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Thread: press recommendations for a beginner?

  1. #1
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    Default press recommendations for a beginner?

    Im looking to get into reloading primarily for rifles. What press would you recommend? single stage or progressive? Any brands better than the other (rcbs, dillon, hornady)? would i be better off buying a package or buy individual components?
    any other words of wisdom are welcome.
    thanks

  2. #2

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    Ford vrs Chevy kind of thing, I grew up on a RCBS set up and that's what I use now, bought the rock chucker when it first came out, and I love it. Single vrs progressive is personal preff, I like the single I'm not in a big hurry to load, 50 max at a time, and that's the 45 or 22-250. My larger cals I mostly do by the box.
    If I was to do it again I would probly peice together a set, search there was a thread with lots of good recommendations.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I bought a Lee anniversary kit from midway when I got started. It was right around 150$ on sale at the time. I have no complaints about the press, the powder measure, and the on press priming system. I've since replaced the scale and picked up a bunch of other reloading tools, but overall the cheap kit allowed me to get my feet wet and if I ever replace the press, I will have both presses set up on the bench for doing different things.

    other than that, I'd say I've learned that you generally can't go wrong going green...

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    For a beginner I'd recommend a RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press. They are reasonably priced and durable almost to a fault. Any other single stage press will work, but you get a lot for not much going with the Rock Chucker.........
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    For a beginner I'd recommend a RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press. They are reasonably priced and durable almost to a fault. Any other single stage press will work, but you get a lot for not much going with the Rock Chucker.........
    I値l 2nd that. I知 no Ford/Chevy guy, if it works well I知 happy whoever made it.
    My advice buy a piece at a time, buy the piece that best does what you want no matter what brand that is.
     
    RCBS Rock Chucker is as good as it gets for single stage. Other brands make good ones too but Rock Chucker is what all others are measured by. Often can be found used because they out live at least 3 or 4 guys.
     
    Lee makes mostly okay tools and some junk . . . But Lee makes some flat out great dies. I prefer Lee dies over any out there and try to avoid RCBS dies, okay quality but often too tight.
     
    Anything Redding brand is top notch stuff, not cheap but just superb quality Cadillc stuff.
     
    Hornady is about par with RCBS for quality, mostly great stuff. They have their issues sometimes but both bend over backward to fix it.
     
     
    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    I値l 2nd that. I知 no Ford/Chevy guy, if it works well I知 happy whoever made it.
    My advice buy a piece at a time, buy the piece that best does what you want no matter what brand that is.
     
    RCBS Rock Chucker is as good as it gets for single stage. Other brands make good ones too but Rock Chucker is what all others are measured by. Often can be found used because they out live at least 3 or 4 guys.
     
    Lee makes mostly okay tools and some junk . . . But Lee makes some flat out great dies. I prefer Lee dies over any out there and try to avoid RCBS dies, okay quality but often too tight.
     
    Anything Redding brand is top notch stuff, not cheap but just superb quality Cadillc stuff.
     
    Hornady is about par with RCBS for quality, mostly great stuff. They have their issues sometimes but both bend over backward to fix it.
     
     
    ya know Andy one day I need to sit down with you and have a drink, I would really like the chance to sit and talk, pick at that brain you filled up!

  7. #7

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    I've always used RCBS dies, had great luck, so I thought at least. I've had my 300wby dies for "holy
    cow don't think too much" 20yrs and wouldn't dare say how many it has done! Now you have me thinking, redding you say.
    Would be interesting to size in both and see if I could find a difference.

  8. #8
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    For a beginner, definitely a single stage.

    If you have limited funds, and won't be loading a Belted Mag, that is somewhat overbore, you could get by fine with an entry level press.

    However, a HEAVY press is the BEST press, and I recommend the Redding Big Boss.

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    I would definitely recommend single stage for a beginner as well. It will help you learn the steps in order and with a bit of patience. Hand loading is not something you want to do in a hurry.

    I choose to piece together my equipment because I was given an old single stage press. I really like the hornady digital scale I bought, I can't stand the analog scales, personal preference though. Get a good modern manual, it will be an invaluable reference. I have mostly used RCBS dies, pretty much just because they are the most common and I picked most of mine up used. I did buy Lee pistol dies in two calibers and they have worked great. I bought the Lee powder measure and it works but it's not real impressive. If you can afford it the one thing I would splurge on right away is a RCBS charge master.


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    I picked up an RCBS Rockchucker kit when I started because that was what the guy who taught me how to reload had. If I were to do it again, I'd do as mooneyman suggested and piece together a kit. I'd go Forster Co-Ax, Redding Dies with the seater sleeves, and Sinclair collars for the Redding dies to work with the Co-Ax. I like digital scales that throw the powder charges and have a Lyman right now. But, that's just my perspective from having been there, done that and now knowing what I like best. If only I had known back then what I know now, I'd have save some money.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

  11. #11

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    Had a few elec scales, no luck including the RCBS still use the old one that came in the kit. I can set up my dropper to drop within .5-.1grns mostly .1-.2 is the elec droppers that nice and reliable? Never had much luck, like manual stuff tho.

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    Yeah, piece it out. You probably won't be satisfied with EVERYTHING you get in a kit.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
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  13. #13
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Another vote for single stage! You never said what cal's you wanted to reload for, but if belted get RCBS if 30-06 and smaller get Lee cast iron press. Piece the rest together by personal preference as you learn. Here is a nice database to go along with the loading manuals.
    http://reloadersrfrnce.sourceforge.net/
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    Great information from everyone so thanks for the input. I'll go single stage to get the fundamentals down and start pricing out some of the other equipment. Have a favorite piece of equipment that has really impressed you whether its a scale, case trimmer, etc, please share as I would like to buy it only once.

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    I have only been reloading for about43 years, so am somewhat of a newby! I started with a RCBS Rock Chucker and it is still working fine. As has already been stated, 'start with a good single stage press' and grow from there. No matter which brand you end up getting, get the best that you can, you will not regret it. AS for the basic equipment, press, dies, scale(beam for starting), caliper, primer pocket cleaner, vibrator cleaner, several reloading manuals and a method to trim the cases. There is all sorts of equipment to get but go slowly as you will find that one can get 'over whelmed' real quick.
    Also do not be afraid to ask 'lots' of questions and stop if you think that something is not correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooneyman View Post
    ya know Andy one day I need to sit down with you and have a drink, I would really like the chance to sit and talk, pick at that brain you filled up!
    What me? I知 just a poor country boy barley smart enough to get my bills paid. But I am smart enough not to stick my finger in the light socket twice and have been exposed to unusual things, done a lot of stuff in my life.
    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
     
    Lee makes mostly okay tools and some junk . . .  
     
     
    I agree that the Lee stuff is generally pretty chinsy, but I've found that it does work well for what it is and what it costs.

    That said, I have sized lots of belted magnums (338s) and make 338 brass out of 7mm Mag and have had absolutely no problems with my Lee press. I cant imagine needing a heavier duty one..but I probably will someday. It would be nice to have presses set up for different things at the same time.

    My favorite piece of reloading equipment is my RCBS Chargemaster. That piece alone has made reloading alot less tedious for me. I like the "certainty" of using a beam scale, but it sure takes alot of time to measure each charge.

    For how much time I end up spending reloading (alot more than I thought I would), if I had it to do over again, I would do what most of you guys are saying and buy individual components.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I agree that the Lee stuff is generally pretty chinsy, but I've found that it does work well for what it is and what it costs.
    Yes most of it works well and is very affordable, some of it like the dies are as good as it gets. But a lot of their stuff is fiddly to make work well and some (like their cheap 鼎 press) is junk.
     
    I broke one of those 鼎 presses sizing 357, Lee was great and had me a new one fast. Second round, still 357, it snaps just like the first and Lee sent another. Third one lasted about 50 rounds and Lee replaced it. That one is still around but I only ever used it to decap cases. I have similar stories about the cast levers on their older Handprime tool with the round tray, love that tool, it has a weakness I tolarate because Lee keeps sending parts. The Lee company is great, most of their stuff is good and a great value for lighter uses but some is just pretty dang junky . . . trick is knowing which is what.
    Andy
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    Ahh. My press is the O style press and is pretty stout. Although the stupid wooden ball handle came off one night when I was sizing a case and I about drove my hand thru my thigh...

    I also like the quick change bushings for the dies, but they are too darned expensive even at 4 bucks apiece...

  20. #20
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    I've bought RCBS almost exclusively over the years and never been disappointed. You only have to buy it once. Lee customer service is great, but that doesn't help when it craps out halfway through a loading session...Redding is another great outfit.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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