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Thread: Just Getting Started, Need Some Advise

  1. #1
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    Default Just Getting Started, Need Some Advise

    I just acquired a used RCBS single stage press, and I am using a small health wellness bonus to buy this additional gear for reloading:

    Hornady Digital scale

    Lee Ultimate 4 die set, in both 308 and 243

    Case Lube

    Reloading block to hold ammo while reloading

    165 grain 308 bullets

    100 grain 243 bullets

    manual calipers

    Hornady reloading manual No. 8


    What else do I need? I'm sure a brass cleaner would be nice, but is it required? Also I know a case trimmer will be needed eventually, but I plan on just neck sizing my brass, so I shouldn't need it really. Right?



    Also, how do you decide what powder to try with your ammo? I was looking online at hornady load info, and it seems 10 different powders can work with any bullet weight, where do you start? Mainly looking to improve accuracy of my rifles with the handloading.



    Thanks in advance.

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    RCBS Stuck Case Remover - MPN: 9340 - MidwayUSA

    https://www.midwayusa.com › ... › RCBS Stuck Case Remover - MPN: 9340

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    Member Libertine's Avatar
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    I would add to your list a few neck brushes to clean and lube your case necks.

    Maybe an alternative/additional reloading manual like Lyman’s, which has loads for a variety of bullet manufacturers.

    A balance beam scale can be helpful in spot checking against the digital scale.

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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Neck sizing does not eliminate the need for a trimmer.
    "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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    reloadingpresso.com/best-powder-measure/

    http://reloadingpresso.com/best-bullet-puller/
    http://reloadingpresso.com/best-hand-priming-tool/

    Powders are interesting. I have found in my rifles that if I have a factory load that works well for me I chronygraph (sp) it to target the fps. Match the speed in the load chart to as close as you can to that posted speed for that powder. I try to find a powder that if for some strange reason I double drop the powder it overflows and makes a mess. It forces me to stop what I'm doing and figure out why. Same with C.O.L. Try to use comparative bullets to the factory offering to narrow down some variables. After you get the handloads shooting where you want them and have gained experience with your setup, branch out to different bullet profiles, powders, seating depth etc. Try to not get frustrated while learning how you like your setup. It will change until you get it where you want it.

    When I started I would measure every powder drop. After getting comfortable, I switched to every 5, now it's every 10. New or different type than I've used before? Back to every drop till I get a feel for that type. Flake, Ball, Extruded etc all do different things through a powder drop. For a beginner straight walled pistol ammo is the easiest to get the process down for. Rarley need to trim and you can look into the case to verify it's in there.

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    What brand bullets are you using? Get manuals that cover them also. Powders, that is a discussion all of its own. First what is available in your area, what are you looking for in performance and what does your firearm like. It may take a little time to find the powder/load combo that your firearm likes.
    I do not use the lube pads that come with most kits. The lube can be messy and just a pain to use. There are some good spray lubes out there that are easier to use.

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    A way to deburr the case necks. +1 on the case trimmer.

    And, you will need to FL size at times, or all the time. You should run most all of your brass right out of the box through a FL press. And, don't assume you will neck size everything. Sometimes you don't push the shoulder back enough and the round chambers too tight. FL sizing is supposed eliminates that need, but puts extra pressure on the brass as a trade off. Some say neck sizing is more accurate too. Understanding head space and neck tension has greatly improved the reliability and accuracy of my loads. I pretty much FL size everything to make sure it will feed properly. I use most of my gear for hunting, and don't expect bench rest shooter accuracy either. So, after a few FL resizing, you usually need to true up the neck length. Therefore, you will need a trimmer and something to deburr the mouth.

    Powder, lordy that can be confusing. I try to use powders that claim to have good temperature range sensitivity. I often work up loads in the winter and hunt in the cold (20deg) However, I might also hunt at 60 or more degrees outside. 40 degrees can make a load change, some powders more than others. On the other hand, it is really nice to have just one or two powders on hand. The 243 and 308 both will shoot will with IMR 4064. It is a very versatile powder, amazing actually. Not sure how temperature sensitive it is. RL 15 and Varget have been good to me with the 308, and they do well with other calibers as well, including the 35 whelen, and the big 375's if you ever want to upgrade to a big or medium bore caliber.

    There, that aught to get you right confused. Good luck and have fun. And don't expect to save money. You will shoot more for less each shot but will spend way more on guns and ammo and reloading doodads. So, you will get more bang for you buck (pun intended).

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    Super Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    The 243 and 308 both will shoot will with IMR 4064. It is a very versatile powder, amazing actually. Not sure how temperature sensitive it is. RL 15 and Varget have been good to me with the 308, and they do well with other calibers as well, including the 35 whelen, and the big 375's if you ever want to upgrade to a big or medium bore caliber.
    +1 on 4064. I load it in the .243, 7mm/08, .308 and .35 Whelen.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Several good add ons so far. Add to the list powder measure, you'll get tired of weighing out full loads pretty quick; and/or at least a powder tickler. A funnel to get the powder into the cases.

    I think we think you have a case holder for your dies.

    I always run a primer pocket cleaning brush in the hole.

    You CAN set primers with the press, but I do it with a hand primer so I have better "feel" to the process.

    Most of my stuff is RCBS. I have dies from RCBS, Redding, Lyman, and Lee; they all make good rounds.

    Edit: for load data there is a lot of stuff avail. on the internet from various companies; Nosler, Hodgdon, and others. Often they will hint at what they feel is the best powder to use...as a starting point. Be cautious of other people's "posted" load data.

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    PS don't forget to get a notebook or log. Write down as much detail on your reloads as you can.

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    www.ch4d.com on the trimmer. You do not want to use the RCBS, Redding, Lyman ect. Use the CH4D your cases will be trimmed perfectly with the case mouth perpendicular to the bore. And the tool is less expensive.

    For right now you do not need a hand priming tool, or stuck case remover. Buy a manual balance to make sure your electronic balance is actually giving you the correct reading.

    You can use a bucket with hot water and automatic dishwashing detergent to clean your cases. Simple and cheap. You can use eBay to keep costs way down. That is where I get case brushes to pretty up cases. Other than washing them, I have never tumbled or otherwise done anything to clean them. Get reloading manuals at TitleWave in Anchorage and save money.
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    Member Doug in Alaska's Avatar
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    I have several case trimmers but this is all I use anymore.

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    Exclamation List of Steps and tools needed,

    Here is my List of Steps and tools needed, that I made fairly recently.

    Loading Data. (Manual)

    Loading Block. (That fits your cartridge.)

    Clean case necks if they've been fired before. (steel wool)

    Brush the inside case necks. (Barrel Cleaning Brush) (use a Fiber brush.)

    Lube cases including inside the necks. (All kinds available, Even Soap will work. Don't use a Lube Pad, there are better ways.)

    Size cases. (Dies, Press, shell holder)

    Wipe off lube including inside case necks. (Cotton cloth or paper towell, Q Tips, cleaning loop,and patches.

    Clean Primer Pockets. (Tool, knife, or small screwdriver, but BEST is a PP Uniformer.)

    Check case length. (Dial Caliper Or a gauge of some sort, made for this.0

    Trim if necessary and it mostly will be. (The Lee Trimmers are good. Just know they are Cartridge Specific.

    Chamfer case necks outside, and inside. (Simple tool for that, or CAN use a knife blade)

    Seat primers, (Special Tool or use the primer arm on the press if there is one. The Primer Arm is plenty good.)

    Charge cases with powder. (Scale, Pdr measure, Dipper)

    Seat bullets to desired/required depth, and crimp if required/desired. ***

    ***(Your DATA may give you this. There are a couple of good simple methods to determine this for your rifle, that don't require spendy tools, and are just as accurate. The IMPORTANT consideration, is to keep the bullets OFF the Lands.)***

    Make a label and put with the loaded rounds. (Cartridge, Bullet, Powder and Charge, Primer, COL, Date, Anything else, that you consider of help, such as, if it's Crimped.)


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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    There, that aught to get you right confused. Good luck and have fun. And don't expect to save money. You will shoot more for less each shot but will spend way more on guns and ammo and reloading doodads. So, you will get more bang for you buck (pun intended).
    So, I am paying attention here too. The deal I got has a ton of stuff, but I bought more, mostly dies but also a Lyman case gauge. I like the "go-no go" aspect. I do have a few good measuring tools, and will double-check. I bought a number of bullets and a few pounds of powder, types that didn't come with the package deal. Of course, I'm too frugal to not buy everything on sale... But I am beginning to understand what Daved said. Not sure I'm gonna save a lot of money.

  15. #15

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    "Spend more on guns"... Yeah, the deal I bought came with a .223 die set, a bunch of Hornady bullets, and about 500 pieces of .223 brass... Been keeping my eyes open at the local gun exchange...

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