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Old January 2, 2006, 11:16 PM   #1
taylorce1
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What is a good Progressive Press?

Purchased an AR this year tends to burn up the .223 faster than my H&R Ultra Varmint. Looking to upgrade to a progressive press just don't know much about them. What is a good press, I don't own any pistols so I'll pretty much set the machine up for this caliber? I'm looking for something that is a reasonable price, but I don't want some cheap POS that is a pain to work with. I would also like it to be able to upgrade it later on if I get some new toys play with. Any and all suggestions would be helpful and greatly appreciated.
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Old January 3, 2006, 12:05 AM   #2
somerled
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Look at www.dillonprecision.com. I've been using one since 1984. When I get tired of it (don't expect it to wear out), I'll get another Dillon. I load all my .223 ammo for my AR-15 on it.
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Old January 3, 2006, 08:04 AM   #3
geneinnc
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Dillon. Lifetime no BS (no questions asked PERIOD) warranty. toll free tech help.Broken parts shipped no charge. Old press can be mailed back & rebuilt free. (Dillon has dropped the lifetime warranty of electical parts). They do everything but run the press for you. I wish I had known about them when I started reloading. I bought LEE progessive. the entire unit depends on the strength of a small plastic gear. NO help at all from long distance calls to LEE.
Ditto with Lyman.
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Old January 3, 2006, 01:50 PM   #4
ClarkEMyers
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There aren't any bad ones - capitalism works

At the bottom I'd say there are no real logical clear cut differences in the presses that matter more than getting the right dies and such.

For my money the Dillon 550 and the Hornady are the best of the lower end but the RCBS doesn't disgrace the RCBS name either. Picking the right dies - some find the Redding or other micrometer adjustable are easier to adjust in the press from the top - IF you are going to adjust the dies rather than set them up and pull the handle. The Dillon brand with easy entry are good choices for high production handgun cartridges and may be easier to keep clean with cast and lubed bullets but maybe not for guppy cases. In sum I think the accessories will matter more than the press at this level.

I'd put the Dillon 650 and up at the head of the pack but I don't think the 550 stands above the competition.
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Old January 3, 2006, 10:37 PM   #5
taylorce1
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Dillion it is. My next question is if I get the 550B order it in .223 what else do I need to get this machine up and working? Will my RCBS SB dies work? And is there a good product out there for trimming the cases back that is faster than the Trim Pro tirmmer that I already have mainly in the deburring area?
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Old January 3, 2006, 11:57 PM   #6
BigJakeJ1s
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I'd put the dillon 1050 at the top of the heap, but only if you don't need to change over to a bunch of different calibers. Especially valuable if you reuse military brass (swaged primers).

Then I'd rank the dillon 650 and hornady LNL AP together. They both auto-index and take casefeeders. The Hornady is definitely a better buy, has a better PM, and is cheaper to convert for different calibers. The LNL AP with a casefeeder is less $ than a 650 without one.

Then the dillon 550 and the rcbs 2000 together. They both manually index. The 550 can now take a casefeeder, but it is expensive enough that I would not buy a 550 and a casefeeder today, rather opting for the LNL AP or 650. The casefeeder is good for folks that already have a 550 but want to add a casefeeder without upgrading to a 650 (i.e. they already have conversion kits for the 550 for several calibers). Note that the LNL AP autoindexes for less $ than the 550.

The hornady seater dies can also be disassembled and cleaned while in the press, without touching the settings. Plus they have the option of a micrometer adjusting screw, making them the only micrometer adjustable seater die that can be disassembled on press for cleaning.

Andy
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Old January 4, 2006, 08:58 AM   #7
taylorce1
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Thanks Big Jake, I hadn't really considered the case feeder option, because I only intended to use this press on the .223 and didn't think I would need it. I'm sure this is a nice option to consider and it is cheaper to upgrade to the 650 like you said than buy it later. I hadn't looked at Hornaday's yet I'll check them out.
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Old January 4, 2006, 10:41 AM   #8
ClarkEMyers
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If you have a station to mount it Dillon offers a power case trimmer for in the press

Dillon offers a power case trimmer for in the press use. You need a station to mount it As noted above given a 1050 you can start with military brass and swage primers and trim to length as part of the reloading process. See the Dillon catalog and assorted videos.

Clearly the Dillon is the fastest to use because it adds no steps to your personal case handling process. On the other hand the Gracey or other high end case trimmer for high power shooters seems to do a more consistent job in keeping cases the same length and square.
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Old January 4, 2006, 09:00 PM   #9
BigJakeJ1s
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Good point about the dillon case trimmer. If you have an autoindexing press with a casefeeder (i.e. 650 or AP), you could set it up to deprime, size and trim in one batch, and then set it up for the rest of the reloading steps, and run them through again. You only have to de-swage the primer pockets once, so that could be done off press without too much hassle. Not as slick as the 1050, but less than half the price.

Note that case trimming with pistol brass does not have to be done every time (maybe just once in the life of the brass).

Andy
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Old January 6, 2006, 10:07 AM   #10
PPD7617
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Dillon is the best choice

I have had a dillon 550 for years. It does not index automaticly but it is a progressive. It is an awesome press.
I made the mistake of buying a lee 1000 a few years back strictly for loading .45 acp. It is junk. I loaded 1800 rounds with it and I wouldnt give it to anyone for fear they would think I was pulling some kind of sick joke on them. The primer feed doesn't work half the time, the powder measure is a pretty lame system and the nylon bushing that indexes it is cheap an quickly wears to the point that the shellholder doesn't line up with the dies and you have make sure it is in position it by hand anyway. You cannot stop in mid stroke and lower the ram to correct any of these problems because it will tear up the bushing.
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Old January 6, 2006, 12:29 PM   #11
Rico567
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When I was faced with this same issue, I bought the Dillon 650. It produces .223 reloads in the same volume as pistol ammo (given that you must lube cases, which adds some time). They feed just as reliably in an AR-15 and are just as accurate as those I used to produce on my Rock Chucker. I use the Dillon carbide die set. I'm very happy with my choice.
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