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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to take up reloading, but I don't know much about it, I've read the stickies here, and have searched all over but can't figure out what equipment is required, and the real basics of it.... I see these kits but they don't include everything, and if you have a press from on manufacturer, you have to have everything else from the same MFR?

Sadly my dad doesn't know much about it either, and it's something I'd like him to get involved with too.

Looking into reloading .223 and .270, maybe 12 gauge. We have lots of brass saved, just no idea what to do with it.
 

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There is a book, by Bill Chevalier, The ABC's of Reloading- the definitive guide for novice to expert. I highly recommend it as your first book (there will be more). It will explain it well. From there you can make decisions as to what will work for you.
 

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I have two Lee's and a single stage RCBS. All my dies work with either. Everything else can be from which ever manufacturer you choose. I use the Lee's for most pistol and the RCBS for rifle and .44 and .50A&E's Everything else is a mish mash of stuff from different companys. Start with manuals from different companys and go from their.
 

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As I understand it, some of the Dillon dies only fit one of their model presses(?) but in general most all dies will work across the board.
 

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I'm new to reloading also. I have lee and herters presses. dies from herters lee hornaday, and shell holders from lyman also brass trimmer from l.e. wilson.
It doesn't all have to be from one mfgr. BUT watch out on older presses they may not use
the same shell holders as the newer presses. My herters is an example it will only use the older herters shell holders, there are adapters and holders can be found.
I'm a bargain hunter (read cheap):D and to me that's part of the fun.
 

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You're going to need a good manual, a case trimmer and tumbler and all of the little gewgaws that are needed to craft a good load (calipers, funnels, shell blocks, chamfering tools, etc.) along with a good scale. Shotgun is a totally different animal and requires it's own machine to load.

The Dillon dies for the Square Deal B are unique to that machine but the other presses use standard dies. You don't need to buy all one brand; just good tools wherever you find 'em.
 

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most cases.. you find presses that will relaod metalics.. OR shotshells. IE.. if you want to relaod shotshells.. it's a different press. MEC makes one of the most popular. generally it's an all in one kit for shotshell reloading. However... I DO know that the RCBS single stage rock chucker is suposed to have a conversion for it that lets you do shotshells. so something to think about.

IF you were sure you wanted to get into it.. I'd say get an RCBS rock chucker master kit and go from there. It comes with a powder measure, scale, manual and basic chamfer / lube tools. just add in a die set ( 20-35$ ) depending on brand . rcbs kit is about 290$

if you are testing the waters.. go for the lee kit. it comes with a REAL BASIC scale, powder measure, press . but you can generally find that basic kit for 100$

both come with a hand prming tool.

OR.. you can piece it togehter... basic classic C Lee press are about 25$. get a scale.. I like a ballance beam .. really like the rcbs 505.. though there are others.. and once you get into it.. a digital. anyway. get the press, scale and a manual and a set of dies. plus the chamfer tool. does the inside and outside of the neck. need a primer tool as well. lee is the cheapest.. rcbs is a hair more.. (i prefer rcbs. ) manuals go for about 25-35$ start with at least one. if you get into it.. get as many as you can find. if starting.. get the manual that goes with the projectile brand you will be using. try to find a powder that fits all the cartridges you want.. and get 1# of that powder.

once you shoot rifle brass.. it grows.. you will need a set of dial or digital calipers that read 3 digits.. many of us use harbor freight dial or digital calipers with no problems ( 7-20$ depending on model ). AND you will need a brass trimmer. this will be the most spendy part of the deal. a cheap trimmer probably starts around 65$ and goes up with the basic rcbs near 90$. for first run reloading.. starting with new brass.. you can skip the caliper and trimmer to get your feet wet. once you start laoding spent brass.. you NEED to measure and trim.

thus to just get your feet wet.. figure spending about 170$ to get a bare bones working set with a die and some powder and a single tray of primers.

if it doens't appeal to you inthe least. box it up and check back in a year.. or if totally turned off.. resell it and recoup some of your money ( or gift it to a shooter you know! ).

if you are determined to do both.. consider a press like the rcbs I mentioned that will do shotshells.. or you will also be getting a MEC press.

( shotshells are cheap these days.. hard to come out rolling your own.. unless you just WANT to. )

post back. plenty of helpers here.

PS. I've just barely touched and breezed over the most basics of the procedures. you will fully need to read the manual section on reloading before doing anything, and then there will likely be questions.. and there are plenty of things and other tools you will have to learn and buy.

in the end.. don't expect to save much monney reloading.. however.. you will find you can shoot MORE for the same price.. AND custom make some loads for specific gns that you simply can;t find with commercial ammo.. etc.

in some cases you WILL save money reloading, if you load for expensive calibers.. like 375H&Hmag, 458winmag/lott, 416 rigby.. etc. ammo that costs 80-120$ per box of 20 cartridges..e tc...
 

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ps.. as others mentioned.. if the press and die threads match.. you are likely good to go, as long as throat space fro the cartridge is supported. IE.. 50bmg, etc and some others may require larger presses.

you will also find that press cost is somewhat indicative of it's lifespan.

my 25$ lee press gets lots of use.. I don't for a minute think it's going to last as long as my 150$ rockchucker press. the RCBS weights like 8x as much as the lee. BOTH have their intended uses at my reloading desk.

I currently have a lee handloader tool, plus a lee press and that rcbs press.

dillon, MAY be one of the more expensive name syou see.. while lee will likely be the cheapest / most economical. RCBS and lyman gear fall high mid range.

I generally use RCBS gear.. including dies.. though certaintly do have other makes of dies and gear. I have plenty of case prep tools from lyman, as well as scales. I have lee dies. as stated.. lee equipment is cheaper. you can make your own inference on quality and value from there. there have been many flame wars on lee equipment over the price / value / lifespan. Both sides bring up points. in the end.. it's left to the individual owner to make their own personal choice. If I PERSONALLY experienced issues with lee equipemtn.. I'd no longer buy it. If i experienced premature wear on a die.. id have to cost average the issue and see if it makes sense to have to replace it sooner than another manufacturer, vs the fact it may cost HALF of what another die set costs. IE.. buy 2 of the cheap vs one of the higher end... it's a hash you have to run.. and likely untill you have made many, many. many rounds.. you won't notice a difference on ammo loaded in a 25$ press with a 25$ die, vs ammo made in a 600$ press with a 60$ die.

after you get into tripple digits... you might see some difference.. maybee :)

there are other press types. turret and progressive. both offer more options and more work output, at a higher price.
 

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All of what the others have said is good advise.

There are many different avenues you can go down.

You're not sure if it's for you so you may want to look at starting with a single stage press. I find this the better route (others will disagree) for doing rifle rounds. You do each step in lots. You clean all your brass and inspect it. You set up your de-capping/sizing die and run all of them through. Then you prime (this can be done on the press or by hand). Then you weigh your powder and charge each case, one at a time. I move them from one loading block to another as I charge them. Then you set up your bullet seating die and start seating bullets. Gradually, until you get the OAL you are looking for. After this is done you have the option to crimp or not. I only crimp rounds for tube fed and semi-auto. That is another differing opinion.

For shotshell you will need an entirely different press. A very good inexpensive one is the Lee Load All II. It comes with everything you'll need except for a scale to check your powder weight.
As Soundguy mentioned, RCBS does make a set of dies to fit in a single stage press to load 12 gauge but they are for brass 12 gauge rounds.

Stuff you'll need for loading rifle and pistol:
A tumbler or vibratory cleaner (optional)
A press
Dies
Shell holders for each caliber if they don't come with the dies
A priming device (press mounted or hand)
Calipers, dial or digital your choice but batteries don't go dead on a dial.
Scale, to weigh powder
One of the many tools to trim your brass (it grows upon firing)
Manuals, not just one, several
Brass
Bullets
Powder
Primers


I know I've probably left out a lot of answers to your questions but keep asking. We'll all do our best to walk you through this.
 

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As I understand it, some of the Dillon dies only fit one of their model presses(?) but in general most all dies will work across the board.
The Dillon SDB, Lyman 310 and the Wilson dies are the only one that I can think of that aren't threaded at 7/8-14. Until you get up into the MONSTER rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks EVERYONE this helped quite a bit. I'll will check out that book, I found a used copy for 8 bucks. And thanks for clearing up that I don't need all the equipment from one MFR. Soundguy.... you lost me.... HowlinMad you made it a whole lot easier!

Thanks again!
 

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Don't let all these answers with tons of equipment overwhelm you. Post number 2, Crystalphoto, is really as far as you need to go for now. Read the text (mebbe get Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook too) and you'll get a good idea of what equipment will suit your reloading needs. You can start with a set-up for less than $50.00 or a kit for over $500.00, but I'd suggest you keep it as simple as possible (I started with a Lee Loader, one pound of Bullseye, 100 CCI primers, some generic lead bullets, and used brass that I shot or picked up at the range. Oh yeah, I already had a nice yellow hammer. Now I have 4 presses, 3 powder scales, 3 powder measures, and an accumulation hand tools from 30 years of reloading). Go slow, double check everything, and enjoy...

BTW, aftter 30 years I still don't have a primer pocket swager, nor a case trimmer, and I didn't use a tumbler for the first 12 yeas of reloading. K.I.S.S.
 

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Thanks EVERYONE this helped quite a bit. I'll will check out that book, I found a used copy for 8 bucks. And thanks for clearing up that I don't need all the equipment from one MFR. Soundguy.... you lost me.... HowlinMad you made it a whole lot easier!

Thanks again!
Uh.. If my post lost you.. I advise you to FORGET about getting into hand loading. Save your money for commercial ammo. It may not be for you. :(

Not being mean.. but you are making little things that go in slightly bigger thaings that you hold at arms length, or you press your face against and pull a trigger.

this isn't a hobby to be taken lightly. You must approach this from a systematic point of view.. in for a penny, in for a pound. If you can't parse the data i posted.. then reading a relaod manual and understanding the physics of reloading may not be fun for you.

just sayin...

be carefull.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Uh.. If my post lost you.. I advise you to FORGET about getting into hand loading. Save your money for commercial ammo. It may not be for you. :(

Not being mean.. but you are making little things that go in slightly bigger thaings that you hold at arms length, or you press your face against and pull a trigger.

this isn't a hobby to be taken lightly. You must approach this from a systematic point of view.. in for a penny, in for a pound. If you can't parse the data i posted.. then reading a relaod manual and understanding the physics of reloading may not be fun for you.

just sayin...

be carefull.
well no... I just looked up the different kits and each individual part, it's all coming together now. Still wanting a book to learn the whole procedure start to end
 

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FWIW soundguy, your post kinda left me wonderin' what you were talking about too (especially the first sentence), kinda fragmented. "... throat space fro the cartridge is supported". I have had $19.95 all the way to $175.00 (1990 price) presses and cost seems to be no indication of how long a press will last, IMO. My el cheapo Lee loaded several thousand rounds over a period of 7 years with no indication of excess wear/tear. My Redding Big Boss loaded several thousand rounds and no more, no less appearant wear/tear than the Lee...

But then I've only been playing with reloading presses for 30+ years, just sayin'...
 

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check out the diff manf catalogs,, they usually have a package price that will set u up for the basics at a better price then buying individually..
i have also got some great prices from people getting out of reloading.
also have seen good prices on ebay,, and craigs list,,, just check around
FIRST THING GET A LYMAN OR HORNADY RELOADING MANUAL AND READ,, READ IT BEFORE U START !!!!! lots of good info,, and safety info,, DONT TAKE SHORTCUTS !!!
it is a fun and safe hobby,, just take your time and use lots of common sense
welcome and have fun
 

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Soundguy...
you sounded fine to me.

Albtraum, also get your hands on a Hornady
reloading manual...even one ten yrs old.
The section before the load data starts is
chock full of clear info for the beginner,
including great pics.
It will clearly and precisely explain everything
that reloading entails, and how to do it.
With a Hornady manual and the ABC's you
will no doubt be ready to roll.
These manuals/books are an important first step.
Start there....you will be greatly rewarded.
 

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FWIW soundguy, your post kinda left me wonderin' what you were talking about too (especially the first sentence), kinda fragmented. "... throat space fro the cartridge is supported"..
I don't have a conventionl PC.. I have tablets or an iphone to post from. a typo ets out pretty often.

as for throat space.. have you not noticed some presses will not allow you to do some of the larger cartridges. for instance.. few will do the 50's.

I don't think my lil 25$ one will do any of the elephant gun cartridges either...

that's the clearance i refered to.

Again.. if one does not posess the cognitive ability to parse the data i typed.. I kinda wonder if that individual posesses the capability to safely reload.
 

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Albtraum, also get your hands on a Hornady
reloading manual...even one ten yrs old.
The section before the load data starts is
chock full of clear info for the beginner,
including great pics.
It will clearly and precisely explain everything
that reloading entails, and how to do it.
With a Hornady manual and the ABC's you
will no doubt be ready to roll.
These manuals/books are an important first step.
Start there....you will be greatly rewarded.
And get more than 1. get as amany as possible.. at a minimum i reccomend a manual from each projectile manufacturer that you will use.

so much nicer to flip the manual open to your hornady #3033 projectiles to get load data, vs checking a generic 150gr BTSP .308 etc.

just my opinion.. but I've rarely found more data to be a bad thing.

when I work up a load, I use the data for that specific projectile, if I have it available. then I peruse all my other manuals and write down the ranges for my chosen powder for that same size / type projectile.. then I compair the actual manufacture listed specs to what other manuals list.

most of the time you see a heavilly overlapped band with start and ending loads within a grain of each other ( rifle loads anyway ).. I have occasionally see a big difference in starting and max loads and when i do, i try to find out why.. etc.

good reading. / good time invested doing so.

none of my body parts grow back real well.. so I want to make sure I don't blow any of them off.. or blow up any $pendy game guns..
 
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