Getting into reloading, how much is this gonna cost me?
I am thinking about getting into reloading for the same reasons that all of you are doing it. I don't have anything except a couple of years worth of empty brass. I am thinking that I'll be getting a wildcat sometime in the near future, like a .338 edge, and other than the rifles that I already have, that is what I'll be reloading for. What is the hands down best book for learning about the techniques and equipment that I will need? Ballpark estimate assuming that I get good servicable equipment but maybe not the fastest or best, how much will it cost to get set up and reloading my first box?
If there is a better deal than what you find in the lonk below, I haven't seen it. You might try and find someone who is interested in getting OUT of the reloading business as well.
The kits are great, but there will be things you want to upgrade as you go. You will only learn what those things are as you grow in this sick, sick, activity. I look at it this way: The cheapest thing about buying a boat is the original purchase. Reloading is similar. Many will say you save money by reloading. Per round, maybe. But it just makes you want to shoot that much more, which offsets what you save per round! Sick, I tell you! Jim R
AJ posted this in a different thread that I could not find with the search function, I moved it here in case anyone finds this thread because it is good stuff:
Since you asked ;-)
Any of the manuals are good. I have a bunch of different ones and I like the Hornady manual. Having several is always good as a way to verify things. That being said, the internet has great resources for loads and info. Hodgdon.com is the one I use most. Depending on how computer oriented you are, the quickload program is a great program for simulating loads all the powders, bullets etc, but certainly not needed in the short term.
Presses and other equipment can vary greatly in cost. Most of the presses are very good quality.
Essentially you need to do 4 things when you reload.
#1 and #4 are handled by the press/dies. #2 can be handled by the press, but I feel is done better/easier with a Lee HandPrime unit $12 MidwayUSA - Lee Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool and the shell holder kit $13 MidwayUSA - Lee Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool Shellholder Package of 11
#3, measuring/dispensing powder requires at minimum a scale and a funnel.
The funnel I use and recommend is $17 and works great for this task MidwayUSA - Frankford Arsenal Powder Funnel with 16 Nozzles and 4" Drop Tube
A powder measure makes the task easier/faster.
There are manual and electronic/automatic measures. I like the electronic dispensers but the manuals work well but will require you to trickle the last little bit of powder into the scale to get the perfect amount.
I used a small manual scale for a long time.MidwayUSA - Lee Safety Magnetic Powder Scale 100 Grain Capacity
I then transitioned to a digital scale and automatic powder measure. I'd never go back. I used the Pact combo for a couple years and it worked great, but a little slow. I sold the pact and purchased the RCBS and it is an awesome package (albeit a little spendy at $300)
MidwayUSA - RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Powder Scale and Dispenser Combo 110 Volt
You could always just start with the scale ($160) and get the dispenser later?
The other thing you will need is a set of calipers. I used a $5 plastic dial caliper for years and it was fine. You can get stainless dial calipers for $25 or nice digital calipers for $50-$100+. If you get a digital, make sure you get one that automatically turns off, as it will save you a lot of batteries.
Along with the calipers, I recommend 2 stoney point kits that will enable you to measure everything you need to setup your dies/reloads perfectly.
MidwayUSA - Hornady Lock-N-Load Headspace Gage 5 Bushing Set with Comparator
MidwayUSA - Hornady Lock-N-Load Bullet Comparator Basic Set with 6 Inserts
MidwayUSA - Hornady Lock-N-Load Bullet Comparator Complete Set with 14 Inserts
Later you will need a case trimmer and I recommend the Forster kit
MidwayUSA - Forster Original Case Trimmer Kit
but for the time being, you can just reload and watch your length. There are also other brass prep tools, but they are overkill for starting out.
You will need a set of dies and a shell holder for each cartridge. You can get die sets for $25-$200 depending on what type reloads you are making. For your 45acp, I'd recommend a Nitride sizing die, so you don't have to lubricate your cases (only works for straight wall cartridges). Something like this set would work
MidwayUSA - Hornady Custom Grade New Dimension Nitride 3-Die Set 45 ACP, 45 Auto Rim, 45 Win Mag
For your .280 you will need to lubricate, and the best thing I've found is Imperial sizing wax
MidwayUSA - Imperial Case Sizing Wax 2 oz
I've tried the spray stuff, the roll on stuff etc. and this wax is the best.
A die set for your .280 should be a good quality set. I use the competition Redding dies, but the standard Redding dies are great as well.
MidwayUSA - Redding 2-Die Set 280 Remington, 7mm Express
Keep in mind that dies are like pickups, the old Ford vs. Chevy debate.
Forster, Redding, Hornady, RCBS all have good dies in their lineups.
Don't forget to get a shellholder for each cartridge you are reloading. They are only a couple dollars each.
I've left the hardest choice for last. Which press?
I used a Rock Chucker original for 3 decades and it is still as good as ever. My favorites right now are the Redding 700 Ultra, Rock Chucker supreme and Lee Classic Cast. Any of them will do a great job. If you want my old Rock Chucker, make me an offer and I'll replace it with the Redding ;-).MidwayUSA - Redding 700 Ultramag Single Stage Press
MidwayUSA - Lee Classic Cast Single Stage Press
MidwayUSA - RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Press
As far as the kits go, just look at the individual stuff you get and keep in mind the list above and the 4 things you need to do to safely reload shells and you will make good choices. A lot depends on what kind of $'s you have etc.
At minimum you need a press, shell holder, dies, lubricant, scale, funnel, calipers. Everything else just makes things go faster, easier etc.
Y9u can get a Lee's Anniversary kit very reasonable that except for the dies, powder, brass and bullets will have most of what you'll need to get you started loading. after you are into it for just a short while you ill probably start upgrading and phazing out most of the Lee stuff. I still like my Lee's Easy Prime though. Lyman's and several powder companies make very good reloading from start to finsih books/manuals. I also like my Hornady 7th edition and my Nosler 6th edition manuals.
Check your local cragis list. There seems like there is always a reloading set up for sale. Look at a comperable kit and offer 50% or less of new. 5 years ago I got a full setup for less than a $100.00 bucks. Rock chucker kit plus some addons.
I know it seems like a lot of money. And the added ammo around will make you want to shoot more, and you probably will. However, you can look at it as how much will reloading save me. I love to load what would be expensive rounds, or even unavailable rounds for what adds up to hundreds of dollars less in the long run. I think the most expensive part of reloading to me is the powder.
The biggest cost is upfront. I origionally went with the lee aniversary kit, similar to the mention above I have upgraded things like scales.
I really think its better to think of it as saving, shooting more accurate ammo, and being able to shoot more often. Thats what we are all after anyway.
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