The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 26, 2005, 10:31 AM   #1
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
Question about Reloading Kits

I want to get into reloading for 2006 but I want to some research before getting started.

Does the price you pay for a reloading kit determine overall quality of the rounds you are making?
I know the Lee stuff goes for under $200, but Hornady has a full set for around $400. Its the Lock-N-Load AP
https://www.hornady.com/shop/

I shoot .308 and am very very uptight when it comes to group size. Any ideas for a kit that will provide match grade ammunition right out of the press?
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Old December 26, 2005, 11:03 AM   #2
donkee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 7, 2004
Location: Mid-Michigan
Posts: 431
Quote:
Does the price you pay for a reloading kit determine overall quality of the rounds you are making?
The time, care, and quality of components that you use will determine the quality. Any of you can bash LEE for being less expensive all you want, My home rolled rounds disproves that theroy....
donkee is offline  
Old December 26, 2005, 11:25 AM   #3
TimRB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Posts: 1,028
I recently started handloading, and rather than buy a kit, I made a list of everything I would need, got out the Midway catalog, and went to town. In my experience with kits (not necessarily reloading kits) you never really get everything you need, and you often get things you don't need.

Tim
TimRB is offline  
Old December 26, 2005, 11:53 AM   #4
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,848
What kind of .308 do you shoot?
What kind of match do you shoot?
What is your standard of good accuracy?

Kits are convenient to order but they tie you to one make of gear. I generally agree with Tim, and my reloading setup is a conglomeration of many different brands of equipment.

I don't doubt Donkee can turn out good ammunition with Lee equipment but I could not get good results with Lee powder measures or scale. Their Challenger press is ok, their Cast Classic is getting a good reputation, their dies are decent, and many of their special purpose tools are very good.

The Hornady Lock n Load AP is a progressive loader, and notwithstanding what Dillon fans brag about the Palma team loading match rifle ammo on their progressives, I think the average rifle shooter is better off with a single stage. The Hornady Lock n Load Classic from that maker. I don't know about their supporting equipment like powder measure and scale. Their dies now have a good reputation.

Note that neither of the company kits come with loading dies, you have to add those to your purchase. Dies are standardized on 7/8"x14 threads and you can use one brand of die in another brand of press.

FIRST, GET THE BOOK. The NRA Introduction to Handloading and/or The ABCs of Reloading for the basics, then a manual like the Lyman 48th edition.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old December 26, 2005, 06:19 PM   #5
steve4102
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 2,124
I started out with the RCBS Supreme Master Reloading Kit. I am still using it and it works great. I am not a fan of some of the items in the Lee Kit (powder measure). But that doesn't mean it won't give you quality accurate handloads. The quality and accuracy of your handloads will come from you and your efforts, not the reloading kit.

The RCBS Kit can be had for about $220.00. All you need to get started is your dies and a good set of calipers.

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...?sku=000449357
steve4102 is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 06:19 AM   #6
donkee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 7, 2004
Location: Mid-Michigan
Posts: 431
I will say I don't like the LEE challenger press. The Perfect Powder Measure I would freak and go postal if I had continued to use it for pistol rounds, the ADPM is fantastic though for pistol. PPM has been very good for rifle rounds. LEE dies have been good to me, used like crazy and only broke 1! My fault, I was sleepy and ran a .40 S&W case through my 9x18 sizer . The Safety Scale has worked good, seems to be accurate enough in testing, just kind of a pain in the backside trying to get it set. I have a real hard time seeing anything close up. I use LEE, RCBS (30-06 dies, collet bullet puller, which is way cool I must say!) and Redding. I started with a kit and have expanded where I needed to and use some other manufacturers gear. Kits are good for starting, especially LEE. If you satrt and hate it, you're not out much. If you do like it, you have the gear to keep you going while your hand loading gear collection evloves.

Just my 0.02.....
donkee is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 09:09 AM   #7
WESHOOT2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,109
since the '70's

BEST (or at least "excellent") satisfaction; simply buy an RCBS kit.
Cannot get hurt....

LEE, while offering certain specific products of decent quality (like their funnel, and pistol-cartridge trimmers, and their indispensable $3 chamfer tool), can also add enormous frustration to 'handloading'.

(I have two LEE presses, both broken during their first 'session', that prove my 'theory'. I also have-n-use a Bonanza Co-Ax, a Lyman Crusher ll, and a Dillon progressive.)
__________________
.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 07:04 PM   #8
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
Good info thanks guys.
I try to go for a .5 MOA group or better. Right now I shoot 150 and 168 gr. Winchester-made .308. It's store bought Super-X rifle ammo. After reading here and deciding that only match ammunition was going to give me the results I wanted, I bought two boxes from two different manufacturers: Hornady and Federal.

The first box is 168gr. Hornady Match, and the second is Federal Gold Medal Match in 168 gr. After paying almost $50.00 for 40 rounds, I decided that maybe reloading would help let me shoot more than 40 rounds for that same $50.00.

I also understand that I can match the quality of these match rounds with home-grown ones. I just don't want to get a crappy setup and be disappointed. I would much rather the problem be with my skills than the equipment.

Is a progressive loader for loading multiple cases at a sitting, while a single stage only does one round at a time start to finish?
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 07:36 PM   #9
TimRB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Posts: 1,028
"The first box is 168gr. Hornady Match, and the second is Federal Gold Medal Match in 168 gr. After paying almost $50.00 for 40 rounds,..."

Oh my! I knew that the ultra-sex ubermatch ammo was expensive, but I guess I really had no idea. Maybe I really *can* save money by handloading. Go figure.

Tim
TimRB is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 09:22 PM   #10
Bob - S.C.
Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 19
David J,
As for the type of equipment you want to get, considering the accuracy you desire, will depend on the amount of research you do. That research will lead you to the brand and type of equipment that will best suit your needs. I shoot AR's for accuracy and chose the RCBS rockchucker with their competition die set. For powder measuring I went with the PACT system, which is quite accurate and after a lot of experimentation with different powders and bullets, I am able to pretty consistantly print 1/4" groups at 100 meters from my 16" barreled AR-15. I can load quite a few rounds in an afternoon, but the main thing, at least in my opinion, is that you enjoy your new hobby. It just takes some time to look at what other mfg. offer, consider your needs and desires, and pick and choose the equipment that will help you reach your goals. I wish you well!
Bob - S.C. is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 09:52 PM   #11
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
Thanks Bob! I hope I can find an outfit that will deliver what I'm looking for

As for the ammo prices, at my LOCAL retailer...

$27.99 / Federal GMM.
$22.99 / Hornady

I really want to reload my own loads to these tight standards.
Thanks for the suggestions,
David
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Old December 27, 2005, 11:26 PM   #12
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,848
Is a progressive loader for loading multiple cases at a sitting, while a single stage only does one round at a time start to finish?

A progressive loader has multiple stations, performs a different successive step on the cartridge at each one, and produces a loaded round with each pull of the handle after every stage is set up and adjusted.

A single stage press is normally used in batch process. Resize and decap a number of cases, then reprime all of them on or off the press, then powder charge all of them off the press, then seat a bullet in each. With minor operations and inspections between major steps.

GET THE BOOK.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old December 28, 2005, 06:59 AM   #13
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
Quote:
GET THE BOOK.
Yikes. I guess it's off to Barnes and Nobles tonight.
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Old December 28, 2005, 09:10 AM   #14
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,848
Barnes & Noble is a liberal establishment and I would be surprised to find a reloading manual there. Better to visit Wiley's or maybe J.C.'s.
Or mailorder:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=738288
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=823498
Those will get you started.

Weather permitting I will be shooting IDPA at Hartselle; I will bring along an old Speer manual to loan you.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old December 28, 2005, 10:28 AM   #15
MADISON
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2000
Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Posts: 2,678
Which reloading equipment?

While LEE is good, you will replace it [UP-GRADE] within a year.
After 35 years of reloading I can tell you that Hornady, RCBS or Redding is the way to go. Lyman is good but about 15 years ago I bought some Lyman dies, WITH A FLOADING DECAPPING PIN. I replaced them with HORNADY'S New Domention dies.
MADISON is offline  
Old December 29, 2005, 07:35 AM   #16
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
Jim, I was considering going to the HGC match this Sat, but I'm not going to be able to make it. Thanks for the offer to loan me the book. I'll go check out Larry's tonight.
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Old December 29, 2005, 11:17 AM   #17
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,848
Larry's doesn't deal in reloading gear, I'd be surprised if he had manuals.
Wiley's is your best bet for something local, maybe JC's, and they are just around the corner from each other.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old December 29, 2005, 12:12 PM   #18
azredhawk44
Junior member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 6,465
Most Lee gear is alright, but beware the lee powder measure.

It is plastic and rubber.

Gunpowder acts like sandpaper when in contact with plastic and rubber. This makes your "wipe" step inconsistent since the edge of the measure's chamber can change over time.

Imagine if you are loading for 28.2 grains, and get 28.6 in it? Then 28.9? Then 30.4? This is basically what happened to me with my Lee powder measure. I was loading .30-30 with it and was already near max loads. I am very glad I re-checked the accuracy of the measure.

I went out and got one from RCBS instead.

Most of my stuff is RCBS now. I use single stage, I just feel that I have better quality control that way. I have a friend with a dillon multistage, and every now and then he runs out of primers in one stage, or powder in another, and either gets powder running out on the workbench or a cartridge with no powder in it. I don't wanna deal with that, so I accept that I load a bit more slowly.

I also verify OAL, powder charge and case length every 10-25 rounds.

Nobody likes a Kaboom.
azredhawk44 is offline  
Old December 29, 2005, 09:59 PM   #19
DavidJBlythe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: USMC, Centcom
Posts: 214
I can't wait to get started now! Using other people's recipies online for a competition grade .308 load, then pricing those items, I can get $27.99 / 20 down to $8.00 / 20. Can't beat that!

I'm heading to Paris Island in February for Marine Corps boot camp. I'm enlisting under an intelligence contract. So I want to get the kit before I leave while I can afford it I'm taking a large pay cut once I ship out so now is the time to get the supplies. Thanks for all the help guys.
DavidJBlythe is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10266 seconds with 9 queries