First off, I am 100% new to reloading so I figured I'd make a simple set-up post that could help others that are thinking of getting into reloading. I hope it'll be usefull and maybe even be made a sticky by the moderator. These instructions show the set-up of a Lee Pro 1000 progressive press for 9mm.
I picked up my press from a local outdoor store for $139.00. It comes complete with carbide pistol dies, powder measurer, case feeder, primer feeder, ect. It is not nearly as nice as a Dillon or a RCBS press, but I think it'll get the job done. Many people have complained about the operation, but once it's set-up, it goes fairly smooth. Once you open the box you basically get this.
The next step is to find a place to mount your press. You want something solid and permanent if possible. I didn't have that option so I made a separate mounting base that I clamp to the bench. Marking 3 holes for mounting, I drilled, counterbored and installed 3 carrige bolts. The large hole in the center is for spent primers to fall into and discard. The press is then bolted down and the mount is clamped to my sturdy bench.
While I was installing and setting up everything I decided to get my brass clean. I purchased a case tumbler kit from Cabela's that came with everything you need to get started ($57.00). Basically you fill the bowl 2/3 with media add a few capfuls of polish, walk away and about 90min later you get clean brass that looks brand new. I think this is a must have since it cleans and polishes your brass inside and out, saving wear and tear on your equipment.
While the cases are tumbling and getting shinny, its a good time to start installing and adjusting your dies. First off, put the turret in the top. It goes in a little off-center, and then a small twist lets it snap and seat in place, with the hole in the front.
Next install the resizing and decapping die in the front position.
Lower the handle on the press and this causes the shell plate and carrier to raise to the top of its stroke. With the handle firmly down, screw in the die so that it contacts the shell plate. Raise the handle a little and screw the die in an additional 1/4 turn. Lower the handle until the shellplate contacts the die, and screw in the lock nut.
Next, install the expanding and powder fill die. This die adds flare to the case for bullet seating, and at the same time, it adds the measured powder into the case. Start with the same routine as before, lower the handle, and screw the die in until it makes contact with the shellplate. Once it makes contact, UNSCREW the die 1 full turn, and tighten the locknut. This position will give the minimum amount of flare, if you need more flare just screw the die in slightly. DO NOT let this die contact the shellplate at the top of it's stroke.
Next, install the bullet seating and crimp die into the last station. Adjust this die by putting an empty case into the shellplate and raising it to the top of it's stroke. Screw the die in until it contacts the top of the case. Place a bullet on the empty case and use the top adjusting knob to increase bullet depth until it reaches a distance for your application. Once the depth has been reached, screw the die itself in one half turn. This will set the crimp and finish the operation. Additional adjustments can be make to add more crimp and adjust bullet depth. Again, DO NOT let the die contact the shell plate at the top of its stroke.
Next, install the autodisk powder measurer. This simply screws into the expanding die. Position the lever towards the rear of the press as shown.
The autodisk uses these disks to measure the powder. They are graduated by volume and have charts to match up the powder, vs how many grains you intend on adding. For my application I will be using 5.1 grains of Unique, which is # .53 on the disk. (The weighed charge to get 5.6grains of Unique actually requires disk #.73.)
As the empty case contacts the die, it moves the charge bar, which slides the full disk over the hole that enters the die/case.
Next intall the hopper and fasten it with the two finger nuts as shown.
Next, take the chain from the kit, install the pedant about 10 beads from the bottom and add the spring as shown.
Install the spring through the bottom of the carrier as shown and route towards the charge bar lever.
With the carrier at the extreme bottom position, pull the chain so its snug. Lift the carrier enough to allow one more bead to pass through the hole. This will preload the chain and keep constant tension on it. Pass the extra chain through the next hole in the lever as shown.
Next intall the case feeder assembly. Align it so that it clears the turrett, and adjust the height so that when a case is on the slider, there is about 1-2mm of clearance as shown.
Add the primer tray.
That completes the initial set-up of the press. Part two will go through the steps to complete a loaded round. (Coming soon....)