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Buy new or make due

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Clayton86, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    I'm starting to reload this winter and I'm torn whether I should just use my father in laws old press and just buy a few newer things to complete the set up or just buy a new "kit" that has everything and use his as a back up.

    He has a old Lyman single stage press and the cheap scoop type powder measures then the dyes and gauges for 357 Max/mag and 38 special. I would need dies for my .243 and 17rem, new powder measure and trickler, and scale I think.

    Or I could just get the Lee kit and be super cheap and use his dies and buy the dies for the rifles I need and all I would need is a scale I think or maybe the Hornady kit.
     
  2. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Personally I would think if you want to get into it on the cheap, you should use what he has to offer and simply pick up the other tools and dies.

    I am still using a 60's vintage Wells press that was my pop's. It has loaded literally thousands of rounds and will still produce .5 MOA ammo. No reason not to use the older equipment to get started off and get your feet under you IMO.

    If you do a bit of looking around in the classifieds here and on other sites as well as on that "bay" place you can usually pick up well cared for gently used equipment for around half the cost of new and save a bit more money. I would go with new dies myself simply to be sure I was not getting something which may or may not have scratches or bent rods. Just my .02.
     
  3. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    that's the route I think I'm going to take is just use his I pretty much gotta buy everything but the press. The biggest reason I thought of getting a new kit and press is the new quick change bushings.
     
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    If cared for, the single stage press should last for ever.

    I would get a hand priming tool, scale and powder measure and start with what you have. As you learn reloading, you can upgrade. The scale and powder measure will work better for loading the rifle cartridges that you are planning to load than the scoops.

    Single stage presses are useful to have around even after you upgrade to a progressive or turret press.
     
  5. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    My FIL is anal about his stuff everything is organized and in mint condition so its been taken care of even the reloading manuals look new minus the fading of the colors on the cover.
     
  6. upstech76

    upstech76 Member

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    I purchased the lee kit several years ago and while I have no complaints I would utilize the equipment you have available to you and purchase a better scale and powder measure. I have been very happy with all my lee products except their scale. I currently use the Lee perfect powder measure and a RCBS scale. Also, I haven't seen a real use for the quick change bushings, they seem nice at first but I find it just as quick to screw the die in and out!
     
  7. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    do you use a digital scale or no? the digitals seem either crappy or super expensive and I know the 17's are finicky on powder half a grain can mean a lot I heard so I want a good scale.
     
  8. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    I have 2 digital scales and both are very good they are Pact 110vote scales. They can be adj if needed. I check them with my old beam scales. I always turn them one about 15min before using them. In 10 years I only needed to ADJ one of them! They came with my 2 PACT high speed digital powder dispenser. They have made my reloading a lot faster.
     
  9. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Steel lasts far longer than folks admit.

    As has been suggested above, grab a new powder measure, and a decent scale.

    Those scoops are nice once you have some idea what you are doing, and/or have a good reference table to check them against.
     
  10. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    FWIW, the dies and other accessories will work on any press so you have nothing to lose using the older freebies for starters and see how it goes..
     
  11. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    "If cared for, the single stage press should last for ever.

    I would get a hand priming tool, scale and powder measure and start with what you have. As you learn reloading, you can upgrade. The scale and powder measure will work better for loading the rifle cartridges that you are planning to load than the scoops.

    Single stage presses are useful to have around even after you upgrade to a progressive or turret press."



    Very sound advice here.
     
  12. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    First thing I'd do, set FIL's books aside and buy a couple of new ones!
     
  13. 45Frank

    45Frank Member

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    I bought a lee starter kid back in 1988 or 9 I think it was, still have it and still use the hand held primer everyday and the Lee perfect powder measure.
    I had a Pact trickle charger that I paid hundreds ($300.00 maybe yrs. ago)for that I used for target practice, never worked from day one. I have a few metal measure that are collecting dust and the Plastic Lee is what I use still. If you just tap it on the up and down stroke it's perfect after thousands of rounds.
    I do have Lyman electronic scale to check every 10 or twenty rounds. It's about 15 years old and still checks out perfect everytime.
    You don't have to spend thousands to reload and be very accurate!!!
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    That "old Lyman" should be fine, and unless something damaged it it should work very well. Maybe better than the new stuff. With steel tools older is often better. Heck I just spent two years hunting down a vintage Columbian bench vise because the new ones are all junk. The one I got is pretty rough looking, but clamps down like nothing at Home Depot. Now I just need to finish building my work bench to mount it on.

    I would say just get a good quality scales to cross-check your loads on, particularly if you are going to be loading rifle rounds.
     
  15. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Nothing wrong with using the press but Lyman used to use a smaller die than standard so make sure the press is new enough to use standard thread dies.

    If you get a powder measure you don't need a trickler but you will need a good scale to set your measure and intermittently quality control check charges to make sure they're consistent. I'd suggest a good mechanical balance rather than a digital scale unless you have more faith in electronics than I do. Don't forget shell holders for your rifle dies and you may want to upgrade the .38/.357 dies to carbide if the dies happen to be steel. You could also simply buy a carbide sizer and save a few bucks.

    If you buy Lee dies, they come with a powder dipper, data sheet, and shell holder in one set.
     
  16. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    One: Free stuff is free stuff. Take advantage of it. It also builds good will between you and your Father-in-Law. No substitute for that.

    Two: Learning with a Single Stage is far easier than on any other type press. A Turret is not much different, but a Progressive is more complex. Watching one step at a time is the best way to learn.

    Three: While you are still getting your "feet wet", you will develop some judgement over what equipment you will ultimately want and will serve your particular needs best. If I knew when I started loading what I know now, I would not have wasted a lot of time and money on purchases that I found less than ideal for me. After you have loaded 6 months or a year you will have gained enough experience and knowledge about your needs to shop around with more confidence and discernment.

    As far as additional gear is concerned, the scoops will do as a powder measure, used in conjuction with a scale and trickler. New dies? Perhaps. But if the old ones are in good condition, why?

    The speed factor in the quick-change bushings is virtually nil. You don't pull the dies that often. The convenience factor of adjusting the dies in the bushing and not having to adjust for each re-installation is attractive, but installing and adjusting dies is not that hard. Besides, doing it often keeps your skills up and contributes to your understanding of the loading process. Also, your dies will probably need micro-adjusting every once in a while anyway. The bushings are not a big deal, in my opinion.

    My advice: Use the equipment as offered, buy only those items that are absolutely essential (Current manuals to match current powders, good scale, whatever dies you don't have or upgraded versions if the old ones are not state-of-the-art) and nothing else. Add items as you find the need (trickler, for example).

    Learn from the old man. He will love you for it.

    Lost Sheep
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  17. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    He doesn't have much to offer sadly Iv picked his brain alot about it he simply doesn't remember he has dimensia I have to "hold his hand" threw sighting in he forgets what he just adjusted and I have to write it down each time for him to see because he won't take anyones word.

    How do I tell what thread the press is will it say on his 357 dies. All he has dies for is is the 357max and mag I have my .243 to reload for and I'm picking up a 17rem also def reload for that maybe for my nephews .223 if he stops shooting steel cases.

    I see Berger just came out with a manual also I'm gonna order a manual or two and have it sent here to read and study before I get home
     
  18. tglazie

    tglazie Member

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    I agree with those who say definitely take the free press and make the most of it, for many reasons. For one, it will certainly make anyone involved feel just plain old good about the equipment getting some use, and beyond that, who couldnt find use for a good simple press no matter how fancy a setup they have? I bought my setup from soup to nuts at the beginning of the year (a present from my wife for my 40th) and part of my "dream" setup was a bare bones, $25-$30 lee C-frame press that I use as part of my rifle prep station for depriming before tumbling. I like it because it is super light and the C-frame allows for easy access.

    I guess my point is, if it works, you will find a use for it. And every time you find a use for it you are going to be glad you did.

    Happy loading.
     
  19. Steel185

    Steel185 Member

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    First id go with the"use his stuff" plan for all the reasons above. Ive only been reloading 8 years and you never run out of "stuff" to buy, so use free stuff where you can. You will run across new or items that "help" as long as you reload. That's how the companies stay in business.

    Almost all dies, and ive never ran across any that dont but I'm sure there are some, use the same standard die size. So your 243 dies will work fine on the press.

    The quick change die set up saves you about 20 seconds when you change over. If that is worth it to you some presses can be converted and hornady makes inserts to do that. I feel that for the cost its not worth it because i should run more effiecntly to limit the number I changes I do. But I work at a manufacturing plant. How many different calibers are you loading this winter? If its a rifle the you only use 2 dies.
     
  20. .22-5-40

    .22-5-40 Member

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    Hello, Clayton86..if those .357Max dies fit his press..your good to go..they are
    std. 7/8-14 thread. The earlier dies were first designed for the old "nutcracker" 310 hand tools..these were of smaller dia.
     
  21. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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    The press looks like a hand press by that I mean it has two handles with finger grooves on it so you can use it that way and it also has mounting holes as well if I was back home to take a pic I would maybe I can find it on google.
     
  22. Clayton86

    Clayton86 Member

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  23. Nappers

    Nappers Member

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    I got my dads old reloading stuff. It's on older RCBS Jr 3 press and all the trimmings. I only bought a digital scale, lube pad, dies I needed (45acp & 30-06). I also got a Pacific press and rams for a few calibers.

    Use it and buy what you need. I love the old press I use it for everything and learned on it (30-06) and it was great to see them hit paper.

    It's very relaxing and my girlfriend supports my habit.
     
  24. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Someone please make this into a bumper sticker. Or a long range tattoo bullet..or something.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I like and use Lee equipment along with RCBS, Forster, Hornady and a few other companies stuff but I'm not a fan of the Lee Breach Lock Bushings! To make them work for you, you need to buy one for every die you use which IMO is a needless expense. (2 for $7.50) Other than the Lee "locking rings", locking rings have a set screw so once you set them they are the same each time you screw them into the press. It takes only a few seconds to screw in dies so the minimal time savings from using bushings is a waste of money, again IMO.

    If I were to buy a new Lee single stage press it would be their Classic Cast Press, not their bushing press made of alloy. I own a Lee Classic 4 hole turret press which is cast iron instead of the Deluxe turret press. Their cast iron presses are much better tools than their other presses and for not much more money. I also use a RCBS Rockchucker with is a great press too but so is the Lee Classic Cast single stage press for less money.
     
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