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Opinions Please--Equipment for reloading

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by PPK 32, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. PPK 32

    PPK 32 Active Member

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    After today's visit to a gun show, it has prompted talk between some of my shooting buddy's about getting into reloading. I know very little, except to make sure if I get into it, do the research, there are no short cuts. Had several people think ya can just dump brass and powder in and make a round. I had to enlighten a few. Anyway, if money were not a problem, what would you recommend, with the goal in mind of making several rounds in a short span of time. One fellow spoke of a "progressive press", another recommended Dillon. I'd like to know what you guys think and why. Thank you for your time.
  2. Haligan

    Haligan Well-Known Member

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    I've found progressive presses very usefull in making handgun(straight-walled) ammo.
    For rifle rounds I prefer single stage presses.
    Once you buy a manual like; Lyman, or Lee Modern reloading, I think you'll find it reads like any good book. Before long your gonna see that reloading is not that difficult.

    Sure you have to be carefull, sure you have to follow the load data. But it's only rocket science.:D

    I have been reloading for many moons, (mabe 12 years now). I've used a couple presses. But I enjoy the easy step by step, slow, steady, single stage press. I know progressives can give my more rounds per hour, but I find the relaxing, methodical step by step process, very appealing.

    Read the book(reloading manual), you should feel a whole lot more confident on reloading and what equipment you should get. (That's a pretty good deal for the price of a book)(Usually less than $25.00)
  3. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I started on this quest about 4 months ago after joining a sportsmen's club. Just about everyone at the pistol and rifle range reloads. Doing so saves money, but I think that just as importantly, allows you to build "your" custom round.

    I purchased the Lee Classic Breech Lock Kit that had everything that you need except the dies. I had to go elsewhere to finds the .45ACP dies and yet a third location to find powder, primers and lead bullets (these are the times). This is a single stage press and I have cranked out about a thousand rounds. I enjoy it and tend to do one function, i.e. depriming, in batches of 300 to 400 at a time.

    I never bought the books that everyone says you need to own. The information on loads is on the manufacturer's web site and even though Lee Instruction are a little hard to follow...."YouTube" solves that problem. Even though I'm an "old" guy....I have always felt that anything in print is potentially out dated when printed.

    That being said, I really only intend to load one round for the forseeable future....the .45 ACP for my three 45's.
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    I started relaoding about 35 years ago with an old RCBS press that someone gave me. I used if for a while then I bought myself a LEE single stage press that I am still using 32 or 33 years later (I have had to replace a couple of parts). In about June of last year, I decided to go progressive so I bought a used LEE Loadmaster progressive press. I used it for a few months and for the first time ever, I started having squib loads (loads with low or no powder). I got rid of that press and bought myself a Dillon RL550B progressive press which is, in my humble opinion, the Rolls Royce of presses.

    If money were no object, I would definately recommend going with a Dillon progressive press. Money would HAVE to be no object because Dillons are quite expensive. After you buy the press, you are just getting started spending. You will then have to buy the dies (but you can use other manufacturers dies), the tool heads, the conversion kits, the powder through dies, and the list seems to just keep going on.
  5. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Like gdmoody, I have been reloading over 30 yrs. now. Since you have stated that you, and your buddies, will be using the ammo that you make, then I will again have to agree with gdmoody! Buy the Dillon RL550B. It will crank out enough ammo to satisfy you all, unless you guys get into the full auto stuff.:D

    Attached Files:

  6. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I have also reloaded for quite a while, at least 30 odd years and still enjoy doing it. There isnt much I still enjoy after all that time, which must tell you something....

    As for getting started I recommend a visit to a good gun store and a chat with the guys there. Dont just buy what they say though, ask about the options and weigh them up along with the excellent advice given in the posts above. You will learn really quickly, and it is a very rewarding hobby.
  7. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    If you have never reloaded I STRONGLY recommend getting started with a single stage press. Get a reloaders packaged set up by RCBS, Hornady or, Lyman. After you have learned on that then you can progress to a progressive press. Don't worry, the single stage press is not wasted money. You will always use a single stage even if you buy a progressive press.

    Read this for a "Fair and Balanced" evaluation of progressive loading presses: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf
  8. PPK 32

    PPK 32 Active Member

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    Some really good info, as usual, and lots of food for thought. Thanks.
  9. 3ME

    3ME New Member

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    It really depends on what you are going to load, and what you plan to do with it. If you are going to load a lot of anything (or several anythings) a progressive is the way to go. It is a simple matter of speed. I have a Dillon 650 and very happy with it. It is ideal for .45 ACP loads because between me and my sons, we go through a lot of them. I also load .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .223 Rem on the 650.

    For hunting loads and high accuracy loads, I still do them on a single stage press and hand weigh each one. That is still the way to assure maximum consistency. In the time it tales to load 100 rounds of .270 Winchester by hand, I could probably load 700 rounds on the Dillon, but the power charges would vary more and there would be other minor differences in the quality. Don't get me wrong, the Dillon does a super job, but it cannot make power charges that are consistently within 0.1 grains. The only way to do that is to hand load each one. That takes more time and more care, but that 100 rounds of .270 Winchester will last me several years of hunting because I don't shoot that many of them. In an average year, I will shoot 10 or so checking zero and maybe 4 while hunting.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  10. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    PPK 32

    I think all of us on this forum asked this question at one time and it shows you're right on track. Generally you have two extremes here progressive and single stage reloading both serve their purpose well. I shoot both rifle and pistol equally (match and plinker quality rounds) and a turret press IMHO answers the "in between" situation. It's much faster than single stage but not as quick as progressive, its simple enough for a beginner and allows you to advance die stages without losing track of 4 or 5 processes happening at once as in the progressives. I'd consider a turret or "semi-progressive" if you want to reload for several calibers, both rifle and pistol.
  11. PPK 32

    PPK 32 Active Member

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    Excellent point, while I shoot mainly hand guns, my shooting buddies shoot both rifle and hand guns, therefore there would be a lot of switching. Thanks.
  12. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

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    I have a single stage. Now that's it's warm out I wish I had a progressive so that I can spend my time in the field rather than the basement. But when winter comes, the "time-consuming" single-stage will be well worth my time as I have nothing at all to do. But in all fairness, I usually have enough time to load and I'm not one of those 200-400 rounds a session shooters. Especially since I put my targets 300-400 yards away. That's an awfull lot of walking after awhile. :)
  13. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Which calibers are you planning to reload? I would go with a rock chucker or similarily stout single stage to start with. You will NEVER not find a use for a single stage press. I started in reloading only a few years ago, my girlfriends father has a huge reloading room and I was forturnate to be mentored on several presses before making my "first press" decision. I went with the Dillon Square Deal progressive, 90% of what I shoot is .45 and I found a GREAT deal on a gently used one here in the forums. The SDB is limited to straight wall pistol only, but it has been very very consistent and easy to use. I will have a Dillon 650 one day, but money is an object for me at the moment. With all equiment, electronic scale, powder, primers; I had an initial investment of just under $900. With the 1500+ rnds that I've already cranked out, I'm well on my way to making it worth the cost. Like the saying goes, you don't really save any $$$,m you just shoot alot more. ( alot more accurately too )

    Do your research, pick your press and then do some searching on the forums and ebay/craigslist; you'll find one out there at a good price. ( you just wont find primers right now, if you do, send me a PM :D)
  14. Freebore

    Freebore New Member

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    Well....there are as many opinions as there are reloaders. If I was starting out (and know what I know now) I would probably split the difference between single stage and progressive presses and go with a good turret press such as the Redding T7 or RCBS Turret. These presses provide all the advantages of a single stage along with some of the progressive models.

    The turrets allow you to load both straigh and bottle shaped cases without any hassle, and you can set them up for multiple calibers. I also agree with the others that suggest a single stage (you can't argue with the majority) does provide an easy understanding of the loading process and will alway have a home on your loading bench.



    My only closing comment is that when making choices of what kind of equipment to use, "do you load to shoot, or shoot to load"
  15. tEN wOLVES

    tEN wOLVES New Member

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    Howdy all

    I'm like some of the others, I've always used a RCBS Rock chucker SINGLE STAGE PRESS, but a few years ago I got involved in Cowboy Action Shooting, and you burn up a lot more ammo, so about a year ago I started doing my homework on progressive presses, and tried and looked at most that were offered, some of my friends that had been using Dillon 550, and 650, presses, told me to take a look at the new Hornady Lock & Load AP, so I did and I started really getting interested in it, then I went back to my friends and asked why they suggested I looked at something different than the Dillon if that was what they were using, I was told that they were now using the LOCK & LOAD AP, for their most used calibers and the one pard had sold his 650, but kept his 550 for use on other cal. he had. This surprised me to say the least, but they said that Hornady is now putting out the best Progressive there is right now, with Dillon coming in second. they told me the Hornady is strong sturdy and solid, but the best thing it is the SMOOTHEST of them all, and makes a more precision bullets than the others.
    I bought the Hornady L&L AP, and waited 4 months to get it, and everything they told me was true, and with the bushing conversion kit I can use it with my Rock chucker, and it is truly the SMOOTHEST PRESS I've tried. Dillon makes a great press too, but if you haven't tried the new Hornady L&L AP you owe it to yourself to check it out, it is worthy of that. The next thing for me will be the electric case loader, this press even has cert fittings so you can grease it up and keep it running smooth and reduce the wear, that was good thinking on Hornady's part, Hornady really did there home work well when thinking this out, five stations that index, a powder measure that won't dump powder unless there is a case present, a primer flower to keep pressure in the primer tube, and a powder dump that you put where the rotor is so you can empty the powder without taking the measure of the press, changing from one caliber doesn't cost an arm and a leg either, because of the bushing system/Lock & Load device, I will be able to use this press for all my needs, and will still use my Rock Chucker for my 45/70

    tEN wOLVES :D:D:rolleyes::cool:
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
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