**Powder measurers are simply powder dumpers with a few exceptons (as in very). The best buy in powder measurers is the Lyman #55 without a single after thought (also cheap). Find a good U.S.A. made one, and get the Sinclair bottle adapter and a couple of his drop tubes. None of them do stick powders all that well, so you'll need to learn to use a powder trickler. I use an RCBS. On the other end of the scale the best are the Harrells, Niel Jones, and the Sinclair. I doubt you'll benifit from them. Still if you just have to have one then look no further than a Harrell.
**Presses can be divided into three types, and all three still do the same job. There's the C frame press, the O frame press, and the Forster style. You need to think about what's in your game plan. Are you just gonna load hand gun ammo? Or maybe big long rounds like a .378 Weatherby. Power is another factor to think about. Short hand gun ammo dosn't need a lot of powder to size the rounds, but on the otherhand big long cases like a 45-70 do need that kind of power. The average guy loads less than 300 rounds a year, and you may also fall into that bracket. C framed presses tend to flex a lot under pressure, but are fine for hand gun ammo (.357 mag, 44 mag, etc). An O frame is much more rigid, but still shares a few of the same issues that the C frame has. Then there is the Forster type. Big and very powerfull to start out with. Somewhat expensive (usually around $260), but the design will lend it to last a couple lifetimes. Also the straitest and squarest press made. But do you need this? The average guy can do nicely with a plain jane Lee cast iron press if you ask me. I've been known to do some serious case forming in the past, plus do some of those long strait walled cases that tax the press so hard. I went with the Forster design (mine is not a Forster but actually a Bananza). I also have a small RCBS press setting right beside it to do some odd jobs that are a PIA in the other.
Buying a used press can be a crap shoot! I wouldn't be afraid to buy a used Forster due to their design. But the others demand very close inspection. And really for the price you just can't beat the Lee.
** Dies! We live and die by the dies we buy. I use mostly Forster anymore, but have a few sets of Reddings and a few RCBS and a couple Hornaday sets. The best hand gun dies I've ever used were Lyman M series dies. Forster designed the best seater made, and now has been copied by Redding and a third more cash input. Sizing dies are interesting, but most all are really similar. If you use a full length die, the bodies are all similar. The Forster stem setup is different, and may or may not give you a few tenths better concentricity. Reddings are nice, but grossly over priced. Plus they are really no more accurate than some of the others. Others on this board swear by the Lee Collet die. Jury's still out at my house. I would use the Forster seater with whatever sizing die fit my needs. I don't recommend neck sizing for a novice (neck turning as well).
** You'll need a scale. Most guys on here like the RCBS 10-10. I had one once. I use nothing buy Pact electronic scales. You either like them or hate them. I own three if that matters much.
** I have a cigar box full of priming tools from past experiences. All the major players are in there. But I either use a K&M or the one on the back of the Forster press these days. The type of primer you prefer has a little bit to how you select a priming tool (I use most Federal)
** all case trimers are not made the same! The ones that come in kits are generally suspect from the start. A lot of guys like the older Forster style trimmer (can't remember what the call it). I use a Wilson 99.8% of the time anymore. Once again I've owned several trimmers in the past.
** Now we've got almost everything in front of us to load ammo, but is it anygood? There are all sorts of gauges out there these days, and I trust few of them. I built several over the years, and each got better. Now days I use two. A Neco and one I built that is very simple and very small). I use only wand type indicators as they are well known for their accuracey. 95% of us here could get by with the Neco and the .001" GEM indicator. I use a .0005" with mine, and rarely drag out a .0001" indicator.
** I'd also recommend buying the Hornaday case gauge setup. Used to be called a Stoney Point. Not perfect, but as good as most of us will ever want. And while your at it the Hornaday bullet puller is nice, and works quite well. You'll need one! The Hornaday setup will help you set your dies up in both head space and seating depth (actually make it a lot easier)
** loading manuals often are a crap shoot. You have to learn to take their loads apart. The Hogdon is my favorite, even though most loads are somewhat generic. I also use the AA manual a lot. The Hornaday is the most complete, but loads listed leave a little bit to be desired. I use the Sierra and Lee DVD's.
** your going to need a good pair of one inch mic's (don't buy the cheap Chinese ones!). A good caliper. I use mostly Starrett and Brown & Sharp. But use a Mitutoyo dial caliper at the range. All are 6" except for the Mitutoyo (4.25".
Might have been said before *didnt read every post carefully* but when i got started reloading I read alot of stuff on this website for a few months, and the one single bit of advice that helped me the most was someone saying something to the effect of "Buy a reloading manual and read all the instructional parts in the front COMPLETELY, hell buy 3" .
That helped me the most, i bought 3 reloading manual's and read them all front to back, excluding the actual load data.
I Really liked the nosler manual and the speer one, I dont use speer bullets at all, but i still bought the manual and am glad I did. I also bought the LEE manual and while its OKAY, I did not like it as much.
My best advice is research research research, and when you load the first time set everything up in such a way as you can double check everything, and do it in steps.
When you have a brain fart like weighing and charging 25 pieces of brass with powder that you forgot to seat a primer in, it kinda hits home and makes you realize how important being careful, precise, and following a routine is.
Another piece of advice is just do it, get the stuff and get some rounds loaded to break the ice. I was paranoid about loading up my first batch of ammo, I didnt want to mess up and end up blowing my gun up, its really not that bad though. After actually LOADING up some ammo and seeing and feeling what its all about and then shooting it it all started to come together.
I think I ended up spending about 750$ initially but at the core of my equipment was a Forster co-ax press, Wilson case trimmer and an RCBS rangemaster 750 powder scale. I ended up finishing out with a Redding model 3 powder drop, and a Forster bench priming tool for faster priming over the press mounted seater and better feel. Soon after that I ended up buyin a 21st century 6mm expander die, neck trimmer tool for 6mm as well as their concentricity gauge.
I have not looked in awhile, but I think Sinclair sells a bottle adapter conversion for that Redding powder measurer. If not you have to jump thru the hoops everytime you change powders. I used the Reddings (3BR & 30BR) for awhile, and they are OK. Not more accurate than the Lyman, but still get the job done. You'll also be needing a powder trickler to help you thru the stick powder issues. I'd also advise you to buy several four or six inch drop tubes from Sinclair (I think six inch ones are better). One thing I've earned thru the years is that most powder measurer stands are too short for comfortable use. Pretty easy to build your own, and make it about four inches taller. I've never used the Forster bench mounted priming tool, and the one on my press is so old that it uses an odd ball case holder (has a bigger hole). It's still pretty fast when I think about it, but about the only thing I run accross it is big bore revolver ammo. That powder scale is built by Pact, and I have two of them. I had a third one, but somebody stole it from me. I also have the smaller BBK scale that I use at the range from time to time. Some of them have the inferred port, and some don't. If it has the inferred port you can later add the Pact electronic powder dispenser ( bought a used one and it works very well). Why you bought a second case trimmer I don't know as you bought the very best with the Wilson. I would go ahead and buy a set of K&M primer pocket uniformers. These will remove the crimp on any piece of military brass and will work well in an electric screw driver.
I own a Co-Ax press like yours (mines an antique and still as tight as day one). One thing I did with mine that really seems to make a difference is that I made a riser for it. (actually several) I started out at 4", but ended up with about seven inches. Dosn't sound like much, but makes the press much more ergo friendly. The last couple risers I built were also tilted back about 15 degrees. If you mount the press on a bench top, buy two pieces of 10 gauge or 12 gauge sheet metal (about 1/8" or more) and sandwich the them ontop and under the bench with the press ontop of them. Makes a much sturdier setup. It dosn't take much of a bench with this press.
The sliding jaw shell holder will take some playing around with to get it to what you are comfortable with. I run mine somewhat on the loose side, but other guys like them tighter. Remember all they do is pull the case out of the die, and are never aligned with the die (they are designed to move for self alignment). Keep them well lubed.
Just a question. When using the bottle adapter and the bottle regardless of shape, do you find the lack of a baffle troubling or do you just trickle up?
depends on what powder I'm using mostly. I have found that ball powder drops a slight bit more consistently with at least half a bottle of powder, But that maybe in the operator. Stick owders don't seem tobe that way in the Lyman. Have never used big stuff in my Harrell, and maybe the biggest granuals were XM2015BR and IMR 3031. I almost use nothing but ball powders with it. The lyman gets about everything else. When dumping something like 4350 I usually throw about a grain and a half short, and just trickle into the pan whatever I need to get the desired load. I don't think I've ever used a baffle in the Lyman, but have one somewhere. The Harrell is a true Culver style device, and all data cannot be compaired with the others. Everything is done off of clicks on the settings dial. The bottle is smaller and I have to take several bottles to the range with the desired powder in them. Kind of a pain, but the thing repeats like nothing I've ever seen. When I used the Redding measurers they didn't have baffles out on the aftermarket. No powder measurer will dump long grained stick powder all that well. The best was the old Belding & Mull, but that design is now a collectors item
The best case trimmer I've found is a Redding with a home made power drive. Damn knurled knob ruins your palm.
had a shooting buddy that was a Redding dealer, and he had a Redding. Was OK. He later bought the small Forster, and used it for several years. While this was going on I went thru two or three after putting the Lyman on the shelf. Then I got my hands on a well used Wilson with three shell holders. Cutter was so dull that it wouldn't hardly cut. I rebuilt the whole thing in about three hours work. Got a guy to sharpen the cutter head (said it was ground wrong from the start). Cut lip of a 30-06 case like it was hot butter with very little burr. But most of all it was very square with the centerline of the case body. I used it a little bit, but also found it sorta awkwards to use, so I made a riser out of some aluminum plate I drug out of the junk yard. Then I wanted a micrometer head for the tail stock end. Bought a used micrometer at a hockshop for $10, and installed the head on the Wilson. Now Doug sees it on my bench under a bunch of paper work. I have to build him one. Two years later they show up in the Sinclair catalog, but ever so slightly different. I got lazy in that time and made a powerdriver adapter out of a small piece of 4150 that was slated from the scrap tub.. Should have made two right away as the first time Doug saw it, he called in a marker. Now I find the Wilson to be a little troublesome with cases like the 45LC, and either do them in a Forster or that Lyman (yes I never got rid of it). One thing about the Forster that is really handy is that you can make all sorts of tools to use with it. At the range I have two setup on that same aluminum plate that I clean primer pockets and deburr cases with. (I found these small wire brushes in a hardware store that fit a primer pocket perfectly). Doug tried his best to get me to make and sell some of the tools I made for the Forster, but I passed on it.