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So I'm going to start reloading...

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  • idleprocess

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    The price of .223 has gotten me off my lazy, mostly-consumerist rear end and I've ordered a kit. What else do I need? The kit comes with the progressive press, dies for .223, powder dispenser, primer feed, etc.

    I imagine that I'll need some extras, like...
    • Case sizer
    • Scale
    • Brass tumbler (I hear mixed things on these - some say it's not necessary, others insist that you should always clean brass)
    • Reloading manual(s)
    • Consumables (Been stockpiling brass, ordered primers, need to find powder and bullets)
    • Bench (working on that)
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    XTPHP1

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    I hope you got a progressive. Nothing is worse than a single stage if you plan to do any type of volume reloading.

    Get an electronic scale. Get the brass tumbler, might as well go big and get the big Dillon one. It's not necessary, but as your cases get dirtier you'll want it. One day you'll need it. Get as many reloading manuals as you can. They are great references.

    Gun shows are the best place to get powders and primers. You'll save on the hazmat fee.

    The price of .223 has gotten me off my lazy, mostly-consumerist rear end and I've ordered a kit. What else do I need? The kit comes with the progressive press, dies for .223, powder dispenser, primer feed, etc.

    I imagine that I'll need some extras, like...
    • Case sizer
    • Scale
    • Brass tumbler (I hear mixed things on these - some say it's not necessary, others insist that you should always clean brass)
    • Reloading manual(s)
    • Consumables (Been stockpiling brass, ordered primers, need to find powder and bullets)
    • Bench (working on that)
     

    MrKimber44

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    I disagree about the progressive. If you don't have any reloading experience(don't know if you do or not) jumping into a progressive is a lot to watch. The old rock chucker is great at getting the feel for what you are doing. One thing going on at a time mean all your attention goes into that one thing. Sure, you give up speed, but you know you didn't miss anything. Then switch to the progressive down the road. Just my 2 cents.

    Oh, and you might as well go ahead and get a nice set of calipers.
     

    idleprocess

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    I have no reloading experience.

    I purchased an inexpensive progressive and will probably be running a single round at a time through it until I get the hang of it.

    Whenever I buy a precision rifle, I may well get a manual press since bolt guns don't chew through ammo as fast as an AR-15 or the average pistol.
     

    XTPHP1

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    I think buying a single stage is a waste of money for volume reloading. Just as the OP has intended to run one round at a time in a progressive is the best way to learn. Reloading isn't like building a space ship. Its a few steps that simple awareness is all one needs. 100 rounds of .270 on a single stage will take 2-3 hours. 100 rounds of .270 on a progressive will take 10-15 min.

    When I first started reloading I got a Lyman single stage for my .270, and a Lee Pro 1000 for 9mm. I did about 200 rounds of the .270. I've never loaded .270 since. The 9mm I've worn out 3 Lee Pro 1000's of the years and now have two Dillon 550's. I still have that single stage and always recommend a progressive over a single stage. The only single I'll load now is 50 BMG, just cause I can't find a progressive loader for it.

    I think single stage is the way to run someone off of reloading because of the agonizing time it takes to get a result, and you end up with more stuff you don't use.

    I only know a few absolutely anal reloaders that single stage. They weigh each case before resizing:eek: and weigh every charge:eek:. Talk about hours. True they may group better at 1000 yards, but that half inch tighter group at 1000 yards just ain't worth it to me. I'd rather crank out 1000 rounds and have more fun shooting, but thats just me.

    Everyone who gets a single stage always ends up with a progressive. So I think a single stage is a waste of money of your in it to save money reloading but you want to increase or maintain your current volume of shooting.

    I look at it like shooting. Why buy a revolver if you know you want a semi, and plan to shoot, and carry a semi anyway? If you want a revolver later great, but for a beginner a semi is just as good and you can always get training on the semi. Some shops offer reloading classes. YMMV.
     

    MrKimber44

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    Different Strokes I guess. I'm not argueing about the volume of rounds progressives put out as opposed to a single stage. I guess I'm just a little anal. :o Running them through one at a time does sound like a good idea though.


    No space ships, just an explosion 3 inches from your face.
     

    XTPHP1

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    I've never had a primer explode, not that it can't happen. If you have slow deliberate strokes and don't slam the press when seating a primer, you should be good to go. I've crushed plenty of primers with no effect. But if you snapped it against the press you would probably get an explosion.

    From what I'm reading, primers seem to be a bigger safety hazard than powder.
     

    idleprocess

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    Press has arrived, with broken parts. And there are some not-so-obvious aspects to its operation. Oh well. This seems to be a given with Lee.

    I need to fully prep the workbench anyway.
     

    machinisttx

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    I have three single stage presses set up, with a fourth laying in a cabinet because I needed bench space, and a lee hand press for sitting in front of the TV and depriming/resizing. I also have a Dillon XL650 and two single stage shotgun presses set up.

    IMO, you can't go wrong with a good single stage press. They're a lot more convenient AND faster to set up and use when you're just loading a few rounds(load development or stuff you don't shoot much).

    I shoot a lot of .38 special/.357 mag and .45 Colt. I'll set the Dillon up when I need to crank out a few hundred rounds of a known good load. If I'm trying to find a good load, I'm not going to constantly fiddle with the seating die/powder measure/crimp die/etc. in the progressive since I'll only load maybe 20 rounds before I change it again. Ditto for my low use stuff like 22-250 or hunting loads for .308 that I only load for maybe once every couple years.
     

    idleprocess

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    I finally got everything together and gave it a first try today.

    It was not exactly a gleaming success even with what I believed to be a fairly modest goal of producing just 20 rounds of ammunition. I managed all of three rounds before deciding to sit back and take some notes. The three I produced all look decent, are the correct length, and weigh what I expect them to.

    Sticking points:
    • I'm not entirely satisfied with the Lyman case trimmer I purchased. It has but one function and doesn't do it very well. The cutting tool's axis seems to be a bit eccentric vs the shell's axis. Unlike the Lee Zip-Trim that I wanted (but could not locate), it can only perform trimming. The Zip-Trim could have handled trimming (with feeler gauge trimmers), case mouth preparation, and exterior cleaning.
    • I probably need a case mouth chamfering tool. The countersink that I'm using for inside chamfering (and outside chamfering / resize cleanup) probably isn't relieving the case mouth enough.
    • The primer feed on the press is awful and even when it does feed, it doesn't actually seat the primers reliably. As such, I'm getting powder all over the place. I understand that some graphite in the feed chute helps with this quite a bit along with keeping that tray as full as possible.
    • Getting bullets to actually sit in the primed/charged case well enough to seat properly is proving difficult. Trying to get them in there is impossible - the case opening seems to be a line fit if not an interference fit after sizing. A better chamfering tool will probably help along with using boat-tailed bullets.
    Any suggestions?

    It's almost to the point that I'm wondering if trying to convert the press to turret wouldn't be a better use of my time. The Classic turret press appears to use the same frame / upper piece as the pro 1000...
     

    Peter M. Eick

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    Trimming. I use an RCBS powered trimmer with a 3 way cutter for all rifle rounds. Expensive yes, but worth it. I just put the round in and let it cut and chamfer it. Once adjusted absolutely reliable.

    Chamfering, see above. Manual is just too unreliable and non-uniform.

    Priming. If you are doing this on a single stage, get a hand primer press. Lee's are ok, but they break over time. Sinclairs are expensive but worth it. I bought an RCBS when my Lee's broke last time but did not get the newer universal shell holder type. Dumb! RCBS is much better built then LEE, but I think I will go with Sinclair next time.

    Alighnment. See Chamfering and see trimming. If properly trimmed and adjusted this is just not an issue.
     

    machinisttx

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    Lee progressives have a notoriously crappy priming system. The only advice I can offer there is to just prime with a hand tool, which seems to be what a lot of the Lee progressive users have resorted to.

    As far as the lyman case trimmer, insert the pilot into the case mouth and apply slight pressure before clamping the lock.

    I don't know where you are, but if you're close enough I can probably come give you a hand figuring things out.
     

    idleprocess

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    Lee progressives have a notoriously crappy priming system. The only advice I can offer there is to just prime with a hand tool, which seems to be what a lot of the Lee progressive users have resorted to.

    As far as the lyman case trimmer, insert the pilot into the case mouth and apply slight pressure before clamping the lock.

    I don't know where you are, but if you're close enough I can probably come give you a hand figuring things out.

    I figured out after trimming the first few cases that using the pilot to align the case during trimming was the way to go. Still giving me crappy results. If the freaking thing were $20 and made from sheet metal, I'd understand, but it was closer to $60 and made of cast iron, so the alignment issue is puzzling. I wish it were the shell holder that's misaligned, but it's apparent that the trimmer shaft is what's out of square. I might return it if I can't get it to function properly.

    Hand-priming also means a separate decapping process along with a separate press/die for sizing. It might come down to that if slicking up the primer feed chute with graphite doesn't cut it.
     

    machinisttx

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    Weird. What do you have the trimmer mounted on? If the mounting surface is warped, it could be warping the base of the trimmer when it's screwed down(I mention this because I had it happen with a previous trimmer mounted on a scrap 2x6).
     

    comanche

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    I have to agree with the whole "starting with a single stage press" idea.
    It really helps you to understand ALL the fundamental aspects and can later be used as a sizing/decapping/ priming station when you move up to a turret press.
    A progressive press is a complicated way to learn. IMO and should be the final phase of your reloading career. It is just to easy to make a deadly mistake.
     

    idleprocess

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    A progressive press is a complicated way to learn. IMO and should be the final phase of your reloading career. It is just to easy to make a deadly mistake.

    That seems most likely to be a problem if you're in a hurry to turn out cases of ammunition. I just want to get the press working and produce some quality ammunition before I even begin to think about quantity. Dealing with the turn-up issues on the Lee is frustrating, but I'll get through it. Heck, I'll probably work in reverse to end up with a single-stage press sooner rather than later.
     

    comanche

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    Yes, I love my single stage. Especially, for looking for that perfect combination of accuracy and thump. ie. 20 rounds of this charge; 20 rnds of that.;)
     

    justinmitchell82

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    What to get the lee or RCBS?

    I don't know if to get the lee because that its cheap or the rcbs because it cost more and could be better quality. With rcbs are you just paying for the name or is it a better set up?

    thanks
     
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