New to relaoding, whats needed?

This is a discussion on New to relaoding, whats needed? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Id like to spend under $350 but the less the better unless one is worth the cost for what I need. 308 is my priority ...

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Thread: New to relaoding, whats needed?

  1. #1
    Member Array GregDepot's Avatar
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    New to relaoding, whats needed?

    Id like to spend under $350 but the less the better unless one is worth the cost for what I need.
    308 is my priority but i maybe want add 7.62x39 and 10mm later.
    What kit and dies to i need?
    What are the differences in press types?
    What type of primers does 308 use?
    What powder?

    308 plinking ammo for the FNAR is my main concern
    Mossberg Maverick 88, Saiga 12, FN FNAR, SKS, SKS Paratrooper, AK-74, Marlin 60, Mosin Nagant 91/30, Browning A bolt II, Kahr PM9, Hi Point C9, Glock 20 (29 chop), Walther P22, Tauras PT92AF, Colt LE6920, Marlin 60SN, Mak-90

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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    I have a press. Dies are backordered shell plate is backordered, brass is possible to find. I would say patience is what u need. Start looking into dies and plates but what I did get and what has helped the wait is a reloading manual to read. Currently reading Lymans 49th edition.
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    Get a good reloading manual such as Speer. Lyman or such and it will explain all you need to know. Some equipment is essential, some is not, depending on what's being reloaded and individual preference.

    Press, dies, powder measure, scale: those are the basics. From there the list is endless.
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    Ex Member Array hartlathers's Avatar
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    I use a Lee turret press. You can get them in the $70-$100 range and they work great. Without really pushing it too hard I can handload around 200 rounds an hours. If I had a progressive press that number might double, but I don't want to keep up with that much stuff going on at the same time. Plus, if you're new to reloading a progressive is a hard to start with. Check out Titan Reloading. Lee makes good, inexpensive equipment, I've been reloading with them for many years and have never had an issue.

  6. #5
    Member Array pfries's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Get a good reloading manual such as Speer. Lyman or such and it will explain all you need to know. Some equipment is essential, some is not, depending on what's being reloaded and individual preference.

    Press, dies, powder measure, scale: those are the basics. From there the list is endless.
    ^^^^ This and plenty of research/reading ^^^^
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    You need to prep cases - clean 'em de-prime 'em, clean the primer pockets.

    You have to size them. Neck sizing is OK for bolt guns, but full-length sizing is usually required for other actions (autoloader, lever, pump)

    You have to measure accurate powder charges and charge the cases with them.

    You have to seat the bullets to a fairly specific depth (overall length) and crimp the bullet in place.

    The biggest choice for the novice is single-stage or progressive press? The answer to that is driven by the volume of your shooting needs. I'd suggest a dividing line of 500-600 rounds a year; if you shoot fewer than that in a given caliber, you're probably OK with a single stage press. Much more than that, the extra investment in equipment and training is probably worth going for a progressive.

    So you need a press, dies, case lube, a case trimmer, a case de-burr/chamfer tool, a powder measure, a priming tool, a case tumbler (optional), dial calipers, and a powder scale (skip the digital ones under $200).

    Beyond that, loading blocks, cartridge boxes, and an inertia bullet puller are essential tools. And get more than one loading manual!
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    powder and primers,your gonna pay at least 50% more for powder and primers bought locally rather than bought in quantity on the internet and there are hazmat and shipping fees to figure in so I usually buy at least 16 pounds of powder and around 20,000 primers at a time to split cost and save money
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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Lee Classic Turret! Best bang for your modest buck, I think. Yes, people will come and tell you to save for the dillon 550, (which is awesome), but for as much as I reload I'm glad I went with my lee years ago and still I have it. The hand ress is slow as molasses, but the advantage is you can get a whole reloading station in a toolbox and take it to go. or resize and prime mindlessly while watching tv..
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    Member Array GregDepot's Avatar
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    So turret is better than single press, seems like similar speed if doing a bunch of rounds in staged process, but seems way faster if doing one and only lsight faster if doing money since you don't have to change the dies.

    Do i need a trimmer and tubmler right away or is the washing machine good enough?

    do i need a power despenser or can I just use a scoop thing and put it on the scale

    The cheap dipensors i saw had bad reviews

    So no digital scale under $200, so get a scale on ebay used?
    Mossberg Maverick 88, Saiga 12, FN FNAR, SKS, SKS Paratrooper, AK-74, Marlin 60, Mosin Nagant 91/30, Browning A bolt II, Kahr PM9, Hi Point C9, Glock 20 (29 chop), Walther P22, Tauras PT92AF, Colt LE6920, Marlin 60SN, Mak-90

  11. #10
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    Start with a good single stage press for your .308
    The RCBS Rock Chucker is the gold standard but Lee's Breech Lock Challenger is definitely the most economical and the most "Bang for Your Buck".

    Lee's Deluxe 3 die set Will get you started. This set gives you both full length re-sizer and a collet neck sizing die. I'd add a Lee factory Crimp die as well if you are loading for a semi auto rifle.

    Don't forget some reloading trays, a powder trickler and a case lube pad. I also like to use a flash hole uniforming tool in case prep. Probably not needed for normal hunting loads or plinking rounds but it is an easy step for increased repeatability in bench rest shooting.

    Are you loading for precision or value?

    I like Varget powder, Nosler Custom Competition bullets and winchester primers for my bench rest loads. 700X and Nosler Ballistic Tip for hunting loads.
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  12. #11
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    The Lee kits I linked to come with powder dispensers that work well enough. You will want to trickle up to your desired charge with any dispenser.

    Plenty of electronic scales available under $100.00 I have a hornady scale that was about $40.00 IIRC.

    And yes, you will want a case trimmer and length gauge. Again, I like Lee's trimmer and case length guides. They work well chucked up in a cordless drill.

    Harbor freight's tumbler is great for the price.
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  13. #12
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    If you get a turret press that can be used in manual or auto index modes then you have more versatility but the O design single stage presses are more durable and reliable. You won't want to reload for volume single stage but for accuracy, it's the way to go.
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  14. #13
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    I'd pass on the washing machine altogether. Honestly, you can wipe the brass off with a rag and be clean enough to reload (Done it many times at the range). The problem with any wet wash is waiting for it to dry. I can take brass right out of the tumbler and load it.

    Scoop and weigh is fine, but slow. It's okay to start out with, but you'll probably quickly outgrow that method. I prefer beam scales (RCBS 505) over electronic scales. No warmup required or batts to fail. There are many inexpensive Electronic scales out there, don't know where you got that $200.

    Lee makes a cheap hand trimmer that will do. I use one to shorten 9mm Luger brass for 9mm Makarovs.

    I understand the concern with starting out cheap, did it myself (bit of a Scrooge), because who wants to invest a lot in something you might not like. But going too cheap can make for a bad experience where better quality equipment can make it more pleasurable. A single stage press is fine for loading one caliber, been using one for years for all my reloading. How much are you going to reload at a sitting? 20 rounds? 50? 100? I don't think you'll see a big time savings with a turret.

    Midwayusa lists a Lee SG press for $26 that is a good starter, an RCBS powder measure for $72, a 3-die .308 set for $34, hand trimmer for @$12, and that's pretty inexpensive for starter equipment. Like mentioned, get the manual and read up on the process of reloading and what's needed.
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  15. #14
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    Plenty of digital scales under $200 out there, few of them worth it. They are subject to drift, sensitive to breezes (like someone walking by), and a common problem is that they don't respond to weight changes after the first 'measure', r.g. if one is trickling powder into the pan. Get an RCBS 505 (around $100) and you're good for a long, long time.

    You only need a trimmer if you're shooting brass which stretches when fired. Rifle brass typically stretches, handgun brass generally doesn't (except for the big boomers like .44 mag). The Forster "original" trimmer is pretty versatile and easy to use.

    You can skip the tumbler for now, but put the brass in a lingerie bag and use the dishwasher, not the washing machine. Works better if you de-prime first.

    Don't go cheap on a dial caliper. The ones at Harbor Fright are useless after moderate use. See what McMaster-Carr has for affordable instruments - and consider anything under about $35 or so to be a toy.

    Richard Lee built his reloading empire based on volumetric measurement of powder (scoops), but I'm not going there. If you get a bench-mounted powder dispenser (RCBS, Hornady) once you're dialed in they throw very consistent charges. If you can't afford that, then go with the trickler until you can get a good dispenser.

    I think you can be pretty loosey-goosey with handgun rounds, i.e., using a powder scoop, but the amount of power in a rifle round like .308 is WAY more than in a handgun cartridge. I think you need to be pretty careful and that's why I'm advocating getting good equipment from the outset. You'll be loading for half the cost of factory rounds, so you'll save over the long run... don't try to save it all at once by going ultra-cheap.
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  16. #15
    Member Array GregDepot's Avatar
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    The main gun is the FNAR currently looking for a economy but will probaly look for prescion down the road, I may add 7.62x39 hunting loads and 10mm shooting load two.

    I have like a $16 dollar piar of digital calipers from harbor freight that seem ok and you can re zero them.

    so on a measurer should i just get a scoop until I can afford a really nice auto one or should I jsut get something in the middle

    I don't want to have to buy anything over $20 twice.

    I didn't know harbor freight had a tumbler
    Mossberg Maverick 88, Saiga 12, FN FNAR, SKS, SKS Paratrooper, AK-74, Marlin 60, Mosin Nagant 91/30, Browning A bolt II, Kahr PM9, Hi Point C9, Glock 20 (29 chop), Walther P22, Tauras PT92AF, Colt LE6920, Marlin 60SN, Mak-90

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