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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wanting to get into reloading and now have the means to do so. I'm looking to get good gear that will last me for at least a decade. I will be getting the gear this month and am looking for advice from people who reload.

Right now these are the top three kits that I can afford and all have great reviews.

The first is the Lee's Breech Lock. The price is great but it doesn't have all the extras the others come with. But with the price so low I can afford to buy those extras.
http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shoo...z_l=SBC;BRprd740228;cat104761080;cat104516280

Next is the Hornady Lock-n-Load Classic™ Reloading Kit.
Comes with alot of goodies and 500 free bullets with a mail in coupon.
http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hornady-Lock-n-Load-Classic8482-Reloading-Kit/740228.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch%2F%3FN%3D1000003666%26Ne%3D1000003666%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dreloading%26Ntx%3Dmode%252Bmatchall%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26WTz_st%3DSearchRefinements%26form_state%3DsearchForm%26search%3Dreloading&Ntt=reloading&WTz_l=Header;Search-All Products

The last one I'm looking at is the RCBS RC Supreme Master Reloading Kit. Great reviews and has a $50 off mail in rebate.
http://www.cabelas.com/product/RCBS-RC-Supreme-Master-Reloading-Kit/728426.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch%2F%3FN%3D1000004440%26Ne%3D1000004440%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dreloading%26Ntx%3Dmode%252Bmatchall%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26WTz_st%3DSearchRefinements%26form_state%3DsearchForm%26search%3Dreloading&Ntt=reloading&WTz_l=Header;Search-All Products

I plan on reloading is .9mm, .40mm, .223, and .308. If anyone has experience with these please let me know.
 

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first thing to do before buying any equipment is to buy and thoroughly read a reloading manual or three, this will give you a much better idea of what you do or do not need before buying hardware.
 

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It's good to start with a single stage press. They are strong reliable and uncomplicated. Of your choices I personally like the Hornady. The quick change inserts are a well thought out design. I loaded thousands of rounds on a single stage press before going to a progressive. But I still resize rifle brass on the single stage. It's something you'll always want to have around.

David
 

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+1 on reading a manual first. 30 years ago (obviously pre-internet), I learned entirely by ready the Lyman manual.

Also +1 on starting with a single stage. I still use that method for rifle ammo.

My preference of the brands you mention are RBCS, Hornady, and then Lee. Nothing wrong with Redding or Forster tools either. Some folks like Lee tools but not me. It's not that they don't make some good items (like their classic cast iron press) but generally there is a reason their stuff is the cheapest you can find. I've worn out or broken every Lee tool I ever bought mainly because of the quality of materials.

I load all the calibers you mention except 40mm. For rifle ammo I use a Rock Chucker press and Redding dies. For pistols I use Hornady nitride (like carbide) dies. Entry-level dies will work fine, although in the future you may want to upgrade those to at least the 'competition' grade. For my best ammo, I use S-type dies by Redding for sizing and L.E. Wilson dies for seating. That's a bit much for starters, though.

Looking at the RBCS kit you mentioned, all I see you will still need are a trimmer (for rifle brass) and a set of calipers for measurement. All the brands make a crank trimmer and they all work okay. The best I've used is the L.E. Wilson trimmer. You can spend $200 for one of those with every bell and whistle, but the basic trimmer w/ sharkfin kit and stand is comparable to the standard offerings and is higher in quality for $79. You might also want the drill adapter since any of the crank trimmers will give you blisters if you trim more than 20 at a time. http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=36320/Product/Wilson_Case_Length_Trimmer Don't bother with the trimmer adapters for your pistol brass. It doesn't stretch like bottleneck brass.

Finally, join a forum dedicated to reloading. The best I've found is http://forums.handloads.com/ . They are newb-friendly and know what they're talking about. No question there is stupid and you won't get laughed at.
 

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+1 on the Hornady kit, especially the quick change bushings. However, the electronic scale that came with mine was crap and I had to buy an RCBS 5-0-5. Hornady has changed the electronic scale with the kit, so it may be OK now.

Here are a few other things you'll need:
at least one other reloading manual (Lyman's is good IMHO)
Lyman check weight set (no matter what scale you get)
Wilson case gauge for rifle calibers (you can use your pistol barrel for those cartridges)

If you go with the Hornady kit and want to load pistol cartridges, I highly recommend getting the pistol rotor for their powder measure. The adjustments are much more accurate and you need that for the much smaller powder charges.

Note: I am NOT knocking Hornady's press or their kit. I'm very happy with mine - just sharing what I've learned.

BTW check with Cabelas before ordering from them. The Hornady kit should have the 8th edition of their book and a hand priming tool which you will want:
http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-Classic-Kit/
 

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It's good to start with a single stage press. They are strong reliable and uncomplicated. Of your choices I personally like the Hornady. The quick change inserts are a well thought out design. I loaded thousands of rounds on a single stage press before going to a progressive. But I still resize rifle brass on the single stage. It's something you'll always want to have around.

David
Ditto what he said. I bought my brother the older version of the Hornady single-stage (pre-Lock n Load design) and it's a brute. I also have the older progressive version, the Pro-Jector (also pre-LNL) and I love it. I still use my old RCBS single-stage press for other reloading duties like sizing my rifle brass, some priming duties, and assembling a small batch of test rounds... stuff like that.

I also agree with the other poster about starting on a single-stage press... especially with rifle rounds.

I'm not a big Lee fan, I've not had very good service from some of the Lee stuff I've had. That is not to say it isn't good stuff, it's just not for me.
 

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+1 on the Hornady kit, especially the quick change bushings. However, the electronic scale that came with mine was crap and I had to buy an RCBS 5-0-5.
Yes, I forgot about that... the 5-0-5 is The classic balance scale and worth hunting down. The RCBS kit comes with it, but with the Hornady kit I would get one and use the electronic scale for a backup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
first thing to do before buying any equipment is to buy and thoroughly read a reloading manual or three, this will give you a much better idea of what you do or do not need before buying hardware.
Thanks Lefty. I've ordered a Lyman's 49th edition and data log book as well as a Nosler guide. Just waiting for them to get here.
 

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Green for me..

My first press was a RCBS Rock Chucker. SO, 20 years and 8 billion rounds (+/- 1 billion) later it is still set up I recommend.

The Kit offered is well thought out. In addition to the kit here are a few things in addition that are essential IMHO:

*Have at least 2 other reloading manuals in addition to the Speer ( Nosler, Hornady, Sierra, Etc.)

* Good Quality Calipers ( No plastic home depot specials here)

* Redding Imperial Sizing Die Wax. moisten your thumb and index finger and wipe the neck and body of a bottleneck cartridge, and size. you wont' dent shoulders and necks like you will rolling on a lube pad

* Forrester's classic trimmer kit with collets and pilots and buy the driver adapter.

* RCBS precision Mic in .223 & .308-- These things offer you a wealth of information from fired cases and aid in setting up dies. Luv 'em.

Not essential initially but nice:

RCBS powder measure stand.

Vibratory case cleaner with media

VMMV and Good Luck!,

G8tr
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
+1 on reading a manual first. 30 years ago (obviously pre-internet), I learned entirely by ready the Lyman manual.

Also +1 on starting with a single stage. I still use that method for rifle ammo.

My preference of the brands you mention are RBCS, Hornady, and then Lee. Nothing wrong with Redding or Forster tools either. Some folks like Lee tools but not me. It's not that they don't make some good items (like their classic cast iron press) but generally there is a reason their stuff is the cheapest you can find. I've worn out or broken every Lee tool I ever bought mainly because of the quality of materials.

I load all the calibers you mention except 40mm. For rifle ammo I use a Rock Chucker press and Redding dies. For pistols I use Hornady nitride (like carbide) dies. Entry-level dies will work fine, although in the future you may want to upgrade those to at least the 'competition' grade. For my best ammo, I use S-type dies by Redding for sizing and L.E. Wilson dies for seating. That's a bit much for starters, though.

Looking at the RBCS kit you mentioned, all I see you will still need are a trimmer (for rifle brass) and a set of calipers for measurement. All the brands make a crank trimmer and they all work okay. The best I've used is the L.E. Wilson trimmer. You can spend $200 for one of those with every bell and whistle, but the basic trimmer w/ sharkfin kit and stand is comparable to the standard offerings and is higher in quality for $79. You might also want the drill adapter since any of the crank trimmers will give you blisters if you trim more than 20 at a time. http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=36320/Product/Wilson_Case_Length_Trimmer Don't bother with the trimmer adapters for your pistol brass. It doesn't stretch like bottleneck brass.

Finally, join a forum dedicated to reloading. The best I've found is http://forums.handloads.com/ . They are newb-friendly and know what they're talking about. No question there is stupid and you won't get laughed at.
Thank you for the information. Heading to that forum now because I have alot of questions and I'm sure they have a rookie forum to answer most of them.

God bless Texas.
 

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Don't buy a kit.

Get a Lee Classic Cast single stage press.

For the M14, you will need a FL die set. Not small base, and not neck sizer.

You need a tumbler, case trimmer (power is worth the $$$), primer pocket swager, primer pocket brush, scale (beam or digital), funnels, caliper, and a case gauge (I like the RCBS Precision micrometer).

A trickler is really nice. It will save you a bunch of time. You don't "need" it, and if you decide to use a powder measure, instead of weighing each charge, you don't really need it at all.

You do need a hand priming tool. The brand doesn't really matter.
 

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G8trfan added a couple of essentials I forgot:

quality digital caliper
case trimmer (Forster, Lyman, your choice)
Case tumbler/cleaner
Redding Imperial sizing wax (subject to opinions)

I've got to add that the RCBS Trim Mate was a great investment. Not essential, but being able to clean the primer pocket, chamfer & de-burr in a few seconds per case is GREAT. Disclaimer: the primer pocket hole reamer on mine is useless due to excessive wobble.
 

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My .02 is that you pick up a LE Wilson case gage .308. This gage will measure your resized cases from the case head to the datum line which is your headspace measurement. It also gages the proper length of the case.
Proper headspace is critical in loading safe ammo, particularly for gas operated semis.

Best of luck with your reloading, it is a great hobby.

John
 

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Does it make sense to buy an RCBS ChargeMaster in place of a beam scale, trickler, powder measure, stand, etc.? The ChargeMaster setup would be slightly more expensive (~$75), but seems to have a lot of advantages like accuracy, speed and convenience.

Would someone new to reloading be missing anything by going with the electronic system vs. the mechanical one (aside from paying their dues by using traditional methods)?

Thanks in advance for the input.
 

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I switched from the RCBS balance beam scale to their electronic scale. The e-scale gives much quicker readings and seems to be accurate to .1 grain. My set up is an RCBS powder thrower and the e-scale. I weight each load after throwing it. It is amazing how quickly you can load accurate powder charges once you get the thrower dialed in.
 

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I've been wanting to get into reloading and now have the means to do so...

Right now these are the top three kits that I can afford...

I plan on reloading is .9mm, .40mm, .223, and .308. If anyone has experience with these please let me know.
Forgive me for interjecting, but if I were you, then I wouldn't buy any of these.

IMHO, you should go straight to a progressive (I like my Dillon), and never look back.
 
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