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Old February 8, 2013, 11:16 AM   #1
njsportsman
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Reloading

As some of you may or may not know I have been researching the art of reloading. I have tossed the idea away every time but, due the current lack of ammo and possible new laws I have reconsidered my stance. Maybe too late though because you can’t find materials. Well no turning back now I am again researching machines and still don’t know what I want. I have been looking at the RCBS Rock chucker it’s under $300 and I think all you need are dies to get started (correct me if I am wrong ) of coarse I know I need components as well. I have looked at the Square Deal B by Dillon but it looks like it is just made for pistol rounds only. I would go that extra for the square deal B but again just pistols rounds the 550 and above are out of my price range. Help please thanks in advance. The thing I like about the Rock Chucker is later you can add the piggy back for progressive use.
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:29 AM   #2
jmortimer
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Seems to me you re on the right track. Can't go wrong with your choices. Even though I love the Lee Precision Classic Turret, I've been wanting one of these:

http://www.ch4d.com/?com=catalog&vie...t&alias=044000
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:57 AM   #3
BigD_in_FL
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You need more than dies with ANY press. You NEED a scale, manuals, and some other incidentals - the stickies at the top should have threads about various equipment - and while most are definitely very helpful and useful - like a tumbler, kinetic puller, etc. the scale is an absolute must
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:03 PM   #4
njsportsman
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I failed to mention it's the rock chucker supreme.
https://shop.rcbs.com/WebConnect/Mai...&route=C04J148
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:32 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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What cartridges will you be loading and how many rounds do you shoot on a weekly/monthly basis?
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:37 PM   #6
njsportsman
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For now 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .357 and most importantly to me right now and will be the first set of dies I buy .223 Rem and in the near future 30.06
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Old February 8, 2013, 01:40 PM   #7
maillemaker
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You can get a Lee Pro 1000 for about $190. It includes one set of dies. It is a progressive reloader.

The primer feed is a little finicky - if the primers bridge in the primer holder and the feed ramp goes empty, the last few primers don't load properly without a full slide of primers to push the first ones in line into position properly. The trick to this is to just thump the primer tray on each stroke and make sure the feed ramp stays full of primers.

I would rather have a 5-station setup. That way I could do the bullet seating and bullet crimping in separate stations, and also have room for an RCBS Powder Cop die which will detect over and under charges, and will lock up the press on detection of the condition.

You will also need a reloading handbook with load data. If you want to do it on the cheap you can go check it out at the library and photocopy or scan or photograph the pages for the few calibers you will likely be interested in.

I definitely recommend reading a book on reloading. I like the ABC's of reloading. Again on the cheap you can check it out from the library.

You'll need a scale and a bullet puller. I bought a nice little electronic Frankford Arsenal digital scale for like $25, and I think the bullet puller was less than that. You will also need a set of calibers. They are very cheap at Harbor Freight.

You'll need a way to clean your cases, either a vibratory or rotary tumbler. Strictly speaking, you don't have to clean your brass, but it is significantly harder on your dies and press as it takes a lot more force to push dirty brass through the dies.

Casting your own bullets is cheap and easy - if you can find a tire store that will sell you their wheel weights. I recommend buying your first batch of bullets so you can concentrate on the loading and not the casting/lubing of bullets.

For most pistol cartridges, that have straight walls, they don't stretch during firing and so you don't have to worry about trimming the cases.

Necked cases, however, like most rifle cartridges, stretch during firing, and as such you will need a case trimmer to shorten them back up.

Steve
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Old February 8, 2013, 01:56 PM   #8
Lost Sheep
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Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

Welcome to the forum and to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Aside from eye protection and manuals, you only need three things (physically) to load good ammo.

Press because fingers are not strong enough to form metal
Dies because fingers are not accurate enough to form metal to SAAMI specs
Scale because eyeballs are not accurate enough to measure out gunpowder


Everything else can be done without, substituted for or improvised until you can afford to buy good quality gear.

But it is more efficient and cost effective to get equipment that fits your needs in the near future.

We could target our advice better is you shared some information about yourself: (What I use has no relevance to you if our needs are not similar.)

What quantities will you be reloading for your calibers you named before?

How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities

What is your budget? Is $300 your limit? For 6 calibers, my setup is around $600-$700, but I lack for nothing.

Will you be putting your gear away after each session or leave it set up permanently?

Do you want it to be portable?

What are your shooting goals? Cheap ammo? Ultimate long-range accuracy? Casual plinking, Serious competition - what kind? Cowboy Action Shooting? Strictly hunting?

Help us help you,

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Old February 8, 2013, 02:03 PM   #9
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Buy a Dillon.. Either get one now or pay for one down the road!

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Old February 8, 2013, 02:22 PM   #10
njsportsman
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Lost Sheep thanks great questions.

Quote:
What quantities will you be reloading for your calibers you named before?
Probably in the beginning until I get my act together hundred rounds at a time of each. When I get going I want to be able to pop out hundreds of each. i can't put an exact number.

Quote:
How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities?
I want to be efficient as I can right now I will be reloading in the garage so it's going to be like making wine seasonal or when the weather is permitting. Winter get's to freezing and summers gets to high 90's and humid. So basically weather permitting.

Quote:
What is your budget? Is $300 your limit? For 6 calibers, my setup is around $600-$700, but I lack for nothing.
Right now about $300-$400 the rock chucker gives you the manual and most tools except dies to reload. Then when i want to get more aggressive I can add the piggyback. But i don't want to buy junk or something I'll regret so, if I have to wait I guess I'll wait. That's what I am trying to figure out. I figured maybe I can learn on mistakes already made. Another press I was looking at was the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP

Quote:
Will you be putting your gear away after each session or leave it set up permanently?
That's the problem I will be setting my gear up in the garage and whatever the temp is outside it is the same inside.

Quote:
Do you want it to be portable?
No
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Old February 8, 2013, 06:53 PM   #11
Lost Sheep
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Short answer

Get the Rockchucker kit plus dies for all your cartridges. You will find it irritatingly limiting for the high-quantity chamberings, but just wonderful for the 30-06. If you do a lot of the 30-06, you will never regret having the RockChucker.

An alternative choice for a $300 kit is the one built around the Lee Classic Turret by Kempf's gun shop for $220. You will have to add a manual, scale and calipers, but it comes with one set of dies included, so right around $300 will get you started. The Lee Classic Turret is fully capable of 30-06 and will triple the quantity throughput of the single-stage RockChucker if used with the auto-indexing turned on. Sue Kempf is an excellent advisor.

While you learn to load, you will also learn your loading style and collect enough information about gear to make the next choice more fully informed by experience of your own on top of the experiences of others.

Have a look at this thread. You share some of the same questions.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=515846

Lost Sheep
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:13 PM   #12
Nathan
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I would look at the Lyman turret kit with an electronic scale.

Then, you NEED check weights. Seriously for quick setup and safety.

A powder dispenser would be a nice addition.

If you really want to load bulk pistol, maybe something like a Hornady LNL press would be a good addition. You can add case and bullet feeder if you really want production.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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I wouldn't overlook the Lee products. I started with the Lee Challenger Breechlock anniversary kit which came with a scale and powder measure. Check out some YouTube videos. My next press will be the Lee Turret press kit. Lymans 49 edition has a lot of good info as do the caliber specific books you can pick up at Cabelas.

I will usually sit down and load 250 to 500 rounds at a time on my single stage. The Lee kits can ne had under $150 last time I checked. I like the Lee dies as well, get the 4 die set with the factory crimp die for about $45. I load 9mm, .40 and .45. I started reloading last spring and had loaded thousands of rounds.
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Old February 8, 2013, 08:08 PM   #14
BigJimP
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RCBS Rockchucker is a good press...but its slow / painfully slow..and tedious. Is it a waste of money, probably not ...but resale on them isn't great...because they're so slow...

Rockchucker is best used for "hunting ammo" where you only need 20 rounds or so ..../ not a couple of hundred rounds...
-------------
Dillon SDB is handgun calibers only - it also uses a proprietary die unique to only that press. Its a very good press...but it has limitations.
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Dillon 550 or 650 is where you want to be ....for 500 to 800 rds an hour off the press and they'll do both handgun and rifle calibers. The 650 has a unique feature - that checks the powder drop in a case ( Hornaday LNL has a similar system ) but the Dillon 550 does not have room for it in the tool head.

Dillon 650 or Hornaday LNL are comparable.../ they're a better value long term - but more money up front.

Now, you might consider buying one or the other without the case feeder and save a few bucks....
-----------
I think you'll be happier with a LNL or Dillon 650 ....and you might grow to hate the tedious nature of the Rockchucker...( I did -- and that was almost 40 yrs ago when I was using the Rockchucker...)...and I wouldn't go back down that path, for handgun or semi-auto rifle ammo ...
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:19 PM   #15
RonR6
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I have used a Rock chucker for 30+ years and you would be surprised how fast you can load up a couple of boxes of ammo. I have a lee powder dispenser for quick handgun loads. I usually weigh each charge when loading for my rifles. You will need a good digital scale for that.
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Old February 9, 2013, 09:07 AM   #16
njsportsman
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Thanks to all. I am leaning towards the rock chucker then eventually adding the piggyback. I also am looking at the Hornady Lock N Load AP progressive press as well any feedback on the piggyback and Lock N Load. I think I saw the Lock N Load for around $400 I am willing to go that far. I also would like feedback on the Dillon square deal R is it only for handgun rounds? If so is there any conversion for rifle? Thanks
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Old February 9, 2013, 09:42 AM   #17
Nathan
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The LNL can be a do it all press. It won't swage primer pockets, but it will load ammo fast or slow. It' main value is, it is about $60 cheaper per caliber than blue...
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:24 AM   #18
Misssissippi Dave
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You could go with the Dillon BL550. Later you can add the powder measure, auto primer and auto eject. These can be added one at a time when money is available. You will still need dies and the rest. This press is a very basic setup and you can add the things mentioned until you get a full RL550B press. It isn't a bad way to go. You would be starting out similar to turret and ending up with a manual indexing progressive press. You probably will spend more building it this way compared to getting the 550b from the beginning. At least you would not have to go into debt getting a piece at a time when money is available. The Dillon presses will allow you to load a pretty fair amount of ammo per hour.
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:37 AM   #19
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The LNL can be a do it all press. It won't swage primer pockets, but it will load ammo fast or slow. It' main value is, it is about $60 cheaper per caliber than blue...


Wow that's pretty cheap. Where do you buy dies and bushings for less than $20. I can add a caliber on my 550 for around $80.
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:41 AM   #20
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Dillon Square Deal B ....is only for handgun calibers....
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:20 AM   #21
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Njsportsman,

Looking at the cost of the Piggyback conversion ($375-$400) and the reviews on Midway, it seems to me to become a $550 progressive press when you include the cost of the RockChucker. I am concerned about the review that said there was a plate flexing issue with a large rifle case. This makes me think you would do better to get a simple single-stage kit like the Lee Anniversary Kit for learning, then buy something that was intended to be a progressive press in the first place later. It doesn't appear that will necessarily cost you any more in total outlay, and it puts off the larger portion of the investment, giving you more interest opportunity on that portion of the savings invested. This way you also end up with two presses.

The Lee single-stage aluminum press, while simple and light weight, is strong enough for your work (I've run .30-06 on mine with no issues) and will continue to be of use after you've gone progressive. This is because some elements of loading for rifle for accuracy will interrupt progressive work flow anyway. I have mine now set up with a Lee Universal De-capper die to deprime all my brass for cleaning grit off before resizing. That keeps primer residue from building up around the shell plate of the progressive press. I also use it with Lee bullet sizing dies to adjust some cast bullet diameters and to do bullet hardness testing and other odd chores.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:19 PM   #22
serf 'rett
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I got the Rock Chucker kit two years ago when I started reloading. I'm loading only pistol rounds so the kit was ideal for me. The kit doesn't include tools for trimming rifle cases, which you may need for reloading rifle cartridges. You will need dies and calipers. I added the small cylinder to the RCBS Uniflow powder measure since I'm focused on pistol rounds. One other upgrade was adding a Hornady bushing setup for fast die changes. I have been pleased; however, the loading rate is in the neighboorhood of 60 to 100 rounds per hour.

It seems that every time I get ready to make the jump to a progressive, I end up ordering more bullets, powder or primers. I have considered adding the Lee Classic Turret to speed up the process. The turret would allow me to batch load or go semi progressive, but I would most likely continue to use the excellent RCBS hand primer, 505 scale and Uniflow powder measure.

Full bore progressive will be a Dillon or Hornady. The rifle will remain in the domain of the single stage Rock Chucker.
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Old February 9, 2013, 02:09 PM   #23
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Doesn't sound to me like you should reload. Just stock up on factory ammo when it's available.
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Old February 9, 2013, 03:30 PM   #24
njsportsman
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Quote:
Doesn't sound to me like you should reload.
What makes you say that?
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Old February 9, 2013, 04:44 PM   #25
Nathan
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Crusty, please read my post again.

LNL...dies and shellplate
Dillon ...dies and caliber conversion kit

The kit is $45 including shellplate. A shellplate for the LNL is $30.

So, maybe $15 extra per caliber.
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