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Old February 14, 2013, 02:15 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 154
Using a multi stage press?

I do not know anyone who has success using a mult-stage press for reloading bottle neck cartridges like 308, 223, 30-06 and 300 Win Mag. Several of my range buddies don't use them either for bottle necks and have experienced similar problems that I list below.

I am hoping that someone out there may have experienced better results than I and have found a way to efficiently accomplish bottle neck reloading.
I have an older Dillon 4 stage press that works very well for 9mm thru 45 ACP. However, this older Dillon doesn't have a device to warn me of a potential squib loads, and I have experienced several 38s that didn't fill. These failures were mostly due to my error at not catching the unfilled cases after a primer jammed and I had to stop my process and make repairs. 38s are difficult to visually inspect into the long cartridge case for small powder charges. With the other cases, I can see the powder inside the case as it passes to the next stage.

My Dillon's ram is huge, but I cannot seem to square the dies enough for small base resizing applications and minimize run-out. 308s SB require more ram force than .223 and as a result, the volatility tends to pack the powder inside the Dillon powder dispenser and I get uneven charges. Even with ball powders, I sometimes get a full grain variant. This is unacceptable. I tired resizing via a single stage RCBS press and then completing the remaining processes using the Dillon stages: new primer, auto powder fill, and seating the bullet. This worked ok but run-out was poor, and I still couldn't get the Dillon powder dispenser to achieve its advertised + or - .1 grains. That is simply BS if you use the progressive loaded as advertised. Reloading 223s became a mess due to case neck burs causing the powder dispenser to malfunction. Dillon always stands behind their equipment and has sent me several replacements. Regardless, the new parts have not made bottle neck case reloading easier.

The best practice so far for bottlenecks has been to batch processes with different equipment. I use an RSCB press to trim(Dillon trim cutter attachment) and resize using RCBS dies. Then I switch to the Dillon press to re-prime. After batch priming, I then used a Redding match powder dispenser to load powder into cases and temporarily store the cases into a loading block for later seating bullets with the RCBS equipment. Redding will give me +-.1 grain with ball powder and +- .2 with H4895 small stick powder. Obviously, the volatility in not present with this process.

If anyone out there has experienced better multistage presses or processes for re-loading bottle-neck cartridges, please advise.
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