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Old December 27, 2012, 06:32 PM   #13
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,340
Wrong: Start with a couple of manuals.

Originally Posted by vito
I recently took a class on reloading but have not yet started doing anything with what I learned. I now am ready to start buying the equipment needed, starting with a press.
ABC's of Reloading and borrow as many manuals as you can get (Library?) and read the early chapters which describe the process. Even though you took a class (good for you, by the way), reading different writing styles will expose you to a useful variety of viewpoints and areas of emphasis. Also, you will learn about different styles of presses.

Nearly everything in posts prior to this one is good advice that I agree with (and have sometimes posted myself) so I will not repeat them in this post. (I said, nearly, mind you, but I won't belabor the minor points.)

What I wish to expand upon is this: Type of press.

If you want more than a couple hundred rounds of only one caliber per session, you will probably want a progressive eventually.

If you want to load smaller quantities of a few different calibers, a turret might be able to keep up with a progressive.

For example, caliber swaps take time and if you want to take 2 hours in an afternoon to load 50 .357 Magnum, 50 9mm, 50 44 Magnum, and 50 45ACP you could do it with either a progressive or a turret. But with a progressive you might spend more time switching calibers than actually pulling the handle. With a turret you will pull the handle thrice or quadruple the number of times, but swapping calibers takes almost no time at all.

Progressive: 2 hours. Swap calibers thrice, 60 minutes. Loading time 60 minutes. But 100 rounds each converts to 3 hours and 200 rounds each 5 hours. And for this you will pay about $600-$1,000 for the gear and deal with the complexity of a progressive.

Turret: 2 hours Swap calibers thrice 3 minutes. Loading time 1 hour 57 minutes. But 100 rounds each converts to 4 hours and 200 rounds each approaches 8 hours. For this you will pay about $350-$550.

Single stage: Figure 50 rounds per hour and no time for caliber swaps. 4 hours, 8 hours and 16 hours estimated time at the press.

Note: I am a slow loader. Many other people get higher output but beware of claims very much higher. There is a significant difference between cyclical rate and sustained rate. My figures are sustained rate and include refilling primer feeds, powder measures, boxing the output and bathroom breaks.

So, if you expect you will want to go progressive, get a single stage. Learn on it. (It is possible to learn effectively on a progressive but it is like trying to learn to walk wearing roller skates. It is far easier wearing shoes and far easier on a single stage.) Almost every progressive owner also has a single stage for the occasional task for which a single stage is better suited, so it won't be money wasted.

If you think a turret will do for you, get a turret. A turret is a single stage when you want it to be and a turret when you want that.

The Lee Classic Turret (and its older, somewhat inferior brother, the Deluxe Turret) are the only auto-indexing turrets currently manufactured. If you want to do continuous (vs batch) processing, and do not need more than 4 die stations, it is the only choice (in my opinion).

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
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