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Old November 19, 2010, 11:17 AM   #1
Ultra12
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Newby needs help.

My friends got me a Gift Cert to cheaper than dirt. com. I been thinking about getting in to reloading and here is a perfect opportunity for me. I read a sticky in this section and followed the advice and started looking in to diff equipment but still have few questions.
first here are some of the equipment i am considering
Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Automatic Five Station Press with EZ-Ject
Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Master Reloading Kit Includes Ohaus 5-0-5 Scale
RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive Press
Special-5 Single Stage Press Reloading Starter Kit Includes Reloading Manual
Rock Chucker Reloading Single Stage Press

Please forgive me if my questions are silly but i live in NYC and there is no real help to find for miles. First i guess i would like to know the diff between Progressive Press , Automatic and Single stage. I understand that i will need more than just a press to start but if you can give me a list of basics i need that would be great. I have to mention i have a sako 3006 and a mosin 5.62x54r. Looking in to getting a marlin 45-70 and applying for hand gun license ( think thats where reloading will really pay off).

Any recommendations or a set ups that you guys are using would be great.
Thanks in advance and what a great forum this is. I am grateful i found it.
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:03 PM   #2
BarbreJ
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I think of the Progressive, Turret, and Single stage like this

Progressive= Varsity:
Faster, Quicker, and easier to make a mistake while learning. Typically takes some experiance to be competent at this level. Progressive presses do a function at all the stages everytime you pull the lever

Turret= Junior Varsity:
Not slow, not fast, and less complicated. Can still follow the steps fairly easy and if you have a good understanding problems are easily identifiable. Turrets bring a station the the round everytime you pull the lever

Single Stage= Pee Wee:
Slow, Very accurate, and the perfect place to learn all the basics and to build a good foundation. Single stage you have to bring everything to the bullet. Unless you change something it will do the same thing everytime you pull the lever.


John
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:09 PM   #3
PA-Joe
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Firstoff you will have to check the NYC laws to make certain that you are allowed to keep powder and primers in your home!

The simplest of presses are the single stage press. These you use to process cases in a batch of 20, 50 or 100. Size them, prep them, clean them, primer them, bell them (pistol), add powder and bullet, then crimp.

A progress or automatic press has 3, 4, or 5 stations and as the case moves through each station it does the sizing, priming, powder drop, bullet and crimping. You do have to pay attention to each operation.

You are best buying several reloading books and reading up on what you need. A basin kit is the best way to go. You need the case prep tools, a powder scale and a caliper.
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:27 PM   #4
hornady
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Foremost I too would check your local laws, you are not in the most gun friendly state. The three rounds you mentioned being rifle rounds, I would strongly suggest a Single stage or turret press. I load 13 different rounds, most are done on a single stag press, I do how ever own the Hornady LNL auto progressive, I only load three calibers with it. 9MM, 40 S&W and 45ACP, all three are pistol rounds that I shoot thousands of rounds of a year.
Auto progressive presses, are great for pistol rounds, but I like having more control over my rifle round, than you get with either the Hornady or Dillon Auto progressive presses.
If you I would pick up a copy of Lyman 49th or the Lee modern Reloading manual. Both will try to sell you on there equipment, don’t buy into the hype.
But read the manuals getting started section, and then think about what you want to do with the equipment you buy.
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Old November 19, 2010, 12:58 PM   #5
Ruark
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hard to go wrong with the Rock Chucker with that 505 scale. Surely there is SOME way you can find somebody who reloads that could walk you through the process. It would be a huge headache and time saver. Barring that, read your reloading books very slowly and carefully. Read everything about it you can get your hands on. Videos could be very helpful, too.

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Old November 19, 2010, 01:24 PM   #6
BigJimP
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I don't know anyting about the laws in NYC - but once you get past that ..

For handgun ammo - a progressive is a big plus / because of the volume you can load. Its way too tedious to load handgun ammo on a single stage ... In my opinion, its only marginally better on a Turret press...

Nobody's making bad equipment these days .....but on the higher end of the progressive presses - the Hornady LNL and the Dillon 650 are roughly equivalent. Personally, I like the Dillon 650.

On a budget - there is the Dillon SDB press / and it comes with a set of dies. It will not handle rifle loads / but its fine on handgun calibers like 9mm, etc. It used proprietary dies / proprietary to that press - where the Dillon 550 or 650 use standard dies.

I've had RCBS equipment in the past - and buddies that have the RCBS 2000, some with Hornady LNL, but most of my buddies are using Dillon equipment. The Dillon 650 with the case feeder meets all my needs for handgun ammo in 9mm, .40S&W, .45acp, .38spl, .357mag and .44 mag ....it does it quickly ( 800 - 1,000 rds an hour easily ) and accurately - and I buy it again / and I've had it about 5 yrs - and I'm confident its the only metallic loader I'll ever need.

Dillon has a good website - where you can check out their equipment options.
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Old November 19, 2010, 05:07 PM   #7
Ultra12
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thank you guys for the info I will double check NYC laws on keeping reloading equipment at home. As far as choosing a press i would like to get one that will do rifle and handgun loads. It seems its a good idea to start with single stage as i am learning but with future handgun loads i think turret would be better, please correct me if i am wrong. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old November 19, 2010, 06:34 PM   #8
BigJimP
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You can learn from a progressive, a turret or a single stage .... it really doesn't matter ....you have to learn the steps and how each press works. But learning on a progressive isn't inherently dangerous.

There is no doubt the progressive presses are a little more complicated - because there is more stuff going on at once ....but you still need to know what is happening in stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4 and stage 5 .....just like you would on a single stage.

The single stage will work fine for your rifle calibers - and you won't be shooting much volume there - so its not significant.

Picking a press is about your personal time as well .... is it ok, if it takes an hour or two hours to load a box of 50 rounds ....vs 300 rds an hour off a turret probably .... vs 500 - 1,000 rds an hour off some progressives. Each type of press has its price points ....

I would suggest you find a mentor in your area - that can aquaint you with different presses - maybe show you their setup - so you can weigh the pros and cons better. Talk to the guys at your local range ...see what they're using / and why ...
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Old November 19, 2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171

You don't have to go far for an answer...
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Old November 19, 2010, 07:18 PM   #10
Doodlebugger45
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If I were you I would get a Lee Classic Turret. I started with a Lee single stage and iit has worked fine but now I'm looking to get a turret.

It really depends on the volume you expect to be loading. If you plan on doing 20-40 rifle rounds each session, maybe 200 rounds per month, then a single stage will work just fine. If you think you'll be doing 300-500 rounds per session, maybe 2000 rounds per month, then a progressive would fit your needs. A turret press is in the middle. You don't necessarily give up anything going with a turret press. They can easily crank out 300 rounds in a couple hours and you can keep a closer eye on possible mistakes than you can with a full progressive.

I have been doing a lot of research on various turret presses. Lyman and RCBS make fine turret presses but they cost more than the Lee Classic Turret and they don't do a few things as well as the Lee. But they are still good. If you go with a Lee, make sure it's the Classic cast turret, not the Deluxe turret.
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Old November 21, 2010, 05:27 PM   #11
Lost Sheep
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Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model.

Ultra12, welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

If you get a single stage, do get one with the bushings that allow quickly changing dies. It's a nice convenience, though each bushing is a few dollars, it saves you about a minute each time you change dies....for the rest of your reloading life.

I started out with an RCBS Jr single stage press 35 years ago and switched a couple of years later to a RockChucker (which I still have). Not because the Jr was inadequate, but because the RockChucker came in a trade with a pair of Lee Progressives (Pro-1000). However I have since retired them in favor of the Lee Classic Turret. Operating the progressives was too complicated for my comfort level. I like simple. (Or maybe I am simple; who knows?)

The Turret Presses can be operated like a single stage, with one turret head set up for each caliber. Just leave the dies in the turret heads and switch them for each caliber. The Lee Classic Turret has the advantage that the turret head can remain stationary or be made to rotate each die station in turn, automatically. Lee's is the only turret that does that, to my knowledge.

You mentioned you live in the City. If storage space is a consideration, that would be another reason to stay away from progressives. They tend to be a little larger than single-stage or turrets. When I started reloading, everything I used fit in a footlocker and could be set up on an end table (with my powder scale sitting on the separate coffee table).

I also recommend a dropcloth. Spread it out to catch any spilled powder, dropped primers (live or spent) and the inevitable carbon and primer residue that comes out of spent cartridges.

Recently, I just repackaged all the stuff I regularly use and will share with you the pieces of my reloading setup and how I store/transport them.

3 Toolboxes:

One it 23" x 10"x10" and contains my press (Lee Classic Turret), mounting system (a 2"x6" board that I clamp into a portable workbench or anything handy) a small "4"X8"X1.5" fishing tackle box to contain all the small parts & tools and the primer feeding system. There's room for a couple of manuals in there, too, but I store them on my bookshelf, with one next to the computer.

The second (15"x8"x8") contains all the gunpowder handling parts. Scale, funnel, Powder measure/dispenser and a set of Lee's measuring scoops/dippers and my loading safety glasses (as opposed to my shooting glasses).

The third (15"x7"x7") contains seven sets of reloading dies, mounted in their turrets inside their plastic storage cylinders, ready to plug into the press and use.

With my folding workbench, I can set up my reloading room anywhere in just a few minutes.

I did not include the RockChucker because I rarely ever use it any more. The turret does all my loading just fine and is much faster and just as simple to operate. But I will not get rid of the RC, simply because it has that super strength. Though, I were to do it over again, I believe I would spend the extra money for a Forster.

You mentioned that you already have a gift certificate for CheaperThanDirt.com, but you should check out FactoryDirect.com if you decide to go with Lee. Also check out Graf.com Sue Graf was very helpful to me and they are one of the few places that put togeter a decent kit for the Classic Turret. Their kit includes everything (including dies) except a scale.

Good luck, good shopping.

Look for my next post, entitled "10 Advices for the novice handloader"

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Old November 21, 2010, 05:31 PM   #12
farmerboy
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To the OP., I hear ya about saying you live in NYC and there is "no real help in miles". You'd probably have to get all the way to the borders of TEXAS before you find any.... (Just a joke people) I'm gonna hear it now...
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Old November 21, 2010, 05:36 PM   #13
Lost Sheep
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10 Advices for the novice handloader

Here are 10 advices I composed for the new reloader. My perspective is that of a handgun reloader.

When I first started (with a single stage press) I could produce about 50 per hour. I recommend doing things one process at a time. Multiple operations at a time are too complex for me to keep track of. My due care kept me moving too slowly. I used progressives for a while, but but finally have settle on a Lee Classic Turret as my preferred machine. Others may choose differently, but this one suits my style and temperament.

I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universal. So much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".

Bonus advice: Advice zero, if you will, "Why load?"

At the same time as I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly. However, most shooters will not realize any savings at all. Instead of shooting for 1/4 the ammo cost, you will shoot four times as much for the same cost. However, handloading can be more than a means to an end (money savings or increased accuracy), it can be a satisfying pastime in itself.

Now, here are my Ten Advices.

Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.

Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of money on equipment.

I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Short on loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. Check out offerings in your local library. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging.

Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well. As far as load data in older manuals, the powder manufacturers and bullet manufacturers may have better information and their web sites are probably more up to date. But pay attention to what the ammunition was test-fired from. (regular firearm vs a sealed-breech pressure test barrel, for example)

The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. You also get better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others.

The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy.

There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started.

Richard Lee's book "Modern Reloading" has a lot of food for thought, and does discuss the reasoning behind his opinions (unlike many manuals, and postings). Whether right or wrong, the issues merit thought, which that book initiates. It is not a simple book, though and you will find it provocative reading for many years.

Only after you know the steps can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack.

Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?

Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Better equipment costs more generally. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Lee makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker, though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you thing Ford/Chevrolet owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better.

Be aware that many handloaders don't use brand names, prefering the manufacturer's chosen color, instead. RCBS equipment is almost all green; Dillon, blue; Lee, red. Almost no manufacturers cross color line, so many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. But this is not 100%. I have a Lee Powder Scale that is green.

On Kits: Almost every manufacturer (and retailer) makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started (with less puzzling over unknowable questions). Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops, but you will have gotten started, at least.

Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy. Progressive or Single Stage? Experimental loads?

While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the loading steps right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a "fluffy" powder that is, one that will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it, and is easy to verify that you have not missed charging a case with powder.

Learn on a single stage press or a turret press. Do not learn on a progressive press. Too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of. Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME until handloading becomes second nature to you. You can learn on a progressive, but it is easier to make mistakes during the learning process.

Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.

Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one single-stage.

Advice #4 Find a mentor.

There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")

I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.

After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.

Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness

When I started reloading, I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted the press on a 2" x 6" plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table My loading gear all fit in a footlocker and spread out on a coffeetable, end table and/or the lid of the footlocker. Good leverage meant the table did not lift or rock. I still use the same plank, but now it is mounted in a Black & Decker folding workbench. A loading bench "bolted to the center of the earth" (as some describe their setups) would be more stable, but I do not feel deprived without it.

You will probably spill powder or drop a primer eventually, so consider what you have for a floor covering when you pick your reloading room/workspace. I would not try to vacuum up spilt gunpowder unless using a Rainbow vacuum which uses water as the filter medium.

Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology

Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Powder chemistry has changed over the years. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.

Read previous threads on reloading, here are a couple I read.

TheFiringLine.com, "Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting"
THE ACCURATE RELOADING.COM FORUMS - Powered by Social Strata
RugerForum.com :: View topic - Interested in reloading
RugerForum.com :: View Forum - Factory Ammunition and Reloading
The second one is a thread started by a new recruit to reloading which the moderators thought highly enough of to make it "sticky" so it stays on the top of the list of threads.

Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)

When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying.

Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride)

T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.

Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.

Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children. Enough said?

Advice #10 Remember, verify for yourself everything you learn from casual sources. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and frequently hit "7" instead of "4" because they are next to each other on the keypad.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
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Old November 21, 2010, 05:52 PM   #14
farmerboy
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WOW! LostSheep that was very nicely explained, so many of us would have saved ourselves alot of money and headaches if we would have really done this at first. I had it very lucky though. My neighbor and good friend bought a set up and we together added parts for years and years and I got to see exactly what I liked for myself and what would cover all my needs before doing any purchases for my own home. I currently own a RCBS single stage and everything else is rcbs as well and would not change a thing but that fits all my needs and everyone of us are different with indiv. needs. Alot of brands and types are good in my opinion...
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Old November 21, 2010, 06:21 PM   #15
Lost Sheep
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Thanks, Farmerboy

Thanks, Farmerboy.

Quote:
so many of us would have saved ourselves alot of money and headaches if we would have really done this at first.
I try to make my posts worth their length. I am always a little embarrassed by my inability to edit down and it is nice to hear that someone believes I am worth my bandwidth.

The money and headaches I spent and experienced, though, gave me most of what wisdom I possess. Few regrets, though. If we could sell our wisdom for what it cost us, would we sell? After selling my wisdom, I would probably just lose the money again.

Wise is the man who learns well from his painful experiences.
Happy is the man who learns well from OTHER men's painful experiences.

There are many ways to state this truism:

Good judgment comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.
Therefore: Good judgment comes from bad judgment.

Lost Sheep
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Old November 21, 2010, 07:15 PM   #16
Ruark
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Remember also to keep your powder (powder, primers) inside the house in a cool, dark place without temperature swings. My reloading gear is all set up on my workbence in a 20X50 foot metal building near the house, but I keep my powder, primers and loaded ammo in the house in a cabinet here in the study/computer room.

- Ruark
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