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Old October 4, 2011, 09:37 PM   #1
Old 454
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Going to start reloading....

I am going to start reloading come this spring,I am waiting because I want to garner as much info as I can about reloading.

I just recieved my first reloading manual the 49th edition Lyman and have read a couple of others.

The question I have is, what press?

I have read soooooo much info that I have seen pros and cons on about all of them.

I was leaning towards a Lee press untill I went to Cabelas and seen an RCBS, Hornady and a Lee all lined up.

I was going to go for the Lee Turret press as you can get a decent(?) start up kit at a reasonable price and you can lock the turret and use it as a single stage press untill you got more acclimated to the reloading proccess and Lee offers a wide veriey of reloading tools, dies etc., but once I seen it and checked it out it seemed a bit flimsy.

I was thinking maybe the Hornady as it was constructed very heavily and seemed to work alot smoother then the Lee Turret press.

And another thing is I didn't want to buy just a single stage press and then eventually wind up buying a turret or progressive later on.

So I guess my question is the best press to start with and be happy with it for years to come.

I am not doing reloading to just save money on ammo, I want to know more about the sport of shooting and also I can share this with my son and do it together as we both like shooting and I want the satisfaction of knowing I am doing some thing I know I will enjoy.

Thanks for any advice you can sheed on this for me!
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Old October 4, 2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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years ago i ordered a lee turret press as a "pistol package" for my 9s and .357s and i couldnt be happier except i wish it was the classic turret press and not the standard one.The only differences are the handle and some cast iron parts whereas my press has aluminum ones but it is still a great press at $75 i think it goes for. $100 for the classic? as opposed to $400 for the hornady if im not mistaken. if you go to a different press later so what? lots of people do.One guy i know has 3 turret presses and a single stage to test his cast bullets on. BTW Lee holds pantents on dies and other equipment that other companies must pay to use thats part of why their dies work so well and are so much cheaper.There is much to buy to get started ....dies,scales,primers,powders,brass,loadbooks,case lube,calipers,mics and so forth. If money is no object to you by all means get the hornady though i would not go progressive for my first press and dont think i ever will. I like the patience im able to give to each loaded round to ensure its quality and a turret press is perfect for me. its easy to overdo it on the press then run out of money for the other stuff and be stuck for a while. Personaly im happy with the Lee press.

Last edited by Crankgrinder; October 4, 2011 at 10:07 PM.
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Old October 4, 2011, 10:35 PM   #3
SDShooter79
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Quote:
but once I seen it and checked it out it seemed a bit flimsy.
Here's the deal with presses, most are built for more than you really need them to be. I've been using a single stage Lee press for 10 years and have had no issues. Alot of people bag on Lee, but I have never had any issues. Unless you are reloading for some stiff belted magnums, you really don't need a tank of a press. I've done up to 30-06, and most things in between and my press is still working fine.
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Old October 4, 2011, 10:47 PM   #4
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You didn't say what type of ammo you were going to be reloading. I started out with the Lee Classic Turret press on 45 ACP, that was what I loaded first, then on to 270 Wincester still on the Lee Classic Turret, then 30-06, then 9mm, then 38 spl & 357 Mag, etc, etc.... all with the same press.

As a note, the preperation of cases is a bit different for pistol and rifle and the Lee Classic if great for doing a round from start to finish all at the same time (step one through four). But since the rifle case must be trimmed after it has been resized and lube removed, it is much easyier to do them in batches instead of all at one time. To do them in batches, it makes more sense to do rifle cases on a single stage press than a turret or progressive. They can be done so, but not as easily. In addition the single stage press gives you more force that can be exereted on a fire hardend rifle case.

You guessed it, my second press was an RCBS Rockchucker single stage press to do my rifle reloads. I load for 13 different calibers now and with the exception of 223 all pistol is loaded on the Classic Turret Press and all rifle is loaded on the single stage press. 223 I load on both AR ammo on the Lee Classic Turret and 223 competition ammo on the RCBS Rockchucker.

Unless you and your son are shooting a LOT of pistol ammo a progressive press is a bit of over kill. It is not the cost of the presses but the cost of supplies that will kill you. I load about 100 to 200 rounds per secession at the press without any trouble at all, and all of them perfect (I take my time on it.) But a 1,000 bullets will cost you anywheres from $175 to $250 depending on the caliber and bullet type. I can not afford that kind of cost each time I want to reload inaddition to the cases, powder and primers.

So you need to ask yourself, what are you going to reload and how many do you need to do each time you sit down at the press. Now the Hornady LNL is a very good press for what it does, but so is the Lee.

Good luck
Jim
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Old October 4, 2011, 10:53 PM   #5
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I would certainly choose the Lee Classic Turret over the regular Lee Turret. My main press is a Lee Classic Cast single stage. There is no harm or pitfall in buying a quality single stage press such as the Classic Cast because no matter how your future unfolds in handloading, you'll still find many uses for it, especially if you venture in to bottle neck rifle handloading, where it's not really about production and much more about the attention to detail.

I finally got to a point where I need a LOT more ammo than I could churn out single stage without making the work monotonous, so I picked up a used Lee Pro 1000 and then put under a hundred bucks in to caliber changes and now I use it to process almost all my handgun brass.

In .380, 9mm, .40, 10mm, .38, .357, .327 Federal and .45, I use the Pro 1000 to size, prime and flare all my brass and it rockets through it like nobody's business with no problems whatsoever.

I keep a nice supply of prepped brass in my calibers... and then when I decide that it's time to make some ammo, I fish out some prepped brass and I charge them just as I always have, one piece at a time with my Lyman 55 and I seat bullets one at a time on my Classic Cast.

I call my method "semi-progressive" and I get a production rate that makes me happy and the quality of my ammo is just as top notch as it's always been. I don't have any fears, EVER, about my powder charge because I see a full tray of 50 of them before even one bullet gets placed over any of them.

IMO, much better than a turret press trying to mimic a progressive. It's precisely what I envisioned a couple of years ago... actually works just as well as I had hoped that it would.
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Old October 4, 2011, 11:10 PM   #6
Old 454
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I will be loading for pistol only at this point and in calibers of

.38
.357
.40
44 mag

and maybe some 454 casull and a S&W .500

I own all of the above except the S&W .500 that belongs to a friend of mine and I told him he has to buy all the dies brass primers etc and he has to help with the reloading of them.

I will only be reloading for my own personal use.

I like the idea of buying one dye plate for each caliber and then seting them and be able to take out the dye plate with the dyes in them and having to make only minor ajustments to the dyes according to the brass when I get ready to reload.
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Old October 4, 2011, 11:11 PM   #7
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I'd recommend the RCBS RockChucker Supreme kit for starting out. It will last a lifetime and even should you buy a progressive press later on you will still need the single stage press for some reloading tasks.
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Old October 5, 2011, 10:18 AM   #8
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A single stage press is what I use and it serves me well. The Lee kits are ok but be ready to get a better scale that you can read. Watch for the things you are going to need and start picking up things a little at time.

I load 38 spl 45 acp 45 Colt and 9mm on a Lee single stage and always have ammo on hand for my range trips. I like the price on Lee products and have had good luck with them. Not knowing how much I'd actually reload I didn't want to invest to heavy.
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Old October 5, 2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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I have a couple single stage presses, one of them a Lee and the other a Redding. I prefer them for rifle reloading. But I also have a Lee Classic Turret for all my pistol needs. I am extremely pleased with the Lee turret. No problems at all for me. It can easily crank out 200 rounds of .44 mag or 45 Colt or .480 Ruger or .454 Casull in under 2 hours. And that is weighing the powder charges quite frequently just to double check the weight for those near-max loads.

I like your approach of doing a lot of research well in advance of actually buying equipment.
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Old October 5, 2011, 11:44 AM   #10
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Old 454,

If you were on a budget and could only get one press for some time I would suggest the Lee Classic Turret. After 15 years of reloading I upgrade from a single stage Lee Challenger to the Classic Turret and it is great. Simple and very nice to have the turrets loaded with dies and just click in and out.

However, for pure simplicity I would recommend a single stage to start with. Eliminates any confusion on set up and operation. You totally focus on the process and not the tool. Hornady and Lee both make single stage presses that have a breech lock. Sort of like a one die turret in that you can get a breech lock for each die and set it once and leave it. Don't really need one for the resizer die as it pretty much just needs to touch the shell holder.

You may decide the single stage is all you need if your volume is relatively low. If you start cranking out lots of rounds per cartridge then you will have a better idea what you want in a turret or progressive. Rifle cartridges are pretty much a single stage operation any way with case lubing, trimming, and maybe primer pocket swaging or uniforming, etc. Handgun cartridge need much less care and can be pumped out in great quantity on progressives or turrets.

The single stage will always be a handy thing to have on the side if you do add a turret or progressive.
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Old October 5, 2011, 01:00 PM   #11
Don P
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Quote:
I was going to go for the Lee Turret press as you can get a decent(?) start up kit at a reasonable price and you can lock the turret and use it as a single stage press untill you got more acclimated to the reloading proccess and Lee offers a wide veriey of reloading tools, dies etc., but once I seen it and checked it out it seemed a bit flimsy.
I have a Lee single stage and a Lee turret and what exactly are you finding flimsy? I have some 18,000 rounds loaded with zero problems.
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Old October 5, 2011, 01:11 PM   #12
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my first press was a lee pro 1000. great press for the money right now 169 with dies for one caliber
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Old October 5, 2011, 02:05 PM   #13
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The Lee kits are ok but be ready to get a better scale that you can read.
+1 on this, everything I have is Lee with exception of my scale a RCBS 505.
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Old October 5, 2011, 02:06 PM   #14
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Most companies out there today - are making pretty good equipment.

Getting a progressive, I think is a good idea - as long as you go into it with your eyes open. You have to learn each step in the process anyway - with a single stage operation or a progressive ...and if used correctly, a progressive can be safer than a single stage - because it takes some of the repetition out of the issue / less repetition means less chance for human error ( but any press can cause problems - if its not used properly ).

Budgets are always an issue ...and as you go up in capability / it does cost more. But one item that costs more / also gives a lot of piece of mind - and that is using a press that has a "powder check die" or a "powder cop die" - where the press alerts you to an inconsistent powder drop / or a drop below a minimum or over a maximum - preventing squib rounds and double charges... That powder check die / tends to come on the upper end progressive machines - like Dillon's 650 or Hornady LNL - but its a big deal in my opinion.

The .454 Casull and .500 S&W magnum --- are pretty easily handled by most presses these days ...and the Dillon 650 or Hornady LNL will both handle them.

For my money - the Dillon 650 press is worth a serious look. Its a press that will live into 2 or 3 generations in the family ....or its really easy to sell down the road if you get out of this aspect of the hobby.
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Old October 5, 2011, 02:58 PM   #15
David Bachelder
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I like RCBS equipment and don't hesitate to recommend it. The Rockchucker in particular. I'm thinking about getting the RCBS Turret Press or the Piggyback adapter for my Rockchucker.

Any way, I like RCBS because the customer service is so great.
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Old October 5, 2011, 02:58 PM   #16
Old 454
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When I stated that I thought that the lee press was a bit flimsy it was because when I worked the press arm up the middle rod that turns the dye plate was binding a bit and it also wasnt as smooth as the Hornady press in operation, after thinking about it it might have just been that Cabelas didn't put to much into setting up the display model presses.

I like the idea of the turret plate being removed with the dyes and just inserting another plate with the dyes in and allready ajusted and justy having maybe to do a minor ajustment with the brass.I also like that you can lock the turret and use it as a single stage also, I belive that it can also be done with the Hornady press also, thus no need to buying a single stage press with that option.

I did read a loading book that off hand here at work I can't remember the title, but I belive it was a Lee reloading manual due to the fact it tauted all there equipment.
I looked at the Dillon presses and I dont think the budget can handle that one,all though it is quit the good press.

I just want to make sure the equipment I buy will last,not only for me but hopefully my sons future as well, that is why I came to this portion of the Firing ling due to all the great people here and tap into the knowledge of many experience reloaders.

But my winter project befor I buy equipment will be to build a wooden reloading bench and a wooden storage cabinet with blow out panels and locks to keep out the nosy people.

I was talking to a guy at work who used to reload and told him about the bench and why I wanted all wood, I am concerned about static electricity and all the powders and primers,it maybe over kill but I would rather be safe then sorry.

thanks again for all the good advise.....feel free to chime in on any thing else you can think of!
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Old October 5, 2011, 03:03 PM   #17
Sevens
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I am concerned about static electricity and all the powders and primers,it maybe over kill but I would rather be safe then sorry.
Definitely overkill. If you want a nice wooden bench, I'm all for it. If your motivation is strictly static electricity and sudden fires & explosions, I will have to suggest that you don't worry yourself over this.

Primers will only explode if you REALLY hit them hard or get them caught up in equipment and smash them. Smokeless powder is no more likely to catch fire than anything else in your house. It's not like gasoline vapors or an open bottle of ether. The gas can for the lawn mower in your garage and most of the chemicals people keep under the kitchen sink are more dangerous inside a home than the items we work with.
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Old October 5, 2011, 03:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
When I stated that I thought that the lee press was a bit flimsy it was because when I worked the press arm up the middle rod that turns the dye plate was binding a bit
I'd be willing to bet that the display model has been damaged. The Lee Classic Turret has a plastic piece on the indexing rod that can be stripped pretty easily if you don't run the handle through a full stroke. Short stroking the ram, especially near the bottom, will strip that piece out and cause the binding. Lee sells the press with 2of those pieces and I understand they are very cheap to replace.
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Old October 5, 2011, 04:26 PM   #19
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A good solid bench is always a good idea / and a good smooth top for cleanup is good too ( a prefab counter / or a melamine counter material is just fine).

Static isn't a big deal ...except on powder measures ( most are plastic ) / and storing "dryer anti static sheets" inside your OEM powder containers ( which are all plastic now too ) - and wiping down the powder measures with the anti static sheets - is probably all you'll need to get rid of it.

If you want wood - then build wood / but if you have an old steel desk or something - that's good too.
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Old October 5, 2011, 05:07 PM   #20
Old 454
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Yes I have a very old bench( probably around 60-70 yrs old) that was built by my grandfather thats made out of 2x4's and 4x4's and has a solid metal top on it damn thing is heavy real heavy, I was worried about something sparking and having a small catastrophy, maybe I am being over cautious but to me you can never be to safety minded.

I have worked in the Gas Utility business for 25 years and safety is one thing you just don't take for granted.

Any how back on track, thank you all for the good info,its all appreciated very much, you can never learn too much when undertaking a new hobby of this caliber ( pun intended ).
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Old October 5, 2011, 07:34 PM   #21
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Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice

And congratulations on determining to do research before jumping into the deep end.

Most of the Lee Turret Kits are built around the Lee Deluxe Turret. The press (the red part) body is aluminum. The Lee Classic Turret's body is cast iron. Cast iron is stronger and more durable than aluminum and most everybody recommends the Classic Turret over the Deluxe. The Classic Turret also handles spent primers better, has more vertical space for your hand to insert cases and bullets and a larger diameter ram, which enhances rigidity and durability.

The turret head itself for both presses is aluminum, but that is no big drawback and they are only $10 to $13 each.

Check Kempf's Gun Shop online for a nice kit built around the Classic Turret. Sue Kempf uses one herself. Talk to her if you can.

Do not get the Lee Classic Turret mixed up with the Lee Classic Cast. The Classic Cast is a single stage press.

The Hornady and Lyman turrets do not have automatic indexing (via the central indexing rod) but MAY (I am not certain) have better leverage than the Lee. This leverage is of little consequence with the smaller calibers, but the 500 S&W requires a bit more force, as do bottlenecked rifle cartridges in the larger sizes.

More later,

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Old October 5, 2011, 09:17 PM   #22
Old 454
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Yes I was looking at Kempfs on line and seen they had a nice set up with lees classic turret press.

Thank you for pointing that out as Kempfs is only about 20 minutes away from me in Michigan City.Looks like a good bargin with there Lee equipment....hope they will still have it when I make the purchase this spring.

thank you again
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Old October 6, 2011, 09:05 AM   #23
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I would take the time to drop by Kempfs and have them show you the presses and which one you might like the best. Turret or single stage is a good place to start. If you decide to move on up to a progressive you will always need something to work up a load before you go and start churning them out by the thousands. Besides you will probably end up with two presses anyway. Most he have two and the Lee press is a good a place to start as any. If you decide later that loading is not for you then you are not out much/as much money and you will always be able to find someone to sell it to. Good luck with your decision.
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Old October 6, 2011, 02:14 PM   #24
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Same as your manual

Lyman Crusher or T-Mag II . Either one will last you a lifetime . Their Kits are a good buy too , with the Expert kits all you need to buy are loading blocks and a set of calipers or a case length gauge . A priming tool of some type is a good thing too .
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Old October 6, 2011, 04:55 PM   #25
Old 454
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thank you all for the great advice, I think I am going to go with the Lee classic turret press kit (you can lock out the turret and use it as a single stage.) and I just might also buy a single stage for making my hunting rounds.

I will Use the Single stage to work up the loads and practice with it untill I find something I like and can get down to making them reliably and then use the turret to make enough to hunt with.

Also use the turret to make my 38,357,40 and 44 mag to make plinkers to practice with and then also use the single stage to work up some self defence loads up.

One other question while I was reading my Lyman book in the reloading specs for diffrent bullets it will habe two letter BC and SD are these for bullit coeffient and Setting depth ?
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