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Thread: What will it cost me to get into reloading?

  1. #1

    Default What will it cost me to get into reloading?

    hi,
    have reloaded long ago with my Dad. would be reloading 30-06, 338wm, 300wm, 45-70. what would it cost me to get set up with good equipment? what kind of setup would you recommend?
    thanks for any feedback!

  2. #2
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    An Rcbs starter kit would be a good choice. Lots of people like that kit.I started with a LEE kit. It worked fine I thought. I even still use a lee powder thrower.

    Its pretty hard to find reloading equipment that is junk. All of the manafactures In my opinion are doing a good job.

    You should get a brand that is locally carried with reliability, like RCBS. Its very frustrated needing a adapter, pilot bit ect and having to order it.

    A good way to get into reloading on the cheap side is to wait and look for used stuff to pop up.

    Gunshows and ebay can be good sources for used stuff. Ebay is great for dies and brass

    I would get an RCBS rockchucker press. also give a good hard look at a turret style press. They dont cost much more and its conveinient not having to mess with your die settings all the time. Get a Lee priming tool. Lee powder thrower. A good scale, either RCBS or lee. Id probably go with the rcbs on that one. Get a redding powder trickler. Then get the best set of calipers you can afford. Get a lee chamfer tool. RCBS case trimmer, the lyman is good but the pilots will need to be ordered. Then get a good manual. that would be a very good and servicable kit.

    And build a sturdy,sturdy work bench that is level!

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    Red face handloading?

    Larch, second what was said already. I use rcbs, hunt around on e -Bay , buy from someone with good positive feedbacks. Hodgdon, Nosler, and Hornady are good basic manuals. Looks like with what you own already, guns,you can hunt anything! Midwayusa, and midsouth shooters supply, sell what your looking for. Read the handloading info in the front of the manuals to get you started.Try to buy powders that you can use for most of your rifles first, so as to cut costs,there listed under recomended powders in the loading data. Bill

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I decided on the Lyman T-Mag Expert kit. It's pretty much complete and at a reasonable price.
    Now what ?

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    For years I used a couple of Lee hand presses, but Santa brought me a Redding T-7 a couple of years ago. He musta heard me cursing every time I full-length resized a case with the hand press! The Redding is pretty much built like a tank and you can set up for 2 or 3 calibers at a time with its turret.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Rcbs

    I would suggest you go to www.midwayusa.com and get a RCBS starter kit. If you cheap out now, you may outgrow your stuff. RCBS is hard to beat. Not cheap by most standards, but it is good quality stuff. Get a good kit and pick your accessories carefully. By a few reloading manuals and most importanty, get a good solid bench ideally in a quiet private place in the house/garage. Dont cheap out on the dies!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak257 View Post
    For years I used a couple of Lee hand presses, but Santa brought me a Redding T-7 a couple of years ago. He musta heard me cursing every time I full-length resized a case with the hand press! The Redding is pretty much built like a tank and you can set up for 2 or 3 calibers at a time with its turret.
    I have been using a Lyman T-Mag II (turret press), and I like it because I can have two sets of dies, and a collet bullet puller on the turret. However, one of these days I will buy a Redding T-7. This is the mother of all turret presses; nothing equals it.
    -------
    That said, my opinion on beginner-reloaders is to spend the extra money and buy a turret press, because it will save them money and work in the long run. For example, a single-stage press that holds only one die requires the following during the reloading process:

    1. Size/decap a case
    2. Remove the sizing die
    3. Install the bullet-seater die, adjust, and lock the die

    With a turret press such as the T-7 one can have three or more sets of dies (it holds 7 dies), all adjusted and locked. All one has to do is to rotate the turret to the next die.

    Keep in mind that I am not an expert by any means. I just don't like having to remove one die, install the next, and to keep on going back and forth like that.

  8. #8
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    I like a turret press, too. I have a Lyman T-Mag II I got used with a few extra turrets, dies, bullets, brass, powder, scale, tumbler, caliper...the whole she-bang for $350. Several years ago and from a friend, so I wouldn't count on that kind of deal.

  9. #9

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    Now the bad news. You will not save money by loading your own ammo, unless you shoot a lot. If you shoot more than 250 rds per month,then handloading will pay for itself in a few years. you can spend $500.00 on a complete but basic setup. It is easy to spend $1000.00 or more on progressive presses and digtal powder messures, and many other items can get spendy fast. Handloading is a great way to specialize ammo to a special weapon or purpose but not to save money. Dillon, RCBS, redding and forester in my opinion are the best also the most $$$. Midwayusa has the best service and pretty good prices. Just my opinion.

    45north

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    Member Skligmund's Avatar
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    You can get an RCBS Lil' Partner press for like 50-60 bucks at Sportsman's. I have one, works GREAT for 243 Win, 300 RUM, 45 Colt and 357 Mag (only things I have reloaded in it, should be just as good for anything else). Set of dies run around 35-50 bucks depending on caliber and weather they are steel or carbide. Power measurer aroun 50-60 bucks I suppose. A scale around 40 bucks or so. Hand primer around 15 bucks. Not sure about a case trimmer. Bullet puller, around 10 bucks or so. Thats some rough guestimates. Then of course you need lube, powder, bullets, primers, brass (if you don't already have it) and a measuring stick (a digital caliper works great for me). A reloading book is also useful at about 20 bucks.

  11. #11
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    Default Reloading Equipment...

    Larch,

    If you buy equipment to hand load, I would suggest investing in good quality cast iron press and good accessories. Cutting corners will likely be regretted if you load in any quantity.

    I have access to all the brands of handloading equipment at below dealer costs, here is a few examples.

    RCBS Rockchucker press $108
    Redding Big Boss $110 (Equivalent to rockchucker)
    Redding T-7 Press $190
    Big Boss kit with dies,s/h, scales and acc. $215
    T-7 Kit with dies, s/h, etc is $290
    Big Boss deluxe kit with dies, s/h, 3BR powder measure, scales, trimmer and accessories. $370 (This is everything you'll need with an up graded powder measure and case trimmer plus all those little things. The only addition to this I would suggest is a separate priming tool, otherwise you would be priming with the press.)

    Redding standard rifle dies are $27, RCBS are $26
    Redding Carbide handgun dies are $49 RCBS are $48

    These prices do not include shipping but I think I can have it all drop shipped to your address.

    So I would say for $400 you can have a complete set up of the best quality equipment, for one caliber, delivered to your door. It's a great hobby!
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by 45north View Post
    Now the bad news. You will not save money by loading your own ammo, unless you shoot a lot. If you shoot more than 250 rds per month,then handloading will pay for itself in a few years. you can spend $500.00 on a complete but basic setup. It is easy to spend $1000.00 or more on progressive presses and digtal powder messures, and many other items can get spendy fast. Handloading is a great way to specialize ammo to a special weapon or purpose but not to save money. Dillon, RCBS, redding and forester in my opinion are the best also the most $$$. Midwayusa has the best service and pretty good prices. Just my opinion.

    45north
    Isn't that the truth? You are 100% correct about not saving unless one reloads quite a lot.

  13. #13

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    There are 2 perspectives to choose from when choosing gear:
    1) saving money,
    2) assembling super accurate & custom loaded ammunition.

    What is it worth to you to be able to assemble super custom ammuntion using premium bullets? Costs about $50-$100 per box of 20 to buy it; but if you've saved your empty brass you are about halfway there.

    For cheap reloading, buy a Lee starter set. Lee has the best value for the dollar. Shop the internet wholesalers and Ebay for dies. For under $100 you get a press, scale, powder measure, and other accessories.

    The Lee product line is capable of assembling quality ammuntion, it just looks a bit cheesy and uses more aluminum and plastic. Yet, they work just fine.

    If you want "better" gear, Redding offers better quality than RCBS for about the same money. Buying used is a great way to save money and obtain premium gear. Lots for sale on Ebay, and in some local gunshops.

    You will need to study a reloading manual before you buy Powder, Primers or Bullets. It should be the first purchase you make. Study it. It will save you money and aid your accuracy efforts.

    Barnes Bullets has the finest loading manual in print. More basic info on cartridge dimensions and a greater variety of powders covered. Sierra Bullets is excellent, and has accuracy and match sections others lack. Hodgdon has very inexpensive magazine-manuals these days. Books are about $30 per. Hornady is also a great manual.

    Study the manuals, survey the bullet weights you want to shoot, note the powders suggested. You will save $$$ by standardizing on powder and buying in 5 or 8 pound containers. There are several "great" all-around rifle and handgun/shotgun powders. If you are pursuing the hottest velocities, you will lose the opportunity to standardize. Nice to buy primers by the 1,000 for economy and lot # characteristics.

    RCBS Rockchucker starter kit is a super value. Drop shipping to AK will eat you alive on postage/shipping. Save $20 to spend $100 for delivery? no thanks! Although priority mail flat rate boxes are a super deal for items that will fit inside them. Not many presses will do so. One thing about Lee stuff, being aluminum, it is cheaper to mail than cast iron gear.

    You could buy a Lee Handpress, shell holders, dies, a scale, a powder funnel and a powder dribbler and have the basics covered. Although the Handpress is not much fun resizing rifle cases with, it does fine (with Carbide dies) for straight wall and pistol cases.

    I don't look at reloading as a hobby. It is required for accuracy shooting, and enables me to make ammunition I can't buy or am too cheap to pay premium prices for. It is fun and satisfying to shoot ammunition you assembled.

    It is "fun" to cast bullets also. You really save $$$ when you make your own bullets. Lee also makes inexpensive bullet molds.

    Assembling your own ammunition means many different things to different shooters. Regardless of what gear you buy, and your goals, you will be well served by learning how to make your own custom ammunition.

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    You made some excellent points, Lester.

  15. #15
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up RCBS RockChucker Kit

    I suggest the RCBS Rockchucker Kit for just a little over $200......I have had my Rockchucker for over 30 years........like others say today you don't save that much money by reloading, but you can tailor your loads to your rifle. Years ago it was cheaper.......until the manufactors found out they were losing money.
    Alaska

  16. #16

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    The RCBS rockchucker kit, is a very good deal for quality gear. Probably closer to $300 anywhere up here, and about $250-$265 is as cheap as I have seen it on the internet from distributors. Then you have 40-50lbs of shipping to pay.

    Do you need all that gear to get started? Nope, but it is really "nice" to have.

    The RCBS Reloader Specials are really nice and made of aluminum so they are relatively light. I have an RS3 press and unless I am caseforming some heavy magnum cartridges, the RS will do almost anything.

    On another note, Lyman and Lee make a Hand Press. The Lyman is probably better since it can be mounted on a bench or used anyway you can manipulate it. I have a Lee hand press and it is nice for $15; takes regular die sets and with some effort does the job. Works really well with a decapping die, a die that doesn't size the brass, just knocks out the primer. The hand press is nice for handgun ctg reloading also, at least with carbide dies.

    I think a good scale is the main focus for a beginner. If you want benchrest accuracy, you don't need our tips, just read Precision Shooting or call Sinclair Intl and load up with what they recommend.

    If you want to make primo rifle or handgun ammunition, cheaper than you can buy it, (especially if you have saved your empty brass already), then get a good scale, buy those premium bullets, study the Barnes reloading manual to decide on which powder is most versatile and capable for your cartridge, and then buy this stuff:
    -a press
    -die set(s) and shellholders that fit the press and the ctgs you will reload
    -a powder funnel
    -a powder trickler
    -a deburring tool
    -a can of imperial die wax case lube
    -a priming tool if your press won't prime your cases
    -a cartridge tray/loading block or a 50 case MTM plastic ctg case


    Always keep your primers in the original tray. (I was at a pawnshop not long ago and the guy showed me a plastic box full of LOOSE primers, and then he shook them!! Amazing one did not detonate!).

    Don't mix powder or primers, and don't SWAG your loading data; BUY a couple of good manuals and use them.

    Don't forget that if you are careless assembling ammunition you can kill yourself and/or hurt others. Loading ammunition is not like flying a jet, but it does require your attention at all times.

    With a minimum of gear, and real attention to detail, you can make ammunition that rivals the $85 per box of 20 stuff; and do it for a whole lot less.

    Good luck!

  17. #17

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    Reloading gear doesn't wear out. It is built very strong. Because of that you can save a lot of money buying stuff used that will still last you a lifetime.

    Get a good loading manual so you can see the process then figure out what you need from there. If you want to jump in right away the RCBS or Lyman starter kits are good and you will eventually end up with all that stuff anyway and it will last a lifetime.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Hi Murphy, I noticed this post from a while back so wonder if you can still do this and how much these numbers have changed? I am interested in getting started and only want to do two cartridges 9mm and 270wsm at this point. Can you estimate what the ongoing cost is beyond the original investment. I really want to do this but a few posts about the addictive nature (heh heh)and high cost has me wondering. It seems your numbers are very affordable so how does it get out of control and become same as factory ammo in the end? Thanks for your help, Al

  19. #19
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Not able to save by reloading?

    I am wondering, beyond the original expense of top line equipment for reloading, where does it become "not a way to save money" I am mostly interested in getting more time at the range to become a better shooter in general and need only 9mm and 270wsm at this point maybe two other cartridges eventually but not really needing to tailor rounds to lighten recoil or tighten accuracy. I just want to be able to save money on ammo to be shooting more. Where is the cost coming from, the increased shooting from cheaper rounds leveling out cause you are shooting more?
    Through some of these posts it looks like 4-500 to start with equip, how much for supplies to get started? If I throw 1000 into this new hobby am I up and running for two guns and for quite a while before I get addicted and have to upgrade to something?

  20. #20

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    $300 to $400 is all thats needed to be set very well as the investment after that is powder/primers/cases/bullets. Add die sets too a one time purchase.

    To get in at a minimal cost to see if you like it. LEE reloader single stage press $23.99, LEE dippers, a powder scale, set of dies, Lee hand held case trimers, a hand held case primer, and a set of calipers.

    If you can aford to start with a good reloading kit say $300 ish than you will not have to up grade later saving the oridginal $150-$200 invest ment in cheap stuff.

    A thought start with the 9mm get you need for it a higher volume round than the 270wsm. Than add what additional equipement you would need for the 270wsm later.

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