Help me choose my first press


January 7, 2009, 05:26 AM
With ammo prices skyrocketing, I've decided that it is finally time to dive into the world of reloading. I've done quite a bit of research on my own including trawling through old threads here and I think that I've narrowed it down to just two options for my first press.

I'm a fairly light shooter and 100 rounds a week would be the upper limit for me. I'm far more interested in slow, carefull and precise reloading than just pumping out thousands of rounds and I would like a machine that gives me the ability to produce better than factory quality but not necessarily bench rest standard. I plan to reload a number of pistol and rifle calibres ranging from 9mm Luger through to 30-06.

With that said, I'm looking for a quality single stage and I don't want to spend a fortune. At the moment, I'm tossing up between a Rock Chucker Supreme and a Lee Classic Turret. I already have a number of RCBS dies and shell holders but I believe that they can be used in the Lee with no problem. I like the Lee's shellplate which means I wont have to constantly be screwing dies in and out of the press but I'm also wary of buying the cheapest brand press on the market. I like the weight and quality of the RCBS but I've heard bad things about the spent primer catcher.

I'd be really interested to hear any thoughts and advice people have about their first hand experiences with either of these presses and I'm also open to any suggestions of alternative makes and models.

If you enjoyed reading about "Help me choose my first press" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 7, 2009, 07:32 AM
I have an old Lyman 6 hole turret that I love. Never used a Lee but lots of people like their stuff.

I would definitely choose a turret over a single, it's really nice to set up your main caliber dies and leave them. I leave my 357 set up all the time, then use the other 3 for whatever else I might do, because I shoot more 357 than anything else.

January 7, 2009, 08:49 AM
Take a look at the Lyman T-Mag press, especially since you've very correctly concluded you need a single stage press.

Lyman didn't jump onto the multi-stage band wagon when the big pistol shooting rage started in the late 80's, and as a result have been left behind in that area. However, that does not mean that their single stage press isn't any good. Quiet the opposite, it's very good.

What this means is that Lyman has to offer you more and better equipment than the "front runners" in order to even get noticed. This is good for customers like yourself, because you get far more for your money that way.

When you look at what comes with their T-Mag kit and compare that to the list of equipment you'll have to buy, then you'll see what I mean. Such as...
Lyman reloading manual (probably THE best reloading book)
8-position turret press
In-machine priming
Case trimmer
Really good powder dispenser
Top of the line Ohaus balance scale

Take a look.

January 7, 2009, 09:18 AM
The cheap way is the Handpress Lee makes. I use it and can get sub MOA loads while at the range, living room, friend's house, ect.

January 7, 2009, 05:02 PM
Don't be concerned about the low prices of the Lee presses! They are a real bargain, and will turn out loaded ammo just as well as the expensive guys. Their die sets are also excellent...I now use them, though I have used mostly RCBS dies in the past.

January 7, 2009, 05:13 PM
I have just started also and only doing 45 ACP. I bought the Lee Single Stage Press Kit. I think around $100.00 for kit from Midway. It is a good start but once I looked at everything I was impressed and also felt some lacking. I have only loaded around 100 rounds since I purchased. If you are going this way you might want to look at a diffrent powder measure. The kit comes with the Perfect Powder Measurer and to use this you have to convert to cc from grains and the directions are not the best. I would advised to change and by RCBS Uniflow. I just got a used one on ebay and it works great. The good thing about the kit it comes with three quick detach die holders that works good. But all you need to get started with this kit is a shellholder and dies. If you buy the Lee 4 carbide dies it comes with the shellholder. Single Stage press works goo so far.

January 7, 2009, 05:44 PM
I got a Lyman T-Mag Turret for free from a coworker. The price was right, but I don't think the Turret is worth paying a premium for - when compared to a single stage press with some kind of quick die change (Hornady LnL Classic?).

If it were me, I would go for the Hornady LnL Classic.


January 7, 2009, 05:46 PM
There does seem to be controversy about the Lee Model Perfect powder measure. Perhaps you can buy the Hornady powder measure, which is the best on the market...completely modern and easy to adjust. Its real innovation is that once set for your powder charge, you can tilt the rotor, press a button and slide out the powder chamber insert, replacing it with another. Store the insert with your dies, and the next time you want to reload that cartridge, simply slide in the insert and start loading.

You can locate other used powder measures and equipment on EBAY or gun shows...avoid sliding chamber measures, stick with rotory drum.

January 7, 2009, 07:01 PM
I bought the Lee Classic Turret package from Cabelas. It came with Pro Auto Disc measure, scales, large and small Safety Prime etc. I've loaded about 3000 rounds, mostly .357, and have been very pleased with it so far. The powder measure does well well with ball powders, but not so good with flake - like Unique. After I bought the kit from Cabela's, I saw others mentioning Kempf as a good place to get the kit. The swivel for the powder measure helps a lot and came with with the Cabela's kit. I'm not sure if it comes with the Kempf kit. If you get the Kempf kit, upgrade it to get the Large and Small Safety Prime and the swivel. I use the discs that came with the kit, but just ordered the adjustable charge bar to see how well it works.

You can also use it as a single stage if you want to. I do for working up loads I want to test. I just weigh out the powder in a seperate step instead of using the powder measuer. Being able to load single stage was an important feature since this was my first reloading press. I almost bought the anniversary kit (which is also a great kit, a friend of mine has one), but thought I can have the best of both worlds and I won't have to upgrade to a turret later.

If you enjoyed reading about "Help me choose my first press" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!