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Old February 28, 2013, 03:05 AM   #1
GunXpatriot
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Minimal Reloading setup?

So I'm looking to get into reloading. I don't shoot box after box, but I shoot enough to know (through a little research) that I can save a fair amount of money. That... And I'll soon have to go through a background check every time I buy ammo in the store... Since reloading supplies aren't considered ammunition, I guess I can load round upon round to my heart's content.

So I live in an apartment. No bench is available and there is no space to put one, or to mount a regular single stage press. I'll have to use a hand press. I can live with that. The Lee Breach Lock Hand Press Kit seems to be pretty good from what I've seen. A little slower than a mounted press, but I've got a decent amount of spare time, so this is no problem at all.

What I'm really looking for is the most minimalistic *ahem* cheapest setup I can get. I will be reloading mostly .30-06.

So if I were to ask you what is the absolute minimum one would need Besides a Press, Dies, Lyman manual (I'll likely pick up a Hornady as well).

The real thing things that I want to make sure of are all the miscellaneous little tools that you'd need. For example, I see everyone trimming cases with a drill and the case trimming tool. Can this be done by hand? I don't have a drill (available) and of course, this adds cost to the setup.

I probably won't actually order any reloading components, at least until I get the Lyman's manual. Also, I'm getting all this stuff off of MidwayUSA. Would there be a better place to get these items? Thanks, any help would be appreciated, A LOT!
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Old February 28, 2013, 04:39 AM   #2
GTOne
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I started reloading with the breech lock hand press, Lee 45 acp dies, powder dipper, scale and calipers, and the Lee reloading book.
It did the job, and fit in a small leather tote bag I could toss in a closet or throw under the bed.

For rifle I'd get the Lee trimmer for the caliber, and some good case lube. It can be done by hand easily if you want, get the cutter with the wooden ball handle from Lee.
As you aren't doing a bunch the ram prime that comes with the press will do the job fine, no need for hand priming.


The hand press will handle '06 no problem.

Since you are mostly getting Lee stuff in this case I'd suggest FSreloading, prices can't be beat that I've ever seen.
Natchez is pretty good too. Don't know how easy it will be to find everything in stock at one place right now, crazy like it is.

Edit: A pocket cleaning tool is nice, but a small screwdriver will work.
I would suggest a better than Lee debur/chamfer tool, such as RCBS or Wilson.

Last edited by GTOne; February 28, 2013 at 04:44 AM.
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Old February 28, 2013, 04:52 AM   #3
chris in va
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I use a Hand Press for 30-06.

My setup includes:

Hand Press Kit (includes Ram Prime) $45
Used Redding beam scale $25
Dial calipers $25
Pacesetter 3-die set $35
Lee trimmer (uses cordless drill) $7?
Perfect Powder Measure $25
Lyman manual
Case tray
Hornady Unique case lube

Just off the top of my head. The Breech Lock press is unnecessary, just get the regular one if you can. It's a little cheaper. You mentioned not having a drill, so you'll probably want a Zip Trim.

On a side note, I'm truly sorry for what you guys are going through in NYS. Hopefully it won't last.

Last edited by chris in va; February 28, 2013 at 04:59 AM.
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Old February 28, 2013, 06:01 AM   #4
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I created a small wooden shelf that slides into the drawer slots of my desk in my apt. Works great.
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Old February 28, 2013, 06:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
So I live in an apartment. No bench is available and there is no space to put one, or to mount a regular single stage press.
Got room for a Black & Decker Workmate? They fold pretty flat for storage.
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Old February 28, 2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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You can try www.kempfgunshop.com they carry lee items and are priced very fair. and Sue the owner is a great help. you can also mount a single stage to a board with felt on the back and clamp it to the kitchen table.
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Old February 28, 2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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Calipers are absolutely required.

Since I don't assume you'll be using Carbide dies, you will need to lube the cases. I think a small can of resizing wax would be cheaper than oil and a lube pad. I've also seen a few articles about making your own home-aid resizing wax.

Regarding case trimming, you'll also need a chamfer and deburring tool.

Regarding reload manuals, if you go to various powder manufacturers' websites, you can request their own load manuals for free just so you have some extra data to look at. While they have their data on the website, if you ask nicely they'll send you the printed manuals for free. Remember, these freebies are not a replacement for a 'real' manual like Lymans, just consider them supplemental data.

Just my 2 cents...
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Old February 28, 2013, 08:51 AM   #8
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Midway USA is a good supplier. Also Cabella's is good. Take note that almost everyone is out of everything right now including presses. I have lots of Lee brand stuff. It all works fine and is affordable. Some will say you have to buy the real expensive brands. I have not found that to be true. Do not be afraid of Lee equipment. One of their kits is probably the most affordable way to get what you need. I use their classic turret kit. Extras I have bought are a digital scale (ebay less than $20), a case tumbler, a bullet puller, some loading block trays, calipers, two reloading manuals. Probably some other stuff I can't think of right now. The folding work bench mentioned is a good idea. Presses can be clamped to tables with C clamps. Mine is removable, and I store all my reloading stuff in one of those 24 x 24 x36 plastic tubs.
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Old February 28, 2013, 01:14 PM   #9
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All good information. Twobit, you said Lee products are good. I was initially looking at Lyman dies (what popped up) and seen a couple bad things like "they only worked for x amount of time". I assume you're using lee dies, so I'll take your word for it that they work. What I seen on the .30-06 dies, was that apparently, the re-sizing die is "off"? I may get that one seperately from a different brand.

Also, that idea for the press doesn't sound too bad, I'll consider that.
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Old February 28, 2013, 01:52 PM   #10
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I started with a Lee Loader (rifle) under $40.00. The only thing else I needed was a small plastic hammer and funnel. It does everything, deprimes and resizes the case, incerts a new primmer and with the scoop powder is poored in and you seet a new bullet. And yes, I got pretty darn good accuracy. Mine came with a chart showing what powder and how much the scoop will be loading. Add in a case guage, trimmer and deburring tool and you are set. I loved mine and even when I could barely make ends meet, I was reloading.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
the absolute minimum one would need Besides a Press, Dies, Lyman manual (I'll likely pick up a Hornady as well).
A SCALE! and a good one, not some cheap plastic POS that isn't accurate. powder variations in small pistol cartridges can get to dangerous levels VERY quickly
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:41 PM   #12
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i started with a Lee hand loader. it came in a box about the size of a small paperback book. it did everything for the 222 remington caliber i was reloading. the only additional items were bullets and powder and lube.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:49 PM   #13
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Lee dies will last as long as you unless you do something horribly wrong to them. Nothing wrong with them, the main difference between them and other brands is they cost significantly less. I run them almost exclusively, they have turned out many rounds in 9mm, 45acp, and .223.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
The Lee Breach Lock Hand Press Kit seems to be pretty good from what I've seen. A little slower than a mounted press, but I've got a decent amount of spare time, so this is no problem at all.

What I'm really looking for is the most minimalistic *ahem* cheapest setup I can get. I will be reloading mostly .30-06.
Unless you're neck sizing, the Lee Hand Press might be too much effort. YMMV.

Quote:
So if I were to ask you what is the absolute minimum one would need Besides a Press, Dies, Lyman manual (I'll likely pick up a Hornady as well).
Shell holder (comes with Lee dies, separate purchase with others. Minimal cost in any case).

Scale and a powder measure.

Reloading blocks, to keep your stuff organzied.

Priming tool, either a hand held tool (Lee ergo prime), or a ram prime die (Lee's sucks, Lyman's is better, RCBS' better still).

Since it's a rifle case, caliper and case trimming tool.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:43 PM   #15
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I have some of everything from Lee to Wilson. If you are loading between strings of fire at a bench rest match you will need Wilson dies and a small precision arbor press. Otherwise, Lee is as good as any of the others. I have one of the Lee hand presses that I take to the range; it’s a great tool and would be a very good way for someone to get into reloading. The classic loaders work just fine.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:52 PM   #16
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I have a Lee Hand Press (an older one that predates the "breech lock" system) and it works pretty good until you overfill the ram with spent primers (easy to do) and it locks up tight when you try to deprime one more.

I also have a Forster CoAx press mounted to a wooden stool. The stool is plenty strong enough, and stable as long as I hold it from tipping forward if I'm full-length sizing rifle brass. For the price of a new Lee Hand Press, you could buy a new Lee "Reloader" press and a stool and have a much nicer setup -- and maybe still have money left over for a set of powder dippers.
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Old February 28, 2013, 11:21 PM   #17
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Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice.

The Lee Loader which uses a mallet to load with is the cheapest, smallest way to go, but it is noisy and unnerving to anyone watching you whack live ammunition with a mallet (not a hammer).

A hand press is next in line, but for 30-06, I suspect you will tire of it quickly.

A bench-mounted press does not have to be mounted on a bench. As Sport45, jj320, twobit, and zxcvbob suggested, there are alternatives.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GunXpatriot
So I'm looking to get into reloading. I don't shoot box after box, but I shoot enough to know (through a little research) that I can save a fair amount of money. That... And I'll soon have to go through a background check every time I buy ammo in the store... Since reloading supplies aren't considered ammunition, I guess I can load round upon round to my heart's content.

So I live in an apartment. No bench is available and there is no space to put one, or to mount a regular single stage press. I'll have to use a hand press. I can live with that. The Lee Breach Lock Hand Press Kit seems to be pretty good from what I've seen. A little slower than a mounted press, but I've got a decent amount of spare time, so this is no problem at all.
Everything I need aside from manuals, a brass tumbler (cleaner) and components (powder, primers, bullets and brass) to load 7 calibers fits in three toolboxes, the larges of which is 10"x10"x23" and the others are 15x8x8 and 15x7x7. This includes a 2x6 I wedge into the drawer of an end table with the press to it by three carriage bolts and wing nuts. These days, I use a folding, portable workbench.

Nice setup for an apartment. I can take everything I need to load over to a friend's hour with three trips to the car. I can set up in about 10 minutes, including setting my scale to zero.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GunXpatriot
What I'm really looking for is the most minimalistic *ahem* cheapest setup I can get. I will be reloading mostly .30-06.

So if I were to ask you what is the absolute minimum one would need Besides a Press, Dies, Lyman manual (I'll likely pick up a Hornady as well).
Absolutely crazy to load without eye protection and manuals. But you only need three things (physically) to load 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 (or calibrated dippers) because eyeballs are not accurate enough to mete gunpowder

Everything else can be done without, substituted for or improvised until you can afford to buy good quality gear. (e.g., Funnel can be made from paper, bullet puller can wait until you have need to disassemble a cartridge.) You will need a case trimmer sooner more than later, though. If your brass gets too long, you will have to set those cases aside until you can trim them. I got along without calipers for a long time, through ignorance and the good graces of the makers of components who sold me bullets that happened to always be properly sized. I also shoot only straight-walled cases, which rarely need trimming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GunXpatriot
The real thing things that I want to make sure of are all the miscellaneous little tools that you'd need. For example, I see everyone trimming cases with a drill and the case trimming tool. Can this be done by hand? I don't have a drill (available) and of course, this adds cost to the setup.

I probably won't actually order any reloading components, at least until I get the Lyman's manual. Also, I'm getting all this stuff off of MidwayUSA. Would there be a better place to get these items? Thanks, any help would be appreciated, A LOT!
Yes, case trimmers can be powered by a motor or by hand. Some attach to a drill, some have their own motor, some powered by a pull string and some powered by twisting your wrist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GunXpatriot
The real thing things that I want to make sure of are all the miscellaneous little tools that you'd need. For example, I see everyone trimming cases with a drill and the case trimming tool. Can this be done by hand? I don't have a drill (available) and of course, this adds cost to the setup.
You will have to shop around for the best price. I suggest you learn all the steps of loading by reading (as many as you can get) manuals. The early chapters of almost all manuals have descriptions of the process and you will want to read as many different authors as possible because what some authors cover well, others don't. The "ABC's of Reloading" is a compilation of many different writers which is revised periodically, so if you visit your local library you can get a good grounding there for free.

Then, review the contents of as many different kits as you can find. What the marketing wizards at RCBS, Hornady, Graf's, et al put together is usually pretty complete, though all kits (as a general rule) will have things you will not need and will lack things you do. List the contents of a half-dozen kits and you will see. You will also get a shopping list you can winnow after reading through the descriptions of the loading process.

After that research, you will be as expert as any novice can be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GunXpatriot
I probably won't actually order any reloading components, at least until I get the Lyman's manual. Also, I'm getting all this stuff off of MidwayUSA. Would there be a better place to get these items? Thanks, any help would be appreciated, A LOT!
Wise decision. In today's market, not only is it hard to find some stuff (shortages and backorders), but prices are high. Also, even if you get decent prices, you do not yet know what you will need, or where best to find it.

Shopping around will yield dividends three ways. Better prices, you will have chosen your equipment to fit your needs more closely after some study and, best of all, when you actually do set up and start loading you will have some past knowledge steeped into your brain.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM.
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Old February 28, 2013, 11:49 PM   #18
Lost Sheep
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Some light reading?

For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214

I am looking at getting into reloading for the first time
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971

Just bought my first press. Needs some info tho.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358

Considering reloading
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115

Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow, for the novice handloader.
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/2938...andloader.html

Thoughts on The Lee Classic Turret Press
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951

Interested in reloading
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

Newby needs help.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391

I hope you enjoy the reading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:52 AM   #19
david_r
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Lost Sheep,
You need to post some pictures of these tool boxes. I would need every item at the bottom of each of them every time I went to reload.
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Old March 2, 2013, 11:08 AM   #20
RC20
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I used to re-load in a 10 ft trailer! It had an open closet and I mounted the press on the lower shelf, tight but I made it work. For 30-06 you need a solid bench as the effort is a lot. I would think you can come up with something. I hate to think of hand pressing 30-06 (pistol maybe when I was younger and my hands did not hurt)

A low cost digital scale is going to be very important, 30-06 uses a lot of powder and any dip measurement error is going to add up.

One caveat on the low cost digitalis (Franforth etc). Keep a very close eye on not the zero, but the Tare!

In other words, note what the measuring container weighs (I don't use the one that came with it as I have a couple of nice old brass ones that are smoother than the aluminum thing they supply (and its low cost so....)

Anyway, my pan weighs something like 145.5 g. Put it on and tare it and you should have zero. Pull it off and it should read 145.5 each and every time.

The cheap digital stuff drifts off, pull it off and it will read 145.4, then .3 etc and keep drifting unless you correct. Each time it goes off a tenth, tare it again. It does not show up on the zero but it does affect the charge.

If I can find one that I can use the trickler the way I want I will get a better one, for now this is fine for fast accurate weigh (and once in a while I cross check to the beam scale)
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:40 PM   #21
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_r
Lost Sheep,
You need to post some pictures of these tool boxes. I would need every item at the bottom of each of them every time I went to reload.

One is 23" x 10" x 10" and contains my press (Lee Classic Turret), mounting system (a 2"x6" board, carriage bolts and wing nuts that I clamp into a portable workbench or anything handy) the primer feeding system and a small "4"X8"X1.5" fishing tackle box to contain all the small parts & tools and . There's room for a couple of manuals in there, too, but I store them on my bookshelf, with one next to the computer.

The second (15"x8"x8") contains all the gunpowder handling parts. Scale, funnel, 2 Lee Auto-Disk Powder measures and a set of Lee's measuring scoops/dippers bullet puller, calipers and my loading safety glasses (as opposed to my shooting glasses).

The third (15"x7"x7") contains seven sets of reloading dies, mounted in their turrets inside their plastic storage cylinders, ready to plug into the press and use.

Pictures here in post #8:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497054

or here:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...2&d=1343695489

Thanks for the interest.

Lost Sheep
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:47 PM   #22
jamesicus
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I have been doing "table top" reloading for the past three years using a Lee hand press & accessories (case trimmer, in-press priming set, case neck chamfer and deburring tool, primer pocket cleaning tool, powder weighing scale, powder scoop, powder funnel, loading block, etc.) and RCBS (originally Hornady) dies. Of course my output is low and slow (no more than forty reloads per session) - all of my case prep is manual and I neck size the cases (sample checking them in the chamber of the rifle). For me it is a most relaxing way to reload and I am producing accurate ammunition of good quality that functions nicely in my 30/06 rifle.

I lube inside the case neck using a .30 caliber nylon bore brush with Lee Resizing Lubricant (which I also use for exterior case lubing). I do not clean the lubricant from inside the case neck. Time is not a factor for me and therefor I hand clean each case using steel wool. I also scale weigh each powder charge.



Lee hand press minimalist equipment


Equipment storage box


RCBS Dies (neck sizer) with resized and trimmed test case & prepped dummy test cartridges


Lee manual case trimmer



Lee "in-press" priming set up


James

Last edited by jamesicus; March 2, 2013 at 02:12 PM.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:31 PM   #23
GTOne
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Nice kit, James.

I really like that.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:38 PM   #24
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Reloading

I can see you have lots of advice/help with your question on reloading. My 2cents worth is as follows. If you have a table of any sort in your apartment, then go to Lowe's or Home Depot or some place and get a 2"X 8" board just long enough to reach across you table and extend past on one end to allow you to mount a reloading press. 2 C clamps to hold your board to the table You will be much more satisfied with a real press instead of a hand held press. When not reloading, disassemble clamps and board and store press under bed. Now this is the minimun tools you will need to load rounds correctly.
30.06 die set
case lube to prevent sticking in die when resizing case.
calipers to measure COL (cartridge overall length)
powder scales (balance beam type will work)
shell holder for 30.06 case
Hand priming tool works great and is very easy to use to seat primers in case
Primers (large rifle primers)
Powder (IMR 4831) is a good powder
bullets of your choice. (308 cal.)
Reloading Manual of your choice.
As time goes by you will want to buy a case trimmer and other equipment. Oh, for cleaning dirty brass, good ole Brasso will do the job until you can get something else.

Good luck

Last edited by Texascoonhunter; March 2, 2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old March 2, 2013, 02:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
As time goes by you will want to buy a case trimmer and other equipment. Oh, for cleaning dirty brass, good ole Brasso will do the job until you can get something else.
NOT Brasso, it will weaken the brass. Use Turtlewax Chrome Polish, it doesn't contain ammonia. Or just clean the brass with a damp rag and don't worry about whether it shines.
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