Grew tired or waiting for the perfect time....getting back into reloading now !!!!

Discussion in 'Caliber Talk: Ammunition, Reloading, and Shooting ' started by Dub, May 21, 2019.

  1. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017
    15 years ago I reloaded with an RCBS Rockchucker. My needs then were to roll out hunting rounds for deer rifles & my .44 rem mag revolver.

    Hunting took a huge fall off due to several reasons. Wound up caving into a buddy who wanted to buy all my RCBS gear. I loaded out all the stuff I had and it lasted me fairly well. The .44 stuff went the quickest, I sometimes sneak it into my range bag when I go shoot my 1911's.

    I've found myself shooting more often now at the local indoor range...and their nice outdoor range, too. It's very convenient. No more long drives out to the WMA ranges.

    The beef of it is the ammo cost. I've been using and similar sites, but I'll not stay devoted to one brand/load. I tend to let price heavily influence my choices.

    Spotty results that drive me nuts sometimes.

    We are planning to move in the next year or so. If everything works out as planned, I'll have a man-cave room on the first floor....a bigger gun safe in there, desk and a reloading wall. Room for game mounts, too.

    Sounds great....but there are many mini-projects that have do be done before we sell our house....and buy another.....and move....and yield to the wife's likely need for new furniture, window treatments, etc, etc.

    My mancave plans seemed like a tall tale at this stage.

    I couldn't stand it anymore.

    I picked out a spot in a current upstairs guest bedroom. Rearranged stuff and told here I wanted to make a place to work on guns, mount scopes, change sights, cleaning, etc. Told her I was going to build an unobtrusive bench and stain it close to the what the furniture is already.

    She wasn't too enthused...but she didn't protest. While the Force was with me.....I did the Jedi mind trick thing and did a quick mention of it being a great spot to reload bullets.....out of the way. She seemed to go along.

    Next morning found me at the local Lowe's getting the wood needed.


    I've got the framework of the bench. It'll be smallish at 2' deep x 4' wide 3' tall. Using two 3/4" plywood sheets for the upper surface with a 1/3" layer of black hdpe on the top.

    It'll have two full sized shelves. Planning on storing components & loaded ammo there for the extra weight.

    I've begun ordering parts needed for mounting the press + lighting for it.

    The wood is being stained now....the humidity is taking it forever to dry between coats.

    Hoping to be ready to put it together by Saturday. Travel plans will stall progress, but when I get back I'll be ordering the press.

    Going with a Dillon XL 650.

    Will be using an Inline Fabrication Ultramount with Quick Change plate. Holding off on the case feeder at first. Want to get mighty comfortable with everything before adding on. My plan was to set it up for .45acp with an occasional changeover to 9mm.

    Not sure if I'll hunt enough to want to get back into rifle stuff. Don't shoot my Ar15's enough right now to justify it....but that may change as I use the local outdoor range more often. I'm also toying with adding an M1A and I know I'd run it hard enough to make another changeover worthwhile.

    Looking forward to getting back into the game.

    My wife has been dealing with some significant health issues and I've been hanging close to home on my days off to help her however I can. Having something gun-related to tinker with will be mighty relaxing.

    Anyway.....I'll keep this thread updated with my progress.

    A shooting buddy told me to hear him out. He said, "You may as well buy the Dillon 550C right now to start with. It'll handle what you need and be much easier to swap over between target stuff & hunting stuff."

    I see his point....he has merit. I'm going ahead with the XL 650, though. My current desire is to get it rolling out my .45acp & 9mm ammo. Who knows.....I may add another press later on. I could see where the 550c would be nice to have when doing .30'06, 270Win, .308Win and .44RemMag hunting stuff.

    Time will tell. I've already started buying stuff for the 650.
    boatdoc, Fred_G, FNFAN and 10 others like this.
  2. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    Excitement ahead for you. Shoot to Reload or Reload to Shoot, the dilemma for your future days. Congrats!
    Dub likes this.

  3. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017

    I always approached my single stage hand loading as it's own hobby. Amazing how accurate my basic, off-the-shelf bolt guns could shoot once I spent some time working up loads for them. Very gratifying.

    Being able to feed these 1911's with good stuff will be equally fun.

    I've been using some semi-wadcutters in a few of them and love the nice clean .45 holes that appear in targets. It's like a hole puncher was used.

    I'll definitely be looking into some coated lead semi-wadcutters in 200gr.

    I need to go ahead and get a tumbler so I can be getting brass ready.
    Old Sea Dragon likes this.
  4. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Congratulations....and remember to have "Fun" with the process of getting everything set up the way you want it !!
    Dub and Mike Meints like this.
  5. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Your dimensions are fine...the footprint of a Dillon 650 is about 18" X 18" ....and that leaves you room for cleaning, gunsmithing, etc.

    My cleaning / gunsmithing bench is 30" X 48" ...but I've gots reference books, etc on bench top that I could easily put elsewhere.

    I have a steel rack system...costco & others sell them...that you can fit into a closet. I have mine behind a set of French Doors in a closet. This kind of a rack system can be easily taken down & moved to your new home down the road.



    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    KS95B40, boatdoc, A45GUNNER and 7 others like this.
  6. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    Great setup Jim! Looks like the wife has been kind to allocate you plenty of space.;)
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    simonp and Dub like this.
  7. Old Sea Dragon

    Old Sea Dragon Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    In for your progress reports. Congratulations on getting back in reloading!
    Dub likes this.
  8. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017

    Now that's some serious reloading space right there !!!
  9. july19

    july19 Womb? Weary? He rests. He has travelled. Supporting Addict

    Sep 16, 2013
    Make sure you can reach the top of the bullet-feeder tube or case feeder if you buy that accessory.
    Dub likes this.
  10. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Thanks guys ...yes, it was my wife's idea to remodel the room for me as a benches, rewired, new lights etc.... ( she is a keeper / or I should say she tolerates me -- after 31 yrs now... !!) I actually have way more space than I need...



    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  11. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Red and black machines are MEC shotgun shell loaders. Hydraulic..they operate off a foot pedal. A 12ga, 20ga, 28ga & .410...

    I've been reloading for almost 60 yrs ....but having this room is a great luxury my basement ...heated, no humidity ...etc...
    dstallguy and Dub like this.
  12. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    I'm not a jealous man, but every time Jim posts pics of his reloading room I can feel my face getting flush with envy. Just about to go down this path myself. Been threatening to for a couple years. My ffl has a package with a 650 that he set up for a guy, still NIB. The guy is moving out of this Godforsaken state and wants to sell it all. Was leaning 550 but this might push me over. Good luck and happy shooting. :)
  13. KS95B40

    KS95B40 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Aug 16, 2017
    In a corner of our garage. It is heated and cooled however.

    45A26F83-57EA-425F-BD85-FAF33C76C7B7.jpeg 95585B08-26D9-4443-9C0A-87E89A2286C9.jpeg Ok C838DDF9-6A3D-4CEF-A686-5E4B1974B4A6.jpeg
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  14. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Just close your eyes ...and jump in the deep end man !! ( with the rest of us crazies... )....
    Nothing wrong with a 550....except you have to manually index it ...and tool head only has 4 positions ( so no room for a powder check... )...;).. a 650 is calling your name...
    boatdoc, simonp, KS95B40 and 2 others like this.
  15. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    And remember....

    Some of This ........

    And maybe some of This.....

    And some of these....

    Leads to a pile like this in about 10 or 15 minutes....:D:D
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    SVG, boatdoc, KS95B40 and 3 others like this.
  16. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    The 550 just came highly recommended, more for rifle rounds, by someone I really respect, my plan is to load .45, 9mm, 5.56 to a lesser extent, 6.5 Grendel, and 6.5 Creedmoor. Eventually .38 super. If the deal is right I'm going to snag the 650. The Dillon calendars are a bonus. ;) If I'm being realistic, 20 gauge is my biggest need right now. Courtesy of this little ball of energy. 20190516_192119.jpg 20190518_224221.jpg
    Not to derail the OP but I've probably got enough duck loads to last a few years at my hunting pace. Upland and target loads, not so much. I'd like a steel capable loader that can crank out 20 and 28 gauge low base quailish loads.
    SVG, boatdoc, A45GUNNER and 4 others like this.
  17. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    Jan 21, 2015
    The best time to get into reloading is always right now! Congrats.

    I reloaded .45-70 in my college years, and got rid of 100% of my equipment when I started having to move around a lot for my job. Got back into reloading a few years ago and having to re-buy all the equipment at materials was a giant PITA. Taught me the lesson that even if I stop reloading again, never get rid of the equipment.

    I use a Forster Co-Ax Single Stage press. Its pretty versitile/ modular/ hot-swapable and is very repeatable/ consistant and suits my needs very well. My reloading pretty much focuses on low volume, long range rifle rounds though and its probably not the ideal setup for someone looking to shoot volume.

    My recomendation for buying reloading gear (from a precision rifle shooter perspective FWIW) is to get a sturdy mid-level press and invest in good dies and a good podwer measuring/trickeling system. Don't over think the small details when buying your press when comparing similar models, they will all do (5% the same thing and get you the same end result. Any mid-high quality press you buy will likely last a lifetime and you can probably find good deals on reloading forums. Also, the more automation you introduce into a reloading process, the more error you introduce in terms of consistancy. The time you save in an automated system will probably have to be focused on CQ of the completed rounds. This might not be an issue if you are just reloading for volume.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    Dub likes this.
  18. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017

    Heated & cooled garage has got to be a super thing to have.

    You've got it all set up right there at the ready. I can see many hours spent at that well stocked bench. :)

    I've heard the's called my name before.....and other stuff seemed to come on the radar and burn up my "gun funds". Truth is that I've all the guns I need.....and realize that I'll never have all that I want. :grumpy: needs are covered and it's a perfect time to spend the funds on getting my hand loading setup running.

    Feels good to be working toward that end. Much more gratifying use of the $$$ than picking up another gun......although there are a couple shotguns that are teetering on the wants/needs balance beam.... :devil:

    :smurggrin: That's the other fun part, too........chootin' it up.

    That H110 brings back some great M29/629/Blackhawk/Redhawk memories. Looking forward to getting the hand cannons roaring again. Truth be told...the .44 Rem Mag is my favorite revolver round. It's mighty enjoyable to shoot.....and all I'd need in a handgun for hunting.

    My buddy and I each bought the same G20's......then later bought the same .500 S&W Howitzers. The Glocks proved to be really handy when we hunted down in swamp areas. Mine killed a pile of moccasins and a couple hogs. The .500's were fun to shoot.....but we both didn't care for toting around a 10.5" barreled cannon along with a deer rifle and sometimes toting a climbing stand. The cost of hunting ammo was very prohibitive, too. I got outa the swamp club and sold the G20 to another member.....and traded the .500 for a gun that I could afford to feed. :rofl: My buddy sold his .500s&w and went on to buy a pair of .460 s&w.

    .44RemMag is all I'll ever need. Handles well. I'm accurate with it, enjoy shooting it and once I get my loading game going, I'll likely make some sweet hp .44spcl loads that will have the cannon being left out of the gun safe and doing double duty somewhere in the house as an HD weapon. I can see a future where one of those new short barreled Redhawks may transition from the the needs. :alien1:

    That pup looks awesome. Super breed that can do anything you ask of them....all the while being a great family pet, too. You are going to have huge fun. Nothing more fun than a new puppy becoming one of the family.

    My brother-in-law has had a number of very nice bird dogs over the years. He like Chessies for ducks...but I never could get on any of their good side's. Those are some particularly protective dogs. You'd think it was his beer I was reaching into the cooler for. Dogs would have me convinced I was about to draw back a nub every time I'd go for the cooler. Things improved once he started running GSP and similar. They became beloved pets as well as enthusiastic hunters.

    Same boat on the duck loads. I picked up a couple flats from Rogers and they have me stocked the snails pace that I use them. Hope that changes in the near future. Getting my new knees & shoulder will certainly help. My last trip to the sporting clays course left me with the absolute certainty that need lots more saddle time with shotguns before I go hunt anything. I sucked outright. Had fun....but sucked.

    I have a buddy whose always running a new deer rifle or pistol as well as his classics. He enjoys weekly range sessions. He runs 100% handholds in everything. He urged me to go for the 550 like he's used for least for the hunting stuff. He doesn't have have multiple hunting guns in the same cartridge. He's worked up ideal loads for each hunting rifle that conforms to that particular gun's chamber. He has his toolheads set-up for the individual guns. Pretty sweet arrangement. He'll swap over his 550 and run what he needs for each as often as needed.

    I don't discount his advice a single bit. I believe his suggestion has strong merit......and I may very well follow his advice down the road.

    In an ideal scenario, I'd love to have my XL 650 set up for a 200gr coated lswc that works well in my .45's. It may be a pipe dream to hope for a single load that will be highly accurate in each.....but it'll be fun trying to dial it in. A second toolhead & needed changeover tooling for 9mm with the same goal in mind.....a great coated lead round nose round that my various 9mm's all like. Long runs of each of these two loads on the 650. funds allow.....a second press could be added to handle hunting stuff. The 550c makes a heap of sense here. Would be like having my old single stage again...yet easier. I'd already have the bench, tools, case prep gear and the expense wouldn't be all that large. My current hunting stuff: .45/70, .44RemMag, .270Win, 270WSM, .30'06, 7mm08......and .308Win would be easier to swap between and the 550c would be ideal for them. Years of fun and endless range trips.

    Gonna get started with my immediate range need, though....the 650 will be useful.

    I feel your pain about having to re-buy. It does bite.

    I agree on everything you posted.

    I'm sure my output rate will be much slower than other folks. I'll be chamber-checking & weighing every few rounds and I'm going to have the press set up at a comfortable height where I can visually inspect each powder dump.

    My single stage days of old developed in me a healthy fear of how easy it could be to goof and double-charge a pistol case. Squib loads were another fear, too. Having one of those show up in a double or triple tap drill was something that scared the crap outa me. Those fears lasted....and kept me alert and observant during loading sessions. If I found myself in a distracted or otherwise bad mood......I'd simply de-prime, re-size or clean brass. I'd leave the loading sessions until I was stone cold sober, well rested and alert.

    I'm very glad I cut my teeth on a singe stage. Learned a lot. I had the RCBS and then bought a second press....for a steal (so I thought at the time). That second press was a wobbly piece of junk....but I found it useful for use as a de-primer and let it ride. It's light weight lended itself well to mounting on a small board that I'd C-clamp to a bench in the garage. It taught me a not buy into accumulating reloading stuff that didn't fit a specific known need.

    I'm going about the re-buy part of it more carefully this time. Essentials first....then adding the gear that a need has been proven for.

    Even though it's a progressive press....I want to approach it with a slow and low pace and learn the machine.

    Fun times ahead....
    FWoo45 and KS95B40 like this.
  19. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017

    Thank you. It's long overdue.

    I'm looking forward to it bigtime.

    Very true. Bigtime consideration.

    I'm going to be using and Inline Fabrication Ultramount for the press. I knew their tallest model would be ideal for my ergonomics, however, there is the room's 8' ceiling height to consider, too. I'd want to be able to have ample room to access the case feeder.

    I reached out to them and he took into account my dimensions and made a recommendation as to which Ultramount model to go with.

    I'll have a step platform or stepladder handy to get up top and change out case feeder plates.....once I work my way to adding one.

    I'm going to hold off ordering the Ultramount until my bench is in place. I want actual measurements to work with.

    The bench's height just grew a small amount. I decided yesterday to add one more layer to it. I'm adding a thick sheet of smooth hdpe that will make for a nice work surface and not soak up the various gun oils, grease and solvent that will be present when I'm using the bench to clean guns.

    Powder spills will easily sweep right up.

    Net result is that it increases height ever so slightly.

    I'm likely going to order the press first....and then have it resting on mocked up blocks of the three Ultramount heights to finalize my decision. It may be that I hold off on case & bullet feeders until we move and I have no ceiling worries. If so, then so be it. I'll be going at things slow enough these first few months that breaking up my rhythm to drop cases won't be much of a hindrance.

    I think I'll have plenty of room for the tallest mount....but I'm going to confirm. I'm enthused over their Quick Connect mounting plates, too. If for no other'll make moving the press a piece of cake when that time comes.

    Those shotshell loaders look like a whole nutter' type of awesomeness right there. I can't even begin to imagine the custom possibilities that you are able to make.

    Hydraulic foot pedals.....that is unreal. Awesome gear !!

    You have a excellent layout and place to work in your basement reloading room. Great layout.

    My little bench will be in a cramped area of a spare room, but I'm grateful for it being indoors and having the bride's blessing. Mighty grateful. I think it'll work out just fine so long as Im mindful about what not overloading the work surface with other junk.
  20. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    You'll get there !!!

    Its fun now...because now I'm teaching grandkids how to properly clean, take some guns down to bare frame, do minor gunsmithing, etc...

    I have also mentored a few guys locally --- on good reloading procedures, how some reloading equip works.things they need to reload.

    Reloading is not about saving money for me,,,its about enjoying a new part of the gun hobby / customizing your ammo for what you want. In fact yesterday, I did some test loads in 9mm...115gr ...using Hodgdon Longshot because I have 8 lbs of it ....& I was surprised to learn what a soft shooting round it I'll be using it more for the younger teenagers & new shooters training.

    I let all my .44 Mags go last year...focusing on .357 mag now ( arthritis in hands )...but its all good.
    boatdoc, Dub and Old Sea Dragon like this.

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