Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by ARMYGUY, Sep 1, 2008.


    ARMYGUY New Member

    Sep 1, 2008
    I have never done any reloading but want to start. I have seen some different kits on the market, but wanted some input from experiance people. I am looking to load for hunting rifles. Any help or recomendations would be appreciated.
  2. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Pacific NorthWest
    Pretty much everyone here in the forum will tell you the same thing.

    1) Buy a reloading manual, then read it.

    2) Buy a different reloading manual, then read that too.

    3) Repeat 1 and 2.


    Browsing this Ammo & Reloading forum has a TON of reference material,
    and more than likely, someone has reloaded the round you are reloading.

    Has some very cool reloading videos online, so you can get a basic idea
    of the process. As far as a reloading setup, its a matter of choice/preference.

    Reading these forums, you'll see a constant agreement to disagree on the
    positives and negatives of different presses.
    Honestly, I think its more of a personal thing, as well as a quantity thing.

    I stick with a single stage press, meaning I do a batch of bullet loading
    1 stage at a time. Deprime/size a bunch, re-prime a bunch, load the powder,
    then finally seat the bullet and crimp.
    I prefer this method because it ALMOST guarantees no squibs
    (dead round, or round stuck in the chamber from only the primer firing)

    I say ALMOST because nothing is guaranteed. Even if you are perfect,
    could be bad powder, could be bad primers, etc etc.

    As long as you take your time, check consistently and ask questions here,
    you should be ok and you should also have a hell of a lot of fun.

    I started out with 2 reloading manuals, read them all the way through,
    and then also browsed forums and asked questions.

    There are 2 types of loaders out there on the market:

    The single stage, which I use, means you do each part of the
    reloading process in a batch, then change the die, and move to the next step.

    With a progressive loader, 2nd type, all the dies (decap/size, prime, load powder, seat bullet, crimp)
    are all mounted and every pull of the press results in a loaded bullet.

    Single stage presses are much less chance of squib loads, because you can
    always see the primer and powder load in each one, whereas in a progressive,
    you can get a rythm and forget to check.

    There are benefits to both. Honestly, if you are mostly loading rifle rounds,
    and depending on the size, you should go with a single stage, as resizing some
    of those larger rounds takes a bit of force.

    Its also MUCH easier to check each and every load, and also make different
    loads in the same batch. I.E. Say you're trying to find a good load for your rifle.
    You could make 10 with a certain powder charge, say 20 grn, next 10, 20.5 grn,
    next 10, 21 grn, etc etc. Much more freedom on a single stage press, especially
    if you are trying to hit that sweet spot load for your rifle.
    Also, you can change different grain tips as well much easier on a single stage,
    then if you are doing a progressive.

    Progressive is really handy if you're doing LOTS of pistol shooting, much quicker.

    But, everyone has their own favorite and style, you need to learn what suits you.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008


    AL MOUNT Active Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Cleaning my Thompson in The Foothills of the Ozark
    Welcome to the forum ArmyGuy .... :)

    Lots of "jarheads" & "anker klankers" here, a little backup will be nice . :D
  4. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter Member

    May 3, 2008
    I have to agree that reading the manuals is by far the most important thing you can do.... along with asking questions about what you don't understand.

    My first experience reloading with done under the direction of someone that had been reloading for decades. He blew my brand new gun up.... actually just the bolt was destroyed. I had to send my rifle back to Savage and have it repaired. Fortunately, Savage honored the waranty, but it's nothing I would want to go through again.

    I bought my reloading kit about 1 month later and only took the reloading manual out of the box and read it. Then I purchased my first box of bullets and the corresponding manual to the bullet manufacturer (Hornady). I then read that manual.

    Then I asked questions about every step of the process here on the forum and loaded my first batch. I just shot them with tremedous results. But it's only through the reading and questions that I fully understood the process, and ramifications of not following them to the letter, that made it successful.

    I can't offer any suggestions other than to read and fully understand everything before you begin. It was about a month long process for me.

    Also, shop around..... prices vary greatly from store to store and depending on where you live, you'll be amazed where you can find reloading equipment. I bought the complete kit at a Walmart from WV for only $277.00. Much cheaper than on-line stores.

    Good luck!!!!!!
  5. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Broken Arrow Ok
    Lots of "jarheads" & "anker klankers" here, a little backup will be nice. Thats really funny never heard anchor klanker berfore I like it. I fall into that catagory. Welcome Army guy there must be over 150 years of experience from these guys.
  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Hello Armyguy, Welcome to the forum. I have been a member for about a year but I don't post very often. There is a wealth of information here for the taking.

    I also have to agree that the first thing to purchase are reloading manuals. I have a few of them but the one I refer to the most is the latest one from Hornady.

    Every one has a favorite kind or brand of press and dies. I mostly use Lee Precission equipment because they do have the best prices and they do make good equipment. But, at the same time, I have quite a bit of RCBS equipment.

    I agree with DoesItMatter on the uses of the two presses, I have a single stage and a progressive (Both made by Lee). I recently bought the progressive and with using it - I have had the first squib load in 30 years of reloading. Therefore, that particular press in now an expensive paper weight because I do not trust it any more.

    I would strongly suggest that you start out with a single stage and when you feel comfortable reloading then move up to progressive. A single stage is actually safer - at least in my mind. It took me almost 30 years to get a progressive and I now don't like it.

    I also suggest that you check prices, not only locally but also on the internet. I would like to suggest two web sites, MidwayUSA and 10Ring. They both have excellent prices on reloading supplies and equipment. MidwayUSA has a much better selection than 10ring but both have their merits.

    Whatever equipment you choose, remember the first rule: SAFETY FIRST. Reload when you have time to dedicate to it and when there are no distractions. If you smoke, don't while reloading (take it from someone who knows, firsthand), gunpowder and cigarettes don't mix well.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  7. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Broken Arrow Ok
    Myself I started out reloading 12 gauge shot shells and went to pistol I got a good idea of what the system is, although shotshell is totally different then pistol or rifle it did get me into reloading..

    AL MOUNT Active Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Cleaning my Thompson in The Foothills of the Ozark

    Just cuz I was a dumb grunt doesn't mean I don't know the difference

    between a pollywog & a shellback . :D:D:D
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Reloading presses:

    There are three classes of readily available presses for the home reloader:

    1). Single stage press where the dies need to be changed for each process done on the press. Each process on the cartridge case is done batch form. That is, you size all the cases first then fill the whole batch of cases with powder, then you seat all the case's bullets in a batch or lot form. So one process is done at a time on all the cases to be reloaded. The case goes on and off the press perhaps three or four times.

    2). Turret press where all the dies for all the processes are on the press and either the head of the press rotates or the table rotates to be able to use the correct dies for the process needed. You put the case to be reloaded on the press once and move or rotate the dies or the cartridge to do all the process to the case before removing it from the press. Only putting the case on the press once saves lots of time but each case requires several pulls of the handle to be completed.

    3). Progressive press where all the reloading processes are on the press and the table rotates the cartridge to the station for each process. But there can be four or five cases on the table at a time so each pull of the handle can result in a finished round. Alternatively most Progressives can be used just like a Turret if you only place one cartridge on the table at once. Some can even be used as a single stage press by treating each station as a setup single stage. Some Progressives are for pistol rounds only but several Progressives handle cartridges from 22 Hornet to 458 Winchester Mag (Dillon 550B or the new Hornady and RCBS presses).

    If you are serious about reloading then I advocate the progressive press but if you are starting out then a good turret is nearly as fast. All these presses make equally as good ammo IF you do your job right. There is no inherent accuracy advantage in using a single stage or turret press. The laborious weighing of each load rather than using a good powder measure that "throws" loads has been shown in recent years to make little difference in the accuracy of the resultant ammo. Modern powder measures when used with modern ball or short cut extruded powders give accuracy potential on a par with hand weighted and dribbled loads every time. Well made progressive presses are easily capable of making accurate and precise ammo as well as any single stage press.

    That's my experience and my opinion and yours may vary.

  10. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Hehe...ya forgot to mention the wingnuts! :D

    Now back on topic...:eek:

    If you're looking at doing just hunting rifle cartridges then I'd suggest starting out with a single-stage press. It'll tend to make you concentrate on one step at a time as you learn the ropes.
    Even if you do decide to go progressive in the future that old single-stage still might come in handy every so often.

    Everyone has their personal preference of what brand is best. Read the back posts here and read a manual or two after you get them and that'll help make a decision.
    Pretty much every maker that offers a complete kit is worth having on the bench. I'll add that I personally don't care for the Lee beam scale or their powder measures...there are much better ones on the market for not much more coin.

    Some folks prefer digital scales over the beam scales. I'm one of em although I do still break out one of my beam scales every so often too.

    For a powder measure, I use a RCBS Uniflow for my handgun rounds and some rifle cartridges...but most of my rifle reloads are done the old-fashioned way of scooping and trickling the powder straight onto the scale and weighing each charge. This is mainly because most of my favorite rifle powders are the long tubular grains (IMR and Hodgon long-cut powders) that don't meter as consistently from a measure as short-cut tubular or ball type powders do. Just one of the little quirks in how I do things...not to mention that I'm just kinda lazy when it comes to building up new loads when I've got ones developed that work. LD is right about a good measure with the newer "short" powders being as capable of making consistent loads as doing the old-fashioned way.

    Once you get started, you'll find that you might come across a new toy or new method or two that's easier or just plain suits your needs better. Don't worry about's all about developing your own rhythm of doing things.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
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