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thinking about reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by marine 97-03, Jan 31, 2012.

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  1. marine 97-03

    marine 97-03 Member

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    Is the RCBS starter kit worth it ...single stage press scale every thing but dies and bullet material 280$....how hard is it to get started ....I was only going to buy a 45 acp die to start for my pistols before moving on to other loads?
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    That's a great press and kit but if you're going to be loading only handgun ammo you might want something a little faster in the future. Don't get me wrong, a single stage press is great to learn how to load correctly and there are many reloaders who use nothing but a single stage press but I prefer a turret press for loading handgun ammo.

    Quality wise RCBS is top shelf and their customer service is second to none! Which press is part of the kit for that price?
     
  3. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    If you have not read about the details of handloading, I would highly recommend to get some reloading manuals and instructions on reloading, as you will need them anyway if you do decide to begin reloading. If you then decide you are not that kind of person (who would like reloading), then you haven't wasted any money except for maybe what you spent on the books and literature.
     
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I agree with ArchAngle but I'd suggest a progressive.

    More then likly you will burn yourself out on a SS & that scale. The scale that comes with the kit is less then adequate. A powder measure more then useful.
     
  5. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I don't think anything other than a single stage is good for someone's first press, if they have never reloaded before.

    There is enough to learn and to watch out for using the single stage and batch-method. Trying to set up a progressive may prove to be an act of frustration, if not plain carelessness without being conscious of such.

    One can always use a single stage press and they can and will still use it when they feel comfortable moving onto a progressive, it's not like anything will go to waste.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I started on a single stage RCBS kit, then got a Lee turret press in a deal, and then bought a Hornady Projector. The single stage press always has its uses later.

    If you are mechanically inclined and attentive to detail, there is no reason you cannot start with a turret press, but there may be more mistakes early on. never make a big run until you are sure of things. Pliers can pull one or two mistakes, but a big run is another thing.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When I started reloading in 1980, a single stage was pretty much the only choice except for the Lee whack-o-matic and the color you wanted. Progressive presses were few and far between and very expensive.

    Today, more automated presses are reasonably priced and are priced competitive with single stage presses. Hence, they become part of the equation when someone is wanting to get into reloading.

    I agree that a single stage is a handy thing to have around. There are some tasks it just does better than the others. I would not be without one, actually I have two at present--and three progressives.

    While I have mellowed on the need for a single stage press be one's first press, I feel strongly that a person should learn reloading in a single stage mode, basically doing one step at a time in a batch mode operation.

    Once comfortable with all the operations, they can be linked together, adding one step at a time.

    Unfortunately, we men have difficulty operating a piece of equipment at a rate of 2 cartridges a minute when it can do 10 cartridges a minute.

    It is kind of like learning to drive in a Formula 1 Grand Prix car instead of Toyota Corolla.
     
  8. 777TRUTH

    777TRUTH Member

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  9. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I agree only 1 round at a time until you know what is going on at each station. I don't know that I would do batch mode over 1 all the way through.

    I started on a SS & when I went to progressive it was like learning something completely new.
     
  10. marine 97-03

    marine 97-03 Member

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    With ammo prices going up and our socialist and chief in office I feel I need to know how to reload...just a lil intimidated about getting started
     
  11. Geneseo1911

    Geneseo1911 Member

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    What I did, was look at the kits, and then buy basically the same stuff used. THR's trading post, ebay, and gunbroker supplied all of my starting setup, and it cost a lot less than the kit. Once I had it, I discovered which processes were too slow and added some stuff, like a Lee powder measure and hand priming tool. Stuff that doesn't work in your system can then usually be sold for about what you have in it. Things like presses, dies, and mechanical scales are pretty safe to buy used because they almost never wear out.

    Buying pieces individually also helps you to learn about what else is out there so you don't get too "color blind". The reloading forum here is very friendly and ready to help.
     
  12. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I always think it's best to learn on a SS press. With that said there is no reason a progressive can't be used this way. This is the way I setup the dies. Since you picked the 45acp as your first caliber load, means you may shoot quite a bit. You also need to look at how much free time you have to apply and learn to reload.The biggest mistake newbee's make is setting up the dies. And straight wall pistol ammo is as simple as it gets.

    Now with that said, you may want to look at the Hornady LNL-AP. It has way fewer moving parts than most other AP out there. It a very simple design with only 1-2 pieces being plastic. Which are not in critical service. The LNL can produce 300-400/hr with ease. I had been reloading for over 30yrs when I bought mine. I ran it like a SS press till I was sure every thing was set right. Then I ran 1 round through all stations before the next, again checking for problems. Once I was comfortable I then and only then started run with all stations full.

    Some of the kits are not complete and have low quality items that you will replace soon after you get it. The RCBS kits are very good and with quality items. Can't say that about the Lee. I like RCBS Rock Crusher press, it's built like a tank.

    Buy quality equipment and you will only have to buy it once.....

    If you make the commitment to pickup reloading it takes time. Lots of time to get comfortable with it. If you have any friends or neighbors that can help you will go a long ways. 40 yrs ago the internet was just a dream in someones mind, so learning was a linked to books and hard knocks. Now you have a wealth of info at your finger tips.
     
  13. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    Lots of reloaders have started with a progressive, and have had no problems.

    I'm not sure I agree with the "learning to drive a Formula 1" analogy. It sounds good, equating speed with potential danger, but I just don't think it is accurately applied.

    Once a progressive press is properly set up, I don't believe there is any particular danger in operating it at its design speed. I will agree that it is quite easy to make a few boxes of bad ammunition if you jump into full speed before setting it up correctly. Also, it could be argued that checking the results of each station is part of proper setup, and that if you do this you can't make bad ammo.

    At least, that's what my experiences were with a progressive.

    IMO, a lot depends on the quality of the instructions you get with the press. Some manufacturers do a pretty good job of this and others, well, don't.

    If you follow those instructions, and that means setting up a station correctly before trying to set up the next one, you won't have trouble.

    All a progressive press is is a bunch of single stage presses arranged on a common frame. Yes, some stations involve something with a little more complexity, like the powder drop at Station 2 or the primer feed at Station 1 (using Dillon 550 as an example), but each can be set up individually.

    I think the problems may arise with these two stations, actually. If you are comparing a single stage technique with off-press powder dispensing into each case in batch mode, the progressive's powder-thru die has a little more going on as it combines belling with powder drop.

    And, if you are comparing single stage technique with off-press priming in batch mode, the progressive auto priming mechanism has more to adjust.

    So, I don't believe it is either "speed" or "multiple things going on" that is the cause of progressive press problems. It is more likely the user being forced to figure out a bunch of adjustments, and rushing to the next step in the instructions without following the first step correctly.

    As following the instructions correctly isn't optional, I can't understand why they are mystified at the lack of success... :)
     
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    By operating in batch mode, you do same operation at a time over and over and learn the intricacies of that operation. If and when glitches are encountered, the solutions are quickly found. Granted, resizing and mouth expanding would be learned quickly. But priming, charging and bullet seating are a little more involved. By working with these activities individually, one can concentrate on learning them.

    Different folks would have different learning curves, but I do not feel most folks would need to do batch processing very long.

    I agree.

    The basics of reloading are the same between a single stage and a progressive but when reloading on a progressive, things are happening fast and simultaneously. A new scan and process have to be developed for efficient, safe operation.
     
  15. marine 97-03

    marine 97-03 Member

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    I work 11-7 so I have mornings for learning I wasn't wanting to do much at first...:) maybe a couple boxes a day...till I get up to speed..I'm in no hurry but I want to learn and its good to know that there is a wealth of experience right on THR
     
  16. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    That is why I said run 1 round through at a time so there isn't a lot going on. There just isn't a lot to putting the cartridge together. Maybe 6 seconds worth of movements. If you can't figure that much out on the first time through then assembly & probably most other things aren't for you. Now when everything is happening at the same time it is a little different. If you try to make things to simple most peoples brain just shuts down & goes into auto. They zone out & have no idea what they did. I did assembly for a long time & at about 200 pieces in a hour a lot of people zone out change that to 500 & most zone out.
     
  17. marine 97-03

    marine 97-03 Member

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    Now I've seen a Lee hand press ....looks like an oversized nut cracker....dose it work?
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    For anyone who is detail oriented, follows instructions well, and is mechanically inclined, the progressive press is not hard to learn on. Naturally the single stage is easier, but the progressive is not all that hard.
     
  19. Redneckly33

    Redneckly33 Member

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    I started reloading about 8 or 9 years ago on a Dillon Rl550B. As Kingmt. and Walkalong are telling you, it's not that hard. I make jokes about starting on a progressive. It was interesting, but not hard. After you fail to get a primer in a few rounds and powder is all over the press, or make a sqib load. You learn what to be watching and looking at. Any one can read instructions and set dies up on the press, no matter what it is. Single Stage or Proggressive. All I can tell you, if the Press is advertized at 500 rounds and Hour. That does not mean that if you ain't making that many rounds, you have failed as a Reloader. I am not in a race with anyone other than myself. Go at your own pace. Check and double check yourself. If it becomes a job to you, then reloading is not for you. I do it to save a little money on the cost of ammo and as a Hobby. I enjoy it so much, I load for rifles I no longer have. I might pick up another one for that Caliber some day. It ain't Rocket Science Do I make mistakes? Yes I do but by checking an rechecking, I catch and recorrect them. If you buy a Progressive, there are many People on this forum with many years of experience that can help you. Make a decission, go for it, be careful, research everthing, enjoy yourself and have fun.
     
  20. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Member

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    I started with the Lee Classic turret (the cast-iron one) , the basic lee auto-disc pro, and the primer feeders ( a bit quirky but fairly consistent, I don't have to chase too many escaped primers usually) I do have a basic Lee Loader for my .45 colt on the off chance I need to load in the field.

    I don't power through large flats of ammo, being new I check the powder charge every 10 pulls or so, I check the bullet seating and crimp before sessions to make sure nothing has shifted since the last time.

    I could go faster, but why? it's almost a Zen state once you get the rhythm down.

    Push the shell up, drop the primer, shell down all the way to seat the primer, UP for the powder, down while grabbing the Bullet, Gently keep aligned as the shell goes up again (don't get pinched!) to seat, down and back up again for the crimp, Down again and slide the shell out and drop into the case, new shell inserted on the upstroke to begin again.

    Good medicine once the Missus and the kids are asleep and I can hear myself think, 25-50 rounds a night and the next weekend's shooting is covered with no feeling of it being "work" to keep the guns fed.
     
  21. fallout mike

    fallout mike Member

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    I started with a turret press. I have a rockchucker single stage that I've yet to use as I just recently bought the rockchucker kit and a rcbs trim pro off a guy for $150. Its several years old but has never been used. I have used single stage presses and they are more work than a turret. Its nothing to be intimidated over though. Its actually easy and fun. .45acp is said by many to be a great round to get your feet wet with. I also started with that round. I had no issues learning on it. There are lots of people here to get help from too.
     
  22. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    I started with a Lee Single stage and upgraded to a turret a month later. I think the turret is by far the best way to start.
     
  23. marine 97-03

    marine 97-03 Member

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  24. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I agree with those who state that learning each step in batch mode helps the person to realize just what is going on and how important each and every small step is, from cleaning the cases to cleaning the primer pockets to making sure no media is stuck in the flash hole, to making sure there is no crimp on the primer pocket to making sure the case is proper length, to make sure any case mouths trimmed need chamfering to making sure primers are all seated just below flush to making sure the bell on the case mouth is just right to seat the bullet to making sure the right amount of powder goes into every case to making sure the cannelure on certain cases is tight but not overly-so, etc., etc., etc.

    Don't forget, those of us who have been doing this for decades, the learning person needs to do these things many, many times to become proficient.

    Can someone start on a progressive? Of course they can. Some people can also start driving a car without ever learning. That doesn't make it a good idea when one looks back at how they learned to drive, in the beginning, there are many things that are learned by doing. Sometimes only experience and occasional failure and having to re-do something are the best teachers.;)
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I also agree a single stage press is probably the best way to learn. That's why I like the Lee Classic Turret Press, the auto-index rod can be removed and then you can load just like a single stage press. I do a lot of rifle ammo reloads using the turret press as a single stage press. The only difference, the dies are already set up and when you move to the next step in the batch process all you need to do is turn the turret... (but I still like my Rock Chucker for some things!)
     
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