How to spend $600 wisely?

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I am a new member and have been reading posts on here daily about reloading and want to get into it myself. The more I read the more confusing some things get. So I have looked at the Lee pro 1000 / the lee load master and the Hornady LnL Ap. I want to start loading .223 and 9mm (eventually load for my hunting rounds 7mm 300wm). The only things I have so far are 2 manuals for reloading.

What's the best gear to buy for $600 complete I need everything,

I hope some of you senior loaders can point me in the right direction.
If there is someone in the Salem area that could help or teach me how to setup that would be much appreciated also.
 
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I would suggest that you either sit down with someone who has some experience in reloading or take a class on reloading. Jim Jacobe has a class that you can take <broken link removed> . Send me a PM with your phone number and we can discuss things if you want. I have experience with progressive presses and single stage presses. I have been reloading for about 12 yrs now. I wish that I had the opportunity to try out some equipment when I first got into reloading. It would have saved me a bunch of money. Jim Jacobe will also rent out his equipment for $10.00 per hour after you have taken his class.
 
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I got all my stuff on craigslist, I got a single stage lee challenger with dies in 40, 38 and 45 with a bunch of lead and primers and a unopened can of blue dot for a 100$ bill. That's the best way to get started. Then i would scrounge the other small pieces used at gun shows or pawn shops. I probably have less then 200$ into equipment. I mean a dillon would be awesome but my single stage in front of the TV works great.
 
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For anyone who is going to start reloading I always recommend that they start with a good single stage press, a scale, powder measure, caliper, priming tool, and a Lee manual (currently 2nd edition). This will allow one to produce quality rounds while learning the basics. It will be slower than a progressive but one can produce a box of ammo in an evening session without much trouble. When TWO questions have been answered by using this method then move on to a progressive setup with all the "gizwidgets" you want. Question #1: "Do I really want to reload or is it not for me?" Question #2: "Do I really need more ammo than I can produce with my single stage setup"? When those questions are answered then you will not feel bad about spending too much money on a hobby you won't continue. You will also have a better feel for the type of equipment you want for the next step. A single stage press will always be useful and to some (myself included) consider them to be essential to any setup for load development or accuracy rounds for competition.

Also, don't overlook the "In between" setup. A turret press is also useful for those that want more than a single stage but don't want a progressive.
 
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I agree with deadshot on the start small philosophy. You really get understand how everything works, and why it works. And also why it doesn't if you crush a case or the like. Getting a progressive right off the bat can be a ton of adjustments that may not make a lick of sense without knowing all that stuff you learned on the single stage platform. I have been reloading for years and still think I want a progressive, but still just sit down and do it all on my multiple single stage presses. I have used friends progressive setups and I still prefer seating primers by hand. So if you really get into it I think it falls on question 2 above.
 
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deadshot and nubus hit the nail on the head.

for $600, you could buy two single stage presses and two measures, set them each up for the two calibers you load for.

I would also add that I got some exposure to reloading through my Dad, and started with a Lee hand-press for 30-30. When I decided to really start handloading for my .308, I bought older used equipment. That's because I was able to buy a very heavy machined scale... it's probably fifty years old, weighs 3lbs, and is very steady. I got a single stage RCBS press for free, it's very heavy duty. Same with the case trimmer I got, it's old, but it's all machined steel and very substantial.
 
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I forgot to add a PS to my post. After you get the hang of single stage loading beware. If the bug really bites you'll end up like me where you HAVE to get a Progressive press. Last year I loaded in excess of 10,000 rounds in 9mm and .223 alone. I still load 30-06 and .308 on a single but every day I consider ordering a caliber change kit for my XL-650. Retirement sure gives one plenty of time for shooting and reloading.
 
I've never loaded on a single stage. My first press was/is a Dillon SDB. Granted it came with all the dies installed and adjusted, but I think many people make reloading sound a lot more complicated than it really is.
I do think a single stage press is a good idea as some things are done a lot easier on a single than a progressive. For example a lot of times I like to tumble the brass a bit, then de-prime and then tumble some more to get the primer pockets cleaned.
I do the deprime on a progressive, but it would be easier on a single.
 

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