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Old March 11, 2011, 09:57 PM   #1
sir_n0thing
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Picking up a reloading kit tomorrow... but can't make up my mind which one.

I know this topic has somewhat been hashed and rehashed. Google has led me on quite a trail of opinions and reviews and comparisons... but I have a few hundred dollars sitting on my nightstand ready to be handed over to the lucky retailer tomorrow, and I'm looking for one last nudge in one direction or the other!
I'll be picking up a reloading "starter kit" tomorrow. Initial plan was to grab a Lee Anniversary kit for the cost savings, but a couple of friends of mine are recommending going to the RCBS kit or the Hornady LnL kit. That's in the neighborhood of $200 more than what the Lee kit was going to cost me.
I'll be reloading (initially anyway) about a box or two of .270WIN a month and maybe 100-200 rounds of 9mm a month. Based on that volume is there really that much benefit in going with the more expensive kits?
I know Hornady has the 500 free bullets promotion going on. I could be set for .270 for a long time, or a few months worth of 9mm...
RCBS and Hornady each come with a book. The Lee does not.
Hornady kit comes with a powder trickler, a digital scale and a hand priming tool.
RCBS comes with a hand priming tool.

Thoughts on the cost/benefit ratio with these three?
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Old March 11, 2011, 10:06 PM   #2
DiscoRacing
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Quote:
Lee Anniversary kit for the cost savings
Thats what I did
Where ya live in WI?

I go up to Gotham every spring to catfish.
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Old March 11, 2011, 10:32 PM   #3
sir_n0thing
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I'm down in the Madison area.... not even sure where Gotham is!
*google map break*
OK, out west... cool.

Yeah, I'm thinking the minimal investment for now is the way to go. Make sure I am enjoying reloading and getting value out of it. Can always upgrade later right?
Then again... I'm always attracted to "better" stuff... and 500 free bullets from Hornady sounds enticing....
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Old March 11, 2011, 10:37 PM   #4
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I would reccomend the Lee Classic Turret- It can be used as a single stage and the kit that I bought came with all that was needed less a good reloading book.
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Old March 11, 2011, 10:54 PM   #5
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I have nothing negative to say about the Lee. You'll have more money for more reloading components
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Old March 11, 2011, 11:25 PM   #6
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I recommend the Lee also. I bought the RCBS kit, and after upgrading everything, I only use the hand primer and press anyway. You won't feel so bad after upgrading and having all that expensive stuff laying around rotting.
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Old March 12, 2011, 12:53 AM   #7
hk33ka1
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Go with the Lee 50th Anniversary kit $82, a Lee Manual $13 and your dies $25 pistol and $13.50 for .270 and a shellholder for $3.

Factory Sales in Hartford Wisconsin is across the road from the Lee Factory and the cheapest place to buy Lee gear.
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Old March 12, 2011, 02:06 AM   #8
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Buy in haste, regret in leisure.

Buy in haste, regret in leisure.

Assemble your own kit.

A good loading manual first.

Then for the gear, start with a press you will be happy with for the next 20 years.

Buy a good set of dies and a scale.

That's all you REALLY need to assemble rounds.

Don't buy anything else until you need to use it.

Caveat: The foregoing is only one way to approach establishing your equipment. But it is an alternative to buying a kit that was assembled by someone who has never met you and does not know your taste or style.

Such a kit is bound to have things you do not need, want or like and will lack things you will want, need or prefer.

What you save in the kit price you will spend swapping out the pieces.

What you gain in going through the work of picking each piece is a more intimate knowledge of your gear and yourself.

So, buying a kit vs assembling your own. Each approach is valid. Neither is "wrong". So, just pick.

Go forth, be safe and be happy.

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Old March 12, 2011, 03:34 AM   #9
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If you buy th Hornady kit now it will match the L-N-L AP that you end up buying later. If you are loading handgun ammo you will want a progressive press sooner rather than later. The single stage will still be handy for rifle ammo.
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Old March 12, 2011, 08:43 AM   #10
sir_n0thing
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Quote:
Go with the Lee 50th Anniversary kit $82, a Lee Manual $13 and your dies $25 pistol and $13.50 for .270 and a shellholder for $3.

Factory Sales in Hartford Wisconsin is across the road from the Lee Factory and the cheapest place to buy Lee gear.
Thanks for that tip! I go through Hartford fairly often. I'll look them up.
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Old March 12, 2011, 09:38 AM   #11
Rifleman1776
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I have nothing positive to say about the Lee equipment.
I reccomend any of the other major reloading brands equipment. I used to sell the Lyman starter kit with great success. My turret press is a very ancient Lyman and has many decades of use still in it. A turret or single stage is, IMHO, the way to go.
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Old March 12, 2011, 09:41 AM   #12
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My suggestion is the RCBS Rockchucker kit. There is nothing in it that will be laying around collecting dust. You will use everything it comes with, and will still need to get a few other items as time goes on. It is a big, strong press that will size anything except maybe .50 BMG, and will last a lifetime. It doesn't spring,a nd it doesn't break, plus it is very precision in the way it lines up.

It is a bit more pricy, but as with other things, you get what you pay for. This is a lifetime investment and you might find yourself dissatisfied if you cut corners.

Bill
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Old March 12, 2011, 09:45 AM   #13
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+1 Lee Precision Classic Turret - it is the highest rated turret press regardless of price on Midway USA. Factory Sales is a good source as suggested. I use my Lee Precision turret press in single stage mode but you can crank out around 200 rounds in an hour with the auto index. If you use Lee Precision equipment get Modern Reloading by Richard Lee and if you have the $$$ get Lyman's 49th manual. God Speed
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Old March 12, 2011, 12:01 PM   #14
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Lyman gives the most for your bucks , nobody else includes a rotary case trimmer with all the Pilots included and a digital scale . Either the Crusher deluxe or the T-Mag II , will last a lifetime !
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Old March 12, 2011, 12:04 PM   #15
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Lee 50 anniversary is a good kit to start with. Only upgrade so for is a scale that I can read and adjust easier. The lee scale will work just hard to read.
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Old March 12, 2011, 12:13 PM   #16
m&p45acp10+1
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I have been using the Lee kit for over a year. Well over 25K rounds loaded with it. I did get a digital scale. Other than that I have used the heck out of it. It still works, and does the job. I keep finding myself saying I am gonna get the turret, then when I have the money I usualy end up spending it on components instead due to the fact that what I have still works.

I load for .45 acp, 9mm luger, .41 mag, .475 wildey mag, .357 wildey mag, .221 rem fireball, .223 rem. I have not had a single issue in over 25K rounds.

Well I have had one major issue. I find that I am constanly broke from buying powder, primers, and bullets to shoot up. Though that is not related to the press.
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Old March 12, 2011, 01:55 PM   #17
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My $.02. I started reloading '06 beause the wife thought $12.50 for a box of silver tips was too much.

It's been down hill since.

I started with the RCBS kit and still to this day use most of what came in the kit.

I have owned some Lee equipment and I do prime with a Lee auto prime. However I have learned for example Lees shell holders are not machined to as tight of tolerance as RCBS's.

I would vote for the RCBS kits, buy once, cry once.
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Old March 12, 2011, 02:01 PM   #18
buck460XVR
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Quote:
My suggestion is the RCBS Rockchucker kit. There is nothing in it that will be laying around collecting dust. You will use everything it comes with, and will still need to get a few other items as time goes on. It is a big, strong press that will size anything except maybe .50 BMG, and will last a lifetime. It doesn't spring,a nd it doesn't break, plus it is very precision in the way it lines up.

It is a bit more pricy, but as with other things, you get what you pay for. This is a lifetime investment and you might find yourself dissatisfied if you cut corners.

Bill
^....what Bill said.


Quote:
I'm down in the Madison area....

Been kinda busy around there the last few weeks....LOL. I'm about 90 miles to the Northwest.
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Old March 12, 2011, 03:55 PM   #19
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If you ain't used a product don't knock it, the Lee Anniversey Kit can and will produce just as well as a set up costing three times as much.

It all depends on wether you want to drive a Chevy Or CTSV Caddy!

The most important part of your new reloading kit is going to be the MANUAL,it will give you known SAFE information. You need to do a lot of reading and try to compile a RELOADING LIBRARY, you will use this more than any one tool in your kit.

I decided to start with a Lee Classic Loader, the hammer kit, and I still have and use that kit and the load info card that came with it, I purchased it in 1980.

If you want to kick it up a notch and be sure your going to stay with it, RCBS Rock Chucker Master Reloading kit will definitley put you in THE BIG LEAGUE, and it will last many lifetimes.

A good caliper, digital or dial,and some way to trim yor cases(which the Lee Ann' Kit gives you a start) needs to be in any kit if you are going to reload bottle neck rifle cartridges, along with a way to clean your cases.

The rest of the stuff is GRAVY ON THE BISCUT!

I'm a gadget Guru, and just love wasting time and money for tools used in useless processes that are dreamed up by profit expanding think tank minds that drive the present reloaders buyers market !
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Old March 12, 2011, 08:16 PM   #20
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Hornady!!!! I just cant say enough good things about Hornady... No I dont work for them, I just know a great American company that stands behaind their products when I see one! They are well engineered and well thought out and will still be in service for your grandchildren .With superior customer service and high quality merchandise what could be better!..............LOUD
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Old March 12, 2011, 08:38 PM   #21
rottieman33
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RCBS great service department and life time warranty. Broke the decaping pin and called RCBS they sent me 5 new pins for free. You pay a little more for RCBS but its worth it.
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Old March 12, 2011, 09:00 PM   #22
hk33ka1
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If going by Factory Sales call first because they are in an airport and I don't know if you can get in. They are usually a mail order business.

Also have a Rockchucker and love it, but the Lee Breech lock press is also capable of loading rounds for many years. I don't know of any US maker that does not make good dies. I think a lot of the Lee bad experience stories are either second hand, or with old equipment they no longer make. Not all their stuff is perfect, but a lot of it is really well made, and made in the USA. They offer really great value for the money. The Chevy and Cadillac comparison is appropriate here.
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Old March 12, 2011, 09:45 PM   #23
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I wouldn't knock the other brands because I've never used them....

I've been using a RCBS press for over 30 years, with no problems. The first one I owned I sold when moving, I replaced it with a Rockchucker about 20 years ago. It's kinda like an anvil, pretty hard to tear up unless you really work at it.

With regard to dies, I have 22 sets, 20 RCBS and 2 Redding... again, I never had a single problem in 30 years that could be traced to the manufacturer.
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Old March 12, 2011, 10:10 PM   #24
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I've used the Lee for over 20 years now. I have added many dies and other components. You will probably need a case trimmer. I added the Lyman to my collection way back. A good quality electronic scale will be invaluable to speed up handgun reloading. The standard "Classic" measure is calibrated in cc's, so I just approximate the initial charge and trickle in the rest. A beam scale makes this process really slow. Have you looked at the RCBS Partner kit? This may also be a good affordable option.

-7-
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Old March 13, 2011, 12:01 AM   #25
sir_n0thing
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Thanks for all the input guys!
The deed is done. I had to drive into Milwaukee today, so I stopped out at Cabela's just to look around. The Temptation was too much and I left with a shopping cart full of goodies.
Lee 50th anniversary kit
Lee deluxe die set for .270 WIN
Lee Autoprime XR hand priming tool
Bullet puller
caliper
Hogdon 4350
CCI primers
Sierra bullets
Lyman book
Speer book
Remington brass (I have a bunch of my old brass saved, but figured it wouldn't hurt to have some new brass on hand)
A few other odds and ends. Don't have dies for it yet, but went ahead and bought 250 9mm 124gr HP bullets just to have for later on. A couple of ammo boxes. Some trays. A "One Book / One Caliber" book for .270WIN. And so on...

Got out of there well under $400. Now I just need to get the bench built and finish reading all the materials that I have amassed on the topic of reloading.
A friend of mine is going to hook me up with an extra case tumbler and a powder trickler that he has just sitting around.

I was VERY tempted with the Hornady and RCBS kits (especially the Hornady 500 free bullets deal) but decided to just get started I'd save the ~$200 on the kit and put that aside for my next gun purchase.

Still need to purchase a few items...
-More variety of bullet types/weights
-A couple of other powders
-Electronic scale/powder measure
-9mm carbide die set
-more trays, etc

My first planned loads will be "light" 110gr .270 loads for punching paper at the range. We'll see how that goes and then work up some 130gr target and hunting loads later on.


EDIT: By the way, anyone in SC WI looking for reloading equipment, might want to check Craigslist. I just found this ad...http://madison.craigslist.org/spo/2242494246.html looks like RCBS stuff?
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