New to reloading, need help on getting setup


December 3, 2010, 01:32 AM
I just made an order of

Includes Hand Press
Ram Prime
powder funnel
case sizing lube
dies with shellholder
powder dipper & load data

I know I will need primers, powder, brass, and bullets, but I was wondering what else I may need to safely start reloading my .223 ammo for my 1x8 twist bushmaster.


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December 3, 2010, 01:46 AM
The following tools are very useful. They will add to your understanding of what you are doing, and will increase safety and accuracy.

- reloading manual is a must.
- case neck brush: to remove powder residue, help ease the resizing die stroke, and promote more consistent bullet retention in the case.
- 2 caseholder blocks: to keep your batch work organized.
- caliper: to keep track of changes in case dimensions, and to make sure bullets are seated to a safe COL.
- beam scale: because the dipper will only get you close to the exact charge you want. Knowing the exact weight of powder you are dispensing is very reassuring and generally safer.

Have fun.

December 3, 2010, 02:13 AM
Get 2 from a bullet company and another that teaches the basics, like a Lyman manual or an ABC of reloading manual.

I learned by watching someone else do it. That was the single best learning experience in the whole process. Get help if you know someone who reloads.

December 3, 2010, 10:36 AM actual bench-mounted press (even used). go-no go gauge to go with the calipers

December 3, 2010, 11:32 AM
More than anything you need a couple of reloading manuals/books. I recommend that one of them be Lee's reloading book. He pushes Lee stuff quite a bit in the book, but it gives you a really good overview of reloading. You need to read everything in the book except load data. You need to know not only the "how" of reloading but the "why."

December 3, 2010, 12:30 PM
If you are very limited in space then that hand press will be fine, but I would strongly recommend you consider a bench mounted press in the near future. If money is tight, either a used single stage press or the $30 Lee "C" Aluminum press will make loading much easier on you. The nice thing about the hand press is you can try out new loads in the field

Stay away from the new made in China "Smart Reloader" press. The price is tempting but everything I read about it on reloading forums says its a piece of junk. China seems to save money by skipping on quality control, inspections, and tolerance and this press seems to be the epitome of their philosophy.

+1 on books

I would also recommend a bullet puller. The < $20 RCBS all plastic hammer-type works well and is guaranteed for life. It's not a question of "if" you need to pull bullets, its a question of "when". If you already have one on hand, its a lot better than needing one and not having it.

December 3, 2010, 01:39 PM
The ABCs of Reloading, Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook, and Lee's Modern Reloading are good places to start your library. I would recommend a scale, beam type, also. I got the inexpensive Lee Safety Scale (I still like it because you can lock the poise in place and not get any oops when you replace the pan, like I've done on my Ohaus/Lyman). When I started reloading I was short on cash so I looked at other tools/equipment that would work just as well as dedicated "reloading" tools. I made scoops fron tubing and fired cases (cut the case down to get your specific load and solder a wire handle on the side). An inexpensive tool steel countersink will remove military primer crimps and champhering case mouths. Also I used crocus cloth for deburring case mouths (push and turn case mouth against some crocus cloth will deburr both the inside and outside of the case mouth). A teaspoon works OK instead of a trickler. A pocket screwdriver works well for scraping the primer pockets. An insert from 45 ACP ammo box works as a reloading block. You get the idea...

Reloading is a very rewarding addition to our shooting sport and if you go slow, double check, then check again, use common sense, you can reload/handload custom ammo and keep all your fingers...:D

December 3, 2010, 04:10 PM
I would highly recommend you look into a scale and a set of calipers,

Even Harbor freight calipers are better than nothing.

As far as the scale goes, if you can't find a quality electric one then I would get a balance beam scale. The balance beam always works.

December 4, 2010, 12:23 PM
One other thing to add.......That lee hand press can be very tedious to operate. It's pretty rough on the hands when you get to a stubborn case. Mine sits on the self most of the time now.

December 4, 2010, 04:33 PM
You might also look into a small base sizer die, and a factory crimp dye

December 4, 2010, 06:08 PM
I would think that priming on that press with the ram prime wold be quite a balancing act. Either way, a hand priming tool will go faster I think.
Rifle brass almost always grows when fulll lenth sized,so be prepared to have to trim the brass....measure after sizing,with primer removed.some folks like to put a little lube in the case neck so the expander 'ball' will slide rather than grab and pull.

December 5, 2010, 03:46 AM
There is probably load data that came in the die box.

Measuring powder with the little yellow dippers makes me nervous.
I like having a powder scale.

But it takes ~ 20% extra powder beyond published data to get the primers to fall out of a .223 case, so you should be ok with a little dipper error.

I guess you have everything.
It would sure be nicer if you had someone come over or you went over to someone else's house and got an experience handloader to watch over you for the first few rounds.

December 5, 2010, 10:01 PM
You also need a case trimmer. Case neck flows way too long. = Kaboom.

December 5, 2010, 11:22 PM
Last but most importantly, you'll need some vitamins to keep that press up with the volumes an AR will shoot. About round #50 you'll find out what I'm talking about.


Then start looking on Craig'sList for a used bench mount press.

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