Ruger Forum

Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow, for the novice handloader.

This is a discussion on Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow, for the novice handloader. within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow. Bold subject line, eh? Let me qualify it down. I load for handgun only; 5 calibers, about 100-400 ...


Go Back   Ruger Forum > Firearm Forum > Reloading

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes

Old December 28th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 626
Lost Sheep is on a distinguished road
Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow, for the novice handloader.

Budget Beginning Bench you will never outgrow.

Bold subject line, eh? Let me qualify it down. I load for handgun only; 5 calibers, about 100-400 rounds per session and fewer than 5,000 rounds a year. I stow my gear in toolboxes when not in use. If this comes close to describing your situation, you might like to read on.

35 years after starting, I found I outgrew some gear and overbought elsewhere. So, I cleaned house. I emptied my bench and populated it with the best equipment I could find precisely fitting my loading needs. I could have saved a lot of experimentation and waste if I had known back then what I know now (about handloading and about myself).

Informed by my experience reconstituting my loading bench, I compiled a list of the barest essentials that would allow a novice loader to load well and which would still be gratifying in 30 years. (In my opinion and somewhat matching my style of shooting and loading.)

I think it makes an ideal shopping list for the handloader just starting out. I hope you do, too.

Press, scale, dies, a way to measure powder and a work surface are all you need, really. Everything else just makes it easier or faster.

$17 ABC's of Reloading. Ok, it's not really equipment, but tools without knowledge is just dead weight, right?
$10 Loading Data. The "One book/One Caliber" pamphlets are $10 each and are LOADED (get it?) with loading data.
$0 Loading manuals. They cost, but I didn't want to skew the budget; you do need at least a couple. Check the local library if money is tight.
$0 Eye protection. No cost, because you DO already have a pair of shootingglasses, DON'T YOU!?
$85 Press, Lee Classic Turret (Chosen because it is the only turret press that auto-advances at the discretion of the operator.)
$33 Dies, carbide. Lee because it includes a shell holder, a plastic dipper for powder and the "powder through" design.
$5 Work surface. Mount your press on a plank of scrap 2x8 and secure it to a (padded) coffee table.
$0 Dropcloth to catch any spilled powder or lost primers (dead or live). Use an old sheet. Quieter than plastic, less static and drapes better.
$150 plus shipping At this point, you can reload, but are limited in flexibility and speed.
$8 Lee Scoops/Dippers. Cheaper than any powder dispenser/measure and repeatability/cosistency is excellent.
$3 Powder funnel. Lee's funnel fits right in the their "powder through" die.
$161 plus shipping At this point, you are minimally equipped to load well. Not too convenient, but not handicapped to the point of terminal frustration, either.
$22 Lee Safety Prime. You can use your fingers, but this is so much better. Fits on the Lee Press.
$21 Scale, any brand. Lee's, at $21 is cheapest. You can do without, with the full set of Lee Dippers, but better to weigh. For peace of mind if nothing else.
$204 plus shipping At this level of investment, you are decently equipped
$33 Lee Auto-Disk powder dispenser/measure. It mounts atop Lee's "Powder through" die. With this, you may not need the funnel or dippers.
$50 Loading Bench. A folding workbench works fine for me. You can get a kit or build your own, too.
$287 plus shipping Now you are well-equipped as most reloaders, except for convenience accessories or tools you will use only occasionally.

Other stuff:
$20 Bullet puller I never used one for my first 20 years of loading.
$30 Calipers I had none for 30 years. Now that I do, I find uses.
$50 Tumbler Never had one. Got one now. My brass is prettier. Shoots the same.
$10 Loading blocks ($5, if you use, use two). For batch loading. Buy, or make with a plank and a drill.
$25 Powder Trickler - handy if you weigh each powder charge.

$34 misc accessories & tools, (e.g. chamfer tool)
$60 Difference to get a more user-friendly scale than the Lee
$0 Turret and Dies for 38/357 (included with basic setup)
$46 Turret and Dies for 45/454
$46 Turret and Dies for 44
$46 Turret and Dies for 45 ACP
$46 Turret and Dies for 9mm
$700 plus shipping To duplicate my entire current loading bench with all new stuff, misc accessories and tools and I would not be in the least inconvenienced in my loading endeavors.

There are many accessories that add convenience of functionality, but are so highly optional they do not belong on this "essentials" list, or belong down near the end. Besides, if I included them all, the list would be endless.

I chose a turret instead of a progressive because I am more comfortable with performing and monitoring one operation at a time and changing calibers is dead simple. I chose a turret instead of a single stage because it facilitates processing in a "pass-through" mode (much like a progressive) rather than the batch mode of the single stage. But I still do have the option of operating as a single stage in batch mode if I choose.

You could build this list using any mix of brands. I chose Lee's brand because the Auto-indexing is not available on any other press and the Auto-Disk powder measure is the most convenient I have seen, in combination with the Lee "Powder through the Die" design. The Auto-Disk is not convenient to adjust powder quantity, but it is light and compact.

Lost Sheep

P.S.
Thanks to Sue Kempf at Kempf's Gun Shop, and Mark and the guys at Factory Direct Sales and the technicians in Customer Support at Lee Precision.




Last edited by Lost Sheep; December 29th, 2010 at 01:06 AM. Reason: Add acknowedgement to some folks that helped me a lot.
Lost Sheep is offline  
Advertisements
Old December 28th, 2010, 09:44 PM   #2
BRL
 
BRL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Tahuya WA.
Posts: 1,067
BRL is on a distinguished road
I wasn't gonna go there, but what the heck.
Do you realize you could have reloaded another 5000 rounds in the time it must have taken you to compile & jot down all that info. ?

WOW!
BRL is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 03:12 AM   #3
 
Tater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,248
Tater is on a distinguished road
Great help for us noobs, Lost Sheep. Thanks for your time!
Tater is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 04:05 AM   #4
 
Maximumbob54's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: JAX, FL
Posts: 3,136
Maximumbob54 is on a distinguished road

Awards Showcase

Funny, that is the setup I have on order right now. And I have read my ABC's book that sits next to three different loading manuals. I just need a bigger bench to work from. I hope it really makes that big of a difference. Right now I batch load a hundred at a time. I size ever last piece of brass that I have and drop them into a box. Then I flare them all and put them back into the box. Now I have a few hundred or a few thousand that are partially done. Now all I have to do is prime what I want to load. I hand prime a hundred of them. Then I drop the powder and measure every tenth throw. But as I drop the powder I take it right to the seating die. (EDIT: I only take them right to the seating die if I am using a very even flowing powder like Bullseye or HP38 or similar) I find that if I take the time up front to size and then flare everything then batch loading can go pretty fast. But it’s relative. I spend time up front to save time at the end… The turret is just going to do what I do one step at a time. I am just hoping to be able to set the dies up and all but weld them into place. Caliber change will just be pop the turret off and put the new preloaded turret on again. I find myself spending too much time adjusting the dies every time I replace them in the single stage press. That was the reason I started to size and flare them up front to be ready for loading later. I think it saves time not just doing fifty or a hundred in each stage at a time. I do like that the turret seems to shake up the powder as it spins. That is a nifty bonus to the Lee turret design. And that is about as fast as I want to assemble the cartridge while still being able to measure the powder charge every so often.

BRL,

Not all of us want to fling ammo together. I don't know that I will ever fully trust a progressive press setup to make consistent ammo. The Dillon RL650 with all the bells and whistles would be one I would try, but it costs an arm, a leg, a first born, your soul, and a credit card to pay for a full setup. Ensuring consistent powder drops is my biggest issue.
Maximumbob54 is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #5
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 1,569
MidLife is on a distinguished road
That is pretty much the path I took to my current setup. About the only thing I added was a Lee Classic Cast breech lock single stage press and bushings. I prefer this press for single stage operations over the turret. The drop in preset dies work great! And, the dies (with the bushings installed) fit back in the die case for safe keeping and organization. And, it's overbuilt.
MidLife is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #6
 
mndoggie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: MN
Posts: 2,349
mndoggie is on a distinguished road
Thank you very much for the info AND the time you spent putting it together.

People who help newbies are appreciated. We all have to start somewhere.

I've been searching the 'net and have a few similar posts collected already.
I'll be comparing them and expect to purchase equipment this year.

Last edited by mndoggie; December 29th, 2010 at 11:15 AM.
mndoggie is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #7
BRL
 
BRL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Tahuya WA.
Posts: 1,067
BRL is on a distinguished road
Lost Sheep,
I apologize to you if you took my comment wrong, but I was simply trying to put the time it must have taking you to put all that information together in perspective.
I type with two index fingers, and it would have taken me a year just to type all that information, much less gather it all up.
Sorry Guy
BRL is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #8
BCB
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 232
BCB is on a distinguished road
I will make a comment and ask a question or 2...

Been reloading since 'bout 1970 plus or minus a year of so--sort of forget. And a progressive press would be the last thing I would want unless I was reloading hundreds and hundreds of rounds and shooting them and letting the brass lay for someone else to salvage, i.e. semiauto handguns etc...

And now my 2 questions:

1. At what station of the progressive press do you trim the cases?
2. At what station of the progressive press do you clean the primer pockets?

Just curious as I have never really gotten an answer as to how both processes are done while cycling the cartridges in a circle from starting, to them being loaded, and then dropping into a container.

That has always puzzled me so I never really needed anything but an ol' RCBS Rockchucker. 'Nuff said...

Good-luck...BCB
BCB is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,476
Ale-8(1) is on a distinguished road
"And a progressive press would be the last thing I would want unless I was reloading hundreds and hundreds of rounds and shooting them and letting the brass lay for someone else to salvage, i.e. semiauto handguns etc..."

If you're going to let the brass go, you don't need a press of any kind.

As to your questions, they have the same answer . . . you don't.

But you knew that.

Ale-8(1) is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #10
BCB
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 232
BCB is on a distinguished road
Ale-8(1),

I actually know shooters who salvage range brass, mostly from public ranges where the brass lays on the floor after being fired. They get the stuff for a song and a dance (certain types that is) and they reload it on a progressive…shoot it…and let it lay. So one might need a reloading outfit if that is the method of shooting that some use as it is still cheaper than factory ammo…

And the answer, “You don’t” is why I never purchased a progressive loader…

I clean the primer pockets every other time and I trim as needed. Some brass stretches more than others and needs trimmed quit often. I trim after I size…

That is just a bit of advice that I give to people who want to start reloading. Progressive presses are enticing and seem “cool and neat” but they are the worst and expensive first investment they can make in my opinion. They can be difficult to set up and without experience, even single stage presses can cause one to swear and become frustrated. That is the last thing that one needs to be when starting…

(Watch a beginner set up a crimping die with a 3-die handgun set!)

To each his own…

BCB
BCB is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,476
Ale-8(1) is on a distinguished road
"To each his own…"

Ya got that part right!

Ale-8(1) is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 02:45 PM   #12
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 1,569
MidLife is on a distinguished road
I purchased a auto indexing turret press and the first thing I did was take out the indexing rod~!
I prefer the single stage reloading method. And, as mentioned above, you should trim cases after they are sized. And, I set up a little $30 dollar press as a standalone decapping press for the sole reason of decapping my brass prior to cleaning. I want clean brass running through my dies, so I decap with a decapping ONLY die. That way my brass is clean when run through my sizing die.
MidLife is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #13
BCB
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 232
BCB is on a distinguished road
MidLife,

I agree with you...

Certainly a method used by some--the extra press to get the brass ready, and then "let 'em fly" in the progressive press...

That is why I recommend the single stage to begin with, and then if you want to go progressive, well, you have the method you are talking about...

Good-luck...BCB
BCB is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: F.I.B.
Posts: 38
KILLERtj is on a distinguished road
Lost Sheep, great post! I've seen a lot of "noobs" get into trouble without some guidance when it comes to reloading. Glad you posted this, hopefully it will help out the newer reloaders.

When looking for reloading manuals (aka Speer, Lee, Hornady, Lyman, etc...) I recommend buying atleast two. Helps to compare loads between two different sources.

KILLERtj
KILLERtj is offline  
Old December 29th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #15
 
Drover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W. Mi.
Posts: 57
Drover is on a distinguished road
Nice work Lost Sheep.
Great list of should haves and gotta haves for reloading.

Drover
Drover is offline  
Reply

  Ruger Forum > Firearm Forum > Reloading



Search tags for this page
best budget reloading press
,
budget beginning bench you will never outgrow
,
budget reloader
,

budget reloading

,
budget reloading bench
,

budget reloading press

,
budgetreloader.com
,

handloader bench

,
handloader forum
,

handloaders bench

,
handloaders bench forum
,
www.rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html
Click on a term to search for related topics.

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Ruger Forum Discussions
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Back issue of Handloader Magazine July 2009 #260 stormspotter Reloading 3 March 10th, 2012 10:08 AM
How many of you had this as a beginning reloader? Hick Reloading 42 March 4th, 2012 02:26 PM
The Beginning of my Blackhawk DanielFine Gun Gallery 5 March 31st, 2011 05:20 PM
Handloader's Digest #17 = big $$$ - why? firescout Reloading 0 March 13th, 2009 10:04 PM
Novice Hunter RugerDeputy796 Ruger Bolt Action 8 November 29th, 2007 02:26 PM

Top Gun Sites Top Sites List  
Powered by vBulletin 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 Ruger Forum. All rights reserved.
Ruger Forum is a Ruger Firearms enthusiast's forum, but it is in no way affiliated with, nor does it represent Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. of Southport, CT.