What Beginner Reloading Kit


August 28, 2007, 09:05 PM
What reloading kit should I get? I want everything I need to reload .44 mag shells. I want to be able to shoot at least 50 rounds a week. I may fall in love with reloading and want to expand to other calibers.

After reading Chuck Hawks article, I'm thinking about the RCBS Partner or Master or Rock Chucker Kit. Do these have everything I need (aside from a .44 die)?

Does anyone have any good web resources?

In addition to normal bullets, I'm also interested in doing some lead free bullets and powder at the lowest possible price.

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lee n. field
August 28, 2007, 10:45 PM
Looking at the various kits on Midway's site, the Partner kit does not include a powder measure, which would mean each powder charge would be measured on the scale --> tedious. Adding a Uniflow measure would take you a good part of the way to the price of the other kits.

Likewise the Reloading starter kit (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=133068&t=11082005), no powder measure.

The Rockchucker Supreme kit (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=646599&t=11082005) looks like the best bet, of these three. For $15 more than the next cheapest RCBS kit, you're getting a better press and more stuff. I'd add a second loading block, a carbide dieset and shellholder. The deburring tool is kind of useless with this kit, as you don't have (nor, with .44, will you likely need) a case trimmer.

There are cheaper alternatives. This is quality stuff that will last your lifetime, I don't care how young you may be.

OH, yeah, read the "What do I need to get started" sticky at the top of the Handloading Forum.

lead free bullets and powder at the lowest possible price.

Bullets I don't know. Lowest price on powder will probably be a gun show, next a local retailer. Going mail order means having to pay hazmat fees to ship.

August 29, 2007, 12:28 AM
I've had the Lee Anniversary reloading kit for years and still enjoy using it. My thought is that the RCBS and others are great equipment, but after you get your feet wet you might want to go with a turret or progressive system and the money you save on the single stage will help with the cost of the progressive.

Never No More
August 29, 2007, 03:15 AM
Ive been reloading for over 40 years now.

I dont know if Id buy any "kit"

Find someone in yer hood that reloads and askem to go to a local gunshow with you.

I picked up all my gear for $150, most of it new.

August 29, 2007, 05:24 AM
Your local Craigslist.org for your area and Gunbroker.com are your friends. Ebay works too.

There's just something about buying gun related merchandise from a staunch anti gun company that just makes me go....:neener:

August 29, 2007, 05:35 AM
I bought the Lee Anniversery kit ($72) and carbide dies ($23). and that got me starterd. then of course a vernier calipers and a tumbler. I load 100-150 per sitting. Its a blast, no pun intended. Its a great hobby and I just do 45LC now and soon 45/70. Good luck with all, Bob

August 29, 2007, 09:40 AM
I have been loading on a Lee anniversery kit for about a year now and it does everything that I need it to do and it does it well. Now my Dad's RCBS reloading gear is much nicer, but it doesn't do the job any better than my lee stuff. I load everything from 45acp to 30-06 with it, no problems. I will eventually probaly get a better press and scale, but I won't feel bad about not using a $30 press anymore, not like I would with a $150 press. Now the only thing that I did not care for in the lee kit was the chamfer tool, I replaced it with an L.E. Wilson tool.

August 29, 2007, 03:33 PM
The lee kit is CHEAP compared to RCBS kits. I would at least try a lee before paying 5x as much for a different 'color' press.

that said, I know a few fellas who won't touch lee, claiming they are inferior in design and make inaccurate ammo. Then again, they like their little rifle competitions and spend entire weekends loading just a few dozen cartridges with fancy moly coated projectiles and $1,500 scopes. That's not why I reload.

i started to reload because I'm cheap. I bought a lee turret and all other necessary components for about $130. I then spent another $100 on components. I figure, a fella can make a round for about 7cents nowadays if he's frugal...and that includes the magnum rounds. I'd check out www.powdervalleyinc.com if you're doing this to save money, if you're reloading to fill your time and impress your friends you'll need to visit gander mountain and buy up their super-expensive stuff, but all your friends will know it's the best because "it's the best that gander mountain sells!" gander mountain doesn't even sell Lee dies in my parts....not even the factory crimp. Asked a guy behind the counter about it once and he said "that's the biggest waste of money I've ever heard of....why would you want a factory crimp on your rounds? It's just a gimmick that Lee uses to sell more 4 hole presses!" I asked him what he used to load his ammo "I'm going with either the Lyman or the Hornady, haven't decided yet."

August 29, 2007, 04:33 PM
I started with the 'chucker supreme kit. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have purchased a smaller single stage (I pretty much only load pistol ammo) and played pick and choose with the accessories like scales and powder measures.

August 29, 2007, 06:14 PM
I would either go with the Rock Chucker Supreme Kit or Hornady Lock N Load Classic or the Lyman Crusher 2. I don't have any experience with the Lee. A lot of people like Lee's, but I got to believe that there is some reason (other than marketing) for the huge cost differential between the single stage kits from the "Big 3".

The only thing that I would spring for is a hand primer. A friend suggested that I get one of those. The two times that I put primers in backwards, I noticed a different "feel" first. I am sort of heavy handed - I am not sure I would have noticed if I had been using a long level to insert the primer.

Just my $0.02. I'd go for Hornady Lock N Load Classic.


August 29, 2007, 10:01 PM
I would start with a turret press. If you start loading 44 and then move to other calibers ( and you will ) then a single stage will be to slow. I started with the Lee Classic Turret and realized after three weeks that if I had started with a SS I would already be buying another press only a month later. The people that talked me into starting with the turret did me a big favor. Good luck and have fun with whatever you decide to buy.

August 29, 2007, 11:17 PM
I think I'd build my own kit if I was starting out:

Lee Classic Cast Press
RCBS Quick-change Uniflow powder measure
Hornady or RCBS beam scale
RCBS universal hand primer (square tray)
Lee case trimmer


August 29, 2007, 11:25 PM
I would start with a turret press.

Interesting. Someone gave me a Lyman T-Mag to get me started, and I don't see any advantage over a Hornady Lock N Load (or any of the other "snap them in, snap them out" systems).

THe T-Mag works just fine, and it was very cool that it was free, but I don't see a big advantage.

What do you see?


August 29, 2007, 11:57 PM
i believe for the money the lee kit is the way to go. as there are a lot of people who spend a great deal of money to find a year later it just collects dust. as with any sport or hobby start off small. then work your way up. kinda like golf or fishing. you dont go out and buy a $500.00 cusom Calstar fishing rod when you have never fished. Go out and buy the 29.99 walmart special. When you figure out what your doing and learn and read so much you will know what to get as far as getting a better press and tools. Start off penny wise. Later on you may want a rock chucker or something else.

heck i stared off with a single stage press. Now i have 3 presses. Same time the first actual thing i started off was with a lee loader. Still have today. In fact i also have the lee target load model. But im not saying go out and buy a ford pinto. Starting off with a lee anniversary kit will give you about all you need to do 50 quality rounds a week. Heck at that low a number you just might want to get a lee loader.

August 30, 2007, 12:40 AM
The big RCBS kit is the way to go if money is no object - as stated above, you get a lot of bells and whistles. However, that press is super heavy duty - will allow you to change the size of brass - make a 30-06 brass into a different caliber of brass. I don't think you need that extra heft for pistol loading.

I did go with the RCBS and have been very happy. However, I looked very hard at the Lee kits. If I'd been on a budget, with hindsight, the lee kit would have been fine. Except, I would probably chucked the lee scale and gotten a more expensive beam scale.

Ohas (sp?) makes the scales for RCBS, Dillon, and others. You can find one of these for less than $50 on ebay or other sources.

Someday I'll get the top of the line Ohas scale - a friend has one and I like it as much or better than the digital scales I've seen.

August 30, 2007, 06:36 AM
Interesting. Someone gave me a Lyman T-Mag to get me started, and I don't see any advantage over a Hornady Lock N Load (or any of the other "snap them in, snap them out" systems).
That's because those presses don't auto index like the Lee.

August 30, 2007, 07:24 AM
lee's auto index can also be a real PITA!!!!!

August 30, 2007, 07:33 AM
I’ve had an RCBS Junior on my bench for over 40 years and I still use it today to load for IPSC and cowboy action. My bench also has an RCBS Rock Chucker with I only use for rifle cases. The partner is probably the way to go. You should also look at the RCBS little dandy after you settle on a load. This is non adjustable and uses rotors. If your load has a rotor you will never make a mistake in the amount of powder you drop--just a few thoughts.
Other items on my bench that I use all the time--instead of buying a kit.
load block
RCBS bench priming tool--replaced by RCBS for free after 30+ years.
deburing tool
20 sets of RCBS dies--pistol caliber in carbide
RCBS little dandy
RCBS uniflow powder measure
primer packet scraper-small screwdriver can be used
powder funnel
RCBS scale
RCBS and Lee hand prime tool--no longer used.

August 30, 2007, 12:23 PM
Just got through loading my first 20 rounds with a Lee Anniversary kit and it did the job fine. I cant say I really like the inaccurate powder drop, but it could have been the very fine powder I was using. Didn't care too much since I was hand loading and putting ALL of them on the scale to verify they were right. Really liked the hand primer and the press did the job.
Now I have enough money for more dies and cases.

August 30, 2007, 05:41 PM
Ok guys, thanks for all the input. Now i'm thinking about a Lee 4 Hole Turret Press Kit with Auto Index (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=622290&t=11082005). Is this a good idea? Should I spend a little more to Get the Lee Pro 1000 Progressive (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=141932&t=11082005) with .44 dies?

If I get one of these kits? If so, which parts should I upgrade?

August 30, 2007, 06:05 PM
I would buy the Lee Classic Turret over the Pro 1000 but thats just me. My reason is the Classic is a four station press and the Pro is three. I can use the FCD in the Classic and not in the Pro. I have heard that the priming system on the Pro isn't as reliable as the Safety Prime on the Classic. I have had my Classic about one year and have had zero problems priming and zero problems with the auto index. I can make close to 200 rounds per hour and can change calibers including primer size in under five minutes.

August 30, 2007, 06:11 PM
Dubious, sorry I just looked at your link. If you go with the turret then this is the one you want to by. It is well worth the few extra dollars. http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products/reloading/completerelo/KempfKit.html

August 30, 2007, 06:32 PM
and whats the difference between the Classic and the plain ol' Turret press? (see my last link to the plain ol' press)

August 30, 2007, 07:21 PM
Starting to look really seriously at that one rusty... looks like a good deal. I'm thinking about getting the Classic with 44 dies and:

Upgrade to PRO AutoDisk Powder Measure
Lee Safety Powder Scale
Kinetic Bullet Puller
Stainless Steel Dial Caliper
and maybe the "blueberry" tumbler.

Is that EVERYTHING I need besides components?

August 30, 2007, 08:50 PM
The Pro Auto upgrade is a great choice. I would advise you to upgrade the safety prime also so you have large and small. The main differences between the two presses are the Deluxe is cast aluminum and steel, and the Classic is cast iron and steel. The Classic has compound linkage so it takes less effort with larger cases. The Classic has spent primer disposal through the ram into a tube so your bench and floor stay clean. The Deluxe doesn't have the primer disposal and makes a mess. I have never used the Deluxe but have talked to people that have loaded thousands of rounds on them and like them. The ones that have used both turret presses prefer the Classic over the Deluxe. I have found the Lee scale to be very accurate but not easy to use. There are a lot better scales out there but it will work to start with and you can always upgrade later if thats what you want to do. You only need it enough to set the powder measure anyway. You can save money on cleaning the brass by buying the media from the pet store or Walmart. I use crushed walnut, add one cap full of Nu Finish car polish every other batch and add a used dryer sheet cut into 10 or 12 pieces. Tumble for 1.5 to 2 hours and they come out looking like new.

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