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One Reloading Set-Up?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Triumph, Jan 25, 2013.

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  1. THe Dove

    THe Dove BOOMER SOONER!!!

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    CZ223, I have a poly dial caliper from RCBS and have been using it for 20 years. It's worked wonderful for me. Have you had bad experiences with poly calipers?

    The Dove
     
  2. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    If I could have only ONE press, it would be a RCBS ROCKCHUCKER. My RC is still good after 40+ years. I can load ammo, swage bullets, load 50 cal. and do most anything else I want on it. PLUS, unlike Lee, RCBS has a LIFETIME guarantee that they actually stand behind! Lee has a 2 year warranty that they don't stand behind. Dillon has a LIFETIME warranty too, but I can't swage or load .50 Cal. on the Dillon 550B.

    If I could only buy ONE brand of dies, it would be Redding. Then Forster, Dillon or RCBS in that order. Lee dies are very good for the money, but if limited to ONE brand, why not get the best, or at least one of the top three? Dillon - which has a limited number of dies, Redding which has EVERYTHING, including wildcats, Forster - again limited selection.

    Being poor (meaning broke), I find that buying QUALITY is FAR cheaper than buying junk that has to be replaced sooner (usually) or later. QUALITY is remembered LONG after price is forgotten! Buying junk costs you twice, once when you buy it, and again when you buy the QUALITY part you need to replace the junk. Also quality holds it's value, while junk is junk, new or used, and worthless.
     
  3. HighExpert

    HighExpert Member

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    I am going to go entirely against the grain. I have and would buy again a Dillon 550B, Pact Electronic scale, Dillon tumbler, and Possum Hollow case trimmer. I know I will catch flack over the progressive press, but it works for me and I can load 10 times the pistol ammo and 5 times the rifle ammo you can load with the Rockchucker. While I am shooting you guys will still be reloading. The learning curve is steeper for the Dillon, the cost is higher but the service and reliability cannot be beaten.
     
  4. RugerBob

    RugerBob Member

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    I don't really know. I would like to test drive some other presses. All I have are Lee and all my friends have a Lee. I have a single, turret and a progressive.
    So, without trying, I would have to say Dillon- It cost way more so it must be way better, right?
     
  5. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    Well you won't catch flack from me. I LOVE my Dillon presses (yes, more than one). However I can't swage on my Dillon, can't load oversize odd balls (.50 BMG, the big Brit military BP cartridges, etc), and a few other things. True the single stage is slow, which is why I went to a progressive (a Lee LoadMaster which is absolute trash) and then spent as much trying to get the junk fixed as a Dillon would cost, so I BOUGHT Dillon! JOY!! Yeah, with a RockChucker I spent so much time loading for the matches it was crazy. I would come home, spend four hours loading, go to sleep, get up, go to work, come home and load four hours a night, for a week just to shoot on Saturday. Needless to say that got old in a hurry!

    The Harbor Freight $10 caliper is as good as my $75 set at work. I really LOVE case gauges after being given one to try. Before that I though they were just gimmicks, but now I keep them in my range bag and bench! The Lee PERFECT POWDER MEASURE is NOT perfect!! It is JUNK! I DO like the Lee powder disk measure however and use them all the time. Where the idea came from that I bash Lee I don't know. Sure I bash junk and trash, but I have used or own nearly everything Lee makes (and a lot of RCBS, Lyman, Dillon, etc., for that matter), so I am speaking from experience, not out my rear like so many seem to. If I had a junk Dillon product, I would say so (OK, the Dillon caliper I bought for $30 is no better, AND made in China, than the $10 Harbor Freight model, and I am not impressed with it. There! Happy?) just like I would any other product I bought with my own money that was junk.
     
  6. gspn

    gspn Member

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    For that volume of shooting I would get a Lee Classic Cast, an RCBS electronic scale, and Lee dies with a turret head for each caliber.

    That is the setup I used for the first few years I was into reloading. I did about the same volume you are talking about and it was perfect.

    The press is perfect...it does't cost much...it cranks out 100 to 150 rounds per hour of great ammo.

    Caliber changeovers take me about 30 seconds because I already have my dies set in a turret head...I set them once and never have to touch them again. They cost about $9 for the turret...I simply twist it out and put the next one in and Im off the the races.

    I use a cheap Frankford Arsenal electronic caliper...there may be better but I can't imagine what they would do for me...my ammo is great...it's accurate and it always goes bang.

    I have a Lymans Pop Top tumbler...it can hold a few hundred pistol rounds at a time.

    With that set up I've been reloading 45 ACP, .380, .38 spcl, .357 mag, .41 mag, .44 mag, 45 colt, .243, 7mm rem mag, 10mm, .30-06, .270.

    That set up will be perfect for the amount of loading you intend to do. Plus as a beginner you'll have more money left in your pocket for supplies, and the auto-index process will make it easy to learn and have a lower probability of having an error creep into your process.

    When you start shooting a few hundred rounds per week you'll probably want to move up to a progressive like a Hornady LNL or Dillon 650. If you use those now you'll load a ton of ammo and then not see the machine again for months...and you will have to learn the process all over again.
     
  7. gdcpony

    gdcpony Member

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    I might get shelled for this, but here is my .02:

    Being first a barracks Marine who needed a reloading kit I could get out of the barracks in one bag, yet still reload my CO's (and anyone else's) shells accurately. Then I turned into a family man with three kids who needed braces, food, a roof, etc. I ended up with a single stage press and kit to do all my reloading. It wasn't fast, or expensive, or fancy. It works to this day though.

    For dies I go Lee. People may nay say them, but I have shot groups down to .1 center to center. My bulk loads are currently shooting 2" in my daughter's Rossi, .75 in my old Mauser .257, and .5-.6 in my AR. I will say that the three die kit is the best for singles, bolts, and levers, but add the Neck die for bolt guns as it is well worth it.

    For a scale I use two. The Lee one has proved precise enough for me and cheap enough that I have no fear of throwing it in a bag and taking it to the range. I have an Ebay electronic one just for a second check and for measuring beyond 100gr (my archery requires that).

    I use the Lee trimmers too. With a drill it is adequate. But I also have a Hornady piece I picked up at a gunshow. It is nice, but not as fast.

    For a measure I again go back to my Lee measure. It throws most of my charges within .1 grain once set if I use the handle consistently. It is mounted to the same board with my trimmer.

    The single stage press I use is a simple hand press from Lee. Remember I needed to be portable. With it I go to the range and can fine tune my loads right there. I am usually prepping my brass while watching TV (loading is separate from distractions). With my kids getting into it, I added a second one for them to help with. It made things faster for myself too, and was still cheap.

    I use a Lee hand primer, but there are many other brands that will do the job of letting you feel the primer in.

    To all this I add a set of calipers, some basic tools (pliers, adjustable wrench, screw drivers), and if possible a tumbler if you intend to pick up brass from the range. I made a ogive based OAL gauge with a drill and scrap aluminum and a piece of each type of brass gets drilled and tapped for measuring my leads. That was probably the biggest precision improvement I made and was next to free.
    l.jpg l.jpg l.jpg l.jpg

    My soon addition will be the RCBS prep center. I think that will be the best addition to a kit that has been unchanged in about two decades.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  8. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    The Dove, I am a machinist and no way would I use any type of polymer measuring device. How much wear has yours seen? Or stretch? My calibers go in for regular calibration. No way to do that with poly

    For the OP. What are your short and long term goals for reloading?
     
  9. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    Forster press ... RCBS for everything else ...

    Saying that I do have Redding dies, Lyman dies, Pacific dies, CH dies...

    Lee primer pocket cleaner and trimmers ...
     
  10. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    gdcponey, the RCBS case prep center one of the three best pieces of equipment I have ever purchased.
     
  11. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    Ok knowing what I know, and had to start over with one set up ? right ,

    Press= Redding T-7

    scale= Lyman DPS 1200 _______ HAVE ONE LOVE IT!

    tumbler= Lyman 2500 Pro Mag ________ HAVE ONE LOVE IT

    trimer= a set of lee's one for each Cal._____ no need to set anything (have them too)

    Dies= Redding for rifle, Lee for Hand Gun

    prep tools=, all Lyman _ flash hole tool, debure tools, primer pocket brush,

    calpers= Satrett _______ mine are over 25 years old

    bullet puller = Hornady (collet type) ___ have that too

    primer tool = lee hand primer ______ I have two

    shell holeder= set of Lee ____ cheep and they work


    scale and press will run over $600.00 but you did ask "If we had to get all new, knowing what we know" well this is where I'd start and never look back
     
  12. Triumph

    Triumph Member

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    I'm not sure about my goals yet. One thing I can say for sure is that I will not be "tuning" rifle rounds for better performance. For the rounds Ill be shooting for fun (Garand 30-06 & 308) I'll just use a standard recipe that I get from a manual or one o you guys.

    I do see myself doing bulk 45ACP and 9mm for the range
     
  13. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    Buy the nicest 4 or 5 station turret press you can afford. A 3 station turret press is o.k. and have one for short runs of pistol ammo. Four stations allow use of 4 die pistol set or two 2-die rifle sets. Interchangeable turrets nice too. You can set up a turret then leave set up for good. A Lee press will work but if you can spring the bucks buy one of the basic Dillon machines. A square deal B would be decent choice but that being said is a bit of a bother to set up or do single operations with. If you want to spit out decent ammo at a relative quick pace and only plan on a few calibers it is in the running.

    Next choice.is the Lee classic four hole turret press. At 110.00 it is most bang for money. Very simple to set up and.operate. Even with pre set turrets or caliber conversion kits, the Lee is much easier to change to next caliber as all you have to do is pop in a shell holder to hold the case.
     
  14. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I do not prefer to reload bottleneck rifle cartridges on a progressive. Personally, my rifles are hunting rifles so accuracy is paramount. They do not get fired 1000s of rounds in a weekend like folks with AR are capable of doing, so max speed is given up for max accuracy. I weigh and trickle each charge for each round. The RCBS 10-10 or whatever this Ohaus scale goes by is the best. Not affected by batteries, fluorescent lighting, etc., it is the KISS system at its best. The RC press or equal from Forster or Hornady will work perfectly. By loading using the batch method, a single stage works fine. For this I prefer the older MIDWAY USA wooden loading blocks that they used to get from a gent in Idaho (until they took his idea and went to China). Cartridge-specific, they minimize the chance of brass tipping or spilling powder. I have a Thumbler's Tumbler (vibratory style) that has worked perfect for 35 years. I have both a Lyman dial caliper and a Mitutoyo one (flea market steal). Again, no batteries to worry about. Dies for me are RCBS, Redding or Forster- all three are about the best you can get. The kinteic bullet puller that everyone has made for them works well. Case prep stuff, I like RCBS - has always worked well
     
  15. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Thing about brands is that most truly experienced reloaders will have a mixture of brands on his bench, each chosen for specific features rather than their color.

    What my main press happens to be is irrelivant but it's a Rock Chucker. BUT - if Lee had made their Classic Cast when I bought the RC my main press would be red, it's a slighly better press in every respect. That said, there's precious little difference in what we can expect from any similar presses from Lee, Lyman, Hornady, Redding or RCBS; if they look alike they will work alike.

    All ammo is made inside the dies and all dies are made to produce cartridges within the tolerance range of SAAMI specifications. Anyone claiming their favorite brand is made to 'tighter tolerances' is kidding themselves - and you too. The ONLY threaded die brand that has a seater which - on average - seats a little more concentric than others are Forster BR and Redding Competition and even they require a very good rifle and load and reloader to see any difference on target.

    Any beam scale sold by our makers will do an excellant job for a lifetime; no digital will do that. And the value of a digital powder dumpster depends on the user; if the user is a sloppy or clumsy worker the automated gimmicks will likely be a better choice.

    Bottom line, there is no "best" of anything, if there were it would have pushed everything else out of the market. What each of us suggests is best only means that's our favorite today, usually with little or no experience with competitor's products which might very well change our perceptions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  16. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    Well speaking of "max accuracy", the Dillon 550B and 650 AND 1050 are ALL used by the US Rifle and Pistol teams! The Palma Match team uses 550B and 650 for most of their reloading. Palma shooting is 600 yards. When the US hosted the other teams (the host supplies all ammo to all teams so everyone is shooting the same ammo, including all practice ammo!), they used all three Dillon progressives to load ammo. The Dillon 1050s were going 24/7 for a month! Yes, I am serious, 30 days of the handles being pulled 24 hours a day to supply all the ammo. If the US Army (and Dutch, and German, and, and, and...) feel the Dillon 650 and 1050 are good enough presses to load for 600 and 1000 yard shooting, I sure ain't gonna disagree with them!
     
  17. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    RCBS offers that type of die as well - not cheap, but very precise and exacting
     
  18. gspn

    gspn Member

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    There is a lot of wisdom in that post.
     
  19. mineralman55

    mineralman55 Member

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    "Best" Do-all Setup

    A "manual-progressive" machine is probably the greatest thing you could get. No silly linkages or contraptions on it that make it look like a Rube Goldberg production, nothing to break, easy to stop at any stage and check/QC things, and will still load any caliber up to 200 rounds/hr. Example: RCBS 4x4. RCBS doesn't make the 4x4 any more, but if you can find one used, it's a great machine. Takes any standard dies and it will last several lifetimes. IMHO, the manufacturers have really missed the boat by dropping machines like these from their lineups although they probably had good reasons to do so. I'll never give up mine.
     
  20. Triumph

    Triumph Member

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    Well I did what I should have done in the beginning and read all my homework as suggested.

    I thank you for all your responses:

    Let me know what you think of this:

    I think I would like to start cranking out pistol rounds and slowly work my way into rifle (at a later time). That being the case here is what I am leaning toward:

    Lee Classic Turret Press
    Lee Deluxe Pistol 4 Dye Set
    RCBS 10-10
    Lee Pro Auto Disk Power Measure
    Lee On Press Primer
    RCBS Prep Center

    I like the flexibility of the Lee Classic Turret, the indexing and the ability to swap out my (4) .45 ACP dies for the 9mm dies just by swapping the 4 hole disk.

    I think when I start doing rifle loads I will add the RCBS Rockchucker and do the reloading in stages.
     
  21. gspn

    gspn Member

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    I think that looks great.

    Also remember this...you can take the "indexing rod" out of the Lee Classic cast and use it like a traditional single stage. When the rod is removed you stay on the same station after each stroke. It simply lifts out...no screws, bolts, or anything else. Very easy.
     
  22. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "Example: RCBS 4x4. RCBS doesn't make the 4x4 any more, but if you can find one used, it's a great machine."

    It failed in the market. There are sound reasons for that failure.
     
  23. mineralman55

    mineralman55 Member

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    And I said the manufacturers probably had their reasons. That doesn't mean the equipments wasn't sound or excellent.
     
  24. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    For me it would be the Lee classic turret. To load rifle ammo you can take the auto indexing rod out and batch load just like any single stage press. When you want to load pistol ammo you can add the auto indexing rod and load 3 times faster. You never have to take a die in or out you just swap out the turret with a different one that already has the dies set up. The classic turret offers more options than a single stage press and will be close to $100 cheaper than the RCBS single stage kit.

    Triumph take a look at the classic turret kit at www.kempfgunshop.com. The kit will have everything you need except scale, caliper and tumbler if you want one. It will include the safety prime, the pro auto disk is a small upgrade and one set of dies.
     
  25. tcanthonyii

    tcanthonyii Member

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    Press -- Lee classic turret. For the money, it's VERY hard to beat. I know you said no kits but there isn't anything in there you can't use. The auto disk rocks, so long as you don't need a super accurate charge. I'm going to get the double disk so that I can experiment a little. I wish they made smaller graduations in the disks. Especially since I load pistol with titegroup. The lee scale is adequate but rather fineky and hard to read but it gets the job done. The turret can handle nearly every case on the market today and can be used in auto rotate mode or as a single stage. How can you go wrong?

    For pistol dies I'll go lee here too. They are cheap and quite good. The best? Probably not but unless you are shooting some crazy competitions they will be no more or less accurate than any other set.

    I can not speak outside of this as I haven't done any rifle loading yet and all my dies are Lee that I have for Rifle. It's also my first press and was gifted to me. That said after researching presses, I'm a huge believer in the lee turret. I can guarantee there are better scales and trimmers than the Lee systems though, I just don't happen to own any.
     
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