best starter kit


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meanoldman2
June 22, 2012, 08:24 AM
I think its time I started to reloading. I would like to know the best starter kits or basic equipment I'll need for .223 and .308 loads.Your help will be greatly appreciated!

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MachIVshooter
June 22, 2012, 10:37 AM
The depends on a few things.

How much ammo do you plan to load in a given time frame?

Is this about saving money, or making match grade ammo?

What's your budget?

Are you concerned with longevity of the equipment?

Personally, I think the RCBS Rockchucker supreme kit is the way to go for getting started, but it's about 3 times the price of the Lee Anniversary kit.

http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/large/646/646599.jpg

The only thing you need to add immediately are the die sets and a set of calipers for measuring OAL.

RandyP
June 22, 2012, 10:52 AM
I am a BIG fan of the Lee Classic turret - a complete kit sells for about $200, auto-advancing loading pistol I churn out about 150-175 rounds per hour - rifle of course has a slightly different protocol so output could vary.

john16443
June 22, 2012, 10:52 AM
Welcome to THR. For about $200 you can have much of what you need to get started. Check out the Lee Classic Turret press kit from Kempfs that includes one set of rifle dies. You can buy an additional turret and a second set of dies and you're all set. You may need more trimming equipment for rifle, but that's small change. I also urge you to upgrade to the Pro auto disk measure

https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=630&category_id=190&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=41

Another one to consider is this one from FSreloading as it includes more equipment needed by a beginner, but doesn't include the dies. https://fsreloading.com/classic-turret-press-kit-90304.html

This press can be used as a single stage press or as a turret to speed things up a little. Great press, and many folks use them specifically for their rifle rounds, even though they own a Dillon or some other expensive press.

tglazie
June 22, 2012, 11:13 AM
I have a LCT and love it. I use it for 3 different handgun calibers and for my lever action rifle. Before recommending it outright though, as a previous poster mentioned I would want to know what you are loading for. I would also want to know what you may eventually be loading for.

If you are only loading for benchrest shooting and going for low volume and high precision and never intend on loading for pistols then a high quality single stage would be an excellent choice. For the little rifle loading I do, other than having the dies permanently set in a turret I dont really use the LCT as anything more than a singlestage press when loading up a box of 20 cartridges for my .32 Special. I did get the powder charging die and have it setup between the sizing and seat dies but rarely use it. If I was loading volume it would be handy, either used manually with a powder funnel or with the auto-disk powder measure.

If you think you ever might load for pistols or want to load more than 20-40 rifle cartridges at a sitting then the LCT is an excellent, excellent choice.

meanoldman2
June 22, 2012, 07:11 PM
I'll be reloading .223 for my ar and .308 for my tikka

tglazie
June 22, 2012, 08:12 PM
In that case, as the other posters have mentioned a turret press would really work well for you. The #1 benefit of a turret press, in my opinion only, is the ability produce a steady volume of consistent cartridges while at the same time being able to SAFELY and ACCURATELY start and stop the loading process whenever you want to. With a turret press in production mode there are no loading blocks full of cases in various stages of development to keep track of, just single cases being walked through the process one at a time from raw the components to finished cartridge. No prep, no batches. Simply gather your supplies around you and produce finished cartridges.

For example- my LCT is currently setup exactly where I left it before going to the range this morning. To replace the rounds I fired at the range all I need to do is get up in the morning, grab a clean, empty, unprimed case from the bin, place it in the shellholder and cranking out a finished cartridge. I can load 1, 10, 50, 500, whatever I want until I get bored or run out of supplies. You cant do that with a single stage. If I want to switch to another caliber, I just remove the powder measure, change the disk and/or powder, replace the turret with one already setup with another caliber, replace the powder measure, check my charge, check and adjust for whatever bullet I am loading in the new caliber and start loading.

The #2 benefit of a turret, as mentioned in previous posts, is that it can just as easily be used as a single stage press. Just pop out the indexing rod and you can size and prime 20 cases with 20 pulls of the crank. Charge the cases, bring them back to the press, rotate your seating die into position and seat and crimp 20 bullets. This is great for working up loads. Once you have settled on a load, you can then setup your auto powder measure on top of your rifle charging die (already setup between your other 2 dies) to throw the right charge and switch to production mode.

Good luck and happy loading.

Lost Sheep
June 23, 2012, 06:32 PM
I think its time I started to reloading. I would like to know the best starter kits or basic equipment I'll need for .223 and .308 loads.Your help will be greatly appreciated!
I was going to wait until you posted an answer to MachIVshooter's question, but got impatient. So, you get the read my entire boilerplate answer, "To Kit or Not to Kit?"

A kit will get you started with ALMOST everything you need. They always lack something. They also have things you use, but will be unsatisfied with and trade in (at a loss, it goes without saying). So the savings in getting a kit is largely illusion. But it probably will get you started a little quicker.

A Kit will also have things you don't need, which is a waste of money But does provide some trade goods.

Building your own kit MAY be a little more expensive, but carries with it the research (and knowledge gained therefrom) you do in selecting the equipment best for you.

How long is your foresight?


Without a press, dies and a way to mete powder, you cannot load, period. (Exception, the Lee Load-All, which is dead slow and uses a mallet to drive the process.)

These two, you cannot load without, physically. Press and dies.

Powder can be measured out by scoops, by scale or by a powder measure or a combination of those and it would be exceedingly foolish (or suicidal) to load without measuring your powder.

So, count three items as absolutely essential. Everything else adds safety, efficiency and speed. Most can be done without, improvised or substituted for (e.g. a lube pad: fingers, paper towel, or sponge can do, or spray lube can be used).

The "more than are essential" items, though, are necessary for reasonable safety. A loading manual with load recipes and instructions of how to go about the process. A pair of safety glasses (just in case a primer goes off, which is rare, but can happen).

So, five things HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended.

A way to place primers in the priming cup on the press is a great help (rather than using your fingers) and will speed things up as well as reducing the chance that skin oils will contaminate the primers.

Six things and your are reasonably set up for everything you can expect.

A bullet puller will enable you to disassemble any rounds you put together that are out of spec (or that you suspect might be). Loading blocks let you keep a batch of cartridges together conveniently. Micrometer will help measure things when you find that you want to measure something. Most store-bought bullets are the right size, so you might not need the micrometer for a while.

As you load and develop your personal style, you will find things you would like to have. Pick them up as you go.

How you populate your loading bench, and with what pieces of gear is largely a matter of personal style. There are several different ways to approach your question.

1) Buy a ready-made kit

2) Assemble a kit of your own, choosing as complete a kit as you can get, of premium gear you will never outgrow

3) Assemble a kit piece-by-piece with the components you expect you will never outgrow, but only the minimum pieces absolutely necessary and expanding as you find need for each additional piece, slowly, and as money and knowledge allows

4) Assemble a kit of your own choosing as complete as you can get with affordable gear that you will use until you outgrow it and hope that, by that time, you will have figured out what you want to use and will never outgrow

5) Assemble a kit of your own choosing with the minimum usable, least expensive components and upgrade as your tastes reveal themselves and as money allows. Spend money for trade-ins and upgrades as your taste and needs spur you.


Each approach has its proponents. Each approach has its virtues and its drawbacks.

The necessary pre-requisite elements to successfully evaluate which approach is right for you (in my opinion) are:

Start-up Money (available right now)
Money available to upgrade, over time
Knowledge of loading & gear
Time you have to get into full production capacity
What level of convenience you want to begin with

The five approaches I outlined should provide you some food for thought. What type of hobbyist are you? Are you analytical and thoughtful or do you jump right in and improvise as you go? Got more time than money, or more money than time?

My first advice: Read "The ABC's of Reloading", an excellent tome on the general processes of reloading.

Having said that, let me share with you some posts and threads I think you will enjoy. So get a large mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you keep on hand when you read and think and read through these.


The "sticky" thread at the top of TheHighRoad.com's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"
http://www.thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=238214

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171

The first draft of my "10 Advices..." is on page 2 of this thread, about halfway down.
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=22344

http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php?t=43055

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448410

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

http://www.Thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439810

"Budget Beginning bench you will never outgrow for the novice handloader" was informed by my recent (July 2010) repopulation of my loading bench. It is what I would have done 35 years ago if I had known then what I know now.
http://www.rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332

Lost Sheep

MachIVshooter
June 24, 2012, 01:25 AM
A kit will get you started with ALMOST everything you need. They always lack something.

Fact.

A Kit will also have things you don't need

Like what? There's not one thing that came in my original rockchucker kit that I don't use, and regularly.

Unless one plans to immediately upgrade to a digital scale or something, there is nothing useless in the kits that I've ever seen.

bubbacrabb
June 24, 2012, 04:10 AM
My advice will be a little different. Not that theirs is bad. I'm sure i'll catch a little about this. If you want to load in bulk get a progressive press. Spend the money once. Just go slow with it. I started on a Dillon 550b, and it was so simple I dont know why anyone ever told me how difficult it was. If you're careful, and have anything between your ears you can load bullets. Just take your time and study it. What I thought was more helpful than anything was youtube videos. Watch ammo smith I think is his name. He's pretty good. Hickok45 has a decent intro just to get your mind on whats going on. Plus he's got a sweet blue press!:) If you want to load in volume its gonna cost some bucks, get a good trimmer, I use the dillon 1200 its fast. Order in bulk like 5000-6000 bullets at a time. You can do it man. Its as easy as pie. You just got to jump in and work things up. I still have my face and 9 1/2 fingers. But that wasnt due to reloading, dang wood shop!

Centurian22
June 24, 2012, 04:40 AM
Tagged for advice and links, so I don't repost same question in a month or two.

Bobson
June 24, 2012, 05:43 AM
The depends on a few things.

1) How much ammo do you plan to load in a given time frame?

2) Is this about saving money, or making match grade ammo?

3) What's your budget?

4) Are you concerned with longevity of the equipment?
I've been seriously contemplating the Rock Chucker Supreme kit, myself; but have also been contemplating posting my own thread. Instead, I'll answer these questions here.

1) Rounds per hour isn't a concern I have. No magic number. I'm interested in reloading for the appeal of finding a relaxing but engaging hobby that actually takes some time. To answer the question though, 50-100 rounds per hour would be plenty sufficient, even if that was best-case, after I found my ideal loads.

2) Its about saving money and making match grade ammo. I've already got a loading manual and started gathering components. Based on my calculations, worst case scenario, I'll be producing 9mm for around 70% the cost of Winchester White Box (that's what I'd been shooting in my handgun); and .270 Win for around 75% the cost of Remington Express Core-Lokts (that's what I've been shooting in my rifle). That's plenty of savings for me, and I'll enjoy taking the time testing loads for my rifle.

3) I'd prefer to spend under $500 for everything, including both sets of dies (9mm and .270 Win). Eventually I want to load .223, .45 ACP, .44 Mag, and .375 H&H Mag; but those will all be down the road.

4) Yes.

I don't think I'll ever load for bulk, but I think a single-stage would get tedious after a bit. My main interest in reloading is, as I said, getting into a relaxing/engaging hobby. I was thinking a turret may be what I ought to look for, but not entirely certain. I've read that Lee products are great for beginners, but lack the long-term build quality of other presses.

I appreciate any advice. Apologies for hijacking this thread; thought it would be better than asking an identical question in my own thread.

Arkansas Paul
June 24, 2012, 10:58 AM
Personally, I think the RCBS Rockchucker supreme kit is the way to go for getting started


I agree. We started with that exact kit and never once regretted it.

oldreloader
June 24, 2012, 01:24 PM
I have both the Rockchucker and LCT. After buying the LCT last year I seldom use the RC. I load for 9MM, 40 S&W, 45ACP, .223, .270, 30-30, and 30-06. +1 for LCT for best all round deal.

dsb1829
June 24, 2012, 02:37 PM
The depends on a few things.

How much ammo do you plan to load in a given time frame?

Is this about saving money, or making match grade ammo?

What's your budget?

Are you concerned with longevity of the equipment?

Personally, I think the RCBS Rockchucker supreme kit is the way to go for getting started, but it's about 3 times the price of the Lee Anniversary kit.

http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/large/646/646599.jpg

The only thing you need to add immediately are the die sets and a set of calipers for measuring OAL.
This is the answer. It is more money, but it is the only kit out there that makes no compromise. Lee is attractive, but only at the initial purchase time. After that you will need to remedy the compromises that were made to sell it to you cheaper. Look around the forums. There are a lot of rockchuckers in use to this day by experienced loaders that have graduated to faster presses for bulk loading.

tglazie
June 24, 2012, 02:47 PM
This is the answer. It is more money, but it is the only kit out there that makes no compromise.

THE answer? There is rarely ONE answer to anything, especially something as varied as reloading. For my purposes, I would never compromise the speed and convenience of turret loading for the types of cartridges I am loading.

I MAY buy a RC single stage in the future but I certainly will not be using it for volume production of handgun or rifle cartridges when I have a perfectly good LCT on hand.

Lost Sheep
June 24, 2012, 02:54 PM
A kit will get you started with ALMOST everything you need. They always lack something.
Fact.


A Kit will also have things you don't need
Like what? There's not one thing that came in my original rockchucker kit that I don't use, and regularly.

I was speaking generally in both statements. You got lucky (or shopped wisely) that you have no "left over" parts, paid for but unused.

I've read that Lee products are great for beginners, but lack the long-term build quality of other presses.
Lee has been the price leader for quite a while, and yes, some of their gear is, shall we be kind and say, "lightweight"? But their Classic Cast single stage is developing a reputation for strength and reliability. Their Classic Turret is the best autoindexing turret in the world. And their Deluxe Turret is the second best. (Of course, it helps that they are the only two autoindexing turrets in the world.)

Edit: the bottom end of the Lee Classic Cast and Lee Classic Turret are stronger than their Challenger and Deluxe predecessors. Far superior presses.

After 30+ years with a RockChucker, (and two Lee Progressives I never liked all that well) I moved up to a Lee Classic Turret and couldn't be happier.

Lost Sheep

Buckeyeguy525
June 24, 2012, 08:57 PM
If I were to buy a kit today, it would be the RCBS. That being said, I wouldn't buy a kit, I would mix and match..

It really comes down to how YOU want to load. I have had a LCT (and the cheaper aluminum one), a Redding T-7 and a lee classic cast single stage. The single stage is the only one I still have. I only shoot around 500-700 rounds a month right now of various calibers and for some reason I just love reloading on that single stage, much smoother than the turret.

slimfitter
June 24, 2012, 10:10 PM
I have been reloading for 40yrs. and use rcbs press and equipment but I started using Lee dies about 20yrs. ago. I prefer the Lee dies because you cannot hurt your brass with them. RSBS dies will sometimes wrinkle your brass if you press down too hard.

dsb1829
June 26, 2012, 08:04 AM
THE answer? There is rarely ONE answer to anything, especially something as varied as reloading. For my purposes, I would never compromise the speed and convenience of turret loading for the types of cartridges I am loading.

Yes, THE answer to the question the original poster asked. Your situation is different. And for you the speed of the LCT trumps the durability of the RC. Good for you.

Personally my research indicated the Rock Chucker to have a much lower user complaint level coupled with near 100% of current users recommending it to others. All the other brands were hit or miss. The kit come with good solid equipment, not stuff that needs to be thrown out or replaced (or worse doubted every time used).

tglazie
June 26, 2012, 09:51 AM
Yes, THE answer to the question the original poster asked.

Did you notice the part where I and other posters asked questions to determine what the OP was loading for? If your best solution to loading for an AR is a single stage press then we are going to disagree all day long. I, and others, provided a rational argument for what we considered the best choice for this application. You seem to think a single stage press is THE answer. If that's how you are wired, great, but there IS more than one answer the question.

I am sure whatever the OP ends up getting will work great for him.

Be safe and happy loading.

jack44
June 26, 2012, 06:14 PM
RCBS is pricy the Lee is CHEAP.

br6ad
June 26, 2012, 11:29 PM
I picked up a hornady classic kit for $259 at sportsmans warehouse. That's the best price I've seen on that kit. I added die sets and the necessary items and it has worked out well for me.

why.kyle
June 27, 2012, 02:16 PM
I also recommend taking a look at the hornady single stage. It's on sale till the end of Thr month and you get a rebate for 500 bullets (just pay shipping) and you can find coupons for midway that will save you a little more for dies and stuff
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/749997/hornady-lock-n-load-classic-single-stage-press-kit

mookiie
June 27, 2012, 06:23 PM
+1 for LEE classic cast torrent kit. I have reloaded thousands of rounds with mine, and for getting started you can't bet the price. I reload for 14 calibers with it.

Jimfern
June 28, 2012, 12:49 PM
I started with this kit and would only add calipers to it.

Madpap
June 28, 2012, 10:34 PM
I started with one of the Lee kits and they worked as advertised. I think they are great for just starting out but I quickly out grew it. Then I went with the Lyman T-Mag kit and the difference was like night and day. I eventually went with the Hornady LNL but still use the Lyman for small batches and working up loads. If I had it to do over again I would start with the Lyman. The quality is x's 10 over the Lee for not that much more money.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MachIVshooter
June 29, 2012, 01:14 AM
LEE classic cast torrent kit

How do you keep the powder dry? :p

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