Getting Started

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tsands974
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Getting Started

Post by tsands974 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:06 am

I have decided to begin loading my own ammo, and will only be working with 9mm and 5.56mm to start out with. That being said, I have absolutely no reloading tools so I am looking to buy a single stage press. What are some good presses out there to look at? Thanks

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doubloon
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Re: Getting Started

Post by doubloon » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:39 pm

For single stage the Rock Chucker is hard to beat for the price.

Dillon is also a good choice.

If you're on a budget look at Lee but in the single stage arena you really don't end up saving all that much after buying dies and all the fixins.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by johndoe3 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:43 pm

I would encourage you to ask around and see who loads ammo near you. A one evening session with a seasoned reloader can really jumpstart you making excellent ammo from the beginning, since you'll learn about the tools needed and how to use them. It's not difficult but you are becoming an ammo manufacturer; and you want to make good ammo for your own use.

The seasoned reloader can help you prioritize what is needed.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by doubloon » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:44 pm

+1 on get help from someone experienced, it's well worth the time spent
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Re: Getting Started

Post by starlingstalker » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:28 am

I've been reloading since the early 80s. The 1st most valuable asset are my trusty LE Wilson case length gauges. They make die adjusting turnkey easy for all SAAMI specifications. Wilson is spot on to a lot less than a thousandth of an inch or two. No muss, no fuss. All finished rounds are gauged 100 percent for go or rare no go culls that don't drop in flush or drop out free. Usually brass distortion at base. Handy for checking gun show ammo prior to purchase,too. Case gauges are a MUST have. And never wear out.

The 2nd asset is a Case Kicker for the rock chucker. I resize ALL cases in the rock chucker which on the down stroke the case is thumped out into the collection box by a piece of spring steel that rides up the ram and pushes the case out of the shell holder. All I have to do is insert the cases as fast as I can work the handle as they self eject. Crimped fingers :x are a constant hazard if the cyclic rate gets too high especially with shorter pistol calibers. The main advantage to having resized cases is that for all the pistol calibers, the Dillon Square Deal is a lot smoother since the cases are already in round resized and uniform and enter the resizing die without near as much "feel" if they were still out of spec unsized. And its more consistent powder throws and quicker rates of production if all you have to do is flip the handle without ongoing effort having to bear down to resize also. Less fatigue,too.
Same rock chucker resizing situation if the rifle calibers have had a resizing expander rod truing up the mouth of rifle brass in addition to resizing also before cycling thru the 650. Much Smoother and enjoyable,too.
So, for me the Wilson gauges and case kicker have paid their way, many, MANY times OVER. Check them out! :wink:
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Re: Getting Started

Post by gunguy » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:38 am

Forster CO-AX, at least look at one before you make your decision.
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tsands974
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Re: Getting Started

Post by tsands974 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:52 am

Whew, that Co-Ax press is pricey, but very nice.

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Re: Getting Started

Post by doubloon » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:34 am

One thing you'll need to decide is if you are planning on churning out cheap range fodder or premium competition rounds.

Reloading doesn't really save you much unless you shoot a lot but if you're in it for controlling something like long range accuracy then saving money isn't really part of the equation anyway.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by Sdustin » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:03 am

I like rcbs as well. And you could learn a ton in just a few hours with someone that already been doing it. I've seen some value packs or kits. Those make sense to me. But rarely have everything. Also if you get into anything in bulk which shooting 556 id think you'll be loading more than a few boxes at a time one of the case prep stations would be awesome! I really want one of those. It would be just the thing since I trim 556 down to 300 blackout a lot.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by gunguy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:12 pm

tsands974 wrote:Whew, that Co-Ax press is pricey, but very nice.
Your right it is a bit more expensive than the others listed, but you don't have to buy shell holders either. There are a bunch of really good single stage presses out there, you probably can't go wrong with any of them.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by johndoe3 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:21 pm

I have a Co-ax and it is great. However, RCBS has a new single stage press in 2013 that delivers more precision than the older design Rock Chucker--called the Summit Single Stage Reloading Press. More precision meaning less bullet runout variation in rifle bullets--straightness of the case and bullet with smaller variance results in more accurate rifle ammo.

http://www.rcbs.com/whatsnew/#newproducts

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/229578 ... tage-press

It has a large solid ram that copies the functionality of the Co-ax press (Coax has two parallel rams) but the RCBS Summit is about $90 less expensive. There is also a 2013 rebate ($50 cash or 500 free bullets) from RCBS, when a total of $300 in RCBS products purchased.

The Summit holds the case stationary like the Coax and the die moves down to the case (to resize a case or seat a bullet). I think the new RCBS Summit Press may compete more effectively against the Co-ax in single stage presses in turning out precision rifle ammo with low runout, and the lower price makes it competitive.

With the rebate, the RCBS Summit Press will be about half the cost of the Co-ax with the same functionality and ability to make accurate rifle ammo (my guess because it is a new design for RCBS). If the Summit Press appeals to you, I would order it on Midway, since it says "backorders OK".

The way backorders work on Midway is that if you backorder it, then you are on the list to receive from the next shipment the day it arrives at Midway. Let's say that they are getting 200 presses and 210 people total backorder it. The first 200 people on the list get their order fulfilled. Meanwhile, Midway will change the out of stock date a couple of months down the road to the next shipment date. All the people who waited to buy and logged on to Midway on or about the day they were supposed to get the shipment, will never be able to purchase the item because it will still show "out of stock". For high demand items like reloading presses right now, if you don't get in the queue, you may have to wait a long time to get your desired press.
Last edited by johndoe3 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by MJF1911 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:29 am

I have Dillon, Mec, RCBS, and Hornady presses and you really can't go wrong with any of them.

First you need to grab a couple of printed manuals and read before you buy anything else. Speer, Nosler, and Sierra are my main manuals and they have very detailed reloading instructions. There are plenty of others though.

If a friend or family member reloads, it would be a good idea to learn the basics from them too. Youtube also has a lot of good videos on reloading that will help explain a lot of details.
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Re: Getting Started

Post by Eldos1 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:10 am

Sorry you are starting when just about everything is back-orderd. :(

I really like my Hornady Lock-n-load progressive. That being said, A Turret press is a great place to start and will get you far. Much faster than a single stage press and you can incorporate a case activated powder drop. The Hornady will do 223 that way where a RCBS "uni flow" will only do it off the press. Eater can do case activated 9mm. The Lee system will work, but like all powder drop dispensers, they work best with "Ball" type powder. The Lee system likes to leek powder and gets messy, but it is cheap and works. Powder charge variation will really throw your bullet speeds out of whack more than any other variable in reloading I think and give you bad groups. If you do go with a single stage press, "Smart Reloader" brand has a RCBS clone for much less. Natchez and Midsouth Shooters Supply has them.
Progressive presses are real nice, but you need to be on your toes for set-up and have an understanding what each "stage" is doing and how to troubleshoot.

As for dies, Lee dies are just fine and cost less and is some ways have some advantages others. You do not need a 'high end competition die set' to load better than factory ammo.

Ammosmith has some good reloading youtube videos.

Tumbling your brass (cleaning it).
You will need a case tumbler like this
Image

You need a media to tumble it in to scrub the old powder and dirt off the brass.
TIP: use Lizard bedding (corn cob) from the pet store. It will cost you much less and works great.
You also need a brass polish added to the media. I found out about this one from another reloading forum, Nu-Finish car polish. One bottle will last a long time. You only need a little (cap full to start) and a small blob about every 5 tumbles to refresh. Ammonia free so, it is powder / primer safe. Works very very well.

Image

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Re: Getting Started

Post by AMProducts » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:25 am

My main suggestion when thinking about reloading, especially when starting is to skimp on the press, and spend good money on the dies. For 9mm and 5.56 a Lee Reloader press (Usually <$40) is a good starting point. Note: this press is a POS and will break if you were doing anything bigger than .308, however it's a budget place to start out.

Lee shell-holders are also cheap, but they work and are built like hammers.

For Dies, I personally like RCBS, if you're loading for an AR, buy the small base set for your 5.56.

You will probably also want some kind of chamfering tool for removing the primer pocket crimp, lee is the cheapest at ~$3, the RCBS one is a world nicer and you will probably lose it before you break it/wear it out, same can't be said for the lee tool.

For priming tools, there are a lot of options, nearly all of them are expensive. I like the RCBS hand primer (make sure you buy the one that has a tray, not the one that takes the APS strips). The lee equivalent tool is a pile of junk and not worth considering.

You need a scale for weighing powder, I might also recommend a powder trickler. Personally I like balance scales, but there are some good electronics out there. Again, do not buy the lee scale, it's junk. Look on ebay for an old RCBS 505 or 510 scale. If you buy an electric scale, be sure it comes with the calibration weights.

Finally you will need a set of calipers (I like the manual dial style) brand isn't really important, there are plenty of cheap starter ones for $20 from harbor freight.
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