New to reloading....please advise.


September 8, 2011, 11:55 PM
So I'm new to reloading just got my Lee Breach Lock Challenger Kit. Which includes the hand auto prime, perfect powder measure, powder scale, trimmer, and some other random goodness. So what else other than dies, and a tumbler should I have? A digital scale? Any advice would be great especially from people who have experience with Lee single presses.

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September 9, 2011, 12:06 AM
Get a dial caliper! I got mine at Harbor Frieght for like $10. They are pretty decent, stainless steel and mine is just as accirate as the $80 one I bought 25 years ago.
And welcome to The High Road! Now that your going to be making your own there will be no looking back and the possibilities ahead are endless. Just think, you can make your own custom ammunition that will be capable of so much more in performance than anything off the shelf. In this respect, my constant goal and approach, is loading ammunition that blows factory away. I've been at it for a little over 30 yrs. and haven't dabbled in plinking stuff, only the best gets me excited. Jacketed ammunition is more expensive to reload, but in comparison to factory, it's still less than half the cost, even for my high powered rifle cartridges and magum hangun loads.

September 9, 2011, 12:17 AM
I'm of the opinion that load manuals are an important tool not to be overlooked. Calipers are definitely on the list, like gamestalker said. Maybe an inertia puller for those mistakes you don't seem to see till after they've been made.

September 9, 2011, 12:46 AM
You did not mention what caliber you are loading for.You will eventually need a case trimmer and deburrer if you load bottleneck rounds. Straight wall rounds too,just not as soon.You need a couple of reloading manuals,and the time and a quiet place place to read them.Make sure you know what you are doing,and why before you start.Enjoy!

September 9, 2011, 01:56 AM
As to what calibers all I'm planning to do for now is .38 special/.357, and .44 magnum. So off to the store for a tumbler, bullet puller, and a dial caliper. Any more suggestions, or info about the equipment I have fire away.

September 9, 2011, 03:44 AM
Welcome to the forum and reloading.
I suggest you read the thread at the top of this forum on reloading equipment.
Here is the link

September 9, 2011, 08:23 AM
I started a little over a year ago, I agree with the suggestions that Calipers, a bullet puller, and a few good reloading manuals are on the list. These are the first three extra things I purchased after getting my reloading kit. I see you are going to pick up a tumbler right away, this is a good tool and you will eventually want one but you may want to spend the extra cash on reloading components, primers, powders, & bullets.

The tools that I added about 1 year after starting are a tumbler and a powder trickler. The tumbler because I am attracted to shiny things and the trickler for working up loads. These are not a must but are nice.

September 9, 2011, 09:35 AM
Definitely get a set of check weights for your scale..

September 9, 2011, 10:39 AM
I have the same Lee kit you do. I'll add to the list:

Ammo boxes. MTM caseguard makes good ones

Perhaps a tray to keep your unfinished rounds in/on. Much harder to tip over rounds that are contained in a tray.

The chamfer tool that comes in the kit will need to be replaced, probably soon

extra bushings to keep on your dies. when you change calibers, the bushings can stay on, allowing less adjustments and better consistency.

a trickle charger. It's hard to use your fingers to pinch more powder onto a scale

All these items are pretty darn cheap and will make your new hobby easier.

I have not found the need for a digital scale. I still use the beam scale that came in the kit. It's slow but accurate.

September 9, 2011, 11:32 AM
Two trays for reloading, all the manuals you can find, containers for brass, calipers, and something to write down your load data in. I keep a little notebook with a list of what I loaded and how it performed at the range.

I just started reloading a couple months ago with the same kit you have. Calibrate the scale and trust it, is my advice.

September 9, 2011, 03:12 PM
1. Lee Case length gauge for each caliber your going to be loading.
2.Desk lamp with magnifier on it helps a lot.
3.Plastic bins to store everything in. IE bullets, brass, etc.
I am cheap so i use plastic coffee cans.
4. I did not like the Lee lube so i buy large cans of Kiwi Boot Mink oil (paste)
5. A foot long section of 4x4 to stand on end by your bench. A great surface to whack your bullet
puller on. Saves on bouncing everything around on the bench.

Sin City Shootist
September 9, 2011, 05:46 PM
Media separator
Case length gauge
Bullet comparator
Primer pocket tools
deburring tool for use after trimming

September 9, 2011, 07:18 PM
for 357 and 44, you do not need a case length gauge, case trimmer, or chamfer tool. They do not stretch to any appreciable degree.

Get a bullet puller and a reloading case tray. The tumbler is nice to have and you will wind up with one, but there's no sense in rushing anything. Personally I'd upgrade to a turret press classic before I bought a tumbler, but whatever. You will always have a use for a single stage, and a tumbler really is nice. You might want a media sifter. I've been picking cases out by hand for a long time, and I always think, "this is stupid. I'm going to get lead poisoning. I need a sifter." yet I still don't have one. maybe I"m going crazy already........

The lee scale is a perfectly good scale. Digital is nice to have, especially if your eyes aren't very good, but the lee one will probably be more accurate.

September 9, 2011, 07:25 PM
A tumbler is for cosmetics, not effeciveness or 'quality' of the reloads.

A digital scale is no more accurate than your beam scale and not nearly as durable. The accuracy of your little scale will be very good, you will need no 'check weights'. If you develop your loads with any scale you will be able to duplicate those loads with that scale and that's all any of us need.

A 6" steel dial caliper will be a great help. MidwayUSA often has them on sale for under $25, Harbor Freight Tools often sells exactly the same one for half that.

Few of us ever need to trim straight wall cases, they just don't grow very much. And Lee's case trimmer does that job as well as anything else.

A loading manual is a necessity; Lee's manual is very good and is usually included in their kits. ??

You will need a powder funnel and at least one loading block/tray.

Lee's dies only get respect from the people who use them; they will allow you to load ammo as well as any other conventional type dies.

September 9, 2011, 10:09 PM
Lots of 50 caliber ammo cans. I find mine have a tendancy to get filled up.:rolleyes:

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