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Old December 2, 2009, 08:28 PM   #26
islander
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LilLady I'm going to draw some arrows for saying this but here goes anyway. Reloading is a dangeorus hobby. Exactness of detail and attention are the keys to safety. For a new reloader, that means only thing - A SINGLE-STAGE PRESS. Period. One operation at a time, and when your lucky husband gets confident at it, he can always step up to a turret or a progressive press, and will always have use for the single stage. Anyone telling you to get a turret or a progressive is giving you an opinion, not useful advice. Get him a copy of Lee's 2nd edition Reloading Handbook and a good quality "O" press (Lee Classic Cast) and he will be off to a great start. Merry Xmas....
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Old December 2, 2009, 08:44 PM   #27
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" would be very hesitant to buy a used lee press. this is only based on what others have told me, not my personal exerience."

Well intended suggestion but, as is often the case of Lee, based on hear-say, not actual experience. Perhaps the value of real users here is more dependable? And a quick check on ebay's bid prices will put any lack of Lee re-sale value away.


"someone said, "get the rock chucker, he'll never wear it out."

NO press is going to be worn out by anyone but - maybe - a serious competitive shooter loading thousands of rounds a year. And HE would NOT want an RC but only a progressive, likely a Dillion!


"i would vote for rcbs is, if you buy him the lee press to start with and he later decides he wants something better, he'll probably want an rcbs, so why not just get it now?"

Because if he has a Classic Cast (or Classic Turret) he really won't ever NEED anything better. Different maybe, or in additon maybe, but not better.


I've been doing this for over 45 years and have owned and/or used a lot of various presses. NO WAY would I suggest any beginner try to learn to operate a progressive of any kind at the same time as he learns to reload!

Seems some of us old hands are eager to suggest what we use and love instead of what the new or limited needs shooter will best benefit from. Nor would I suggest any expensive package deal or gimmicky digital equipment to newbies and perhaps price them out of a really great hobby!


LilLady, keep it basic and affordable, you can't go wrong!
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Old December 2, 2009, 09:33 PM   #28
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The Lee Classic Cast is on sale at Midway for 75.99. Having one myself and also using others I will say this press is as good or better as any of the others that cost way more. Even at full retail it's a bargain. I was reluctant being a Lee but ordered one because of the strong positive reviews by users. I'm very impressed and pleased with it. The Classic turret if he shoots alot or shoots handguns regularly may be better. A scale is a necessity. I bring this up because I've seen some newbies that were reloading without one, big mistake!
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Old December 2, 2009, 10:37 PM   #29
BigJakeJ1s
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For rifle cartridges, especially if they are of larger size, a compound leverage press takes less force from the operator than a single lever type. So if he is loading 30-06 and larger maybe this will matter. If loading .223 Remington or 30-30, the single lever might do. If he is loading REALLY big cartridges, an "O" press will be stiffer than a "C" press. The difference between "C" and "O" is revealed by looking at the letters. "C" is open to the front, and easier to insert your hand, holding a cartridge into position. An "O" press is closed to the front (actually shaped more like a square, but we have no letter shaped like a square), thus can be stiffer.
Wrong on both counts: One of the most powerful and rigid presses available is the Forester Co-Ax, which is a C-frame press using simple leverage (not compound)!

Compound leverage is a means of packaging more leverage in less space, or of altering the rate at which the leverage changes throughout the stroke, but it has nothing to do with whether or not one press has more leverage, or the effort required to apply a given force to the cartridge.

The degree of stiffness in a press has to do with the design of the press frame AND where the linkage arms are attached to it. The Forster Co-Ax and the Redding UltraMag are both C frame cast iron presses, but they also have the linkage arms anchored at the top of the press, very near the die, with massive cast sections between them, for minimal flexing during use.

Andy
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Old December 3, 2009, 02:21 AM   #30
Memnok
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Salutations LilLady,

I started reloading about 15 yeas ago with an RCBS Rock Chucker kit. It had most of the basics needed, with the exception of dies and shell holders. It was a good kit that got the job done. Unfortunately, I got rid of all my stuff about five years later, after graduating from the police academy.

I am now returning to reloading and have ordered a Lee 50th Anniversary Kit (for the kids to give dad on Christmas ). The great thing about this Lee kit is that it has the basics to get you started, and you can upgrade (or not) as you desire. I plan to use the single stage press for a while, and maybe add a Turret style press an a later date. When I do, I'll still use the original press from the kit for removing spent primers and such.

You will find that everybody has a different experience with reloading. Some love digital scales, others prefer the balance scales. Only your husband will be able to say what is best for him. Personally, I used the money I saved with the Lee kit to get a couple sets of dies and a vibrating shell cleaner.

Whatever you choose, he'll be happy you got him such a cool toy for Christmas, because that's what boys want, toys.

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Old December 3, 2009, 09:17 PM   #31
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Both the Redding Ultra-Max and Forster's Co-Ax are unique designs, falling into neither the C or O classes.

The only magic the Co-Ax has is a very long operating lever.

Neither of those presses offer any added value for the average/typical reloader but they COST A LOT!

Last edited by wncchester; December 3, 2009 at 09:23 PM.
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Old December 3, 2009, 09:54 PM   #32
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I just started reloading recently and got the Lee Anniversary Kit. It has almost everything you will need to get started. Just add calipers, reloading books, dies, bullets, powder, primers, cases(unless you already have some) and a case gauge. I have been happy with my purchase so far, and would highly recommend it to anyone new to reloading. I have only reloaded 200 rounds to date, but it's been enjoyable.
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Old December 4, 2009, 10:00 PM   #33
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The only magic the Co-Ax has is a very long operating lever.
That is the least of the "magic" the Co-Ax offers. There's no real magic of course, just solid engineering and quality manufacturing. The snap-in/out, floating die system and automatic universal shell holder jaws provide both accuracy and ease of use. The flawless spent primer handling keeps debris far away from the press ways, which keeps the press clean and running smoothly. And lastly, the simple leverage system ensures perfectly straight vertical motion throughout the stroke. Any play in the "ram" is consistently pushed rearward on the way up, and forward on the way down, reversing only when you pause at the top and bottom of the stroke, where the pressure on the shell holder and die are released, allowing both to float back into alignment). Conventional compound leverage presses reverse the take-up in the play midway in each stroke, while pressure on the shell holder and die limit their abilty to float back into alignment.

And if you don't like the long handle, Forster offers a shorter handle for it, with plenty of leverage for anything short of rifle case reforming or bullet swaging.

Andy
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Old December 5, 2009, 12:21 PM   #34
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Big, I think you missed my "magic" point. Only meant a long lever is what gives the Co-Ax it's vaunted mechanical advantage, no more. Compound levers DO have a LOT more inherent leverage even with shorter, much easier to use levers, that's why they were developed. And Lee's compound lever handle is easily and fully adjustable for length, angle and right/left side. I think that's good!

I didn't include consideration of user features that individual owners may or may not care much for. Rapid die changes are of little value to most reloaders. It really isn't a laborious or time eating task to unscrew one die and replace it with another; what, 30 seconds, total, and what does that mean in a reloading session? And Lee's spent primer catcher system works basically same, and as well, as the vastly more expensive Co-Ax.

My past analysis of the compound toggle side forces on a ram during sizing suggest it's much less significant than you (and others) seem to believe. The angles involved, and therefore the tangent forces on the ram, rapidly change as the toggle rotates. The actual force on the lower end of the ram is greatest at the lower, unloaded, position and gets smaller as the ram is raised, becoming zero at maximun lift. ... and it's all from one direction during the full travel, at least until the ram gets past top dead center. The toggle's tangent force on the ram is minimal, virtually nothing at the upper point when the case finally meets significant die resistance and that's the only time it could possibly matter! Even then, there is ALWAYS more than enough slop in the fit of a case head in a shell holder than is needed to allow a sliding precise case-to-die alignment to occur naturally.

I happily admit the Co-Ax as am excellant press, just want to say that others are excellant too! User features matter to the user but, bottom line, making good ammo depends more on the user than any press he may have.

Last edited by wncchester; December 5, 2009 at 01:06 PM.
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Old December 5, 2009, 07:31 PM   #35
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Back to basics (and the original question)

Well, LilLady, you can see that the electronics world does not have a corner on the supply of geeks. Every discipline has its allotment of fans/fanatics that get into the minutia of the esoteric. The shooting sports and handloading is no exception.

Focusing back on your original question and avoiding a brand recommendation, it boils down to "Kit or individual components"

Simplest answer is a basic kit, probably single-stage, but turret is acceptable. Cast iron press is best. You could build a kit yourself by listing and studying all the contents of several different kits, then picking out kit components, but that would take some time.

Either way you go, dies for the caliber (and a shell holder unless one comes with the dies) will be necessary along with bullets, brass, powder and primers (to fit the brass - large rifle or small rifle, magnum or standard). Last but not least, three books.

1) ABC's of Reloading by by Bill Chevalier (describes the process in layman's terms),

2) at least one loading manual (Lyman's, Hornady, Sierra, each has a different writing style, so multiple books is good, so at least one will "speak" to you) and

3) one from a series of books like this one advertised on amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Reloa.../dp/B000VK0P8Q
or, if the link does not work, copy this to your web browser
amazon.com/Complete-Reloading-Manual-Remington-Caliber/dp/B000VK0P8Q

The "One book/One caliber" series of books does not educate on how to reload, but it does have the widest range of recipes for loading the one cartridge for which each book is written.

Then, a gift card to take care of the few items the kit might not have.

Good luck,

Lost Sheep
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Old December 5, 2009, 09:33 PM   #36
BigJakeJ1s
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Lost Sheep,

I apologize for misinterpreting your statement about "magic".

However, I believe your analysis of lateral forces on the bottom of the ram on a conventional compound leverage press may be flawed. First, you apparently failed to account for the lateral force applied to the handle itself by the operator. The ram is the only laterally fixed element that can resist that force; therefore all lateral forces in the system are ultimately transferred to it. Secondly, once the handle passes horizontal, the lateral component of the user's force on the handle reverses direction. Thirdly, the lateral force from the toggle pivoting on the bottom of the ram reverses direction when the linkage/toggle pivot is level with the toggle/ram pivot (when the toggle effectively passes horizontal). Since both of these reversals occur in different positions of ram travel (and neither occurs at the end of the stroke), they can create separate events where the ram shifts laterally within the play in the press bearing.

For a typical conventional press with a ~3" long bearing and ~3" of exposed ram above the bearing, the lateral movement at the top of the ram is up to twice the lateral play in the bearing. Because the business "end" of the Co-Ax ram is suspended between bearings above and below, its lateral motion is only 1x the play in the bearing. Even if we assume equivalent build quality, the Co-Ax would have half the lateral movement at the shell holder as a conventional press.

However, you are absolutely, 100% correct in that the operator's technique is vital to producing quality ammunition. With careful attention to the operation of the handle, and pauses at appropriate points in the stroke (e.g. when the handle passes horizontal, and when the toggle passes horizontal), the limitations inherent in a conventional press can be overcome. The pauses release the pressure on the shell holder/ram/cartridge/die to reduce the friction between them, allowing them to float back into alignment. Many skilled users understand that pausing during the stroke (particularly when seating, where rotating the cartridge is usually recommended) helps produce the most concentric cartridge possible. I've often wondered if the primary benefit of rotating the cartridge part-way through seating comes more from the pause taken to rotate, rather than the rotation itself.

The convenience of quickly changing dies in a single stage press holds differing value for different users. The feature is simply an added bonus to the Co-Ax's floating die retention feature, the primary benefit of which is accuracy rather than convenience. However, Hornady made a tidy business with their LNL bushings long before the bushings were employed on their progressive presses, suggesting the convenience is worth it to many single stage reloaders. Lee even duplicated the system on their latest press design. Ditto for the popularity of turret presses.

No-one should believe that accurate ammunition cannot be assembled on virtually any competent equipment, available from almost any manufacturer. The many choices in equipment merely provide different options (and prices) for convenience and consistency in achieving a given level of accuracy.

Andy
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Old December 6, 2009, 04:53 AM   #37
Lost Sheep
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If you're not completely burnt out on reading on the subject:

Take a look at this thread.
http://forums.accuratereloading.com/...43&m=538107599
or, if the link does not work, paste this into your browser
forums.accuratereloading.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&f=2511043&m=538107599

even just a quick scan is worth the trip, I promise.

Lost Sheep
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Old December 6, 2009, 04:06 PM   #38
LilLady
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Thanks for the link, Lost Sheep, it was very helpful.

Is the "Lee Anniversary Kit" that people keep mentioning the Breech Lock Challenger Press? How do yall like that press compared to the Lee Classic Cast?

I've been looking at all these kits and comparing them to buying the individual pieces. It seems like the individual pieces are higher quality, but there are so many choices! Also, the descriptions of the pieces are definitely a little technical for me. Although, when he starts reloading I'll be an encyclopedia of the equipment available and their price comparisons! I'm inclined to go through bit by bit and get better equipment, but I don't want to miss anything. I want him reloading after Christmas dinner. Does it make sense to buy everything that's in the kits separately, plus the dies, shell holders, brass, etc? Or would I be missing something? Are the kits complete for a beginner? Are they high enough quality that they're not just a waste of money and he'll end up replacing most of it by the end of the winter? I want this to last.

A stupid question: this shell holder thing. Um. Dumb question, but is that for all reloading, or just for shotshells? I've never in my life called the bit of explosive metal that I put in my rifle a "shell." That's what I call the bit of explosive plastic that goes in my shotgun. I guess I thought the term was specific, but I'm probably wrong about that (I respect the nerdiness of others, but I just don't have that going!). So, yeah, do I need one of those for the rifle and pistol press? And do I need a seperate one for each caliber? I find it hard to picture a holder that would fit all the different calibers he's gonna want to make.

I've narrowed it down to Lee and RCBS for presses because all yall have so strongly recommended them. If he wants something fancier when he knows what he's doing that's fine. I'm going to go with cast iron, and I'm really stuck between single-stage and turret. I like the single-stage because it sounds appropriate for a beginner, but I'd hate for him to turn around in February and get himself a turret press and the single-stage rots in the basement. I'm concerned he'll try to go too fast with a turret right off the bat, and inadvertently blow something up! On the other hand it would be nice for him to already have it as he gets more advanced, so I'm not sure. I'm gonna get a balance scale too, and probably RCBS dies because everyone seems to like them so much.

So I guess what I'm asking is, kit or individual components? Breech Lock Challenger Press users, do you like it better than the Classic Cast? What's the deal with the shell holders? Will the single-stage get boring quick? Can he really mess up if he's using the turret too soon?

Thanks again for all yalls help. This is making my life SO much easier!
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Old December 6, 2009, 04:11 PM   #39
LilLady
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Oh, and about being "burnt out" on this stuff: I had a dream last night that I was at the supermarket and every single thing on the shelves was for reloading, and all I wanted was some bread but there wasnt any, just hundreds of presses and bags of primers and all this stuff and I was lost looking for bread. It was really intense. All morning I was scared he heard me talking in my sleep about it! But he hasn't said anything, so I figure I wasn't mumbling about reloading brands in my sleep! I think I've been mulling on this one a little too much!
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Old December 6, 2009, 04:14 PM   #40
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Oh, and about being "burnt out" on this stuff: I had a dream last night that I was at the supermarket and every single thing on the shelves was for reloading, and all I wanted was some bread but there wasnt any, just hundreds of presses and bags of primers and all this stuff and I was lost looking for bread. It was really intense. All morning I was scared he heard me talking in my sleep about it! But he hasn't said anything, so I figure I wasn't mumbling about reloading brands in my sleep! I think I've been mulling on this one a little too much!
Sounds like you saw a glimpse of Heaven.
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Old December 6, 2009, 05:32 PM   #41
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I just posted this same thing on a different thread.

A couple days ago I saw a RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit for $300. It had everything to start except a trimmer and dies. Sounded cheap to me.

I dont know about the other brands cause I didn't look.

Some calibers use the same shell-holder but most take different sizes. The specific size number is on the die box and is sold seperatly for 7 or 8 dollars.

I dont know if the Breechlock is cast or not, but I wouldn't but a press that isn't.

I have a progressive press, but only for pistols. I use my single stage press for all my rifles, but thats just my personal preferance.
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Old December 6, 2009, 08:04 PM   #42
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If you get a single stage, he may get another turret or some such in due time. Even so the single stage will not just gather dust. I have three presses a single, a turret and a progressive. I use them all.
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Old December 6, 2009, 08:07 PM   #43
Memnok
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Quote:
Is the "Lee Anniversary Kit" that people keep mentioning the Breech Lock Challenger Press? How do yall like that press compared to the Lee Classic Cast?
Yes, the 50th anniversary kit has the Breach Lock Callenger, not the Classic Cast.
  1. Click here for a link to the kit at the Lee web page.
  1. Click here for a review of the 50th anniversary kit.

Quote:
A stupid question: this shell holder thing. Um. Dumb question, but is that for all reloading, or just for shotshells?
The shell holder attaches the empty brass to the top of the ram.



When you purchase your die set, look to see if it comes with a shell holder. I ordered two sets of dies, .223 and .40S&W. I also ordered shell holders for each. Then, I noticed that the dies came with shell holders. Oh well, I'll just have extras...

Quote:
I've narrowed it down to Lee and RCBS for presses because all yall have so strongly recommended them. If he wants something fancier when he knows what he's doing that's fine.
I think either will be a great choice. I can't compare and contrast them for you, because I have only used the Rock Chucker kit. I was happy with it. I got my Lee 50th anniversary kit in the mail this week, but have to wait till Christmas to play with it! (I'm starting over after getting rid of my stuff several years ago )

Quote:
I'm going to go with cast iron, and I'm really stuck between single-stage and turret. I like the single-stage because it sounds appropriate for a beginner, but I'd hate for him to turn around in February and get himself a turret press and the single-stage rots in the basement.
If you look through the "Show us your reloading setup" threads you'll see lots of photos with two or three presses mounted on the bench. Even if he adds a turret press later, hell still use the single stage press for something like de-priming.


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