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ahead
12-19-2006, 12:32 AM
Hello,

I'm looking to start reloading some .308 for right now, and possibly a few other calibers in the future. I know close to nothing about reloading, but I've been searching/studying this forum for the past 2 days and have decided to get a progressive press. What I'm wondering is if you guys feel that this is a good kit for someone who’s starting out.

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=566516

I'm not worried about it being confusing, I pick this kind of stuff up pretty quickly. What I'm concerned about is, that this kit does not include some crucial part that imp going to need.

So, my questions to you guys are:

Is this kit any good, would you recommend it to someone who is starting out? Why or why not?

Also, are there any piece/tools that I will be missing (other than ammunition components) if I purchase only this kit/does this kit get me going right out of the box?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any info you guys can throw my way! :D

C.G.
12-19-2006, 1:08 AM
You are leaving out some important info; i. e. for what purposes will you be re-loading. If it is for sheer volume then progressive may be fine, if it is for accuracy you may want to stick with a single stage.
I am a reloading noob (started about 3 months ago) and started with a RCBS Rockchucker; if I'll ever think I need to go proggressive I can always add a Piggyback 4 conversion to it.

tankerman
12-19-2006, 6:07 AM
Get the RCBS kit, learn to reload. Get a progressive reloader later for volume reloading. You will still use the RCBS single stages work best for working up a load and for hunting ammo(unless its for varmint)

Fjold
12-19-2006, 6:32 AM
It will work fine although a progressive is harder to learn on as you have to remember to check at each step all the time instead of having the automatic stopping point that single stage presses have when you change dies.

Buy a scale (balance beam's are less fussy) and most importantly buy at least two reloading manuals. I'd recommend the Hornady manual as one, it has a great "How to" section in front that really explains how everyting works and the safety precautions. The second manual gives you a comparison chart for loads.

Remember that each gun is an individual and will perform differently with the loads listed. Go slow, start at the minimum recommended loads and work up slowly.

ahead
12-19-2006, 9:20 AM
ill be reloading mainly for plinking/target shooting. i am going to be reloading for my M1A Socom16, so pin-point accuracy isnt what im after. i'm sure the loads that can be produced with a progressive kit will be accurate enough for my liking.

id like to be able to shoot a few hundred rounds a month, and id like to have some bulk loaded and ready at all times. because of this, and from what ive read on this forum it seems the progressive is the type for me, or am i looking at this all wrong?

and im gonna order that manual right now, what are some other good how-to guides for reloading i can purchase to do my homework before i get my kit?

thanks guys, keep it coming!

tteng
12-19-2006, 9:25 AM
I second everyone else. I'm new to reloading, too (3mo). Get a rock-chucker, because it's manual, you get to check/recheck your steps along the way (primer depth, bullet seat depth...) Believe me, first time you do it, you'll be measuring everything twice. Besides, if you load 10rds and made a mistake, you only have to pull 10rds. Right now I only load for my bolt-guns, because it's safer for me to practice reloading & test my load. Until I feel more comfortable w/ it, I'll hold-off reloading for my semi-auto rifle.

Chaingun
12-19-2006, 9:35 AM
Get a Dillion and thank me later.

I reload .308 match and single stage my 550B.

I would highly recommand the 650 today which wasn't a choice for me back then.

Fjold
12-19-2006, 12:27 PM
OK, set up hints:

Read the reloading manuals front section on safety and "How to", you will appreciate it more the more you get into reloading.

Find someplace out of the way, quiet and comfortable to reload. In the family room with the TV and kids going is not the place.

Measure and check every setting twice before you actually use anything, (powder measure, dies, scales, etc.)

Only have one specific bullet and one can of powder on the reloading bench at any one time. (you do not want to accidently charge your 308 case with pistol powder)

Establish a routine and do the same thing everytime.

Adjust the dies exactly how the manufacturer says. Don't worry about neck sizing, etc. until you get into precision handloading. (Little things like making sure that you don't screw the seating die so far down that it hits the mouth of the cases and bulges the shoulders enough to where the rounds won't chamber, sometimes isn't explained well in the manuals.)

ahead
12-19-2006, 12:42 PM
ok so, you guys have convinced me to go with the rock chucker. i started reading reviews about it and it seems like a good choice. i dont need production numbers that are that high, and for the time being will only be reloading .308. and i like the idea that i can upgrade it to a progressive press when i feel thats necessary (even though its the same price as buying a whole new press).

so im looking at this one (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=646599), is there anything thats not included in this kit that i will need to purchase to get going? also ive seen some people recommend the hornady lock and load kit. what does this kit do exactly, and will it work with the rock chucker? heres a link to what i think it is (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=858110)

thanks for all the info and suggestion guys!

Wulf
12-19-2006, 12:47 PM
Well, aside from components, you'll also need a scale, and a caliper, you'll probably also want a case guage, case trimming and prep tools, and a tumbler.

But C.G. is right you really need decide what you're trying to accomplish with your reloading. Quite frankly if you're interested in high volume/low precision 308 shooting, you're probably better off buying and shooting surplus. You have to work REAL HARD at cutting your component costs to load a case of 308 for a price similar to a case of surplus 7.62 and that's before you even consider the time investment or the wear and tear on your back and knees collecting a thousand 308 cases off the ground. I have a perfectly good Dillon progressive mounted on my bench ready to go for 308, and I still buy surplus for semi-auto, <150 yard 308 ammo.

OTOH, if you're interested in producing modest quantities of match or high quality hunting rounds tuned to your rifle you'd be better off with a quality single stage or better yet a quality turret press, with dies selected to produce match quality ammo in the firearm you're using.

OTOH OTOH, if you're interested in producing large quantities of high quality ammo, you'll need a better quality progressive....DILLON!, and lots of case prep/handling equipment aimed towards volume production....and a bigger budget than a couple hundred bucks..... and perhaps a cub scout troop to pick up your brass.




I just read further down where you said its ammo for a SOCOM. In that case you'll definately want to look at the cost of surplus vs handloading. Unless you got an exceptionally well built product from springfield, your gun probably wont shoot better than surplus. It took some tweeking on the gun and a some skill development on my part before I could out shoot the cheep surplus.

ahead
12-19-2006, 1:04 PM
Well, aside from components, you'll also need a scale, and a caliper, you'll probably also want a case guage, case trimming and prep tools, and a tumbler.

But C.G. is right you really need decide what you're trying to accomplish with your reloading. Quite frankly if you're interested in high volume/low precision 308 shooting, you're probably better off buying and shooting surplus. You have to work REAL HARD at cutting your component costs to load a case of 308 for a price similar to a case of surplus 7.62 and that's before you even consider the time investment or the wear and tear on your back and knees collecting a thousand 308 cases off the ground. I have a perfectly good Dillon progressive mounted on my bench ready to go for 308, and I still buy surplus for semi-auto, <150 yard 308 ammo.

OTOH, if you're interested in producing modest quantities of match or high quality hunting rounds tuned to your rifle you'd be better off with a quality single stage or better yet a quality turret press, with dies selected to produce match quality ammo in the firearm you're using.

OTOH OTOH, if you're interested in producing large quantities of high quality ammo, you'll need a better quality progressive....DILLON!, and lots of case prep/handling equipment aimed towards volume production....and a bigger budget than a couple hundred bucks..... and perhaps a cub scout troop to pick up your brass.




I just read further down where you said its ammo for a SOCOM. In that case you'll definately want to look at the cost of surplus vs handloading. Unless you got an exceptionally well built product from springfield, your gun probably wont shoot better than surplus. It took some tweeking on the gun and a some skill development on my part before I could out shoot the cheep surplus.

theres not much surplus left on the market, ive been on the lookout for a few weeks now and all i can find is the paki stuff that everyone says to stay away from. i realize my socom isnt the most accurate .308 rifle out there, but i doubt its as bad as your making it out to be.

i wanna start reloading for a few different reasons:

1. its something that i think i will enjoy doing
2. itll save me some money
3. its a good skill/tool to have IMO

and again im not looking for high volume/low precision ammo, im looking for something in between. i know my rifle isnt a tack driver, and that doesnt bother me, i bought this rifle for the same reason most people buy 16" rifles, fun to shoot and easy to manuver. so ill be happy with good (not amazing) ammo that i assume i can produce with this kit.

basically its gonna be for fun, to make practice ammo more affordable and to make some higher quality ammo that ill store for the "just in case scenarios"

Fjold
12-19-2006, 1:15 PM
I like turret presses,

To start right now, you need:

Reloading manuals
Press
Powder measure
Scale
Powder funnel
Dies and shell holders
Case lube
Some kind of loading block to hold the cases while loading
bullets, powder, primers

You'll need after a couple of reloads:
Case trimmer
Caliper (measuring case lengths)
Chamfering and deburring tool
Primer pocket cleaner/uniformer
Case cleaner (tumbler or vibratory cleaner)

Nice to have items
Caliper, dial indicator
Hand primer (speeds up the reloading cycle, let's you feel primer seating)
Chronograph (great for uniforming loads and calculating ballistic performance)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v214/Fjold/DSC00343.jpg

ahead
12-19-2006, 1:29 PM
I like turret presses,

To start right now, you need:

Reloading manuals
Press
Powder measure
Scale
Powder funnel
Dies and shell holders
Case lube
Some kind of loading block to hold the cases while loading
bullets, powder, primers

You'll need after a couple of reloads:
Case trimmer
Caliper (measuring case lengths)
Chamfering and deburring tool
Primer pocket cleaner/uniformer
Case cleaner (tumbler or vibratory cleaner)

Nice to have items
Caliper, dial indicator
Hand primer (speeds up the reloading cycle, let's you feel primer seating)
Chronograph (great for uniforming loads and calculating ballistic performance)

AWESOME! thats exactly the post i was hoping for. do you have any idea which pieces from the "right now" list comes with the rockchucker starterkit by any chance?? heres what comes with the kit:

Kit Includes:
Rock Chucker Supreme Press
5-0-5 scale
Uniflow Powder Measure
Hand Priming Tool, which uses standard shellholders, not included, and comes with large and small primer plugs
Case Lube Kit, which includes a 2 oz bottle of Case Lube-2, a case lube pad, 2 case neck brushes for .22 through .30 calibers and an accessory handle
Chamfer and deburring tool for .17 through .45 caliber
Universal Case Loading Block, which holds 40 cases in most rifle and pistol calibers
Folding Hex Key Set with .050", 1/16", 5/64", 3/32", 7/64", 1/8", 9/64" and 5/32" keys
Primer Tray-2
Powder Funnel for .22 to .45 caliber, including the Winchester Short Magnum calibers
The latest edition of the Speer® Reloading Manual

Wulf
12-19-2006, 2:21 PM
theres not much surplus left on the market,

basically its gonna be for fun, to make practice ammo more affordable and to make some higher quality ammo that ill store for the "just in case scenarios"

The surplus comes and goes. You just have to stock up when its available. Bookmark this page. http://rifle-company.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=431 It tracks surplus price and availablility closley.

If your Springifled is average it will probably shoot into 3-4 inches at a hundred yards... Maybe a little more with surplus and a little less with good quality ammo, but even match ammo wont cure it.

This thread... http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=78745&perpage=25&highlight=&pagenumber=1
has a link to a reloading cost calculator that will help you figure out what your cost per round will actually be. Good to check the numbers. Reloading for the fun of it is a fine thing. But its always nice to temper it with a little reality. Reloading for a semi auto rifle is definately the deep end of the reloading pool, since the M1A has a reputation for being hard on brass and you're dealing with an expensive gun running at high pressures. There's lots of stuff to get down before you start risking that expensive gun.

Based on what you say you're goals are WRT to reloading I'd suggest you pick up a Dillon 550b and start reloading pistol cartridges and work your way up to feeding the springfield.

Fjold
12-19-2006, 2:40 PM
AWESOME! thats exactly the post i was hoping for. do you have any idea which pieces from the "right now" list comes with the rockchucker starterkit by any chance?? heres what comes with the kit:

Kit Includes:
Rock Chucker Supreme Press
5-0-5 scale
Uniflow Powder Measure
Hand Priming Tool, which uses standard shellholders, not included, and comes with large and small primer plugs
Case Lube Kit, which includes a 2 oz bottle of Case Lube-2, a case lube pad, 2 case neck brushes for .22 through .30 calibers and an accessory handle
Chamfer and deburring tool for .17 through .45 caliber
Universal Case Loading Block, which holds 40 cases in most rifle and pistol calibers
Folding Hex Key Set with .050", 1/16", 5/64", 3/32", 7/64", 1/8", 9/64" and 5/32" keys
Primer Tray-2
Powder Funnel for .22 to .45 caliber, including the Winchester Short Magnum calibers
The latest edition of the Speer® Reloading Manual


It looks like they have everything you need except the cartridge specific stuff. You will need the 308 Win dies and the shellholder for the 308 Win. I think the RCBS shellholder for the 308 is the No. 2 size but check their chart. All the companies that make shellholders use different size numbers so don't look on the Lee chart and order a RCBS shellholder.

I would buy a second shellholder in the same size (They're a couple of bucks each) that way you can just leave it in your priming tool and not switch back and forth.

The 308 takes large rifle primers so you want to use the large primer plug in the priming tool. Also the uniflow powder measure has a large and small drums for different powder charge adjustments. You want to use the larger one there also.

I can't emphasize this enough. READ THE MANUAL FIRST

C.G.
12-20-2006, 2:22 AM
In case you decide on the RCBS Rockchucker Supreme, this is where I bought mine, service is good and the lowest price I found:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=000449357

You can always get a progressive kit for it later, if you feel you need it.

ahead
12-20-2006, 8:00 AM
Reloading for the fun of it is a fine thing. But its always nice to temper it with a little reality. Reloading for a semi auto rifle is definately the deep end of the reloading pool, since the M1A has a reputation for being hard on brass and you're dealing with an expensive gun running at high pressures. There's lots of stuff to get down before you start risking that expensive gun.

Based on what you say you're goals are WRT to reloading I'd suggest you pick up a Dillon 550b and start reloading pistol cartridges and work your way up to feeding the springfield.

this post almost makes me rethink reloading for my M1A. is this post accurate or is Wulf off in his post (no offence Wulf)? is reloading for a semi-auto/gas operated rifle difficult or will i be ok as long as i stick to the right specs and be careful? i dont really plan on getting very creative with my loads, ill probably try out what other people have proven works and which ever one turns out to work for me ill stick to that specific load.


In case you decide on the RCBS Rockchucker Supreme, this is where I bought mine, service is good and the lowest price I found:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=000449357

You can always get a progressive kit for it later, if you feel you need it.

hey thanks thats 30 bucks cheaper than where i was gonna buy it from.

Wulf
12-20-2006, 8:33 AM
this post almost makes me rethink reloading for my M1A. is this post accurate or is Wulf off in his post (no offence Wulf)? is reloading for a semi-auto/gas operated rifle difficult or will i be ok as long as i stick to the right specs and be careful?

Read for yourself. http://www.zediker.com/downloads/14_loading.pdf

anotherted
12-20-2006, 9:50 AM
I bought the LEE Anniversary Kit. It was a big mistake. It claimed that it came with "all you need to begin reloading". BS. I had to get a TON of other stuff to begin. Now im up and running. Its not to difficult to reload. Just do ALOT of reading. I read for a few months before i reloaded my first round. ANd yeah, get a digi scale. Dont mess with the beam scales; you'll never want to reload again.

PS. I would definitely not jump right in reloading for my semi's. Try reloading at least a few times for bolt actions till you get the hang of it. It would sure be a shame to blow one up.

MisterDudeManGuy
12-20-2006, 9:54 PM
I've been reloading for semi's for awhile now (years), and I can say that I would not start out there. Semi's are hard on brass, and that doesn't really just mean that the brass gets dented when it gets tossed. It means that the rounds get harsh treatment through the entire cycle of the weapon, and bad things can happen quickly if the proper steps are not taken at the reloading bench. Read about slam fires. Read about firing out of battery. Then consider whether you will be willing to be very, very diligent.

I'd start with a turret press and see where you go from there. The reason I say that is because you can turn out premium ammo with some effort, and you will be forced into taking things slowly. Even moving slowly, you should be able to get a couple hundred rounds in an evening, and that's if you do a lot of optional steps.

Good luck!

T-Bear
12-20-2006, 9:55 PM
In case you decide on the RCBS Rockchucker Supreme, this is where I bought mine, service is good and the lowest price I found:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=000449357

You can always get a progressive kit for it later, if you feel you need it.



+1
99% of the time they are always cheaper than Midway, and of course it's free shipping over $150, which is even better. Midway is sort of a 1 stop shop where they everything including parts. Good place to order if you have a Huge order. Might want to check out the Hornady presses as well. There giving away free bullets with there presses as well.

Wulf
12-21-2006, 6:33 AM
I'd start with a turret press and see where you go from there. The reason I say that is because you can turn out premium ammo with some effort, and you will be forced into taking things slowly. Even moving slowly, you should be able to get a couple hundred rounds in an evening, and that's if you do a lot of optional steps.

Good luck!

That's good advice.... I dont really see any problem with starting with a progressive as long as you start with a simple, forgiving, straight wall caliber like 45, 38, 45-70 etc; that's what I did. If you're all about high pressure necked rifle ammo, I really think the best path is a turret press to make small volumes of inexpensive high quality ammo, and surplus for the high volume blasting....even if its not as cheep as it used to be. Really, the only way I ever see myself using the progressive as a progressive to produce 308 is if I came into a really cheep source for a bunch of once fired brass...cheep enough that I wouldent be compelled by my frugal side to pick it up and reload it again.

ahead
12-21-2006, 10:53 AM
That's good advice.... I dont really see any problem with starting with a progressive as long as you start with a simple, forgiving, straight wall caliber like 45, 38, 45-70 etc; that's what I did. If you're all about high pressure necked rifle ammo, I really think the best path is a turret press to make small volumes of inexpensive high quality ammo, and surplus for the high volume blasting....even if its not as cheep as it used to be. Really, the only way I ever see myself using the progressive as a progressive to produce 308 is if I came into a really cheep source for a bunch of once fired brass...cheep enough that I wouldent be compelled by my frugal side to pick it up and reload it again.


my problem is i dont have that many calibers to choose from. ive got a 9mm handgun and a Mosin nagant. is reloading for the nagant any more forgiving? i could start off with the nagant and once i get some experience under my belt i could start reloading for the m1a.

i was under the impression that people started reloading for a few different reasons, and one of those was to make practice ammo cheaper. i did the math using that excel spreadsheet you linked me to, and using components that i found on Midway (which im sure i could find for cheaper if i looked around a bit) it came out to about .23cents a round, which is allot cheaper than im finding plinking ammo for, even in bulk. most is atleast double that. and the only surplus im able to find is indian and paki, and ive heard it sucks so i wont be putting it through my m1a.

i appreciate all the info guys

eckerph
12-21-2006, 12:57 PM
Give the Horandy L-n-L progressive press a look, it loads rifle rounds fine. I leave out the powder measure and weigh and drop the charge by hand and seat a bullet and off it goes to the seating die, much quicker than a single stage, and just as accurate, now as far what you need to "start" and what you "need" are a difficult question to answer. Their are the basics such as press,dies scale, loading block,powder funnel, calipers and a manual, this stuff will get you started and is enough for some folks, but from my own experience you will wind up buying more stuff like a case trimmer,tumbler,media sifter etc,etc. I started out with a lee anniversary kit years ago and loaded allot of 06' on that thing, the only extras i bought were the calipers,dies and lee case trimmer, now that being said i would personally stay away from lee products because even though they may be good ideas behind their products, they are made very cheap and work "ok" for a beginner, but as time goes by you start wanting "bigger and better" and lee has no resale value if you out grow your equipment. Dillon is good but $$, i don't like the idea of spending $50 per "caliber conversion", $22 shell plate for the HNH and you're good to go.

heres my equipment:
Hornady lock n load progressive press
Lee dies (their dies are good)
Forster case trimmer
RCBS 505 scale
Caliper
Sierra manual
lee manual
Tumbler
Media sifter for tumbler
loading blocks
Hornady case lube
powder trickler
A set of Lee powder dippers
Ammo cans and lots of them
Rubber maid storage container to keep all this crap in.

Wulf
12-21-2006, 1:43 PM
i did the math using that excel spreadsheet you linked me to, and using components that i found on Midway (which im sure i could find for cheaper if i looked around a bit) it came out to about .23cents a round, which is allot cheaper than im finding plinking ammo for, even in bulk. most is atleast double that.

How many loadings of the brass is that? If its once more for once fired brass or twice for new brass and you're willing to completely ignore your time, I say go for it. Just dont hot rod the loads, work in small batchs,be organized and methodical, and take your time.

It would certianly be better off starting with the Nagant since its not a semi it wont beat up the brass as bad, and since you have to close the bolt on each round you'll know if its funky in any way; Plus if you split it open its a cheeper mistake. Of course you probably dont go through enough rounds in it to make reloading worth while, but it would be good training. I'm not trying to put you off reloading for the M1A, but as you can see from that reloading article I linked to, its just not the case that you can just sit there and mindlessly pull the handle generating thousands of rounds of safe, consistent, accurate ammo from mixed brass you scavange at the range.... you can kind of do that for the 45, but not the 308.

grammaton76
12-21-2006, 2:18 PM
Personally, I like the once fired brass from http://www.brassworldonline.org/

I swooped up 500 pieces of 6.8SPC recently.

ahead
12-21-2006, 2:25 PM
How many loadings of the brass is that? If its once more for once fired brass or twice for new brass and you're willing to completely ignore your time, I say go for it. Just dont hot rod the loads, work in small batchs,be organized and methodical, and take your time.

It would certianly be better off starting with the Nagant since its not a semi it wont beat up the brass as bad, and since you have to close the bolt on each round you'll know if its funky in any way; Plus if you split it open its a cheeper mistake. Of course you probably dont go through enough rounds in it to make reloading worth while, but it would be good training. I'm not trying to put you off reloading for the M1A, but as you can see from that reloading article I linked to, its just not the case that you can just sit there and mindlessly pull the handle generating thousands of rounds of safe, consistent, accurate ammo from mixed brass you scavange at the range.... you can kind of do that for the 45, but not the 308.


from reading the links you posted, and some i found on my own i punched in 4 reloads per case and got that number.

im not looking to pump out a thousand rounds at every sitting, i was thinking more along the lines of once a week i sit down and load 100-200 rounds on my day off. with that amount i should have more than enough to practice with and extra to save.

i dont see the point in reloading for my 9mm, so i will most likely start with the nagant and move up from there. like you said, if for some odd reason i blow it up, it only cost me $85. i will probably order the rock chucker in the next few days along with the dies for my nagant. i appreciate the words of caution Wulf, and all the info from everyone else. much thanks!

MisterDudeManGuy
12-21-2006, 4:42 PM
i dont see the point in reloading for my 9mm, so i will most likely start with the nagant and move up from there. like you said, if for some odd reason i blow it up, it only cost me $85.

If you blow up a bolt gun, you'll have more to worry about than $85... Sounds like you are on your way - be safe and read a lot. Use established load data and components to begin with, build up loads slowly, and be safe. Oh yeah, and don't forget to have fun! :D

And be sure to get an L.E. Wilson cartridge headspace gauge for any caliber you reload. It's like $20, and it's worth its' weight in gold.

eckerph
12-21-2006, 5:20 PM
If you blow up a bolt gun, you'll have more to worry about than $85... Sounds like you are on your way - be safe and read a lot. Use established load data and components to begin with, build up loads slowly, and be safe. Oh yeah, and don't forget to have fun!


If you can read and follow directions dont worry about "blowing up" youre gun, just follow the rules outlined in the manuals and pay attention you will be ok. If youre a fool and cant pay attention then yeah you have plenty to worry about.