Reloading for the NOOB
First of all, please forgive me if this topic has been beaten to death. If so I apologize - simply tell me to shut up and I'll drop it.
I would like to start reloading. I am no stranger to firearms, but I AM a complete stranger to reloading. I know nothing of it, at all. What I do know, is that it is awfully expensive to shoot .50AE. Yes, I knew what I was getting into when I bought the Desert Eagle, but I really enjoy shooting it, and am quite good at it. However, it is indeed cost-prohibitive to fire a lot (by "a lot" means I'd like to fire a hundred rounds through it at the range, rather than 20-40 per visit, so I can become extremely proficient). I have a few questions:
1) Is it possible to get bullets in .50AE? I would assume I re-use my brass.
2) What are all the pieces of equipment I would require? I know there are presses, cleaners, dies, etc. I have no idea what I need.
3) Is there information available out there with regards to powder, etc - brand, amount, etc? I use Hornady 300gr rounds now, and am content with that.
I am technically savvy despite my outward appearance of being a knuckle-dragger, so I could handle the mechanics; I just don't know what to buy or where to start.
Thank-you in advance for any advice.
Start with The ABCs Of Reloading: The Definitive Guide for Novice to Expert by C. Rodney James (Jan 12, 2011)
available at Amazon for about $16. That should answer most of your questions. If you have more by all means come back.
...Also invest in a couple of reloading manuals, from Speer, Lyman, and the like. Read everything, carefully.
When you've arrived at a desired load, follow the book's recipe exactly. The only thing that you might change is to decrease the amount of powder.
Will you want to be constructing really cheap loads for extensive practice, powerful loads for other uses, or both?
The answer to that question will dictate what you should buy.
I bet that a die set for your chosen caliber will be fairly expensive. That's OK—you will amortize the dies and the press you buy after loading maybe 2,000 rounds.
You can buy jacketed bullets (fairly expensive) or lead bullets (relatively cheap). The powder requirements will differ.
Save all of your fired cases. Try to "steal" the empties of other shooters from the floor of the range—but only after the shooter has left, of course. Cases are the most expensive part of the whole cartridge. Bullets are next, then either primers or powder, and finally the remaining part of the four necessary components, whichever it is.
Pistol shooters tend to shoot a lot. This calls for a "progressive" loading press, which delivers a loaded cartridge after each movement of its handle.
Less expensive is the turret press, which requires three or four handle presses per cartridge, but which stores all of your dies on the machine and ready to use either semi-progressively or singly.
Least expensive is the single-station press, with which you do one operation at a time to all of your reloadable cases, changing dies after finishing each separate operation.
You "save" money when you reload, only if you consider the time you spend doing it as costing nothing.
However, reloading is an interesting family opportunity, if you have an intelligent child who likes to do things with daddy. My daughter and I spent many hours together, cranking out .45 ACP rounds for my practice and competition; and that ended when she discovered boys.
Others may disagree, but I recommend Dillon progressive presses.
Thank-you for the advice. I will certainly set about doing more research. I'm recently separated and living on my own (I have no kids unless you count the furry four-legged one), so I have no life. Spending quiet hours at a reloading bench would suit me just fine in the evening.
First, greetings from another (semi) newbie! I reloaded 30 years ago, helped a friend with it 15 years ago and am just getting back into it.
There's no savings in reloading, you just shoot more for the same money. Which is good. The ABC's of Reloading is a great beginner book, followed by a Lyman/Speer/etc. reloading manual. If you get into it, you'll end up with several anyway. DO NOT try loads listed on the internet until you know what you're doing. In fact, start at the low/middle of the load range in the manuals. And a progressive press is nice, but costs more and has far more ways to screw up quickly. I'd suggest starting with a decent turret press, my choice is the Lee Classic turret, but there are any number of options. You can load plenty of ammunition on a turret press to get started. The .50 AE choice will be an issue since it's a less popular round, tougher to find once-used brass for it and components are more expensive.
Good luck, enjoy the hobby and read everything you can find. YouTube tutorials will help you figure out the equipment you want, then buy the best you can afford. :)
Definitely...a couple of good reloading manuals are Essential and is Number 1 to learn about the process, and as reference of powder loads for the calibers you'll be working with...Lyman and Lee make excellent ones.
Pick up all the free brass you can find at your range. I don't load .357 yet...but I have some free cases, in case I ever do.
Always clean your brass before running thru your press. It will keep various dies from excessive wearing.
Watch lots of youtube videos on reloading presses, etc.
As weaselfire recommended, the Lee Classic Turret Press is an Excellent press to start with...and to carry you thru for years...until you want to go for speed with a progressive. You get to watch each process to completion for every round. The index bar makes sure no step is accidently attempted twice, or skipped, because it advances the dies for you thru all the steps for each round.
I Love mine~!
A good "all around" powder will start you out, like WIN231 and Hodgdon Clays.
I prefer CCI or Winchester primers.