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Just got some reloading dies and equipment, but what am I missing?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AirPower, Jan 30, 2005.

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  1. AirPower

    AirPower Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    I've been wanting to reload since last year now but I'm determined to crank out some rounds this year. I finally got started with some dies and I will have a "Pacific" press coming soon. I think Pacific went out of business years ago but I heard it's a solid design?

    I got this package for 60bucks and it seems pretty reasonable for 5 sets of dies, .38sp/357mag, .44sp/mag, 9mm, .40s&w, .223rem. The dies have some bit of rust on the threads, I hope that will not adversely affect the function of the equpment? It also came with a RCBS lube pad (what's it for?), a big bag of lead cast bullets (9mm?), a small bag of .224 55gr FMJ-BT bullets (for .223rem?), and a plastic powder funnel.

    All the dies are RCBS (carbide?) except 9mm which is Lee (has some aluminum parts in it, is it as durable?). The .44sp/mag and .223rem are missing a die from the 3die set. The .44 appear to have the case sizer, but there's not bullet seater die. Is there an insert that I can use in sizer and use it as bullet seater or do I have find a single bullet seater? (anyone got a spare?)

    Also the .223rem die set is missing one too. I'm suspecting the 3 "blued screws" are inserts into one of the die and for different rounds? Two are recessed roundnose (one large diameter, one small), and another is a flat nose like for SWC. Does the .223 set need the sizer too? Also need to ID the 2 washers, they're different in thickness, one is round, another is polygonal.

    Thanks for any info on these equipment. I did not think it'd take much space but I know I need a dedicated bench for this hobby. :D
  2. yesterdaysyouth

    yesterdaysyouth Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    N. KY
    looks like you're only missing one die, the expander or bullet seater for the upper left set i can't make out which it is...

    the rcbs rifle die sets have only two dies, the expander is built into the sizer die...

    rust will not effect anything...

    you still need, and this is a bare minimum....

    powder measure
    caliper or mic

    and of course

  3. AirPower

    AirPower Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    thanks. the upper left is the one for .44sp/mag. Does anyone sell that one separately?
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    You cannot learn to handload one question at a time on the Internet.

    Since you have so much RCBS stuff, get a Speer manual, it is all the same company.
    Go to www.midwayusa.com and order a Speer No 13 manual and a print catalog, it is a lot easier to get around in than their website.
    I will take two aspirin and you can call back in the morning.

    In the meanwhile...

    Yes, you can buy individual dies to finish out an incomplete set. No, you cannot improvise a seating die out of a sizing die. You could put a seating plug in the expander die if you had a lathe to make it on and knew just what was needed. Buy the die.

    Rifle dies are in sets of two. Revolver dies are in sets of three or four. Autopistol dies should be in sets of four (get a taper crimp or carbide factory crimp to go with those Lee 9mm dies.)

    Lee dies are OK.

    The lube pad is to lubricate rifle brass for resizing. Do NOT run a dry .223 into the sizing die, it WILL stick.

    The blued screws are seating punches for different bullet nose shapes. Probably one for the RCBS .38 and .44 dies.

    The washers may be spacers for loading .357 magnum in dies adjusted for .38 special and .44 magnum in dies adjusted for .44 special so you don't have to move the lock rings. If so a .38-.357 spacer will be .135" thick, a .44 - .44 spacer will be .125" thick, that being the difference in special - magnum case lengths.

    In addition to the manual you need a powder scale - I don't like the Lee and recommend the least expensive RCBS, Lyman, or Hornady.
    You need a powder measure to load any number of rounds. The Lee dippers will do but a mechanical measure is more convenient and more accurate unless your dipper technique is just perfect.
    A caliper is very handy, a $20 Communist Chinese dial caliper is fine.
    You need a cartridge block to stand shells up in during the loading process. Being able to get 50 cartridges with primers and powder under a strong light to be sure there is the same amount of powder in each is a valuable safety step.
    A tube or bottle of case lube to put on that pad for loading rifle ammo. I guess there are some automotive or industrial lubes that will work, maybe STP.

    Edit to add: Get the book (and catalog) FIRST.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2005
  5. Moondoggie

    Moondoggie Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Small Town, Nebraska
    Strongly concur with Jim...

    Get a loading manual!

    The manual will describe the reloading process in detail with pictures/diagrams so that any novice can readily understand. The manual will explain what equipment you will need and why. It will also give you many safety pointers .....READ AND HEED!

    Welcome to another level of addiction!!!
  6. Powderman

    Powderman Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Washington State
    +3 to the following---

    GET THE LOADING MANUAL. READ IT THOROUGHLY. (Recommend the latest Speer manual)

    Then, load your first rounds with an experienced reloader standing by.

    One other thing: If you get a Pacific press and need some advice on it, contact Hornady. I believe they bought the company.
  7. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    I hate to rain on Speer as I use their bullets, but I would recommend a Lyman Loading Manual #48th Edition. And YES...Read and understand before you load your first round. Do not take any short cuts...No matter what your best buddy says. No beer, no Whiskey and no smoking.

    By the way...A dedicated work bench may not be enough. You may need a dedicated room. My wife and I call it the "Gun Room". Every thing pertaining to my firearms are in that room except the two nightstand guns. Good luck and ENJOY. You will not believe the feeling of the first round off your press that YOU loaded and the feeling of firing them down range. Good for the soul... :D
  8. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    Oct 23, 2004
    heh, one would think the "no smoking" goes without saying, but there's just no telling these days...
  9. JA

    JA Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Start out here as there is text,pics,and video.
    Here is another must read website.

    This is what I have recomended to many people starting out as it has all the tools needed to reload except dies,shellholder,and cartridge trimmer gauge.
    It also comes with a loading manual.
    A 44 Spl/Mag RCBS carbide resizing die it $30 but you can get a Lee carbide die for $14 to complete the set.
    The "blued screws" are bullet seating stems that go into the seating/crimp die for use with bullets with different nose shapes round or flat. The size should be stamped on them.
    The lube pad is used with this http://www.midwayusa.com/rewriteaproduct/479231
    to lube rifle cases before resizing.
  10. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    SE Wisconsin
    For case lube, get a bottle of RCBS case lube, spread a few thin lines of the stuff on the pad, take 5 or 6 pieces of brass and roll them back and forth on the pad, a little lube goes a long way- don't get any lube on the rifle case shoulders. Anything that you resize with carbide dies does not need lube.

    Buy a Lyman 47th or 48th edition manual read the front section before the reloading data 3 or 4 times before attempting to reload.

    Not sure if your press will have a built in priming tool like the RCBS presses- investment in a RCBS hand priming tool is always worthwhile.

    For seater dies- if you call RCBS, you can order a new bullet seating plunger. RCBS also sells individual dies.

    The .224" bullets are the correct size for a .223 remington

    Looks like you did pretty good on that deal, considering that sets of RCBS dies sell for about $27 retail, with carbide die sets costing about $10 more.
  11. TooTaxed

    TooTaxed Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Columbus, Georgia
    A nice habit to develop to avoid double powder charging, especially on pistol loads: turn the case upside down just before placing the powder. That also gives you a visual check of the primer.

    You have to lightly lube rifle cases to avoid getting them stuck in the sizing die (which is a BIG problem!), but if you get excess lube on the case neck you will get a dent in the case shoulder...no serious problem, but it is unsightly. The type of lube is not critical...lanolin, gun oil, special lube made for the purpose...all work, but DON'T get any inside the case...weakens the powder. Dies with a carbide ring insert, used only on straight-wall cases, don't require lubed cases.

    When loading with a single stage tool, you will normally load several hundred at a time, running all the cases step by step...depriming and sizing, expanding the case mouth, charging powder and seating bullets, and crimping. That takes space...you can save some time and space by using two (or three) inexpensive single-stage tools mounted side by side, each with a different die. The tools don't have to be the same make...you can pick them up secondhand at gunshows. Same with dies...just make sure there is no rust inside the sizing die...light rust on the exterior is no problem.

    Virtually all makes of dies are standard diameter and thread, and can be used in virtually all tools. There are some variations in the removable cartridge holders that fit in the tools...simplest to standardize here.

    The Lee dies are fine...I used to use RCBS, but now prefer the Lee. The Lee Factory Carbide Crimp dies are especially well worth having, as they both won't overcrimp and ensure the completed rounds are within factory spec...I've added them to my RCBS die sets.

    Hope you have as much fun reloading as I have! :D
  12. larryf1952

    larryf1952 Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    Yes, Pacific was bought by Hornady a number of years ago. I still use an old Pacific "Power C" press that I began reloading on in 1976. It's the only press I've ever had; it'll serve you well.
  13. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Central Florida and Miami Florida
    A case trimmer would be a good thing to have, as well as a hand operated primer seating tool. Powder trickler, primer pocket tool, some brushes, compressed air spray can, and a ton of other gizmos. They all make the process faster, more accurate, and more fun.

    Do a lot of reading before you load the first cartridge, and if at all possible, have a friend drop by that already knows the drill when you start.

    Best of luck, and always, always, check everything you do........twice
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