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Thread: New to reloading and .....

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    Member wiiawiwb's Avatar
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    Default New to reloading and .....

    ....have a few basic questions about getting started.

    I'm looking to learn to reload 45LC for my Ruger SRH Toklat. No rifle rounds. I use the Toklat for fun range shooting and plinking, no hunting. I've poured through prior posts on this forum and have watched scores of YouTube videos related to the process of reloading and equipment.

    Here are a few thoughts at this point:

    1) I will start with a single-stage press and buy each piece of reloading equipment, and supplies, separately rather than a kit.

    2) I would prefer a digital scale and caliper.

    3) I've checked with various local sources (gun clubs, craigslist, want ads) to see if there is used equipment and have come up empty so it will be new equipment for me to select from.

    Any advice/thoughts about how to put together a package? Should I stay with one company or mix and match? Include the tumbler and case trimmer or nix them? Etc...

    I went through various posts and videos and put together a list of RCMS equipment and supplies which total ~$700. Obviously, the sky is the limit and some people probable have ~$5,000+, but, should $700 plus brass, primers, powder, and bullets get me started?

    I'm finding that the "might as wells" can easily push up the price to buy equipment. Now that I buying equipment, I "might as well" spend an extra $60 on this press, or an extra $100 on this powder dispenser/scale. I don't know what I don't know and thus can't determine where extra money is well spent and where it is wasted.

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    Digital scale good. I prefer a dial caliper.

    I would "mix and match".

    Tumbler is unnecessary. As is, case trimmer when you are loading 45 LC.

    I don't know prices.

    A good powder measure is important.

    SOTN
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    Member wiiawiwb's Avatar
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    If I were to upgrade one item, would it be best spent to upgrade the press (Ex., from an RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme to to Forster Co Ax) or the scale and powder dispensing system (Ex, from a manual digital scale to a RCBS Chargemaster 1500)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    If I were to upgrade one item, would it be best spent to upgrade the press (Ex., from an RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme to to Forster Co Ax) or the scale and powder dispensing system (Ex, from a manual digital scale to a RCBS Chargemaster 1500)?
    To me reloading is for sure a buy once cry once hobby. I started with all used cheap equipment my father and I used to find at flea markets. Not to say any of it was bad, as I still use my Rockchucker to this day and its probably twice as old as I am. If I could go back in time I would have stayed away from the old scales and digital ones too and just got a chargemaster system or something equivalent right of the bat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    If I were to upgrade one item, would it be best spent to upgrade the press (Ex., from an RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme to to Forster Co Ax) or the scale and powder dispensing system (Ex, from a manual digital scale to a RCBS Chargemaster 1500)?
    Were it me, I would not upgrade either the press or the scale as you've suggested.

    Instead, I would just get a powder measure. I have other equip too, but I really like my Redding Big Boss press and Redding powder measure.

    If I thought you were only ever gonna hand load for 45, I'd recommend the Lee Turret press and the Lee 4 die set for handgun (45). On my Lee Turret press, I took the thingy that advances the Turret OUT. I do everything manually, but the turret eliminates screwing dies in and out.

    SOTN
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    If I were to only load pistol rounds (45 colt) I would get a Dillon 550b and a manual scale. Load with the proper BALL powder. Set the powder thrower with the scale once and go to loading. Well under 700.

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    I'm the type that can focus like a laser beam BUT having multiple tasks at the same time throws me for a loop. I think a progressive press would overwhelm me. No doubt it would be a dream come true at some point down the line when I become more experienced. For now, I want to focus on each aspect of the loading process and have only that task in front of me.

    Resize and decap all the the brass, then move on to the next step.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    I'm the type that can focus like a laser beam BUT having multiple tasks at the same time throws me for a loop. I think a progressive press would overwhelm me. No doubt it would be a dream come true at some point down the line when I become more experienced. For now, I want to focus on each aspect of the loading process and have only that task in front of me.

    Resize and decap all the the brass, then move on to the next step.
    Same here.

    There are so many little extras that I do, which I don't think would lend themselves to a progressive press.

    "Starting" with a progressive system is a good way to never become a Hand loader. I knew a guy who started out that way. He had 2 systems, and he never got either to work, and he never became a hand loader.

    I tried to help him with one system, but I was unable to do him any good. I suggested a "Small Base" die.

    SOTN
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    That's one nice thing about the Dillon, you can use it like a single stage or turret if you wish or progressive as well.The cases can be placed in any station you want and you can do any function you want without advancing to the next. Once you are ready you can use it as a turret press. When you have that mastered you can move up to progressive. And it's a really stout press with a lot of leverage and a no BS warranty. You need the press a set of dies (most any brand will work) a conversion kit for 45Colt a powder scale a Lee case trimmer for the 45Colt and you can start loading with equipment that will not need upgraded ever. Once you have your dies set in there places and adjusted you can either load as a single stage or by putting in the case guide buttons you can go turret or progressive with no other adjustments. $500/$600 and you can pick how you want to load with top of the line equipment. Add a tumbler if you want pretty brass. With the Lee trimmer, you won't even need the caliper and if you use ball powder you won't need an electronic scale as the powder thrower that comes with the Dillon will throw ball powders very consistently. Most folks load pistol with a powder thrower rather than weigh each charge as pistol powders usually throw very consistently. If you are just going to load 45Colt there is a bunch of might as wells that you will never need. You can spend more money on this press or that scale or whatever but the stuff I mentioned will get you going with stuff that works as good as any without breaking the bank or spending extra on stuff you just don't need. Oh, do get carbide dies. Lee dies work fine in the Dillon and are somewhat cheaper than most others. The Dillon works very well as a single stage with the advantage that all dies are in place so there is no die changing and by installing the three buttons it becomes a turret or a progressive if you wish. Each of your dies has to be adjusted individually whether you go single stage or progressive. In a turret they remain in place and you simply turn the turret to the proper die and do that stage. With the Dillon, all dies are in place and you just put the case under the proper die and load unless you want to go progressive where you feed cases in at one point and just turn the base plate and add another case and turn the base plate. I wouldn't suggest you start loading using the progressive mode but once you get the hang of loading each stage and your dies are properly adjusted it is a very simple step to progressive and tripling your output without buying anything else.

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    This request is EASY, W. Get yourself a KIT, don't buy individual pieces until you decide that you actually like this hobby. Commit to reloading for all of your shooting irons so that you get to view this as another rewarding endeavor. If this reloading thing isn't what you thought then you can pass along the entire kit for about 75% of your investment and gain a large amount of experience for <$200 and very little pain.

    Whether or not you choose Lee, Redding, RCBS, Forster or another brand it should set you back less than $400. Get yourself a brick of primers, Trail Boss powder (you said that you like to plink), and some flat-base cast bullets and you'll be ready to go. Trail Boss is a great low-density powder for new reloaders as it makes double-charging less likely and it is difficult to blow up your pistol with too much pressure. Get yourself a serviceable loading bench and get to it!!!

    IceKing02

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    I really appreciate everyone's perspective. It provides such an excellent means by which to look at every angle. I'm reasonably confident I will skip a progressive set up for now even if I could use it as SSP. There's too much clutter on the press for this unsophisticated mind of mine. Moreover, there would be an intimidation factor to it and I simply don't want to introduce that into the reloading process.

    I will be only loading for 45LC and maybe 454 Casull down the line. I have no rifles I would load for and 9mm ammo is too cheap to warrant the time and energy of reloading, at least from my perspective now. The principal motivation to reload is to save money and hopefully have a little fun and satisfaction in the process. My 45LC and 454 Casull shooting is ~150 rounds per month so I'm not looking to churn out volumes of rounds.

    I really think a single stage set up, with all the fixins', is the best course of action. I've always believed in getting good equipment and that philosophy has served me well over the many years. Being that I'm in my sixties, that approach is not likely to change. For example, the reason I was considering a Forster Co Ax press was that there seems to be excellent feedback about it. That press is probably a grand waste of money for a greenhorn like me. I figured that if it ends up that reloading is not for me, I could probably sell it and not get burned too badly.

    I've spent a whole lot of time pouring through all 97 pages on this forum and an untold number of YouTube videos about various aspects and stages of reloading. All of that to try to start building a base of very basic knowledge.

    I really am in awe of the experience and knowledge of everyone here and am blessed to get your thoughtful and generous help.

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    There's no better teacher than EXPERIENCE. I would just get a single stage kit for around $300 and go for it. Start cranking out hundreds, then thousands of rounds and you'll soon know what works and what doesn't.

    Couple of add ons I got after getting proficient was an electronic powder measure and an ultrasonic cleaner. Huge time savers IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    I really think a single stage set up, with all the fixins', is the best course of action.
    That has always worked for me. I enjoy the process of rolling my own, and being meticulous as I do so. If I was shooting high volume auto pistol in competition I might consider a progressive press, but after loading for (only) about 20 years for just a couple handgun rounds and a couple rifle rounds, I'm quite content with the speed and process of using a single stage press.

    Personally, I don't care for the ergonomics of the Forster press, but that aside, there's no question it's a great quality press and a good investment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
    I'm the type that can focus like a laser beam BUT having multiple tasks at the same time throws me for a loop. I think a progressive press would overwhelm me. No doubt it would be a dream come true at some point down the line when I become more experienced. For now, I want to focus on each aspect of the loading process and have only that task in front of me.

    Resize and decap all the the brass, then move on to the next step.
    You can use a progressive as a single stage and when you get things dialed in then you can really pump out some rounds. I also have the Toklat and enjoy loading for it. I took a black bear with it last year in 454 that I cast my self. That well be your next a endeavor. Casting your own bullets. It's the same as the loading equipment. Like you said :Buy once, Cry once. You will soon break even on the money you spend in buying equipment. I once cast & loaded 250, 405gr (wheel weights) 45-70 rounds in two days. One casting and one loading. Then I did the math. That's 60% of all the casting & loading equipment I own (not counting the powder) in one session. It's well worth it and it's a good hobby. Good luck.

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    You could reload pistol ammo easily with a 150$ lee kit from midway or amazon and a cheap digital scale and dial calipers. I really can't think of anything else absolutely necessary. I loaded 100 rounds of 44 mag last night and the cheap lee products work just fine. Definitely don't need or want a Chargemaster for loading pistol rounds, wayyyyy to slow and an unnecessary level of complication. I use my Chargemaster for loading rifle ammo and love it, but i just throw powder from the lee powder throw and check every 10 or so charges with a 20$ Franklin arsenal digital scale.

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    I finally decided on a press and got the Forster Co Ax. It was its precision and attention to detail that won me over in the final analysis. I probably won't use all of its horsepower reloading just handgun rounds but that's ok. If I ever need it, I've got it.

    Also ordered the GemPro 250 scale. Have heard a lot of good things and some bad. We'll see.

    Thanks for everyone's help...you guys are great!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post

    A good powder measure is important.

    SOTN
    I agree, this is a must have component. You will save hours and hours of time.
    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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    I have been pondering getting into reloading and came across this thread. Great information here. I usually put about ten boxes of rounds through my rifles a year, but since joining out at the shooting range - which covers my wife and kids too - I think this is going to pick up quite a bit. I primarily shoot a 30-06, but also have a 30-30, and occasionally a friend's 300 wsm. My wife is shooting a 7mm-08, and my kids are going to get into .22's after Christmas. I am fascinated with the operation of ammunition, and mostly want to reload for the experience of it and experimenting with different rounds, powders, etc., as opposed to the economics. I started tying my own flies about 20 years ago to "save money" but ultimately ended up with a few thousand dollars in equipment and materials, and then tied commercially for a few years through college. I imagine reloading will be a little like that, with the wisdom as I'm older that I'll have to do it for the fun, not the economics of it.

    i am considering a Lee Precision Classic Turret Press kit and wondering if anyone here has direct experience with this kit? I imagine I would load up to about 1000-1500 rounds per year, all rifle in the above mentioned calibers.

    In any event, great info in this forum that you all have put together. Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    I have been pondering getting into reloading and came across this thread. Great information here. I usually put about ten boxes of rounds through my rifles a year, but since joining out at the shooting range - which covers my wife and kids too - I think this is going to pick up quite a bit. I primarily shoot a 30-06, but also have a 30-30, and occasionally a friend's 300 wsm. My wife is shooting a 7mm-08, and my kids are going to get into .22's after Christmas. I am fascinated with the operation of ammunition, and mostly want to reload for the experience of it and experimenting with different rounds, powders, etc., as opposed to the economics. I started tying my own flies about 20 years ago to "save money" but ultimately ended up with a few thousand dollars in equipment and materials, and then tied commercially for a few years through college. I imagine reloading will be a little like that, with the wisdom as I'm older that I'll have to do it for the fun, not the economics of it.

    i am considering a Lee Precision Classic Turret Press kit and wondering if anyone here has direct experience with this kit? I imagine I would load up to about 1000-1500 rounds per year, all rifle in the above mentioned calibers.

    In any event, great info in this forum that you all have put together. Thanks.
    I've had experience with a Lee Turret press, but not the new Classic.

    I found mine unsuitable for sizing 7 Mag and 280 Remington because there is slop in the turret.

    It uses removable 4 hole turrets, and the Slop has the same effect as flex, when sizing "hard to size" cases. The necks could actually be out of align with the body.

    Now, I use the turret press for Pistol cartridges and 30-30,,, 38, 357, 44 Mag, and 30-30, and with those cases, it has been entirely satisfactory. .

    The Removable Turrets is a handy feature, because you can leave the dies in them and they stay adjusted. I can't speak to the progressive feature because I don't use that.

    (I stress that the press I have is not the same as Classic, which is heavier.) However, it has the turrets, and I assume, the same slop.

    I have a Redding Big Boss which is a heavy single station press for rifle reloading.

    There are other Turret Presses, and the Lyman, and the Redding T7 have provision for eliminating the slop. from the turret. I've not noticed on the other brands of Turret Presses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    I have been pondering getting into reloading and came across this thread. Great information here. I usually put about ten boxes of rounds through my rifles a year, but since joining out at the shooting range - which covers my wife and kids too - I think this is going to pick up quite a bit. I primarily shoot a 30-06, but also have a 30-30, and occasionally a friend's 300 wsm. My wife is shooting a 7mm-08, and my kids are going to get into .22's after Christmas. I am fascinated with the operation of ammunition, and mostly want to reload for the experience of it and experimenting with different rounds, powders, etc., as opposed to the economics. I started tying my own flies about 20 years ago to "save money" but ultimately ended up with a few thousand dollars in equipment and materials, and then tied commercially for a few years through college. I imagine reloading will be a little like that, with the wisdom as I'm older that I'll have to do it for the fun, not the economics of it.

    i am considering a Lee Precision Classic Turret Press kit and wondering if anyone here has direct experience with this kit? I imagine I would load up to about 1000-1500 rounds per year, all rifle in the above mentioned calibers.

    In any event, great info in this forum that you all have put together. Thanks.
    I've had a Lee Classic Turret press for several years. I've reloaded hundreds of 325wsm on it with Lee Dies and my loads shoot sub moa in my Kimber MT. I've also loaded thousands of rounds of 45 Colt, 454, 38, 45 auto and now 500 Linebaugh. 223/5.56 also. It produces accurate ammo. I still have a Lee Classic Cast single stage but use it for decapping before I tumble my brass, some bullet sizing with Lee Push through dies and boolit hardness testing.
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