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Old October 3, 2000, 02:47 PM   #1
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I'm just starting reloading, and I'm looking for the minimum to get started. I saw this press, and it seems like a good starter press that I can upgrade into a 550B as I get better/reload more. I need some suggestions on which dies to buy, and the minimum equipment I'll need to load-.45ACP, .44 Magnum, 10mm, .308 Match, .223 Remington. The AT500 is suposed to be able the load all but the .44 Mag out of the box. Is this true? What else will I need?
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Old October 3, 2000, 05:36 PM   #2
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For the small additional price, I'd lean to starting with the 550B. For one thing, it's more expensive to buy the AT500 and then upgrade it to the 550B. Also, for pistol rounds, the progressive will quickly convert you from wanting to load single stage.

As far as the calibers you mention, it will load any of them, I don't know why you single out the .44Mag, I don't know of any reason that would be different than any other caliber on that press.

You'll obviously need dies for each caliber you want to load, as well as caliber conversion kits for each caliber. You can mix-n-match shellplates if you want to save a bit of money. You still need a powder funnel for each caliber, but they're cheaper than the whole caliber conversion kit. Of your calibers, I think the .308 and .45ACP may use the same shell plate, but I'd have to look at my manual to be sure.

I'd start this process by buying a couple of reloading manuals, the Lyman is an excellent first choice, since it has quite a large section on the basics of reloading. Do some reading and talking before you start plunking down your money for stuff you may not need.

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Old October 4, 2000, 12:24 PM   #3
Jack Straw
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The AT500 is a fine press; it is simply the RL550 stripped down. As johnwill said, it will be more expensive to upgrade the AT up to RL550, but if you want to spread your payments out over time, this would be a good way to go. Be aware though; when you get the hang of reloading you WILL want to go full progressive.

As for the .44mag...the AT comes with a single shellplate with 4 different sized shellholding slots that will cover a number of various calibers. For instance, .30-06, .308, and .45acp (and others) all have similar case head dimensions so that they may all use the same size shellholder, but the shellplate for the AT500 won't fit the .44 case. You will need to buy a RL550 caliber conversion for that and any other calibers that aren't listed for the AT.

Otherwise get good manuals, calipers, a good scale, and start loading. I would also suggest that you search this forum under "newbie" or "new to reloading" or other such phrases. This topic has been covered a number of times here and there is a lot of info in those old threads.

Something else, it is well worth it to get a separate toolhead for each caliber. It sure is nice to not have to readjust your dies every time you want to load a different caliber.

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Old October 4, 2000, 05:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for pointing out why he was singling out the .44Mag, I wasn't aware that they had a "multi-caliber" shellplate, though it makes perfect sense. I have the 550B, and all my shellplates are one caliber. :-)
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