What is necessary?

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by lcback, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. I had always seen reloading as something that was 1 out of my budget. and 2 would take to much time away from my wife in the precious 2 hours a day the kids are in bed and we aren't.

    until i saw a Lee hand press and 9mm die set. It seems a great way to cheaply de prime, size and re prime cases, while i can sit in the living room with my wife and pack it all away in a box when I'm done. and its under $50.

    SO i am starting my research on what I need to get started slowly buying.

    I know i need:
    The press, Dies for what i want to reload (9mm,.380,30-30, .243), consumables ( powder, bullets, lube, ect.),

    What I have: Lee improved powder dipper set, Small digital pocket scale, brass, shell holder.

    My Questions:
    Do i need to tumble or ultrasonically clean my brass? or is the few home made solutions with vinegar and dish soap clean enough? How clean is clean enough? spotless? no residue?

    How do i know what die sets will work? Are do i need full sizers or neck sizer? is annealing something i should even worry about? what kind of crimp tools should i have? How do you set your OAL on the presses?
    anything else you can recommend?
  2. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    I tumble my brass using walnut medium I buy from Harbor Freight. They come out sooo shiny!



  3. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    You get 2 hours?

    Peace favor your sword,
  4. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    If you can, a Lee press in a 'kit' form is an awesome deal and has everything you will need to get started except for the dies and a decent dial caliper. My Lee Breech Lock Challenger Kit included a balance scale, a perfect powder measure (micrometer type), and a hand held priming tool.

    It currently is only $123 (& free shipping) @ Amazon.


    I got this Lyman dial caliper for only $30 also @ Amazon. http://smile.amazon.com/Lyman-78322...65722?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  5. about, we are pretty strict with the kids to be in bed by 8:30. from there we are usually up until 10:30. if i dont fall asleep on the couch, or im not working on some lat minute powerpoints.

    MY wife may actually be happier if i can do this in the living room, ill stay awake instead of snoring beside her :rofl:
  6. so you recommend tumbling.... which is a fine recomendation, but do you know how clean is clean enough? is there a benefit from making them shiny? other than "wow....shiny brass":cool:
  7. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    A buddy of mine recommends throwing your brass in an old pillowcase for which you care not and running it through the washing machine on hot in the "small load" cycle. Then take out the cases and run the machine again at "medium load" just to be sure that any lead-staphinate which might have been left over past the rinse cycle gets rinsed away.

    Peace favor your sword,
  8. I would be all for that, how ever i dont think my wife would be? wonder if the lead is of any danger to my children. she will probably tell me to get my own....which is more expensive than a tumbler.
  9. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    Because it is shiny inside the cases, too.

    I have been reloading since 1982. Lee Load All for shotshell, 12 and 20 Gauge. And, Lee Progressive 1000 since 1987, mostly .380 ACP, .38 Special/.357 Mangum, .45 ACP and some 7.62x39mm.

  10. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Yes, it is. Which is why the recommendation to run a larger cycle after, with the machine empty. You don't want lead-staphinate saturating your kids cloths.

    As I've been prepping of for my own foray into reloading, I've tried three different methods. I acquired (was given out of garage sale stuff) an old hobby rock tumbler, which I filled with "lizzard litter" from the pet store (crushed wallnut media, only way less expensive) was the first. For the second, I found a 40% off coupon for Harbor Freight and I bought one of their cheap ultrasonic cleaners. The third was a home-brew vinegar and dish-soap recipe, supposedly dating from the 50's. They all appear to work, but the vinegar and dish-soap comes out the cleanest appearing in the least time. The least work is the rock-tumbler but I can leave it tumbling for over 24 hours and it sill will not get staining off of the cases. The ultrasonic cleaner seemed about the same as the tumbler but was far quicker. But I still had to dry the cases afterwards. Between the tumbler and the ultrasonic, I like the tumbler better. I'll use the ultrasonic to suspend, in a bath of water, a jar of Ed's Red to ultrasonically clean bolts, slides, and small parts. Seems to work a treat for that.

    I've been warned that, over time, the vinegar might leach the zinc out of the brass, making it brittle but I haven't found any independent verification of that. I have, however, found independent verification against using any brass cleaner which contains ammonia (most commercial brass cleaners); it can damage the brass (leaching the copper) and can lead to stress-cracking. There are (very old) examples of British ammunition rendered dangerous and unshootable because of ammonia induced stress cracking.

    If I can't find independent confirmation about vinegar, I'll likely use that on range-pickup for the first clean and then follow with standard tumbling, unless experts recommend something else.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  11. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    With pistol loads, the dippers work great. Just make sure you have a powder that has a load that fits the dippers...and understand, you can't fine tune for ultimate accuracy, and you must pay attention, some loads are easy to double charge, as they fill less than half the shell.

    So, all you need is the press, dies, dipper and a funnel, not a kitchen funnel, the loading funnels fit outside the brass, with a hole small enough to direct powder into the shell.

    Then consumables.

    Don't worry about the lead in the washing machine, it will get washed down the drain. Realistically, you can load dirty brass...but it's dirty, and carbon and lead will get on you, your clothes, and your furniture. But it won't affect function....much. I'd still recommend washing or tumbling.

    When I dip loads, I dump a small amount of powder into a ceramic mug, and I try to use all of that up. It's not humid here, so it's not a big deal, but if it were, I'd be worried about having powder out in the open for a half hour as I dipped up 100 shells, and then putting the leftover powder back in the bottle.

    So...your idea will work, and will be a good way to start.
  12. Thank you, very informative post. If i jump into this for the sake of cash, i will probably plan on rolling with the vinegar,dish soap method for a while.
  13. Awesome thank you so much. so bassically If i buy the hand press, and This Crabide Die set,

    All i will need is powder, bullets and brass.

    If i go this way i will start with 9mm, and then probably work into 30-30 loadings and .380ACP

    The tip about powder and humidity is defintely something i hadn't thought about.

    My house is humid in the summer, no AC so it gets muggy to say the least.
  14. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Go to a construction site or a house rehab and load up on 50 pounds of scrap plaster wallboard. It contains gypsum, a naturally occurring desiccant. Crush it into coarse pea-gravel size. Place in steel or aluminum containers. You can make aluminum foil sachets or make an aluminum pie plate "tambourine" (use the disposable aluminum pie plates) and poke holes in one side (the "top"). In a bind, you can wash out a bunch of aluminum soda cans. You regenerate the gypsum (drive off the moisture) by baking it for 2-4 hours at between 400-450 degrees. Baking it at a lower temp will not drive water out of gypsum and baking it above 450 will ruin it for sure and it will never work as a desiccant again. Store whatever it is you want to keep dry in a more-or-less sealed container (like a trunk) with as much of the gypsum as you can reasonably stick in there. Depending on local conditions, regenerate the gypsum every two-weeks to once per season.

    There is, literally, no less expensive way I know of to get gun-safe & ammo (and components) desiccant. It'll be ugly as sin but it'll work.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  15. cicpup

    cicpup Resident PITA Supporting Member

    Spell Check.
  16. I used this method to clean my brass when I first started reloading, before I bought a tumbler and an ultrasonic cleaner.
  17. moona11

    moona11 King of you Monkeys Lifetime Supporter

    For real dirty cases I use lemni shine and dish soap in a old crook pot heated. Rinse really well and put on baking sheet in the oven at 145° for 45 minutes dries great. I then tumble in lizard walnut bedding with some Nu finish wax with old drier sheets thrown in. Regular brass just tumble it the same way.
  18. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I spoke to a buddy, who's got (literal) decades of reloading experience, last night and asked him his advice on the hand-press. According to him the hand-press will be insufficient for anything but straight-walled pistol cartridges. Apparently, it will be pretty much impossible to properly seat (and crimp?) bottle-necked rifle cartridges such as the 30-30 and the .243 using this hand-press.

    Further, and disappointingly to me, he also says that the entry level bench mounted single-stage press by Lee which I have been planning on purchasing will work OK for .223 but will be challenging to properly seat .308, 30-30, and 7.62x54R with (all of which I would like to be able to do).

    Apparently the press itself is a cast aluminum or ZAMAK. This is, he says, sufficient for straight-walled pistol and rifle cartridges and some of the smaller bottle-neck rifle cartridges (.223) but will over stress when trying to work with larger bottle-necked rifle cartridges.

    His recommendation to me was to get a Rockchucker or find some single-stage which is steel or cast-iron.


    Time to re-work my "entry level reloading budget"... :(

    Peace favor your sword,
  19. That is disappointing. I would like to get into reloading, and 9mm is the easiest way to start, but if I cant use the same equipment for my 30-30 it just does not make sense.
    Looks like ill be waiting a few more years.