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Old August 15, 2013, 10:19 PM   #1
johnroy
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RCBS Auto 4x4 press setup

I need some help setting up this press. It has previously had the index rod removed and apparently been used as a single stage press since the shell plate could not be moved. The press has been out in West Texas and had reasonable care so there wasn't a lot of clean-up required. Using what appears to be a photo copy of original RCBS instructions is hampered by the very grainy pictures and the terse text of the instructions. The ram shoulder bolt screws in nicely without the shell plate in place. With the index spring and ball in place it is another story. Holding the shellplate fully down to compress index spring and put ball below the level of the shell holder, it is possible to turn it in part way with fingers but sticks and needs an allen wrench assist. The problem is that there does not seem to be a place where the shell plate will turn with the index spring and ball in place. What would be the correct procedure for this installation.

The index rod was bent (probably less than ten degrees) but I managed to straighten it out to a degree or two. Afraid to mess with it too much for fear of breaking it. A tiny bit of filing and some steel wool has removed all burs on the surface. Does the rod have to be absolutely straight? That would probably mean a new one.

The priming system appears to be full functional.

What is not really clear is what the linkage to the powder measure is. The index rod does have the flat shell plate driver and the connector at the other end. There is another rod that may be the link to the powder measure. I have the Uniflow powder measure that I bought in '66. Looks like it should work since it isn't that much older than the press. Could that be correct?

I have been using the Lee Pro 1000 for handgun loading and a single stage RCBS for rifles. This press was available with shell plates for everything I load so it didn't seem unreasonable to try a turret press for the rifle cartridges or maybe I just got lazy. Everything else still works but I really would like to get this thing running. It could be updated with something else 40 or 50 years newer but then it would seem like a production operation rather than a hobby.

Anybody out there got the spare time to help me.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:54 PM   #2
GWS
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Quote:
What is not really clear is what the linkage to the powder measure is. The index rod does have the flat shell plate driver and the connector at the other end. There is another rod that may be the link to the powder measure. I have the Uniflow powder measure that I bought in '66. Looks like it should work since it isn't that much older than the press. Could that be correct?
Having never seen one up close I can't help you much, but I do understand that a definite weakness in the press was the old case-activated powder measure mechanism. On the later Pro 2000, RCBS copied Hornady's case-activated linkage which works like a dream. If I had a 4X4 with a Uniflow I'd buy the RCBS linkage Kit and add RCBS's new powder through expanders for each of my pistol calibers. Such would surely make your life much easier. Good luck with the machine.


Last edited by GWS; August 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM.
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Old August 16, 2013, 09:54 AM   #3
AllenJ
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Johnroy I have a 4X4 and I'll post pictures of the linkage on my unit for you later today or tomorrow.

The index rod does need to be straight. It attaches to the powder drop using the linkage and is supposed to auto index the shell plate. The problem is there is a small plastic bushing that is supposed to turn that index rod, and the bushing wears out very quickly. I just index the plate myself, it is much more dependable than the bushing. The rod is covered by the lifetime warranty.

The shell plate is a pain to adjust to the point it holds the case securely enough yet still turns freely but it does do it, you just have to find that happy spot by adjusting tension a little at a time. I'll post some pics of that also.
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Old August 16, 2013, 07:42 PM   #4
Mike / Tx
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Johnroy,

Follow this link and download the manual,
RCBS Parts Book

It will at least show you some detail of how everything goes together, as well as give you the part numbers you need to get any replacement parts for your press. If it is the manual index look on page 8, and the progressive one look on page 9.

Give RCBS a call and tell them what you need. Bear in mind this press has been discontinued, so some parts might not be available. I would try and get the index rod, and a couple of the nylon index bushings, and actually the whole index assembly if you can.

I have had mine since the early 80's and no telling how many rounds it has kicked out. They are a solid press even if you wear out a few parts, it takes a ton of rounds to do so and several years to boot.

As for the index plate, the trick I use is to screw the middle screw in only tight enough that the plate stops when it rotates to the next hole. Trying to get it too tight will only give you fits. Loose isn't a big deal once you have things running, just be sure to snug the set screw or it will tighten down as you go on it's own.
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Old August 17, 2013, 12:58 PM   #5
AllenJ
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Here is the linkage on my 4X4:

Linkage1.jpg

Linkage4.jpg

Linkage5.jpg


I'll post pictures of the shell plate later.
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Old August 17, 2013, 01:02 PM   #6
AllenJ
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The Shell Plate:

Shell Plate.jpg

Shell Plate1.jpg

Shell Plate2.jpg
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Old August 17, 2013, 09:22 PM   #7
johnroy
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RCBS auto 4x4 press setup

Wow. Thank you so much. Don't know what was wrong. Maybe just seeing/hearing that that was the way things go made a difference. Backed up, cleaned everything that looked like it might be a part of it, and tried again. Shell plate went on slick as a whistle. Indexes correctly when turned manually. Will prime case.

Got something wrong on the auto index. As the ram goes up, the index rod carries with it the nylon/plastic nut at the top of the rod. If I hold it down with a screwdriver it indexes half way, repeat and it is correctly indexed. It looks like the nylon nut on top does not fit into the metal receptacle (fixed holding device/wrench whatever) on the top of the press. Do not have the powder drop tubes so the linkage is on hold for the moment. Can't figure out how to use the powder measure manually without those drop tubes. Looks like it will wait until I find another piece or two. Guess it would be possible to take out the case retaining button, extract the case, manually drop powder (with the measure attached in a similar fashion to the way it is put on a single stage press to have it handy), re-insert the case and continue. It would work but setting the bullet on the one case then dropping powder in the next sure makes it look clumsy.

Any other ideas while I wait 'til Monday to call RCBS and then wait on delivery?

Again, thanks for the help in getting started. I still think it will do what I want.
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Old August 18, 2013, 05:15 AM   #8
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
Got something wrong on the auto index. As the ram goes up, the index rod carries with it the nylon/plastic nut at the top of the rod. If I hold it down with a screwdriver it indexes half way, repeat and it is correctly indexed. It looks like the nylon nut on top does not fit into the metal receptacle (fixed holding device/wrench whatever) on the top of the press. Do not have the powder drop tubes so the linkage is on hold for the moment.
In the center of the top portion of the press is an anti rotating bearing. This allows the rod to turn one direction but stops it from going the other. This is where the nylon does it's work. It is supposed to ride the twist in the rod and rotate it back the other direction. This is one of the parts I have worn out several of and why I suggested gong ahead and picking a couple up. You might as well get the whole mess including the rod if possible, and start off fresh.

While your on the phone with them let them know you need that powder measure drop tube as well. Don't forget to mention the two drop in funnels as well. These drop in from the top, one small and one large for different sized cases. Also throw in you need to get the small lever for you Uniflow that attaches to this press. You will need to remove the barrel from your measure and turn it around then reinstall it for it to work properly on top of the press. Once done this way put the small attachment bar in the top and middle holes so that it will align better with the rising activation rod. When your done, the adjustment screw on the measure should be facing the front of the press, stem down, lever attached to the top and middle holes in the drum.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 18, 2013, 08:21 PM   #9
johnroy
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RCBS auto 4x4 press setup

Mike/TX,
Got the word, waiting on Monday, How do you remove those parts (anti-rotating bearing, et.al.) at the top of the press? The only ones I can get out are the index rod and white six-sided nylon bearing(?).
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:02 PM   #10
A pause for the COZ
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1st off. if any parts are suspect. Call RCBS and they will send you out replacements free of charge. They dont care how you got the press they will cover it.

2nd ditch the old powder drop system. Its a over charge waiting to happen.
I have the Piggy Back two. That came with some whako jacko. Powder drop.
Powder bridging and unintended drops were common.
I updated to the case activated kit, and for some loads I use the LEE auto disk measure.

Should turn out to be a very usable 4 station press for you.
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:26 PM   #11
johnroy
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RCBS auto 4x4 press setup

Coz, On the RCBS case activated kit, does the RCBS kit work with the Lee powder measure or will the Lee case activated powder drop and the Lee powder measure work with the press by themselves. I have the Lee and was able to get consistent plus or minus a tenth of a grain on the progressive press. Mostly a case of finding a volume that gave the correct weight. Tapping the lever arm a couple of times at the top and bottom of each stroke seemed to be the real key to consistency. Of course, all of the measures work on a volume unless you get the electronic version. That said, I used the Uniflo on the single stage press for rifle loads. I think there was some movement in the adjustment that would vary a little bit until it settled down. In the bigger cases the extra tenth didn't seem to make that much difference.
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:32 PM   #12
johnroy
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RCBS auto 4x4 press setup

Coz, next question: the Piggyback two. What does it do? Was it a good addition? Is it still available? Understand, I am 75 and counting so my stuff is for fun and here in West Texas certainly less than 500 yards. I just like guns and playing around with the different calibers, actions, loads. I thought the turret would save the trouble spent screwing dies in an out and handling every case for every operation. Not looking for speed so much as a comfortable process that works smoothly. Meanwhile trying to run a business.
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:59 PM   #13
A pause for the COZ
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The piggy back system is a upgrade that RCBS came out with to upgrade a RockChucker or RL3 single stage press to a 5 station progressive press.
There was a Piggy back 1, PB2, PB3 or PG4. The Piggy Back 3 and 4 are essentially the same machine. One is used for the new Rock Chucker extreme that has a longer throw. So needs a longer ram.

In my opinion for guys that want to use a older press. The PB2 is the best one to get. It can be upgraded some. Plus it has a positive lock on the shell plate.
I use mine primarily for 45 acp loading. It seems to run real smooth with those.
But I have shell plates to load just about any thing up to 223.

I use a Hornady Projector for 223, 300 Black out and 357 mag sized cases. It likes those but chokes on 45 acp, .380 ect.

The Piggy back is the press on the right.


Last edited by A pause for the COZ; August 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM.
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Old August 19, 2013, 05:07 AM   #14
Mike / Tx
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Mike/TX,
Got the word, waiting on Monday, How do you remove those parts (anti-rotating bearing, et.al.) at the top of the press? The only ones I can get out are the index rod and white six-sided nylon bearing(?).
It's been a while, but if I remember correctly, (and I may not be), there is a retainer ring inside a groove there that holds that bearing in place. I think last time I removed mine, which was YEARS ago, I used the ram and a snug fitting piece of dowel rod siting on top of the ram and shoved it out. I don't rememebr having to sand down the dowel to get it to fit it was a piece of either 3/8 or 1/2" that I had laying around. .

Anyway like I said I THINK that is how I did it. I am not even close to mine right now, so cannot run out and look it over. Give me a day or two to get home and when I do I will look at it up close and personal. I think I even have a spare I can look at as well, that I picked up a while back but didn't put in yet.

If in looking at yours this looks right you might give it a try. If not while you have RCBS on the phone ask them about it. You might get someone there who actually knows. Like I said though it has been a few years, and I have tweaked on a lot of things since then. Heck it took me an hour to remember how to set the stupid powder measure back up after it being off for close to a year. Not so much set it up but get it set up so that everything worked right. I forgot to reverse the drum at first, then once I did I I couldn't get the lever to line up where I had it before. THen just when I was going to quit and just load on my little Lee press it all came together, just had to move the lever up to the other set of holes. Sometimes the simplest things are the worst. It was definately one of those sudo CRS moments

Quote:
2nd ditch the old powder drop system. Its a over charge waiting to happen.
I have the Piggy Back two. That came with some whako jacko. Powder drop.
Powder bridging and unintended drops were common.
I updated to the case activated kit,
Coz,

Are you referring to the powder drop that came on the piggy back 2 or the one that is on the 4x4, and are they similar?

I can honestly say that in plenty of years loading on my 4x4 I haven't had any issues I can contribute to the powder delivery system. I have had plenty where I didn't pull the pin and unhook the linkage when I got to the last round though. I usually am only loading revolver or pistol rounds on mine though and usually running ball type powders with a few flake types thrown in just because. I decided a long time ago that the taller cases were simply too much of a pain to work with under the deck of the 4x4, but that anything 454 sized and under worked just fine.

The only reason I was given mine in the first place was due to shooting and loading 3-400 rounds of 357 through 44 mag a week back when my wife and I first got together. Sure was a big step up from the old Wells single stage I had been using. She was the one who got it for me back then and I still have them both. Oh and in case she reads this, they have both gotting better with age.....
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Old August 19, 2013, 06:16 AM   #15
A pause for the COZ
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I think the 4x4 and the Piggy Back 1 had similar drops. They had the rod attached to the auto advance rod. The problem with that set up is it would drop with out a case in the station. Kinda messy.
They changed that with the Piggy back two. ( not sure about the 4x4) They added a cam that is suppose to allow the activation rod to move to a slot when no case is present. Preventing a drop when no case is present.


I never liked ether one of those. Sooner or latter you will double clutch the handle when you get a primer hang up or a case not entering a die just right. Every time you move the handle it acting upon the powder drop.
You can work around it. But its a serious pain in the butt.

Case activated linkage and a powder check die is the only way to go.



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Old August 19, 2013, 07:07 PM   #16
GWS
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Quote:
I never liked ether one of those. Sooner or latter you will double clutch the handle when you get a primer hang up or a case not entering a die just right. Every time you move the handle it acting upon the powder drop.
You can work around it. But its a serious pain in the butt.

Case activated linkage and a powder check die is the only way to go.

That's exactly what I tried to tell the O.P. in post 2. RCBS dumped that drop system for a reason.....and it's not that expensive to change it.
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