Best beginner brand/reloading kit for big rifle cartridges?

nksmfamjp

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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?
The Hornady Classic kit is quite functional. You can load it all with a beam scale and trickling method. ....but the Hornady Dispenser pays for itself quickly!

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.
Honestly, you won’t be happy. I don’t have experience struggling with lee presses, but I have struggled with their other stuff. You cannot see press flex, but it creates incredible frustration trying to make consistent ammo.

Also, get yourself a good dial micrometer (such as a Mitutoyo - accurate to 1/1000") is very handy for ensuring lengths, depths and widths for a variety of reloading applications as well.
I replaced a Mitutoyo dial caliper with a Hornady digital caliper....it has proven accurate and reliable. I have heard many skilled machinists question name brand calipers when many lower priced ones prove accurate and reliable on gages.
 

MarkB

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Got a RCBS Rockchucher kit some 35+ years ago. Still have as my only reloading kit. Does all I ask/need, including 375 h&h, may update to an electric trickle scale and retire the old balance beam. But it is very fulfilling watching that beam balance every rounds black go powder, adds joy. Another stupid reason, I love green and to see that bench all green makes me smile.

MB
 

Will 416

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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)
I have never heard of running a torch over cases with a powder charge in them. Please tell me more about how this works. I am intrigued but very cautious of flames in the reloading room.
 

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I have never heard of running a torch over cases with a powder charge in them. Please tell me more about how this works. I am intrigued but very cautious of flames in the reloading room.
In a lot of different countries a flashlight is called a torch. I am sure that he didn't mean a torch such as a open flame

But that could get real interesting real fast if you used a open flame
 

Wyatt Smith

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I have never heard of running a torch over cases with a powder charge in them. Please tell me more about how this works. I am intrigued but very cautious of flames in the reloading room.
I’m just guessing, but I think he means a flashlight.

Edit. I see I was to slow.
 
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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?
Aussie Hunter
I would seriously look at the LEE range of reloading equipment.
They make everything from the basic Lee loader up to the big 50BMG press. You can get everything from single C frames up to automatic presses .
Don't be put off by the cheap price they are good value for money.
I've been using one for 15 years without issue. I also have a C press for range use and a hand press for the bush.
Their dies are extremely well made also. I would advise an electronic scale and volumetric powder measure.
Cheers mate Bob
 

CBH Australia

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I have never heard of running a torch over cases with a powder charge in them. Please tell me more about how this works. I am intrigued but very cautious of flames in the reloading room.
Try a batteru torch.
I have a reading light over my bench and i pick up the tray and look to be sure that every case has powder. A small batteru torch or reading light makes this easy. Eg a tray of 50 cases if you missed one on the powder thrower it will be a problem if there is a bullet with no powder in your gear next outing.
 
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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)
Tomboy
How much do you want for it and how much would it cost to get to Australia.
If Aussie Hunter isn't interested I sure am.
Cheers mate Bob
You can PM me if you want.
 
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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.
RayB
Mate I started with a hydraulic decapper for the old 303, a simplex vice neck Sizes,a dippers for the powder and an unknown brand bullet seating set up.
Bob
 

Will 416

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In a lot of different countries a flashlight is called a torch. I am sure that he didn't mean a torch such as a open flame

But that could get real interesting real fast if you used a open flame


I’m just guessing, but I think he means a flashlight.

Edit. I see I was to slow.

Try a batteru torch.
I have a reading light over my bench and i pick up the tray and look to be sure that every case has powder. A small batteru torch or reading light makes this easy. Eg a tray of 50 cases if you missed one on the powder thrower it will be a problem if there is a bullet with no powder in your gear next outing.
Lol. I was having a blonde moment. It completely skipped my mind. Sleep deprivation makes for some interesting reading.
 
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I have a Hornady press. I generally screw dies I need and out saves buying more Colette’s that don’t fit in the die box. I do see that the collect system has o rings at the top and there is minimal movement. I can load suitably for my needs I haven’t been tried to get sub half inch an
S there are other variables that I don’t test measure or check
Lee probably will suffice
I like Hornady dies, I also have Redding but you are not trying to reload for benchrest match.
The Forster Coax press has a reputation for being capable of excellent accuracy as the die is floating and aids concentricity.
Nathan Foster of Terminal Ballistics Research site NZ promotes the Forster. He promotes his views too but seems to have. Following.
The ADI reloading manual is inexpensive and lists a lot of Data for ADI powders made in Australia.
Woodleigh Bullets have a reloading manual with a lot of big bore data and compiled using their Aussie projectiles.
I also have the Nick Harvey book. All will get you started .
If you settled on the Hornady it will be fine. You will add what you require as you work out your needs.
CBH
Chris
Lee bullet seating dies have floating seater stems. 99.9% of my reloading is all Lee, I don't try to load for half inch groups either but with the LEE I manage 0.3 inch groups with my son's 308, my 25 groups 0.8 inch 200 yard groups and my 35 Whelen 0.75 inch regularly at 100 yards. Oh forgot the LEE dies also produce 0.25 inch group with my 22K Hornet.
I don't think it's the dies but the method of reloading.
That's my 2 cents worth.
Cheers
Bob.
 

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I can't add too much here. Honestly it's tough to find bad reloading products. Lee makes great products. After looking at a few, my first reloading manual was a Lee manual. It's the most generic out there since Lee doesn't make bullets or powder, so they list a wide range of bullets and powders. And from reading the intro you get their philosophy, which is making great simple products. If you need to crimp bullets the Lee Factory Crimp is the go-to. I'm a big fan of their case trimmers too.
 

CBH Australia

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@Bob Nelson 35Whelen would Lee dies improve performance of my .243 loads, just asking for the wifes rifle thats all.
 
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@Bob Nelson 35Whelen would Lee dies improve performance of my .243 loads, just asking for the wifes rifle thats all.
CBH
Chris the only thing that will improve your wife rife is get rid of that tomato stake and get her a weatherby S2 in 25/06.
That will turn the tomato stake into a real rifle.
Cheers mate Bob
 

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I use RCBS, no issues.
 

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Again everyone thanks for all the wisdom, recommendations, knowledge and help.

Turns out my dealer already had 3 of the Hornady classic lock and load kits on order at a special price which works out great for me because I was leaning that way anyway so I've got my name on one of those. To add to that I managed to order what seems to be the only 458 Lott dies available at any of the Australian distributors at the moment so I got lucky there (dies are also Hornady)
I also ordered Hornady shell holders, sur-loc rings, case trimmer and the Woodleigh reloading manual along with a 50pk of 500grn Woodleigh weldcores and a 50pk of new Hornady brass to start with. I've already got 20 once fired Hornady brass as well and Calipers I will find around town somewhere this week when I get around to it.

Should get me started!
 

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Also if anyone has any load data for the 458 Lott with the 500grn Woodleigh Weldcores please feel free to share.
 

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I bought a RCBS kit years ago, used, for a great price.
I suggest you look at Craigslist or whatever you have for local listings and try to get a kit. After a few batches, you'll know if there are any changes you wish to make.... Or find a local person who reloads and get their opinion/advice and supervision.
 

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A Lee Factory Crimp die won’t hurt, especially for a hard kicking round like the 458 Lott. Some people get real emotional when crimping comes up, but a light crimp won’t hurt anything.
 

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Supplies to OZ?

I was in contact with a friend of mine in OZ. He could use some scope mounts that I had laying around here in the US. I offered to send them to him. These are fifty year old B&L adjustable bases- nothing about them could be considered a threat. He said that with the present OZ laws it is a violation to send/receive anything related to firearms without appropriate government permits,etc. So I'm wondering, since there is evidently an issue of getting reloading equipment to OZ that is commonplace in the US, Would there be a problem with sending something such as an LE Wilson sizing die and bushings to someone in OZ? If it's illegal, then forget the idea. But if not, LE Wilson is a few miles down the road and I'd be happy to be a go between.
 

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