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Old 04-04-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
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How to reload?

So, I shoot a LOT of 223/556 and 308

I have been saving my brass for a LONG while and have at least 30k of each saved up. I want to finally start reloading but dont know how to go about this. Anyone with experience please chime in where I should start.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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For most beginner reloading, an RCBS turret press kit would do you well. The turret press is simple like the single-stage, but it works much faster. You can pump out up to 200 rounds per hour with it when you get into a rhythm. RCBS has videos on their website, as well as an inexpensive DVD you can buy explaining how to reload and work a press and associated tools.
https://shop.rcbs.com/WebConnect/Mai...eId=webconnect

If you plan on wanting to produce more ammunition than that, you can get into a progressive press and can reload between 400-800 rounds per hour, depending on which press and which accessories you have. If you are planning to shoot this ammo from an AR type rifle, then I would assume you need a high volume of ammunition. A turret press will be a good start, but a progressive press will give you the volume you need. If you want a progressive press, the best place to go is with Dillon Precision. Dillon has a DVD on how to use each of their presses.
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/Dil...hines-8-1.html

With that being said, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Military Ammo - If the .223/5.56 and .308 that you have is at all military grade brass, then that means you likely have crimped primer pockets. A lot of surplus .308 ammunition like 147gr, 149gr and 150gr FMJ will also have crimped primer pockets, as will all spec 7.62x51 ammunition. When you deprime this ammunition, you cannot install new primers until you swage the primer pocket. There are several options on the market, but Dillon Precision's Super Swage 900 is by far the best tool I've used. I can swage several hundred rounds of brass per hour while sitting in front of the TV. Reloading military spec ammunition is a pain in the ass to reload because of the extensive case preparation needed. The good part is that once you swage a primer pocket, you never have to do it again.

Precision - You can use some very basic accessories to create very accurate loads. However, if you want a high level of consistent accuracy, you will need to invest in a number of high-quality accessories for case prep, measuring, powder measure, chamber measuring, bullet seating, etc.

Use in ARs/autos - If you use the ammo in an autoloading rifle, you need to make sure you are not loading high pressure rounds if you plan to shoot a high volume of ammunition. Because your primer is no longer crimped into the pocket, excess pressure will increase the chance of a popped primer.

Cost - Reloading has a LOT of up-front cost. You will have a reload a significant amount before you break even. However, if you stick with it you will save money in the long run.
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Last edited by Reedo302; 04-04-2012 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Reedo302 View Post
For most beginner reloading, an RCBS turret press kit would do you well. The turret press is simple like the single-stage, but it works much faster. You can pump out up to 200 rounds per hour with it when you get into a rhythm. RCBS has videos on their website, as well as an inexpensive DVD you can buy explaining how to reload and work a press and associated tools.
https://shop.rcbs.com/WebConnect/Mai...eId=webconnect

If you plan on wanting to produce more ammunition than that, you can get into a progressive press and can reload between 400-800 rounds per hour, depending on which press and which accessories you have. If you are planning to shoot this ammo from an AR type rifle, then I would assume you need a high volume of ammunition. A turret press will be a good start, but a progressive press will give you the volume you need. If you want a progressive press, the best place to go is with Dillon Precision. Dillon has a DVD on how to use each of their presses.
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/Dil...hines-8-1.html

With that being said, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Military Ammo - If the .223/5.56 and .308 that you have is at all military grade brass, then that means you likely have crimped primer pockets. A lot of surplus .308 ammunition like 147gr, 149gr and 150gr FMJ will also have crimped primer pockets, as will all spec 7.62x51 ammunition. When you deprime this ammunition, you cannot install new primers until you swage the primer pocket. There are several options on the market, but Dillon Precision's Super Swage 900 is by far the best tool I've used. I can swage several hundred rounds of brass per hour while sitting in front of the TV. Reloading military spec ammunition is a pain in the ass to reload because of the extensive case preparation needed. The good part is that once you swage a primer pocket, you never have to do it again.

Precision - You can use some very basic accessories to create very accurate loads. However, if you want a high level of consistent accuracy, you will need to invest in a number of high-quality accessories for case prep, measuring, powder measure, chamber measuring, bullet seating, etc.

Use in ARs/autos - If you use the ammo in an autoloading rifle, you need to make sure you are not loading high pressure rounds if you plan to shoot a high volume of ammunition. Because your primer is no longer crimped into the pocket, excess pressure will increase the chance of a popped primer.

Cost - Reloading has a LOT of up-front cost. You will have a reload a significant amount before you break even. However, if you stick with it you will save money in the long run.
Thanks for the reply! I shoot all PMC. Not sure if that is considered military grade. I was looking at a fully progressive setup with all accessories and it was about $1k.

So, how should I prep the cases? Deprime and put in some kind of tumbler?
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:30 AM   #4
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PMC .223 and .308 is mostly crimped primer ammunition. The way to prep the cases depends on your setup. If you use a general decapping die that does not resize the brass, then you can deprime, clean the case, then resize. I use a vibratory cleaner with dry media (corn cob) and a die that decaps and does full length resizing, so I have to clean first, then lube and resize/deprime. If I were to resize/deprime prior to cleaning, then I would wind up with a lot of lube going into the cleaning media. I have been looking at getting the Hornady ultrasonic cleaner, which would make it easier for me. I could then resize/deprime, and then clean.

After that, you need to trim the case, chamfer and deburr, swage the primer pocket (if necessary to remove crimping), clean the flash hole and primer pocket, and then begin the reloading/handloading process.

A vibratory case cleaner is the cheapest and easiest, but an ultrasonic cleaner does a better job. I primarily reload for precision, with 5.56 Lake City brass and 77gr SMK bullets to Mk262 Mod 1 specs. I need to get with it and clean up my brass.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:27 AM   #5
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I used a Dillon Square Deal progressive for years for 9mm and it worked for me.

JMO.

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Old 04-05-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Square Deal B won't load rifle. Pistol only.
The RL550B and XL650 can do rifle.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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If you're just starting out, I would start with a simple single/turret press, not a progressive. True, you can do a lot more ammo with the progressive, but you don't get the chance to pay attention to what's going on with each stage of the process.

With the simple press, you conduct each step, in order, and you're paying a lot more attention to what's going on, learning what's happening in each step and why.

TBH, I'm looking at getting my first reloading kit in the next month or so, after I build a bench for it. This is what has been explained to me by two uncles that have been reloading for a few decades, and my neighbor that just bought a new progressive set after loading for 5 years. Yes, you get the speed of the progressive, but you have a better chance of missing out on the knowledge and experience.

As far as cleaning, get a simple plug-in rock tumbler and a bag of crushed walnut shells or corncob.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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Turret press is the best overall option. It's much faster than a single stage, but still operates like one.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:59 AM   #9
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I don't think I shoot enough to justify doing this. The investment of money and my time would be fairly significant, which is why (so far at least) I haven't started to do it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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I am thinking its worth it for the 308 right now but not the 556. Ill look into a progressive due to the sheer amount of shells I have.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Reedo302 View Post

Cost - Reloading has a LOT of up-front cost. You will have a reload a significant amount before you break even. However, if you stick with it you will save money in the long run.
someone has probably done the math to figure out the break even point...
wonder how many rounds of reloads it takes to reach it
OP did say he's got 30k brass saved up

or if it's much more than that to break even and start saving money, maybe it's better/easier to just sell the brass
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:54 PM   #12
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someone has probably done the math to figure out the break even point...
wonder how many rounds of reloads it takes to reach it
OP did say he's got 30k brass saved up

or if it's much more than that to break even and start saving money, maybe it's better/easier to just sell the brass
I have 420 pounds of 556 brass last time I weighed it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #13
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I did a rough calculation, based on 5.56 and the equipment having an up-front cost of $1000.

I'm not sure if my numbers are close or not, but I based the calculation on factory ammo costing $.50/round and if you reload, $.15/round. Based on those numbers, your break-even would be right around 2850 rounds.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #14
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I did a rough calculation, based on 5.56 and the equipment having an up-front cost of $1000.

I'm not sure if my numbers are close or not, but I based the calculation on factory ammo costing $.50/round and if you reload, $.15/round. Based on those numbers, your break-even would be right around 2850 rounds.
Last gun show I went to, factory ammo is $0.36 per round, primers are $0.04, bullets $0.10, powder about $0.06. So, $0.20 per round to reload.

EDIT: Figure that out with an upfront cost of $1000
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:26 PM   #15
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Last gun show I went to, factory ammo is $0.36 per round, primers are $0.04, bullets $0.10, powder about $0.06. So, $0.20 per round to reload.

EDIT: Figure that out with an upfront cost of $1000
Based on those numbers, 6250 rounds
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #16
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Please tell me you are not paying fifty cents a round??
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #17
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Please tell me you are not paying fifty cents a round??
I'm not, I was just applying a general number to like xm193. I pulled that number out of my 4ss; actually, both numbers came out of my 4ss.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:44 PM   #18
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Overall cost also goes down as you order more volume/bulk. Many volume reloaders order 10k primers and 5k bullets at a time, as a minimum.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:29 PM   #19
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Overall cost also goes down as you order more volume/bulk. Many volume reloaders order 10k primers and 5k bullets at a time, as a minimum.
Don't doubt it; the break-even point could definitely be less if orders are in bulk. That being said, your cost for factory ammo goes down fairly substantially when you order 5000-10000 compared to 500-1000 as well.

My calculations are quite rough, but it gives you an idea.

For those wanting to do their own calculation, this is the formula.

Cost of equipment + (cost of reloads per round)x = (cost of factory ammo per round)x

Solve for x
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:23 AM   #20
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Square Deal B won't load rifle. Pistol only.
The RL550B and XL650 can do rifle.
oops.

In the old days, I believe was paying a little less than half in materials compared to factory rounds. You really have to shoot a lot to do it for a cost benefit.

JMO.
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