If you had 800 dollars. * Updated *


October 6, 2011, 10:29 PM
Alright I got 800 bucks to blow on a press, brass, dies, bullets, primers, powder, books,

What do you recommend, I would prefer a progressive press but if the money isn't there then it just isn't there. This will also be my first reloading bench.
any insight would be awesome.
Thanks guys.
* Update *

Alright so this is what I came up with.

$89.99 Lee Anniversary Kit

Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die .45 ACP

Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die 9mm Luger

Lee carbide Factory Crimp Die 38 Special/357 Magnum

Lee Factory Crimp Die 308 Winchester

Lee Factory Crimp Die 223 Remington

Lee Factory Crimp Die 7.62x39

Lee Factory Crimp Die 45-70 Government

The ABC's of Reloading

Metallic Cartridge Reloading

Speer " Reloading Maual #14 "

Am I missing anything?
Any good loads. Or should I just wait for the manual and start from there?

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October 6, 2011, 10:41 PM
I am a fan for starting reloading with a single stage. Things don't happen as fast and you learn the ins and outs of reloading. Besides, down the road, a single stage is a handy piece of equipment to have for special tasks that don't work well on a progressive.

Single stage presses are inexpensive, relatively, and much of the dies can be transfered to a progressive later.

Other folks will disagree.

Lee dies and single stage presses are economically priced and good equipment. Some of the Lee's other auxiliary equipment can be problematic.

I am sure others will offer their opinions for you to mull over.

October 6, 2011, 10:50 PM
It really depends on what you want to load and how often you intend to shoot. If it's autoloading pistols, learn on a Lee Breechlock Challenger kit and buy a Hornady LnL with the 500 free bullets. You need about $200 in additional loading accessories such as dies, LnL plates, bullet puller, tumbler, then load up on primers, powder, projectiles. The single stage press will always be useful even with a progressive.

October 6, 2011, 10:50 PM
If I had $800, I would spend no more than half on reloading equipment to get started. Go from there. You still need components.

October 6, 2011, 11:14 PM
Lee CLASSIC 4-hole turret kit in a single caliber from Kempf's and then I'd have about $550 left for components and stuff if memory serves?

October 6, 2011, 11:25 PM
heed the previous posts. It's good advice. If you're doing rifle only I'd get a single stage. Pistol only I'd look into a lee turret or a hornady LNL AP. Both rifle and pistol, or lots of calibers, I'd get the lee turret classic. Be sure to get a bullet puller. :)

if you're looking to load for 9mm or 223 just to save money, I'd suggest you just buy the ammo. other calibers are more cost effective to load for. (I'm looking at you exotic rifle and magnum pistol)

October 6, 2011, 11:39 PM
With 1/10,000th the reloading experience and wisdom, I would echo Walkalong (and other seasoned reloaders here).

If you have a FL equivalent of CalGuns.net, a local gun web forum, post a vigilant watch on the reloading/for sale sections for people selling whole set-ups or major elements such as presses and dies. I have assembled a complete set-up based on the Lee 4-hole turret press, with dies for four calibers and all the basic accessories, for around $400. Only a few items new, but almost all in like-new condition. Depending on where you are in FL, your prices could be lower.

My main recommendation would be: be patient and look to buy a press and dies used. Stay vigilant, ask around, wait for a good deal, don't be in too much of a hurry. With $800 and some patience you could outfit a decent bench and have a substantial stock of components to work with.

October 6, 2011, 11:56 PM
Well I generally shoot quite a bit. I am looking to reload 9mm, 45, 357,5.56, 308. I want to have the ability to reload 7.62x39 but I don't think I will actually be reloading it any time soon. Thanks for all the help fella I appreciate it.

October 7, 2011, 12:31 AM

Iím far from the experience of most people on this forum, but I think that in itself somewhat qualifies me to respond.

First Iíll echo the comment on buying used. I shopped used when I first got started and found a guy selling his entire kit. I paid $500 for everything and sold what I didnít need for $350. I ended up with a Dillon 550, case gauges, tool heads w/dies and powder hoppers, scale, tumbler, etc. for $150 out of pocket. Deals are out there if you are patient.

Which press? People who have red presses like red presses, people with blue - like blue. As a blue owner Iíd say go with whatever you get the best deal on (though I REALLY like my blue :evil:).

Many (most?) will tell you to start on a single stage. I think it comes down to how mechanically/technically inclined you are. I started on a progressive and Iím only missing three fingers, one eye, and my left testicle. OkÖjust kidding about the testicle. Seriously though Ė if you are fairly handy I say start with the tool that most suits your needs. If you are reloading for volume shooting with accuracy equivalent to of the shelf factory stuff, a progressive is probably that tool.

Donít forget some of the necessities such as case gauges, scale, trimmer, and tumbler.

But the best advice I can give you is to read this:

October 7, 2011, 02:12 AM
I could just not understand your list, but I see quite a few factory crimp dies and no resizing or seating dies.

Dies are usually sold in "sets", and these are usually made up of 3 dies for pistol (resizing, seating, crimp) or 2 dies for rifle (resizing, seating).

I suppose it means two orders, but I'd get the two books you've listed and read them before deciding on any equipment purchases.

The Speer manual starts off with an excellent explanation of reloading equipment and the reloading process. It also has a fairly good description of various bullet types. Then the remainder of the manual is load data, for various calibers including those you have listed.

October 7, 2011, 02:28 AM
Oh, Ok so those are the wrong dies and I should get the sets.
Sorry if I'm off guys this is a whole new step into the gun world for me.

October 7, 2011, 03:42 AM
Ok, scratch all that. I'm just going to start with 9mm and 5.56 this way I can save on some cash and just start pumping out some rounds. All this number crunching and load data/powders and case length is screwing with my mind. This way I can learn and not blow my self up, I'll slowly upgrade.
9mm/5.56 is what it is. that puts me at 244 bucks spent and the rest I can use on bullets, powder, brass and primers.
Sound safe?

October 7, 2011, 07:19 AM
They're not the "wrong" dies, but other dies are necessary, as I understand things. Each die does a specific operation in the reloading process, or sometimes more (as in a combination seater/crimp die, or a resizing die that also performs depriming.)

A typical reloading session begins with cleaning the cases to get rid of abrasive residue, dirt picked up on the ground, etc.

Then install the resizing die in the press and run all the cases through, handling resizing/depriming.

Reprime each with a hand priming tool.

Change dies and bell the case mouth with the expander die.

Charge each case using a powder measure adjusted to throw the correct charge for the bullet weight/caliber you are reloading.

Then change dies to the seating/crimp die and seat/crimp bullets in each case.

Some reloaders use a separate crimp die and adjust the combination die so it doesn't crimp.

With a single stage press, this is 3 or 4 "passes" of each case through the press. It is sometimes called "batch" reloading.

Another way to handle the process, which is more complex to set up, is to use a progressive press. This type of press has multiple stations, and the press performs multiple operations with each pull of the handle.

For example, station one handles resizing/depriming/repriming, station two handles belling the case mouth and drops the powder charge, station three handles bullet seating and station 4 handles crimping.

In order to permit powder charging at the same station as case expansion (for pistol cases), something called a "powder thru expansion die" is usually used, which is just an expansion die with a hole in it that is part of the case-activated powder measure. The expansion die typically included in a 3-die pistol set would not be used in this type of press, but the other dies would work.

Progressive reloading is much faster, of course. However, it is possible to make a large quantity of incorrectly reloaded ammo in just a few minutes if things aren't set up right. Because of this, it isn't often recommended for beginners.

Safe? I'm not sure the number of calibers anyone reloads is a factor, unless it is the safety of your bank balance... :)

If you understand the few hazards inherent in the reloading process, follow the manufacturers' instructions carefully, and don't deviate from published loads, reloading can be a safe activity.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible to resize incorrectly, resulting in insufficient bullet retention. Then bullets set-back during feeding, and the greatly reduced case volume causes overpressure on firing. KB (Kaboom).

Or, you can skip charging a case in the loading block and seat a bullet anyway. The primer alone moves the bullet partway down the barrel, but it does not exit. Case may not eject. So, you run the slide to chamber another round. On firing, the bullet encounters the stuck bullet. KB.

Or, you can accidentally double charge a case. If you're using relatively small charges, the difference between 5gr and 10gr may not be caught, as it isn't enough to overflow the case. Double charge = KB.

So, if you approach the process with caution and you are thorough, it should be safe.

The almost universal recommendation is to read first, then buy the tools.

October 7, 2011, 07:36 AM
and between the batch reloading of a single stage -50/75 rounds per hour and the many hundreds of rounds per hour on the somewhat pricey progressives is the turret press giving 150-175 rounds per hour at a relaxed pace.

You trade $$$$$ for output speed. ALL styles can make safe, reliable and accurate ammunition IF you can follow printed instructions and published load data and pay attention to what you are doing.

October 7, 2011, 07:42 AM
I don't see any complete die sets in the list. Just crimp dies. No de-cap/resize dies, no powder dies etc. ?!?!

October 7, 2011, 07:51 AM
I'd probably spend a little more on a better press. You can also skip all the factory crimp dies and just use standard two and three die sets.

October 7, 2011, 08:17 AM
you can get lee deluxe die sets that include the dies you need and the factory crimp die. Rifle is more complicated to load for. you have to trim brass and lube cases. Using range brass I can reload a 223 for around 30 cents. I can buy steel case ammo for around 32 cents. It's just not worth the hassle of reloading unless you're doing it for a bolt action rifle and you want custom tailored ammo.

I'd start with 45 and 357 myself. you will see the biggest cost savings there, and those 2 calibers are very easy to load for. You could buy a new turret press, dies, scale, puller, calipers, a book, components and still probably be under $300. Reloading is like any hobby, try small before you decide to jump in full blast.

If you're buying lee equipment you really only *need* the lee reloading book. If you're buying some other press, lee's still good, but preachy, and ABC's or Lyman are good books. You really only need 1.

Good luck.

October 7, 2011, 10:47 AM
I'm not a fan of the Lee Anniversary Kit because I feel Lee makes better presses than they supply in that kit. If you are sure you want a single stage press I would highly recommend the Lee Classic Cast single stage press. If you want to know the press I think you should buy especially since you are doing a lot of handgun ammo it would be a Lee 4 hole classic turret press.

October 7, 2011, 11:07 AM
I would also recommend the Lee classic turret press. You can load on it the same as a single stage press and load 50 to 75 rounds per hour. When you get the hang of it put in the auto indexing rod and jump up to 150 to 200 rounds per hour on the same press. Very solid press and an easy press for a beginner to set up and operate. I have had mine five years and have had no problems.

Red Cent
October 7, 2011, 11:31 AM
What RustyFN said.

You have the ability to buy inexpensive toolheads that twist in and out of the press. Set up a set of dies on each toolhead and stop adjusting dies.

October 7, 2011, 01:56 PM
With your update, if you aren't going progressive, get the Lee Classic (cast) Turret press.

Ditch the factory crimp dies (only), you are going the wrong direction.

Get the Lee Deluxe pistol (4 Dies) die set. It already has the FCD and you need the resizing/decapping die as well as the seater die. The powder through expanding die is nice to have for flaring the case to accept lead bullets without shaving them in the seating process.

For Rifle calibers, get the Deluxe die set for .308 if you have a bolt action .308, if you have an autoloader, get the Pacesetter die set, you won't need the collet neck die. Same for the .223.

For 7.62x39, I would stick to cheap com block steel ammo for now and not waste money trying to reload. Brass is super expensive and @ $0.25/round for the commercial stuff, you will not be saving money. As it is, you may be barely breaking even reloading 9mm and .223 if you normally use steel cased imported stuff.

If you have money left over, look into casting your own bullets, especially for the pistol rounds, free to 3 cents a piece is much better than 8-10 cents a piece.

Hondo 60
October 7, 2011, 08:49 PM
I'd be willing to bet you're gonna out grow that single stage in about 6 months or so.
I know this from experience. I bought that same kit.

If you don't want to spend enough on the press to get a good (Dillon or Hornady) progressive, then go with a Lee Classic Turret press.

You can remove the indexing rod to make it a single stage til you get the hang of it.
Then you can speed it up by replacing that indexing rod.

I would also spend the money on at least one more manual.
Lyman's 49th Edition is the finest, most complete manual I have.
It has an excellent How-To section with pics to make it clear.
Plus it has 1000s of load recipes.

October 7, 2011, 09:05 PM
► I'd cast around for a good used Rock Chucker setup. That way you'd have a) a great single stage press with some great accessories, that b) would allow you to do some very accurate reloading on rifle or pistol, but c) which you didn't pay a bundle for. That way when you move on to a progressive, you won't have so much tied up in it that you feel like you "have" to sell it to "get some money back". I agree. You'll always want a strong, do anything single-stage around.

► Check out "die sets". Much cheaper than buying dies one at a time.

► The Speer book is not going to help you a great deal unless you ONLY use Speer bullets. And if, for instance, Speer doesn't offer a 45-70 bullet, then they'll have ZERO load information on 45-70. Much better to get the Lyman #49 for the same price. More loads with more bullets for more calibers.

► Nix the ABC's too. You can get that for free at the local library, or borrow it from a friend. You only need that book about 2 months.

Hope this helps!

October 7, 2011, 09:19 PM
Comments made after the OP's update to the original post.

+1 with what rsrocket1 said. And as woodsoup said, you'll need dies that decapp, resize, and expand the case mouth. Buy die sets instead of individual dies.

Think carefully about what you shoot, why you shoot, and why you want to reload. For example, right now you can buy Wolf .223 for $190/thousand. Even buying components in bulk and getting super deals, the Wolf ammo is only about $30/thousand more expensive than reloading. If your gun does not like Wolf, or you need to produce more accurate ammo, or you just enjoy reloading (and the time spent is not a factor) then by all means reload 223.

I am in the tribe that recommends starting off with a single-stage press. Though I use a Hornady LnL AP for the majority of me reloading, the RCBS Rock Chucker is still on the bench and gets enough use that I appreciate it being there.

I would start off by buying a die set for just one caliber, preferably .45 ACP. It is one of the easiest calibers to reload. Once you loaded a bunch of .45 rounds you will have a better idea of what you like and don't like, want and don't want. That may affect your selection of future dies and other equipment.

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