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Old March 24, 2011, 10:29 PM   #1
PunchinPaper
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New Progressive Press-Info!!

Hi I am considering buying a Progressive Press. I have two in mind and I am having trouble deciding. My desition will be based on cost and ease of use. One is blue and one is red. I have been reloading for a few years on a single stage Press. It's a great Press but I want to be more productive with my time!
I will be reloading straight walled pistol ammo on this press only. I have dies (RCBS Carbide). What I would like to know is ,what I will need to buy to start loading ammo with a Progressive press ( tool heads,caliber conversion,shell plates,etc). After I have bought the new press. I don't want to buy a p press, get it home , look in the instructions and find out that I needed to buy this or that before I could acctually get some use out of it! I reload several different calibers and would like to know which press is the best buy when it comes to changing calibers and ease of doing so.
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Old March 24, 2011, 11:41 PM   #2
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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Punchinpaper,

You will find a number of opinions, but -------

I have loaded for many years and always on a single stage press.

Just over a year ago, I took a stash of Cablea's point, and at that time the offer of 1000 "J" boolits from Hornady and bought a L-N-L.

There is a learning curve!

I have never, and probably will never, attempt of max out the speed of my LNL, as just cruz'in along it is far, FAR faster then the single stage.

I use the LNL only for handgun ammo.

The LNL will come with everything you need, except dies and shell plates.

I did buy a few of what I thought might be expendable parts and have used none of them.

I did use an older set of RCBS dies while loading .38/357 and found them to be a problem.

Nothing against the dies, but being older and made before the great increase of progressive loader use, the opening/mouth on one or more of the dies was just over the size of the case mouth, which caused hangups.

The die had been one I used for a long time with the single stage, and because of the hands on nature of the single stage I got along fine even with needing to line up each case mouth to the die.

Newer dies tend to take this into account and make the dies more progressive friendly.

My new Hornady .38/357 dies work great. -- More "free" boolits.

Now you are going to find some folk saying if it isn't blue it is junk. Not so.

I have called Hornady a time or two as I worked through fine tuning the system and they were always helpful.

I found that you don't want to use any of your RCBS primer tubes on the LNL. Didn't work worth a hoot.

Some primers brands seem to work better then others from what I hear, and I have had some that seemed prone to hanging up.

I also ordered a number of extra lock-n-load bushings, but they just make change over quicker.

I looked at the blue type over the years, and didn't like the cost of change overs with the Square Deal B. Same went with the other blue presses. Didn't like the extra cost involved.

The folk at the blue factory have a fine reputation, but if not for the deals I was able to take advantage of I'd still only have the single stage.

The LNL is fine system, so pay your money and take your choice.

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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Old March 25, 2011, 12:28 AM   #3
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Read this: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf

Also, I PM'd you.
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Old March 25, 2011, 04:33 AM   #4
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Don't forget that there are several Green options as well..... and I don't mean planet friendly....
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Old March 25, 2011, 06:05 AM   #5
pstrlipscomb
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Here is what I use:

Lee Pro 1000 - Package comes set up with complete die set, and the powder-through expander die is necessary (and included) for using the automatic powder measure on this press.
I added case feeder tubes and collator and wonder why I waited so long. The only thing I have to do is work the handle, check the last stage to make sure the powder made it in and seat the bullet. Add powder, primers, cases and bullets and you are ready to go.

Other items I use along the way you probably already have, but would include a light over the bullet seating stage (to see powder charge), Lyman Case Cleaner, Lee Powder Scale, calipers, phillips screwdriver, crescent wrench, and a hex wrench set, and bullet puller.

A benefit to this set up is that you can change the shellplate carrier and turret to change calibers and not have to remove the dies. Or, you can buy a separate press set up for each caliber nearly for the price of dies from some other manufacturers. I use one press to load .40 and 45acp, and I load enough for a year's shooting at a time (about 1500 rounds per gun).

I have been ordering from F&M Reloading in Ohio. They can be a little slow to deliver some items, but I have never been able to beat their price, and when I call them the guy in charge answers the phone and gives quick answers.
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Old March 25, 2011, 07:05 AM   #6
PA-Joe
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Cabelas had the LNL-AP presses for 374.00 then you get the 500 free bullets worth about 100.00.
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Old March 25, 2011, 08:52 AM   #7
dlb435
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All progressive presses require a shell plate for different calliblers. None are easy or fast to change out and the cost varies a lot.
Lee - $21
Hornady- $30
RCBS - $38
Dillon - $38
You also need dies, powder dies and both large and small primer systems.
I find that Dillon and RCBS both make a very good progressive press. They both cost about the same. I have one of each. The Dillon is set up for small primers and the RCBS is set up for large primers. For small lots of ammo I use an old single stage press. The caliber conversion is just too expensive if you only need a 100 round of something.
I did have a Lee Pro 1000 at one time. It made good ammo but I don't recommend it. I've never used a Hornady LNL AP but looking at them I don't see the quality of either the RCBS or Dillon. Still, they get good reviews and I'm sure they work well.
One of the most critical points in any progressive reloader is the powder drop system. While each company sells their own powder drop with their press, the fact is you can use almost any powder drop with any press. You might have to do a little rigging but they can all be made to work. I like the Dillon powder drops but the Lee is both cheap and reliable. You can get by with one powder drop and addjust it as needed or get several; one for each caliber you load.
Unless you buy a new or used press already set up for a certain caliber, expect to spend some time to get ready to load a new caliber. Getting ready to load a new caliber has taken me from 10 minutes (Oh, look! I've already got all the parts!) to 2 weeks waiting on delivery.
You can download the operators manuals for all of these presses online. Read through them and see what you like or don't like about each press.
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Old March 25, 2011, 08:09 PM   #8
BigJakeJ1s
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The progressive presses come with both large and small priming systems. You do not need to purchase them separately.

Some Dillon 650 owners purchase an extra priming assy because that makes it easier to change out (about as easy as the others).

Andy
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Old March 26, 2011, 04:07 PM   #9
PunchinPaper
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Progressive press

Thanks alot fellas for the info!
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Old March 26, 2011, 04:40 PM   #10
PunchinPaper
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Powder dies

So am I going to have to buy a powder die for each cal. I load?
I'm just trying to compile a list here of the things I am going to need to buy along with my press. I have decided to get the LNL with the free bullet offer its a hard deal to beat. As I am a big fan of there Xtps already. I intend on loading the following calibers all of which I own dies for:38,40,9,44,45. Will I need something extra to load10mm, 357 when I get shell plates and powder dies for loading 38,40? Or will it just be a matter of readjusting my dies like I normally would on my single stage?
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Old March 26, 2011, 05:04 PM   #11
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Hey Punchinpaper , your choice of the Hornady LnL is a good one, as far as Hornady quality I think they are great. The Lnl comes with the case activated powder drop and two metering rotors one for pistol and one for rifles and the powder drop bushings for most calibers. Nothing else to buy but powder!! You can change calibers in just moments . As for the 40 s&w. and the 10 mm, with Hornady dies you just adjust the seating die out a little for the longer case of the 10 mm and you are good to go, then just switch from small to large primer feed and you are done. To change shell plates remove one allen headed bolt and instal the new shell plate , replace the case retainer spring and happy loading .I love mine but use it only for pistol calibers and rilfles that I shoot a lot of ammo (.223 for my AR). There is a learning curve,but anyone that says that is hard doesnt know what they are talking about. Good luck and if you have any problems ,pm me........LOUD
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Old March 26, 2011, 05:12 PM   #12
Edward429451
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Can't speak for the red, but when I picked up my blue (550) and brought it home, having never laid hands on one before, had it set up and producing good ammo in about two hours which included the coffee and destruction manual time...

Dillon press will come with a shellplate for 45acp unless otherwise arranged. All you will need is dies and a scale.
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Old March 26, 2011, 07:06 PM   #13
k4swb
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Quote:
So am I going to have to buy a powder die for each cal. I load?
You can buy all the different PTX dies from Hornady or you can get one of these. http://www.powderfunnels.com/
I've been using the PTX from Powderfunnels for awhile now and for me it is easier to use than the Hornady ones. Hornady had some problems and had to redesign theirs and also add a piece to the powder measure linkage to get them to work in some instances.

I had quite a few discussions on the forums and with Hornady about the PTX dies and it turned out I was correct in that it needed some work. Hopefully the redesign and added linkage will help. They sent me the linkage to try but with the Powderfunnels PTX it I don't actually need it.
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Old March 31, 2011, 07:11 PM   #14
PunchinPaper
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Thanks

Thanks for the information people.
I'm wondering why I didnt join TFL sooner.
Lol
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Old March 31, 2011, 08:59 PM   #15
Shane Tuttle
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Be sure to buy some extra die collets. That way, your dies have dedicated collets and you can swap them out in just seconds.
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Old March 31, 2011, 09:05 PM   #16
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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Shane Tuttle,

Are you talking about Lock-n-load die bushing?

If so, yes, extras are handy.

The one other thing I think would be handy is the micrometer option for the powder measure.

Haven't gotten around to buy one yet, but think it would save a good amount of time in switching over the handgun calibers.

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

Last edited by Crusty Deary Ol'Coot; March 31, 2011 at 09:17 PM.
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Old March 31, 2011, 09:10 PM   #17
Shane Tuttle
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Yessir, that's the term...
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Old March 31, 2011, 09:18 PM   #18
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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OK, got ya.

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Old April 1, 2011, 01:25 AM   #19
FrankenMauser
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Although I love my Dillon, I think you made the right choice for many reasons:
1. It's cheaper in the long run (caliber conversion cost).
2. You seem to prefer it.
3. You see the bullets as a good deal.
4. The 5th station would be nice....
5. Hornady seems to have fixed most of the "@#$% $%^!" EZject malfunctions.

I was going to go in on a progressive with one of my brothers, a few years ago. We also decided the Hornady was the better choice, due to the 'long run' cost for cartridge conversions (we have a lot of cartridges we load in bulk), and the 5th station.

However... My brother was laid off after the first housing crash (he builds doors for a living), and couldn't provide any cash for the deal. I ended up buying my dad's 550B, instead. Since I loaded more ammunition with it than he did, I knew it was in great shape, and I got about $650 worth of accessories with it (tools, caliber conversions, tool heads, deluxe quick change kits, primer tubes, etc). I haven't looked back, since.


Like Crusty Deary Ol'Coot, I don't try to reach the max output of my progressive. It is plenty fast, just being a progressive. When I'm "in the groove" with 9mm, I routinely average 400 rounds per hour. When I'm "just farting along", I still generally exceed 300 rph. Even at sloth speed, it blows away a single stage. And, of course, when operating the press at a relaxed speed: the ammunition quality is higher, stoppages are essentially non-existent, powder charges are more consistent, and I enjoy the process a bit more. (.45 Auto with 185 gr SWCs runs a little slower, but it's because the Hornady dies don't play nicely with the 550B's station #1. Generally, that load is about 200-250 rph.)


One more thing...
NEVER believe the "caliber change" times quoted by the manufacturers. You might be that fast with 25 trained monkeys assisting you, but I can't do it alone. ...and caliber conversion time is a good chance to give the press a good cleaning.
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Old April 1, 2011, 11:26 AM   #20
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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Well said FrankenMauser.

I do not shoot competively and at my age am not likely to start, but when I shoot handguns I do go through a larger amount of ammo then with the rifles.

So, even with the relaxed pace I use, the ammo tray fills up pretty fast.

Remember, every stroke of the handle means another loaded round.

I have found a good way to mess up is to be showing someone how the press works, or talking to someone while loading.

Ya always Must remember that forward handle stroke, needed to seat the primer or it won't be long and you'll be seeing powder on/around the shell plate and in the loaded ammo tray.

Not only is there a learning curve when changing to the progressive, but you need to keep you wits about you.

Getting better, catching things quicker, making less bobos and besides, that progressive looks really impressive at the loading bench!

Need to get back to the single stage, have some more test loads to make up for the 45/70, getting ready to take some more Cast Boolit critters. YES!!

Keep em coming!

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Old April 1, 2011, 08:44 PM   #21
orionengnr
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pm sent...
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