I have been learning reloading through reading and with the help of a friend. It is time for me to start buying my own equipment. I would prefer to only have to buy right, buy once. By this I mean I want to get quality stuff right away and not have to upgrade later. I am sure I will be doing this for a long time and want to get this right. I plan on loading for quality not quantity. I was wondering what you all would recommend, I have no equipment at all. Is there starter packs out there that don't come with low quality components. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
The powder system is the heart of your reloading process. I agree with Woods; if you can afford it, the RCBS ChargeMaster Combo makes for the simplest solution to reloading's biggest problem. In lieu of that, an RCBS beam scale (502, 505 or 10-10) with a set of Lee dippers and a Redding trickler. Either way, you'll get accurate, consistent measures.
PRESS: Redding or Forster Co-Ax, your choice. They all do good work.
DIES: Redding and Forster
HAND PRIMING TOOL: RCBS Universal or Lee AutoPrime
CASE TRIMMER: Wilson on Sinclair base (available as a unit from Sinclair)
VLD case chamfer tool (Lyman or RCBS)
Imperial sizing wax
Sinclair catalog - great accessories
Start with this stuff and you won't be wishing you had something else.
Last edited by Winchester 69; 03-26-2009 at 04:00 PM.
Fact is, a good loader can assemble excellant ammo on about anything currently available. A poor loader can't, no matter how much he spends on equipment. Meaning, the most critical eliment is YOU!
Kits are okay, in a way, in that you don't have to make any decisions about the basic tools, but I don't care for "kits". I buy my gear based on features, not brand. I would hate to have to start with a batch of tools all the same color since that wouldn't fit my methods very well. If you get a kit, it really won't make much difference which one, in the long run.
Fancy and expensive tools, such as digital powder dispensers, turret/progressive presses, powered case trimmers, micrometer heads on seater dies, etc., can make loading faster but do absolutely NOTHING to improve the quality of your ammo. And it can actually impede the quest for quality if you get caught up in seeing volumes of rapidly made ammo. Your current perspective on that is GOOD!
Top grade 7/8" x 14 dies (meaning Redding and Forster, ONLY, IMHO) are nice. Sorta. Actually, the difference in ammo made with ANY of the less expensive dies (which are all quite good) on average, I've found one brand is about as good as any other. The much more expensive dies are really not all that much greater, and that not instantly. I use the better dies for my better rifiles, now, and love them. But it took a loong time for me to become a sufficently good reloader to actually see any difference in using them. My more common factory sporting rifles can't tell if I loaded the ammo iwth Lee or Redding/Forster dies.
SO! Get a good, solid single stage press (the Lee Classic Cast is as good as any , better than some and a LOT less expensive too), actually any current press of that type will do nicely. A good (beam) powder scale (RCBS 505 is great). Dies/shell holders. A case trimmer (a simple one). Get a double ended case deburring tool, any brand. A drum type powder dispenser with a "micrometer head" and a heavy trickler (OK, both of these should be Redding's). A powder funnel, any brand. Two loading blocks in a size to match each of your cartridges. An inexpensive 6" stainless steel dial caliper (maybe an inexpensive micrometer too?). A tumbler is nice, any will do as well as any other, ditto the media type. A Lee Autoprime tool, and its shellholder kit. "Imperial Die Wax" or Hornady's "Unique" case lube(applied with finger tips) is as good as it gets.
Perhaps the most important single reloading "tool" is a good bench with lots of strength, lots of storage and lots of light. All that rarely gets mentioned but it's VERY important. Most of us build our own so lots of us have some good ideas about benches and it needs thread of it's own.
You are absolutely right Boomtube.....but it is nice getting a ready packed box full of reloading goodies!
Good counsel also on the most important piece of kit being the reloader...I will not treat myself to a swanky co-ax press until I feel I have outgrown my current £20 Lee outfit....and I am not there yet!!