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Old November 28, 2011, 01:59 PM   #1
jdscholer
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Old School Progressive

I thought I'd see if anyone besides me is still using one of these contraptions. It's a RCBS Piggyback II conversion unit. I married this thing back in --- thirty some years ago, instead of spending more money on a totally dedicated progressive such as a Dillon. I won't call it one of my better decisions.
The idea was to make use of the Rock Chucker press, and Uniflow powder measure that I already had, and save two or three hundred bucks. I think this unit cost me a hundred bucks or so.
I leave it set up for 38/357, and do OK with it, but I know that it's pretty clumsy and slow compared to the newer outfits. I can crank out 200 per hour with it --safely. Could probably speed that up, but I'd be livin on the edge.
If anyone's got one, chime in and we'll compare notes. jd

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Old November 28, 2011, 02:32 PM   #2
Dave Anderson
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Dang, you make me feel old.

When I saw the title of this thread I thought it would be about an old Star or C-H. But an RCBS Piggyback is old? I still have one around somewhere which I've never even unpacked. I still think of it as fairly new.

Time just gets away from us.
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Old November 28, 2011, 02:47 PM   #3
BerettaPx4
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Great set up Dave. Looks like it's served you well. I too expected to see a Star press. Thanks for sharing.
regards
Ed
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Old November 28, 2011, 05:22 PM   #4
serf 'rett
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Thanks for the photos. I've always wondered how the piggyback was used on the Rocky.
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Old November 28, 2011, 07:57 PM   #5
chiefr
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I remember the piggybacks from the early 80s. I tried one and came to the same conclusion you did. They were slow. I also seem to remember larger magnum cases required a tremendous amount of force with sizing. The piggyback idea never caught on.

BTW: Be glad you did not end up with a "Green Machine" Those were real duds.
I ended up buying a Dillon 550 the first year they were introduced and have not looked back since.
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Old November 29, 2011, 11:35 AM   #6
Kevin Rohrer
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That's Not an"Old School Progressive"

THIS is an old-school progressive:

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Old November 29, 2011, 12:18 PM   #7
jdscholer
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Hey Kevin, ya wanna trade? jd
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Old November 29, 2011, 12:26 PM   #8
serf 'rett
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Kevin

WHAT IS that Rube Goldburg gizzmo?
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Old November 30, 2011, 11:00 AM   #9
Kevin Rohrer
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It is the fabled Star Universal progressive reloader mentioned above. It's a Cadillac among Volkswagons, and made of steel and brass. Production of them started around 1932 and continued until the late 1980s. Almost all of them are probably still in-use.

Unfortunately, I don't own this one. The pic came from the Star website and is a pic of a "new" one made in 1965 that never left its packing crate till this year.

I own a Star clone made by Phelps, but don't have a pic if it and haven't mounted it yet for use. People who own Stars (like Dillons) never sell them; they become available only when the owner dies.

Oh, and the Dillon design is based on the Star. Stars are specialized presses (for pistol calibers only although they can also load .223 and M1 Carbine) while Dillons are for general (rifle and pistols) use.
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Old November 30, 2011, 01:36 PM   #10
F. Guffey
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I have two, one set up for large primers, the other for small primers, I use the lock out die, the tool head and shell plate have 5 positions, there is/was an advantage, the shell plates for the Piggy Back also fit the Pro 2000, the Piggy Back is auto advance, 5 position with a case activated powder system, I suppose there was a time when the Piggy Back quit working or slowed down but for me I do not get into mortal combat with reloading , I will not load on a progressive press with out the powder lock out die.

The first Piggy Back press did not have the case activated powder system, RCBS updated the Piggy Back to Piggy Back 11 for free.

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Old December 1, 2011, 12:24 PM   #11
jdscholer
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F. Guffey, I appreciate hearing from someone who actually uses the Piggyback. Maybe we should start a club.

I really appreciate your mention of the powder lock-out die. I was clueless about this, so Googled it up and learned. I think I'm gonna have to have one. I haven't had a problem (yet), but peace of mind is worth whatever the thing costs.

NOW--- do you have any problem in the priming department? I have a glitch where the spent primer apparently sticks or crimps on the decapper pin occasionally, and then re-starts itself in the primer pocket on the down-stroke. It is then carried to the next station,(priming), and reseated, leaving that case with a used primer.

The fix would be to somehow get the spent primers to reliably drop away from the decapper pin. It's a very simple but frustrating problem, and may be happening in other progressives as well. Any suggestions would be appreciated. jd
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