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~Ultimate Reloading Setup~

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 308sc, Jun 12, 2008.

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  1. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    I am looking for a reloading setup that will last for my lifetime! I want something I can load rifle and pistol ammo with. What would be the ultimate setup for reloading? money is not an issue, but list things that are reasonable, I am mainly just trying to get an idea of what to set my sights on in future purchases.

    List everything that you would need to reload! and list approximate price of you "Ultimate Setup" :rolleyes:

    EDIT: mainly looking for suggestions on an press and powder handling system
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  2. esheato

    esheato Member

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    However you set it up, for it to be called "ultimate", it must have a Giraud trimmer.

    Ed
     
  3. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I'm not the leading expert in this field. But, I'd venture a guess that the "ultimate" setup largely depends on what your primary goals are!

    A benchrest competitor and an IPSC shooter may both want an "ultimate" setup, but they are probably defining two very different animals based on their chosen path within the sport.

    I'd give you more, but it would merely be guessing on my part. Others can speak better about top-end sport specific equipment!
     
  4. Gnarly

    Gnarly Member

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    Best powder measure I've ever used is the C-H, made by ch4d.com- about $100 now.Mine's 19 yrs. old....I don't know much about ultimate equipment- most of mine is either low-buck or ancient! But yesterday I got a new Sinclair catalog in the mail dream/drool/slobber.
    ----Gnarly
     
  5. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    no one else wants to reply?
     
  6. CU74

    CU74 Member

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    Way too many unidentified variables to elicit many replies. IMHO, COLORADOKEVIN gave you an excellent reply in Post #3.

    I'll use
    as as example. Most of my equipment is Lee and I expect it to last MY lifetime, but I'm 65 years old. If I was 25, my bench probably wouldn't be so "red".
     
  7. ~z

    ~z Member

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    More info will get you a better answer. But for pistol and high volume, Dillion is hard to beat. My 550 has kicked out a bit over 1,000,000 rounds now and keeps on rocking.
    ~z
     
  8. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    Agreed, we need more information.

    For example,

    How old are you now? What is your family medical history? ;)
     
  9. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    Rock Chucker press should last a lifetime or two. Why not just start with a RCBS kit? and go from there
     
  10. Bandit01

    Bandit01 Member

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    I have the Dillion 550B--it's a decent machine and the most popular out of the Dillion lineup. But if I had a chance to do it all over again--I would have went with the 650 (I hope I got the number right). You can do a bit more and I believe that it comes with the electric brass loader thing. But you can always purchase it seperately with the 550B. I've never had any major issues with the Dillon. I once screwed the machine up (about 1.5 years after buying it). I sent it to Dillon for repair. Within 3 weeks, it was as if I had a brand new machine. All it costed me was the postage of sending the machine to them.
     
  11. spencerhut

    spencerhut Member

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    Dillon bah! Blue Kool-Aid Alert!!!!

    RCBS Pro 2000 and a Rockchucker - All anyone ever needs.:D
    [​IMG]
    Just kidding. I've had really good luck with all the reloading companies products and just decided the Pro2000 was where I wanted to put my money. It will last a lifetime, I have no doubt at all.

    Figure on spending between $500 and $2,500 on all the reloading equipment a person could want. Lee, Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, Lyman, Redding, you really can't go wrong.

    What type of reloading do you intend to do?
    Casual, few hundred rounds a month? Any single stage or turret will be fine. Pick a color, any color.
    Competitive at a local level, ~1000 rounds a month? Most any progressive will do. Lee Pro1000 would work just fine, slight tinker factor.
    Competitive at a high level, 2000+ a month? Dillon 650/1050, RCBS Pro2000 or Hornady LNL
     
  12. Hutch

    Hutch Member

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    I would suggest you plan to own several presses. I'm not a serious bench-rest shooter, so I have "only" got 2 single stage presses and a Dillon XL-650B. I think the PACT electronic scale is hard to beat. I also find the RCBS Uniflow to be completely satisfactory, but, again, I'm not a bench-rester. I still like the el-cheapo Lee hand primer, but I'm starting to warm up to the RCBS version.

    The only problem you have in trying NOW to determine what you want to wind up with THEN is that newer and often better stuff keeps coming out.

    Keep buying components. It's hard to believe that the current prices are going to hold, but it's unlikely they'll retreat to what they were 5 years ago, either.
     
  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Do a lot of research by reading and any other way you are acustom to researching...No one on here can answer your question without being a bit prejudist in their opinions. Not every system is for everyone. Some drink the blue cool-aid and think it's god sent and others drink the green or red cool-aid and will feel that it is god sent. Only you can decide what will work for you. All is of good quality and will last you a life time if properly cared for...
     
  14. koja48

    koja48 member

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    This Works for Me . . .

    . . . but reloading, reloading needs, and "ultimate" are personal choices. "Most expensive" doesn't necessarily mean "ultimate" for all reloaders.

    [​IMG]

    These plus a MEC 28-gauge reloader represent my version of the vision. Adopting special gadgets, tools, tricks, & methods serve to enhance and refine any set-up. For precision rifle ammo, I do like my Forster Coax press & Herrell powder measure.
     
  15. 45ACPUSER

    45ACPUSER Member

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    Your first step is buying the best reference book or what I call Reloading for Dummies or The ABC's of Reloading from Krause Publications. Read it cover to cover, and then read it again while taking notes! Look for a mentor at your local club, range, or purveyor of supplies! Another more technical book, is Handloading for Competition by Glen Zediker.

    There are several great reloading manuals of the real kind not the freebee ones! Freebee manuals are good for cross referencing data, at times. For meaty manuals a person can not go wrong with the Lyman48th, Hornady, and Sierra. One must always look up loads when you compare/cross-reference data. Especially in larger calibers as some data might be using different brass from yours. Case in point before the Hodgdon website upgrade they Hodgdon used WW brass to work up loads with, whereas Sierra used Fed cases in their 308 Winchester loading information. Now, Hodgdon does not list what brass the loads were worked up in.

    Press - Single Stage or Turret presses are the best way to learn before advancing to any kind of progressive press. You will always have need for a single stage press. Redding and RCBS are good sources of all kinds of presses. RCBS Rockchucker Supreme for a single stage and Redding T7 for a turret press are basically the gold standard for the two different types.

    Dies - I like Redding Dies, and I would get the carbide expander ball upgrade for bottle neck rifle cases. Dillon makes carbide rifle sizer dies, but you still need to use case lube and make sure you lube the inside of the case neck, too. I would just stick with regular dies for rifle cartridges. Dillon makes die sets specifically for their press so to speak, meaning that it does not come with a case mouth belling die; Redding makes a set of dies for progressive presses, too. I like Forster competition seaters, and they can be had as an individual item. Dies are pretty much threaded universally, except for Lyman 310 dies, and Dillon dies for the Square Deal B. Accuracy nuts will use hand dies, and they require an arbor press be used.

    Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them like Lee) or the appropriate shell plate for the progressive press. Remember that many shell holders work for more then one cartridge. I would do some home work, especially if you get a Dillon. Some cartridge conversions might only require you to get powder funnel for the new cartridge.

    A tumbler will be a good investment, as clean cases will not harm you dies. There are vibratory and rotary tumblers out there. I like corn cob media treated with some Iosso case polish. You can get walnut in bulk at Petco or Pet Smart. Bulk corn cob grit is a great way to reduce the cost of commercially supplied media, because you pay through the nose for the treated media from other vendors.

    MTM makes great loading block tray that handles most cartridges.

    Case Lube is great for both conventional dies, and to treat your brass used in a progressive press even with carbide dies. That extra lubricity makes the cycling of the press a tad slicker! Dillon spray lube works well for shake and bake application. I like Imperial Die Wax for rifle cartridges when FL sizing.

    Case Neck Brush to clean bottleneck rifle cases

    Dial Calipers

    Case Trimmer (Lee works, but Possum Hollow is better, Wilson makes the best hand powered Lathe trimmer, and Giraud is the best powered Trimmer)

    Deburring/Chamfering Tool

    Primer Pocket Cleaner and uniformer

    Primer Flip Tray is needed for loading pick up tubes for some primer systems like the Dillon.

    Priming Tool (I like the RCBS (now even better with universal shell holder, but Sinclair makes the best)

    Powder Scale - remember that is always better to have a mechanical scale as a back up to any electronic scale.

    Powder Funnel kit with drop tubes especially if you intend to use powders like Varget.

    Powder Trickler (used to tweak powder charges)

    Powder Measure (nice for faster powder charges it does require a bit of learning curve to get consistent powder charges sort of rhythm thing) standard with progressive presses, but the RCBS Uniflow is nice! Redding makes a better one, and Harrell is the gold standard!

    Hammer Type Bullet Puller (for taking down the boo boo's)

    Ammo boxes and labels

    A notebook for recording your results! Saves covering the same ground twice!

    A chronograph is great when working up loads, but is more a luxury in the beginning.
     
  16. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    I am 15, so im trying to find something that will last quite a few years. I already have the Lee anniversary kit which has worked great but I want something I can grow into as a reloader, like a Dillon or something. I am planning on keeping the single stage Lee, and it has taught me alot about reloading but I doubt I would be the best If I ever want to start reloading pistol rounds.
     
  17. SR_

    SR_ Member

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    I'm not sure you 'grow into' a press.

    The dillion presses allow a higher volumn output than a single stage.

    Back to the real question - do you want volumn (make a whole lot fast) vs. precision (time is not an object).

    I have 2 Dillon Square Deal Bs - they handle every thing I need for IDPA competions (high volumn, reasonable price, but that press only does straight wall pistol calibers). I also have a RCBS rock chucker - for rifle ammo - I don't need a lot of rifle ammo and I'm willing to take the extra time to make it pretty precise.

    What do you want to do that you cannot do on your Lee press?
     
  18. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    volume! It produces Rifle ammo plenty fast, but It is slow, so using it for pistols would be very time consuming.
     
  19. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I'm not qualified to judge something "ultimate", but in my opinion you would be pretty close with this press: http://www.ch4d.com/catalog/?p=61

    And this powder measure:
    http://www.ch4d.com/catalog/?p=70

    If you ever get into high-volume pistol reloading, you'll probably want a progressive press, but the CH press can load about as fast as a turret press. I've loaded a hundred 9mm cartridges, starting with clean but unprepped brass, in a half hour with my old CH press (just like the one I linked to, but has 3 holes instead of 4) But that was going too fast, 150 per hour is probably pretty easy. I don't have the automatic primer feeder, I just put feed them in one at a time by hand from the flipper tray.

    You will eventually have multiple presses, even if the first one was perfect. Don't ask me how I know this. :)
     
  20. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    The ultimate single stage press is the Forster Co-Ax.

    Progressive presses are a chevy vs ford debate, but I like Hornady LNL AP.

    I'm not a big fan of turret presses, but lots of people think they're in between a single stage and a progressive in terms of speed and complexity/cost. Depending on how you will use a turret press, a co-ax will be just as fast. Many other single stage presses can be fitted with the Hornady LNL adapter to make changing dies in them very quick and easy too.

    Andy
     
  21. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    :):)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  22. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    looks good :)
     
  23. elkhuntingfool

    elkhuntingfool member

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    Maybe I'm missing something here, but I produce pistol and rifle reloads at about the same pace. Can you expand on what you mean by this?

    Thanks
     
  24. 308sc

    308sc Member

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    Well I mean that I usually shoot alot more pistol rounds in a range time than rifle...so therefor the speed that works for rifle will not produce as many rounds as I need. There are only 2 ways to fix this I think

    1. New press

    2. More time
     
  25. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

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    Well for my money, if I was looking for volume in pistol calibers with the option of reloading rifle calibers in volume at a later date then I'd go with a Dillon XL650 or a Hornady LNL AP. With a casefeeder either will generate more volume in ammo than I can shoot. They're a bit more complex than a single stage and I find that I like to get one setup and then load everything I need for a year and use a single stage for experimentation. The nice thing about either of the presses above is that you can add an automated case trimmer if you want, etc. (if you decide to go for volume in rifle calibers) The big knock on the dillon at least is the cost of the caliber conversions.

    I went the dillon route and I'm very happy but I find that I load pistol rounds on it and rifle on my single stage. YMMV
     
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