Single Stage Presses All the Same?


March 31, 2008, 12:31 AM
I just read the review below, posted at Midway, written about the the Lyman Crusher 2. I'm wondering, from the experienced, if you guys think there is some truth in this.

Here's the deal. When reloaders start arguing about which is a better press, they're just splitting already split hairs. I've used RCBS, Redding, Lyman and I used the aluminum Lee Anniversary press for 12 years. No problems whatsoever and every press loaded ammo that worked, and was accurate. No press ever loaded "more" accurate ammo than the other. So basically your choice comes down to what color you like the best. I like Lyman’s silver/black finish the most and that’s the only reason I chose it over the others. You know what...It loads ammo just fine, just like any other press.

Made me laugh a bit.

NOTE: This is about Single Stage Presses Only.

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March 31, 2008, 12:59 AM
I've used single stage presses from RCBS, Lyman, Hornady and Hollywood. The two I still have are the Hollywood and RCBS Rockchucker. I also have a progressive, but since the question is about single stage presses, I'll limit my comments to that.

It all depends on what you're used to and what works best for you. I like to leave my right hand on the press handle and do all the manual chores with my left. The Rockchucker is set up for this and does it quite well. The Hollywood is truly ambidexterous, as the handle is in the middle of the press and both sides are open, allowing full access. I can't comment on the quality of the newer Hollywood presses, as they've changed hands many, many times over the years and I know some of the owners cut corners on them. Mine is an original, bought used in 1963. I can't imagine my loading bench without it.

I've also used a Lyman orange crusher. It wasn't what I was looking for, since it didn't top out at the bottom of the handle stroke. It would "top over", meaning that the top of the ram stroke was just before the handle stopped, and then went back down a small amount. It wasn't precision enough for my needs, so it went the way of old presses, sold at a yard sale. I do have other Lyman tools that work really well, but that particular press didn't.

I've never used a Lee press, though I do have some Lee dies, so I can't comment on their presses. I do know of people who have broken the castings, though.

If I was going to have only one single stage press, it would probably be a Redding, as their quality is top notch. I do like my Rockchucker, though, and use it almost daily for one chore or another. I currently have four presses mounted on my loading benches, and each has it's use. Whatever you choose, I'm sure it will perform for you.

Hope this helps.


March 31, 2008, 01:24 AM
It makes sense, seeing how there's not much to them. I use an RCBS and a Lee (cheapo that came with the book) and they both work, one as good as the other. The only thing I would say about the RCBS is it is definitely built like a brick outhouse, has a longer arm which makes the larger stuff a bit easier to work with..

March 31, 2008, 03:24 AM
I use a row of single-stage Lee presses for all my reloading. No problems, and the whole set-up is permanently mounted in a spare closet.
I did modify one of the presses by mounting a powder measure on top. I extended the spout by replacing it with a cut-off .223 shell.
Anyway, I'm satisfied.

March 31, 2008, 04:32 AM
I started on the cheapest Lee press loaded many of rounds on it. Shoot 5 shoot groups I could cover with a dime. I now use a Redding BBII and can say that it is a lot tighter of a press and that I can size large mag. cases with it a lot easier.

I can't say that the ammo is any more accurate cause I cant shoot that good. I'm lucky when I can cover my shoots with a silver dollar but have done the dime with the Reddig press as well.

I think more of the accuracy comes from other things

whether it be sorting brass to match.

Case trimmers, powders bullets, the way you process your brass.

Good dies Redding make some of the best seater dies Lee has there collet neck dies and FCD.

I think that pretty much any press will load excellent ammo beyond what most can shoot.

I chase the Redding Press cause of there reputation and the spent prime set-up. And that it's built like a tank.

March 31, 2008, 07:57 AM
All presses simply force the cases up into the dies. Period. Some do it easier or faster, but neither has anything to do with accuracy. Case prep and choosing the right components takes care of that.

March 31, 2008, 08:40 AM
Buy one that starts with the letter 'R' and you will be good to go.

March 31, 2008, 09:26 AM
all the presses he mentioned are substantially identical.

however, the forster co-ax is a superior press

March 31, 2008, 09:28 AM
all single stage presses do exactly the same thing. If I were getting a single stage press I would just get the lee with the classic handle, best bang for the buck IMO.

March 31, 2008, 10:42 AM
I like my Lee Classic Cast press. Works great- never a problem. Just hope I don't drop it on my foot when breaking it down for storage. In fact, I am going home to go do some reloading right now...

Ol` Joe
March 31, 2008, 10:54 AM
I`ve a RCBS Jr, Lyman Orange Crusher, and Co-Ax press on my bench and had a Rock Chucker I sold. I presently use all of them. The Co-Ax might load straighter ammo but if the ram/press tolerance is right on the others they do just as well. The biggest difference is in the size cartridge they will handle, leverage offered, ect, IMO.

March 31, 2008, 11:39 AM
I think for most uses the cheapest single stage press is probably as useful as the most expensive.

They do have differences, but many people do not load in ways that take advantage of those differences.

In some the stroke is too short to load some of the longer rounds, but if you don't reload those rounds, you will never know that. Others have better leverage, but in most cases, many people will not care about that either.

Some have better or worse priming systems, but if you prefer to hand prime, as many single stage press users do, you won't notice that either.

March 31, 2008, 01:59 PM
I've used a Lee Classic Cast press for a few years; seen others use RCBS and Lyman. My uncle swears by his RCBS presses.

Personally, I can't see any immediate differences between the Lee Classic Cast and the others.

The Lee Challenger and the others? Oh yeah, big difference. I would't get another Challenger press to save my life.

March 31, 2008, 02:28 PM

I have one small Lee press, and it is in the junk box gathering dust.

I got it for use with a dedicated universal de-capping die, and possibly seating pistol loads.

I soon found it was so small I couldn't get pistol cases in & out quickly without contortions of my hand.
.223 was even tighter.
And forget about 30-06 & Magnums!

As for seating, it has no over-center stop to bump, and drove me crazy!

I still think the RCBS Rock-Chucker is the one to compare any others too.


March 31, 2008, 06:59 PM
This is the model that has survived on my bench when all others were tried and sold.

March 31, 2008, 10:27 PM
If I needed to load cartridges substantially longer than the long magnums, I would get a Redding Ultra-Mag. For anything else, the Forster Co-Ax is the best-designed, best built single stage press available. Well, Corbin and RCE make a couple of very well designed and built presses too.

As to whether you can tell the difference between a co-ax and a lesser press in terms of accuracy, that depends on what other sources of inaccuracy you have already eliminated.


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