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Old November 18, 2002, 04:14 AM   #1
Join Date: September 25, 2001
Location: PRK
Posts: 68
Getting a progressive press - Have my cake and eat it too??

Well. . . I've pretty much searched the last year's worth of threads. I must say I've learned a lot. I'd like to get started in reloading and I'm in the market for a progressive because of the volume I shoot. I've already picked up a Lyman's reloading handbook and am nearly done with it.

I mostly be shooting .45acp, but in the future will probably load some 9mm as well as .308 once I get the hang of it.

I've been looking at the Dillon 550B and 650 (650 right??), RCBS Pro2000 and Hornady LNL AP. At first I really wanted the Hornady LNL but have been turned off because of all the problems with the primer feeding. The Lyman handbook has me pretty much scared into being as careful as I can seating primers and measuring loads.

-$50-$100 difference in price doesn't really matter too much for me
-Cost to change out calibers doesn't matter since I'll mostly be loading .45acp
-I'd want the powder measuring consistency of the Hornady, but don't want it's priming problems
-I like the reputation of the Dillon but don't like the reports on the powder loading.
-Loading a consistent round is important. I'd like to be able to crank out rounds where I know what kind of performance to expect.
-Which one do I get?????

I was thinking about remote priming then finish off on the Hornady for the consistent loads and such, but I was wondering if there was a better way.

-Can the RCBS pro2000 take care of this. Consistent powder measures AND reliable priming???
-Should I just go with the Hornady LNL AP and remote prime???
-Should I just get the Dillon?? Is the powder measuring really that bad??
-Is it possible to get the Hornady Powder measure fitted on a Dillon 550B or 650??

Thanks all for your help
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Old November 18, 2002, 06:37 AM   #2
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When used within design parameters, the better progressive presses available today to the home loader don't sacrifice much in the way of consistency or accuracy to single stage 7/8-14 presses.

You'll almost certainly not be able to shoot any difference at all in handgun ammunition prepared on a Dillon progressive, and you'll have to have a rifle capable of shooting consistent ½ MOA 5 shot groups to make single stage production runs of handloads worthwhile.

It's not the equipment that makes the difference here, is is the opportunity to cull components for very minor flaws that can make a difference with the very most accurate rifles. If you've got a truly good load, a tenth or two of a grain of powder, won't with good cartriges like the 308, make a pronounced difference in point of impact unless you're shooting at 600 plus yards. By a truly good load I mean one which is sitting on a node in the powder/presure relationship, the same load must exit the rifle barrel with a favorable barrel time- one where the barrel is near reversal in its induced oscillation. FYI, very, very, few benchrest shooters bother to weigh powder charges.

The powder measure provided on Dillon equipment will pleasantly surprise you. I say that as the owner of two Harrel measures (arguably the very best on the market). Just use it within Dilon's recommendations, though it will do a respectable job with some extruded powders.

To do a consistently better job than can be done with a Dillon progressive you have to enter the realm of "hand dies", usually fitted to match a particular rifles' chamber, and various gadgets designed to explore and uniform component geometry.

Why not RCBS or Hornady? I know a couple handloaders that have had problems with Hornady progresive press equipment that were not resolved to their satisfaction. RCBS dies are very consistent, but the dies have not maintained the position of "best on the market" that they held for many years. It's not that RCBS products have become worse, it's that other suppliers have learned to produce dies as good or better. Dillon dies are at least as good as RCBS, Redding dies designed for use in a progressive are better yet.

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Old November 18, 2002, 10:50 AM   #3
Kenneth L. Walters
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Join Date: September 2, 1999
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For decades I collected reloading presses, Hollywood turret, Potters, Jordans, progressives, etc. Never much cared for single stations but anything big and old.

The progressive collection eventually reached about 26. Everything from the prototype 1930 vintage Newcomb straightline to every known model of the Star, including one of their very rare straightlines as pictured in Sharps old book.

Though many were very old, progressives were first patented in the 1890's, many were quite modern. Also I at least tried to use them all. I had most of the Dillons, several Hornady's, Lee's, etc.

My favority is the RCBS Pro 2000 and RCBS Piggyback III's. The earlier Piggyback's (I & II) had a lot of problems but not the III's. They work very very well. That strip primer system is great. Virtually eliminates primer problems. I just ordered another 50,000 primers for my three machines. I've got two of the Piggyback III's and a Pro 2000. I'm also going to order another Pro 2000 when next money allows.

There is nothing wrong with any of the Dillon's that I've used, except the RL1050. That machine was just unnecessarily complicated. Had at least one of all of them (RL300, RL450, RL450jr, RL550, RL1000) and numerous RL450jrs. No personal experience with the RL650 or RL 1050.

I wouldn't recommend the Hornady's. There are problems with the automatic indexing and then too a removable die platen is really nice regardless of what Hornady claims about their easily removable dies.

I wouldn't recommend the Lee either.

So you can not go wrong with an RCBS or Dillon. Still I much prefer the Dillon.
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Old November 18, 2002, 10:53 AM   #4
Kenneth L. Walters
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Got That Wrong!!!!!

Two mistakes. Senior moments I guess.

I had at least 36 progressives.

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Old November 18, 2002, 10:54 AM   #5
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No experience with anything other than a Dillon 550, but with any powder measure, you may have to dink some with the powder to get that particluar system to throw consitent weights.

Alot of it is consistent technique (= you) & a lot has to do with the powders. The finer grained stuff seems to flow more consistent.
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Old November 18, 2002, 12:42 PM   #6
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My first progressive was a Dillon 450, which I still have and ocassionally use.

The overwhelming majority of my ammo today, including target/varmint loads, is loaded on a Dilllon 650. I've been using the Dillon 650 for over eleven years now, and I wouldn't trade it for any reloading machine made. I have loaded several hundred thousand rounds on it. (Over 200,000 of 9MM alone) I wouldn't even trade it for a Dillon 1050!

I've had no problems whatsoever with either the powder system or the priming system. IMHO, the Dillon 650 has the most advanced priming system made today.

With 5 stations, autoindexing and a powder checking system, the Dillon 650 is the safest machine available to handloaders today.

Any number of progressive reloaders will serve you satisfactorily, but in my experience, the Dillon 650 is the best of the lot by a country mile.
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Old November 18, 2002, 05:07 PM   #7
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I have a Dillon RL550B that has been trouble free since I traded with Mylhouse for it. The powder measure has been perfect with Unique and 4895.
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Old November 18, 2002, 06:31 PM   #8
Join Date: November 7, 2002
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My vote goes to the Dillons. I had a Square Deal in 45ACP on which I loaded many thousands of rounds. Tried a piggyback II but never could get the powder thrower to put out a consistant charge. Currently load everything (all calibers) on a Dillon 650. I cant say enough in praise of its reliability and consistant reloads.
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Old November 19, 2002, 01:10 AM   #9
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Should I just go with the Hornady LNL AP and remote prime???

YES !!!
The Hornady progressive, in my openion, is the only press strong enough to load "bottle neck" cases.
I have been loading for 32 years. I have a Rock Chucker for bottle neck loading and 3 3 Lyman T-Mags for decapping and specialized loading. The press I use most is the older HORNADY PROJECTOR.
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Old November 19, 2002, 04:34 PM   #10
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My RCBS Pro 2000 throws consistent powder charges over a wide range using different powder configurations. Remember, the manner in which you operate the ram can have some effect on this.

The APS priming system is simply wonderful! And it takes no time at all to load up the strips with the supplied loader.

Caliber changes are quick and easy, and excluding dies will cost you ~ $25 for the shellplate, and ~$12 for the die carrier. Not a bad deal. Yeh, I know, you only load .45 ACP right now..........

: )
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Old November 20, 2002, 08:08 PM   #11
Join Date: May 31, 2001
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Have the 650, haven't had problems, powders measure fine (currently using Unique, Bullseye, and H4831SC). I highly recommend it.
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