Trying to get into handloading and wanting to ask everyone what the easiest setup was to get started. I have looked at the RCBS starters kit as well as a couple others. Just wondering, is there any advantages going with one brand over the other? Are the starter kits the best way to go? Or is it better to buy individual components? I was also wondering if the starters kits gives you all the components (besides cases, powder, bullets, primers, dies, etc.) you need? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
If you get a hundred shooters to post, every one will use something different in equipment, and individual steps. A really good place to start is to buy a reloading manual such as RCBS, and read the section on setting up, case prep, loading steps, and loading safety. This will give you a starting place. Then look at equipment, components, loading station layouts, etc. If you know someone who loads, ask to watch them. See what they use, how they do it, and where they are set up. If you run into specific questions, get on this forum and ask.
I use a Rockchucker press, an Ohaus scale, plastic funnel, a Forster case trimmer, de-burring tool, and a dial caliper. Also RCBS, Hornady, Redding, Lee, and Lyman dies. For volume loading, a good powder measure speeds up the process, and a priming tool. A lot of really good handloaders use a hand priming tool. I don't load large amounts of ammo, so I just use the priming arm on the press. I also weigh every powder charge.
Advice: don't be distracted while loading; and look in every case before starting to seat bullets. A case with no powder in it is a potential DISASTER.
Get educated and then get started. I've never known a serious shooter who hasn't reloaded at one time or another.
Good luck and good shooting, Tom
Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member
A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
My advice ESPECIALLY if you will be loading for more than one cartridge is to get a three station press -one that will hold three die's .
Get a second three die turret to hold the three bullet seating die's.
That way you can skip the time of screwing in different dies and getting them set-up and ready to load and your loaded cartridges will likely be much more consistant.
You can use the press that comes w/a kit for bullet pulling ,someday you'll probably have to pull some for whatever reason.
I started w/a lee anniversary kit ,but got tired of swapping dies as stated.
The kits come w/ the basics -get a micrometer ,dies ,3 turret set-up and brass -bullets -powder -primers and you're rolling.
Get everything -sit down and look it all over and do a little reading from your loading manual and you'll be turning out custom super accurate ammo.
Like Tom said have your mind on what you're doing...-Mike
AIPAC for president !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
specweldtom has it right your going to get alot of different opinions.
He also gave you very very good advice. buy a hand loading book first and foremost. I think the Sierra reloading manual is one of the best. it is detailed and there is a lot of information on the ins and outs along with some ballistic information.
As far as equipment, well thats anybodys call. I personally like redding presses and I like there balance scale, I like Dillons elec. scale and RCBS has what I think is one of the best priming bench top tools. I like most anything forester makes
I guess the question is will you settle for wal-mart tools or do you prefer snap-on, the wal-mart tools work but your going to get a bloody knuckle along the way. I like tools to do what they are supposed to not what they should do. I just happen to feel the Redding presses are the better press but the forester co-ax is a fine press as well but has its limitations on how long of a cartridge your trying to load.
I load custom loads for a handful of people around the country and this is what I use;
Redding turret press and an ultrmag press for making unique brass
redding balance scale
RCBS bench priming tool
Redding micro case trimmer
Dillon elec scale for sorting.
forester DBT set up for chamfer and deburr work
sinclair runout tool
sinclair neck thinkness guage
sinclair flash hole deburr tool
and redding and forester dies all micro seaters.
Now for my opinion on value Redding sells the boss and bigboss kits I'm not sure about the boss press because I have never used one but the bigboss press is a good press and they sell it in a kit with mostly what you will need to reload. I'm farely certian that they run about 300.00 but the press should last a long time.
there is more than one way to skin a dead cat, so to speak.
The easiest way to get started is to purchase a kit and read a good loading manual like nosler, RCBS, Speer. I started with the Lee Anaversary special back in 93 and loaded for a few years before upgrading. The kit is only a couple hundred dollars comes w/ press, dump, cheap scale, cheap but supprisingly OK priming tool.
I will tell you what I use and what I load: I load only 2-4 hundred rounds per year on average (every couple years I get a friend who wants about 400 rounds for varmint). I load for one rifle primarily and sometimes will switch to a second or third cal.
I still use the Lee challenger press (cheap lee aniversery special kit), I use a drop tube funnel for all my powder dumping. Lee powder dispenser (cheap from the anniversary kit yet). Lyman LE 1000 didgital scale. RCBS trimmer. RCBS prep center; VLD case deburing tool, primer pocked cutter, flash hole deburing tool. RCBS hand universal priming tool. $25 dial caliper accurate to .001". I have switched to Redding standard dies (neck and fl and standard seater). Lyman case cleaning tumbler.
You can load with a press powder dump and a set of dies, everything else is for comfort and accuracy.
Here is a list of suggestions if you plan on loading approximately the same way I do - only my opinion of course.
I would get a single stage (O)press again either a Lee for cost or a Redding Big boss for being one of the better ones out there (35 for the lee and 110 for the redding)
Hand priming tool, Lee or RCBS, I never liked using a press to prime with.
500 grain ballence scale for about $40
hand case deburing tool and primer pocket cleaning tool.
Lee hand powder dispenser- used to get close to the right weight of powder.
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --
If your new to reloading you will learn a great deal by finding a buddy to show you the ropes and take you through the process, you must have someone close to where you live who wouldn't mind spending a few hours showing you the ropes. If you can't think of someone go to your range and ask around theres bound to be someone willing to help you out.
A couple of pointers:
Take time to learn the safety aspects of the craft, think you can ignore them at your peril, you just might end up killing yourself.
If you get a buddy to help you a small favour or a few beers (after your done reloading) always helps.
Good luck and remember Rookey, a question about reloading is NEVER stupid! if you don't know ask there are plenty of fine members here willing to help all you gotta do is ask.
Vegetarian is an old Indian word for lousy hunter!