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Old July 5, 2012, 07:38 PM   #1
ScottRiqui
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"Feeding the Beast"

For those of you with progressive presses, are you ever intimidated by how much it costs to run them "full-tilt boogie" for a few hours straight?

Looking at my .45 ACP load, it would be about $140/hour (assuming 1,000 rounds per hour), and that's with cast bullets and neglecting the price of cases entirely.

I realize that you're getting a lot for the money compared to factory ammo, but it was still a little bit of a shock to run the numbers.
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Old July 5, 2012, 07:51 PM   #2
IllinoisCoyoteHunter
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I ain't scared!

Works out rather well for me, as I:

1.) Get my brass for free from a local range
2.) Spend enough money elsewhere on my Cabelas card that I buy my primers and powder for "free" with my cabelas points.
3.) Cast my own boolits from free wheelweights from buddy's tire shop.

I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky. So 1k rounds cost me time. I never load up that many at a time anyway. I may load 200 at a time of any given caliber and that's it.

BUT, you are right...if I had to "pay" for components, YES, it WOULD get expensive!!!
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:26 PM   #3
FrankenMauser
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The fact that I can justify loading on a progressive press means I have enough demand to be buying the components, anyway.

So... there isn't any change in what it costs me. But, there is a substantial reduction in the amount of time it takes to produce the ammo.


Just remember - progressive presses make the process easier. The fact that they're capable of high production rates doesn't mean you HAVE to use them all the time.
More than 95% of my time is spent at with a single stage or turret press. The remaining time is spent on a progressive, and only when I need it. It sits for 11.9 months of the year, only being cranked up a few times over a 12 month period. But, it spits out a lot of ammo, when I do run it.

The ammo you load should be the ammo you have a demand for. Don't load 5,000 rounds of something you don't have much demand for, just because the progressive makes it easy. That does get expensive.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:17 PM   #4
Crankgrinder
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I do not have progressive press. Do not want my reloading to turn into a tinker session when i do it but primers are $40 a box of 1000, and it doesnt take long to go through one. Factory ammo might as well forget it these days its just gotten out of hand. Things keep going like they are, and they will thisll all be something for the rich & famous much like caviar.
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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I have a 550B and I think it's supposed to load 4 to 5 hundred per hour but I get about 3 to 4 hundred an hour out of it, taking my time. Like another poster, I only rev it up a few times a year to batch load general purpose ammo. All my load development is done in smaller batches on a single stage press.

I don't pay for much brass, only usually for new guns except the 223, I had thousands of 223 brass before I got the gun. I load mostly surplus bullets bullets in 223, and cast 45/70s and all handgun calibers. The only thing I;m buying factory new bullets for is 308s and a few match bullets for 223 also. So it's not very costly to rev up the progressive for a day or two for me.

Casting saves a lot. If i had to buy bullets for everything I shoot...wow.
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Old July 6, 2012, 01:09 AM   #6
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Reverse the intimidation

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui
"Feeding the Beast"
For those of you with progressive presses, are you ever intimidated by how much it costs to run them "full-tilt boogie" for a few hours straight?

Looking at my .45 ACP load, it would be about $140/hour (assuming 1,000 rounds per hour), and that's with cast bullets and neglecting the price of cases entirely.

I realize that you're getting a lot for the money compared to factory ammo, but it was still a little bit of a shock to run the numbers.
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Just figure out the retail cost of an equivalent number of factory rounds, and you will feel like YOU are intimidating to your local (or mail order) seller.

It will put the proper perspective on things.

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Old July 6, 2012, 03:30 AM   #7
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
I have a 550B and I think it's supposed to load 4 to 5 hundred per hour but I get about 3 to 4 hundred an hour out of it, taking my time. Like another poster, I only rev it up a few times a year to batch load general purpose ammo. All my load development is done in smaller batches on a single stage press.
My production rate is quite similar. Although the 550B is rated for something like 450 rounds per hour, I have only gotten close to that twice. I generally run at about 225-325 rph, once I've got my rhythm and have things flowing nicely. But, there are days when I only run at about 150 rph.

The couple times I really got cranking with it, due to nearing the end of 3,000+ round load runs, I exceeded 400 rph. But... the actual production rate is not important to me. I only calculate my production rates out of curiosity, and to give myself a benchmark for comparison, when I see people claiming to produce 600+ rph on a 550B or another similarly equipped press.

For me, it's not about "how fast can I get it done". I'm already GREATLY exceeding the production rate of a single stage or turret press. So, my production rate just ends up depending on how accurate the powder drops are, how I'm feeling, and how well I positioned the components for loading the machine. There's no point in rushing; I'm already ahead.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:31 AM   #8
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I never consider it as a "cost-to-run" on my 550. I've never timed myself on rounds per hour. It's never mattered to me. I never need to tinker with my setups. I might do 100-150 rounds at a time, then gauge, clean, and box. We buy in bulk and always have components. My progressive press is a convience. It saves me time.
If your progressive press requires constant "tinkering", you bought the wrong one.
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:04 AM   #9
Bailey Boat
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First question would be what press you're operating that yeilds this magic "1000 rounds per hour" ????

I have an RCBS Pro 2000 and I get around 400 to 450 per hour and my Mec shotshell presses are about the same....
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:14 AM   #10
ScottRiqui
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Oh, I don't have a progressive press, that's why I was asking for input from reloaders who do. As for the 1000 rounds/hour figure, I just chose that to make the math easier. I thought that was in the ballpark of what progressives would do, but now that I've looked into it a bit more, I see that's only for the high-production presses like the Dillon 1050.

Sorry for the confusion.
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Old July 7, 2012, 11:06 AM   #11
Jimro
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2000 rounds once fired brass, 183 dollars
5000 bullets, 75gr HPBT, 615 dollars
16 pounds Power Pro 2000MR, 256 dollars
5000 Wolf primers, 70 dollars,

Works out to 28 cents a round for the first reload. But still, it was a lot money up front to get cheap ammo.

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Old July 7, 2012, 04:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Looking at my .45 ACP load, it would be about $140/hour (assuming 1,000 rounds per hour),
My Pro 1000 will never run remotely that fast.
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Old July 7, 2012, 05:37 PM   #13
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The Dillon XL 650 with case feeder is capable of 1000 per hour, but that is not fun and a hobby is supposed to be fun. I have proven it when I loaded 1014 34 Spl rounds in 1 hour flat, but my right hand was sore and I was sweating like a hooker in church. 500-600 rounds/ hr is a much more comfortable pace. That is still 10 to 12 boxes in 60 minuets and at a savings of about $10 a box I am saving $100 or more an hour. I don’t know about you guys but I can’t make that much at work.
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Old July 7, 2012, 10:01 PM   #14
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I never consider cost of components at the reloading bench or the range for that matter. The money was spent when I gave Graf's or Midway my credit card number.

I do take cost into account when ordering supplies and components. But once they're purchased it's just inventory that isn't doing me any good in boxes...
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Old July 8, 2012, 01:50 AM   #15
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I try to never be in a hurry when I'm reloading. I consider it a precision process. If I'm loading, I must have the money for supplies. If I run out of both supplies and money. I occupy my time with something else.
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Old July 8, 2012, 03:44 PM   #16
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Scott...while it's true there are more than a few progressive reloaders out there who set records....some with rounds/hour....others with Fort Knox amounts of loaded ammo to salt away...and still others who actually shoot that much every year, like our own Peter Eick, I don't fit in any of those categories. Guess I'm odd. If I were a betting man, I'd bet there are other odd progressive loaders like me.

After I'd been loading on a single station Rock Chucker for 36 years......I actually got tired of reloading! Trouble is I never get tired of shooting, and now I have 7 grandsons and some granddaughters too, who I get to spend quality time with at the range. Bet you see the problem.

My Pro 2000 progressive was bought for one purpose. Not to make an Armory for the Apocalypse, not to shoot competition, and not to run reloading races. The purpose is simple: I get a phone call after work on Friday, that goes something like this: "Grandpa, Could we go shooting tomorrow?" "Can we shoot ALL of them?" So even if I'm short of ammo in a few calibers, with MY progressive I can "fix" the shortage in the one evening I have. The Pro 2000 is worth every penny to me....and reloading is actually fun again....more so after I automated my Forster Trimmer.

There are people that say progressives aren't made to make short batches of several calibers, rifle and pistol......The Pro 2000 laughs at that notion.

The only part I hate? Cleaning all those guns when I get home. Sigh.....it's worth it though.....

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Old July 8, 2012, 10:06 PM   #17
ScottRiqui
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Thanks for all the replies - I learned a lot. Specifically, that the production rates for most progressive presses aren't as high as I thought they were. Also, I thought that most progressive users were IDPA competitors or similar high-volume shooters, and didn't start up their presses unless they were making at least a thousand rounds or so of a single loading. It was interesting to hear that some of you are doing the same kind of volume that I'm doing on my turret (you're just getting done sooner!), as well as loading for multiple calibers on a progressive.
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:13 AM   #18
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I have a Dillon 650 with case autoloader - Is it set up to run 1000 rounds per hour?

Assuming all my cases are cleaned and in the hopper, my powder loaded and my box of bullets handy - don't i still have to pause to reload the primer tube every 100 rounds? That took a few minutes the way we were doing it, so that would be 10 times (2-3 min. at best) so would take out half of your time?

Am I missing something?
I am going to try to get up to speed after checking my first few 9mm loads on the range for accuracy and reliability.
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:19 AM   #19
ScottRiqui
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I'll leave it to the Dillon owners to elaborate, but from posts I've seen, I think that having multiple pre-filled primer tubes is part of the "high volume" gameplan.
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Old July 9, 2012, 09:26 PM   #20
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That's an interesting way to look at it Scott...never occured to me to look at it like that...

I've been using a Dillon 650 - with a case feeder - for several years now when I got back into shooting metallic in a bigger way / semi-retired...

Yes, the 650 with a case feeder...will easily crank out 1,000 rds an hour ...but it does take a little more time to case-gague everything, inspect the finished rounds, box em up ....

I tend to get bored - if I actually load for more than an hour or two ...but with the progressive setup I have...its pretty easy to get 20 - 40 boxes made up ...and then stacked up on the safe for use. I'm not a competition shooter - I just like to shoot / and for calibers that I shoot a lot of ...( like .357 mag ) I will often leave the press set up in that caliber...until I load at least half a case of bullets / which in 158 gr is 2,975 bullets per case so about 30 boxes ...in a half case...and then stack them up for use. Then I break the press down - clean and lube everything - and set up the next caliber I want. When I get down to 10 boxes or so in a caliber like 9mm...I'll crank out 40 boxes or so ...stack it up ...and just go like that.

Yes, I keep 6 primer tubes filled ...before I set down to the press for a loading session / and if one of the grandkids is around to help ...I don't turn them down.

Tonite after dinner, I had a gun to clean because I went to the range today....and my press was setup on .357 mag ...and I cranked out 10 boxes..in about 30 min ...then spent some time checking the rounds and boxing them up vs watching stupid stuff on TV while my wife was busy doing some other stuff. So to me, its more like an hour here and there ...in my shop ( no kids here anymore / so the door to my shop stays closed / things stay where I put them ) ...its easy to go down and load for 30 min or an hour ...not a big deal.

I'd never go back to a single stage, turret - or a non auto indexing progressive / or a progressive without a powder check die installed. I think a good progressive with a powder check die - just gives me the extra safety factor I want in my ammo. LNL, Dillon 650 ...and others have that option ( the Dillon SDB and the 550 do not have it ).

But to me reloading is part of my gun hobby ...so I reload 9mm, .40S&W, .45 acp, .38 spl, .357 mag and .44 mag .....and shotshells in 12ga, 20ga, 28 ga and .410 .... and tomorrow I'll work a few hours ...then head out to shoot 5 or 6 lines of Skeet with a 28ga and .410 .../ get back to my office about 4PM -make sure everything is ok ...

and life just goes on like that ....a little shooting, some reloading, some gun cleaning, a little woodworking, some cycling, --- even a little work --- a few chores around the house.../ help my wife if she needs some help ..../ kids, grankids, ....( even my worst days are pretty good man !).
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Old July 10, 2012, 01:01 AM   #21
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Quote:
and life just goes on like that ....a little shooting, some reloading, some gun cleaning, a little woodworking, some cycling, --- even a little work --- a few chores around the house.../ help my wife if she needs some help ..../ kids, grankids, ....( even my worst days are pretty good man !).
Better knock on wood....you're due for a really bad day. You sound like you're semi-retired ... good for you! I only wish. I'm just semi-tired ... okay, that's a lie...fully-tired, but I look forward to trips to the range, though they're not as frequent as yours. Wood working? That's part of being a building contractor...looking forward to retirement from that. Probably will sell every shop machine I own...table saws, planers, shapers, jointers, radial arm saws...probably will only keep my jig saw, drill press, and chop saw.

I reload .40, .38, .357, .45acp, 30/30, .243, .223, .308, .270 ...so far. All the pistols and 2 rifles (.223 & .308) so far on the Pro 2000...with a bullet feeder and case feeder. (homemade c.f.) I only shoot 12 gauge, so Walmart provides the ammo, and it works really well at a good price for my weekly trap and 5-stand clays. I don't have the time to load shotgun...yet.
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Old July 10, 2012, 06:00 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
For those of you with progressive presses, are you ever intimidated by how much it costs to run them "full-tilt boogie" for a few hours straight?

Looking at my .45 ACP load, it would be about $140/hour (assuming 1,000 rounds per hour), and that's with cast bullets and neglecting the price of cases entirely.

I realize that you're getting a lot for the money compared to factory ammo, but it was still a little bit of a shock to run the numbers.
I've only been hand loading for about 6 months, but I think ur looking at it backwards. Its not how much it cost to run a progressive press, but rather how much u save. I saved over $180 for the first 500 .45acp. And I save more $$$ every time I load

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Old July 11, 2012, 10:10 AM   #23
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I agree with Thorn. I also think that most people compare their ammo cost to WWB or some such cheap ammo. If you load good ammo then it would be more accurate to compare to upgrade ammo. What makes you think your ammo isn't worth a buck a round? Mine is.
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Old July 11, 2012, 10:17 AM   #24
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Progressives are wonderful. Just wish I could afford a progressive caster.
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Old July 11, 2012, 08:55 PM   #25
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I'm down to about 3 bucks a box, and comfortably run about 300/hour.

That's 18 dollars for six boxes of .357. Where I live, it's around 25 dollars for a box of the factory stuff, which equates to $150.00 worth of store bought ammo. The savings are very worthwhile, and I shoot a heck of a lot more as well.
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