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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Best Starter Kit.

Im new to reloading... and im lookin for a reloading kit that would have almost everything I need to reload rifle casings. Im not lookin to spend to much money on this, just somthing that would work good and wouldnt burn a hole in my wallet. Any sugestions? I've been looking at a Lee reloaer any good?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 07:32 PM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

Lee has some servicable presses/kits at a good price and there isn't much "wrong" with them. While I've been loading on an RCBS for many years, some of my accessories are Lee, like their Auto Prime hand-held priming doodads and Lee case trimmers.

The Lee kit will work well, especially for those that may "only" load a few hundred rounds, or less, per year.

Also have a Lee progressive, but I mainly use it for pistol cartridges and 223 loads.

Quit using lube pads years ago and went with One Shot case lube. A good scale is handy for starting load development and checking charges, but for hunting loads I've been using for years, generally just use Lee dippers.

Press; dies; scale; case mouth deburring tool; primer pocket cleaning tool; powder measure; loading block (holds cases) and a set of dial calipers is what I started with years ago. Eventually added something to trim cases and some other stuff, but those are the basics. Most presses come with some sort of case priming system, but I prefer doing that by hand, with the Lee Auto Prime.

Along with a loading manual. Many "kits" come with a manual. Have always tended to use Lyman, Speer and Nosler manuals, for the most part?

A manual is a must for a beginner. Even better if you know someone that's an experienced and concientious loader, for some tutoring?

Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 07:40 PM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

Agree with Denny except I like my Hornady manuals along with the others.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 08:00 PM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

Wanted to list some ballpark figures, but can't find my latest Natchez catalog?

From an older Midway "everything" master catalog, the Lee Challenger kit includes the press, powder measure, Auto Prime, scale, funnel and some other things, runs around $105.

Rock Chucker Supreme kit includes a powder measure, scale, loading "blocks" and some extras, runs about $287.

Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:08 AM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

When I started out I bought a Lyman kit. I don't recall what I paid for it anymore. It was a bit cheaper than the RCBS kit that was available at the time. With that said I wish I would have spent the extra few bucks that I paid for the RCBS. No real reason other than the pieces I have of RCBS is better then the Lyman I have.

If I were just starting out again with not a bunch of money to drop I would try a LEE. It works for little money spent. Not anywhere near the quality of my lyman or RCBS, but a fraction of the price. If you decide you want to upgrade you can without replacing already paid for expensive equipment.

My biggest warning. The scale that come from LEE should be against the law for use.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:13 AM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

the most accurate loads i've made came out of my Lee Loader Classic...even using a press and Lee dies now i have not duplicated the results i got out of the classic. i've come close...with the same recipe, and i can't blame it on environmentals either. We'll call it "observation" right now without the ability, time or resources but for just starting out, it's hard to beat.

if you have the budget, get a press kit. I have a lee kit that was passed on to me from another shooter and i'm thankful every day that i have it. when i get the money to upgrade, I too will pay it forward...

One note about case lube...every guy i hear or read about that had a stuck case was using One Shot. I'll stick to the messy pads. Last reloads i got a little froggy with my lube and got some dimples but i learned quick what caused it and won't let that happen again. (yeah right...)

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 11:42 AM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

In that Lee products are useable and do produce quality ammo. There is a very good reason others cost much more new. The good news you can find everything you need to start reloading used. And just because an RCBS or Lyman is 40 years old, they are in most cases just as good today as they were new.
I have used many of Lee’s items over the years. All will do the job, but I have yet to find a Lee product that was not a Pain to use. And that is every thing from casting to reloading.

Starter kits sound like a good idea, but most reloaders are not tied into one manufacturer, On my bench I have every thing but Lee know, in every case someone else makes a much better product.
For years I used a Lyman 55 powder dump. I bought two of the Lee perfect powder dumps, both leaked powders around the drum, they were accurate but who wants powder all over the place, I bought the Hornady LNL auto progressive press, the Hornady powder dump came with it. I liked it so much I sold the Lee’s and the 55 and bought another LNL dump.

If starting out I would buy a good reloading manual read over the getting started section, and customize your set up to suit your needs, not everyone needs a $1000.00 Dillion. But if you start out with quality it will last you a life time.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 11:47 AM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

I was leery of One Shot when it first came out and heard a few stories about stuck cases, but the buddy that helped me learn the trade, took to it right away and he wasn't much for "new" stuff.

He was of the opinion that most guys having problems, weren't following the directions on the can? I've been using it for some time and have never had a problem.

I could never see much point in spending hundreds of dollars for the most expensive presses, just to load a few boxes of ammo per year, when the Lee kit will do fine for the casual reloader?

All the press does, is mechanically facillitate the functions of the dies. Good dies, proper procedures and no corner-cutting, should produce good ammo, regardless of the brand of the press.

I've known quite a few reloaders over the past 40 years and none ever wore out a press, regardless of the brand. Two of them ran off well over a few thousand rounds per year, every year. One on a pair of Rock Chuckers, the other with one RC and a Bonanza Co-Ax.

My first press was the original RCBS Reloader Special, still works fine. Probably cost me around $35-40, new. I think RCBS is now up to an RS-5?

Way I see it, if someone wants to get into reloading and doesn't want to spend lots of money, buy a Lee kit and learn the trade. If the day comes when that person really "gets into it", they can always just let the Lee press set up to perform one function (like decapping/sizing) and use a "better" press for the rest of the functions?

Literally thousands can be spent on loading equipment, if one truly gets the "illness"? And it can be contagious.


Some folks' learnin' curves just look like circles...3A Camp/also hunt 4B
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:00 PM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

Yes you hear how cheap it is to reload, I have yet to see any savings, I just shoot that much more. I don’t even want to know what I have spent on reloading and casting equipment over the years. And then throw in the components. I could have retired years before I did if not for reloading and casting.
It truly is a sickness, I have not looked at a Playboy magazine in years, but I can not wait for Handloader to hit the Mailbox.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:10 PM
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Re: Best Starter Kit.

Agreed.....I started with a C&H C press made out of some kind of alloy....Herter's beam scale and Herter dies....that was it....had a McKillen and Heyer case length gauge that I used a file to trim the .243 and .30/30 cases back to where they would fit in that gauge....used a teaspoon to dribble powder into the scale pan.....

Surplus 4831 at 65 cents per #; RWS primers sold in gross count packaging...a local farm boy had started a wholesale component business and he fixed me up with what I needed...he had a line with Hornady so Hornady bullets it was.....

The Lee kit is a great starter for a new loader who does not have an experienced person to look to for advice....as experience is gained and preferences established upgrading can occur....

You don't need to go hog wild to start handloading....
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