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Old February 11, 2012, 11:15 PM   #1
NicverAZ
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Good first reloading press for $200

I am ready to order a press from Midway (although where I order does not matter).

There are quite a few solutions out there, including Hornady and Lee.

If I could afford one, I would go with a Dillon, but I want to start small and learn with a single stage.

I am looking to reload 9mm and 7.62x54R to feed the Mosin.

Thanks!
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Old February 11, 2012, 11:18 PM   #2
Ralph Allen
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RCBS Rockchucker. If you look around you might be able to find one in a pawn shop for cheap. Guaranteed for life.
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Old February 11, 2012, 11:19 PM   #3
NicverAZ
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What do you like about it, Ralph?
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Old February 11, 2012, 11:47 PM   #4
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The RockChucker is the "cadillac" of single stage presses, but it in my opinion isn't any "better" a press than a Lee Classic Cast Press. If I were starting out I'd get a Lee Classic Cast Press or a Lee Challenger (has an aluminum frame instead of the classic) for making all my beginner mistakes. By the time you wear out any single stage press you'll want to move on to a turret or progressive anyways (just my opinion).

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Old February 12, 2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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Thanks for asking our advice.

I used a RockChucker for years. Great press. Loaded .357 Mag, 9mm, 45 ACP, 44 Mag. More than enough leverage for those rounds and MUCH larger. I will never give mine up. It is rigid to a fault.

A year ago I got a Lee Classic Turret. It can be used in every respect as if it is a single stage. It can also process in continuous mode, which, when you are ready to load in that manner, you will find to be nearly four times as fast and four times as convenient as batch processing (to which single stage presses are limited).

Now, a Dillon (or any progressive) will be able to outrun the Lee Classic Turret, but the Turret, in the middle speed ranges is the best there is and caliber swaps are dead simple (not so much with progressives).

I am fond of the Lee Classic Turret because I never got used to monitoring multiple simultaneous operations as is required on a progressive. One cartridge at a time, progressing for start to finish in continuous mode fits my style.

Kempf's gun shop sells one (with dies, primer feed and powder measure) for $210. All you lack is a scale to be reloading for 9mm caliber in fine style. For your 7.62x54R Mosin, just add another set of dies and a few bottleneck-required accessories and you will still be under $250-300 complete.

That will still keep you under what a rockchucker would cost you.

Having said all that, if you know your will want a Dillon eventually, you might want to pass on the Lee Classic Turret and just get the Lee Classic Cast single stage for now. Not quite as strong as the RockChucker or Hornady, it will get you started just as well-equipped as the RC (unless you plan on loading 458 Winchester so some such).

Good luck

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Old February 12, 2012, 12:10 AM   #6
hk33ka1
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Lee Classic Cast for single stage $74 or Lee Classic Turret $85. You can spend more or less money but these are great presses at good prices.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:36 AM   #7
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Lee Classic Turret is my vote for previously mentioned reasons related to being able to use it as single stage or 'semi progressive'. It will meet all your needs for the first shot. Get the pro auto disk powder measure and riser with it. Order a scale as well, the Lee scale will work, but a RCBS 505 scale just feels better and easier to use in my opinion.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:51 AM   #8
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+ 1 for Lee Classic cast, the turret is my preference. (You'll see a lot of that.)

All will outlast you(RCBS, Lyman crusher, Redding, Hornady, etc), none will beat the value of the Lee, though.

You're going to need more than a press, a scale, calipers, loading manual(Lyman, Speer, and Lee books are favorites).

The Lee scale works, but is annoying to use, skip it and pick up the RCBS 505, or even a Lyman Pro 500 and add some lead underneath(works as well as any other at any price.).
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Old February 12, 2012, 07:51 AM   #9
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The Lee Classic Turret Press will load both of the rounds you are interested in.
You can use it as a single stage if you so choose. Even using it with the turret set to advance you can keep an eye on the powder charge by viewing each round as you "build" it. A fair number of reloaders started off with the LCT intending on "moving up" to a full-tilt-boogie progressive but never got there. I'm one of them. 4 years after purchasing my LCT from Sue @ kempfgunshop.com I'm loading 4 calibers and completely satisfied. There's plenty of help on the forums for any model/brand of reloader you choose. Good luck to you.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:15 AM   #10
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New Doesn't Mean Better

Or you could get a first-class, used press like the Herters Super 3 for around $50-75 on Ebay and spend the rest on peripherals like a powder measure.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:34 AM   #11
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Stay away from Lee Loadmaster.

I'm looking at getting a Hornady lock n load single stage. It was a toss up with the RCBS Rock Chucker. The quick change die bushings on the Hornady won me over.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:58 AM   #12
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Lee classic turret - use it as a single stage while you are learning to reload then step up to the auto turret advance when you are ready for it.

I have had mine for 1.5 years and have run well over 15K rounds through it. It is a great press for the money.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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Another vote for the Lee Classic Turret.

It is currently my only press and I only load for 9mm so far. I shoot about 1k of 9mm a month and I can easily keep up with the turret press with about an hour or so a week. I got it at Kempf's and would highly recommend going that route if you decide on the lee turret.

Last edited by jr05; February 12, 2012 at 01:01 PM.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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In 1986 my brother bought the press I use to this day and it has performed flawlessly thus far, A Lyman "Orange Crusher". It's ambidextrious, (so if you prefer one arm to another) and it's simple, stout, etc etc.....
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:57 AM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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Lee Classic Turret

Single stage when you want it, 200 rounds of handgun an hour when you want it. 1/2 MOA or better capable ammo. Caliber swaps in 10 seconds flat. $85

No brainer.
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Old February 12, 2012, 10:02 AM   #16
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Lee classic turret. You can take the auto indexing rod out in 10 seconds and batch load the same as a single stage. When you are loading pistol ammo and batch loading at 50 to 75 rounds per hour is too slow then add the auto indexing rod and load 175 to 200 per hour. The classic turret is a very solid press. It is also a very easy press for a beginner to set up and operate. I have had my classic turret six years. I added a Dillon 550 end of last year and still use my classic turret as much as I use the 550.
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Old February 12, 2012, 10:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
I'm looking at getting a Hornady lock n load single stage. It was a toss up with the RCBS Rock Chucker. The quick change die bushings on the Hornady won me over.
Another advantage is the free bullet offer from Hornady. You can get free premium rifle bullets with their press as well as more with each die set.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:33 PM   #18
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I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet -

Dillon BL550

It's a "stripped" RL550b (no powder measure or primer feed assembly).

IMO, it might be a neat way to get into reloading. After a while, if your needs grow, you can just add the missing parts and then you have a RL550b.

At $260, it's a little over your budget. But nothing Dillon makes is cheap...
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Old February 12, 2012, 01:02 PM   #19
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If I had the $200 budget I would go with the Lee Classic Turret kit, and get a few accessories. It might run a bit over the $200 for the accessories though. The adjustable charge bar, or double disk kit seems to be what a lot of people are using. It would help to speed up loading for the 9mm. It will do the job of the 7.62x54R as well.

I would get a Lee Trimmer, and Lock Stud for the trimmer of the rfle round, and use it with a drill. I do this for .221 Rem Fireball, and .223 Rem.

For a scale I would get something a bit more user friendly than the Lee scale. I bought a digital for under $40.

A 3 hole turret for the rifle, and 4 hole for the 9mm. As well as a die set for each, and a rifle charging die for the rifle round.

Start out in single stage mode with the auto index turned off to start. It should not be long before you are ready to turn it to auto index, and should be cranking out ammo faster than you would with the singel stage. It will help a lot with handgun rounds.

Note I am still using a single stage Lee Breach Lock Challenger over 2 years later. It still works. I batch prep my brass so when I am ready to load I just have to put the seating die in the press, and set up my powder measure.
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Old February 12, 2012, 01:55 PM   #20
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go with dillon, buy once and be done with it. i like the 550, even with the striped down version your money ahead, take from an old man that has been down that road. cjs
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Old February 12, 2012, 03:54 PM   #21
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Yea the RockChucker is the 1972 "Cadillac" of single-stage presses. But this is 2012.

The best entry-level press is the Lee Classic Turret. Miles and miles better than a RockChucker.

But if you are serious about reloading, then give some thought to the Hornady Lock&Load. A progressive machine is a much better buy long-term. The Dillon 650 is also a great machine, but more expensive.
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Old February 12, 2012, 05:42 PM   #22
Lost Sheep
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Ever the one to introduce an opposing view (not for argument, but for balance).

Quote:
Originally Posted by totaldla
Yea the RockChucker is the 1972 "Cadillac" of single-stage presses. But this is 2012.

The best entry-level press is the Lee Classic Turret. Miles and miles better than a RockChucker.

The Lee Classic Turret is the best turret on the market, yes, but only if you do not need more than 4 die stations. But to say it is better than a RockChucker is like comparing bananas and grapes.

Also, compare the Lyman Orange Crusher or the Redding Big Boss to the RockChucker. Then, go look at a Forster Co-Ax. Like comparing bananas and beefsteak.

Then, to continue the analogy analogy further, comparing any of these to something like the Dillon 650 is like comparing bananas to a full meal. The Lee Classic Turret then, comes in at a well-balanced casserole or stew.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Davey
I'm looking at getting a Hornady lock n load single stage. It was a toss up with the RCBS Rock Chucker. The quick change die bushings on the Hornady won me over.
I believe the RC now comes tapped for the bushings. I know the Lee Classic Cast (single stage) comes tapped for the bushings. Forster produces the same effect without the expense of bushings.

On the other hand, this one, I am in complete agreement with and he puts it much more succinctly than I

Quote:
Originally Posted by peetzakilla
Lee Classic Turret

Single stage when you want it, 200 rounds of handgun an hour when you want it. 1/2 MOA or better capable ammo. Caliber swaps in 10 seconds flat. $85

No brainer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by benzuncle
The Lee Classic Turret Press will load both of the rounds you are interested in.
You can use it as a single stage if you so choose. Even using it with the turret set to advance you can keep an eye on the powder charge by viewing each round as you "build" it. A fair number of reloaders started off with the LCT intending on "moving up" to a full-tilt-boogie progressive but never got there. I'm one of them. 4 years after purchasing my LCT from Sue @ kempfgunshop.com I'm loading 4 calibers and completely satisfied. There's plenty of help on the forums for any model/brand of reloader you choose. Good luck to you.
I am one who started single-stage, then moved up to progressive for several years. But I never got comfortable with monitoring multiple simultaneous operations and moved "up" to my Lee Classic Turret (after a LOT of research). I am much happier now, caliber swaps are many times easier and my production rate has actually not suffered (though it was never that good on my Lee Pro-1000 progressives, as I had no case collator and I count ALL the time involved).

If you don't need more than 200-250 rounds per hour, the LCT is worth consideration. I think it is better than any other option for the type of reloading being discussed here. More than 1,000 rounds a month, go progressive. If you craft each round with ultra precision and care, go single stage (for the superior rigidity and alignment). In between, Lee makes the only reasonable choice unless you need more than 4 die stations.


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Old February 12, 2012, 06:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
The RockChucker is the "cadillac" of single stage presses
If this is true then I guess the Forster Co-ax is a Bentley.

I would rather have a Forster for single stage.

If the co-ax is out of your budget, give the lee classic cast or lee classic turret press a good hard look.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:55 PM   #24
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200 bucks puts you right in there for any number of good presses. I just looked at Graf and Sons, they have the Rockchucker and the Redding Boss for $150.00, shipping is free.

Buying the press is only the first of many many purchases you will make with this hobby.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:53 PM   #25
CrustyFN
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Quote:
go with dillon, buy once and be done with it. i like the 550,
Hey that's a great suggestion for somebody that said they were on a $200 budget.
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