A good basic reloading kit beginners

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  • A good basic reloading kit beginners

    Greetings to the Reloading Council of Excellence

    I am about partake on a journey of discovery into your fascinating and what looks very complicated world of hand-loading and would like to ask the council what in their opinion would be a good little starter kit for someone who only wants to produce a limited amount of ammunition and only has a budget of $500 to spend to get one started.

    My main questions at the moment seem to be - What sort of basic equipment is absolutely essential to make your own ammo - and is it better to buy a `Starter Kit` or each essential item individually instead.

    BTW I only have one centre-fire rifle (a US Spec Gunsite Ruger Scout) and I don`t mind taking my time to make each bullet as I would prefer consistancy over quantity.

    Thanks in advance

    Druid 66
    "For it is the doom of men that they forget"

  • #2
    Have a look at the Lee Breechlock Challenger kit, and redding dies


    • #3
      I just bought a Lee Classic Turret Press Kit for <$300. The only extra I had to buy were the dies ($100). The kit is auto-indexing but for long cartridges (not sure how long, maybe bigger then .30 then you have to manually index. The dies are carbide so no need for lube.

      It's pretty solid and once you get into a rhythm you can crank out lots of rounds.

      I had thought about a progressive, Dillon etc but it would been 2-3 x the cost.


      • #4
        I have seen good ammo produced with Lee presses.
        I have also heard good things about their balance beam scales considering the price.

        I am not a fan of their dies though. The metal is pretty crap.

        Dies I would purchase RCBS , Redding, Forster

        Forster make a great micrometer seating die for a good price. The micro meter top is a luxury item and makes making adjustments very easy after initial set up.

        Tools that I consider a must:

        Bullet comparator with head space inserts.
        Vernier calipers
        Powder trickler
        bullet puller
        A good work space with lighting.

        Thats what comes to mind for now



        • #5
          Thanks chaps - Hey can this kind of stuff be shipped in from abroad or does it need all that B709 nonsence

          Alternatively is there anywhere over here that you would recommend to buy this sort of gear
          "For it is the doom of men that they forget"


          • Spurious
            Spurious commented
            Editing a comment
            Generally speaking it can all be shipped from overseas, but because of its weight, the addition of postage charges can make it the equivalent of local prices much of the time anyway.

            Keep an eye out for specials locally.

        • #6
          For those Druids of ancient wisdom I would have thought it elementary to spend the $500.00 on a good used Omark set up with a rail and ready to go / just add scope.
          Use factory Palma Match in 308 155 dyer projectiles.
          There was one at a range near me a few weeks ago (deceased estate ) Dale action / rail / new barrel / in 223 / wood was reportedly looked like **it. I am still kicking my self for not taking it at that price.
          Ruger Scout ? Bleah ! an old chopped down #4 is about as good in my humble and giving cheek opinion.

          Just funnin Druid -- I will start reloading too soon / have all the basic kit like the lee press and RCBS dies / comparator and Quality METAL digital vernier.
          I too will go mild and load around that 44.3 of 2208 mark / close to the lands.
          In sane way I think there`s a reason most target shooters in Small bore used Low velocity ammo / Accuracy is better / why should larger calibers be any different unless for extra long range.
          FWIW I found MAG TECH and HORNADY STEEL MATCH in 150 grn excellent to 600 yds.
          Who said anything about flags ? When the flags go one way and the mirage goes the other -you just don`t need a squillion $$$ rifle to throw in the dirt in disgust at you one flyer that ruined a score.
          Omark mate --way to go.
          Don’t poke the snake, walk around it and come back later with a double-barrelled shotgun and blow its [email protected]#!ing head off!.

          Australia in future, the outcome is the same, a bloody dictatorship run on the whims of a very few ego-centric pathological elitists.


          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
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            So what's happened here Druid?
            Gone quiet all of a sudden


        • #7

          I will be looking at reloading in the future as well and noticed my local gun shop is now stocking the Lyman reloading kits. Anyone using the Lyman gear and what are your thoughts on quality.

          Thanks, Rob.


          • #8
            Yes I would have thought it was a fairly obvious candidate for sticking too - Particularly given the high standard of advise that`s been generously given.
            "For it is the doom of men that they forget"


            • #9
              Been off the forum for a while and I'm getting close to starting to reload. Thanks for asking the question Druid, and thanks to the replies. Very useful info.

              aut viam inveniam aut faciam
              "I shall either find a way or make one." - Hannibal.


              • #10
                What about a Lee loader, should keep the cost down, do you have your own hammer??


                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest commented
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                  Just get the RCBS Rockchucker reloading kit and a set of Dies Great quality gear that will last you for years


              • #11
                I asked this same question about 3 months or so ago. Here are some basic tips that helped me.

                1) you can spend an infinite amount of money on reloading gear, so figure out what you really need and start there. Lee makes some excellent starting gear you could get for that money. to include dies and you would be reloading. You would be reloading well at a certain rate which would improve as you got better at the mechanics of reloading. All the other money that you spend gets you FASTER not necessarily BETTER. Some money you can spend will get you easier or more convenient, (like a micrometer seating die) but you just don't per say NEED it.

                2) Lee gear is good beginning gear if you don't mind that 5 years down the track you may need to replace something. Some would say replace the scale now and do yourself a favor. In reality the Full Lee kit like the challenger will do the basic job, but it wont do it the height of fast. If you want fast (like hand gun ammo) you need a progressive and Dillion is the local best bet on that one. Good quality parts and quality customer service (policy at least) for when things do go wrong.

                3) read and consider What you want to reload, and How you will need to do that before you buy ANYTHING. Best thing I ever did. Reloading companies try to sell you all kinds of stuff you just don't need for 9/10's of reloading applications. If you are shooting F class I take that last part back you may need to buy more. If you want to drop pigs then I stand by my assessment.

                So read up. Lyman or the ABC's of reloading even an older manual floating around the internet from the last 5-10 years will give you a good idea of what you really need. Good luck keep posting your questions and people more knowledgeable than me will give you an answer if they can.
                "He got the whole nine yards" - as it happens World War II (1939–1945) aircraft machine gun belts (US 50 cal) were nine yards long.


                • mia
                  mia commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hi all, LEE reloading gear for me, cant fault it most of my gear is 20 yrs old ,replaced a few odds and ends with modern stuff, the scale ,and wore out the dies, rcbs dies now,all works for me...

              • #12
                The Lee turret press is def worth looking into. Brownells is selling it in kit form for l$129 at the mom, expect to pay a bit for shipping (I would say $80 or so but could be wrong). add a set of dies and there you go. The plastic square ratchet does get worn out every 10000rds or so but they are worth $15 for 6, shipped.

                There is also a gig called madcommando, the used to ship cheaply but getting a bit pricy of late....


                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest commented
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                  G'day Fella's,

                  Druid 66, if you honestly plan to do any amount of reloading, the best quality reloading kits, are painted GREEN!!!

                  Hope that helps


                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The Lee Challenger kit is probably the best value kit ($189) which includes a set of 10 shell holders for the hand priming tool where the Lee Anniversary Kit doesn't. The Lee press will accept RCBS and Hornady Dies, but buy extra breach locks. Also get a copy of the Nick Harvey Reloading Manual, dies, powder, primers and projectiles and your on your way! The RCBS Rock Chucker kit is far better quality but is over your budget.

                • Shooting Sports
                  Shooting Sports commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by Frontsight" post=89638
                  The Lee turret press is def worth looking into. Brownells is selling it in kit form for l$129 at the mom, expect to pay a bit for shipping (I would say $80 or so but could be wrong). add a set of dies and there you go. The plastic square ratchet does get worn out every 10000rds or so but they are worth $15 for 6, shipped.

                  There is also a gig called madcommando, the used to ship cheaply but getting a bit pricy of late....
                  Or you could support you local gunshop and buy it local, $200-$260. I got one last month at the OPEN Range Toowoomba $249
                  $129+$80 USD is $285AUD anyway

              • #13
                Hi all
                I went through the same thing as you did heaps or reading, i was torn between the Lee, Hornady and RCBS kits but found the RCBS to do all i wanted and im yet to read a bad thing about them, cast from steel not alloy and the design has been around for near 5 decades with little change. The problem was the cost, $650-$800aud for a kit the yanks are paying half that so I went on flebay and and got my kit for $330aud posted from the states tho others have had issues with this seller i used but mine seems to have come in good time and no issues.

                What ever brand you choose i can only suggest to buy good quality and it will last a life time
                .22 CZ 452, .22 Remington model 12 pump, .17 Savage 93R17 TR , DTA SRS A1 black/OD green .308 & .338LM

                My friends all bought dirt bikes, i bought a DTA......i think i won the cool toy contest :P


                • #14
                  I use a Hornady progressive press, but my own advice if you are new to reloading is to get a single stage press.

                  This way you will do only one step at a time on one case at a time (rather than having 5 cases going around the press at different stages), so you'll take a lot more time and care, hence learning the ropes correctly and not making mistakes.

                  I'd have no problems with the Lee gear if just starting out. It's cheap and effective. Later on when you become more confident and proficient, you'd probably shell out for a progressive press with all the bells and whistles......that's when you can start forking out the bucks for the top end gear, as you'll have the experience to know exactly what it is that you want.

                  Good luck with the reloading. I'm glad to hear you've got someone with experience to show you the ropes, as it can be a bit confusing to start......it's gonna be very rewarding to develop your own loads though, and to then see the results from your labours!

                  My own list would still be larger than others to start out, as it's a lengthy process:
                  1) -press
                  -depriming and resizing die
                  -tumbler or ultrasonic cleaner
                  -primer pocket cleaning tool, or small screwdriver
                  -case trimming tool
                  -chamfer and deburring tool
                  -primer seater
                  -cartridge block (to hold cases upright and ready for powder)
                  ................all this just to prepare and prime the cases ready for reloading

                  2) -powder scales
                  -either powder thrower or funnel

                  3)-seating die

                  4)-crimping die

                  5)-vernier calipers
                  -safety glasses
                  -pen and paper
                  -ammo storage box
                  -a decent light or headlight
                  -a closed door..............or preferably a locked door, so that you are not disturbed


                  • Guest's Avatar
                    Guest commented
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                    I bought the Lee Breach lock set, and it all works well, EXCEPT the powder scales, I just could not get them consistent, same charge weighed 3 times gave you 4 different answers.
                    In the end I just didn't trust them, dispite trying several "fixes". I went and bought a Redding scale yesterday and O what a differance. I spent over an hour with the Lee to load 4 rounds !! Rezero, weigh each charge 4 times and hope it is the same....and did 50 in the same time with new Redding scales, pulled a heap of old loaded rounds loaded with the Lee scales and the weights were all over the place.

                    I like the press, the powder thrower, and use Lee dies, but by some other scales and a powder trickler

                    I was going to get the RCBS 505 scales, but the shop only had the Reding ones, but they seem bloody fantastic after the Lee ones.

                • #15
                  I will without doubt say LEE simple reasonable ammo SAME AS MANY OTHERS HAVE ALREADY
                  That said if you wish to progress you will need to on sell it when you buy better gear or keep it for a remote reloading kit
                  Lee look cheep feel cheep but do have some outstanding features no others have at 5 crackers should be enough to set yourself up with a primer ,press,dies ,trimmer and a couple of dies if not two calibre's Maybe even some brass
                  I use sinclair international a lot and you should have no issue getting NON RIFLE related products in as i do
                  If it bolts to a gun such as a scope or a magazine follower they won't sent it But a scope level ,bipods, scope covers ,reloading gear NO ISSUE
                  17mk2 annie , 22lr 1712 annie silhouette, sakoP94s ,221 fireball rem700 , 204 sako 85 hunter ,222 sako85 hunter ,223 sako85s x2 ,260r sako85 ,6.5x55sako75 ,7mmrem mag sako 85 ,308 sako 85 308 finnwol,30-06 sako85 ,375H&H sako85 ,460wm Weatherby custom ,12gsingle and double ,410 double, 17air, 22PCP


                  • Guest's Avatar
                    Guest commented
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                    The best kit in the world is.............the one you can afford at the time
                    Research is everything & kits while convenient are not the way to go IMO.
                    This all depends on what you want from your reloading of course!
                    Hunting or BR accuracy.
                    While generally happy with my Rockchucker kit if I had my time again I would have sourced most of my gear separately.
                    I dont use my 505 scales any more as I upgraded to a CM combo & I find powder throwers a waste of money unless you but the top end ones.
                    Most of my sizing in just neck sizing so I could have just bought a Partner press(Im getting one soon as a 2nd press though).
                    Started off with Redding comp dies & some Forster & dont think there are much better out there IMO(maybe Wilson).
                    Its all about affordability!

                    I wanted to start out being able to get the best accuracy I could, even if it was just for hunting.
                    So soon after starting I realized having the right measuring gear, OAL gauges, headspace gauges, comparators, uniformers amongst other tools were important to me so I promptly bought them.

                    I think these so called "accessories" are essential in reloading IMO.

                    As plinkingmad said, Sinclairs rock
                    I put 2 large orders in with them initially for the dies & measuring gear & save 50% on what you would pay here!
                    I support my local but when you start spending $500-$1000 on an order its well worth it for about $70 in delivery costs!