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Old October 2, 2012, 10:12 PM   #1
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Which kit to get started?

I am looking into reloading. I am a very somewhat casual shooter, so mad production is not an issue. I will be reloading different calibers of pistol (.357/.38, .380, maybe 9mm and .40) and rifle (.270, .223/5.56 and eventually .243) so I will need one that can accommodate those changes easily. I have been looking at a few 'kits' to help me get started. There is such a plethora of choice out there I figure that may be the easiest thing to get me started. Here are some of the kits I am looking at. I would appreciate your recommendations. Thank you.

or for a little less money something like the:

I don't want to spend too much money, but am willing to go anywhere in this range if it is worth it. If there are any that I am missing I am open to that too. Thanks again for your help.
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:42 PM   #2
Lost Sheep
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To Kit of Not to Kit?

Thanks for asking our advice.

Frankly, of the choices you presented, I would suggest the $100 setup and then, after you have loaded for a while, you will then be able to upgrade with some experience behind your judgement and choices.

I would also suggest looking for a kit (or assembling one yourself) built around the Lee Classic Turret. Suitable for medium-high production of handgun rounds and and rifle rounds alike.

But, to get back to my subject line:

A kit will get you started with ALMOST everything you need. They always lack something. They also have things you use, but will be unsatisfied with and trade in (at a loss, it goes without saying). So the savings in getting a kit is largely illusion. But it probably will get you started a little quicker.

A Kit will also have things you don't need, which is a waste of money But does provide some trade goods.

Building your own kit MAY be a little more expensive, but carries with it the research (and knowledge gained therefrom) you do in selecting the equipment best for you.

As you load and develop your personal style, you will find things you would like to have. Pick them up as you go to complete your fully mature "kit" from the core essentials you started with.

How you populate your loading bench, and with what pieces of gear is largely, then, a matter of personal style. There are several different ways to approach loading for the first time.

1) Buy a ready-made kit

2) Assemble a kit of your own, choosing as complete a kit as you can get, of premium gear you will never outgrow

3) Assemble a kit piece-by-piece with the components you expect you will never outgrow, but only the minimum pieces absolutely necessary and expanding as you find need for each additional piece, slowly, and as money and knowledge allows

4) Assemble a kit of your own choosing as complete as you can get with affordable gear that you will use until you outgrow it and hope that, by that time, you will have figured out what you want to use and will never outgrow

5) Assemble a kit of your own choosing with the minimum usable, least expensive components and upgrade as your tastes reveal themselves and as money allows. Spend money for upgrades as your taste spurs you.

Each approach has its virtues and its drawbacks.

What type of hobbyist are you? Are you analytical and thoughtful or do you jump right in and improvise as you go? Got more time than money, or more money than time?

My first advice: Read "The ABC's of Reloading", an excellent tome on the general processes of reloading.

Having said that, let me share with you some posts and threads I think you will enjoy. So get a large mug of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whatever you keep on hand when you read and think and read through these.

The "sticky" thread at the top of's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "

The first draft of my "10 Advices..." is on page 2 of this thread, about halfway down.

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

"Budget Beginning bench you will never outgrow for the novice handloader" was informed by my recent (July 2010) repopulation of my loading bench. It is what I would have done 35 years ago if I had known then what I know now.

Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)

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Old October 3, 2012, 06:49 AM   #3
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I bought the rockchucker but some of the items like the beam scale i did not like. The hornady has a digital scale which is nice

Single stage presses are very slow for pistol reloads. If pistol is most of your needs, consider a turret and not a ss. If rifle is your biggest need, buy a ss.
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Old October 3, 2012, 07:41 AM   #4
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I would only consider the RCBS, Hornady, or the Lyman kits. Remember you only get what you pay for, sometimes a little extra cash spent will get you much more in quality.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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You could buy this and sell each piece individually on E-Bay and make a profit.
The private ownership of firearms is an American Heritage. Anyone who disputes that is Anti-American and unpatriotic.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:09 AM   #6
p loader
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I just bought the Lee Classic Turret Press Kit and necessary accessories to reload 223, should be here in a day or two. I researched for quite a while, wanted a Dillon but as I'm just starting out couldn't justify the price (based on initial production demands).

I watched Youtube and read online forums until my eyes hurt. I have another thread in this forum where I will document how I get started with the Lee, maybe you will be able to learn from my mistakes.

I've found lots of helpful people and great information to help me get started on this forum. Thanks to all.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:18 AM   #7
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My 2 cents is that the Lyman Tmag kit is a SUPER place to start. . .

Here is some other stuff I wrote on the subject: link
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:21 AM   #8
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I got the Lee Anniversary kit (15+) years ago.... when they had the aluminum "Challenger" press in it. The toggle links on that press broke a couple of times (Lee replaced the parts for free), and I replaced the press with a Redding I found on sale. Lee has since changed to a Classic Cast press in the kit. My brother has one. I like it. I've loaded thousands and thousands of rounds on my kit, and hundreds on my brother's ..... $99? Buy that and spend the other $200 on materials for a good bench and components to stock it.
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:54 AM   #9
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I'm more tuned in for batch loading, so the RCBS Rockchucker kit has worked well for me.
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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Old October 4, 2012, 05:11 AM   #10
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Ok, I have decided to go with the $99 kit, use a they other money to get a bench and stock it (along with clear a space in the garage). For $17 more I can get the same kit with the Auto Prime XL feature. Is that advisable just starting out? I have seen hand primers and they seem to work just fine for low production.
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:15 PM   #11
chris in va
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Don't even bother with the hand primer. The regular ol' Ram Prime works great. I actually use a Hand Press for all my reloads.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:26 PM   #12
Lost Sheep
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Originally Posted by baddarryl
For $17 more I can get the same kit with the Auto Prime XL feature. Is that advisable just starting out? I have seen hand primers and they seem to work just fine for low production.
Some people believe the hand priming tool gives them more "feel" for the primer getting properly seated (which is important for correct ignition, as the primer's anvil must be "set" into the priming compound for optimal sensitivity).

Other people find their hands get really tired after seating a bunch. (Probably using it wrong or not lubricating it properly, which will shorten the tool's life, too.)

Another set of people believe the seating arm on the press gives plenty of leverage and still a good feel for seating depth just as it is. (Count me among those.) Even on a single stage, this is a little faster and more convenient than the hand primer unless you want to do your priming away from the bench, which some do.

If you do use the on-press priming arm, do use the Lee Safety Prime dispenser. It keeps finger oils from contaminating the primers (they are sealed, but sometimes you can kill a primer with skin oils, though rarely). The little dispenser device's position on the press is critical, but once in line with the primer arm's cup it works admirably well and you can clearly see the primer is right-side up BEFORE seating it.

Take your choice. To my mind it is largely a personal preference and not all that critical to producing good ammunition which you choose.

As far as "getting a bench" is concerned, I would (actually I did) start out with a 2x6 or 2x8 board about 30" long and clamp it to any stable surface. Drill holes in it and mount the press on the board. Then you can simply "C" clamp the board to the stable surface any time you want to load until you decide what kind of loading bench and layout you finally want.

Good Luck

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Old October 5, 2012, 06:54 AM   #13
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Since you'll be reloading various calibers, I would suggest the Lee Classic Turret Press kit. Changing between different calibers is very easy with this setup. Plus the on press priming feature is great and simple.
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