Best beginner brand/reloading kit for big rifle cartridges?

Aussie_Hunter

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I'm still crunching the numbers and weighing up costs etc when it comes to reloading vs buying factory ammo and I am after a bit of advice on reloading gear/kits/brands etc.

Hornady seems the most simple to use with their bushing design? But Hornady also seems significantly cheaper than RCBS which does concern me because as we all know you get what you pay for and I don't think it would be a good idea to skimp on quality when it comes to reloading.

At this point in time I am looking at reloading for big rifle cartridges only- 375H&H and 458 Lott.

Which brand would be best for this type of reloading? And are the basic kits such as the Hornady classic deluxe kit suitable/sufficient? Or would I just be better off buying the best quality and more elaborate equipment such as the electronic, digital powder dispensers straight away as that is what a lot of people seem to upgrade to eventually anyway?
 

Jeffrey

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As far as presses go, I do most of my hand loading with a $40 Lee Hand press. You can get a Lee 50th anniversary kit for quite cheap. I like nicer Redding, RCBS, and Hornady dies. People will trash talk Lee equipment but nothing you hunt will notice the difference. I actually prefer my Lee powder thrower to stuff that costs three times as much. Lee’s handheld case trimmers are also found to be convenient by many.

Experienced reloaders are heterodox in their equipment preferences. I like RCBS single stage presses and Dillon progressive presses. I like Hornady’s beam balance scale best and Lyman’s hand priming tool best, for example.
 

Ridgewalker

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I’ve owned multiple presses. I’m an experimenter and it has cost a lot playing, but it is one of the fun things in my life. Currently I have...
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1013021227?pid=824144
I like it even more than I did my old RCBS Rockchucker. It uses Lee’s proprietary “breech lock” system which makes changing dies very quick. I only have a 375 H&H for my biggest bore, but it does a fine job of full length resizing and seating of bullets.
You will have to look for a kit with it. It is a sturdy cast iron frame with a spent primer catcher that is handy.
If you don’t mind screwing the dies in all the time, the Redding Big Boss is a very tough press.
I just change dies and cartridges so often that I don’t like screwing them in over and over. I know, I’m getting lazy in my old age! But, my old hands don’t work as well as they once did.
If you know anyone who reloads, you might want to try what ever setup they have just to see how it works.
Best of luck in your choosing!
 

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PARA45

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The one thing you must take into account when choosing a press, is if it's going to be wide enough to reload the 375 & 458. I believe Hornady makes excellent products, and as a starter set, you would be good to go.

I first started with a Lee single stage press, dies, and primer loader, which produced very good quality ammo.
I primarily use Redding Deluxe die sets, they have a full length size die, and a neck size die. My presses are RCBS Rock Chuckers, and Dillon 550 progressives. I you haven't already, I'd suggest getting a couple of reloading manuals, they will tell you all you need to get started, and there is also a section on reloading.

The beauty about reloading is that you'll tailor your ammo to your rifle. You most likely end up shooting more, since it would be cheaper than buying factory ammo. Find someone who is already a season reloader, and have him show the ropes. If not, ask away, and we'll try to help you here. Good luck, and let us know what you decide.
 

Shootist43

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There is a Kiwi named Nathan Foster that wrote a book called the Practical Guide to Reloading. Even though this book contains no reloading data it is probably the best reloading guide on the market. Attached is a link to his website. https://www.ballisticstudies.com/sh...Practical+Guide+To+Reloading+(Paperback).html

Nathan discusses the pro and cons of various presses and the other pieces of reloading equipment "kit" as he calls it. I strongly suggest you get and read through the book before making any purchases.
 

Newboomer

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Lee Classic single stage press will handle larger calibers. It is an O type which you need for larger calibers. A C type may have a tendency to bend under high pressure. I load 375HH and 404 Jeffery on mine with no problems. I like RCBS dies for all my calibers. They are simple to set up and easy to use. Unless you are going to load hundreds or thousands of rounds at a time a single stage is plenty adequate and so much simpler to use compared to a progressive. I've found that the fewer parts there are the less problems and things to go wrong.
 

Ridge Runner

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I started out reloading using a Lyman single stage many years ago.

I prefer Lee reloading kits because they are easy and more adaptable to interchanging accessories and they cost less than other kits on the market. Lee despite those that dont like them, are very good reloading presses and accessories.

If you are going to be doing a lot of reloading I would recommend going to a turret press over a single stage.

Only because I couldn't find a Lee kit locally, I caved and purchased an RCBS turret press and since purchased 2 extra turrets, at 2-3 times the price Lee turrets, and Hornady digital powder scales to individually weight each powder charge.

I would reccomend Lee carbide dies to cut down on the mess and periodic cleaning of dies after using a case lube pad and case lube. Carbide dies cost more but the savings on purchasing case lube more than makes up for the extra cost for the dies.

For a beginner reloader I would recommend starting out with a Lee turret press. Then you must feel the need to spend the money, get an RCBS press and use your Lee dies with it.

A beginner may think they are only going to reload a few rounds a year and a single stage is all they need, but once they get started they soon discover reloading becomes as much of an addiction as shooting.

Good luck on what you decide on and post with pictures of your set up.
 

Newboomer

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Good advice. I have my Lee single stage and have loaded many rounds and calibers on it but am considering getting a Lee turret as a secondary. When you load for several calibers it can become tiresome to have to break one caliber down to set up another. With two I can leave my most used calibers set up and change when I go to another caliber. Also with a turret you can have all the dies for a caliber in the turret and not have to change dies for each operation. Just change the turret plates.
Ah, so many options and you will always find more.
 

Hogpatrol

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I'm still crunching the numbers and weighing up costs etc when it comes to reloading vs buying factory ammo and I am after a bit of advice on reloading gear/kits/brands etc.

Hornady seems the most simple to use with their bushing design? But Hornady also seems significantly cheaper than RCBS which does concern me because as we all know you get what you pay for and I don't think it would be a good idea to skimp on quality when it comes to reloading.

At this point in time I am looking at reloading for big rifle cartridges only- 375H&H and 458 Lott.

Which brand would be best for this type of reloading? And are the basic kits such as the Hornady classic deluxe kit suitable/sufficient? Or would I just be better off buying the best quality and more elaborate equipment such as the electronic, digital powder dispensers straight away as that is what a lot of people seem to upgrade to eventually anyway?

If you're going for 100 yard minute of animal accuracy and not 1000 yard 1/2 moa on paper, the Hornady, RCBS or Lee kits will all work.
 

JimP

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As for the ease of setting up the dies they are all about the same. On the Hornady you have to set them up inside the sleeves and then changing them out is quicker. But once you have them set up for the other presses and have the lock ring locked all you have to do is to screw them in. You might save 30 seconds with the Hornady.

But then a other adjustments will need to be done if you change bullets
 

Aussie_Hunter

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So it sounds like the cheaper Lee kits are not as bad as I thought they would be? I had sort of counted them out just based on the more budget price point, I thought they would be cheap and nasty.
 

Timbo

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As @Newboomer says, a single stage press is adequate. I've reloaded for ages and like to keep tight control over every stage of the process to ensure consistency and uniformity that goes a long way towards accuracy. By carefully reloading one stage at a time, you will have the unhurried time to learn and understand what you are doing. For instance, apart from just weighing a random powder charge now and again, I still perform simple visual checks as well, like running a torch over a batch of cartridges - just prior to having the bullet seated - which is a simple way of ensuring the powder charge has filled each case to the same level. For the quality of your reloaded ammunition, as paired to your rifle and purpose, I'll say it is by far more accurate and cheaper than factory ammunition.

Reloading is a very interesting and absorbing hobby where you'll also gain knowledge and an appreciation for the internal, external and - ultimately - terminal ballistics of your efforts. To me, it's most satisfying to inspect a recovered projectile from a trophy, and confirm that it has performed exactly how I reloaded it to do.

[BTW, if you decide on a Lee Turret press, as @Ridge Runner suggests, I've got one - still unused in the box - with a few turret plates (that was bequeathed to me) if you're interested.] (y)
 
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Forrest Halley

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I like Lee dies for anything I can get them in. They are inexpensive and really great with customer service.
I use Hornady Custom locking rings on all of my dies. If they don't come with the Hornady Custom locking rings, they get them in short order.
RCBS Dies are what I use for .375 H&H and I could not be happier.
Hornady Custom Dies are what I use for .458 Lott and I enjoy the finished product. The .452 neck sizing is rather interesting to look at and it sort of makes them look like .450/.400's at a glance. The rifle could care less.
 

bruce moulds

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do not assume that electronic scales are better than balance.
the redding balance beam is economical and fast and accurate.
sharpening the pivot knives makes balance beams more sensitive.
they are consistent and can detect 1 kernel of powder repeatedly.
an o press will do any reloading and once dies are set up it is not a big deal changing them.
most Hornady, redding, rcbs dies are good.
so now you can size cases, seat bullets, and weigh powder (and bullets and cases).
a hand priming tool is so far ahead of priming in a press that it is good to have one, but you can prime in the press 'till you get the feel of loading ammo.
here is all you need to load good ammunition.
to be sure of safety, a case trimmer is a must, as cases can grow and jam in the transition, virtually crimping the case into the bullet when you close the bolt, causing dangerous pressure.
the little lee hand trimmer is cheap and as effective as any for a beginner.
if you just start here, you can load excellent ammo, certainly better than factory, while learning.
after more experience is gained, you might feel that you need more "stuff", but you might not either.
bruce.
 

GeoffB

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Apart from the advise provided by others so far it’s worth getting a book on reloading.
The best one I recon is the local Aussie one from Nick Harvey.
It’s available from most gun shops and has loading information for the calibers you have with Australian and US powders.

upload_2020-3-1_14-59-35.jpeg
 

Ray B

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My history may illustrate the process. My first outfit was a Lee Loader for 308, which was the only centerfire rifle that I owned/used for several years. With it a loading manual, an Ohaus 505 scale and a mallet I was able to reload all the cases that had been fired in my rifle. As the cases stretched I shortened them with a deburring tool. Wanting to load for different rifles meant full length resizing so I got an RCBS Rockchucker, dies and an actual case trimmer. That was the tooling that produced satisfactory results for years. Of late I've been changing back to hand tools where available- LE Wilson tools accomplish the reloading tasks with much less disruption to the case and much more uniform results- although not without significantly more labor. I still use that Ohaus scale but I do reference a Powley Computer (cardboard, not electric) to get a starting point on loads.
 

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