Progressive Press for Rifle Rounds?


January 9, 2008, 03:03 PM
I've been reading a bunch of post and it seems most people uses the Progressive press for Pistol rounds and not rifle. I'm looking into getting one press and its a Dillon XL650 what would be the down side using it for 223/308 rounds? I'm wanting to Just plink a lot and do some Varmint hunting(223) and Deers with the 308. would all my rounds be THAT inconsistent like many people have posted?

.223 50-300 yards MAX

.308 100-600 YARDS MAX

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January 9, 2008, 03:21 PM
The only real drawback is that you typically don't work the press in a progressive mode when you load rifle due to the need to trim and possible do other case prep steps.

I've never seen any actual proof showing that the type of press used makes a measurable difference on a target. There are gobs of people that will claim that every single minute detail makes a difference, but none of them have bothered to validate their claims. You can make extremely accurate ammo by simply pulling the blue lever.

January 9, 2008, 03:27 PM
I'm wanting to Just plink a lot and do some Varmint hunting(223) and Deer with the 308. would all my rounds be THAT inconsistent like many people have posted?

Don't believe everything you've heard. Your 650 will make good rifle rounds in .223 and .308. Mine even makes match .223 rounds using a Hornady powder measure with their case activated powder die, while dispensing varget powder.

The powder measure dillon supplies with the press will also work, BUT I never tried it. Mostly because others said it was NOT very accurate, YMMV.

January 9, 2008, 03:32 PM
First off, let me say that I don't own a progressive. But I have watched the process with .45 ACP rounds, so I understand how it works.

That said, as I understand it, no rifle sizing dies are made with carbide. Therefore, all rifle cartridges must be lubed prior to running through the dies, to keep them from sticking. Since the lubing process is manual, each cartridge must be hand processed through the sizing die. Post sizing, they should then (started to say: must) be measured and possibly trimmed. Only at that point can they be run through a progressive press for the benefit of the speedier process.

Me, I don't reload enough rifle rounds at a sitting to worry about it, but I do know some people who reload .223 on their progressive. Not sure what their total process is, just that their final rounds come off of the Dillon 650.

Remember - I said "as I understand it" regarding carbide rifle sizing dies. If anyone know otherwise, I'd be happy to know it. Hand lubing is messy.

Looks like Snuffy responded while I was typing my original response. Snuffy - Do you do the whole process on the progressive, and if so, do you have to split it into three parts (sizing, then hand trimming, then progressive loading)?

January 9, 2008, 03:33 PM
Does the Hornady powder measure fit right with the DIllon or do I have to MOD it to make it fit?

January 9, 2008, 03:38 PM
I load rifle rounds on a Hornady LNL AP, but you don't do it all in one step like pistol ammo. Size and deprime all your brass in one run, then trim, finally run through again to drop powder, seat bullet and crimp if desired.

The Dillon 1050 can do it all in one pass for another $1200 or so, decap, size, swage the primer pocket for mil spec brass, trim and load.

January 9, 2008, 04:15 PM
As you've already been told the major difference is that you don't do all operations in "Progressive" mode like you do with pistol ammo. If you're willing to do the case prep separately (resize/trim) then it works exactly the same. I've done it and the ammo shoots better than I'm capable of. There was a writeup in "Blue Press" about a year or two ago where there's a competitive hi-power team that's reloading on a 650 and they said that the accuracy/consistency of the ammo is not an issue.

Just my .02


January 9, 2008, 04:17 PM
I've used a Lee Turrret Press and for the past 20 years a Dillon RL550B for .45, 9mm, .44, .357 and .243, 30/30, 30/06 and will be loading .300 WM and .270 in the near future. The ammo is accurate out of my guns and the only problem I have had is seating the bullet too far out in the 06, and that was me. I dont know if I save time because I load on a Progressive (probably do) but I dont find that it is a problem because of it either. As far as not being able to start & finish without removing the rifle cases for trimming, that has never been a problem for me. Once fired brass should not require trimming and in my experience it doesn't. Use any of the spray on lubes on the market and you're good to go. Just make sure you cover them all with the spray. A cheap loading block works great for this.

January 9, 2008, 04:36 PM
Looks like Snuffy responded while I was typing my original response. Snuffy - Do you do the whole process on the progressive, and if so, do you have to split it into three parts (sizing, then hand trimming, then progressive loading)?

It depends. On whether I'm loading blasting ammo, or match. For the plinking/blasting stuff, I spray a bowl full of brass with RCBS case slick, dump them in the case feeder and then run them through the entire progressive process.

With the match ammo,(69 gr. Nosler HPBT IIRC 26.5 varget), I first semi-size the brass in a lee collet neck sizer, which also deprimes it. The mandrel rounds out the mouth so I can accurately trim it. Then a pass through the lee system that allows me to chamfer while the case is spinning/ after trimming.Then as in above, I lube them a send them through the progressive process. I'm using Hornady dies right now, they work fine. As for lube removal, I simply run them in my vibratory tumbler for 15-20 minutes with bare corncob.

Does the Hornady powder measure fit right with the Dillon or do I have to MOD it to make it fit?

Yes. It is a threaded 7/8-14 die that simply screws into the tool head. It's activated by the shell as it pushes up into the die. It can also accommodate a RCBS uniflow, or any other drum type measure that has a lever mounted to it's drum.

I have the powder sensor removed to show the detail of the CAD, it requires the powder sensor to be turned around backwards. it still works.

January 9, 2008, 04:45 PM
You can, and I do, load rifle rounds on my progressive in full progressive mode. Lube die in station one, properly adjusted X-die in station two and away we go. Sounds easy and it is . . . once you do all the prep work. Prep work involves sizing and trimming all brass in the lot to X-Die specs, .010 under book trim to length. But once that is done the X-Die will keep you from having to trim again so things go much faster.

Now this assumes you have good luck with the lube die. My luck was spotty and is getting better the more I use it. I was getting a stuck case here and there until I knew what to "feel" for in the press operation. If it feels to stiff going into the sizing die I stop immediately and check the lube die.

January 9, 2008, 05:13 PM
I am setting up .22-250 on my Lee Pro 1000 (progressive). Just going to use the .45ACP shell plate. We have a lot of coyotes to handle. ;)

Lee Pro 1000 can't fit longer cartridges like .30-06 or belted magnums.
It can handle .308 Win family, .222 family, and 7.62x39 family as well as pistol.

I would think it can be made to fit the short magnums on the market as well. Would need a shell plate to handle those fat little cases.

IMHO: Properly setup and operated, it could churn out very accurate ammo.

However, I am still getting a single stage...

January 9, 2008, 07:09 PM
I reloaded .223 on my 650 for a few years before I got tired of crimped primer pockets, I now use a super 1050 with a bullet feeder. The 1050 has much more leverage than the 650, making full length resizing a 223 feel like a 9mm on a 650 (I do use the Dillon carbide .223 size die, they also make one for .308). The primer swage on station 3 is the best thing since sliced bread.

January 9, 2008, 07:11 PM
Now this assumes you have good luck with the lube die.

Do you have a picture or link to one of these? I had never heard of one before . .


January 9, 2008, 07:19 PM
I use my XL-650 to load .223. Several thousand rounds so far. I sort brass first by measuring, all under 1.755 and w/o mil crimps into the "Ready to Load" bin. The rest go into a swage and/or trim bin. I then take a separate tool head that I have a size/deprime die installed on. I lube with a quick spray of Dillon Lube and size/deprime all the mil crimped and "to be trimmed" cases. I swage on a super swage 600 and trim the long ones using a lee trimmer (cutter chucked in a drill press and the shell holder in an old jacobs chuck from a long dead electric drill. A trip through the polisher takes care of the sharp edges.

January 9, 2008, 07:55 PM
Here is a link to it at Midway

January 9, 2008, 08:09 PM
I load rifle ammo on my 550. As noted, I load one round at a time. I run mid-range loads, so case stretch isn't an issue. I personally prefer the 550 without the auto index for rifle, and leave the locator buttons out so I can pull the case from any station.

I've got maybe 5 Dillon powder measures and a free standing Hornady. Although the Hornady appears better made, I find the Dillons as or more accurate.

January 9, 2008, 08:29 PM
Does the SUPER 1050 come with the shell hopper and the bells and whistle that the XL650 doesn't come with, but only as a SHOULD have option?

From what I see on the DIllon web it doesn't say much about it. I'm ASSUMING you can do Pistol and Rifle rounds real well with this machine...

January 9, 2008, 09:21 PM
lee dies are carbide no lube required

January 10, 2008, 12:19 AM
The super 1050 has a ratchet that does not allow a “short stroke” that will allow an empty case, nor will it allow a double charge (can’t happen with .223 in the first place) so I don’t use the powder check die. You will only get 280+- rounds per pound of powder when loading .223, so you don’t need the low powder measure, just add some per every 100. Dillon offers the only carbide rifle dies that I know of; however, that does not mean others don’t offer a similar product.

Edit: I lube all cases before sizing, both pistol and rifle, regardless.

January 10, 2008, 02:01 AM
I may have mentioned this somewhere before but here goes, this is for 1000 at a time in 308 or 223 on a dillon 650

Tumble cases

Lube cases

First time through press decap and trim only ( universal decapper and Dillons power trimmer ) no need to chamfer and debur the power trimmer doesn't leave any and I load boat tailed bullets

clean lube off press

Tumble cases ( to remove lube )

Second time through press. universal decapper to remove any tumbling media in flash hole, prime, powder, seat bullet, crimp.

in about 5 hours and I am Done

January 10, 2008, 06:15 AM
Some time back I did a direct comparison test of progressive loading of rifle cartridges on a Dillon 550, versus one-at-a-time loading on a Rockchucker.

The RC loads had pockets cleaned and uniformed, all cases trimmed very precisely, etc etc. The cases loaded on the Dillon were tumbled clean and that was ALL, and then were loaded in the normal full-progressive manner. All the cases came from a single 500-round lot and had been fired four or five times each.

One hundred rounds were loaded on each press. On the Dillon, the cases were lubed and then fully loaded on their one complete rotation through the press. All two hundred rounds were fired on the same (long!) day, alternating groups from each batch so that any changes in conditions wouldn't affect the results.

The rifle was an accurate .220 Swift varminter with 26" heavy barrel.

There was NO MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE in group sizes between the two batches. The average group sizes for both batches were virtually identical. Over a sample of this many groups, I think the results were valid. I have no qualms whatever about loading rifle ammo on my 550, including target and varmint rounds.

My sole caveat to full-progressive loading of rifle cartridges is that the powder should be an easy-flowing type which is NOT subject to hanging-up in the drop tube. Although I still do a lot of small-batch loading on my turret press, the Dillon gets the big production runs in 7.62 NATO or .223. Accuracy and functioning are just fine. Spray lubing of the cases eases the work load a lot. I like the Frankford Arsenal brand from Midway much better than the Hornady stuff.

January 10, 2008, 08:27 AM
Thanks for the link to that Spencer, I had never seen one of those before. (Lube Die)

Have a good one,

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