Please help me whittle/prioritize my Christmas list. :)


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762NATO
December 1, 2010, 06:03 PM
I popped in awhile ago 'cause I didn't know jack about reloading and was determined to get into it with the extra $$ we had come into. Lurked on the reloading forum, bugged y'all with an occasional OCD quesiton, read the Lyman reloading manual cover to cover, memorized every ballistic chart known to man, the whole 9 yards. I put together a good Excel chart of equipment to get based on all my research (one of which was the Forster CoAx), and was about to pull the trigger. Until we decided to do something else with that extra money.

Well, it's Christmas time, and I'm back! While I'm not as ignorant as I used to be, I'm still a total newb when it comes to reloading. I'm determined to get some reloading gear for Christmas, but the budget ain't nearly as free as it was when I was looking before, so something like the Forster CoAx will have to wait.

I'm taking a hard look at the Hornady LNL Classic kit since it is on sale for $250. Seems to be a pretty good deal, and I may be able to secure this one from the wifey. I know the one downside is having to have a LNL bushing for every die you own, but since I don't own any dies yet, that's not going to be a problem. I have heard the Hornady scale can be touchy (comes with the kit), can anyone comment on that or on any other portion of the kit that may be problematic?

Of course, just the kit isn't going to get me reloading as I'll need a few more things. The thing is, I'm not going to be able to get all these things at once, so I need help "prioritizing" my Christmas list. I will only be reloading for .308 and .40S&W for now, so obviously dies will be one of the first things on the list. Here are the other things I feel that I "need", so any input on these would be great.

Case tumbler and media sifter (Lyman is on sale for $42)
Hornady Dial Calipers
Wilson and Lyman headspace gages -Question: Can't calipers be used to measure overall case length? if so, what is the advantage of headspace gages?
Wilson case trimmer w/ appropriate case holders How could this not be so essential that it is not included in reloading "kits"?
Possum Hollow Chamfer & Deburring too Power Adapter (kit comes with C&D tool)
Lee Pocket Cleaner
Lyman Flash Hole Uniformer
Dillon Super Swage 600 (I am not sure if I will need this or not...a lot of my .308 brass is Winchester 7.62NATO [military contract])
Frankford Arsenal Case Neck Lubricator and fine powdered mica
Imperial Case sizing wax (just to try a couple different things, though the kit comes with "one shot")
Forster Bench rest Full Length 2-die set
Lee Universal depriming/decapping die (I have heard the deprimer on the Forster die I want can break)
Dillon Rifle Taper Crimp Die (for the M1A)
Hornady CGND Nitrate 3-die set (40S&W)
Lyman Die Locking Ring (may be superfluous...I guess the Hornady bushings lock themselves, right?)
Frankford Arsenal bullet puller
Ammo boxes and reloading trays

THANKS

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arizona_cards_11
December 1, 2010, 07:23 PM
You read my mind and I accidentally mimicked your thread. :neener:

It seems as though the $250 price tag for the kit is a pretty darn good deal. And the MAIN reason I've been looking at this kit, is Hornady's promotional offer.

If you fill out the form on Hornady's website and include the receipt of your purchase, they'll send you 500 free bullets of your choosing. I believe they're offering 155gr 308's, which is what I'm looking for and that may help you as well.

It seems that when you include bullets, the price of another kit, and all of the other odds and ends.....you're coming out way ahead in the end.

762NATO
December 1, 2010, 09:02 PM
I did the math on what the kit costs minus the price of the stand alone press, and then added up the cost of the kit parts I would have chosen in lieu of what comes in the kit (not necessarily the exact same things, but a functional equivalent...e.g. the Redding powder trickler, the Lee hand primer, etc.), and the kit puts you way ahead money-wise, not even including the bullet deal.

From what I have read, the Hornady scale is consistently off by .02 grains. I have read that the Hornady powder measure can be off too, and is susceptible to rust. So, there is a chance that those might have to be replaced. The rest of the stuff is fine, from what I can tell. And I don't see any of it as being superfluous. Without the kit, I would choose the RCBS UniFlo and the Dillon Precision Eliminator scale.

Still thinkin' about it...

GaryL
December 1, 2010, 09:47 PM
I'd start with loading the 40SW to get your feet wet. You won't need to prep and trim the cases, so that's a number of items you wouldn't need immediately.

Get the tumbler and media, no sense in scratching up your dies. Some may argue it only makes your cases purty, but they do size a little easier, and as far as scratching carbide dies, just need to think about how sandpaper works.

A very small amount of the Imperial wax on an occasional case will smooth out the resizing operation. A little on your thumb and index finger is all you need.

You need the caliper.

The Hornady scale being off by 0.02gr is nothing. Did you mean 0.2gr? If so, take that into account when working up loads. A check weight set would be useful.

I recently picked up a Hornady cam lock bullet puller. Requires collets, but that was $ well spent.

I don't have any headspace gauges. Someone else will have to provide input on the value of those.

I'm going to assume you have a Lyman manual. I'd suggest adding one more for a cross-reference. The Hornady is a good manual. Pick up the powder manufacturers manuals (or bookmark their sites) for an additional reference.

rfwobbly
December 1, 2010, 09:52 PM
Mr NATO -
That's a great starter kit that will last you many years. I'll try to answer some of your questions....

• My son got the Lyman tumbler and he likes it. He got started with Dillon tumblers so I think he's impressed for what he paid.
• All the digital calipers are made by the same Chinese company. You might look at Harbor Freight or Frankfort Ars.
• All the primer pocket tools, case trimmers, swaggers, etc are only for the rifle. Why don't you master the simpler 40 first, and save all that rifle stuff for next March ?
• Unless you're bench rest shooting you only need regular Hornady dies, or even Lee dies if you don't want the extra bullets. Hornady dies come with excellent lock rings as standard.
• You won't need any extra LNL bushings unless you just want to. For 100 years, reloaders simply screwed the dies into position. That's why you want great lock rings.
• The Hornady powder measure is as good as any other, and better than most. They rust when not used because they're made of cast iron, a material that allows very accurate machining. Your grandchildren will be using that PM.
• All the "introductory" electronic scales I know of have trouble in the lowest ranges. Just add a nickel to the pan and zero the scale that way.
• If you wanted a balance beam, them the Dillon Eliminator is the best deal at $55. It has the same features as the RCBS 505 at $75. If you order the Dillon scale, then most definitely check out the deal on Dillon ammo boxes.

Hope this helps!

Hondo 60
December 1, 2010, 09:57 PM
Wilson case trimmer w/ appropriate case holders How could this not be so essential that it is not included in reloading "kits"?

If you're reloading straight walled pistol cases, trimming really isn't necessary.

Wilson and Lyman headspace gages -Question: Can't calipers be used to measure overall case length? if so, what is the advantage of headspace gages?

Many reloaders, far more knowledgeable than me, have told me not to measure rifle rounds OAL, because this can be very inconsistent. If the very tip of the bullet get banged in the box then it won't measure correctly. But the absolute best headspace gauge is your rifle, not some external devise.

762NATO
December 2, 2010, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the replies, all.* I think it is a good suggestion to get started on pistol only and then work my way into reloading the .308 as I acquire more tools.

Question about trimming, or not trimming straight-walled cases.* I can't imagine that the firing and resizing of straight-walled ammunition will have no effect on said case length.* Perhaps the point is that the effect is minimal, and that the cases will not normally exceed the maximum case length for that particular cartridge.* However, if there are slight variances in case lengths for a given load (all other things being equal) wouldn't that affect the group size/accuracy of the load?* Would seem so to me.* I guess for blasting ammo, that would be okay, but for self-defense or hunting ammo, I'd think you want it to be as accurate as possible (thus, a trimming).

As far as a headspace gauge vs/ my rifle or pistol chamber goes, how am I going to be able to tell if I'm too long or short?* I thought the purpose of the gauge was that you can see (or measure to see) if the case extends beyond the gauge at all.

Sorry for all the asterisks.* I cannot access this site at work, so I send an email to my iPhone with a response, and copy and paste the response into THR from there.* For some reason all these asterisks appear.

rfwobbly
December 2, 2010, 09:31 PM
Mr NATO -
It's the bottleneck that leads to the case growth. Auto pistol cases just aren't an issue. Most auto pistol cases start out near minimum length and if there is any growth it's very minimal.

In theory it's something to check. In practice it's a big non-event.

rsrocket1
December 3, 2010, 01:20 PM
Case tumbler and media sifter (Lyman is on sale for $42)
-good to go. If you have an animal feed store nearby, check for crushed walnut shells @ about $0.25/pound. Otherwise Petsmart Lizard bedding (same thing, just a little more expensive)

Hornady Dial Calipers
-good

Wilson and Lyman headspace gages -Question: Can't calipers be used to measure overall case length? if so, what is the advantage of headspace gages?
-not high priority. Calipers and your own gun work just fine

Wilson case trimmer w/ appropriate case holders How could this not be so essential that it is not included in reloading "kits"?
-A Lee case trimmer and gauge/shell holder will set you back about $10 total, but if you are starting with just pistol, skip this.

Possum Hollow Chamfer & Deburring too Power Adapter (kit comes with C&D tool)
-The pointed end of the chamfer tool in your LnL kit will also remove the crimp flare. See youtube videos on how.

Lee Pocket Cleaner
-OK, but not really essential

Lyman Flash Hole Uniformer
-OK but not really essential

Dillon Super Swage 600 (I am not sure if I will need this or not...a lot of my .308 brass is Winchester 7.62NATO [military contract])
RCBS Swage die is much cheaper, but again you can get away at no cost with the chamfer tool.


Frankford Arsenal Case Neck Lubricator and fine powdered mica
-cheap enough, but Imperial Die wax works well unless you want to roll your own lube for nothing

Imperial Case sizing wax (just to try a couple different things, though the kit comes with "one shot")
-ditto

Forster Bench rest Full Length 2-die set
- I would go with the Lee Pacesetter set for the 308, much cheaper. If you are using a bolt gun, then the Lee Deluxe Rifle Die set is more appropriate because it substitutes the crimp die with a neck only sizing die.

Lee Universal depriming/decapping die (I have heard the deprimer on the Forster die I want can break)
-no need for this if you have the neck sizing die. You could crank it up so it only deprimes without resizing. The resizing die pin on the Lee slips up the collet if met with too much resistance so it is protected from breaking even if you accidentally try to decap a Berdan primed case.

Dillon Rifle Taper Crimp Die (for the M1A)
- Not needed if you buy the Lee Pacesetter die kit

Hornady CGND Nitrate 3-die set (40S&W)
- Not to sound like a Lee fanboy, but the 4 die Lee Deluxe pistol set works great for my 45 ACP loading and it has the Factory which I use to simply remove the bell from the case mouth.

Lyman Die Locking Ring (may be superfluous...I guess the Hornady bushings lock themselves, right?)
-No need if you use the O-ring on the Lee Dies with the LnL bushings. Set once and forget.

Frankford Arsenal bullet puller
-Fine, I prefer the RCBS all plastic one with the lifetime warranty.

Ammo boxes and reloading trays
-Trays definitely, ammo boxes, I use scrounged boxes from the range, but store bought boxes are cheap enough.

Yes you probably want to start with the pistol rounds and may find that a progressive is on next year's wish list. 1# of powder will load over 1000 rounds at just over a penny per shot. 308 will eat powder much quicker and there is much more case prep with bottle neck rifle rounds, but its not too hard to learn all the right steps.

As for the Powder Measure, I love the smoothness and accuracy of the LnL measure on my AP. Make sure you use the small drum and small piston for the .40 pistol loads because the large rifle setup is way too coarse for pistol loads.

Also, take some time to watch the Hornady Lock n Load setup instructional videos (from their website or YouTube) for the AP press, most notably #4 which shows how to disassemble and clean the powder drop. It ships with an anti-rust grease coating on it which will cause powder to stick to it and cause erratic measurements. Buy a can of Hornady One Shot Dry Gun Lube for this (not the same as the Case Lube spray which is included with the kit). The lube will not cause the powder to stick and protects the steel parts from rusting which they will do quite quickly if they are cleaned and not protected.

rcmodel
December 3, 2010, 01:32 PM
Calipers and your own gun work just fineExcept for high-volume .223 / .308 / 30-06 loading for semi-auto's.

It's a royal pain to try every one in an AR-15 or M1 to see if they all fit.
And it only takes one that doesn't fit to lock up an AR-15 tighter then a gnats exhaust port.

If you reload for an auto-loading rifle, get a case guage for it so you can check every round while watching TV!

rc

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