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Another New Recruit for reloading...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ARMike, Dec 12, 2011.

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  1. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    Ok, I've done some reading on the forum, cruised around several post to try and get an idea on equipment. I already have the "ABC's" book and started in on some reading there too. And yes I do plan on getting more manuals before I even think about seating a reload. I see there is quite a bit of discussion between brands as is to be expected. I am sure that everyone has their favorites and my choice may very well be something that someone will advise against. With that said, I have chosen to go single stage to start with. Down the road if I see the need, I will upgrade to a progressive. The press I am leaning toward is the Lee Classic Cast (90998). Seems to be a little easier on the pocket book compared to the Rock Chucker. My question for all of you that have been in this for a while is ... Should I go with the newer design with the Breechlock or the screw in dies. Time is not a factor in the decision. Its more of an issue of having to purchase the adaptors for each caliber that plan on reloading... starting with .38 and .40 s&w. I am budget minded to an extent but also looking for "quality" over buying cheap just to have something. Are there any benefits to having the breechlock?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  2. James2

    James2 Member

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    I would just go with the 7/8"-14 thread adapter installed. It only takes a few seconds to screw a die out and another in. That way no Quick Change Bushings needed.
     
  3. ROCKFISH

    ROCKFISH Member

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    I agree, although I own the breech lock, it is an unneccesary expense each time I purchase another die set. I am however very pleased with the Lee equipment.
     
  4. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Yeah just get the smaller thread adapter (this comes with the press, if I recall...been awhile tho??)

    I use those Lee Classics for 50 BMG (one for each "stage", including a press just for .510 diameter bullet sizing of collet pulled milsurp bullets).

    They're practically indestructible, ridiculously cheap, and perfectly fine to get started out on.

    Rockchuckers are equally indestructible - I had one of those for my very first press.
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I like my single stage process I've used for 30+ yrs. and wouldn't go with anything faster. But depending on what general purpose your loadng for, plinking, target shooting, or professional competition will dictate how fast your set up needs to be. A single stage is slow, there I said it. But for me personally, the process is about loading the best possible ammunition I can produce, not how fast I can load it. I weigh every powder charge on a beam scale, trim all my brass to spec., tumble before and after resizing, and I use a priming die because it seats every primer to the same precision depth without having to rely on feel. There are a couple other things I do that slow the process down even more, but I won't get into that. Clearly, speed isn't part of my agenda.

    So far as a breech lock set up, I would go with the standard screw in screw out die system, rather than the breech lock. The time saved isn't really enough to factor in.
     
  6. chrome_austex

    chrome_austex Member

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    For a single turret system, I really do like the Hornady lock-n-load lug blushings. They make switching calibers a really fast and easy process w/o any retuning of the dies. Worth checking out for sure. I load 223 and 9mm, and switch between them often, so the LnL is great for me.
     
  7. Japle

    Japle Member

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    Buy a Dillon BL 550. You're going to get a Dillon sooner or later, might as well not waste your money on a lot of in-between stuff.
     
  8. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    On one of the forums there is a new RCBS set for sail for 160.00 That is a great price for what is in there. I will look and see if I can find it again.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=630750 This looks to be a pretty complete starter set. Don't get me wrong I don't think you will go wrong with getting the Lee stuff. But this seems like a great deal.
     
  9. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    That is a pretty good deal. Wish I had seen this earlier. Just ordered the Lee classic. I decided not to go with a kit so I could piece together with the components of my choice. That would have been a great option. Oh well, someone will get a heck of a deal on that equipment.

    As far as powder measures go, What would you guys go with? Some say to go with the Lee scoops because they are cheap and are good enough to get started, some say they dont care for "X" brand because the measures are not consistant. Im not going to be loading for competition. Just plinking, targets, rifle loads for deer season which I know will require a little more attention. Like stated before I am in no hurry to get crackin at it.
     
  10. T Bran

    T Bran Member

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    I use the Lee beam scale in combination with the scoops and a powder trickler. The scoops are nice to get close to the load and then trickle up from there. But I am in no hurry so I weigh each load and immediately seat a bullet. Most folks batch load with a single stage.
    I havent had much luck with cheap electronic scales so if you go that route buy a good one or stick with a beam scale.
    Welcome to your new hobby.
    T
     
  11. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    I would look at either a RCBS or a Hornady. I had the Lee Perfect powder measure and I did not like it. It was real flimsy feeling and leaked powder pretty bad.

    The scoops are not bad but they are somewhat limited. I have some RCBS stuff and while there is nothing wrong with it, the more I use Hornady stuff the more I like Hornady.
     
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Down the road, when you upgrade, plan to keep the single stage press. It is always handy to have a single stage press around for specialized tasks, there may be some cartridges you load that just work better on the single stage press, and it is paid for. For instance, i load most of my rifle cartridges on a single stage press. It is more efficient for small batches.

    Bullet pulling, decapping, case forming, use of trim dies, primer pocket swaging, and others work better on a single stage press.

    If you use Lee dies, the dies are good quality, but the lock rings are lacking. The lock rings do not have a clamping system to maintain your die setting.

    Regardless what Lee or anyone else says, the o-ring on the Lee lock ring will not positively hold your die setting and at some point in time, you will loose the die setting. Your die setting will have to be confirmed, and maybe reset each time the die is removed and re-installed in the press. (Some folks like to adjust their dies at each use).

    The breech lock bushings allow you to jam the lock ring against the bushing and that will maintain your die setting. But it is not the only way.

    You could drill and tap the Lee lock ring and put a set screw in it. Put a piece of shot under the set screw to protect the threads on the die.

    Or, you could replace the lock rings with locking lock rings. The Hornady rings are a split design and are popular but locking rings are available from virtually all the other die manufacturers.

    Once a die is set and locked in place, the time difference between using a spin-in die or a die with the breech lock bushing is insignificant. On a single stage press, the bushings are mostly hype in an effort to liberate you from your cash.

    But, what ever floats your boat. I am a gadget guy and spend money on some widgets that are not really necessary.

    One place I like a Lee lock ring is on the powder cop die on my progressive press. I adjust the die withe each cartridge change and the Lee die can be adjusted quickly without tools and it will maintain its setting until I remove the die from the press. (Note, this die is not used on single stage loading). Otherwise, all of my dies have clamping lock rings.

    Welcome to reloading. Sounds like you got a good start.
     
  13. popper

    popper Member

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    Lee is selling blems of the classic cast for $88. The newer one doesn't have the tube primer handling design. Get the hornady lock rings. You can just use a dummy case on a wire as a scoop/trickler. Scoop some powder and tap on the wire to 'trickle' it into the pan. Works as good as my real trickler.
     
  14. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    Thanks everyone, I plan to start on a little bench/cabinet set up this weekend. Found on another forum, a pretty neat idea. 2ft x 3 ft x40in high, mounted on casters and piano hinged on the back to open up the cabinet. Press mounted to movable shelf that can be placed on the top of the cabinet for reloading. Space is somewhat of an issue so this should work out well.
     
  15. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    About Bushings

    While the breech-lock/bushing system seems like it might save a lot of time when you switch calibers, that is not the real advantage (time). The real advantage is the convenience of keeping your adjustments.

    If you have a breech-lock press, you don't HAVE to use the bushings. You can leave one bushing in the press and just screw the die(s) in and out as if it was a regular press. If you decide to go ahead and buy a half-dozen bushings only for the dies that have critical (or tricky) adjustments, that seems to me to be sufficient justification for the added price.

    Just an altertnate opinion.

    Lost Sheep
     
  16. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Got a link? Or maybe you will post pictures of your cabinet when it gets built.

    I keep all my reloading gear in three toolboxes, but someday I might like a cabinet.

    Nice thing about the toolboxes is the portability. I can go over to a friend's house and reload with just a couple of trips to the car.

    Many choices.

    By the way, welcome.
     
  17. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    Sorry, didn't read the posts. I'll just say I started w/ a Lee Challenger Anniversary Kit. IMHO, it can't be beat for the money. I would suggest starting out with the .38. Get the hang of that, learn a little, then start loading some .40.
    Good Luck!
     
  18. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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  19. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    Since you have already placed you order it is too late to suggest you get the Classic 4-hole turret instead.

    Hopefully you saw the Lee Anniv single stage complete kit on sale at Factory Sales for $82?
     
  20. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    Hopefully, these are locking casters.

    Depending on what you are doing, there can be some considerable forces involved with operating a reloading press. While casters would make the cabinet easy to move around, they could make life interesting if they didn't allow the cabinet to stay "planted" in use.
     
  21. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    Maybe one or two. The whole idea behind the cabinet is because its most likely going into my apartment. And I dont necessarily want anyone from the leasing office to walk in to see a jar of powder and a press sitting out on a bench. Close up the cabinet, push it into a corner or against the wall , place something on top of it and not worry about it. If bad turns into worse, never to late to build a set of legs, make a dolly out of the castors, all is well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  22. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    I noticed that and when I checked they were out of stock, I know that Blems can be just a scratch or a nick but I was a little worried on what the specific blem would be on the press itself.

    I noticed this one as well. They seem to have some good prices on the Lee merchandise. After thinking about it, I really didnt want to go with the breechlock design, mainly for having to have an adapter for each die, and wanted to go with the cast iron version. The Aluminum frame may very well be strong enough to do what I plan on and much more. I know I could have saved a little money on buying the kit, but I figured I might as well do a little research, listen to what others have to say about certain products, I can piece together what I want and only have to buy once. Maybe im a little anal about things, but then again, that may not be a bad thing when it comes to reloading. ??? I dont know... still in the beginning stages.

    I do appreciate all the comments and any knowledge that has been offered. Learning is something that you can never get enough of...
     
  23. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    LEE is really good about their warranty. If something were really wrong, it could get you a brand new base or whatever fails or causes problems. Appearance is not an issue..
     
  24. ARMike

    ARMike Member

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    Appearance was never an issue, most of my other equipment that I have been gathering is used and not all that pretty to look at. I dont care how it looks as long as its functional. You take a chance with anything you buy sight unseen, even if it is "new". But in this case the press that I ordered was cheaper than the "blem" that Lee had on the website... also out of stock.
     
  25. Nutbustd

    Nutbustd Member

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    Hi everyone, I started reloading a couple years ago with my son. We had a used 1967 RCBS Jr. 2 and assorted dies. Started to slowly gather the equipment we needed to reload. Even my old press at 45yrs old worked very well. Press was smooth, solid and worked very well. This Xmas my family bought me a Redding T7 press!! WOW this is a nice press. I still use my old RCBS. We love to reload. We are now able with much more experience, load ammo that exceeds factory in quality and performance. Great hobby and we get to shoot and evaluate what we make. Have not bought new ammo in 2 years. What a price difference from what I can reload and what you buy at the store. Example is .357 mag 158 JHP is about $25-$30 per 50 We reload a better round for about $14 with Hornady XTP. Penn bullets 158grs for about $7. This is a great hobby I wish more gun owners would do it. You learn so much about shooting and firearms. Good luck to all who start to reload.
     
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