Progressive rifle reloading

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by canonmanmart, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. canonmanmart

    canonmanmart New Member

    Mar 4, 2012
    Though I've been reloading for 25 + years, I am new to progressive bottleneck cartridge reloading. Since you can't use a carbide resizing die and must lube the cases, Where in the process due you lube and then clean the case and still maintain the "progressive" function of the press? I am used to throwing all my lubed and resized cases in the tumbler for a cleaning before priming and charging. Obviously doing this would defeat the purpose of a progressive press. What method do you use?
  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Welcome to the forum, canon.

    That is a good question and the reason I don't use my Dillon on rifle cartridges. I am still in the stone age when it comes to loading rifles, I still use a single stage Lee press. There are several folks that do progressive. LDBennett comes to mind immediately, I am sure he will come along and give his insight into it, he is very knowledgeable in the hand loading arena.

  3. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    Some people (like me) re-size on a non-progressive and finish the process on the progressive. If you choose to perform the entire process on your progressive, it can be done using non-adulterating (for lack of a better word) lube:

    Lube your cases externally w/ Imperial Sizing Wax and the inside of the necks w/ their Dry Neck Lube or machine mica. Run the case thru the entire loading process and clean off the Sizing Wax. The dry neck lube will not affect the primer or powder so it doesn't need to be removed prior to seating the bullet.

    Why don't I do it this way? I like to run the re-sized cases thru the tumbler and have it do my cleaning for me prior to completing the reloading process.

    There is nothing wrong w/ using a progressive to made accurate ammo. Accuracy is more a function of the dies and the consistency of the powder measure than the press.

  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    I have been progressively reloading rifle cases on my Dillon RL550B for 25 + years. I currently reload for 30 some different cartridge including a bunch of bottle necked rifle cartridges. Here is my work flow:

    I clean cases in vibratory cleaner with Walnut shells.

    (To lube the cases I only do that as I pick them up to load them into the first station of the press by rolling them individually on a RCBS pad using RCBS water soluble lube.)

    I test ten rounds by sizing only and measuring them for excessive case length. If none show any signs of needing trimming then I proceed. (More later, see ****).

    I progressively reload them in the Dillion RL550B using anyone's but LEE's two die set and Dillons powder die for station two. The first stage is de-priming, and sizing (full length or neck or full length adjusted for minimum shoulder set back). The second station is powder delivery. The third station is for bullet seating and optional crimping. The forth stage is normally empty but could be used for a separate crimp operation.

    On some cartridges that need crimping (like 308 for my FN-FAL) I use the LEE Factory Crimp Die in the forth station as a separate crimping operation.

    After the lot has come through the press I wipe every cartridge down with a damp rag and roll each cartridge on a towel to dry them, all on a lot bases (after all the reloading is done).

    **** If I find I find the cases need trimming I size/de-prime the whole lot by using the press as a single stage press, de-priming and sizing in the first station and removing them from the second station as I put a new cartridge into the first station (obviously I rotate the table). I then trim the lot on a motorized RCBS trimmer and remove the burrs and brush out the primer pocket on a motorized RCBS unit. I then remove the sizing die from the press and progressively reload normally (resizing the trimmed cases could be done but it works the brass too much, in my opinion, so I just remove the die from station 1 and use the press normally).

    That's how I do bottle necked rifle cases on my Dillion RL550B.

  5. Waldog

    Waldog Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    I load 99% of my rifle cases on a single stage press. The reason being that I rarely load more than 100 rifle cases at a time. However, occasionaly I will load a 2-300 223 and 308 cases. I use Imperial Sizing wax for a case lube. I have NEVER had a stuck case with Imperial and I HAVE had stuck cases with other lubes.

    I insert my sizing die on my progressive press and remove all the other dies and powder measure I size/decap all my cases and then put them in my tumbler for about 20 minutes to remove the lube.

    I then REMOVE my sizing die from my press and re-install everything else. I then prime, powder drop and, seat my bullets on my progressive press normally. I don't crimp my rifle cases. Works well for me.
  6. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    I too have been using the Dillion 550B for years, my first one (450) did not have the removable die head, the automatic primer or powder feed, all of which really made it about in the middle between a single stage and what we have today in the 550B. At that time I used it exclusivly for pistol ammo and only used carbide sizing dies.

    I then decided to load some 338 Winchester mags and after setting everything up and only needing maybe 50 rounds I thought this nuts, having little if any advantage over single stage reloading on my Bonaza Co-Ax, I hold to that same thought today. However, when it comes to loading for guns like the AR 15 where you might shoot three or four hundred rounds on a weekend the 550 started to look pretty good so here is what I do. I vibrate my brass in walnut shells treated with a red rouge, I then empty and clean out my case vibrater adding dish soap and water. I wash the cases for about ten minutes and then I rinse them twice about five minutes each with clean water in the vibrater. I then bake them in my home oven at 200 degress for about an hour to completly dry them inside. The lube I use I make myself and I can lube about ten cases at a time taking only a few seconds to do, meaning I can lube 500 cases in ten minutes.

    I know all this sounds like a lot but it really isn't doing 500 cases at a time and baking a 1000 at time. The only bottle necked cases I load on my Dillon are 308, 223, 222 and 220Swift an using exclusivly only ball powders. I shoot ground squrrels by the hundreds with my Swift and 222, they being the only two of the group that I trim. A lot of the 308 cases come out of my HK 91 and they don't live long enough to worry about trimming. While I load for the 223 I also buy it from a commercial reloader here in town for $300.00 a 1000.

  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    I find it best to decap and size on a single stage and finish the laoding sequence progressively. Allows time in between to clean, trim, chamfer and deburr before assembly, for me this works best on the progressive, allows the cartriges to go together consistently with smooth bullet seating.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    If you only have the Dillon RL550B, then it lends itself to being a progressive press, a turret press, or a single stage press. There is no need to remove any dies if you are only using one of the stations... just pull the cartridge off the table after having performed your desired single stage operation.

    I set up my dies for a particular caliber one time and rarely remove or adjust them. Each caliber has its own tool head pre-setup with the appropriate dies. As I said before I sometime do remove the sizing die if I went through the trim cycle explained above.

    I do reload one caliber single stage.... 50DTC which is a wildcat of 50BMG (50DTC is legal in CA and 50BMG is not...I know, stupid laws). 50DTC (50BMG) will not fit in my Dillon and I have to use the much oversized RCBS Ammo Master-2. I know what it is to reload single stage and even if I am only doing 100 rounds of a particular cartridge I would still prefer to do it progressively. It is much faster and just as precise.

  9. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    First I clean all of the brass in the tumbler. Then I lube and resize. Then I do all of the case prep. Then I load. Then I tumble the loaded rounds to remove the lube. I'm loading 223 on a Dillon 550.
  10. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

    just a suggestion. if you switch to the sizing wax, you shouldn't have to go to that trouble to remove the lube

    as you handle the loaded rounds after sizing the wax just seems to go away.

    I sold my lube pad and case lube after I started using the wax.. I'll never go back:D
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    I do not think it a good idea to use any lube (wax is a lube) and leave even a small amount on the case, even if it appears to be mostly gone. Just as oil in the chamber is hard on the gun, so is any residual sizing wax. If the wax allows the case to slip in the die it most certainly will slip in the chamber and may eventually damage the gun. You can do whatever you want but I think it not wise to suggest a shortcut like this to others. But hey, that's just me. You can do whatever you want.

  12. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    I use Hornady one shot and your not supposed to have to clean it off after either. It's just something I'm anal about. It's not a big deal, 10 minutes in the tumbler and they look great. I usually throw 100 in the tumbler and let them go while I'm loading the next 100.
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