Reloading advice for a beginner
I have never reloaded and I own too many rifles to be buying factory premium ammo and I have a 9 year old boy that would shoot 100 rounds a day through his RTem 700 youth 270 Win if I let him, so the thought of reloading comes to mind. Where would be a good place to start in purchasing reloading supplies. Is one of the RCBS Master reloading kits the best way to go or is it best to individualize components? Also how good of a chronograph does a guy need, there are so many to choose from? In addition is there like a class a guy can take to learn the basics? I really do enjoy taking my son to the range to shoot as much as I like to shoot. But this $30-$55 a box stuff is getting awful expensive. Any advice would be much appreciated.
One of the Loading Kits would probably be a good place to start. They come with just about everything you need to get started with the exception of the dies. The Lyman Reloading Manual is a very good Manual to have as it will list what you will need to get started.
As far as a Chronograph goes I have the Pact Professional II with the built in printer. They can be bought for a very good price. Oehler is another good Chronograph. Personally I would stay away from the $99 Chronographs you see at Cabella's and what not. They just don't have enough bells and whistles.
I started with the RCBS Master kit and it served me well for many years as I progressively added to the collection. It comes with the Speer manual, which is a great starter manual...then you'll add a whole bunch more as you get into different bullets. Don't know about reloading classes in Anchorage. Finding a mentor might be a better way to go, but pick wisely...some guys have bad habits at the bench. I'd also recommend that you start with one caliber at a time as you are learning. Reloading is fun. Good luck!
The master kit isn't a bad way to go, but IMHO you can end up with a better setup if you individualize the equipment. My personal setup is a Forster co-ax press, Redding BR powder thrower, RCBS hand primer, lee scale and Redding dies. I would replace the lee scale with something better, but it's primary use is to verify the powder thrower, and the scale is accurate.
I've used a factory reconditioned shooting chrony for years, and it worked great til I killed it, and for $50 no tears were shed. The shooting chronies don't work well in the winter when the sun is low to the horizon, so I'll replace it with something else. Remember a chrony is a safety tool to correlate your results w/ the load manuals, not to figure how fast you can push it before the primers pop out!
If you do any amount of shooting, you need to reload. And as every reloader will tell you, you don't save any money, you just shoot more!
By all means reloading will open up a whole new education for you and your son, do not forget to include him in this. First start with a good single stage press unit and kit. If cost is an issue start with Lee until you learn the ropes.
Find a good competent friend who reloads and start your education their. I have come to realize that my own reloads are the only reloads I trust. No one pays more attention to details than I do. Do not cut corners and hit the books and websites. Ask question! Reloading can be deadly, so always double check yourself. Use more than one reloading book. Speer is a great book, but I have found the pistol loads to be on the heavy side. If you load Barns bullets use their reloading book due to extended lengths of slugs made of copper. Learn the pitfalls and signs to watch out for. Always chamber your rounds before you get out on the hunt to make sure they fit the magazine and then chamber in the gun.
Ask question before you get in trouble and do not feel like the first answer is always right or the best answer.
All good comments and suggestions...
I bought my own equipment, the RCBS "Jr" setup back about 1969, when I was 15 years old, taught myself to reload on that rig. I actually wore that press out in about ten years. Many thousands of rounds of .38,.357, .44 Special and Mag, .45 ACP, 9mm, '06, .270, .375, .30-30.......
If you opt for the RCBS Rock Chucker setup in the kit you're talking about, first thing you'll likely upgrade will be the scales, the 5-0-5 that I got in mine just didn't cut it, and started looking around and found a 10-10, for cheap at a gunshow.
Learn to use the case trimmer!!!
Get the free literature from Hodgdon's, IMR, Alliant, and any other powder manufacturers that you can get your hands on, and as well as the Speer book that comes in the kit, you'll eventually end up with the Hornady and Nosler books as well. Don't use Speer data to load Nosler's or Hornady's or Barnes......or vice-versa, bad JuJu!!!
It IS addicting! By the way, you'll likely discover that those cast bullets in handguns work really well, and you'll start looking at cast bullets for your rifles, then you'll need a melting pot, molds, and luber sizer, then a real furnace, and more molds, and handles,.................ENJOY!!! And by all means, teach that kid along with yourself.