Precision reloading equipment, what do you use?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by 188MULE, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. 188MULE

    188MULE Well-Known Member

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    Howdy, My reloading equipment works fine but I have always been wondering if there is some equipment that the more experienced reloaders on this site consider to be a step above the rest as for as precision and accuracy are concerned. Let me know what you think. And what equipment would you consider a must have to produce ammo that will always produce out to 1000 yds.


    188mule
     
  2. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    Buying every new gimick that comes along is a crapshoot. I have acquired a lot of stuff that did not produce good results and now just collects dust.

    I do like Wilson trimmer, dies, an arbor press (old, no I.D. on it) ; my old RCBS Rockchucker toggle press; Redding Competition die sets; Mitutoyo caliper, digital micrometer and tubing mike; K&M neck turner and primer seater; Holland concentricity guage; Harrells powder measure; and Hornady digital scales.

    All of these are pretty much basic tools for competition. There are of course, many others. You should get a catalog from Sinclair International; you will find their products are first class.
     

  3. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "...a must have to produce ammo that will always produce out to 1000 yds."

    Reloading 'accuracy' is derived from knowledge, loading skill and load development methods. None of that can be bought in a box of any color or price. For several years the 1,000 yd. BR accuracy record was held by a shooter who used a Lee press and dies.

    I understand your intent but the premise of your question is false; many tools can be interchanged. There is no tool nor combination of tools that will "produce ammo that will always produce out to 1000 yds" even IF you and your rig is capabile of that.

    Good luck.
     
  4. 188MULE

    188MULE Well-Known Member

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    Boomtube, Sounds like your very knowledgeable on the reloading subject what kind of equipment do you use? I know that there are certain pieces of equipment that you will use every time you will reload. Maybe brand does not matter, but I'm sure you have your tools you view as indispensable. What might those be?


    188mule
     
  5. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    188mule,

    actually, brand DOES make a difference. The problem is, there's no one brand that has the corner on the market. Seems like all of them make some items that are the absolute best out there, and others that are, well, paperweights and bench clutter. LEE makes a lot of stuff that I really have little use for, putting it politely. They also make some items, like their Factory Crimp Dies that are absolutely indispensible, and the best available at any price. They also make a ridiculously inexpensive priming tool, that still sees a great deal of use in the Bench Rest community, a field where performance matters most and price is rarely discussed. Don't get locked into one brand alone; take the time to find out about the various makes, and see the differences between them. In general, I'd say it's hard to go wrong with Forster or Redding, and Sinclair makes some very neat little tools. RCBS has a long and well established line, and pretty decent quality in most items. Dillon's tough (if not impossible) to beat for progressives. Point is, they all make some decent stuff, and some that you'd be better off not wasting the money on.
     
  6. sakoluvr

    sakoluvr Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the other posters about equipment. Even the most basic stuff will produce good ammo.

    However, I do believe in sorting brass and culling. That means using quality brass if you don't want to toss a bunch to the side. Consistent neck thickness is paramount IMHO for accuracy. Bullet concentricity is a MUST have. Starting with top quality brass, and checking bullet concentricity with a gage will shrink groups and eliminate those so called fliers.
     
  7. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'm like the rest in that I also have personal opinions on equipment and what you can do with it.

    * all presses pretty much work the same, but I like the Forster. It's big and heavy, and is extremely square

    * I use dies from everybody but Lee. But for something that's gotta be very accurate I use Forster and a few Reddings (with reservations). For my strait walled cases in revolvers I still like the Lymans as well as anyother I've tried.

    * I weigh powder with a Pact scale (have two actually). I throw charges with a Harrell Culver style or a Lyman #55. Neither does long stick powder all that well, so will setup a half grain short and trickle in the rest on the scale.

    * I own several pairs of calipers (both dial and electronic), but day in and day out I use a pair of 4" Mitutoyo dial calipers as much as anything. I also use two or three different pairs of micrometers, and still prefer a very old Starrett with standard steel anvils instead of carbide (I like the feel I get out of them)

    * I also use an old Stoneypoint gauge as well as their case gauge setup. (For headspace)

    * I measure neck I.D.s with a set of small hole gauges and a 1" micrometer

    * I check my cases and loaded rounds with a homebrew gauge that I may go ahead and market

    * I trim cases with a Wilson trimmer (strait walled cases with a Lyman) that I reworked

    * seat primers with a K&M or the Forster press, but have several others we often hear about. These two by far are the best

    * lastly, I do not use cheap dial indicators. I use a .0005" Interrapid most of the time, but will also use a .001" Last Word or a GEM as well. I have a couple cigar boxes full of indicators, but these are my favorites.

    I also reload at the range a lot. And here I use a small K&M arbor press and Wilson dies. I throw powder with one of the above two measurers, and use a Pact BBK scale out there.
    gary
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  8. 188MULE

    188MULE Well-Known Member

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    My equipment is a mix of used and new that I've purchased over the years.

    Presses; American corp model 6, Small lee and Dillon 550b
    Scale; Technical ballistic laboratory model 5
    Case trimmer: RCBS
    Powder thowers; RCBS, Herters
    Powder trickler; RCBS
    Primer seat; Lachmiller and Lee
    Midway dial caliper

    RCBS dies 16
    Redding 2

    I still need a few things but a neck turner and concentricity gauge are the next on the list.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  9. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    I'm set up similar to this post.

    I like the Sinclair priming tool. I have one for large primers and one for small plus all of the shell holders that I need for the cartridges that I reload pre-mounted in the ring.

    I use Sinclair's micrometer trimmer on all but .223. Setup is easy and it repeats well. For .223 I use a Giraud trimmer. I've got "dies" for .308 and 7mm Rem Mag for the Giraud but .223 is the only round that I load large lots of and the Giraud makes life good for trimming bulk ammo. I've checked it a gillion times and it's always within .0003 or so. Well within my micrometer reading skills.

    I've tried using Lee dies for my long guns and they frustrate the crap out of me. They are too sloppy for my liking.

    One last thing that I think is one of the most critical components is the reloader. You. The person setting everything up and pulling the handle. The more meticulous you are the better the results.
     
  10. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I think the Sinclair trimmer is made by Wilson (they sure look the same). I rebuilt mine years ago as it was starting to show some wear. I have a micrometer head on mine. Reworked the cutter (never cut that great) after speaking with an old man that sharpened cutters for a living. He said it wasn't ground right, and actually ground to cut steel. Sure cuts good now!

    I like the Sinclair priming tool, but it dosn't work well with my hands. The K&M is similar, but dosn't cause me problems. Still the Forster press seats every primer .004 to .005" under the face each and everytime.
    gary
     
  11. Mike6158

    Mike6158 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The Forster primer is pretty dang good. The only reason I don't use the Forster primer seater is I'm lazy and I don't like changing from large to small primer and vice versa
     
  12. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you. My press is a 1978 model, and still uses the regular shell holders with the priming device. I wish somebody would make a hand held device that uses the Forster plunger and the old style shell holder. The hock shops would be loaded with Sinclairs and all the others.
    gary
     
  13. Forester

    Forester Well-Known Member

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    No one brand covers it all, but here are the basics that I like.

    Forster Co-Ax Press

    RCBS powder measure with the micrometer...but almost any measure will work since I generally trickle charges up on a Hornady Beam scale.

    Forster and Redding dies...I generally favor the Forster seater dies and either Redding S-type sizing dies or Forster Bushing bump dies.

    Wilson trimmer on the Sinclair base with the micrometer adjustment

    RCBS bench mounted primer seater. I bought it and the Forster and tried them side by side...and settled on the RCBS

    Forster Case neck turner, eventually this will be upgraded to the Sinclair. The Forster does a fine job if you are attentive to it. But I think the Sinclair tool works better.

    If you are going to be spending money somewhere to improve your reloading, the very first place must be your measuring tools. If you cannot measure accurately the product of your work then you don't have any idea where to make changes.

    Starret, Mitutoyo, and Sinclair rule the day here. Good calipers, ball and standard mic, Sinclair concentricity gauge

    The Hornady OAL tool works well.

    Hornady comparator body with their headspace inserts and Sinclair ogive inserts.
     
  14. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I'd avoid the Sinclair neck turner! I've had two of them, and they are a pain to adjust. The problem is that their bodies are made from aluminum, and then they are using a steel screw in there. Aluminum and steel do not work well together, and the threads will sieze after it sets for awhile. Also their cutter is not the best for the job, and then there is the well known mandrel issue. If I buy another it will be a K&M, or else build my own.

    I did fix the thread siezing problem by installing a steel thread insert in the body, but still have had problems from time to time with the cutter siezing up in the body. I also built two knew bodies out of 304 stainless steel, and gave them away with the intention of making three or four more. Of course I never got the time to do it!

    There's also another neck turner that interests me. Wilson does one, but think it needs a longer frame than the trimmer. With the case secured in the body mimicking the chamber; I think it would be very concentric
    gary