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  #1  
Old 12-28-2012, 10:49 AM
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Need help starting/ Dies and accessories


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I have reloaded before briefly but have never bought any of the componets. I now own a rcbs master reloading kit and will be reloading for a .270 win, 243 win, .223rem, and 45 acp. What I need to know is what all do I need when it comes to dies and other accessories? I see there is die kits which I like because It will keep me organized. I want to save money and dont wish to buy something I dont have too. Its all starting to make sense but for all the people on here that have the experience I would like to learn whatever you have.
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2012, 12:36 PM
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Welcome to the forum and the great world of reloading. I am not sure what you got with your kit but you will definately need a set of dies and shell holder for each caliber you load as well as a set of powder scales. You absolutlly need a good reloading manual such as the Lyman. As I have said many times, reloading will become as much of a hobby as shooting.
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2012, 01:12 PM
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For dies, you can get as cheap or expensive as you want. Lee makes a RGB line that real cheap, put I wouldn't recommend those. A friend bought a set of them for a 222 and the seater would crush a shell in a heartbeat if a little pressure is applied, and the resizer doesn't have a replaceable primer pin. I gave him my old Lyman set. Lee's Deluxe three die set (they make three die rifle sets so don't confuse that with the pistol sets) is a good starter set, their collet neck sizer is hard to beat and the set is only about $35. Hornady's have a good seater die and but you are still stuck with buying a neck sizer. For bolt actions, most of my resizing is neck sizing only.

I think Redding's Competition S, series are about as good as they get, but you are looking at $150 to over $200 for those. I don't think Reddings Delux die set's are any better than anyone elses, you just pay a whole lot more for the name and reputation they've built with the Competiton dies. I have a couple sets of the Reddings and don't see where they are any better than others, but they do have a quality looking machining to them.

I used to buy a lot of RCBS dies, but for some reason, the new ones don't seem to have the quality, machined look the older ones had. Not saying there's anything wrong with the quality because I haven't bought any for a long time, I looked at them and put them back, just cheaper looking.

For precision reloads to shoot itty bitty groups, the Redding Competition S series is the way to go.

For reloading hunting loads and ever day shooting, the Lee Delux three die set is very good.

The best seater die (in reasonable priced dies) and a good full sizer I would have to go with the Hornady's.

Years back, I bought several sets of Lyman's, they make a good general purpose die set also

Because of the general looks of the New RCBS, I put them at the bottom of my pick list.

For just a neck sizer, the Lee Collet is hard to beat, but my next pick would be the Redding Bushing die.

Scales, the 505 is a good beam set, but a lot of people are going digital. Spend the bucks and get a very good set, no matter which you get.

Powder dumpers' I'm still using my old Lyman 55 I bought many moons ago and have had no reason to change.

I use the Hornady hand primer, the new work much better than the older ones. I don't use the press because the pressure is easier to control hand priming.

The more accurate you want to get, the more junk you will need and the more it will aggrevate the heck out of you.
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Last edited by BKeith; 12-28-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2012, 02:09 PM
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Welcome to the Shooter's Forum.

For die sets I'd look at Forster. Their Benchrest set is great. Their seater is the one Redding copied and is almost unbeatable for making concentric ammo at a reasonable price.
Like BKeith already pointed out, for neck sizing the Lee Collet neck sizer is the way to go for bolt rifles.

For Shell holders you will need only two. One for the .223 and the other for everything else you listed.

Didn't your kit come with a 505 RCBS scale? I have digital too but trust the balance beam for measuring powder. The electronic ones tend to drift due to temperature, static and RF interference.

I think your kit came with a Speer reloading manual, but I'd look at getting another for cross reference.

One other thing the Kit didn't come with is a caliper. They come in vernier, dial and digital. Take your pick but you'll need something to measure case length and OALs. My choice is a Mititoya digital because it's easier to use with headspace, bullet jam and bullet comparator gages. Those things you may choose to add in the future.

Best wishes as you embark on a truely great hobby!
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Last edited by MontyF; 12-28-2012 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Added welcome
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2012, 02:24 PM
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There are a number of companies which make loading equipment.

Personally I shy away from most hisngs, "Lee" although they have a good following.

RCBS & Hornady both make good products.

One place that can lead to some problems is the incorrect adjustment of sizing dies.

Unless RCBS has changed their instructions, they make good dies but questionable instructions.

Hornady dies contain additional info that is much closer to reality.

I have made up and shared with many people, a document that explains the situation and why "manufacturing tolerences can throw a Wrench in the works if your not careful.

Anyone interested in this information can send me a PM (personal e-mail) with their personal "E" address and I'll gladly sent this info along for your consideration.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyF View Post

For Shell holders you will need only two. One for the .223 and the other for everything else you listed.
I think you'll need one shell holder for 223, one for 243/270 (.473") and one for 45 ACP, which is a little bigger.

I'm also from Indiana. If you're on the south side of Indy, I'd be glad to show you the basics, in person.

Jason
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2012, 05:13 PM
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It never ceases to amaze me the guys on here that will stop what they are doing and give a newbie sound advice, I've been an avid gun guy for over thirty years, but I learn a lot from this website and the fellas that share their knowledge here.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2012, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
I think you'll need one shell holder for 223, one for 243/270 (.473") and one for 45 ACP, which is a little bigger.

I'm also from Indiana. If you're on the south side of Indy, I'd be glad to show you the basics, in person.

Jason

Hmmm this is from RCBS shell holder chart...


<TABLE border=1 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=250><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ebebeb>9203
</TD><TD bgColor=#ebebeb>
Number 3:
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>22-250 (22 Varminter)
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>240 Weatherby Magnum
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>243 Winchester
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>6mm Remington (244 Remington)
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>25-06
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>250 Savage (250-3000 Savage)
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>257 Roberts
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>257 Roberts Improved (40) 1
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>260 Remington
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>6.5mm-06
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>6.5mmx57
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>270 Winchester
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>280 Remington (7mm Exp. Rem.)
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>284 Winchester
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>7mm Bench Rest Remington
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>7mm-08 Remington
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>7mm x 57 Mauser (7mm Mauser)
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>7mm x 64 Brenneke
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>30-06 Springfield
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>300 Savage
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>308 Winchester
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>7.65mm x 53 Mauser (Belgian)
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD colSpan=2>7.7mm x 58 Japanese Arisaka
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffdd><TD colSpan=2>8mm-06
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD colSpan=2>8mm x 57 Mauser (8mm Mauser)
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffdd><TD colSpan=2>338-06
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD colSpan=2>35 Whelen
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffdd><TD colSpan=2>358 Winchester
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD colSpan=2>7.65mm x 53 Mauser (Belgian)
</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffdd colSpan=2>.38 Casull
</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>400 CorBon
</TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffdd><TD colSpan=2>45 Automatic (45 ACP)
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2012, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirage243 View Post
It never ceases to amaze me the guys on here that will stop what they are doing and give a newbie sound advice, I've been an avid gun guy for over thirty years, but I learn a lot from this website and the fellas that share their knowledge here.
That is exactly why I became a member. I never cease being amazed at the new things I learn each visit.
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2012, 02:29 AM
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hoosier85, I like R.C.B.S. equipment and have been using it since the early 70's. I still have the Rockchucker press I bought in high school. No telling how many tens of thousands of rounds I've loaded with it. Great customer service from that company. Not sure what came with your master kit. Good to Have: A hand priming tool or bench mount one are nice, priming with the arm on the press is a PITA. A handloaders log book to keep track of all your load data. A vibrating tub with corn cob and walnut media to get your grungy brass looking new again. Calipers to check brass and loaded cartridge length. I use a "Little Dandy" measure for pistol loads, It's great but you have to have the rotors for all the different charges. For rifle loads I set the large powder measure ( Uni Flow) to just under, then use a trickler to bring it up to level on my 1010 scale. Yes, I know I'm an old fart, so haven't got around to buying a digital scale.
Lastly and most important, a chronograph ( a $100 Chrony works fine), and a micrometer to measure case head expansion, comparing your reloads case head expansion to factory head expansion of rounds that have been fired in your chamber. Without these you are just guessing as to what your loads are doing.
Other things like stuck case remover, flash hole uniforming tool, inertia bullet puller, crimp remover for military brass, custom seating plugs, etc. you can get as you need them.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2012, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MontyF View Post
Hmmm this is from RCBS shell holder chart...
I sit corrected!

45ACP is one round I've not reloaded for...yet. I've got several hundred once-fired up in the cabinet and a 45 handgun of some type is on my long-term list. Looks like I'll be covered as far as the shell holder goes!
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2012, 09:07 AM
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hoosier85,

Sandog makes a good list in his post a couple back.

However and this is a great hobby, past time, that has many directions as to equipment most of which are OK.

I mentioned that I aam not a "Lee" fan in most cases, and that is true because of past experience. BUT ----------- even though I have a RCBS "uni-flow" powder measure, I use the set of Lee powder dippers far more then the uni-flow.

I did use the the Little Dandy a lot for handgun loads until I bought a progressive.

Oh yes, a progressive ------- put that years down on the list if ever. Unless you shoot lots and lots AND LOTS of handgun ammo, it simple isn't needed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think it was on the thread in an earlier post, where the writer spoke of batch processing his handgun brass/ammo. Good way to go!

When sandog speaks of the press mounted priming system being a pain in the back side, he is 100000% correct.

It does work, however ---------------- The RCBS hand priming tool is good.

But the very best priming tool I have ever used over the years is the RCBS bench mount tool. Great tool!!

Forget the Forester bench mount priming tool. Had one and they are hokie at the very best!
Should have spent the extra bucks for the RCBS tool to start with and been done with it!

Bullet pullers --------- I can see where an "inertia" style might have some usefullness in a case where the bullet can not be gripped by a collet puller, but the couple of experiences I have had with the inertia have been at best bad.

First, a bullet puller should be a seldom used, as in VERY SELDOM USED, tool and the Collet Puller is far and away the better tool. Will last a life time or four!

I have a Hornady collet puller, but there are other good ones.

Rather then having an inertia tool, I just use a pliers orside cutters and my loading press for the few that can't be pulled in the collet tool.

Don't jump out an buy a lot of stuff until you have a proven need.

And by the way, one Lee tool that seems to have helped lots of people part with their hard earned money is the Lee,"Factory Crimp Die".

If your loading dies, in this case seating and crimping die is properly adjusted, there is seldom a need for that product.

Been there and been doing that for many years, and yes I have bought a Lee factory crimp die and still say just properly adjust your die set and your will have no/zero need to part with the extra bucks.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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  #13  
Old 12-30-2012, 05:56 PM
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I am also fairly new to the art of reloading, bought a handgun from a fellow a couple years ago and he gave me Lee dies, bullets and primers with it. I had no idea what to do with any of the reloading equip, so I started to read online. Cabelas just happened to have a Lee Deluxe kit for $100 on sale, so I jumped on it. Two years later I am reloading 38 special, 30-30 Win and .270 Win. I even bought a Lee Classic Handloader for the .270 and my 13 year old son is having fun reloading with that banging in the bullets with a hammer inside the die! We are using a Lee manual with the recommended Lee Powder dipper set. Is anyone else using the dippers? ~Tim in Virginia
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  #14  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:52 PM
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Powder dippers are only good if you know for sure what they are throwing for the powder you are using. Every powder has it's on weight and density. I would recommend getting a set of scales of some sort so you can have a pretty good idea when the dipper is putting in the shell. For what you are doing, it doesn't have to be a high dollar set, just something that will get you within .1 or .2 grains. I try to live buy my rule of only buying once, so if I was going to get a set of scales, I would spend the few extra and get a fairly good set. It sounds like you are growing into this hobby and as you do, you will want a better set later on if you buy a cheapo set now.

All one of the powder measures are is a fancy, high dollar adjustable dipper, but you use a set of scales to set it.

I think what you are going to find is your small spherical and ball powders will drop fairly consistant using your dipper, but the flake powders and larger powders don't dip consistantly, this is also true for the powder dumpers.

I have a friend that has been reloading many years and he still uses his dippers, but he drops the charge on a set of scales and then a trickler to finish it off, then dumps it in the shell.

I'm not real sure about your son "banging the bullets in with a hammer" though.

I just looked at Cabela's kit and it shows it comes with scales and powder measure, why are you still using the dippers? Also, why is your son having to hammer the bullets in if you have a press?

Sorry for all the questions but you've done got me dumfounded

Last edited by BKeith; 12-30-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-30-2012, 07:22 PM
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Some of the best rounds I ever stuffed were done "banging a bullet in" when I was 17 with a Lee Target Loader. Dad opened the door one night when I was sizing cases. Had to be banged in and banged out if I remember correctly. He said " Son I don't know what you are doing but please don't blow up the house!" Actually at the time a lot of target shooters were using those Lees. Once they were neck sized and conditioned from firing they would reload on the range bench.
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  #16  
Old 12-31-2012, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BKeith View Post
Powder dippers are only good if you know for sure what they are throwing for the powder you are using.
Here we go again.

Guys were loading ammunition for DECADES, using the Lee dippers, and never once owned a powder scale. Powder volume is more important than most guys are willing to concede, mostly because they are deeply attached to the minutiae of what their scale shows them.

This has been hashed out, but here's the cliff notes: Lee has tested and sized their dippers to be "close enough", particularly when you consider that powder manufacturers blend their powders to stay within a range of performance.

In other words, powder dippers are perfectly serviceable...as millions of unweighed powder charges have proved, irrefutably.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:13 AM
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Thank you for the responses guys!! Yes, the .270 kit we bought is a Lee Classic Loader which instructs the reloader (my son) to use the die set, punches and a hammer to assemble the cartridges. Banging that bullet in to the case is the last step. I do not use the press, because the die appears to be different in the Classic Loader kit from the dies we use in the turrent press. I would have to purchase another die set and so far the classic loader set works fine for the .270 cartridges. We do not load as many of those as the 30/30 and .38 special rounds. We do actually have a Lee scale and I purchased the Lee Dipper set. I am still learning guys, so all the info and advice you can throw my way will be appreciated!! Tim in Virginia!
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  #18  
Old 12-31-2012, 08:35 AM
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Tim,

I know it would take away the fun your son is having with the hammer, but you could pick up a set of 270 dies and use the reloading press for making those cases. It would be a lot faster, although not nearly as much noise!
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:47 AM
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Sorry,

I should have fleshed the powder dipper comment out a bit more.

I use the powder dippers, ONLY!!!!!!! to dip an charge into the scale pan, then use one of the smaller dippers for adding or subtracting powder from the charge until the weight is zeroed.

I realise that dippers may have been used for years for loading, but I personally do not and will not go there.

CDOC

Last edited by Crusty Ol'Coot; 12-31-2012 at 02:20 PM.
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  #20  
Old 12-31-2012, 01:23 PM
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I'm sorry, I guess I'm a little more cautious than most. Personally, when I'm dealing with something that creating 50,000 to 60,000 psi inside a steel tube right in front of my face, I sorta like to know a little better than an assumption of what's going with it. I had a friend many years ago, grenade and M1 Garand using a dipper with the wrong powder, for the powder he was using, it may have granaded anyway though.

I didn't say the dipper was a no no and I understand there a bunches of people out there using them. I just suggested he do like a friend that has used dippers for amost as long as they made them and that's dump them on a scale first, then in the shell. The more concistent load will go a long way at helping accuracy also.

Shoot, I used nothing but an ice tea spoon for a couple of years when I first got into reloading rifle shells, but I was dumping it on my scales.

As for volume being better, I don't agree when you are dealing with much of anything other than ball powders. Any kind of movement/vibration can change the volume of a whole bunch of different powders.

Last edited by BKeith; 12-31-2012 at 01:33 PM.
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