The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 30, 2005, 03:55 PM   #1
Join Date: June 4, 2004
Posts: 58
Just got some reloading dies and equipment, but what am I missing?

I've been wanting to reload since last year now but I'm determined to crank out some rounds this year. I finally got started with some dies and I will have a "Pacific" press coming soon. I think Pacific went out of business years ago but I heard it's a solid design?

I got this package for 60bucks and it seems pretty reasonable for 5 sets of dies, .38sp/357mag, .44sp/mag, 9mm, .40s&w, .223rem. The dies have some bit of rust on the threads, I hope that will not adversely affect the function of the equpment? It also came with a RCBS lube pad (what's it for?), a big bag of lead cast bullets (9mm?), a small bag of .224 55gr FMJ-BT bullets (for .223rem?), and a plastic powder funnel.

All the dies are RCBS (carbide?) except 9mm which is Lee (has some aluminum parts in it, is it as durable?). The .44sp/mag and .223rem are missing a die from the 3die set. The .44 appear to have the case sizer, but there's not bullet seater die. Is there an insert that I can use in sizer and use it as bullet seater or do I have find a single bullet seater? (anyone got a spare?)

Also the .223rem die set is missing one too. I'm suspecting the 3 "blued screws" are inserts into one of the die and for different rounds? Two are recessed roundnose (one large diameter, one small), and another is a flat nose like for SWC. Does the .223 set need the sizer too? Also need to ID the 2 washers, they're different in thickness, one is round, another is polygonal.

Thanks for any info on these equipment. I did not think it'd take much space but I know I need a dedicated bench for this hobby.
Guntec is offline  
Old January 30, 2005, 05:28 PM   #2
K9 Big Dog
Junior Member
Join Date: May 28, 2004
Posts: 13
Pacific simply became Hornady. You're missing at a minimum a scale, powder measure, loading block, case lube, priming tool and some calipers for measuring the round. The .223 should only be a 2-die set and it won't be carbide, which is why you have the lube pad. You also need a good manual or two, I recommend the Speer #13 as a minimum for starting out as it has some really great overall reloading instructions in it. The carbide handgun dies don't require the cases to be lubed prior to sizing but the rifle ones will. You will need a seating die for the .44, but it shouldn't be hard to come by.,, even Cabela's will sell you just a seating die and you can check ebay too. Yes those "screws" are used for seating different types of bullets. Sounds like you made out pretty good for $60. A little rust on the threads won't hurt the dies, but just the same you should clean them up. Also make sure you have the correct shellholder for each of your calibers.
K9 Big Dog is offline  
Old January 30, 2005, 08:05 PM   #3
Johnny Guest
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,121
Welcome to reloading!

guntec, let's see if I can answer at least part of your questions.

The RCBS lube pad is used to lubricate cases prior to sizing. You'll need a little tube or bottle of the lubricant - - That's case lube, not bullet lube. I've gone over to using Dillon or One Shot case lubricant -- neater and less sticky -- but the thick stuff on a pad is still a workable procedure.

The Lee dies are probably "carbide" dies- - Lee commonly uses aluminum in non-stress areas,and they normally work well. The "carbide" deal is really just a little ring of metal inside the sizing die, very slick and extremely hard. I don't know if Lee dies are marked "carbide" or "carb."

The .223 dies are normally a two die set, as are most dies for bottle neck cartridges. Straight sided cases need the third die, though. You'lll need a seat/crimp die for your .44 set. A call to RCBS will obtain you one, and they normally give pretty speedy service. Dunno the priice, though. Check on this without ordering. It's possible you can find another entire set of used dies at a gun show for less than the price of the single die plus shipping from Oroville, CA. An aside - - While it is possible to do both inthe same operation, most cartridges are better seated and crimlped in separate operations.

The three "blued screws" are bullet seating stems. Normally, two per pistol caliber are sufficient - - for round nose and for semiwadcutter shapes. I can't tell their particular size from your photos. They could easily be for any of the handgun cartridge dies.

You have three shell holders. Easy enough to check by fitting a case into them.

Useful to know, if/when you start loading other calibers, many shell holders are interechangeable between calibers. The upper left one, stamped "3", IF it is RCBS brand, fits the entire .30'06 family of cartridges: .30'06, .25-06, .308, .243, 7mm-08, .45 ACP, .270, .250 Sav, 300 Sav, .358 Win, .35 Whelen, and, depending on brand of brass, quite possibly .257 Roberts, 7 x 57mm, 7.92 x 57 (8 mm Mauser,) 9.3 x 62, and probably others. .223 Remington uses the same shell holder as .380 ACP.

The "washers" you mention-- They both appear to be spare locking rings for the die bodies, to keep the dies firmly in place, or to maintain the position of the lower ring, so that the exact adjustment will not be lost when the die is removed from the press. I'm pretty certain the one with the flats is such an item. Are both threaded on the inside? If not, the smooth one may be a special spacer ring, machined to exactly allow for the 0.135" difference in length between the .38 Special and .357 magnum, and also the .44 Spl and .44 mag cases.

The single yellow dipper is probably the one that came with the Lee 9 x 19 mm dies. I don''t have a chart by colors. It is probably marked with a number, and Lee prints a guide telling how much of various popular pistol powders it will hold.

Bench space? You can grow into however much space you allow.
For just basic metallic loading with a single stage press, you can do well with perhaps three feet by two feet, especially if you have some shelf space above the work surface. You need a place for your loading blocks to hold at least 50 cases, a powder scale, and hopefully a powder measure. If you go to loading the .223, you'll want some sort of case trimming arrangement, but this need not be ermanently mounted on the bench.

An utter "MUST" is at least one comprehensive handloading manual, and preferably two or more. As you have internet access, you can cross check loading data from several different web sites. Please, READ the entire text about loading before you ever assemble your first round of any kind of ammo.

I've become sidetracked a couple of times and have been writing on this reply for at least three hours. Looks as if K9 Big Dog has already given you some good information, but I'll go ahead and post this anyhow

Best of luck to you--
Amendment II ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Blog: Expert Witness
Johnny Guest is offline  
Old January 30, 2005, 08:26 PM   #4
Junior member
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
The only thing I could add to what these guys said is that you're definitly missing a 44 die for sure. I have three different generation sets of RCBS 44 dies and they all have three dies each.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old January 31, 2005, 12:09 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: January 8, 2005
Location: the great state of Texas
Posts: 854
The washers are when you change from! lets say 38 to 357! You don't use the washer to load 38s. if you want to load 357s you just add the washer and all the adjustments for the die stay the same when you seat and crimp. You don't use the washer to resize the 357 or 38 cases. You should have two washers one for the 38,357 and one for the 44 special and 44 mag die set. The washer in my 357 and 44 die set both measure .129. Well the 357 is .1295 and the 44 is .1285.
impact is offline  
Old January 31, 2005, 05:39 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 11, 2000
Location: lower rio grande valley, texas
Posts: 216
You are missing a book. Get a reloading manual. I recommend Speer #13.
Best wishes - shu
If you would have Liberty you must accept that individual security
is not the responsiblity of government. You must. - XAVIER ONASIS
shu is offline  
Old January 31, 2005, 10:38 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Green Country, OK
Posts: 732
...and don't forget the safety glasses. sundog
safety first
sundog is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.05366 seconds with 7 queries