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Old May 31, 2012, 09:30 PM   #1
BoogieMan
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Progresive press

I am very close to taking the plunge. I just dont have the patience for a single stage or turret so I wan to go straight to the progresive.
I like the LEE Load-Master for price and versatility. Also the upgrades are inexpensive. Is the quality good? If its going to give me issues I would rather spend a couple of extra bucks and go with the Hornady, RCBS or Dillion. But if others are using the Lee without problem I will probably stick with the price winner.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:39 PM   #2
Kevin Rohrer
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It's a mistake to go straight to a progressive if you are just starting out.

Having said that, you get what you pay for. If you want cheap, go with them "L" word. If you want quality go "H" or "D'. I went "D" a long time ago and haven"t regretted it.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:46 PM   #3
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Lee's quality is... adequate. I really like some of their products (especially dies.) I think you are setting yourself up for failure starting out on a Lee progressive press. Get one once you know what you're doing and know how things are supposed to work so you can tinker with it and make adjustments.

Start out with a single stage press. You will still use it for some tasks even if you buy a progressive later. If you just can't do that, get a different brand of progressive that will run without a lot of fiddling.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:49 PM   #4
Waldog
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Quote:
It's a mistake to go straight to a progressive if you are just starting out.

Having said that, you get what you pay for. If you want cheap, go with them "L" word. If you want quality go "H" or "D'. I went "D" a long time ago and haven"t regretted it.
Ditto on what Kevin said! Very, very bad idea to start with a progressive press, particularly a LEE press. Ditto again on Kevin's advice! You get what you pay for. If you want quality, go with "H" or "D" or "R". I went with "H" and absolutely love it. "D" and "R" are also quality products. "L" progressive presses are made for people who would rather tinker than reload.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:57 PM   #5
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I started with a "D" (450) about four years ago and do not consider it a "mistake"...although the learning curve was a bit steeper, it was by no means prohibitively so.

I used the Dillon as a "sorta single stage" for a while, first decapping and sizing a bunch of cases, and then running one case through the machine at a time, performing each operation sequentially.

Once I got comfortable with the process, I started using it as designed, and have cranked out thousands of rounds.

I subsequently "inherited" a single stage and it has gathered considerable dust, while the 450 has been upgraded to a 550.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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I'm also going to go against conventional wisdom here and say you CAN start with a progressive and be very successful. I did and haven't blown up anything yet in over 20,000 rounds. I use a pair of Dillon SDB presses and you can run them as a single stage or load it up and run full progressive. Two things to keep in mind when starting out are read the instructions-twice at least- and go slow in the beginnng. You may make a few minor mistakes but you can learn quickly if you are mechanically inclined at all.

I'm not going to start a Red vs Blue discussion here but I would suggest you save some and spend more at the outset to get quality equipment that will serve you down the road instead of going cheap in the beginning and being sorry later. This is a case of getting what you pay for.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:18 PM   #7
Vance
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My first progressive press was a Lee Loadmaster. I had used their single stage and turret presses without issue. However the Loadmaster was a mistake. It was a constant tinker session and you did more fiddling with it than actual loading of ammo. My whole issue with the loadmaster was with the priming system and if you can't prime on the press reliably, then there is no pojnt to using a progressive press.

I moved on to a Dillon Square Deal B as at the time I had no plans to reload rifle calibers. I don't regret that move. I now also have a Dillon XL650 because I have started reloading .223 using an RCBS X-die for the depriming and sizing so I can lube the cases and do the whole process in one run. I don't regret that either I will eventuallt sell the Square Deal B and like the idea that the lifetime warranty goes with the press and doesn't stay with the original purchaser

If you are just starting out, then go with the 550B press from dillon. Dillon's do cost more, but are worth it.

I would also suggest getting one of the inexpensive single stages from Lee. There are a few uses I find one useful for. Swaging crimped primer pockets and using a universal decapper to remove the used primers so I can clean the primer pockets every once in a while are two such uses.

People have to remember that Hornady uses red paint also and my friends Hornady LNL AP is a fine machine also.

Last edited by Vance; May 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:18 PM   #8
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As long as you start out using a progressive as a single stage only and learn each stage's requirments, you won't get into trouble. However, if you try to do it all at once, you WILL get into trouble. You have to know what a proper round's requirements are and how to produce a safe and reliable round.

I started out with the blue 15 years ago, learned as stated above, and still use it today. A progressive is great for cranking out lots of ammo. But, if you're only going to need a few rounds at a time for the forseeable future, a single stage is good to go.

Don't scrimp on your measuring tools.

Regards,

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Old May 31, 2012, 10:29 PM   #9
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I started on a progressive as well ("H") and have zero regrets. It does take a fair degree of patience and mechanical aptitude helps also, but it can be done and done well.

I did buy a single-stage a couple of months later because there are some tasks which are easier done on a single-stage IMO.

I really can't stress enough the importance of patience if you go with a progressive to start with. I was willing to take my time and read, read, and read some more, slowly study the various operations that a progressive does simultaneously, and additionally I needed to adjust two different items on it to get it working properly (the pawls and the primer shuttle). But I took my time and learned a lot in the process.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:55 PM   #10
LarryFlew
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Also started on a progressive (lee 1000) and never regretted it. You do have to go slow and check each step but you should be anyway.
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:41 PM   #11
pastortim
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i have a hornady lnl and a dillon 550 i would recommend the hornady it is auto index and very smooth have loaded about 10,000 roound with no problems

the dillon 550 is a great press but it is a manual index i do like and use it but prefer the hornady
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Old May 31, 2012, 11:51 PM   #12
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What's your budget (in dollars and in rounds)

If you are REALLY sure you want to start on a progressive, you can. With the cautions you have received from the earlier posts, so I won't reiterate them.

I will note that almost every handloader has a single stage press on his bench, no matter what other presses he has. Some things are just better done on a single stage. Stiffer, simpler, stronger, cheaper and easier to learn on.

If 200 rounds per hour would be adequate for you, an auto-indexing turret will do. If you need 250 or more rounds per hour, a progressive. But the increased production rate comes at a cost. Money and the complications of caliber swaps which are more complex on progressives than on turrets or single stages.

Lee Progressives are cheap enough that you could own one for every caliber you shoot, relieving the caliber swap complications, at the cost of space on your loading bench.

Dillons are the top of the line, by all reports, and if you have the budget for it, the way to go.

Hornady and RCBS are good and solid and many prefer them even to Dillon (for particular characteristics, usually).

I cannot advise you first hand on any but the Lee Pro-1000, but can highly recommend the Lee Classic Turret as a starting press for the chamberings you mentioned. It can act as a single stage or take advantage of its auto-indexing for production rates greater than any other turret press in current production.

But we can advise you better if you let us know your shooting goals and habits.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep

p.s. I took a quick look at your posting history, but could not get a "feel" for your comfort level with operating a press (sorry, but to give advice, I have to make some judgements). Rather than "shoot in the dark", I seek more knowledge of your style and goals.

Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 1, 2012 at 12:14 AM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 12:11 AM   #13
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These are all opinions....I'm sure you understand that.

Here's mine: If you are used to paying attention to detail already, you might be able to skip learning on a single station press. I will repeat that. You need to be good at paying attention to details.

Reloading in general requires PATD, but loading on a single you can learn that PATD skill, if it isn't already yours, a lot more safely.

Now, if you are the kind of guy who reads directions well, studies them, understands them and believes them.... BEFORE you dive in , then you'll be able to learn any press without an accident.

If that describes you, I'd still suggest a simple progressive to start out, like the Dillon 550 manual feed, or better yet, the RCBS Pro 2000 manual feed press. Manual feed slows you down enough to prevent getting into too much trouble fast. The Dillon 550 is a 4 station press that is not upgradable, but a great press...at least until you want more options. Then you sell it and buy a 5 station press. The RCBS Pro 2000 is a 5 station press, upgradable to a full auto-advance machine with a simple $105. auto-advance kit. A real have your cake and eat it too press.

All that said, I agree with others that a single station press will eventually be on your bench....first or last....that is the question, isn't it?!.

On the 5 station Load Master....great idea, mediocre execution. Many Lee buying beginners, for the most part, are more successful (IOW's they don't feel like throwing the press in front of a Semi on the Freeway) if they start with Lee's 3 station Pro 1000...and they use only CCI primers (they just physically work better in the primer feed....no I don't know why, they just do.) If budget requires Lee, and you've got to have a progressive, get one for the caliber you shoot most, learn the press, then get another one for another caliber. They are cheap enough to do that. Then you don't have to change the setup for caliber change, at all.---Good Luck with the hobby...its a great one! You will be assimilated!

Last edited by GWS; June 1, 2012 at 12:44 AM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 05:37 AM   #14
excelerater
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the important question no one asked is
how many rounds a month do u plan to shoot and what are your goals?

I started with a progressive , it easy IMO,within one day I was out shooting
40SW and have not looked back..Some folks are not mechanical and have a slower learning curve.....Dont let others tell you want you can and should do
Do your research figure out your goal and budget and buy the biggest baddest machine you can afford.....as long as its not a LEE youll be fine
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Old June 1, 2012, 05:47 AM   #15
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here's my uncolored experience-based opinion

If one is seriously in need of volume production, start with the Dillon XL650 and the optional roller handle and powder-check station.
One can then, if needed, add the case-feeder.


I offer no exceptions to this opinion, unless one anticipates a high volume of crimped-pocket cartridge cases to be reloaded. Then get a 1050.
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:01 AM   #16
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I started loading with the D 550b never had a single stage. Just jumped straight to a progressive and have never regretted it. Setting them up is more time consuming in the short run due to you are setting all phases of the reloading process in one shot. It also makes things easier to trouble shoot verses a single stage IMO. If you are mechanically savvy you will not have any problems what so ever. If you shoot allot in many calibers then go progressive if you shoot a little with a few calibers then single stage is probably the better fit. I took the plunge about 15yrs ago maxed a credit card with 1300.00 press and needed supplies to start I have never ever regretted buying a progressive to start. The only suggestion I can make is go Hornady or Dillon both now have lifetime promises on the product at the time I bought mine Hornady did not offer that. This year alone I have loaded
1900rds 30.06
450rds .44mag
700rds 9mm
1500rds .45acp
the saving you gain is unbelievable just do the math with what I did
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:08 AM   #17
kalevatom
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My first and only press is a progressive, a Dillon 550, and I didn't find it hard to set up. Figuring out what I was going to load was harder. Patience is the key. I see no reason not to start on a progressive press, no matter what brand.
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:19 AM   #18
BoogieMan
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Quote:
p.s. I took a quick look at your posting history, but could not get a "feel" for your comfort level with operating a press (sorry, but to give advice, I have to make some judgements). Rather than "shoot in the dark", I seek more knowledge of your style and goals
I have zero reloading experience. I have unloaded a fair amount. What I do have for experience is 20+ years of machining and engineering. I understand machines much better than I do people by a huge margin. I just got a range membership this year so I could (dare I say) master pistol shooting. I have hunted all my life and always had a gravel pit to shoot in until recently. I found out its more than just point and shoot. I would like to be competitive (on a local level) at steel and or bullseye. So I am burning up in the range of 400rds a week. Buying ammo online with shipping I can get them around $90. I think I can reload (correct me if im wrong) 9mm for about $52. That saves me in the range of $38 a week. Or a ROI of about 11-12 wks. If or when I move to other calibers such as .45 or even .44, .460 etc than I expect to see faster returns. I may even get into rifle cartridges (.223, 30-06, .303) if I can shoot them at a reasonable rate.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:14 AM   #19
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I agree that if you start with a progressive press, get a Dillion or the Hornady. Many have started with a progressive. If you go with a turret or single stage, I would go with the Lee Precision Classic presses. Last I checked on Midway USA, they were the highest rated regardless of price. I agree that at some point you will probably have a single stage press on your bench.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:53 AM   #20
serf 'rett
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Quote:
I just dont have the patience...
B Man...can I ask why you are thinking of reloading? Just the savings? Most honest folks here will admit that they do not save money by reloading; however, they do get to shoot more!

If you’ve done the research and have a boatload of patience, with a healthy dose of attention to detail, then there is no reason you couldn’t start with a progressive press. We have two basic types of machinist in our shop. Those who only need a work order and I never worry about their workmanship, and those who only do quality work when cornered like a trapped rat. The mention of engineering makes me assume you fall in the first group. From what I read, the Lee will require more patience and tinkering, but I have no experience with the Lee presses. My leanings would be toward the L-N-L or Dillon (just starting to rebuild an old 450 a coworker has loaned to me).

If you really don’t have patience (your words) then you may need to start with a single stage press to learn the process. Unless you are looking to load several thousand rounds a month, you might should also consider the Lee Classic Cast Turret. Several of our forum members are pleased with its ability to load in a single stage mode or semi-progressive mode and the price is right.

My current cost is $11.90 per 100 rounds with 124 grain Berrys bullet, CCI primer, Power Pistol powder and “reconditioned” brass. The costs includes shipping and prorated Hazmat fees on small bulk orders from Powder Valley.
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Old June 1, 2012, 10:09 AM   #21
tobnpr
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Don't buy the crap about starting with a Progressive as being a mistake.

IMO, not buying a Progressive- if that's what you need- is the mistake.

I load, on average, 600 rounds per month of a half-dozen or so centerfire calibers for myself and my sons.

If I had to do that on anything but a progressive press, I'd be spending days- instead of hours- at the reloading bench and likely drooling in the corner.

I know there's guys that fawn over every damn bullet, shining their cases and trickling to a single grain of powder.

If that's your goal, then a progressive is not for you.

What a progressive press is, is a great compromise between accurate reloading, and higher volume. My loads are generally accurate to .1-.2 grains, dependending on the powder being metered. Ball powders meter much more accurately than stick, but I prefer the "extreme" stick powders anyway as they are not affected by temperature.

I started loading one case at a time, just as you would with a single stage or turret press. You don't have to use it as a full "progressive". I still start each batch that way- one case at a time, until I'm sure the load is metering consistently and I'm where I want to be. Then I crank them out, still stopping every 5-10 cases to pull one, weigh the charge and check the seating depth.

If a progressive is what you need, buy once, cry once, rather than wasting the dough on a single stage that doesn't fit your needs.

FWIW, I bought a Hornady LNL, and have never looked back after close to 10,000 rounds without a hiccup.
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Old June 1, 2012, 11:03 AM   #22
dab102999
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I am in no way passing judgement but the statement that "I don't have the paitents" makes me worry that you will become to confident to fast...There is alot to be said about single stages for sure...

And a question to the other reloaders...now as far as a press goes with his last statement that he would move into rifle, .223, 30-06 .303 will a dillon progressive handel that?
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Old June 1, 2012, 11:55 AM   #23
BoogieMan
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Quote:
We have two basic types of machinist in our shop. Those who only need a work order and I never worry about their workmanship, and those who only do quality work when cornered like a trapped rat. The mention of engineering makes me assume you fall in the first group.
Hopefully im the first type. I have a degree and started machining on manuals in my fathers shop. Bought my first CNC in 97. I now own 4 CNC turning and machining centers (all MAZAK) in a 7500sqft building, all design and processes come in through me and leave through me.
Do you work at our own a jobbing, maintenance or production shop?
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:51 PM   #24
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I can understand someone wanting to reload a bunch of ammo quickly so they can shoot more, but I believe if one doesn't have the patience to learn to reload one round at a time, mebbe they should just look for deals on bulk ammo.

I look at learning to reload kinda like learning to drive. I learned to drive in a 1947 International 1 ton truck with straight cut 6 speed tranny (no syncromesh). I was 13 and it was a horrendous experience that I remember to this day, 53 years later, but I did it. Can't remember how long it took, but I really didn't enjoy anything about it for a few "lessons". I taught my wife (and son and daughter) to drive in a Toyota w/auto trans. They learned much, much faster. And picked up good driving habits earlier because they were able to handle it (learning to drive) one step at a time. Same thing with a progressive vs single stage...


I do believe ther are definate instances where a progressive shines, but learning ain't one. This ain't a newbe's press; http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con...d/1/Super_1050
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Old June 1, 2012, 01:52 PM   #25
zxcvbob
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Even if you have a progressive press, there are uses for a single stage, and some things you just can't do on a progressive.

Based on everything you've posted here, I think you should get a Lee "Reloader" press (about $30) and play with it. You'll be able to load ammo with it and familiarize yourself with the process. It will be worth the $30 just in reduced headaches when you try to set up your Loadmaster, and you will still have the Reloader press for sizing bullets, loading weird stuff where you don't have a shellplate, etc.
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