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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't reload, and have never reloaded. I was getting much of my 9mm and shotgun ammo for free, and even when I pay most of it is very inexpensive. I have always wondered about reloading though for more expensive rifle ammo and maybe just for a hobby. I have no clue what ity would take to get into reloading, and if I were going to do so I would need to know what is needed.

1) What are the basic reloader requirements to set up a complete basic reloading operation?

2) What are the complete reload requirements to set up a fairly advanced reloading setup - the deal with the progessive reloaders (I think that is what you call them, the ones that automatically cover each step) so that someone would be able to reload lots of rounds more quickly.

Thanks
 

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I would look at the RCBS Rockchucker kit. It comes with everything you need to get started.

RIKA
 

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The absolute minimum to reload ammo would be a Lee Loader and a plastic hammer, plus components. It's slow and a PIA to use, but it works and costs about $14.

The minimum for a decent setup would be:
1.) A press. Can be a hand press like the Lee, or a single stage press like those of Lee, RCBS, Redding, etc

2.) Dies. All major makers of die sets that I know of make them with standard threads, so no matter the brand of press, you can use just about whatever brand of dies with your chosen press. Lee makes cheap dies that do work well enough for $20-$30 depending on the set, my favorite are Redding Dies, which run from $30-$180 per set (their competition dies cost more than most presses, but you can exactly customize the neck size, adjust the headspace in .002" increments. It's doubtful you'd get anything out of such a set unless you were majorly into paper punching.

3.) A scale. There's various powder measures/powder throwers, etc, but you really do still NEED a scale for proper loading. They run from $20 for a Lee scale (accurate, but a PIA to use) to almost $200 for a good digital scale.

4.) case prep tools, lube kit, chamfer tool, maybe a primer pocket cleaning and deburring tools, powder funnel.

For "da bomb" reloading setup (progressive presses et al.)
You can go for setups that are cheap (Lee) to the high end Dillon setups that can run well over $1000.

In addition to the equipment, you'll need reloading manuals. Most manufacturers package a manual with their kits. Most people advise you get at least three manuals. The Speer, Hodgdon, Lyman and Hornady are my favorites. You can also get additional data from the powder companies themselves, but make sure to get a reloading manual, it'll run you through the steps of reloading, give tips of accuracy, ect.

My loading setup consists of an RCBS RockChucker, Redding dies, a Cabelas digital scale ($90), RCBS lube kit, powder funnel, chamfer tool, etc, Lee case trimming tools, primer pocket cleaner. For a single stage setup The RockChucker is hard to beat, and you can get good deals on all of these setups from USA Midway, Cabelas, Graf & Sons, etc.

Best thing you can do is look at everyone's products and select one of the kits each manufacturer offers. This is another one of those topics that if you ask 10 people you'll get 12 answers. Some hate products that others think are the cat's ass. I'd look at companies' online catalogs and order their paper catalogs, then ask them all your questions about their setups, and select the one you like best. You do pretty much get what you pay for.

Dillon

Redding

RCBS

Lee
 

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Heck, I bought my RCBS Rockchucker kit back around 1982 and still use it. I kind of like technical toys, so I bought one of those combo electronic scale/powder dispensers from Pact. All in all I find the electronic scales easier to work with then the manual beam type. If you plan to measure every load, get the electronic/powder measure combo. If you plan to just measure an average throw from your manual powder measure, the beam type scale will work just fine.

Basic rules of thumb:

(1) Don't reload if you are going to be distracted in any way, shape or form.

(2) Set up a methodology that will limit the possibility of double charging a case accidentally.

(3) Treat each bullet like it will be the one that needs to go off when you REALLY need it.

(4) Be conservative. The theory that "if a little is good, a LOT is better" DOES NOT apply here.

(5) Buy a bullet puller. You WILL use it.

(6) Buy spare decapping pins and a stuck case remover. You WILL need them. Usually at 3am on a Sunday....

:rofl:
 

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I"ve broken one decapping pin, before I learned to remove military 223 primers by hand. Never have used a stuck case remover, but never bothered to reload more than a few thousand rds of bottle necked rifle ammo. It was never worth the hassle, to me, compared to milsurp stuff. Nearly all of the 100,000 plus centerfire rds I've reloaded were .45 ACP.
 

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Oh yeah, one more thing:

(7) Get carbide sizer dies whenever you can. They are WELL worth the additional cost.

Broken decapping pins can happen when you least expect it. If you are sizing a bunch of once fired brass from an unknown source, sometimes a berdan primed case will be in there. Decapping pins don't LIKE them much and will twist around to tell you about it.

I have also found some foreign made brass to have a smaller diameter flash hole then normal, and the decapping pin will either fold up when it hits it, or become seriously stuck in the flash hole. In the latter case, it is MUCH quicker to just grab another decapping pin rather then spending the time trying to get that one out of the flash hole.

I think I have only used my stuck case remover twice. Both times when I was just beginning. Once you get experienced, you can usually feel when the case isn't lubed properly before you jam the darn thing up into the sizer die. But still, it's like having some insurance, for a "just in case" situation. Heck, they don't cost THAT much!
 

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andy said:
I've always felt the Berdan cases, too, actually. It takes very, very little effort to deprime a case.
Are you saying that you deprime Berdan cases?

RIKA
 

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I started in 1986 with the basic Rockchucker kit and I'm still using it. As a matter of fact I broke a pin about 6 months ago and emailed RCBS asking how much a replacement pin would cost, they sent me one free! Buy yourself a couple of good quality reloading books, most give the A,B,C's of reloading and a lot of troubleshooting. Berdan primers aren't worth depriming unless you a shooting a unique caliber where brass is hard to find. Berdan primers have a separate tool for depriming. I would personally feel embarrased to only say I'm reloaded JUST 100,000 rds of centerfire ammo. But then I didn't go to jail!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I have not reloaded any, but I may take it up sort of as a hobby. I would likely want to reload rifle calibers that are more expensive than the 9mm pistol ammo I usually get for free, or the rifle calibers that are dirt cheap such as 7.62x39. I currently have a Marlin 336 in .35 Remington, and while the ammo is not way too expensive, I have to admit that paying $12 to $25 per box of 20 is a bit more than I am able to pay and still shoot it a lot (darned mortgage and college bills). I am wondering if reloading would get me shooting it more often, save me some money in the long run, and allow me to have a new hobby. I have a couple of others I could reload for, and would likely get a few more large caliber rifles if reloading was a money saver for ammo.

I guess I should start with a relaoders book, not the powder specs and stuff but the A,B,C's of reloading so I have more of an idea. I am curious about some of the terms you all mentioned. I was also curious about Andy's comment about cases with the Berdan Primers as I always thought they could not be reloaded; and that only Boxer Primed could be reloaded (I would not know the difference if someone asked me). Apparently I was wrong as Garand pointed out, at least by implication,that they indeed can be reloaded. Learn something new everyday.

Maybe it is time I take on another aspect of the sport. I know reloading can be dangerous if you are not extremely careful or if you experiment with hot loads. I plan not to experiemnt and to be quite careful. This may be a way to spend a bit more time with my son too, that is if doing it with another person would not be thought of as too much of a distraction.

Some more questions:

1) What would be a good book to start with for the A,B,Cs? My guess someone will tell me the book is called the A,B,C s of Reloading!

2) How much would a basic set up, with a reloading press and some middle of the road dies, and fairly decent other components set me back? (Just got some OT money - I only get paid staright time for my OT but it is extra cash for me anyhow).

3) Is there a reloading press like the Rockchucker that can later be switched (converted) to become a progressive?

Thanks
 

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Sierra, Lyman, Hornady, etc all put out reloading books that describe the technique in detail. Dean Grennell some years back actually wrote a book called "The A,B,C's of Reloading". Try surfing the Midway web site, its my understanding they have the basic kits listed. After a while the Rockchucker can be converted to a progressive press. As for cost , factory .38-55 costs $32.00(cdn)/ box of 20. I can reload 1,000 rds of 240 grain LFP for about $160.00 (cdn). Thats a heck of a saving.
 

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Glenn, for middle-of-the-road reloading, I'd recommend either the RockChucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit RockChucker $240 You'll need to buy dies (~$30) and a shellholder ($~$8). It comes with the Speer manual, so if you're going to buy this kit, but read a manual first, get a different manual.

OR

The Redding Big Boss Pro Pack Kit (you mentioned the .35 Remington, this kist comes with the dies and shellholder: Big Boss Kit
$268.99 including dies and shellholder.

Be sure to either get the RockChucker or Big Boss kits, and not their counterparts with either the Partner (RCBS) or Boss(Redding) presses. Those kist cost less, but the presses won't handle all rifle cartridges (the opening isn't big enough).

Also, for a first book, I like the Lyman handbook. IT, like all other reloading books, goes through the basics, but also when you get to the loading data, they tend to use more common barrel lengths for their data (for instance, they measure velocity out of a 4" barrel for the .44 and .357 Magnum, where others usually measure from a 7.5" or 8 3/8". So they give you data closer to what you'll really get.). Not only that, but they have extensive listings for lead bullets, and tell you what composition they used for the bullet's construction.
 
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