Suggestions for my first Reloading Set


February 24, 2008, 01:18 PM
I am getting to start reloading and I am wanting some help deciding what the best equipment to buy is. I will primarily be reloading 5.56 and some 40SW and later some other calibers like 6.5 Grendel and 7.62 x 54R. i shoot about 300 - 600 rounds a month. I am trying to get the best equippment I can for about 350 or 400 dollars. I a probably going to be loading the 40SW and 5.56 first and the other calibers later. I really do not know to much about reloading but I have enough time to learn and between a Uncle that is willing to help out and the guide at this website and at this site
I think I will be doing great in no time. Thanks for your help.

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February 24, 2008, 01:31 PM
I started with a Rock Chucker kit and it had almost everything I needed to get started and was priced well below your stated budget.

I converted the Rock Chucker to Hornady's Lock N Load die bushing system, and I love it.

I recommend that whatever powder measure you decide to buy, get the graduated mircrometer adjustment metering inserts in both rifle and pistol sizes. Chasing the correct charge weight on the standard inserts by adjusting the little screw each time you change loads takes a lot of the fun out of reloading for me...

February 24, 2008, 03:22 PM
3-400 dollars including some dies and a case tumbler,scale,calipers,etc is gonna be tough,but do=able.

we have a new section for reloading equipment for sale on this site now,I'd looking there,and maybe posting a wtb and see what pops up.

February 24, 2008, 03:48 PM
Check out the new Lee Challenger "O" single-stage press with the die-lock feature similar to Hornaday's L-N-L system. You can buy the kit including powder measure, scale, and several accessories for about $100 - $110 (check Midway). The Lee die sets are excellent...I've used many other dies, but am now getting Lee for any new calibers, and have gotten their factory crimp die for all other sets I have (about a dozen). Their die sets also come with the proper shell holder, and are MUCH less expensive than anyone else.

Or, you can buy used presses, powder measures, and scales on EBAY auctions. Just set up my son in reloading for about $100 that way...including a new Lee die set from Midway.

Buy your bullets, primers, and powder in bulk.

February 24, 2008, 04:21 PM
If buying new, The Rockchucker kit for $265 from Midway plus dies is hard to beat. The rockchucker will last virtually for ever. The Speer manual included with that kit is a newer edition of the one I started with. It explains the process very well. You will of course need other stuff but it will definitely get you started. The best part is that it is all good solid equipment. I had forgotten but I did start with that same kit about 20 years ago. I still have all of that equipment and use it. I since have bought several more Rock chuckers and as well as uniflow powder measures. The had primer didn't come with my kit but I eneded up buying one soon after. The only thing I would stronly recomend in addition is a vibratory cleaner. You will need a trimmer but that can wait. Since you mention 223 you might want to pick up some Ramshot Tac. It is very comparable to H335 and BLC-2 and quite a bit less expensive. Check E-bay for used stuff.

February 24, 2008, 06:43 PM
Is there large difference between the Lee Challenger "O" Single Stage Press and the Rockchucker Kit and if so what are the differences ? If I were to get one of these Kits how many rounds would I be able to load after a month iof learning in about an hour ? What is the bare minimum equipment to begn loading and what is a quick diffenation of what they do ? Thank you everyone for helping me out with this

February 24, 2008, 07:52 PM
I would go with the Lee classic turret press. You can install all the dies for a caliber in one turret and once they are set you can change calibers by changing turrets and the dies stay set. With a single stage you will have to change dies at every step. With the classic turret you should be able to load 200 pistol rounds per hour after about two weeks. After case prep I can load close to 300 rounds of 223 an hour on my classic. You can buy in in a kit at for under $200. Check out this video to see the press in operation. This is mine set up for 223.

February 24, 2008, 08:10 PM
I would go with the cheap lee set to make sure you like it before you go dropping a whole bunch of money in a reloading setup. I have a rock chucker but use some lee stuff, you can't beat the price.

February 24, 2008, 08:17 PM
If you are going to reload that much I wouls suggest a progressive set-up in any of the major brands. If you are sure you are going to stick with it, you can get some good accesories, and maybe get the primary stuff used. After you form some opinions for yourself, you can always sell it again and move on.

February 24, 2008, 09:06 PM
In answer to the question about the differences between the RCBS RockChucker and Lee Challenger "O" single-stage presses, the RCBS is a massive, heavy cast-iron press with compound handle that will handle any reloading operation including bullet swaging, while the Challenger press is smaller and much lighter, made of cast aluminum, with a compound handle. The Lee will handle all operations except possibly bullet swaging, and would be expected to be slightly "springier" at very heavy loadings. I've used both...currently use a somewhat similar RCBS cast iron Jr 2 and an older Challenger set side by side, each with a different die, used as a "poor man's progressive." Regardless of material, the "O" design press is stronger than a "C" press. They handle the same standard dies and shell holders.

Practical difference? None! The Challenger full-length resizes .30-06 cases without a problem. Commercial jacketed bullets are inexpensive enough and of high quality so that I doubt anyone bothers to swage their own anymore. I haven't for thirty years.

When my son set up for reloading, I recommended the Challenger and Lee dies. He loads 7.7-Jap swaged from .30-06 brass (low pressure cast bullet loads), .30-30, .223, and pistol...and couldn't be more satisfied.

Presses don't wear out...I'm still using a Herter's cast iron "C" press I got 50-years ago...and it's as good as new. You can feel comfortable in buying one second hand...check out the EBAY auctions.

February 24, 2008, 09:18 PM
The RCBS reloading kit is often suggested, and has good equipment, but not "the best", even among available RCBS equipment.

For instance, the powder measure is neither their quick-change version, nor their competition version, and upgrading it to QC costs almost as much as a whole new QC PM set. The hand primer is their older version, which can be upgraded to use the new square tray, but it still lacks the universal shell holder jaws, meaning you have to swap your shell holder between your press and the hand primer, or buy another one just for it.

The Rockchucker press itself, legendary in quality, is surpassed by other single stage presses today, for either more money (Redding Big Boss II & Ultramag or Forster Co-ax) and less (Lee Classic Cast). The RC's most glaring shortcoming is it's inability to capture spent primers effectively.

Instead, I would go with the Lee Challenger Breech lock kit. It is a lot less money, is good enough for you to use to find out what/if you like about it and reloading in general. With either RCBS or Lee, you will likely end up upgrading some or all of the equipment anyway, so spend less up front, and have more money left to upgrade once you find out what features you like/dislike most.

The most common failure point on the old challenger press was the toggle linkage, which has been completely replaced and upgraded in the new breech lock version. It is a fine press and will always come in handy whether you upgrade to a better single stage or to a progressive press.

Another route might be to get the Lee Classic Turret reloading kit.


February 25, 2008, 02:03 PM
I will not argue the merits of recommending SS versus the Lee Turret press-- even the standard, but particularly the Classic Cast Turret for someone starting out with Rifle-only reloading. But I simply don't understand the merit of recommending SS presses for a new reloader who is going to include handgun reloading--and particularly semiauto handgun cartrige reloading.

The Lee turrets offer this new reloader the benefits of both SS with batch processing and turret operation with its multiple-die processing. It's a simple process that takes 10 seconds to disable auto-indexing, and the press is effectively a SS press.

He can use it in SS mode to learn individual steps of reloading, and to understand the batch processing flow for individual rifle cartridge reloading.

However, to learn batch process reloading only, to use with a cartridge that may be shot up at high rates, is counterproductive to matching the shooter's ammo needs to to the various reloading processes involved.

Personally, I consider the Lee Classic Cast Turret (illustrated well by RustyFN) to be absolutely the best-value deal out there, assuming cost issues are not paramount. If cost is paramount, then BigJake1s's comments are really relevant for considering the Challenger Breech lock kit.

But it really is beyond me why we--experienced reloaders--would recommend learning a process that is defeating for efficient / enjoyable use of time, and particularly for economic gain--i.e., loading semiauto fodder.

FWIW, I am NOT targeting specific posters here--but it does seem to me that we need to consider the needs of a newbie--and I submit that loading semiauto fodder on a SS press will, in the big picture, lead primarily to dissatisfaction with the hobby. For sure, it will also lead to more expense in the purchase of another press when one would do to get him loading well at up to 1000 rounds per month.

Jim H.

February 25, 2008, 09:24 PM
Good post Jim I couldn't agree more. That reminded me of when I started I had the same problem, SS or turret. I got talked into the turret and was happy I listened. I realized after loading for three weeks that if I had gone with the SS then I would already be buying a new press because the SS would have been too slow for pistol ammo. The classic turret press is built very sturdy and should last anybody a lifetime.

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