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Reloading 5.56 and 9: What's the total investment in good equipment?






#1
I'm thinking about drinking the reloading koolaid. Wondering if you guys can give me an idea of what the cost of all the equipment (not bullets, powder, primers) will cost?

I'm a buy once, cry once kind of guy, so I'm talking about solid, great quality equipment. I'd rather save up and do it right from the beginning than buy crap multiple times until I find good stuff.

Thanks, also appreciated are good/indespensible pieces of equipment recommendations.
 

totenschadel

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#2
Just helped a buddy get into a Dillion 750, two calibers and all the fixens; trimer,scale, calipers etc, he's at 2k.
Taken from Dillion site " The XL750 is shown with the following options:
Electric Casefeeder
Roller Handle
Strong Mount
Bullet Tray
Powdercheck Die
Low Powder Sensor
Die set
(Price with all options $1560.00)"

The time to get into reloading was yesterday, your timing's not the best since you're going to be paying premium for components. Primers, for example, $100 per k. I'd lay low for a while until things replenish and perhaps snag used equipment when it pops up
 
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Bob R

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#5
I am going to buck the trend here and say get a 550 and use the money you save to get a spare tool head or two. Unless you are going to be loading several thousand rounds at a setting I don't see the appeal of an electric case feeder and other doo-dads the 750 gives you over the 550. I would price out the 550 with the extras the 750 reloader package gives you and see if you can save a buck or two. You may be able to save money by buying the accessories from different vendors.

bob
 

oly29

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#6
You will need more things to do 223/556 as they need more case prep when matched to 9MM. I de-prime, tumble, size then run all of the rounds thru my case prep machine. On the 9 MM I de-prime, tumble and then resize and they are ready to re-load. LC rounds 556 need to have the primer pockets reamed or chamfered to remove the primer crimp, then trim the neck for size, debur inside and outside of the neck after trimming.
I have 2 RCBS single stage presses. I use the old one for pistol and the new one for rifle. The old one is an RCBS Jr (1972) and the new one is the RCBS Rockcrusher (2020). I reload 38/357, 9MM, 45ACP, 222, 223/556, 30-06.
 

totenschadel

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#7
Thank you for the recomendations! And yes, this is EXACTLY my plan. I want everything planned out for when the price drops to rock bottom.
Perfect, not sure rock bottom will be anytime soon!

I am going to buck the trend here and say get a 550 and use the money you save to get a spare tool head or two. Unless you are going to be loading several thousand rounds at a setting I don't see the appeal of an electric case feeder and other doo-dads the 750 gives you over the 550. I would price out the 550 with the extras the 750 reloader package gives you and see if you can save a buck or two. You may be able to save money by buying the accessories from different vendors.

bob
good point on cost saving, for some folks reloading on a manual advance, 4 station press works. Once the desire comes up for automation and/or separate crimping, powder check, or bullet case feeding arises the 5 station offers more room to grow, the 550 is limited in that respect.
 
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Kinoons

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#8
Yeah a 550 is a good start. Honestly I was able to load lots of 9mm and even 5.7x28 on a lee turret.

It depends on how much ammo you need to load. For the occasional 250rds, especially if you’re looking to load more 9mm then 5.56, the lee turret is a great set.

If you decide you want to get bigger and fancier you’d have no issue selling the lee turret to another new reloaded.

Or have two presses so you don’t need to switch back and forth.
 
#9
You will need more things to do 223/556 as they need more case prep when matched to 9MM. I de-prime, tumble, size then run all of the rounds thru my case prep machine. On the 9 MM I de-prime, tumble and then resize and they are ready to re-load. LC rounds 556 need to have the primer pockets reamed or chamfered to remove the primer crimp, then trim the neck for size, debur inside and outside of the neck after trimming.
I have 2 RCBS single stage presses. I use the old one for pistol and the new one for rifle. The old one is an RCBS Jr (1972) and the new one is the RCBS Rockcrusher (2020). I reload 38/357, 9MM, 45ACP, 222, 223/556, 30-06.
Sorry if I didn’t state it, but consider me a total noob in reloading (I am). Appreciate the details.

My goal is to buy the right equipment when the price drops, and work from there. Like they told us, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

I’ll learn slow with the right stuff, and then efficiency will come. Thanks again
 
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totenschadel

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#10
Thinking more on this, you can never go wrong with a good single stage press to serve as a work horse, especially for sizing bottle neck cases. Bet you could find one for South of $100 bucks on the used market, a good starting point.
 
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oly29

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#11
I have the Lyman case prep unit that I use for 223/556, one WFT case trimmer, one Lee crimp die (optional, not everyone crimps their 223/556) I hand prime all of my cases using an RCBS hand primer. A digital scale for weighing powder loads from my Uniflow powder measure. For pistol I use only carbide dies, for rifle cases I use mostly RCBS but have a few Hornady seating dies.

I keep everything in 4 drawer file cabinets, each caliber has it's own drawer. Keep all the primers in a different drawer. I bag all my brass in lots of 100 as most primers come in flats of 100. Will prep all my brass and then load in batches of 100-200 rounds at one time. Even on a single stage for 9MM that might take about an hour or a little more to go thru 200 round. I normally check every 20 rounds to see if the powder measure is still throwing the correct amount of powder. On 9MM I use 4.0 +/- 0.1 grams of powder (Titegroup). most of these are for everyday shooting, not competition.

So you should try and get the things you need before you decide on the press, dies, powder measure, scale, case prep unit, case trimmer, hand primer. Get the things you can find for the caliber you want to reload, some things will work on all calibers. Right now I am on the hunt for a LEE factory 4 die set to reload for my son's 45ACP.
 
#12
I have the Lyman case prep unit that I use for 223/556, one WFT case trimmer, one Lee crimp die (optional, not everyone crimps their 223/556) I hand prime all of my cases using an RCBS hand primer. A digital scale for weighing powder loads from my Uniflow powder measure. For pistol I use only carbide dies, for rifle cases I use mostly RCBS but have a few Hornady seating dies.

I keep everything in 4 drawer file cabinets, each caliber has it's own drawer. Keep all the primers in a different drawer. I bag all my brass in lots of 100 as most primers come in flats of 100. Will prep all my brass and then load in batches of 100-200 rounds at one time. Even on a single stage for 9MM that might take about an hour or a little more to go thru 200 round. I normally check every 20 rounds to see if the powder measure is still throwing the correct amount of powder. On 9MM I use 4.0 +/- 0.1 grams of powder (Titegroup). most of these are for everyday shooting, not competition.

So you should try and get the things you need before you decide on the press, dies, powder measure, scale, case prep unit, case trimmer, hand primer. Get the things you can find for the caliber you want to reload, some things will work on all calibers. Right now I am on the hunt for a LEE factory 4 die set to reload for my son's 45ACP.
Thank you for the detailed list out.
 

Aycehole

Active member
#13
Can't go wrong with Dillon products .... they literally have a prompt & no B.S. customer service dept. Thus far in the 30-something years I've been reloading, I have not had to pay for a single part that needed replacing due to normal use.

My advice would be to start out on a single-stage press..... they're like the workhorse/truck of presses. They're slower than progressive presses, but ask any serious reloader and they'll tell you they have a single-stage press on their bench for when you want to "fine-tune" a load for those precision shots.
 

TexasJackKin

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#14
On 9MM I use 4.0 +/- 0.1 grams of powder (Titegroup). most of these are for everyday shooting said:
I hope you mean Grains....... 4.0 Grams is 61.72 Grains,....... that's a lot of Titegroup for a 9MM ;)
 
#15
What reloading equipment and supplies you buy depends a lot on what kind of shooting you will do, especially with rifle ammo. I am an accuracy focused shooter, so use equipment and components that suit that best. That means some higher end equipment as well as additional tools to produce the most accurate ammo possible (i.e., annealing machine, custom dies, etc.). On the other hand, if I do not need top accuracy, then brass other than Lapua will be fine, as will cheaper powders, and a good progressive press (Dillon 550) will do fine. Tell us what kind of shooting you will do and what your expectations will be, and also what is your objective when reloading. Save money, better ammo, or...?

Phil
 
#16
What reloading equipment and supplies you buy depends a lot on what kind of shooting you will do, especially with rifle ammo. I am an accuracy focused shooter, so use equipment and components that suit that best. That means some higher end equipment as well as additional tools to produce the most accurate ammo possible (i.e., annealing machine, custom dies, etc.). On the other hand, if I do not need top accuracy, then brass other than Lapua will be fine, as will cheaper powders, and a good progressive press (Dillon 550) will do fine. Tell us what kind of shooting you will do and what your expectations will be, and also what is your objective when reloading. Save money, better ammo, or...?

Phil
Good points that I should clarify.

On first thought, and the reason for the post, was just cheap ammo that goes bang at the range/practice. I honestly don't care if it's 3 moa, I'll trade moa for being able to afford more rounds.

That said, I would also like to be able to load some 75gr accurate rounds when I feel like it. I'm not a competitive shooter, but I do enjoy pushing myself at longer distances. If I'm going to invest, I'd rather have flexibility.
 
#17
"...I honestly don't care if it's 3 moa, I'll trade moa for being able to afford more rounds...".

"...That said, I would also like to be able to load some 75gr accurate rounds when I feel like it...".

I am sure you see these two statements conflict with one another. I do not know how you quantify "accurate rounds", but equipment costs will increase as accuracy demands go up. I doubt you want to buy equipment for making 3 MOA rounds and then another set of equipment for accurate rounds.

I would buy the level of equipment you need for your highest requirements (accurate rounds), and use that equipment for all rounds, saving money on the cheaper rounds by opting for cheaper brass and bullets.

I do not know what you mean by "pushing yourself" at longer distances, but it would help to better know your expectations. Accuracy can be extreme and very costly, depending on what your expectations. Please tell us what that is. 1 MOA, 1/2 MOA, 1/4 MOA, etc?
 
#18
"...I honestly don't care if it's 3 moa, I'll trade moa for being able to afford more rounds...".

"...That said, I would also like to be able to load some 75gr accurate rounds when I feel like it...".

I am sure you see these two statements conflict with one another. I do not know how you quantify "accurate rounds", but equipment costs will increase as accuracy demands go up. I doubt you want to buy equipment for making 3 MOA rounds and then another set of equipment for accurate rounds.

I would buy the level of equipment you need for your highest requirements (accurate rounds), and use that equipment for all rounds, saving money on the cheaper rounds by opting for cheaper brass and bullets.

I do not know what you mean by "pushing yourself" at longer distances, but it would help to better know your expectations. Accuracy can be extreme and very costly, depending on what your expectations. Please tell us what that is. 1 MOA, 1/2 MOA, 1/4 MOA, etc?
My point is that Im assuming if I invest in higher quality equipment, I can always skimp on primers, etc. for a cost of accuracy, just as you said. I think* I can't go the other way around and expect cheap machinery to turn quality primary materials into quality. There is no conflict in my statements.

My accuracy goals, if I'm going for accuracy, for 556 are 1 moa out to 600 yards, so, basically hitting head sized objects out to there reliably. Beyond that, I'm not shooting 5.56 (my original question).

You seem to be talking about other calibers, which is not what I am asking about. If you want to talk about 300wm, 50bmg or lapua or even 6.5cm this is not the discussion.
 
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JTW_Jr

WheelGunner
#19
You can reload pretty accurate ammo with a simple hand loader. So yes, you can load quality ammo with less costly gear. However , it will be slower to reload, so not good for loading say 100+ rounds at a sitting.

Sub MOA out of 556 at 600 yards , is a test of not only ammo , but a quality gun ( with nice barrel , trigger and scope ).
 

Mikeee54

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#20
"Accuracy can be extreme and very costly, depending on what your expectations. Please tell us what that is. 1 MOA, 1/2 MOA, 1/4 MOA, etc?"


Ok I'll bite what equipment for 1/4 moa for 9mm and 5.56?
 
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