CAS TOPICS > The Powder Room - CAS reloading

Beginner's Guide to Reloading for CAS

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Professor Marvel:
For your Education and Entertainment, I offer this compendium of stolen resources, links, manuals, etc on the topic of Reloading for CAS.


1) Read and understand this sticky, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for anything you load!
            Important Message about this board!

2) Read This Sticky for many resources
          Topic: Reloading Resources - Link Guide

3) FYI Many , Many forums WILL NOT allow posting of ANY load data for liability reasons.
        That's the brave new world, deal with it.


5) TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS - this is a boring repetitive process, and you cannot allow mistakes

6) Ask an Old Guy. Old Guys Know Stuff  
        If possible, go to your local CAS Club or NRA certified shooting range/club and ask politely
        for an OLD GUY who is willing to help you.  Bring an appropriate offering, whether a box
        of adult beverages, cookies, donuts, coffee, brats, or an offer to help with chores.


Firstly a brief series of discussions For All Noobys , shamelessly stolen compiled from other threads:

--- Quote from: Sir Charles deMouton-Black on April 02, 2011, 10:07:12 AM ---You will get many suggestions on favorite brands (of reloading gear), but almost all sources will give you reasonably good results.  There are three levels of reloading set-ups;
1. VERY basic.  I base my portable set-up on the LEE handpress.  Alternative could be the Lyman 310 tong tool but these are hard to find and limited in that they  take their own series of dies.
2.  Single stage press.  Most beginners start here.  My RCBS press is  40 years old and still performing. They are capable of doing most anything, but can be slow and do require processing your loads in batches.  The advantage for a beginner is that you can see exactly what is going on, and correct any glitches before a dangerous situation developes.
3.  Progressive machines.  These are capable of producing amazing quantities of great ammo.  All are pricey, but some moreso.  You get what you pay for and some experience is desireable before deciding on a set-up.

READ A LOT, and a mentor is very valuable.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: Jefro on April 02, 2011, 05:16:58 PM ---IMHO the best low cost starter set up is the Lee Classic Turret, can be used as a single stage or turret. The heads are very inexpensive making caliber change a snap. The Lee web site has a video of each step to help get things set up right.  Kempf's Gun Shop has everything thing you need to get started, press, dies, Hornady One Shot case lube, tumbler kit, scales, reloading manuals, dippers, funnel, etc....If you do decide to go with the Lee make sure to include "both upgrades", well worth it. You'll need dippers if you plan to hand dip, or the double disk kit if you use the Pro Auto measure. You're gonna save a ton of money reloading yer own. Give Kempf a call, they can walk you through it. Good Luck :)
Lee Classic Turret Kit
Modern Relaoding
Extra Turret
Tumbler Combo
Hornady One Shot
Dippers, Double Disk Kit, Elec Scales
Lyman 49th


--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: Delmonico on April 04, 2011, 10:14:58 AM ---... one can work between the minimums and maximums in lab tested loading data, but to go over or under is never a good idea.  Used to be everyone wanted to go over max for more power, today a lot want to go under minimum for less recoil.  These Nitro powders have to stay with in certain pressure ranges to burn right, if you want more power get a bigger cartridge, if you want less then you need a smaller one.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: Shotgun Franklin on April 03, 2011, 08:50:40 PM ---I still use my antique Dillon 450 Press. I'd have to guess that I've loaded cost to a 1/4 of a million rounds on it. I loaded for 4 Police Agencies, practice and qualification loads. I've loaded CAS rounds on it for 13 years, for 10 years of that I was shooting 300-400 rounds a month not counting practice stuff. I've worn parts out and Dillon replaces them, no charge. Dillon has an 800 number, if you need something or break something just call'm.
Go find a guy who reloads, someone who's been doing it for many years. Have him teach you how to reload straight wall cases, starting out that's all you need to know.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: Professor Marvel on April 04, 2011, 11:42:46 PM ---For beginners, I concurr that a single stage not only reduces complexity, but helps train the brain whilst keeping things simple.

Whilst I personally prefer RCBS and good cast iron, if one were starting from zero this Lee kit from Cabelas for $105 on sale is complete except for dies, and will do nicely for many years for pistol calibers:

If budget were not a major concern you could do far worse than the Lyman Crusher Kit for $329.99:

which has a proper case trimmer AND includes the Lyman Loading book!

you will also want a case tumbler and media, here's one on sale at cabelas for another $50:

Since you Plan to load 38 spcl. 44 Colt & spcl and 45 Colt, you need dies at here you'll find Lee Carbide on sale for $26 each:

and last you will need
 consumables -
 - powder (I like Unique)
 - primers, large and small pistol
 - case lube

And if you choose to cast your own, you'll need  bullet molds
These from track of the wolf look "fairly" traditional"

.38  ==>LEE-90303 Lee .38 caliber, .358" diameter, 158 grain, flat nose solid base BPCR mold, double cavity . . . $19.25
.44 ==> LEE-90285 Lee 44 caliber, .429" diameter, 200 grain, flat nose, solid base BPCR mold, double cavity . . . $19.25
.45 ==> LEE-90358 Lee 45 Long Colt, .452" diameter, 255 grain, flat nose, solid base BPCR mold, double cavity . . . $19.25

- a lead pot  $50
- bullet lube (alox, whatever)

For Bullet lube, for starters you can get by with the old lee "cookie cutter" lube system or get a Lee sizing die

or just tumble them in liquid alox.

I leave the arithmetic as an exercise for the accounting student ;-)

did we scare you off yet ? ...  ::)

It's a pretty penny to start, but at $50 a box for cartridges the $300-$400 startup cost is paid for rapidly!

prof marvel

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: Driftwood Johnson on April 06, 2011, 05:18:56 PM ---Howdy

Am I the only one who noticed he is going to be mostly loading Black Powder?

I strongly suggest you pick up one of these books. All written by Mike Venturino. Shooting Colt Single Actions, Shooting Sixguns of the Old West, or Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West. Each one of them has a great primer for loading the old cartridges with Black Powder. The only place I disagree with Mike is you don't need a drop tube to load for Cowboy shooting. Looks like the Colt book is currently out of print, but it looks like Mike has the other two. Don't get the Buffalo Rifle book, it is strictly about shooting single shot rifles. You can buy that another time.

If you are going to be loading real Black Powder, you MUST use a BP compatible lube on your bullets. Regular Smokeless lube will cause problems. There are other methods, but by far the easiest is to use Big Lube bullets. You will save yourself a lot of hassles if you simply use the Big Lube bullets and lube them with a BP compatible lube like SPG. Go to Dick Dartardly's Big Lube Bullet site.
Dick does not sell bullets, just molds and stuff, but if you go to to his links page he lists several casters who cast the Big Lube bullets commercially. I assume you are not going to want to start casting bullets at this point, better save that for after you have been loading for a while.

I am not even going to get into the debate about what type of equipment to buy. Do not rush into this. Before you spend one red cent on equipment, buy a good loading manual and read the chapter describing the reloading process. There is a lot to absorb. I recommend the Lyman Pistol and Revolver Handbook because it has good illustrations for the beginner. The big Lyman book is also good, as well as the books from Speer, Lee, and Hornady. Then, once you have a feeling for the type of equipment that is available, then, and only then, consider what type of equipment and what brand you want to get.

Reloading can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can single stage it for a while, or you can jump right into a full blown progressive machine. However, be aware that there are a few basic differences between loading Black Powder and loading Smokeless. That's why you need a regular manual as well as one of Venturino's books, to sift out the differences.

For what it's worth, I started with a used single stage press, then once I felt comfortable with what I was doing, I moved up to a progressive. However, if you are going to get started reloading with Black Powder, I recommend you do not start with a progressive press. Start simple with a single stage machine, you can always move up later once you understand the basics.

--- End quote ---


Well now, if you made it this far, you have passed the first test: you have proven that

- you are willing and able to read more than a paragraph without passing out

- you are willing and able to READ rather than have a u-tube or comic book walk you through every step
    this is especially important as nearly all instructions are in the form of boring manuals. If you can't
    handle boring manuals, I highly recommend you take up another hobby

Remember, While Reloading is not rocket science, it is not for those who cannot understand and follow explicit
step-by-step instructions ( as provide in the manuals) EVERY TIME WITHOUT FAIL.

Having Passed This Test, You are now rewarded with the following resources:


Beginners Guides:


Lee and Lyman are highly recommended as they do cover lead bullet loads more than the Jacketed Bullet Manufacturors.

Black Powder Specifics

Black Powder Advice from Hogden

SPG Black Powder Cartridge Reloading Primer

Other Websites and threads:,37343.0.html
  but take this thread into consideration


Remember, YOU are responsible for your loads, and your actions. YOUR load may "work fine" in YOUR gun, but may be
overpressure in someone else's gun, even of the same make!

Re Cartridge Conversions: These are special case guns, antique designs made for low-pressure BP loads.
Be warned ANY "factory load" or jacketed load or "equivalent may be "too much" in a "cartridge conversion".



* Do not come here and ask permission to exceed recommendations -
    ie: " Powder, primer, etc maker said don't do XYS but I wanna, it;ll be ok, right ?"

Did I mention always follow the Manuals?


One valid question that is often asked: I have 3 manuals, which is right? :
Manual A ( dated 2014) says 5.7 grains of BigBoyPowder Max Load
Manual B ( dated 2012) says 5.9 grains of BigBoyPowder Max Load
Manual C ( date 1989 ) says 6.2 grains of BigBoyPowder Max Load

here's the thing - powders can change over the years, and in the last decade or two, ballistics labs ( the guys who write the books) have had advances in their test equipment, so recipes can change, and one should not trust "old" data too much.

So, old son,  go to BigBoyPowder Company ( ) and they say ( dated last month)
          5.8 grains of BigBoyPowder Max  

You CAN figure this out.


Finally, don't forget your local library, and that fact that Google Is Your Friend,

hope this helps
prof marvel

Professor Marvel,

Great reply!
Especially to some of the rather generic Newbies quests for reloading information.
My best,

Professor Marvel:
Thank you Blair,
 I value your opinion
 please feel free to add to this
prof marvel


Professor Marvel,

Please note, as soon as I know the direction the wind is coming from, I will set my sails accordingly.
You Sir, are on the right tack as far as I can tell. (this nautical BS may scare the heck out of some folks?)
Thank you so much for the invitation.
Again, My best,

This has my name written all over it.  Thanks for all of the links, professor. 


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