Best reloading press as well as other equipment recommendations

Boatninja

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I have been given a bunch of reloading equipment, most is very old. I am interested in advice for the best press to start off with, then from there any other tools such as scales, case prep etc. I don't have an endless supply of money but am a firm believer in quality tools as well as buy once, cry once. I have been lurking on this and other forums and enjoying the boundless knowledge some of you guys have. any advice on proper tooling is appreciated.
 

Boatninja

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What equipment did you get?
Lee hand press, don't know the model, balance scales etc, everything is there just ancient and could use a few upgrades, that is why I'm starting with press and scales. I have used another friends reloading bench and want to put together something similar.
 

winniedonkey

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Cool. Lots of awesome presses, I use a hornady but others do basically the same thing. A chargemaster will things easier, especially with the reducing insert and reprogramming. I got Quickload early on and think it's a great purchase even early on.

Redding and Forster are very popular dies.

I did get a MS3 early on and I believe that helped me out a ton with getting accurate velocities based on what I was doing loading wise and what things I could do better. TAKE GOOD NOTES!!!!
 
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spife7980

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I will recommend the chargemaster for powder weighing, your old beam may or may not be more technically accurate but the CM is plenty accurate and an enormous jump forward in the time and effort spent on each powder load.

Powder weighing use to take up 40% of my time, probably a minute per charge with a beam and focusing directly on that one step the entire time. The chargemaster made it basically zero time spent on it. The charge master made it so that it was automatically weighing powder while I seated a bullet removing both the time and effort spent on that step. Sure for a 3006 you might have to wait a few seconds on it after youve seated the previous bullet but its still leaps and bounds better in time spent even with that. Totally worth the price of admission, RCBS does rebates a couple times per year and those added into the CM on sale can make it cheap, I paid 215 for mine with the rebate and sale price taken into account. They can be had for 300 any day of the week.



As for the press? Basically anything, I like my coax but its pretty darn expensive compared to others. The RCBS rock chucker is the benchmark, it isnt fancy but it is solid and will last a lifetime and isnt over expensive. Id avoid lee personally but thats just me, it can still perform well. Lyman has introduced a couple attractive presses recently for cheap.




A set of decent calipers (igauging origin line is 40 bucks on amazon and a big step up over the 20-30 dollar hornady and harbor freight lines)

To add onto the calipers a set of the hornady headspace bushing and bullet seating comparators to make good CBTO (Case base to ogive) measurements instead of inaccurate fluctuating COAL (Cartridge Over All Length) measurements.


I like a trimmer that not only trims but also chamfer and deburrs in the same step, like a giraud triway or trim-it II. It saves you 66% of the time spent doing those by doing all three at once. No mater what you do though make sure its somethign that you can mechanize, the two I mention chuck up in a drill, your hands will thank you for not having to manually crank each and every case. Even the RCBS lathes have an adaptor to use your drill with it, your shoulders will thank you.


A hand primer is nice, I like a little lee auto prime with the old black square trays, the frankford arsenal looks like the best option available today since lee has gone to the round trays I think.
 

Boatninja

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Cool. Lots of awesome presses, I use a hornady but others do basically the same thing. A chargemaster will things easier, especially with the reducing insert and reprogramming. I got Quickload early on and think it's a great purchase even early on.

Redding and Forster are very popular dies.

I did get a MS3 early on and I believe that helped me out a ton with getting accurate velocities based on what I was doing loading wise and what things I could do better. TAKE GOOD NOTES!!!!
I have Reddding match grade dies for 6mm Creedmore, talked to Qickload guys today who gave me info for software to run their programs on Mac, keep it coming I’m trying to soak it up.
 

Boatninja

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I will recommend the chargemaster for powder weighing, your old beam may or may not be more technically accurate but the CM is plenty accurate and an enormous jump forward in the time and effort spent on each powder load.

Powder weighing use to take up 40% of my time, probably a minute per charge with a beam and focusing directly on that one step the entire time. The chargemaster made it basically zero time spent on it. The charge master made it so that it was automatically weighing powder while I seated a bullet removing both the time and effort spent on that step. Sure for a 3006 you might have to wait a few seconds on it after youve seated the previous bullet but its still leaps and bounds better in time spent even with that. Totally worth the price of admission, RCBS does rebates a couple times per year and those added into the CM on sale can make it cheap, I paid 215 for mine with the rebate and sale price taken into account. They can be had for 300 any day of the week.



As for the press? Basically anything, I like my coax but its pretty darn expensive compared to others. The RCBS rock chucker is the benchmark, it isnt fancy but it is solid and will last a lifetime and isnt over expensive. Id avoid lee personally but thats just me, it can still perform well. Lyman has introduced a couple attractive presses recently for cheap.




A set of decent calipers (igauging origin line is 40 bucks on amazon and a big step up over the 20-30 dollar hornady and harbor freight lines)

To add onto the calipers a set of the hornady headspace bushing and bullet seating comparators to make good CBTO (Case base to ogive) measurements instead of inaccurate fluctuating COAL (Cartridge Over All Length) measurements.


I like a trimmer that not only trims but also chamfer and deburrs in the same step, like a giraud triway or trim-it II. It saves you 66% of the time spent doing those by doing all three at once. No mater what you do though make sure its somethign that you can mechanize, the two I mention chuck up in a drill, your hands will thank you for not having to manually crank each and every case. Even the RCBS lathes have an adaptor to use your drill with it, your shoulders will thank you.


A hand primer is nice, I like a little lee auto prime with the old black square trays, the frankford arsenal looks like the best option available today since lee has gone to the round trays I think.
I like the idea of a multipurpose TR


I have spent a lot of time on case prep, hence power case prep center? I have purchased comparator, use good calipers often, I keep wondering about the press.
 

winniedonkey

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keep it coming I’m trying to soak it up.
Hahaha,

A case prep station is very helpful. There are a few out there.

I have an ultrasonic cleaner and a SS tumbler. I sonic clean mostly. It's not better but it's not worse.

Case and bullet comparator. Definitely a must.

Case lube. A few different methods on that.
A mitutoyo caliper. Its solid plus a fun word to say.

I learned a ton on here and was able to go out and not fuck things up. Lots of knowledge on here. You will see a trend with many products and methods. Once again take good notes, mental/physical.
 

Spdy

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Bolt rifle ammo with emphasis on quality
I've used a Hornady projector for a couple years and upgraded to a Dillon 650 progressive press about 20 years ago. I primarily reload pistol and 223. No complaints with the reloads but I haven't tried any long range precision rifle reloads. Dillon does have a no BS lifetime warranty on their equipment. The case feeder motor locked up after 20 years of use. I emailed Dillon and they sent a new motor - no charge and free shipping with a return shipping label to return the old one.

A log book is essential to keep track of what you've done over the years. Digital calipers and an electronic scale are time savers. A chronograph is also important for load development. Don't forget plenty of lighting around your reloading bench.
 

Strykervet

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Hahaha,

A case prep station is very helpful. There are a few out there.

I have an ultrasonic cleaner and a SS tumbler. I sonic clean mostly. It's not better but it's not worse.

Case and bullet comparator. Definitely a must.

Case lube. A few different methods on that.
A mitutoyo caliper. Its solid plus a fun word to say.

I learned a ton on here and was able to go out and not fuck things up. Lots of knowledge on here. You will see a trend with many products and methods. Once again take good notes, mental/physical.
Funny, I'd have said all that to the T!

You need a good manual, probably the Lyman for that but one specific to your powder or bullet brand is also good, then get Loadbooks for each caliber you plan to load; they have data from several sources in one book for one particular cartridge. The book has all the basics you need to know plus data.

I got my Mitutoyo caliper at a pawn shop like 30 years ago and the damn thing had to be 30 years old then at least! It's still dead on. I got a cheap Franklin set and it's not nearly as consistent but works well enough and I keep the Hornady shit clamped to it.

The ultrasonic cleaner is nice, especially for small amounts of brass and you can use it for suppressor and weapons cleaning too. Hornady makes one, I got 500 free bullets with it so it wasn't too bad. A cheap dry tumbler is good to have too.

I second the Chargemaster, that singular item has helped more than anything IMO. I'd like a second one so I could go faster. I use like an auto trickler with BMG brass, throwing ~230gr. and letting it do the rest.

It's hard to say with the press. I have a 650 but I still use my old RCBS single stage for all kinds of odd jobs. The cheap little 505 scale I use now and again to test the Chargemaster. I don't really use any of the other stuff.

I really like the Wilson gauges, they're fast and easy to use. I also have the Hornady setup but still like the Wilson gauges.

I don't use the prep station anymore, I have an RCBS though. Once I switched to the Dillon auto trimmer I never looked back, that's probably the singular piece of equipment that really changed it all. Speaking of, you'll need a trimmer. A good one, preferably an automatic one and not a hand crank. Unless you aren't loading much, that manual shit gets old fast. The Dillon trimmer goes in the press but it sizes, trims and chamfers in one go, and expander mandrel opens the neck up and presto --done.

I do case lube, I sell it on here. Pure cosmetic grade lanolin emulsified in 99% alcohol at an 8:1 ratio. You can cut it with 100% more alcohol and it'll still be stronger than anything else sold. It'll last you forever that way and uncut it'll size military BMG brass without any effort. Nobody sells the stuff nearly as strong or as cheap. So I can help with that.

Good luck!
 

Boatninja

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Back to the press question, any specific make/model ? bushing type? progressive etc that is preferred? That will be my next purchase. My buy once cry once philosophy is going to have me crying a lot .
 

jd65

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I've been looking into upgrading my press and my research has brought me to a Forster Co-Ax... if I can find one.
 

Spdy

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If your going progressive press you can’t beat Dillon (IMHO). Good press, unbelievable warranty, lots of aftermarket support and they hold value if you want to sell. The Dillon powder measure holdsvalmost exactly to setting with fine powder and + or - 0.1 grain with some medium powders. Not sure how it would work on course flake powder. They can be a little tedious to load small quantities like in load development. I would be interested to hear if anyone uses a adillon for precision long range cartridges.
 

FishDr

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I use a Dillon for precision reloads for certain cartridges. 308 using 2000 MR or 223 using XBR 8208 come to mind. I think there was a thread on here a couple years ago about that. I’ve done some specific mods to the powder measure to make it happen. SD runs under ab 5-6.
 

Rust

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Everyone has their own personal favorite when it comes to presses, and it's usually the one they own, That said any good quality press should serve you well for decades. I load my match ammunition on a Rockchucker I've had for around 40 years. I figure if I keep cleaning and oiling the ram and oiling the linkage pins it will last another 40 even if I won't. You can go the Dillon route for a progressive press but buy in is a lot higher. A turret press like the Redding T-7 might suit you better

The majority of my dies are Redding with a sprinkling of RCBS. I use the Stoney Point/Hornady Length Gauge set up to determine bullet seating for each rifle. The Redding Micrometer Seating dies make adjusting seating depth a breeze for match ammo. Once my die are set up I use the Sinclair lock rings which DO NOT run a screw into the die threads but clamp the lock ring and so no adjustments are lost. If I'm loading for a semi I full length size. Anytime the brass may be used in different rifles it gets full length sized. Match rifles, usually neck sized with a full length size if chambering gets a little stiff.

RCBS Chargemaster 1500. Possibly the best thing in many years. Use a quality surge suppressor/powder conditioner, warm up thee thing for at least aa half hour before use, close the door when throwing a charge, get a lightweight aluminum pan instead of the plastic pan (static electricity). I called the factory help line and actually slowed it down. The powder measure is not on the same bench as the press so I can seat a bullet while the next charge is dropping without shaking/screwing up the next charge. Huge time savings. Powder throwers are fine and all for very fine grain or ball powers, but they don't throw coarse stick worth crap and trickling is way time consuming. I haven't pulled a powder thrower out of the cabinet in years.

For match ammo I use a Wilson case trimmer with the micrometer adjustment. For bulk trimming I've got a Dillon 650 with a case feeder and a trimmer. That Dillon has loaded a ton of ammo without single problem with a couple of things to keep in mind. The automatic powder measure works fine with fine grain pistol powders, ball powders and very fine stick powders BUT like all powder measures/throwers coarse stick powders just don't meter to a tenth. For advice on loading match grade rifle ammo on a Dillon I'd just say watch the videos like
.

Quality calipers. The battery never dies on a dial caliper, but a quality digital caliper is real handy. I don't skimp on calipers or micrometers but that's just me.

As far as other odds and ends go, personal preference. I like the heavy Sinclair loading blocks. Dillon case lube spray works fine.

Bottom line is start with a solid press and decent dies.

One caveat: While the 6.5 Guys in the video are pretty knowledgeable, there are those less so. Whidden is another decent source.
 
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Boatninja

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I found a new Forster co-ax on eBay for $426, shipping included. after that purchase I'll be getting other tools a little at a time, also got Redding match grade, micrometer type dies. I'm working in Mexico for a few weeks so won't be shooting for a while, gotta make some $$s to feed my obsession.
 

Schütze

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I found a new Forster co-ax on eBay for $426, shipping included. after that purchase I'll be getting other tools a little at a time, also got Redding match grade, micrometer type dies. I'm working in Mexico for a few weeks so won't be shooting for a while, gotta make some $$s to feed my obsession.
If you haven’t ordered the press from eBay yet, you get it way cheaper from midway... I just ordered one last week for $355 incl. shipping to Florida, don’t feed these eBay vultures Lol
 

rdsii64

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If a single stage meets your needs, I am of the opinion that you can't go wrong with a Forster Coax. If a progressive press is what meets your needs Anything from the big 3 (Dillon, Hornady, RCBS) will do you just fine. I personally have two Dillon 650's and a Forster Coax, and am quite happy with them.