How many rounds per hour?


March 21, 2008, 05:05 PM
I've been thinking about getting into metallic reloading, and I was just wondering how many rounds per hour one can reload, at a normal pace. I will be reloading 9mm and 30-06, so I'm considering either a single-stage press or a turret press like the ones that Lee makes. How many rounds per hour can I expect from either one of these?


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March 21, 2008, 05:09 PM
With a turret, a Lee turret, you could do 200 rounds of 9mm per hour easy. For 30-06, it will take a bit longer as there is more case prep. I couldn't say for sure on the 30-06.

March 21, 2008, 05:57 PM
I use a Lee Classic Turret. I do all case prep in advance (sizing and priming). I can normally size and prime (using a Lee hand primer) a thousand 9mm cases in less than three hours. It takes me another three hours to load them (dump powder, seat bullet, and crimp). Six hours divided by 1000 rounds equates to just over one hundred and fifty rounds per hour.

This works well for me; I get to seat the primers by hand, and have several case inspection opportunities in this routine.

I can also meet this same productivity level with my rifle rounds, assuming I use an X-Die and don't have to introduce case trimming into the routine.

March 21, 2008, 05:57 PM
Single stage, for 9mm, my setup/teardown time is about 25 minutes per lot, and my per-round time is about 30 seconds. A 50-round lot takes me about 50 minutes. A 200-round lot--my usual--takes me about 2 hours, or 100 rounds per hour.

I don't have any stats for rifle cartridges, but I'd guess that the per-round time on rifle cartridges are easily double, what with lubing and trimming (and maybe even annealing), steps I don't have to do with pistol cartridges on my setup.

Grandpa Shooter
March 21, 2008, 06:38 PM
I have a Lee Turret press I use for both pistol and rifle. Once the dies are in the press and all the supplies are out on the bench (Powder, primers, brass and bullets) and the charge I intend to use is thrown and checked; using the hand primer system on the press and rotating the turret by hand, I run about 150 per hour.

Loading rifle is a whole different story. The prep time for brass is long. You have to lube, deprime and resize the brass. Check the length and shoulder set back with an appropriate gauge and trim the brass if necessary. Then you would tumble the brass to remove the lube. Once that was done you would still need to throw and check the charge you intended to use. Then you can start with charging the cases you have prepped on the press, rotate the turret and seat your bullet, then rotate again and crimp the bullet.

I think you would be lucky to prep and load 50 cases per hour. Loading is all about accuracy of your finished product. At least for me. If I want production I use my Dillon 550B.

Take your time. Get used to what ever equipment you buy. Check each stage meticulously until you KNOW you are doing it right. Then concern yourself with speed. Go slow, get good, and then get quick if you want.

March 21, 2008, 06:39 PM
I own a turret and a progressive press. On my turret press I can do about 150 rounds per hour. I'm very glad I was talked in to the turret press instead of the single stage press. I would not have liked changing dies every step of the way.

On my progressive press I can easily do 400 rounds per hour. (9mm or 45acp) I just ordered the case feeder for 45 acp and hope to increase that speed to 6oo or more per hour.

March 21, 2008, 06:44 PM
What is everyone's hurry?? :what: Reloading (for me at least) is a relaxing hobby that goes with the shooting. I use a single stage press (RCBS A2) and take my time! :D

Car Knocker
March 21, 2008, 06:54 PM
What is everyone's hurry??
No hurry. On a single-stage press, you pull the handle 400 times and you end up with 100 rounds. On a progressive, I pull the handle 400 times and I end up with 400 rounds. Takes just as long to pull the handle with either press. No hurry at all. :D

March 21, 2008, 07:04 PM
On my 550, I can do between 400-450 rounds an hour. On my 650 I have never ran it an hour. I can do 500, in about 55 min, and that's not rushing.

March 21, 2008, 07:10 PM
"What is everyone's hurry??"

Let's see, wake-up, work, pick up my two daughters, help cook dinner, clean up, homework, errands, clean the guns I shot last weekend, make 300 rounds 45acp, 200 rounds 9mm, 50 rounds S&W 500, 100 rounds 38 sp. I'm going shooting with the wife this weekend! Repeat as needed.

Actually I love my life. It just gets a little hectic sometime. Shooting and reloading is quite relaxing.

March 21, 2008, 07:52 PM
What is everyone's hurry?? Reloading (for me at least) is a relaxing hobby that goes with the shooting. I use a single stage press (RCBS A2) and take my time!
No hurry. I shoot competition and 50 rounds an hour on a SS won't meet my needs. I have a classic turret and load pistol at around 200 per hour. I load 223 after case prep at around 300 per hour. Those numbers are loading at a comfortable pace and not being hurried.

March 21, 2008, 09:33 PM
What is everyone's hurry?
It's a reasonable question to ask when you're getting started, and I happen to like keeping numbers. So I happened to have some numbers for Zeede.

I know how much some lots of my rifle casings grew when I shot 'em, too, in case yer interested. ;)

March 21, 2008, 09:49 PM
I'll never know because I get about 200 rounds into it and spin around in my chair to see what's going on on THR.

A good friend of mine can make 200 9mm an hour in his turret, with no problems. Rifle is slower, as you have to mind the prep work.

March 21, 2008, 10:10 PM
I get right at 200 per hour on the Lee Classic Cast Turret. Probably 1000+ per hour on the Dillon 1050. I have to use the vibraprime tube filler with the Dillon to keep up.

March 21, 2008, 10:15 PM
What is everyone's hurry?? Reloading (for me at least) is a relaxing hobby that goes with the shooting. I use a single stage press (RCBS A2) and take my time!

I'm with you. I don't even keep track of how long it takes me. I use a single stage and usually do it in stages. Decap a bag of cases. Come back and clean them. Size and expand them. Come back and prime. Then usually load about 100 at a time. I am back in an apartment so I have had to revert to a hand press but it gets the job done and I can do most of it sitting on the couch watching TV. I do it to relax and keep my mind occupied. Spending a few hours a week reloading keeps me in all the ammo I need.

The Bushmaster
March 21, 2008, 11:19 PM
Wouldn't have the slightest idea how many rounds of 9mm X 19 and .30-06 you can load in an hour on a Lee Turret. Or a Lee single stage press. I have both and I load both cartridges, but I load for quality and not speed...

March 22, 2008, 12:17 AM
Loading speed with a single stage press is a matter of technique. With the brass already prep'd, have a bin of unprocessed cases on one side and an empty bin on the other. Use both hands to move the cases into and out of the shell holder. That'd be in with one hand and out with the other while reaching for the next case.
Do one step with all your cases then change dies and switch the bins. Loading trays and a powder thrower are used to charge the cases. They let you visually check the cases for powder and too much powder too. Then run 'em through the seating die and into whatever you're using for loaded ammo. This slows down when working up a load. Weighing each charge naturally takes longer.

XD-40 Shooter
March 22, 2008, 01:03 AM
I've got a standard Lee 4-hole turret press and since my Unique powder doesn't meter worth a damn from my auto disk powder measure, I have to weigh each charge on my scale, therefore I get about 50 rounds/hour. I'm ok with this, I can load 100 rounds each weekend and I'm good to go. I only shoot about 4 boxes/month.

March 22, 2008, 02:20 AM
Thanks for all the replies! I'm not interested in breaking any speed records, but it's still good to know approximately how long it would take me to load 200 or so rounds.

It sounds like pistol reloading is a lot less work/trouble/complicated than rifle reloading. I currently do a lot of shotshell reloading, but that is cake compared to metallic reloading. At least, that's my conclusion based on my understanding of the processes.

If you buy the bulk pistol ammo at Wal-Mart (I think it's Winchester), how many firings can you expect to get out of that brass?


March 22, 2008, 02:34 AM
you normally damage pistol brass ( in a auto, extraction it hard on brass) before you wear it out. 5-7 times is about right for most poeple( unless its shot in a glock then 2 or 3, if that)

Grandpa Shooter
March 22, 2008, 10:55 AM
The trick to getting a long life out of your brass is to not load hot rounds, and keep it clean. I have brass that dates back to 1993 and is still going strong. Once in a while a case splits at the mouth, but other than that it works fine.

March 22, 2008, 12:01 PM
I have some nickel 357 cases where the nickel plating is almost worn off, and it's still going strong. I'd venture to guess it's seen 15-20 cycles. If you shoot at a public range, odds are you'll lose some of your brass and pick up someone else's before it wears out.

As to how many rounds you can make... speed and organization are hand in hand. You're only making ammo when you're not reaching for things, looking for things, moving stuff out of the way...

To quote Alton Brown, "Organization will set you free."

March 22, 2008, 12:24 PM
I manage 180-200 9mm per hour with my Lee Classic Turret Press.

When I reload .308, I take my time and do everything single stage, measure out each load by hand, measure the OAL on each cartridge. Maybe 30 an hour, but it is fine ammunition.

And I agree with alaskagunner - it should be a relaxing hobby. Still, when you do want to be efficient when pumping out pistol ammunition.

March 22, 2008, 12:40 PM
I do rifle on my single stage and pistol on my 550B. My rifle takes about 3 hours for 50 rounds start to finish.

For pistol I do not do all the case prep I do on my rifle brass. I clean them then reload them. I can get about 400 rounds an hour without trying on my 550.

there is nothing more relaxing that hearing the kerplunk every time I turn the shell plate. Beign able to crank out 400 rounds in an hour is very relaxing to me i do not rush I just got at a normal pace.

March 22, 2008, 01:36 PM
Oh, don't get me wrong, I love reloading on my MEC 9000GN. The only problem is that bad weather, illness and my work load have kept me from shooting as much as I usually do, so I haven't had a chance to reload as often as I usually do!

It's kind of funny, I love reloading on my progressive shotshell press, but it's also too fast, and then I'm done for the month's worth of shells in just an evening.

That said, the learning curve was hard, as I skipped right past a single-stage press to the progressive one...lots of spilled powder and shot pellets. Fortunately though, shotshell reloading is more of an art than a science, and way more forgiving. No worries about case trimming, OAL, etc.

Metallic reloading is much more of a science, which is why I'm hesitant to get a progressive or turret press. Especially with pistol rounds, it's much easier to screw up and double charge the brass, and not notice, since 5-9 grains of powder is not much. I think if I just get a bunch of loading blocks, say 200 rounds worth, and just do everything in stages (deprime 200 brass, reprime 200 brass, charge 200 brass, seat 200 bullets, etc) it shouldn't be too bad, I can stay organized, and mistakes should be far fewer.

I guess I'll be looking at either a Rockchucker or Lee Classic Press. I wish the kits people sold didn't include a scale. I have one already, and don't want to have two of them.


March 22, 2008, 03:44 PM
The Lee classic turret kit at Kempf doesn't include a scale. They are easy people to deal with. I just bought a set of 45ACP dies and a turret from them today. Call them on the phone and talk to Sue and she can help set you up with just what you need, or even just answer some questions you have about the kit.

March 22, 2008, 04:45 PM
I load 243 Win on my Lee single stage. I am in no hurry, I get 50 done in about an hour. I use a Lyman DPSII to dispense the Varget, works like a charm.

I loaded some 223 for 3 gun competition on the Dillon 650. I wasn't rushing, taking time to check everything, clear a couple jams...nothing major though...just adjusting the shell in the plate, etc. I finished 7 rounds shy of 1200 in two hours. I did prime the cases off press while I was being a couch potato so that was a huge advantage and I don't really factor that into the time because I didn't take time away from anything else I was doing to prime the cases.

Either way, I know I like to get them done as quickly as I can but at the same time I do enjoy doing it so I don't mind going slow especially those target loads...I like to do everything as consistently as possible with them.

March 22, 2008, 05:12 PM
The other way to get better speed with your single stage is to keep one hand on the handle, and always have brass in the other hand. Never leave the other hand empty. It's the same principle as a so-called "tactical" magazine reload. Bring new brass to the press, switch new brass for old, bring old brass away from press while operating the press. Repeat. It's easier to do than to describe.

March 23, 2008, 12:39 AM
100 3:28
500 24:12
600 29.04
700 34:04
800 39:17
900 43.40

I clocked the times above on a 650 with a GSI feeder and a KISS style collator loading 9mm with lubed cases. 3.5min per 100 rounds is not that hard to achieve but if you factor in loading primer tubes (Dillon filler) and then the machine, filling hoppers with brass and bullets around 5min per 100 is comfortable. On my 1050 I have a KISS feeder, so no powder check die and I run a little slower on that machine.

March 23, 2008, 10:07 AM
If I am handloading 300 win mag for a hunting trip, 20 round can get done in an hour.

If I am getting ready for hunting with .223, I expect 100 rounds per hour.

If I am working up a load, with each round getting a different charge, I should get 20 rounds per hour.

March 23, 2008, 10:23 AM
turrret press...150-200 per hour taking my time and being careful

March 23, 2008, 10:31 AM
I can usually produce 100 to 150 rounds of 45 ACP in one hour on my RCBS RockChuker. Might be able to squeeze a little more from it but consistency/accuracy is a bigger consideration for me. I typically shoot 100 to 200 in a give range session. So this easily fufills my needs.

March 23, 2008, 12:33 PM
I have a Lee Classic Turret Press with the Auto Disc Pro and Primer Feeder.
Just my short experience:
First few times 50-100 per hour
After that up to 200 per hour.
Any faster than that and see mistakes happening. Not to mention, it feels like work going too fast.
Just my .02

Ben Shepherd
March 23, 2008, 02:44 PM
If I'm using my single stage rockchucker, with the dies already set up, it's around 100 rounds per hour. On a redding turret press, it's an easy 175 per hour.

On the dillon 650 with the case feeder, it's an easy 600 per hour, running at a smooth, moderate pace. This is possible because I have enough primer tubes that I only have to worry about keeping the powder measure full,and dumping more cases in the feeder, not refilling primer tubes.

The secret is doing everything in batches, especially with something you shoot a lot:

Buying brass? Buy them 1,000 at a time, plus a spare hundred for load development, all from the same lot.

Primers? Same thing.

Powder? Buy a 5 or 8 lb jug instead of a 1 lb can.

Trimming cases? Check and trim them all.

Charging the cases with powder? Do them all. Not just the 50 that are in that loading block. If you are loading 200 rounds this session, then charge all 200 before you start seating bullets. Same thing with seating and crimping the slugs.

Now if we're talking about a low volume caliber like 50 BMG, 338 mag, 300 WSM, etc., then you can bring the numbers down considerably. Maybe you only need 500 pieces of brass. and 1,000 primers. But I still think you should consider a 5 lb cans of powder, once you have your load worked up.

The reason for the above method is consistency. Different lots of the same powder will behave slightly different. Same with primers. When you change brass, especially when you change to a different manufacturers brass, you usually have to start all over with load development, and adjust your die settings as well. This due to slightly different case dimensions, which affects neck tension, powder volume, etc.

Don't do the above until you're sure you want to reload however, as it's a lot of initial cash outlay. But even then, with the exception of the powder, you can usually sell the dies, brass, and primers with the gun if you ever decide to.

My minimum, regardless of which press I'm using, is 200 rounds. The reason for this is consistency. Let's say I have a match next month that will require 300 rounds minimum: If I do every operation, in order, to every round loaded, in one session, I'm much more likely to have uniform ammo than if I do 50 today, 50 tommorrow, 100 next weekend, and the other hundred the day before the match.

Couple more things:

1. Buy twice as many reloading blocks as you think you'll need.

2. Have AT LEAST 2 manuals to cross check data with.

March 23, 2008, 03:03 PM
My record on a single-stage press was 100 9mm's in half an hour, just to see if I could do it. But it wasn't fun going that fast.

March 23, 2008, 08:23 PM
Just as with shotshell reloading, the key to saving money is to buy in bulk. That's what I do now (just picked up 5k wads this weekend), that's what I intend to do when I get into metallic reloading.

Looks like the key is to be organized, and with single stage presses, to do everything in batches.

Pros and cons of hand priming tools VS the ones you mount on the press?


March 23, 2008, 10:15 PM
When I still loaded on a single stage I would load a box of 9mm each evening for 5 evenings. I would then go and shoot 250 rounds. The next week I started the process over.

Now I load on an XL-650. I load 3,000 rounds in 6 hours. This lasts me about 2 months and I repeat the process.

March 23, 2008, 11:05 PM
Pros and cons of hand priming tools VS the ones you mount on the press?
I can't speak about the hand-priming tool. Never used it.

I can tell you about the RCBS press-mounted priming tool ( It's pretty handy. Being press mounted, you get an awful lot of leverage. I'm pretty sure I coerced a few primers into crimped primer pockets before I figured out what I was doing, when I was just getting started. It'll do that. Not recommending doing that.

I like priming on the downstroke rather than the upstroke (as you would be if you were using the press's built in priming arm). Very ergonomic. Nice to have gravity working with you.

You can set the die so that a full stroke of the press's arm seats the primer to just the right depth, but I don't do that. I set the die so that it would be possible, at full stroke, to utterly crush the primer. I just go by feel, not stroking the press fully; that way I don't have to monkey with the die for different cartridges. Works out great. There's enough feedback to the press arm to easily feel how deeply I'm seating a primer. I can also feel if there are any problems--sideways primer, etc.

In use, my left hand moves brass; my right hand works the press arm and moves primers. I've also tried moving both primers and brass at the same time with my left hand while my right hand stays on the press handle. I end up dropping things. ;)

If you get one of these, get rid of the RCBS lock-ring. I find the brass set-screw to be too easily damaged. I recommend instead The Hornady Sure-Loc Die Locking Ring (

Cons: It's an extra die to set up, compared to hand-priming or using the press's built-in priming arm.

Counter con: If you use the Hornady Lock-N-Load system (, switching out dies takes seconds.

March 24, 2008, 01:08 AM
Works out great. There's enough feedback to the press arm to easily feel how deeply I'm seating a primer. I can also feel if there are any problems--sideways primer, etc.

I never understood how that was possible until I bolted a 650 to my bench and did it myself...guess I was a little ham handed there. I ended up going back to hand priming while watching TV because when I buy 1000 primers I want to be able to use 1000 primers, not lose any to sideways or upside down primers. I'm sure your millage may vary though, I'm still new to that press.

March 24, 2008, 02:10 AM
I have the Lee Classic Turret. Got it from Kemfp. Sue is a nice person to deal with. We exchanged emails until I got everything that I needed for the set-up I had in mind. I did some research and asked around before placing my order. Here's how I got my reloader set up.
I have 2 bullet seat/crimp dies and 2 expander/powder thru dies setup in a turret. Takes only 2 strokes to finish 1 ammo. I don't usually use the FCD except for competition ammos.

I de-prime and resize all the cases after tumbling them. Run them all through a gauge and discard the very few that could no longer be resized. Then I prime the cases using either an RCBS hand held tool or the press mounted Lee tool. This way I don't waste a primer on a case that would not chamber later. I usually set aside the primed cases in airtight containers (old coffee cans) until I get some free time to reload.

When I do reload, I focus on the powder measure to see that the disc is actuated by the case on the upstroke. Look down to see that there is indeed powder in the case on the downstroke. Place a bullet on the 2nd upstroke. 1 ammo done. I seat and crimp at the same time. Once I get a good rhythm. I usually run out of primed cases before I even get tired pulling the press handle. I reload around 200 at a time. Takes me maybe less than an hour if I don't fumble placing the bullet on the case. I have not really timed myself.

March 24, 2008, 02:11 AM
I never understood how [sideways primers] was possible until I bolted a 650 to my bench and did it myself...guess I was a little ham handed there.
Sideways primers were mostly a problem when I started out. Very rare now. Now when I get one, it's a sign that my attention is wandering. It means it's time to stop reloading and do something less safety critical. Like... oh... read THR :)

March 24, 2008, 03:02 AM
Buy twice as many reloading blocks as you think you'll need.

True. Or make 'em. A piece of MDF, a spade-bit, and 10 minutes on a drill press.

March 24, 2008, 09:22 AM
dillon 650 i do about 1000 45 acp an hour, and 800 9 mm an hour.
223 and other necked cases require prep work as there is trimming to be done, that substantially increases the time per round

March 25, 2008, 10:42 AM
For me, the beauty of the 650 isn't the number of rounds per hour, it's that it cuts the amount of time I spend at the bench dramatically. Thirty years ago, I was perfectly happy to spend a cold Winter's night (or a weekend) at the reloading bench, but no more. A progressive is therefore progressive in more ways than one, for me.

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