Getting into Reloading, What Do You Think of My List?


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hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 01:30 PM
Hey Everybody. Long time lurker, first time poster :P

I just got a new Springfield XDm 9mm and couldn't be happier with it. However, to be proficient with it as I'd like will require regular shooting. And the cost and availability of ammo leaves some to be desired. I intend to remedy this by reloading.

A little background...
I'm a stay-at-home-dad, with a 2 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. My wife makes a decent income but budgeting for hobbies can be a challenge. I only have a small window of freedom to pursue interests away from the living room/kitchen, so I can't live in the basement for hours on end. Thank god for nap time. I like to hit the range once a week, and usually go through 100-150 rounds, but I would like to double that (minimum). I borrowed my grandfathers single-stage RCBS when I was 16 and handloaded some match .30-06 following his recipes. Kinda crazy now that I think about it. 9 years later I still have a handful of those treasured tack-drivers.

I've done A LOT of reading on here and other forums and watched hours youtube tutorials and comparisons. I never said I didn't have free time.:uhoh:
So I think I've come up with a list of equipment to get started on the cheap, and grow into a more economical setup. I you don't mind, I'd like your input/advice. Did I miss anything? Also, if you see any "junk" on here let me know, I'd rather spend more the first time on quality than cheap out and spend even more later.

http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv84/hcinciripini/Untitled.png?t=1398445465

The Wet Tumbler Goal can be found here (http://ingunowners.com/forums/ammunition-reloading/284542-diy-wet-media-tumbler-pic-heavy.html).

My logic...
I'm cheap, but I like the sound of "frugal". I hate unnecessary equipment that costs me money and takes up space. For this reason, I was initially interested in starting off with a progressive press. But that brings my initial cost WAY up, delaying the start of this hobby. So I looked into single stage bench models, pretty expensive for something that will be phased out, but necessary with the Lee sizer die (when I start casting bullets). Then I read about the hand press being used for case handling on the couch. Turns out people size bullets with them too!:what: Perfect!

I have no idea when it comes to die sets. But I've read good things about the Factory Crimp Die from Lee. Input here would be great!

Thanks in Advance,
-H

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Potatohead
April 25, 2014, 01:39 PM
Welcome to THR, you found the right place. These fellas have taught me how to load over the past year or so. Someone will be along soon to help, I shall refrain from spilling to much advice since Im pretty deep into noob territory still. Fyi, be forewarned, the FCD stirs up quite some sentiments.

FMJBT
April 25, 2014, 01:44 PM
You can buy the harbor freight tumbler for $45 http://m.harborfreight.com/dual-drum-rotary-rock-tumbler-67632.html

And buy pins. All you would need is ~2 lbs. 1 for each drum.

Buy a 3 die set instead of a 4 die. You don't need the factory crimp die

Lastly, the hornady case prep center is a waste. Save your money.

You can save your money by passing on case gauge. They are nice convince, but you can just use your barrel instead. I have them, don't get me wrong, but with a budget minded build, spend that money towards a good scale.

. Fyi, be forewarned, the FCD stirs up quite some sentiments.

;) good call

Vol46
April 25, 2014, 01:44 PM
You will need a scale - balance beam or digital - as well as some way of measuring your powder charge. I think a Lee dipper may come with your die set, but you still need a scale to check the charge, adjust your technique, etc. to be sure you are getting the correct charge. If 9 mm is your starting caliber, you will not likely need the case trimmer and associated accessories. I don't think I have ever trimmed 9 mm cases.

PistolPete45
April 25, 2014, 01:46 PM
I have friends that love their lee set up I bought a RCBS rock chucker Master kit years ago . Have some RCBS Dies 6 Hornady and 3 Lee dies , I like the Hornady best . Bought the RCBS hand primer and would not be without it again ..

FMJBT
April 25, 2014, 01:50 PM
I don't see a manual in there either. ABC's of reloading and Lyman #49 are good ones to have. You can never have enough manuals, or data to cross reference

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 01:59 PM
You guys are fast! I really appreciate the feedback.

Thanks FMJBT! 6# capacity for $45?!! Thanks for the link, I don't think I could build one for that price!

Thanks Vol! I forgot to mention that I already have a digital scale (http://www.americanweigh.com/product_info.php?products_id=110) I use for homebrewing. Accurate to .1 grain.

Thanks Pete! What do you prefer about the Hornady dies? I was looking at hand primers, but the Lee hand press kit comes with a primer seating die set, so I figured I could shave $65 off of my starting costs. It does look like a PITA to handle each primer 1 at a time though.

Now I have to figure what the fuss is about the FCD.

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 02:04 PM
I plan to have a library of loading and casting manuals. I umm, "found" some online for previewing to see which I'll purchase in hard copy. It sounds like Lee, Hornady, and Lyman are pretty well praised.

CraigC
April 25, 2014, 02:13 PM
IMHO, you need a better scale, that is not the place to go 'that' cheap. A standard beam scale will do fine and it's something you can trust.

I agree on the FCD, I've been handloading for 15yrs and never saw the need for one.

Also agree on the case trimmer. Straightwall pistol cases require very little case trimming and you can do all that with a standard manual trimmer for less than a hundred bucks.

Skip the case gauge.

I would heartily suggest you spend the money we just saved you on a real bench mounted press. That hand press will get real old, real fast.

For $30/yr, you can subscribe to LoadData.com and have access to everything ever printed in Handloader and Rifle magazines plus nearly ALL published manuals. Something to consider.

FMJBT
April 25, 2014, 02:31 PM
Don't forget the 20% off coupon If you order that tumbler

http://m.harborfreight.com/20off-coupon912-aff-17547.html?utm_referrer=direct%2Fnot%20provided

oneounceload
April 25, 2014, 02:36 PM
Unless I missed it, I do not see a scale or some form of bullet puller for those OOPS that happen from time to time. I also do not see any bullet lube for your cast bullets

USSR
April 25, 2014, 02:39 PM
A lot of unnecessary and wasteful items listed there. The items that CraigC mentioned are spot on.

Don

pretzelxx
April 25, 2014, 02:56 PM
Get a hot plate for your aluminum molds, they need to stay very hot and one heat quickly, hovering over your pot will do it, but a plate is much better. Make sure it's not an open coil plate.

You can also get lead cheaper than that. Doesn't have to be anything other than soft range scrap or wheel weight alloy. Buy from people on castboolits, they sometimes sell by the half ton.

PistolPete45
April 25, 2014, 03:04 PM
Those Hornady dies have a small shield that kind of guides the bullet into the brass You do have to buy shell holders with Hornady and RCBS The lee sets come with the shell holder

blarby
April 25, 2014, 03:09 PM
3 loadbooks.

If I see another "ima start 'loadin" list without books on it, wreckin' will ensue.

They are equally if not more important than any metal tool, and should be first on your list- not the part forgotten.

It speaks volumes to your mindset , what makes it on your kit list for any endeavor.

grogetr
April 25, 2014, 04:30 PM
I am new to reloading also and think it would be a little overwhelming to try to learn casting my own bullets at the same time I am trying to figure out the reloading part. I started with lead bullets and soon found out that can be challenging by itself. Get the books first and read them a few times so it makes sense to you. There are lots of smart people on here always ready to help. I know I have learned things here that are hard to pick up in a manual.

UziLand
April 25, 2014, 04:58 PM
I'll Jump into the FCD thing. Been loading since Bill Clinton (first term) talked about a 200% ammo tax. I recently used an FCD for the first time. The only reason is that I was loading 7.62x39 for an AK. The bullet movement in those actions is wild. I've seen rounds sucked in .008 to .012 in the mag. I've also had popouts (xtreme bullets in this cal are scary, short and no cannelure). The FCD helped (on jacketed rds w/cannelure) minimize the movement. Otherwise, I am with the guy's that don't see the use for them.
Welcome to the twilight zone of reloading. You'll learn to love your basement:)

UL

tightgroup tiger
April 25, 2014, 05:40 PM
Ok, you asked for our opinion. Mine is the presses you have listed.
First off you need to get a good Single stage press instead of a $45.00 hand press because you talking about jumping from a hand press to an ammo plant. You will need a single stage anyways for the ammo plant, everyone does no matter what progressive they decide to buy.

I don't think if you have bigger plans and are buying all the other things you have listed, that a $45.00 hand press is going to cut it. I'm basing this on the fact that you think you will need an ammo plant later on.

I would spend a $55.00 more and buy the Lee Classic Cast turret press to start with even if you had to delete some of the other things on your list. You will be much happier with it. It will load single stage or semi progressive either one. It will be a press that won't end up thrown under the bench latter on when you decide you need something more efficient and can't afford the ammo plant yet. It only makes financial sense to buy, one time, what you will use the rest of your life. If you are planning on taking the hand press with you shooting so you can adjust loads on the fly, it's a press that will work well for you but you can afford one of them anytime.
If your planning on starting to load pistol and rifle both with your components the Lee Classic Cast press won't wear you out doing it.

I know people on this forum that have been using the Classic Cast turret press as their primary for decades, they never did go to a progressive. And it won't break the bank buying it.

Just my opinion.

Millamber457
April 25, 2014, 06:02 PM
there are some great deals on the lee starter kits out there , that hand press would become a real pain in short order , and those kits come pretty much with everything you need to start loading , scale , measure , primer tools , all you need are the dies powder and some bullets , and for gods sake get a good manual or three

dab102999
April 25, 2014, 06:53 PM
Check you local library for reloading books...abc of reloading is a pretty good book for newbees but after that not extremely useful. Layman, lee, speer are all good books and will serve you for many years (decades). If you are on facebook look up reloading and gun sites. (Only usefull thing I have found on facebook) as long as you know value you can find some real good deals. I just missed a fully set up loadmaster with lots of extras for less then a third the price of a press by itself. Also watch craigslist. Presses and dies dont wear out to often.

KingM
April 25, 2014, 06:59 PM
I can't see your list so I can only comment on what I've read. I have loaded a bunch of 9mm on the Pro1000. You are going to burn yourself out doing 9mm on a SS but if you are set on it the Lee Precision Reloader Press at $35 can fill the bill. I doubt you have put a swage on that list but I would suggest it for 9mm since most of the 9mm brass I get is crimped anymore. I have Factory Crimp dies for everything I load but I have yet to ever try one. Harbor Freight 25 off coupon 50101088 . I don't really worry about cleaning brass & I have never trimmed handgun brass. Your barrel is the best cartridge gauge you can get. I also have lots of dust on my manuals since I use Reloaders Reference or online data that is free from the manufacturers web site.

Now if you have plans to load anything else this advice may change.

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 07:08 PM
IMHO, you need a better scale, A standard beam scale will do fine... Also agree on the case trimmer....you can do all that with a standard manual trimmer...Skip the case gauge ...suggest you spend the money...on a real bench mounted press. That hand press will get real old, real fast.

I was concerned about the scale, I use it regularly and seldom have to recalibrate it. I have no problem upgrading to a better scale, but it will be digital. I've used beam balances and I find them too tedious. The expensive triple-beams at school are nice but really expensive.

I fully expect the whole reloading process on the hand press to get old. I'll probably move the Lock n Load AP to the first upgrade after my initial investment. I didn't plan to go more than a month or tow without a mounted press. The hand press appeals to my need to be away from the (downstairs) reloading area. It would be on my list anyway, if for nothing else but case sizing/belling.

Don't forget the 20% off coupon If you order that tumbler
You are awesome!

I do not see a scale or some form of bullet puller I also do not see any bullet lube for your cast bullets
Good call on the bullet puller. How often do you guys use those? Kinetic or Cam-lock preferences? As far as lube goes I was planning on trying the homemade recipes from the Ingot to Target book by Fryxell, the barrel conditioning moly lube sounds pretty appealing.

A lot of unnecessary and wasteful items listed there.

Anything other than what Craig listed?

Get a hot plate for your aluminum molds, they need to stay very hot... Make sure it's not an open coil plate. You can also get lead cheaper than that...
I'll have to look into the hot plate idea. Are you talking about the griddle style for cooking?

Those Hornady dies have a small shield that kind of guides the bullet into the brass You do have to buy shell holders...
Now that you say that, I remember a Lock n Load video on youtube where the guy says he prefers the Hornady seating die. That must be why.

3 loadbooks. If I see another "ima start 'loadin" list without books on it, wreckin' will ensue. It speaks volumes to your mindset , what makes it on your kit list for any endeavor.

Wreckin'? Don't tell me you're one of those macho-behind-the-screen forum contributors. I've been looking into load manuals, they just didn't come to mind when I was picturing each step of the process to come up with this list. Please give me some insight to my mindset, having read apparently only one of my few posts. I digress.

... it would be a little overwhelming to try to learn casting my own bullets at the same time I am trying to figure out the reloading part. I started with lead bullets and soon found out that can be challenging by itself...
You're right, learning both at the same time would be a lot to ask. I plan to get a handle on the basics with jacketed bullets, and then start casting my own. I figure, you can always melt the flawed castings.

I'll Jump into the FCD thing...The bullet movement in those actions is wild. I've seen rounds sucked in .008 to .012 in the mag. I've also had popouts (xtreme bullets in this cal are scary, short and no cannelure). The FCD helped (on jacketed rds w/cannelure) minimize the movement. Otherwise, I am with the guy's that don't see the use for them.
Welcome to the twilight zone of reloading. You'll learn to love your basement

This makes me want to crimp. Are there any disadvantages to crimping? If not the Lee Factory Crimp, taper crimp?

I already love my basement. That's where my kegerator is! Don't worry, I won't be handling explosives and homebrew at the same time.

First off you need to get a good Single stage press... You will need a single stage anyways for the ammo plant, everyone does no matter what progressive they decide to buy. I would spend a $55.00 more and buy the Lee Classic Cast turret press... I know people...using the Classic Cast turret press as their primary for decades, they never did go to a progressive. And it won't break the bank...

Wow. That thing is impressive for the price. I'll have to look into that a bit more. Why do you say everyone needs a single stage? Unless they're hand loading precision bullets or sizing casts, I see no reason to go back from a progressive if you already have one.

There are some great deals on the lee starter kits out there, that hand press would become a real pain in short order , and those kits come pretty much with everything you need to start loading...all you need are the dies powder and some bullets , and for gods sake get a good manual or three

Okay okay, I'll add the manuals to the list! I'm still not sold on the single stages, but I'll look into them some more. That Lee Classic Turret makes me wonder what else I haven't seen yet.

FMJBT
April 25, 2014, 07:10 PM
If you want to do any rifle rounds, especially anything bigger than a 223, you'll want a single stage. You're arms will get over it very quickly

larryh1108
April 25, 2014, 07:20 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precision-Breech-Lock-Challenger/dp/B003ISVWC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1398467943&sr=1-1&keywords=lee+challenger+breech+lock+single+stage+press+kit

Highly recommend.
A hand press has it's charm but will get old, fast.

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 07:51 PM
I'm looking at various die sets, and the Hornady site shows 9mm dies available in 9x18, "9mm Luger-9x21", 9x23, and 9mm-380. I don't see 9x19 anywhere.

What's up with these?
http://www.hornady.com/store/9mm-Luger-9-x-21-.355-3-Die-Set/
http://www.hornady.com/store/9mm-Luger-9-x-21-.355-Taper-Crimp-3-Die-Set/

splattergun
April 25, 2014, 08:05 PM
Do some more shopping. There are sites with much better pricing on Lee equipment than Midsouth or Midway; for example, $29.99 for the Lee hand press here;
https://fsreloading.com/lee-precision-breech-lock-hand-press-only-90685.html

USSR
April 25, 2014, 08:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR
A lot of unnecessary and wasteful items listed there.

Anything other than what Craig listed?

The biggest thing is the hand press, don't do it as you will tire of it quickly. Then there is the Lee Lock Ring Eliminator. One of the reason I don't buy Lee dies is because of their stupid lock rings. When you go to the cost and trouble of replacing the rings on a set of Lee dies, a higher quality set of dies that come with decent rings looks all the better. Spending twice as much money or more for wet tumbling is totally unnecessary, as the standard tumblers that use walnut shell media work just fine. In Step 2, I'm not sure why you are buying two moulds, and especially a 150gr bullet mould for a 9mm. I would look for one that produces about 125gr bullets, but come out at .358", not .356". Really easy to size down .358" a bit; really tough to size up .356" a bit, and you will find that .358" sized bullets generally shoot quite well in most 9mm handguns. And lastly, $312 for a case prep center? I just paid about $115 for a Lyman case prep center. Hope that helps.

Don

GLOOB
April 25, 2014, 08:22 PM
+1 on hand press. If you're casting bullets to save money, then you're going to be doing a lot of loading, one would presume. Hand press is not where it's at.

Also, you do not need a hand press to size bullets. You can use the Lee sizers in a progressive press. Most progressives can be used as a SS press.

Also, you do not often need to size cast bullets, to begin with. There's a lot of incomplete advice out there that is not well thought out. There is zero reason to size a bullet smaller, unless it's so big that it doesn't fit in the chamber. The only persons needing to size a bullet to exacting specs are people with guns that have tight chambers and people who sell bullets... because some of their customers have guns with tight chambers.

Most of the time, you will have zero issues with a cast bullet as it drops right out of the mold. If the completed cartridge fits in the chamber, freely, the bullet is NOT too big for the bore. It can't be. And sizing to exactly 1 mic over bore size doesn't make the bullet any safer nor more accurate nor less likely to lead, as a general rule. Now, this isn't to say that some people might have specific experiences where they actually get better accuracy (or think they do).

Cast bullets can be too small, OTOH. But there's no amount of sizing a cast bullet that can make it bigger! So save the money on the sizers. Buy them if and when you need them. If you find you don't like tumble lubing, you will have to buy a lubrisizer, anyway.

I believe you will find a SS press is not something that you will outgrow if you upgrade. A good, cheap SS press is a very useful and versatile piece of equipment. You will probably be glad to have one, even if you upgrade to a progressive.

Potatohead
April 25, 2014, 08:43 PM
Most seater dies will crimp. Since i learned to crimp with the seating die, my FCDs have been MIA on purpose. I couldnt even tell you where they are.


Though i usually try and stay out of the advice givin' business i would like to mention that a set of check weights are a tiny investment and come in quite handy. I, myself like to know that my scale is accurate.

And i agree with Blarby, the manuals are one of the most important parts. People dont drill that in like they used to around here. You used to not be able to get to the 3rd post without a manual Nazi showing up. (Thankfully so, too)

oneounceload
April 25, 2014, 09:04 PM
Good call on the bullet puller. How often do you guys use those? Kinetic or Cam-lock preferences?

As little as possible BUT they ARE necessary - I use kinetic

oneounceload
April 25, 2014, 09:06 PM
And manuals, as well as online powder maker sites, are a necessity

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 09:28 PM
...the Lee Lock Ring Eliminator...Spending twice as much money or more for wet tumbling is totally unnecessary...In Step 2, I'm not sure why you are buying two moulds, and especially a 150gr bullet mould for a 9mm. I would look for one that produces about 125gr bullets, but come out at .358", not .356". Really easy to size down .358" a bit; really tough to size up .356"...And lastly, $312 for a case prep center? I just paid about $115 for a Lyman case prep center. Hope that helps.

I was looking at the lock ring Eliminator as an alternative to the quick change bushings, for an extra $3 I like the allen set screw vs the typical nut locking mechanism.

I like the concept of wet tumbling, mostly to keep dust levels down. And although it's purely cosmetic, I like shiny brass. With the harbor freight tumbler (if it doesn't wear out) it's pretty competitive in price.

For self defense rounds I like the added mass of the 147gr bullets. I was looking for a similar size mold. To make a comparable practice round. The 150gr is as close as I could find but it's for 38's and .357's. But since you mention the sizing ability of .358's I'll have to reconsider the .356 molds. The only reason for the .356 sizer is a semi-accurate place holder. I plan to slug my barrels before choosing the appropriate sizing die.

Yeah, the case prep station is off the list. I'd considered it for possible rifle cartridges later on, but there are better alternatives. You're helping more than you know. Thank you.

GLOOB, I have no experience casting bullets and I don't know what your experience level is. With that said, most of your post flies right in the face of what I've read so far in Ingot to Target (http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm). I plan to size my cast bullets for consistency from round to round, to correct any out of round castings I might let pass, and to match my barrel for accuracy and minimized leading.

I would be very cautious warning people that sizing is unnecessary. Over-sized bullets and/or barrel constrictions can cause excess leading, barrel blockage or worse.

hcinciripini
April 25, 2014, 09:43 PM
http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv84/hcinciripini/Untitled2.png

WestKentucky
April 25, 2014, 09:49 PM
If it will keep you away from the hand press then I will send you an old lee o frame that is rattling around under my bench. Those hand presses are awful. If you ever consider a full length size rifle round then you will put that hand press in a creek somewhere and forget it. My suggestion is to buy a lee or rcbs beginners setup in a single stage, tabletop mounted press. Die thread is universal so if you decide you want to load other rounds (reloading is catchy) all you need is another set of dies. On your dies, buy lee carbide because they are good and they are cheap. They claim to run lube-less but I still give mine a light misting. Anyways, buy the kit and all you need is components. Go to the pay it forward thread (somebody link it please, I don't know how) and watch for the other bits you may want. I can't possibly stress enough the need for a cheapo flashlight and loading trays. Trays to hold your stuff so you work quickly in batches, flashlight makes it easy to look at powder levels to avoid a squib or a double charge. People will tell you that a double in a 9mm are not possible...don't trust it even though they are right (don't trust me on that last bit). Your life and livelihood depends on you being certain that each load is perfect. You don't want to detonate and destroy the diaper-changers.

WestKentucky
April 25, 2014, 09:51 PM
And literature is good, find a few hard copy, and print off everything you can find on powder and bullet manufacturer sites too.

MRH
April 25, 2014, 10:02 PM
Unless you get several pounds of powder and several thousand primers, the HAZMAT fees will eat you alive. I don't remember the shipping rules, but I think that powder and primers have to be shipped separately. You might be better off getting that stuff in your local gun shop.

KingM
April 25, 2014, 11:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR

a higher quality set of dies

Don

I have to say my Lee dies are second to none. The lock ring is one of the best things that set it apart. The O ring keeps the setting while you spin the die so I really see no point in a quick change bushings.

Even if your using a 147gn(assuming JHP) that isn't going to be anything like a 150gn lead bullet. Go with the 124gn. You may decide to rethink & use a 124gn JHP for your SD round.

zerobarrier
April 26, 2014, 12:03 AM
If you are just loading pistols you don't need to trim the cases and with carbide dies you don't need case lube. I have never used either and I have brass I have loaded over 10 times. The Hornady LNL you have list for that price is not the ammo plant that one is usually over $1000, it has the case and bullet feeder. I have the hornady LNL AP without the case and bullet feeder(which is the one for 389) and I can make 100rds of 9mm in about 20mins. You will need the LNL bushings and shell plates. When you go to the LNL I would suggest the RCBS lock out die, very valuable in finding squib and double charge loads. I use the PTX expanders from hornady so I can crimp in a separate step and have the lock out die.

psyshack
April 26, 2014, 01:15 AM
hcin~%#$@*#&#^&!$^~$@$(*@!$%^@~&#!$

Go get your self a Lee Classic Turret kit from Kemph in the caliber of choice. Select the Pro Powder measure as a $14.95 adder.

Then get a simple set of check weights. <<<<<<<<<< Check weights are the most important tool you will ever own. They will help you stay around for those young in's you have. They keep you, your scales and powder measure honest with each other.

Then get your scale. From cheap to lab grade scales,,, check weights keep things honest and in your face if you use them.

You also have to have a dial or digital caliper.

All one has to do concerning brass is clean it. A simple bath with soap and water can do that for you. You have to have your brass mechanically clean and inspected. If you want it polished and spotless priemer pockets and other attention to detail it cost more to get started.

You will also need a bullet puller. Most of use have at least a kentic/hammer style simple puller. If not press style pullers.

Last but not least you need load books. The net is great! All sorts of load data from powder manufactures. But in the long run you need books. I collect the books and as a book snob only hardcover will work for me. :)

There is a old saying. " Don't be penny wise and pound foolish " concerning your reloads.

tightgroup tiger
April 26, 2014, 07:27 AM
Why do you say everyone needs a single stage?

If I have my LNL-AP set up for a production run of 1000 or 1200, my usual run of say 9mm, and I have a hankering for try some new bullets or new powder in my 357mag, I will do my ladder loadups on the Single Stage to find what works the best instead of changing my setup on the LNL-AP.
I pull all the bullets I need to pull on my single stage, it's just so much easier than a kinetic hammer, (but you will still need the kinectic hammer for round nose 9mm).
I do a lot of my priming on top of my single stage, for my less common calibers I load for. Especially if I don't have a shell plate for the LNL-AP.

I guess I'm saying a single stage press compliments a progressive press in so many ways it's hard to list them. I know once I get my LNL-AP tune in perfect for a specific caliber I really don't want to change my setup on the AP for a run of 25 experimental loads.

I have two progressive presses now, one is a LNL-AP w/case feeder, the other one will be replaced this year with a second LNL-AP with no feeder. Even with the two APs the Rock Chucker single stage will still have lots of work. They are just so easy and so versatile (but very slow) that I don't know how you can be without one.

The Lee classic turret press is a self indexing turret press and parts like turret plates are cheap and work well. There are $13.00 and you populate them with dies and just swap out the whole turret for a caliber change. You can take out the indexing rod in about 10 seconds and have a single stage press or leave it in and have a self indexing turret press that is probably one of the most versatile and most flexible presses on the market. It would be your single stage to compliment your AP.
If you start out with the LCT press instead of the hand press, you won't have a really slow press like I have. But you do need something better than a hand press to start with and like I said in my first post, hand presses are cheap, you can buy one any time.

rskent
April 26, 2014, 08:04 AM
I would take a good look at the single stage Lee press kit. It comes with most everything you need to load pistol ammo except components and dies.
And the manual that comes with it is a very interesting read. It is not fancy, but it works well. As far as tumblers and stuff, They make loading nicer but are hardly necessary.
Just my opinion.

CraigC
April 26, 2014, 10:10 AM
I see no reason to go back from a progressive if you already have one.
Everybody needs a single stage or turret. Progressives are awesome for high volume reloading but are terrible for load development and small batches. Right now I have an RCBS turret and Dillon 650 and am about to greatly expand my loading capacity with several more progressives. I'll never be without the turret or a single stage. There are just too many things it's better for and it takes up too little space. It really is a necessity.

UziLand
April 26, 2014, 10:21 AM
9mm luger is also know by 9x19 and 9mm parabellum. All the same thing.

UL

PistolPete45
April 26, 2014, 10:46 AM
I use the 9x21 have not had a bit of trouble over 1000 rounds served

sniper69
April 26, 2014, 11:57 AM
You can buy the harbor freight tumbler for $45 http://m.harborfreight.com/dual-drum...ler-67632.html

And buy pins. All you would need is ~2 lbs. 1 for each drum.

Buy a 3 die set instead of a 4 die. You don't need the factory crimp die

Lastly, the hornady case prep center is a waste. Save your money.

You can save your money by passing on case gauge. They are nice convince, but you can just use your barrel instead. I have them, don't get me wrong, but with a budget minded build, spend that money towards a good scale.
FMJBT - I see pins are mentioned, can I assume you are referring to the stainless steel pins? Also is this the method you use with the stainless pins? http://www.accurateshooter.com/technical-articles/reloading/brass-cleaning-with-stainless-media/
And now for another question, do you use water in the harbor freight tumbler like mentioned in the link, or have a better method? Curious and trying to learn. :)

larryh1108
April 26, 2014, 12:25 PM
Yes, you use stainless steel pins.

You add 1# of the stainless pins, 1# of brass and fill it with the water/lemi-shine/Dawn mixture. You have 2 tumblers so you can do a double batch at once, do 2 different types of brass or just use 1 tumbler. The secret is to use 1# of pins and 1# of brass to allow it to tumble properly. 2 hours and it's as good as new. The Thumler is awesome but bigger and more expensive. However, you can clean more brass at one time, to save time.

dickttx
April 26, 2014, 04:27 PM
43 posts and 43 different answers.:D

Potatohead
April 26, 2014, 05:01 PM
I hear you, I was talking about that with someone in a PM the other day-Ive never been involved in a hobby such as this one, with so many little divisions of fan bases.

captain awesome
April 26, 2014, 09:00 PM
I have to disagree with others about the Lee dies. Some of them have their uses. I like the collet neck sizer dies for rifle. I like th fcd's. But, I am not fond of the Lee die sets. My first cartridge I reloaded for was 500 magnum. I for some reason was unable to hit anything with it. Thought it was the bullets. Changed that, nope. Knew it wasn't the gun since factory ammo was indeed accurate. Changed the dies to another brand and bam. It was a tack diver again. I noticed that with the Lee seater there was a very noticeable amount of runout. Another surprise I had with the new dies were how much easier it was to size the casings! Yes the Lee was carbide but it was sizing them WAY more than what was necessary. The new one sized cases that chambered perfectly without any trouble, and when I checked a case that was previously sized in the lee, it jiggled around in the new sizing die! The casing was that small. I also think other case mouth expander dies such as the Lyman M dies are far superior. Btw the new die set was a Redding set, though I have since grown to appreciate dies from HORNADY A LOT, as well as Lymans, and rcbs.

My point is I bought the Lee dies because they were cheap and ended up spending more on a better set of dies later anyway. Don't buy based solely on price, research a product before you drop the dough on it. According to my Lee manual, Lee stuff is the best there is. My experiences have been different.

WestKentucky
April 26, 2014, 09:13 PM
Per captain awesome...when buying a ford, buy a mustang, not a fiesta. For what it sounds like you want to do I think the lee dies are more than adequate...that said my die boxes are mostly green. Rcbs is more expensive than lee, but I have no issues with the lee dies I use. Those lee dies have made ragged holes at 200 from the .270, .256, .308 etc.

jinxer3006
April 26, 2014, 09:22 PM
Time for another different answer. (I'm basing this on your updated list)

Take these off the list:
Breech lock hand press
Case length gauge and shell holder
Trimmer cutter and lock stud
Trimmer cutter ball grip
American Weigh scale

And get one of these instead:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/121744/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-kit?cm_vc=ProductFinding

The advantages to doing this:
1. You get a real bench mounted single stage press--I know you think this is a waste, but trust me--you'll end up using it more than you think.
2. You get a powder measure--the thought of weighing out every single charge for 9mm makes my brain hurt.
3. You get a hand primer--I haven't talked to anybody that's used on-press and hand priming and liked the on-press priming better.
4. You save $8.55 (maybe even more if you shop around)

Also, ditch the Dillon case gauge--it's unnecessary--just drop your loaded rounds in your barrel (do a search for "plunk test")

I'll also put in a vote AGAINST the Lee Precision Modern Reloading book--it's mostly an advertisement for Lee products combined with load data that's available elsewhere.

If money is really tight for stage 1, you could move the rock tumbler and stainless media to stage 1.5. For now just throw the brass in a bucket with some water and dish detergent and swish it around--it won't sparkle, but it will be clean enough to work with. Also, you could move the cast bullet handbook to stage 2.5.

For stage 3, I'm not sure what the difference is between the "20# pot" and the "Lead Pot", but I'm pretty sure you won't need both unless you're going to be smelting dirty lead. Also, you can save a couple bucks by buying only one set of mold handles and switching them between molds. Don't bother with the Lewis lead remover kit--just get some "Chore Boy" scrubbers (ALL copper, not the copper coated steel) and wrap some around an old brass brush.

I agree with your decision to get a kinetic puller. The collets don't work well with handgun rounds and really are only an advantage for doing bunches of similar rifle rounds at one time.

For 9 mm brass, if you're willing to pay for one of the USPS "if it fits it ships" boxes, I'll fill one up with mixed range pickups and send it to you--just shoot me a PM.

And just to agree with Uziland-- 9 mm Luger = 9 mm Parrabellum = 9x19 mm

blarby
April 26, 2014, 11:11 PM
Wreckin'? Don't tell me you're one of those macho-behind-the-screen forum contributors.

Nope, I'm macho in front of the screen, behind it I tend to be far more laid back. :D

I'd honestly buy the load books, at least one or two, before you bought a cent more kit.

Potatohead
April 27, 2014, 09:54 AM
Im with captain on the Lee dies. Though i do like some of the features on the Lees, i have had much less trouble out of my rcbs dies.

jcwit
April 27, 2014, 10:32 AM
While I have most every color in my reloading set up, most of my dies are Lee brand, that is for 40+ calibers that I reload for. Yet to see a need to spend the extra for another manufacturer dies.

If I were you I would buy 1 set of Lee's and try them out, see how you like them.

Take note tho that if Lee dies were REALLY bad/no good they would have been out of business years ago.

There is only 1 brand that I will not touch and that is smart reloading, not even worth capitalizing the brand.

AABEN
April 27, 2014, 12:19 PM
Why not go with the LEE value turret press kit? Look it up to see what all it has.

Guyzer
April 27, 2014, 05:30 PM
Nope, I'm macho in front of the screen, behind it I tend to be far more laid back. :D

I'd honestly buy the load books, at least one or two, before you bought a cent more kit.
there is something very satisfying about making your own ammo. welcome to the club.

Blarby is right buy the books first

captain awesome
April 27, 2014, 06:19 PM
I just want to clarify I do not believe that all Lee dies are crap, nor do I believe that all Lee equipment is crap. Some of their stuff is very good and inovative. But I will never use there dies again for revolver cartridges. Just don't by the cheapest solely because it is the cheapest.

Fwiw I use fcd's on several cartridges, and collet neck sizer dies on a couple and will buy more for other bolt actions. I also use a Lee turret press (among several other different brands of presses) and use a Lee auto prime, Lee bullet sizer dies for cast boolits and use a Lee lead pot. I even use the Lee hand press for load development while out shooting. I like all of the items listed above, they are functional and useful. Also nothing wrong with their shell holders either.

jcwit
April 27, 2014, 06:51 PM
What problem did you have with their dies in revolver cartridges?
Just wondering>

With that said I have no use for their FCD in straight was handgun calibers.

Now the FCD die for bottleneck rifle calibers I like.

hcinciripini
April 27, 2014, 09:48 PM
I did some more searching around, this time I focused on equipment kits. In most cases the accessories alone were worth more than the kit price if purchased individually.

I liked the Lee Challenger kit, It's reasonably priced, but there are mixed reviews on nearly every piece of equipment. Plastic powder measure consistency, durability and leakage issues. Hand primer double feeds/clogs and lack of "feel". Scale consistency.

I'd considered the lee turret kits but at that price it's too close to the Hornady progressive, especially with the issues mentioned above. Most of the lee kits share the same components.

I started looking at the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic kit. I added up the price of the components (even other less expensive alternatives) and before I got to the press, it was already worth more than the $240 price tag I found at an ebay store. This doesn't include the rebate for 500 XTP bullets with purchase. I've heard good things about their Powder Measure, the hand primer may have some issues, but the scale apparently sucks.

AND IT COMES WITH A MANUAL!!! :neener: Yeah, I know get more than one...

I still plan on the hand press for the convenience of the couch. I just can't believe it'll actually be cheaper to go with the press kit. Thanks for pointing that out.

jcwit
April 27, 2014, 11:11 PM
Once the Lee Perfect powder measure is broken in it is one of the modt accurate measures currently being made, granted its made of plastic, but so are mose hospital equipment to keep you alive.

The hand primer works fine if you watch what you're doing which should be the case anyway.

Starting out you would be much better off with a turrent over a progressive, but inevitably that comes down to your choice. All this is JMHO anyway.

After all I've only been reloading for 50+ years.

hcinciripini
April 28, 2014, 09:55 AM
Once the Lee Perfect powder measure is broken in it is one of the modt accurate measures currently being made, granted its made of plastic, but so are mose hospital equipment to keep you alive.

The hand primer works fine if you watch what you're doing which should be the case anyway.

Starting out you would be much better off with a turrent over a progressive, but inevitably that comes down to your choice. All this is JMHO anyway.

After all I've only been reloading for 50+ years.

Thanks for the info on the powder measure. I did read a lot of positive comments about the powder measure's accuracy, but I tend to look more at negative reviews (with a grain of salt) to get an idea of potential problems. Nobody seems to mention careless habits when having problems with equipment either...

I'm now planning on having a single stage for a while before I decide if I want/need to move to a progressive. Any reason for the turret over progressive? Other than the fact that there's a lot more going on?

It looks like I'm leaning toward the Lee Breech Lock Challenger kit, unless I can find a reason the Hornady equipment would be worth an extra $30-40? (The difference I came up with after adding/removing value of extra supplied/absent/needed parts and a jacketed substitute for Hornady's rebate.)

oneounceload
April 28, 2014, 09:56 AM
I don't remember the shipping rules, but I think that powder and primers have to be shipped separately.


Incorrect, last time I had an order I had 32# (in 8# jugs) and a sleeve of 5000 209s in one box for one hazmat and shipping fee

jcwit
April 28, 2014, 10:41 AM
I'm now planning on having a single stage for a while before I decide if I want/need to move to a progressive. Any reason for the turret over progressive? Other than the fact that there's a lot more going on?

I would still go for the turret. You can use it as a single stage till you get your learning curve accomplished. Then you can use it as it was intended if you wish to speed things up.

Myself, I've have a couple of turrets and more than a few single stage. I reload using 2 single stages side by side. One to expand and drop powder, I use a Lee Auto Disk for handgun cases, and the other to seat & crimp. I do not use a FCD, I see no use for it using cast or plated bullets.

hcinciripini
April 28, 2014, 11:17 AM
I do not use a FCD, I see no use for it using cast or plated bullets.

Yeah, from what I've read, unless I get changes in OAL from recoil or handling (if I dump several hundred roundsinto an ammo bucket) there's really no need. I failed to realize the seating dies also serve to crimp (taper or roll depending on die selection). I like the idea of Hornady's alignment sleeve to keep me from pinching my fingers.

From what I've read taper crimp is more appropriate for the 9mm round due to headspacing in the chamber Is this an issue with the FCD? Taper crimp is also preferred for lead casts because it's supposedly easier on them (keeping their sized diameter).

Then there's the debate of seating and crimping separately... But with a single stage that sounds like more of a hassle. And with a 5 station progressive, I think a powder cop/ lock-out die would take higher priority.

jcwit
April 28, 2014, 11:49 AM
For cast or plated "which is what I use" I crimp very little if at all, I reload mid-range power wise, easier on my old hands and wrists, have not experienced any set back or other issues.

This is in reference to 9mm.

larryh1108
April 28, 2014, 06:33 PM
Originally Posted by jcwit
Once the Lee Perfect powder measure is broken in it is one of the modt accurate measures currently being made,

Agree 100%. Once the plastic parts mate (maybe 100 cycles) this thing is very accurate. I spent the weekend making .45ACP and it was 5.0 after 5.0 time and again. I weigh each load (it's just how I do it and it's set up that way with my single stage) and there may be 1- 4.9 and then a 5.1 out of every 20. I do tap the side of it after each cycle but that's second nature. For a cheap piece of plastic that thing just puts out accurate loads of BALL powder. I don't use flake so I can't comment on that.

Mt. Rat
April 28, 2014, 07:23 PM
I suggest an electric furnace for melting and pouring lead into molds. Much faster and safer.
I've used the Lee for years and haven't touched a dipper since. Awesome and consistent.

jcwit
April 28, 2014, 08:41 PM
I use a single burner Coleman stove model 500 something or other. Works well for me for smelting or casting, but then I live in No. Indiana Amish country where I can buy white gas, aka Naphtha, aka Coleman fuel, off the pump for less than $5.00 a gal.

hcinciripini
April 30, 2014, 08:28 PM
suggest an electric furnace for melting and pouring lead into molds. Much faster and safer. I've used the Lee for years and haven't touched a dipper since. Awesome and consistent.

Sorry about the confusion, the "20# Pot" is an electric, bottom pour furnace. I don't know why I haven't edited that. The "lead pot" is a cast iron pot I'll use to smelt wheel weights into ingots.

I went with the 20# capacity because it was twice the size for a slight increase in cost. I don't know that I'll ever need something that large, and I assume it'll work just fine for smaller quantities. I like the idea of getting lost in a good rhythm and ending up with a 1000 rounds, unlikely, but it sounds good.

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