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Old September 30, 2002, 11:26 PM   #1
Join Date: August 12, 2002
Location: North Carolina
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best choice for .45 ACP

Well now I've gone and done it. I bought a S&W 625 .45ACP revolver. It's my favorite IPSC gun and, therefore, it's quickly driving me to bankruptcy!! Feeding it is expensive! I typically shoot 300 rnds of .45 ACP every other week (my department's range is open to all of us for unstructured practice every other Friday).

So I'm going to dive into reloading in an effort to make shooting a bit more cost effective. I intend to reload only for this caliber using 230 grn fmj and to Major power factor. I get 200 free rnds of .40/month, 500 free rounds of Winchester 125 grn +p 38spl/month and 9mm is really cheap so I really don't feel the need to reload these calibers.

What I would like to know is what type of press would best serve my needs? Would a single stagepress be sufficient to turn out 200 rnds or so in an hour or two? Would a turret press be a better choice or should I go straight to a progressive?

Unfortunately, price is a consideration (isn't it always?) And I can't justify a large initial expenditure to my "financial manager" as she will divorce me and then kill me (or vice versa). What is my best bet? What press (type and brand) will give me the most bang (pun intended) for my buck?
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Old October 1, 2002, 04:42 AM   #2
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About any turret press will do 100 rounds an hour. RCBS, Lyman, and Redding all make them along with Lee. Remember though you can have a Dillon Square Deal B set up for 45 ACP for less than 300.00. It will at least double your production over the turrets. Mine as loaded a lot of ammo over the last 10 years breaking only the handle on a long run of 44 Mags.
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Old October 1, 2002, 08:41 AM   #3
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You didn't ask this, but I'm curious...why not shoot lead round nose?

They're half to a third the price of FMJ's.

If you're shooting inside, forget I asked...lead's too stinky.
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Old October 1, 2002, 08:45 AM   #4
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Another vote for Dillon Square Deal. Set it up (forever) for one caliber and have fun! Look for a used one, too.
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Old October 1, 2002, 09:33 AM   #5
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Congrats on the 625, great gun (I've got 5) and they do tend to go through a lot of ammo.

My shooting habits are similar to yours. I shoot 250 rounds once a week. I've been using an RCBS single stage press for 22 years and counting. At the volume of ammo your talking about a single stage would serve you just as well, as long as you have a couple hours to kill each week.

A turret press will speed thing up a bit, but not much. Unless you see your ammo consumption increasing in the future, a progressive would be overkill for 150 round per week.

Good Luck...

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Old October 1, 2002, 09:59 AM   #6
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Be aware that reloading creates its own demand for different calibers. You may think you want to hold at .45 ACP but one you have the equipment in place suddenly other calibers look attractive.

I said the same thing about .45, now I'm reloading .38 spl // .357 mags and headed toward .45 LC.
"Given a choice between good intentions and human nature, I'll go with human nature every time."--Me, 2002.
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Old October 2, 2002, 10:19 AM   #7
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My Regression,

I currently own a dillon 550B, and I have set ups for 3 calibers .45 acp, 9mm, and .38/.357 magnum.

I bought a keltec p32 in .32 acp my only gun in this caliber. I thought about getting a set up for it for the dillon, but I dont shoot .32 enough to justify the $100 cost of the dies and shell plate, tool head, powder die.

Soo I bought a lee o frame challenger press, and a set of lee carbide pistol dies. I already owned a scale and a lyman powder measure. Cots of the lee setup $62 delivered.

It works fine, its slower than my dillon but I can crank out 100 rounds per hour on it.

The lee challenger kit and a set of carbide dies will be the cheapest and it works just fine.

Look on lee's site for the internet dealers and you will find precission reloading of Ohio they have the lowest prices.
Order by phone from them.

You can always get a progressive at a future date.
Total cost with a scale and thrower under $100.

Then you just need bullets brass and primers.

Payback on a set up like this is probably 500 rounds of .45 acp.
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Old October 2, 2002, 02:02 PM   #8
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Though many will probably vehemently disagree I would suggest you look at the Lee Progressive 1000. I have four of them (set up for different calibers) and they work beautifully. For the price it's worth the convenience to just keep one each set up for the calibers I shoot most. I have two of the presses set up with the Lee bullet feeder and they work great.

Many will say to stay away from the Pro 1000 for a myriad of reasons. I will admit that they have their quirks and there is definitely a learning curve, but once that is behind you you'll have little trouble with it.

Many point out that Dillon has a lifetime no BS warranty which is excellent (and I agree it is excellent). I have replaced one spring (that I didn't have to buy) on one of my Pro 1000s after 10 years of hard use, total cost would have been $.50 plus shipping.

I am not knocking Dillon at all. They are fine presses and I must admit are prettier than Lee presses. I happen to think that they are overpriced. With all of the bells and whistles on my four Lee presses I still have less invested than I would if I had bought one Dillon 550 (two of my Lees were purchased barely used at a substantial discount).

Good luck with whatever you choose. I enjoy reloading and find it relaxing and rewarding.

Tom C
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Old October 2, 2002, 02:05 PM   #9
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Yup, my 625 goes through ammo too. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one with a defective one.

My first press was a Lee Challenger Anniversary kit, and it continues to work just fine (in addition to the kit, you will need to buy a set of dial calipers, carbide dies and a good reloading manual or two). I added a Pro AutoDisk powder measure a little while later, and that speeds things up considerably. I continue to use this press today for all rifle loads (don't ask me why), small batch experimenting, the occasional batch deprime when I get the urge to clean primer pockets (infrequent!), and a host of other chores.

My other press is a RCBS 2000 Progressive (manual index). What an impressive chunk of metal that is. Admittedly, the Lee looks like a cheap little toy in comparison, but in practice the only thing the RCBS has over the Lee is speed.

Cost is a factor for many of us here. However, it's time-consuming to load volume on a single stage press - so you have to decide how much free time you have on a weekly basis and what this time is worth to you.

Another factor is that you'll recover your equipment investment rather quickly reloading 45acp. So spending more on equipment initially may not be a bad thing.

Oh, and you'll need a tumbler and sifter to clean your cases.

Shooting a ragged hole with homemade? Priceless!
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Old October 2, 2002, 02:48 PM   #10
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If I had to do it all over again, today, I would just get the RCBS Pro 2000. When I first started, progressives were still being tinkered with, and is how Dillon made a name for themselves.

Get a good press now. Its better to spend the money once to get a really good press than skimp and buy a cheaper one, that you will end up selling to get a better one.

Press, dies, bullets, powder, primers, load books, tumbler and sifter (a collander will work).
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SigSauer, if you are listening, MAKE A DOUBLE-STACK 10mm PISTOL!
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Old October 2, 2002, 08:37 PM   #11
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I've been using a Dillon SDB for five years and over 30K rounds. I just don't believe you can beat it for volume reloading of .45. I've never had a problem with overcharging. I have had problems with primer adjustment, but once its right it stays right for a long time.

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Old October 2, 2002, 11:24 PM   #12
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Even if you get a Dillon, get a Lee Challenger as well. Why? The Challenger and a few Lee carbide sets cost less than a shellplate and Dillon dies for one caliber. Once you start loading, you will probably want to load SOME for the "cheap" calibers or calibers that you don't shoot much. I probably shoot less than 100 rounds of .303 in a year, but the first 50 or so paid for the Lee dies. I don't shoot much 7.62x54R, but a lot of the steel-cased ammo isn't that accurate in my M-44s. 9mm may be cheap (now), but it is FUN to handload, at least IMHO. It never occurs to many people who argue that .45 is ballistically superior to 9mm that the problem may be the $5.00/box seconds! (I am NOT saying one is better than the other, please let's keep it real).

From what I understand, it is not convenient to de-prime only on a Dillon. I really don't know.

I shoot @300 rds. a week (mostly 9mm and .45), and I do all of my loading on a Lee Challenger. There are times that it seems like a chore, but by and large, I enjoy it. Every other Wednesday I spend my entire evening/night (dinnertime to bedtime) loading for the next two weekends. I'm not counting all of my case prep in this estimate; I do some of that here and there during the week.

A Dillon is a fine piece of machinery (and not THAT expensive really), but I see it as unnecessary for me. Ammo costs more than guns in the long run. I try to get the ammo cost as low as possible so I can buy more guns! ;-)
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Old October 3, 2002, 09:23 PM   #13
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thanks for your insight. I managed to buy a slightly used Dillon Square Deal for $150 so I figure I did ok. It's set up for 38/357 of which I shoot a bunch.

Maybe I'll just trade the dies and plate for a .45 conversion since I already get free .38 ammo to shoot. Or, heck, I'll just buy the conversion and be done with it.
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Old October 4, 2002, 04:51 AM   #14
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I think you will be happy with the Dillon. This press is easy to use and even though it has some plastic, it's very durable. I've had mine completely apart for cleaning and it shows no wear even though a pickup truck couldn't haul the ammo it's loaded. Just buy a conversion for the 45 and keep the 38/357 set up. While you get free 38's you will be able to load .357's which is a very useful cartridge to use on small game and varmits such as ground hogs and crows.
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Old October 4, 2002, 02:54 PM   #15
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Another vote for the Dillon Square Deal!!!!
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Old October 4, 2002, 03:05 PM   #16
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At that price, if you don't want the Dillon, tell ME where to get it!
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Old October 4, 2002, 06:23 PM   #17
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You made a very good investment. I have been cranking out 1000's of rounds from my SDB for years. Both Very good quality ammo and Match ammo.

Good Shoot'en

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
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Old October 8, 2002, 02:38 PM   #18
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I'll throw my vote in for the Lee Pro1000. I know a lot of folks like to bash the Lee equipment, but my experience is that it works just fine. I bought one a couple of years ago and never really have had any problems with it. I think the first few times I used it, I had some quirky things happen with it. Most of the problems were due to my lack of knowledge in using a press. Probably would have been better for me to start on a single stage press or at least a turret as a beginner, but I got used to the progressive quick enough. Learn the process well and pay attention to what's going on and you'll figure it out too. That's probably true for everthing in reloading.

I recently thought of getting a Dillon 650 when my wallet started to get a little too fat, but really there's no need. My pro1000 is still cranking out .45s and is problem free 99.5 percent of the time. I probably still get a hickup once every blue moon and it usually takes a minute or less to fix it and keep going. Why spend all that cash on a 650, when what I have is working fine. I still weigh my powder and check the dimensions on a round now and then, and everything is still very consistant.

I've also read of peolple that have issues with their Dillons, RCBS, or Lyman so no particular brand of press is going to be error free all the time. I'm certain that the higher priced presses do work very well and can last a life time or two. Not sure how long my pro1000 will keep going, but I can buy a lot of pro1000s for the price of a Dillon 650. I have about 12K of .45 on it so far and I'm sure it will keep going for many rounds to come.

To be fair, I don't know anyone who is using a Dillon so I can't really compare the two, but I wish I could. I'd like to see what all that extra cash would get me if anything. Spending that much cash just to say I have a Dillon with a no BS warranty doesn't work for me. I know there are those who reload far more than I do and maybe if I put out 15K rounds a year, I might see the advantage in ware ability, but at 12K in 2 years my pro1000 is doing fine.
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Old October 8, 2002, 09:09 PM   #19
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Amen, scarman!

Lee bashing is just like the rest of it. People who claim that the Lee stuff doesn't work are kidding themselves. HOWEVER, I am the first to point out that a lot of Lee stuff WORKS, but not the way it is SUPPOSED to work. The so-called "Perfect Powder Measure" comes to mind. Theoretically, you can set this baby by the volumetric measurements (and knowing the volumetric density of the relevant powders). Yeah right! This thing may have the worst set of instructions that I have ever seen (that includes instructions translated from Korean).

Dillon stuff must be pretty good. Is the Lee stuff bad? Well, I didn't get into reloading to waste money; let's leave it at that.
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Old October 9, 2002, 05:27 PM   #20
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I saw one comment on the FMJ vs lead issue ... even if you are shooting indoors, you can still use plated bullets ... I get mine from Berry's. I shoot their 185 grain hollow base round nose and they feed like 230 hardball as the 45 grains of missing lead comes out of the rear of the bullet ... they run me 66.49/1000 delivered ... the 230 RN's run 71.49/1000 delivered. I don't know what you pay for FMJ's but I like the fact that the plated ones are covered on the base as well ... as are the higher end FMJ's.

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Old October 9, 2002, 06:06 PM   #21
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Go ahead and bite the bullet and buy a dillion 550 and be prepaired to add other calibers eventually

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