Getting ready and need a couple suggestions

Getting ready and need a couple suggestions

This is a discussion on Getting ready and need a couple suggestions within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've been looking to start reloading and I settled on either the Lee Challenger or the Lee turet press kits with Lee dies. I plan ...

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Thread: Getting ready and need a couple suggestions

  1. #1
    Member Array Mark_in_wi's Avatar
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    Getting ready and need a couple suggestions

    I've been looking to start reloading and I settled on either the Lee Challenger or the Lee turet press kits with Lee dies. I plan to start with 380 then maybe 357 and if things work out move on to a few rifle calibers. I like the idea of a turret since it will go alittle faster once I settle on a load to stick with. But from the reviews I have been reading the powder measure with the challenger is a little nicer/better. I guess I wondering if anyone has used either set up and can give suggestions/opinions.

    I was also wondering about loading manuals. Is there any that give a variety of bullet and powder manufactures data to use? I know I can find some info at the powder manufactures web sites. i also need to understand the process a little more.

    I've reloaded shotgun before and will be getting some help starting up from my dad so I'm not starting from scratch. I just want to do things right so I don't screw something up!

    Thanks for the help,
    Mark
    Last edited by Mark_in_wi; February 25th, 2014 at 10:06 AM.


  2. #2
    Member Array jscottjr's Avatar
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    Any quality manual will have several loads. I would recommend getting at least two. I would also consider starting with 357, 380 is kind of a pain for me but I do have sausage fingers, so may not be an issue for you. Have fun and be safe.
    rocky, 84160 and msgt/ret like this.

  3. #3
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    Either press will be money well spent if you ever move on to rifle loads. If you'll only be loading pistol calibers then I'd say go with the 4 station indexing turret. The turret can be operated as a single stage, manual indexed turret or auto indexing turret so you can start slow and work up to a pretty decent volume/hour as you gain experience.

    I get great results(bang for the buck) from the Auto Disk powder measure. I run one on my Load Master for pistol cartridges and another with the double disk kit on a 4 station turret for my .223 plinking and HD loads.

    For all other rifle cartridges I use a Perfect Powder Measure and Hornady trickler in a single stage run.

    Pick up Lee's manual and Lyman's at the least. Every powder mfg. has their load data available free at the shops and there are cartridge specific books available with tons of MFG. data on powder and bullets compiled that are very affordable and take a bit of the research time out of the equation.
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    Most important--patience.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Turret is nice, I use the lyman t-mag it is a six hole turret head thats awesome can put all four dies an the lee #55 powder tube in an you can get extra turret heads for around 32 bucks on amazon. This is nice because you can leave your dies all set up in the head so it only takes changing one bolt to change calibers. I keep one head for every caliber. Its about the same price an works really well. image.jpg

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    VIP Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    the lee and lyman manuals are good suggestions, i prefer having manuals from bullet or powdr manufacturers. my favorite being the speer. seems to be the most universal. The hodgden manuals are okay, barnes is great for barnes bullets, but not very universal, i do like noslers too... you'll end up with tons of manuals....
    mano3 likes this.
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    Member Array Mark_in_wi's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. I still haven't bought yet but I hope to in the next few days. I'm still trying to decide on which powder measure I want. I like the idea of a turret but internet reading sounds like the challenger kit has a little better powder measure. With loading 380 and some powders only haveing .3 grain difference between starting and max loads I want to be safe. This is my main concern at the moment.

    Is there anyone who uses either of the lee powder measures that can give feedback on how consistent they are?

    Thanks again
    Mark

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    Mark---Most any powder measure will throw reasonably consistent powder charges. They pretty much all work on the same principal--volume. Way more important is the powder SCALES you buy. A reloader with out a decent set of scales is like a truck driver with out a map.

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    Different powders are going to throw with different results as well. Ball powders are more consistent in volumetric dispensers than rod/stick powders and dispense better with less chance of bridging.

    The Perfect Powder Measure cannot be used on the turret press and you'll find it a bit of a PITA to use it on the single stage. Most will bench mount it and charge the cases in a tray with a funnel when working single stage. This would be very difficult to do with the Auto Disk. This is a slower process and it adds on a relatively small amount of time to check each charge on a scale and adjust with a trickler when going this route.

    The Auto Disk mounted with a powder through die is fairly consistent when you take care to do things the same way every time but again, different powders will behave differently. I used to load .32acp(and am going back to it again soon) with a turret and Auto Disk set up with no problems. Win 231 is an excellent powder for the smaller cartridges and meters very consistently. I always load to the lowest charge I can and still get repeatable accuracy. If were to load to higher pressures I'd go single stage and check every charge.
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    The auto indexing feature is worth every cent.

    As previously recommended, start with .38/.357. Small cases like .380 are tedious to manipulate and sensitive to small variations of components, crimp, seating depth, and over all length. A bulky powder like Unique will make spotting a double charge easier than a fine grain powder although they don't meter quite as consistent as fine grain powders. Start with the "starting load" recommended in the manual. With mild loads in .38/.357 a tenth or so powder weight variation is no worry.

    Reloading is easy but requires concentration. Distractions like radio, TV, phone, kids, significant other, are a recipe for mistakes.

    Several good manuals already recommended. My preference is Speer FWIW.

  11. #11
    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    Do you want to pull a handle 3-4 times to create a round or would you prefer to simply size all cases at once, etc.? It is all what YOU want to do.
    I batch load all bottleneck cases as I need to check case length after sizing. Since bottleneck cases generally only involve two dies, batching is not a problem and means that all steps, including measuring and trimming is all done at one time. Can not imagine loading on a progressive/auto-turret without a trimmer attached to the press (see Dillon). You can single-stage on the turret just fine.
    For pistol, I can not imagine NOT having a real progressive and wouldn't want to move a handle 4 times for a loaded round, one at a time. It is all what YOU want to do and NOT what I want to do.
    PS: I always have music in the background...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array flintlock62's Avatar
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    Whether one pulls a lever 3 to 4 times to create a round, or size the cases at one time does not matter. It still takes the same amount of strokes to make a complete cartridge. The only step saved is to use a die that seats and crimps in the same step. Personally, I do not like this type of die. I think seating and crimping should be two separate steps. A turret press is faster if one shoots a lot. A single stage press is good enough for one who does not shoot much.

    Quote Originally Posted by noylj View Post
    Do you want to pull a handle 3-4 times to create a round or would you prefer to simply size all cases at once, etc.? It is all what YOU want to do.
    I batch load all bottleneck cases as I need to check case length after sizing. Since bottleneck cases generally only involve two dies, batching is not a problem and means that all steps, including measuring and trimming is all done at one time. Can not imagine loading on a progressive/auto-turret without a trimmer attached to the press (see Dillon). You can single-stage on the turret just fine.
    For pistol, I can not imagine NOT having a real progressive and wouldn't want to move a handle 4 times for a loaded round, one at a time. It is all what YOU want to do and NOT what I want to do.
    PS: I always have music in the background...

  13. #13
    Member Array Zweet's Avatar
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    I was in the same boat as you a few months ago,too many choices... I went with lee classic turret and I am very pleased with it. The disk can be a little aggravating if your load falls in between two disk sizes,but it is very consistent. I load for 45 so loads are a little more forgiving.
    If you plan on going with lee products,definitely pick up the lee manual,very informative and leans toward lee products.
    Forget what you read on the internet about x number of rounds per hour...just take your time and enjoy your new hobby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecup View Post
    Mark---Most any powder measure will throw reasonably consistent powder charges. They pretty much all work on the same principal--volume. Way more important is the powder SCALES you buy. A reloader with out a decent set of scales is like a truck driver with out a map.
    They still use maps?
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth

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    The Lee will serve you well and its made right here in WI. If you get into matches or very high volume you will need to spend more money on equipment. Some of the bench rest stuff I have seen is outrageous. Ball bearing equipped powder throws, $1,000.00 scales. The Lee products are very good way to get into it. You can upgrade certain pieces as you need around what you like or don't like.

    I compare charges from 2-3 different loading manuals when I develop a load. I load up enough to test it and make notes. Over time you will have a detailed list of what and how to make your custom ammo. I like the Sierra, Hornady and Speer manuals. There are many out there. I use lots of Sierra and Hornady bullets.
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
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