just starting ?'s


November 24, 2007, 04:43 AM
Ok Ive read and read and seem to be getting more confused with what to buy/start out with

I have loaded quite a bit of shotgun before and am very mechanically inclined and safety minded (17 yrs in the AF doing fighter maint makes you that way) just never loaded pistol/rifle

I will be/plan on loading--(volume all depends upon how much I shoot due to weather, but below are expected maximums--could have the heavy/light month or 2)

.45 ACP--shooting maybe 400-600 rds a month-practice/fun

.223--shooting up to 800-1000 rds a month? depending upon varmint seasons--want volume for fun plus precision for target/LONG range varmint--nearby 600 rd range and all the whistle pigs I want is nice :)

7.62x39--up to 800-1000 rds a month--volume for fun

.270/30.06/7mm--depending upon what rifle caliber i get--not shooting loads but want good precision for hunting loads--meaning is it easy to hand measure and still use a progressive press?

I would think I would have a range day approx 2 times a month shooting with friends so think those would be accurate numbers (they pitch in on supplies and I reload)

Having a hard time deciding upon RCBS turret kit or going all the way with a progressive like Hornady LNL or Dillon 550/650

obviously i need some extras like scale/tumbler/case trimmer/calipers etc. and not to mention die kits

any and all advice is appreciated, just please dont let this be which press is better--just asking if its worth spending a bit extra to go progressive starting out with good mechanical aptitude for set up and safety mined for good QC type person with the volume I plan on loading--I dont want to spend hours and hours loading turning it into a chore

also money as always is a factor as im not loaded but for quality products its less so.

thanks in advance!

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November 24, 2007, 06:55 AM
For that volume per month (wish I could afford that), you'll have to go progressive.
On the less expensive end, you have the Lee LoadMaster. Dies are inexpensive, and pretty much all of the accessories are half the price of the next closest brand. It'll crank out ammo at a good clip, when it works. I have tinkered with mine enough that I think it's working almost 100%. Primer feeding still seems an issue, but if I prime by hand first, I can make a nice long run without worries. All of a LM's issues come from a lack of detailed QC. The Lee stuff works okay, but sometimes a part needs polishing or trimming. For the price, I can't complain about having to spend five minutes fixing something.

On the top end, you have the Dillons. I've never had experience with a Dillon, but I'm willing to bet someone is going to share their stories. A nice quality press, but you'll pay out the wazoo for it and all of it's accessories.
If you got the money, you might look at that.

November 24, 2007, 07:10 AM
Well thats what I hope to shoot. I am single with no bills when I return stateside bar a house/car payment ( I refuse a credit card). Now having said potential .223/7.62
It could be that much per month or skip a month of each so possibly cut them in half. And as far as the hunting rifle...everyother month shoot a dozen or so?
So if Im not in the river flyfishing there is not much to do in the little town of Mt Home Idaho but shoot :)

November 24, 2007, 08:23 AM
I had bad experiences years ago with Progressives, and I do not trust them to size or do primers on cases, so I size and prime before putting most of them through a Progressive. Operating as I do, it really does not matter which Progressive I use. I have tons of brass already sized and primed on a Single-Stage, the product of rainy or really cold days. I like the Lee hand priming tools, but that's because they came out with this type of tool first.

Since you are going to shoot lots of .45 acp, you will probably develop a problem I had years ago with loose neck tensions in Remington pistol brass, particularly .45 acp brass. Ever since, I want my pistol brass (particularly Remington .45 brass) to have a "Wasp-waist" look. The only outfit that I am aware of that markets undersize pistol size dies is EGW:

For Pistol ammo, I like to separate bullet Seating from Crimping. I like the Dillon Seating die, in that I shoot a lot of Lead bullets and the Dillon allows me to disassemble the die and clean out Lead bullet lubricant build-up without losing adjustment (otherwise the bullet gets seated progressively deeper):
I really like the Lee Factory Crimp Die for Crimping, as it also makes sure the outside of the case is as small as minimum chamber size:

For some uses, such as .223 or other Match rifle ammo, I do them on a Single-Stage, with Redding neck-bushing dies: switching neck-bushings lets you achieve the neck ID you want without sizing smaller, then dragging an expander through to get it where you want it.

Some calibers can still be bought cheaper than you can load, such as 7.62x39. You can still buy it at $169 per thousand:
With the price of Lead shot, one has to work hard to beat the price of factory 12 Gauge shotgun ammo. The only way you can beat that is to cast bullets yourself.

If you are going to shoot this much, look for deals, and when you find them buy in quantity. Right now, bullets and primers is where you need to really look for deals.

Trimming was the biggest irritation of handloading for me, until recently. I bought a Forster manual mini-lathe many years ago, and quickly bought a power attachment that allowed me to power it with a hand-drill:
Even with drill power, this took a lot of time, especially when I was doing a batch of several thousand rifle cases. About 2 years ago I bought a (very expensive) Giraud trimmer, and trimmed/chamfered 4000 .223 cases in one long evening, but be advised it is hard on your fingertips (wear gloves):
There is a less expensive trimming-only tool from Gracey, which is about half as fast:

If cutting costs is important, scrounge brass and cast bullets. Regarding cast bullets, casting from a 20 pound Lee furnace and using a 10 pound Lee as a melter, and using 6 cavity molds I can cast 24 bullets a minute for long stretches. I operate molds hot, drop bullets into a water-filled 5-gallon bucket, and there is a Sprue Plate lube available on the Cast Boolits board which will deal with aluminum mold galling and mould-top Lead fouling issues.

I've used Lyman cast bullet Lube/Sizing machines, and the Magma Star is much faster:

November 24, 2007, 06:25 PM
If you are going to go with a turret I would go with the Lee Classic Turret. I have never used the others but as far as I know the Lee turret is the only auto indexing turret. I can load 200 rounds per hour on mine. Rifle will take a little longer because of case prep. I load 9mm, 38/357 and 223 on mine. If you are going to shoot any where near what you think then I would recomend a progressive. Dillon and Hornady are probably the biggest sellers but I have been hearing a lot of great things about the RCBS Pro 2000. The Lee Load Master is also a good progressive but from what I have been reading it takes a little more tweaking to keep it running good. All of the progressives will have quirks it comes down to which ones you want to deal with.

November 24, 2007, 06:28 PM
If you can afford a 650, get it. It's not the sort of thing you'd ever regret.

November 24, 2007, 07:39 PM
After loading on a classic lee for 14 yrs, I started looking at the Dillons used on ebay thinking I could get one cheap. I watched about 15 of them ( some 5-11 yrs old) sell at prices so close to retail (less than $10 depreciation in 10 yrs). I ended up going to my local Dillon dealer and buying my set up. I still keep the single stage press on the bench for odd calibers and precision but you simply cannot beat the Progressives if you shoot any kind of volume at all. You don't have to spend $2K on the setup (with all the bells and whistles, conversions/dies in 6 calibers) but you will not regret it if you do. I figure if my time @ work is worth $35-40/hour then why shouldn't my spare time be worth at least that or more? Savings on a cheap set up is certainly relative to the trouble, warranty, customer service, etc. I have a deal with my buddies where if they want a quantity of ammo, they buy the conversion/dies (if I don't have it already) and the components x1.5 and I will load them up! I keep the extra components as payment. Keeps me in components while brass is not an issue! once you get a 650, get a dust cover for it though, you can load more in a day than you can shoot in a month. As far as the casefeed and priming system, I have only loaded about 12-13K rounds on mine so maybe I don't have enough experience but I have crushed less than 10 primers and I just picked them out of the case and pressed in another. My advise is go progressive AND buy a cheap single stage. Dies work in any so get both.

November 24, 2007, 08:37 PM
:what: Whoa, sounds like you need two Dillons. One for large and small primers to go with your single stage. You used to be able to get what you needed off screwBay but I'm not sure now days as they did away with most gun related items. I dont patron the screwBay commies.

For a case trimmer I would suggest a (manual) Lyman Trimmer <$30
a cheap scale of any manufacture will work $20
Digital Caliper from Harbor Freight (on sale) $15
Any dies will work with a dillon 550b used $20
-get at least a couple Reloading Manuals (manditory)
Kinetic bullet puller to mention a few items.

Probably the first thing you need acquire are the loading manuals!

Its gonna be a long winter so this is a good time to start accumulating things as you can. Dont skimp on the press though - go Blue! Remember - You get whacha pay for and their customer service it unbeatable.

You already have a good start
Good Luck

November 24, 2007, 10:31 PM
Well thanks so far fellas, all the info has been great!
I was planning either the RCBS turret (really didnt look at the lee turret)
Or the LNL or 650.

I REALLY hope I can shoot that much.
At the least I can see the 400-600 of .45 ACP being a true number. thats only 4 boxes per range session quite an easy thing to do. Once I rotate back and get my RRA Coyote rifle I plan on shooting as much .223 as possible. If as said its not really worth the time/money to do 7.62 Ill pass. Idaho is great for shooting just find some open BLM land with a ridgeline for a backstop and shoot as much as you want.

So if I go progressive its either the 650 or LNL--price wise they are very close, even if you get the auto case feeder with the LNL as the bullet rebate makes up the difference in price.

So going from here....which press is easier to get up and running with set up? Is the case feeder a big help shooting up to 400-600 rds a month plus what ever I can shoot through the AR--at the low end 400-600 which is only 10 mags per range trip and hopefully more :)

Ill be placing an order for ABC of reloading, to start and get the manuals on sale hopefully when I rotate.

If I decide the LNL Ill order now have it sent home to Pops and get the bullet rebate which will be a great start to stocking up on .45 supplies!!!

If I order dillon Ill wait till I finish my move next spring.
Is there any online dealers for dillon or are they only local and if so can you get them for less than the MSRP?

November 24, 2007, 10:40 PM
Check out brianenos.com for Dillon equipment.

November 24, 2007, 10:40 PM
Try eguns.com he has free shipping I think. I just did beat his price buying here local.

The ABC's of reloading........I might just have one of those here in my desk. No promises tho.

November 25, 2007, 10:57 PM
I figure if my time @ work is worth $35-40/hour then why shouldn't my spare time be worth at least that or more?
Holly cow, it's expensive for you to go shooting.:D

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