I Know absolutly nothing, notta, zip, zilch!


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7thCavScout
October 2, 2012, 06:15 PM
As the title says I don't a thing about reloading other watching YouTube videos and reading some threads here on THR. I do know that reloading is something that I would really like to start doing. My question...Is there a kit you would recommend for the novice reloader? Should buy piece by piece? Is used equipment on ebay an option? I would only start out doing 9mm and .223 With four kids my range time is rather limited so I guess a single stage press would be best as I won't really be doing too many rounds. Any help or direction you guys could give would much appreciated.
Thanks,
Chuck

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56hawk
October 2, 2012, 06:20 PM
If you have the money, you can do better buying individual items. However it's pretty hard to beat this kit:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/121744/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-kit

cfullgraf
October 2, 2012, 06:40 PM
You have a start, but do some more investigating. Buy or borrow "ABCs of Reloading" or Lyman #49. Both have good "how to" information. Lyman #49 has reloading data as well. Other hard back manuals also have good information.

You will want to have several sources of reloading data to reference anyway so the outlay is not wasted.

The sticky, "Reloading Library of Wisdon", at the top of this sub forum has good information too.

A kit will get you about everything you need to start, but they always are always lacking something useful. You can get better equipment buying al-a-cart and for similar dollars. It is just a bit harder for a beginner to get all the stuff on the first try.

Lots of different opinions on single stage versus progressive. In my opinion, it is easier to learn on a single stage, a single stage is good to have around even after you get a progressive, and most of the equipment purchased for the single stage can be transferred to a progressive later keeping the upgrade costs more reasonable.

Welcome to the "club". Many folks like me enjoy reloading as a hobby unto itself. Others use it as a means to a end.

BYJO4
October 2, 2012, 06:40 PM
You should start by buying several reloading manuals and read them completely. I suggest the Lyman manual as one of these. You will learn the basics or reloading along with information about the equipment available. At this point, you will be in a position to ask specific questions as to what might be best for your needs.

7thCavScout
October 2, 2012, 07:02 PM
Okay, I just ordered the Lyman 49th manual from Midway USA. Let's get this ball rolling! Thanks for the advice so far!
-Chuck

Sniper66
October 2, 2012, 07:12 PM
I learned initially about reloading from my big brother. He had equipment for many years, mostly RCBS. As we loaded together, I learned what I like and what I don't, then started accumulating what I wanted. I have since upgraded too, like a Lyman Power Trimmer to replace my Forester hand trimmer and an RCBS Chargemaster. Fact is, you learn as you go and will eventually have lots of equipment, if you get bit by the reloading bug like I did. A friend of mine recently started reloading and bought an RCBS Kit; he really likes it and has produced some fine .223 loads. Hope you have as much pleasure out of loading as I have.

Walkalong
October 2, 2012, 08:20 PM
I just ordered the Lyman 49th manual Excellent, you have a good manual. Now buy that Lee kit to get started. Buy a dial or digital caliper, like this one (http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-digital-caliper-47257.html), to complete the kit.

Go along for a little while until you get comfortable loading. By that time you will have an idea of what other equipment you might need, or want, like a tumbler, or if you want to get into loading on a turret or even a progressive machine.

I started on a single stage, then traded for a turret press, then bought a progressive. I still use the single stage at times. Sold the turret.

thomis
October 2, 2012, 08:51 PM
I have about 2500 pieces of brass of various calibers that need inspected for flaws, cleaned, re-sized and primed. I'm willing to let you have at it on my bench with these first few crucial steps. :)

That's how my Grandfather started me out. Do you have any friends or relatives that handload?

Handloading is very rewarding in many ways. You will love it.

gspn
October 2, 2012, 08:53 PM
Here is an awesome resource from right here on the board:

http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-238214.html

That post helped me a lot when i was looking to start.

twofifty
October 2, 2012, 08:57 PM
I have about 2500 pieces of brass of various calibers that need inspected for flaws, cleaned, re-sized and primed. I'm willing to let you have at it on my bench with these first few crucial steps. :)

That's how my Grandfather started me out. Do you have any friends or relatives that handload?

Handloading is very rewarding in many ways. You will love it.
Your grandpa was onto something. I'll bet by the time you were ready to seat your first primer that your fingers had developped into a discerning set of eyes.

thomis
October 2, 2012, 11:55 PM
twofifty: you got that right.
i learned how to catch minute cracks in brass looking for discolored streaks and using the fingernail.
and he had no carbide dies. there were two sets of rags: a very thin rag for applying the case lube and a thick, soft rag for removing the lube after the sizing process. man, i hated that job. but the return was getting to shoot a lot of his cool guns, most of which I inherited when he passed.
Thank you, Grandad.

Gtimothy
October 3, 2012, 12:17 AM
The biggest thing to keep in mind with reloading is it is an exercise in attention to detail!

Read the beginning of the Lyman manual and start off with the 9mm. It's fairly easy to reload. I would also suggest you get, in addition to your kit, a case gauge for the 9mm http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=33263/Product/Wilson-Maximum-Case-Gage and a bullet puller of some sort.

I have a couple of these http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=9929/Product/KINETIC-BULLET-PULLER and they work pretty good.

Everyone makes mistakes and needs to pull bullets for one reason or another.

If you follow the steps and concentrate on the job at hand you will be fine! PLUS, if you have questions, we're here to help!

4895
October 3, 2012, 12:24 AM
You can purchase a turret LEE kit from Kempfs gun shop online setup in the caliber of your choice. Perfect for 9mm and upgradeable for .223 Rem. $209

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

ArchAngelCD
October 3, 2012, 12:33 AM
IMO if you're going to load mostly handgun ammo the above link to the Lee Classic Turret press is a good one.

If you are going to load rifle ammo there's nothing like a good single stage press. The cast iron Lee press is a good choice as are most of the other single stage presses. I own a RCBS Rockchucker and it's a very solid press.

You can load handgun ammo on a single stage press and rifle ammo on the Lee turret press but I find it easier to load the way I described above.

Lost Sheep
October 3, 2012, 01:48 AM
Have a look at this thread.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=502805

Thanks for asking our advice and welcome to reloading.

Lost Sheep

Otto
October 3, 2012, 02:37 AM
Just add dies and a caliper and you're good to go. $250 with free shipping. Made from cast iron with a lifetime warranty.

http://images.cabelas.com/is/image/cabelas/s7_218212_999_03?hei=380&wid=380

KansasSasquatch
October 3, 2012, 02:45 AM
One thing I don't see with most of those kits is a good case trimmer. I think they have other means of trimming your rifle brass but I think spending the extra money for a good one now would be worth it. Even if you eventually upgrade to a turret or progressive press, a good trimmer will still be a good accessory.

Otto
October 3, 2012, 03:04 AM
Not everyone needs a case trimmer but heres a good one for 25 bucks and it's fast when chucked in a drill.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i42nDelSKf8

9mmfan
October 3, 2012, 06:43 AM
I am just barely past where you are. I have read through The ABC's of Reloading, the Lyman manual, and picked up a Hornady Manual for M1 specific data.

Bought the Lee Classic Turret press kit with .45 Colt dies from Kempf, an RCBS 5-0-5 scale, and then bought a couple other odds and ends here and there (bullet puller, digital calipers, SAFETY GLASSES, scale check weight set.)

I have been going very slowly, have only loaded a dummy round (actually two, messed up the first one royally-read ALL the directions, do not get ahead of yourself :o) I then decapped a mess of brass.

Next, I will read through the books again. Then I will sit down and get a feel for seating primers. Then I will set up the powder measure and check every load until I am comfortable that the metering is consistent.

To repeat, I would go slowly and carefully. If any questions arise, ask, ask, ask. It seems pretty easy to get to a point where one knows just enough to be dangerous.

Once I get comfortable with revolver rounds (also got .38/.357 dies), I will then read some more, and start the whole process over and learn to replicate M2 ball.

I am certain there is something I am leaving out, and some of the more knowledgeable folks here will point it out. I will be reading this thread further, as I feel you can never know too much, and can usually be taught something helpful.

On a final note, the turret press is nice, as the auto-index can be disabled, turning it into a single stage press until you get confident enough to step it up a bit. Also, extra turrets are cheap, and you can leave the dies mounted to them once they are set up.

These are just my opinions, and VERY green observations, you may find that something else works better for you.

FROGO207
October 3, 2012, 07:43 AM
If either of you guys can find a reloader locally that will mentor you at first this would be a tremendous help. Look at the range or gunstore and ask around there are others that want to help you learn correctly and safely. Just my thoughts on this.:)

JLDickmon
October 3, 2012, 10:15 AM
just askin'..

why don't you guys ever suggest the Lyman T-mag kit?

Mine came with scale, measure, trimmer, primer pocket tools, lube pad, primer tubes, primer flipper, caliper..
the gun shop where I bought it kicked in a set of dies and a shellholder..

the only thing I've bought since was a MTM loading tray and a vibrator bowl tumbler..
(and more dies, and shell holders)

I load everything from .32 S&W to 45-70, and .300 Win Mag. with it..

7thCavScout
October 3, 2012, 11:03 AM
Do you have any friends or relatives that handload?

No, sadly I don't. That's why I'm forced to lean on youtube videos to watch actual how to's.
Thanks for all help so far guys! I'm really excited to get started on this! I think it will be a fun and rewarding hobby, and an excellent way to spend time during Iowa's long cold winters.
-Chuck

hang fire
October 3, 2012, 01:53 PM
As the title says I don't a thing about reloading other watching YouTube videos and reading some threads here on THR. I do know that reloading is something that I would really like to start doing. My question...Is there a kit you would recommend for the novice reloader? Should buy piece by piece? Is used equipment on ebay an option? I would only start out doing 9mm and .223 With four kids my range time is rather limited so I guess a single stage press would be best as I won't really be doing too many rounds. Any help or direction you guys could give would much appreciated.
Thanks,
Chuck
None of us did the first time we ventured into the reloading world. Now over 50 years of reloading for me, but seems I learn something new every day.

readyeddy
October 3, 2012, 05:36 PM
My brain can't work up a list unless I think about the steps so this could get wordy. And this is just how I do it. I'm sure others have better ideas.

First step is to get reloading manuals. I like Lyman's and Sierra. Look for recipes that you want to load. Determine your bullet types and weights you want and find powders that give you the velocity you need. Some powders work better for lighter bullets, others for heavier bullets. Once you choose your components, see if your LGS has them in stock. If not, go online.

For both 9mm and .223 you probably want jacketed bullets. I'm not demanding on handgun ammo, so I buy the cheapest I can find and buy in lots of 1000. Rifle is different. I'm not happy if I'm not grouping MOA consistently with handloads. For rifle accuracy, it's strictly Sierra bullets and Lapua brass for me.

For powder, I use HS6 for 9mm and Varget for .223. 9mm uses small pistol primers and .223 uses small rifle primers. Do not mix them up. I like CCI primers.

Primers come in bricks of 1000. Powders are sold by the pound. You can get 8 pound kegs if you want to buy in bulk. One pound is comprised of 7000 grains. So one pound of powder of HS6 will give you about 900 rounds of 9mm and one pound of Varget will give you about 250 rounds of .223. This way you know how many bullets and primers you need to match your powder supply.

Once you know what you want to load and you have your supply of components, you're ready to clean your fired brass. You probably have a bucket of dirty brass in the basement. I use a tumbler to clean my brass. These run from around $50 to $150. I use corn cob media with a squirt of car polish and a wet paper towel ripped in 1/4 pieces. The wet paper towel keeps the dust down and cleans the media. Beware of lead in the media from primer residue.

.223 brass sometimes come with crimped primer pockets. Long story short, if I were you I would take all your fired .223 brass and box them and store them in your basement. Buy 1000 pieces of new .223 brass. Lake City has decent quality for a fair price. Lapua is the best but will cost you about $1 a piece. But if you want to remove the crimp, then there are ways to do it. I have removed primer crimps with various tools and always ended up smashing primers. Not my thing.

So now you have nice shiny brass and it's time to resize the brass. After being fired, the brass expands, so you need to "shrink" it back so it will feed into you chamber. For this you need a press and dies.

A single stage presses are slow, turrets are faster and progressive is the fastest. I use a single stage press. I only shoot about 100 rounds of centerfire ammo a month, so speed is not an issue for me. A Lee single stage press is about $30 - $40.

Lee handgun and rifle die sets are about $40 each ($80 for all your 9mm and .223 dies). I use the Lee carbide handgun dies that come with a resizer/deprmer die, flaring die, seating/crimp die, dipper and shell holder. The rifle die set I use comes with resizer/deprimer, seating/crimp, Lee Factory Crimp Die, dipper and shell holder.

Follow the directions that come with the dies and full length resize/deprime all of your brass, whether fired or new. You do not want a stuck case in your semi auto gun. Rifle brass need to be lubed prior to resizing. Make sure you lube inside the case neck in addition to the case exterior. Use a Q-Tip if you're using lube from a tube. If you don't use enough lube then the case can get stuck in the die and your day will turn into a bunch of cuss words with hammer and punch in hand. I use shoe boxes to sort cleaned brass and deprimed/resized brass.

Once resized you need to measure you fired rifle brass to make sure they're not too long. Check your reloading manual to determine the cartridge's trim-to-length length. You will need a caliper to measure the length. If the length is too long, then you will need a case trimmer. Lee makes a cheap and simple hand trimmer. Just takes a few turns.

Handgun brass doesn't need trimming because it shortens from firing, whereas rifle brass grows longer. I don't know why this happens.

Once the brass are resized, my next step is to prime the brass. I use a Lee Ram Priming Unit for single stage presses. I never got around to using hand priming tools so I may be behind the curve on this one. Anyway, make sure you wear eye/ear protection when handling primers. Accidents happen and I've heard it can get ugly when a primer explode in front of your face.

Handgun cases need to be flared so you can insert a bullet on top of the charged case, so install your flare die and apply just enough flare to seat the bullet on top of the case.

Next step is to charge your cases with powder. Now you need a loading tray so you can stand up your cases. Get two trays so you can move from one step to the next. How much powder? In my experience, velocity is overrated. Stay away from max loads and you will usually get better accuracy, sufficient speed and your cases will last longer. I use the Lee dipper with Lee funnel and weigh every charge. I use a balance scale but others recommend digital scales. Like I said, I only make about 100 rounds a month so speed is a non issue for me. In fact, when it comes to rifle ammo, weighing every charge is critical for me.

Now that your cases are all standing up and filled with powder take the time to give them a view from the top. Use a flashlight if needed to make sure you don't have any double charges. With some combinations of cases and powders, a double charge is impossible, but it doesn't hurt to take 2 minutes to look.

The next step is to seat your bullets. The seating die performs both bullet seating and taper crimping and is designed to perform both in one stroke of the press. I don't like the idea of pushing and squeezing at the same time, so I seat and crimp in separate steps. The depth of the die determines the crimp (the lower the die the more crimp is applied) and the knob on top of the die adjust the height of the bullet being seated. So I'll raise the die 3 full turns from the bottom when seating so no crimp is applied, and then I'll remove the bullet seater when applying crimp.

As you seat your bullet, you will be looking for the desired cartridge over all length (COAL). Use your caliper to measure COAL. Turn the seating knob a half turn at a time until you get the right length. If you seat the bullet too deep, you now need a kinetic bullet puller to remove the bullet so you can start over.

Because rifle cases are not flared I like to use boat tail bullet to make seating easier.

Seated handgun cartridges need to be crimped to remove the flare. How much crimp to apply depend on the cartridge specs. Your reloading manual should have a diagram with measurement specs. Use your caliper to make sure the case mouth is within spec. If it's too wide, apply more crimp.

Rifle cartridges do not need to be crimped. That's what I read in the Sierra manual. But I use the Lee Factory Crimp Die on my .223 ammo. I shoot out of an AR so I want the extra grip from the crimp.

Once your're done crimping, store your ammo in plastic ammo boxes. You can use empty factory ammo boxes, but after all your work you will want to treat your ammo like little jewels.

When you go to the range to shoot your ammo you will become obsessed with chasing your brass, especially if you spent $100 on 100 pieces of Lapua brass. Get a brass catcher to make your life much easier. For the AR there's this brass catcher that attaches to the handguard so you can shoot from any position and catch your brass. For the handgun you need a brass catcher with a base or tripod attachment and adjust to your height.

Some people like to verify their muzzle velocity with a chronograph. It's useful for rifle loads so you can input the data into a ballistic calculator and determine bullet drop. Shopping for a chrony can be an adventure in itself. I recommend Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph, about $120.

That's about it from me. I'm sure some would say my methods are wrong, unnecessary, inefficient or even dangerous. And they're probably right. But that comes with the territory. You never stop learning when it comes to handloading and even the experts disagree on certain things. What ever you do, be safe. Double check your work and listen to the great advice you will find from the folks at THR. Have fun.

FROGO207
October 4, 2012, 08:34 AM
I find reloading is as much about sharing knowledge and passing the goodwill of others on as the actual reloading is. To me that is anyway. Reloaders are the most sharing group I have ever been involved with bar none. Note here that many of us on here are strangers that would otherwise meet in public and never realize it unless we met at the range or gun related venue.:)

kingmt
October 4, 2012, 11:26 AM
That is probably the worst two rounds to learn on & close to being the worst to do no a SS. Most of both have crimped primers. The cost for finished rounds vs time takes to build them & price of few components. If you buy in bulk it is worth while to load these but on a progressive not a SS. You will burn yourself out in no time.

918v
October 4, 2012, 01:13 PM
Is there a kit you would recommend for the novice reloader?

No.

Reloading kits suck.

Instead of buying a kit, assemble your own tool set. You know what you need pretty much. Ask specific questions about each tool and people will offer their opinions. Some of us like this vs that and will gladly tell you why.

Lost Sheep
October 4, 2012, 11:52 PM
That is probably the worst two rounds to learn on & close to being the worst to do no a SS. Most of both have crimped primers. The cost for finished rounds vs time takes to build them & price of few components. If you buy in bulk it is worth while to load these but on a progressive not a SS. You will burn yourself out in no time.
As discouraging as that advice is, the facts remain facts and opinion remains opinion.

Military brass often has crimped primers (a little ridge that keeps the primers in place, which is good when shooting during a firefight, but not so desirable for reloading). A primer pocket reamer will take care of that the first time you reload that brass and then it's clear sailing thereafter.

Worst to do on a single stage? If you load in large quantities, EVERYTHING is equally tiresome on a single stage. For learning, a single stage is just about perfect and the cartridge makes not a bit of difference. Burnout is a personal tolerance thing. Predictions are pointless.

True, 9mm and 5.56 Nato (223 Remington) are fairly cheap because there are huge quantities manufactured, so the savings margin for loading your own is thinner with them than many other cartridges, like 45 Colt in hunting-power levels.

For learning on? They are fine. I prefer a cartridge a little more flexible in power levels (small-volume cases tolerate less variation in charge weight and seating depth than larger-volume cases), but the 9mm is not as finely tuned as the 40 S&W, for example.

918v is right on about assembling your own kit. The stuff you learn while researching the components to buy will teach you a lot about loading. You may get cranking out rounds a little faster if you start with a kit, but you will be better educated and probably happier and with gear better suited to your needs if you assemble your own kit rather than one selected by some marketing "genius" at the home office.

Go forth. Be happy.

I recommend the Lee Classic Turret because you can use it to learn with just exactly as if it were a single stage press and then insert the indexing rod and easily triple your hourly volume. Plus it is a good money value. But if you click on the link in post #15 and read the thread there, you will get a lot of good information, including my rather lengthy posts which I have elected not to burden this thread with.

Lost Sheep

kingmt
October 5, 2012, 10:50 AM
Yes it is opinion most of it anyway. Time is important to me but so its the amount of money I spend because I don't have a lot of ether. I load both 9mm & 223. It is worth while for me. Even building blasting ammo I save money but I've bought in huge bulk. 223 cost me about 4 cents a shot good hunting ammo V-Max cost less then 20 cents.

I use a SS for 223 because I don't think I'd like it on the progressive but I also she all my 223 & 9mm before loading. There is nothing wrong with learning on a progressive. You can start by running one at a time all the way through. I have both a Loadmaster & Pro1000 which I prefer the Pro1000 for most loading. it has less stations to keep up with. I like the ease of priming on the Loadmaster tho.

I'm not trying to discourage you. I just want you to see this going in so 3 months down the road you don't tag this to every caliber & press. It happened to me & I boxed it all up for years. It wasn't until my kids drug it out & bagged me to load with them that I thought that there has to be a better way. I didn't have much money but my wife keep encouraging me to buy one that I got the Pro1000. That is when I got hooked on Lee tools.

Baryngyl
October 6, 2012, 01:54 AM
If you have the money, you can do better buying individual items. However it's pretty hard to beat this kit:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/121744/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-kit

This is basically the kit I started with except it had the older versions of the Lee Auto Prime and press.
The Lee Safety Powder Scale works good, but you will probably want to upgrade to a better scale later, the Lee Chamfer Tool also works to remover primer crimps even though they never say so in the kits descriptions.
I have since added a few other items to it, powder trickler, forster case trimer with extra attachments for neck turning, LEE auto disk powder measure, and I am sure there are a few more that I am forgetting right now.
I think I kit can be a good place to start from.


Michael Grace

MachIVshooter
October 6, 2012, 03:15 AM
Is there a kit you would recommend for the novice reloader?

Economical-Lee anniversary kit

Built to last five lifetimes-RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit.

Just add calipers, the necessary die sets and (if necessary) a case trimmer and you're ready to rock.

There will be other things you'll acquire over the years, but these kits have pretty much everything you'll need and really nothing you don't. I still use every component that came in my Rockchucker kit, save for the loading block; I use plastic cartridge trays scavenged from the range trash can for that.

Lost Sheep
October 7, 2012, 02:49 AM
Kempf's Gun Shop Lee Classic Turret Kit. Add a scale, manual(s), caliper and bullet puller and you are set for handgun loading for quite a long time for under $300.

Primer pocket cutter (uniformer), case mouth chamfer tool and a couple of other small items and you are loading in fine style.

Or you can assemble your own kit.

You can start with $150 and be minimally equipped for one caliber, and can expand from there as you have the money and feel the need for more tools. But you will have spent nothing on items you will later discard.

$204 will get you up to a really nice setup for one caliber. $287 and you have a really good setup.

(NOTE: These dollar figures are from June/July 2010, but you should still be able to match them if you shop carefully.)

Budget another $100 for miscellaneous small tools plus $50 per additional caliber.

The below was originally posted in 2010 here:
(previously posted on rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

Bold subject line, eh? Let me qualify it down. I load for handgun only; 5 calibers, about 100-400 rounds per session and about 5,000 rounds a year. I stow my gear in 3 medium size toolboxes when not in use. If this comes close to describing your situation, you might like to read on.

35 years after starting, I found I outgrew some gear and overbought elsewhere. So, I cleaned house. I emptied my bench and populated it with the best equipment I could find precisely fitting my loading needs. I could have saved a lot of experimentation and waste if I had known back then what I know now (about handloading and about myself).

Informed by my experience reconstituting my loading bench, I compiled a list of the barest essentials that would allow a novice loader to load well and which would still be gratifying in 30 years. (In my opinion and somewhat matching my style of shooting and loading.)

I think it makes an ideal shopping list for the handloader just starting out. I hope you do, too.

Press, scale, dies, a way to measure powder and a work surface are all you need, really. Everything else just makes it easier or faster.

$17 ABC's of Reloading. Ok, it's not really equipment, but tools without knowledge is just dead weight, right?
$10 Loading Data. The "One book/One Caliber" pamphlets are $10 each and are LOADED (get it?) with loading data.
$0 Loading manuals. They cost, but I didn't want to skew the budget; you do need at least a couple. Check the local library if money is tight.
$0 Eye protection. No cost, because you DO already have a pair of shootingglasses, DON'T YOU!?
$85 Press, Lee Classic Turret (Chosen because Lee makes the only turret presses that auto-advances at the discretion of the operator and the Classic is superior to the Deluxe for several features.)
$33 Dies, carbide. Lee because it includes a shell holder, a plastic dipper for powder and the "powder through" design.
$5 Work surface. Mount your press on a plank of scrap 2x8 and secure it to a (padded) coffee table.
$0 Dropcloth to catch any spilled powder or lost primers (dead or live). Use an old sheet. Quieter than plastic, less static and drapes better.
$150 plus shipping At this point, you can reload, but are limited in flexibility and speed.
$8 Lee Scoops/Dippers. Cheaper than any powder dispenser/measure and repeatability/cosistency is excellent.
$3 Powder funnel. Lee's funnel fits right in the their "powder through" die.
$161 plus shipping At this point, you are minimally equipped to load well. Not too convenient, but not handicapped to the point of terminal frustration, either.
$22 Lee Safety Prime. You can use your fingers, but this is so much better. Fits on the Lee Press.
$21 Scale, any brand. Lee's, at $21 is cheapest. You can do without, with the full set of Lee Dippers, but better to weigh. For peace of mind if nothing else.
$204 plus shipping At this level of investment, you are decently equipped
$33 Lee Auto-Disk powder dispenser/measure. It mounts atop Lee's "Powder through" die. With this, you may not need the funnel or dippers.
$50 Loading Bench. A folding workbench works fine for me. You can get a kit or build your own, too.
$287 plus shipping Now you are well-equipped as most reloaders, except for convenience accessories or tools you will use only occasionally.

Other stuff:
$20 Bullet puller I never used one for my first 20 years of loading.
$30 Calipers I had none for 30 years. Now that I do, I find uses.
$50 Tumbler Never had one. Got one now. My brass is prettier. Shoots the same.
$10 Loading blocks ($5, if you use, use two). For batch loading. Buy, or make with a plank and a drill.
$25 Powder Trickler - handy if you weigh each powder charge.

$34 misc accessories & tools, (e.g. chamfer tool)
$60 Difference to get a more user-friendly scale than the Lee
$0 Turret and Dies for 38/357 (included with basic setup)
$46 Turret and Dies for 45/454
$46 Turret and Dies for 44
$46 Turret and Dies for 45 ACP
$46 Turret and Dies for 9mm
$700 plus shipping To duplicate my entire current loading bench with all new stuff, misc accessories and tools and I would not be in the least inconvenienced in my loading endeavors.

There are many accessories that add convenience of functionality, but are so highly optional they do not belong on this "essentials" list, or belong down near the end. Besides, if I included them all, the list would be endless.

I chose a turret instead of a progressive because I am more comfortable with performing and monitoring one operation at a time and changing calibers is dead simple. I chose a turret instead of a single stage because it facilitates processing in a "pass-through" mode (much like a progressive) rather than the batch mode of the single stage. But I still do have the option of operating as a single stage in batch mode if I choose.

You could build this list using any mix of brands. I chose Lee's brand because the Auto-indexing is not available on any other press and the Auto-Disk powder measure is the most convenient I have seen, in combination with the Lee "Powder through the Die" design. The Auto-Disk is not convenient to adjust powder quantity, but it is light and compact.

Lost Sheep

P.S.
Thanks to Sue Kempf at Kempf's Gun Shop, and Mark and the guys at Factory Direct Sales and the technicians in Customer Support at Lee Precision.

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