensive 5 stage setup. Hope everyone is staying safe out there!
 

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Dis...going to be watching your thread because I have the same questions. I've been saving my .223, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 44 Mag, and 44 Spl brass for when I retire. Thought is I'll start reloading at that time.

But, I will say that reloading seems to be more of a 'hobby' vs a money saver. I shoot A LOT. But, my time is worth something as well. If you love doing it....no brainer, reload. If you're looking for a money saver.....I still have to figure out the numbers. It's really ROI...Return On Investment. AFTER I spend the money on the equipment THAT MAKES IT AN ENJOYABLE RELOADING EXPERIENCE how long does it take to start 'making money'? Right now....time is money and I don't have the time to spend doing it. Once retired.....going to revisit.

Looking forward to the responses.
 

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I see you are planning to load .357 and 9mm. My biggest recommendation is to skip the single stage press and opt instead for a 4 position turret press. I would recommend a Lee. I often see it being recommended that a new comer should start with a single stage until they learn what they're doing. I personally find it much safer than a single stage. You start with an empty case and after 4 throws of the handle you have a loaded round. Not much chance of accidentally going back and putting a double charge in an already charged case. I shoot as often as I can and cannot imagine trying do all that on a single stage. My Lee turret press will crank out about 180 rounds an hour without pushing it. You can feel what's gong on with each throw of the handle. If you really want a single stage just remove the spindle and the turret becomes a single stage. Also I feel that a digital scale is fine but not as your primary scale. I would recommend a balance beam scale. I've been using the same Lyman for years without issue. Use the 4 die carbide dies (again I recommend lee) and you won't have to deal with lubing your straight wall pistol cases.
 

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I've reloaded pistol and rifle on a Lee single stage for years. I recommend the Lee challenger kit. Everything you need to get started it's at Miday $139 free shipping ( I just checked). A good load manual $20-$25 . Bullets and powder and primers
 

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Lee single stage is a great press to start out with. I did the same with the Hornady single stage and in a year had to get the LNL AP progressive press. I will always use the single stage for large rifle and other operations. A friend has the turret press and really likes it. Lee is a great press at a good price as is Hornady. Dillon is the Lexus of the bunch and a little too rich for my taste.
 

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I apologize if the info can be found in another thread somewhere. I checked and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, and I am looking for basic yet specific answers while saving time. I just have 3 questions regarding the approximate cost and items required to start reloading.

I know the 5 stage systems can run a lot. But if I decided to get a Lee single stage press (I watched a quick video demo on) or similar single stage press. My questions are:

1) Assuming that I could get most of my brass myself, what would be the approximate end cost if I wanted to reload my first 1000 rounds of 357 mag and 9mm with just a single stage setup in my shop? (Ex: $300 - $450)

2) Without getting into anything fancy, would the supply list be: The single stage press itself, a die for each of the 2 rounds, bullets (let's say basic FMJ for simplicity's sake), smokeless powder, a digital scale, measuring scoops, primers, brass, and reloading manual? Or is there more required than that to start out?

3) Is all of the info you need to learn as far as measurements and pressures for safe and proper reloading found in a specific manual? I often hear Hornady reloading manual referenced a lot.

Thanks in advance and again I apologize if missed the answer when scanning over thread conversations between folks experienced with reloading. Also sorry for such a newbie question, but I want to have the basics understood so that I can make an educated decision on if this is an investment I want to make soon. The only personal source I have is a friend who bought an expensive 5 stage setup. Hope everyone is staying safe out there!
Here's a suggested list of minimum required equipment:
1) Die set for each cartridge
2) Press
3) Shell holder for each cartridge, if not included with die set
4) Caliper, to measure length of completed cartridge to set correct bullet seating depth
5) Powder scale, either balance beam or digital
6) Powder funnel
7) Case lube (for bottleneck cartridges or if you don't get carbide dies for straight wall cartridges)
8) Loading block to hold cases
9) Powder measure of some sort
10) Reloading manuals

Optional
11) Scale calibration weights
12) Case trimming tools (usually not required for straight wall cases)
13) Priming tool, if you don't want to prime on the press

Beyond that there are lots and lots of nice to have items. A good book for beginners is "Things They Don't Tell You About Reloading", more info can be found here. You should have at least one good reloading manual, two is better. A good general use reloading manual is the Lyman Manual, it uses a variety of powder and bullet manufacturers and has a good intro to reloading. For a second manual I like one from the the supplier of the bullets I am using. So get the Hornady manual if you are using Hornady bullets, otherwise almost every bullet supplier has a manual.

For the cost of reloading, you can easily calculate the cost of the components. There are 7000 grains in a pound; for 9mm you should get 1000 or more rounds from a pound of powder and 500 or more for the 357. Add in the cost of one primer and one bullet, you'll find that jacketed bullets are usually the most expensive component. As BigG noted above this is a hobby and you can save money over factory loads, especially for some rifle ammo, but you should also enjoy it or you will lose interest.
 

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For starting into reloading plan on dropping around $300 on equipment, manuals, powder, primers, bullets etc. The $300 will get you up and running with a good basic set up. It would cover the necessities but not all of the nice to have but not necessary to reload items that you probably will buy later on if you keep reloading.
I personally use the Lee 4 hole turret press with Lee 4 die sets and they have worked well for me. A lot of people don't think lot of the Lee equipment but unless you are going to shoot several hundred rounds per week and want to get into competition the Lee equipment will serve you well.
 

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There's lots of variables in cost, but, for example: I load 38 special at approx 18 cents/round and 45 ACP at approx 21 cents/round (using Xtreme plated bullets) component cost only - cost of equipment and time not included. 9mm and 357 should fall roughly in this ballpark. My .223 loads run approx 25 cents/round.

I use a Lee single stage press and Lee dies. I'm retired and not in a hurry and rarely shoot more that 100-150 rounds in an outing - except for occasional training classes.

Hope this helps answer at least your first question. Have a great day, and enjoy getting started in reloading.
 

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First, I you're getting into reloading to save money...............you won't. But you will shoot up to three times as much, (depending on caliber/load) for the same price as factory fodder. I'm sure this thread will turn into a brand war but I'm a big fan of Dillon and RCBS in that order.

As far as equipment price you're looking at a little over $600;

RCBS Supreme Master Kit....$380
RCBS 38/357 dies...................$60
RCBS 9MM dies.......................$80
RCBS Trickler............................$25
RCBS Calipers...........................$50
Shell holders, (2)........................$12

As far as components you're looking at around $80 for 2000 primers, $80 to $200 for a 1000 .357 bullets depending on what you shoot, $100 to $140 for 1000 9MM bullets, again depending on what you shoot and powder generally runs between $27 and $30 a pound. These are just rough numbers though. I'd also consider the "ABC's of Reloading" and a bullet specific reloading manual, (Hornady, Speer, Sierra).

Now if you just want to "buy once, cry once" get a Dillon you'll never regret it...... often copied, never duplicated.
 

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I am with the above guys. I do all rifle on a single stage since the case has to be removed to cut crimped primers on mil brass, and most of the time has to be trimmed to length. chamfer, deburr etc. Non magnum pistol rounds i do on my progressive, since they rarely need trimming like 380,9mm,40,45lc,45acp,38 etc.

The hornady kit, lee, and rcbs kits are all good to begin with. Biggesr thing buy some manuals, in particular for your bullets of choice. Their is also a book out the abc's of reloading tgat can be extremely helpful and tips for the novice.

You can save money, but it will be after you recoup the equipment cost. Specialty calibers show bigger savings like 50bmg. 6.8spc, 338 federal, 6.5 grendel etc.

Biggest benefit is accuracy. You can produce more stringent reloads and produce loads your firearns like, which translates to snall groups, fir your setup. You can also tune loads fir their purpose, example i load down the 44 magnum for less recoil. and ramge plinking versus the nax charge.

Think of it like this when manufacturers make the ammo, it has to work in any firearm for that caliber. Your reloads are tuned to your circumstances. Thats the biggest gain.
 

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Set your budget and get the best single stage press kit you can afford .
You will always have a use for at least one single stage press , even if you one day go progressive . Leave money for Handloading manuals . Lyman 50th Anniversary, Lyman Cast Bullet Manual 4th edition , Speer and Hornady manuals will be the backbone of you information . Some data can be found online...but having book in hand is best . Read chapters in these manuals before and after load data for a wealth of knowledge .
You need a good scale , powder , primers , bullets case holding tray(s) and ammo boxes.
Load Safe,
Gary
 

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I too went with Lee classic turret press with four holes,had it for over two years. I love it but still only use it single stage. I bought additional turret and another set of Lee dies for 357magnum and one for 38 special. Takes All of five seconds to change dies. I only load those two calibers and find it another hobby unto itself
 

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All of the info above is valuable in one way or another. I will try to cut through to the bottom line they way I figured it. I have done the math in the past. Calculated all the components and did not bother to figure in trying to recoup the equipment cost. I rather quickly figured out that 9mm and 223/5.56 can be bought for $1 to $2 more per box, than you can reload it for. On 7.62x39 in brass and 30-06, I could save some money reloading. My .38, .45, and .357 could be reloaded cheaper than bought also. I did my math assuming my store bought ammo is obtained at regular prices, not the inflated ones we currently have.

I do not shoot fancy calibers, if you do, your savings will increase, sometimes significantly.

I could care less about tailoring a pet load for my rifles. My expectations as a hunter and hack target shooter are satisfied by factory ammo. It is all about cost in my analysis.

I have a ton of other things to do, so the reloading part of it had no real recreational value to ME. I have learned now to buy my hunting ammo after the season ends, when it goes on sale. I stock up on pistol ammo around Christmas every year. I watch for rebates. If you buy smart, you can beat hand-loading prices in some cases.

That said, I am saving my brass for the day when I decide I have enough "bored" time that I might buy the reloading set up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This is really great! I wish I could reply to each post, but since there is so much info in so many replies, I will just say thanks to all of you! You all offered valuable info that helped answer my questions and then some. From the list of required and optional items, the process, prices, personal experiences with equipment, and sources of loading info, it was all helpful and much appreciated!

My ultimate price range will depend on whether or not my dad decides to pitch in with me. Either way I'm sure I will buy extra stuff over time. One unique thing I've seen and want to try is powder coating. I've also seen where people melt down and recycle scrap lead, but that's a whole different animal. Brass will come easy. I have a ton already saved and the range I go to has a big clean up bucket to which I got permission to help myself. Plus friends and family who will save me theirs.

As far as what I own (maybe someone can tell me if any specific rounds should be a priority and why so), I have a Marlin 30-30, a Ruger GP100 357 mag / 38 special, a Ruger ec9s 9mm, an AR15 in 5.56/223, a Colt SAA clone in 45 Colt, and a Mossberg 12 guage. I do a few more additions planned on my check-list, but no new rounds worth considering for my purposes.

Currently my GP100 is my baby and my favorite to shoot. In close 2nd is my AR15. My 9mm is my CCW. It has fixed sights that I've painted and gotten familiar and comfortable with thanks to a lot of practice, so now I usually just take a few mags' worth to the range just to stay warm with it. My 30-30 I just recently took out and zeroed my scope at 100 yards and was hitting paper at 50 and 200 yards just fine (I live in PA so its perfect). Now it will sit unmoved until deer season. I did forget to mention 45 Colt. I'd like to be able to do low-pressure cowboy loads just for hobby-shooting and a couple batches of some hotter stuff but nothing that will risk damage to the firearm (I have a soft spot for old-western classics). 5.56 and 223 would be a priority. I did my AR15 build 2 years ago and let's face it, they are a lot of fun to shoot and it's my ole SHTF guy. My GP100 is what I use most at the range, is my woods sidearm, and my nightstand gun. 38 special is nice for the wife, to get warmed up with...but they are a pain to clean the cylinder after and less fun than 357. The 357 magnum is my favorite cartridge and what I go thru the most right there with 5.56/223. All things considered, I dont see any personal benefit to 30-30 at this point in my life. 9mm and 38 special would be nice, but my priory list from top to bottom would be: 357 mag, 5.56 NATO, 45 Colt, 9mm, 38 special, 30-30. So let's say I commit to 357 mag, 5.56 nato, and 45 Colt to focus on. Is there anything about those 3 rounds that would make any of them particularly more or less easy to work with than other rounds?

Also, reading over the replies (I plan to reread and bookmark) led me to another question, is 38 special and 357 mag something that is easy to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" so to speak? Or would it be more like having to commit to investing in each cartridge separately? Same with 5.56/223. I know they pressured are differently in both cases respectively. 357 mag has a slightly longer casing but I did see mention of trimming, and I think 5.56 and 223 are seated differently with the neck of the casing if I am not mistaken? Anyways, thanks again for all the advice so far!
 

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I can only add what it cost to get me reloading .38 and .45 acp: about 350 bucks. I bought my dies, press, trickler, and beam scale (new old stock) used on eBay, and it took me about 2 months to assemble all my kit and begin. I bought a Lyman manual and powder scoops, and wished I had gotten check weights earlier. I highly recommend them to calibrate your scale before each session.

I would also get a manual for whichever bullet brand you plan to load, too. I owned a nice Swiss dial caliper already, and later purchased my case trimmer. Nothing is electronic except a 20 buck ultrasonic jewelry cleaner I got from Amazon for my brass.

As for .357, I found it easier to buy another set of dies later, when I began to load for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I rather quickly figured out that 9mm and 223/5.56 can be bought for $1 to $2 more per box, than you can reload it for.

I do not shoot fancy calibers, if you do, your savings will increase, sometimes significantly.
Yeah, I haven't really checked to see if things are returning to normal since the panic-buying. The mom and pops shop a block over from me was able to his hands on six 150 count boxes of 5.56 green tips. I paid 80 bucks for a box which was 10-15 more than what I have liked to, but it was peak panic season. My buddy just got an expensive 5 stage setup to do 5.56 and 9mm. I'm curious if he has figured out a way for his setup to pay for itself.

As for the fancy ammo part, yes and no. I don't want to call 45 Colt (formerly 45 long colt) fancy because it is more of a timeless classic, but it is certainly one of the more rare types of ammo you typically see being purchased. This is one of the big ones for me because my Colt 1873 SAA clone is the one firearm I purchased for no purpose other than Ive always wanted one, didnt have 2 grand for an actual old colt SAA, and wanted to have some fun at the range with drawing and one handed firing, etc like in the old west. 357 mag is the other big one I would want to reload. Then 5.56 would be 3rd as stated. But I agree with you on the other rounds. 30-30 is what I hunt whitetail with and I'll take it to the range here and there and hunt with it and that's it. I can pick up a box of 30-30 ammo when I see it for cheap any time and just let it build faster than it gets used. 9mm is the same now that I have a true confidence and feel for my CCW. When I get my Glock 17 that may change though. My 12 guage is insignificant here, and even when I get my 22lr next week and eventually 7mm rem mag, the 22 will be for cheap plinking and small game hunting if the need ever raises where small game becomes more necessary to me and bulk bricks of 22lr can be had cheap. 7mm rem mag will just be for long range range shooting and if I were to ever hunt somewhere that is more open and flat. For me in the thick, lush mountains, valleys, and brush of central PA, a 30-30 is all that is needed. It is light and easy to maneuver and lever action is fun and makes for fast reloading. Most people would say a 308 is more practical and I almost went that route, but could not resist getting another 30-30 as I grew up on it, got my first deer with it, etc. Plus I don't know who is taking shots from over 200 yards in my area besides maybe farmers. Factory ammo is fine for all of those things I mentioned. But 45 Colt, 357 mag, 5.56, 38 special, and 9mm are the ones worth a look to me, especially since I can easily get and reuse brass. But since what you said about 5.56/223, I am more hesitant on it until I get more info on if it would be worth it to me personally. The reason for load/reloading for me is a combination of both practicality (saving money) and hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Nothing is electronic except a 20 buck ultrasonic jewelry cleaner I got from Amazon for my brass.
Definitely food for thought. I grew up on beam and balance scales, pretty much everything was still non-digital. I have seen people use digital. I suppose both are good options, but what I would do if I went the digital route is be sure to have exact weight blocks handy like the 1 gram and 10 gram ones we used to have in science class. That way, before every session you have a couple of control tests to make sure the scale will give accurate measurements. Then again I am just speculating still as I am new to the world of loading and reloading.
 

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I would say to start out with .357/.38, as these can be loaded with the same set of dies. They just need to be adjusted. Both are very straight forward to reload. 45 colt is also very easy to reload.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would say to start out with .357/.38, as these can be loaded with the same set of dies. They just need to be adjusted. Both are very straight forward to reload. 45 colt is also very easy to reload.
I think I'm going to take that advice based on what I've read, especially if I can cover 38/357 the same for the most part. I blow thru 38/357 like a fat kid with skittles and with a GP100 I can push max pressures no problem. As far as 45 Colt, it would be really nice to just stock myself up on low pressure, soft lead cowboy loads for range fun instead of trying to track down specific 45 Colt factory loads. I ordered some ammo just based on whatever was on sale to go with my Colt SAA clone called Great Lakes. Turned out to be starline brass with Hornady JHP bullets...the kind of stuff I'd save for if I ever took it into bear country, not the kind of ammo to go wasting on paper targets at the range.
 

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Some 9mm and 223/5.56 ammunition have crimped in place primers which add a wrinkle to the reloading process. You can remove the primers OK, but it will be difficult to impossible to seat new primers without additional processing. There are specialized tools to swage or ream the primer pockets that will add a bit of cost to your setup. You can inspect and sort the used brass you have on hand to determine how much brass you have with crimped primers. For starting out I recommend using non-crimped brass until you get more experience.
 
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