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Old November 5, 2010, 02:14 PM   #1
sandman31774
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About to enter the world of reloading ! Need advice.

I have never reloaded but want to start. It looks like a fun hobby while allowing me to shoot cheaper and try some different loads etc...
I will be reloading 357 mag, 30-30 win, and 30-06.
I plan on getting a single stage press but not sure which one to get. I'm leaning toward the Lee or RCBS. Also not sure what manuals are best. I've researched manuals some on the internet but get more confused the more I research which one may be best for me. LoL....anyway, if you folks could recommend a press, manuals and which dies you would get for each caliber I would appreciate it.
I also want to mention that I will mainly be loading hunting ammo and most of my shots with the 30-30 will be 100 yds or less...30-06 will probably be 200 yds or less. 357 will be loaded some close range hunting. 30-30 170gr, 30-06 180 gr, and 357 158 gr bullets are what I like. I just like the heavier loads for some reason. Not sure why lol.
I'm not looking to load the most precise loads. Just good basic rounds and would l ike to get into reloading fairly cheap.
I'd appreciate any thoughts you guys/gals have for me on presses, dies, manuals.
Thanks so much,
Sandman
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Old November 5, 2010, 02:52 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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Welcome to reloading.
For the press I would recomend one of the Lee Aniversary kits. They work, and the price is right. I would recomend a better scale than the Lee scale. (It is acurate, and simple. Not easy to read if you have less than perfect vision.)
For a manual I would recomend either Lyman, or Nostler. If you plan on getting itno casting I would heavily recomend the Lyman.
For dies Lee dies work well. The Deluxe die sets are great.
The Lee case trimmer with the pilot and lock stud for the rifle rounds are very helpful.
Last would be a good dial caliper. It should measure to within 1 thousandth of an inch.
Read the manual, and then read it again. It will save you a lot of frustration. Also there are a ton of useful videos on youtube that you may find helpful.
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Old November 5, 2010, 03:45 PM   #3
sandman31774
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thanks for the info !
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Old November 5, 2010, 04:06 PM   #4
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Congrats on your decision to start reloading.

If you havn't bought anything yet the best bang for the buck is usually a kit. When I started I bought an RCBS kit that included the press, scales, powder charging dispenser, and a bunch of other important items. I have RCBS carbide dies for handgun cartridges but found that Forster or Redding dies were best for rifle.

I have manuals from Hornady, Nosler, Sierra, Speer and Lyman. I can't say one outshines the other. They are all very good.
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Old November 5, 2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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If you buy a kit, and have the funds for quality products that will last a lifetime, get the RCBS Rockchucker Kit.

If you are going to buy separate pieces, the you can add the Lee Classic Cast as another good choice. I don't care for the plastic lee powder measure or scale. If you're going the separate route, the Lee Classic Turret is another option with potential to speed things up a bit for very little more money.

Keep in mind that the two "Classic" Lee products have a 2 year warranty, even though they are made of steel and cast iron. The RCBS has a lifetime warranty...and they mean it. Mine's 40 years new.
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Old November 5, 2010, 07:16 PM   #6
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I have an RCBS Rockchucker, single stage press, and a Lee Classic Cast Turret Press. I highly recommend the Lee Classic Cast Turret Press. They simply do not make a sturdier, more rugged, or stronger turret press. There is nothing light or second rate about it.
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Old November 5, 2010, 08:00 PM   #7
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You are probably going to get more answers than you can stand here as which is best. Both RCBS and Lee make good equipment. Work within your budget is what I suggest.
For hunting loads, I have always made the selection based on what type/brand of bullet I want to send out of the barrel, FPS desired, and of course the game. For the long shots, I recommend you also look at ballistic coefficients (BC) if you are not familiar with them.
You are very fortunate to have a 3006, besides winning two World Wars, their is a myriad of bullets to choose from. 30-30 and 357 are great as well.
I most always follow published data for the specific bullets I am using. If I want to use Nosler bullets, I go by their data. Same with Sierra, Speer etal. Thats my honest opinion.
One last note: Reloading is not only contagious, it is addictve as well.
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Old November 5, 2010, 08:19 PM   #8
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Manuals? I like the Lyman, Hornady, Speer, and Lee manuals. I'll consult a friend's Nosler manual and even sneak an occasional peek at Ken Waters' Pet Loads.
Equipment? You've been hanging out here for awhile so you have gotten some good info.
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Old November 5, 2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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I got started with an inexpensive Lee kit and still have the Challenger press that I still use. I have since upgraded to the Rockchucker Supreme. Now I use both for different operations. You wont go wrong with either. Good luck in your quest.
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Old November 5, 2010, 11:02 PM   #10
sandman31774
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thanks for all the replies ! It may be awhile before I can buy the reloading equipment due to my wife about to go into labor....new kid coming soon ! I'll have to take care of wife and kids for awhile....in the meantime i'm researching reloading equipment like crazy...i'm already addicted to it and I haven't even started ! Ha
I have looked at some of the suggestions online and will continue these next few days/weeks....i have a feeling that Christmas may come early !
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Old November 6, 2010, 01:46 AM   #11
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Welcome to the wonderful world of reloading.

I started with the rockchucker kit by RCBS. It comes with a reloading manual. If all you can afford right now is a reloading manual, I would pick up a copy of Lyman's #49.

I reload for all three of the cartridges you mention (Just started the 30-06) and have found the kit I have does a good job for me.

Check prices and shop around. If you are comfortable with e-bay, yo can pick up some good deals on kits and dies (Especially dies!) there. Just keep an eye out on the shipping cost. (I have two sets of 30-06 dies, three pieces, one of them I bought for $5.00 on eBay and paid $4.50 shipping.)

For the pistol you will definitely want to get the carbide die. AND DON'T FORGET THE SHELL HOLDER! (Not that I would ever forget it. )


Also, before I forget, Lee Dies work in the RCBS equipment and RCBS dies work in the Lee Equipment. If you go green, you do not have to stay green.

You'll want to fool around with different powder/bullet configurations.

When you come upon deals and specials grab them. Sometimes you will see primers at a cheap price. (You need large rifle primers and depending on which powders you are using for the .357 Mag, will need either small pistol o r small pistol magnum primers.) As for powder, check your reloading manual and see what they recommend. You see a lot of guys post here (I am guilty of this also) that say they have powder XYZ and bullet ZYX, does anyone have a load for it? If we had done our homework, we would have had a load already figured up and bought the powder we need.

Lead is cheaper to shoot than plated or jacketed bullets. I use lead bullets in my .357's.

I guess my biggest suggestion is, like the guys above mention, get a couple of reloading manuals. If they confuse the heck out of you, and I am sure they will, ask questions. Someone here will be able to help you out.

I am glad to hear you are putting the wife first, instead of the reloading. I used to have a friend who felt his hobby was more important than his family.
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Old November 6, 2010, 10:35 AM   #12
sandman31774
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UncleBuck,
thanks for the info...and as far as your last comment...my life is in this order : God, Family, Friends, Hobbies. My hobbies include hunting, guns, golf, and guitar. But I listed everything in order of importance to me. By keeping this order it makes my life more stable and enjoyable !

But, I am very excited about reloading and will go check out some manuals today at my local Basspro!
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Old November 6, 2010, 02:10 PM   #13
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Read the sticky at the top of this forum page. It takes a bit of time to collect the books mentioned. Ebay is your friend as is Amazon. I found Dave's advice invaluable.

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Old November 6, 2010, 05:38 PM   #14
zdogk9
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The first thing you'll need is a reloading manual. This will serve both as a recipe book and an instructional manual for learning the process of reloading. The first one I owned was by Speer, the writing style in the instruction sections suits my way of learning. I now have fifteen or so around the shop and house and would be hesitant to part with any of them.
My first press was a RCBS JR 3, I got it in 1972, I still have it and it works as good as the day I bought it. If I were to buy another single stage press today, I would take a long hard look at the Lee Classic Cast, and then buy another Rockchucker, not because I feel that it is a better press but because RCBS has one of the best customer service departments in the world and the press is every bit as good if not better than Lee's.
Others have spoken to scales, for a balance beam the RCBS 5-0-5 would be hard to beat.
Dies, I have, RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, Lachmiller CH, Star, and Herter's. They all make excellent ammunition. If buying new dies, Hornady, at this time they have a promotion where they'll give you a box of bullets with each set of dies you buy. I don't think its possible to screw up a set of dies without serious conscious effort so with a bit of time on ebay you can come up with some great deals. Garage sales can be wonderful, I picked up a set of RCBS .308 dies and Herter's dies for the -06 for $5.00 with some lead 3# of 4831 and three usable bullet molds at one last spring.
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Old November 6, 2010, 07:25 PM   #15
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All posts so far have been very sound. M&P's post (#2) just about reflects what I think for the most part. I'm going to assume with a new one on the way yet you're itching to get into reloading, money is going to be an issue. So, here's what I'd get if this is the case. It isn't the end-all-be-all answer, just my suggestions.

Press kit:
-Lee anniversary. It has just about everything you need to get you started minus dies and shellholders. It isn't top quality. Price obviously reflects this. But I wouldn't be afraid with starting with it. For under $100, it will do everything you're wanting based on your post. You're just going to have to put up with the nuances, that's all. Extruded powders will be your friend. Ball or granular will NOT. Reason being, is the powder measure let's the tiny granules of small media powder through it's mating surfaces. It makes a little bit of a mess and there's really not much you can do to fix it. But, again, it WILL do the job and measures rather accurately. Second, as mentioned, the scale is a little hard to read and a big pain to make adjustments due to the tenths section. Once it's set to your liking, the scale has given me very consistent and trouble-free measurements. For hunting applications, the press will load all of the loads you mentioned just fine. I had this kit and loaded literally tens upon tens of thousands of pistol and rifle rounds. I found another powder measure on sale to replace the Lee a few months in, though. I didn't like cleaning up the powder mess after every session.

-RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit. This is what I highly recommend if you have the extra $150. The press is better built than the Lee. The 5-0-5 scale and powder measure is absolutely fantastic. One downside is the spent primer tray is a bit of a pain to remove and dump without making a mess. I just use a hand-me-down vacuum to suck out the old primers. It's one downside that I was more than willing to deal with.

Manuals: I recommend ABC's of Reloading, Lyman's 48th, and Hornady. You can view/download data from Hodgdon's website if you choose to use their powder. It will include Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders on the site. I personally like Hodgdon powders and Alliant as well. Alliant sent me a free reloading manual when I called them. Speer's manual is OK, but I don't recommend it for your first go-to manual.

Dies: For your application...LEE, LEE, LEE! There's nothing wrong with them at all. They're MUCH cheaper than Redding and others and will serve you well. There's really no need to spend the money on more expensive dies if you're hunting/plinking.
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Old November 6, 2010, 07:53 PM   #16
sandman31774
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thanks again to everyone for the info...i'm soaking it into my brain....
what is a good case trimmer that's moderately priced?
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:16 PM   #17
m&p45acp10+1
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Sandman a good case trimmer that is reasonably priced is the Lee trimmer. I recomend the one with the ball handle. Then all you need is the lockstud, and case length guage. Case length guage, and lockstud come together and run around $6 or $7 for each caliber. Chuck it in a drill and and you have a power trimmer.
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:20 PM   #18
Shane Tuttle
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I second that. It's cheaper than most as well. It will trim your cases to SAAMI standards in a jiffy...
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:22 PM   #19
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Same here, except I like the Zip Trim. Put the case in a shell holder in the pull-string powered lathe. Insert the gauge/trimmer and pull the string. De-burring takes two more pulls of the string.
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Old November 9, 2010, 07:09 PM   #20
sandman31774
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I ended up getting the RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Master Kit today at my local Basspro. They price matched cabelas online price which was $30 cheaper..and, I had $115 in Basspro reward points on my card. So I wound up getting the Kit for $174. Not bad I guess...I bought some digital calipers also. I will probably order some dies from Midway tonight and a few other items. I picked up the ABCs of Reloading book plus the RCBS kit came with the speer manual. I'm reading those plus will pick up the Lyman manual soon...Once I figure out what loads I want to start with I'll get the primers/powder/bullets/brass etc...etc..
While i'm collecting other items I'll need, I'm going to design me a portable reloading station and build it.
I appreciate all the help everyone gave me. I decided on the RCBS as it just seemed heavier and more sturdy than some of the other models. However, I know they are all good for my basic needs.
I'll have a lot more questions as time passes but I know where to come...right here in this forum..!!!
thanks again,
sandman
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Old November 9, 2010, 10:16 PM   #21
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Excellent! Looks like you're off to a great start!

When your ready and have performed a cursory search, crank up more threads and ask away...
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Old November 9, 2010, 10:47 PM   #22
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Looks like you are on your way but you may want to check out www.grafs.com they are just one of many places to buy. Their shipping rate is worth checking out, but Midway is good too.

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Old November 9, 2010, 10:52 PM   #23
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+1 Tuttle8!
Excellent start indeed! Keep us posted, OP. We're all hoping this will be a long, fruitful adventure for you. When you hit a bump remember that somebody here has already hit it and will help you over it.
We're not from the government but we're here to help!
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Old November 10, 2010, 01:23 PM   #24
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Good choice in my opinion!

I didn't know that kit included the Speer manual. That alone is almost enough to make up for the slightly extra cost.

Have fun with it!

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Old November 10, 2010, 10:08 PM   #25
TXGunNut
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My RCBS kit came with a Speer manual too, Number 10. Brings back some good memories, still keep it handy.
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