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New to reloading...Recommendations on reloading equipment brands

This is a discussion on New to reloading...Recommendations on reloading equipment brands within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; My goal for reloading is, in this order, match ammo($$$) and bulk plinking/fun ammo($) What brands of equipment(vs. cost) seem to be better than the ...


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Old September 5th, 2011, 12:01 AM   #1
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New to reloading...Recommendations on reloading equipment brands

My goal for reloading is, in this order, match ammo($$$) and bulk plinking/fun ammo($)

What brands of equipment(vs. cost) seem to be better than the rest to reload your .308?

Do you have two presses? What powder do you recommend/should i stay away from?

your dies, your press(single or progressive[or both]), your powder, best primers for what im trying to accomplish, and what brass that has the longest safest life(or how long do i have before i cant trim the cases).

Where or who could i learn the ropes?

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Old September 5th, 2011, 12:17 AM   #2
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RCBS rockchucker kit . Most everything you need in one box. I've been using it for 15 years now.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #3
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RCBS rockchucker kit . Most everything you need in one box. I've been using it for 15 years now.
any parts that needed replacements?

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Old September 5th, 2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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I just upgraded from an RCBS Rockchucker single stage to a Dillon 650xl. The RCBS would do everything I wanted, just much more slowly than the progressive presses. So far, I only started loading .38spl due to the fact that I need more conversion kits before I can reload other calibers. Even this early in using the progressive, I can see it is going to be awesome. Many people do start out on a single stage though, before moving on to the progressive.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 01:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagemTagem View Post
My goal for reloading is, in this order, match ammo($$$)155 or 168 grain BTHP, WLR primer, LC cases, IMR 4064 and bulk plinking/fun ammo($)8 pound kegs from Bartlett's, 150 grain 'pulls' or whatever is on sale at Wideners.

What brands of equipment(vs. cost) seem to be better than the rest to reload your .308? Dillon RL 550 or 650. Lifetime warranty, no argument, 800 phone number.

Do you have two presses? I have four.What powder do you recommendIMR 4064, IMR 4895, WIN 748, /should i stay away from?any powder not specifically listed for M14 gas system

your dies, your press(single or progressive[or both]), your powder, best primers for what im trying to accomplish, and what brass that has the longest safest lifeNM or MATCH, or commercial is least likely to have been MG fired. (or how long do i have before i cant trim the cases).I seldom have to trim cases. I trim initially to 2.000, then the cases are usually discarded after 3 refirings (4 total)

Where or who could i learn the ropes?
I'm your Huckleberry. PM me and we can discuss this for hours.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 04:10 AM   #6
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I'm still using the old fashioned single stage presses.

I reload in stages.

I start throwing brass in the polisher (60 or 80 at a time with the .308 and 30.06 cases, more with .223 or pistol brass). When it comes out of the polisher I put it in a plastic jar and close the lid (those candy/pretzel jars are great for brass storage).

When I get a few hundred pieces I resize it and start throwing it back in the polisher to clean off the case lube (works for me). When it comes out of the polisher (only takes 20 or 30 minutes on this stage) I run it through the trimmer. This is the tough/rough/time consuming stage as I still use a hand cranked trimmer. When trimmed to length I put them back in a plastic jar till I get the trimming done (like davecampperry said, you don't have to trim them every time but I do trim them the first time so that they are the same size when I set up the die to seat the bullet I don't get any unintended crimping going on). Don't forget to clean up the case mouth (remove the ridges caused by the trimming process. I use one of the little RCBS hand chamfer tools.

Once I've got them trimmed I sit down and use a Lee hand priming tool to install new primers in them. This step is pretty quick (if you're using military brass you've got to remove that crimp around the primer pocket before you can install the new primers) and easy. I again use the plastic containers to store the primed brass till I'm ready to reload.

When I'm ready for the powder and bullets I set up the press/die, the scale and the powder measure (my new RCBS uniflow powder measure is super compared to my old Lyman 55A, the RCBS takes some initial set up/adustment - what the scale is used for and then its charge after charge with no issues when using IMR 4895 - I'm really impressed with it). I use old .45 acp plastic trays from ammo boxes as brass holders so I put powder in 50 cases at a time, weigh the powder from 5 random cases within the lot of 50 to insure no change in the measure set up. I refill the hopper on the measure (never run it empty/low as is seems it will throw varying powder loads as it nears empty - I can get 50 .308 or 30.06 loads before refiliing) so its ready for the next fifty. Then I put the bullets in the cases and seat them.

Using the "doing it in stages" method I've put powder and bullets into as many as 650 .223 rounds in an afternoon.

I'm sure one of the high volume reloading set ups is quicker but I don't mind the time spent or the opportunity to handle/inspect the components at the various stages of reloading. Sometimes I find a cracked case mouth at a later stage that I missed earlier. Sometimes I find a loose primer pocket (very rarely but I have found some) while using that Lee hand priming tool.

Good luck with it. Read lots of reloading manuals (they're like car repair manuals - even the high dollar factory manuals don't have 100% of the info you'll need) as you'll find something in one that's not in the others. Go slow, pay attention to what your are doing. Do lots of looking and comparing. Keep a note book. Mine has dates, caliber, brand/type of primer, brand of cases, brand/type/weight of bullet and name/amount of powder used. That way I can keep going back to see what worked for me and make some more as I accumulate brass/bullets, etc.

And talk to davecampperry. We've talked enough over the years I'm sure he will steer you in the right direction and help you out a lot.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #7
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This is what I did also. I got it on ebay. I have several presses and am using 2 mounted side by side to load 308. I picked up miscellaneous stuff at gun shows and yard sales. I reloaded some without polishing, because I had no polisher. A bullet puller doesn't come with the set. I recomend you buy one ($20)
I try to buy components when I see them. I like to buy new empty brass and try to avoid buying berdan primed surplus ammo. If I can't reload it, it is worth a lot less to me. Also I recently discovered that crimed primers are a pain, time consuming and not worth it in my book.



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RCBS rockchucker kit . Most everything you need in one box. I've been using it for 15 years now.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 06:04 AM   #8
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Can’t go wrong with an RCBS Kit. Its great quality, best on the market for a single stage I believe and the kit makes it easy. I opted to piece my own kit together because I have been reloading for years and I’m stubborn. Sometimes I wish I just stuck with all RCBS. If you start shooting tons, you can always add a Dillon progressive to your bench top down the road. Any of the big names make great die sets and powder preferences are like anything else. You will start seeing the differences between brands as you get more into reloading. Each rifle has its own taste, and it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and if you have two or more calibers that you reload it’s nice to have one powder for all. I would suggest getting your hands on a reloading manual. It will have instructions and photos that will teach you terms and how to reload safely. Load data books are available at most shops that sell equipment and a priceless tool to utilize. You will need a good solid work bench and some patience. Don’t get too carried away with spending money because most people don’t stick with it. Start simple and see who it goes. There are lots of things you can hold off on at first. I started off with a Lee kit and didn’t like it. It was too flimsy, and the included components were garbage. I did load lots of great shooting ammo with it though. Most important part, just get out and shoot.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #9
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where to learn....before buying any equipment you should read at least 2 reloading manuals cover to cover. reloading is not something that should be learned from you-tube!

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Old September 5th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #10
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First thing before you buy a bunch of equipment is get a couple of good reloading manuals... my favorites are the Speer and Hornady, the Hornady because it has a specific section for service rifles (M1a, Garand, AR, etc.) but I also have a Lee and Hodgdon manual. There are also reloading-specific books (just go to MidwayUSA and look at their selection of books, certainly there is one that will pique your curiosity.) I use multiple manuals to cross-reference new load data or gather data for a specific bullet, and there is always a wealth of information in the front (aside from the actual load data.)

I have a single-stage RCBS RS3 press and a Hornday progressive (ProJector, the predecessor to the current-day Lock-N-Load) and still use both of them in everyday reloading. The RCBS is in the garage where I decap and resize my brass, tumbling it afterwards to get the lube off (rifle cases.) The Hornady is upstairs in my reloading room where it churns out hundreds of rounds of pistol ammo and, occasionally,to final-assemble rifle rounds, but I use the RCBS to assemble most of my rifle rounds.

I have never found the progressive to be the best idea for rifle cartridges because of the need to tumble the brass after resizing to remove the lube. Others do it with success; up to this point I've not needed high volumes of rifle reloads, although that is changing with the M1a (and my AR, because I've just about shot up all my cheap surplus.) If your goal is match-quality rifle ammunition, I would say stick with the single-stage, it will produce more consistent ammo. Once I have resized/decapped/tumbled the rifle brass, I have to first check it for OAL, clean the primer pocket, check for thin case heads (something new I've learned just this week!) and prime. I use a hand primer tool (Lee) to prime all my rifle brass, it allows me to feel for loose pockets and individually check to see that the primer has seated below flush.

There are literally thousands of tools you can choose from to fill your reloading bench, much of them are a matter of preference. I have tools from every major manufacturer on my bench, most of it works well, some adequately, some not very... but what may work for me may not be the best choice for someone else.

The one component I WILL endorse is the RCBS (Ohler) 5-0-5 balance beam scale... no matter what scale your kit may come with, get a 5-0-5!

Specifically, for the M1a, I use whatever 145-150grn FMJ bullet is on sale for my M80-equivalent loads, and, primarily, Nosler 168grn BTHP bullets. I'm an IMR person, so I use IMR's 4895, 4064 and 3031. I use the CCI #34 primer exclusively in my 7.62mm and .30-06 reloads. I use once-fired military brass from Scharch, although I'm open to other sources. I bought 500 RP cases when I first got my M1a, but I read that commercial brass doesn't hold up as well in the M1a, so I shelved the RP brass (waiting for when I get my Savage bolt rifle) and turned to the once-fired military.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 07:19 AM   #11
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So can you guys just break it down layman's terms on what components are needed to get started in a single-stage?

I understand:
The press
Scale
Dies
Obviously Primers, powder, brass, and bullets
what else?

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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
So can you guys just break it down layman's terms on what components are needed to get started in a single-stage?

I understand:
The press
Scale
Dies
Obviously Primers, powder, brass, and bullets
what else?
.308 case gauge, Wilson, Dillon.....
RCBS precision Mic cartridge headspace tool or Hornady lock & loadheadspace gauge tool or Sinclair bump gauge with insert
Hornady or sinclair Bullet comparator (to seat bullets by ogive)
6" Caliper Digital or dial
Bullet puller, Die or Inertial
Military crimp remover
Deburring/camfer tool (can be used to remove military crimp)
Case trimmer
Flash hole deburring tool
Primer pocket uniformer
Primer pocket cleaner
Lee decapping die (I like to decap before sizing)
Case lube, I use Redding Imperial sizing wax for the case body and Imperial Dry neck lube media for the neck and shoulder
Tumbler and Media for case cleaning

I probably forgot a few things but this gives you an idea.

Glenn

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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
So can you guys just break it down layman's terms on what components are needed to get started in a single-stage?

I understand:
The press
Scale
Dies
Obviously Primers, powder, brass, and bullets
what else?
As a newbie myself, I started out with a RCBS 505 starter in a box, things you'll need to get also include,

2 shell holders RCBS type#3,
1 for the press and 1 for the priming tool

priming tool also RCBS,

RCBS powder trickler, better value in its' constuction

case trimmer your choice,
I use the LEE reloader type in a cordless drill

more reloading trays,cant have too many

primer pocket cleaning tool your choice, I use the RCBS in a cordless drill.

and a decent set of calipers.

I also went back and got a tumbler later as it really helps keep things bright and clean, if you can follow the instructions in the reloading manual carefully you'll be just fine. and won't need to buy much else.
Dont expect to see a return on your investment straight away as you will find it to be more rewarding as a personal goal that is mission sucessful oreiented at first. As a newbie myself also I can only offer the advice of just stick to one type of powder at first, such as IMR 4064 and get some hands on before branching out and experimenting with others. and take your time.

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Old September 5th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #14
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I would use commercial brass to start reloading with, Military brass takes extra effort and time.

Also, a nice area away from distractions where you have enough room to keep things organized. (Do not drill holes for press in any furniture in the house until asking the Wife)

Keep notes as it is hard to remember what and when it loaded and how it shoots.

I find reloading relaxing, but watch out, like any other hobby you can really get into it.

Check local gun clubs to see if they put on reloading clinics.


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Last edited by Carcinogen; September 5th, 2011 at 09:20 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 11:53 AM   #15
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I do all of my rifle ammunition on a single stage. Both of my single stages are RCBS. RCBS has AMAZING customer service, just one example: Years ago I bought an RCBS RS-5 press on ebay. When it came in the mail, it was a worn, beat up press. I e-mailed RCBS and asked if I could send it in for a rebuild, and to send me the bill. About two weeks later, a BRAND NEW RS-5 showed up in the mail. No charge.

Dillon is another company with fantastic customer service. I use a Dillon 550 and Lee Pro-1000 for progressive loading. I really can't recommend the Pro-1000 because the thing is a finicky S.O.B. I only use it for .45 ACP.

You REALLY need to read a couple load manuals before you start spending money. That what you know what you need. I recommend the Hornady, Sierra, and believe it or not, the Lee load manuals. Just bear in mind while reading the Lee manual that Richard Lee will tell you every one of his products is the best. Some are very good, but others are not so much.

Another word of caution: Don't ever think you know it all when it comes to loading. I've been loading for nearly 20 years +/-, and I still ask for loading advice. When you think you know it all, you are probably getting too over-confident and may be treading in dangerous waters. Also, while eveyone is well intentioned when sharing load data with you on the internet, ALWAYS verify the data against a load manual. You should always start on the low end of published load data and work up, watching for signs of excessive pressure.

With all of that said, I LOVE reloading. It's one of my favorite past-times. Welcome to the club! Before you know it you'll be loading ammunition that is more accurate than factory, and be doing it at a significant savings. The only problem with reloading is you inevitably don't SAVE money because you'll end up shooting more. But that's a "problem" I'm happy to deal with...

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