Economics of reloading ammo(e)

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Aurelius, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Motor31

    Motor31 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,209
    Location:
    Wherever we park - full time RV'ers
    I started out many many years ago with a RCBS kit that had almost everything you could want for reloading. I then "graduated" to a Dillon 450 and still have both. Unless I am going to produce more than 100 rounds I still use the RCBS. I hand prime with a Lyman hand tool as I like the feel of seating the primer that way. Never cared much for either press as it tended to flatten the primers a bit too much for my taste. I also use the RCBS powder measure next to the 450 as the Dillon powder measure was never as accurate, especially in small powder loads (ie Bullseye) as the RCBS. I've loaded everything from .223 through 06 on my equipment.
  2. scottcolbath

    scottcolbath Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,585
    Location:
    Phoenix, Az.
    Dillon's manufacturing facility is ten miles east in Scottsdale, but I've seen other shops in the greater Phoenix area sell Dillon hardware.

    Sportsman's here in Phoenix also does not carry Dillon stuff.

    It's a mystery.

    S.C.
  3. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10,119
    Location:
    Crakima,Wa
    I found 2 boxes of sierra 125g JSP 357 for $15 on clearance. 2 boxes of speer .530 round balls for $10 ( going to melt them down into 220- 200gr .452 slugs for my BP revolvers) and 500 speer 125gr lead round nose .356 plinkers for $15.

    If only every day was full of deals like this. This aught to last me quite a while.
    tominboise and fastdadio like this.
  4. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,384
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    I tend to load the lighter weight .357 bullets like the 110 and 125 grainers for my 38 specials. I like to buy stuff like that when I find it. The rocks and cans don't care what I shoot them with.
    fastdadio likes this.
  5. AQAD 40

    AQAD 40 Alltid hästens fel

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    162
    Location:
    Sweden
    Thanks for a great thread all. I recently purchased a drilling - a three barrelled rifle.
    Caliber 12/12 and 7x57r or it is also known as 275 Rigby can anyone point me to any forums or websites that have good info about 7x57r?
    tcs06 likes this.
  6. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10,119
    Location:
    Crakima,Wa
    IIrc it's just 7x57 mauser with a rim for use in European breach loading rifles.
    Loading data is probably the same as the standard rimless version.
    AQAD 40 likes this.
  7. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10,119
    Location:
    Crakima,Wa
    Yeah I've ended up with quite a collection of .357 bullets due to some good buys the last few months
  8. WECSOG

    WECSOG Dirt Road Denizen

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,946
    Location:
    Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
    Actually .275 Rigby is the standard unrimmed 7x57. What you have is the 7x57 Rimmed.
    AQAD 40 likes this.
  9. FPGT72

    FPGT72 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,158
    Location:
    Kingsville MO
    I just picked up a set of dies last weekend for a chilean 1895 mauser. Rifle is so pretty.....I also have a 1930's Mexican mauser in 7mm mauser.

    Guess I will work up some different combos over the winter and hope I get a nice day here and there to do some testing.

    Interested in seeing if all the hype over the 7mm is really true.
    WECSOG likes this.
  10. FPGT72

    FPGT72 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,158
    Location:
    Kingsville MO
    I really think that Chilean I got is unissued.....it is just in that good of a shape.

    Look how crisp the wood markings are.

    upload_2019-10-28_7-33-7.png

    To go off an a side rail....also snagged an American mosin with some nice crisp markings as well.

    Must have been one of the accepted my the russians, but not shipped as it has the russian markings as well as the americn bomb marks.

    upload_2019-10-28_7-35-14.png

    upload_2019-10-28_7-35-33.png
    Malamute, Buzztail, WECSOG and 3 others like this.
  11. WECSOG

    WECSOG Dirt Road Denizen

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,946
    Location:
    Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
    It is. If you can find any of the articles by Finn Aagard, they're good reading.
  12. scottcolbath

    scottcolbath Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,585
    Location:
    Phoenix, Az.
    My girlfriend's dad has some old RCBS Rock Chucker he uses for reloading. I think since 44 Magnum is the most expensive round I shoot, I may just get a set of dies and use his gear. Any suggestions on picking the right dies? Carbide, for sure, but there are lots of options out there, and I'm stumped.

    S.C.
  13. Ge-Mini-gun

    Ge-Mini-gun Long timer

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    44 mag...any 2 dies set from RCBS, Lee, Redding (money)...cheapest you can find will do.
    TheMuffinMan, _Harry_ and Buzztail like this.
  14. _Harry_

    _Harry_ Redneck Emeritus Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,342
    Location:
    Not New, Not Mexico
    This - but for hard hitting calibers like .44 mag I like to crimp separately from seating the bullet. I would add a Lee Factory Crimp die - they're cheap and worth the $.
  15. scottcolbath

    scottcolbath Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,585
    Location:
    Phoenix, Az.
    What exactly do non-dillon dies do, or not do, compared to the Dillon stuff? I got to resize, de-prime, seat the bullet and crimp the case. How does that get done with a two die set?

    S.C.
  16. _Harry_

    _Harry_ Redneck Emeritus Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,342
    Location:
    Not New, Not Mexico
    All 2-die sets have the same functions:

    (1) resizes case and deprimes;
    (2) seats bullet and crimps

    You can adjust (2) to seat and crimp in one step or two. The Lee crimp dies perform a second resizing after bullet seating to get rid of any case bulge. I like having a separate seating die because it avoids having to adjust (2) for seating and crimping (I prefer 2 steps). It becomes "set and forget".

    Edit to add - most straight wall pistol dies are 3-die sets:

    (1) resize/deprime;
    (2) bell case mouth to accept bullet;
    (3) seat bullet/crimp
  17. scottcolbath

    scottcolbath Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,585
    Location:
    Phoenix, Az.

    Bell the case is the step I forgot to mention, and an important one.

    I'm going to start shopping around for a set of dies, then get my girlfriend's dad off his ass to get his reloading shack back in order. I have some ammo to make.

    S.C.
    Fire Escape likes this.
  18. WECSOG

    WECSOG Dirt Road Denizen

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,946
    Location:
    Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
    All straight wall dies come in 3 die sets, except for Lee who make it 4, 5 or as many dies as they can convince you to buy.
    And on that note, I don't mind at all adjusting the seating depth, then adjusting the crimp. I have no use for an additional die just for crimping.
  19. WECSOG

    WECSOG Dirt Road Denizen

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,946
    Location:
    Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
    Ok, this is my opinion; borne out by experience. Some folks have had different experiences, and a different opinion. That's ok too. But this is my opinion. Take it or leave it.
    I bought my RCBS carbide 3-die .44 Mag die set approximately 30 years and many thousands of rounds ago. My RCBS carbide 3-die .357 Mag set even longer and more thousands of rounds ago. All die sets for straight wall cartridges are 3-die (or more, if the manufacturer can hype their way into selling you more). I have other RCBS die sets too; both 3-die and 2-die (for bottleneck rifle cartridges) sets.
    I have also bought dies from other makers: Hornady, Redding, Lyman and especially Lee. Most have been fine. I liked the Lee dies. They were half (or less) the price of RCBS, and I really liked the bullet seater adjustment on them.
    But, there were flies in the ointment. First, I hated the decapper. It was billed as unbreakable, but I've broken many of them over the years. And they ain't cheap: about $4 each, plus shipping. I also hate the fact that you have to use two wrenches and quite a bit of force to lock the decapper in place, whether the original or one of the many replacements you are likely to go through if you reload very much.

    A little aside here: I don't think I've ever broken an RCBS decapping pin. Bent one or two (they're spring steel) and had to replace it because a bent one "sings" with every case, but a 5-pack of them is about the same price as a single Lee decapping pin (unlike Lee, the RCBS decapping pin really is just a pin). You will probably have to buy them from Midway or somewhere though, because if you call RCBS (toll free btw) they probably won't sell them to you. Instead they will probably just put a pack of them in the mail to you, free of charge. And chances are, a 5-pack will last a lifetime. I've inadvertently converted Berdan cases into Boxer cases with RCBS dies, and still didn't break the pin.

    Ok, getting away from decappers. I hate those powder-through expander dies Lee puts in their die sets now. It would be great if they sold those separately for those who want them, instead of forcing their die customers to buy expander dies with moving parts that stick and/or wear out and fly apart.

    Lastly, I hate being pushed into buying something I don't see a need for. The "Factory Crimp Die" is one of those. I have a couple of die sets that came with it, and I never use them. Their primary function, in my opinion, is to push the price of their sub-par dies up near the price of RCBS. Worse, I've noticed that since they brought out that overly hyped die, more and more of their seater dies no longer even have a crimp shoulder in them.
    I stopped buying Lee dies over that one. I wouldn't be surprised if none of their seater dies have a crimp shoulder any more.

    Pause for the Lee fans to tell me what a wonderful thing it is to add another stage to my reloading, just for crimping.

    Oh, one last thing: a friend of mine asked for advice on which carbide die set to buy. I advised RCBS. He looked at the prices, and bought Lee. A few months later the carbide sizer ring came out of his die, and he called Lee customer service. Long story short, he threw away the Lee dies and bought a shiny new set of RCBS dies.

    I've had pretty much zero problems with my RCBS dies; even ones I bought second-hand that are well over 50 years old. Any minor problems I've had with any RCBS equipment, a toll-free call to RCBS takes care of it with no cost to me.
    On the other hand, in my experience problems and broken parts are just part of the Lee experience. And Lee will gladly sell you whatever repair or replacement parts you need.
    Bottom line, anyone who thinks Lee gear is less expensive than RCBS probably has no experience with RCBS.

    I must say though, that I do like Lee's neck size collet dies for bottleneck rifle cartridges. I also really like the classic old Lee Loader, and have quite a few of them. And, I like their bullet molds. That's one item they've actually improved over the years, too. And I like their bullet sizer dies, and the Liquid Alox bullet lube.

    OTOH, I hate their presses. And even more, I hate their powder measures. Except the dipper sets. I have a few of those. Most of their powder measures make good gifts for acquaintances. I keep giving them away to acquaintances, but other acquaintances keep giving them to me! :eek7
  20. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    Oddometer:
    582
    Location:
    Northern Rockies
    Ive used RCBS dies since the mid 70s, theyve always been outstanding quality, the very few issues Ive had were addressed for free by RCBS. One being an expander that wasnt giving good bullet tension on jacketed bullets in 45-70, they sent another one to try, and I believe they sent me a couple newer style lock rings. I think ive broken one decapping pin in tens of thousands of rounds.

    Ive not had any problems seating and crimping on one step so long as the die was set up the the individual bullet being used. In general cast bullets have more generous crimp grooves and are less finicky about the exact setting of the die, jacketed crimp grooves are mostly smaller and the case length and crimp setting is more critical that they be just right.

    i cant say Im good enough to tell the difference, but a gunsmith I knew that was into longer range varminting (600 yard) said he checked runout on Lee dies compared to RCBS and others, the LEE had much more runout, meaning not as close of quality control, and the potential to produce truly precision ammo is less likely with them. Perhaps somebody loads their long range match winning ammo on Lee dies, but Id prefer to use the best I can within reasonable budget limits for myself, which includes RCBS. I often find them in good to excellent condition at gun shows for about $15-$20 for rifle calibers and around $25 for carbide pistol calibers. If Lee dies work you you or your buds, rock on, theres room for everyone in this world to use what they want.
    Fire Escape, WECSOG and kbuckey like this.