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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 1911ripley, Jul 15, 2012.
Looking to buy some new reloading equipment. I'd like to see feedback on RCBS and Hornady.
Press: Hornady--either SS or Progressive. Hated the Rock Chucker I had. However, for SS press, I prefer the Forster Co-Ax over all other Single Stages.
Dies: Hornady (or Lee--or, specifically, Lyman M-die for expander die for lead bullets or Redding Profile Crimp die for roll crimp)
Powder Dispenser: RCBS
Powder Measure: Either (though Dillon is simpler)
Misc. Tools: RCBS
I have a Dillon 550B progressive and a RCBS single stage press. Dillon, RCBS & Lee dies. Like all them.
I prefer the RCBS Single Stage since I load but nothing in a large quantity. And the RCBS loading equipment and parts are available almost every store I have went to no matter how large or small if they handle reloading equipment.
I did by a Lyman 1200 Electric Powder Measure a while back that saves me a ton of time, since the measuring of the powder seems to be one of the most time consuming and critical operations. And it should be due to safety. If I was going to load frequently and a lot I would also have a Dillon.
i like dillon progressives A LOT. and the only single stage ive got experience with is the rcbs rockchucker, still use it for small batches.
for dies lee rcbs dillon i have had great success with. i really like the dillon dies due to ease of getting stuck cases out. doesnt happen often but it does happen.
accessories rcbs lee dillon.
not a huge hornady fan ive gotten rid of some of their more recent offerings as they either broke or had less than acceptable precision. i think hornady is cheesing off on production quality a little.
Just my personal experience, but I consider RCBS 1/2 step above Hornady, and Redding one full step above RCBS.
"I'd like to see feedback on RCBS and Hornady. "
You'll get plenty. I've been reloading nearly five decades and no longer have a favorite brand. I buy according to the features I prefer but I'll try to help. Most newish folk with narrow experience have firm beliefs, for and against, and they aren't shy about proclaiming it. It gets amusing to read but, fact is, it's all good stuff or they would not have survived in the market for so long. Most truly experienced and knowledgeable reloaders will have mix of brands on their benches because they know no brand makes bad stuff and no brand has a lock on the better stuff across the board. A truly knowledgeable reloader buys what he needs for what he wants to do but noobs don't have that knowledge base to work from.
Dies come in two "grades". No brand makes dies to "tighter tolerances" inside and that is where the ammo is made, there is as much tolerance variation between individual dies of a brand as there is between brands. They are all good but tied for first place for rifle are Redding/Forster; all others are tied for second place. First place for handguns using cast bullets (and jacketed too) are Lyman, Redding and RCBS because of the great expander design they use; all others are tied for second place. So, on average (meaning there are the rare defects in anything), the quality of ammo produced will be limited by the user's skill, not the cost, brand or even the design to a marked degree. People who look at die externals tend to like anything better than Lee's dies but those who use them correctly and pay attention to the holes in their targets like Lee dies quite well.
All presses that look basically the same will work basically the same and last just as long with equal care. The best press for beginners is a single stage. An iron body press like the RCBS Rock Chucker, Lee Classic Cast, Redding Boss is prefered for loading medium and larger rifle ammo. That said, alum alloy body presses like the RCBS Partner, Lee Challanger, Hornady LnL also do good work. Turret pressses aren't very helpful except for Lee's Classic Turret which has an auto-indexing feature that actually speeds production. Progressives are best for handgun and small rifle cartridge done in large volumes - more than a hundred or more rounds per session - but they are expensive, difficult to learn on and can be costly/tricky to swap cartridges on. The current best feature laden single stage press is Lee's Classic Cast; if I had to replace my Rock Chucker tomorrow that's certainly what I would get. And the cost is MUCH less than it's less flexible to use but no better functioning competitors.
All iron powder measures are pretty much equal. The Redding, Hornady and RCBS measures look, work and function equally well. Lyman's #55 measure is the most flexible but adjusting and using it to advantage demands the user have some mechanical apptitude...and a lot of people don't.
Don't get wrapped up in digital scales and digital powder dumpsters. Simple manual measures and beam scales are equally accurate and fast IF the user has them set up properly and takes the time to learn to use them correctly. And beam scales are MUCH more reliable over time.
Sparkly polished and surgically clean cases are meaningkess on targets. All we NEED is for pur cases to be clean and we can do that with a dampened cloth. IF you want more fluff than wiping then a simple vib tumbler and any media, with or without polish, will do nicely. The current rage of ultrasonic cleaning and wet tumbling with stainless steel pins sounds much better than reality affords. And both do it at great cost and hassle when compaired to a common dry process vib tumbler.
I use RCBS & Hornady dies w/ Lee presses. They are both good quality products. I tend to prefer the design of Hornady dies. Either brand will serve you well.