best noobie reloading set-up?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by focusmaniaczx3, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. focusmaniaczx3

    focusmaniaczx3 Member

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    well i was going to be buying some reloading gear from a friend of my uncle's and he went all indian giver on me. i spent 2 days pouring over as much reloading literature i could find and then spent an entire weekend casting and loading ammo with my uncle's friend with him looming over my shoulder but with all of that in mind i AM still a newbie. there is only so much you can learn from reading a book and only so much you can get from one man's opinion so here i am. im just wondering what everyone's idea for the perfect beginner's setup for reloading would be. spare no details because i want to hear them all. everything from presses, dies, manuals, everything. include casting stuff too because ill be doing my own casting. i was actually quite good at that after about the first 50 tries. :eek: but anyhow shoot me what you think would be the best equipment for a newbie to have. simplest, easiest to operate, most idiot proof.
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I started out with a LEE aniversary kit, still have it and still use it. The bullet moulds are good too and thier casting furnaces. I havent tried much else, LEE equipment works quite well and at 1/3 the cost of comparable equipment...
  3. paradox998

    paradox998 New Member

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    Get the Lee Breech lock challenger kit. Good quality, easy to change the dies, and it does work. I have two and can load pretty much anything. I think a slingle stage is the best choice for a new reloader.
  4. The_Rifleman

    The_Rifleman New Member

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    I also started out with a LEE 50th Anniversary kit, and still use it. I don't shoot all that many rounds so a single stage press is all I need.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The problem with starting with LEE anything is you eventually will replace it with better equipment. If you have "tasted" reloading and know it is for you and you plan to do it extensively (like supply all you ammo needs for a regular shooting hobby) then buy good equipment from the start to save money.

    This is very controversial here, but my opinion is that if you reload enough ammo often enough, you eventually will move onto a progressive press. This is especially true if a large percentage of your reloads are pistol. Why not start with one that allows itself to be used as a single stage press, or a turret press, or a full progressive press fro both pistol and rifle cartridges? That way you can progress to faster reloading without changing presses and incurring a loss with each move. I, of course, recommend the Dillon RL550B because it is the easiest to use as those three types of presses. It has NO automatic table rotation and that's what makes it versatile. If that is out of your price range then consider one of the turret press like the Lyman or Redding. If you buy a single stage press and reload a lot you will soon tire of the slow and monotonous nature of a single stage press.

    Lee reloading equipment is controversial here, too. I like a few of their products but in general I find them inventive but made of inferior or wrong materials in an effort to keep the pricing low. I like long lasting durable tools and LEE stuff is not it. RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, Hornady make good stuff that lasts.

    That's my opinion based on 25 years of extensive reloading and others here have different opinions, I'm sure.

    LDBennett
  6. focusmaniaczx3

    focusmaniaczx3 Member

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    i am of the same opinion as far as having a tool that lasts. when i was being "trained" he started me on his old single stage so that i could get the hang of it and then we moved on to his progressive press after about an hour. i have to say i liked the progressive much better but they are pretty expensive. i may bite the bullet so to speak and just hog out a big wad of money but im still undecided. im loving all the differing opinions guys. keep them coming please!

    EDIT: there is something that i did not think about asking when i was learning. can you use the same press to reload shotgun shells as well? i know that might sound like a really stupid question but its just something i didnt think about asking and a piece of information that i just have not come across yet. every bit of literature ive found and read on reloading pertains to reloading rifle and pistol ammo.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    NO, there are specific progressive and turret style presses for shotgun shells. There are hugh differences in the cases, the primers, the projectiles, the quantities of powder, and the finish crimp. Its like apples and oranges... Both fruits but not the same at all.

    KDBennett
  8. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I have to agree with LDBennett on this one, except in one area. Like some others here I have been reloading for over 35 years. I started with Lee, and am still using their products. They work well, and keep on working. Please do not start with a single stage press, start with at least a turrent press. I started with a single stage press my self because I was loading for .44Mag only. As I bought other guns, and began to reload for them, I soon discovered that the single stage press was way to slow. But, no matter what brand you chose you will find that the turrents will turn out around 100 rounds per hour, if you are not weighing each charge. If you need more than that then you should look to a progressive. And don't make the mistake of purchasing one of the kits. If you do you will find that you have bought things you don't need. Purchase only those items that you need.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  9. focusmaniaczx3

    focusmaniaczx3 Member

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    is there any kind of setup on the market that covers both bases for centerfire ammunition as well as shotgun? chances are that if i do any reloading for shotguns it will be occasional at best but i wouldnt mind making my own nasty brew in the form of a .410 buckshot to be used for personal defense. thank you for clearing that up by the way.

    a turret would probably work okay for me then. i dont see myself needing to load more than 100 rounds in a day let alone in an hour. but being more efficient is a pet peeve of mine so i might still be leaning to a progressive
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  10. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Not that I know of, but there are some very cheap shotgun reloaders out there, some as low as $50.
  11. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The great advantage of going the Lee route is cost.
    You get into reloading without investing an arm and a leg -
    And if you discover you do NOT LIKE IT, or simply do not stay with it, you have suffered little loss.
    If you discover you load on a limited basis, the Lee equipment is sufficient for your purpose.
    If you fall in love with it, you can up-grade in stages in the comming years - and have a better idea of what you want, based upon your own experience.

    There is nothing worse than pouring a ton of money into an activity that you later discover is simply not your cup of tea -
    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
  12. focusmaniaczx3

    focusmaniaczx3 Member

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    i definitely am a fan of reloading after my weekend experience. its tedious and requires some concentration which helps me take my mind off the more stressful aspects of my life and it has a wonderful payout after a few hours of work.
  13. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    I'd say, go with what suits your wallet and needs. You will eventually end up with a variety of manufacturers products. Every brand has it's plusses and minuses. I started with the Lee Challenger anniversary kit and have replaced things I didn't care for. I still use that press (after replacing the toggle links) and have purchased the cast single stace press as well. I like the single stage deal but that's my preference. I am teetering on a turret press purchase but I don't know. I tossed the Lee scale and bought a RCBS beam scale on e-bay then a uniflow powder measure and then a digital scale. My dies are an assortment of Lee and RCBS. My case tools are also a mix. You will get as many different opinions as there are grains in a pound of powder on what is the perfect equipment to have on your bench. Have fun and be SAFE :D
  14. sewerman

    sewerman New Member

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    lee classic 4 die turret press.

    if you aren't going to be into loading numbers per hour ...like over 100 then this press maybe a good consideration.

    i load to shoot and do so as a hobbyist. i don't try to achieve extreme accuracy with my loads & rarely develop anything beyond the start load.

    i have found lee equipment to be adequate for my needs. is it the best? depending on a person's definition of "best".

    i would say yes based on time proven design, function & price. i would consider LEE the best equip for the price. this subject is like cars, guns, trains, planes & women.....everyone has their favorite based on their value system.

    i can endorse this product only because i have used it. it is subject to adjustment as is all things mechcanical.

    my loading schedule has been for 9mm, 38spl/357, 30/30 & 308.

    i'm happy with mediocity...it gets the job done and saved me a bundle for the bullets, powder & primers...and other gear that i found out i needed.
    you will find lots of faithful lee users as you will with any other company.
    it all boils down to your individual needs and your budget.

    hope this helps,

    sewerman
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  15. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    ALL the make and model reloading presses, from the $30 Lee whack-a-mole to the 4 figure Dillon mega-machines, do the same basic tasks. You trade $$ for speed and amenities.

    I started with the Lee 50th Anniv kit but very quickly traded up for their very fine Classic Turret. (NOT the Deluxe). In truth I put the balance beam scale and bench mounted powder measure from the Anniv kit in a box and have not used them since. I use their very fine turret mounted Pro auto-disk powder measure with the adjustable charge bar, and an MTM DS-1250 digital scale ($30) . This gives me more than enough production capacity for MY realistic shooting needs. I do not foresee changing my shooting habits or shooting budget, short of winning the lottery, so have no need for the hundreds of rounds per hour production and slightly increased complexity of a progressive press.

    There is a way for everyone to participate in the fun hobby of reloading at all budget levels and to suit all rounds per week production needs.
  16. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The reason I am so hard on LEE is becuase some of the stuff I have bought from them failed miserable. When I studied the broken tool, it always had failed from a poor materials choice. They have some inventive products but they cut the cost corners to produce them.

    I do not like tools that fail. While not the case today, as I am retired, when I was working time was precious and setting time aside for reloading and having the "tool" break part way into the session impacted my schedule heavily. The LEE progressive I had, for instance broke every time I used it. Lee dies, stored right along RCBS, Redding, and Hornady dies rusted. There have been other LEE failures too, like their collet activated dies galling on the collets. Any reloading press, especially a progressive, has a tough life as the forces needed to shape cartridge cases and do the other process of reloading are pretty high. They do break, even the best. Dillon service for repairs is well known throughout the industry to such an extent that all the other companies had to emulate them, eventually.

    I also hate to buy cheap tools only to have to repalce them later because they broke or were inadequate. It is not cost savings when you have to buy tools twice of three times. Buy a good tool once and for all time and you will be money ahead in the end.

    But I did say in the first post that :

    'If you have "tasted" reloading and know it is for you and you plan to do it extensively (like supply all you ammo needs for a regular shooting hobby) then buy good equipment from the start to save money.'

    LDBennett
  17. zkovach

    zkovach Active Member

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    Same here!
  18. tscott55

    tscott55 New Member

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    I use a RCBS Rock Chucker. It is a single stage setup and works very well. I bought the kit that included the primer setter, scales, powder dispenser and the press. I load several different calibers and for the money, I would buy it again.
  19. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    I was once in your shoes, after a bit of research I found Lee was the least expensive and that immediately raised a red flag for me. Then I decided out of curiosity to find the opposite end of the spectrum - Dillon. Well, for a beginner I wanted a modest approach. Finding my way to the middle I found a Lyman turret. The turret press is the in between of single stage and progressive reloading - its a semi progressive unit. Lyman is a great name with very few complaints of junk in their history. It also came with a sweet price tag for the entire kit. I highly recommend for any beginner who doesnt want to start with the absolute lowest price and is a bit timid about jumping in to reloading by the thousand. Compile an equipment list of items you will need to start, press, powder measure, scale, manual, case prep tools etc. add them up and compare your price to this kit..........http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=924848
  20. dammitman

    dammitman Member

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    that says it all for me as well,,,,,,,,,,,,and i am still using a single stage. its not how many you can make in an hour to me, its quality rounds.
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