This a good setup for a beginner reloader?


November 8, 2008, 06:00 PM
Hi there, i am wanting to get into reloading, mostly plinking ammo. I have a .223 AR, and was wondering if i needed more than this list:

Hornady Shell holder
Hornady LNL classic Press (with priming system)
Hornady Lock n load 3 bushing set
Hornady Powder funnel
Hornady Powder trickler
RCBS powder cup/funnel
RCBS universal case loading block

Some kind of lube, which one?

Also, which reloading book would you suggest for starters? My budget is about $800, i think.

What powders would be best for price? I will probably use 55gr bulk pack bullets for starters.

Thanks for the help, I know there are probably a few thousand threads asking the same question, but i am too lazy to find them:uhoh:

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November 8, 2008, 11:07 PM
Look into an RCBS Beginner's Kit. Gives you everything you need less dies and shell holder for a lot less than $800. Cabela's, for example(go talk to your local gun shop. They won't be able to touch Cabela's prices though. It's a volume of sales thing, not them robbing you.), wants $269.99 for the RCBS Supreme Master Reloading Kit. Comes with a Speer manual, but buy the Lyman book too. (Hornady's kit is $30 more, on sale. $329.99 regularly. Comes with their manual.)
Plus you get the legendary RCBS customer service. Have any problems, even if you caused it or buy used kit(don't worry about buying used either. It takes a lot of abuse to damage good equipment), and they'll fix it with a phone call. Gratis. The only question they'll ask is your mailing address.
If you opt for your list(the Hornady kit comes with all of it and more) it's missing a scale. A scale is essential.
The Lyman manual has more loads with more powders and bullet weights than any bullet or powdermaker's book. Powder and bullet maker's books cover only their products. (The Hornady book has data for Hornady bullets only.) Not that those are bad. The Lyman book is just more versatile. Lots of info in it about reloading in general, BP and data for some obsolete cartridges.
All manuals have a how-to chapter. Read the whole thing then ask whatever questions you may have here.
Powders are pretty much the same price everywhere, within a few bucks and none is less expensive than another. Don't buy powder in bulk until you've worked up a load.
When you get that far, load for the bullet weight. Who made the bullet, except for Barnes Bullets, doesn't matter.

November 8, 2008, 11:57 PM
I like the Hornady manual, but they all have pretty much the same info.

I use RCBS lube, but I've never bothered to try any other. It needs to be wiped off after resizing, which is a pain.

You absolutely need a scale, so add that to the list. A simple beam balance is fine for now...don't waste money on a digital one yet.

Add in a tumbler or at least get a good brush for cleaning grunge out of your cases.

You don't need a powder trickler yet. I only use the funnel to fill up my powder measure and then to dump the leftovers back in the bottle. A cheap plastic one will work fine.

You'll need calipers (mechanical are fine) and you'll probably need a case trimmer. Lee makes an inexpensive trimming setup that works fine for a beginner. When you resize your cases they get longer. You need to be able to measure them and the trim the long ones back down.

If you are reloading military surplus ammo you'll need a tool for taking the crimp out of the primer pockets. Use commercial ammo and you'll be fine.

YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED SAFETY GLASSES! Cheapo shooting glasses are fine. Put them on before you reach for the primer box and leave them on until you are done cleaning up.

You also need to get rid of the "I'm too lazy" thing. You'll blow your face off if you don't take this stuff seriously. It's actually more likely that you'll hurt somebody else since rifles are designed to protect the shooter somewhat when things blow up.

One other suggestion is to maybe try reloading pistol first to get the hang of things. .45 and .38 are much easier to load than a bottle-necked rifle round, but the fundamentals are the same. I'm biased since I started with pistol and then moved to rifles. Maybe some of the other folks here disagree.

Good luck and be careful.


November 9, 2008, 12:06 AM
By the way, if your budget is $800 then think about how much bulk ammo you can buy for that much. On a single stage press, you're going to be able to do about 100 rounds at a time before it starts to get really tedious. That's about a 4 hour project from start to'll get faster as you get better at it.

If you like to go out and rip through 500 rounds with your friends every weekend, then your long-term goal needs to be getting a progressive press after you learn how to reload on your single-stage press.

If you aim every shot and shoot 50-100 rounds a few times a month, then reloading on a single stage press is going to be fine.


November 9, 2008, 12:23 AM
You need a good case trimmer. Also a primer pocket uniformer such as the
EJS Possum Hollow uniformer and a primer flash hole deburr tool would be very nice. I would consider a case measure tool such as the RCBS Precision Mic or Hornady's Lock and Load Headspace Gauge to be essential for adjusting your dies for sizing.
For manuals in order of my preference, Sierra 5th, Hornady 7th, and Lyman 49th. Also on-line resources such as the Hodgdon and Alliant websites for data. To keep thing simple to start you can't beat Hornady's bulk 55fmj's. For primers Remington 7 1/2's or CCI 41 and for powder Hodgdon H335. Best case lube would be Dillions Case Lube. I use it on an RCBS lube pad and use RCBS nylon case neck brushes to apply lube to the inside of necks. Just my opinions. Not familiar with the Hornady press but the other Hornady tools are very good. Good dial calipers are needed. For military crimps Dillon's Super Swage is best but I've used RCBS's swager which is cheaper but not as easy to use. A vibratory case cleaner would be necessary in my opinion to remove dirt and such before sizing. Protects your dies from getting scratched. I also use it to remove case lube after sizing. Have fun!

November 9, 2008, 04:34 PM
You absolutely need a scale, so add that to the list. A simple beam balance is fine for now...don't waste money on a digital one yet.

The chargmaster combo has one in it, 1,500gr digital. I need this for other projects too, that is why i picked such a hihg capacity one.

jr roosa: i am wanting to buy a LOT of supplies to last the rest of my life(or at least a very long time), it is cheaper than buying ammo, even with the reloading equip. I have tools like calipers, as i work on cars and such. And don't worry, i am very safe with things that "blow up", i have experiance with stuff like that. I was really tired when i posted. Also, i would start with pistol, but ii have no centerfire pistols:(


thanks, i have added a trimmer to the list in my head.

thanks for the help everyone, and keep it coming

November 9, 2008, 06:17 PM
Look into an RCBS Beginner's Kit.

Definitely look into the kits - you can get a single stage kit from any one of the major manufacturers for less than $800.

The only change I would make - and I have only been loaded for a couple of years - is a hand priming tool. The give you a pretty direct feel - when a primer starts to go in sideways, or upside down or something, I usually notice it first by feel.

Here are some top quality kits:

I think that as far as single stage presses, most folks would rate the Big 3 (Lyman, Hornady, RCBS) as about the same quality, and Lee slightly lower quality - though lots of people think that Lee's are very good values.

But either of the kits above will be nearly completes, and less than $300.

I load straight walled pistol cartridges, so I don't know anything about case trimming, etc. If you are doing bottleneck rifle rounds, you will need that equipment as well.

There is a sticky at the top of this forum that will be helpful.



November 9, 2008, 07:06 PM
you can get a single stage kit from any one of the major manufacturers for less than $800.

A LOT less!

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