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Old October 29, 2010, 01:56 PM   #1
RangerDoc
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Which Press/reloading system?

As a newcomer to reloading, I'm bewildered by the equipment options! As luck would have it, my shooting partner acquired a Dillon 1050 system with all the accoutrements to include most common caliber pistol round dies. However, we need to reload .300 winmag, .50 BMG, 308, 270, 243 as well, which the 1050 system can't accomodate. I thought about getting a Dillon 650 XL, but a friend told me it would not be as useful in making highly accurate rounds for precision long distance shooting ( the application for my 300 winmag and 50 BMG). Any advice on where to start? Is there one press system that will allow me to load all of these different rounds, as long as I get the proper dies?
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Old October 29, 2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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In my opinion I would go with a solid single stage press for precession reloads.

The Lee Classic Cast Press is strong and not expensive.
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Old October 29, 2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Progressives are intended to loads lots of ammo, which is fine for handgun and informal target shooting. But most guys do not shoot large volumes of the bigger rifle cartridges such as .300WM and .50BMG, or even .308. A single stage should be plenty for those.

If you are shooting a semi-auto rifle, or through multiple rifles, then you may want to get an RCBS X-die for resizing you you do can full length size without having to trim except the first time. If you are shooting a cartridge through just one rifle for accuracy then you can neck size, but you will occasionally need to trim the case length.

I am not sure if one press can use the same die size for .50BMG and other rifle cartridges. You may need one single stage for most rifles and a dedicated larger one for .50BMG.
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Old October 29, 2010, 02:55 PM   #4
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If you were prepared to spring for a 650 you could buy 3 Lee Classic Cast single stage presses and set up individual processing stations, decap and resize at station 1, ... process the brass ... prime, charge, and seat the bullet at station 2, and crimp at station 3. I like single stage presses and have been doing what I described for years. I also have the Lee Classic Turret and can highly recommed it as well.
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Old October 29, 2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
I am not sure if one press can use the same die size for .50BMG and other rifle cartridges. You may need one single stage for most rifles and a dedicated larger one for .50BMG.
The Lee Classic Cast press is capable of this as it accepts Standard 7/8 dies and 1-1/4" Large series dies.
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Old October 29, 2010, 03:11 PM   #6
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Because of the 50 BMG, specifically, I think the Lee Classic Cast press is the most reasonable option. The .50 BMG dies (as mentioned above) are wider diameter dies with a bigger thread (1 1/4–12) than standard dies (7/8–14), so most standard presses cannot be used with .50 BMG dies. The Lee, however, has the .50 BMG die thread, then uses an adapter to accommodate standard size dies for the other calibers you are interested in. You can buy the press alone or already dressed up and complete with a set of dies for .50 BMG. Do take the time to read the reviews on Midway's site. They range from folks surprised by how easy it was to resize a 50 BMG to those who broke the press trying. I'm guessing the latter don't realize some surplus .50 BMG is in steel cases (check with a magnet before reloading, even if it's brass colored), but that's just a guess. My main point is, read the instructions and watch the Lee help videos on the web site before trying.
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Old October 29, 2010, 03:15 PM   #7
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Consider a good turret press for rifle loads. Make sure it will handle the length of a 50 BMG or you will need a separate press.

I load thousands of rounds of .223 on my XL 650 but for all my precision loads I use an RCBS Rock Chucker. You will be going about loading these rounds in steps anyway so you really don't need a progressive. Deprime and size all your cases, then add powder and seat. I do this in blocks of 50. If desired you can add a final step of Crimping. For that, when I want to, I use a Lee FCD.
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Old October 29, 2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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The only turret presses I've seen that can do a 50 BMG are the old Hollywood turrets. It may be hard to find a shell holder for that press but it is certainly big enough to do the job. I wouldn't want to load 50 BMG on a turret just because it is unique to the standard set ups.
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Old October 29, 2010, 04:06 PM   #9
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Personally, I wouldn't use a Lee press for a door stop.
When I had my gun shop I sold many a Lyman starter set with nary a complaint. I don't know it it will take the .50 BMG dies however. You will have to check that out. The Lyman is a stout and reliable tool.
I use a very-very old Lyman turret for my loading.
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Old October 29, 2010, 04:22 PM   #10
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Get a Lee single station BMG set and a Lee turret with a couple of plates for the rest. Add a RCBS 1500 Chargemaster scale and a Lee Autoprime, and you're set.
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Old October 30, 2010, 04:07 PM   #11
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I agree with Xfire68, the Lee Classic Cast Press is a great product and a great press for the price. Being new to reloading if I were you I would look into all the single stage Lee presses, either one you pick you get alot of bang for your buck.
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Old October 30, 2010, 04:20 PM   #12
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"...the Lee Classic Cast Press is a great product and a great press for the price."

It's a great press at any price.
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Old October 30, 2010, 04:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman1776
Personally, I wouldn't use a Lee press for a door stop.
When I had my gun shop I sold many a Lyman starter set with nary a complaint. I don't know it it will take the .50 BMG dies however. You will have to check that out. The Lyman is a stout and reliable tool.
I use a very-very old Lyman turret for my loading.
Ditto here.

I haven't used any Lyman products except for my Turbo Pro 1200 tumbler and their red media for same. Been going strong for about 15,000 cases of all sizes, etc.

RCBS is what I use now and no disappointments here.

Also, very true about not needing a progressive if you're making precision rifle loads. Progressive presses are going to be wonderful for making a ton of straightwall pistol ammo so grab one if you think you may do that eventually. But stick with a single stage and work 'em up carefully for the rifle rounds.

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Old October 30, 2010, 05:35 PM   #14
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Just curious about you guys who are dissing the Lee presses. Have you used the Classic Cast series of products? Your negative assertions might be viewed with credibility if you were to articulate the specific shortcomings of Lee Classic presses when compared to other presses on the market. Otherwise you are simply telling everyone on the forum you are a bigoted a$$ who likes to spout off about things when you have no direct relevant experience with them. If you have legitimate gripes with factual information lets hear them. I make boat loads of great quality ammo using Lee products. I have a lot of other stuff on my bench too but hang me if I set out to berate someone's product without factual information to support my claims.
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Old October 30, 2010, 09:36 PM   #15
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Please excuse my bigotry but I can afford pretty much any brand of loading equipment I want. I figure for the loading I do it doesn't really matter, almost all my equipment will quite likely outlast me. I've invested a fair amount in RCBS, Dillon, Hornady, Lyman et al but I can't get through a loading session without Lee products. If I were to buy a turret or single stage press today it would most likely be a Lee. Considering the cost of factory ammo, the relative cost of reloading equipment and the durability of quality equipment I feel I should buy the best equipment money can buy, quite often it's Lee.
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Old October 31, 2010, 06:38 PM   #16
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"Considering ...the durability of quality equipment I feel I should buy the best equipment money can buy, quite often it's Lee."

Bingo. Especially the Classic Cast twins. And Lee's alum alloy presses are much better/stronger than many think. I have proven that to doubters by demonstrating the spring/deflection of my Rock Chucker compaired to my two very small Lee "Reloader" presses while FL sizing .30-06 cases with the same sizer die. The massive cast iron RC deflects almost 3 thou but neither of my tiny "pot metal" Reloaders move my dial indicator enough to measure!

If I had to replace my RC next week it would be with a Lee Classic Cast, it's the better press.
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Old November 1, 2010, 09:18 PM   #17
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For 50 BMG, Lee, Hornady and RCBS offer single stage presses that will take the appropriate dies, but...

Lee 50 BMG dies are 1-1/4 x 12, whereas RCBS and Hornady 50 BMG dies are 1-1/2 x 12. A press that will take 1-1/2 x12 dies will also accept 1-1/4x12 with an adapter bushing. So an RCBS or Hornady 50 BMG press can use all three die brands, whereas the Lee can only use Lee 50 BMG dies.

Other presses you may want to look at include the Ponsness/Warren 50BMG press, the CSP-2 from Corbin, the Walnut Hill press from RCE, and Dillon's BFR press. All of these accept 1-1/2x12 dies.

Andy
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Old November 3, 2010, 12:30 PM   #18
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Thanks to all for their input. I'm always impressed by both the knowledge and generous desire to share it that I find on TFL. Well, I've decided to get the Hornady LnL 50 BMG press with add'l dies for 300WM, 308 and 30-30. From the accounts of friends it is a reliable piece of equipment. The Lee Classic Cast for 50BMG was a much better deal for the money, but the Hornady may be more durable and it has a longer cast, giving it some mechanical advantage for those big magnum cartridges
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Old November 6, 2010, 05:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashhole
Just curious about you guys who are dissing the Lee presses. Have you used the Classic Cast series of products? Your negative assertions might be viewed with credibility if you were to articulate the specific shortcomings of Lee Classic presses when compared to other presses on the market. Otherwise you are simply telling everyone on the forum you are a bigoted a$$ who likes to spout off about things when you have no direct relevant experience with them. If you have legitimate gripes with factual information lets hear them. I make boat loads of great quality ammo using Lee products. I have a lot of other stuff on my bench too but hang me if I set out to berate someone's product without factual information to support my claims.
Okay.

The wooden knob on the handle of the press fell off after a year. Yeah I could fix it. Why should I?

The powder measure, after about the same amount of time starting dumping powder out the sides on every turn of the crank. It was made of a sort of nylon plastic and it just couldn't hold up.

Of course, the powder measure loads became very inconsistent.

The scale started wavering badly after a couple of years. Never could figure out why, either.

I still use the dies. Still use some of the other minor components. But mostly, everything is being replaced gradually.

Good enough for ya? You could have asked politely and I would have been more than happy to answer regardless but no, you have to go accuse people of being bigots. Give it a rest, dude.

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Old November 6, 2010, 05:32 PM   #20
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My favorite press is a Forster Coax, but I'm sure it won't do .50 BMG. It works great for other rifle ctgs, and low-volume pistol reloading.
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:23 PM   #21
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"Okay.

The wooden knob on the handle of the press fell off after a year. Yeah I could fix it. Why should I?"



See ... now we're getting somewhere. The Lee press knob may come off. You shoud probably just leave it off else it may come off again and further lessen your opinion of the press. Does it make quality ammo?
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Old November 7, 2010, 09:21 PM   #22
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A couple more questions:
Will a good turret press make rifle ammo as precisely as a single stage press?
Will a turret press make good rifle ammo more quickly than a single stage?
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Old November 7, 2010, 09:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerDoc
A couple more questions:
Will a good turret press make rifle ammo as precisely as a single stage press?
Will a turret press make good rifle ammo more quickly than a single stage?
I only use a single stage for all of my loading. I load for consistency and from what I understand, the answer to your first question is undoubtedly No and to your second question, it is undoubtedly Yes.

However, if you do make rifle ammo on your turret press, there may be other considerations beyond what is required for straight wall pistol ammo so make note.

I'm very interested in other answers to your question as well.

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Old November 7, 2010, 10:00 PM   #24
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I'm going to go with "Yes" on both even though I have no experience with the turret presses. I do all my precision loading on a single stage but have no doubt that the turret presses can be faster and make precision reloads. As you know a turret press can be used as a single stage and some single stage presses (IIRC) can be converted to turret presses. Seems to me that unless you require the volume of a progressive a turret press is the most versatile press. OTOH if you chose to start out with a quality single stage you'll always find a use for it.
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Old November 8, 2010, 02:24 AM   #25
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About product bashing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wag
you have to go accuse people of being bigots. (Clipped out of post #29. Edited for brevity and focus)
Wag, I too, thought your post #19 referring to and agreeing with Rifleman1776's post #13 was a bit dismissive of the produces you deemed inadequate.

I read (or at least scanned) all your other posts, and you seem a reasonable guy who writes well-considered posts. Product bashing is not your typical style.

When I see unsupported dislike of any product, as a rule, I discount the opinions as prejudiced. Though I don't immediately count the author as a bigot. Not until proven, at least. But such unsupported detractions (or, for that matter, praise) do little to help the education of members reading the posts looking for useful truths.

Wll supported detractions or praise, do have value.

That said, let me address your specifics.

The wooden ball that came off your handle. Some people appreciate that it is easy to remove. I know of one entrepreneur selling decorative balls to replace it, to help owners customize their presses in that small way.

The powder measure. Lee makes three different ones. There "Perfect" measure, the Auto-Disk and the Auto-Disk Pro. The Pro model has an elastomer "wiper" that aids in making the measure less leaky and more accurate, but the drawback is that it wears out and must be replaced occasionally (I hear).

I don't know why your scale is wavering. Lee's "Perfect Powder Scale" is the soul of simplicity. It is super-sensitive and I did not think much of the one I had until I acquired another one in a trade that came with instructions, which I read. From your other posts, I opine that you have sufficient mechanical skills to figure out your scale. But I do like my RCBS 10-10 a lot better than the Lee.

While flashole's use of the phrase "bigoted a$$ who likes to spout" was a bit over the top, I am sure you can relate to the sentiment.

The reason I am posting this (instead of just sending a private message) is to share with the forum membership my belief that most mechanical devices (in good repair) can be made to function as designed, and most designs put forth by press makers are decent designs. Lee, Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Forster and many others.

Manufacturers who don't have good designs, well-executed, don't stay in business long.

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