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Old August 14, 2000, 12:45 AM   #1
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I have decided that I want to take up the hobby of handloading. I looked at the RCBS Master rockchucker kit at wal-mart for $250. Besides Dies,powder,Etc. what else will I need? is a tumbler vital? What will I find out I should have gotten after I open the box and get started.
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Old August 14, 2000, 01:38 AM   #2
Bill Adair
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You don't need a tumbler to start with, but they are pretty nice for case cleaning.

Watch the Midway sales for a good buy on a case cleaning outfit, as they warrantee their stuff for life!

I don't know what comes in the kit you want, or what calibers your reloading, but some of the things you will need are as follows. (I'm assuming a powder measure and scale come with the kit.)

1. Reloading trays. Try to find trays that hold more than 50 rounds, so you can leave at least one blank row between each finished operation, and the rest of the unfinished cases. You'll understand after you reload one batch of cartridges.

2. Calipers. You can get them from Midway for less than $30 dollars, and they are important for checking overall cartridge length. Bullets seated too deep can cause dangerous overpressure.

3. Press shell holders. You will need ones for each caliber you intend to reload.

4. Dies. Ditto above, but don't even consider anything but carbide dies, unless you like greasy fingers and cases! You mentioned these, but I thought I'd better remind you that if you get plain steel dies instead of carbide, you will also need a lube pad and case lube, which are not required with carbide dies.

5. Hand priming tool. The new RCBS, APS hand priming tool would be my recommendation. The primers come in plastic strips, and are much easier to handle than loose primers. I use the Lee Autoprime tools, but these take a different shell holder than the press, and are again caliber specific. If you decide you want the Lee, get the shell holder set that goes with it from Midway, for about $15. That will cover the majority of calibers. The Lee can be bought for as little as $10 at gun shows, and I use two of them, one for each primer size (large and small).

6. Reloading manuals! I can't emphasize the importance of good reloading manuals, and your better off with more than one, if you can afford them. Used book stores are a good source for these.

7. Primers. Follow the load manual recommendations for these. Most will work perfectly, but the RCBS APS tool requires APS primer strips of the correct type.

8. Crescent wrenches! I use RCBS dies exclusively, and a 12" crescent wrench is required to install or remove them. A pair of common slip joint pliers are also handy for adjusting the die inserts (seating, depriming, belling, etc.

If you buy RCBS dies, they now come with brass set screws, which I immediately throw away! Take one to the hardware store, and buy steel Allen head set screws of the same size, and an Allen wrench (if you don't get one with the dies). Pick up an ounce or so of lead shotgun shot from the gun store, number 7 should do nicely. Drop one lead shot into the set screw hole in each die lock ring, and run the new steel Allen screw into the hole just far enough to catch. Now when you get the die positioned correctly (per your new reloading manuals or die instructions), and tighten down the set screw, it will not bugger up the die threads, but will mash the lead shot against the threads and lock the ring firmly in place.

I'm getting long winded here, and others will no doubt offer their advice, so ask if you have any moe questions.

Your going to love reloading!

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Old August 14, 2000, 08:50 AM   #3
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You can"t go wrong with a R.C.B.S Rockchucker. That all I"ve used for past 14yrs. I reload from 38s to 30-06. Simple to use, no little parts to go a muck!
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Old August 14, 2000, 09:04 AM   #4
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Thank-you for you informative response and the set screw tip. That tip with the shot just makes sence,however I would not have thought of it,until i wrecked the brass screw.

I planned on using RCBS carbide dies. I'll be loading 9mm. .44spl .357/38spl maybe .308

The master kit has the reloading tray(will need several i'll guess) A speer reload manual, 5-0-5 scale and a powder measure,the kind with a crank.

Do you use the scale to adjust the powder measure for each load then when it's setup then crank away with the powder?

The reloading hobby should be lots of fun,I have thought about this for awhile,and I believe it will allow me to shoot more and and Have more control of what I shoot.

Do you know of a web site where i can look up balistic information on loads before I get my setup? I want to educate myself before I buy the stuff.

One last thing,I was planning on using Winchester primers and powders,Any problems there?

I printed your tips and thanks a lot
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Old August 14, 2000, 12:29 PM   #5
Paul B.
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Coolray. First off, you won't get a carbide die for .308. Well, yes, maybe. I've heard of one that's custom made, but you still have to apply the case lube, so save yourself about $100 or so, and just get the regular steel die.
Seems like Bill pretty well covered it all, so I'll leave it at that.
Paul B.
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Old August 14, 2000, 12:51 PM   #6
Join Date: June 3, 2000
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Cooray, lots of people start reloading to save money and find out its something they like doing for its own sake.All the component and equipment manufactures have websites with lots of information and customer service departments that are very helpful. has a basic step by step guide through the whole process.Read everything that comes with your kit. One thing you need you didn't mention is a pair of safety glasses.Take your time and enjoy your new hobby.
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Old August 14, 2000, 01:40 PM   #7
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Coolray, lemme try a few...

Do you use the scale to adjust the powder measure for each load then when it's setup then crank away with the powder?

Yep. That's the fact.

Do you know of a web site where i can look up balistic information on loads before I get my setup? I want to educate myself before I buy the stuff.

Again, yep. Sierra, Hornady and others have load data available online IIRC.

Let me suggest you get a copy of "The ABC's of Reloading" by Dean Grennell. It's a great book, full of insights, and will take you thru the thought processes as well as the physical activity associated w/ reloading.
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Old August 14, 2000, 07:01 PM   #8
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I too purchased the master kit from RCBS. It is an excellent value, IMO.

I opted to get a hand priming tool. To me priming on the press is a pain.

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned it but a set of steel calipers are useful.

You'll probably become addicted. Most do.

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Old August 14, 2000, 10:35 PM   #9
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A Friend of mine suggested that I get a Lee EZ Primer,He said that it positions the primers and installs them about as fast as you can swap out the brass kind of works like a hand held press.

The Info I have recieved has been priceless

I now have several tips that will make my reloading that much better.
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