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Old June 23, 2012, 01:49 PM   #1
5RWill
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Progressive press recommendations?

Three weeks ago i started shooting USPSA and realized the amount i'm shooting is a little much for the amount of time it takes to load. Going fast IIRC it took around 6 hours to reload 200rds of 45acp with rock chucker single stage and throwing powder charges, weighing every 10 rounds. So i want to go to progressive for my AR and handguns.
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Old June 23, 2012, 02:09 PM   #2
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My cousin own a Dillon 1050 and it really can crank out quality ammo in a short amount of time. the down side is that there is the added expense of the press and set up time if changing calibers. He shoots over 500 rounds a week at matches and doesn't have the time to spend a whole evening reloading, so its perfect for him.

I went from a rock chucker to a Lee classic turret two years ago and its exactly the right press for my use - 100 - 200 rounds of several different calibers each week or so. I average between 160-180 rounds per hour, weighing every ten charges and measuring OAL every ten. Changing dies takes seconds. That's perfect for my needs.

How may rounds a week do you anticipate reloading? That would help narrow down the field.
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Old June 23, 2012, 02:22 PM   #3
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Blackops_2,

Thanks for asking our advice.

After loading on my Rockchucker for a few years, I used a couple of Lee Pro-1000 progressive presses, but never got comfortable with them for a variety of reasons. So I "upgraded" to a Lee Classic Turret. I am MUCH happier now.

But one of the reasons I like the Turret because changing calibers is very simple.

If you are shooting high volumes of just one pistol caliber, I would suggest the Dillon Square Deal. It is auto-indexing (unlike the Dillon 550) and cheaper. But uses Dillon's proprietary dies. But for the single-caliber loader, I would look at it first (or last, depending on how you do your shopping).

Hornady has a good progressive, but may be more than you need, as may be the Dillon 650.

Lee's Loadmaster is the king of the hill in economy, so may deserve a look, too.

My bottom line suggestion. Dillon Square Deal "B". Price is lower than Dillon's other models, autoindexing and (like any Dillon) has good resale value if you decide to switch

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Old June 23, 2012, 03:01 PM   #4
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I don't have experience with the Dillon, but I can't imagine any press being simpler to operate than the Hornady LNL I've used for the past year and a half.

It was my first reloading press, simple to use as like a single stage when I was learning, indexing is accurate and the fact that it half-indexes makes it very smooth in operation. The shellplates with the spring retainer makes removing and re-installing cases a cinch when spot-checking.

Options like the case and bullet feeders allows you to automate/upgrade if you ever felt the need.
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Old June 23, 2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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I love my dillon 550b. I prefer the manual index because I have more control and it doesn't really seem to affect the rate of output for me.

I can easily reload 300 in an hour at a fairly relaxed pace.

I started with a rock chucker also and still use it for calibers I don't shoot as much.

I tried the lee pro 1000 and gave up after hours of trying to get it to function reliably. It is so easy for a bridge to occur in the primer feed without notice and the next thing I knew powder is everywhere. I sent it back.

The dillon is solid, easily set up and functions well without "tinkering". If something goes wrong, the manual index allows easier intervention to correct the problem.

At least that is my experience.

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Old June 23, 2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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Old June 23, 2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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I'll throw in the Hornady LNL AP. Works for me I load a few hundred rounds each week with time to spare. It would compare with the Dillon 650 for what its worth but at a lower cost.
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Old June 23, 2012, 03:33 PM   #8
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It is very easy to load 200 rounds per hour of .45 ammo with a Dillon 550b. It isn't too hard to load closer to 400 rounds per hour. I have heard of some doing 500 rounds per hour on one. The Dillon 650 really needs the case feeder and possibly a bullet feeder to get it run quite fast. The Dillon 1050 is really more of an entry level commercial machine.

I think any progressive from Dillon or Hornady will give you a big boost in the amount of ammo you can produce per hour.
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Old June 23, 2012, 03:57 PM   #9
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All of the progressives will load ammo. I have found the amount of time, effort and messing with the machine, all go down in relation to how much money you spend.

So how much money you are willing to spend? 6 hours for 200 rounds of USPSA match ammo is very slow but it also doesnt cost much for the equipment. I have a few machines that can load the same 200 rounds in 6 minutes but cost a lot more than a rock chucker.

Last edited by jmorris; June 23, 2012 at 04:14 PM.
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Old June 23, 2012, 04:58 PM   #10
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Well as of right now we shoot our own matches at the local gun club every friday, it's more like practice, and depending on the stages anywhere from 50-75rds. Then there are other matches that we'd be going to on the weekend like the mississippi classic in Byrum, among other places. The problem that arises is i'm in college, on my senior year. I don't have my press and such at college with me, so i have to go home to reload. Which as of right now i use a friends setup that lives in my home town, haven't gotten my stuff setup yet, it's work in progress. So when i load i try and load to high volume that will hold me over in case a test or something comes up so i could still go shoot that weekend, and stay in starkville.

If I had to ballpark it, i would say 300rds in a weekend, or 300rds a week is what i'd be looking for. As of now i'm shooting my 40 S&W which i love to death, but i'm also in the mist of getting my 1911 project going, and i have a glock 21. So i'd be mainly wanting to load 45 and 40, 9mm here and there for our S&W 6906, as well as 5.56 for both my ARs. I've never looked into progressive presses until i started shooting three weeks ago. As childish as it sounds i'll probably be asking for it for christmas, whilst putting some of my own income into it. I'm in summer school for june & july this summer, coupled with shadowing at the hospital, there isn't much room for a job. Usually working on the farm i'd make somewhere along 3500-4000$ this summer, but due to summer school i've been cut short two months. If i had to put a budget on it i'd say 500-700$ pushing it with 700$.

As for 200rds in 6 hours i know it's slow i've always been a very, very, meticulous loader. It might have been cause i started on precision rifle with my .308. Last i loaded 75rds for my .308 it took somewhere around 8 hours but my ES is 14, SD is 4.5, and i've gotten great performance out of the load.

I appreciate the input guys.
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Old June 23, 2012, 05:22 PM   #11
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The Lee Classic Turret is rated at 200 rounds per hour. It is a step up from a single stage. While it is not a progressive, it will speed things up for you. I suggest starting with the round you are going to shoot the most of before adding more calibers. I would think 100 rounds per hour on that press would be easy enough to do.

The Dillon square deal press would get you some speed in your price range. It is only for pistol calibers.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:21 PM   #12
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When I posted before, recommending the Square Deal, I assumed you were loading the greatest quantity for one firearm and I did not know of your budget limitations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackops_2
(heavily edited for brevity)
I don't have my press and such at college with me,
My entire loading bench fits in 3 medium sized toolboxes (the largest of which is 23"x10"x10" outside dimensions, plus a folding workbench and my brass tumbler. This does not include components. The workbench is not necessary, as I mount the press on a 20" 2x6 and clamp to the workbench, but an end table would also do. I have room for seven sets of dies, three powder measures and a couple of extra scales, too.

I could probably fit it all in a footlocker, but it would be inconvenient to carry. As it is, I can make two trips to the car (plus one more for the components) and drive over to a friend's house and be loading there as conveniently as at home.

This thread tells the story:
rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackops_2
ballpark, 300rds a week
45 ACP, 40 S&W, 9mm, 5.56 .308 If i had to put a budget on it i'd say 500-700$ pushing it with 700$.
in 2010 I repopulated my loading bench. Press, most of my dies, calipers, accessories. Adding up all the gear and pricing those pieces I kept, you reproduce my loading bench for your chosen five calibers for $600-$650 easily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackops_2
As for 200rds in 6 hours i know it's slow
You don't know slow. I am what you might call a slow demon. I regularly did 50 rounds per hour on my RockChucker and was satisfied with that. The first batch I loaded on my Lee Classic Turret, I did 100 rounds in 47 minutes. (Sustained rate. Cyclic rate is much faster, but replenishing components and boxing ammo counts, too.)

By the way, that rate was approximately what I could get on my Lee Pro-1000s which I traded off when I got the LeeClassic Turret. The LCT suited my style much better than the progressives and I am happy with it.

Bottom line, if 150 rounds per hour is satisfactory for you, the Lee Classic Turret is my recommendation. Swapping calibers takes literally seconds, requires no tools and the setup is quite compact. The press is less than $100 and for additional calibers a spare turret, dies, dedicated powder measure is $60-$70. Scale, manuals, calipers and other accessories will fill out the rest of your budget and keep you well under $700.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackops_2
I appreciate the input guys.
You're welcome. We need as many shooter/reloaders exactly like you as we can get.

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Old June 23, 2012, 10:38 PM   #13
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Sounds like you have too many irons in the fire. School, working, USPSA, little money, and when I hear 1911 project $1K is a drop in the bucket. On top of that you want to load 4 calibers and stay under $700 using a progressive machine. Your going to have to go cheap to hit that goal. I would prioritize goals and focus what money you have on that. Why cheap out on a POS press to load everything when you could get one good setup for the round you shoot the most and still use the rockchucker for the other stuff.
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Old June 23, 2012, 11:11 PM   #14
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I didn't think 500-700 was cheaping out on a progressive press? Not disagreeing just asking. Budgeting i meant 500-700 for the press alone. I've got all the reloading components for a single stage, i realize dies and some other accessories will be pricey for a progressive.

This summer is definitely different, being a rising senior, i had to start getting some experience under my belt. So instead of working on the farm like i usually would, i've been doing some things to get caught up which includes summer school.

I forgot to add my friend would probably be more than willing to help with some accessories. Considering i'd be letting him use it just because we reciprocate, and he's done a great deal for me teaching me how to reload and really bringing me into shooting.

Note the press is going to be asked for as a Christmas present so i wont be paying the bulk of it. As my parents agree, that factory ammo is too much and being able to load faster is a good thing. Currently i have 5 days to work next week and two weeks in august, can probably generate around 1200$, i'll be sinking 4-600 of that on a SA mil-spec. That's what i meant when i said i'm starting my 1911 project. Sorry i didn't clarify. While i'll be putting money back here and there for it, i'm not about to put everything i have into it. My primary concern is getting the reloading stage going for my 40 S&W and 45acp. I haven't shot a rifle in quite a while, but i still have some odd 200rds of SWA 77gr SMKs, and my MK12 is at the smith. So AR isn't of that much concern considering i don't shoot it that much, especially in the summer. Rifle shooting in the summer isn't too fun, the heat is a little excessive to sit and get eaten up by the mosquitos.
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Old June 24, 2012, 12:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackops_2
I didn't think 500-700 was cheaping out on a progressive press? Not disagreeing just asking. Budgeting i meant 500-700 for the press alone. I've got all the reloading components for a single stage, i realize dies and some other accessories will be pricey for a progressive.
Progressives (other than the Dillon Square Deal) use the same die threads that your current press uses, and pretty much the same dies. (There may be differences in how they use the powder measures, though.)

Lee progressives are the least expensive, starting at under $200 The least expensive Dillon is near $400. Then accessories pile on. Bullet feeder, case feeder, You will have to do some research and compile your own budget with your local prices.

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Old June 24, 2012, 12:24 AM   #16
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I have a Hornady LNL-AP, and I like it, but if I had it to do all over again I would get a Dillon SDB. OTOH, my LNL-AP is old enough that it has the sucky wire for a cartridge ejector, and that's the biggest problem with it.

I got the Hornady because I had all my dies already (and the SDB takes non-standard dies), and for the 1000 free bullets offer*. But it turns out I only load 2 pistol calibers on the progressive and load everything else on single stage. I have a couple of shell plates for the Hornady that I don't even use.

*I think they only offer 500 free bullets now.
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Old June 24, 2012, 01:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
Progressives (other than the Dillon Square Deal) use the same die threads that your current press uses, and pretty much the same dies. (There may be differences in how they use the powder measures, though.)

Lee progressives are the least expensive, starting at under $200 The least expensive Dillon is near $400. Then accessories pile on. Bullet feeder, case feeder, You will have to do some research and compile your own budget with your local prices.

Lost Sheep
That's even better, knowing we have dies we need. I've yet to really read into yet, just wanted to see recommendations.

The Dillon 550 or 650 prices don't seem bad, though they may be an overkill. Pending auto-indexing will be a big question as well. Though the more i think about problems occurring on one stage the more i think auto indexing would be a bad decision, then again you could really fly with it in terms of speed. Is there not some sort of stop for an auto-indexing progressive press?

Can a progressive provide accuracy in measuring powder, say in the case of high volume rifle reloads?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zxcvbob
I have a Hornady LNL-AP, and I like it, but if I had it to do all over again I would get a Dillon SDB. OTOH, my LNL-AP is old enough that it has the sucky wire for a cartridge ejector, and that's the biggest problem with it.

I got the Hornady because I had all my dies already (and the SDB takes non-standard dies), and for the 1000 free bullets offer*. But it turns out I only load 2 pistol calibers on the progressive and load everything else on single stage. I have a couple of shell plates for the Hornady that I don't even use.

*I think they only offer 500 free bullets now.
The bullet offer is pretty compelling. I imagine other than my two ARs, in the long run i'd only end up loading 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45acp. Less i found some other handgun cartridge that i enjoyed to shoot.

What about RCBS? Too expensive for what your getting? I ask because the rockchucker is such a well known single stage (it's what i load on also) and they put out some pretty sound products.
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Old June 24, 2012, 03:42 AM   #18
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If you need a case feeder go with the Dillon 650xl.

If you do not need a case feeder go with the Hornady.
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Old June 24, 2012, 06:28 AM   #19
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I also went from a Rockchucker to a progressive. Most of the people I know who have progressive presses have Dillons, mostly 550s and 650s; a couple of folks have the SDB.

After doing some research I narrowed down choices between a Dillon and a Hornady LNL-AP. I decided that I wanted a five station press so that I could use a powder check die of some sort for safety. This eliminated the 550 so it was between the Dillon 650 and the LNL. I went with the latter. After several months I added a casefeeder. I am well satisfied with it. I'm sure if I had chosen the Dillon I would be pleased with it.

I would take a close look at the Lee Classic Turret. It is faster than the single stage but not as complicated or expensive as a progressive press.
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Old June 24, 2012, 08:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Budgeting i meant 500-700 for the press alone.
That does make a difference. I'd go with the 650 myself for the volume and speed. If you don't havge the cash for the collator just get it later, that's what i did on my first 650.

I have a couple of SD's and know they are fully capable of doing what your asking but I would have a hard time buying them at the prices they go for now (27 years ago they were $130).

The LNL is cheaper than the non-indexing 4 station 550 and works but had more issues than the 650's, for me.

I don't mind Lee single stage or turret presses but feel your waisting money on their progressives. You'll get more out of your money if you take your girlfriend out for a nice dinner.
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Old June 24, 2012, 11:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorris
I don't mind Lee single stage or turret presses but feel your waisting money on their progressives. You'll get more out of your money if you take your girlfriend out for a nice dinner.
You believe, if he takes his girlfriend out for a dinner, she will prep cases for him?

Nice girl. She must be easy. Unless it is a REALLY nice dinner.

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Old June 25, 2012, 08:50 AM   #22
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I didn't say it would speed up is reloading any but he would certainly get more bang for the buck.

I bought one of the Lee bullet feeders (not even as good as their progressives) a long time ago after messing with it more often than it would work correctly, the frustration of futility made me wish I had just burned the $20. A dozen roses would have at least made someone happy...

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Old June 25, 2012, 12:18 PM   #23
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Lol

I'm really liking the 650. Though i know it's overkill, it's something that should last a life time. And i like the fact I could load 200rds in little time, and more if i ever need.
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Old June 25, 2012, 12:51 PM   #24
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My vote is the LNL. Easy to set up. Changing dies is really, REALLY quick. And that includes complete setup from physically changing them out, checking for dimensions/powder charge, to completing your first cartridge.

As Dillon may have addressed the issue since I've researched, they've had some grumblings with their powder measure not being thoroughly accurate. Hornady's measure has been a Godsend to me. Accurate as all get out. They even have accessories to swap powders out quickly.

Their newer model has the EZject style, so no more dealing with the wire.

If you're still hellbent on Dillon and you feel good about getting it after researching instead of Hornady, then get it. Both companies takes care of their customers. Both of them have pros and cons and I really don't think you can go wrong. It's going to be a matter of your preferences and what's important to you...
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Old June 25, 2012, 02:09 PM   #25
5RWill
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What about the spring that holds the case in place around the shellplate on the LNL?
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