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  • Hello, from an absolute beginner

    Found you while looking for a reloading community. I find myself in a daunting position, and hope to benefit from your collective experience and wisdom.

    A friend told me her late husband had dabbled in reloading, that he had a small press, and that I could have it if I'd pick it up. I've thought about reloading for some time, but never acted on it. Though interested, I know nothing other than basic facts and am a blank slate. I'm hoping you will enjoy sharing my discovery and exploration of this craft.

    So, I went out to pick up the press. I found not a press, but 25 boxes of gear and components! Still unpacking and taking inventory, but here's what I've got so far:
    • Dillon Square Deal B with die sets for .38s, .357 Mag, and 9mm;
    • MEC 8567N Grabber 12 ga;
    • Dillon powder balance scale;
    • RCBS 120V Vibratory Tumbler;
    • primers (small caliber handgun and shotgun);
    • wads;
    • hulls;
    • cases (.357 Mag, .38s, 9mm);
    • 12 cases of clays;
    • other stuff I have yet to unpack.
    So, my first step was to see what I've inherited. The second was to seek an ongoing source of advice and knowledge. And here I am.

    I have a Benelli Supernova for the house, carry a Sig P226ST in 357SIG, and my grandfather's early Remington Model 11 has a place of honor. Looking forward to learning from you all.

  • #2
    Welcome from The Lone Star State.

    You hit a gold mine it would appear. Lots of good folks and info here.

    First, get yourself 1 or 10 reloading manuals. Hornady and Lyman would be a good start.

    Then read these two Articles, https://www.handloadersbench.com/art...uipment-advice
    followed by these 4 https://www.handloadersbench.com/art...tridges-1-of-4

    Starting with a progressive will tax your attention span. There are a lot of things going on at once, and this is a hobby you don't want to make mistakes in. You are setting off a hand grenade each time you pull the trigger, so be sure you got it right.

    Here's a video of the Square Deal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNC7hE_KuHI

    I recommend you do one case at a time all the way through for awhile until you see what's happening and you are happy with the load.
    It's not that Democrats are so damned ignorant. Their problem is that everything they know is wrong.

    Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

    He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
    He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by olyeller View Post
      Welcome from The Lone Star State.

      You hit a gold mine it would appear. Lots of good folks and info here.

      First, get yourself 1 or 10 reloading manuals. Hornady and Lyman would be a good start.

      Then read these two Articles, https://www.handloadersbench.com/art...uipment-advice
      followed by these 4 https://www.handloadersbench.com/art...tridges-1-of-4

      Starting with a progressive will tax your attention span. There are a lot of things going on at once, and this is a hobby you don't want to make mistakes in. You are setting off a hand grenade each time you pull the trigger, so be sure you got it right.

      Here's a video of the Square Deal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNC7hE_KuHI

      I recommend you do one case at a time all the way through for awhile until you see what's happening and you are happy with the load.



      EVERYTHING olyeller said + the front section of almost every reloading manual is a great place to start reading and get a good base of knowledge, after that reread it a couple of more times and then get a different reloading manual and repeat the process.

      And welcome to the bench, you have chosen well grasshopper. Let the addiction begin!
      Salt&Light

      WOODSMAN777

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to the board. You did well. I cant add much to the other suggestions. IF you do start with the Square Deal, do follow the suggestion of loading one round at a time, cycling each round individually until you get the feel of things. Progressives can be tough to begin reloading on.
        "The fact that guns can kill another human being is the whole point. That\'s why they are so darn good at deterring violent criminals". Ann Coulter

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome to the Bench. Very nice score. My only other comment would be with those situations sometimes you inherit some components that you can't positively identify. Just dispose of them. You can't do load development with unknown components. If you want to use the MEC you need to know which hulls, wads, and primers you have to be able to find load data that uses those specific items.
          If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

          "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens

          Comment


          • #6
            Lyman manuals were already on the list. Are there other essential manuals? One of the boxes included some load data booklets from powder companies from 1995/6, so I even have a little historical reference.

            All this gear was stored for at least 10 years in an uninsulated, unheated garage, with a window cracked open, in central Virginia. The presses were partially disassembled (carefully, it seems), wrapped in newspaper, and packed. I've accounted for basic parts, but have to assess their condition. Someone other than the husband did the packing. Hand tools and things like the scale's powder pan aren't there (so far). The MEC was packed dirty, and some of the springs are corroded. They can be replaced. The powder and shot bottles are a dark amber brown, not clear. Still, a great find for the price of a little elbow grease and a few parts and hand tools.

            Both presses have interrupts so powder and primers can be overridden. Since I will want to load some buckshot, I was expecting to need to become proficient at single cartridges. Given the need to hand stack shot, it's going to be a regular process, and not just learning to walk.

            Once I've finished the inventory, I'll be compiling a wish list. Prime Day is coming up, next month!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ozark Ed View Post
              Welcome to the Bench. Very nice score. My only other comment would be with those situations sometimes you inherit some components that you can't positively identify. Just dispose of them. You can't do load development with unknown components. If you want to use the MEC you need to know which hulls, wads, and primers you have to be able to find load data that uses those specific items.
              Yup. Already preparing to ask some pertinent questions in various forums. The powder cannisters had been stored loose in previously opened containers. Some of the containers were heavily corroded. I wasn't even willing to transport the powder without knowing it's history, so disposed of it there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Welcome aboard from the Land of Enchantment.
                oleyeller nailed it.
                Take your time, learn from the manuals and ask us for information if you hit a wall.
                Lots of knowledge and experience here and persons who are willing to share knowledge and also learn from others.
                "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

                "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

                "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Amber colored tubes are pretty standard; they may have been made that way or became that way over age. Not a problem.
                  It's not that Democrats are so damned ignorant. Their problem is that everything they know is wrong.

                  Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

                  He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
                  He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Lyman 5th Shotshell is IMO the best shotshell manual, both for the Instructions Section, but, most vitally, the Hull Identification section, excellent, to-scale, drawings (IMO better than pictures in this instance).
                    RCBS Shotshell is decent, good instructions (but would have to look again, may be only for the Grand-series), but the Hull ID pictures flat suck, black/white, dim, real lousy. I'd have to give it 4th place behind an OLDER Lyman shotshell manual and the Ballistic Products "Advantages" manual (another manual with truly excellent Component Explanation section (but sadly short in Hull Identification).

                    MEC Press parts and manuals are easily available from MEC (download manuals).

                    Shotshell Hull Identification, "INK ON THE OUTSIDE IS MEANINGLESS".
                    What matters is Hull Interior Construction, basewad height, and shape mostly, which governs internal volume, which governs how much of what you can shove into them.
                    There are 2 basic types of shotshell hull, a Tapered inside (formed in a mold by a slightly tapered punch) and Straight-Walled inside (a section of tube, with a basewad inserted, and the head crimped on (this is called "Reifenhouser Construction")).
                    The ancient, prized, and out of production at least 2 decades (DIES JUST WORE OUT after 40 years) Winchester AA (Compression Formed (aka, "AACF") is Tapered, the Remington Unibody (which has at LEAST a dozen names inked on it today) was created almost 3 decades ago, is their standard today, is the modern favorite of target shooters, is tapered.
                    The Replacement of the AACF, the AAHS (High Strength) is TECHNICALLY a straight-wall hull, BUT, the special basewad has real high side lips that come way up the hull, mimicking the internal shape of the old AACF so it is considered 'Tapered'.
                    Everything else is Straight-Wall.
                    Fiocci's, cheddites, rio's, the Federal Top Gun with plastic insert basewad (contract made by rio BTW), BPI's "Multi-Metal" hulls (made by either Fiocci or Cheddite), are all essentially the same and interchangeable.

                    Tapered hulls are better for smaller payloads at lower velocities, they pressurize better with smaller powder charges, "efficiency" is better.
                    They do not hold as much slow powder under large volumes of shot, so pressures get hard to control at heavier loads and velocities drop unacceptably.
                    The more voluminous Straight Wall Hulls are at their best with medium to heavy shot charges, they can hold a lot of slow powder to control pressure and generate enough gas to get velocities up where wanted for hunting.
                    You will see these trends in Load Data, to get the same velocity from a light shot load in a SW hull, it takes several grains more powder, you see very few heavier hunting loads in Tapered hulls, those you do see lack velocity compared to SW hulls, but pressures are as high or higher.

                    Shotshells, as little pressure as they use, PRESSURE IS YOUR FRIEND, NOT YOUR ENEMY.
                    IMO no shotshell load should run less than 9,000psi, and 10,000 is better, 11,000 is better yet. Higher pressure (within the SAAMI limitations) gives you all-weather reliability, clean burning, and ballistic consistency (as much as you get from a wind-pusher).
                    Nothing "good" comes of trying to run 6-7,000psi shotshells, except squibs (bloopers and poofters, because that is the sound they make) and stuck wads.
                    Also,, shotshell loading is actually SAFER than metallic, because the safety margins are just so much higher than they are in metallic guns and ammo, 3 TIMES higher.
                    Most shotshells operate around 11-12,000psi, Proof Loads are 20,000psi, the one time someone deliberately measured what it took to Blow Up a 12-gauge shotgun chamber,,,, it took 55,000psi.
                    50,000 didn't even swell the chamber.
                    I am not an advocate of Doing Stupid Stuff, but "Perspective" is important.
                    Follow the recipes in the manuals, minor changes are OK, the "wrong" primer is OK, a few tenths (or a half, heck) a grain of powder too much, is OK, a powder throw that varies a half-grain, is meaningless, a few pellets light or heavy on shot, is meaningless.
                    Basically, you just simply cannot, take a tested published recipe, from a reputable source, and make ANY wad, primer, or small powder volume substitution/change, and blow a shotgun up in your face.
                    You can go up over SAAMI Maximum Pressures, yes, but that won't cost you an eye or fingers.
                    You CAN blow a shotgun up, but you have to go way far out into the weeds to do it, Don't Go There.

                    You can't really double-charge shotgun shells either, not the way presses operate (you will throw a load of shot someplace), or you find the resultant pile of powder is too big to let everything else fit like it had been doing (It's A Clue, Lou!), Shotshells just don't really LET you put them together "wrong".

                    "Stack Height", unlike metallic, everything is Packed Tight" in a shotshell, the wad is down tight on the powder (need to be), the wad takes up x-amount of room, the wad holds y-amount of shot, the crimp closes right on top of the shot, no extra room for Mistakes To Happen in a shotshell.
                    BUT!!!!! Stack Height has to be right, too short (lack of powder, short wad, too little shot), the crimp dishes in (maybe badly), too much stuff, you either wrinkle the hull side above the brass or the crimp slowly un-folds ("Tents"). 5 Pounds Of Stuff In A 4-Pound Sack. There is not a lot of forgiveness in this, a little, not much.

                    Now,, once in a while you MAY find a published recipe that just flat won't fit (I did, 1, 3 decades ago), and I don't mean JUST BARELY won't fit, I mean no-way-in-heck-is-this-a-10-gauge-load-in-my-20-gauge-i-can't-crimp-this-no-freaking-way!!!
                    Well, after double checking that everything is right on YOUR end, well,, move on, really not much you can do. Rare,, but it happens.

                    I wasn't even willing to transport the powder without knowing it's history, so disposed of it there.
                    What you did was not "bad" per se, just keep in mind,, Smokeless Gunpowder is NOT an Explosive, no matter what any morons in the TV say. It IS a very Flamable. It can't explode, but it does Burn very happily, if you set it on fire, so "transporting" bears really zero issues unless you have the containers open, and smoke, and toss the butt out the window so it comes back in the window into the can (Planes, Trains, Automobiles).
                    Also,,, out in open air, where it cannot be pressurized (like inside a Pressure Cooker or section of Pipe), it burns "relatively" slowly. About 8 seconds is what it takes to burn off a container of powder, seems no matter what the size. You-tube videos of a trash bag of over 20 pounds of rifle powder, lasted around 8 seconds, a single pound of fast pistol/shotgun powder, in an open-topped steel pipe section, 8 seconds.
                    Again, I do not advocate stupid risky handling, but I advocate actually knowing and understanding what the risks truly ARE, and not being afraid of shadows.

                    Primers (being "explosives actually) scare the bejeebers out of some people, don't be Those People. They aren't little hyper-sensitive Miniature Nuke Snowflakes that are Triggered by seeing your MAGA Hat and just explode into hystrionics, they are also NOT sensitive to being touched, handled, even with (OMG!!!) Bare Hands, they are NOT easily "killed" by ANY known "contaminants", not water, oil, case lube, skin oils, sweat, dirty looks or The Smell Of Fear.
                    Give them their respect they are due, store them in their packaging, don't beat on them with hammers, and use them as they should be used.
                    They DO hurt to step on, especially barefoot on concrete, almost as bad as Leggo Blocks, so keep them picked up.

                    Give those MEC bottle a decent squeeze-test, I have heard (not happened to me yet) the "newer" ones with the plugs in the bottom (yes, the nicer ones) get old, hard, and brittle, you do NOT want the shot bottle to suddenly explode from just being full.
                    Some people mount their shotshell presses inside a large Jelly Roll Pan/Sheet Tray to catch any Shot Spills, before it heads to the carpet.
                    RD is an expert at Deep Pile Shag Shot Extraction, if you need his expertise one day...... I hope not to. LOL

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                    • #11
                      Welcome from Tennessee! A wealth of knowledge and info on this site, you've definitely hit the best niche on the web to learn handloading, as these guys are willing to share that knowledge and info!
                      The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
                      Welcome to Tennessee, the patron state of shootin' stuff.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Welcome TangoMike, been a member for only a week and have gotten some great advice already.
                        Regards,
                        Win70

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                        • #13
                          Welcome to the HB. We are happy to have you with us. Enjoy the forum.
                          "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

                          “Never Retreat...Just Reload.”

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                          • #14
                            Welcome from Montana.

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