Location: Somewhere twixed Waterloo & Cedar Rapids, IA
Hornady 7th Edition handbook has a lot of Hornady's history in addition to
many very informational aspects of internal ballistics.......that which is
right, what can go wrong, causes of excess pressure, etc. You can forget
about Hornady's history (it was interesting to me, but perhaps not everyone),
but the rest gives some very good insight to reloading.
The Lee Anniversary Kit is probably the best deal for getting into reloading.
I also believe their dies (especially the collet neck sizer) are very much
under rated. I have several dies from several companies and the Lee
collet neck sizers have done me justice where others have left me wondering
why I spent the money.
Just bought my reloading equipment and finished my first 10 loads last night, shot them this am. I don't know what I am doing yet, but this is what I bought:
Lyman t-magII expert kit(press, scale xp 1000digital, #55 powder measure, trimmer, case lube kit, ect)
rcbs hand primer tool
lyman digital caliper
around $550 with primers, bullets and powder.
first 10 rounds, 270 win, cci 200 primers, h4831sc, 135smk's
five with 57.0 gr 1.25" at 100yrds
five with 57.5 gr .80" at 100 yrds
If I was going to put a shopping list together for a new shooter to get started reloading it would include the following.
Lee Classic Cast Press: $60-70
Good powder measure with stand: $60-100
good beam scale: $20-60
RCBS hand primer: $25
Lee collet neck sizer 2die set with Redding body die ~ $30-40
Harbor Freight tumbler + lizard bedding(crushed walnut) $35
RCBS Case trimmer $60(manual)-200(power)
case lube+pad, loading block, primer brushes, Chamfer tool~$30
Now to just get started you probably don't need the tumbler and you could substitute a much cheaper trimmer setup like the lee to just get going. Which would put you around $200 retail, plus another $50 for a pound of powder and a box of bullets and primers. All of the initial equipment can be had for much less off of Ebay, if you're willin' to spend some time shopping. So I'd say as little as $200 initial investment will get you up and running enough to load 100 rounds.
Buy a very good large solid press that will last a lifetime, ie RCBS Rockchucker for example, the smaller ones are cheaper, less power, will get loose and you will regret it later. Same thing for the balance beam scale, buy a good one such as the RCBS 10-10
Both new will run over $100-150 each but can be bought much cheaper on ebay, the 10-10 will sell for around $30 and the rockchucker around $50.
Buy a set of Lee dippers $10 and you can load as fast as almost any system out there and more accurate than the new automatic systems. I know tried them all and sold all of them. Buy the powder measure later and off ebay used again for 25% of retail price.
Dies, buy quality such as Hornady Custom, forester Bonanza BR, and Redding. Sorry guys not a Lee fan on dies or aluminum presses.
What about the RCBS pro kit from cabela's all the good stuff for $500ish add dies and your in like flin...the measurer and scale sell for $300 alone and I wish I had it! and I did the math on top dollar factory ammo at $40 a box, you get a mere 12.5 boxs for that! Think about it this way $500 will buy you 250 top dollar factory rounds. If I load up 1 50 round box for each my three deer rifles and katie 1 bx of 50 for hers....thats 200 rounds a year.
I believe $500 on a great new setup would be well worth $500 and pay for itself in 2 years and just imagine how much more you will shoot, and guess what you can load all those recipies that you cant buy in factory ammo. Like a 120 gr Barnes in a 7 Rem Mag, or any Wildcat bullet in any cal. it will open alot of doors in this area.
Think about how you control the loads you want and not what some factory egghead thinks is what you want.
Threat yourself to a merry X-mas you wont regret it!