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Old July 17, 2012, 09:55 AM   #1
PA Hunter37
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Really new seeking information.

Hello everyone. This may have been asked and answered many times already but I can't seem to find it with a search.
I'm looking into getting a basic reloading set up as a christmas gift for my Dad. I already have a good idea on what book and press I want to get but I have no idea what else is needed or even what any of this stuff is used for.
For instance: what are the dies for? I see many different types and calibers but I want to know how they work so I know what to look for.
Will a .308 shell holder with a 7mm die work to reload 7mm08?
I know it's a gift but I'm the type of guy that wants to know the ins and outs before I buy. You never know when I may have to borrow it for my own reloads.
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Old July 17, 2012, 11:59 AM   #2
Waldog
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I strongly recommend buying a "kit". It has everything you need to start except a set of dies, shell holder and a tumbler. Here is an excellent kit: http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...ku=00005085003

RCBS make a great kit as well. Both of these kits are lifetime investments and your GRANDKIDS could use it as long as it is taken care of. You can't say that about lower priced kits, like a LEE. Although many people love LEE stuff because it's cheap. People seem to always buy better quality reloading equipment as they grow.

A shell holder for 308 and a die set for 7mm08 is exacty what you need.
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Old July 17, 2012, 01:14 PM   #3
the led farmer
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Don't confuse inexpensive with cheap when you refer to lee precision. Lee makes good stuff and like any other brand, if you take care of it will last a lifetime.

The lee classic turret is a great first press imo and you can't go wrong with anything lee.

Get yourself a reloading manual and start reading it before you go too much further

Last edited by the led farmer; July 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old July 17, 2012, 01:46 PM   #4
Ethan.G
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Quote:
Will a .308 shell holder with a 7mm die work to reload 7mm08?
make sure your dies are for the caliber your reloading (7mm08), dont know if typo but just making sure.

i purchased the lee kit and i love it, except for the scale i got rid of it pretty quickly and got a RCBS 505 (love it) but everything else it comes with is awesome. i love the priming system and the powder thrower is surprisingly accurate

here is where i got mine
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Old July 17, 2012, 01:49 PM   #5
Edward429451
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I second the reloading manual. It will have step by step instructions on the reloading process and have pics showing the dies, perhaps cutaway views of the dies to show how they work, and is a very good place to start so you can wrap your mind around exactly what all is going on and how it works. Reloading is one of those things that is easy to do but demands attention to detail. The Lyman manuals seem to be one of the best manuals and the one that I recommend.

Go get the manual and read the entire section that prefaces the data, then come back and ask specific questions.

Equipment is a touchy subject on this board. Many Lee owners profess great success using Lee equipment, and there's no denying that it is cheaper. Others tell tales of great frustration because of Lee equipment. One thing only stands clear after reading some of the threads debating the merits of Lee vs RCBS or whatever. That the Lee equipment is commonly known to be (potentially) problematic. RCBS is solid equipment and no one argues this. If an RCBS item ever has a problem, it's the exception to the rule and not the rule. Buying better tooling is never a mistake, imo. The value comes in trouble free operation. YMMV.
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Old July 17, 2012, 02:20 PM   #6
FiveInADime
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I have and love my RCBS Rock-Chucker, but the Lee-bashing is SOOOOO ridiculous. RCBS DOES make almost exclusively high-quality equiptment but it costs a lot and in a lot of cases there is a substitute from another company that is just as good and cheaper.

Some... SOME Lee products are less than stellar. Their best presses, however, are wonderful. The Classic Turret and the Classic Cast single-stage presses ARE very high quality and high value. I don't need a press but if I bought another it would be a Classic Turret. Everyone I know that owns one loves it. BY THE WAY, the Safety Scale WORKS GREAT. At least mine does. It's dead-nuts accurate, albeit slow to use. I have no interest in spending a ton more for marginally easier weight measurment (for charges). I do have a cheap digital scale to weigh bullets and cases.

Lee dies get the job done. The materials they are made from may not be as good as RCBS, Redding, ect. but they DO work well. They also come with a shellholder. I use the Collet Neck-Sizing Die in each rifle caliber I load.
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:40 PM   #7
603Country
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Just get the RCBS kit, either the basic one or the Rockchucker one. And get the Lyman 49th edition reloading book. With that you'll need the other bits and pieces (bullets, powder, primers, cases, and the specific dies for your caliber or calibers). The Lyman book will suggest good powders, as will the good folks on this forum. Some folks will recommend the Lee kit, which is cheaper, but just go ahead and get the RCBS 'green stuff'. If, however, you are cost constrained, the Lee stuff is acceptable.
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:52 PM   #8
tkglazie
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If someone were buying me a new setup from start to finish I would hope they purchased a Lee Classic Cast Turret for me.

Hey wait, that IS what happened at the start of the year! My lovely wife told me to get whatever I wanted for my 40th and I got a soups to nuts LCT setup. $1000 later I have exactly what I want, from press, stand, dies, ammo boxes, tools, gages, etc. All I needed was components. THAT is a whole different story. The $1000 I spent on hard equipment, storage supplies etc was quickly dwarfed by component costs, but hey, that's the point right? Its when you are buying the components that you really get a sense of the cost savings over factory ammo.

I just loaded rounds 3300-3500 today and could not possibly be happier with the results. Before this year I had never loaded a round and in less than 6 months I am cranking out ammo one complete cartridge at a time (I rarely batch load, whats the point?) that shoots better, costs less and is FAR more rewarding than any factory ammo could ever be.
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Old July 17, 2012, 05:19 PM   #9
jmortimer
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+1,000 for the Lee Presicsion Classic Turret or even the Classic Cast. In spite of the comments above, if you go to Midway USA and read owner reviews/comments, you will find the Classic Turret and Classic Cast are the highest rated turret and single stage presses regardless of price.
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Old July 18, 2012, 01:50 AM   #10
Lost Sheep
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Congrats on starting your search early

Good idea to start early.

What does your Father shoot? What are his shooting goals and habits? Has he dropped any hints? What's your budget?

I suggest you go to your local library and get a copy of "The ABC's of Handloading",

Also these threads may help. So get a large mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you keep on hand when you read and think and read through these.

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=230171

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheHighRoad.com's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"
thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=238214
www.thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=238214

and this one, titled "Interested in reloading"
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

My post, Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332
www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=430391
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

Good luck and thanks for asking our advice

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Old July 18, 2012, 12:58 PM   #11
SSG-Gibb
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just a few years

I Have been reloading since I was 3years old "dad started me on a tumbler " and have been hooked ever since. My reloading room, (or panic room as the wife calls it ) has 5 RCBS rockchuckers each set up is Cal spicific. 1 herters OLD cast iron press, 2 Dillon 550s one for 45acp ONLY never gets changed. and the other swapps out between all the straight walled cals I own, and ONE Lee press for my 50 BMG. I have had more then a few problems with that lee to the point that I had to redesign the handle that drives the piston up into the press do in NO small part to the POT-METAL type cast part used on the lee press. AFTER redesigning the handle to function the same as my RCBS presses it works B E A UTIFULLY. Go FIGURE! NOT that I don't like the lee!!!! Just that I LOVE MY DILLONS and RCBS.
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Old July 18, 2012, 03:26 PM   #12
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSG-Gibb
I Have been reloading since I was 3years old "dad started me on a tumbler " and have been hooked ever since. My reloading room, (or panic room as the wife calls it ) has 5 RCBS rockchuckers each set up is Cal spicific. 1 herters OLD cast iron press, 2 Dillon 550s one for 45acp ONLY never gets changed. and the other swapps out between all the straight walled cals I own, and ONE Lee press for my 50 BMG. I have had more then a few problems with that lee to the point that I had to redesign the handle that drives the piston up into the press do in NO small part to the POT-METAL type cast part used on the lee press. AFTER redesigning the handle to function the same as my RCBS presses it works B E A UTIFULLY. Go FIGURE! NOT that I don't like the lee!!!! Just that I LOVE MY DILLONS and RCBS.
Lee does not use Potmetal in its presses. Potmetal is a specific set of alloys. The word is a term of art and very specific in its meaning and misusing it is misleading (though many people do it - even me on occasion).

Some of Lee's presses have weaknesses in the linkage (which have been improved on the Classic Cast and Classic Turret). What model of press gave you the problem and what exactly was the problem? I have never seen the 50BMG-capable press, but it surprizes me that Lee would put out a press for THAT cartridge which was not strong enough.

Not arguing with you, but intensly curious.

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Old July 18, 2012, 04:25 PM   #13
David Bachelder
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LEE makes some pretty good stuff. They also make some pretty bad stuff (from what I hear). I have a set of LEE dies that I'm less than fond of, but I have to admit .... they work. I have several LEE products including five LEE bullet molds and a LEE lead pot. The bullet molds work very well once you get the hang of using them. The difference between LEE and most other bullet molds is that LEE molds are aluminum and most other molds are steel. Casting with aluminum has a learning curve. LEE gets bashed a lot, but realistically some of it is probably not deserved.

I suspect that like the bullet molds, some of the LEE equipment is made from materials that other manufacturers avoid.

I also have a lot of RCBS equipment. I have to say both the equipment and the customer service is top notch. I am inclined to suggest that you purchase RCBS equipment.
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Old July 18, 2012, 06:16 PM   #14
PA Hunter37
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Back on topic

Thanks for all the recommendations.
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Old July 18, 2012, 06:40 PM   #15
wncchester
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"LEE makes some pretty good stuff. They also make some pretty bad stuff (from what I hear)."

Yeah. We do hear a lot of that. It's pure BS. Choose what you buy and don't complain if you buy below your needs. Lee isn't my 'favorite' brand, I like 'em all for some things and features.

Fact is, Lee makes more presses than any other brand; they are made for different purposes and different users, from obviously very light duty to the obviously most heavy duty cast iron presses. Those few people too ignorant of simple machinery to intelligently select what they need and/or use it correctly have no justification blaming the press when they bust something. IF I had to replace my current Rock Chucker it would be with Lee's Classic Cast, it's a much better press in every respect and that's what I would have if it had been available when I got the RC.

No press maker uses 'pot metal', the high grade aluminum alloy Lee, Hornady and RCBS use for some presses is the same type stuff used to make (pot metal?) frames for many costly auto loading handguns and a lot of good shotguns too, boats and outboard motors, airplanes, auto engine blocks and pistons, rifle scopes and mounts, etc; calling that stuff 'pot metal' is stupid.

Other than the very costly Redding and Forster dies, all the rest are equal, on average, and even then the differences are too small for most reloaders to ever see. Meaning Lee's dies work as good - or better - than other brands. And I say that from owning some 55 sets of dies in 32 calibers from more than 12 makers and have owned others as well. The only real limit on what we can do with any conventional die set is the skill (or lack of it) of the user.

Last edited by wncchester; July 18, 2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old July 19, 2012, 10:25 AM   #16
Edward429451
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Quote:
The bullet molds work very well once you get the hang of using them.
Well said. A very accurate description of Lee moulds. The only prob I've ever had with Lee moulds is sometimes they come undersized.
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Old July 20, 2012, 08:23 PM   #17
Lost Sheep
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Lee Precision tries to live up to their name and produce bullets that are the size advertised. Most of the time, they drop from the mould of such a size that they don't need to be sized, just lubed.

Invariably, some alloys will come out undersized a bit.

However, it is my understanding that Lee will replace moulds that drop undersized bullets for free.

I cannot attest to that first-hand, but they did replace my priming arm, no questions asked.

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Old July 21, 2012, 08:06 AM   #18
David Bachelder
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Under sized or oversized problems with cast bullets isn't always the molds fault. Sometimes its the alloy. Different alloy's will drop different sized bullets.
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Old July 21, 2012, 12:40 PM   #19
tobnpr
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I reload both 7-08 and .308.
The 7-08 is the .308 casing, necked down to 7mm instead of .30 cal...

So, you need the 7-08 sizing/decapping and bullet seating die set- and the shellplate is the same as the .308.
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