RCBS Presses - Which one for me?


May 3, 2009, 10:04 PM
Wishing to get a Single Stage Press, I've narrowed the Candidates to those various ones of the so-called 'Rock Chucker' sort.

Now, seems like many Models of these have been made by RCBS, and or various Models succeded one another...and it is hard to understand all their particulars merely glancing at a few images.

I located a Model 1-A, or A-1, in good condition, also, a Model 3-A...both priced in the "twos"...

Have there been any improvements worth mentioning, since the "A" Series Models?

I gather the newer ones have a 'Ball' on the Handle, instead of what looks like a child's Bicycle Handlebar Grip...




I intend to be loading .45 LC, .41 Remington Magnum, and .38 S & W.

l v

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May 4, 2009, 01:21 AM
I have an older Rock chucker from the 70's and now have a Lee Classic cast as well as a Redding T-7 for all my single stage needs. I wouldn't sell any of these three presses any more. I do have an older model Lee Challenger press (sans breech locks) I may be willing to part with if the price is right...

Seriously, the RC's are great presses.


May 4, 2009, 02:15 AM
The 'Rock Chuckers' look good to me...

Trying to learn more about various versions, but, I'm sure I'll be happy regardless of what one I get.

I always like older things, so been seeking out older models, but these do seem to bring more than the newer ones...so...

We'll see...

l v

tasco 74
May 4, 2009, 03:03 AM
yep it's hard to beat an old cast press....... i have an old precise cast bair c-press and you'd have a h3ll of a time getting it from me........

Thomas Garrett
May 4, 2009, 07:05 AM
Glad to see this thread, Just picked up the one with the bicycle grip with a bunch of dies, primer insert tool, powder, primers and bullets at a flea market for $50.00.

It's a JR-3, Good or Bad? I'm going to start reloading soon, .38 Spec. and .45 ACP. starting to collect brass.

May 4, 2009, 08:20 AM
I started reloading with a Rockchucker some 35 years ago, and I couldn't begin to count how many tens of thousands of rounds it's reloaded. I recently added a Hornady LnL AP for high-volume pistol cartridges, but I still use the RCBS for all my rifle work except the .223, and for working up new loads. I suppose if I live 10 lifetimes I might wear it out and need to buy another one, but of course if I do that RCBS will almost certainly replace it for free.

May 4, 2009, 10:02 AM
I load all of my rifle ammunition on a Rock Chucker purchased new about five years ago. Turns out superb ammunition.

David Wile
May 4, 2009, 03:47 PM
Hey Oyeboten,

I think you were asking about the different models of single stage presses offered by RCBS over the years, and I think I can offer a bit of an overview of those presses. All of the RCBS single stage presses were O frame presses noted for their heavy duty design, and on a bit of a down note, they were also noted for their terrible spent primer collection systems.

In the mid to late 1950s, RCBS sold their A press which was a massive press with what I think may have been the first swing arm compound leverage system. Later A press models included A1 and A2 designations, but I am not sure what the differences were. Around the mid 1960s, RCBS introduced their RockChucker press which was apparently intended to replace the A model press. While less beefy than the A model, the RockChucker was designed to load anything short of 50 BMG shells.

I had purchased an A model and used it for a couple of years when the RockChucker came out, and I really liked the idea of the more compact RockChucker. I sold my A model and bought a RockChucker which I have been using ever since. My only regret is that I sold the A model to buy the RockChucker. An RCBS A Model press today is worth several times its original cost, but that is pretty much true of most other old RCBS presses.

Around the same time the RockChucker was introduced, RCBS also came out with the RCBS Jr. press. It was a much smaller brother to the A model and the RockChucker. Like the A and the Chucker, it was also an O frame, but it had a smaller ram and overall smaller casting. At the time, I think I paid less than $20 for a new one without any die set. The Jr. press did not have the leverage power of the RockChucker, but it was quite effective at sizing even the largest cases.

As years went by, the RCBS Jr came out as a Jr. 2 and I think a Jr. 3, but again I am not sure what the differences were if any. I think the #3 was simply a Jr. press included in a kit form, but I am not certain of that.

The early RCBS presses came with aluminum catch cups to catch spent primers. The cups were held in place with a rubber band that went around the back frame and held onto a lug on each side of the catch cups. By the late 1970s, the aluminum catch cups were replaced with plastic catch cups which were surely cheaper to make, but they were no more effective at catching spent primers than the aluminum ones.

Supposedly, RCBS presses are now cast in China and assembled in the USA. I have no idea if it is true, but I have seen pictures of an RCBS progressive shotshell press that looks like a very good machine.

I still have my first RockChucker and two Juniors. I also have a Hornady L&L AP progressive press and a couple of other single stage presses. My one regret is that I did not keep my original RCBS A Model press.

One final note: RCBS stands for Rock Chuck Bullet Swage Company and was started by Fred Huntingdon in California.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

May 4, 2009, 04:02 PM
Hi Dave,

Thank you..!

Yes...the 'Jr' Models...

I was not sure how their lesser Leverage would matter in my situation, given that I expect only to be re-loading traditional-conventional Pistol Carridges, where re-sizing strains would be fairly minimal...so, I was looking at 'Jr' Models also, and thinking "Hmmmmmmmmm..."

Was watching an A-3 on e-bay, but it closed for ( I think, ) $418.00, with no accessories to speak of.

Older 'Rock Chukers' subsequent to the original A series ones, seem to be selling for around 80, to 100 or 125 Dollars on e-bay.

While, all the ones I passed up over the years at Yard Sales, of course, were often absurdly inexpensive! Even to being like "$5.00 takes all!"with bunches of Rifle Dies and Accessories. But, I was not interested then..!


It'll be a couple Months before I have things ready here for setting up to re-load...so...I'll be looking. Hitting Yard Sales on Week-ends...Flea Market...checking the e-bay...

Oye...I have to get Powders and Primers also...

Wish me luck on finding "THE" Yard Sale..!! Primers and Powders in cardboard Boxes along with accessories!

l v

David Wile
May 4, 2009, 04:28 PM
Hey Oyeboten,

You can easily load pistol rounds on the Jr. press. In fact, you can also easily load 30-06 rifle round on the Jr. press. Is it easier to size 30-06 in a RockChucker? Yes, it is, but it really is not difficult to do on the Junior too.

I cannot imagine a RockChucker going for $400+ on E-Bay. You should be able to get a Junior for less than $100 and a RockChucker for less than $150 on E-Bay.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

May 4, 2009, 07:20 PM
The Rock Chucker Supreme cost me $132 brand new from Cabelas. Midway has it for the same price.

fireman 9731
May 4, 2009, 07:52 PM
I vote for the Rock Chucker Supreme.

I bought one about a year ago as part of the RCBS master reloading kit.

Not a single complaint or problem!

very high quality and built sturdy.

May 5, 2009, 01:23 PM
Bought my Rock chucker in the 70's great press, cant wear it out... but with the plastic cup primer catch... a few hit the floor so a broom is a good addition to the reloading room.... good luck

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