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Old May 28, 2012, 07:43 AM   #1
sparkysteve
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New to reloading. Choosing a press.

Hornady or RCBS???

I've decided to start reloading. I'm looking at these 2 kits from Cabela's:

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...r/wishlist.jsp

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...r/wishlist.jsp

I'm kind of new to reloading and looking for input on these to brands. I know the Hornady setup has the Lock n Load feature which seems cool. Pretty new to it all. I'm planning to reload .40, .38 Special, .357 Mag, .223, and .30-06. Any experience and input you guys have would be great.
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:07 AM   #2
Misssissippi Dave
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My guess is you will probably be happier with the lock N load kit. This should serve you well for a very long time. Most people loading 30.06 prefer to do it on a single stag press. As time goes on, you might want to get a progressive press for the pistol ammo if you tend to shoot a lot of pistol rounds on a regular basis. For low volume the single stage is still the way to go.

The powder measure from RCBS involves using the exact same method to make consistent powder drops. It takes a bit of practice to get it down right. Once you do that it is a good powder measure. I didn't notice the Rock Chucker including a scale. It is something you will need.

The only thing I didn't see with the LNL kit was calipers. You can get them from Harbor Freight for a reasonable amount of money. I prefer the one they sell that comes with a case. You do need to measure the overall length of the rounds to avoid over pressure and to get them to work in magazines and chambers. They are useful to check the taper crimp on rounds like 9 mm, .40 and .45 loads.

The easiest load to start with of the ones you listed will be the .38 special. If you shoot it in a .357 mag better yet. It is rather forgiving. So long as you fully seat the primer and crimp the bullet along with following load information in the manual for max and min powder, they are pretty straight forward. Many people like to load .357 cases only. They load them on the light side to equal .38 specials. It takes a little more powder to load .357 cases to .38 special levels then it does to use .38 special cases. The good part is you only have one case and can load it either way.

Have fun and be safe.

Last edited by Misssissippi Dave; May 28, 2012 at 08:21 AM.
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:17 AM   #3
David Bachelder
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You can't go wrong with either. FYI ... you can use the Hornady LockNLoad bushings with the RCBS press. All you do is order a LNL press bushing and how ever many LNL die bushings you'll need.

You can get them from Midsouth or most any other reputable vendor.

Here is the starter set (1 press bushing and 3 die bushings
See: http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...ku=00005044099

Here is a 10 pack of the die bushings.
Or: http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...ku=00005044096

The RockChucker will have a 1 1/4" X 7/8" bushing screwed into the top of it. Take it out and instal the LNL press bushing. Next you will be able to load the die bushings exactly like the Hornady press.

Works great!!
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:32 AM   #4
sparkysteve
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Do the RCBS dies fit the lock n load bushings? Or do I need to get Hornady dies?
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:37 AM   #5
sparkysteve
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I also know the Rock Chucker can be upgraded to a progressive press, but I might get another press if I get to that point. I heard that the piggyback attachment is a pain to use.
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Old May 28, 2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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ANY, standard dies will work with the LNL bushings; LEE, RCBS, Hornady, Dillon, Lyman, Bonanza.

There is one caveat. If you install a LNL bushing adapter to different presses, the distance between the ram and the die bushing is not consistent/exact from one press to the next. I have a Rock Chucker with a LNL adapter. I swap dies between my LNL AP and Rock Chucker. The RC required a spacer between the LNL adapter to make the two presses match. See the following:

http://ultimatereloader.com/2009/06/...nl-classic-hd/
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Old May 28, 2012, 09:26 AM   #7
Nathan
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Both kits are nice. Basically the difference is that the RCBS kit relies on the old school method of using a scale to setup your powder measure to be accurate. This works very well for pistol, but works poorly for long extruded rifle powders. Like most people, you could throw light charges and trickle up to weight and then dump into the cases. The problem is that usually electric scales don't really work for trickling charges.

The Hornady kit is short a case trimmer which you will need for rifle rounds and possibly some pistol. So you will need to buy a trimmer. IMO, this is OK because you will really want a Wilson Case Trimmer or a high end trimmer like the Gracey or WFT. It trades that for the high end elec powder dispenser. The powder dispenser is a super tool, but not needed for most.

So, while both kits are OK, I think the Hornady has an advantage.

Quote:
Do the RCBS dies fit the lock n load bushings? Or do I need to get Hornady dies?
All 7/8"-14 work.

Personally, I like this start kit. My money would be spent here.
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Old May 28, 2012, 09:58 AM   #8
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Personally, I think the RCBS is the better press. Cast iron vs cast aluminum, larger frame opening, longer ram stroke, larger diameter ram, etc. The only real advantage the Hornady has is the angled frame.

The quick change bushings (Lock n Load, Breech Lock, etc) do sound good, but in practice I find them pretty useless. It takes me maybe 5 seconds to screw or unscrew a die from the press without these systems, taking that from 5 to 2 isn't worth it to me.
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Old May 28, 2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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Both kits will work fine. I'm going to add something different. With those two kits you will be loading around 50 to 75 rounds per hour after you get the hang of it. If you are like a lot of us loading pistol ammo that slow will get old very fast. With the Lee classic turret press you can batch load the same as a single stage. When you want to load faster install the included auto indexing rod and load around 200 rounds per hour. The classic turret will load all the calibers you listed. The classic turret is also a quality press and will cost around $200 less than either of those kits. Check out the kit at www.kempfgunshop.com.
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Old May 28, 2012, 10:59 AM   #10
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All presses that look the same mechanically will work the same in effect.

The press choice for a new guy is easy; A single stage.

OR Lee's Classic Turret which can be used as a single stage OR with the auto-indexing turret device which greatly increases speed - for AFTER you get it all together.

I'm not sure if RCBS' "progressive up-grade" is still avaiable but if it is, it shouldn't be.

Die "quick change" gimmicks serve no constructive purpose and they ain't inexpensive if you need more than a couple; spend that money on useful stuff. Don't use a wrench to retain dies, hand tight is plenty tight.

Digital powder scales are quirky and unreliable; for every guy who says "mine is x years old and still works for me" is out numbered 10 to 1 by those that don't. My beam scale is 47 years old and is ready for another 47; no digital can match that.
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Old May 28, 2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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The "lock and load" system is handy -- but it's overrated. Once you get your die lockrings set up, it's easy to spin the dies in and out of a press without losing your settings. Also the bushing for the powder measure has an obnoxious habit of coming loose while you're reloading. Don't make your decision based on the LNL thing.

Depending on how much rifle ammo you're going to reload vs. how much pistol, you might consider a Forster Co-Ax. It's not great for churning out a bucketful of 9mm or .40 ammo in an evening (it'll do it if you put on a short handle), but it excels at pretty much everything else.

If I were starting completely over, I'd get a Forster Co-Ax and Dillon SDB. And maybe one of those cheap Lee single stages for tasks like bullet sizing.
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Old May 28, 2012, 11:12 AM   #12
sparkysteve
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm leaning towards the RCBS kit right now. I like the idea of having the powder measure instead of the automatic trickler. It also includes a case trimmer. I might add a hand trickler, but it has most of what I need to get started.
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Old May 28, 2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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Whichever kit you choose (both are quality manufacturers), start with the .38/357. Of the cartridges you mention these will be the most forgiving and easiest to start reloading.

Before you buy anything get a copy of The ABCs of Reloading and Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook. These texts will tell you what reloading is all about and the equipment needed for your reloading needs.
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Old May 28, 2012, 12:54 PM   #14
David Bachelder
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I have to disagree with the majority. I use the LNL bushings on my RockChucker and I find them to be very handy. Set things up the way you want them then switching dies is a snap.

I like it

PS

RCBS customer support is amazing. I have never dealt with Hornady but I'd guess they are about the same.
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Old May 28, 2012, 02:31 PM   #15
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keep in mind that the biggest part of those kits is the accessories.... the RCBS press alone is $150, the Hornady is $140, so not a real big difference, the other $310-$350 is paying for the accessories in the kit, and not at a real big discount.... If you arent going to use ALL of the accessories that come with the kit, then the kit isnt a good bargain. If you like the hornady press better, but would rather have a powder measure than the digital thing, then buy the hornady press and a powder measure..... Mix and match to get the best value.... Also, dont go for the RCBS because it can be upgraded to a progressive, the cost of the upgrade is as much or more than many standalone progressive....

I almost hate to sat this since people always look down on the company and its users, but the only company that really gives a good value with their kits is lee, especialy that one from kempfs linked above, since it includes everything you need PLUS your first set of dies for $200.

Most times in life you get what you pay for, but I have found in the reloading world, often you are paying 2-3X the amount for the paint alone....
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Old May 28, 2012, 04:09 PM   #16
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Both are good presses, I would prefer the RCBS but that’s just me.
Graf’s is a better place to buy, much better price.
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...roductId/23868
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Old May 28, 2012, 04:46 PM   #17
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I second the Lee Classic turret kit. Add a more user friendly scale, and a manual. It still comes out to less than half of that the other kits give, with way more advantages. Speed of reloading pistol rounds is right at the top of that list of advantages.

If It were me spending my hard earned money. The Lee Classic Turret is a great press for any money. Do not let price fool you. Also see how many people here are still using the ones they have bought many years ago, and are still using it.

When finances are better I plan on upgrading to a Lee Classic Turret, with the Pro Auto Disc measure, and the Safety prime system. As well as building a new bench.
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Old May 28, 2012, 06:06 PM   #18
billcarey
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I'd do the RCBS...Iron press, uniflow powder measure and case trimmer make RCBS a better choice to me.

bc
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Old May 28, 2012, 08:02 PM   #19
zxcvbob
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You also might be on the lookout for a used one of these:



http://www.ch4d.com/?com=catalog&vie...t&alias=044000

It's pretty expensive new for a single stage press, but they are much faster and easier to use than most. I bought one (3 holes instead of 4) a few years ago on eBay *with* the micrometer powder measure for less than $200.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:19 AM   #20
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Either would be excellent.
Whatever you do, avoid Lee presses. Compared to the other major brands they are El Cheapo.
I like turret presses for convenience, not speed.
I believe batch loading is almost as fast as with a progressive. And, it allows close inspection at every stage of the process. Something progressives don't allow.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:26 AM   #21
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The bushings are so much easier. I'd go with the Hornady.

Single stage would not be my first choice though, I'd recommend a Lee Classic Turret Kit.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:30 AM   #22
mumbo719
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Quote:
Whatever you do, avoid Lee presses. Compared to the other major brands they are El Cheapo.
I respectfully disagree. The Breechlock Challenger, Classic Cast and Classic Turret are fine presses that will out live most of us.

Lee Progressive presses are an entirely different story.
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Old May 29, 2012, 10:38 AM   #23
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Just a thought; When beginning to reload, learning die adjustment is is essential. Not just throwing a die in the press, but the reasons for adjusting a die (more sizing, more or less crimp, correcting headspacing problems, correcting chambering probs, etc.). The 30 seconds you save by using a breech lock die system isn't worth the knowledge that's needed when you troubleshoot reload problems. I can change and adjust dies in my single stage press in two mebbe 3 minutes, no big deal. After a few thousand rounds are reloaded, (troubleshot, learned) mebbe the "quick change" feature is worth consideration, but for a beginner, speed should be considered second or mebbe third, below safety, and consistancy...
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Old May 29, 2012, 06:22 PM   #24
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Quote:
Whatever you do, avoid Lee presses. Compared to the other major brands they are El Cheapo.
Rifleman1776 - Mind sharing with the class your experience that leads you to this statement, press model and dates..... Just the decade will suffice, I know I couldn't remember the exact day or year of something that happened so long ago...

Last edited by dacaur; May 29, 2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old May 29, 2012, 06:29 PM   #25
dacaur
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Quote:
Just a thought; When beginning to reload, learning die adjustment is is essential. Not just throwing a die in the press, but the reasons for adjusting a die (more sizing, more or less crimp, correcting headspacing problems, correcting chambering probs, etc.). The 30 seconds you save by using a breech lock die system isn't worth the knowledge that's needed when you troubleshoot reload problems.
Bushings and removable turrets do nothing to take learning die adjustment out of the equation. The ONLY Thing they do is save you from having to screw the die in till the lock ring touches the press, and then unscrewing it when done. Whether you screw it in each time by hand, or use a bushing to save time, your adjustment is saved by the lock ring. Either way you will need to check the adjustment and adjust if needed each time you use it. A lock ring doesnt make the need for adjustment any more or less likely, it just saves a little labor each time you change dies...
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