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Old November 4, 2010, 07:55 AM   #1
westbrooklawn
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Help getting back in reloading

Posted on another forum before I found this one... only got one response so I thought I would try here....

I used to load .270 and .308 way back (about 40 years ago), but then got out of rifle reloading and did a lot more pistol reloading with a Dillon SDB that I bought used. I still have a nice powder measure, scales, blocks, etc. as well as an RCBS Jr. press. Well, I have gotten back into hunting and shooting with one of my sons, and I would like to start reloading .243 win. My questions: 1. what is the best set of dies I can buy for the money. 2. full length sizing or neck sizing only? 3. do I have to lube my brass for resizing? (got out of this with carbide pistol dies). 4. Do I need a case trimmer? 5. 3 die or 2 die set? 6. any other pointers that would be helpful would be appreciated.

I plan on buying a current reloading manual... what would you suggest? I also know that the manual would answer most of my questions, but I would love to hear comments from everyone also.

By the way, I am not looking for competitive target rounds, only good solid hunting rounds that will cover a dime at 100 yds. lol. Thanks in advance for you help.
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Old November 4, 2010, 08:16 AM   #2
PA-Joe
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Hornady dies 2 die set (get a free box of bullets) Full length since you may be using the reloads in more than one gun.
Lee Factory Crimp Die although this is an extra since the Hornady dies already come with a crimping feature.
Lube yes, spray or imperial wax. (just need a little on the case and wipe the necks clean before sizing.
Lee Case Trimmer

Things haven't changed in 40 years.

Last edited by PA-Joe; November 4, 2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old November 4, 2010, 08:54 AM   #3
bassfishindoc
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Hey welcome back to the club. You will get a lot of great help here, I know I have. Allow me to help you.

1. what is the best set of dies I can buy for the money?
I use RCBS. They can be found online for relatively cheep and a good used set can be found for next to nothing. I load 7 different calibers and have basic RCBS dies for all of them. A lot of people here will recommend Lee. I only have experience with a Lee de-priming die so I cannot comment on the quality of their other dies but with so many people swearing by them I am sure they are great options as well. Redding are fantastic dies but they are a bit more expensive. I use Redding competition dies to reload 30-06 and 223 for competition.
2. full length sizing or neck sizing only?
Depends, are you shooting a bolt gun or a semi-automatic. First, you must full length re-size all new brass that has never been fired (unless it is the premium stuff that comes ready to go). Also, you must full length re-size fired ammunition that is going to be used in a firearm other than the one it was first fired in, i.e. you can't fire a round in you Savage, neck size it only, reload it, then try to use it in you Remmy 700. Chances are it will not chamber well, or even at all. The reason is that when a round is fired, the high amounts of heat and pressure cause it to form to the chamber in which it was just fired. By neck sizing, you re-size the neck to be able to get the tension you need to hold onto a round, but keep the rest of the case in the same dimensions as the particular chamber in which it was fired. It will work in that rifle but most likely not others. You can neck size only, only if you are loading for a particular bolt rifle, however, after so many loadings you will begin to notice the rounds will become harder to chamber and you will have to full length re-size at that time. Conventional wisdom states that all rounds to be used in a semi-auto rifle need to be full length re-sized. To sum it up, you must have a full length re-sizing die because at some time or another you will have to full length re-size. You can get a die that neck sizes only to enhance your accuracy in a particular rifle or your full length die can be set up to neck size only (I hope I haven't completely confused you, there are many other threads that beat this topic to death if you have more questions).
3. Do I have to lube my brass for resizing? (got out of this with carbide pistol dies).
Yes, all rifle dies need to be used with lube for resizing. After re-sizing the lube should be wiped off or the brass can be ran through a cleaner. You do not have to use lube for bullet seating. If you crimp your rifle rounds with a separate die these may require lube, just check the instructions that come with the die. There are many options for lube from traditional lube pads to newer spray lubes. I still use a lube pad but am looking at trying the Hornady spray lube.
4. Do I need a case trimmer?
Yes, as brass is fired it tends to "grow". This is due to the brass flowing as it is being fired. Eventually the brass will get too long and need to be trimmed to length. Also, some factory new brass is not uniform in length and may need to be trimmed to length. I use the Wilson case trimmer and would recommend it. It has a very simple design that perfectly aligns the round with the cutter. It is more pricey than others but well worth it IMHO.
5. 3 die or 2 die set?
Basic rifle die sets are two dies. You do not have to flare the case mouth with bottleneck cases like you do for straight wall cases so that eliminates a die. All you need is the full length resizing die and the seater die. All others are optional, such as crimping dies which are commonly used by people loading for semi-auto rifles or re-producing military rounds, neck sizing dies, and others.
6. any other pointers that would be helpful would be appreciated.
My biggest pointer is when you start to reload always start 10% below the maximum load and work up, watching for pressure signs. Get a good loading manual (I have about ten but the Speer is my favorite). Most load data can be found online but it is hard to beat a good manual, especially if you want to load when the internet goes out. Stick with and search this site as there is a wealth of info here and please do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not know. Above all, stay safe!!
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Old November 4, 2010, 06:11 PM   #4
westbrooklawn
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Great info... I think I will go with the RCBS dies... that is what I have in .270 and .308, albeit they are 40 years old, but apparently they haven't changed much, so I will be consistent in stickng with the RCBS for my new .243. I will be shooting my reloads out of 2 different rifles (Browning A-bolt, and Marlin XS7), so full length sizing makes sense unless I want to keep the brass separated. I may look into the Lee factory crimp die... sounds interesting. From what if have researched, it appears 4895 powder is good for .243... any other suggestions on a better powder? I am anxious to get back into reloading, but the first thing I need to do is build a good bench... will try to get that done this weekend.

Keep the advice coming!!!..... thank you....
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Old November 4, 2010, 06:58 PM   #5
Edward429451
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Buy the Lyman reloading manual for general use and if you reload with a particular manufacturers bullets, then get thier book which has the specific bullets in it that you use.
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Old November 4, 2010, 07:21 PM   #6
hornady
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This is not a recommendation but I saw this in there flier and thought it might make a nice reloading bench for someone that needed one, might be worth a look.
And I also think the Lyman 49th is well worth the money. But as said earlier, if you decide on a specific bullet manufacturer, I would get there manual as well.

http://www.harborfreight.com/60-inch...nch-93454.html
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Old November 4, 2010, 07:24 PM   #7
m&p45acp10+1
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Welcome back to the insanity of rifle reloading.
1. Best die set for the money is the Lee Deluxe set. (FL sizing die, Carbide Collet neck sizing die, and seating die.)
2. When FL sizing lube will be needed. With the necksizing die no lube is needed.
3. I would recomend the Nostler guide. For rifles thier most acurate powder, and load are usualy spot on, if not realy close for rifle. They also cover a good range of bullet weights and styles per caliber. Lyman is another good one.
For the case trimmer the Lee version works just fine. I use the Lyman universal due to the fact that I use it to cut down .223 rem to .221 rem fireball. It works as well.
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Old November 4, 2010, 07:29 PM   #8
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I would steer you to a set of Forster Benchrest dies. You get the FL sizer just like any other die set but the big-bang-for-the-buck is in their seater die. Their sliding sleeve design that captures the neck and shoulder provides excellent axial alignment of the bullet to the case and makes very concentric ammo. The Forster die set is exceptional value, especially when you consider all the aggrivation it saves trying to get an accurate load.

The Lee Collet Neck Die is a good way to go too but if you intend to load the same cartridge for two different guns you will be better of FL sizing to ensure proper operation of the ammo in both guns.

As far as trimming goes, I recommend the Lee Case Length Gage and Trimmer with the Lee Lock Stud. Get the ball handle trimmer, easier on the hands. They are inexpensive and work really well.

My favorite case lube is the Imperial Die Sizing Wax. One tin will do lots and lots of cases.
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Old November 4, 2010, 10:27 PM   #9
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The higher priced dies are great if you can shoot well enough to tell the difference. I'm talking beyond 300 yards.

If you are reloading for hunting and practicing to 300 yards, even the cheap lee dies will work well. My personal preference would be for the Hornady dies.
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Old November 5, 2010, 08:41 PM   #10
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Welcome back! RCBS was a very good die back then and they've gotten better. I recently bought a set and it compares well with my older ones. OTOH the other folks have gotten better too and every brand has its fans. I like Redding as well, they only cost a little more than the others. I have a set of RCBS competition dies, probably won't buy another. I currently use no Lee or Hornady dies but based on comments from posters I trust I wouldn't be afraid to buy them.
Our resident fisherman did a great job of answering your other questions but for loading manuals I'd go with Lee and one from a bullet company of your choosing. I like Hornady but that's not helpful if you like Nosler, Speer or Sierra bullets.
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Old November 5, 2010, 09:08 PM   #11
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1. I"ve used Lee. I like Hornady the best for full length. RCBS is my favorite for neck sizing.

2. Neck size if at all possible. 243 Winchester is very prone to case stretch. Picking up one of the L.E. Wilson case length guages. It has helped me a lot with this caliber.

3. Lube is required for full lenth sizing. I use RCBS on a lube pad. Sometimes Imperial wax. No lube needed for Lee Collet neck Sizing dies. If I'm using a Redding or RCBS neck sizer a very thin amount of Lee lube makes things go smoother.

4. Like I said, it's a "stretchy" case. You're probubly going to have to trim after ever firing. I like the Lee Cutter & Lock stud for this.

5. 3 die set. presumably Lee. Pace setter for a semi, Lever, or pump action. Deluxe for a bolt action. Pace setter comes with a full length sizer, seater, and factory crimp die. Deluxe is the same except it includes a neck sizing die instead of the Lee factory crimp die.

6. When you go powder shopping look for hybrid 100V, IMR-4831, or any of the 4350's.
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Old November 5, 2010, 09:22 PM   #12
TXGunNut
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You probably used 4895 and 4064 back then, they still work. Varget is a good powder in addition to those suggested above. RL-15 and a few others are worth a look as well. Hodgdon seems to be where the interesting new powders are coming from, some great new technology coming from their labs.
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Old November 8, 2010, 07:23 AM   #13
westbrooklawn
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Well, I pulled the trigger and ordered some .243 Redding dies, along with the Lee shell trimmer. I was going to go with RCBS dies, but found the 3 piece "deluxe" Redding dies for $59.99, so that's what I went with. I may try to keep my brass seperate with the two rifles and try just neck sizing from time to time, so I thought this deal was good for the 3 piece set.

Now I have to get all my old reloading equipment out and set up (been in boxes since a move 2 years ago). The information I have received on this site has been fantastic... thanks!
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Old November 8, 2010, 03:07 PM   #14
bassfishindoc
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Congrats on the new dies! I know they will work well for you, Redding are awesome dies. Keep us updated on how your loads progress and post some pics of the rifles and groups!
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