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Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

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Old 07-04-2012, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Medina, Ohio USA
Posts: 85
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

Buy Lyman #49. It has the information you are looking for.

Oh, and you can buy "cheap" (I.e. Lee), or you can buy quality (I.e. anything else).
Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA--Life, Varmint Hunters' Assn., & South Cuyahoga Sportsmen's Assn

"An armed society is a polite society"--Robert Heinlein via Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC

"Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery...all else is twaddle!"--Admiral Sir John Fisher, RN
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:11 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 35
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

I'll apologize early if I'm posting what has already been mentioned.

To begin with, the type of reloading you will be doing will determine the extent and quality you'll need to purchase. For instance, if you're reloading for a benchrest rifle, you are going to probably want a set of benchrest dies. However, not all benchrest dies are created equal, let alone price tags reflecting quality of mfr! I have several die sets for my 308 Win and obtain the
best case neck run-out (1/2 to 1 ten thousandth of an inch) with an RCBS benchrest die F/L
sizing ($46).

OTOH, if your interest is with 400 yd hunting and general shooting, you can be well served with
several different brands of dies and other tools and produce MOA to sub-MOA accuracy at 400 yds, or less.

And don't simply discount LEE Products because they're inexpensive! I know many folks who use
Lee dies and other Lee tools and produce excellent ammunition.

Be sure to check out the reputation of the company whose products you're thinking of purchasing. Dillon and RCBS are excellent, if not the best in practicing what they claim in
their warranties. Some of the other companies, not so much. Beware.

My short list of "have to have tools" is as follows:
A set of calipers
A good micrometer w/ball tip that can measure down to, or less than .0001".
A electronic scale. One that doesn't 'wonder' or require constant calibration between measurements.

Of course, in addition to the above listed tools, you'll also need dies, scales, presses, chamfering
tools, brass prep tools, etc.

Regarding chamfering tools, I'd recommend a 60 degree inside the case mouth tool. This will
facilitate seating both boat tail and flat base bullets without damaging the bullet. Most mfrs
include the 45 degree chamfering tool when you purchase their press pkg, and you'll need to
purchase the 60 degree tool afterwards.

Presses: I don't think anyone can criticize the Forster Co-Ax press as far as performance is concerned! However, there are many excellent "other" presses out their that produce extremely accurate ammunition, that sell for less $$$. Most if not all presses ACCEPT ANY
7/8X14 DIE SET (standard). However, not all presses accept any shell holder. Check BEFORE you purchase your press to determine exactly what type of shell holder the press you're looking at requires. Small point, but a definite pain to find out later the shell holder you have doesn't work in the press you purchased.

Good Luck and don't hesitate to keep asking questions BEFORE you go out and spend your money!

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Old 07-04-2012, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jax Fl.
Posts: 477
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
Buy Lyman #49. It has the information you are looking for.

Oh, and you can buy "cheap" (I.e. Lee), or you can buy quality (I.e. anything else).
I'll take those cheap Lee dies over all but Forster , Redding comp. I make a lot of really good ammo with my Lee dies. I know they are better than Hornady and just as good or better than RCBS and Lyman.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: greenwood, IN
Posts: 3,557
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

I'm pretty much in the same train of thought as the rest of you all are, but with the exception of the powder measurer. I've used a lot of them in the past, and the best bang for the buck is without a doubt the Lyman. For a .308, the Belding & Mull would be better, but getting one is the problem. Besides it's not that big a deal to trickle a half grain or so of powder into a pan. (your scale is your choice).

The best case gauge I've ever had my hands on is the NECO sans one built by Ferris Pendell. Forget the ones made by the big companys, cause they are a toy compaired to the Neco. Now I for one don't exactly like ball mics when working with very soft metals. Others do. I prefer a pin mic, as it measuers an area instead of a small point. If you don't use a micrometer as a "c-clamp" you'll be just fine with either one. Guess I was lucky as my Dad was a tool maker, and he had me reading in tenths when I was in the 7th grade. As for buying a 1" micrometer; let me say it this way, "you often get what you pay for." They really are not all that expensive when you look at the other stuff. I would never buy a used pair, as you don't know how they were used or if they'd been dropped. A used pair that was daily used to measure carbide or some of the exotic metals will have the anvils worn out of square, and you don't need a pair that's carbide tipped!

I said digital calipers, because they are far easier to reset the zeros in (I use a 42 year old pair of analog Mitutoyos 80% of the time). Wand type indicators are known for their accuracey and repeatability, and of them, the Best Test and the Interrapids are the very best you can buy. A good indicator will last you a life time if taken care of. I use almost nothing but Interrapids, but if not it's a best test. But I also own about 25 or 30 indicators (maybe more). I could use a 50 millionth federal if I wanted to, but always end up using a five tenths Interrapid.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:07 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: S.E. Michigan
Posts: 3,461
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
Buy Lyman #49. It has the information you are looking for.

Oh, and you can buy "cheap" (I.e. Lee), or you can buy quality (I.e. anything else).

I was just out in your neck of the woods a week or two ago at Hill & Dale Gun Club on Poe Road for the picnic and to watch some skeet shooting.... Just watch, not participate. I'm not a shotgunner. My good friend Jack Spencer put it on. Jack and I go back a long way in as much as I used to own a few properties out there............ back in the day....

I know a lot of shooters that use Lee with good results. They aren't match grade dies but then how many match grade shooters are there really?

BTW, "an armed society is a society that Obama admonishes, polite or not".........
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 2,608
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

I stand by my original wish list as this is what I have arrived at with much trial and error. Others have made good suggestions as well.

Admittedly, you can load very good ammo with a minimal kit and a set of Lee dies.

While ultimate performance may be hindered by your tools, it's largely driven by your methods and procedures for developing good loads in your rifles.

-- richard
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 221
Re: Buying the right equipment the first time? Advise wanted!!!

Originally Posted by Idaho Sawyer View Post
Not trying to hi jack the thread but I have never tumbled any of my brass. For you guys that tumble brass do you think it helps in the quest for accuracy or is it a cosmetic thing?
I see no reason why it would improve accuracy, but it helps to get any gunk off the cases which in turn helps to keep the dies from getting gunked up from any remaining film of case lube material, water spotting, scratches, etc. I dunno....I just like to reload clean cases. It takes little work and I am fairly anal anyway.

BTW, I just read in the August issue of GUNS magazine that substituting some crushed walnut hulls made by "Lizard Litter" (in pet stores) is cheaper than what is offered by the retail gun industry, and since it is finer, it doesn't tend to get stuck in the primer pockets, etc. Another trick is to save the used softener sheets from your closhtes dryer, cut them in 1" strips, then toss them into the tumbler. Tip #3: add a capful of Nu-Finish Car Polish (not the wax) to each new load of walnut polishing media after each long polishing session to "help slick up the case with no downside."
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