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Old December 26, 2011, 02:53 PM   #1
missesalot
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New Guy, free press, can it be saved?

hey guys, i am new to rifle shooting for the most part but have been getting into shooting my .204 more and more over the last few years, and am now interested in reloading, and on a budget. I have been given an old RCBS rock chucker press by my uncle, its rusty but it seems to be all there. questions on the press:
1. how to clean it up
2. should i bother?
3. should i lube the ram?

he also gave me a RCBS scale of about the same vintage, has some corrosion on it but it looks like it would clean up ok.

also got an old reloader manual from hornady, obviously no 204 recipe.

Between getting these free and having a dozen boxes of once fired brass for my 204, i am hoping i am on to a good start to reloading on a budget. I know i need to get some tools like a deburring/chamfer tool, and the obvious supplies in powder, primers, 204 dies etc...looking for recomendations on what else i need to get, simplistic form of everything is ok for me to get started as long as there is no safety issue.
if i am in the wrong place for a beginner let me know where i should look.

thanks gents
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Old December 26, 2011, 03:05 PM   #2
Don P
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The sticky's have a wealth of info at the top of this section.
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Old December 26, 2011, 04:36 PM   #3
missesalot
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Thanks Don,
Anything specific i should watch for As far as reviving this old press?
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Old December 26, 2011, 04:41 PM   #4
lineman22-250
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i would just use a good penetrating oil and it doesnt matter how bad it looks as long as it works good. are you planning on using a hand primer or the press ? and i would recomend buying bullets by bulk will cost a litter more off the start but will save in the long run.
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Old December 26, 2011, 04:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
1. how to clean it up
I have a Rock Chucker from the mid 1960's and I continue to use it almost every day. I have 3 other presses, but the Rock Chucker is still useful and works just fine.

Tough to tell without pictures, but it it were me, I would totally disassemble it, clean everything, remove the rust and sand with the appropriate grit where necessary, and lube and reassemble it. I wouldn't bother to paint it, but YMMV. I keep mine lubed well and it has always worked extremely well. This link may be useful to you.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:29 PM   #6
missesalot
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Thanks

Thanks for the info. I cleaned it up with some clp, cleaned up well and seems to have a full range of motion.

Not sure aboutbthe hand primer vs the press, what do you guys suggest?

Looks like i need a case trimmer and a powder measure. What donyou guys suggest for economical options for those? I am a cheap bastard:-)
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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Well, unless the whole thing is rust fused into a huge lump, or it's been hit by a meteorite, it's still a GREAT press.

Parts are still commonly available. Clean it up pretty much as you would any other metallic object, and have at it.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:48 PM   #8
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You might want to give RCBS a call. Lee will do a complete referb on its presses for 1/2 the cost of a new one. Maybe RCBS offers the same type of service. Here is the info off of their page:

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Do you have any questions about how to use or operate an RCBS product? Looking for information about reloading? Need a replacement part for an RCBS product? Don't hesitate to get in touch with the RCBS Technical Service Department. We are dedicated to giving the best service in the reloading industry. Our catalog is located on the web. Please contact us.
phone: 1.800.533.5000
fax: 530.533.1647
rcbs.tech@atk.com
www.rcbs.com
RCBS
605 Oro Dam Blvd.
Oroville, CA 95965
When requesting replacement parts, please give us the name of the product the replacement part is for, the part number (if known) and name of the replacement part. Replacement parts are usually shipped by the next working day via first class mail (large items by UPS Ground Service). Please be sure to give us your name, address and phone number. We'll only call if we have a question about your order.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:49 PM   #9
Don P
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Quote:
Looks like i need a case trimmer and a powder measure. What donyou guys suggest for economical options for those? I am a cheap bastard:-)
Mid-Way will probably be the least expensive for what you need. I'm cheap too, www.midwayusa.com
Go to reloading and brows till your hearts content

If the press functions why referb. Looks? I think patina is nice.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:51 PM   #10
missesalot
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I have been surfing midway today, tons of stuff. Some things seem tonrequirebsome reloading knowledge just to know whether they are options or not. Thanks again for the help so far

I like old looking too, if it seems to work ok i get crazy with it..so far it seems to be perfectly functional
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:53 PM   #11
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I use my Rock Chucker Supreme to prime all my rifle cases except my benchrest stuff. I use a hand press for all my pistol cases just because its faster and Im usually loading several hundred at a time. Clean it up, you will have a great single stage press there.
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Old December 26, 2011, 05:58 PM   #12
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The Rockchucker is one of the finest presses made, it is well worth the time to clean it up. Steel wool and emery cloth should take off most of the rust. Put a little lube on the ram and you should be in business.

Hand primer tool vs. Press: It depends how much reloading you're going to do. If only a couple hundred rounds a year probably not worth it, if more than it might be. I loaded for years without one but now that I load a lot more it is a very nice tool that I would not do without.
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Looks like i need a case trimmer and a powder measure. What donyou guys suggest for economical options for those?
I recently purchased, at the suggestion of the guys on here, a case trimmer. I went with the Lee Zip Trim from MidwayUSA. Inexpensive and it has been working fine so far! I also purchased a Lee perfect powder measurer. Seem to work well also. Check the links below for both! Good luck, and keep on checking this forum! I have answered several questions before I even ask by looking at the older posts.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/540...powder-measure
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/515804/lee-zip-trim
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:15 PM   #14
missesalot
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Its hard for me to understand the merits of each at this point, so i will likely start with the press (see cheap bastard section above) and look for a deal on a hand tool;-)

Howza bout a powder measure?
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:18 PM   #15
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That lee powder measure looks good to me, is that all i need fow powder or also a trickle somethin or other?
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:20 PM   #16
missesalot
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Will these work in the rock chucker?
http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...Id%253D1170718
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:23 PM   #17
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I dont use a powder trickler.... yet! From what I have read and learned from guys, as I get more advanced and want to fine tune the loads, I will be in need of one. Im just not there yet. Im sure the more experienced guys on here will be able to get you pointed in the right direction.
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Old December 26, 2011, 06:57 PM   #18
missesalot
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Thanks again for the help guys, helped a lot
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Old December 26, 2011, 07:08 PM   #19
t45
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I would highly recommend a powder trickler. But thats just me. I usually throw a charge and then trickle to my desired weight for every rifle case. I guess Im just anal about that. My pistol cases, I just throw and go.
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Old December 26, 2011, 07:36 PM   #20
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Check these threads

They contain some good advice for you, though not exactly the same situation, and you are already started down the right path.

Welcome to reloading.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448380

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439810.


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Old December 26, 2011, 07:36 PM   #21
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I have a C-H CHampion press I bought in the late 60's. It had been stored under all kinds of conditions for nearly 40 years. I mounted it and squirted the ram and link pins with WD-40, worked it up and down a few times and it was good to go. Don't think the Rock Chucker would be any different.
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Old December 26, 2011, 07:41 PM   #22
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Misses a lot: post a couple picks of the rusty areas and I will tell you how to clean it up inexpensively.

Here are a couple links to threads describing presses I have restored:

http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=86279

http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=81541
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Last edited by Kevin Rohrer; December 26, 2011 at 07:50 PM.
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Old December 26, 2011, 07:53 PM   #23
missesalot
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Wow

Holy cownlost sheep that second link was perfect. Imwas starting to sweat the price of all the gadgetry adding up. Good to see that it can be done on a budget at my own pace. I work in technology so i like low tech in my spare time so the les gadgets the better to start out with. I think i likenthe dipper method describled;-)
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Old December 26, 2011, 08:13 PM   #24
Kevin Rohrer
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Those posts are a year old. I have improved my technique since then. I now use citric acid to get rid of surface rust.
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Old December 27, 2011, 02:58 AM   #25
John C
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You can reload very inexpensively. If you take your time, quality won't suffer, much. The press is the biggest up-front expense, and you already have one.

You can reprime on your press with a priming arm. Your press may already have one, but if not, they're under $10 from RCBS. Or, you can pick on up from eBay. It's very simple, if slow, and works great.

If I were in your shoes, I'd pick up a Lee Perfect Powder measure. These are very accurate measures, and work great. I had one for a while, and liked it. I eventually sold it cheap to a buddy who was starting reloading. I'm seriously thinking of getting another one. They're under $20. Dippers won't give you the consistency you need for rifle work. If you were blasting away with a pistol, I'd say go for it. But what's the point of loading less accurate rounds in for a rifle?

I'd also pick up a used balance scale on eBay. Any of the classic brands will work, RCBS, Ohaus, Herters, etc. I would skip the Lee scale.

I'd also get a Lee Collet Neck die. This die works the brass the minimum amount, leading to long brass life. Brass that's been fired in your rifle previously will work fine. As a bonus, you won't have to trim your brass as often. I would then get a Redding "bump" die. This dies only resizes the body of the case, not the neck. You'll need this eventually (you don't need to purchase now) as the shoulder of your brass creeps forward after multiple firings.

Once you resize the body of your brass, you'll likely need to trim your brass. Lee stuff works fine, and is cheap. This will come later.

One important piece of equipment is a caliper. You'll need this to determine the length of your brass, and whether you'll need to trim or not. Believe it or not, this is a critical safety step. You can get a cheap, usable one from Harbor Freight for around $10.

You can clean your brass with 0000 steel wool and a microfiber cloth. Just don't let your brass hit the dirt, and you'll be fine.

I, too, work in tech, and I find the slow pace of reloading, along with the manual, mechanical arts, to be relaxing.

Good luck!

-John
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