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Discussion Starter #1
......I need your collective help with this. I feel absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and techno-doodads out there on the market for reloaders. I simply don't know what all I need to obtain to do this correctly and safely.

I'd like to solicit your advice on components to buy. I know I need the following:

- Press (I'm gonna buy a progressive, just not sure which one. I'm shopping for one that includes autofeeders and auto indexes. (But, I'm not asking for your "best press" opinions, 'cuz I don't want to start a war about it)
- Die sets for various calibers I'm gonna load (9mm, .45GAP/ACP/LC, .454Casull, .38Spec/.357Mag, .44Spec/Mag, and .500S&W)
- Brass, bullets, primers, powders
- Brass cleaner/tumbler
- Deburring station of some sort, be it manual or battery/electrically powered
- Reloading book
- Case lube station (but here's where I start to get confused....do I actually need this since I'll be using carbide dies?)

.....and everything else is pretty much a big blur since there's like a bajillion other things out there to potential spend money on.

I am definately looking for you all to basically telling me what I need to go buy. I mean anything that you can think of, even if it's merely for luxury purposes to make life easy.......anything.

Okay, so whadaya's think? I know I'm trying to skate outta this with your help and not learn this "the old fasioned way", but I just got fed up with the sales marketing and the lack of help over the phone when I called various reloading companies. I need you to bail me out please. :oops:
 

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First off, do yourself a favor and buy a Dillon, they are VERY easy and fast to convert from one caliber to another and VERY easy to set up. When you call them, they will be more than happy to tell you what you will be needing. They also sell dies but any brand would probably be fine. The Lee Factory Crimp die is supposed to be a very worthwhile crimp die for $20.00 or so.

Buy a digital powder scale, RCBS makes a very nice one.

Get a GOOD digital caliper.

No case lube if using carbide dies.

RCBS also makes a nice case prep station, I dont have one but know people who do. I dont prep cases for my pistol reloading.

Any of the bullet manufactures load books will be fine, speer makes a nice one and so does lyman. You will also find a wealth of info on
http://www.handloads.com/

As far as tumblers, I would think that any of them would be fine. Dillon makes a nice media sperater. A bit of mineral spirits in with the tumbling media will shine them nice and bright. DONT USE AMMONIA BASE PRODUCTS, it attacks the brass.

Bullets are a trial an error thing, none are truly wrong but its what your gun likes. I shoot Rainier plated bullets for competition, lead bullets in my .45 for plinking, Hornady Match bullets for my varmint rifle, Sierra hollow points for Pin Matches.

Primers are about the same, I shoot alot of Winchesters but Federal makes the softest, CCI makes the hardest.

Powders are going to be like bullets, depends on what you are going to do with the loads. For .40 I shoot Universal Clays because I easily reach Major power factor for my matches, it fills the case nicely, its accurate and very consistent. For my .44 mag I shoot Hodgens 110 because it fills the case and I can easily push bullets to 1600 FPS without high pressure signs, plus its very accurate.
For my varmit loads in my .225 I use winchester 760 for the same reasons above.
 

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I too was very frustrated with the reloading process, not knowing what to buy. I spoke to a lot of people and each time I talked with someone, I was more overwhelmed. Rich at Canyon Creek suggested I contact Brian Enos. I did that and after spending a bit on Brian's FAQ page, I was ready to make a decision. Once I was ready, I called Brian, discussed the options with him and bought a 550. I couldn't be happier.
 

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Old School said:
I too was very frustrated with the reloading process, not knowing what to buy. I spoke to a lot of people and each time I talked with someone, I was more overwhelmed. Rich at Canyon Creek suggested I contact Brian Enos. I did that and after spending a bit on Brian's FAQ page, I was ready to make a decision. Once I was ready, I called Brian, discussed the options with him and bought a 550. I couldn't be happier.
You know, I'm glad this post came up because I was just thinking about trying reloading. I too know very little about it.

Can you please post a link to the faq you mentioned? I went to brianenos.com but can't seem to find it.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #5
NiK said:
Old School said:
I too was very frustrated with the reloading process, not knowing what to buy. I spoke to a lot of people and each time I talked with someone, I was more overwhelmed. Rich at Canyon Creek suggested I contact Brian Enos. I did that and after spending a bit on Brian's FAQ page, I was ready to make a decision. Once I was ready, I called Brian, discussed the options with him and bought a 550. I couldn't be happier.
You know, I'm glad this post came up because I was just thinking about trying reloading. I too know very little about it.

Can you please post a link to the faq you mentioned? I went to brianenos.com but can't seem to find it.

Thanks

He might be referring to here http://www.brianenos.com/pages/dillonfaqs.html

If that's not the right page, please correct it if/when possible.
 

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Wow, I just checked out Dillon Precision.com, they have some extremely cool looking presses. I was a tad bit out of the price range though even for their cheapest product. Curiosely though not to steel the thread away, does anyone know why they say 500-600 rounds an hour can be made on the RL 550B model.




I have a Lee Pro. 1000 and just started reloading recently as well. The presses look similar in operation as far as the case feeding, primer and powder systems though. I am not sure what Lee claims as far as bullets per hour though, is there some type of Bullet Feeding Kit on the Dillon I don't see?

As far as recomendations though, I didn't have to much money to spend because I wanted to get into casting as well which was only like $100 more dollars but that is another story.

I went with the Lee 1000 because here localy they sell for $129.00 and it comes with EVERYTHING you need to start reloading except bullets, primers, powder and cases. I do recommend the Lee book, "Modern Reloading." It has everything you need to know about reloading but more specificaly about there press and every single product they make. It explains how to install them, how they work and they even include pictures with every product explanation. It also has a casting section. And of course it has all of the recipes for all of the calibers, minimal and maximum charges, with lists of the different powders for each caliber and bullet weight. Powder charges will be different for a 175 grain lead bullet to a 175 grain copper jacket etc. But definitaly buy the book and read it first and I am sure you will be satisfied and confident, it is only like $10 I think.



But I like my press so far and have had it for 2-3 months now. I only shoot .40 right now but it only takes two or three minutes to change out the shell plate. I believe shell plates are only $10 or so if you are going to be changing them all the time. But this press is a good buy because it comes with everything, the powder system is dead accurate everytime and works with the pull of the handle, as does the auto priming system that comes with the tray and the auto case feeding system that comes with the four tubes. Dies are included too. You can also switch the handle to either side of the press depending on your preference. The only thing you have to buy with this press to get everything up and running is the book, primers, powder, bullets and cases. The only add on I bought is the Case Collator which is the funnel at the top of the case tubes you do not see in the pic above though. You just toss the shells in there and it automaticaly turns the shells into the right position then down into the tubes; works everytime. You can also buy a bullet feeder which is really nice that attaches to the last die that also has tubes like the case feeder. The Case Collator was $10 and the bullet feeder is $20. Oh and you can buy a little tray that catches the cartridges when they are done but I just use a tupperware container instead.

As far as a tumbler goes you really don't need one in my opinion. Others may dissagree. However this works for me and was recommended to me by a member on this forum when I started reloading. I use a 1.3 gallon tupperware contained, its in the shape of a square bucket but much smaller. Anyways you can clean up over 1,000 shells at a time in 15-20 minutes! Just get all of your shells in there, I add 2 cups of liquid laundry detergent (Tide Coldwater) and 2 cups of vinegar. Then just fill it up with cold water but leave some room to shake it up some. If you use a different laundry detergent then I suppose you would use hot water, I don't think it matters though. Anyways put the lid on and hold down the lid in one hand and the bottom of the container in the other hand. I shake for 20 seconds or so then set it back down in the sink. Come back to it in 15 minutes or longer if you like and give it one last quick shake, then dump them in the sink or bathdub if you like (I come back to them every 5 or so minutes and shake them because I like too lol). Just let them soak in clean water to get all of the soap out which takes another couple of minutes. I just fill up the other side of the sink in preperation so when they are done being cleaned I starin them, then dump them in the full side. Then mix with your hand, then drain the sink while the cases are still there. The fill it back up and repeat. I found this slightly faster than putting them back in the bucket and filling it up, then shaking and straining etc.
After they are not soapy, I get a pair of sweatpants and tie knots at the bottom of the legs near the feet. Then shake of the shells in the sink and just hand toss them into your pants lol. The after they are all in grap the waist area with your right hand nice and tightl, then grab the left leg knot are and lift it up nice and high so they ("tumble" if you will) :D down to the right leg knot. I do this for a couple of minutes or so untill all of the water is flung out from the inside of the shells. Then all you do is dump them out onto a towel somewhere to dry where the cats don't pick them up and walk around with them lol.

If you do the sweatpants thing they will be done drying on the towl in probably 10-20 minutes I'de say. I have heard others say they bake them in the oven at 200*F but don't quote me on that untill someone chimes in with it. :D Anyways, that's how I do my shells though and they look identical to new shells you would buy, inside and out. If they didn't I would have bought a tumbler by now. This whole process, cleaining 1,000 shells should only take around 30-45 minutes wet - dry. It's cheap and fun to me though. I am sure some other have other things they do though.
 

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I only shoot a lot of pistol so I went with the Dillon Square deal b.$300
#1 must have powder scale {Doesn't need to be digital}
#2 Caliper again analogue or digital
#3 press and dies (square deal includes dies)
#4 manual I bought speer 13 with my press
#5 primers I use winchester
#6 I like berry's plated I buy them from cabellas
#7 powder I have been using universal clays by hogdons and the speer manual has load data for most all calibers
Case trimmer is not need for straight wall case's,No need for lube for straight wall case's
Tumbler not very important right away.I bought a CV-500 Dillon and media separate from ebay.It is a lot bigger than I thought.
As far as a press with a case feeder It doesn't speed the process that much.I can make 50 rounds in 8 minutes once the press is set and the cases and bullets are laid out :D
 

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I timed myself yesterday and I made 350 rounds in one hour. I suppose I could have done another 100 more or so. I had to refill my primers 3 times, powder once and bullet tubes 2-3 times, plus I had the tv on lol.
 

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Do yourself a favor and buy a Dillon. Everything else is second class, IMO. I have been looking at the Dillon for some time now and think I am going to bite the bullet and get the XL650.
 

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$459.99

Powdercheck System 21044 60.95
Low Powder Sensor 16306 37.95
Plastic Roller Handle 22183 29.95
Strong Mount for XL 650 only 22052 33.95
Bullet Tray 22214 32.95
Large Pistol (110v) Casefeed Assy 21080 $ 179.95 ($34.95 extra for changing from small/large, pistol/rifle)
$20+ three dies

$895 plus tax?

I may have read it wrong but does any of that stuff come with the press? I have read much about Dillon and them having en excellent product, I was just recommending Lee because he they have an excellent price and product. He also has to switch multiple calibers which would be much more expensive than that price above, that would be for only one caliber. If it doesn't come with all of that stuff. The Lee Load Master which is the step above mine and has the 5 die setup etc. It comes with everything except the trey that catches the cartridge which is $10.00, it comes with the die, case feeder etc. And on the Lee case feeding setup you don't have to plug it into the wall or pay an extra $35.00 to switch calibers or hassel with it because its dont by gravity, and it works just as reliably as the Dillon. And not to mention it sells localy for $220 with dies and almost all accesories as compared to the Dillon, unless I just read it wrong. I am not bashing what so ever and I am sure there presses work just the same as Lee's. The price just isn't right for me. Just wanted you to know theres another 100% reliable product out there thats all, good luck.
 

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XD 40 mike said:
$459.99

Powdercheck System 21044 60.95
Low Powder Sensor 16306 37.95
Plastic Roller Handle 22183 29.95
Strong Mount for XL 650 only 22052 33.95
Bullet Tray 22214 32.95
Large Pistol (110v) Casefeed Assy 21080 $ 179.95 ($34.95 extra for changing from small/large, pistol/rifle)
$20+ three dies

$895 plus tax?

I may have read it wrong but does any of that stuff come with the press? I have read much about Dillon and them having en excellent product, I was just recommending Lee because he they have an excellent price and product. He also has to switch multiple calibers which would be much more expensive than that price above, that would be for only one caliber. If it doesn't come with all of that stuff. The Lee Load Master which is the step above mine and has the 5 die setup etc. It comes with everything except the trey that catches the cartridge which is $10.00, it comes with the die, case feeder etc. And on the Lee case feeding setup you don't have to plug it into the wall or pay an extra $35.00 to switch calibers or hassel with it because its dont by gravity, and it works just as reliably as the Dillon. And not to mention it sells localy for $220 with dies and almost all accesories as compared to the Dillon, unless I just read it wrong. I am not bashing what so ever and I am sure there presses work just the same as Lee's. The price just isn't right for me. Just wanted you to know theres another 100% reliable product out there thats all, good luck.
The additional items that you listed above are not needed. How long does it take you to change calibers? I own a 550 and can change calibers in 5 minutes or less and not have to reset any of my settings. To me, thats worth the extra money, not to mention a lifetime no hassle warranty. You break it and they replace the part no questions asked. Without a case feed and bullet feed on my 550, I can reload 300-350 rounds per hour without breaking a sweat.

PS. I own Lee products as well so I am not knocking Lee, just stating my prfereance and why I think the Dillon is a better INVESTMENT.
 

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I have the Pro 1000 and it only takes maybe 5 minutes if that to switch the shell plate to another caliber. Agreed, that wouldn't be fun to do 3-4 times everytime I reload. However, it's still quick to do. On the Load Master it's easier and designed to handle changing calibers quicker, as it also has a 5 die setup.

I suppose if I did reload another caliber on this press I would just buy another die plate to keep my other dies in for the other caliber. If that's what you were reffering to buy adjustements. Our shell plates easily adjusted by the turn of a phillips screw driver until it clicks into position: zeroing adjustement.

Still a pain in the ass I agree with you there when reloading more than one or two calibers consecutively. You still have to agree though at $220 for a 5 die press easily changable to multiple calibers is a steal. It comes loaded! Dies, case feeder, auto prime and auto powder messure. Mine even being the smaller press still came with 20 different powder variations on the 4 disks for the powder messure. But I'll tell you one thing the Dillon most certainly looks better. If they were similar or even if they just 50-100$ more I may have still bought one. They are a nice press for sure and could very well be better constructed for all I know.

And about the case feeder, I am greatful that I have one. There's no way in hell I would reload as much as I do if I didn't have one. I recomend in no way not buying one to anyone. I like mine because I don't have to mix more hand-eye coordination, patience plus speed than I already have to do. I just got my press and started reloading a month ago so I am sure I will get faster the more I reload. The Lee case feeder drops the new casing in when your placing the new bullet in its casing. So it would seem in a way neccessary if affordable for me to have anyways. The Lee tubes hold 20 maybe a little more in each of the four. So 80 shells plus the collator at the top probably holds another 60 maybe more. Even having to stop what I am doing to reload the tubes every 140+ shells gets kind of annoying because you already have to stop to reload your primers and powder. Its a nice thing to have and the the tubes fill faster than you can grab the next handfull of shells. Dillon has a lifetime warranty etc. Lee only has a 2 year warranty. It doesn't mean there product is any less.

As far as one being faster than the other, I am only aware of them being capable of producing rounds as fast as the owner pulls there handle. If you're faster than I its because you yourself are faster. I am sure there are other Lee progressive owners that can pump them faster, however I am new. It's not like my press is at fault due to the manufactorering process being cheap.

Anyways, good luck newly reloader if your still out there and make sure your get the book and or video with your press it will help you out alot.
 

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Well, my first rec would be to pick up a kit, since this is your first foray into reloading. Hornady makes a good one, you can see it at:

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=749997

You'll still need a case trimmer, a tumbler for cleaning brass, and a set of dies & shellholders for the caliber you want to reload, but these kits are a pretty good deal.

Lee also makes a decent package:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=820810

Lyman does too:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=283295

As does RCBS:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=133068

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=140616

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=646599

(RCBS stuff is just about unkillable, by the way - not that you'll be throwing it around the room, but it's *really* tough)

Redding's are okay too (and there are options to buy these with die sets):
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=730194

But if you have your sights set on a really hot number, Dillon's are top-notch (I'm still waiting to get one of these myself):
www.bluepress.com

Dillon's are a bit more expensive than the rest, but they're worth it (both from a quality standpoint and in the time you'll save). They're a progressive press, which means they spit out a completed round with every pull, rather than having multiple steps to go through with the others (though the other brands also offer progressive presses, just not in the kits I mentioned above).

Anyhow, best of luck!

T
 

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I started reloading as well earlier this year. I knew I was going to end up getting a progressive (rcbs pro 2000 or a dillion) later on. I decided to go with just a cheapo lee anv kit single stage press (off ebay) yes it takes forever to load on. Just starting out I decided to learn each stage (yes it doesnt take to long to figure out which die does what)
Which also helps it deciding which parts and tools one really needs. I would recommend a good scale (the one in the anv kit kinda sucks but I my shooting pal has a really nice scale which he was happy to double check my loads with) as set of calipers the case trimming tool only used with hi power long guns.
Also forgot to mention a good reloading manual
 
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