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Want to get into reloading.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Texfisher33, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Texfisher33

    Texfisher33 Tri-Cities, WA Active Member

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    Hello there, I've been trying to decide whether or not to get into reloading and have finally made up my mind to start. Not just to hopefully save some money, but to make a superior to factory round that I can be proud of, be able to reload ammo if it becomes hard to find again, and as a hobby to enjoy. Right now I plan on reloading 9mm and 223. .308 will most likely soon follow as well as .45 ACP. I'm thinking I want to purchase as cheaply as possible a single stage press that will reload both rifle and pistol. What would you guys reccommend for a beginner who wants to reload? I have looked around online quite a bit and have found hundreds of opinions on good presses butI wanted to ask on here though in hopes that someone would possibly have what i'm looking for as well as be able to ask questions on a local forum if I run into any problems. Thank you for your responses.
     
  2. atakawow

    atakawow Seattle, WA Member

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    Cheap that works, nothing beats the Lee Anniversary Kit. They usually run around $100.00. Buy a dies set for whatever caliber you are loading and you are set to go. The stuff that come in the set aren't top quality, but they sure get the job done, not perfect, but good enough to start out with.

    Absolutely stay away from anything that doesn't have at least a table press. I'm talking about those hand press kits, stay away from them, they will make you hate reloading.
     
  3. toobigtofail

    toobigtofail PDX Member

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  4. MacBookProAR

    MacBookProAR Stayton Member

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    RCBS Roch Chucker supreme master reloading kit. Has everything you need to get started besides dies and components.

    ETA: I like the hand primer in this kit better than the others
     
  5. atakawow

    atakawow Seattle, WA Member

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    OP mentioned 'as cheaply as possible.' The RCBS kit costs 3 times as much as the Lee.
     
  6. MacBookProAR

    MacBookProAR Stayton Member

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    Oh my bad. I forgot he used the word "cheap"... go with the Lee then. If you want the least expensive with solid quality for years to come go with the RCBS.

    I found that there were things in the Lee kit that I would want to replace right away. After figuring those replacements into my costs they came out around the same.
     
  7. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    you buy cheap,you get cheap.the difference between loading rifle rounds on a cast irong press and an aluminum press is amazing.I have a Lee challenger,my buddy has a Rock chucker.The amount of leverage and ease of szing rifle rounds on the better press is impressive.
    will my Challenger get er done? yep.
    will the RC get der done easier? oh yea. so will Lee's cast iron press... for less money

    the only way to save money is buy used,which is fine,or go cheap.Buying a good used heavy duty press would be my thinking.Check the classifieds here,and maybe put an ad in the WTB section too.

    and do come back iwth any questions,there will be a few... a few?? ;)
     
  8. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    You might also be interested in taking a basic reloading class. One of the forum members here, can't recall who off the top of my head, teaches a basic reloading class about once a month on a Saturday that people have said was a great help getting them started.

    Help me out here folks, who is it that teaches the reloading class? :)
     
  9. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    My father in law teaches a class on reloading. Basically a one on one tutoring out of his house in Gresham if you are interested in a hands on experience I can get you his phone number.
     
  10. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    JohnH is the local fellow in Milwaukie that teach's basic reloading.
     
  11. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Buck for buck a RCBS Rock Chucker is my first choice and an excellent value.
     
  12. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Howdy, Tex.
    From the posts here, you can deduce that you have two choices: an economy set up that will get you by for a while, or equipment that will last your lifetime and you'll never have to upgrade: just add some niceties along the way.

    I have a friend that was just recently in your position, and he loads for only two cartridges, and only for deer hunting. He is not an avid shooter. He is happy with his Lee Anniversary setup, and I went to his house one evening to help him install it, and we had him producing his first rounds within a couple hours.

    He is already noting some of of the drawbacks to the setup, but again, he's happy with it for his purposes.

    Reloading equipment (especially the "hard gear" like presses) fortunately is easy to find used and in good shape. My strong recommendation to you is to shop for quality equipment that is used but in good shape. Your initial expense might only be slightly more than buying economical new stuff, and yet you'll have nearly the best. Very often you can find a package pile of equipment for less than half of what it cost new, and just as often the package comes with some components (bullets, brass, etc.) Someone has moved and has no place for their reloading gear, someone has passed away, etc.

    My preference (from 40 years of handloading) is RCBS equipment. My workhorse press is an old RCBS A2, which incidentally I bought used. When I pass away, it will serve for at least another lifetime. I stray from this on occasion: I really like the Hornady New Dimension dies. The Lee Anniversary kit is about $100, but I imagine if you are not in a hurry and look for a while you could find slightly used RCBS gear for not much more. If you ever advance to serious handloading, you'll have the basis for that confident advancement.
     
  13. atakawow

    atakawow Seattle, WA Member

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    It makes NO DIFFERENCE in which kit you choose, both will crank out the same amount of ammo in the same given amount of time, except one will do the job 3x cheaper than the other. I don't know how you can quantify 'quality' in a press when ammunition performance is 99% based on the components, not the equipment.

    The only 'upgrade' you will want to do in the future is to get an entirely new press, a progressive press. Ask yourself this, "do I really want to drop $300-400 on something that will be replaced?" Also, $300-400 is pretty darn close to the price of a progressive press.

    If I were you, I'd start with the Lee kit for cheap to get yourself familiarized with the reloading process. If you decide to upgrade in the future, $100 loss sure sounds much better than $300-400.

    Just my 2 cents. :)

    ATK
     
  14. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe that safe or dependable rounds can be made with minimal equipment. Just for instance, if you don't case length size, then your crimp die will be making various crimps from "not enough" to "too much" because it indexes on the length of the case.

    Without a chronograph you have no idea of actual bullet speed, and that's the only way we have of protecting ourselves from (a) too slow and wimpy a round or (2) too hot and dangerous a round. We simply will never know what we have.

    I could go on about measuring the overall length of the finished round, etc. etc., but the point is that these are all safety issues. Imho it's the failure to check these and other items, and even the failure to properly tumble clean brass which:

    Gives reloads a bad name, and for good reason.

    Shameless plug: I have a very complete reloading setup for sale or trade in the classifieds here: Link

    Now THAT's the way to reload.

    Now, carry on. Do as you wish. :thumbup:
     
  15. Texfisher33

    Texfisher33 Tri-Cities, WA Active Member

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    Thank you all for your responses. I guess I should clarify about "cheap". Obviously, I want to spend as little as possible, but I also don't want to be buying again right away. I have no problems, and actually prefer, buying used. As excited as I am, I can make myself take my time until I do find quality used tools. I had read good things about the Rock Chucker so seeing good things about it here makes me more interested in that one. Gunner, I've been looking at your ad for a couple days now but it's a bit more than I want to spend right now. I've been to a few of the gun shows but never really looked at the reloading stuff there. Are they worth going to to try to find a used set up or am I better off looking on here and craigslist would you think? Also, what is a decent price on a used Rock Chucker? That press doesn't prime as well does it so i'd need a priming tool as well correct? Thank you again. Your quick and optimistic responses have me even more looking forward to it.
     
  16. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    "both will crank out the same amount of ammo in the same given amount of time."

    Fully agreed, if one's interests lie in "cranking out ammo in a given amount of time." Progressive presses likewise fulfill this lofty goal.

    Others are interested in precision and care and the very best quality, and therefore operate with precision equipment carefully. Two different mindsets which actually specify the definition between a "Reloader" and a "Handloader."

    Neither is "better" than the other, since those who subscribe to each do so for their intended purpose, and with their product reflecting such.
     
  17. bt97006

    bt97006 Aloha Member

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  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    First, I'd ask myself how many rounds I plan to reload over time. If you just want to fine tune some rounds for accuracy for your varmint rifle, then you don't need reloading speed. You need a complete set of equipment though. If on the other hand you want to load lots and lots of rounds either just to have a stash, or to do a lot of shooting, I believe you'll quickly tire of a single stage press. They are slow. I don't care how big, powerful or beautiful they are, they are slow.

    The Lee Classic Turret press doesn't cost that much more than the Anniversary, but it is way faster. Way faster, especially if you have extra turrets so you can leave your adjustments alone for each caliber.

    Lee Anniversary Kit (good enough but single stage) Link

    Lee Classic Turret Kit (good enough and way faster) Link

    Imho you'll thank yourself for spending the extra money. (You can easily and temporarily convert the turret press to single stage and go slow while you learn if you'd like.)

    I can reload for 1/3 the cost of new ammo, buying only high quality components. I could do it cheaper, but I don't skimp on bullets, for instance.

    As an example, I'd have to reload almost 3,000 rounds of 223/556 to pay for a $700 outfit. If I reloaded them without the essential "extras" I mentioned above, I'd just throw them out and waste my time and money. I sure wouldn't shoot them.

    Reloads have a bad name for good reason. They can and should be superior to factory ammo, but most reloaders don't have the complete equipment to get it done.
     
  19. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

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  20. BSG 75

    BSG 75 Oregon Well-Known Member

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    +1

    I reload several different cartridges and the Lee turret system makes it very easy to switch between cartridges.

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    The major reloading equipment manufacturers have been in business for decades and there really aren't any shoddy or bad quality presses, they are all solid products. Read the reviews of the Lee turret press kit http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=622290

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