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No problem with the kit at all, I bought it and it works great. In fact, they've upgraded the press since I bought mine, putting a nice "breech lock" feature in it (making die changing a snap), beefed it up, and replaced the aluminum linkage parts with steel.

I would get the Lee Anniversary kit in a heartbeat and get the Lee Reloading manual, too. I have since upgraded to their Classic Cast press (just because), but there was no real need. Many folks have been loading very accurate ammo on the original Challenger press for decades.

You do need to run abotu 3 hoppers of powder through the measure to coat it with dust and get rid of static in the plastic parts to prevent cling and bridging, but after that, it throws very accurate loads indeed.

The scales feels cheesy, but it works well, and I suspect all balance beam scales are a bit finicky, so I wouldn't spend more on a balance scale. The upgrade there is electronic.

Just because, I bought a set of Lyman check weights and the Lee scale is very accurate.

Great stuff. You are right, there is better out there, but the marginal improvement per dollar doesn't make any sense to me. Lee is good enough stuff.

John
 

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Ringo1508 wrote:
I know there's probably much better tools out there (that I can later upgrade to) ... but based on your experiences (since some of you have been doing this for 20 years! ) will I just be throwing money out the door
If you consider that buying ammo for a magnum rifle will cost between $40 and $60 a box, ten boxes, or 200 rounds, is $400-$600, and a single round is 2-3 dollars. I load my .300 RUM for around 75 cents a piece. I can shoot 50 rounds in a session easily. For folks who have to drive 50 miles or so to a range, it's a waste of time to take 20 shots and go home.

You can buy cheap ammo for a .308 Winchester for $12-15 per box of 20 . That's around 60-75 cents a piece. I can load .308 ammo of match quality for around 45 cents a piece, a savings of $3-$4 a box.

At this rate, your equipment will pay for itself in 300 rounds or less for a magnum shooter,or 1000 rounds of .308 Winchester, or 1500 rounds of .223 Remington.
So, if you only plan to load for a .223 Remington, and you shoot less than 1500 rounds in a year plinking cans, reloading might not be for you.

On the other side of the coin with reloading, You pick and choose your components,you load for better consistancy, and you can tailor your ammo to the harmonics of your barrel, a step beyond the best that factory match ammo can offer you. And in most cases, you will receive a substantial savings in cost if you shoot volumes of ammo, like I do.

If you've ever thought, Gee,I'd sure like to target shoot with my .300 Winchester Magnum, reloading is the ONLY way most of us could afford it. I couldn't afford to spend $250 dollars for a day at the range, and 5 boxes of rounds wouldn't cover that. Plus, I can load Barnes, or Nosler, or Hornady bullets to hunt with.Price a box of Hornady light magnums.

So, at least in my case, it's well worth reloading. Match ammo at a third the price.It all boils down to how much you like to shoot, and how much you do shoot.

Jeff

My figures are close approximations, but you get the idea.
 

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Where are you guys picking up your brass at?

I am seeing 300+$ for 1000 brass on MidwayUSA + $240 for 1000 bullets of Sierra MatchKing 175gr.

It seems it would take a lot of ammo to justify the cost of the equipment.

Man Lapua brass is expensive...
 

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Divide the Lapua cost by a half dozen reloadings and it won't seem so bad! Of course that doesn't help when you get out the plastic to order some. :lol:
 

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JCinPA said:
Divide the Lapua cost by a half dozen reloadings and it won't seem so bad! Of course that doesn't help when you get out the plastic to order some. :lol:
Sorry, I am a bit noobish with reloading, but hoping to wet my ears soon so I am doing some shopping.

Is 6 about how many times I can expect them to last?

What about the cheaper Winchester or Remington brass?

Midway USA had 1 or 8 lbs of powder: how many .308's can I expect to make from 1 lb?
 

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I don't know, I'm less than a year reloading myself, but it depends on a lot of factors, how hot your load is, how much you resize, etcetera. I suspect you could get a few more, or 1-2 less depending, but someone knowledgeable will come along and give you better info.

My point was, don't look at the brass as overly expensive without taking into consideration the fact that you will get multiple rounds out of that brass. Even with Lapua brass, if you aren't reloading for 1/2 or less the cost of high quality (Lapua brass would be considered high quality) premium commercial rounds, you're not doing it right.

And for cheap, plinking rounds for your 9mm or .45, who cares about quality brass. But for precision shooting where you are handloading for accuracy as well as economy, Lapua brass is well worth the expenditure. I've had good results with Remington and Winchester brass, too, but I just bought some Lapua. Haven't loaded it yet, but I'm anxious to.

Have fun!


Edit: Oops! forgot your other question. There are about 7,000 grains to the pound. So it depends on your load. For example, if you are using 46 grains of a particular powder, divide 7,000 by 46 to get about 152 rounds. Adjust for your charge weight.
 

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JCinPA said:
I don't know, I'm less than a year reloading myself, but it depends on a lot of factors, how hot your load is, how much you resize, etcetera. I suspect you could get a few more, or 1-2 less depending, but someone knowledgeable will come along and give you better info.

My point was, don't look at the brass as overly expensive without taking into consideration the fact that you will get multiple rounds out of that brass. Even with Lapua brass, if you aren't reloading for 1/2 or less the cost of high quality (Lapua brass would be considered high quality) premium commercial rounds, you're not doing it right.

And for cheap, plinking rounds for your 9mm or .45, who cares about quality brass. But for precision shooting where you are handloading for accuracy as well as economy, Lapua brass is well worth the expenditure. I've had good results with Remington and Winchester brass, too, but I just bought some Lapua. Haven't loaded it yet, but I'm anxious to.

Have fun!


Edit: Oops! forgot your other question. There are about 7,000 grains to the pound. So it depends on your load. For example, if you are using 46 grains of a particular powder, divide 7,000 by 46 to get about 152 rounds. Adjust for your charge weight.
Thanks for the reply JC.

I will most likely be duplicating this load posted by SRTS1 on another thread: 168 SMK 42.5 GR IMR 4895, CCI BR primers, Uniformed flash hole, 2.015 OA case length, chamferred neck

If I change this to 175 SMK will anything need to change?

I wonder what brass Federal uses on their GMM.

I dont have my own pistol yet but am hoping to pick up a CZ 75 SP-01 some time in the near future.
 

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TimCat said:
I will most likely be duplicating this load posted by SRTS1 on another thread: 168 SMK 42.5 GR IMR 4895, CCI BR primers, Uniformed flash hole, 2.015 OA case length, chamferred neck

If I change this to 175 SMK will anything need to change?
A heavier bullet has more mass and is longer. A longer bullet has more metal contacting the rifle lands, and thus a heavier bullet has more drag and inertia to overcome in order to get it moving. If you use the same amount of powder as you do for a lighter bullet, the pressure will go through the roof, and you could significantly injure yourself. Always reduce a given/published load 5% and work up.

Always look at published load data in reloading manuals, etc. data.hodgdon.com is a good free resource. Hodgdon shows maximum loads between the 168 and 175 SMK to be very close.
 

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this is a great guide for beginners like myself, now i am hooked and I just ordered me a kit. Hopefully i will become a avid reloader.
 

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TimCat said:
Midway USA had 1 or 8 lbs of powder: how many .308's can I expect to make from 1 lb?
Tim, there's 7000 grains in a pound of powder... As long as you know your powder charge, this is easy to figure. For example, I load 41.5 gr or IMR-4895 in my "7.62x51 Nato copy" ammo.

7000gr divided by 41.5 gr = ~168 loads... So I can reasonably expect to get 165 loaded rounds per pound.

Hopefully that makes sense. :?

And, YEAH - powder ain't cheap. :cry:
 

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Apologies is this is a stupid question, but - if you are resizing cases with the press, why do you also need to trim them? I have been looking at getting the RCBS Partner Press kit, .308 dies + shellholder and the RCBS priming tool. Having re-read this thread, do I need to add a case trimmer to the list?!

Many thanks

Matthais_31
 

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The pressure and heat of firing cartridges makes the brass flow the neck of the case longer, and the act of resizing a case can strech a case to a small degree. Resizing won't shorten the neck, so it needs to be trimmed to length.


Jeff
 

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MAD! Wonderful work...

Many thanks for the outstanding guide and common sense application. Will make my entrance into RELOADING much easier... been 30 years since I did it.
 

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No time like the present for reloading... the current prices of magnum cartridges is around $50 a box for better grade stuff.

Jeff
 

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i know im late but hey mad these are some great threads you have going here lots of info have been wanting to start handloads thanks for the info
 

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I looked and didnt see anything too particular on trimming. I have been reloading for about a year now with great results. I just wanted to add my 2 cents to what I have learned. I use an RCBS trimmer and found that the 5 standard shell holders won't fit all cases so be sure your case will fit or you will be making a trip back to the store. I found this problem with the 270 & 300WSM brass, and also the .204 Ruger. If you choose to crimp for any reason it is absolutely necessary to trim your cases. At least when using the RCBS bullet seating dies

Here's why:

When you crimp you set the depth for a specific length of cartridge. You actually set the die a hair lower, so when you run it up it hits an inner edge and rolls the very edge into the bullet. If you don't trim, you can run a longer case (even if only a few thousands) up and the extra length will cause too much pressure and you will blow out the neck and ruin the case. I learned this from experience. I don't crimp my rifle cartridges.

Another good reason to trim cases it is adds accuracy. I will try to explain why. If all the cases are trimmed, you have the same amount of material on the bullet and the same amount of pressure will release the bullet when fired. If a case is untrimmed, there can be more area of the case holding the bullet and thus more pressure built before releasing the bullet when fired. This can cause changes in trajectory even if only in small amounts. Just like when you crimp a bullet, you can increase case pressures when fired. If you reload for accuracy then you need to try and make each loaded round identical.


I have used the Over All length gauge to measure bullet seating depth. You use a special cartridge with threads on the back. Some of you may have seen these hanging in the aisle and scratched your heads like I did. It allows you to set your bullet right to the lands and grooves of your rifling. It is beleived that this will help with accuracy and throat life of your barrel. Anyone have any feedback on this?
 

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robert60446 wrote:


I'm planning to go with RCBS RC Supreme Master Reloading Kit.
A great choice. I think that a cast steel press is the way to go. Lee kits are a great way to go, but eventually you'll gravitate to a cast steel press anyway.

Jeff
 
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