Just got the reloading bug...need help in deciding

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by bbush, Sep 23, 2019.


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  1. bbush

    bbush New Member

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    I am in the process of building a AR15 and want to get into the reloading game in order to maximize my accuracy. I will also be reloading for my various hunting rifles and pistols from time to time. First, let me say, I am just beginning, so I don't really know what I need. I have been looking around and I think I have narrowed my reloading press choices down to RCBS or Hornandy based the fact that they seem to be the two most common brands. Is there any other brand that I should consider? Is there a reason that I should go with either the RCBS or Hornady over the other? In choosing my press, I don't want to make some mistake like "RCBS presses will only load rifle cartridges whereas the Hornady can be used to load rifle and pistol cartridges". Or, "the RCBS presses will except any brand of turrets and dies while the Hornady will only except Hornady branded items". Second, I am trying to decide between a single stage and a progressive stage reloading press. Is there any advantage to the progressive stage press other than speed? If it helps, I will only probably reloading a hundred to two hundred rounds at a time maybe once a month or so. Based on the above statements, does anyone have a recommendation on a specific reloader that will fit my needs? The three presses that I had my eye on before posting in this forum were RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic, and Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Progressive. Thanks for any comments back.
     
  2. YZ-80

    YZ-80 Well-Known Member

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    When I got into this game in 2008, I got an RCBS Rock chucker single stage press and have never looked back. I very successfully reload for all my deer and Varmint rifles, my AK variants, my ARs and my GP 100 (.38 and .357). I think the progressive press (think Dillon) comes into the picture if you are a volume shooter of semi-auto pistols, but I maybe all wet on that one.

    I’ve had good luck RCBS dies but have some Redding dies too. Some may argue that they are not necessary but I do use the specialized RCBS “small based” dies for my ARs with more than satisfactory results. I also use a Wilson gage to make sure all my sized AR brass is in spec. No FTFs yet!

    This is a good forum and you should get plenty of useful replies to your query. Cheers!
     
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  3. memtb

    memtb Well-Known Member

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    I’m a big fan of “turret” presses, though, I’m in the minority! It gives you the opportunity to “set-up” 3 - 2 die sets without constantly making adjustments or removing/replacing dies. If “ultimate” accuracy is desired....this may not be the answer! Though....I’ve no problem keeping my 3 shot groups under 1 1/2” @ 300 yards with my “fairly” lightweight (9#) .375 AI. My wife’s .338 WM (box stock Win Model 70), repeatedly keeps 3 shots under 2” @300 yrds. So.....I guess the “turret” press isn’t all that bad! I’ve had pretty good luck since the ‘70’s, and “turret” presses are vastly improve over what a “poor boy” could afford in the ‘70’s!

    If you get serious about extreme accuracy....then step-up the the high-end equipment!

    memtb
     
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  4. cross

    cross Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Rock Chucker. The kit has pretty much everything you’ll need to get started except dies. I’ve been rocking a Rockchucker for over 30 years and produce everything from 300 RUMs to 9mms with it. I’ve upgraded everything from the kit over time except the press. I have no idea about Hornady’s press, probably works fine. My recommendation would be to start with the kit, get some dies (I use Lee, RCBS, Redding, Pacific, and Forster dies all on my Rockchucker) depending on what it is I have, what I need, and how much money I want to spend on it) get a reloading manual, or two, or 3, and READ THEM. They do a pretty good job of explaining what you need to do and then use the internet and forums like this to really get down in the weeds on tools, techniques, and components.

    In fact, maybe before you buy a press, just go buy a good reloading manual (Speer, Nosler, or Hornady, etc.) read it from the front to where the load recipes start and you’ll learn a lot.
     
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  5. Dosh

    Dosh Well-Known Member

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    Like cross, I have the Rock Chucker my wife bought for me many years ago. I don't have any of the other accessories that came with it. All upgraded. I'm in the process of changing to Forster dies in the calibers I load for and have a large collection of RCBS dies for other calibers, just in case they're needed. Also not a fan of electronic powder throwers (I've had them all) and only use a good quality balance beam (my preference), but I don't load large quantities. An accurate case trimmer and quality calipers are a must as well. Good luck
     
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  6. rogerstv

    rogerstv Well-Known Member

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    There is a video where 12 - 15 presses were reviewed side by side comparing a multitude of factors. Rock Chucker placed fairly high and is a solid choice. I have one because it was a hand-me-down. No complaints.

    Would be worth your time to watch the video. Precision reloading or something close to that comes to mind.
     
  7. cross

    cross Well-Known Member

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    Yep, you’ll also need a trimmer and a dial caliper. It’s always something
     
  8. lancetkenyon

    lancetkenyon Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    To be honest, it will take a long time to recover any savings, and to get really good at your reloading practices. But now is the time to start. The RCBS Rockchucker kit is a good start. Upgrade/add as you see fit.

    Welcome to the rabbit hole of reloading.
     
  9. cross

    cross Well-Known Member

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    Hey! If you want to recover your reloading costs faster, start shooting lots of 300 or 340 Weatherby shells. You’ll recover your costs within the first few boxes of ammo!

    I guess I should have added the caveat that if you’re loading 300 Rum or 338 Lapua ammo, the Rock Chucker press is a bit small. Other than that...
     
  10. bassassassin104

    bassassassin104 Member

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    Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading kit. It is on sale for $279 right now. It is a good starter kit. Not sure I can say where without getting myself in trouble, but it starts with a cab and you can figure out the elas.
     
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  11. Dosh

    Dosh Well-Known Member

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    Very tricky!!
     
  12. Axl

    Axl Well-Known Member

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    I have a Rock Chucker that is at least 30 years old can't go wrong there. As far as 338 LM being too long for it, i have loaded hundreds of them and 416 rigby which is longer than the 338 LM, with no issues.
     
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  13. tdot

    tdot Well-Known Member

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    Rock chucker is a great press, but, I have limited time. One of the beat changes I made to my bench was installing a Forster Co-Ax, but my favourite part about it is that all of my dies have rings on them, bullet pullers, expander die, decapper. This makes it very fast to swap dies, they dont need to be reset. It is a very versatile system. Sorta like a turret press, without the negatives.

    There are other presses out there that have this feature now, Frankford Arsenal comes to mind. I think that feature is the most underrated aspect of the Co-Ax and that style of press.
     
  14. shooter7

    shooter7 Well-Known Member

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    Spend some time watching videos from Johnny's Reloading Bench and Ultimate Reloader on YouTube. Lots of good information there.

    As others mentioned, buy a good reloading manual and read all the stuff before the load data section.


    With the volume of shooting that you mentioned (100-200 rounds a month) a single stage press would be fine. I do about 200 a month on a Lee Hand Press. I think the RCBS Rock Chucker kit is a great kit to start on plus it'll last the rest of your life. I'm not sure about your budget but if the RCBS and Hornady kitsch are too much there's always the Lee Breechlock kit. They can be had for as low as $110 during sales. You can add calipers, dies, shell holders and some loading blocks and be ready to start in less than $200


    With the exception of 50BMG dies and presses, pretty much all manufacturers use the same thread pattern on dies and presses. You shouldn't have a problem with die/press compatibility.