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Old 03-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
Biscuits's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2011
From: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 12
Newb reloader question

So Im just getting in to reloading. I bought an old Lyman single stage press from a guy who never took it out of the box and I have a set of RCBS .270 dyes that a freind gave me. Other than that I have nothing.

My question is: "Do all dies work with any press or are they brand specific"

Also, would I be better off piecing my supplies together or just saving up and getting a starter kit? Basically What should I buy next?

I want to load mainly .308 and .22-250, maybe .223 and .270 as well.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #2
Joined: Nov 2009
From: Bothell, WA
Posts: 53
To answer the first question: Yes, generally speaking all dies are interchangeable. If you've got a Dillon press (you don't) you may have to replace the locking ring. All of the die makers make a good product. Best bang for the buck is Lee, RCBS tends to be pricey but they are good products. Some like Lee because their tolerances tend to be a bit tighter than most. But, all of the die makers make good, serviceable products.

Now, as for what else you will need:

1. Lyman Reloading Manual. Read it, and read it again. Keep it on your bench. It will answer 99.9 percent of your questions and has good load data.
2. Scales. Beam or electronic, doesn't matter. Buy a good one, will last you a long time. Do not be tempted to buy one of the auto measuring scales. They work, but are slow.
3. Powder trickler. Let's you trickle powder to get your loads to the correct weight without going over and having to pull powder out of the pan. Will save you mondo time.
4. Case lube pad and lube. Don't get carried away with lube on cases. Too much screws up the clearances in your dies and will dent your cases. However, you need a little of it to keep you cases from getting stuck. Remember to wipe it off at the end.
5. Loading block. Plastic block to hold your shells while you reload them. I like to keep them upside down in the block until I am ready to put powder in them. The right side up ones have powder in them, the one with the funnel on it needs powder, and the upside down ones are emptys.
6. Powder funnel. Lets you pour powder into the shells.
7. Calipers. Good for measuring lengths and dimensions. Must have.

There are lots of other tools and goodies, but these are the basics. I would say that for now, don't get an auto powder measure. Spend some time measuring each load by hand to get the feel of what a correct measure of powder looks like for each load. Later on you can get an auto measure and speed things up. Before you even consider a progressive press, spend a lot of time with your single stage and understand the process and develop good safety habits. Those things have a lot going on and can bite you in the ass real hard if you don't have a good handle on the process.

Lastly but foremost, be safe. Wear safety glasses, primers especially are volatile. Be methodical and develop habits that are consistent and safe. Good habits can save you from making a critical brain fade error. You are talking multiple cartridge types, keep your constituents organized, double check them when you load, store them separately and only have what you are loading on your bench. Inspect your cases for damage, throw out any that are split, dented or suspect. When using load data, do not start at max loads, start at the lower and work your way up. Generally, the most accurate load for any firearm will be between min and max somewhere. If you don't know, don't guess; ask a question, we all love to help out. Never, never, never, exceed the max published load or mix powders.

Lastly, load lots, shoot often. There is a great deal of satisfaction in seeing how your shooting improves when developing accurate loads for your firearms.
Old 03-20-2011, 07:58 PM   #3
LivesToHunt's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2011
From: Issaquah, WA
Posts: 6
One other thing I would add, a case trimmer. Using the .270 Win as an example the trim to length for a .270 is 2.53" Calipers are a must and if your measure your case and it is 2.55" you will need to trim it to 2.53". Case that are too long can cause dangerous chamber pressures. You will also need a tool to chamfer and debur your case mouths after trimming them.

A case tumbler to clean your cases is also a nice addition. Reloading is fun and really saves you money.

As Saread said, read that reloading manual over and over. Knowledge is the key to safety and the manual will answer 99.9% of your questions.
Old 03-20-2011, 10:38 PM   #4
Joined: Feb 2009
From: Lacey, Wa
Posts: 126
I absolutely hate reloading... sometimes. I use a Lee single stage which does take awhile. :) What the others said... never never exceed max limits.

Also keep a log of your favorite loads. Its a useful tool to find out what works best for your guns.

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