i am in the process of setting up my own reloading room i have been using a family members rcbs reloading equiptment and just wondering if any brand is better than the other before i buy a kit?
"wondering if any brand is better than the other before i buy a kit?"
Lots of people wonder that. The answer is NO, but....lots of guys KNOW their favorite is absolutely the best. IF they were right their 'best' would have long ago pushed the competition out of the market. That hasn't happened, nor will it, because there just isn't that much difference in what can be done with any brand and those who have experience using an assortment of brands will know it. In fact, most truly knowledgable loaders have an assortment of brands on their bench. What varies, slightly, between brands is the user features. Some like this, others like that, a few don't like either but likes and dislikes isn't a valid measure of effectiveness.
Get a "kit" if you must but I and a lot of others will suggest you purchase each tool for your specific needs, not by price or color of the box it comes in. Before making any suggestions about what tools might serve you best we really need to know what cartridges you will load for AND how many rounds of each you expect to burn through in a year. Without that info all we can do is tell you what we like and our needs may be vastly different from yours. (As you will soon see from the posts that follow this one! )
I will be reloading for a 223,280ai,7mm rm,7mmstw,300wsm, and will probably be reloading a few hundred rounds a year probably more for the 223 than the others. last year i reloaded about 250 rounds for my 300wsm and just recently aquired the other calibers.
I was surprised I didn't see my name on boomtube"s post. He hit the nail squarely on the head. The challenge is always the same ... where do I start? Read and study a bit and start asking questions about specific pieces of equipment and you will get decent answers on this and other forums.
Of the cartridges you listed I load 223 and 7mm RM. The link will show you some of the basics common to loading but you already load for your 300 so you are that much ahead of the game. It's always helpful to see what others do.
I load a few of the rounds you speak of (or something very close to them). Buy a cast iron framed press for starters (O frame or a Forster). I use almost nothing but Forster or Redding dies with a few others here and there. All my revolver ammo is done off Lyman dies for a good reason. The Forster seater is the best period. The Redding is a very good seater as well, but the Forster is also half the price. The Forster sizer is slightly different than the others, and that difference is a plus. The Redding bushing die is very good, and also uses Wilson bushings. Forster uses their own bushings, but otherwise are pretty much equale.
I either prime with the device on my Forster press or use a K&M. Sinclair sells a very nice (and expensive) one as well. The rest are paper weights except for the bench mounted Forster.
I throw charges with a cheapo Lyman #55 or a Harrell (expensive). The Lyman will do everything you need unless you can find a nice Belding & Mull ( no longer made). I use two different Pact electronic scales, and wouldn't slightly consider another. I do not even own a beam scale anymore for a good reason. For long grained powders I throw a charge a couple grains short, and trickel the rest. Redding also sells a couple nice powder measurers, but none measure long grained powders all that well, except for a B&M.
You need something to make measurements with. I use a 4" Mitutoyo dial caliper 90% of the time. But a dial (or digital) caliper cannot make accurate measurments when trying to measure the I.D. of a case because the blades have flats on them. They do sell a pin attatchment for them, but will be too big for the I.D. of most cases. For O.D.'s they are just fine. I use a set of small hole gauges, and measure them with a 1" micrometer. The Hornaday gauge setup is the simplest and best way to go for setting up you headspace and seating depth. Davidson also sells a similar gauge setup (have not used it). The best concentricity gauge out there is probably a NECO, but others like some of the other brands. I use my own, and like it. Not all dial indicators are the same! Avoid the Chinese ones! Most gear and rack indicators come with 10% built in lag (backlash), and this is what 90% of the concentricity gauges use. A wand type is by far the best. (I use either an Interrapid or the zero lag Brown & Sharpe)
I trim most rifle cases with a Wilson because it's the best I've found, and can be had fairly reasonable. Forster also sells a pretty good one, but the Wilson is a little better. I deburr the O.D. with a standard deburr tool like everybody else uses. But I deburr the I.D.'s with a modified tapered pin reamer (makes seating boat tailed bullets easier). K&M sells a better device that does the samething.
Back to presses a second. There is a wide margin of initial cost involved with presses. I've been using the same press since 1978, and it's just as tight today as it was in 1978. When your doing long cases it really puts a lot of strain of the press and the fulcrum points. Buy a good heavyduty press and be done with it! With the Forster you don't need a priming device, or shell holders that cost $10 a piece, and in the end you come out ahead when you add $50 for shell holders and a good priming device ($85+). The Redding is no better than a Rockchucker (gotta pay for their name and markup), and Rockchuckers can be had for around $130. A Forster is about $240. Power wise (and you will need this) the Forster is way out in front.
Suggest you do a search on these boards for comments made in the past
There is no "best" press like newbies keep asking about. However, some are of better quality than others.
I won't start a flame war over what is junk and what isn't. Let's just say if you are going to buy a kit, RCBS, Lyman, CH, and Forster make 1st class equipment.
And equipment doesn't have to be new to be of excellent quality. Most of the presses on my bench are 50-60 years old, but are as good as the day they were made, and are of higher quality than almost anything now made.
I'd keep the initial cost as low as possible until you understand what you are doing.