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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I'm Drew from NC. I'm 20 years old, have shot and hunted since i could hold a gun, and have decided to get myself a reloading press for Christmas.

I've been doing a lot of research on this forum and elsewhere for about a week now, and believe I understand the bare basics.

I shoot .308 and have a few hundred cases saved already, so i plan i use once fired brass unless i decide to splurge on some match brass when i get a little experience under my belt.

I just ordered most of my equipment tonight short of a few case brushes, calipers, .308 specific manual, and my bullet components which i plan to get at Gander Mtn. If you guys could critique my list here and give a noob some advice, it would be much appreciated!


90930 90930 Lee Loadmaster equipped with Lee Pace-Setter dies 308 WIN $203.00
FDB1000 FDB1000 Inside-Outside Deburring Tool $16.00 EA.
90139 90139 308WIN Case Length Gauge & Shellholder $3.50
7777760 7777760 Flash Hole Uniformer $10.80 ea.
90277 90277 Lee Modern Reloading 2nd Edition $13.99
90101 90101 Primer Pocket Cleaner $2.09
90899 90899 LEE ZIP TRIM $16.99
RC09315 RC09315 RCBS Case Slick Spray Lube 4oz $7.90
 

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Welcome to the forums, BrowningBoy.

I'm not familiar with the Loadmaster, except to know that it's a progressive press. Most guys, me included, use single-stage or turret presses to reload rifle cartridges, but I'm sure the Loadmaster will do it for you. It's a relatively complicated process, so be careful reloading on the progressive. Alot of things will be happening at once - too many for me to go at the speed that progressive will go.

I've never used the Lee zip trim. I use their case length gauge and hand-held trimmer, with the shellholder chucked in a cordless drill. I'd like to hear how that zip trimmer works out.

I think the Lee Modern Reloading manual is one of the best, for starting out and for others, but I highly recommend the Lyman manual to go along with it. Then, later, maybe another one or three from the bullet makers you like best ( I really like Sierra and Hornady bullets and the Sierra loose-leaf manual).

What kind of rifle will you be loading for?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Browning X-Bolt with a Nikon ProStaff BDC 3-9x40

All the reviews I have found for the loadmaster are positive. I'm very patient and have always stuck to the "measure twice, cut once" rule... and from what i've gathered so far, as long as i prepare my cases well and check my dies every 20 rds or so i shoudnt have any problems with the press. I've seen what an improperly loaded round will do to a rifle... I don't plan to have that happen to me.

I have always liked Hornady ammunition myself. I was just reading a lot of good things about the 155gr Berger VLD Boat Tail on Midway and was thinking about picking them up for my first batch, anybody have any experience with it?
 

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I use Lee Precision - you should be able to enjoy your equipment. There may be a learning curve with the Loadmaster. If the curve is too steep get a Classic Turret. Otherwise good choices. The Zip Trim is a good product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
loadmastervideos.com

just found this site, some of you probably know about it already... has lots of good videos and useful info regarding the loadmaster.

can't wait to get my stuff in, i think it's kinda funny i'm so excited about reloading...haha
 

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I've never cared for progressives to load rifle. I like the old RCBS rock crusher. I use the Hornady dimension dies, the seating die has a collar that aligns the bullet in the neck. Even in my match rifle I dont uniform the flash holes so I'm not sure if you need to bother with that. Quality control with most companies brass is very good. I would suggest that later if your going to use the brass for the same rifle, a neck sizing die will add case life and simplify things a little. Just my opinion.
 

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Yes, I second the Neck Sizing die as an addition to your set. Lee's Collet neck sizer is a good one. The Pacestter set comes with a Factory Crimp die, so you're covered if you want to see how a little crimping affects your accuracy as you begin building loads.

I've reloaded 12ga on and off since about 1978 or so, I suppose, and I just got started in metallic cartridge reloading at the beginning of this year. I don;t know this for sure, but I'm relatively confident there's not a reloader in this forum that wasn't giddy with excitement when they started out!

The first cartridge you reloaded (or first few cartridges) fired in your rifle come close to matching that excitement!

I belong to about a half-dozen shooting/reloading forums now, but I honestly find the knowledge, expertise, and friendship the best in this one. If you have any questions or concerns as you get going, or even later on, you'll find someone or several someone's here that has the knowledge and experience to help out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks to all of you guys!! I believe I have already become addicted to this forum. I've been active on forums for quite some time now, and can already tell this is by far the most informative and friendliest one I have become a part of yet.

I was just looking at collet sizers last night and thought "thats sounds pretty cool." So that will definitely be one of my next purchases.

I was looking though some of my brass last night, I have 40 rds of Hornady Match cases. I guess I'll save those for expensive bullets. The bulk of it is Winchester Super-X and Federal Blue Box. Would there be a significant difference in case life between these brands? What is your favorite case?
 

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I've only used Remington and Winchester. I reload for 30-06, 25-06, 22-250, and .44 magnum. There is a mix between the Rem and Win cases for the .30 and .25 rounds. I haven't noticed one splitting or otherwise giving up any more than the other. I do know, however, that the Winchester brass will always weigh less than the Remingtons. What that means for quality, I don;t know, nor have I noticed any difference (as I said earlier).

When I need to order brass, I pretty much look for Remington. I think that's mainly because I find what I'm looking for in stock more often. The Winchester brass is, in most cases, a few cents or a dollar cheaper per hundred. In one case, .35 Remington that I'll soon be loading for, I can only find them in Winchester, so that's what I'll be buying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i've got a question about the collet sizer.

if i were to use it on my loadmaster which station would i use it in? i've also read on here that most of you guys will turn the case and size it two or three times... so i suppose to prevent double charging cases at the powder station, i will have to A. size cases one at a time with the collet sizer on the loadmaster or B. get a cheap single press just for collet sizing...

am i over thinking things here?
 

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No, you are thinking correctly and your reasoning is sound.

IF you used it on the progressive, it would take the place of the full-length sizing die, which would be at station one. And yes, if you tried to neck-size it more than once, it wouldn;t work, as the progressive would spin and go to the next station.

A single-stage press is your best bet for neck sizing. This is just one of the reasons most guys have said they reload rifle on a single-stage or turret. Even on the turret, usually the auto-indexing is disabled so you can size a batch, then spin the turret, charge the batch, spin the turret...... you get the idea.

Reloading rifle, since we generally don;t pump out hundreds of rounds at each sitting, is best done on the single-stage. If my collet neck-sizer were in the press, for example, I'd have 20 or 40 rounds in the loading blocks, all unprimed, and turned neck down. (They would have been previously deprimed on a little "C" press with a dedicated Lee decapping die, pcokets cleaned, necks brushed, and tumbled clean). Each one of those would get neck sized then go back in the loading block....one-by-one, ready for hand-priming with a Lee auto-prime. I put lots of pressure on the ram handle, then lower the ram a little and, with my left hand, spin the case a tad. Then I press again, lower a little, spin, and press for the third time. This all happens in a matter of seconds - three or four maybe, just guessing. Some guys just press twice.

If you get a press just for neck-sizing, bear in mind that quite a bit of downward pressure on the press handle is required. The ram is forcing the case up into the collet, which is pressing the case mouth against a .307" mandrel, forming it around the circumference. We press it more than once to ensure an even distribution of force, just in case. So........ I wouldn;t get a cheap little Lee Reloader press - the "C" style. I would get the $50 Challenger Breechlock or a Classic Cast. Why the $80 Classic Cast? Because there's a good chance you'll like single-stage so much, you'll want to use it and save the progressive for handgun. In that case, if you have the Classic Cast, you have the strongest, most well-made (in my opinion) single-stage press on the market, let alone for the money.

Even better yet, consider the Classic Turret...... ((( :D ))) $97 at Kempf: https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=23&Itemid=41. This is NOT the Lee Deluxe Turret..... there's a difference between Lee's regular line and their Classic series.

With a turret, the biggest draw is being able to load four dies in the turret assembly, all adjusted and ready to go. THe press comes with one assembly and extras are $10. With these, each caliber's dies are setup, adjusted, and ready to go by just dropping the assembly in the top of the press and locking it in. The turret will spin with each press of the handle, similar to a progressive, unless you disable the auto-index. Then it's used like a single-stage. That's my preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
again, thanks for the advice. i'll probably just end up disabling the auto index on the loadmaster for my rifle loads like you suggested, then invest in a separate press once i have all the other misc tools i need.
 

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As far as saving your hornady brass for a special purpose, I would say no. It's best to use one manufacturers brass from the start and use it for everything. Rem brass is thicker walled than Win. brass. PMC brass has walls that are almost as thick as military. I have used only Rem. brass for a long time now. It has held up better for me. If you work up a good load in Win. brass and then try to use it in PMC cases for your once in a lifetime hunt, not only will accuracy not be the same but pressures could cause case failures or worse!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks wyoman, i understand that different case thicknesses alter pressures and would definitely do my homework before changing cases.

as i said before, the large majority of my brass is winchester, which is what i'm going to start with and stick with until i build a good understanding of what i'm doing. all the live ammo i have stocked up right now is winchester as well, so i should learn the ins and outs of them pretty well. but i figure since i still have maybe 75-100 cases between hornady and federal, might as well experiment later on down the line.
 

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Welcome to the Forum,Browning
Nothing to add,other then my opinion.
Considering the advise hat you were given,and the way that you responded to it,You will do just fine as a reloader.
Good luck
Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
hey guys, got an update...

went to gander mountain today and picked up the .308 Specific manual, 300 CCI BR primers, and acquired a set of Mitutoyo calipers accurate to ten-thousandths from my aunt as a early Christmas gift.

i held off on bullets because i haven't quite made a decision yet.

what have you guys found to be a good bullet/powder combination for a very accurate, ~150gr hunting bullet than can be pushed fairly fast and stay stable past 400 yds?
 

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Browning boy, just another welcome, I am a newcomer myself, but have been reloading since 1967. Very satisfying to hunt or shoot my own reloads. You will enjoy it for life. Wallacem in Georgia
 

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I know it is not a 150 grain bullet but you could never go wrong with 165 grain Nosler Partition.
 

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hey guys, got an update...

went to gander mountain today and picked up the .308 Specific manual, 300 CCI BR primers, and acquired a set of Mitutoyo calipers accurate to ten-thousandths from my aunt as a early Christmas gift.

i held off on bullets because i haven't quite made a decision yet.

what have you guys found to be a good bullet/powder combination for a very accurate, ~150gr hunting bullet than can be pushed fairly fast and stay stable past 400 yds?
Welcome to the forum and to the rewarding hobby of metallic cartridge reloading! You have already made some good choices and received some good advice. I'll add my .02.

When it comes to brass I have a preference for Federal, specifically cases used in their premium line of ammo. I took several hundred .308 cases, of various brands, sorted them and weighed each and every one. I found that Federal had apparently already done this because the 60 cases I had from once-fired Federal Premium loads were very uniform in both weight and length.

I second (or third?) the suggestion to use a single-stage or turret press for bottleneck rifle reloading, especially if you're wanting the most accurate loads possible. It's worth a little extra time to be sure your powder charges are consistent, especially since you aren't talking 500 rounds worth of ammo.

Pretty much any of the 150gr 30 caliber bullets out there will remain stable at longer distances, provided the rate of twist in your barrel is appropriate for that weight (and it almost certainly is). If you are looking for great target accuracy a longer, heavier bullet would be preferable. The type of game you're planning to hunt should determine which 150gr bullet you select, but for CXP2 game, you can't go wrong with the Nosler Ballistic tip or Sierra Gameking, along with a host of others. You'll find that the .308 is not particularly hard to load accurate rounds for, if you stick with medium to slow burning powders in the IMR 4350 range.
 
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