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Old October 30th, 2013, 02:23 AM #1
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READ FIRST - MANDATORY READING!! Single Stage Reloading Startup Items

A member in another thread asked if somebody would take a crack at making a thread/post for those who are just about to start their journey of reloading, but they wish to use a single stage press. I gave this my best shot, and I hope it is up to par and helps you guys out.

EDIT NOTE: In order to maintain simplicity when sourcing the parts/components, I will be linking to MidwayUSA as much as possible, so that first time buyers will not have to place orders with multiple vendors. While I know that MidwayUSA does not have everything that more experienced reloaders would like me to add, I will do my best to keep it primarily MidwayUSA, unless absolutely necessary. Thanks for your patience and understanding with this.

Please note that I have added notations as to if an item is mandatory, required, recommended, or not required to start out with. Hopefully it makes it easier when buying parts in the very beginning and not getting sticker shock.

This is not a definitive list of everything that you will/would need to get set up with a singe stage press, but it is a start. For the sake of simplicity, I will be mostly using RCBS and Lyman for the press and other items along the way, due to my experience with RCBS and Lyman products.


REQUIRED ITEMS. Major equipment (presses, dies, shell holders).

Presses.

RCBS RockChucker

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/513...le-stage-press


You can get starter kits that have almost everything except for the dies.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/937...tage-press-kit

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Shoot...3Bcat104516280

http://www.cabelas.com/product/RCBS-...RI%3BIK-216927

Redding Big Boss II reloading press.

I have no experience with this press, but it was recommended by Bolts Rock, so I added it. It may be overkill for somebody just starting out, so keep that in mind if you are a beginner. - Bolts Rock edit.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/271...eloading-press

Forster Co-ax press.

This was a recommendation and I have no experience with this press. It is probably overkill for just starting out in the reloading world. - rico903 edit.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/265...le-stage-press


Dies.

Dies come in various calibers and are caliber specific. They will come as a single dies or a 2, 3, or 4 die set, depending on what caliber you are loading. - Pinecone edit

When buying dies, get carbide dies for pistol as much as possible, and get carbide rifle dies if you can. Carbide dies will be a bit more expensive than a steel die, due to the carbide being stronger/tougher and it won't scratch as easily as steel.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...earchscope=all


Shell holders.

Because I am basing this post on the RCBS RockChucker, there are some specific parts that you will need to get. One of those parts is the shell holder. A shell holder is a piece of metal that slips into the top of the ram on the RockChucker and is caliber specific, so it will hold the brass in the proper place as you are cycling the ram on your press. Please select the one(s) you will need to start reloading. Be forewarned that the shell holder number for say 308 are different for Lyman, Lee, RCBS, etc... I was informed that you can use other branded shell holders in other presses. (e.g. RCBS RockChucker using Lyman or Lee shell holders). - jimbobborg edit

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=13137


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

Powder accessories.

Required item. Powder measures.

I have been using a Lyman powder measure since I was very young. I can only recommend a Lyman #55 powder measure, due to not having any experience with any other type of powder measure.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/703...powder-measure


Required item. Powder scales.

Everybody has an opinion on the mechanical vs. digital scale debate, but I have used a mechanical since day one. I've seen digital scales drift and go haywire while sitting in one place. I am recommending a mechanical scale, and again I can only recommend a Lyman Pro 500 due to personal experience. My Dillon Eliminator came as part of an accessory pack for the Dillon 550.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/781...grain-capacity


Powder funnel. Recommended item.

I highly recommend you get a powder funnel so that after you weigh your charge, you can pour the charge into the case with no issues. I am using the Lyman E-ZEE Powder Funnel 22-50 Caliber on my bench, but any powder funnel will suffice.

All powder funnels at MidwayUSA.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=15185

Lyman E-ZEE Powder Funnel.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/137...-to-50-caliber


Powder tricklers. Recommended item, only if you will need it.

I do not have any experience with powder tricklers, so I can not recommend one over another. Find one that has good reviews and try it out. - Major03 edit

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=15184


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************


Primer accessories.

Required item. Priming systems.

I don't have any experience with the hand priming systems, due to having a priming system on the RockChucker I learned on many years ago. Read the reviews and find one that is right for you, but I can recommend RCBS. Depending on your press, you may be able to get a priming system that attaches to it. Otherwise you will have to use a hand priming system.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=12785


Required item. Primer flip trays.

There are lots of primer flip trays out there, read the reviews and pick one that you like.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/466...r-turning-tray

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/825...r-turning-tray

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/615...r-turning-tray

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/851...r-turning-tray


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

Case tools.

Primer pocket tools.

There are a lot that are out there on the market, and I don't have any experience with any of them. Find one that you like, based on reviews, and get it. This is not a required tool to start out. - K31, Pinecone edit

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11892


Swaging tools.

I don't have any experience with any of these (yet), so this is a recommendation. This is not a required tool to start. - Pinecone edit.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/conte...uper_Swage_600


Primer pocket reamers

I don't have any experience with this item either and it is a product recommendation. This is not a required tool to start out. - Pinecone edit.

Large.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/682...mer-tool-large

Small.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/643...mer-tool-small


Punches.

A punch to open case mouths is a good idea. Getting a taper punch in various sizes will be advantageous as you are reloading. This is not a required tool to start with. - K31 edit

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/t_10153_1...punch-set.html


Case gauges. Recommended.

While not required, they do have their purpose when it comes to reloading. I have no experience with case gauges as of this time, so I am unable to recommend one. I have linked to the page at MidwayUSA so you can select one that is right for you. Recommended but not required to start out. - Whitty Whit + IndispensableDestiny edit.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?userse...ensionid=12796


Chamfer and deburring tools.

Pick one that you like and get that one. This is not required to start out.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11891


Primer pocket deburring tools. This is not required to start out.

I have no experience with these. Get one you like, but keep in mind that they are caliber specific unless otherwise noted. - Major03 edit

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?userSe...deburring+tool


Case trimmers. This is not required to start out.

Eventually you will have to trim your cases. I have separated the power trimmer from the manual trimmers and marked them as such. Pick one out and happy trimming. You will not need a trimmer for straight walled pistol cartridges, but you will need one eventually for bottlenecked rifle cases.

Power trimmers.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11888

Manual trimmers.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11889


Calipers and micrometers.

There is always a debate when it comes to manual vs digital. My personal preference is anything that does not require power to operate is a good thing. Your choice between digital and manual is a personal choice that only you can make.

Required item. Calipers.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=12793

Micrometers. This is not required in the beginning, you will know when you need it.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=12795


************************************************Bo ttleneck cases only for this section******************************************* ***************

MANDATORY Case lube.

If you are going to reload bottleneck rifle cartridges, you will need to use case lube, so the cases do not get stuck in the sizing die. Pick out a case lube and see how it works for you.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11881

************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

Miscellaneous tools/items.

Reloading trays. Highly recommended item, but not required.

Reloading trays are an invaluable item that allows you to make 50 round batches (or less) when you reload. The trays will also help you stay organized and prevent the cases from falling over or spilling powder, also you won't have loose cases lined up on your bench while you reload. Organization during the reloading process is a big part of safety and the trays allow you be safer and more organized. I use the RCBS Universal Reloading Tray. It has the ability to go from a .22 cal all the way up to a .45ACP. Find one that you like and buy 2-4 of them for your bench.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=12802


Case tumblers. Not required to start with, but you will need one sooner rather than later.

If you want your fired brass to be shiny and spiffy (clean), get a case tumbler. You can save money on the media by going to a pet store and getting lizard bedding or other equivalent media for a lot less than what you would pay at a reloading store/website. Read the reviews on tumblers and pick one out that will work for you.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11893

*********************************
A note on case tumblers/cleaners. - Pincone edit.

The primary purpose for a tumbler is to clean the cases before reloading. Any dirt or grit on the cases can scratch the cases or WORSE, scratch your dies. You really should clean them first.

You can also use them to remove case lube after sizing. Even though some lubes say they are safe, I prefer to remove the lube before loading.

The secondary purpose is to make shiny polished brass. If you want that, you can just run longer or use SS pins (below).

Vibratory Tumblers - these are like they say, they vibrate. The shape of the bowl and the vibrations cause the media and the cases to move around in the bowl cleaning the cases. Typical media is based on corn cob or walnut hulls. Corn cob is more gentle, walnut hulls a bit more aggressive. The one really nice thing about vibratory is, you CAN tumble loaded rounds. When I load bulk .223 on my Dillon, I tumble the loaded rounds to remove the case lube.

Also, with a vibratory tumbler, you can leave the lid off, reach in and grab a case every so often to see if they are done or need more time.

I prefer a vibratory tumbler. A media separator will speed things up in separating the cases from the tumbling media.

Rotary Tumblers - These have a drum that rotates horizontally. They can use the same media as the vibratory, or they can use stainless steel pins with water. They clean more aggressively than a vibratory tumbler. It is typically NOT recommended to tumble loaded rounds in one. You also have to stop the tumbler to check the progress.

Using stainless steel pins and water, you can quickly clean and polish cases to a higher shine than new. If you like REALLY shiny brass, this is the way to go. You do have to deal with getting the pins out and then drying the brass, inside and out, before loading. And typically not a good idea to wet tumble loaded rounds.

Also, not as convenient for tumbled sized cases to remove the lube. I would not get rid of my vibratory tumbler if I decided to go SS pins, I would keep both.

Ultrasonic Cleaners - These are wet systems that generate ultrasonic waves in the liquid. The ultrasonic sound waves cause microscopic bubbles to be created on the surface of items, which then collapse, causing the cleaning action. Like SS pins with water, you have to dry the cases afterwards. And not the best for removing lube.

But nice to have around, your wife will like it to clean her jewelry. Not the best for polishing cases to a high shine.

Chemical Cleaners - There are various cleaners that you add to water to clean and shine cases. I am not a big fan, as there could be some changes in the brass from the chemicals.

Detergent and Water - Since the main reason is to remove dirt and grit, you can simply wash with dishwashing detergent and water. You do have to dry after cleaning. But pretty cheap way when you get started.
*********************************

Required item. Bullet pullers.

Also known as inertia hammers. If you need to pull the bullets because they were seated to shallow/deep, you use one of these. If you find that your charge was too heavy for the past X number of rounds, you use one of these. If you want to make sure there was powder in a round, you use one of these. Bullet pullers/inertia hammers allow you to take your mistakes, recover the bullet and the powder to try assembling the round all over again. Make sure you order extra collets/chucks (name of the part depends on the manufacturer of the hammer/puller) for your bullet puller/inertia hammer.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=12791


Required item. Bench.

You can build your bench out of anything you have at home. You can also order a bench from Harbor Freight or get and actual reloading bench from MidwayUSA or any other reloading company out there.


Required item(s). Bins/containers.

Bins.

These small bins are a godsend to brass, bullets, or anything else that is small and need to be place into stackable storage. I have 6 of them and I can't say enough good things about the organization and storage they allow me to have.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/332...stand-bin-gray

Containers.

You can also use plastic coffee cans for each step of the reloading process. - K31 edit


Ammo boxes. Recommended item.

Ammo boxes are a required item. Where else are you going to put your completed rounds that you just made? In your sock drawer? The boxes are made for specific calibers, so keep that in mind when ordering them. They will also come in various colors, configurations, and capacities. The boxes are designed for stacking, so you can stack them on a bookshelf or in a .50 cal ammo can, or wherever you want to store them. Be sure to have extras on hand so you can store the ammo you make up while the in laws are over for dinner.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11531


Ammo box labels. Recommended item.

Be sure to stock up on ammo box labels too. In each label you will have the ability to jot down the bullet manufacturer, bullet type, and bullet weight, in addition your powder charge weight and the type of powder, the date you loaded it, the primer manufacturer and the primer type, along with any other pertinent information you should commit to paper, for when you go to the range.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...ensionid=11529


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

Mandatory accessories other than tools.

Books.

A lot of people have opinions on books. I believe that the more books you have read and have on hand, the safer you will be as you pursue the hobby of reloading. The list below is by no means a total list of what you need to have in the beginning, but the list I am going to write will be a good start. Just remember that if you are going to load with Serra bullets, get your reloading data from the Sierra reloading book. Never mix and match load data recipes, that can kill you.

Sierra 5th Edition Reloading Manual
Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
Speer Reloading Manual #14
Lyman Reloading Handbook: 49th Edition
Nosler Reloading Guide #7
The ABC's of Reloading

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...ensionid=15321

I am also including a link to an example of the "One caliber, one book" series so you can see what it looks like. Be sure to get at least one of these for each caliber you load for, in addition to the main books I listed above. Be forewarned that sometimes the load data can be old and/or outdated in the One caliber, one book, books.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/360...loading-manual

As an add on to the books, you may wish to get a log book of some sort so you can record the results when you shoot your hand loads. Office Depot, Staples, and OfficeMax have plenty of composition/bound books you can use. - K31 edit

http://www.staples.com/composition+n...ition+notebook


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

I have not included recommendations for powder, primers, brass or any other expendable components because they are not part of the hardware side of reloading pertaining to the reloading equipment.

If anybody thinks of anything I may have missed, please post up and let me know. You'll get credit in the mega post for reminding me. If anybody finds a dead link in the future, let me know and I'll change the link in the original post.


************************************************** ************************************************** ***********************************

Revision history.

Edit #1, Fixed typos.
Edit #2, Additions by K31 and Pinecone.
Edit #3, Addition by Whitty Whit and the EDIT NOTE at the top.
Edit #4, Additions by Major03, Bolts Rock, and Pinecone. Also organized, labeled sections, and rearranged some items for ease of reference.
Edit #5, Addition by Major03.
Edit #6, Added if an item is required, recommended, or not required to start out. - Pinecone idea.
Edit #7, Temporary addition.
Edit #8, Note on case tumblers/cleaners added. - Pinecone edit.
Edit #9, Temporary addition removed.
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Last edited by DaemonAssassin; April 3rd, 2014 at 09:35 PM.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 03:35 AM #2
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Very helpful, thank you.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 05:41 AM #3
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I'd add:

A log book. I use blank bound books from Office Depot, etc.

Containers to hold cases during each phase of the process. I use plastic coffee "cans".

Primer pocket tool.

A tapered punch is nice to have to true up case mouths.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:09 AM #4
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Nice writeup. Your usual high standard DA. Thank you.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:19 AM #5
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I find cartridge gauges helpful. Not a mandatory item but helpful.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:19 AM #6
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very helpful to a new single stage press reloader!
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:29 AM #7
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You need to request this topic be a sticky and make sure the thread stays on topic and doesn't turn in to a debate about what best or not as everything always does here. I'm still pushing for a dedicated Bullet Casting section on this forum. I'm tired of talking guns here and then having to go to Cast Boolits to talk Casting.

Have fun and good luck on your new thread. I think you have an excellent idea to dedicate for the new guys interested in reloading for I am an a religiously dedicated single stager myself.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:39 AM #8
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You need to request this topic be a sticky and make sure the thread stays on topic and doesn't turn in to a debate about what best or not as everything always does here. I'm still pushing for a dedicated Bullet Casting section on this forum. I'm tired of talking guns here and then having to go to Cast Boolits to talk Casting.

Have fun and good luck on your new thread. I think you have an excellent idea to dedicate for the new guys interested in reloading for I am an a religiously dedicated single stager myself.


Have to agree with ya, mainly single stage here also. Poor Rockchucker well worn but keeps on working no matter what I've done to it/

like the idea of casting "subforum"

picked up some brass molds over there a while ago.

@ DA nice write up...
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:46 AM #9
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A media separator saves me a lot of hassle. I like the Dillon one. Buy once, cry once.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 10:09 AM #10
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1) Any of the name brands are fine. RCBS, Lee, Lyman, Hornady.

2) Dies come in 2, 3, OR 4 dies sets. Single dies will not reload, they are individual dies from the set, many times with special features, such as micrometer seating depth adjustment or neck sizing only.

3) If you are using a powder measure, you probably don't need a powder funnel or a tray. Especially getting started. And even later, I have NEVER used a tray. Even weighing every charge for precision long range rounds, I charge each case, then seat the bullet.

4) I like the Lyman #55 powder measure also, but the Lee works well for a lot less. Also the other brands work fine also.

5) For trimming, the WFT is very nice for power trimming. But realize, you will not need to trim straight wall cases (like most pistol and some rifle).

6) I am a big fan of mechanical scales. But for calipers, the cheap Harbor Freight digital ones work well and are very inexpensive. Micrometer is NOT needed to get started. Later you will probably want one.

7) You may or may not need ammo boxes. Most of my pistol ammo does in a bag. Only my precision rifle or load development rounds go in boxes. Depends on your needs.

8) The problem with the single caliber books is that they are taken from other data, and may be MANY years old. I prefer the latest manuals from the various sources. Realize that the powder companies have gone pretty much to online, free, data. Hodgdon (Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester Western powders), Accurate, Alliant, Ram, etc are all online.

9) Tumblers are not just to make the brass spiffy. It is remove any dirt or grit which can scratch your dies.
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