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KentuckyPatriot
12-17-2012, 21:21
I did some reloading 40 years ago and want to get started again and have a few questions to help direct my learning and shopping...perhaps some of the guru's here can steer me in the right direction.


- What are the pros and cons of each company and their equipment with regard to entry level items (I know they can all make ammo, but which ones have the best equipment and why, which ones have the best add-ons as far as dies etc and why)

- Which company has the "best" press for entry level? I am thinking of a single-stage at this point as I am not going for speed and have a tiny bit of ADD...I want to be able to focus like I did in the past and not miss something that would result in problems.

- I would suppose that I should have a tumbler...school me on media and how often it is changed, etc

- Which reloading manual seems to be the industry standard? In the past I used the Speer manual...Do all of the manuals have the majority of powders listed, or only some for each caliber requiring multiple manuals to be purchased?

- Speaking of powders, back in the dark ages I used only Hercules, Bullseye, Red Dot and Blue Dot...might have used the Green Dot, but really cannot remember on that one...For pistol and revolver reloading is a gold standard, or a trinity of powders that seem to have the most attention and use?


Is there anything I am missing except the equipment sitting on my work bench?

Lots of questions but want to thank everyone in advance that contributes to my education!
:wavey:

PCJim
12-17-2012, 21:51
KP, welcome back to reloading. Questions 1 & 2 result in very opinionated responses and could probably be answered by the stickie threads at the top of this forum's thread index. Personally, I have an old RCBS Reloader Special 2 still on my bench from the 80's and it has served me well. It doesn't see as much use since I've installed two Dillon 550b's.

3. Tumbler is nice but not essential. A cotton towel and elbow grease will clean your cases, but a tumbler makes it much quicker and less effort is required. Vibratory tumblers are probably the most used of the various types available. Walnut media is for cutting heavy crud, corn cob is used for a lighter polished effect. Oftentimes, a splash of mineral spirits or paint thinner is added to the media to hasten the cleaning effect, and sometimes a capful of NuFinish car polish to really make those cases bright and shiny. (Remember that shiny cases will attract women of questionable morals, although a couple of old CRB's on here will beg to differ!).
4. There is no "industry standard" for reloading manuals. Lyman, Speer or Hornady are the most popular, with Lyman giving more data for lead projectiles. The powder manufacturers also have online data centers with a wealth of information.
5. The powder will depend upon the caliber being reloaded and what you are seeking to accomplish. Bullseye, Unique, W231/H38, WSF and WST will give you a very wide coverage for most pistol calibers.

Give us some specifics on what you want to do, and we'll try to steer you in the right direction. Read those stickies I mentioned as they will answer a lot of your questions.

Colorado4Wheel
12-17-2012, 22:25
Dillon 650. Figure the rest out later.

F106 Fan
12-17-2012, 22:53
I did some reloading 40 years ago and want to get started again and have a few questions to help direct my learning and shopping...perhaps some of the guru's here can steer me in the right direction.

- What are the pros and cons of each company and their equipment with regard to entry level items (I know they can all make ammo, but which ones have the best equipment and why, which ones have the best add-ons as far as dies etc and why)


If you want single stage, it doesn't make a lot of difference. There's only so many ways you can make a single stage press.

With only one exception that I know about, the Dillon Square Deal B, all presses use the same size dies. Doesn't matter where you get them.

You didn't say what you planned to load and that makes a BIG difference. Everybody makes pistol dies but I prefer Redding for rifle.




- Which company has the "best" press for entry level? I am thinking of a single-stage at this point as I am not going for speed and have a tiny bit of ADD...I want to be able to focus like I did in the past and not miss something that would result in problems.

Read the stickies at the top. For a single stage press it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. You can move up a step with a Redding T7 turret. Still single stage but all the dies are mounted in a single toolhead.




I would suppose that I should have a tumbler...school me on media and how often it is changed, etc



At the rate you will be able to load on a single stage press, a tumbler just won't be necessary. You can just as well wipe the brass with a cloth. I would think a tumbler would be well down the shopping list.

I use the Dillon large tumbler with walnut media and Dillon polish. I change it a couple of times a year - maybe 10,000 rounds per change.



Which reloading manual seems to be the industry standard? In the past I used the Speer manual...Do all of the manuals have the majority of powders listed, or only some for each caliber requiring multiple manuals to be purchased?


No single manual has everything. Speer is good, so is Hornady, Sierra (especially for rifle), Lyman and some of the powder manufacturer's manuals like Hodgdon, Vihtavouri, Ramshot, Accurate, etc. Plus the manufacturer's web sites - especially Hodgdon. You WILL need more than one manual. Plan on 3 or 4.

Speaking of powders, back in the dark ages I used only Hercules, Bullseye, Red Dot and Blue Dot...might have used the Green Dot, but really cannot remember on that one...For pistol and revolver reloading is a gold standard, or a trinity of powders that seem to have the most attention and use?


No help here! You never mentioned what you want to load...



Is there anything I am missing except the equipment sitting on my work bench?

Lots of questions but want to thank everyone in advance that contributes to my education!


You have come to the right place!

Richard

KentuckyPatriot
12-17-2012, 23:27
My apologies for not including the calibers...

this will be for pistol and revolver .38spl/.357mag, .40S&W, 9mm, .357Sig, and .45acp...might even want to try some .380acp since it seems that I can't buy a decent box of FMJ for less than $28.00 around here!

At some point I might want to load shotgun, but I don't shoot mine enough to put that high on the list.

I currently have a 5 gal bucket of mixed brass that I need to sort and reload...gotta get crackin'!

thanks for the info so far....


Tell me more about the turret idea and is that something specific to certain models of presses, or is this something that can be added to whatever model I purchase?

I seem to recall that some folks seemed to cuss at their particular dies for some reason. I assumed it was because of how they were accessed on their press, but it is more than this and do the dies direct the choice in presses/companies?


thanks again for the responses.

Colorado4Wheel
12-17-2012, 23:32
You should read the sticky.

F106 Fan
12-18-2012, 00:14
Tell me more about the turret idea and is that something specific to certain models of presses, or is this something that can be added to whatever model I purchase?



The Redding T7 is an 7 die toolhead on a single stage press. It is not a retrofit kind of deal, the press it built that way. As single stage presses go, it is WAY overpriced:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/588482/redding-t-7-turret-press

The reason I bought it is that I could eliminate two other single stage presses and keep all of the dies for a given caliber in a single toolhead. I have a body sizing die, neck sizing die, powder funnel die, bullet seating die, universal decapping die, bullet comparator die and a collet bullet puller all on the same toolhead. I set up the dies once and I am done. I have two toolheads and will probably add a 3d in the near future.

But here's the thing: This press is for loading SMALL quantities of precision rifle ammo. I wouldn't dream of loading pistol ammo on a single stage press. At best, I might get 50 rounds per hour.

Instead, I load pistol and bulk .223 on a Dillon 650 or Dillon 1050 (45 ACP). Considering the number of calibers you want to load, you really should be looking at a Dillon 550B. Loading pistol on a single stage press is too grim to contemplate. But it can be done!

Again, read the stickies. Everything is pretty well spelled out.



I seem to recall that some folks seemed to cuss at their particular dies for some reason. I assumed it was because of how they were accessed on their press, but it is more than this and do the dies direct the choice in presses/companies?



I have used Lee, RCBS, Redding and Dillon dies. They all work fine. The problem most people have with dies is that they don't read the instructions. Then they complain about the dies...

Dillon makes great pistol dies for progressive presses. Redding makes great precision rifle dies. RCBS makes decent dies for any application and Lee is the low price leader. There are very good reasons for using Lee sizing dies in that they get a little further down the case. However, their FCD die is not worth the effort and should be replaced with their taper crimp die. Too bad their 4 die sets all include the FCD instead...

Richard

fredj338
12-18-2012, 00:35
I would at least get a couple new manuals; Lyman #49 & Speer #14. Read the reloading sections & refamiliarize yourself w/ the process. I will disagree w/ F106, all ss presses are NOT made alike. Some are built really cheap & not worth the $$. A good kit for a ss buyer is the RCBS RCII, has everything you will need to reload handgun rounds. A turret, like the Lee Classic Cast, is about twice as fast as a ss press. Few reloaders need a progressive, very few. We have them because we want them, not because we need them.
Powder, yeah, lots of changes in 40yrs. You could do just about any handgun reloading with good old Unique. It doesn't measure as well as some of the newer spherical powders but if I could only have one, that would be Unique. WSF is a spherical powder that almost identical to Unique, so a good choice there for any handgun reloading as well.

Colorado4Wheel
12-18-2012, 11:10
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/646599/rcbs-rock-chucker-supreme-single-stage-press-master-kit

As a KIT, there is nothing bad in that kit. Can't think of any other kit that I like "as is". It's a single stage, it will develop your ADD into something it doesn't need to be. But if I was to buy a single stage kit that is the only one I would even consider.

F106 Fan
12-18-2012, 12:40
From the Midway site, it seems the KIT has been discontinued by the manufacturer. The press alone is available:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/513567/rcbs-rock-chucker-supreme-single-stage-press?cm_vc=subv1646599

The bits and pieces are available separately. You can skip the lube pad and just use Hornady One Shot spray.

That kit had a pretty decent scale and one thing that is constant over many years is a decent scale. Presses come and go but the scale hangs around. Get a good one!

Richard

Colorado4Wheel
12-18-2012, 14:34
Not discontinued. "OUT OF STOCK, BACK ORDER OK."

F106 Fan
12-18-2012, 18:48
Now that is strange! When I click on the link, it comes up with the statement that it has been discontinued and there is no way to add one to the cart. There is no mention of backorder.


Status: Discontinued by Manufacturer


Odd...

I also Googled RCBS #: 9357 and, of the few places I checked, it was Out Of Stock.

Richard

Colorado4Wheel
12-18-2012, 19:41
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/937051/rcbs-rock-chucker-supreme-master-single-stage-press-kit

Check that one out.

F106 Fan
12-18-2012, 20:43
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/937051/rcbs-rock-chucker-supreme-master-single-stage-press-kit

Check that one out.

Yup! On backorder until April 2013 but not shown as Discontinued. Might as well be...

Richard

Colorado4Wheel
12-18-2012, 20:57
Discontinued would mean you wouldn't be able to get it in the future. Link was purely to show what kit had good stuff. He can go to a local store to buy the same thing. Or just buy it here.

http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=RC09357

countrygun
12-18-2012, 21:18
I am the biggest "Start with the simple basics" guy in the world, but Fred is right about a turret and right about the Lee Classic.

You can use it as a single stage until you get "back up to speed" and comfortable and if you are loading more than one caliber with a consistent bullet for each one, it is soo nice to have the interchangeable heads that hold all of your dies for one caliber already set up and adjusted and be able to swap to another caliber in seconds. The extra heads are, around 11 bucks (I think that's what I paid for my last ones without any "Shopping" just while I was ordering something else.) You can remove the auto indexing bushing and manually rotate the die head as you move to the next step.
It's really versatile in many ways. You can get up to 150-200 rounds per hour with a little practice or just have a very easy to use single stage if you like.

Taterhead
12-18-2012, 21:29
That RCBS master reloading kit mentioned above has quality equipment. I find the loading walk throughs in the Speer #14 manual (included) to be very well written. The scale is great. The press itself is top notch. You won't need the lube & pad for the calibers listed, but that can be set aside for later use.

Cabelas has a $50 rebate deal going on so it is less than $300. All that would be needed is calipers, shell holders and dies. A lot of different dies will work, but you can't go wrong with RCBS. Make sure to get dies with a carbide resizer though whatever brand you choose.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/RCBS-Rock-Chucker-Supreme-Master-Reloading-Kit/1324071.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProduc ts%26Ntt%3Drock%2Bchucker%2Bsupreme%2Bmaster%2Breloading%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26x%3D0%26y%3D0&Ntt=rock+chucker+supreme+master+reloading&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

I prefer having a vibratory cleaner, but that can be added later. I personally am fond of the Lyman green media. There are some ways to save cash on media, but I like it a lot so I spring for the $15.