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Old November 26, 2018, 12:15 PM   #1
Runs With Fire
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What press should I not get?

Will be buying my first press soon. I don't need anything fancy. Will be reloading 54R, .223 ,.308, 9mm ,10mm. I want cheap and reliable. What product, or brand should I steer clear of?
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Old November 26, 2018, 12:21 PM   #2
CDR_Glock
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What press should I not get?

I like Hornady, RCBS, and Dillon. They’re who I use.

I never heard anything bad about them.


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Old November 26, 2018, 12:44 PM   #3
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All presses made today will give you good, shootable and accurate ammo if you do your part. A lot of people badmouth Lee, but I have used 3 Lee presses trouble free. Don't be taken in by "aluminum frames are junk" as they will provide years of reloading (I still use a "C " press of aluminum purchased 25 years ago.). When you ask a question like this the answers you'll get are mostly what the poster uses (kinda biased), but that's not all bad, just be aware.

I suggest a totally new reloader start with some texts; The ABCs of Reloading is the most recommended book on forums. This book will show not only the "How to" but also the equipment used and explanations about components (brass, bullets, primers, powder). Once you decide to continue a single stage press is in order. Keep an open mind and choose one that you believe will suit your new adventure...

A single stage press will not only help teach you each step of reloading, but also a very important part often overlooked' die adjustment. Switching and readjusting dies will allow you to get practice on one of the most important parts of reloading. Proper die adjustment is necessary for making good ammo, and essential when trouble shooting your handloads. I don't recommend a "set it and forget it" system (turret, or Breech-lok)

RCBS, Lee, Hornady, Lyman all make good presses, but I think I'd suggest a Lee Classic Cast single stage; inexpensive and a good press (you will prolly get other presses during your reloading "career" and there is always a need for a single stage press on your bench).

I started with a Lee Loader, went to a Lee Challenger, sold everything during a messy divorce, got a used C-H massive iron single stage then got a Redding Boss, then a Lee turret and now use a Forster Co-Ax (with a few short lived presses in between). I have a Pacific "C" press for dedicated use as a bullet sizing and priming press.

A sloppy reloader can't make good ammo on the best, most expensive press, but a conscientious reloader can make good ammo on the cheapest press...
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Old November 26, 2018, 12:53 PM   #4
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I would go with the Lee classic cast or Lee turret . They can do everything you want. I use a Rockchucker myself now but it has a horrible used primer catching system so unless you like stepping on and having used primers on your bench avoid it
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Old November 26, 2018, 01:25 PM   #5
kmw1954
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I would steer clear of anything New. Go to ebay and find a used one that isn't all rusted up and stay away from the small Lee C press. Not that it is a bad press it is just limited in my view as to how I would use it.

It takes a lot to wear out a press so as long as the press has not been abused or neglected it will last almost forever. Keep that in mind. If you can find a nice used one you will save a lot of money no matter what brand or model..
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Old November 26, 2018, 02:02 PM   #6
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Keep in mind you will probably have it for the rest of your life, however long that may be, so don’t worry about $30 to $50. Most have similar features so if one has something unique that seems good to you, go for it. If you really get into it later down the line you may get into progressives but you will probably pull out that old single stage from time to time. I started out with a Rockchucker, moved up to a Forster (the Cadillac of single stages) and eventually to a Dillon because 90% of what I shoot is 9mm. No regrets on any of them.
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Old November 26, 2018, 02:51 PM   #7
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I use a Rockchucker myself now but it has a horrible used primer catching system so unless you like stepping on and having used primers on your bench avoid it

before I cuss the darkness I turn on a light. For years I have used 3M electrical tape to pair my Rock Chucker to the primer catcher. With 3M tape there is no way to loose a primer.

And then there was that time I was flying out of Newark airport. There was a family from India ahead of me that were instructed to take their shoes off so I removed my shoes for inspection. The inspector asked about the little round metal circles imbedded in my rubber sole shoes: I explained to them they were knowbies for walking on ice and snow.

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Old November 26, 2018, 02:57 PM   #8
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I would go with the best you can afford . I bought a single stage RockChucker Press 30+ years when I first got into reloading , it is the only press I have and it just as tight as the day I bought it . I reload once a week , it has alot of milage on it but it still looks brand new . Take care of your equipment and it will last . Your starting 30+ years now and I'm still buying stuff , great sport .

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Old November 26, 2018, 03:09 PM   #9
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The RCBS RockChucker is the most popular single stage press for a reason; it works well and you can't wear it out with normal use. Personally, I live a Lee-free existence in my reloading room.

Don
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Old November 26, 2018, 03:12 PM   #10
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What's your budget? How much do you shoot?

Lee products are a good value, but probably not the best option if you shoot 1000's of rounds per year. However the Lee Classic Turret gets good reviews. If you're looking for a single stage press it's hard to beat the RCBS rockchucker. For progressive presses Hornady LNL or Dillon 550 or 650 are the most popular.

Any of the common presses out there will work. The best option is to determine what you're needs are and find the best press that will fill those needs. I chose the Hornady Lock N Load because I reload for all the common handgun and rifles among others and the price for additional calibers on the Hornady is less than Dillion.
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Old November 26, 2018, 03:14 PM   #11
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Do Not, Do Not get A Dillon 550 or a Forster CO-AX. You want to find out the hard way what you really wish you got.

OTOH any American made single stage will never be a bad decision and will be used till you pack up this amazing adventure or your kids decide they want to take over all your guns and the shop along with the inheritance.









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Old November 26, 2018, 03:29 PM   #12
Ricklin
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Rock Chucker

Hard to beat a Rock Chucker for a first press.

The beauty of that beast is it's strength. It will always have a place thanks to it's strength and compound leverage.

3M double stick foam tape works great to keep that stupid primer tray on the machine. That's what I use.
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Old November 26, 2018, 03:36 PM   #13
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Well now to sort out the advice (you should never have asked!)

Problem is staring new its hard to sort out where you will wind up.

Like the above, Co-As is bad, Dillon 550 is bad without an explanation.

My brother has a Co-Ax and loves it and I am jealous but its a costly little beast and I have 3 presses already (like Houndawg, two Rockchucker (one given to me) and a RCBS Juniour.

Are they the best for what you want? Not really, they were the press of the day and good price when I got mine (oh I hate to think how long ago) as did the one given to me (by another brother!)

I take the Junior to the range with me and use it for COAL adjustment (load long and play with what looks good out of a bunch)

So, its less fancy and what suits you and one thing I have found, get the best you can afford, you are going to have it a while or you are going to repeat.

CO-Axe would be my choice now. Hard to justify with two paid for Rockchucks. sigh. Its a nice press and I like the slip in feature that makes changing dies a snap.

How much bench space or setup do you have and or think you will have down the road?

If I had the space I could setup one RC with my Lyman M die (its a way to get away from the jerk of the neck sizer plug in sizing dies)

I like the leverage of the RC as it makes anything easy so size. 308 does not need it, nice or 06 though let alone a magnum (which I used to shoot)

Single stage is ok unless you want to load a lot, then the turrets come into play.

So simple also depends on how MUCH you will reload (quantity wise). 9mm can be pretty boring to do. 30-06, now that is a round worth spending some time on and you get a big thing at the end (and a big boom to!)

So a used C press, low cost, learn the basics and how much patience you have for those 9mms and then gets you an idea of where you want to go.
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Old November 26, 2018, 03:47 PM   #14
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"..."aluminum frames are junk"..." Yep. Cast. Just like engine blocks. The only downside to Lee kit is their warrantee isn't as good as other manufacturers. Still better than nearly any other manufactured product though.
You're best to buy one of the beginner's kits. The kits give you everything you need less dies and shell holder. Partial to RCBS myself. Mostly for the 100% "We'll fix it even if you bought it used." warrantee. Have any issues, even if you cause 'em, RCBS will fix or replace whatever it was with a phone call or E-Mail. And that applies to used kit too. As in buy a set of dies(or anything else) at a gun show with a broken part, they fix it. Only question they'll ask is, "What's your mailing address?"
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Old November 26, 2018, 03:57 PM   #15
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My original RCBS Jr press was purchased in 1966 and is still functional today. I have another plus 2 Rock Chucker originals....not one of the new ones.

Look around at this link and see what you have available.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...press&_sacat=0
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Old November 26, 2018, 05:42 PM   #16
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As everyone has already stated, any of the common presses will probably work for you. However, since your question was worded as "which press should I not get," I'll address that.
[
When I first started reloading I used a simple Lee Classic single stage. My first cartridge was .223 Remington. I loaded more than 4,000 rounds of .223 rem on that press before getting my Redding T-7 turret (not necessarily recommending you get the Redding, though I'm a big fan). What I discovered immediately, was that depriming/resizing .223 on the Redding was MUCH, much, easier on the Redding due to its massive power, as compared to the Lee.

As I see that you're planning to reload a couple rifle cartridges, my only piece of advice to your question is get one that has plenty of leverage (I think of this as 'power'), and IMO, the Lee Classic SS just doesn't have the leverage/power I'd want as a new reloader. Reloading rifle rounds is tricky enough without having to fight with your press over who gets to keep each piece of brass.

If I had to give you an answer, I'd probably lean towards the RCBS Rock Chucker, which I also have, and it produces decent leverage while not breaking the bank.

Good hunting.
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Old November 26, 2018, 06:43 PM   #17
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Make sure it is an O-frame press, They hold a better tolerance than C-frame presses. And stay away from cheap foreign imports no matter what they are.

For rifle loads I would want a good O-frame press. Lyman, Lee Classic cast, RCBS, Redding, Hornady, or Dillon.
Cheap and Reliable shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
The only single stage I have is a RCBS Rock Chucker II and it will handle anything I put in it and like said above, mine is an early 1990s model and also is as tight as the day I bought it.
Aluminum is subjective, Hornady's and Dillon's are both some super tough and heavy Aluminum alloy that will work well for you and are two of the best progressive presses on the market.
But for single stage brute force you can't beat a good single stage iron press.
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Old November 26, 2018, 08:05 PM   #18
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I bought a Dillon 650 for my first press. I was new to reloading at the time. I liked the press and it worked well. The only thing I did not like about the Dillon 650 is I felt like there was to much going on at one time. I also had problems with the powder measure, I constantly had to check it to make sure it was putting out what is was suppose to. So between checking powder weight about every 10 rounds and watching every thing and filling the primer tube. The press for me seemed a s slow as a single stage.

So I ended up really not enjoying reloading. So I sold it to a buddy that loves it. I recently decided to start loading 44 Mag again. I bought a RCBS Rock Chucker (New One) and I am in the process of slowly buying all that I need for it. Bought the powder dispenser this week. Not going to buy everything all at once.

Anyway just my thoughts and something you might want to think about when you do buy you're press. I think I will enjoy it a lot more taking it slow with one step at a time. At least I will feel like I have, more control over it. I don't load thousands of rounds of 44 Mag anyway. I mostly shoot 22lr.
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Old November 26, 2018, 08:15 PM   #19
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I bought a Dillon 650 for my first press. I was new to reloading at the time. I liked the press and it worked well. The only thing I did not like about the Dillon 650 is I felt like there was to much going on at one time.
And that's exactly the reason that the NRA Metallic Cartridge Reloading course I teach specifies a single stage press.

Don
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Old November 26, 2018, 08:49 PM   #20
lee n. field
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Originally Posted by Runs With Fire View Post
Will be buying my first press soon. I don't need anything fancy. Will be reloading 54R, .223 ,.308, 9mm ,10mm. I want cheap and reliable. What product, or brand should I steer clear of?
Steer clear of:

Lee Loadmaster. generally frustrating, though less so than the...

Lee Pro 1000 (recently redesigned, but I doubt that will fix the priming frustrations). Will only do pistol or short rifle rounds.

(I'm finding Lee's new Breech Lock Pro much less aggravating.)

Not sure any of them would be long enough for the 7.62x54R, anyway.
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Old November 26, 2018, 08:54 PM   #21
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You can choose cheap, or reliable...not both.

Dillon, RCBS and Redding are still in my collection. I have dies from Red boxes, but no presses.
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Old November 26, 2018, 09:21 PM   #22
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Get the co-ax, will serve both pistol and rifle well. Its as good as you can get for rifle. Then when you get the reloadong bug (and you will) you can get a dillon 550/650 and have the best for rifle and pistol IMO.
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Old November 26, 2018, 09:44 PM   #23
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History can be interesting, and informative. My first press was an RCBS Junior, which I wasn't terribly impressed with. Can't even say where it ended up. Then a Rockchucker, was good, but followed by Dillon presses. A 550, which still works perfectly, then a few Dillon 1050's; my first 1050 is now 27 yrs. old, going strong. The only times I've ever kicked myself for being stupid, was when I bought something that looked like a great deal. And that always came back to Lee equipment. I do like their decapping die, and the now discontinued Auto Prime, the rest, not so much. No offense to those who like Lee, but it never turned out well for me.
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Old November 26, 2018, 09:59 PM   #24
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Contrary to what others advise, i started out with the Lee 4 hole turret press. Bought it as the kit.
I mostly use Lee dies. And i load/shoot 1,500+ rounds a year.
380 Auto, 38spcl/357mag, 9mm, 45ACP. Rifle 223 through to 7mm Rem Mag.

When doing rifle, i take out the advancing rod. With it in, pistol loading is so much faster.

Except for forming, it is my go to.
Have had it about 6 years now.

Mr. Guffey,

That is much less expensive than buying Yak Traks!
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Old November 27, 2018, 07:59 AM   #25
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I'm not sure of my budget yet, as I'm not 100% sure of the manditory startup costs. My shooting is currently limited by my finances. I would like to hit the range each Saturday, but that's too costly right now.
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