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    Member Rjusten's Avatar
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    Default How to get started

    I am sure it's been asked many times. What's the best way to get into reloading? I am looking to reload 30-06 mainly, I'm going to buy a book to start to learn about it. What's the best way to go about the kits? Or should everything be bought individually.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Hard to beat an RCBS Rock Chucker kit.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    what I did.....

    I pieced together a system that works well for me. started with a hornaday press, and from there mixed in other brands for the best fit.
    the hornaday press using the bushings is real nice, just pop a die in or out easily.
    the rcbs chargemaster scale and powder dispenser saves lots of tedium weighing out powder.
    I use the hornaday sizing die to set up each caliber for proper headspace resizing, and got forster micrometer dies to seat bullets.
    I bought a Sinclair priming tool, and also a lyman. I would go with the lyman for cost and effectiveness if doing again.
    if you shoot 06, get yourself lapua brass, they are the best.
    also got a hornaday headspace gauge and bullet seating gauge using a modified case. cheap and very good results to seat out to the lands if desired.

    if you're really fussy get a runout gauge, but with forster dies prob don't need one.
    think I dropped about $ 800 for all of it, but the results are worth it if you want to make ammo just for your rifle.
    prob didn't cover everything, but that's the mix of equipment I use. the kits are ok but won't get you all that.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rjusten View Post
    I am sure it's been asked many times. What's the best way to get into reloading? I am looking to reload 30-06 mainly, I'm going to buy a book to start to learn about it. What's the best way to go about the kits? Or should everything be bought individually.
    Gathering equipment is the fairly easy part. There are tools I use more often than others and some things that I use only occasionally that'd I never want to be without and explaining the what & why of every tool is truly personal. As a first step, I'd recommend that you locate an experienced handloader that you judge competent in other ventures in life (we all know that simply owning the equipment or having reloaded ammunition succesfully doesn't make one competent). I'd encourage you to join that person for several reloading sessions and see how a competent handloader produces ammo before you buy any equipment, I suspect you'll come out dollars ahead.

    Reloading books and manuals are required materials for a novice and can be helpful for experienced and accomplished handloaders, so purchasing something along the lines of The ABC's of Reloading and any of the various manufacturer's data manuals makes good sense. You indicate that your located in Wasilla so I'd think that finding such materials and a competent handloader will not be too difficult and that is most certainly how I'd recommend you get into reloading.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    I started with a kit but knowing what I know now I would've pieced everything together myself.
    If you have some friends that handload I'd get their opinions on various tools. I'll start, assuming you're loading rifle for accuracy, Forster Coax press.
    For a powder dispenser it's hard to beat the Lee dipper kit. A good scale and good quality calipers, digital, are mandatory. As for dies RCBS, Forster, and Hornady are all good. If I wanted to save a buck I'd use RCBS. If I was looking to tighten a group up by 0.01", or less, I'd be looking at the Forster dies. For case trimming I'm partial to the handheld Lee case trimming tools.
    The easiest priming will come on the Forster Coax press.
    Good luck, have fun, and welcome.

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    Are you wanting to load MOA hunting ammo, bulk plinking ammo or benchrest competition ammo? What kinda budget do you have?

    Depending on those answers the suggestions may change.

    I'm going to assume your trying to produce hunting ammo relatively inexpensively, for that I'd piece together the following:

    choice of single stage press, rockchucker is a popular choice, I use a 1950s pacific that I was given, it works ok but lacks the leverage of modern presses.
    hornady electronic powder dispenser, substituting a powder thrower and scale gets you close to the same cost and is faster if you don't weight every charge out of the thrower, but I weight every charge so I went with the dispenser.
    combination case funnel/powder cup
    shell tray
    Lee dies
    RCBS Hand Primer tool
    Lyman manual
    Lyman case prep tool

    I also try and make my life simple buy only buying one brand of primers for each type, for instance I only buy federal large rifle primers. That's been a little tough to stick to lately but it sure makes storing components easier. Likewise for brass, although that's tougher since I've been given mixed brass or had a mix of factory stuff that I started with.

    What I've listed about will produce decent amounts of at least MOA ammo, assuming you and the gun will shoot that well.

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    Find someone who has a complete setup that's competent and sit in with them. That will answer many of your questions. Hard to answer how to start when you didn't specify why you want to reload. It's very easy to over think the whole process and overy complicate it. It is tough to beat a rock chucked no matt er what or why you are reloading... if you just want to the satisfaction of shooting what you loaded, the rock chucked complete kit is really unbeatable for simplicity. Ive been using a Dillon 550 for 19 or so years.. If you have any questions about that let me know. I have also loaded one or two 30-06 over the years.

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    A lot depends on what you want for your ammo and what you have for a budget. You can load ammo that will shoot as well as most factory stuff with the simplest and cheapest equipment available. A good loading manual is needed and probably "The ABCs of Reloading" should be on your list before anything else. Study both and then, if you have a friend that is an experienced loader, twist his arm into showing you about the things you have been reading. If you don't know any experienced loaders, I have a standing offer to get newbies started with a few hours of training in my loading room. You really are going to want a little hands on experience before you decide what you want in equipment. I have presses from the Lee whack-a-mole to full progressive and powder dispensers from dippers to electronic dispenser. You will want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each before shelling out the cash for something you may not need or want. Let me know if you're interested and I'll get you my phone number. The idea that this will be mainly for your 30/06 will go out the window shortly but that's a story of it's own. What ever you decide, good luck on your new addicti ah hobby yeah that's it hobby.

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I'd start with a kit, then add what you need as you need it. You really can't go wrong with any of the kits out there.

    I bought the Lyman T-Mag Expert Deluxe. It came with an electronic digital scale, but more importantly for me it was the only kit I could find at the time which included a case trimmer.

    I added a Lee Ergo-Prime hand primer instead of priming with the press. My dies are of various makes. I have Redding, RCBS and Lyman currently.

    I do need to get a balance beam scale. One of discoveries I've made on electronic scales is that the barometric pressure out here in Aleutian Hell seems to screw with the calibration when a storm is passing through.

    Here is an earlier thread discussing kits vs gathering tools.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...load-equipment
    Now what ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rjusten View Post
    I am sure it's been asked many times. What's the best way to get into reloading? I am looking to reload 30-06 mainly, I'm going to buy a book to start to learn about it. What's the best way to go about the kits? Or should everything be bought individually.
    Lots of great advice, and if I could ad something it would be to find a nice, quiet room in your house away from any and all distractions. Losing track of your powder loads is not a good thing. Re-loading is a good place to practice being obsessive/compulsive.
    Zen and the art of re-loading; learn it, live it.
    Oh, and buy a electronic powder measure/scale. All the basics of say the RCBS kit will last pretty much forever, but an electronic powder measure makes things so much nicer.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    A lot depends on what you want for your ammo and what you have for a budget. You can load ammo that will shoot as well as most factory stuff with the simplest and cheapest equipment available. A good loading manual is needed and probably "The ABCs of Reloading" should be on your list before anything else. Study both and then, if you have a friend that is an experienced loader, twist his arm into showing you about the things you have been reading. If you don't know any experienced loaders, I have a standing offer to get newbies started with a few hours of training in my loading room. You really are going to want a little hands on experience before you decide what you want in equipment. I have presses from the Lee whack-a-mole to full progressive and powder dispensers from dippers to electronic dispenser. You will want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each before shelling out the cash for something you may not need or want. Let me know if you're interested and I'll get you my phone number. The idea that this will be mainly for your 30/06 will go out the window shortly but that's a story of it's own. What ever you decide, good luck on your new addicti ah hobby yeah that's it hobby.
    As someone that has helped others learn how to hand load their own ammo, you can not put a price tag on an offer such as rbuck mentions in his post - getting hands on lessons, the ability to try out various types of equipment before you spend your own money plus the "pluses and minuses" of the various tools involved in the process is extremely generous.

    Bravo to you rbuck351 for this generous offer !!
    .

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    Member Rjusten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    A lot depends on what you want for your ammo and what you have for a budget. You can load ammo that will shoot as well as most factory stuff with the simplest and cheapest equipment available. A good loading manual is needed and probably "The ABCs of Reloading" should be on your list before anything else. Study both and then, if you have a friend that is an experienced loader, twist his arm into showing you about the things you have been reading. If you don't know any experienced loaders, I have a standing offer to get newbies started with a few hours of training in my loading room. You really are going to want a little hands on experience before you decide what you want in equipment. I have presses from the Lee whack-a-mole to full progressive and powder dispensers from dippers to electronic dispenser. You will want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each before shelling out the cash for something you may not need or want. Let me know if you're interested and I'll get you my phone number. The idea that this will be mainly for your 30/06 will go out the window shortly but that's a story of it's own. What ever you decide, good luck on your new addicti ah hobby yeah that's it hobby.
    That would be real nice. I would deffinatly take you up on your offer

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    Sent you a PM with my number.

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    Back a few years I bought an RCBS Partner press, dies, 505 scale and calipers. That was it. Worked for many years too.
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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    What will you reload for? Hunting gun? Bolt action?

    One thing that is different today than when I started is some different gear is available. Ultrasonic cleaners versus the vibratory/media cleaners and electronic scales versus mechanical scales. There are some cheap electronic scales that I wouldn't use, but there are some mechanical scales that are very expensive. I started with a vibratory cleaner and still use it, but the ultrasonic cleaners have their place. If I weren't shooting a lot and just enjoying reloading my rifle ammo, I would get an ultrasonic cleaner - you can get one for $100 or so and it takes up less space than a vibratory.

    Just set your price and buy the best you can buy. The RCBS Rockchucker kit is pretty much the standard, but Lyman, Lee, Redding all make great products, just some less expensive, some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rjusten View Post
    I am sure it's been asked many times. What's the best way to get into reloading? I am looking to reload 30-06 mainly, I'm going to buy a book to start to learn about it. What's the best way to go about the kits? Or should everything be bought individually.
    Probably, the first thing is to buy your components, Powder, Primer, Bullets, and Brass. There is somewhat of a shortage for this stuff, right now.

    Hand loading instructions often leave out important stuff, like cleaning primer pockets

    Here is my LIST of tools.

    Kit's are fine, but probably won't have everything you need.

    Minimal, but adequate handloading List

    Press (If you are loading a large bottle-necked case, get a heavy press)

    Dies (For the cartridge you will be loading)

    Shell Holder (One that fits your cartridge case)

    Case Lube (There are different options on how to lube brass. (Just don't go the lube pad route.)

    Rag. (For wiping things off.) or paper towels. You will be wiping the lube off your brass.

    Primer Pocket Cleaning Tool (You could use a slotted screwdriver of the right size.) (Better yet, use a Primer Pocket Uniformer.)

    Dial Caliper (To measure case length) and other things.

    Case Trimmer (The Lee trimmers are cartridge specific, but sure work fine.

    Chamfer Tool

    Primer Seater (The press may have a primer arm to seat primers with.)

    Powder Scale (Even if you were using a powder measure, you’d need a scale to set it.)

    Powder Funnel

    Loading Data

    Components, etc.

    If I forgot something, I shore am sorry.

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    Smitty has a good list - I'd add a tumbler, powder trickler and bullet puller. I bought my reloading stuff almost a year ago, then it sat on the shelf for nearly six months while I read the manual and tried to learn how to reload without getting hurt.

    I bought the rcbs rock chucker supreme while they had the $50 rebate going. I'm in wasilla and happy to show you what I've got how I load. There are some youtube videos produced by reloading manufacturers that can be helpful. There are also some youtube videos produced by do-it-yourself guys that can steer you down the wrong path. So far I've religiously done things by the book, even caught some grief for it, but I'd rather not load anything unsafe.
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    Here is my short list to make ammo more accurate than factory, but not bench rest quality. I shoot hunting bolt action rifles mostly, but have loaded some autoloaders, a lever action and some 10mm pistol as well.

    Good stout press. I use the Hornady.
    Digital scale, good quality made for reloading. I have the RCBS
    calipers, I like digital. Keeps me from reading it wrong, but I have a dial in case the batteries go bad.
    Chamfer/debur tool
    Primer pocket cleaner
    Case trimmer
    Powder dispenser. I use the Lee manual dispenser, but also have the digital RCBS. The digital one take forever to throw a charge and is not any more accurate than the manual one.
    Lube, I use One Shot. Just don't use too much
    Case holding blocks
    Powder funnel
    RCBS bullet puller
    Stuck case removal kit
    Hand priming tool. I did not like the ones on the press.
    Log book to write all my notes into for each loading session. I use the computer now.
    Dies for each caliber. I was using neck sizing dies, but now full length size most everything to aid in the reliability of feeding. The full length die will be fine until you really get into accuracy.
    Lee Crimp dies for a few calibers, you don't really need them for rifles. Some of my rifles it made a big difference in, most not. Pistols and lever actions, they are a must for me.
    Shell holder and tim pilots for each caliber/cartridge.
    Load books if you have a bullet preference. Barnes does not have all their data online their book goes a long ways. Nosler does have most everything online, and I seldom look at their book. Hornady has a really nice book. Accurate Reloading web page is close to useless. Hodgden reload sight is awesome.
    A couple of boxes to hold my loads in to organize them up for testing at the range.
    One big tool to use that can really make a difference in accuracy is a way to measure the maximum COL (cartridge overall length). I use the hornady one with the modified case. Adjusting the COL for YOUR rifle is a big part of why rolling your own can turn out better ammo than factory stuff.
    ABC's of reloading book read through 2x

    Other stuff.
    I use a sonic cleaner, but it is not really necessary if you are loading only a few times or are just starting out.
    A progressive press works great if you are going to load a bunch of pistol or AR rounds. I am going to use my buddies press once I get my pistol rounds dialed in.
    I will probably get a concentricity gauge soon for my long range guns
    A chronograph can be really handy to see if you are at least in the ball park for published data, or over. You don't have to have one right away.
    I use an electric cleaning station that chamfer/debur/cleans the pocket and will deburrs the primer pocket. Also not necessary if you have the hand tools.

    Good luck. Don't think you will save money by reloading. You will just shoot 10x more, and actually spend more money. But, the 10x more shooting will cost you 1/2 as much. So you will only really be spending 5x more than you are now on factory ammo. And, you will need more guns, because it is a the gospel truth that hand loading for just one firearm is against the constitution and causes cancer in certain Democrats.

    Let me know if you need any reloader 15. I have a bunch to spare.

  19. #19
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    After lots of years using other tools:

    The priming tool that comes as part of a Rock Chucker is ok for low volume reloading, but if you are going to do some higher numbers, get one of these: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/319...ProductFinding

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    Default To Kit or Not to Kit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rjusten View Post
    I am sure it's been asked many times. What's the best way to get into reloading? I am looking to reload 30-06 mainly, I'm going to buy a book to start to learn about it. What's the best way to go about the kits? Or should everything be bought individually.
    Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice:

    A kit will get you loading faster, but assembling your own kit will teach you better.

    You are starting out right. Congratulations. Researching first, then asking for (sage?) advice. Before plunking down your dollars.

    Whether a kit assembled by some marketing genius or assembling your own is better for you depends a lot on your personality and loading style. Only you know your personality and your loading style is not yet fully formed. (Note: the marketing "genius" I referred to may actually be a wise and experienced loader, but still, has no way to know your specific needs, so has put together an "of-the-shelf set of geat designed for the most likely novice, at best.)

    A kit will get you started with ALMOST everything you need. They usually lack something, though. They also have things you use, but will be unsatisfied with and trade in (at a loss, it goes without saying). So the savings in getting a kit is largely illusion. But it probably will get you started loading a little quicker and with less fuss
    than assembling your own kit

    Building your own kit MAY be a little more expensive initially, but carries with it the research (and knowledge gained therefrom) you do in selecting the equipment best for you. There is no downside to that additional knowledge, though the upside may take time to realize fully.

    How long is your foresight?

    Lost Sheep

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