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What else do I need?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by balline36m3, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. balline36m3

    balline36m3 Yakima WA Active Member

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    So I've been wanting to get in to reloading but haven't had the loose funds to buy a press. My fiancé knew about me wanting to reload and told me about a co worker of hers with a press for sale. She (the co worker) had no idea what it was other than something for reloading that an ex boyfriend had left at her house. Told me that she would sell it for $50. I went to look at it and it's a lee loadmaster kit in .223 STILL IN THE BOX!!! Fiancé payed for it for an early birthday gift. So what else to I need to get started? I know of course bullets, brass, primers, powder, and a manual but anything else I will need?




    TL;DR My fiancé bought me a lee loadmaster kit in .223. What else do I need to reload? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    Does the kit have all this:
    "Lee Load Master Progressive Press, Lee Pace-Setter 3-Die Set (Full Length Sizing Die, Bullet Seating Die, Factory Crimp Die), #4 Shellplate, Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure, Rifle Charging Die, Double Disk Kit, Rifle Case feeder and Primer feeder?"

    If this is the correct kit, you should also get a scale, and a good manual, a set of calipers would be nice too, to measure OAL, and diameters, and a case lube pad, or some other way to lube cases.
    I'll bet others can come up with more stuff that would be needed too.
     
    balline36m3 likes this.
  3. balline36m3

    balline36m3 Yakima WA Active Member

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    That's the one. Thanks for the recommendations
     
  4. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Rick4070 is on the money. Can't emphasize enough, a GOOD scale (get a balance beam) and calipers.
    Until you know you have the method down, check your work often (especially how much powder the auto-disk powder measure throws.) Then do regular QC on your loads (measure powder thrown for 1 in 10 cases, check OAL length on your loads, etc). I had a Load Master. You can crank out serious ammo with those, but they do get out of alignment. Compare the stroke action of a Lee to a Hornady Lock-N-Load and then to a Dillon, it's like going from copper to silver to gold.
    Buy some extra decapping pins - they're easy to break if you run into a boxer primer'd case or your indexer gets off.
     
    elk creek and balline36m3 like this.
  5. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    While Lee might not be at the top of everyone's list, you can't beat a $250 press for $50 with a stick. First off I'll echo their warning statement about primers:
    WARNING: Only CCI or Remington brand primers are safe use with this press. If you plan on using any brand besides CCI and Remington, you must purchase the explosion shield.

    I would have thought Winchester would be fine as they are said to be fairly hard, but the clear message is don't use Federal primers without a blast shield as they are the softest. Thankfully primers are getting easier to find so it shouldn't be an issue to find CCI or Remington. If this is for an AR I'd stick to CCI #400 or #41 (mil-spec).

    Lyman and Hornady both make excellent manuals, though I'd say the Lyman has a better section for beginning reloaders. Lyman does show load data for a variety of bullet brands, but I find the Hornady data tables easier to digest and I've not had any trouble adapting the data to other brands of similar bullets.

    You will need some form of lube. It's about as personal as it can get, from commercial aerosol offerings to DIY solutions with alcohol mixed with lanolin. Try something well reviewed that fits your budget. I've been using Hornady One Shot (it came in my press kit) and Imperial sizing wax.

    I'd expect you to need a powder scale to set and verify what the powder measure is throwing. My suggestion is a mechanical balance beam from RCBS or Hornady. Both are well reviewed and run $60-80. You could try the Lee, but I've not heard much good about it. This may seem like a costly addition, but this is no place to be messing around in uncertainty.

    Next you'll want a way to measure brass and overall length so get yourself a caliper.

    In my mind that completes the bare essentials, depending on where you buy that is about $120 + s/h.

    You may find some brass is too long and it will have to be set aside, but if some brass is still in spec why you can keep on reloading. You'll eventually need a means of trimming, I actually like one the the Lee systems. You need one of these cutters and for each cartridge type that you need to trim you'll need one of these length gages. I mount the cutter portion in my drill press. If you trim you need to chamfer and debur so get one of them from RCBS/Hornady/Lyman.

    From there you can get into all kinds of doodads like brass tumblers, headspace measuring, bullet pullers, primer pocket swages, etc. Just buy as needed.
     
  6. rutilate

    rutilate Vancouver and Surrounds Active Member

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    Some of the best value reloading accessories are made by Frankford Arsenal and available from Amazon: vibrating case tumbler, media separator (although I prefer the RCBS version), dial calipers, impact bullet puller, etc. They aren't the best, but they'll be just fine for getting started. I've been abusing mine for three years now and haven't needed to re-evaluate yet.
     
    scrandall01215 and balline36m3 like this.
  7. PiratePast40

    PiratePast40 Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    Head on over to the loadmaster forum for some ideas: http://loadmastervideos.com/. Tons of good info there on setup and tweaks to improve function. I had problems with the powder measure consistency until I lapped the disc. Meters great now. There is also a link to Mikes Reloading and quite a few additional products should you feel the need to improve on specific components.

    Lee is less expensive so will require a bit more effort, but any progressive press takes time to master.
     
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  8. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    A chronograph validates your load, and avoids a KABOOM event.
     
  9. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    Can't emphasize a good scale enough. I have a RCBS Chargemaster that electronically dispenses and weighs each charge. Even with that I still check every 3d charge with a balance beam scale. A balance beam scale is fine for starting out.
     
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  10. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    you'll need something to trim brass back to length almost right away,imho. You must measure your brass ,after sizing,every time and keep it in spec.For this reason a prgressive isn't the best choice for rifle rounds,but it'll surely get ya by.

    Get and read a book called the ABC''s of reloading. a great beginners' book,and look on youtube for 'stuck case remover'.... it's gonna happen eventually.
     
  11. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    "Buy some extra decapping pins - they're easy to break if you run into a boxer primer'd case or your indexer gets off."

    that should read Berdan primer'ed...the ones with 2 primer holes.

    also,I haven't seen a swager listed,for removing military crimps around the primer pocket.Look up the dillon swager on youtube,there are cheaper ones but theirs sure works good.
     
  12. scrandall01215

    scrandall01215 Washougal,WA Well-Known Member

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    I also like there " vibra prime " primer tube filler sure saves a lot of time filling primer tubes. Well worth the $50.00 unless you have a lot of time to fill them one by one. I bought mine right after my second time doing them by punching one at a time! Also my impact puller has worked just fine.
    Stacy
     
  13. My 3 sons

    My 3 sons Bonney Lake Active Member

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    I agree with scrandall on the vibra prime. When you get to looking at wants it's a very nice tool. As far as needs I think you have heard most of it already on your replies.

    Have fun and be safe!
     
  14. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Actually you can save yourself time and $ by getting this instead of several items that will cost more.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/717013/lee-deluxe-quick-trim-case-trimmer?cm_vc=ProductFinding
     
  15. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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  16. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Pros- the lee trims and chamfers in and out at the same time without going too far as I have seen with the hand tools out there and this year you can buy it with a drill adapter.
    http://leeprecision.com/power-quick-trim.html
    http://leeprecision.com/deluxe-power-quick-trim.html
     
    Steve M likes this.
  17. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Theres a fella on here with a wicked reloading set deal.
     
  18. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    Frankfurt Arsenal vibrating tumblers are LOUD. Stick with RCBS, Hornady and the likes, they are pretty quit. Tumbling media I like is Walnut shells and second is corn cob.
    When you need another birthday present request a stainless steel roller tumble.
    Also get a "How to reload ammo" books
    Reloading manuals, I have 6 as well as some that are caliber specific.