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Reloading Berger Bullets


Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

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Unread 01-23-2011, 10:19 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 899
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

If I were starting over I would get the Forster co-ax press.
I have a Rockchucker but I like the Forster much better.
I may even sell my Rockchucker to get the Forster.
Forster dies are also very good.
Lee collet dies are also very good for the money. I just get the deluxe set that has all 3 dies in it.
Lee dies are the best value in reloading.
The rcbs auto powder measure is a good buy for reloading alot of ammo.
Of course with ball powder I often use the Lee Perfect Powder measure and dispense straight from it.
It's embarrassing how accurate that little $20 powder measure is.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 09:12 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Texas
Posts: 74
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

Sorry it's been so long since I've been on the computer to reply. I can't wait to start putting together my own set of equipment! Thanks to each of you for your help here!
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Unread 01-31-2011, 10:15 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Colorado, Front Range
Posts: 561
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

If you have a sportsmans warehouse near you they cant be beat on the price of powder and primers. They are right inline with a lot of online stores and you don't have to pay the shipping and hazmat fee.
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Unread 02-01-2011, 05:56 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 248
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

there is some sound advice here on equipment preferences.. You are getting into one heck of an addiction.. A rockchucker, a rcbs or redding scale, and set of lee dies (dont buy a kit, do some research).. many sites on components and such,; too many to list, suggest you buy various primer/powders in a single shipment with the hazmat fees..
may I ask what other chamberings you are planning, maybe start out with something more modest to get you going?? say .243 ?
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Unread 02-02-2011, 11:33 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: greenwood, IN
Posts: 4,057
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

first of all those big cases will become a chore with most presses made. Get a Forster or something even more powerfull (P&S). The powder measurers out there will not throw those slow long grained powders very well. Buy yourself a Lyman #55 and get the Sinclair bottle adapter for it. You'll still have to trickle into a scale pan. I use a similar setup or a Harrell Culver measurer. I weigh with a Pact electronic scale. Before that I used an Ohaus 304. The Pact sent it to the fleamarket. Of course you could buy one of the electronic dispensers, but they are big bucks. The Forster press comes with an excellent primer tool, and dosn't need shell holders. You probably won't turn necks, so I won't go there. But for a case trimmer it's hard to beat a Wilson, and they can be had fairly cheap on Ebay. I do recommend at least buying a good dial caliper (do go cheap). I use a Mitutoyo, but own about eight pairs. I like the Mitutoyos because of their ease in resetting the zero when a gain of powder gets in the gears. Digitals are fine as well, and any of the better brands will do a fine job. The best runout gauge is a NECO, and this gauge will do more than you'll probably ever want to do. Also get yourself a Hornaday case gauge to help set the headspace deminsions in the dies. They also make a nice overall length gauge that is pretty much a copy of the Davidson.

As for the press and dies, there are lots of good dies out there. Forster and Redding are the best out there. Personally I like the sizer ball setup on the Forster a little better, and think the seater is better with the Forster (but not by much) than the Redding. I'd ask around to find somebody that has the big Redding and the RCBS presses, along with a Forster. Try sizing a half dozen cases in each press, and pick out the one that fits your needs.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 03:36 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mountians of SW NC, near Asheville
Posts: 1,595
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

Everyone likes to point a new guy towards what they "use"; I don't. What I use can easily be duplicated with any of several other brands or models and I know it. Many people spend far more on prestige tools than they will ever see any advantage from.

I've been doing this stuff a looong time and have used a LOT of different tools, enough to know that unless a rifle - and shooter - are capabile of sub .5 MOA accuracy, the brand/model of press, dies, etc, really doesn't make any average difference on targets. Few new - or old - guys can do that well, never mind better! I've used and measured the results of a lot of dies in a lot of cartridges and all brands (except Dillon) and can assure you that there is as much difference between individual dies of the same brand as there is between brands. That's true of comparable model presses, etc, too.

Do a web search for "Dan Newberry OCW system" and take a look at the list of "tools" on the left side of his home page. He not only lists the tools actually needed for accurate reloading. I don't fully agree with him item by item but you sure won't go wrong with what he suggests. (Well, I would suggest you get a Lee Classic Cast press instead of the RCBS Partner since you plan to load some really big cases.) Dan correctly addresses some popular but frivilous/costly tools too. And read how he does quick and accurate load development with the "Optimum Charge Method" as well.

All any digital scale or dumpster can add to a loading session is a bit of "saved" time and not a lot of that. Such electronic gadgets are costly and using them sure won't show any effect at the range. Get any common beam scale and know that it not only will be highly accurate and sensitive but, unless you physically damage it, it will last forever with no loss of effectiveness.

Last edited by boomtube; 02-03-2011 at 03:46 PM.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 12:35 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: greenwood, IN
Posts: 4,057
Re: Starting From Scratch - Reloading Equipment Needed

locate a Rockchucker, a Redding and a few others, and try full length sizing with the same die set. Some presses are easier for some to work with than others. I use two different presses for different operations. An RCBS and a Forster. The only thing I do with the RCBS is with some case rework operations that are much easier with an O frame press. I can full length size .300 mag brass with two fingers all day long while watching a ball game on the TV with the Forster. As I said big cases become a chore after awhile, and are very hard on presses. I've been using my Forster since the summer of 1978, and when I finally croak, I expect to still be using it.

If you have to have a beam scale, then buy a Ohaus 304. The rest are toys. But for a fraction of the money you can buy a good electronic scale that's much more accurate. The best measurer is a Belding & Mull or a Jones or Harrell. The B&M is long outta business, but it's the one for cutting long grained powders. The Jones is very good, but not really anybetter than a Harrell Culver, and a Harrell Culver is no better than a Lyman #55 with a Culver insert. And the Culver insert is maybe .05 grain better in repeatability. If ball powders are your game the Lyman will go +-.12 of a grain all day long, and a good one will do .07 of a grain all day long. The #55 is cheap, and you pretty much gotta spend twice that to get one as good. You can buy the Lyman with the bottle adapter and a couple drop tubes for about the same price as a Redding 3BR in the box. The Lyman is better. Then you buy a Pact electronic scale for another $85, and you have a more usable outfit than the Harrell or Jones (they work best with fine grained powders at 45 grains or less)

The best seaters out there (threaded die) are from Forster. This is proven out almost daily. A Wilson seater is only slightly better. The Redding neck sizer is probably the best because it uses Wilson bushings ( a Forster uses Forster bushings); otherwise they are the same quality. The sizer ball on a Forster is in a better location than the others, and usually necks will be straiter.
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