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Old February 2, 2011, 09:06 AM   #1
WVsig
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I want to start reloading recommend a setup...

I am looking to take the plunge and finally get a reloading setup. I am not doing it to save money but instead to shoot more. I have a reasonable budget for ammo a month but I would love to be able to shoot more and shoot more accurately. I would love to be able to reload more accurate bullets at bulk packed prices.

I am looking to shoot 1500 rounds of 45 ACP a month and about 3000 rounds of 9mm. Later on I might look to add 223 but honestly I shoot a lot more pistol than rifle.

I am looking for something that I can hit the ground running with. I do not want to spend hours and hours reloading so I am more than likely looking at progressive presses. I want to be able to change out calibers fairly easily something in the range of 20 minutes to swap it out.

I want to get a complete setup. Press, calipers, digital scale, case tumbler etc... hit me with suggestions. So recommendations of places that sell kits would be great. Thanks in advance.
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Old February 2, 2011, 09:14 AM   #2
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Do a search on the Lee Classic turret. It is what I use and there have been a couple threads on it lately.

45acp and .223 are a good choice and easy to load. The 9mm is not worth it unless you are going to shoot just lead cast. You can buy 9mm for $9.00 a box and it will cost you $7.50 do roll your own. Time is better spent loading the .223 and 45acp.

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Old February 2, 2011, 09:34 AM   #3
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If you are looking at doing that much reloading a month I would look at a Dillon 550 at minimum and likely a 650. Get their catalog and and order away. I also hear you can order from Brian Enos and he is very helpful with advice and helping you get started. www.brianenos.com He can also give you advice on what to order.
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Old February 2, 2011, 09:47 AM   #4
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As much as I love my Lee Classic turret, if you're going to load 4,500 rounds a month you will definitely want a progressive.... and you want a progressive with enough room for a "powder cop" die to prevent squib and double charges.


On the other hand, considering that a turret press is under $100, it would probably be a good idea to start there and use it until you get a good feel for the process. I think that would be a safer road. There's too much happening on a progressive for a new loader to pay close attention to everything, not to mention the rather drastic learning curve. There's enough to know and watch as a new loader without having to think about the press.
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:39 AM   #5
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Any recommendations on a case tumber?
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:48 AM   #6
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Case tumber: I have one from Harbor Freight, and it has worked quite well now for about 1.5 yrs. Great price too.

As far as what reloading gear, I'm a relatively new reloaded (1.5 yrs), started out with a Lee Classic Turret kit from Cabela's, and recently upgraded to a Hornady LNL AP. I am glad I did not start out with the progressive press, as there is just waaaaaay too many things going on at once for a new reloader to keep track of. I still maintain starting out with the turret press as I did, was the best way to go. Just my dos centavos.
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:49 AM   #7
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Lyman tumblers have traditionally had the "name" recognition. They have been making them a long time. I ended up buying a Hornady tumbler simply because reading the reviews of tumblers on the Midway site I kept reading that the Hornady was quieter than the rest. I dunno, I guess it's reasonably quiet.

Realistically, I think all the vibratory tumblers have the same basic design. The Lyman tumblers do have a few cute options though, so I would take a hard look at them first.

Did you decide on a press yet? I just read this thread. If you're truly going to load 4500 rounds per month, it does sound like you need a progressive. I know Dillon 650s always seem to be highly recommended, but the Hornady LnL AP always looked good to me as well. I love my Classic Turret, but it would definitely take awhile to crank out 4500 rounds each month.
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Old February 2, 2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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I am still considering which press to get. I am not in a rush. 4500 round a month is the goal. In the begining I would be doing less because I want to get it right. I have considered the Lee Classic but am I just putting off the enevitable which is a progressive press? I assume that I would not loose much on the classic since I would be able to use the dies in a Dillion or a Hornady later right?

How does the Hornady LNL AP compare to the Dillon 550B?
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Last edited by WVsig; February 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM.
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Old February 2, 2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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I've read the Lee dies with work in the LNL, but they are shorter so you would to do things to the locking rings like drilling your own set screws, etc. I didnt want to mess with that, and wanted same support for everything, so I went with Hornady dies.

The inevitable may be a progressive press, but it's very hard to learn how to run and crawl at the same time.

When I got to the point of moving up to a progressive press, I was able to easily sell my Lee Classic Turret press.
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Old February 2, 2011, 11:32 AM   #10
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I have used Lee dies when I started out and moved on to RCBS when I started seriously trying to hit groundhogs.

I shoot much more rifle than handgun ( most of the time ) and because Dillon Precision is local, I bought a 550B progressive setup.

I have different toolheads for each caliber and once set up, it is easy to change.

The drawback is throwing the powder. Without a powder hopper for each tool head, you have to adjust to get the charge right. Then you have to ( as often as not ) change the bar so you can adjust the amount of powder for a pistol or a rifle.

Some large pistols ( 50AE ) for example will use as much powder as some rifles.

The other drawback is using the Dillon system for extruded powder like 4350, 4064,4831. The Dillon method does not always work well for those powders.

If you use something like BLC(2), H380, Varget, H296 or other spherical powders, the Dillon system works fine.

For long cut powder, I added an extra tool head and mounted an RCBS powder thrower. When you get the "technique" down, it will do a good job on the extruded powders.

When I use that system, I lose some of the advantage of a progressive press.

I use the thrower and loading blocks to load all of the cases and then take that tool head off and go back to the progressive system and finish the process.

I use the Dillon tumbler and just switched from the smaller one to the large one.

I can't remember the number but it will hold a lot of brass.

I also use the large media seperator so you can get the media out of a bunch of brass without taking the cases out a few at a time.

I use their Rapid polish and go to a pet store and buy ground up walnut the stores sells for bird cages. You can get that about 28 lbs. at a time and a lot cheaper than buying media from either Dillons or anyone else.

Put in the tumbler and add the polish and run for a few minutes to mix it up. Load the brass and you are good to go.

If you Google "Dillon Precision" they can walk you through the whole process.

If you tell them you want to load for example 4 or 5 calibers, just tell them you want a caliber conversion kit and tool head for each caliber and they will sell you what you need.

The best part is the warranty. There is not a better warranty anywhere.

There is another manufacturer who offers tool heads and a system for throwing good charges with extruded powder.

I bought the thing and it is an absolute POS. My advice is don't go there.

You can PM me or give me a call at 480-892-8033 and I can walk you through it.

You will need a good bench to set all this up. I brought mine out from Illinois.

My bench is 7 feet long and made from 2X4s nailed and glued sideways.

It takes two men and a boy to move, but it IS steady.

Let us know how it works out for you. You will certainly like shooting your own loads and you will most likely find that your own loads work better than factory.

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Old February 2, 2011, 11:35 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
In the begining I would be doing less because I want to get it right. I have considered the Lee Classic but am I just putting off the enevitable which is a progressive press?

Yes, you would be "putting off the inevitable" if your ultimate goal is to produce 4,500 rounds a month.

But the Classic turret is a great place to start, it's under $90 and you can produce at least 200 pistol rounds an hour. So, if you've got 2 hours every weekend, you can make almost 1,800 rounds a month. Plus, the resale will likely yield at least $50, so you're real cost is only about $40. By the time you sell other accessories that you won't need with the progressive, you might be out $100.

That's a small price to pay to learn it right and safe.
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Old February 2, 2011, 01:46 PM   #12
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I like the way the OP is being methodical and thorough in his approach. Peetzakiller and I are thinking the same way. As long as he's not in a big rush to immediately crank out 4500 rounds/month (VERY WISE approach), it would be perfect to get a Classic Turret to start out with. Buy good dies, a good scale, etc rather than some kit. When he gets comfortable moving to a progressive (assuming he does that is), most all those accessories will still be useful. He might sell his $90 turret press - I have been seeing used ones sell for about the same as new - OR he might decide to just hang onto it. I thinkn it would be great to eventually have the Hornady LnL AP set up on one end of the bench for the pistols and the Classic Turret set up just for the .223.
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Old February 2, 2011, 02:23 PM   #13
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How does the Hornady LNL AP compare to the Dillon 550B?
The only real comparison between the 550 and LNL AP is the price is about the same. The AP is directly comparable to the Dillon 650.

The 550 is manually indexed and has four stations. Both the AP and 650 have five stations and can expand and charge cases in one station. Both the 650 & AP have room for a powder check die or a bullet feeder while still seating and crimping in separate stations. Both the AP & 650 auto index and have optional factory supported case feeders. Only the AP has an optional, factory supported bullet feeder and push-button interchangeable preset or micrometer adjustable powder metering inserts. Unlike the Dillon, the LNL powder measure works with both spherical and extruded rifle powders, and works in any station. Both Hornady and Dillon have excellent customer service.

Dillon progressives are set up to feed cases and operate the handle with the right hand, while feeding bullets and advancing the shell plate (if manually indexed) with the left hand. The AP is set up to feed brass and bullets with the left hand. If both have case feeders, the 650 and AP work the same (just feed bullets with the left, and work the press handle with the right hand.) If both are used without a case feeder, the AP allows the operator to fetch a case and a bullet with the left hand, while the right hand is operating the press, then insert both with the left hand, while the right hand stays on the handle. The 650 requires the right hand to first operate the press handle, then fetch a case and then insert it.

For my money, the AP is a clear winner in price and capability over the 550 and 650.

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Last edited by BigJakeJ1s; February 2, 2011 at 11:20 PM.
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Old February 2, 2011, 03:17 PM   #14
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I would buy the lee and work with it for awhile and then move on to the progressive. You can always use the lee to work up loads when you change powders and bullets and run the loads you like best on the progressive when you need to turn out a lot of ammo. Or maybe you will find the lee is all you need. Before you are through I am betting you will have at least two presses on your bench.
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Old February 2, 2011, 03:46 PM   #15
WVsig
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Quote:
I thinkn it would be great to eventually have the Hornady LnL AP set up on one end of the bench for the pistols and the Classic Turret set up just for the .223.
I like the way you think. This thought came up. Since the bulk of the ammo will be handgun ammo the classic could handle the 223 and I would not have to change it out.

I need run the numbers and see what it comes out to. I have a C&R so I can get a dealer discount from Midway so I might just have to pull the trigger on a Classic Turret and see how I like it. I need to make some room for the setup where the wife doesn't notice. LOL
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Old February 2, 2011, 04:04 PM   #16
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I'd have to agree something like a turret would be a good entry level start .The manual press aspect of it will let you keep things at the proper pace while learning the fundementals of reloading.ie,setting up seating and crimps and other little technical enterprise is best approached without having to deal with the progressive process at thesame time.Yet,at the same time the turret lets you become accustomed to a sequential loading proocess,rather than a batch process.
Later on,you can make ,say a batch of 45 HP SD loads without having to reset your 200 gr cast SWC target load setup.
My brother has a Dillon Square Deal setup for handgun,a Dillon 650 for rifles,and a small Lee single stage for misc processing.The Square deal makes handgun ammo real well.You can even send them some dummy rounds and they will set it up for you.
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Old February 2, 2011, 04:13 PM   #17
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Ive had my turret for two yrs now...Still dont have a progressive....dont want one either....and I load quite alot.
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Old February 2, 2011, 04:32 PM   #18
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4500 rounds per month...........at 5 seconds per round, is over 31 hours a month...might want more than a progressive, more like an automated machine.......
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Old February 2, 2011, 04:35 PM   #19
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I think a good progressive is a smart choice ...and I would recommend either the Hornady LNL or the Dillon 650. I would not recommend the Dillon 550 - because it does not have the option of a "powder check" die ....and I think that's important on a progressive machine.

Companies like Dillon or Hornady will have everything you need -- and some kits - for setup stuff ( tumblers, calipers, scales, etc ...).

Personally, I like the Dillon 650 over the Hornady LNL - and I have the case feeder on my Dillon 650. Its a great machine. Caliber changes are quick / but don't make too much out of how much time it takes - it isn't really important. Most of us tend to reload ammo - in terms of a case of bullets at a time for one caliber ( so 3,750 rounds of 9mm // 2,000 rds of .45 acp ) and then we stack up and store the finished rounds in boxeds. As we go to the range - we pull boxes from inventory / and set up the press for the next caliber. As we change calibers - we inspect, lube the press - and get it set up to roll.

On my 650 / I have tool heads set up for each caliber I load - with powder measures already adjusted and installed in each tool head / and dies already set up and installed of course. But on any press - you might have to change the primer system - from small pistol to large pistol .... which only takes a few minutes too....

You're basically shooting a case of bullets in .45 acp / and a case of bullets in 9mm every month anyway ....so a Turret press is going to drive you nuts. My Dillon 650 with a case feeder - can easily crank out 1,000 rds an hour ....but if you decide to go to Hornady the LNL isn't a bad press either - just make sure you buy and install their "powder cop" system...

Dillon 650 press with dies - will run you about $ 775
startup kits/maintenace kit, etc is about $ 700
a case feeder is about $ 300
a caliber conversion, with dies, etc is about $ 300
so you're into a complete operation, with 2 calibers, for about $ 2,100 ....but your payback is real quick at the volume you're shooting ( you have to be spending close to $ 1,500 a month on ammo now / and like you said, it just means you can shoot more / for the same amount of money. And if you can load 80 boxes of ammo a month in 4 or 5 hours - what's not to like ....

Last edited by BigJimP; February 2, 2011 at 04:43 PM.
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Old February 2, 2011, 05:16 PM   #20
Doodlebugger45
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Quote:
4500 rounds per month...........at 5 seconds per round, is over 31 hours a month...might want more than a progressive, more like an automated machine.......
How do you figure that? At 5 secs per round, I get just over 6 hours per month.
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Old February 2, 2011, 06:16 PM   #21
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First we crawl, then we walk , then we run

There's a lot of great ideas on here, and some expensive ones too, lol. But regardless, if you've never reloaded before, it might be advisable for you to start slowly and thoroughly learn the process first. With this hobby it only takes one mistake, if you know what I mean. I understand your need to produce mass quantities, but unless you learn good fundamentals first I think you'll be setting yourself up for failure.

Just my 2¢
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Old February 2, 2011, 06:22 PM   #22
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It never fails to amaze me how people with Dillon$ can blindly recommend their machine over the Hornady LNL AP, when they have no hands on knowledge of the competition. I know, because I was once one of them.

Over the pat 50 years of reloading, I have accumulated a Dillon 550, a Hornady LNL AP, and in additon, two single stage presses. Over the past 6-7 years, I also have loaded quite a bit on my buddies 650, and he has loaded on my AP. About 2 years ago, he sheepishly told me his wife had given him permission to sell the 650 and get the LNL AP.

The Dillon machines are, ahhhhh, well, ahhhh, just OK, I guess, if you have to ask me. Do a search in my name along with Dillon, with dates over a year ago, if you want to know more.

The absolutely in$ane thing about Dillon$ is the way you get price raped on a$$e$orie$ and changeover$. A lot more buck for the bang!:barf:

If I were to start over today I would go first with the Lee Classic Turret, learn the basics, then add the AP.

Check out these good people:
https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?...hk=1&Itemid=41

onceloaded
Your math is a way fuzzy (31 hours)??????
5 seconds per round = 12/min or 720 per hour no way
4500/720 = 6.25 hours

However at 200 rounds per hour (more realistic for the turret)
4500/200 = 22.2 hours/month
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Old February 2, 2011, 07:10 PM   #23
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Shoney is spot on!!! 99.999% of Dillon users have never even laid a hand on a LNL AP press, yet the vast majority castigate those of us who have chosen a different route in progressive presses.

I have also been loading for over 4 decades and I have been fortunate to have loaded on a Dillon SDB, 550, 650 and 1050. (I never owned the 550, 650 or, 1050. I just had the opportunity to load on each.) I currently own a LNL and a Dillon SBD along with a couple MEC and RCBS presses as well. Shoney helped me with a few questions when I purchased my LNL a few years back. Believe him when he tells you something. Start with a single stage setup and then find out WHAT YOU WANT IN A PROGRESSIVE PRESS based on you research and back round.
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Old February 2, 2011, 07:36 PM   #24
WVsig
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So for $346.70 + shipping I would be ready to rock?

Kempf Kit w/ Lee Classic Turret Press
Pistol Caliber Kits Include:
Lee Classic Turret Press
Lee Deluxe 4-Die Set for the pistol caliber of your choice. (3 Die set in 380, 44/40 and 357 Sig)
Lee Auto Disk Powder Measure
Lee Safety Prime System (Large or Small)
Lee Auto Disk Riser (Required for the Safety Prime System)
Six MTM 50 round Plastic Ammo Boxes
Select Caliber: 45acp/auto
Select Upgrade: Both Upgrades Large and small safety prime & pro auto disk measure (+ $22.00)

$199.95 includes everything above:

Blueberry 400 Tumbler Combo
$59.95

Lee 4 Hole Turret
$9.95

Stainless Steel Dial Caliper
$24.95

Lee Carbide Deluxe Pistol Die Set
Select Options: 9mm Deluxe Die Set
$36.95

Kinetic Bullet Puller
$14.95

Subtotal: $346.70
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Old February 2, 2011, 07:43 PM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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That should do nicely....

You'll be wanting a good scale also.


If you can spring for it, get an RCBS 1500, that way you can upgrade to the auto-dispensing system later on, which is invaluable for precision rifle loads.

If not, most any beam scale meant for the task will work fine.

Oh, and a bullet puller. You definitely want a bullet puller. A kinetic (hammer) type will do fine for you.


Also, check Graf and Sons and Factory Sales for pricing. I didn't do all the math but your quoted price seem a smidge high to me.
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