The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 28, 2001, 04:35 PM   #1
Romulus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 18, 2001
Location: Kettle Moraine country
Posts: 865
I'd like to request the input of those who've been reloading awhile. I want to begin hand-loading in 45Auto caliber, and I'm miffed by the marketing stuff I see whenever I visit the website of a press manufacturer. Everything is the best, the strongest, more room for this or that shell, always better than the other guys press...

Here's my real quandary: is there an actual advantage to hand-loading (single-stage only) with a turret press? Are these really inherently weaker than O frames?

Then my observations about manufacturers: Lyman seems the beefiest, Redding I've heard makes the most precise...Is there a really "best" press? Lee looks like junk to me, but I don't want to besmirch them, they just look like Rube Goldberg contraptions...I'm open to them as well if anyone has something good to say.

Thanks
Romulus is offline  
Old January 28, 2001, 05:23 PM   #2
Chris McDermott
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 30, 2000
Posts: 245
As far as strength, the only way you will ever hurt any of the presses is by trying to swage bullets with one - and use too hard of a lead wire. Just reloading you might eventually wear one out, but there are presses out there that are 50 years old and still work as well as they did when new. The
Lee progressive presses have had a bad reputation about trying to get them re-adjusted when changing calibers, but I haven't heard anything bad about the single stage press. Their turret press has fewer stations than the others, which will slow you down and prevent you from using one turret head for two different calibers.

Turret presses have several advantages over single stage
You can buy extra turret's so you don't have to re-adjust your dies when you change calibers.
They are faster to use as you can leave the case in one place while you do all of the operations in series - including loading the powder if you buy a powder measure and Lyman's universal expander/powder die system. If you still load powder by measuring individually and dropping it in the case, then you don't actually save much time as you have to remove the case from the press to use a powder funnel.

The dis-advantages are the cost and inability to do some large cartridges that currently can only be done on SOME (not all) single-stage presses (50 BMG, 577 Nitro etc) that can take the larger diameter dies.

I don't think the advantages really out-weigh the dis-advantages as by the time you buy a powder measure etc to gain the speed, you only need another $100-$200 to go to a good progressive (RCBS 2000 or Dillon) that will be much faster than the turret press.

If you want to try for real precision re-loading, then the Forster CoAx single-stage is actually as expensive as the turret presses, but also has the advantage of not needing to re-adjust the dies every time you change calibers.
Chris McDermott is offline  
Old January 28, 2001, 06:21 PM   #3
sw627pc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 2000
Posts: 453
Just a note on die adjustments. I converted my RockChucker over to the Hornady LockNLoad system and no longer need to adjust dies each time. Works quite well.
__________________
Bob C. NRA Patron USN (Ret)
sw627pc is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 12:27 AM   #4
Romulus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 18, 2001
Location: Kettle Moraine country
Posts: 865
Thank you for your input. Should I start with a single-stage press, or can I begin with a progressive? Keep in mind that I have no tutor or mentor in the field. I'll be on my own, so maybe single-stage to start with?
Romulus is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 02:27 PM   #5
Matrix
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 1999
Location: E. PA.
Posts: 179
I have a Lee Turret, and am pleased with it - so far. It was the cheapest way to get into handloading. I wasn't sure whether I would want to stay with it and I needed to keep costs down. So far, I've just been loading .45s, but will start adding new calibers. I'm still just learning, but I wanted to get a faster production then I could with a single stage. The auto-index really speeds things up.

Eventually, I'll get a Dillon. I just can't justify it right now.

By the way, Lee now has a 4 station turret.
Matrix is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 04:22 PM   #6
Bogie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 5, 2000
Location: Job hunting on the road...
Posts: 3,827
Disclaimer: I'm a benchrest snob.

That said, I load handgun and .223 blasting rounds on a Lee turret press. It works fine. My other presses are an RCBS JR-3, a Redding Boss, a Lee hand press (love it!), a Lee O-frame and a Lee C-frame. I also use a Sinclair arbor press.

Bogie is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 07:04 PM   #7
Kenneth L. Walters
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 1999
Location: flagstaff, arizona
Posts: 476
I use to collect reloading presses. Had about 36 progressives, a dozen or so big Hollywood turrets, a set of old Potters and Jordans and Lord only knows what else. When someone offered me what they were worth, I sold. Did try, however, to use them all.

These days I have far fewer but I used my previous experience to help me select the ones I use now. For my 50 BMG I have a large RCBS. For small jobs like priming or case forming I use a pair of RCBS Partner presses. For the couple cartridges that I shoot A LOT I have a RCBS 2000 Progressive. Clearly the best progressive I've ever seen. Love their strip primer system.

For everything else I use either a Lyman or RCBS turret. These two are about the only turrets, other than the Lee, where you can change out tool heads. The SAECO, for example, will not do that.

Both are excellent IF you want to make small batches of ammunition. I've got 50 heads for the Lyman and maybe 7 for the RCBS. I would have stayed with just the Lyman but their spare heads have been going up in cost until it finally got to the point that the RCBS was the better buy.

Hope this helps.
Kenneth L. Walters is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 07:36 PM   #8
MADISON
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2000
Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Posts: 2,678
Rock Chucker and Territ Press

I started out with a Lyman Spar-T press and soon found out that this pres's territ was not stable enough to size 30-30.
I bought an RCBS Rock Chucker. It worked FINE.

Lyman's T-Mag press is steady enough to do the job. I have not done case forming on it...yet. We/the wife and I have 6 T-Mags set up NOW.
MADISON is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 09:17 PM   #9
Romulus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 18, 2001
Location: Kettle Moraine country
Posts: 865
All great info, thank you gentlemen. I'm still concerned about the learning curve: can an untutored beginner get his feet wet on a progressive set-up, or is single stage a better idea?

I guess it was a mistake to pass early judgement on the lowly Lee, I've been told by a few people back in WI that they've done just fine by them for decades now...but they're so bloody uglee
Romulus is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 10:16 PM   #10
Kenneth L. Walters
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 1999
Location: flagstaff, arizona
Posts: 476
The real problem with the Lee is the number of stations, three. Of by using one of their special dies you can do a couple jobs at one station essentially uping the die count to four but, well, it is still a restrictive number.

Doesn't much matter where you start out, progressive or single station. The best advise I can give you is to find a friends who is already doing it and have him show you the ropes. You can learn by yourself, I certainly did, but someone who knows is a big advantage.
Kenneth L. Walters is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 10:26 PM   #11
Steve Smith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 9, 1999
Posts: 4,131
Romulous, I started on a progressive. I had a tutor for the first "getting feet wet" session. I picked it up pretty quick. I'm sure you could find someone in your area who would love to help. That's one thing about handloaders, we love to help others learn to load. Where are you?

Anyway, yes, you can learn on a progressive, if you're of sound mind. Some folks shouldn't start on a progressive, I don't think. You'll have to decide whether you're sharp enough for it or not. (It's not brain surgery, but it does require you to pay attention.) The turret, I believe, is the best starter press. I didn't know much about them when I started, or I would've started with that. It's much faster than a single stage, but you control the speed totally and you're only doing one operation at a time, so you can focus easier. Even after you get a progressive, you can still find a lot of uses for the turret. BTW, take a look at Natches Shooter Supply. They have an "Expert Reloaders Kit" for their T-Mag II that is a real bargain for such a good press, scales, trimmer, tumbler I think, and all kinds of other goodies. The term "Expert" is kinda funny, as it makes it sound like the accesories that it comes with are only for "experts" but they're things that every handloader should have.

Go ahead and pass judgement on Lee...these guys here know I hate 'em. I'm glad I just had the presence of mind to not throw it out the back door, and instead, sold it for $90. I then bought a Dillon 550B and have not stopped smiling yet.
Steve Smith is offline  
Old January 29, 2001, 11:23 PM   #12
Romulus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 18, 2001
Location: Kettle Moraine country
Posts: 865
Appreciate the info on the turret...a little more web surfing and I've been seduced by both the Redding and the Lyman turrets, they both look quite beefy...

I live in the extremely gun-unfriendly north SF Bay area...but I do go back to WI on occasion, that may be the place to start with a mentor...

Thanks again
Romulus is offline  
Old January 30, 2001, 10:42 AM   #13
Matrix
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 4, 1999
Location: E. PA.
Posts: 179
Kenneth, Lee now offers a 4 hole turret. For those that have one of the older 3 hole stations, you can get an upgrade kit for $20.
Matrix is offline  
Old January 30, 2001, 11:00 AM   #14
Kenneth L. Walters
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 1999
Location: flagstaff, arizona
Posts: 476
That's interesting, thanks!

Didn't know that. Thanks!

Love turrets. The old Hollywood Universals were a lot of fun, particularly the ones that held twelve dies and had turrets not only for the dies but also for the shell holders and primer posts. Kind of sorry I sold those but, well, you can not own everything. Then too having someone actually want to pay me what they were worth was an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. Press collectors are a very rare (and perhaps weird) breed.
Kenneth L. Walters is offline  
Old January 31, 2001, 09:11 AM   #15
fgerardij
Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2000
Posts: 20
I am new to reloading and wanted to learn safely, yet have the ability to upgrade to a full progressive as I learned more.

I found a used Dillon RL450B that has been great. When I began, I simply used one station and advanced just "one" cartridge through all the stations. As I became more comfortable, and assured that I was doing everything correctly, I picked up the pace. After I was very comfortable, I started reloading progressively, albeit very slowly! I like the RL450 as it makes you pay attention and concentrate on your work. The differences between it and the 550B are that you have to manually pull a button to draw a primer from the primer tube, and also have to manually push the charge button on the powder dispenser. It does, however automatically eject the rounds and has been an excellent press.

Also, thumbs up to you folks for pointing me towards Dillon. I have tested their "no B.S." warranty twice and they are excellent. Their customer service has made me a Dillion loyalist.

Good luck,
fgerardij
fgerardij is offline  
Old February 1, 2001, 08:00 AM   #16
WESHOOT2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,123
Lee presses are junk; I keep one on my bench to hold up my Lyman "M" flare die w/powder measure on top, and a spare under the bench for when that one breaks (again).

Lyman, RCBS, Redding all good. I use the Lyman Crusher II.
__________________
.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09769 seconds with 7 queries