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Quality Reloading Package

 
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  #1  
Old 02-05-2013, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Colorado
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Quality Reloading Package

I am interested in starting to reload precision rounds. Does anyone know of or recommend a quality reloading package complete with scale, press, tumbler and other necessary equipment. I'd like to purchase a turn key package minus the dies I need.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:16 AM
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Re: Quality Reloading Package

I would recommend the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme reloading kit. It is going for around $280 - $300 right now, and comes with a Rock Chucker Supreme press, one of the sturdiest, toughest presses out there, a hand priming tool - even though the press has its own priming tool where you can seat primers on the downstroke of the ram, however the hand tool gives your much better sensitivity, the model 505 scale - one of the best beam scales out there, a powder funnel, the large RCBS chamfer/deburring tool (there's a smaller .17-.45 cal version, I prefer the larger one), RCBS powder funnel, Case lube kit (case lube pad, case neck brushes - .22 and .30, and a bottle of case lube2), a Speer reloading manual - very nice, second only to the Hornady manual IMHO, a UniFlow powder measure - one of the best, and upgradable to the micrometer adjustment dial and different chambers for different weight ranges, although the one that comes with it does a pretty good job of covering most everything but the tiniest charges, an RCBS hex-key folding tool, ummm, I think that's about it. Everything you need except for powder, primers, bullets, cases, and dies.
I bought one of these kits about a month ago, and have loaded several hundred .357, .45 ACP, .223, .308, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua rounds, and I love it. Very stiff, lots of leverage, resizing the magnums are child's play. Also, the press has a removable die bushing that can accept the larger dies, although I'm not sure that you can reload .50 BMG on this press, even though it can accept those large .50 dies (ram stroke and opening may be too small). It is also upgradeable to progressive operation with RCBS' piggyback system.

Other good presses I'd recommend are the Redding Big Boss, Hornady LnL, Lyman Crusher II, and RCBS AmmoMaster.

Since you mentioned precision rounds, you may want to stick with a single stage press, and not look into turret presses, since I've read that they have more "flex" than singe stage's do... That being said, the Redding T7 at my shop is solid as a rock... Never tried the Lyman T-mag, RCBS turret, or Lee turret.

If I were you, I'd pick one of the mentioned reloading kits, but I'd pick one that uses a mechanical beam scale rather than a digital scale... Digi's are nice, but you won't have to worry about a beam scale malfunctioning on you later on..
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:58 AM
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Re: Quality Reloading Package

DO NOT buy a kit!! You'll end up buying replacement stuff two years down the road as you gain expertise. Presses are pretty much all the same except for a Forster and of course the arbor press. If your simply loading cases like a .223 or a .243, then you really don't have to have some super heavyduty monster. I'd recommend the Lee cast iron press for starters and add the rest of the items to it.

No powder measure does stick powder all that well, so I'd look for something like a Lyman or a Redding 3BR to work with. Powder tricklers are all about the same. Just pick up a RCBS 10-10 scale to finish out your loads.

I prime with a K&M tool, but have used most of the others in the past. I will use the K&M till I finally die as it's that good.

I like Forster dies, and the only thing close to them are Redding dies for about 33% more money. The Wilson case trimmer is the best made and can be had off Ebay fairly cheaply.

You'll also be needing some good measuring equipment. I use both digital and dial calipers, but I bought good ones from the start. I personally like the Starretts digital calipers, and the Mitutoyo dial type calipers. I find myself using a 1" micrometer a lot, and believe it or not the one I use the most is a Lufkin made around 1947 (I have three others as well). The one item you'll eventually need is a good case gauge setup. I've found that the NECO is the best you can buy off the shelf. But they are about a hundred dollars roughly.
gary

Last edited by Trickymissfit; 02-06-2013 at 10:59 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2013, 09:53 PM
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Re: Quality Reloading Package

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickymissfit View Post
DO NOT buy a kit!! You'll end up buying replacement stuff two years down the road as you gain expertise. Presses are pretty much all the same except for a Forster and of course the arbor press. If your simply loading cases like a .223 or a .243, then you really don't have to have some super heavyduty monster. I'd recommend the Lee cast iron press for starters and add the rest of the items to it.

No powder measure does stick powder all that well, so I'd look for something like a Lyman or a Redding 3BR to work with. Powder tricklers are all about the same. Just pick up a RCBS 10-10 scale to finish out your loads.

I prime with a K&M tool, but have used most of the others in the past. I will use the K&M till I finally die as it's that good.

I like Forster dies, and the only thing close to them are Redding dies for about 33% more money. The Wilson case trimmer is the best made and can be had off Ebay fairly cheaply.

You'll also be needing some good measuring equipment. I use both digital and dial calipers, but I bought good ones from the start. I personally like the Starretts digital calipers, and the Mitutoyo dial type calipers. I find myself using a 1" micrometer a lot, and believe it or not the one I use the most is a Lufkin made around 1947 (I have three others as well). The one item you'll eventually need is a good case gauge setup. I've found that the NECO is the best you can buy off the shelf. But they are about a hundred dollars roughly.
gary

Gary; thanks for the information. I am new to he reloading scene but understand that it is necessary when trying to dial in a precision setup. I will be reloading .300 win mag, 243 WSM, 22-250, and .308 for competition extreme long range shooting and hunting. Due to my starting new, if you have any suggestions for load, bullet, and powder set up as a starting point, I am all ears.

Hunting scenarios include Bull elk, mule deer, mountain lion, coyote, and antelope all from long distance. A precision round and a lot of practice will be the key.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Re: Quality Reloading Package

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damascus View Post
I would recommend the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme reloading kit. It is going for around $280 - $300 right now, and comes with a Rock Chucker Supreme press, one of the sturdiest, toughest presses out there, a hand priming tool - even though the press has its own priming tool where you can seat primers on the downstroke of the ram, however the hand tool gives your much better sensitivity, the model 505 scale - one of the best beam scales out there, a powder funnel, the large RCBS chamfer/deburring tool (there's a smaller .17-.45 cal version, I prefer the larger one), RCBS powder funnel, Case lube kit (case lube pad, case neck brushes - .22 and .30, and a bottle of case lube2), a Speer reloading manual - very nice, second only to the Hornady manual IMHO, a UniFlow powder measure - one of the best, and upgradable to the micrometer adjustment dial and different chambers for different weight ranges, although the one that comes with it does a pretty good job of covering most everything but the tiniest charges, an RCBS hex-key folding tool, ummm, I think that's about it. Everything you need except for powder, primers, bullets, cases, and dies.
I bought one of these kits about a month ago, and have loaded several hundred .357, .45 ACP, .223, .308, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua rounds, and I love it. Very stiff, lots of leverage, resizing the magnums are child's play. Also, the press has a removable die bushing that can accept the larger dies, although I'm not sure that you can reload .50 BMG on this press, even though it can accept those large .50 dies (ram stroke and opening may be too small). It is also upgradeable to progressive operation with RCBS' piggyback system.

Other good presses I'd recommend are the Redding Big Boss, Hornady LnL, Lyman Crusher II, and RCBS AmmoMaster.

Since you mentioned precision rounds, you may want to stick with a single stage press, and not look into turret presses, since I've read that they have more "flex" than singe stage's do... That being said, the Redding T7 at my shop is solid as a rock... Never tried the Lyman T-mag, RCBS turret, or Lee turret.

If I were you, I'd pick one of the mentioned reloading kits, but I'd pick one that uses a mechanical beam scale rather than a digital scale... Digi's are nice, but you won't have to worry about a beam scale malfunctioning on you later on..
Damascus; sounds like you have a bit of experience in this field. Please be patient with me, reloading is an art I have no experience with but I realize it's importance when trying to dial in a precision setup.

I will be reloading precision rounds for .300 Win Mag, 22-250, 243 WSM, and .308 for competitions shooting and extreme long range hunting. Elk, mule deer, mountain lion, and coyote will be the targets of choice.

Thank you for the information, I will look into this and see how it fits our plan. Should you have any suggestions for a starting load for precision setup, I would accept it with open arms. It would be nice to have a quality starting point rather than starting from scratch.
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2013, 10:50 AM
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Re: Quality Reloading Package

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motor622 View Post
Gary; thanks for the information. I am new to he reloading scene but understand that it is necessary when trying to dial in a precision setup. I will be reloading .300 win mag, 243 WSM, 22-250, and .308 for competition extreme long range shooting and hunting. Due to my starting new, if you have any suggestions for load, bullet, and powder set up as a starting point, I am all ears.

Hunting scenarios include Bull elk, mule deer, mountain lion, coyote, and antelope all from long distance. A precision round and a lot of practice will be the key.
Just to add to my post, I would also buy one of Larry Willis' sizing dies for that 300 mag. They're about $80 a piece, but they are the only die that actually sizes the area around the belt on that case. You'll still want a regular full length sizer. Innovative Technologies are a great bunch of people, and you can trust them.

Also, no matter what dies you buy, be sure to get the VLD seater plugs for the seaters. I personally do not recommend neck and bushing dies for the novice, and you really don't need micrometer heads on the seaters unless you plan on changing bullets on a regular basis. I use them on all my 22 centerfires and my 6mm rounds.

I should have also added into the list some super cheap things that you'll constantly use over time. Buy two small note books and a couple pencils. Make a lot of notes, as you'll go back to the constantly. I know one guy that has a large loose leaf note book with every group pasted in it that he's shot!
gary
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2013, 12:34 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Western NC
Posts: 135
Re: Quality Reloading Package

I half-way agree with Gary. Don't buy a low quality kit, as you'll be buying additional upgraded components later, which is counterproductive.
I think kits are a good starting point, IF, you buy a high quality kit with components that will perform to the task at hand.

The RCBS RockChucker kit comes with a 505 scale... I agree, the 10-10 is better, but there are MANY MANY handloaders out there that have loaded precision rounds for decades with 505 scales. I own both of them, I already had a 10-10, and also have the 505 that came with my kit. I have compared them, neck and neck, and there is no noticable difference in accuracy. The big advantage the 10-10 has is its speed. Its "approach to weight" feature makes weighing charges a lot easier. What that means is that as you add powder to the pan, the beam will begin to move a good ways before getting to the target weight. The normal beam scales won't begin to move until you are within a grain or two of the target weight, making it very easy to over-fill the pan, then you have to remove powder... etc... PITA. When used with a powder thrower, set up to throw charges slightly light (.5 - 1gr), you just throw that charge in the pan, which will be close enough to get the scale's beam to react, then finish filling with a powder trickler.

Also, he mentioned that the powder measure that comes with the kits will probably wind up being ditched for an upgraded one later... No powder measure handles extruded powder well (stick powder), as it wants to "cut" the grains as you turn the measuring cylinder.... Buying a more expensive "benchrest" measure is going to do the same thing. The Uniflow measure that comes with the kit is perfectly adequate, and is upgradable (you can later add a powder baffle, a $5 insert thats highly recommended; a micrometer dial for more precision with setting throw weights; and different sizes of cylinders, or drums, that are more tuned towards lightweight loads, or heavier loads.)
Also, you are wanting to load precision rounds, as I do - and perhaps you may not be as obsessive over it as I am, but I individually weigh each and every powder charge on the scale before it goes into the case - all powder throwers, usually, are rated to throw +/- .1gr, and to be, that's not accurate enough. I'd rather know my rounds are as consistent as I have the capability of loading them.

As Gary said, for regular rounds, you don't need a big, heavy duty iron monster of a press... however, you mentioned .300 Win Mag, which you will be happy you have a sturdy press when it's time to resize those. Do you need a big .50 cal press? No. Is a little Lee loader going to flex sizing those .300's? Probably. Personally, I'd get a big single station single stage reloading press, i.e. - Rock Chucker, Lyman Crusher, Hornady LnL, Redding Big Boss or Boss, or Lee Classic Cast. If you can afford one, the Forster Co-Ax presses I hear are awesome.

For dies, I agree with Gary - you don't need to spend $70 - $90 on a die set that requires bushings... Nor do you need to buy "neck sizing" dies... You will learn how to properly set up your standard full length sizing die to do whatever you want it to - you can set it to fully resize the case, or you can set it to partially resize, or only size the neck. I have either owned or used almost all brands of dies, except for Forster. Lee dies, although they worked, I didn't like them. They felt lightweight and cheap to me. That being said, millions of rounds are loaded with Lee dies, and are perfectly adequate. I'm just a snob I suppose... but not really, since I won't spend the money on Redding dies either. I have 2 sets of Redding dies, a .300 WSM set and a .260 Rem set. Are they great dies? Yes, absolutely. Are they worth the extra money compared to RCBS and Hornady dies? No, in my opinion. Most of my die sets are Hornady and RCBS, and they are what I will continue to buy. I only have two sets of Lyman dies, one for .22-250 and another in .40 S&W. Do they work? Yes, however I "feel" that I have more control and precision with the other dies. I haven't tried the Larry Willis dies that Gary recommended, so I can't comment.

Also, as already mentioned, 2 more tools you'll need that are absolutely a must-have, and 1 tool not mentioned that you will absolutely need. The first two are measuring devices - a set of calipers, either dial (has a round face needle gauge) or digital (has a "calculator-like" display). I prefer dial calipers because you never have to worry about batteries, but digital calipers are easier to read, less prone to error's from mis-reading, and just as accurate. You choice there. The other is a micrometer. A vernier micrometer is especially useful because it is more accurate than calipers (.0001" accuracy vs. .001").. I use these to measure the diameter of my fired case heads to check for expansion, and I have another micrometer called a vernier "ball", that has a round tip, which is usually used for measuring the case neck wall thickness. You can spend $25 on a Lyman set, $60 on a RCBS set, or $140 on a Starrett set; your choice.

Last, a headspace gauge. Every rifle will vary from one to another in exact chamber dimensions. You'll need a headspace gauge to measure your fired cases, which will have stretched to perfectly fill your chamber, giving you its exact dimensions, allowing you to properly adjust your sizing die so your reloaded cases fit the chamber with a minimal amount of free space... Fully resizing every time allows the brass to expand much more every time it's fired, causing you to lose accuracy and degrade case life. If it gets sized really bad, and has a lot of free space (excessive headspace), it can damage the rifle, and possibly you too. Loading rounds without a headspace tool is like loading in the dark - you are just guessing. Google "headspace" and you'll see much better explanations than I can give. You can get the Hornady LnL Headspace Gauge, which comes with bushings that cover most calibers out there, a Sinclair shoulder bump gauge, which is more expensive, but is a better tool, or an RCBS Presicion Mic, which is my favorite, but is caliber specific, so it gets expensive at around $55 each. L.E. Wilson makes headspace gauges as well, for about $25 each that are caliber specific, and lots of people recommend them, however I've never used one but a few times in the shop - I prefer my RCBS and Hornady sets.

Hope this clears some things up for ya.
Oh, and for long range big game hunting, I have 3 words for you - Barnes Tipped TSX. They are expensive, since they're made out of solid copper, but I have shot everything from deer with the 62 and 70gr. .224" TSX and T-TSX's, within 25 and 270 yards, and also deer up to 670 yards with the 168 and 180gr. .308" TSX and T-TSX's with the .308 and .300 Win Mag. I've never seen one break, and all of them drove a straight path through bone and muscle. There's plenty of other bullets out there that'll suit you, but these are my number one picks. The Berger VLD Hunting line of bullets are also great, although I've only used them in .243 Win on game, and at 230 yards, performed wonderfully, although I'd have liked to see better expansion/disruption. Nosler Accubonds, Ballistic Tips, Hornady SST's, Interbonds, GMX's (solid material, similar to Barnes TSX), Sierra GameKings, Speer Trophy Bonded Bear Claw's, are all outstanding high B.C. long range game killers. I'm also a big fan of the Nosler Partition, however I wouldn't advice them for long range use, since they are lead tipped.

For long range hunting, the most important aspect is your skill and ability. That's more important than caliber selection, bullet selection, optic selection, etc. Only take a shot that you know you can hit 99% of the time. I do most of my long range hunting with a custom .300 Win Mag, that started life as a Winchester M70 Laredo, is now set in a precision stock, has a 26" Lilja barrel, Jewell trigger, and my own custom tuned receiver and bolt... I have taken whitetail up to almost 700 yards with it, but on that particular day, there was no wind whatsoever, I was in an area where I could take my time, and I knew I could make the shot... I've passed on way more shots that I can count that I could've probably made a clean kill, but I feel that the animals deserve more respect than "probably".
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