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Reloading Berger Bullets


Need equipment advice - please help

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Unread 12-15-2010, 10:49 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Need equipment advice - please help

Ok, so I have been shooting and hunting for many years. I’m just getting started in reloading. I will be loading 5.56 – 223 & 7.62x51 – 308. I have been killing myself trying to research products. I live by the axiom “you get what you pay for”. I would much rather pay once for high quality.

So I have decided to go with:
  • Forster Co-Ax Press
  • RCBS Trim Mate™ Power Station
  • RCBS ChargeMaster Powder 1500 Scale/Dispenser Combo
  • Thumler's Tumbler Ultra Vibe 18 Tumbler

I need advice on die sets.
  • Do I go with Redding Series A Competition Seating Die Sets or Forster Bench Rest Seater Die & Forster Bushing Bump Neck Sizing Die Sets.
  • If Forster do I need both the seater and bump neck? Other recommendations also welcome.
  • Do I need a case lube kit with the above dies?
  • Which loading books do you recommend?
  • Other than trays, funnel, canister/bins what else do you recommend I purchase?
Open to and grateful for all advice
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Unread 12-15-2010, 11:10 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: CA. But not by choice.
Posts: 52
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

For extra gear you might look at getting the Hornady headspace gauge and bullet comparator. It is nice to check fire formed brass to only bump the shoulder just a little. And bullet seating depth is always critical. Also a good caliper. I like having a digital and dial around.

For reloading manuals, I would pick the manufacture of the bullets you are going to want to load. A Speer or Hornady is a good place to start, as you will end up with more than one. Also I would highly suggest getting The ABCs of Reloading. It was a big help for me when I was starting out.
Bring enough gun....

Last edited by CLICKBANGBANG; 12-15-2010 at 11:15 PM.
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Unread 12-16-2010, 12:29 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ARIZONA
Posts: 142
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

Good decision to get into reloading. It will pay significant dividends in performance for you. Personally, I enjoy it almost as much as shooting.

Highly recommend a hand priming tool. I use an RCBS. Priming goes much faster and you get a good feel for seating the primers properly. Also, a Hornady COAL gauge with .223 and .308 modified cases, so you can determine how far your bullet is seated from the rifle lands. Also, flash hole de-burring tool. If you are not going to use Lapua or Norma brass, I would get a hand held outside neck turning tool. +1 on the digital caliper.

Dies- I am totally satisfied with standard Redding dies. You probably would be too. I have some benchrest die sets etc., but for most applications the standard dies work just as well for me and I have shot some of my smallest groups using them.

Lube- you will have to lube the brass before full length resizing, I like to roll mine on an RCBS lube pad and have used other methods with good success.

Loading manuals- I have them all. I would go with the manufacturer of the bullets I was loading. Hornady, Sierra, and Nosler manuals are my favorites.
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Unread 12-16-2010, 12:38 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northeast MS
Posts: 388
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

I like your choice of press and powder dispenser. You will need a case trimmer (wilson), a hand primer. As for dies, will you be neck sizing or full length sizing? If neck sizing go with the Redding S bushing dies, if full length just a redding or forster full length sizing die. Regardless of neck or full length sizing, I would by the Redding competition seating dies. They are the easiest dies to adjust quickly and accurately.
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Unread 12-16-2010, 04:47 AM
WRG WRG is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: North East
Posts: 133
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

I like to follow the same philosophy however Lee dies will do as good a job as any of the dies you list for a lot less money so I feel that rule doesn't always apply in this case.

In the past, I have always preferred to use bullet manufacturers reloading manuals, Nosler, Swift and so on. I am currently waiting on the Quickload program to come in so maybe they will no longer be needed and I can make more room on my bench.

You may also want to look into the headspace gage at Innovative Technologies. Perfect tool for measuring shoulder bump back.


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Unread 12-16-2010, 07:17 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 332
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

I don't know how much you already know about reloading. I've been reloading for 20 yrs, and I'm still learning things. Just a heads up.

Any manual will be a great investment, reading it will be priceless!
There are only two seasons: Hunting season, and Getting Ready for Hunting season. -DAD
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Unread 12-16-2010, 08:00 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Re: Need equipment advice - please help

Thanks for the replies! A couple of questions that came up:
I have no practical experience reloading
I have read the ABC's of reloading cover to cover
I was actually thinking about going with the Forster Case Trimmer but will take a look at the Wilson.
Thanks for the tip on the headspace gage & bullet comparator
Totally forgot about the flash hole de-burring tool
Going with full length dies as almost all rifles are clip fed.

A couple of new questions I now have
1. Who makes a good Digital Caliper? Was looking at the RCBS.
2. I thought the CO-Ax was a primer set too? Recommendation on a good hand primer?
3. I thought that I read if you get Redding dies you did not need to lube?
4. Exactly what is the difference between
a. Seating Die Sets
b. Bench Rest Seater Die
c. Bushing Bump Neck Sizing Die Sets
Have read ABC again but I’m still unclear on this…Can’t wait for my new books from Amazon to arrive…

Thanks Again!
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