Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taking the Plunge

I've finally decided to stop talking about reloading ammo and actually do it.  I've read many articles and blog posts trying to make a decision as to what press to buy, and what equipment I need.  I'm only slightly less confused than when I started.  (That's not really saying much; it's not that hard to confuse me.)

So, I'm asking for a press for Christmas.  Now, I just have to chose what kind and brand.  I'm searching Craigslist and the local trading paper.

I did manage to score a Dillon Square Deal press for almost free, but it's missing most of the components, and parts of what's left may be broken, since the lever does not move.  My first step will be to compare it with pictures of a new press and look at a parts list to see what I need to make this thing work, if possible.

Or, see if I can get a used one for a good price.

Either way, it's about time, I guess.


Carteach0 said...

My recommendation... begin with an inexpensive single stage press to learn the basics. Few reloaders, no matter how much other equipment they accumulate over the years, don't still have a need for a single stage.

There is something about doing it one step at a time that serves to drive home the process.

Anonymous said...

In addition to what Carteach0 has said above, I'd add - call Dillon.

Customer service is top notch. If there isn't a schematic on their site, I'm sure they'll have one they can mail. You can use that to determine what parts are missing. Probably better than working off a picture considering there are springs and other odds and ends you might not see in the picture.

Thanks for the blog!

MauserMedic said...

IIRC, Dillon has a lifetime guarantee on their presses, regardless of who the original owner was. It's possible they may restore the one you've purchased to working condition. I've three Dillons, and they're well worth the cost. However, a single stage press, be it Lee, RCBS, or any other established firm is the best for learning the fundamentals without complications. And they continue to serve well for small batch lots even when you're comfortable with a progressive press.

Ed Skinner said...

Call Dillon. The machine is guarantted for life, and not to any particular buyer. They will refurbish it free. I started with that machine and it's a great place to start. Makes good ammo. And I learned the virtue of a progressive.

Lawyer said...

Carteach0: Thanks for the insight. That sounds like a good idea and will allow me to get grounded with the basics. Would it make sense at this point to get something like the Lee Classic Turret and use it without the indexer until I get the hang of it?

Anon, MauserMedic, Ed: I contacted Dillon, and they are asking for about $68 to clean/lube/refurb the press. Before I do that, I'll have to figure out what's missing (that I can see) so I can figure out whether that's a cost-effective way to go for now. Otherwise, I can get the parts as I go, little by little.

Everyone, thanks for your help and comments!

Carteach0 said...

My thoughts....

If you are reloading only pistol rounds, a LEE turret press is not a bad idea. If rifle... my preference is for a single stag press due to the stress involved in sizing larger bottleneck rifle cases. Just my 2 cents.

As for Dillon refurbing the Square Deal for $68.... I suspect I would already have it boxed and be headed to the UPS store. That's just me.

Lawyer said...

Carteach0: Thanks for your input. I value your insight. I shipped the Square Deal out to them today, so we'll see what they tell me. As for me, eventually I plan on reloading .223 Rem as well, but for now will only be doing pistol since the range I belong to only allows pistol calibers.

Again, thanks!

Warrior Knitter said...

Darn! Someone else scramblin' for free-range brass! ;~) Welcome to the reloading club!

We love our Dillon 550B!

Lawyer said...

Warrior Knitter: Yes! This comment made me laugh, because I was doing just that this past weekend.