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Discussion Starter #1
All right gents, Im taking the plunge into reloading, FINALLY. Initially getting setup for .308 for the M1A, with 5.56, .45acp, .44mag and maybe some others to follow.

The majority of my first setup is on its way from Midway. Rock Chucker kit(the $300 one), shell holders, a set of Lyman calipers that will be dedicated to the bench (vs. my others that I leave all over the place), RCBS X-Dies, some Imperial Sizing wax, an impact bullet puller for WHEN I screw up, and I picked up a Lyman electronic scale too.

Going for an "inexpensive" setup, (increased labor/time traded for reduced cost) but Im not looking to buy tools twice, so want good stuff up front. Stuff that will last, but not necessarily "top shelf".

Things I'm still trying to decide on....

Seems I need a case gauge. Suggestions?

Thinking I will got Ultrasonic for cleaning. Need to minimize lead exposure, especially for the sake of my kids. Ultrasonic seems cheaper than a wet/stainless tumbling system.

Trying to decide on a case trimmer as well. Seems for the price, the Forster Original kit might be the way to go.

Primer Pocket uniformer?

Flash hole debur tool?

Any tools I missed?


The more important question probably..... What would be a good reference for the beginner? That covers the ins and outs, the basics, theory, etc? Im sure there are many books on the subject.... and I LIKE books, but some are always better than others.
 

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MUST HAVE: RCBS ChargeMaster 1500

ONE thing...this are a MUST in my humble opinion, and once you have it you will want to kiss me on the cheek.

RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 that throws the charge and weighs it. You will not believe how much time this will save you and how cool it is to use. I have been reloading since forever and I still am amazed at how super wonderful this thing is.

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/RCBS-98923-Combo-110V-AC-Chargemaster/dp/B00139UC6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401772799&sr=8-1&keywords=rcbs+chargemaster+1500[/ame]

After you make the McDonald's straw modification it will consistently throw and weight/weigh & throw the charges you program it to do. It starts off a little fast, then slows down a bit, then trickle drops in very small descrete steps till your weight is achieved. Then it beeps at you to let you know it is done.

When you pull the tray out and dump it in the case then put it back, it dumps a new one for you automatically and also keeps count for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ONE thing...this are a MUST in my humble opinion, and once you have it you will want to kiss me on the cheek.

RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 that throws the charge and weighs it. You will not believe how much time this will save you and how cool it is to use. I have been reloading since forever and I still am amazed at how super wonderful this thing is.

http://www.amazon.com/RCBS-98923-Combo-110V-AC-Chargemaster/dp/B00139UC6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401772799&sr=8-1&keywords=rcbs+chargemaster+1500
GI1 Oh, I've been reading about you guys going on about them. Eventually.....but I'll be doing it the hard way until I figure out what Im doing. Slow and steady is probably best.

Not to mention those darn things aren't cheap. GI3 That'll have to wait until Im established.
 

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If you have money to play with I would suggest you purchase components before too many more tools. Tools will always be available, sometimes for a steal used. Powder, primers and projectiles are a whole other story. Unique (44 Mag + 45ACP) 4895 (H or I) (7.62 or 5.56)and CCI 41/34 primers are always nice to have tucked away! They are not ideal for every situation but they are universal enough you will at least be able to shoot. Your pistol primers will be dictated by the cartridge and load. It depends on the 45 cases (large or small primer) and the loads in your 44. Forty Four is always large. Standard or Magnum depends on powder though I have heard some just use CCI Standard even with the W296/H110.


The majority of my first setup is on its way from Midway. Rock Chucker kit(the $300 one), shell holders, a set of Lyman calipers that will be dedicated to the bench (vs. my others that I leave all over the place), RCBS X-Dies, some Imperial Sizing wax, an impact bullet puller for WHEN I screw up, and I picked up a Lyman electronic scale too.
Buy/make stuck case remover!

Going for an "inexpensive" setup, (increased labor/time traded for reduced cost) but Im not looking to buy tools twice, so want good stuff up front. Stuff that will last, but not necessarily "top shelf".

Things I'm still trying to decide on....

Seems I need a case gauge. Suggestions?
RCBS or Sinclair get mentioned the most. I like RCBS.

Thinking I will got Ultrasonic for cleaning. Need to minimize lead exposure, especially for the sake of my kids. Ultrasonic seems cheaper than a wet/stainless tumbling system.
Your lead exposure is from handling lead and not washing after. There are plenty of bullet casters who have blood levels in the 5 range. (Bullet casting is a whole other addiction. Great for the 44 and 45 and not bad with the 7.62 or 5.56 when you really get into it.) You won't get lead poisoning from tumbling cases. BTW, kids are great for sizing/flaring pistol cartridges. They can do the rest with supervision.


Cry once. I started with the vibratory and then went to the stainless system. Others will say this is a nice to have and I have to agree with them. This would be among the last items I'd purchase. You can do a lot with a rag and fine steel wool if the cases are really bad. The "like new" insides make it easy to see the powder charges.

Trying to decide on a case trimmer as well. Seems for the price, the Forster Original kit might be the way to go.
Why not stay green? With the rebate I think the price is about the same.

Primer Pocket uniformer?

Flash hole debur tool?

Any tools I missed?
Again: Buy/make stuck case remover!

I doubt you will need the flash hole tool. I would suggest carbide dies for the pistol. Steel is just fine for the rifle if properly lubed.

I know people love the electronics but the mechanical scale and powder throw will last forever and you will make ammunition that is as accurate as any other. Really. Yeah, the powder throw isn't fun with stick powders (3031/4064) but it works.

I do like the micrometer add-on for the RCBS powder throw. Either is repeatable but the below is easier to see. Measure and see if this is the correct one:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/654966/rcbs-uniflow-powder-measure-micrometer-adjustment-screw-large-685-diameter

Eventually you will want a micrometer that reads to one ten thousandth. The caliper is great for over all length and such but doesn't have the precision for other tasks.

If you are dealing with crimped primers, Dillon has the swage tool for it.

If you get sick of that scale, the 5-10 or 10-10 is nicer to use for measuring. For setting charge weights it's easy. Set the weight and trial-and-error the powder until you get what you want. Then check every X case to make sure. Eyeballing before seating bullets is a good idea too.

Never used the hand primer. The Bench top primer is great.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/457599/rcbs-automatic-bench-priming-tool
The more important question probably..... What would be a good reference for the beginner? That covers the ins and outs, the basics, theory, etc? Im sure there are many books on the subject.... and I LIKE books, but some are always better than others.
The Speer book is as good as any and it's already paid for. Many loads are available at the powder manufacturers' website. Lyman offers a variety of bullets and information and mentions pressure too. Sierra has the book exterior ballistics software bundle which is nice. There's always the ABCs of reloading, sometimes at the local library.
 

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+1 on joesig's advice above, especially the first paragraph about trying to make it a priority of getting components first. After Sandy Hook, all reloading equipment and components in popular calibers was hard to find. Lately the equipment caught up with demand, but the components still have not caught up. It's out there, but you have to jump on it quick. Also suggest you get a copy of the ABC's of Reloading as it will help you when you start looking at purchasing your equipment. dozier
 

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No put-down is intended, but I think you're going about is backwards.

1) Buy every loading manual that you can find. Become well acquainted with the basics. You can never have too many books. Even after you've been loading for years, and have become the best dang handloader in the whole dang country, you will still refer to those books.

2) Buy some of the very inexpensive basic tools, and some inexpensive components.

3) Put the basics into action.

4) Then, and only then, buy some of the better (expensive) tools.

If you buy the tools first you may find out later that they are not really what you want. It is too late then, unless you can afford to replace them. Most of the very expensive tools, such as the afore mentioned Chargemaster, may be nice to have but very few handloaders use them. A few years down the road you'll find that half of the tools you thought you needed are sitting in a drawer, unused. Go to a big Match where shooters are loading at the bench and you will notice that their tools are all very simple (maybe expensive because they are the best made) but very basic.

JMHO

Ray
 

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you will need a L.E.Wilson case gage on any semi auto weapon.

i use a primer pocket uniformer on the Hornady trio motorized thing.

i use a flash hole reamer.

i prefer tumblers over sonic cleanrs, i have both, tumblers are cheap and make shinier brass, plus a sonic cleaner seems like they leave a residue on the case.

you will not regret buying anything automated or motorized. i want a Giraud trimmer bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No put-down is intended, but I think you're going about is backwards.

1) Buy every loading manual that you can find. Become well acquainted with the basics. You can never have too many books. Even after you've been loading for years, and have become the best dang handloader in the whole dang country, you will still refer to those books.

2) Buy some of the very inexpensive basic tools, and some inexpensive components.

3) Put the basics into action.

4) Then, and only then, buy some of the better (expensive) tools.

If you buy the tools first you may find out later that they are not really what you want. It is too late then, unless you can afford to replace them. Most of the very expensive tools, such as the afore mentioned Chargemaster, may be nice to have but very few handloaders use them. A few years down the road you'll find that half of the tools you thought you needed are sitting in a drawer, unused. Go to a big Match where shooters are loading at the bench and you will notice that their tools are all very simple (maybe expensive because they are the best made) but very basic.

JMHO

Ray
Ray, Im 100% with you on that last paragraph. I certainly plan on doing the hard work/learning before I spend the money on nicer equipment. That said, Im a fan of buy once, cry once, so Im trying to buy quality stuff.

I don't really disagree with your first part either. I certainly may be putting the cart before the horse, but I have my reasons. I've been saying Im going to get into reloading for YEARS (was a Dillon customer before I could legally buy a firearm GI1 ). After selling some excess gun parts, I figured I better dive in. With the equipment sitting there staring at me, I WILL do the reading and learning. I needed to make it a priority, as I have a LOT of hobbies/commitments, and buying the equipment has moved this endeavor way up the priority list. GI2

No offense taken Sir. Thank you for your input.



@ joesig..... lots to reply to. GI1

My component search has begun already, and is what prompted this thread. I have seen that 4895 and CCI 34s are the "standard"....and then I saw they are not so easy to come by, at least not from the few vendors I checked. GI3 Then I did some searching here, discovered different folks were using various powders for various loads and primer choice varied as well. Being the noob I am, I realized I did NOT understand the differences in all the powders, so I needed a good resource/volume to read.... hence this thread. The tooling....well those were just extra questions. GI1

I can make a stuck case remover no problem. Drill bits and taps I have, the rest is easy it looks like. Need to put my lathe back together and figure out how to run that...then I could make a FANCY one. GI5 Probably be a good practice project for the lathe anyways.

I had read a few articles saying tumbling media from things like vibratory cleaners tends to end up with a high lead content. The dust from that was my worry.... but maybe thats an overreaction.

The trimmer.... asked a coworker who uses the RCBS model. His response was the same as some reviews I read. "It works ok, but if I was looking to buy a new trimmer, I wouldn't buy that one." For the same price, I got the impression the Forster unit might be better. I dunno.....

It looks like I have several recommendations for the ABCs of Reloading.... so I will look for a copy.



Thanks for your input gentlemen.
 

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Take a look at the Wilson trimmers. Easy to operate and trim the case mouth square and concentric with the case body. Can also turn the case (contained in a case holder) around and square the base if so inclined
 

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Try Before You Buy

This entire thread has nothing but solid, good advice, however, Phil McGrath and I agree. Hook yourself up with somebody that has been reloading for a while and look over their shoulder....not just at what they do, but how they do it and, most importantly, why the do what they do. Whether you buy a Dillon 1650 or the RCBS Rock Chucker, nothing will serve you better than watching, asking questions and the most important part.....listening.

I believe it was Elmer Keith that once said, "you won't save money by reloading, however, you will shoot a heckuva' lot more."

Good luck and stay safe.
 

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I just recently got back into it. Spent the last few nights decapping/resizing and prepping 17 Hornet cases. Since you are getting a RockChucker....I would recommend the Amish made Table Top Reloading Stand sold by WoodChuck Den. It is fantastic. You can take it anywhere.....den, kitchen, deck, range, truck bed, etc.....mine is right next to me on my desk as I type this.

Give it a look.
 

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Ordie...Do you think you could bless us with a photo of that deck top reloading table? I went to the website and clicked on CATALOG, but it was just text and no pics.

I have an alternative use for one, but I need to see it first.

Back to Google for now.
 

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Ordie...Do you think you could bless us with a photo of that deck top reloading table? I went to the website and clicked on CATALOG, but it was just text and no pics.

I have an alternative use for one, but I need to see it first.

Back to Google for now.

Stand By.........
 

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Here ya go......

Amish Table Top Reloading Stand...$74.95 at WoodChuck Den....this thing is well made, very stable, very portable, and very handy!


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My component search has begun already, and is what prompted this thread. I have seen that 4895 and CCI 34s are the "standard"....and then I saw they are not so easy to come by, at least not from the few vendors I checked. GI3 Then I did some searching here, discovered different folks were using various powders for various loads and primer choice varied as well. Being the noob I am, I realized I did NOT understand the differences in all the powders, so I needed a good resource/volume to read.... hence this thread. The tooling....well those were just extra questions. GI1
I don't know any book that explains the powders in detail including the book Propellant Profiles v5. That book isn't a bad all-in-one start. I have found the best resource has been all of the various forums. There are some very smart and experienced people who are aware of the nuanced aspects of various powders in a given type of firearm. LOTS to read and digest.

Unfortunately with components, you pay your money and take your chances. Sometimes powder X and primer Y just doesn't work great in your firearm despite wild success in others.

I can make a stuck case remover no problem. Drill bits and taps I have, the rest is easy it looks like. Need to put my lathe back together and figure out how to run that...then I could make a FANCY one. GI5 Probably be a good practice project for the lathe anyways.

I had read a few articles saying tumbling media from things like vibratory cleaners tends to end up with a high lead content. The dust from that was my worry.... but maybe thats an overreaction.

It looks like I have several recommendations for the ABCs of Reloading.... so I will look for a copy.

Thanks for your input gentlemen.
It sure is great to be well equipped like that. Lots of uses for the lathe as you get advanced in the hobby/sport!

It's great to be aware of all of the possible dangers (lead, over charge, Secondary Explosion Effect, etc.) but they have to be taken in context.

I can only speak to the benefits of wet stainless. I don't know of anyone who says the wet stainless doesn't work and I like that it is "simple" to the point you can build (or rebuild) your own on the cheap with a motor and some PVC pipe.

I am biased against things that use "voodoo" (electronics) because they cannot be repaired by the consumer. (and you cannot see how they are broken, only observe the symptoms) Thirty five years ago I got a Rock Chucker and a computer. Guess which one I will still be using 35 years from now?

As a side note to books, the information in them changes. Charge weights may go up or down, loads may be added or removed and general topics may go missing too. Once you get a breadth of manufacturers you may want to get a depth too by going back versions. (Lee and Lyman certainly fall into this category!)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Interesting input from the ordnanceman, GI1 and Im loving the IYAOYAS signature. I see that setup leans the press back at an angle. What is the benefit there?

A friend today recommended I try to place my press more towards the center of my bench, rather than on the edge. Since I'll be building my own bench, that shouldn't be hard at all....though I don't understand why he recommended that. Looks like that "Amish stand" could be adopted for that purpose, as well as being portable. I have a half a sheet of 3/4in Oak plywood laying around... looks like it would work well for that.

@ joesig

I was afraid of that. Books sometimes make things easy (if you find a good one) but it sounds like I'll be scouring the net for more information.

The lathe is another totally new subject for me. I picked it up to eventually do some barrel work and maybe make some suppressor baffles (with tax stamp in hand of course). Its an old Taiwanese 12x24 Grizzly that kinda fell into my lap. Needs a little love, but once I get it cleaned up, should be a good machine. Just another of my MANY projects.

Im with you on the evil back magic of electronics too. I hate things I can't fix myself. I'll do some more looking into the stainless/wet systems.
 

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Interesting input from the ordnanceman, GI1 and Im loving the IYAOYAS signature. I see that setup leans the press back at an angle. What is the benefit there?
A friend today recommended I try to place my press more towards the center of my bench, rather than on the edge. Since I'll be building my own bench, that shouldn't be hard at all....though I don't understand why he recommended that. Looks like that "Amish stand" could be adopted for that purpose, as well as being portable. I have a half a sheet of 3/4in Oak plywood laying around... looks like it would work well for that.

@ joesig

I was afraid of that. Books sometimes make things easy (if you find a good one) but it sounds like I'll be scouring the net for more information.

The lathe is another totally new subject for me. I picked it up to eventually do some barrel work and maybe make some suppressor baffles (with tax stamp in hand of course). Its an old Taiwanese 12x24 Grizzly that kinda fell into my lap. Needs a little love, but once I get it cleaned up, should be a good machine. Just another of my MANY projects.

Im with you on the evil back magic of electronics too. I hate things I can't fix myself. I'll do some more looking into the stainless/wet systems.
Ha! My thoughts exactly when I spoke to Todd Kindler of Woodchuck Den when I ordered it. He stated it gives a better angle/leverage. I was skeptical. I sought the advice from a friend who uses this stand and he said the same thing......so I tried both when decapping/sizing and wow the difference with the angle is fantastic! Longer throw, better leverage, less fatigue! As for center of bench my last set up with a large bench the press was on the end at first. It was a pain to have some stuff at the nearby ready and I soon moved it to center. But.....I don't have the space anymore for a reloading bench which is why I bought this wonderful stand!

I should add that the stand is drilled for different settings and if you want level there are holes for it already.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Interesting.... well, it shouldn't be too difficult to build a mount so I can try it out at an angle, and if I don't like it, level it back out.

I should have been more clear on what my friend said.... not the center as in side to side, but front to back. As in cut a "U" shape to the bench top and set the press back from the edge.

Still not sure why he suggested it. I'll grill him on it some more tomorrow.
 
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