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Reloading kit vs. ala cart

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jcinnb, May 10, 2013.

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  1. Jcinnb

    Jcinnb Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    New Bern, NC
    Been looking at a Rockchucker reloading kit since before panic. About ready to pull the trigger, and then started thinking.....uhoh.

    In most of my other hobbies I would never buy a kit, I would assemble the best components I could afford and go from there.

    What do you guys think about getting a kit, or shopping for each component?

    The Rockchucker kit looks good, and I have no reason to think it is not the way to go, but as I have learned over the years....You don't know, what you don't know!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. sbrader

    sbrader Member

    Feb 12, 2012
    I can't speak for the Rockchucker kit, but I can tell you about my experience with a kit from a different manufacturer. I have ended up replacing virtually every component in the kit except the press. I would have saved money in the long run by just buying ala carte.

    I would buy one of Brian Enos' custom "kits" in a heartbeat if I had the money to do so, but that's quite a bit different than the manufacturers kits. I just found that I liked the scale from one manufacturer and the powder measure from another, etc. which led to my current set up that I am very happy with.

    That's just my experience, though.
  3. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

    May 25, 2011
    Piney Woods of East Texas
    The RCBS kit is very good. The scales have been around for ever and very reliable. As with all kits there are stuff missing that you will need. I would not hesitate to buy the RCBS kit, Lee YES.
  4. Fall Guy

    Fall Guy Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    The Rock Chucker kit looks pretty good to me and is probably the only kit I would recommend to someone starting to reload. I have found it to be priced pretty well for what you get. I specifically like the press, scale, powder measure, and hand primer. I would prefer a different loading manual and case lube system. Even at that it is a good buy since it never hurts to have another manual and it includes some smaller items that can add up in cost quickly.
  5. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hot and Humid FL
    RCBS typically includes one of the better Ohaus-made scales in their kits. However, the older 5-10 and 10-10 are even better than the 505, so you might look around on Craigs List or similar for some of the necessary gadgets.

    In reality, you need a press, scale, and dies to reload - everything else just makes the process a lot easier - loading blocks, bullet puller, case prep, reamer, trimmer, tumbler, etc. etc......like any good hobby along the lines of fishing or woodworking, there are hundreds of items available - which ones are worth it is up to you and your type of shooting. IMO, it is always easier to add stuff as you discover you need it than to get rid of it once you have it - I tend to put those items in a drawer and they seem to multiply as the years go on... ;)
  6. aka108

    aka108 Member

    Aug 26, 2006
    Tallahassee, FL
    I bought the Lee Anniversary setup when I got started. Everything in that kit has been replace with other items. Some from Lee, RCBS, Dillon and home grown. Lee case length trimmers are inexpensive, quick and easy to use.
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    Not all kits are equal and that holds true for the company's products in those kits. Since you're talking about RCBS and you usually buy the best I think you are talking about one in the same. RCBS products are the ones reloaders usually upgrade to so if you're starting with RCBS, well...
  8. bigdaa

    bigdaa member

    Apr 12, 2013
    Goleta, CA
    I would have bought the kit if it were around back in 1980.

    But...........I essentially have it and feel it would be worth it for your starting platform.

    I do not use the lube pad or RCBS lube anymore. I have been using Hornady One Shot spray lube for years now.

    The powder thrower is good and I have no issues with it. I use a compressor to blow out all remnants between powder changes.

    The only issue with my 33 year old Rock Chucker is that I have busted about 5 or 6 primer arm springs. I ALWAYS keep a brand new one on hand.
  9. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    You may want to consider this also.

    Currently RCBS is running a promotion where if you spend $300 on RCBS products, you get 500 Speer Gold Dot HP pistol or Grand Slam SP rifle bullets (Or you can also get $50 rebate).

    Depending on which bullets you choose (say 500 45 cal 185 gr Gold Dot HP), you could save a few hundred dollars off the kit. You could either sell the bulllets or reload them for yourself. ;)

    MidwayUSA has the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Kit for $320 so if you appled the "value" of 500 Speer Gold Dot bullets, it would be like getting the press kit for less than half price. :D
  10. Clark

    Clark Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    Where I5 meets the rain forest
    I got the RCBS rockchucker reloading kit when I started reloading in 1999.

    1) Rockchucker press .. don't use it anymore, I now use Forster and Bonanza Co-ax presses with shellholer jaw housing I redesigned and made on my mill, and an RCBS Partner press.
    2) "Speer 12" reloading manual... loads in it are a joke, I find my start load with Quickload software.
    3) Bottle of glycerin for lube... don't use it any more, now use Redding imperial die wax.
    4) Pad for applying glycerin... don't use it, I use my fingers.
    5) Brush for lubing inside of case neck.. don't use it any more, I remove the expander ball so I don't need inside lube.
    6) Loading tray made of plastic... don't use it. I seat bullets as soon as I charge the case, with a second press.
    7) Wire brush for cleaning primer pockets. Don't use it.
    8) case trimmer, don't use it anymore. I now use a Forster case trimmer or RCBS 3 way in the vertical mill
    9) Funnel, don't use it, I use a Frankfort Arsenal or MTM funnel.

    10) 5-0-5 scale [Ohaus OEM]... I still use it.
    11) Uniflow powder measure.... I still use it.
    12) Inside outside neck chamfer [ Wilson OEM] I still use it.

    Other stuff I use not cross referenced to the kit:
    1) Wilson Case gauge
    2) Sinclair concentricity gauge
    3) Lyman Moly coating kit, but with steel BBs and magnetic separation
    4) Vibrators, ultra sound, and stainless steel media in a tumbler for cleaning
    5) Forster and Lee priming tools
    6) Lee Collet neck dies polished in my lathe.
    7) Forster FL dies with necks honed out in Forster's Hardinge lathes.
    8) Forster seating dies with seater stem polished on my lathe
    9) Dial calipers
    10) Enco set of pin gauges .0610" to .2500"
    11) Enco set of pin gauges .2510" - .5000"
    12) Optivisor magnifier headset
    13) Dillon Super Swage 600 military crimp remover
    14) Lux lamp magnifier
    15) Bullets, brass, primers, and powder
    16) Berry's bullets plastic ammo boxes
    17) 3M Post-its for labeling.
    18) Forster headspace go-gauge
  11. mdi

    mdi Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    I personally don't purchase kits, at least not the kind one would use for reloading equipment. I think the marketing people decide what one "needs" when buying a kit, not the user. I like to research each piece of equipment/tool I buy as some manufacturers make a better specific tool than others. I have Lee presses, but I believe C-H makes a better powder measure than Lee. I have dies from most but believe Redding makes a superior crimp die. I research and purchase each tool for what it is, nor necessarily what brand it is.
  12. oldpapps

    oldpapps Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Middle America, Mo now East of I-435
    "getting a kit, or shopping for each component?"

    For a person just getting started a 'kit' may be the way to go.
    The other side of this is some/most kits may have some lesser items.

    I don't need any more equipment but I often get asked what should be bought. So I look at the 'kits'. I have yet to find a 'kit' that I would want 75% of what is provided.

    My opinion, buy the items 'you' want. Use the listings of 'kits' to try to not miss anything. If what you want is close to one of the kits to make the cost viable, go for it. If not, put together your own list.
  13. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Wet Oregon
    Back not too long ago a "non-kit" was easy to do. You'd get on a good site like Natchez and click on anything to your hearts content.. fun! Now, it might be an effort in frustration, what with many things being out of stock, one might have to go to many different sites to get a widget and the additional shipping costs/hassles. ug
  14. Jcinnb

    Jcinnb Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    New Bern, NC
    Thanks for all the excellent comments. I appreciate your time and expertise!

  15. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

    May 8, 2012
    Check out the sticky "reloading library of wisdom". There's a link called "READ THIS FIRST". Kits will inevitably contain tools that are inferior and also will not include parts that are essential. It's not complicated as you should be able to get by with maybe a dozen or less reloading tools.
  16. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Northern KY
    Is the Rockchucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit what you're considering? I see it has the hand priming tool included, which is a very handy addition. The scale and Uniflow powder measure are also good solid pieces of gear that will last a few lifetimes. All you need are dies and a shellholder and you would be ready to go.

    You will need a trimmer for rifle cases, but the little Lee cheapie system is the way to go IMO unless you're loading something really unusual.
  17. Dontkillbill

    Dontkillbill Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    East Coast of Canada
    Nothing but good luck with the Lee single stage press anniversary kit. Its not for everyone but I find it good and I reload enough to give a fair opinion.
  18. twofifty

    twofifty Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    I went 'a la carte' because I had the chance to try two other reloaders' setups before purchasing my own stuff. Without that prior experience, it would have been hard to select tools from the various brands out there, so I probably would have gone for a kit.
  19. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Texas - Born and Raised
    When I started loading I was very young, and I used my Pop's set up. It was VERY basic, a Well's press, powder measure similar to the Uniflow, and a scale. Our dies were all C&H, and everything we did was one step at a time.

    I used that same equipment from the early 70's until I started to purchase other items in my early teens. I added a tumbler, a trimmer, and calipers. During this time I was mainly loading rifle rounds for hunting and limited target practice. When I was 17-18 I got into handgun pretty hard and heavy and that is when I needed production and started looking for a progressive.

    The bottom line is I now have a LOT of different equipment. What I actually use on a regular basis are a Rock Chucker, a 505 scale, the Uniflow, calipers, small Midway brand tumbler, Lee hand primer, Lyman trimmer and what ever caliber dies I need, most of which are Hornady or RCBS. I can load plenty of rounds on the single stage to get me through a weekend of shooting or hunting or even target practice. Even moving them through in stages, I get done relatively quick.

    If I were just getting into this I would certainly shop out everything individually, but after considering the added shipping or availability, I would probably go ahead and pick up a kit especially one like the RCBS in order to get most of it in one shot. Once you get up and running and actually learn what your doing, you might see areas of improvement with other tools. I would spend more on adding loading manuals for cross reference and loads than I would on the specialty tools at this point.
  20. splattergun

    splattergun Member

    Jan 12, 2012
    IMO, the most basic NEEDS to start loading;
    a press
    a manual or 3
    a scale
    a powder measure

    If there is a kit that supplies these minimum needs at the quality you wish to use, buy it. If not, buy a la cart.
  21. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    I always tell the new reloader to seek out a reloading mentor if possible. The first and foremost reason is to get "hands on" experience with the various tools and processes that the mentor uses. Also they have a lot of things that they have learned that you can not find in the books---how it feels to seat a primer correctly and how to "feel" if a casing is going to stick are but a couple things of the many that I have never found well explained in any text. When using someones tools you see how they work and any shortcomings without having to buy first. If you end up like me there will be several "extra" or even duplicate things on your bench over the years. I own several presses, multiple ways to prime, multiple ways to clean, and at least two die sets for most calibers I reload.

    To answer your question, buying a kit may be the easiest way to get started with the limited supplies these days but assembling your dream kit from multiple sources the first time around will be the goal if possible.
  22. cowtownup

    cowtownup Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    Eastern NC
    I bought the single stage Hornady LNL kit and it has done well for me.. I added Lee dies and a couple reloading trays and I knock down 1000 rounds a month with no problem..
  23. TexasShooter59

    TexasShooter59 Member

    Jan 11, 2008
    North Texas
    I started reloading about 3 years ago and had the same question as you. I decided to go the individual pieces route. Since then, I have upgraded case trimmer, funnel and added a few tools to make life easier or faster. I also added a powder measure, and got a better press, as I started on the cheapest press I could find to see if I liked reloading or not. The first press is dedicated to depriming now.
  24. Magnum Shooter

    Magnum Shooter Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    Just East Of Cleveland, OHIO
    You can’t go wrong with the Rockchucker kit, it has the beam scale that is the standard by which others are jugged. The powder measure it as good as they come. All with great customer service and lifetime warranty.
  25. Potatohead
    • Contributing Member

    Potatohead Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    Hey thx for posting this thread jcinn. I'm watching it closely.
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