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Old March 28, 2013, 07:41 AM   #1
GRCummins
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Press recommendations?

Looking to start reloading and not sure which press to purchase for ease of use, switching calibers, and long term reliability. Currently shooting .357/38 special, .380, and .45 for my handguns. I only have 762x39 and 12 gauge for long guns but sure to be adding more in the future.
Please let me know what I can expect from various press', pros and cons will be greatly appreciated for an informed decision.
Thanks
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Old March 28, 2013, 08:36 AM   #2
eldermike
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I believe every reloader needs a solid built single stage press. Even if you start out with a progressive you will find a need for a single stage press. IMHO the RCBS rockchucker is the standard single stage press. I also have Lymans single stage press and its just as good, I consider thems equals. Learn to reload and then start looking at presses that add efficiencies to the overall process of reloading.
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:00 AM   #3
maillemaker
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I started reloading with a Lee Pro 1000 progressive reloader for .45 ACP.

It is a great value for the money, but has some quirks. Search the forum here for Lee Pro 1000 and my user name to see my post about its quirks.

If I buy another progressive press it will have 5 stations so that I can use a powder cop die that will detect over or under charged cartridges.

Steve
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:06 AM   #4
Strafer Gott
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+1 RCBS Rockchucker. It's big and strong so you don't need to be. I don't know if RCBS still sells the shot shell components for the press, but they sure will make those other calibers. I use Lee and and Hornady dies with it as well.
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:52 AM   #5
howlnmad
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For everything that you listed, you will need 2 different presses. The metallic cartridges will all be done on one press and the 12 gauge on a totally different press.

For the metallic, I would suggest the Lee Classic Turret press. It can be used in single stage, auto advance and manual advance.You purchase seperate heads for each caliber and swap them out. Buying additional powder measures (one for each head) lets you leave everything set up and speeds change overs.
The shotgun press, depends on what you want to spend. In my opinion, MEC makes the best. The Lee Load All II is very good inexpensive press as well.
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Old March 28, 2013, 10:02 AM   #6
wild willy
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I have a RCBS Rockchucker I also have a Lee turret press the older model.If I was you I would get the newer Lee classic turret press.The RCBS is a fine press but the turret is much nicer to load handgun ammo on.I have seven turrets set up with powder measures I can be loading a different caliber in no time at all.I decap and prime separately.
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Old March 28, 2013, 10:14 AM   #7
wncchester
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"If I was you I would get the newer Lee classic turret press."

Purchase your tools based on your needs, not other people's favorites; Lee's Classic Turret is the answer for YOUR needs. (It's not my choice but my needs are much different from yours.) Lee's are the ONLY turret presses that offer an auto-indexing feature that really speeds production. And their tool heads are both inexpensive and easy to swap out by hand.

Switching calibers on any progressive is more of a PITA than many wish to put up with so a lot of guys with a taste for progressives get one for each cartridge - that works well but it's COSTLY!

Shotshells do require their own presses. Look at the MEC line for somethng that will match the volumes you expect to turn out at one setting.

Last edited by wncchester; March 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM.
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Old March 28, 2013, 11:00 AM   #8
Muskamoot
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I bought a Lee Anniversary kit as a starter.It comes with some needed accessories and the specific die kits are reasonable.I just did my first 500 rounds of .45acp and am really pleased with the quality and speed of the single stage press.I wasn't looking for a production line setup,just something to replenish my weekly trips to the range.I also bought a dual rock tumbler from HF and some crushed walnut shells for the cases.Nice that just by adding the die kits,I can do pretty much any rifle or pistol cartridge in the future.The press came from Ebay for under $200.
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Old March 28, 2013, 11:14 AM   #9
solitude127
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For all the calibers you have, how many rounds do you think you'll be loading each month?
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Old March 28, 2013, 11:25 AM   #10
eldermike
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I also have a Lee classic turret press and I use it often. And you can use it as a single stage press.
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Old March 28, 2013, 02:41 PM   #11
BigJimP
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The # 1 mfg for shotshell presses is MEC.

http://www.mecreloaders.com/

They have a variety of single stage, some progressives that are manually indexed (Grabber model), and fully progressive with auto indexing in their 9000 series. One 9000 HN is hydraulic operated - with a foot pedal. But you'll find something in that mix of machines...to handle 12ga loads.

I would personally recommend a Grabber model ...good progressive machine/ even though its manually indexed. Way better than a single stage operation if you're going to shoot over 100 shells a month...

Mec presses are gague specific. So you'll need one press for 12ga ...a different one for 20ga ....and 28ga ....and .410 ....etc...
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On metallic Dillon and Hornaday probably lead the industry in presses. Dillon 650 and Hornaday LNL are their respective top end machines. They will both handle your handgun and rifle calibers...with die changes, shell plates, etc for each caliber. Personally, I like the Dillon 650 over the LNL - but both machines have their fans.

Both of them will max out their usage - if you add a case feeder ...but it isn't something you need right now / but its a really good feature for high volume calibers like in handguns. Either of these machines will easily give you 750 rounds an hour.../ making reloading an easy part of the hobby ...vs a chore.

To me, all of the single stage presses are a "chore" ...unless you only want 25 rounds at a time for some reason....like hunting, in a .30-06 caliber or something. But most of them will only give you 100 rds an hour or so ...and I have way too many other things I'd rather do ...than take a full 8 hour day to get 800 rds loaded ...when a good progressive press will do that in an hour.
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If you have attention to detail.....you can learn to load on a good progressive machine. You just need to really understand each step - how the press works. Some of the presses ...have powder check die options - so you will get a beep or the press will lock out if the powder drop is not within specs. Its a nice feature on any high volume handgun calibers / adds another layer of safety ...and that's always a good thing.
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Old March 28, 2013, 03:21 PM   #12
LE-28
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After 42 years of reloading I to have better things to than loading 800 rounds of pistol rounds on a single stage press, but for someone starting out in the art of reloading, a single stage is the best way to learn. Or you could go with a LEE Classic Turret press and use it single stage until you get the jest of it then put the indexing rod back in it and load semi-progressive.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/814...e-turret-press

Good luck finding a press right now though.

It is the best of both worlds for a beginner and is a very versatile press.
It won't break the bank and will always be a good secondary press after you move to a auto-progressive of some kind.

I don't load for shotguns so I can't speak of that, but I've heard good things about MEC presses for that. To me shot shells don't cost enough to make me want to reload them.
But that's just me.
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Old March 28, 2013, 03:36 PM   #13
BigJimP
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Most of the guys that reload shotshells....shoot a few hundred shells a week ....for sporting clays, trap or skeet...but I also load some " 00" Buck for tactical shotgun practice..../ and even on shells with # 9 or #8 shot in them you'll easily save $ 2 a box over even cheap promo shells....and way more on any other types of shotshells.

MEC Grabber will give you about 8 boxes an hour ( 200 shells )....
MEC 9000 HN's will easily give you 20 boxes an hour ( 500 shells ).../photo below is of the MEC 9000 HN's .....the blue press is the Dillon 650 ( for metallic - handgun and rifles)....
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On a Dillon 650 press, with a case feeder ---- I easily loaded about 6 boxes ( 300 rds this morning ...in about 20 minutes). I had some time to kill before I went to my office .....
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I have the luxury of having my presses all set up ...in my basement shop / heated and dry and ready to go.../ nobody messes with things in there when I'm not looking.../ so I just go down and run what I need, when I need it -- depending on what caliber is set on the Dillon 650...or which press is set to go on the hydraulic ...( I have 9000 HN's in 12, 20, 28ga and .410 ) ...and I have one motor and pump - and just rotate 2 of the 4 presses to the bench as needed.

Shop July 08 018.jpg

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...3&d=1262629099

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...7&d=1232046534
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The shop isn't fancy ....but it works for me as a one man operation.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Shop July 08 010.jpg (242.8 KB, 39 views)

Last edited by BigJimP; March 28, 2013 at 03:49 PM.
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Old March 28, 2013, 04:12 PM   #14
LE-28
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Quote:
The shop isn't fancy ....but it works for me as a one man operation
That is one sweet looking shop to me. Your right after my own heart.

VERY SWEET! I absolutely love simplicity with standardization and interchangeability .
I haven't got to your level of efficiency yet but I'm working on it.
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Old March 28, 2013, 05:37 PM   #15
GRCummins
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Wow! Thanks for all the replies guys! BigJim, you were tremendous! Love your set up. Safety and efficiency are a must when working with these items. I will be foraging through craigslist, eBay, and any other resources. I'll let ya'll know what I come up with. Thanks again.
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Old March 28, 2013, 06:41 PM   #16
BigJimP
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Thanks guys....and good luck with the process.

I started reloading with my grandpa when I was about 10 ...now some 50 yrs later...its my pleasure to pass the skills and techniques down to some of my now 9 grandkids ( from 2 - 22 yrs old these days ).

I think its a great part of the firearms hobby ...( I just got back from my local range...had 4 S&W revolvers out to play today ...3 boxes of .357 mag, 2 boxes of .44 mag, 4 or 5 boxes of .22....and had some laughs for a couple of hours...)...and it probably $ 50 ....is all.
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Old March 28, 2013, 07:31 PM   #17
chiefr
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Rockchucker!
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Old March 28, 2013, 08:22 PM   #18
BusterValentine
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A few months ago I was making the exact same decision you are right now, I ended up going with the Hornady Lock n Load Classic over the Rockchucker and I'm very happy with it.

I went with the Hornady for 2 reasons,
1. Made in USA (the Rockchucker is not)
2. The lock n load system. Changing dies is effortless and in literally 5 seconds and you're working again.

Also, when I expressed an interest in reloading a firearms instructer and veteran reloader that I know suggested that I start with a single stage press. I'll be honest, I didn't believe him but, through a series of events, I ended up cancelling my order for a Lee loadmaster and getting the Hornady. I can tell you as a new reloader that he, and all the other people who have commented here, are right, you need to start single stage so you can learn how to set each individual die and learn what it feels like to properly (or improperly) seat a primer, crimp a cartridge, etc. You get a lot of tactile feedback from the press that you wouldn't get with a progressive press doing all 4-6 operations simultaneously.

Last edited by BusterValentine; March 28, 2013 at 08:28 PM.
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:50 PM   #19
kimbers rule
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Im also a rockchucker fan. I'd stay away from progressives till you are boringly consistant though. I have 18 years of experience and Im still learning. Have fun with it! My rockchucker was made in the states. About 3 hours away from my house.
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Old March 29, 2013, 07:59 AM   #20
e-bear
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Lee Reloader

My first press was a Lee Reloader single stage. Inexpensive and built to last. It's still working great after 15+ years. I swear by it.
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Old March 30, 2013, 09:51 AM   #21
cwbys4evr
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Re: Press recommendations?

I started with a Lee Pro 1000. At first I was using it as a sorta single stage, until I got everything adjusted and got used to operating things. It didn't take me long to start using it as designed. I still take my time and go at a rate of about 100/hr.
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Old March 30, 2013, 11:15 AM   #22
2rott
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I load on an old Lyman T-Mag turret press. I do 100 rounds per operation & than the next step I do the 100 again. Not fast but for 200 or so rounds a week, It's OK, problem free & accurate. Once I started reloading, I began shooting more. How much time can you devote to reloading?
I priced a couple of progressives & realized after you add all the auxiliary parts that speed you up, you're spending much, much more than you thought.
The Lee Classic Turret that indexes may be the happy medium or not. I know several people that use it & only one uses it indexing to the next step. I wonder why. Good luck.
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Old March 30, 2013, 12:15 PM   #23
Cesure
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Lee Hand Press

My first press was(is) a Lee Hand Press. I figured I could always use the ability to carry around a press and reload without setting up a bench. I could have bought Lee Loaders for every caliber, but the Lee Hand Press made more sense. I've since upgraded to a Lee Challenger single stage, but I still sit in front of the tube and size and decap and prime with the Lee Hand Press. The tube holds about 30 spent small pistol primers, so you can decap a box of 50 with only two removals of the shellholder to dump out the primers.

The cons of this press are supposedly that it is a poor choice for full length sizing of rifle cases, unless you have arms like a gorilla. It also takes more steps/die changes to do everything. You can't decap and then prime as quickly/easily and you have to set the press down to use a powder trickler if you want to precisely measure each powder charge. If you're willing to just use the dippers for handgun charges, you can hold the press in one hand and dip with the other.

Last edited by Cesure; March 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Added the cons
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Old March 30, 2013, 01:05 PM   #24
Lost Sheep
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If only one press, the Lee Classic Turret.

Lee Classic Turret will load all the calibers you named, and even longer ones. For the rifle calibers remove the auto-indexing rod and use it as a single stage. For the higher-volume pistol calibers, use the auto-indexing and it is second only to a progressive press in speed. (Lee Precision is the only maker who offers auto-indexing in their turret presses.)

Turret swaps are faster than on any other press, too, bar none.

If you will have more than one press, the RCBS RockChucker has been the standard most well-known (and, probably for that reason, the one against which all others are compared) and it is still great. But the Lee Classic Cast single stage handles spent primers better and is said to be just as strong. But Lyman, Hornady and others are just as strong and all also offer lighter-weight presses that cost less and work just as well with a little less leverage or rigidity.

In addition to the single stage, a Turret or progressive to take care of your higher-volume shooting can be used. If you have calibers for which you need more that 200 rounds per hour, a progressive will be needed.

More specific recommendations will depend on more specific outlining of your needs (and budget, space, etc).

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Old April 3, 2013, 06:31 PM   #25
pnolans
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Quote:
Also, when I expressed an interest in reloading a firearms instructer and veteran reloader that I know suggested that I start with a single stage press. I'll be honest, I didn't believe him but, through a series of events, I ended up cancelling my order for a Lee loadmaster and getting the Hornady. I can tell you as a new reloader that he, and all the other people who have commented here, are right, you need to start single stage so you can learn how to set each individual die and learn what it feels like to properly (or improperly) seat a primer, crimp a cartridge, etc. You get a lot of tactile feedback from the press that you wouldn't get with a progressive press doing all 4-6 operations simultaneously.
I agree with the comment by BusterValentine. I've been using a single stage press for a couple of years. I'm getting to the point that I want a progressive press, and have more of an idea of how *I* work with the equipment. I prefer using a hand-held primer tool, for example, and I'm still weighing just about every powder charge. Doing so much manually has taught me a lot. At least, that's what I think. I've even thought about just getting another single stage press.

Wish you much success and enjoyment. There's a LOT to learn. It's a giant onion. I'm still peeling layers.
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