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Old August 29, 2012, 10:50 PM   #1
Sphawley
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Press Versatility

I've been reloading my own shot gun shells for a couple months now and I feel very comfortable with the process and would like to move into rifles now.

I would be starting with .308 and moving through different rifle calibers as needed. Eventually dabbling in pistol reloading...

So my question is what are the presses that do both rifle and pistol? How do you figure out which ones do both?

Second once you figure out how much you want to spend and if you want a progressive, etc...How do you finally narrow it down to which one to actually buy?

Thanks for your patience, still learning all the aspects.
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Old August 29, 2012, 11:32 PM   #2
jmortimer
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Take some time to decide. My suggestion is to consider the Lee Precision Classic Turret. Can be used as a single stage (like I do) or with auto-index as a true turret press. Regardless, it's very nice to have turrets preset and change calibers in seconds. Very versatile.
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Old August 29, 2012, 11:35 PM   #3
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I've always gone with Dillon for progressives... but to be honest, all the major progressive makers do a pretty good job of it.

Back when Dillon first started doing progressives, they had the "no weasel words/no BS" warranty... and they totally stood behind it. Customer service was and still is excellent.
The other makers got the message and followed suit, so once again, it's entirely up to your wallet and any unique features that you find valuable.

Cheers,
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Old August 30, 2012, 12:30 AM   #4
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sphawley
I've been reloading my own shot gun shells for a couple months now and I feel very comfortable with the process and would like to move into rifles now.

I would be starting with .308 and moving through different rifle calibers as needed. Eventually dabbling in pistol reloading...

So my question is what are the presses that do both rifle and pistol? How do you figure out which ones do both?
They all do both, with these caveats.

All presses suitable for metallic cartridges (as opposed to shotshell) can do both handgun and rifle. The dies almost all use the same threads and the presses operate in the same manner, though the steps for bottlenecked cartridges are different from straight-walled cases.

The two differences you MUST take into account are that you must choose a press with (1) a large enough opening and long enough travel of the ram to accommodate the longest cartridge you will be loading (including the space to place the bullet on the case mouth and still have room for your fingers or bullet feeder if you use one.) and (2) enough leverage to work the cartridges you will be loading. A 458 Win Mag takes a lot more force than a 223 Remington or even a 454 Casull.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sphawley
Second once you figure out how much you want to spend
How much you got?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sphawley
and if you want a progressive, etc...How do you finally narrow it down to which one to actually buy?
If you want to change calibers a lot and load in small lots, a progressive may be too much trouble. If you want to load 1,000 rounds at a sitting, a progressive is probably the preferred way to go (once you have the process completely understood and mastered).

A progressive can load 200 to 2,000 rounds per hour, depending on brand and model, but may take 5 to 30 minutes to change calibers. Cost for the press and dies alone, $200 to $1,000 (Lee Pro-1000 to Dillon 1050) and you may (no, you WILL) want to add accessories to make things more efficient or reliable.

A Lee Classic Turret can load 100 to 200 rounds per hour and can swap calibers in less than 30 seconds. Cost for press and dies alone, $120 plus another $100 or so for accessories. Other Turret presses are a bit higher and some people believe them to be more robust or better quality.

I won't argue with those opinions, but hold my own opinion, that the Lee Classic Turret is the best auto-indexing turret in the world. Of course it helps that there are only two auto-indexing turrets in the world and the other one is the somewhat inferior Lee Deluxe Turret.

A single stage press tops out at 50 to 75 rounds per hour. The time to swap calibers is irrelevant as you are loading in batches and swapping dies anyway.
$60 to $150 for the press and dies plus another $100 or so for accessories.

So, in general:

Progressive for 500 or more rounds at a time if you want to spend $500 or more.

Turret if you want to load a few hundred rounds up to 1,000 in an afternoon and want to spend about $200-$500

Single Stage if you want to load dozens or a couple hundred rounds in an afternoon and want to spend $125 to $300.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sphawley
Thanks for your patience, still learning all the aspects.
You are most welcome. Thanks for asking our advice.

We could target our advice better is you shared some information about yourself:

What calibers will you be reloading?

What quantities will you be reloading for those calibers?

How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities

What is your budget?

Will you be putting your gear away after each session or leave it set up permanently?

Do you want it to be portable?

What are your shooting goals? Cheap ammo? Ultimate long-range accuracy? Casual pllinking, Serious competition - what kind? Cowboy Action Shooting? Strictly hunting?


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Old August 30, 2012, 12:32 AM   #5
Lost Sheep
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Some light reading for you

I have compiled a few web sites that seem to have some good information (only some of which came from me).

Go get a large mug of whatever you sip when you read and think and visit these sites.

Sticky-contains much general information.
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230171

Sticky-contains much general information.
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214

"Newby needs help." (A typical new reloader thread). My posts are 11 and 13
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=430391

"Just bought my first press. Needs some info tho." (A typical new reloader thread)
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=659358

"I am looking at getting into reloading for the first time" (A typical new reloader thread)
thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971

"Considering reloading" (A typical new reloader thread)
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=488115

"Interested in reloading" (A typical new reloader thread)
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543

"Is the lee classic loader a good starter loader?" A thread from someone considering the Mallet-driven Lee Classic Loader.
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497313
http://http://thefiringline.com/foru...d.php?t=497313

"Lee Classic Loader Kit" My post, Minimalist minimal is the seventh post down.
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=107332

"45 Colt question-Lee loader" Another Lee Classic Loader thread
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498638
http://http://thefiringline.com/foru...d.php?t=498638

"Best starter kit?"
rugerforum.net/reloading/33252-best-starter-kit-beginners.html
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/3325...beginners.html

Informed by my 2010 repopulation of my loading bench (If I knew in '75 what I know now)
rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/2938...andloader.html

Thoughts on The Lee Classic Turret Press
rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951
http://rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=135951


Use what type of scale? (poll)
thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448410
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448410

Good luck

Lost Sheep
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Old August 30, 2012, 01:11 AM   #6
Sphawley
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Lost Sheep,

All I can say is wow! That cleared up so much of what was floating through my head...Still much to be thought about and learned, but that was a huge chunk and made things much easier. I will go through those links you attached as time permits.

As you requested;

Like I said I plan to start with .308 however I would also like to start loading .223, .243, .357, .38, .45 & 9mm. That's not to say in the future I may want to do some different calibers.

For the majority of these calibers I will probably reload anywhere from 100-500 rounds per session. So as you stated I think a turret press seems fitting. Time will all depend, as much time as I need is what I will spend. When I reload my shot shells I have a goal of how many I will need and thats what I will reload.

Budget is pretty open I usually gather my pieces over time while I gather my information about reloading and what I want to do. This is what did for my shotgun stuff, usually 1 thing a month so the initial cost is spreadout over time. This lets me spend a little more on those larger ticket items... For the press I feel like the $300 range would be most comfortabel for myself.

I have a dedicated bench to all my gun related items, however it does not fit everything. So I will need to be able to move the press. Right now with my shotgun press is attachted to a wood base that gets C clamped to the work bench and can be moved as needed. Works very well for what I have to work with now. Portable is not necessary.

For shooting goals of course cheaper, but I like to hunt and do a lot of casual plinking. One day I would like to get into long range shooting and would like to have this aspect mastered by the time I get there. Overall I just really enjoy reloading and get satifaction from being able to do it.

Thanks for taking so much time to go over all of this with me!! Truly worth its weight in gold!
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Old August 30, 2012, 01:38 AM   #7
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If you think one day you may get into long range shooting you may want to think about single stage. Also progressive or turret I know no one really who cranks out 500 rounds every night. Maybe unless you have a full auto or a competition shooter.
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:02 AM   #8
Lost Sheep
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I am getting ready for bed, but thought I would answer some of your questions I can do quickly.
Quote:
press is attachted to a wood base that gets C clamped to the work bench and can be moved as needed
This device seems like it might be good for you: Each press mounts to a piece of wood or metal.

http://leeprecision.com/bench-plate.html

I am sure there are others. The best thing I can think of is mounting a square tube under your bench and mounting your presses on a plate welded to a square post (like a receiver hitch on a car).

For the calibers you listed, I would think a single stage press is in your future. Every serious loader I know has at least one single stage for quick jobs, precision work and stuff that is not suited for a turret or progressive. Take a look at the Lee Classic Cast, RCBS RockChucker or Forster Co-Ax. The Co-Ax is expensive, but by all reports well worth it if you want supreme accuracy. Redding and Hornady are good names in, too but I have never owned any of those, either. I have had RCBS and Lee. RCBS by just dumb luck and Lee because I researched heavily and chose wisely.

Just off the cuff, I would think a single stage would be my first choice (because of the low quantity high quality rifle ammunition needs) a high-quality single stage. RCBS, Redding, Hornady, Forster, Lee Classic Cast. Anything made of cast iron rather than aluminum. And a premium scale. Ohaus makes almost all the scales sold under the labels of the major manufacturers. Go on Ebay and search for the RCBS 5-10 or RCBS 10-10 scales to see what they look like. Then you will know what you are looking for. I don't trust electronic scales unless they are well shielded. But there are good ones. You just have to do your research.

If you learn to load with a single stage, by the time you want to step up the production rate you will be better prepared to evaluate the pros and cons of Turret vs Progressive. If you start out with a GOOD single stage you will never regret having it.

I hear you on the satisfaction of reloading angle.
The fish I catch might cost more than the fish I buy;
The veggies I grow might cost more than the those from the store;
The ammunition I shoot might cost more than retail;
Why do I fish, garden and handload?
If you have to ask why, you probably won't understand; these activities enrich my life.

And a treatise I wrote a while ago.

Why do I reload? Let me count the ways:

Economy: Depending on what cartridges you are reloading (and whether or not you want to count your time and the up-front equipment costs) you can save anywhere from just a little to 80% or more of your ammo costs. (9mm is very close to no savings. 500 S&W, my friend's ammo costs are $0.75 per round, factory loaded ammo is $3.00 each for comparable ammo. More exotic calibers (especially rifle calibers) can save even more. Some rounds are not even available on a regular basis at any price.

Quality: Ammo you craft yourself can be tuned to your firearms particular characteristics. Handloaders for rifles quite often find some individual guns have quite striking differences in group size when shooting tuned ammunition.

Knowledge: As you study reloading, you will, perforce, also study internal ballistics. The study of internal ballistics leads into the study of how your firearm works.

Customization: Ammo you load yourself can be tuned to your particular needs. My friend with the 500 S&W loads full power loads and "powder puff" loads that clock 350 grain slugs a little under 800 feet per second. I know that's more than a G.I. 45 ACP's power and momentum, but they shoot like 22 rimfire in that big, heavy gun. Great for fun, familiarization, training and letting the curious bystander go for a "test drive" with a super-light load, a medium load, a heavy load and, if they are still game one of the big boomers. This tends to avoid the "rear sight in the forehead" mark.

Satisfaction: Punching small bunches of small, medium or large holes in paper or bringing down a game or food animal with ammunition you crafted yourself has a good deal of satisfaction. Same reason I prefer to make my own biscuits instead of store-bought.

Smug satisfaction: When the ammo shelves are bare during a market or political scare, loaders are demonstrably less affected by the shortages. A couple of pounds of powder, a thousand primers and bullets (or few pounds of lead) and a hundred cartridge cases wouldn't fill a small book carton, but lets the loader know he can shoot while price-gougers take advantage of non-loaders.

Self-satisfaction: The repetitive, calm, attentive concentration of the reloading activities is often found to be so much fun as to bring to the shooter's mind the question, "Do I reload so I can shoot shoot or do I shoot so I can reload?". Some find loading to be as satisfying a hobby as shooting or fly-tying or many other hobbies.

The more fanatical among us combine a couple of the features I have mentioned and, instead of shooting for bullseye accuracy at the range, reload in a search for the "magic load" that achieves perfection in a given rifle. Then, they move on to the next target, which is another rifle and another tuned load. But you do have to be at least a little fanatical to even get it. It is the hunt they seek, for they enjoy the quest more than the goal.

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Old August 30, 2012, 06:00 AM   #9
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Great post Lost Sheep. Yes I am the same. Reasons I reload....
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Old August 30, 2012, 03:38 PM   #10
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If you even think you may want to go progrssive, look at the Hornady LNL AP. I use mine as a self ejecting single stage quite often.
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Old August 30, 2012, 06:35 PM   #11
Sphawley
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Great posts Lost Sheep, the second one especially that really puts everything into perspective.

Thank you for the guidance, im sure I will have some more questions in the very near future.
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Old August 30, 2012, 07:47 PM   #12
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Starting with a single stage for rifle is probably the way to go. When you start loading pistol rounds and are doing them for a semi-auto, you might want to go to a progressive. My semi-auto pistols tend to eat a lot of ammo per hour.

The Dillon 550b will load rifle and pistol ammo. Maybe not every caliber, but most of them. You can produce a reasonable amount per hour too. The 550b also gives you a little more control you won't get with a auto advancing progressive.

For some precision rifle rounds you might want to make, the single stage and weighing the powder for each and every load is probably best. You can't go wrong with a good single stage press. Cost, speed and ease of use are the main things to think about. Trying to match what you want vs. what you need and adding up the cost is probably the hardest part of buying equipment.
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Old September 2, 2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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I have allways believed in KISS (keep it simple stupid).

In 1975 I purchased my RCBS Rockchucker single stage press with an ammo crafter package and a couple of reloading manuals. I loaded 38/357, 30-30 and 243. My intent was to load a belted magnum in the future (338 win Mag).

I still use the same press some 37 years later. Now i load 38/357 45ACP, 257 Roberts, 44 Mag, 338 win 308 and Camp Perry match in 7.62 x 54 R.

occassionally i consider a progressive, but I like the portability of my single stage press which I have mounted to an old Army field table reinforced with a 3/4 inch piece of plywood. Spare dies, bullets and accesories are stored in my BSA Footlocker (still labeled with my name and Troop 420 as my father painted it in 1965). powders are storred in an old Army footlocker. I can set up or break down my bench in about 10 minutes when the boss kicks me out of the guest bed room.

My advice is to start simple and go from there.
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Old September 3, 2012, 08:04 AM   #14
kron
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I have to agree with the folks recommending a single stage to start with. I have a Dillon 650 that sits neglected most of the time since I primarily load on an old Pacific Super Mag.

Too easy to miss something when I have 4 or 5 operations going on the progressive each stroke. So I use it for bulk pistol and 223 ammo mostly. All hunting loads are done on the single stage type presses.

YMMV.
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Old September 3, 2012, 11:33 AM   #15
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I started on a single stage and I'm still using it. I've haven't even considered going turret or progressive. I did buy another press to allow me to seat on one and factory crimp on the other to finish up a batch. I like to reload and enjoy each step. I'm in no hurry to get quantity but you will be surprised at how fast your ammo stash will grow.
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Old September 3, 2012, 09:36 PM   #16
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One very nice feature of Hornady's presses, both single stage and progressive, are the "Lock n Load" bushings. Each die has a bushing. Once you have the die adjusted, you tighten the lockring and the die & bushing become a unit that goes in and out of the press with a simple twist. The dies stay set exactly where you want them.

Note: The Forster Co-Ax also has a quick die change feature. However, the lock ring snaps into the press. For maximum rifle cartridge performance, that's the single stage press I want. It just costs more...
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Old September 3, 2012, 11:38 PM   #17
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I feel the same as Gster.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:21 AM   #18
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time; non-renewable

To make larger quantities of ammo without investing 'single-stage' time I most highly recommend the Dillon XL650 with separate toolheads for each chambering, a case-feeder and roller handle, and powder-check stations.

Why? Because so many handgun and rifle competitors use them.
With great success, both with the press and on target.

You will get other advice, but it will be wrong. And I've sent you out of budget, too.
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