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Old July 13, 2006, 02:00 PM   #1
Mike Bailey
Join Date: June 27, 2006
Location: SW Spain on Atlantic Coast
Posts: 64

Hello all, I am going to start putting together handloads in .44 mag, .30-06 and .375 H&H. I want a press that will carry out all the processes, de priming, resizing, dumping powder and seating the bullets without me changing all sorts of things and unscrewing stuff. I am not doing it commercially so speed of output is not important. I am new to this but I believe what I want is called a turret press. What I do know is that I want the BEST quality. Any advice from you out there would be very welcome. thanks in advance, Mike Bailey
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Old July 14, 2006, 09:49 PM   #2
Smokey Joe
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Turret presses

First of all, welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading!

Secondly, Redding makes a great turret press--built like a tank; your grandchildren won't be able to wear it out, let along you nor your kid(s), and you can get multiple turrets for it so each turret stays set up with all dies, etc, for each cartridge you want to load.

It's a little pricey; just the press and 1 turret is about $200 I believe, but that would be the best AFAIK.

Have you studied up on the reloading process? There is a bunch of "standard wisdom" that you'll need, and it's too voluminous to ask, a question at a time, over the I'net. May I reccommend one volume that covers everything, called The ABC's of Reloading, put out by Krause Publishing Get it @ yr local sptg gds sto, gun sho, the I'net, or order from Krause. This one volume really covers the gamut. It is a how-to and more importantly why-and-why-not to kind of book.

You'll also need a reloading manual, and more than 1 is a good idea for cross-checking. Lyman's 48th edition is my fave but there are several good ones out there. or the sources mentioned above. The manual is a recipie book--so much of which powder for which bullet and which primer, etc, etc.

Anyhow, enjoy the learning curve, welcome to TFL, welcome to reloading, and, as always, remember, the journey is part of the destination.
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe
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Old July 14, 2006, 10:09 PM   #3
Join Date: June 19, 2006
Location: Kent, WA
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How much are you wiling to trade cost for convenience? Yes, a progressive or turret press gives you a station for each die, so you can leave the dies alone after you get them setup. But what are you going to do when you want to reload a different cartridge? Price out the costs to buy additional turrets and see how easy it is, or are you willing to take all the dies out and install the new ones for a different caliber? If you also become finicky about your loading process and the particular dies used, you may not have enough stations on your turret to load things like you want (e.g. separate resizing, expanding, powder fill, seating, crimping dies and/or stations).

I load small quantities of about 10 different cartridges on a single stage press, and I'm always messing with something -- seating depth, powder charge, bullet type, etc. Any of those changes requires a die adjustment. So you may be forced to mess with your dies whether you want to or not.

Dumping power can be a problem too. Most powder measures don't drop the large stick powders well, so if you want them consistently within less than 1 grain deviation of the desired load, you almost have to manually weigh and trickle the powder charge. Hodgdon has their Short Cut line of powders that meter better, but you may want to research the powders you want to use for 30-06 and 375 H7H to see if its a long stick powder. Buy a powder trickler or one of the real fancy self metering powder measures/scales.

Note that if you come up with a given load you like, you can lock the nuts on RCBS and most other dies so all you have to do is quickly screw it in and its ready to go.

I might also suggest a hand priming tool. I don't like priming on a big press, so I do this separately by hand. But changing many of them between small and large primers can be anoying, so I bought two.
Kent, WA
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Old July 14, 2006, 11:05 PM   #4
Don H
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Old July 15, 2006, 05:38 AM   #5
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A significant number of the bullseye "regulars" at our outdoor range are very vocal in their praise and support of Dillon products.

IMHO, Dillon is best for the high volume loader though, while Lee, RCBS, Redding, etc are more suitable for the low volume loader.

Frankly, I enjoy the reloading part just as much as the shooting part, and a Lee single stage works just fine for my paltry 150-200 rounds a week.

Of course, that doesn't stop the Dillon supporters from beating me about the head and neck with their Dillon hats each time I mention the word Lee.
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Old July 15, 2006, 09:05 AM   #6
Smokey Joe
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Couple comments more

Suemarkp--Firstly, welcome to TFL! Glad you're willing to share yr expertise. A single stage is great--Use a RCBS Rock Chucker, myself, for rifle reloading. Progressives have their applications, too, for high-volume work like if you shoot competitive pistol.

The Redding turret has 7 stations. That's all you'll ever need for reloading any sort of ordinary ammo. You CAN switch turrets, and leave the dies all set up. IMX, R&R'ing dies, even with locking rings, calls for some adjusting and frigging around. Mike Bailey wants the best quality and apparently is willing to pay for it; that's why I reccommended using the Redding and switching turrets.

Agree w/yr comment abt a powder trickler--for REALLY fine measuring, there is nothing that can beat a hand-operated trickler and a good scale, IMX. Have no experience w/the new electronic tricklers; read a review of one that was enthusiastic, but even if they're as good as doing it by hand, they are spendy.

Dillon users are kind of a cult--they look down their noses at users of anything else IMX. Users claim to get rifle ammo as accurate as you can make on a single stage. I'm afraid I'd have to be shown that to believe it. You never hear of a bench-rest shooter (those ultimate accuracy freaks) using a progressive of any type.

Hornady and RCBS also make progressives--among other makers--which are probably just as good as a Dillon, overall, but Dillon does a lot more advertising, and sells a lot more units.

Also agree w/yr comment abt hand priming being the way to go, and with other than a progressive, there is no problem with doing that.
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Old July 15, 2006, 10:58 AM   #7
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turret presses

Look into the Lee classic turret press. It's inexpensive, sturdy, and does all the things you mention as well as not being of the umbrella type, like the Redding. I have a great respect for Redding and use their benchrest/match grade dies and some other equipment, but their turret press is not one thing I'd buy for precision loading. The Lee is a different design and does not have the inherent innacuracy of the umbrella type, and you can operate it in the index mode or manually move through the stages. The Turrets are not expensive. I recommend the 4 hole press. Dillon is great equipment if you are wanting to load huge quantities of standard grade pistol ammo. I don't think anyone can beat Dillon at that. ABCs of Reloading is a good book. So is Modern Reloading.
As a beginner, you probably do not have any clear idea as to which brand and type of bullet you prefer to load. Therefore, to buy any particular manufacturer's load manual would perhaps be less than the best value at this point. Modern Reloadiing, besides giving a mostly accurate and detailed account of the reloading process, has an extensive section of load data that you can use for any cartridge you are likely to load. If you decide to go on the accuracy quest at a later date the Mfrg load books will help you dial in a particular load using their bullets. Sierra, Nosler, Hornady, and Speer, among others, put out very good load manuals.
Of course, these online forums (there are 5 I like to read) are great sources of information and personal experiences and advice from those who have been loading for a long while already can be very valuable. One must be careful to remember that these pages also contain the perpetuation of myths, personal prejudices for and against brands, tools, and techniques based on little or no data. Sometimes you run across plain old stupidity. That being said, the aforementioned negative aspects are a tiny minority and usually easily spotted.
I wish you good luck and tight groups.
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Old July 15, 2006, 07:07 PM   #8
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"Dillon users are kind of a cult--they look down their noses at users of anything else IMX. Users claim to get rifle ammo as accurate as you can make on a single stage. I'm afraid I'd have to be shown that to believe it. You never hear of a bench-rest shooter (those ultimate accuracy freaks) using a progressive of any type."

Maybe not benchresters, but David Tubb uses a dillon 550 to load his match winning ammo! Benchresters load their ammo at the range using arbor presses, so your point is moot. I load match ammo on my 650 all the time. For my AR-15 and other rifles.

The turret presses already mentioned are basically "C" type presses. They have the tendacy to spring under loading pressure. Add to that, the turret is held in the center by a bolt/nut affair that HAS to be real tight to remove slop. Then loosened to move to another station/die. None of these auto index. You are basically using a single stage C press with multiple dies in a round turret.

The Lee turret is a hybrid between a turret and a progressive. It is basically an "O" press. It can auto index or be used as a single station. In auto index mode, it presents the shell in the ram to each individual die, completes that dies function, then rotates to the next die. The turrets are so inexpensive that you can buy one for every caliber, leaving the dies set. A simple twist and they pop right out.

The new Lee cast turret has solved some of the faults of the older press. Mainly, the spent primers fall straight through the hollow ram to positively get rid of them. And they now have a primer feed that can be added. The ram is heavier and the opening is taller.
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