Words cannot express how happy this makes me. Tagged.
Words cannot express how happy this makes me. Tagged.
Hornady L-n-L AP press
Cheapo Lee balance beam powder scale; my understanding is that unless you want to go expensive, digital scales are not accurate or consistent enough to be worthwhile
Midsouth's tumbler/media separator kit, though just about any brand will do, and wet tumbling with stainless steel pins would be nicer
RCBS Dies, because that's what my father in law recommended way back when; if I had it to do over again, I'd get Hornady, because I like their lock rings better
Hornady Powder Cop die as a safety check
An empty gallon milk jug to catch the spent primers.
Primer pocket cleaner (this doesn't get much use, but it was very cheap, so whatever)
Primer pocket reamer for when I run into crimped (military) cases
I've got 4 small primer pickup tubes, and I probably should get some more. The more you have, the more you can load before you have to putz around loading primer tubes. I "customized" my primer pickup tubes by putting some closed-cell foam grip things that are intended for handicapped people to use on small implements on them. This made them much less painful to use. (I found my hand would cramp up trying to load primer tubes, and the larger grip makes the process much more comfortable.)
While lubing cases isn't strictly necessary for pistol rounds, I find that giving them a blast of Hornady One Shot case lube makes the press run smoother, which results in more consistent OALs.
I'd like at some point to get a powder-through expander die so that I can go to separate seat and crimp dies; while seating and crimping in one step works, it's much more fiddly to get set up properly than doing it in two separate steps.
I have not bothered with a case feeder or a bullet feeder. While they seem like they'd be really nice, the cost has been tough to justify at my loading volume. For someone loading thousands of rounds/month, they'd make perfect sense, as it would speed up and smooth out the process, in addition to reducing the amount of stuff you have to touch.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff here, but that's the basics; a press, a scale, a tumbler, and appropriate dies.
If I ever get into loading rifle rounds, I'll have to add a case trimmer, but for straight-wall pistol cases, it's not really needed.
I need to rebuild it since moving from KC; I'll post pictures when I do. Standard deal is an 8' bench, 2' deep, 2" thick, on metal legs at 4' off the floor. RL550 is on a strong mount 18" from the left edge.
Bullets sit in a shallow dish to the left of the machine; brass is in a salad bowl to the right. A little pocket electronic scale is to the right of that. Primer tubes are in a coffee mug behind the bullets, and a can of compressed air is kept close at hand too. Under the bench is the tumbler, media, brass, and big boxes of bulk bullets and hoarded loaded ammo.
There is space for pack and inspect to the right of the scale with a towel. To the right of that is usually a cheap single stage for resizing rifle brass, a case trimmer, and an automatic scale for precision rifle loads. I will probably not set that up unless I find a good rifle range in Dallas.
Other than that you need a lot of shelves. Caliber conversion kits, dies, primers,powder, small lots of bullets and brass, empty boxes, and full boxes.
There is literally nothing in the world more satisfying than a five gallon bucket full of .45.
A quick phone picture. I refuse to clean up my mess for a picture.
I started with an old Lee Loader, then a Lyman single stage, then a C&H 444, I think, then a Dillon 550 and later I got a Dillon RL 1050. I should have skipped most of those and gone straight to the Dillon 550. I am a Dillon Blue fanboy.
I bought the 1050 when it cost $850. They are now twice that. I recently added a Mr Bulletfeeder. It is fantastic.
I load mostly 9mm on the 1050 and switch calibers on the 550 for smaller runs or to test ammo.
On the 1050 I usually load 500 or so rounds at a time. Takes about a half hour and is good for a practice session or 2.
I like that I can load the exact load I want, that usually isn't available commercially.
Spend the extra money on good equipment. You won't be sorry.
http://www.handloads.com/ Here is a place with a lot of load information. I only use the info from manufacturers, not guests.
Oh, in case anybody wanted to know about the foam grip things I put on my primer pickup tubes, here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Abilitations-A.../dp/B0042SWPKE. Those are the exact ones I'm using. They tend to slide a bit on small primer tubes; I need to find a way to keep them still and they'll be just right. I don't load anything that needs large primers, but I bet they'd slide less on the slightly larger tube.
Another Big Blue fan here. My reloader is a Dillon XL650. I load almost exclusively volume 9mm. It's the only press I've owned. I took a bit of a chance when getting into the game and bought the press I thought I'd want down the road. 5 or so years later, I can say it was absolutely the best decision I could have made. The prospect of learning on a progressive wasn't nearly as hard as I'd envisioned and I haven't had to "buy twice". (Although I'm admittedly really tempted to invest in a super 1050 and then explore the auto drive world )
Buying the 650 was probably the best monetary investment to date I've made in my shooting. I have it set up with a case feeder and can't imagine loading without it now. If I had to do it again, I'd purchase the case feeder first thing with the machine. I'm thinking seriously about investing in a bullet feeder too, but I'll probably wait until I make the 1050 upgrade decision before going down that road. The fact of the matter is I can currently load a legit 900 to 1000 rounds an hour, taking my time (assuming brass is clean and ready and primer tubes are loaded; see below) and my shooting volume during the shooting season is only 2000k/month or so.
I also use a powder check die. I pay really close attention when I'm loading but this thing is worth it's weight in gold. EVERYBODY f*cks up occasionally. This potentially catches those botches, limiting the likelihood that you're gonna get a squib or a double charge and blow up your gun.
I bought an auto primer filler (Dillon RF 100) more recently. It's another addition I'd absolutely recommend. While it sounds kinda silly, it's SOOO nice not to have to use the flip tray and filler tubes. While kinda pricey, it's worth every penny and allows the actual loading process to be all that much more efficient. Highly recommend.
-Roller handle (should just come standard)
-Large vibratory case cleaner
-Large case-media separator/tumbler
-Case sorting tray set (I use quite a bit of range brass)
-Inertia bullet puller
-3 or 4 5 gallon buckets for brass sorting, storage, etc…
-Copy of a Lyman Reloading Handbook or the like
Some people claim to have a "man cave." Mine is complete with dirt floor and walls and was established old school-like solo with a jackhammer, a pick and a shovel over the course of a couple years. Makes me a lot less concerned with old primers spitting out onto the floor. Bench is hanging from the floor joists.
Here are a couple pics...
Panoramic of my office/reloading room/man-cave ...
Forcht Automation (technical drive for the 1050)
Brass Prep - sorting saves a bunch of time...
Forcht converted Dillon 1050 (http://www.forchtfirearms.com/dillondoc.html)
Dillon 550 - I use this for load development, loading 44 mag, 45 ACP, and 5.56
Mr Bullet bullet feeder
I like the Lee Sizing die
I like the Redding Comp seating die
I like the Lee Adjustable crimp die
I don't change my setup much: 4-ish gr of Titegroup under a 124gr Precision Delta JHP loaded to 1.100". CCI primer.
Seems to work well.
Last edited by Les Pepperoni; 01-30-2016 at 03:31 AM.
I built my own bench that is rock solid. I started off with a Square Deal B to reload 9mm in volume and upgraded everything with Inline Fabrication. I just got a 650 last weekend and was setting it up today. Next set of upgrades include a Mr. Bullet Feeder and a Mark VII autoloader.
Dillon XL 650
Inline Fabrication Ultra Mount
Inline Fabrication Ergonomic Roller Handle
9mm Conversion kit
Small Primer conversion kit
Uniquetek tool head clamp kit
Powder check die
9mm Lee Factory Undersizer decapping die
9mm powder hopper and funnel
9mm Redding Competition bullet seating die
9mm Lee Factory Crimp die
Inline Fabrication LED lighting kit
Dillon Tool Set and Mount
Low powder alarm
Dillon D-Terminator Electronic Scale
Last edited by Edwin; 01-30-2016 at 05:17 AM.