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Information and Education => Reloading and Handloading => Topic started by: ridata on November 13, 2008, 04:21:18 pm

Title: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: ridata on November 13, 2008, 04:21:18 pm
I'm finally getting around to purchasing some reloading equipment, and I need to double check with you guys to make sure I have it right.  ;D I will be reloading .308 Winchester for my Browning BLR, and in the future .38 special and .223.

I'm will be purchasing everything I can from Graf & Sons as per their excellent reputation, good prices, honest way of business and well designed website.

This is a list of what I've compiled so far:

Lee Classic Turret Press
http://www.grafs.com/product/190209 (http://www.grafs.com/product/190209)

Which powder scale/measure? The Lee Perfect Powder?
http://www.grafs.com/product/190204 (http://www.grafs.com/product/190204)

Which dies? Is it worth going to somewhere that has the deluxe set in stock?
http://www.grafs.com/product/190577 (http://www.grafs.com/product/190577)

Do I need a primer to mount on the press?
http://www.grafs.com/product/190232 (http://www.grafs.com/product/190232)

Bullets ... I'm at a total loss. First, I didn't know there was such thing as a .308 handgun bullet. And now I'm not sure how to differentiate. Is this (http://www.grafs.com/product/184683) a rifle or pistol bullet?
I'm not sure which type of bullet I need. Since hunting season ends on Sunday, I won't be hunting with them, for a while at least. So cheap bullets to get practice at reloading and practice on my gun. I'd like to buy ones in the list (http://www.grafs.com/fc/browse.php?q=&v=&s=asc&p=928) that come in a quantity of 500...

Powder: I was going to get BLC-2 but now that is out of stock at Graf's. So.. what powder?

Primers: Does it matter what brand?
http://www.grafs.com/product/193254 (http://www.grafs.com/product/193254)

Ammo cases: MTM Green 50rn (5 or so)
http://www.grafs.com/product/193538 (http://www.grafs.com/product/193538)

Books: Is this the 'right' ABC's book?
http://www.grafs.com/product/202888 (http://www.grafs.com/product/202888)

Brass: I'd like to get 500. Is military brass the way to go even if it isn't LC? I don't want to mess with depriming, cleaning, etc. to get all the cases ready for the first time around. How many reloads can you get out of this brass?
http://v4.beta.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=115992707 (http://v4.beta.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=115992707)

Caliper:
http://www.grafs.com/product/187905 (http://www.grafs.com/product/187905)

Am I missing anything? Am I going to want a bullet puller?

Thanks for the advice, sorry about all the question marks. :neener
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: JesseL on November 13, 2008, 04:56:48 pm
You're going to need a case trimmer (http://www.grafs.com/metallic/480 (http://www.grafs.com/metallic/480)) and a chamfering / deburring tool (http://www.grafs.com/product/195099 (http://www.grafs.com/product/195099)).

The Lee Perfect Powder Measure works, but if you use a flake powder it tends to leak (I've got one but I much prefer the RCBS Uniflow http://www.grafs.com/product/195026 (http://www.grafs.com/product/195026)).

You'll also need a separate scale. I've got one of these (http://www.grafs.com/product/183298 (http://www.grafs.com/product/183298)) and although it gets terrible reviews it works well if you put fresh batteries in it, clean the battery contacts, and follow the directions.

I much prefer the RCBS hand primer to priming on the press (http://www.grafs.com/product/196395 (http://www.grafs.com/product/196395)).

Don't forget some kind of case lube, maybe some neck brushes, a tumbler is nice...


Your best bet is to get the book first and read it a couple times to get a feel for what you'll need. Even better is finding a local reloader who will let you sit and watch for a while.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: g.willikers on November 13, 2008, 05:12:43 pm
The primers in the link are magnum. Regular large rifle are different. You didn't mention the caliber you are going to reload.
(There are lots of cartridges that use a .308 diameter bullet, even foreign ones).
The "250" on the box is the mfgr number, not the actual number of primers in the box, which appears to be 1,000.
Regular non-magnum primers are the 200 series, I think.

The bullets in the link seem to be for the 30-30, definitely for a rifle, or a handgun chambered for rifle rounds.

Yes, you definitely want a bullet puller, of some kind. Nobody is perfect.
 
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: ridata on November 13, 2008, 05:44:07 pm
Thanks for the primer tip, I had another link in it when I first typed it up but those are out of stock by today so I did a quick swap on links.. to the wrong kind.

How are magtech primers? Is one brand superior to another?
http://www.grafs.com/product/193254 (http://www.grafs.com/product/193254)

I am reloading .308 Winchester for a Browning BLR.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: g.willikers on November 13, 2008, 05:57:43 pm
Yes, there is a difference in primer brands. Not better or worse, just different.
Some are physically harder than others and can be more difficult to ignite with a lighter than normal firing pin strike.
Different brand primers can result in different velocities, changing accuracy and, with max loads, even push things over the limit.
But so can lots of other things, too, like bullet seating depths, case neck crimp, 'etc.
Cautious reloaders will work up new loads whenevery primer brands, or anything else, is changed.
That's why a well written reloader manual, as well as info from the forums and the manufacturers, themselves, is so necessary to get good results and to stay safe.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on November 13, 2008, 06:40:17 pm
The berrys bullet you linked to has a max velocity of 1700.  NOT good in 308 except for plinking.  You'd have to re-zero your scope/sights for "regular" hunting rounds. 

Also I concur on the RCBS uniflow measure.  They'll throw almost any powder satisfactorally.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on November 13, 2008, 06:43:32 pm
In fact, look around and see if they sell the RCBS rockchucker master reloading kit.  It's a bit more spendy than the LEE stuff, but for just starting out, it's a VERY hard set-up to beat.  It even comes with a speer manual.  I'd also advise you to pick up at least one other manual(Hornady would be an excellent choice), and a book titled the ABC's of reloading.  You dig through that you should be well on your way.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: ridata on November 14, 2008, 11:46:05 am
So I created a cart of all the equipment I should need to start out, with the Lee press. Total everything comes out to about $330.
Grafs does have the supreme kit. It is $280. I'd need some dies ($44), that woud put me at $324. The hand primer that I included with the Lee is an extra $37.

So I have a dilemma.  ;) Do I want the turret press or the single stage? The RCBS press costs twice as much when sold alone, so it must be considered superior. Should I get the single stage and then when I start reloading .223 and .38 (possibly by Christmas, maybe later) and decide I really want a turret just say '$80 is that much, just get another  ;D'? I understand with the single stage you reloading in batches doing a different task each time. I don't imagine I will be reloading in batches of more than 50-100.

I'm torn, someone please tell me one of them is better for me.  :)
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: g.willikers on November 14, 2008, 05:04:46 pm
Can't you use the turret press as a single stage, when you want to?
The part that activates the rotation of the turret can be disconnected.
From all reports, the new Lee turret is quite sturdy.
If you're planning on getting the turret for other calibers, anyway, why not start with that one and see if it will do the job for the .308.
Just a thought.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: ridata on November 14, 2008, 06:04:01 pm
Yes, the turret can be turned into a single stage. What I am wondering is if the RCBS is enough of a superior press for me to get that over the turret. I can't decide.

The thing is, I'm not sure I'll really want a turret press for reloading other calibers, I just think I might.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: Medikman on November 14, 2008, 10:31:48 pm
I have also been looking at getting into reloading, what can anyone tell me about the Lee 50th Anniversary Breech Lock Challenger Kit. Is it as good for a starting single stage as everyone says it is?  I was also wondering about the Lee Load-all for my shotgun.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: JesseL on November 14, 2008, 10:41:56 pm
I have also been looking at getting into reloading, what can anyone tell me about the Lee 50th Anniversary Breech Lock Challenger Kit. Is it as good for a starting single stage as everyone says it is?  I was also wondering about the Lee Load-all for my shotgun.

It looks pretty decent.

I have no idea how good the priming system that comes with it is, and I'm pretty sure you'd want to upgrade the powder dispenser and the scale eventually; but it looks like it should get you off to a decent start.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: Bozo on November 18, 2008, 06:27:28 pm
This is what a lot of new reloaders face,  do you buy a turret or progressive or use a single stage.  I was lucky when I started, single stage was about the only way, the other equipment was too expensive.  For what it is worth, I regularly reload 100 + rounds in an hour on a single stage RCBS.  I do all my prep work ahead of time and then when I want to load, I just charge the case and seat the bullets.  Progressive and turret presses are good for quantity outputs.  Sometimes with new or inexperienced reloaders going faster they do not catch certain things like an undercharged case. 

Either way both companies make quality equipment.  I think RCBS is built a bit heftier, but that's just me.

Reloading trays or blocks are nice also. 
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: Medikman on November 18, 2008, 06:32:57 pm
Thanks for the info. I have found an RCBS single stage at a pawn shop here in town for $30. I think I have decided to go that route and just buy the pieces one at a time so I wont break the bank.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: Dustinthewind on November 18, 2008, 07:28:37 pm
I agree with Bozo. A single stage press is a good starting point for those new to reloading. On a progressive you have a lot of things happening at once and initial setup can be daunting. Once you learn how to set each die and are proficient at loading on a single stage then it is time to start thinking about upgrading to a progressive. Also progressives can run into a lot of money. Once you buy a progressive you start wanting a tool head for each caliber so you don't have to reset your dies, then you want a separate powder measure for each tool head...on and on it goes. :cuss 
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on November 20, 2008, 10:29:26 pm
Medikman-

Nice find.  If you've never loaded before at all, a single stage is absolutely the way to start.  Get at least TWO manuals for crosschecking powder charges before you even charge case one.
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: Medikman on November 20, 2008, 11:17:12 pm
Medikman-

Nice find.  If you've never loaded before at all, a single stage is absolutely the way to start.  Get at least TWO manuals for crosschecking powder charges before you even charge case one.

I ended up getting it for $24 including tax so I was happy. Me and a friend are doing this together which will make getting all the right eq a bit easier and faster. We will be out at the gun show on Sat. and will definitely be looking for some manuals along with other components.   
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: dagamore on December 03, 2008, 05:02:36 am
just a few things.

1> start of on a single stage press, it is easier to get working right, and can be safer (your are only doing one or two things at once)
2> if you get a single stage, get the RCBS RockChucker  they are just about unbreakable.  I have resized and put monster crimps on some very finicky/large case with out an issue(i.e. 50 ae, 45-70, and 44 mags) with out any issues, leverage and a good bench are your best friends.
2a> a good bench is your best friend, get a solid outside door (with out the handle holes in it) and use 4x4(or double 2x4) as your legs.  Over build it.  then brace it some, and then brace it some more.  You will be amazed at how much weight you put on it at once.  (for example 1 press, 2 sets of dies, 2K rounds, brass, a few 5lb bottles of powder(ect.ect.ect))  If it does not move when you crimp your rounds its a good thing.
3> i love my powder scoops from lee(IIRC) they do 90-95% of the powder work for me.
4> a good electric scale is a must, yes the 3bar balance beam might be better, but they tend to move too quickly for me (tend to stay up too long, and then drop down way to quick with my trickle feeder.
5> good calipers are a must for checking everthing from case lenght, to loaded lenght.
6> all loads should be 55% of case capacity or more (when starting out) so that you cant double charge a load.  I was lucky i only lost a barrel on my double charge.
7> double check everything at every step of the way, nothing worse then loading 500 rounds of 45-70 with a very quick pistol powder (note thats a very VERY bad thing(i had to pull them all apart and i just dumped the powder out(mixed with water and put in the garden(great tomatos that year(doubt its connected but hey might be(i resmelted the bullets so no loss there))))))
8> only load one thing at a time, and clean everything up before switching to another load/caliber/powder so you dont waste time/powder/bullets
9> document every load, makes finding pet loads better.
10> have fun, and i hope you wernt planing on saving money, you will spend all you save on new reloading stuff, such as a press for each caliber (i am not quite there, but i am working on it.)

daga
Title: Re: Reloading equipment advice
Post by: professor gun on December 06, 2008, 03:07:51 pm
I started with an RCBS single stage press in 1978; am still using the same press with no repairs loading about 3000 to 9000 rounds per year.

I tried a Lyman turret press and found that for sizing larger bottle neck cartridges, the turret would move slightly with the force required to size them and gave me inconsistent resizing which led to chambering problems.

I added a second RCBS single stage press (I and my two teen sons reload) and all rifle casings are resized on the single stage presses.

I started when there were no carbide sizer dies for pistol calibers so I really appreciate them. :)