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Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by medic_guns, Jan 28, 2004.

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  1. medic_guns

    medic_guns Member

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    I want to make handloads for my Savage .308 Tactical. I don't have a clue how to do it. I do not have equipment for this sort of exercise. What should I buy? Better yet, how much money would it take just to get into handloading? $300, $500? I don't have a clue. I am not working this year, so the budget is tight. Maybe I will have to settle for Black Hills for deer and varmints this year.
    Ric
     
  2. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    In the long term you will save .. rifle loading generally can save quite a lot .... but if limited budget then perhaps cope with limited shooting and factory ..... and save the brass for now. But ....

    For real economy tho ...... you could start reloading very modestly ... a Lee Challenger single station press .... a set of dies and if possible some scales ..... you could be up and running for not too much over $100 - $150 .... excluding powder and primers and bullets.

    You could upgrade later. Take a look and check prices. Come back with questions as needed .... and do a search or browse thru reloading .. lots of info to be had.


    http://www.leeprecision.com/
     
  3. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greetings All-

    When funds permit, may I suggest the R.C.B.S. Supreme
    Master Reloading Kit. This kit will come with just about all
    the equipment you will need to get you jump started into
    handloading. Accessory's include: RCBS Supreme Rock-
    chucker Press, Powder Scale, Case Trimmer w/pilots, Speer
    #13 Reloading Manual, Powder Funnel, Case Lube Pad with
    lube, 1-RCBS loading block, hexscrew tool, 2-primer feeding
    tubes, primer tray, deburring tool, spent primer tray, and
    a RCBS "Uniflow" Powder Measure.

    You will need to add: shell holder of your caliber weapon,
    a set of high quality dies, powder trickler, cases, bullets,
    primers, and powder.

    Thing's that would make life a little easier, but that are not
    necessary would include: a case tumbler, electronic
    powder scale, extra loading blocks (as you never have too
    many), Lyman large and small primer pocket reamers, MTM
    or J&J plastic ammo boxes for the finished product, labels,
    log book, etc.

    Shop around for pricing, some outfits offer great savings on
    these items! I bought everything I needed "up front" with
    the exception of a few little odds and ends; and I think my
    initial cash out lay was somewhere in the neighborhood of
    about $350.
     
  4. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    If we're talking dirt cheap low budget, I'd probably go:

    Lee Classic Cast Press - $60
    Lee Deluxe Rifle 3-Die Set - $25
    Lee Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool - $10
    RCBS 5-0-5 Scale - $55
    Wilson Trimmer with Sinclair Clamping Mount $50
    Stainless Steel Dial Caliper from any major reloading company - $20
    Chamfer/Deburring Tool - $15
    Flashhole Deburring Tool - $15
    Primer Pocket Uniformer - $15
    Shellholders for Lee Hand Priming tool and Wilson Trimmer - $20
    Estimated total cost - $285

    Note this is talking dirt cheap lowest budget possible yet still with decent equipment. The new Lee Classic Cast Press is getting some attention because it appears to be a quality press. Lee Rifle Dies are high quality dies for a low price and the Lee hand priming tool is pretty much a wide accepted inexpensive and reliable tool. The RCBS 5-0-5 is the baseline for all balance beam scales.

    As far as case preparation, I'm partial to the Wilson Trimmer myself. You will want to order it from Sinclair Intl (part #05-420) because the Sinclair mount makes the Wilson very easy to use. Some people like the Forster, but I like the concept of the Wilson trimmer.

    If you're not getting a Mitutoyo or Starrett or other high quality caliper, any of the SS dial calipers from RCBS, Lyman, Dillon, Frankford Arsenal should be fine at around $20 give or take.

    You will need a chamfer/deburring tool, flashhole deburring tool, and primer pocket uniformer. Many manufacturers make these tools, and they're all pretty much the same.

    If you can spend more than $300, go with the RCBS Supreme Rockchucker Kit as someone already mentioned. It can be found for about $250-$300, but you will still need to get a trimmer, dies, and some of the other case prep tools.

    Note this is all angled towards the assumption that you want to reload .308 only. I'm not sure if you want to spend money on a tumbler. They run for about $50, but since you are reloading for a bolt action gun, you can probably grab a liquid recipe of the internet for brass cleaning (be sure to look for something that is gun brass safe, ie: no ammonia).

    There are also some little things like case lube, the actual components you will need to buy (bullets, primers, powder, brass) that haven't been factored in.

    Good luck and don't be afraid to ask too many questions.
     
  5. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    I got in piecemeal, buying used stuff, and was loading after about $100 in expenditures. Press, dies, powder scale, priming tool, manual, is I think the minimum.

    OTOH, I wish I had got the Lee Anniversary Kit. Almost everything you need for under $100. There was a thread here recently asking what else you need besides the kit.

    Aaaah. Here it is.

    The answer is, you don't need much besides that kit. Yes, you'll upgrade some of its components over the years, but you'll get plenty of use from them first.
     
  6. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Att: ocabj Greetings-

    Does the R.C.B.S. Supreme Master Reloading Kit
    not come with a trimmer and pilot's? In thinking back,
    my regular kit did come with the trimmer and all
    the pilot's.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
     
  7. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    Nope, RCBS changed their Master Reloading Kit when they released the Rockchucker Supreme Press and created the Supreme Master Reloading Kit. The one item they took out of the kit is the trimmer. I bought my kit about a year before the Supreme Kit came out and my kit was like yours and came with the trimmer and pilots.

    Here's the list of items in the current kit straight off the RCBS website:

    • New Rock Chucker Supreme press with larger window opening to accommodate large magnum cartridges. New Toggle Block with ambidextrous handle. Improved spent primer containment to eliminate spent primers on floor.
    • Ohaus 5-0-5 scale
    • Hand Priming Tool for fast safe & convenient priming.
    • Uniflow Powder Measure
    • Speer #13 reloading manual
    • Case loading block
    • Case Lube Kit
    • Primer Tray
    • Powder Funnel
    • Deburring tool
     
  8. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    I sure didn't know that they had changed out some
    of the equipment, when they updated the "Rockchucker"
    press. Also, the addition of the "hand priming tool", where
    as it used to be a silver colored arm with two primer drop
    tubes made of aluminum. Also, the addition of an "Ohaus
    scale"; makes you wonder why? I've been using the old
    green RCBS 5-0-5 that came with my kit; and haven't had
    any problems. Thanks for the update there ocabj.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
     
  9. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    I think Ohaus has been making the RCBS scales for a long long tme. RCBS just rebrands it (paints it green and sticks RCBS on it), just like they rebadge the Pact electronic scales.
     
  10. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    I think you are correct; as a lot of company's are doing
    that very same thing these days. But, it looks like with
    the handloading concept in general being a high $$$$
    business; you would think that each manufactuer'er
    would want to market their own technology?

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
     
  11. squibload

    squibload Member

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    How much shooting do you do with your .308? (Rounds per year...)

    I know a few folks who have rigs like this but only shoot a few rounds a year.

    I know that reloading can save $, but for a few boxes a year, a reloading setup may be a lopsided investment.

    Single stage press?
    Progressive?

    I'd hold off on a recommendation until I know the volumes you're shooting.
     
  12. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    I don't really look at reloading for a precision rifle as a way to save money (it will in the long run). The reason why I handload for my Savage 10FP in .308 is for accuracy. Factory ammunition like Federal Gold Medal Match and Black Hills match are good ammunition overall, but you will always be able to create your own load for particular rifle that will work better than match ammunition.
     
  13. squibload

    squibload Member

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    Agreed about the savings potential, and that accuracy is the single best non-financial reason to handload.

    However, for the person who shoots a very few rounds a year (i.e. owns a heavy barrel as a 200 yard deer rifle), reloading your own ultra precision ammo may not be necessary for the slight accuracy advantage it offers over premium factory ammo.

    The person who plans on shooting a lot (I mean a few hundred or more a year) may have a reason to look at - and invest in - a reloading kit.

    I'm more of a hunter, but I happen to have a reloading set-up. I know that it's not saving me any $ for the # of rounds I shoot. But he's planning on starting from scratch.

    Hey, if someone want to get into reloading, I'm all for it. He's mentioned that he's in a financial situation that may be restrictive. Just trying to point out that it may not be financially viable option, based on need vs. cost (uh-oh...that's my business sense showing....):D
     
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