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Old June 6, 2001, 08:53 PM   #1
Join Date: December 7, 2000
Posts: 33
I never went into the reloading forum of firing line before today. I should have much earlier -- even as a newbie I can see there's a wealth of information.

Buying ammo in stores is making me broke, frankly. I've decided I should give reloading a go, with one of the lower priced models. Though I have read numerous comments from members today about how I shouldn't expect reloading equipment to make me rich, perhaps the opposite ...

I'm looking at the "deluxe pistol reloading kit" on the Lee site. I shoot mostly .40 and .45 ACP, averaging 250-300 rounds per week. I do a little .308 but that's not a priority for me. Is there a better place to order Lee than directly thru them? Someone recommended these people but I seem to get lost on their site.

At the risk of going a little off-topic, could I expect my HK compacts to reliably cycle swc? I even tried ordering some at my gunshop to try it out, but failed at that. I look at some other people in my pistol league shooting swc, and wonder how many points I might gain with those large, crisp holes.

Thanks for any comments/advice.
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Old June 6, 2001, 11:01 PM   #2
Join Date: November 22, 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 68
Welcome Calcitanium. If you are going to reload, make this forum a regular visit. I have been reloading metallic cartridges since 1963 and I learn something almost every time I read the posts here. I have 6 presses: 3 RCBS single-stage and 3 Dillon progressives. I use the RCBS presses for rifle ammo and the odd handgun ammo I do not shoot very often. For volume, I have a Dillon Square Deal B and 2 550B progressives. Based on your current needs, I urge you to look at the Dillons. You will never be sorry if you choose one of their machines. Their Customer Service is unequaled. Not that you will need it very often; I used mine for eleven years before I placed my first call to their service department. Visit their website at: or give them a call at (800) 223-4570.


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Old June 7, 2001, 04:20 AM   #3
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I'll 2nd tawakoni on looking into a Dillon. You'll be surprised how quickly loading 300rds a week gets real old on a single stage press. The Square Deal B might just fit your budget, though the 550/650 is more flexible.
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Old June 7, 2001, 06:16 AM   #4
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Join Date: December 29, 1999
Location: Missouri
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Been loading since '75.... Now load for 3 pistol calibers and 6 rifle calibers. I have one single stage RCBS press that I bought 25 years ago. Suits my needs, but then I don't get to shoot as often as I like, and I shoot mainly rifle. My total monthly ammo expediture for all reloadable calibers is only 150-200 rounds.

If I had the opportunity to shoot as many rounds per week as you do, I'd HAVE TO get a progressive press. The time involved would kill me otherwise. I loaded up 500 rounds of .45 acp this week, about a years supply of ammo for me in that caliber. Took about 6 hours TET, counting brass prep, priming and, "lever" time at the press. You could do it in a quarter of that time with a Dillon... With the amount of ammo you shoot, you'll recover the initial setup costs in just a few months. After that, it's all gravy...

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Old June 7, 2001, 06:59 AM   #5
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And you think you're broke now? Ha! Just wait until you get into all the "deals" and savings in reloading! I've been rolling my own for quite a while and I am not saving money, especially with the pistols, I am getting more shots for the buck, and more consistant ammo. Reloading is now as big a hobby as shooting is with me. Hope it holds the fascination for you as it does for me.
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Old June 7, 2001, 09:50 AM   #6
Join Date: December 7, 2000
Posts: 33
Thanks for the feedback.

I had been figuring all this time I had to spend more $$ if I didn't want to spend too much time reloading for my needs. So I've been delaying, mostly until I actually had the requisite "cash flow."

But I read on some threads about low-priced Lee products that people were doing 50-round boxes in 15 minutes, one person saying 8 minutes. I imagine before they "start the clock" you have to inspect and prepare the brass, and then primers. And probably other stuff I haven't thought of.

I don't know how slow is too slow, for my needs. Am I sacrificing consistency/accuracy with cheaper products?

I did see a couple threads on the Square D ... I guess that would also be within my present budget.
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Old June 7, 2001, 11:45 AM   #7
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Location: Duvall, Wa
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The Square Deal is a good press that will turn out good ammo very quickly for you. But it uses Dillon only dies, you can't use standard Lee/Hornady/RCBS etc dies in it. If you're only going to be loading for one or two calibers and don't play to load rifles then it's not a big deal, get the Square Deal and go for it.

Like many others here I have the Dillon RL550 which loads both handguns and rifles and uses standard dies, it's more expensive than the Square Deal but more versitile as well.

After the brass is prepared, primer tube loaded and I'm ready to do turning out 50 rounds in 8 minutes is easy on the Square Deal or 550 Dillon machines. It's plenty fast enough, some would say to fast, and turns out high quality ammo.

As tawakoni said you won't be sorry if you buy a Dillon. You might pay more than you will for a Lee but I have yet to hear of anyone regret doing so.
Molan Labe!
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Old June 7, 2001, 02:30 PM   #8
Join Date: November 22, 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 68
Ahhh, fond memories!

Calcitanium, back in the spring of 1990, I was probably about where you are right now. I was a rifle/revolver/shotgun shooter in that order and retired from bullseye/trap competition. Then I bought my first pistol, a full-size Colt 1911 in .45ACP. Looking back, I now realize this was a big life-changing event for me as I am completely dedicated to training and practice with the 1911s. Since I have always preferred my own reloads over anything else, I began to assemble the .45 ammo I needed for practice on one of my RCBS single-stage presses. I would go to the range every Saturday with 300 rounds of ammo. While the quality of ammo I made was excellent, 300 rounds was about the most I could produce each week and it took EVERY SPARE MOMENT OF FREE TIME I had.

So I started looking at machines that would speed things up. I looked at Lee, Hornady, Lyman, RCBS add-ons, and Dillon. I did a lot of research. I chose the Dillon SquareDeal B because I was only interested in one caliber but a lot of it. If I had made any other choice, I wouldn't be as happy as I am now.

The SDB arrived via UPS and I set it up one evening after work. I used 3 lag bolts to fasten it to a chunk of 2"x8"x3' and c-clamped it to the dining room table. Do I need to mention I lived alone at that time?
I started cranking out ammo. About an hour later I was out of brass but I had finished over 400 rounds of .45ACP, more than I could produce in a week with my single-stage. I will never forget that moment, a complete revelation.

The SDB is still bolted to the 2x8 and has produced several hundred-thousand rounds but it is now in my reloading room instead of the dining room. The only repairs I have made occurred last year, a broken spring and a shellplate bolt, free from Dillon in 2 days.

The SDB is still used often although I have added a couple of 550Bs. I guess I should have spent the extra bucks in the beginning and bought a 550B instead ot the SDB but I have NO regrets. Nada. Zero. Zilch. And I'm a happy guy.

I guess my TagLine should be: "I don't know if I reload because I like to shoot, or I shoot because I like to reload."


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Old June 7, 2001, 11:45 PM   #9
Steve Smith
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Join Date: December 9, 1999
Posts: 4,131
Calcitanium, I think I've decided to shoot in order to keep reloading I swear it's the most addictive thing in the world...perhaps powder companies put crack in the powder, because I don't know of a single serious reloader that wasn't as addicted as a back alley drug addict. It's so interesting, you can do it all your life, and still learn things. You have been warned.

Buy Dillon!
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Old June 8, 2001, 07:42 AM   #10
Join Date: December 28, 1998
Location: Georgia
Posts: 41
I bought a Dillon 450 when they first came out-many years ago. I have loaded THOUSANDS of rounds with it, and still use it today. Dillon is a quality piece of equipment, and their company stands behind their products. I haven't tried other brands, but you can't go wrong with Dillon!
"Ask for no quarter and give none."
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Old June 12, 2001, 09:24 AM   #11
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Location: Spokane ,wa
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Hi and Welcome!!
I use the Lee Deluxe Pistol kit and I have great luck with it. I also bought mine from fmreloading and got a great deal. the down side to the lee is that if you want to use flake powders they take some adjustment to work in the Auto disk powder measure, However if you plan to use W231 or Titegroup (ball powders) then the measure works perfect. Get the Lee factory crimp die for your Auto's, makes the ammo feed properly. I hand prime and my press is a three station so the steps I take are de-cap(de-capping dies are on a separate turret) and hand prime, next I charge the case, seat the bullet and crimp thats all there is too it, Of course get several manuals and read,read, read!!
Hello My name is Coolray.............And I'm an Addict
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Old June 13, 2001, 08:22 PM   #12
Jim Valandingham
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Join Date: May 10, 2001
Posts: 6
Hello I'm new to reloading, also. Been doing it for about 8 months & I LOVE it!!! I would highly recommend the Dillon Square Deal B... I purchased a slightly used one, from a friend, re-dyed it from 9mm to 45acp. Ordering parts was a breeze, and Dillon has been VERY helpful ('cause I've had a million questions!). Even thought they know I purchased used, they have sent me replacement parts, for nothing!
I have found that this machine is easy to set up / work with.

This is my opinion, but I hope it helps...

Last edited by Jim Valandingham; June 14, 2001 at 02:53 PM.
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Old June 14, 2001, 02:03 PM   #13
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Location: Job hunting on the road...
Posts: 3,827
If all you're gonna use a Square Deal for is pistol calibers, and don't mind paying the extra for the the Dillon dies, it's not a bad press. Personally, I don't like not having the choice to use other dies (what if you end up playing with a wildcat?).

My handgun press is a Lee turret. Fast and accurate enough for what I need.

For my benchrest and varmint guns, I use a Harrell and a Redding Boss, with a Sinclair arbor press for seating. Nowhere near as fast as some folks' progressive presses, but a heck of a lot more accurate.

And for the folks who say that their Dillon is just as accurate as my setup, wanna put your money where your mouth is?
Job hunting, but helping a friend out at - and learning the finer aspects of becoming a precision machinist.

And making the world's greatest bottle openers!
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Old June 16, 2001, 07:42 PM   #14
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Posts: 2,904
've been at it about 4 months now. I went through the normal fear of spending too much money up front thing. Discussions with reloaders and reading the forum convinced me to not go cheap right out of the box. Other endeavors in which I engage all feature an attempt by me to minimize startup costs. Problem was when I got further into an endeavor I ended up spending far more than if I did it right the first time.

For reloading I sucked it up and saved for a little longer and got exactly what I needed. Did I save money over storebought ammo? No, because I shoot 3 to 4 times as much. The payoff is dramatically increased proficiency with my 1911 .45ACP. I also have another therapy. . . . . reloading! It is second only to shooting.

Get what you need the first time

Dillon 650
"Given a choice between good intentions and human nature, I'll go with human nature every time."--Me, 2002.

Last edited by Waitone; June 17, 2001 at 09:26 AM.
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