Ready to start reloading... need suggestions

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by supergus, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. supergus

    supergus New Member

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    Title says it all. For now I'll be reloading .223/.556 and .45 ACP. I just picked up the ABC's of Reloading by Bill Chevalier and it sounds as if my needs would be best met with a single stage or a turret press. I'd like to hear from you guys that have been reloading for awhile. What in your opinion is a good press to use
    and what brand worked best for you? What, besides the press, would I need to have a "complete" reloading set up for the above calibers. ( eventually I'll reload for 7.62x39, 7.62x54r, .303 British, and .30-'06.)
     
  2. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Init to hear the suggestions.
     

  3. 1hole

    1hole New Member

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    Depends a whole lot on how much you need to spend to feel comfortable with your new press. Actually, presses are quite simple devices and no one has any secrets, they are all plenty good and will last a LOONG time if cared for.

    The best deals today are the Lee Classic Cast single stage and the Lee Classic Turret for a bit faster speed. Both are heavy duty presses with cast steel bodies and are as good or better than any others of their type. And the prices are as good as their performance.
     
  4. tiberius10721

    tiberius10721 New Member

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    I will not comment on reloading rifle rounds because ive never done it in my 7 yrs of reloading. I reload 38 special,357 mag ,.380 acp and 45 acp using a lee 4 hole turret press and carbide dies. I personally love my lee turret press and I think the instructions that come with the lee dies are easy to read and comprehend for the average joe.
     
  5. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Ditto what 1-Hole said. I have been using a Lee single stage and Lee Turret press for many years. For the last 7 years I haven't even bothered with the Turret since I am not into volume reloading and my focus is on carefully assembled accurate ammo. Whichever press you decide on, be sure to get the best powder measure and scale you can afford, since throwing an accurate charge consistently is what accuracy is all about. I bought a Redding 3-BR many years ago for $90 - now they sell for about $110, but they are solid cast iron and micrometer adjustable, and accurate to 1/10th grain. You will also need a scale to initially establish your desired powder charge weight, as well as to check your powder measures' throw from time to time. Digital scales are very cheap and probably the most accurate, but they need batteries. I use a 30 yr. old Ohaus Triple Beam balance like the one you used in Chemistry class, and use a calculator to do the conversion from grains to grams (grains x .0648= grams). IE. if a load calls for 25 grains of H335, I would set my scale for 25 x .0648 =1.62 grams. I will use this to set-up my powder measure to throw this exact weight of powder, thus calibrating my powder measure with my scale and vice versa. Again, the scale is just as important as the powder measure, so don't skimp. I would recommend the Lee AutoPrime for hand priming your cases, as getting the "feel" for primer seating depth is impossible when using the reloading press due to compound leverage. I have always used Lee 3-die sets with very good results, but am now considering spending 3 times as much on a single Competition seating die from Redding, again for bench rest accuracy. You will need a case trimming system from somebody, and depending on whom you choose, you can spend from about $10 for a Lee lockstud/cutter and pilot guage/shellholder combo, to over $150 for a lathe-style rotary trimmer. The Lee works just as good and can be chucked in a cordless drill to speed things up and save blisters! A tumbler is a necessity as far as I'm concerned because it makes reloading a much cleaner and safer proposition. It keeps crap out of your dies and it cleans brass to look like new, which increases the safety factor because you can see splits and other defects in your cases much easier when they are clean. A tumbler also saves you the time and elbow grease from hand cleaning your cases to remove traces of lube from the sizing operation. Lube can build up in your rifles chamber and cause problems down the road. Someone ( I think it was Tango) wrote up a very comprehensive article, with pics, on reloading last year. You should review it. ANy questions just ask - there are several reloaders here that would be happy to assist!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  6. supergus

    supergus New Member

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    Thanks for the in depth reply ,brother. Very helpful. Thanks 1hole and Tiberius for the quick replies,too.:)
     
  7. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    Each to his own.

    Gus, brand preference is a big debate. Every loader has his likes/dis-likes. My first press(1973 era) is a RCBS RockChucker. It has only smoothed up in it's 36 years of use. You have some wasted movement with small/short cases as the .45acp. but you get used to it. Lyman has always made a good press also. Lee you get what you pay for. Very good prices on average quality equipment. I know that comment will get me slammed (Probably by RL357). If you are happy with a Chevy Work truck, buy Lee. If you want a Hummer, buy RCBS,LYMAN,HORNADY, etc. I do all rifle+some pistol with the Rock C. I have a Dillon RL550 that handles all my common(.38/.357-9MM-.45acp.-.44Rem.Mag.) pistol loading. If you are not in a rush-look for second hand press, at gun shows-flea markets-E-bay-etc. If this helps you GREAT-If not-well you got my opinion!!HA.:D:)
     
  8. stick_man

    stick_man New Member

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    +1 on most of what BillyBob said. Most all of the presses are of at least reasonably good quality. Your choice would depend heavily on how much reloading you intend to do. If you are going to be reloading 1000 rds per month, you probably would want to go with some kind of progressive press. If you are only going to be reloading 1-200 rounds per month, a single stage press will work very well.

    I used a Lee 3-hole turret for about 25 years before my kids left the garage door open one afternoon/evening and somebody decided they needed it more than I did. I had it mounted onto a nice piece of 2x6 with a powder measure about 18 inches away. Worked like a charm for all my handgun reloading needs. Never once used it as a progressive press. Always used it single-stage but had several turret heads and set up each different caliber in their own head. Worked wonders saving time because I didn't have to keep fiddling with the dies to get them adjusted just right. Even used it for the .223 and .243 without problems.

    I have an old (30+yrs) Pacific single stage press that I use for the larger rifle calibers like the .270 and '06, but then I don't shoot them anywhere near as much as the handguns.

    All work great. As said before, treat them right and don't overload them and they will treat you right.
     
  9. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    LOL - I won't slander anyone else's gear. I had an RCBS RockChucker also. It was given to me when I first started reloading. Then someone else gave me a Lee Turret press and I gave the RockChucker to another newbie to keep the tradition going! The RockChucker was a strong, solid piece of cast iron. I now use a Lee Challenger mainly, and to be honest, any "O-style" press is going to be stronger than you need it to be. A "C" press is a different story, but the Challenger is cast aluminum and completely closed and therefore cannot bend. A new RockChucker costs $114, a new Challenger costs $39. They are both "O" presses. Why spend two and a half times the money when there is no gain?
     
  10. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    That is a good kit/price. It will get you started. It's totally your choice/preference. I think the Lee leverage system looks weak/cheap-I know it works, and a lot of people use them. Let me put it this way: I have been a GM Master Auto Tech, for close to 40years. I have two large tool boxes (work+home) full of SNAP-ON TOOLS. Yes I have a few Sears Craftsman Tools, but not many. I am not a rich man, but I prefer top quality equip. and will hold off until I can afford them. That's why I do not have many guns-but the ones I have are GOOD ones. ER-well they were before the boating accident,when they all went down in DEEP water!!:(
     
  11. stick_man

    stick_man New Member

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    Wow, Billybob44, I think there something about the boats that makes them act strangely around guns. Were you by chance down off of Florida when that happened? I had taken my boat out for a nice friendly waterfowl hunt in the everglades and had my shotgun for the birds but also had to have all my rifles and handguns along for protection from the gators when the derned boat capsized. All my guns went down in that salty water. Lucky for me, I had already taken a few ducks and the gators feasted on them while I righted the boat. I was lucky to get out of there with all my toes intact.

    Caution to all: If you go out into the everglades with all your guns for protection, make sure you stop and get some fresh meat to keep the gators occupied while you right your boat. Otherwise, plan on coming up a few toes short.


    Sorry OP. Back to topic, My old 3-holer was a gem. It was made of pot metal and I broke the handle one time trying to resize some '06 brass that just plain wasn't wanting to be cooperative. At that time, the press was probably already 15+ yrs old so I called Lee to see about ordering a replacement. Over the phone they took down my name and address and just a few days later I had a new handle on my press. A friend of mine was doing some work at a metal shop and asked if he could take the broken handle for a day or two. He came back with a wonderful braze job on the handle and had even reinforced it for me. Then he challenged me to break it again. I got out an old set of .270 dies that were all chewed up (I had gotten them as part of a package deal a few years before) and promptly inserted a piece of unlubed '06 brass to resize. I got that brass so stuck that even a stuck case remover wouldn't work to remove it. The handle held and so did the press. Lee's customer service was top notch as well.

    For my current presses, I have a replacement 3-holer Lee Turret press, the old Pacific "C" type press, and a Rockchucker. All have their purpose and all have proven worth every penny paid. For low volume reloading, just about anything will fit the bill and work great for you. Hi volume reloading is a horse of a different color.

    Good luck with your decision. If you have the opportunity, try to find a fellow reloader close by that will allow you to try out his equipment. You may find one brand press suits your fancy much better than another.

    Happy shooting!
     
  12. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

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    I have other presses but use a turret press 98% of the time. The thing about turret presses is you can get a turret for each caliber/cartridge. By doing that you adjust the dies for that individual turret and tighten them down. They'll likely never come loose or out of adjustment that way. Also you won't have to screw them in or out of the press for every step-simply change turret & shell holder & you're ready for a different caliber/cartridge-no adjustment needed & takes about 30 seconds. The Lee turret press is an excellent press to start with.

    A couple items that I didn't see listed yet are primer pocket cleaner & flash hole deburrer. You only have to deburr the flash hole 1 time to remove burrs from the inside of the case made during manufacturing process on rifle cases. Cleaning the primer pocket is a MUST each time the case is to be reloaded. That insures consistent primer depth from fouling.

    I never did like the Lee dies-especially for rifle cartridges. I highly prefer screwing the decapper & seater down for positive consistent engagement instead of the pressure collet system of Lee dies. I've sent RCBS dies back that was plumb wore out (about 33 years old) & they (RCBS) sent me back a completely new set of dies! I feel they have the best warranty of anybody. You can't buy that kind of brand loyalty any other way.
     
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I have both an RCBS Rockchucker and a Dillon RL-450. I use the Dillon for 95% of my loading/processing. I use the RCBS for the few cartridges I have not yet bought Dillon Conversions for (.30 carbine, .30-30, 45LC, .32 ACP, .45-70). I do not load much in those calibers so it is not a huge inconvenience.

    A turret press is a decent compromise and well suited to a beginner.

    My rule of thumb is to look at how much you plan on loading:
    >200 rds/month - single stage
    200-500 rds/month - turret
    <500 rds/month - progressive

    IMHO the ONLY progressive to own is a Dillon
     
  14. supergus

    supergus New Member

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    Even though Hornady is giving you 1,000 bullets FREE?!!?
    I appreciate the feedback you guys I'm already making my early x-mas list and hopefully I'll have Brown Santa stopping by in a few weeks. Plus, there's a gun show coming up next weekend... ya never know:D
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    The Dillon RL-550 is $100 cheaper, has a much longer track record, a service policy/guarantee that cannot be beaten. I don't know why you need 5 stations on a progressive press I don't use all four on my Dillon for most calibers.

    I have no problem with Hornaday products. I really like their rifle bullets. This may turn out to be a good product but the Dillon is a proven product.
     
  16. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    link to look at pic TheFiringLine Forums

    Saw on another forum & didn't know if you might be interested in this. I do not know anything about the quality & such. I immediately thought "45 ACP, that's what i want," but i need to read more first & probably want something not progressive to start on.

    Just realized you are both in NC, as well.

    edit* incase you can't login there:
    WTS Lee Pro 1000 45 ACP Progressive Press (NC)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    LEE PRO 1000, Set up for 45ACP

    Located Cornelius, NC

    Add a bullet and pull the lever; all other operations are automatic. One loaded cartridge with each pull of the lever.

    Every operation is automatic. Primers, like the powder, are fed only if a case is present. No wasted primers or spilled powder. Alternate loading sequence lets you load only one case at a time. Makes learning easy for the first time user and great for fine adjustments or experimenting.

    You can start reloading good ammunition minutes after the press is bolted down.
    http://www.leeprecision.com/html/catalog/lp1000.html
    Pick Up Price is $100
    __________________
    For the Fellow Carolina Folks: www.carolinaguntalk.com
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  17. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    I too have been looking into reloading and have already read through The ABCs of Reloading and I'm now working on the Lyman Reloading Manual and I would recommend picking it up as well. In my opinion it lays everything out in a way that is much simpler to understand. And just a side note, reloading 7.62x39 can be done, but from what I've read it can be a pain because of the Berdan Primer Pocket.

    -Fred
     
  18. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Not if you buy brass that is boxer primed or buy clean, new, unprimed brass. You DO NOT want to attempt to reload the steel cased stuff.
     
  19. kcebdivad

    kcebdivad New Member

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    Look on craigslist, I see lots of good deals on reloading equipment from time to time. I got a progressive shotshell loader with powder, shot, hulls, and wads for 100 bucks.
    just an idea