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Old September 16, 2000, 07:51 PM   #1
Zach Vonler
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Join Date: June 29, 1999
Posts: 126
I'm ready to get into reloading, but I'm not entirely clear on what all gear I need to buy. I'd like to buy as much as possible from the local shop, since they've been very helpful (helpful enough to recommend a Dillon press over anything they carry) but I want to make sure I buy enough from Dillon that I'll be able to get the rest of the stuff I need locally.

My goals are to be able to load .45, 9mm, .357 mag, .223, and .308. I want to be able to load match quality rounds for the rifle cartridges.

Here's the list of stuff I'm considering buying from Dillon. Please comment if there's anything I could get by without for my stated goals or anything I should consider buying locally instead (for example dies -- are other brands of dies compatible with the 650?)

XL650 .38/.357 Mag.
XL 650 Video Instruction Manual
Strong Mount for XL 650 only
650 Conv 9mm/.38 Super
650 Conv .45 ACP
650 Conv .223/5.56mm
650 Conv .308/.30-06
XL 650 (Electronic Scale) Deal
-- above has scale, calipers, lube, lyman handbook
L.E. Wilson Deburring Tool
CV-500 Vibratory Case Cleaner
Crushed Walnut Hull Polishing Media
Ground Corn Cob Polishing Media
CM-500 Case/Media Separator
.223 Remington 3-Die Set
.308 Winchester 3-Die Set
9mm 3-Die Set
.45 ACP 3-Die Set
.38/.357 3-Die Set
Spare Decapping Pins (Pkg of 10)
RT 1200B Case Trim Motor (no dies)
RT 1200B Size/Trim Die, .223 Rem.
RT 1200B Size/Trim Die, .308 Win.
Bullet Tray

Specifically, I'm wondering if anyone has used the RT1200 - is it worth the money? It looks like it would really speed up the trimming process. Also, do I really have to get a conversion kit for each caliber? I figured there would be some overlap...

And yes, I know, this is a pretty expensive setup for starting out, but I don't want to buy twice. I'm trying to setup something I'll be able to use for many years.
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Old September 16, 2000, 10:03 PM   #2
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Join Date: January 6, 2000
Location: AZ
Posts: 1,233
WOW!, that's a lot of equipment for a beginner.

The most important part of your equipment would be a good reloading manual, most of your bullet manufactures have good books out there.

Another plus would be to find some one in your area who has the same type of equipment your planning to purchase.

When I decided to start reloading I had a friend and cousin who reloaded, and they had many books to choose from, this is where I learned the most important information.

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Old September 16, 2000, 11:13 PM   #3
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Join Date: June 13, 2000
Location: Mountains
Posts: 1,298
Zach, looks like you will be well on your way with those goodies.When I first started loading years ago I found a guy that was wanting to get out of loading and bought his equipment.Of course he didn't have the fancy stuff, but it was the basic stuff to get started with.I lucked up and knew an old timer that had been loading for about 40 or 50 years. He taught me how to reload and how to be safe. Thank God he had taught me enough to get started before he passed away.You might want to find someone that has been reloading for some time and let them teach you how. It is almost like riding a bicycle, once you learn how you never forget.
I feel like the most important tools that you will ever use is 2 or 3 good reloading manuals and a good set of scales. Why 2 or 3 manuals? Because you can always cross reference a certain load and make sure 1 manual does not have a misprint.I have noticed certain ones in the past that nearly got me in trouble on certain loads.Also if you don't have accurate scales you are treading on thin ice and asking for trouble.I have always been real cautious and set up 2 scales at a time and checked one against the other when I was loading. Might sound like I am being too carefull, but in reloading you can never be too carefull. Good luck and enjoy loading.
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Old September 17, 2000, 06:18 AM   #4
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Join Date: August 8, 2000
Location: ARKANSAS
Posts: 484 looks like you've got it under control.

You are correct about the overlap on the conversion kits. I have 9 conversion kits and they 'll cover probably 75% of eveything out there.

an example...the .45 ACP case base demension is the same as .308 or .30-06 or a .270.

The plates in the kits are numbered. The buttons that hold the cases are also numbered. When you buy yopur Dillion, you'll get a chart that list the conversion kits for the calibers you'll need. Check it out and compare it to what youll wanna load up.

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Old September 17, 2000, 10:24 AM   #5
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Join Date: January 14, 2000
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,089
case gages for the pistol calibers, it's the only true way to check crimp, extra large/small primer tubes, and a kinetic bullet puller. Load in lot sizes at first, and keep detailed records. Also don't buy bulk powder/bullets/primers until you are settled on a particular load. Progressives tend to feed one brand of primer better than others. The most troublesome area in reloading is priming. If you don't fully seat the primer, just toss out that case instead of taking all the stations out. You probably will want a chrono next to check your results. Remember, military cases have criped primer pockets, and have to swaged to use them. If you know someone that has been reloading for awhile, it would help you just to go thru the motions. Oh, don't worry about trimming cases or cleaning primer pockets for pistol.
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Old September 17, 2000, 03:33 PM   #6
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Join Date: February 12, 2000
Location: Birmingham, AL
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Since you're going whole hog, go ahead and get 2 of the 3-pack tool heads to keep the dies in, along with tool head stands. In addition, you can use some additional (1 per toolhead) powder dies. It's also kinda nice to have at least 2 powder measures, one for pistol and one for rifle. All the best...
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Old September 17, 2000, 07:44 PM   #7
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Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,270
Suggest skipping the electronic scale; buy a RCBS 505 and get a Scale Weight Check set.

Buy a $20 caliper.

Buy a $2 Lee chamfer/debur tool.

Get a roller handle for the 650.

Buy Lee handgun dies, including their Carbide Factory Crimp die (for autos), and the Redding Profile Crimp die for .357.

Skip the walnut media, and use Dillon's case polish.


Buy safety glasses and wear always (I mean always).

Get some extra bins and primer tubes.

Get the spare parts kit.

Questions? Please contact...

"All my ammo is factory ammo"

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Old September 18, 2000, 01:30 AM   #8
Chris McDermott
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Join Date: March 30, 2000
Posts: 245
If you don't know anyone who is currently reloading, the NRA now has a reloading class curriculum and handbook; talk to your dealer and see if anyone is teaching a reloading class in your area. The last resort is to buy several reloading manuals and read them carefully and most of your questions will be answered. Specifics of things like your case trimmer questions (sorry, I've never used the Dillon, I use the Wilson setup with it's handcrank) can usually be answered here on the net; but I've noticed you get a more useful response if you ask a single question in the subject line than if you ask multiple questions in a generic posting. Searching for past threads on a subject is also very worthwhile.
A shopping tip is that if you buy primers and/or powder mail-order there is a hazardous material shipping surcharge that usually wipes out any price difference from your local dealers; but may still be worthwhile to be able to get brands of powders/primers that wouldn't otherwise be available to you.
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Old November 29, 2000, 09:22 AM   #9
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Lots of first time questions lately, and this is pretty comprehensive.
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