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Old May 6, 2001, 08:13 PM   #1
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I've never reloaded. I kind of had the government take care of all my ammo needs, you know. But now I'd like to start slow and pick it up.
I've got: 12 guage, .308, .223, .45 and 9mm that I could reload for. What is the best press or equipment that you could pick up for $500, new/used doesn't matter; Easy to use and trouble free quality loads.
Thank you.
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Old May 6, 2001, 09:44 PM   #2
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Dillon 550B for metalic cartridges.Will not load shotgun.Go to dillons web site for discriptions and prices.
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Old May 7, 2001, 10:47 PM   #3
dick w. holliday
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as far as shotgun loading goes i've always used MEC stuff and it works great...However if all you're shooting is 12 ga and don't need any real special loads-you're probably better off buying discount shells--if you see a need to get a 28 ga or 410 shotgun down the road then you can save money by loading them for sure...Dick
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Old May 7, 2001, 11:58 PM   #4
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You might consider the RCBS rockchucker kit to get you started. I think it contains all you will need to start reloading with the exception of dies and reloading components.I believe the kit is priced around $250. I am also big on the Dillon 550 progressive press and use mine for my .45 acp reloads.The RCBS rockchucker is a fine single stage press which will last forever. It will turn out excellent ammo and conversion to other calibers is alot less than the dillon due to the types of presses involved.-Cliff
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Old May 8, 2001, 11:08 AM   #5
Fred S
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My first and only is a Dillon 550B. No reason why you cannot start out with a progressive press.

Dillon's are great. They are a bit on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for.
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Old May 8, 2001, 04:06 PM   #6
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I started with the Dillon AT500 turret press, and slowly upgraded it to 550B over time. You just add features as you need them. Lower cost, the total add-on cost is about the same as the price of a 550B. Indestructable.
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Old May 8, 2001, 09:49 PM   #7
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Hornady Auto Progressive Lock N Load. Five stations, all can work at once, or independently. Great piece of equipment.

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Old May 9, 2001, 05:47 AM   #8
John Lawson
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Best Press?

I have 2 Dillon 550B presses, a Dillon 1050, a Star, A Hornady projector and a 3 station Pacific.
The Star is a relic of my twisted youth, but I still load .38 special on it. The Pacific is for case forming. The Hornady has never lived up to my expectations. I have added a Dillon powder measure and powder funnel to it, and it is marginal and acceptable. However, I still snag the little spring at the bottom of the primer tube and spill primers all over. I consider that primer feed the weak point of the machine. The Dillon 1050 is superb for loading .45 acp, but it is too expensive to change calibers and involves too much dinking around. The 550B is fast, easily changed to another caliber and I have two, one with large primer feed and one with small. No time is lost in making a change. Just pull the pins, disconnect the link, change heads, re-connect, load the powder tube and GO!
Single stage presses are best used by very serious loaders who are seeking the utmost from each load. Personally, I'd rather shoot than load ammo, so I love the progresive concept. While you can start with a progresive, it might be wise to begin with a single stage. Then, when you upgrade to a progressive, you can use the single stage for case forming and running off a few test rounds at a time.
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Old May 9, 2001, 02:00 PM   #9
Ala Dan
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Howdy Folk's;

For a beginner, you can't beat the RCBS Master reloading kit
that Capbuster spoke of. Years ago, when I started reloading
I got my feet wet on an RCBS Jr. press; in late 1999 I switched to the RCBS "Rockchucker" that is available within
the kit, and I have never looked back. All of my handloading
these day's are for handgun cartridges; as I don't do the
rifle bit, anymore.

When I want to relax from a hard day's work or get away from an angry wife; I head to my shed and break out the dies.
It makes for a very peaceful day.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

PS: You could probably drop the "Rockchucker" press from an
aircraft, and I doubt whether it would be hurt. It is stone-
cold tough, and reliable.
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Old May 9, 2001, 02:33 PM   #10
Kenneth L. Walters
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Redding Shotgun Turret Press

Years and years ago Redding made a turret press for reloading shotgun shells. Anyone got one for sale?
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Old May 9, 2001, 07:32 PM   #11
Swamp Yankee
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Would recommend one of the RCBS or Lyman kits which comes with everything you'll need including a manual to get started. I don't know if Lyman is still offering but they were including a die set of your choice with the T-Mag or Crusher II Expert kits. You should be able to find them on-line or mail order between $225 and $250.
As for shotgun I've loaded a bunch on my good old Lee Load-all. Would not recommend it if your going to change loads a lot. I set it up for my pidgeon busting load and left it alone. It's not particularly fast but I can get 100 shells a night through it easily. I think they are running less than $50.
Welcome to the world of reloading.
Take Care
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Old May 9, 2001, 08:10 PM   #12
Bob C
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A month ago I started using a Dillon 550 after 29 years with an RCBS JR.

After 2000 rounds on the Dillon, I'm relatively pleased with it, but I recommend anyone start with a single stage.
That way you can observe and learn the process of reloading, and the single stage will be useful for loading a small batch for testing if you decide to upgrade.

The Dillon is certainly faster, but it also rquires very close attention, much more so than a singler stage.

My humble opinion.
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Old May 10, 2001, 06:30 PM   #13
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Old May 12, 2001, 02:06 AM   #14
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For rifles... Forster

For Handguns... RCBS

Doleo ergo sum,

Of course I'm out of my mind, it's dark and scary in there!
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Old May 12, 2001, 03:26 AM   #15
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I got the RCBS Rockchucker kit to start with from Midway for around $300 on sale. It has everything you need to get started. I loaded 450 rds. of .45acp the other day and can see where a Dillon is in my future. I'll keep the Rockchucker for rifle, but I do need to mass produce pistol ammo.
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Old May 12, 2001, 04:39 AM   #16
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Having always been on a rather tight gun/reloading budget, I've used single stage presses for over twenty years. I've had Lee (cheap) and an RCBS Rockchucker (inexpensive) and they both have served me well. I echo what one gentleman said earlier, the 'chucker is practically indestructable and hard to beat.

I will likely never graduate to the more expensive, but definitely more efficient progressives. I enjoy the concentration and the slower, more personal somehow pace of single stage reloading. I am meticulous and methodical in my handloads and for me the singles work well. I could afford more expensive gear now, but see no reason to change.

You have come to the right place for advice because the members of this forum have and are willing to teach some great information. Welcome to reloading and best of luck.

NRA and JPFO member. Constitutional fanatic.

"After we have arranged for our survival, we can discuss sociology."
-Jeff Cooper
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Old May 12, 2001, 07:33 PM   #17
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I use a Lee press,Lee and RCBS dies for all my rifle calibers. I've got a MEC versa-mec 12ga and dont have two hundred bucks in all of it still works great. Dont spend alot of money till ya know if your keep reloading. I think I might buy a turret press of some kind in the future.
M-14 OUT
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Old May 12, 2001, 08:26 PM   #18
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Dillon RL550

I've loaded 10's of thousands of rounds on mine without a problem, it's been a terrific reloader. Generally when this question gets asked Dillon is by far the most suggested, I'm rather surprised at the number of non Dillon suggestions in the thread so far.

My suggestion is to get a Dillon RL550 it will do both your handgun and rifle rounds, can be used as a single stage if you so desire and uses standard dies, unlike the Dillon Square Deal.

For shotguns I'm afraid I can't offer any suggestions since I don't load them, I've read many positive reviews of Dillons new shotshell loader though.

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Old May 12, 2001, 10:07 PM   #19
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I am currently using two Dillon 550's. One is set up for large primer, one for small primer. These are great presses and load some seriously consistent ammo. Back in the days when I was financially challenged, I tried Lee, but they make some cheesey equipment.

For shotshell, I use a MEC grabber, which is a great press. I understand that this is about the bottom of the barrel for progressive shotshell presses. I know serious skeet and trap shooters that use Ponsness Warren equipment and are very happy with it. I don't get enought time to shoot more skeet loads than I can reload with the MEC.

I wish that Dillon would make a hydraulic press. I really wish that the tooth fairy would bring me all the ammo that I could shoot and not have to worry about picking up cases, tumbling them, sorting them, Etc, Etc.

Shoot often and safely

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Old May 16, 2001, 05:10 PM   #20
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A Dillon 650! Besides, they look good on your bench.
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Old May 17, 2001, 11:38 AM   #21
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Man, a bench that neat and clean is a sign of way too much free time...

I used a rockchucker for years for everything, but I was single. Moved to a Piggyback II for pistol, and worked OK but was fiddly.

Then I got married and ran out of time for ***kin around with stuff, and bought a Dillon 650 for pistol. Now I can load a month's worth of pistol rounds in an evening or two a month, rather than the 2-3 evenings per week it took before.

Dillon sells free time in any color you want--as long as it's blue.

I still use an ancient MEC for shotshells--I can load about 150/hour on it, which isn't enough--a progressive is on the shopping list. That said, it's a amazing piece of equipment. I bought is for $25 with a box of parts and bushings and bars, covered in dirt, hardly any original finish anywhere, to rebuild as a project to satart loading shotshells. The guy I bought it from pronounced it completely "wore out" and admonished me to tear it completely down before I used it.

Uh-huh. I took it home, figured out how it worked, and loaded a few shells to see what it needed. Last night, 3500 shells later, I put a drop of oil on the linkages for the first time. feels brand new. It's still covered in garage grunge, but it makes perfect shells every time. If this isn't abuse, I don't know what is. It's easy to change over for light loads for new shooters, it loads everything I feed it, and I live in fear that someday it'll break.

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