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Choosing reloading equipment

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dannix, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    Some guys on the benchrestcentral forums recommended to me to go quality and then enjoy it for a lifetime. I've decided to heed their advice and with the time savings considered so much the more so.

    Mainly plan on reloading 9mm. Will probably move to half 9mm half 5.56mm in the relatively near future. A little 40cal and 30-30 as well. All total probably around 5-10k rounds a year.

    Already picked up a few manuals. Looking at getting a Lyman 1200 and Dillon Super Swage. Press wise I'm leaning toward the Hornady LNL. Anything "must-haves" to purchase in addition to the press besides a case feeder and/or bullet feeder? Any fast way of depriming i.e. is there some machine out there for this or is it one round at a time? How long does tumbler medium last?

  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I run all my cases through my LNL to size/deprime. Then I prime with an RCBS hand primer. Then I load the cases using the LNL sans the sizer. Makes it very smooth and works for me. You could use a single stage to deprime using a universal depriming die, but that just adds expense.

    The Hornady LNL, RCBS 2000, Dillon 550 & 650, as well as the Lee Loadmaster all have their fans. All of them will do what you want.

    (No press brand wars guys ;))

    You don't "need" case feeders or bullet feeders, although I am sure they are nice. I don't use either. 4 or 5 hundred rounds an hour going carefully along is still easily done.

    You will need a pair of dial calipers. Most any will work for reloading needs. I use this cheap one and it works great. The digital display is much easier for my old eyes to read than my higher priced old dial calipers. 99% of reloading measuring needs do not need .0001 accuracy.

    You must have a powder scale. If you don't buy a press that comes with a powder measure, you will need a measure.

    You will need some case lube for rifle brass. (And pistol if you don't buy carbide dies)

    Reloading manuals you listed. Everything else is gravy.

    You can reload safely with a press capable of priming, dies, lube, a scale, a measure, calipers, and a good reloading manual, and, of course, a little help from your friends :) (Oh yea, ya gotta have brass, bullets, primers, and powder. :D)

    You will want a tumbler. That is a big time/labor savor.You will become interested in a chronograph sooner or later. Cases gauges come in handy sometimes. A hand primer is nice.

    Did I miss anything? There are a hundred little goodies out there we like to buy. :)
  3. Larry Burchfield

    Larry Burchfield Well-Known Member


    As stated you will need a good beam type powder scale to check all your wieghts. I personally don't care for the digital type scales for weighing anything. It takes to long for them to warm up and if there is any air blowing in the room it will effect the read out.
    You will also need someway to trim your rifle cases. I like the Lee hand tools and a power screwdriver.
    Larry Burchfield
  4. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    I'm referring to "must-haves" for time saving. Tumbler, progressive press, bullet and case feeders...can't think of anything else. I'll be sure lube, trimmer, and scale is on my checklist. I've got spoiled with the chem lab scales in uni. Fast, ultra precise, and enclosed to mitigate atmospheric influences. Crazy expensive though.

    Priming - Don't trust your LNL AP to prime for you? Using soft primers?

    Lube/carbide - I was under the impression lubing was required for progress presses as the carbide dies require precise alignment not present in progressive presses. Your thoughts?

    Thanks :)
  5. MichiganShootist

    MichiganShootist Well-Known Member

    You only need to know one name.

  6. Eric F

    Eric F Well-Known Member

    Case feeders are a luxuary. I loaded 10k one year and didnt need one. I dont shoot that much now though. Tumbler is a must have. Bullet feeders are also a luxuary. Progressive presses are nica and I own a dillon but the 10k year was done on a lee turret press. Calipers scale and case lube are a must. aside from that everything else is a luxuary item.
    there you are, what kept you so long?
  7. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    Dillion, right, so just buy everything with a Dillion brand on it as that's all I need to know? I should sell my 9mm and buy a "real" .45 pistol too?

    Sorry for being caddy, but I'm not looking for press comments -- unless there's a particular aspect of the LNL AP you want to alert me as a newbie to. :)

    Thanks for the comment Eric. I'll probably wait then on the bullet and case feeders. Maybe have some fun and try to make a homebrewed implementation.

    What do the "big boys" use for depriming?
  8. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Well-Known Member

    Man you Dillon guys are a riot.

    My carbide dies work great in my Loadmaster.

    I deprime using the case feeder on my Loadmaster. Just pour them in the top and crank away. I then handprime them using the RCBS APS hand tool. This gives me the up close and personal inspection time each case deserves before being reloaded.

    Case feeders are certainly nice. I like the fact that mine came with my auto-indexing progressive press for less than $300 total. They start to look an awful lot less necessary when they cost $300 by themselves.
  9. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Well-Known Member

    Since with the LNL AP you'll have a progressive with a pretty reliable priming mechanism (unlike the Loadmaster) you could do your individual case inspection as you deprime them on the press, and then later just use the press for priming inline with your reloading operation. You'll end up with the same throughput either way.
  10. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    I got a bunch of "extras" that I've never used

    If you're looking at 5-10k rounds per year, you're only looking at less than 1k per month. That's a couple of hours on a L-n-L or my 550. IMO, case and bullet feeders would be a waste of time and money..

    I'd take the above advice and buy the basics until you get some experience. While bullet and case feeders sound sexy, I'd stick with the basics until you start to get it figured out. There's enough stuff to watch without adding to the mix.

    Personally, I'd take that money and buy an automatic powder measure. I have a PACT. Every rifle charge is weighed to +/- .1. That thing is a godsend.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep. Thanks Larry. He will eventually need a trimmer for those 30-30 cases.
  12. something vague

    something vague Well-Known Member

    What would this forum be without you Dillon fanatics.
  13. something vague

    something vague Well-Known Member

    I believe the OP said he's getting an automatic powder measure, the Lyman 1200. Which I have no experience with but has had some somewhat decent reviews. Not as good and fast as the RCBS but supposedly faster than the Pact. IMO, all those measures would be a great choice.
  14. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    You can prime on the LNL no problem.

    You don't need to lube any straight wall pistol cases although some people like to because it makes it a little easier to pull the handle. The only problem with lubing is when you do lube a case the lube will have to be cleaned off at some point. Loading any bottle neck case you will want to use case lube.

    Yea not sure. The Lyman 1200 could be a powder measure or tumbler. Personally I would stick with the Hornady measure and the CAPD or loading will be a lot slower.
  15. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    If the OP just wants to de-prime before tumbling, then just remove all the dies from the LNL AP, and put a universal depriming die (several brands have them) in at station one.

    That's one of the nice things about the LNL AP is the flexibility of the die system. You can interchange dies easily one at a time. The LNL PM will work in any station (not just 2nd station), so you can do two or more steps on the front end (e.g. neck size and shoulder bump), while still getting the job done in just one pass through the press.

  16. billybob44

    billybob44 Well-Known Member

    Yes, some of us will ONLY settle for the BEST. Some of you are happy with secondary quality??.........OK Dillon People, now send me my free stuff!!!!!!!!!!!
  17. Uncle Chan

    Uncle Chan Well-Known Member

    I tumble my cases in my cheapo Lyman tumbler. Deprime them on my Lee Classic Turret. Trim them with my Possum Hollow or RCBS trimmers (for rifle only). Remove the crimp (military) with my Dillon Super Swage 600. Prime them with my RCBS Automatic Primer (rifle only). And depending on the caliber, load them with my Dillon 550 (my first ever press), my Lee Classic Turret, or my Lee Single Stage.

    No loyalties. They are all good and the only problems I've ever had with any of them can be traced by to the operator, not the equipment.

    Oh, and when I'm done, I tumble them again with walnut and NuFinish.
  18. 50calshooter

    50calshooter Active Member

    reloading tools

    I have alot of equipment what works for me. If you will shoot alot of 223 I love my Dillion trimer. My next favorite is C&H as it also does my 50 cal, least favorite are Lyman and RCBS trimers( low speed) The Dillion sizes and trim in one shot as fast as you can put it in the press. I run Lyman vibrator 2200 works great resonably priced hold like 900 38 cases. You will want two presses single stage, and a progressive. I run the LNL had a 550 worked good. I like my case feeder on the LNL. I load around 15-20K a year. Also like the 1010 scale RCBS Ohause makes it. I find it easier to read than most. Dies Rcbs, Hornady or Lyman perfect waranty resonable price. Lee waranty not very good.
  19. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    Uncle Chan, you tumble loaded rounds?

    50calshooter, I was looking at that 1010 Ohause. That's probably what I'm going to go with for scaling. I'll take a look at the electronic trimmers when I start up on 5.56mm. Just going to use a hand trimmer for now for the little 30-30 rifle I shoot. You using a single stage just for depriming?

    The Lyman 1200 comment was referring to a tumbler, but thanks for mentioning powder measures. I've heard good things about the Uniflow, but I'm surprised to see the PACT was only ~$125. Way cheaper than the RCBS electronic dispensers.

    I'm looking at going with two now, one pump for general use, one auto for match grade rifle and the extruded that often implies. Only need a ball friendly one to start with, as will probably be using only W231 (9mm) and W748 (30-30) to start. I assume the included pump will do the trick for ball to start; how consistent is it with extruded?
  20. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Well-Known Member

    My name is Tom. God help me, I am a Lee lover. Not to set off a flame here; I just like their stuff.

    I have found life much simpler removing primers first step with a decapping die. Simple, quick and requires just finger pressure.

    It is simpler to start with a 1 step press but maybe look into a Lee turret press. If you get one without the auto index or disable it, can use first as a single stage. But is simple to set up and much quicker once you get into the groove. Also I got a 3 stage press for less that $20 more than a single stage. (I do not use the 4th stage crimp die; slows me down.)

    I just put cases in a tumbler with a little Turtle Wax paste polish. If you aren't ready to invest in a tumbler, you could clean with a primer tool. RCBS makes a nice brushy one or use a flat tip small screwdriver.

    Scale to check charges is essential. I use the primer seater built into the press after cleaning pockets. Also I use the auto disc powder measure. That may not drop enough for some rifle loads but, if you index the dies by hand, you can always double drop.

    I just like Lee for prices and support. A beginner can get a kit with all the goodies he needs in a package deal. And do yourself a favor and pay a little extra for a carbide pistol die.

    There are many other good choices.


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