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Old February 8, 2013, 01:45 AM   #17
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,340
Cyclic rate vs sustained rate

Originally Posted by nova609
500+ rounds per hour?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me????? The most I got out of an hour is 25 .380ACP's! Then again I only have 7mo under my belt, a single stage press, and major OCD with my measuring.....but I can't imagine that many rounds per hour!!!

One thing I am really considering is an electronic powder dispenser (RCBS). I think this may really decrease my time.
An electronic powder dispenser might be more consistent in weight than a mechanical powder measure, but will not be any faster, and may be slower. The difference may be moot if the processing time of the electronic powder measure runs out while you are doing something else. If wait time is zero, the electronic CAN BE effectively instant, but might not be. The processing time for any mechanical powder measure is very close to instant all the time.

When I first started out, I managed 50 per hour, but had my gear and components laid out efficiently and was loading .357 magnum which might be a little easier to handle because the bullets and brass are a little larger. This was on a single stage press and checking the weight of each charge. This was sustained rate, which includes all the setup and preparation time and keeping all the components refilled and boxing the finished product. In six hours I could load 300 rounds. Sustained rate.

Cyclical rate can be much faster because it doesn't include all the peripheral activities involved in keeping primer tubes filled, powder hoppers maintained, spot-checking powder drops, etc.

ALWAYS find out what rate is being quoted. (This may be impossible, by the way.) Some people even count their production beginning with cases already sized and primed. They (legitimately or not) do not count those activities because they can be done while watching TV or other stuff. They count the charging of powder and seating bullets because they MUST be done as a dedicated activity (inattention here can result in catastrophe upon firing the ammo).

I expect the figures from Dillon are genuine, accurate and achievable cyclic rate. It is easy to determine from watching a good video of a press in operation for 10 rounds with a stopwatch, then doing the math.

Comparing Batch Processing (as on a single stage) to Continuous/Sequential Processing (as on a progressive) is like comparing apples to applejuice. You can drink a half-dozen apples worth of juice a lot faster than eating a half-dozen apples. (And if you want to complete the analogy, Continuous Processing on an auto-indexing turret press is like applesauce and fits in between single stage batch and progressive continous.)

Imagine the time savings of not having to change dies, not having to remove and insert your brass multiple times per finished cartridge, not having to weigh charges (using a powder measure that drops a charge directly into the case). Better yet, don't imagine it, but watch it on one of the many videos posted by users of progressive presses.

This one is of a Lee Loadmaster and shows full production at about 7m 30s in.

This one is part 5 of a description of the Dillon 550. The first 4 parts take you from assembly, die installation, powder setup and all the way up to operation in this video.

(Part 1 is here and the other parts appear as each preceding one ends.)

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Lost Sheep
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