Re: Getting Started
You will want a good cast-iron press, and I recommend the Redding Big Boss II. It's a premium piece that will never need replacement. Anything less represents poor value. You'll also want Redding's powder trickler.
There is inexpensive equipment from Lee that's recommended. A primer pocket cleaner. The AutoPrime hand-held tool with appropriate shell holder. The case trimmer. I'll also recommend the Lee powder dippers as opposed to a powder measure that won't do what's needed of it; save up for an RCBS Chargemaster Combo. You will probably need a standard shell holder for your press, and I recommend the RCBS brand.
You'll need a chamfering tool. They're all about the same, but you want a sharp one. A VLD chamfering tool is good for getting a better inside chamfer. Been hearing that the RCBS is sharp and the Lyman isn't. The VLD is optional, but you'll get better results using it for flat-based bullets.
You can get caliber-specific loading blocks; the Frankford Arsenal brand are less expensive (and less premium) than the ones that Sinclair sells. Sinclair has a Satern caliber-specific funnel. It's a premium piece, but you'll be glad to have it.
Bottlenecked cartridge cases require sizing lube, and Imperial is the best and easiest to use. Neutral shoe polish (paste) is the same stuff, and Mink Oil is also a good lube. Hornady's Unique brand of sizing wax is very similar and is advertised as having the capability to preserve and waterproof leather. This convoluted message is that if you have the shoe polish or Mink Oil already, you don't need anything else.
You'll need a dial caliper. The rumor is that all of the inexpensive ones come out of the same Chinese factory, and they'll serve just fine. You can get one for under $25.
Should you find a gold nugget between now and when you buy, go ahead and get the RCBS Chargemaster. Then you won't need the trickler and dippers. You want a check-weight set for that electronic scale; both Lyman an RCBS have them. You can be assured that your scale is calibrated for the desired charge weight. The Lee dippers can be adjusted for capacity using plastic or cardboard spacers.
What you will need first is a loading manual. The Lyman has very good instructional material; it's worth reading and re-reading (several times) before you attempt anything. Having a second or third manual won't hurt anything.
You'll need bullets, primers and brass. They're where you find them. Choose your bullets according to their application. Winchester brass is better than the other non-premium brands, although quality is hit-or-miss these days. Avoid Federal brass; it has a very short life.
Future upgrades from what has been recommended here would be in the form of a Wilson case trimmer and better dies (Redding and Forster). Hornady's die lock rings are good replacements for Lyman and Redding.
Get a Sinclair catalog. It has educational value. Now you're ready to load ammunition as good as anybody's, unless your dies hold you back. Wait and see. There are a few goodies that you may want to have, especially after having gotten involved with Sinclair's stuff, but they won't be necessary until you have established a need.
Graf and MidSouth are good to do business with. MidSouth has excellent prices and shipping-at-cost. Graf has $4.50 flat-rate shipping for online orders, but compensates with higher prices. Sinclair is more expensive, but besides their excellent products has free, personalized tech service for the asking.
Last edited by Winchester 69; 12-27-2009 at 12:36 PM..