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  • Reloading equipment!

    What's amazes me is that they STILL make presses!
    My old RCBS "Rock Chucker" I bought used over 40 years ago and it's nowhere NEAR worn out! As old reloaders die, do they bury their press with them?
    Do some guys replace their presses every couple of years? ...if they do...WHY?
    Amazon and Ebay are loaded with used presses!
    How in tarnation do Lee, RCBS, Redding, Lyman, etc sell NEW presses year after year?
    Wearing out a press is like wearing out an anvil!

    ...and dies!

    How do you "wear out" dies?

    I've got a set of RCBS .270 Win dies I can only imagine has loaded somewhere in the neighborhood of 100K rounds! Occasionally, I'll rip them apart, scrub the crud out of the sizing die! It's STILL slick as a whistle inside!
    Knew a guy who let a dog crap in his .300 Win Mag die box! What the....?
    He bought new dies. I took his "dirty"(?) ones to the carwash and blasted the crap (literally!) out of them. Back in the shop, I disassembled them, scrubbed them out good. Still slick inside. A wire wheel on a bench grinder took the oxidation off the knurled section of the die. Some Armor-All spiffed up the die box. Printed a label on the computer. Except for the label, you can't tell! One set of RCBS .300 Win Mag dies cost me 50 cents for the carwash!

    I've got a box of extra die parts. Lock rings, decapping pins, expander balls, seating plugs, etc, etc. I've never used the stuff because nothing ever breaks on RCBS dies!

    I just dont understand? How do you stay in business selling stuff that doesn't wear out?

    From the shadowy depths of my wandering mind.
    Last edited by FirstBubba; 01-13-2020, 05:26 PM.

  • #2
    I'm still using the relatively cheap RCBS Partner Press I bought new in 1989. But have probably loaded only about 6,000 rounds with it.

    Now dies are pretty hardy - I've replaced one set that rusted (RCBS) and another where I damaged the sizing die (Hornady).

    Comment


    • #3
      Because all of the used stuff gets scarfed up by guys that know how to use it, but don't really need it. Bet you still have those 300 Win mag dies don't you? Lol!

      Seriously I think that's part of it. I'm still considering getting into it, but rather than having to search all over to pick up everything I'd need it would be easier to walk into a store and load up a cart. Especially when they run good sales/offers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
        I'm still using the relatively cheap RCBS Partner Press I bought new in 1989. But have probably loaded only about 6,000 rounds with it.

        Now dies are pretty hardy - I've replaced one set that rusted (RCBS) and another where I damaged the sizing die (Hornady).
        How in the name of fuzzy bunnies do you "damage" a sizing die?

        I was just finishing resizing some .270 brass when I noticed a straggler I had missed lying on the bench.
        I grabbed it up, noting I still had some case lube on my fingers, I rolled it in my fingers, slid it into the shell holder and jammed it into the resizing die!
        Not enough lube!
        It stuck TIGHT!
        My RCBS Stuck Case Remover wouldn't budge it.
        That sizing die with the case stuck in it laid on my bench for almost a year.
        Out of desperation one day, I ground the tang on a chainsaw file at a 45° angle, sawed the base off the stuck case and gingerly drove the file between the case and the die in two places. I twisted the case with needle nose pliers and it popped right out.
        I'm still using that .270 die!

        I've even shortened a .357 Mag seating die (by .173") to put a crimp in .38 Spl cases.
        I did that with a drill motor and an angle grinder.

        Just how do you damage a sizing die? Drop it in a steel furnace? LOL!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

          How in the name of fuzzy bunnies do you "damage" a sizing die?
          .300 Blackout brass that was 'made' from .223 once-fired brass. The internal sizing ball was crammed upward and deformed... maybe I didn't use enough lube, who knows. But I got frustrated and just bought another set rather than fool with getting a replacement part. Dies are cheaper than my time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
            Because all of the used stuff gets scarfed up by guys that know how to use it, but don't really need it. Bet you still have those 300 Win mag dies don't you? Lol!

            Seriously I think that's part of it. I'm still considering getting into it, but rather than having to search all over to pick up everything I'd need it would be easier to walk into a store and load up a cart. Especially when they run good sales/offers.
            fitch270, I hauled those stupid .300 Win Mag dies around for years. They were table decor at many gun shows.
            Guy behind me at one show had 3 tables covered with cheap reloading stuff and "some" ammo.
            I spied 4 boxes of Winchester, high brass 16 gauge #8 ammo and remembered it being there the last show.
            Swapped him even up. One set of dies for 4 boxes of jim dandy 16 gauge ammo!

            I dunno, maybe one of those starter kits, if you can find a sale of some sort, might just be the way to go.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PigHunter View Post

              .300 Blackout brass that was 'made' from .223 once-fired brass. The internal sizing ball was crammed upward and deformed... maybe I didn't use enough lube, who knows. But I got frustrated and just bought another set rather than fool with getting a replacement part. Dies are cheaper than my time.
              You can't just replace the expander ball?
              Wow.
              That's crazy.

              Comment


              • #8
                What amazes me is you actually started a thread that isn't some Republican Party propaganda. Good for you ... for a change.

                Similarly I can't understand why so many gun manufacturers stay in business when the used racks are full of so many genuine work horses at half the price or less and even look better. Americans just gotta buy new stuff, even if they don't really need it. Even if the new stuff is poorer quality than what they already have. Consumer culture.

                Example: My daughter and her guy announced their engagement to be married on Christmas Day. Yeah, I know ... but better late than never. Today she tells me she wants the money to book a fancy venue two and a half years from now. Wait a minute ... between the two soon to be fathers-in-law on both sides, we're paying on their huge credit card debts moved to our lines of credit to give them a break and a chance to pay off without getting eaten alive by interest. A couple of nice guys. Why the hell do they need to have a big fancy wedding anyway? What's the point? Save the money for a down payment on a home. Or even a Disneyland trip for the kids. Something worthwhile. This is all about her girlfriends having already put on the big show at the expense of their daddy's ... or the credit card companies. It's a cultural thing. I'm sorry, I'm not into shelling out the big bucks for stuff to show off just because everyone else does it. My wife and I had a nice wedding in her local church with maybe sixty people there. She even made her own dress. And it was beautiful but practical: something she could wear later to other functions too. Just ran across that dress last week when I was digging out my daughter's old homemade baptism gown for my granddaughter. The two garments were tucked together in the same cleaner's bag. Brought a tear to my eyes. Anyway, when we married she had a bit left on her student loan (actually quite a bit but we paid it off in a year) and I had truck payments. Everything we owned but my horses was stuffed in the back of that pickup when we moved to our first home in Seattle. Though those early years were financially a struggle, they were the happiest of our time together. No fancy stuff but no significant debt and no kids yet. These two are starting off in exactly the opposite direction. It worries me. Buying sh*t just to buy sh*t. It is a disease. No, today it is a pandemic.
                Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 01-13-2020, 11:57 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post

                  You can't just replace the expander ball?
                  Wow.
                  That's crazy.
                  I'm sure I could have but didn't want to fool with ordering one and going through the trouble.

                  But what amazes me Bubba is that you wasted money on a Rock Chucker instead of just getting the lower cost Partner or a Lee handloader.
                  Last edited by PigHunter; 01-14-2020, 01:39 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have been reloading over 50 years (I load for 17 rifle and pistol calibers) and still have some of the stuff I started with. The way I started was to load my components on a friends press with his supervision (we both loaded 30-06). I am glad I did that because then, as I put together my set up, I knew exactly what I wanted. The starter kits are o.k. but you would soon start adding things that were not in the kit and not using everything that is included in the kit.
                    IF I were to buy a press today I would go for the single stage ones that have the quick change dies and the die stays set the way you used it. Very accurate design for lot to lot consistency.
                    I do have the hand held Lee for mouth expanding that I do while watching TV. Also use the Lee hand held primer.
                    Fitch, I would watch some video's and jump in. There are still savings to be made.
                    For example, here are 7,000 grains in a pound of powder, so, if a charge is 45 grains you can get 155 loads from a lb. At $40 lb, that is $.26 each. My .450 used cases cost $ .25 each and I should get 6 or 8 loads from them. Bullets are expensive at $40 for 50. Target bullets are cheaper. Primers are $.03 ea. Your time $$.$$
                    So, I can load my .450Marlin for .04+.03+.26+1.00 = $1.33 for a load with a premium bullet (bullet is about $1.00ea) . $1.33 X 20 = $26.60/ box of 20. I rounded up some for tax and shipping. Buy at a gun show and prices are potentially a lot less.
                    A couple mistakes I made was to work up and load a cartridge with batches of several different weight bullets. I loaded 30-06 with 125, 150 165 180 and even some 220. Try adjusting a scope when you change to a different load - PITA. Drives you crazy at the range. Every cartridge has an ideal weight bullet for maximum efficiency and for each game animal, pick a weight for a particular cartridge/rifle and stick with it. Don't jump around or you will wear out the turrets on your scope. And also, don't try to squeez magnum power out of your 7-08. If more power is needed, get a bigger cartridge, plus maximum loads are 90% of the time not the most accurate. Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PigHunter View Post

                      I'm sure I could have but didn't want to fool with ordering one and going through the trouble.

                      But what amazes me Bubba is that you wasted money on a Rock Chucker instead of just getting the lower cost Partner or a Lee handloader.
                      LOL! Funny story...well...to me!
                      *The manager in the sporting goods store I worked in (1977) had a nice reloading set up that we mounted on a bench in the back.
                      RCBS Rock Chucker press, O'Haus "Dial-a-Grain" scale, bench mounted powder dump, bench top priming tool, case trimmer, powder trickler, etc.
                      A year or so later, (bear with me!) the managers grampa died. In his estate was a 16 foot Jon boat. He and I "bought" the Jon boat for $100. Fifty dollars each.
                      Skip forward another year or so.
                      I knew the guy (the store manager) and knew he couldn't keep his zipper up. It all finally caught up to him.
                      Not only that, he had been playing fast and loose with store goods and was in debt up to ... well ... WAY beyond his eyeballs! LOL!
                      When it was evident he would be leaving the store the next day, he asked me if I'd like to buy his reloading equipment.
                      "Sure, how much?"
                      A hundred dollars!
                      I'll run down to the bank and get cash.
                      Nope! Your half of the boat and pick up my $50 IOU in the cash register.

                      So, tightwad me sez, "Ok. Deal."

                      I suppose, capital outlay, you could call it $100. Cash out of pocket? A mere $50. I'm sure the boat was sold, swapped or otherwise disappeared into the abyss of his wheelings and dealings. Dude was a real piece of work.
                      That was over 40 years ago.
                      I've STILL got the reloading equipment.

                      *My first actual foray into reloading was a Lee Loader. (1972/73?) I pounded out many .41 Rem Mag rounds. Sadly, I have NO idea where it ended up.
                      From there to a friend/gun fixer/mentor (1974/75?) who had the little RCBS "C" frame press loading .270 Win ammo.
                      After all that came the Rock Chucker deal.

                      I did, at one time, purchase a Lee Loader in .22 Hornet and one .270 Win. I could sit and watch TV and reload.
                      That's when I discovered the Lee Loader only neck sizes the case.
                      The Hornet cases kept hanging up in my H&R and the .270 cases hung up in my Ruger No.1. I still have those two pieces of scrap iron! LOL!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jimbo, the main reason I’d like to start handloading is to get my son ahead of the curve. As a family we’re shooting more and more so it could pay off. I don’t want it to turn into a hobby of its own, just a way to knock out one load per gun that might better factory stuff for a little less money. Not having the ammo search fiasco of last fall would be icing on the cake.


                        What’s everyone’s opinion of two of us learning this at the same time? It would probably be easier for the kid to pick it up on his own but I’d like to be involved. We have a friend who can help but I’m not sure two students at once is a good idea. Maybe not an issue?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I still use my original RCBS Rockchucker press and many of the original RCBS dies from 53 years ago. As everyone says, they are durable and they do a great job. Over that time, I have continued to help many a novice get set up to reload. Most just about choke when I show them the price list to just get started (with no shootable bullets). I advise them of the availability of used equipment but most opt for NEW equipment. I suspect that has become the American way. Most products are built with life limits to enable future product sales. People are just not accustomed to products that just don't wear out. I also suspect that many newbies feel the original cartridges have improved and therefore want NEW dies. They have no idea that SAAMI has a specification for each cartridge that hasn't changed since they were originally designed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                            Jimbo, the main reason I’d like to start handloading is to get my son ahead of the curve. As a family we’re shooting more and more so it could pay off. I don’t want it to turn into a hobby of its own, just a way to knock out one load per gun that might better factory stuff for a little less money. Not having the ammo search fiasco of last fall would be icing on the cake.


                            What’s everyone’s opinion of two of us learning this at the same time? It would probably be easier for the kid to pick it up on his own but I’d like to be involved. We have a friend who can help but I’m not sure two students at once is a good idea. Maybe not an issue?
                            You are overthinking this. I have very fond memories of helping my dad load up ammo for our annual fall hunting trips to the East Side of Montana. He and a coworker shared components. Dad had the powder measure and Bob had the press and scale. The stuff was set up in Bob's basement. Louise always had some home cooking ready for us when we were done. They are buried within a few yards of my parents. Stopped by to reminisce when I was there last month.

                            Anyway, you should build some of those memories with your kids (keep your daughter in the loop too). Right now I let six year-old Parker help me reload shotgun shells. I'm sure he won't forget it. Precious time spent together doing something unusual. Reloading isn't exactly rocket science. Avoid the "maximum" loading specs in the manuals. Those will usually beat you up anyway and destroy too much meat. I usually load a little bit on the hot side of "medium." Keep it simple when buying equipment. Avoid progressive loading presses (probably way out of your budget anyway). Something goes haywire during the cycle with progressive loader (forgot to restock primers for example) and it can be a real hassle getting everything back in order. I now have a progressive shotgun loader and I know I'm not loading any faster than I did with single stage loader. A LOT slower if something goes wrong. Also, it can be a bit of a hassle shutting down and starting progressive loaders. I HEARTILY recommend investing in an electronic scale/powder dispenser. They are bullet proof precise. Also very nice to have the thing measuring out the next load while I'm pushing in the bullet for previous shell. Things move right along that way. They also seem to hold resale value well if you decide to get out of loading at some point. Look for all components used. Very rare that a set of dies gets buggered up. Especially in the larger calibres (I can understand how dies for some of the dinky cartridges might be more fragile).

                            Making up your own load can certainly be beneficial. I had never used speciality bullets until recently. For fifty years I shot factory 180 gr Remington CoreLok or reloaded Speer, or Hornady pointed soft point. Nothing glamorous. This year the safari outfitter pretty much insisted on Barnes, Berger, or Nosler so I dug into my pocket and bought some 165 gr Partitions. Everything I shot at in Africa, big and small, hit the dirt instantly ... until my scope screwed up. The kudu shot with a borrowed gun and the lodge owner's 165 gr Berger bullets also went to heaven in an instant ... range 350 yards. The muley buck I shot on the run in November with 165 gr Barnes TSX (no Partitions were available) dropped on impact and rolled to the bottom of the gully limp as a dishrag. Impressive considering it was not a head or neck shot. Only marginal meat damage too. Those bullets are expensive but sure seem to be worth it.
                            Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 01-14-2020, 01:20 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                              Jimbo, the main reason I’d like to start handloading is to get my son ahead of the curve. As a family we’re shooting more and more so it could pay off. I don’t want it to turn into a hobby of its own, just a way to knock out one load per gun that might better factory stuff for a little less money. Not having the ammo search fiasco of last fall would be icing on the cake.


                              What’s everyone’s opinion of two of us learning this at the same time? It would probably be easier for the kid to pick it up on his own but I’d like to be involved. We have a friend who can help but I’m not sure two students at once is a good idea. Maybe not an issue?
                              fitch270, one, two or even three "students" is no biggie. The more the merrier ... well, ... to a point! LOL!

                              Ok, so you don't want it to become a "hobby" unto itself. Then be very cautious. It can become all consuming. If not to you, maybe the boy.

                              Initial capital outlay is scary.
                              Like D'Man said, you can invest $500 in a heartbeat and still not have a single round to fire.
                              Got all the equipment?
                              Now you need a room, shed, office, porch - somewhere to set up your equipment. Once established, it's a permanent fixture.
                              Lights, bench, chair, etc, etc...
                              ...and the list just gets longer.
                              It's like coming home from the grocery store with $200 worth of groceries and not a thing in the house to eat until somebody cooks!

                              Those "kits" aren't bad, but jimbo is right, there is always some gizmo or gadget that has to be added.
                              Even the cheapest set up imaginable STILL requires additional purchases!


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