Critique my first reloading setup


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KDS
December 11, 2011, 05:49 PM
I am planning to buy a reloading setup but thought I'd run my shopping list by you guys first. Let me know if there is anything you wouldn't get. I plan to reload 303 British and 223 Remington first, but will add several more pistol and rifle calibers as my budget allows. Here is my list

Lyman T-Mag 2Turret Press
Lyman 55 Powder Measure
Lee Deluxe 3 Die Set (303 British)
Lee Deluxe 3 Die Set (223 Remington)
Frankford Arsenal Ds-750 Electronic Scale
RCBS Hand Priming tool
Lee Case Trimmer Lock and Stud
Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder (303 British)
Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder (223 Remington)
Lee Chamfer and Deburring Tool

Obviously cost is a factor so I am trying to keep my costs down. I'd like to stay under $400 and this list comes in at $389.

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777TRUTH
December 11, 2011, 07:13 PM
My 2 cents.

Lyman T-Mag 2Turret Press - Nice press, the Lee Classic Cast is also a very good press with auto index
Lyman 55 Powder Measure - Good product, get the cheapest of the Lyman, RCBS and Hornady
Lee Deluxe 3 Die Set (303 British) - No experience with this caliber but I like Lee dies
Lee Deluxe 3 Die Set (223 Remington) - No experience with this caliber but I like Lee dies
Frankford Arsenal Ds-750 Electronic Scale - I would get a beam first, but thats me
RCBS Hand Priming tool - Get the Lee
Lee Case Trimmer Lock and Stud - No experience
Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder (303 British) See above
Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder (223 Remington) - See above
Lee Chamfer and Deburring Tool - Get the RCBS

soloban
December 11, 2011, 07:55 PM
It's a good set up to get you started. Eventually you will want to upgrade some components as you learn.

1. I have a lot of Lee dies. I prefer spending a little extra for Redding dies now. I have been replacing my Lee dies with Reddings whenever I see the right caliber pop up on eBay.

2. The Lee Trimmer with the Lee case gauges gets old after a while. I now have an RCBS Trim Pro unit. The Lee case gauges are good to trim one and use the trimmed case to set up the RCBS trim pro. If you go with the Lee trimmers, get the ball grip cutter & and the Lee 3 jaw chuck, those make it a lot easier to trim your cases using a cordless drill.

3. The Lee hand primer works great. Be sure to get the one with the square primer feeder.

4. The Lee chamfer debur tool works fine for me. You can chamfer and deburr using the tool while the case is still in the chuck hooked up to your drill. Just hold it in place and hold the trigger.

5. The Frankford scale works fine. Just be sure to use the checkweight before every reloading session and make sure there is no fan or AC vent blowing on it.

6. You're missing a set of calipers. How are you going to measure OAL? The Frankford Digital Caliper works fine as long as the batteries are good. Make sure to have spare batteries!

7. You're missing a primer pocket cleaning tool. Grab the Lee its like $2.

KDS
December 11, 2011, 07:58 PM
you are right I forgot to mention I was going to get a set of calipers from Harbor Freight.

gamestalker
December 11, 2011, 09:03 PM
Maybe it's just me, but I would want to work with a balance beam scale instead of an electronic one.

Have you decided on a tumbler yet? HF has some pretty good deals on them. I've never used one of their tumbler's, so I don't know how well they work or hold up. The last one I bought was an Ultra Vibe 10 and I've had it for probably around 15 yrs. without problems. I can't count the number of times I've forgotten about it and left it running for several days too.

HF also has a $10 stainless steel caliper. I have one and it's as good as any in my opinion.

James2
December 11, 2011, 09:06 PM
The Lyman tools mentioned are great!
The three die set -- I think you can get the factory crimp die in one set or the collet sizer in another. I have never used either. I have only 2 die sets. Sorry no experience here. I will say I don't like Lee Lock Rings.
I would get a beam scale.
RCBS Hand Priming tool- I find this to be good. Never used the Lee
Lee Case Trimmer Lock and Stud - No experience
Lee Case Length Gauge and Shellholder I think you get a shell holder with the Lee die set. I would prefer to get a dial caliper instead of case length gauges.
Deburring tool -- get RCBS 9348 Deburring Tool 17-60 Cal

IMO

Eb1
December 11, 2011, 09:07 PM
All is fine IMO, and I actually am going to be purchasing this press as well, but get a good beam scale.
I am using a Lyman 500, and it is accurate and repeatable. I have had issues with a Franky Digi, and ended up ditching it.

quartermaster
December 11, 2011, 09:12 PM
When you can swing it, a chrony is very valuable for working up loads

mbopp
December 11, 2011, 09:18 PM
Another vote for a beam scale and Lee hand primer.

Eb1
December 11, 2011, 09:18 PM
2nd the chrony. very much needed IMO. good thought.

KDS
December 11, 2011, 09:29 PM
I plan to do a search for this but I'll ask it here anyway. Why a beam scale? What can you do with a beam scale that you can't do with a digital scale?

thorn-
December 11, 2011, 09:38 PM
1. You can reload when the power is out.

2. Beam scales don't have batteries that die.

3. Beam scales are not affected by voltage spikes in your house AC.

4. Beam scales will not drift in the manner than cheaper digital scales will, nor do they require a warm-up period.

No matter what kind of scale you get (obviously, i prefer beam), be sure to use a check weight - or a definitive KNOWN weight, to calibrate your scale to Zero.

thorn

Eb1
December 11, 2011, 09:43 PM
Because unless the earth looses or gains gravitational pull it should be the same all the time.
I have had a Franky Digi drift on me to many times, and I ended up wasting a lot of time and money. I could weigh a charge, and then pour it right back on the scale, and it would not weigh the same, and I have had the same experience with a LEE bean scale.
I am now using a Lyman 500, and could not be happier. I am going to by a RCBS Charge master after Christmas, but I will be checking that with my beam scale also.
I can charge almost as fast with a beam and a trickler as a Chargemaster can throw powder.

I agree with everything that thorn- says 100%.

James2
December 11, 2011, 10:03 PM
On a beam scale, the accuracy is machined into the notches on the beam. That is not going to change. As long as you don't drop it and damage the pivots, it will remain accurate. You do need to check it if you change its location on the bench since any diff in the level of the bench will throw the scale off. Just a simple adjustment to get it to read zero. Simple, accurate, trouble free, long lasting, what more could you ask?

1SOW
December 12, 2011, 12:25 AM
I plan to do a search for this but I'll ask it here anyway. Why a beam scale? What can you do with a beam scale that you can't do with a digital scale?

You can trust it.
To get the same degree of trust in an electronic scale is very expensive.
The scale is your second most important safety device. The press operator is the first.

777TRUTH
December 12, 2011, 06:11 AM
Another good option for a press mounted powder drop would be the LEE Pro Auto Disk with the double disk kit for rifle.

Use the savings for a beam scale to go along with the electronic if you want both scales or upgrade the electronic scale.

For a beam scale take a look at the RCBS 505 or the Dillon Eliminator scale.

quartermaster
December 12, 2011, 07:22 AM
The RCBS chargemaster makes life a lot easier. I have had both models. My first one worked with an infared beam which connected the scale to the dispenser. It generally was correct, but the current version is a direct connection and I have found variations of as much as .3 grains from what it says it has dispensed and the actual charge. This may not be a big deal untill you are dealing with max charges.

I also would strongly urge you to get a beam scale as a check, They are reasonably cheap and worth every penny. This may sound stupid to many of you, but I always check my initial charge and maybe every 25th with my beam scale and have my previous 1500 scale sitting along side of my chargemaster and it takes only 2 seconds to dump the charge into that to check the chargemasters. Once you watch the chargemaster dump the powder a few times, you can tell when it has thrown an overcharge. It happens more than it should. Personally, I feel my old one is was a better product as far as accuracy goes. I think the reason is that the new chargemaster throws the charge too fast. I know it has adjustable speeds,, but the slower speed is too slow. It probably works great with with ball or the cut powders.

My other advise would be to buy the best tools that you can. You will find out and I'm sure that all readers will agree that it is much cheaper to do it once with something quality wise, than buy a better tool later.

Good luck, take your time, get educated, and enjoy your new hobby.

Hangingrock
December 12, 2011, 08:15 AM
Having had and used an electronic scale I’d opt for the mechanical beam scale. No matter the scale type consider a set of check weights to regulate the scales accuracy.

Maximumbob54
December 12, 2011, 08:19 AM
I would dump the Tmag and buy a cheap O type single stage press if you are only going to be loading for rifles. I second the above comments about buying a beam scale rather than an electric. I have an Autocharge and I still like to check the tenth charge on my RCBS 505 just to be sure I'm not too trusting of something digital. Also, you need to figure if you will need full length dies and some neck dies once your brass is fireformed. I didn't see if anyone mentioned case lube for rifle cases. You will need to figure how you want to lube the cases for sizing them. For tumble cleaning, buy any tumbler you want, but go to Drillspot.com for your media. Buy their 40 lb bag of 14/20 corn cob and you will have media for years and the size will almost never get stuck in the flash hole. I would add a universal decapper to pop primers out of cases before polishing. Do the used dryer sheets trick, and add a small squirt of NuFinish to fresh media. The cases will be clean and the film from the polish will help with your fingers not tarnishing the brass. Last, not all .223 dies are designed the same. Read up on the various brands and offerings to see if you may want one over the other. If you are loading for an autoloader .223 then you may want to read up on small base dies and RCBS X dies. If you are loading for bolt rifles, then you may only need to full length size and then neck size for the rest of the case life. Much of rifle loading depends on what you are loading for and what you want to get out of your loads.

popper
December 12, 2011, 12:14 PM
If your 223 is an autoloader, check the RCBS die (X or AR) as NS won't work. Consider a PP swager also. I have the HF calipers, work fine. I also use the FA dig scale, works for me. I recommend the Lee Classic cast, get it now while they still make it - Lee sells blems for $88. I started by using an empty case with a wire wrapped around it for a handle, another small case for a trickler. Get a hand primer, I have the hornady as everything but the primer tray is metal. I have possum hollow trimmer and wilson case gauges. Get a primer pocket uniformer, NOT the pocket cleaner. It is the only peice of reloading equipment I have that is a disappointment. I started using steel wool in a small socket with a drill for case chamfering, works fine. I started washing cases with lemishine and detergent. I upgraded to a hornady US and am satisfied. I reload 30-30, .40, 308 auto and .308 ME. I've gotten to where I don't need much but powder and bullets now - I shoot a lot..

Nick93
December 12, 2011, 01:47 PM
You setup its okay ... I didnt like the 55 lyman powder measure when i tried it instead i prefer the rcbs uniflow i had better results with the gunpowders i use, but that just me ;)

reffering to the scale i also prefer the digital ...
in my experience they are really accurate and reliable .. i have a chinese dig scale that has an accuracy of 0.02 grs and one day a did a loading without variation according with my scale, they were spot on 4.30 grs avery time and went ot the range to chrony them ... the extreme spread was of 6 fps and the SD was 2 fps, tried 10 shots for 3 times ... so the scale its extremely reliable ... i dont know about the one that you want to buy but i can say that there are really good digital scales out there

hope this helps ! :)

dnmccoy
December 12, 2011, 06:33 PM
+1 on getting a beam style scale before an electric one

soloban
December 12, 2011, 07:25 PM
DOH... forgot about a tumbler. I got the one for ~$50 from Harbor Freight and it works fine.

KDS
December 13, 2011, 10:41 AM
I would dump the Tmag and buy a cheap O type single stage press if you are only going to be loading for rifles.

I plan to reload for pistols eventually. At least 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 44 Mag, 357 Mag, 38 Special, and 40 S&W. Maybe 7.62 Nagant as well. I can't really see reloading for 9 mm or 32 ACP since factory ammo is so cheap.

If you are loading for an autoloader .223 then you may want to read up on small base dies and RCBS X dies. If you are loading for bolt rifles, then you may only need to full length size and then neck size for the rest of the case life. Much of rifle loading depends on what you are loading for and what you want to get out of your loads.

I am loading for an autoloader as I shoot 223 through my AR. I wasn't aware there was a difference in dies for semis vs bolt actions. Looks like I need to do a search on that too.

DOH... forgot about a tumbler. I got the one for ~$50 from Harbor Freight and it works fine.

I will definately add a tumbler when I start reloading pistol, but for now i just plan to wipe off my rifle brass and reload as is. I have another post about that here http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=630406

I really appreciate all the help. Getting started in reloading isn't very easy, which is why I haven't done it yet. But I now shoot too many calibers and too often to not reload.

Eb1
December 13, 2011, 10:44 AM
You do not need RCBS X Dies to reload for AR-15.

eam3clm@att.net
December 13, 2011, 08:58 PM
Skip on the Harbor freight calipers. They work good for a few hundred measurements and thats about it. I have three that are accurate to different lengths. I was at harbor freight the past sunday and picked up my fourth HF caliper, but it was the dial type. I glanced at it in store and the instructions showed it measured to .001. I got it home and wouldnt you know it but it only measures to .01.

johnjohn
December 13, 2011, 09:44 PM
Plus 1 on the beam over digital. I started with a Lyman beam then went "hi tech" with a digital,JUNK wouldn't hold zero, back to factory,worked a day or two and then same story. Expensive paper weight. The T-Mag press is O.K.

MrWesson
December 13, 2011, 11:49 PM
Why not just go with a lee classic turret?

thorn-
December 14, 2011, 12:42 AM
I can't really see reloading for 9 mm or 32 ACP since factory ammo is so cheap.


Well, i reload for 9mm for half the price of factory.

thorn

KDS
December 14, 2011, 08:20 AM
Why not just go with a lee classic turret?

I don't know, is the lee classic turret better than the lyman?

KDS
December 14, 2011, 08:34 AM
Well, i reload for 9mm for half the price of factory.

thorn

I currently save my brass for both 9 mm and 32 acp, but I have limited time to spend reloading and thought that I would go for the highest savings per box first, and then get dies and reload calibers that provide less savings if I have time.

One of the reasons I have never gotten into reloading is the time it takes. I work a full time job during the day, I own a business with my wife that I work on at night, and in January I am going back to school. What little time I have I'd rather spend shooting than reloading (I think). Hence the idea of reloading the most expensive rounds first and slowly adding calibers to the list that I reload.

I currently shoot 30-06, 303 British, 30 carbine, 30-30, 7.5 Swiss, 7.63x54r, 223, 45 ACP, 40 S&W, 357 Mag, 38 Special, 9 MM, 7.62 Nagant, and 32 ACP. I will also soon be adding 7mm-08, 7.5 French, 38 S&W, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 8 mm Mauser, 6.5 Swede and 30-40 Krag. I really like milsurps so I plan to reload for most of them eventually (the exceptions being 7.5 Swiss and 7.62x54r and any other caliber that I can get surplus ammo).

MrWesson
December 14, 2011, 11:00 AM
I don't know, is the lee classic turret better than the lyman?


I personally feel like it is.

4 holes vs 2 and the price.

You will be more productive with the lee.

popper
December 14, 2011, 12:05 PM
Beam scales are more accurate, until the knife edge pivot gets dirty or corroded. My FA digital may not be as accurate, but none of my guns can tell any difference. You shoot a lot of calibers, but IMHO a single stage O press would serve best at this time, you will be changing out dies anyway. It would also be strong enough to reform some of the unusual brass you use. The AR doesn't have to have a small base or X or AR die, depending on the gun. Just make sure the one you get is F/L and doesn't use a ROLL crimp. For rifle, case prep and inspection are the most time consuming task.

Nutbustd
December 14, 2011, 12:48 PM
Bought a electronic caliper from Harbor Freight for $10. Quality was surprisingly excellent. Compared it to my machinists calipers from Snap-on both are dead on. I think some of reloading suppliers have the same electronic calipers but at 3X the cost. Mine even came with a spare batterey!

RandyP
December 15, 2011, 02:32 PM
For your intended use a Lee CLASSIC 4-hole turret would be a good fit. Very affordable, durable and it auto-indexes. NOTHING wrong with the pricier Lyman or any other brand of course, they are great machines. But there is IMHO nothing wrong with Lee either.

AABEN
December 15, 2011, 03:00 PM
I have 2 Pact electric that has never gave me any trouble in 8 years both are 110V I check them with my old bal beam. I also have the 2 of the elt powder dispensers witch i like very well. You did not say any thing about a flash hole deburring tool I like the reg SS calipers the best. I also like the LEE case trimmers the best. Good luck

Rotting
December 15, 2011, 06:30 PM
I personally feel like it is.

4 holes vs 2 and the price.

You will be more productive with the lee.

The T-Mag is a 6 hole turret. I've used both and I actually like it quite a bit better than the Lee.

rfwobbly
December 16, 2011, 09:30 PM
The Lyman is a great press. Check out the Lyman T-mag "starter kit" that comes with a better scale, better trimmer, lube pad, caliper, and BEST OF ALL... the Lyman #49 manual. You can still use the Lee dies with all of that.

Skip the case gauges. When you have a caliper you won't need those to start.

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