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What reloading equipment should I buy?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by valtrent, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. valtrent

    valtrent Seattle New Member

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    Hi guys/ladies. I just found the Northwest Firearms site and this thread. I intend to start reloading after we move into the new house so I have a few questions I am sure you all can answer.
    1. Dillon, Hornady or other?
    2. Typical capacity? I see Dillon has up to 1000 rounds per hour on it's high end machine, but I'm sure I'd never do that many but I could potentially do half of that. What do you all suggest?
    3. I'm planning on the full setup from the start rather than piecemeal. Aside from what typically comes with the usual "full setup", what doesn't that I should have? I have the polisher so we don't need to cover that.
    4. I own an M1A, Glock 19 and Mossberg 500 and I'm looking for an AR with piston.

    Thanks very much. I look forward to your comments.
     
  2. trixter

    trixter Giles County Member

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    I would say talk to as many people that reload as possible. If you want to do a lot of rounds then Dillon is probably the way to go (lots of money), if you want to do a single stage setup, RCBS has a nice kit that gets you everything to get started. RCBS has the very best (in my opinion) warranty and Customer service than any of them. I chose Lee because of the amount of reloading that I do. Their warranty is good too. Again it comes down to personal preference.
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Most answers to the question "what equipment should I buy" will reflect the person responding's personal preference.

    There are some questions that need answering before you can really know what you want to buy.

    What type of cartridge will you load the most of? Pistol? Rifle?

    What quality of ammo do you want? Good ammo that is on average better than factory for price and accuracy or precision "Match Grade" ammo?

    What will your reloading hobby grow to in future years? Just a few rounds per month for Target Practice, Plinking, Hunting, or some serious "barrel burning" shooting?

    What can you afford to spend?

    What are you willing to spend?

    I am of the belief that a new reloader should start with a single stage press. All the major companies offer a starter kit which includes the basics of Press, Scale, some case prep tools, and a Manual. Prices vary with the quality of the product offered. Even if you eventually intend on loading enough ammo to supply a Rifle Squad in Afghanistan during a firefight (I am personally acquainted with that guy) you still need to learn the basics. That single stage setup will also come in handy later for load development when you buy your "ultimate" press.

    When you answer the basic questions for yourself only then should you buy. First start with something basic to learn the art of reloading safely then move to whatever feels meets your needs.

    Don't sell a single stage or Turret Press short, it's not that hard to produce a lot of rounds in a session. Unless you shoot every day, it's not that hard to keep up with your needs.
     
    Nwcid, rrojohnso, mjbskwim and 7 others like this.
  4. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    What he said, with the added recommendation: Shop for good used equipment. Reloading gear is durable. Quality single stage presses (and other large items: powder measures, etc.) are almost indestructible. For what you will pay for a brand new lower quality "everything you need" set-up (and they are rarely if ever "everything you need"), you can actually purchase the very best if you shop for used equipment. In the long run, quality equipment pays for itself.
     
  5. valtrent

    valtrent Seattle New Member

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    Great answer Deadshot2. Appreciate the well thought out answer.
     
  6. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have to agree completely with Deadshot2. As for equipment, check out reviews, solicit opinions, look at the reloading classifieds in this forum.
     
  7. x1hunter89

    x1hunter89 gresham oregon Active Member

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  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    They are basically the same although you get the shell holder kit for the priming tool with the Midway offering. This makes the "kit" more complete. One essential that's not included is a good caliper for measuring finished cartridge lengths. The Frankford Arsenal one shown in the Midway add as a "Suggested Product" is a good one for the price although many get one from Harbor Freight.

    Also, don't forget the dies, case length gages for the trimmer, or shellholders for the Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press. Also add a package of the Breech Lock adapters if you choose to go this route.

    It's a good way to get started if you are looking for a minimum initial investment.

    If you want to look at an "upgrade" take the list of included items and compare it with an RCBS, Hornady, or Lyman starter kit. Midway should show them as well. Anything they don't include that's on the Lee list can be added separately. The Green, Red, and Orange kits will definitely cost more but are also show more quality construction and attention to detail.
     
  9. x1hunter89

    x1hunter89 gresham oregon Active Member

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    thanks deadshot just the info i needed srry val not trying to steal your thread lol
     
  10. valtrent

    valtrent Seattle New Member

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    Not a problem x1hunter89. Spitpatch mentioned "you can actually purchase the very best if you shop for used equipment. In the long run, quality equipment pays for itself". What exactly would be the very best, and what makes it the best?

    And if price were not an object, (retail ammo not to be considered) what would be the perfect setup and from where?
     
  11. Axe

    Axe Eugene Area, OR Member

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    I too am just going to start reloading and id really advise looking on craigslist for reloading stuff. Some people may view this with skepticism but I recently purchased a full RCBS setup, with 6+ complete die sets, a couple thousand primers, bullets, brass and powders all for $350. The guy I got it from had reloaded for awhile but didnt have time anymore and the equipment was in great condition.
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Same answer as before. If price is no object just buy higher quality Single Stage Press. Lyman, RCBS, or Hornady all are similar in quality and top notch. Get a Turret so you don't have to change dies at every stage o fthe process. Of the Turret Presses I would probably lean toward a Lyman but wouldn't be afraid to use any of the others. Buy a better scale, perhaps two. One a balance beam and the other a digital scale integrated into a powder dispenser. The RCBS Chargemaster is highly rated among those that have compared. Buy higher quality dies. Nothing wrong with Lee dies but they lack finish and polish. Redding and Forster are top of the line. RCBS dies are Good. For trimming buy a power trimmer. Invest in a Thumbler Model B tumbler and 5# of Stainles Steel Pin tumbling media for the "Load with like new brass experience" every time.

    If you shoot tons of .223 or common semi-auto pistol rounds, go for the absolute best of the best. Buy a Dillon 1050. Not only does it make new ammo like a factory machine, if you feed it any cases with crimped primer pockets, it takes care of these with a swaging station. Add a bullet feeder that handles the rifle bullets and you can make more .223 ammo in a day than you and three of your friends would want to shoot in a trip to the range.

    That's what I'd do if price were not an object. As it is I have an RCBS RC-II for my single stage, a mix of Lee, RCBS, and Redding dies for all my calibers, a RCBS Uniflow Powder measure as well as an RCBS Chargemaster. Also an RCBS Sidewinder "Tumbler", a Lyman 1200 "Vibrator", and a Dillon XL-650, using a Dillon Super swage to process that free mil-crimp brass I pick up at the range.

    There are also numerous other items, mostly tools, that add up to a sizeable amount as well. Good thing I bought all this stuff over a 30 year period of time othewise my wife might have hid the checkbook.;)

    In the end, the amount of "ammo" you shoot will dictate what's practical for you, even if money is no object.
     
  13. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    You will learn to HANDLOAD with your single stage press and its accoutrements. Once you become intimately familiar with each process involved in constructing quality, precision made ammo, you will know how to nurture and adjust and feed your progressive machine to produce quantities of ammunition reliably as a RELOADER. Deadshot's preponderance of RCBS gear is a very strong hint, and paralells my own collection.

    My workhorse is an old RCBS A2. (It weighs about as much as my horse, too.) I have a Lee Turret Press, and the happy little companion to these two is an RCBS Partner press. (He comes into the game most usually for seating and other light-duty chores). With these three, I can set them up to retain the precision of HANDLOADING with surprsing production rates (RELOADING) adequate to satisfy me and my hungry guns. I am not a "stump killer": (The guys you see at some roadside shooting areas that seem to take delight in just hearing the gun go off). I am also not currently involved in any competition arenas where a progressive press might assist me. A buddy has two good progressive set-ups, and we have play-dates to crank out large quantities (of somewhat less quality than what he comes to my house for) of ammo when we want to approach "stump-killer" consumption rates.

    The RCBS Partner also serves as my "portable seating press", attached to a piece of plywood that can be clamped to a table. With carefully prepped and primed brass, my Uniflow powder measure, and a battery powered scale and trickler if necessary, I can actually load right at the range if such is desired for load work-up. Since I now am fortunate enough to have a 100-yard range with a heated shooting cabin on the property, that early adventure sees little use, but is still available.
     
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Just a newby to reloading and have gotten much info form all theses guys on here.
    So all I can add is for a couple bucks more,buy the Redding dies before the RCBS dies.Yes I have heard some on here say theirs have been good for 20years,but I contend that they made better quality back then.
    But if you open up the kits,you can see the little things that make the Redding better,IMO
    Well,I had problems with the RCBS dies from the start and did 300+ rounds with the Reddings and no problems.
    YMMV

    I bought the RCBS single stage and as stated,it helps to start with this to learn.Plus it's perfect for working up loads for precision.Then I decided to "go progressive" (look for that thread for tons of info on those presses) and bought a Hornady Lock n Load kit.(yet to be set up)

    I think this stuff is addictive too,cause today I bought MrGopher's Dillon 550 set up. Now I have 2 progressives to set up and a bench to rebuild as to have room for my new presses.


    Good thing about reloading is all the helpful,experienced people that do it.Always ready to give out information.

    Oh and good luck!
     
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  15. oldbrass

    oldbrass WA Active Member

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    The options are endless. some start with the classic lee loader and a plastic mallet, start reloading for $35 ..some go out and blow a grand It really just depends on your needs and budget
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    One of those "little things" is that the case for the die also is a case holder, holding them while going through the various steps:thumbup::laugh::cool:
     
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