Beginners and Dillon progressive press....

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by B27, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. B27

    B27 New Member

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    ...too much?

    Should a beginner like me just go with a single stage, graduate to a progressive later?

    Thanks!
  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    One of the good things about a Dillon (RL550B) is that you can use it as a single stage press if you want to. It does not have the auto indexing which allows you to leave it in the same position so that you can do single stage operations, or use it as a turret press. When you get ready to go progressive you already have the press there and are familiar with it and all you have to do is start manually advancing it as a progressive.

    If you are ever over in the Athens area, shoot me a PM and maybe I can arrange to show you what I mean, if you can get over here on a Tuesday or Wednesday (my off days).
  3. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    I usually recomend that people start with a single stage or a manual advanced progressive, or a turret press, more so the single stage, until they get the full understanding of what's going on. You'll always find a purpose for it later on when you upgrade if you choose to do so. I also think that it depends on the amount of ammo that you think you'll be loading. Your mechanical abilities has a lot to do with the answer as well. There is a lot going on with each pull of the handle on a progressive.
  4. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    I would say have a good single stage press and a progressive
    you can pick up a used Rock Chucker or similar press for a decent price if you cruise Craigslist or Ebay.

    I keep a single stage for depriming and to run batches through when I want to leave my progressive set up the way it is.

    If you are first time I say get the Dillon, but you might want to have a person come by who knows them and help you set it up and get you going.
    Also Dillon has great customer service when you need it
  5. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with starting with a progressive press. If you can read through a couple reloading manuals and grasps those concepts, then the you can handle the mechanics of a progressive press. Just plan on a little more time on set-up and getting the hang of everything. KEY TO SUCCES ( IMO) is to make plenty of dummy rounds Before going full throttle. As previously stated, a 550B can be used single stage just fine.

    I do find usefulness for having a single stage press around. I use my Chucker quite a bit still.

    Best wishes for whichever you chose, you'll enjoy it !
  6. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

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    B27,
    I totally agree with gdmoody. I started with the RL550B using it as a single stage until I understood all the different operations. Now,if I am making rounds for a known load, I will use the progressive mode. But if I am working on a load for a perticular caliber, I still use it as a single stage, I get the best of both worlds. Hope this helps.
    Chuck
  7. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    Single-stage presses are more forgiving than progressives, and are far cheaper. Learn on a single-stage.

    This question is asked daily on all reloading boards. Have you done a Search for them and read the replies?
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  8. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    I always advocate starting with a single stage only until you really hammer down all of the aspects of what's going on before stepping into progressive.

    But that's just my .02, if you're careful with a turret in single stage mode, sure you can be successfuly but starting single stage is the best way IMO
  9. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    yeah what gmoody said.
  10. RAJBCPA

    RAJBCPA Member

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    The Dillon 550b is a good press even for new loaders.

    I started with a rock chucker kit and half the stuff in the kit I will never use - a waste. ...then I bought a Hornady L-N-L which refused to run reliably.... never again!

    Buy the Dillon 550b and NEVER look back.
  11. smlranger

    smlranger New Member

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    A local fellow who is a high volume shooter and has 3 Dillon progressive presses got me started into reloading. He highly recommended I start with a single stage and helped me develop my initial shopping list so I would avoid getting stuff I would not likely use.

    I started out with a Rockchucker and used it for about one year. I then got a Hornady Lock N Load progressive. I still use the Rockchucker for some things, mostly for depriming. Also, I use it to de bulge 40 SW when necessary.

    I enjoyed using the single stage during that initial learning process.
  12. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    i agree.. a spare single stage laying around can have many uses.

    and if need be.. you can get single stage presses , new, starting at 25$ just to see the process in detail.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    B27:

    If things like wanting to shoot more so you decided to reload and you are relatively handy and can understand mechanical device well enough and you are sure you want to reload for years to come then.... Get the Dillon RL550B.

    It is extremely versatile. It can be used as a single stage press (you do one operation on the entire lot of cases you are reloading, then do the entire lot on the next process, etc.) or as a turret press (you put only one cartridge on the table at a time and complete all three (or four) stages (processes) on that one cartridge or full progressive with four cartridges on the table and a finished round off the press with each pull of the handle. The manual indexing of the table makes that all very easy.

    I have one press I use for all of the 30+ different cartridges that I reload for... the Dillon RL550B. I don't have or want another press for those cartridges. The Dillon can do it all even if it is a partial process like only de-priming, for instance. I see no point in having an extra single stage around that never gets used but since you started out with a single stage press and later moved to a Dillon progressive you still have it. It is a waste of money to go through a graduation process from single stage to progress IF you stay with reloading.

    I know, the experts say start with a single stage but the Dillon RL550B can be three or four single stage presses all on one frame if that is the way you want to use it. There is no learning curve any different from using a single stage press that you set up differently three or four times to complete a reload cycle. Then when you understand it all you can move to full progressive.

    I started on a LEE progressive with auto indexing of the table. What a mistake that was! The thing broke every time I used it and the mess it made with each of those breakdown was bad and might have even been dangerous. The auto indexing is what makes progressive presses a handful to use initially. I eventually got the Dillon RL550B, and used it as a single stage first then a turret and finally as a full progressive, all in a day. But I did understand reloading as I had used the LEE for some months before abandoning it. You could stay at single stage or turret operation for as long as it takes to get use to the Dillion operations.

    So... Get the Dillon RL550B. Read multiple reloading manuals (the Hornady manual explains the whys of the reloading processes better than any of the others and with pictures). Go through the Dillon set up manual slowly and deliberately to get it all correct. Then try some single stage operations, then turret, then when the press seems like an old friend, go to full progressive. You'll not be sorry as your reloading time will give you at least three times the production of reloads and they'll be as good as any done on a single stage press.

    As an aside The Dillion RL550B can use anyone's sizing and seating or separate bullet seating dies, not just Dillon dies that are very expensive. But you must use their powder die, powder funnels, shell plates, and pins. There is a lot of crossover in the those items and you do not have to buy the complete conversion kits to change cartridges, only the unique individual parts from the kits needed which Dillon sells separately to augment the conversion kits you already have.

    LDBennett
  14. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    wow.. considering 25$ a total life threatoning waste is odd.

    i can blow 25$ THINKING about reloading.. let alone actually doing anything ;)

    I can remember buying a set of lyman case prep tools.. liking them soo much that a week later i bout the electric case prep center.. pretty much obsoleting the tools except for very rare / occasional use.

    that inexpensive starter press is also a good one to teach youngins on.. or even thech, then gift to another person who is getting into reloading.. etc. good way to get friends into it.

    I've also seen gus take thos small presses.. mount to a 2/6 section, and then take tot he range with 2 big c-clamps and set at the range and make 1-of test loads to dial in with.

    op's call... just pointing out in a b=hobby such as this.. 25$ is a drop in the bucket.. thus the notion that buying a used or less expensive single stage press is a chest clutching end of the world waste is a lil overboard IMHO anyway.

    those of you that make more ammo than winchester, and / or have been doing it since projectiles were whittled out of stone may be loosing touch withthe regular hobbiest who may want to set down and bang a few out.. and teach his grandkid to do the same.. or have the neighbor he shoots with who is interested come over.

    kind anice setting there with some cold drinks while a helpfull individual deprimes and sizes batches of 300 rounds at a time of different brass while you are doing other more important tasks.

    hard to do tha qwith a single $$$$press, vs that single $$$$ pres and an additional $ pres. ;)

    that's all i'm saying... :)

    soundguy
  15. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Everybody has their own system. Few of us have help reloading. I can only use one press at a time. $25 buys 1000 primers. What use is a "dead" press with no planned usage. That is all I'm saying.

    There is nothing to be gained by reloading on a cheap single stage before progressing to a Dillon RL550B IF you know that reloading is what you want to do for sure. You can get the same learning experience using the Dillon as a single stage as you can on a cheap $25 single stage press. So IF you are sure you want to reload why not step up and buy the Dillon first?

    There is more than volume reloading to be gained by using a full progressive press. It saves you time. Before retiring, and making several 3 week long trips a year for my job and being a single DAD for my then teenage son, my time was limited. I had to plan exactly when I could reload. Tripling my time at the reloading bench was out of the question so I would have been short of ammo for my weekly and monthly shooting outings if I reloaded single stage. Needless to say I could not afford commercial ammo.

    Then there is the tedium of single stage reloading. I had experienced it helping friends reload some 25 years before and decided the only way to minimize it was progressive reloading. My first press was a progressive.

    LDBennett
  16. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    to some.. tedium might be a fun way to pass the time.

    as for seeing into the future about getting into relaoding. I know for sure I couldn't forsee the future.

    I own as many guns as the next compulsive gun collector.. thus shooting and ammo bills are generally steep. even knowing that.. I was not sure I would like reloading.

    If someone knew without a doubt they were in for a pound not a penny.. then going to the knuckle i=on the first plunge is probably fine.

    Many of us can not see the future however ( would have helped 4 years ago.. :( )

    besides.. used relaod equipment can be sold.. ;)

    anywho.. time to move on.. tack hammer to sledge hammer.. and I'm not gonna come out.. :)
  17. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I agree and lean strongly toward the single stage for some beginners as it does depend on what their mechanical abilities are. Not to mention how much pre-loading homework they've done beforehand or how much time they've spent learning the ropes first hand with an experienced handloader.

    Not bad advice; it's a great device to get the basics down pat with. And it's probably best if some people don't invest anymore than they have to into getting set up before they find out if it's their cup of tea or not.

    Couldn't agree more. Even living with a progressive, I still use one a lot.
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