Basic reloading equipment

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by emmagator, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. emmagator

    emmagator Well-Known Member

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    just looking for a list of the very minimal equipment needed to get started loading a quality long range hunting round. Very strapped for cash so just looking for the essentials. Thanks
     
  2. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    If you're strapped for cash, then go with a kit.

    Over time, you'll want to add to it and replace much of the tools. You'll find that everyone has different ideas. So, that'll give you time to shoot and read up.

    In addition to the kit, you'll want a few extras.

    Almost not optional...
    dial or digital calipers
    flash hole deburrer
    primer pocket uniformer
    vld cas mouth chamfer
    better primer seater

    Optional/later...
    bullet ogive measuring adapters for calipers
    headspace measuring adapters for calipers
    COAL gauge
    neco or similar dual v-block concentricity gauge
    neck turning tools

    -- richard
     

  3. emmagator

    emmagator Well-Known Member

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    What is a decent kit to purchase, RCBS?
     
  4. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there's a huge difference between the kits. I bought an RCBS kit many years ago and was fully satisfied and then quit reloading for a long time and later bought the Lyman kit with the T-Mag.

    They were both very much ok.

    However, I've since replaced every component with something better except for the loading blocks and funnel.

    Hope this helps.
    Richard
     
  5. KRP

    KRP Well-Known Member

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    A Lee kit and some Lee dies will load very accurate ammo. Buy a powder trickler for convenience. I have other newer/fancier tools also but there is still a Lee press(among others), two Lee hand primers(all I use), a Lee powder measure(among others), and several sets of Lee dies(among others) on my bench.

    I'm a function over form guy. I don't have a problem spending money on tools, but I use what works and if what works happens to be less expensive than I am all for it.
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Precision is required for a "quality long range round".

    With all respect to Scott, I'm not a believer in buying a reloading kit if your goal is precision loading and precision shooting. It's OK for hobby reloading if your goal is to produce factory level quality, but if you're looking for precision, you need precision tools. As Scott has mentioned, he has replaced all of those components, so the best thing to do from the start, is to purchase every piece according to the needed function. Every measured charge must be exact and consistent. Brass must be prepped to be uniform and concentric, especially necks. Bullets must also be seated concentric with consistent neck tension.

    Most reloading equipment is of good quality. There's not a lot of difference in quality of presses and balance beam scales. Probably the most important components are the dies, especially the seating die. You want good quality sizing dies to get consistent and concentric brass and a good quality seating die to seat bullets concentrically.

    Expander type sizing dies are the most simple and require less prep than bushing dies, but bushing dies allow you to accurately adjust neck tension and cause a lot less work hardening of the brass. But if you use bushing dies you should turn your necks to get consistent neck tension. If you use an expander sizing die, place a rubber "O" ring just above the expander ball to help facilitate a concentrically sized neck.

    Get a competition bullet seater,... 'nuff said.

    Shop around for the other stuff here and on Ebay or Cabella's or Midway, etc,. last time I checked Cabella's has a good set of "Cabella's dial calipers" for a good price.

    Scott also made a good list of other components to get.

    Read up on this site because it is rich with very valuable info. Do a lot of research before you start buying.

    Good shooting,

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  7. Shooter98

    Shooter98 Well-Known Member

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    I bought the Lee classic kit for $89 from Midwaysusa.com last month and have loaded a couple hundred rounds already. It's a great kit for starting I feel. I just had to buy my dies, and a caliper and that was about it to get started. teh kit includes a primer pocket cleaner, a deburring tool, shell holder, a scale etc....

    Hard to beat for an entry level kit at $89.
     
  8. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Mark is right about planning ahead and budgeting for quality tools.

    But, I don't necessarily think it should preclude you from moving forward.

    I do disagree in that I think the Forster Co-ax press is heads and tails above the rest unless you get into arbor presses with hand dies.

    We all have our own ideas of precision and long range. For some, it's MOA at 500 yds and for others, it's 1/4 MOA at 1500 yds.

    I will say that it's addictive and once you have a little success, you'll want to continually push yourself which will dictate tighter quality controls.

    -- richard
     
  9. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I should probably clarify on press quality... there are some presses that have some features that making reloading a little easier and convienient, but I think most of the available presses are able to produce a quality precision round worthy of accurate LR shooting. I have used a Rock Chucker for many years and it seems to do fine. But I sure wouldn't mind a Forster Co-Ax or a Redding T-7. IMO the tools that are most important are brass prep tools and bullet seater.

    I agree with moving forward, I would just take a hard look at any kit for items that won't be used or will eventually replaced.

    -Mark
     
  10. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    ...and, the best brass prep tool is to start with good brass.
     
  11. emmagator

    emmagator Well-Known Member

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    Is one starter kit better than another? Any suggestions on a kit as far as brand goes?
     
  12. jflester

    jflester Well-Known Member

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    I bought RCBS back in 1984. Rock Chucker Kit. Came with a lot of basics. As like may things in life, it got set aside and just recently got pulled from storage and put back into use. ( Kids are gone and I have time now)It needed some work and due to rust, some parts needed to be replaced.
    I called RCBS for the parts I needed. They sent them...................no cost. That impressed me, a great deal. My Chucker works fine, I get quality loads and I'm happy with it. Like anything else, I need to buy dies for all the different calibers rifle and pistol. I'm still buying dies and other reloading tools, seems to be a never ending process.
    For me, the RCBS kit was the beginning. It serves me well. Choice is yours as Hornady, RCBS, Lyman etc all seem to make good stuff.
     
  13. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to reloading equipment features, there are some that promote convenience, and some that promote accuracy or both. A turret press is an example of the former. The snap-in/out floating die retention of the Forster Co-Ax is an example of the latter (both). However, it is difficult to evaluate what will work well for you without having some basis of experience, so that you can decide what features you would like or dislike. The Forster Co-Ax also has several other convenience and/or accuracy promoting features not available on other conventional reloading presses. That is not to say that a good quality press cannot be used to reload very accurate ammunition, but it does make it easier to more consistently load accurate ammunition.

    For sizing, it is hard to beat the Lee Collet neck die, and impossible to do so for the price of the Lee. Just polish the collet/closer interface and replace the lock ring, and it is a top-notch neck sizing die.

    For seating, choose a seating die that aligns the entire case, bullet and seating plug prior to inserting the bullet into the case mouth. Forster originated this design, and offers it as their standard Benchrest seating die. It is also available with a micrometer seating depth adjustment as the Ultra Benchrest seating die. The internal guts are exactly the same on both dies; the micrometer only makes it easier to return to a specific seating depth. Redding copied the Forster design after their patent expired, and offers it as their Competition Rifle seating die, available only with the micrometer. It also has an excellent reputation, but is significantly more expensive than either of the Forster seaters.

    Beware of other so-called "competition" seating dies. RCBS offers a windowed seating die that is similar, but only engages the case neck for alignment, rather than the entire case body as those above do. Hornady offers a non-windowed seater that is internally similiar to the RCBS Competition seating die. Redding's Competition Pistol seating die does not have a sliding alignment sleeve at all, just a micrometer depth adjustment. Hornady is the only manufacturer that offers an alignment sleeve in handgun cartridge seating dies.

    I also like the L.E. Wilson case trimmer. Sinclair offers a lot of very nice accessories that are also very expensive (more so than the base trimmer!) but not really necessary for convenient, accurate and consistent case trimming. The Wilson holds your case in a tapered holder that mimics the chamber of the rifle in which it is fired. No collets or neck pilots are required, and the same tapered case holder works for an entire family of cartridges that share the same parent case body and taper.

    Andy