How I Reload
I started knowing that I was going to reload lots of 9mm, but someday I would begin loading for other pistol cartridges, semi-automatic rifles, and long distance bolt action rifles. After talking to a friend of mine who had been reloading for a while, and extensive online research, I came to the conclusion that if I started with anything other than Dillon, it would just be a matter of time before I upgraded to a Dillon. So I purchased a 550.
I have since purchased a RCBS Supreme II and Lee Classic 1000. The Dillon is for my high volume cartridges like 9mm, .223, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and .357 Magnum. The Lee is for lower volume cartridges like .308 Win, .30-30 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .380 ACP, since I can easily switch out tool heads, keeping my dies setup. And finally the RCBS is for sizing brass or sizing lead bullets, since it is strong and simple.
I purchased all Dillon carbite dies for reloading when possible, not requiring case lube makes the extra cost for carbite worth it. I have since purchased dies by Lee, Hornady, RCBS, and Lyman, but haven't used them enough to have a strong opinion.
Hornady Reloading Handbook
I purchased the Hornady Reloading Handbook, and read the step by step guide to reloading. This was a great overview of how the reloading process works, what to look for, and what not to do. I still occasionally pull it out to reference something, but most of the reloading data is easier to get from the internet.
I use a Frankford Aresenal vibratory tumbler. Simple and works great. I started using reloading tumbling media, but switched to corn cob blast media from Grainger, since a 40lb bag was cheaper than 5 pounds of reloading media. The blast media is the same thing and does just as good of a job.
.223 Reminginton Extra Steps
For .223 Remington/5.56x45mm I run all my brass through a couple prep steps. After I tumble them, I spray them inside and out with Hornady One Shot lube, deprime and size them, trim them with my Dillon RT1500 Electric Case Trimmer.
For 5.56x45mm or any crimped .223 brass I then run them through my Dillon Super Primer Pocket Swager. After I've reloaded them, I paint the base of the brass with some Dykem, so that I can easily tell which cases have already been swaged.
.40 Smith & Wesson Extra Steps
Given the Glock bulge that occurs in .40 S&W brass, I picked up a Redding G-RX Carbide Base Sizing Die Kit (40 S&W, 357 Sig, 10mm Auto). I run all my .40 brass through the sizer every time before I reload them. I use my RCBS press to run these brass since it is a strong single stage press.