About 15 years ago my uncle taught me how to reload, one of his words of advise was to "stay the hell away from progressive presses, they are dangerous, there is too much going on at one time to assure quality ammo."
To this day I have reloaded one round at a time on a Lyman T-Mag. But with the cost of ammo it is cheaper by far to reload in bulk using once fired brass and plated bullets.
I have watched a ton of videos on You Tube of the Hornaday L-N-L and think it seems like a pretty good setup.
Is there any truth to the quality/danger of a progressive press.
BTW I am speaking of progressive presses in general I dont want to start a Dillon, Lee, Hornaday, RCBS war I have seen enough of those on here.
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August 9, 2008, 09:56 PM
I use both types. It's all about the operator not the type of press. I think the progressive self advancing press that I use with the powder check system is quite safe, but it still depends on the operator to be vigilant at all times. I load behind a closed locked door, no radio, no TV, nobody else in the room ( unless teaching someone ) and no phone.
August 9, 2008, 10:04 PM
I started with a Lee Loader and plastic mallet in 1971. In 1972 I moved up to an RCBS Jr. In the next couple years I found and bought a Lyman Spar-T. When all that was stolen, I bought a Lee Turret press; the original one that didn't auto index or anything. I wore that out and replaced it with a Dillon XL650 and I think I'll stay with it. It's been going some twelve years now loading everything from .32 ACP to .35 Whelen.
Yes, if one is inattentive one can foul things up, but usually the quality depends on the attention of the operator.
I do have a 'single stage' press. It's a Dillon AT500 and I use it for small runs of ammo and load development.
August 9, 2008, 10:21 PM
chipperi: read the following thread, but particularly read post #30 of that thread, as it directly discusses your question
August 9, 2008, 11:03 PM
There is some truth to what your uncle taught you. For me, I don't like to use a progressive press with other people/reloaders around me, too easy to get distracted. I have one friend that I trust reloading next to. He has as much experience as myself and we can both sit at a progressive press, side by side and never say anything to each other for hours at a time.
I've taught a lot of people the basics of reloading but it's something I've never enjoyed doing. Too often they are asking questions that a little bit of watching would answer. I've never had a reloading accident of any kind. I've reloaded hundreds of thousands of rounds but the closest I've come was when someone was performing one of the steps and kept asking me to redirect my focus. Though this last thought doesn't directly address your question the mindset is simple. You need all of your attention directed on the press when using a progressive press.
If you take your time and learn the nuances of the press you'll know the areas to keep your eyes on. Those nuances vary from press to press but it's not magic, just simple mechanics.
August 9, 2008, 11:15 PM
If you have good concentration skills and are not easily distracted, a progressive will be fine. There are pitfalls, and you must have 100% concentration on your loading. :)
August 9, 2008, 11:28 PM
In general a progressive is optimized for bulk reloading and as with any system that is set to do bulk anything it has compromises.
If you want to load match grade ammunition, tweak powder or bullet depth seatings during runs, only run relatively small runs etc then a progressive is not for you.
A progressive press is no more dangerous than a single stage or turret press so long as you set it up correctly and take the normal appropriate checks to ensure the rounds fall within your expected range of weight, OAL etc. As with most matters, "measure twice then measure again" until you are confident then adhere to a repeated standard set of steps. each time.
If you are not quite sure if you want to leap to a full progressive, a turret press will give you a greater turn over but will allow you to run at single stage accuracy if you desire.
August 9, 2008, 11:34 PM
I own both a RCBS single stage and a Dillon 550b. I, too, used to have the same concerns on using a progressive press. I took the "leap" because I was shooting too much to sit for hours on a single stage press. After acquiring and using progressive press, I'll make these comments in addition to what has already been said. First, if you are not paying full attention to your setup procedures (powder weight, bullet seating, etc.), you can produce a lot of ammo that may not work for you. Second, disregard the claimed production capabilities of any of the progressive presses and just work at a rhythm that allows you to feel comfortable with what you are doing - don't try to set any speed records. You're concerned with safety and accuracy, in that order. Hope this helps....
August 10, 2008, 12:18 AM
Like stated already it really turns into what you are willing to consider safe. I have used a single stage press which is the easiest/safest form of reloading, but slow for a person who shoots a lot every week. The turret press enables the same reloading proceedure of a single bullet from start to finish but at quicker speed and again is fairly easy to reload without operator error. Progressive presses are very nice if an individual wishes to reload large volume or prefers to reload at a faster rate, but does require more attention.
Since you have been reloading for quite a while now, you know the process of reloading and would have a better knowledge base versus a first timer. As mentioned previously, I have the single stage but render it to minimal use. I have the turret press which I use for the occasional workup of loads. I usually use the progressive press as I can reload large volume, but also like to use it to reload simply 50 or 100 rounds because it takes merely 4-5 minutes to reload 50 rounds or 8-10 min to reload 100 rounds (taking my time).
The progressive can be used to reload one shell at a time just as you would a turret and I suggest this to any person adjusting to a progressive so they have a good feel for the machine. I remember the first time on the progressive; I reloaded 200 rounds before I broke into full progressive. I feel there is no safety issue reloading on a progressive; just keep a clear mind.
Safety can be enhanced with powder checks on a progressive, but I believe that having a good working knowledge of reloading in addition to understanding the process of the progressive press will bring more safety to reloading than anything else. It comes down to personal attitude.
August 10, 2008, 12:27 AM
As gear head and others have stated the key to a progressive press is maintaining focus no TV no wife and kids no phone no buds looking over your shoulder I've been loading with a dillon 550 for about 7 years my only errors one causing a broken part on the press, a squib load and a couple of no primer installs can be blamed on someone or something distracting me I generally wear ear plugs to block out at least some of them but in one case the cat snuck into the shop and the dog felt the need to escort him from the premises hence new rule no dog and no cat good luck with your choice as for me dillon forever
August 10, 2008, 04:58 AM
Thanks for the input. But Man o Man there is a lot of cool stuff I want. I was checking out this Lock-N-Load AP with a casefeeder and a bulletfeeder made by Kiss Manufacturing. That kind of production I could reload 45acp@20cents per round and sell half for 30cents a round and still have enough left over to shoot and make $100 per every 2000 to put to pay off the equipment or more supplies.
August 10, 2008, 12:50 PM
Be very careful selling reloads. The liability that goes along with doing this can be extremely great. Several have looked into doing this as a means of part time income. Once they've looked into the insurance/liability they quickly come to the conclusion this isn't something they could do and make any money. If I were on the range and a fellow shooter needed ammo I would give them a box them in a heartbeat but I won't give them reloads. My brother in law likes to have me load for him and his bench rest shooting habit, he thinks I'm slicker than car wax and his groups when tend to agree. I make him buy his own components and come to my house while WE reload. In fact we even use his .300 RUM dies. I'm sure if something went bad even these precautions would not help me, legally speaking, one little bit.
August 10, 2008, 06:49 PM
15 years ago... that's a long time. Nothing to be afrade of with progressives if you know the basics. Get a blue 550b to get started.
August 10, 2008, 07:23 PM
Before I knew better, I would reload rounds for friends, after talking with my insurance agent/friend, never again. If something "bad" should ever happen, it wouldn't be up to my friends to decide how to handle it. It would be up to their insurance company and their lawyers, and they would be looking for any and all assets to collect for damages and medical.
Not to mention the the feds, manufacturing ammo for sale, takes a license and taxes to be paid.
August 10, 2008, 07:30 PM
Damn, missed the post about selling your reloaded ammo. Bad idea. Maybe your not mature enough for a progressive. Disipline is the key word here.
August 10, 2008, 08:26 PM
What ever you decide remember, this is a hobby with life or death, or serious maiming consequences, PAY ATTENTION. If you are not sure about what you did, take it apart and do it over.
August 10, 2008, 09:42 PM
If you are not sure about what you did, take it apart and do it over.A bullet puller or various bullet pullers is a must for anyone who reloads.
August 10, 2008, 11:07 PM
I don't think there's any more danger in running a good progressive press as opposed to doing things on a single stage or turret... I happen to use a Hornady LnL press, but either it or the Dillon, or the RCBS (no, not a Lee fan, won't get into that here thought) progressive press will turn out top quality ammo. If you have been safe with a single stage or turret press, then you've shown you have the attention and skills needed to reload safely... a progressive press requires the same skills. I still eyeball every round's powder level (in addition to using a powder cop die, soon to be replaced with a lockout die), no issues thus far.
August 11, 2008, 08:20 AM
Not saying I'm gonna sell it guys, I was just doing some math. It will still pay for itself over time.
August 11, 2008, 11:21 AM
Talk you out of it? OK. You are not going to save a dime as any money you save will just go back into components. Any money saved will literally go up in smoke.
August 11, 2008, 09:01 PM
Yep I am one of those guys who started with a Lee loader in the 70,s. I work up loads on single stage and load range stuff on a progresive . Just dont become distracted!
August 11, 2008, 09:13 PM
Do you really think the guys at Federal, Winchester, Remington, etc. use single stage presses to load their millions of rounds? I've seen commercial presses run. They move so fast you can't even see the individual operations.
We've gone from "load 'em hot...the guys that write manuals are sissies"
"OMG!!!....you're gonna blow yourself up."
For God's sake, buy a few manuals, follow them, use a little care, and you'll be fine. I've loaded thousands and thousands of rounds on my Dillon 550B. Anybody that destroys a firearm by reloading is most likely an idiot.
August 11, 2008, 09:20 PM
Do you really think the guys at Federal, Winchester, Remington, etc. use single stage presses to load their millions of rounds? Do you think they're standing there pulling a handle? They aren't using 550B's.
Anybody that destroys a firearm by reloading is most likely an idiot.I agree with what you've said but somehow think you're missing the point. Destroying a gun is only a minor setback. When it comes to reloading anyone who says it can't happen to me is just standing in line and waiting their turn.