New (Potential) Reloader, some quick questions.


September 4, 2011, 09:39 PM
Alright, well, like a good forumite I DID read the sticky for new reloaders...I then proceeded to go ahead onto, and started 'shopping'. Before I pull the trigger though, while I THINK I hit everything I need, I want to make sure I'm not going to get myself in trouble or over my head with any of this.

Before anything else, I figured since I shoot my .223's/5.56's most often, I'd start out reloading for them.

Alright, so, so far I got a few basic things, went ahead and got the RCBS Trim Pro Manual Case Trimmer Kit ( and the Frankford Arsenal Bullet Pullers, along with a Frankford Arsenal Reloading Scale (

Next, thanks to advice from here, I'm changing the press to a Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret kit. I'm now getting torn between the one from Cabelas ( or the one from Kempf Gun Shop ( Now, since I did get that digital scale, I know BDS recommends a beam scale, so I was still leaning towards getting the Cabelas kit, however the downside with that is I didn't see it in store, and its backordered at the moment. The Cabelas kit comes with 4 measuring disks to the Kempfs two if I'm reading it right though...If I get the Kempf I WILL upgrade to the pro autodisk. So, which would be the better option overall here?

If I get the Cabelas set, I'll get these dies, which are the same I think I'd be getting with the Kempf set anyways. Lee Pacesetter 3 die set (

Then these Frankford Arsenal Calipers. ( Once again, figured these to be a good option.

RCBS Chamfer/Deburrer Tool ( I'm thinking appearantly I wont ACTUALLY need this, but, I'm going to get it anyways since I figure it cant hurt.

By advice, I'll switch to the Imperial Wax, unless more people jump up and say the Hornady spray was better...then I'll just be confused. (

Going to get a Barry's tumbler on advice, not sure yet whether I'll get the one linked to from Eabco ( or just a Cabelas branded one.

And last, but probably most important, the manual Hornady "Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" 8th Edition (

Once again, I'm not including the cases or bins since they seem like I'd have to TRY to mess up on them. However, given the updates, my main question now becomes, should I get the Cabelas kit, and have the bar scale? Or should I just stick with the digital scale I have, and get the Kempf kit? Any other advice is still more than welcome though!

(End note, I have the regular links for everything seperated in a .txt doc, but figured tinyurl's would make it a LOT more convenient for now. If a mod would rather I edit to use the original URL's, just let me know, and I'll do it as soon as I'm on again.)


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September 4, 2011, 10:06 PM
Welcome to reloading!

I highly recommend the Lee Classic Turret ( over the regular turret press. Classic turret base is cast iron and regular turret is aluminum. The Classic Turret is a much sturdier press with better mechanical leverage for resizing thicker military rifle cartridges (I reload .223 and .308). Classic turret captures spent primers through the center of the ram into a tube but the regular turret drops spent primer through a slot on the ram and into an opening in the base, but only about 90% of the primers make it into it.

If you plan on full-length sizing for semi-auto rifle, then 3 die Pacesetter set ( (full-length sizing die, factory crimp die, bullet seating die) is fine. If you plan on neck-sizing for bolt rifle, then you want to get the 3 die Deluxe set ( (full-length sizing die, collet neck sizing die, bullet seating die) that has both sizing dies.

Cabela's sells a LCT rifle kit for $199 ($20 off on $150 purchase until 9/6/11) and comes with Pro Auto Disk powder measure but doesn't come with dies ($26 for 3 die set ( -

Kempf Gun Shop sells LCT kits for $199 and it comes with 3 die set (Pacesetter set), double disk kit, but no scale and regular Auto Disk (I would definitely upgrade the powder measure to Pro Auto Disk for extra $12) -

If you get the Cabela's kit, you may need to buy the double disk kit ( ($11) in addition to the die set ($26). Since you are buying a scale, Kempf's kit may turn out to be a better buy at $112 with the Pro Auto Disk upgrade.

I have both FA tumbler and Cabela's tumbler (same as Berry's 400 tumbler) and highly recommend the Berry's tumbler. It has larger capacity, larger/quieter motor, longer cord and on/off switch on the cord -

Berry's with shifter kit $54 -

September 4, 2011, 10:23 PM
that lee safety scale will work fine for you. the RCBS is nicer, and digital, but functionally no better. the kit you linked has a chamfer tool in it. it works fine too.

the auto disk, you may need the double disk kit. I struggle some getting a regular auto disk to drop enough powder, and it's really only accurate to about half a grain. (in my experience, your results may vary, and it also varies with the shape of the powder you use)

you will probably also need a rifle charging die to use the auto disk with a 223.

I agree with Bds that you should get the classic instead of the regular turret. it's nicer, and comes with the correct ram for the safety prime system, which is worth it's weight in gold. If you add the safety prime system, you'll need a riser for the auto disk, otherwise it smacks into the primer holder when the turret rotates.
classic turret
dies set
auto disk
safety prime
rifle charging die
trimmer (case length gauge and also the cutter.)
chamfer tool
safety scale
bullet puller

most all the information you need to reload can be found online. the load bool is kinda optional. very nice to have, but not critical if you can do online research. Tumbler is nice too, but not critical. you'll wind up with one eventually. Midway's good, be sure to use a coupon code, and check the prices against midsouth too. sometimes they're cheaper. sometimes not. Use lots of case lube.

September 4, 2011, 10:33 PM
Hmm, in that case, I'm leaning towards the LCT rifle kit atm. All told I'll spend about the same, but I'd MUCH rather get the better press. I saw the Classic 4 hole turret press by itself right above the kit I posted, and missed that the one I picked WASNT a classic.

As far as the tumbler goes, sounds good to me. For the sake of ease I'll see if Midway has that one, if not, no harm in ordering from different sources, just not quite as easy as ordering from one source. Thanks a TON for the help so far as it is.

Editted to add: Wait, so if I get the classic (which I now fully intend to do, and I'll be glad to settle for the basic scale) I should add the riser for the auto disk?

So basically, switch kit to the classic kit, drop the scale as its nicer, but not required, tumblers optional? But I'll end up with one anyways, so it's up to me basically whether to get one initially, or delay and get one anyways? :P

I see the one Classic kit from cabellas has the riser, and four powder measure disks, so hopefully one will work well...

Alright, I think I'm gonna drop the scale then, and the kit I WAS going to get, and get that Cabelas kit instead then. Anything else I should know or missed? Sounds like so far the main thing was just getting the regular instead of classic press.

September 4, 2011, 10:55 PM
make sure you pick up one of these too. while technically you can live without it, it's much nicer to have one, and you need the auto disk riser to use the priming system with the auto disk, and you need this if you're going to use the auto disk to load rifle rounds

FYI, it's easier to load pistol rounds than rifle. you don't need to trim, chamfer, or lube, and that saves a ton of time. I started loading pistol, and loaded tens of thousands before I started in on rifle, and I always think, "man, rifle sure is a lot more time and effort" I'm about to give up loading for 223 in bulk and just go back to steel case ammo. It's about the same price and I don't have to hunt brass and go though all the extra steps. And for an AR and tin cans, it's just not worth it to roll my own. Now, for my bolt gun, I do a lot better with a custom load.

September 4, 2011, 11:09 PM
Both Cabela's and Kempf's kits come with Auto Disk riser, rifle charge die and large/small safety prime.

If you are dropping the RCBS scale, then Cabela's kit maybe better as it comes with the Lee scale, but keep in mind that Lee scale's capacity is only 100 grains and if you want to weigh bullets/cases, then you'll need a scale with larger capacity.

For beam scale, I usually recommend the RCBS 5-0-5 ($75) ( or Dillon Elliminator ($55) ( MidwayUSA also has RCBS 5-0-2 ( scale on sale for $65. All these scales have capacity of 500+ grains.

Hondo 60
September 4, 2011, 11:20 PM
If I were starting over with the knowledge I now have Id' buy a Classic Turret press
(not the deluxe)

The Classic is a much better press from it's construction, through the way it handles spent primers.
The deluxe is cast aluminum, the Classic is steel.
The classic sends spent primers down the ram into a rubber hose, that's easily emptied.
The Deluxe sends spent primers EVERYWHERE! (except where they're supposed to go)

The Lee safety scale, while accurate is very cheaply made.
If you can afford it, buy the scale you have linked.

Also, the powder measure that comes with the deluxe kit has less desirable features than this one.
This one has an on/off where the one with the kit doesn't.

As mentioned above get a riser as well. this moves the powder measure up out of the way of the safety prime.

September 4, 2011, 11:20 PM
I'm definitely leaning towards the Cabelas kit because of the scale. I'm trying to minimize start up costs as, well, I figure I'm looking at over $500 to start either way (which, is a decent bit of cash for me at once haha), and getting the classic is the better bet. I want to get the quality parts, but, figure the better and quicker scale is something I can add later, while dealing with the slow but not QUITE as good one for the short term.

When I DO upgrade the scale, I'm fairly sure I'll go for a digital, because it seems the better and more accurate bet overall.

I wont be getting anything until sometime later this week, so theres still plenty of time for me to see whats available, but, I'm finally set on getting started on this.

I'm also fairly sure I'll get that Berry's tumbler rather than the one I had originally chosen also.

Once again guys, thanks a LOT for the help so far, I really appreciate it.

September 4, 2011, 11:34 PM
I have used the older version of FA 750 digital scale ( for years. It's readings have been within .1 grain of Ohaus 10-10 and Lee safety scale (yeah, I still have it after 16 years and it works well). :D I usually recommend reloaders buy a beam scale first then add a digital scale to cross check weight readings.

Also, highly recommend check weights to verify accurate readings of scales -

FA 750 digital scale frequently goes on sale on MidwayUSA or you can buy online for $28 ( with free shipping.

September 4, 2011, 11:53 PM
You just sold me on that scale :P I have an amazon prime membership, and was going to cross check most of this there first, but, heck, why not get started now? Once I start, I cant really back track and put it off again. (Have the money now, and its possible, and I WANT to, just keep thinking maybe another time, but when better than the present?) Like I said, I think I'm fairly settled on getting that one kit from Cabelas for the $200.00, but, I think for a lot of the smaller stuff, I'm going to check amazon now too. Might save a few bucks.

September 5, 2011, 12:23 AM
Oops, duplicate post. :o

September 5, 2011, 12:27 AM
I get my bullets from these vendors among others:

TJ Conevera ( (free shipping over $45 and $5 for under). Good service and shipping. If you need brass, he also sells brass/bullet combos.

RMR Bullets (;jsessionid=5A6DC13D1DAB8E84636BC21A47C48E16.qscstrfrnt05?categoryId=7) (free shipping on all orders). Member of THR as longdayjake ( and usually has good selection of .223/.308 bullets, including pulled military bullets. Great service and fast shipping.

Widener's (|281|727). Good service and shipping.

September 5, 2011, 12:44 AM
Just ordered the Trimmer, the bullet pullers, and that FA 750 scale from Amazon. I'm officially into it now. Figure next weekend I'll head out to the closest Cabelas to see if they have that press set in store, since its backordered online, and there's no check online feature. By then I'll have the parts I just ordered. Once I get the press...I'll start getting the other components I need, and then, finally, the actual cartridge components.

And with that, I'm off to bed! I want to thank you all so far for your help, you all are why I LOVE this site. You've all been extremely helpful, and hopefully within a couple weeks I'll be coming to the reloading subforum more often!

Once again, thank you ALL! And please, don't hesitate to throw anything else out there that I might want/need!

September 5, 2011, 12:49 AM
I would skip the hornady oneshot lube and go with Imperial sizing die wax. One little can will last you just about forever and there might be one person that stuck a case with it as opposed to the thousands that have stuck a case with the hornady. I would also get a case gauge for each cliber you load for. They are not a necessity, but they do make setting up your dies quicker and easier.

September 5, 2011, 11:33 AM
Ah, alright Bullseye, I was just going based on the sticky and it recommended either/or, so, I just picked one at random. And sounds good on the case gauge! Thanks!

September 5, 2011, 12:43 PM
Since you bought a scale separate and don't need the Lee scale look at the kit at, it will come with the dies and everything else you need for around $200.

September 5, 2011, 04:01 PM
The only draw back with some of the beam scales. IE Lee scale.. As your eyes go south and ya need Bifocals it is almost impossible to read them. Scales are something that will last a lifetime. Think of the future.

September 5, 2011, 04:03 PM
Haha at only 21 at the moment, I think I'll get more use out of my eyes than the scale, but, also being 21 and giving into being a bit lazier, and having used plenty of larger beam scales in my science classes, I'm defniitely opting for that nice little digital one! :P

September 5, 2011, 10:41 PM
if you wind up shopping cabelas, be sure to use the coupon code @20 off 150

September 19, 2011, 10:56 PM
Happy to say, I just got everything ordered except components! Should be reloading in a couple weeks with any luck! Went and picked up a bench today and got that together (Though I'll probably put some thicker wood on the surface where I mount the press, as the surface is only a 1/2 inch)

September 19, 2011, 11:06 PM
Great! Keep us posted on your progress.

September 20, 2011, 12:24 AM
Congrats on your start to reloading - it's definitely fun and rewarding. :)

One bit of caution I'll throw out there though:

When I DO upgrade the scale, I'm fairly sure I'll go for a digital, because it seems the better and more accurate bet overall.

Given a quality scale (ie, RCBS, Dillon, etc - they are made by the same company) , this is *not* this case. Digitals are not any more accurate, and only "better" depending on your definition. They can be easier to read, and perhaps faster to hit the number (sometimes), but they also need batteries and can be subject to voltage fluctuations.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I wouldn't trust load development to a $27 scale that contains $7 of parts made in China by the lowest bidder... I don't consider +/- .1 to be "close enough".

My advice: if you go digital, be absolutely sure you buy check weights. And use them often and properly.


September 20, 2011, 12:40 PM
Looks like you're well on your way.

That same Frankford Arsenal scale is what I use. Just keep the batteries fresh and you're good to go. I haven't had any issues with this scale not being repeatable with check weights, but it will get fidgety once it's batteries start to fade (probably true of all battery operated scales)

I love my Frankford Arsenal caliper dials (mine is the dial one, not the electronic one, but I'm sure that one is probably fine too)

You're right on target with the Wax over the Spray. The spray caused me 3-4 stuck cases, which is a huge PITA, and my die manufacturer strongly recommended the wax.

Hondo 60
September 20, 2011, 07:52 PM
Congrats on joining the addiction... OH, I mean hobby, ya, hobby (ya, that's the ticket) :D

Of course please feel free to post other questions as they come up.

The only stupid question is one never asked that causes an injury to you or someone near you!

September 20, 2011, 08:12 PM
I strongly suggest Dillon presses. No BS warranty. Top quality. U cant go wrong and are always in demand as used. Like a Harley or a Mercedes.

September 20, 2011, 08:18 PM
Well, having already ordered the Lee, and since it already shipped, I think I'll stick with it for awhile.

And Hondo, I have 2 fears about reloading...
One is quite valid, one is based out of inexperience in it and I already KNOW will fade once I get the manual and learn what the heck I'm doing...

One of them is that I'll mess up and blow up one of my rifles, the other is that I'll end up spending MORE money reloading, because I'll end up shooting more often because of it.

Guess which is which? :P

I DO actually have a quick question though, I'm going to be getting 62 Grain bullets (.223), already have some brass on the way, know I need small rifle primers...

But, should I want to get some powder before everything gets here next week...uh...what type would be good? And by good, I mean just acceptable for a starter. Looking at all the types on midway kinda just confused me :eek:

September 20, 2011, 11:10 PM
Varget powder has a good rep for accurate loads in the .223, a lot of competitors use it. Varget has the virtue of being fairly insensitive to temperature changes, so it shoots about the same in really hot weather as in really cold weather.

September 20, 2011, 11:23 PM
I know you're going to be reloading .223, but what kind of rifle are you using the reloads in and what is the barrel twist?

September 21, 2011, 09:37 AM
I actually meant to include that too, bleh. I'll be firing more immediatly out of an AR15 20" with a 1/9. Though I'm also in the process of getting a preban AR (CT still has an awb) that has a 16" barrel, not sure the twist on it. Also have an MSAR STG556 16" 1/8.

Thing is, I'll only be shooting out to 100 yards, as thats the current max range at the club I go to, so I'm not horribly concerned with long range accuracy.

September 21, 2011, 09:57 AM
H335 would be a good choice for .223 and it meters very well in Lee powder measures.

I have H335, H4895, IMR4895 and Varget to reload for my AR (20" 1/9 twist).

H335 is flattened ball powder whereas H4895/I4895/Varget are typical rifle stick powders. I prefer to load rifle cartridges single stage and out of Lee Perfect Powder measure, all the above powders measure very consistently.

September 21, 2011, 10:13 AM
I recently (about a year ago) joined the reloading addiction. If you go with a LEE setup (as I did), I strongly suggest ordering your stuff from The place is apparently right across the road from the Lee factory and sales everything LEE makes. In fact, they even went to the factory to get my 5.7x28 die and still sold it to me for less than LEE's website. I absolutely guarantee you wont find anything cheaper! I bet I've ordered $500 worth of stuff from them in the past year and haven't been disappointed yet!

If I can tell you one thing you MUST order, it's the LEE hand press! It is the single most impressive piece of engineering that will fit between 2 hands (other than a woman).

My wife gave me a 2'x4' square of the garage, I think I'm making great use of it :)

September 21, 2011, 03:21 PM
Think I might have to make a new topic for this one...but...uh...anyone know any stores that stock a good amount of reloading stuff in central CT?

Hoffmans had some, more than anywhere else I've been, but, didn't have either suggested powders, and while they had a good AMOUNT, they didnt have much selection wise... BMG Guns didn't have anything, Newington Gun Exchange doesnt appear to have much, unless they keep it all downstairs...Probably try Riverview Sales this weekend if I get a chance, but, I suppose if I absolutely have to, I'll just get it online and pay the hazmat fee.

September 23, 2011, 04:48 PM
Alright, got MOST of the stuff in today. Just placed an order with RMR for bullets, picked up powder and primers at a semi-local shop (cost a bit more than Cabela's, but damn, the service was so EXCELLENT! Great selection too!) called Riverview Sales, was a 25minute ride, so not the closest, but hey, better than waiting for it to be shipped and paying hazmat fees. Can't mount my press yet, because the work benches top wasnt quite good enough, so got a hardwood plank I intend on cutting to fit once the weather clears this weekend to replace the surface.

I also am still waiting for my tumbler and first 200 casings from Cabelas, and the lee bench plate I went ahead and ordered from Midway. With any luck, I'll be all set up and reloading late next week! Til then, I get to feel like a kid on Christmas morning with all this stuff to open up and learn how to use!

September 23, 2011, 04:57 PM

In the mean time, you can always clean and lube your press, practice zeroing/calibrating your scale, trickling powder charges, look up/verify load data, etc.

When I help set up a new reloader, I make out a step-by-step check list with him/her (yes, women reload too) and post it right in front of their press to follow. (I also include some quality control check steps in the check list like powder/load data check, powder charge check, OAL check, taper crimp check, barrel drop/function check, primer seat depth check, etc.)

Some will use different color highlighters to make it easier for them to group tasks. Perhaps, you can work on a check list in the mean time?

September 23, 2011, 05:36 PM
Definitely sounds good! Can never hurt to be ready for when I do start. So far all I've done is get the arm attached to the press, and then watch to see how it functions. Can definitely say it came nicely oiled out of the box, now as a side note.

What I had already done is tape the little chart to the above bench storage box with the collets to use for various calibers on the bullet puller. I think I'll be doing that with load data, and probably the checklist you recommended also.

Finally, I just want to really thank everyone that's given me advice so far again. I really have no idea how this would have all worked out without any of it, probably not too well though. You've all been a great help so far just picking out the equipment and getting ready, and I really appreciate it. I know I'm going to learn even more from you folks as time goes on and I go through learning to actually reload also.

September 23, 2011, 08:20 PM
Mr N -
Welcome to the hobby !

Each bullet is going to like a special load and may ever prefer a certain powder. It's very important that you get a lab notebook to keep notes in. For me at least, I find that starting a new page for each brand or weight of bullet is the best way. That way you won't get confused when you buy the same brand of bullets again in 4 years.

About the time you start your second or third year or reloading, you'll have 5 or 6 different bullets and 3 or 4 different powders all hanging around. It can get confusing unless you write things down from the very first.

There are tens of great powders for the 223, but for the novice I highly suggest you stick with the ones mentioned in your reloading manuall, or other published material from the powder companies that you might pick up at your gun store. In other words, get comfortable driving the car you own before you start trying out everyone else's.

Secondly, start low and work up. The "starting load" is just what it says.

All the best!

September 23, 2011, 08:35 PM
When I do my load work up from start to max load data, I used to put the notes with targets in a binder. I am transitioning from paper to a table on my computer desktop to make the range data more accessible (I take pictures of targets now).

Once I find a very reliable, consistent and accurate load, I make a load recipe card and hang it above my press to use when I am reloading. My eyesight is waning (I finally got bi-focals this year :fire:) and the larger letters on the load recipe card help me prevent cross reading lines on the published load data (which is tiny ... like 6-8 pt font! :cuss:). Can't have enough of "safety precautions" :D

Here's a sample. I triple check with load data before I print out the card and triple check with powder bottle/scale before I start reloading.

September 23, 2011, 11:17 PM
For 55 and 62 grain bullets my go to powder is H-335. I have tried Varget, W-748, BL(C)2 and H-335 and liked H-335 best. It meters great in the Lee measure and has been very accurate for me.

September 30, 2011, 08:33 PM
Well, this is my bump to this thread. Earlier today I took my first (small) batch of handloaded ammo to the range. I took 20 rounds, intending to load one mag, but single loaded a few as I was unsure of the primers, and didn't want the gun going full auto on me...

Everything went off without a hitch though. After single loading 2 rounds, then double loading 2 sets, I shot off the remaining 14 from the mag straight through. Went with a 62gr bullet with 24gr of H335. New (Well, most is new still! :P) Remington Brass, and Federal 205 Small Rifle Primers. My AR seemed to love them, though I have no idea quite about accuracy just yet. After finding out it had no problems with them, I loaded up another 50 at home, and hope to finish up loading the other 150 pieces of brass I have now through out the weekend.

I suppose this officially makes me a handloader, eh?

October 1, 2011, 08:17 AM
Congrats. Work your loads up from min to max, then let your rifle decide which load it likes best.

Pay attention at all times when at the bench and stay safe.

October 1, 2011, 04:47 PM
You already bought, but skip the spray lube, look at possum-hollow trimmer, If this is AR, get a case gauge. HF has a good digital caliper and the FA digital is god also. Get a PP uniformer, good PP swager. Just wash your fired brass in Lemishine and Dawn, rinse, dry, load and shoot.

Hondo 60
October 1, 2011, 10:08 PM
I remember that rush of first time reloading like it was yesterday.
I think I prayed all the way to the range, hoping it wouldn't blow up my gun.. :D

Saving money is important, but good luck doin' that! LOL
I've found I probably spend more now, but I get to shoot a WHOLE LOT MORE!

Just be careful, next thing you know, a box of brass will follow you home for a caliber you don't have. :scrutiny:
Then you have to go buy a new gun. :p

It's happened to me a couple of times.
(I started out reloading 38 spl, I now reload 7 calibers) :neener:

October 1, 2011, 10:26 PM
Haha Hondo, I know that feeling...even though I weighed every charge and measured every complete cartridge, for some reason I was terrified I messed up...and even re-weighed the cartridges at the range before loading each one!

As far as new calibers following me home as brass...well...I never turn down an excuse to get a new gun! :neener:

As far as saving money...yea...I'm already worried about that...pfft, money saving hobby my rear end...I usually dont take 500 rounds of one caliber to the range at a I get the feeling that'll be common place :eek:

October 2, 2011, 03:54 PM
...I usually dont take 500 rounds of one caliber to the range at a I get the feeling that'll be common place

Common place for me is bringing four guns to the range all four different calibers. When I load up the ammo boxes I usually have close to 2,500 rounds with me.

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