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Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

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Unread 01-18-2011, 11:52 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Texas
Posts: 74
Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

I've recently gotten into reloading and am getting very interested in / excited about this new and addictive hobby. I am currently just reloading with a friend on his setup and only have one container of powder, a bunch of brass and a box of bullets. I'm looking at buying more types of powder / bullets (online I assume will be my best price / selection) in the very near future. I'm hoping to be able to test out multiple combinations and through some load testing, data analysis, etc. determine what shoots best through my rifle. Any idea where to find the best deals on powders, bullets, etc.?

Also, as I'm currently just using my friends reloading equipment, I hope to aquire a full set to reload everything from a 204 to a 30-378 (eventually); I plan on starting with the 30-378 and going from there over the course of a few years or more. I'm hoping to pick up some equipment, new or used that can do handloads. I would like to focus much more on accuracy / consistancy than loading time. Are there any brands to stay away from or focus on? I would obviously like to do this as economically as possible, but do not wish to give up any measurement accuracy, etc. Can anyone recommend kits or brands to go with as well as websites to look at for making these purchases?

Sorry for the long winded question/s. I'm open to any and all advice.

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 01-19-2011, 08:50 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 194
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

For powder and primers and some brass and bullets, try Powder Valley.

After having done this for a long time, the trying out of multiple bullet and powder combinations has lost its appeal for me. I now consult ballistics tables and reloading manuals to determine what bullet weight would be best/most efficient in a given cartridge, determine what of 1 to 3 powders would be most likely to work and begin load workup with a single good quality bullets of the desired weight. Many times, I commence load workup with a match bullet and when I've found the most accurate load with that, I'll maybe try a hunting bullet of similar weight.

If you have a 30/378 Weatherby, I would suspect you have a Weatherby magazine fed rifle. I found with my 378 Weatherby, that I had to crimp bullets in place to keep them from being pushed into the case under recoil. The very best die for crimping is the Lee Factory Crimp die which, for a case size of the 30/378 Weatherby, will have to be custom made and has a different thread size than the usual dies. For that reason, for you, I would suggest a Lee Classic Cast press which will accept the larger dies and has an adapter allowing you to use regular dies as well.

If it wasn't for your 30/378 Weatherby loading ambitions, I would suggest Redding or RCBS equipment.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 09:10 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: az
Posts: 3,226
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

i use an rcbs rockchucker press, a lyman 1200 powder measure, mostly rcbs dies. primer pocket uniformer from sinclair.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 01:03 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Kodiak
Posts: 179
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

Cant go wrong with an rcbs rockchucker perss. They have a large O and enough torque to size easily. In my area, Have seen used ones in the 90-125 dollar range new is not a lot more.

I have an older ohaus 10-10 that rcbs sells, they are spendy new but they are fast and accurate. Look for them used, there are a lot of 5-10's out there but I really prefer the 10-10. Picked one up recently for 55 at a show. Ususally they go for 80-90, new they are 140ish. Have not used one newer than 15 years old, Have heard that the quality is not what it once was but cannot comment.

I have several sets of older rcbs dies, personal preferance and a series of bad sets put me off the purchase of any more. Most like them however and they are fairly resonable.
Have switched to Redding dies, they are 6-10 dollars more at most retailers but worth it in my opinion. Lee has had some quality improvements in my opinion and for my lower volume and plinking rounds I hava had great luck with them. Had one set of the new hornady dies, personal preferance on use and the softest primimg rod I've ever seen and out the door they went.

Get a trickler, they save a lot of time and make small adjustments easier. The redding is nice but x2 the cost of the Rcbs, I lead filled the base on the rcbs, and put bushings on the tube and Really like it now. With some light chamfering it rarely breaks varget/4350.

As for poweder measures, they really help for speed. The high end reddings are considered to be as consistant as balance beam by some, lots of volume Br guys use them. The hang up is a scale is still needed to check a dial in throws, many of th low end powder measures lack the capacity you will need for the 30-378.

As for prices, I'm not sure how california is but I have not found a retailer outside a big box store that can compete with grafs...midway.. etc. even with shipping factored in.

Good luck with the start in loading its a great hobby, my wife calls it my cocaine once you start no ammount of counseling will kick the habit.
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Unread 01-20-2011, 09:03 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Chatham, VA
Posts: 436
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

My advice is to go buy factory ammo

Reloading, if you like to experiment, is addictive and soon you will have a whole room in the house and god only knows how many thousands of dollars in equipment. I started reloading to save some money, now I hope I live long enough to shoot enough to break even on the deal
"My greatest fear is that after my demise my wife will sell my guns for the price I told her I paid for them"
-don't know where it came from...but true
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Unread 01-20-2011, 10:50 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,787
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

I would not buy a kit. Buy them separate.

Used Rockchucker. Just bought a second one for $75

RCBS 10-10 scale (used $75)

Lee Autoprime (new model) ($20)

Lee case head holder set for autoprime ($15)

Used powder measure, Lee, RCBS ($35-75)

Set of Lee Dippers ($10)

Case trimmer (used Forester or Wilson) $50-75

12" Dial caliper (Harbor Freight $30)

primer pocket tools ($40)

One shot lube($8)

used tumbler ($30)

Dies (Hornady Redding, Forester Bonanza) IMO forget Lyman, RCBS and Lee, others will disagree

Hornady headspace guages ($40)

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Unread 01-21-2011, 06:25 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: AK
Posts: 171
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

what I use:
RCBS deluxe scale checkweight set,
RCBS 10-10 scale and a 505,
Redding Ultra Mag press,
Forster mic-head comp seating dies
Redding Type S FL bushing dies for sizing
Dillon 550b,
RCBS or Redding mic adj powder measure
RCBS flash hole uniforming broach
Sinclair carbide primer pkt uniformer Lg & Sm
Lyman VLD carbide case neck debur tool
Wilson RCBS debur tool
Inertia bullet puller
Collet bullet puller, have RCBS wish had hornady or forster
RCBS stuck case puller or make your own with correct taps.
Carbide die sets for pistol/revolver ctgs
Various powder funnels and MTM ctg boxes,
Sierra loading manual
Mostly Sierra bullets except Nosler or hornady BTHP match bullet to save money.
Mid-South, Graf & Son, Brunos, and Wideners for buying resources
Natchezss.com for occasional deals on Accurate Powders.

You will need the Ultra Mag press to load the .30-378. I had one of those some years back. Great press for all around work would have nothing else. The Dillons do the repetitive work with great reliability.

Good luck!
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