Couple of questions about getting started reloading.


April 2, 2010, 01:04 AM
So I have a couple of questions about getting started reloading. The first is for you guys using the Rock Chucker presses how do you mount it and what do you mount it to? Seems like you have to put a lot of force on it so need a very strong work bench to mount it to. Any idea's or does most anything work?

The next question is when setting the bullet how do I determine how deep to set it and what the overall length is? I know what the OAL should be according to the manual. So do I just try one and measure and keep on doing that? Or is there something else to do? I'm just a little confused on this.

The next question is if I buy the RCBS RC Supreme kit, a digital caliper, bullet puller, shell holders, and dies do I need anything else? I see case trimmers and OAL measures. Do I have to have these or can I get by without them? After measuring my cases they appear to be in spec at least right now. Can't you just measure the OAL with a caliper or do I need the other tools?


If you enjoyed reading about "Couple of questions about getting started reloading." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 2, 2010, 01:28 AM
Good questions and good to be asking before you start reloading. And welcome to reloading.

I owuld recommend first that you buy a copy of several good reloading manuals. Also buy a copy of The ABC's of Reloading. This book will answer nearly all the questions you can come up with. Read, read, and read some more before you start reloading anything. Knowledge is power.

Now to answer some of your questions. As far as mounting the press, you do need a good sturdy workplace. The amount of force required will depend on the shell you are reloading. 9mm can be done very easily but 30-06 will require much more force. I have seen presses mounted to kitchen tables with c clamps for pistol calibers. I made a very strong reloading bench with a welded steel body and top of 1-1/2 inch thick, 30 x 72 inch hard maple butcherblock construction. Something in between will work fine.

When you set up your press and dies, they will contain instructions. A good way to start is to thread the seating plug way up, place a loaded round (a reference piece) into the die, and slowly screw the seater plug down until it just touches the bullet. Remove the reference round and try to seat one bullet in a sized, charged case, measure the length, and adjust up or down. Remember it's easier to start long and run the plug down a bit and retry, than to have to pull the bullet from a short round, resize the case, and try again.

The last question depends on the caliber you are loading. Pistol cases rarely, if ever, need trimming. Some rifle cases need to be trimmed every loading. A caliper is exactly the way to measure a case or OAL, unless you want to invest in a series of standard case gauges but those are not required at all.

Again read the ABC's of Reloading and you will find answers to most of your questions. Good luck and come back with more questions. Someone here will be able to answer them.

April 2, 2010, 01:53 AM
Thanks, I've picked up two reloading manuals to read but I wasn't sure on how to set the dies. What you said makes sense though. I guess I need to pick up the ABC's of Reloading also. Sounds like a good book to read before I start. Thanks for the help. I'm sure I will be back in the future with more questions. I plan on mainly doing rifle calibers like .243 right now.

April 2, 2010, 02:45 PM
Thanks guys, these answers have been great. I have another one. If I'm going to use a tumbler do I need to tumble them before I decap and resize them or do I do it afterward? I have some that have been lubed up, decaped, and re sized. However, they haven't been put through a tumbler. Is it okay to put them in the tumbler or do I just want to not mess with that?

April 2, 2010, 02:51 PM
Tumble before sizing.
You don't want range grit & dirt in your loading dies.
That is the primary reason to tumble them at all, other then pretty reloads.

I pre-clean with treated walnut, then finish clean for a short while again after loading to get off the case lube & finger prints.


April 2, 2010, 03:00 PM
So since they have already been de capped and re sized, should I just load them up? Or should I not use this brass or what?

April 2, 2010, 03:03 PM

Load them up.

Like I already siad, the prefered way is to tumble clean before sizing to keep range dirt out of things.

But millions of rounds are loaded every year that aren't cleaned even a little bit.


April 2, 2010, 04:00 PM
I measured the re sized brass and most all of it is right at the max case length. I guess I need to get a case trimmer.

I also think I messed up my die as I bent the pin that de caps it a little. I had a case that had the end almost bent shut. I tried to see if I could re size it and it just pushed that pin down the side instead of going inside of the case. I think it slightly bent it. I guess I need a new die too. I'm not sure.

April 2, 2010, 04:15 PM
If it is in fact an RCBS die, just call them and they will send you the new parts free by return mail.


April 2, 2010, 04:23 PM
It is a RCBS. Maybe I will have to give them a call. Now I just need to find a good case trimmer. I'm hoping to find one that's not $100 like the RCBS.

April 2, 2010, 04:27 PM
should include a chronometer. Charge-weights, OAL, and all other parameters can go off the paper accidentally. Load a few, speed-check those, and then carry on. And the records of a re-loader should be as immaculate as the records of a NFA shop. You can't be "too" accurate on recording your own re-load data.

April 2, 2010, 04:40 PM
L.E. Wilson trimmer is what I use and recommend for rifle cartridges. Skip the expensive accessories from Sinclair for now, you don't need them. Just the base trimmer and a case holder is all you need.


April 2, 2010, 04:55 PM
Hornady also makes a nice trimmer and they make an adapter that allows you to attach a power drill or other power source to make the job a lot easier if you have a lot of brass to trim. See here:

Also you can order a bag of 5 depriming pins to replace the bent one. That happens from time to time. I buy them regularly.

April 6, 2010, 12:53 AM
One more question. Do I want to crimp the brass for a .243?

April 11, 2010, 11:24 PM
I have another question. How important is it for the length of the brass to be exactly the same? The reason I ask is I set the case cutter to what I thought was 2.038" for the case length. This is what I wanted. Anyway, some of them measure out to 2.038" and some of them measure out to 2.037" and some 2.0375" Does that difference matter? Are they going to shoot to a different POA than the others as long as the overall length is the same after I load the bullet? Should I toss these cases or just load them up and not worry about them?

April 12, 2010, 12:32 AM
Well, I'm having one more issue. I noticed after resizing all of my brass that on most of it the die had smashed the shoulder in. I thought I might have messed the die up before as a case with the mouth smashed almost closed I'd tried to see if it would resize it. It didn't and the decapping pin just went down the side of it and smashed the case. I replaced that but apparently the inside of the die is messed up. I can see a rough spot when shining a flash light down there. So I ruined most of my brass. However, there are a few pieces that visually look okay. Are these okay to use as long as they visually don't have a dent in the shoulder or should I just toss them out too? It's not much left anyway. I guess it's the shoulder. It's the part where the case starts getting narrower. The angled in part. Is that the shoulder?

One other question while I'm asking. If using Federal brass and then I switch to Winchester will it affect how the ammo shoots? Or should the brand of brass not matter? If it's the same powder, bullet, and primer should it shoot to the same POI and shoot the same groups? Or does brass matter too?

April 12, 2010, 01:11 AM
I don't crimp for my bolt action rifles. Some people do, some don't. I've tried it both ways and found no real difference in the performance of my loads.

I also wouldn't worry about an .001 difference in trimmed case length, unless I was shooting for the top spot in a big match. For every day shooting, it wouldn't bother me a bit.

As for the dented shoulders on your sized cases, it sounds like you have some dried lube or crud inside the die. Take the decapping pin out of it and flush it out with some solvent and a .45 cal bore brush if you have one. I can't imagine the die body itself being damaged by a brass case enough to do what you are describing.

Or, you may have the sizing die screwed down too far, if it's crushing the shoulder all the way around.

Switching brands of brass is fine, as long as you start low on the powder charge again.

April 12, 2010, 07:49 AM
I like to take a spray can of ether and wash the insides of my dies from time to time, it will cut the dried lube and wash out and dirt-trash-crud that may be in a die. Do this outside away from any flames, afterwards spray the die down with some CLP because the ether takes all the oil off the metal and it will rust very fast if not protected.

You say you are crushing the case, are you sure you're not over lubing and getting real big oil dents? It does not take very much oil to cause the case dents on the shoulder area, make sure the oil vent hole is open too, take a straight pin and make sure it is clean.

Depending on how bad you bent your decapping stem, you may be able to straighten it by screwing it back wards into the top of the die. By using the die as a handle, bend the stem in the direction it needs to go, keep bending and screwing the stem in until you have it fairly straight. RCBS will send you a new one too.

As far as crimping .. no need to crimp unless you're loading pistol or rounds for a semi auto rifle, even then it is not needed if you have good neck tension.

Jimmy K

Marlin 45 carbine
April 12, 2010, 09:47 AM
consider saveing room on your bench for another smaller press maybe a garage sale find or such. will come in handy and when loading pistol ammo have a buddy run the seat/crimp after you have the die set up really speeds things along.

If you enjoyed reading about "Couple of questions about getting started reloading." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!