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Ready to start reloading....I think

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by p4+riot, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. p4+riot

    p4+riot Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking of learning to reload and based on my research so far,
    I should probably start out with something basic like a single stage
    press. I started looking online and stumbled upon the Lee Challenger
    Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit.

    I found it here for around $90:


    The reviews seem pretty good and from what I've read all I will need
    is some dies, cartridges, primers, bullets, and gun powder and I'm in

    So is this thing worth the money? I know it's not the best out there but
    I want to learn the fundamentals and see if I'm any good at reloading before
    I invest a lot of money in something nicer.
  2. AnthonyC.

    AnthonyC. Well-Known Member

    What about all of your case prepping gear?
  3. remingtondude58

    remingtondude58 Well-Known Member

    I use that kit. It is a good kit, but has been discontinued and replaced with the breech lock. You will also need 2 loading blocks (well don't really need them, but very nice to have).
  4. Rodentman

    Rodentman Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine gave me that press and most of the items shown in the kit you describe.

    I use the press but prefer the Lyman 1200 metering scale for convenience.

    Warning: Hobby can be habit forming.

    You may need to do some hunting around to find the stuff you need, especially primers right now.

    I use a Thumlers tumbler for case cleaning and an RCBS case prep center:


    Makes it really easy to prepare the cases. I load pistol so trimming isn't an issue (yet).
  5. MovedWest

    MovedWest Well-Known Member

    Lee makes good stuff. I only have the hand press myself, but I like it. I would recommend carbide dies though. It's a little more $, but they last longer and you don't have to deal with lubing your cases.

    In addition to the stuff included you might also want to pick up a ram-prime and a small digital scale. This one suits my needs well.

    And this little doo-dad has been a godsend. A fellow at a shop in Mount Juliet, TN turned me onto it when I was out that way last year. Since I have to weigh every charge I load it helps take steps out of my already lengthy reloading process.

  6. chemist308

    chemist308 Well-Known Member

    That's the set I started with. If it weren't for getting a Lee Turret press for free, I'd still use the O press with that set exclusively. For what it's worth, as I'm still a newb at this, it works good for me to reload rifle and pistol cartridges.

    But if you go to someplace like Cabelas and compare quality between that equipment and Hornady, it's seems like the Hornady stuff is a LOT sturdier. But, are reloading to save $ or because you have a lot of extra $?
  7. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    I bet that same fellow in Mt Juliet turned me on to that same powder funnel pan and I love it.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  8. MovedWest

    MovedWest Well-Known Member

    Chemist308 makes a good point here. It might be good to get to a Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, or even better a local mom-n-pop shop to put your hands on some of this stuff to compare. I know the Hornady hammer style bullet puller is the best one of that type you can get. It doesn't have all the little washers and widgets with it, it adjusts to the girth of the round automatically.

  9. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    A caveat: You don't say what cartridges you plan to reload for.

    If it is a handgun cartridge, then you will find that the kit incudes some items that you don't need, and some items that arguably are not well adapted to handgun reloading.

    OTOH, it is a perfectly satisfactory kit to begin rifle cartridge reloading.

    Tell us a bit more about your proposed reloading, assuming you will continue to do it 'seriously.'

    Jim H.
  10. Stew4570

    Stew4570 Member

    My first press was a RCBS Partner press kit. They have a NO BS warranty. I then purchased a Dillon 550B. I would recommend a RCBS Rock Chucker because of the longer ram and greater leverage. It really makes full length sizing easier. I would also recommend the RCBS X die or a carbide. With the X die you trim the brass one time and shouldn't need to trim again. I of course don't have one and wish I bought one. I toss out my brass after 4 reloads for safety and I do a lot of trimming. I reload 45ACP, 30-06, .270, .280, .308 and .223.

    My thinking on this is if you do a lot of shooting and are thinking about reloading. Why not look into a top of the line product line. Reloading has saved me tons of money. If you really like it you will end up buying accessories (luxuries) like a powder thrower and stand, trimmer, vibrating case cleaner, dial calipers, digital scale and hand primer.
  11. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

    The Lee kit is a great place to start. Other manufactures make sturdier presses, but the kits including those presses cost twice as much (or more) than the Lee kit. Just a new RCBS Rockchucker press is about $140.

    Assuming the kit comes with a manual all you really need to be in business is components, calipers, and some method to clean brass.
  12. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Well-Known Member

    Good starter press and accessories to learn the ropes with,and it will last a long long time.
    you should get a manual or two..I see it comes with one,but add a Lyman's to the list,it's great.
    Calper,either dial or digital .
    IF you're doing rifle ammo,the cutter kit it comes with will suffice,but their are better/faster trimmers 'out there'.
  13. dmazur

    dmazur Well-Known Member

    Don't forget a cartridge gauge, especially if you're dealing with bottleneck (rifle) cartridges. These are almost essential for properly setting up the sizing die.

    Cartridge Headspace Gauge
  14. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I would suggest buying powder, primers and bullets first, and then the press and other stuff. In today's market, you'd better make sure you can actually GET the components before you lay out the money for the tools. Kinda like buying a gun you can't find ammo for. You don't want to spend money on stuff that you can't use, it's no fun to just look at new toys you can't play with.

    Just my thoughts.
  15. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    Make a list of everything you want to have then buy whatever you can find as you can find it. It has come to this. The days of deciding you want to reload and plaving one order are over for a while, maybe longer. Determine your needs: how much do you want to produce, rifle or pistol, how much time are you willing to reload, that will determine what you get, and the quantity you get. Just starting out, Lee will do everything you need and you may find no good reason to upgrade later.

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