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Old February 6, 2013, 06:30 PM   #1
WillyKern69
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About to jump into the handloading/reloading pool.

Given the current events, I have decided it is time to reload. I started by reading about every post here and on some other forums, then watched several youtube videos. But now I have my first question. Do I go out and buy a expensive Dillon Square Deal B and be done with it? From what I gather I would never have to buy another press. Or do I go out and buy a cheaper Lyman press to begin(and do more work)? It seems that a lot of reloaders start upgrading rather quickley to the Dillon after they start reloading. I want to start loading .38s, then .357s, then move to .45s. Anythougts would be apprciated.Thanks.

WK
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:35 PM   #2
Grizz12
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I started with a single stage just to get familiar with the process and what to look for. Then I upgraded to the dillon 550B.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:47 PM   #3
Misssissippi Dave
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My first question is how many rounds do you think you will be loading per week/month or year? Not everyone needs a progressive press. Knowing how much reloading you plan to do will make it easier to get you closer to the right press.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:49 PM   #4
Grizz12
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I was up to 500+/hr with 9mm once I was familiar with everything and still took time to double check every ~50 or so rnds. The quicker I got them done the sooner I was out shooting
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:55 PM   #5
WillyKern69
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M-Dave, I think that is part of the question. I want to start shooting in some competions, so I could see myself start loading a lot. It just seems all roads lead to a progressive press. I was thinking that to buck up in the beginning would save me time and money in the long run.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:38 PM   #6
Misssissippi Dave
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I have both a SDB and a 550b. Either will load a pretty good amount of ammo. I leave the SDB set up to load .45 apc with large primers and the 550b is used for everything else. The 550b will allow you to also load rifle ammo if you are interested in that aspect. The 550b also has a better leverage advantage to make loading less work. If you really want to produce a lot of ammo the 650 with case feeder is the way to go. You can load easily 300 rounds per hour with either the SDB and 550b. You can load at least 500 rounds per hour with the 650 with case feeder. Those are not the max. rates these presses can be used to produce ammo by any means. If you have plenty of time to reload you can use a turret press to load 1 to 200 rounds per hour.

The SDB will only allow you to load certain pistol calibers.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:30 PM   #7
WillyKern69
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Thanks. You helped make a descion easier. If the .38/.357 and .45 go well, I would like to reload 30.06. If that goes well then on to .223. So a press that does both is a better bet.
now if I can just find one in stock!

WK
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:33 PM   #8
DASHZNT
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Get some manuals and READ them and thwn buy Dillon Precision equipment and you will be starting with the best from the begining.. Good Luck!

DASHZNT
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:34 PM   #9
spacecoast
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I started slow (Lee hand press) and it's been all I have needed. 17K+ rounds in 3.2 years. The dies, tumbler, scale, bullet puller, etc. you can use later with any press. A hand press is a great way to get started cheap.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:48 PM   #10
FloridaGuy
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I just started reloading 2 weeks ago. I will only be reloading pistol ammo in the following calibers .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .45 Colt, .45 ACP and 9MM. So I purchased 2 Dillon Square Deal "B" and a quick change setup and Die set for each of the above calibers. It was not cheap but I am very glad I started this way. Now I never have to worry about not having any ammo. At the same time I purchased enought components to load 10,000 rounds divided between the above calibers.

My current ammo usage is in the 300 - 400 rounds a week.

Last edited by FloridaGuy; February 7, 2013 at 10:05 PM.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:53 PM   #11
rfdillon
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I would encourage you to buy a good single stage press, and not even consider a progressive press until you have loaded on the single stage for at least a few months/thousand rounds. You cam load most any caliber and this will give you a good understanding of the nuances and issues each caliber presents,
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:07 PM   #12
Misssissippi Dave
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You can use a progressive press similar to a single stage. To do this you only put one case in and go through all the stations until you have a finished round. You can also do just one station and remove it to put in a loading bock just like a single stage but that takes a lot of time to do. It is best to load one case at a time when you are developing a new load. Then you can check everything twice for each station to make sure it is right. One case at a time also is good to try to find out where a problem might occur to correct it.

Progressive presses are more compicated than single stage presses are. One of the biggest problems I see with people trying to work up loads on a progressive is the tendency to want to make a lot of a single load to test. It is best to not try to make more than 10 rounds for each change in powder you are trying. Who wants to pull a bunch of bullets because a load you made isn't going to work for your needs. Even once you think you have a good load you might not want to make no more than 50 to see how well it burns. I don't care for very dirty loads in my pistols. Often when using W321 powder just adding .1 grains more of powder will not affect accuracy but will make it a much cleaner burning round.

The SDB press is rated by Dillon at 400 round per hour. The 550b is rated at 550 and the 650 with case feeder is rated at 800 to 1000 per hour. I tend to load slower to be able to keep up with what is going on. The 550b is also a manual indexing press. I like it for working up loads since I have a lot more control with it compared to an auto indexing press. Everyone with a progressive press is going to have different ideas about what is or isn't good about each model out there. There are also many people that feel a progressive press is something nobody needs or should have. To each their own.

You can start out reloading on a progressive press and many have done just that. You do need to be more aware of what you are doing and not get carried away when you start out. You have to develope a system that works for you. Always check the powder level visually before you place a bullet to be seated. Learn what the handle feels like when you have seated a primer properly and what it feels like when one doesn't feed like it should. These two things will save you a lot of headaches later on.

Progressive presses are best used when you are loading a lot of ammo and you are not changing the components. A single stage is better when you are loading to get the most you can to match your guns. There are reloaders and there are people that load to get that magic round we all dream about. You just need to think about which you are at the moment. Even this opinion changes with time.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:33 PM   #13
Icedragon
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The dies for the SDB press will not work with any other press. FYI
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:04 PM   #14
WillyKern69
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Good info, thanks.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:04 PM   #15
nova609
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500+ rounds per hour?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me????? The most I got out of an hour is 25 .380ACP's! Then again I only have 7mo under my belt, a single stage press, and major OCD with my measuring.....but I can't imagine that many rounds per hour!!!

One thing I am really considering is an electronic powder dispenser (RCBS). I think this may really decrease my time.
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:07 PM   #16
DASHZNT
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Yeah.. I get 500 per hour easily with my Dillon Press. Consistent accurate and reliable loads everytime.. Im so thankful everyday that I started off right the first time!

DASHZNT
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Old February 8, 2013, 01:45 AM   #17
Lost Sheep
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Cyclic rate vs sustained rate

Quote:
Originally Posted by nova609
500+ rounds per hour?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me????? The most I got out of an hour is 25 .380ACP's! Then again I only have 7mo under my belt, a single stage press, and major OCD with my measuring.....but I can't imagine that many rounds per hour!!!

One thing I am really considering is an electronic powder dispenser (RCBS). I think this may really decrease my time.
An electronic powder dispenser might be more consistent in weight than a mechanical powder measure, but will not be any faster, and may be slower. The difference may be moot if the processing time of the electronic powder measure runs out while you are doing something else. If wait time is zero, the electronic CAN BE effectively instant, but might not be. The processing time for any mechanical powder measure is very close to instant all the time.

When I first started out, I managed 50 per hour, but had my gear and components laid out efficiently and was loading .357 magnum which might be a little easier to handle because the bullets and brass are a little larger. This was on a single stage press and checking the weight of each charge. This was sustained rate, which includes all the setup and preparation time and keeping all the components refilled and boxing the finished product. In six hours I could load 300 rounds. Sustained rate.

Cyclical rate can be much faster because it doesn't include all the peripheral activities involved in keeping primer tubes filled, powder hoppers maintained, spot-checking powder drops, etc.

ALWAYS find out what rate is being quoted. (This may be impossible, by the way.) Some people even count their production beginning with cases already sized and primed. They (legitimately or not) do not count those activities because they can be done while watching TV or other stuff. They count the charging of powder and seating bullets because they MUST be done as a dedicated activity (inattention here can result in catastrophe upon firing the ammo).

I expect the figures from Dillon are genuine, accurate and achievable cyclic rate. It is easy to determine from watching a good video of a press in operation for 10 rounds with a stopwatch, then doing the math.

Comparing Batch Processing (as on a single stage) to Continuous/Sequential Processing (as on a progressive) is like comparing apples to applejuice. You can drink a half-dozen apples worth of juice a lot faster than eating a half-dozen apples. (And if you want to complete the analogy, Continuous Processing on an auto-indexing turret press is like applesauce and fits in between single stage batch and progressive continous.)

Imagine the time savings of not having to change dies, not having to remove and insert your brass multiple times per finished cartridge, not having to weigh charges (using a powder measure that drops a charge directly into the case). Better yet, don't imagine it, but watch it on one of the many videos posted by users of progressive presses.

This one is of a Lee Loadmaster and shows full production at about 7m 30s in.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...ail&FORM=VIRE7

This one is part 5 of a description of the Dillon 550. The first 4 parts take you from assembly, die installation, powder setup and all the way up to operation in this video.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...ail&FORM=VIRE7

(Part 1 is here and the other parts appear as each preceding one ends.)
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...ail&FORM=VIRE7

Welcome to loading.

Lost Sheep
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Old February 8, 2013, 11:29 PM   #18
orionengnr
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Quote:
You can use a progressive press similar to a single stage. To do this you only put one case in and go through all the stations until you have a finished round.
This is exactly how I started. In fairness, when I started I was already 50 years old and most of my youthful impetuous nature has been worked out a while ago.
Another way of saying I had already done a lifetime of stupid things, and figure that my luck has probably run low...

As long as you pay attention, take one step at a time and don't get in a hurry, you can progress nicely and save yourself the time, expense and trouble of buying everything twice.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:15 AM   #19
603Country
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Nova609, I went to an auto powder dispenser (Lyman) last year at Christmas and it is a good bit faster. All the work that you would do with your hands and a balance beam scale is no longer necessary. You can do other stuff while your dispenser is throwing and trickling your powder. I started with an RCBS 1010, went to a PACT digital scale, and then on to the Lyman. I still use the PACT for weight checks, but the RCBS 1010 hasn't seen the light of day for over a year.

It's not twice as fast, but it is faster to some degree. I do not anticipate going back to the RCBS 1010.
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Old February 9, 2013, 02:34 AM   #20
Fire_Moose
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500 rounds an hour....if I had a press that did that I'd constantly be running out of components.

I'd only get to reload a couple hours every other month

This is why you need to match yer press with yer needs. I can't afford a full proggy, nor the stuff to keep it fed.

Sent from my CZ85 Combat
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