So here's my question...?


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twice barrel
November 2, 2009, 11:45 AM
A little background:

I started handloading for shotguns around 1970 using single-stage Texan presses, then Bair Hydraulic progessives at a range and a Bair-Pacific DL366 at home - thousands of reloads. Lots of freebie paper cases, fiber wads and then power piston/AA wads in both Peters High-brass and Win AA hulls.

Around 1978 I started metallic for rifles and some revolvers. Stopped in the 80's and restarted in the 90's quitting around 1996. Lots of casting bullets for revolvers (357mag, 44 mag) and rifles shooting 44mag. Got into archery and blackpowder and ceased reloading for metallic around 1995.

Now I'm ready to pick it back up but for auto-pistols. I've scoured the internet, read a cagillion threads, and viewed some truly neat videos - particularly the Lee loaders. Some of these appear much more capable than the one's I remember but in the end I still have my doubts. The videos primarily demonstrate someone who "has it down" running cases on either their turret press or their progressive press. Then as in now many folks have various opinions (some strong) about them.

My question(s):

If a man is using a turret press; how much faster is he than a good single station with Hornady's Loc-n-Load preparing 100 rounds when he takes the time to trim his once-fired and resized cases first, clean primer pockets, etc.?

Same question for a progressive Lee loader - take your pick?

Reason I ask is because its a step I would probably go thru just because I'm anal about having clean cases all resized, trimmed to same length, chamfered and deburred BEFORE I start stuffing them with powder and lead.

Most of the videos don't address this and I wonder if this process impedes the production enough that if someone is going to do this they will not benefit enough from a turret or progressive's rapid reload capability?

I'm not going to work at seeing just how fast I can get because I feel getting in a rush is dangerous yet I sure can appreciate the efficiency a smooth operating progressive might provide. Before I take the plunge again I'd appreciate some honest feedback.

Thanks in advance!

Regards,

TB

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rcmodel
November 2, 2009, 12:45 PM
I can see no real advantage to the Lock & Load idea.

You don't change dies except:
Screw sizing die in.
Size 100 cases = die change.
Expand 100 cases = die change.
Seat 100 bullets = done.

Once the first die adjustments are done on a new set of dies, and the lock-rings locked to the die, they never need to be adjusted again.

It takes just seconds to unscrew one die and screw another one in the press.

SO Lock & Load might save me 15 seconds a die change?
Or a total of 45 seconds at most during a loading 100 round session.

And costs me an extra $12.00 bucks for lock & load bushings for every set of dies I own??

I don't think so!

rc

rfwobbly
November 2, 2009, 01:36 PM
Twice -
Since you have the reloading background, and since you're shooting an auto (which can chew through some real ammo), I'd say you are indeed a prime candidate for a progressive press.

To answer your question, a progressive completes a round with every pull of the handle. So comparing one to a single station is easy. Assuming that you are pulling the handle the same speed on either type press, the progressive will be about 4 times faster. This becasue there are 3 to 5 shell casings on the shell plate at the same time (depending upon press brand), each in a different stage of reloading.

You do not see the various videos addressing cleaning and trimming the cases becasue MOST auto pistol reloaders tumble the brass as-shot (as picked up), and then reload polished but untrimmed cases. Primer pockets and case length being a non-issue on auto-loading cartridge cases.

You are certainly allowed to be as picky ("anal") as you like. (I know I can be.) Whereas with rifle you may sit down and do 40 cartridges hoping to achieve a 3/4" group. However, with pistol and a progressive press you'll be running off 200-400 rounds hoping to achieve a 3" group. So there is a huge difference in process based upon the expectation. It's sort of like the difference between being the captain of a Coast Guard Cutter and a Navy Battleship. You wear a uniform for both and both are military vessels floating on water... but that's about where the similarity ends. Follow?


For videos, the UltimateReloader web site has the best videos I've seen. He shows a lot more detail and has great close-ups.

Hope this helps!

snuffy
November 2, 2009, 01:41 PM
2 barrel, you ask about turret presses. Well there's 2 types out there, the turret like the lyman, redding, and RCBS, otr the lee turret. The first 3 just have a turret holding anywhere from 4 to 7 dies in a head that will manually rotate to present another die to the ram. You just don't gain any speed from them, because you have to manually rotate the turret each time. Then there's the fact that it's just a glorified "C" press, it can spring when under pressure. The turret can also move because in order to be able to rotate it, you have to have the bolt/nut in the center loose.

The lee classic turret, is a whole different animal. The turret rotates inside a ring, it can do so automatically, or be done manually. The turrets themselves are very inexpensive, and can be changed in seconds, then change the shell holder, you're set up to load another caliber. Equipped with the safety primer feed, and the disc measure, you can achieve some good production rates.

As for trimming and primer pocket cleaning, for pistol rounds, it's a waste of time. I never do it. Rifle is another matter entirely. Trimming has to be done AFTER FL sizing, which would mean disabling the auto index feature, running all the brass through the sizer, trimming, cleaning primer pockets, and wipe off the lube. The returning the case to the press to complete powder drop, seating and possibly crimping.

Hope this helps.

Walkalong
November 2, 2009, 01:44 PM
LNL bushings:

I thought it was an answer to a non problem until I upgraded from my old Projector to a LNL and I must say, despite being a tight a***, I am also impatient. I sure do like the system. Super fast. yep, ya gotta pay for all those bushings though.

(Yea, it's still an answer to a non problem, but I like it.)

Love my LNL EZ-Ject.

Many folks love their Dillons, RCBSs, & Loadmasters as well as the various turret type presses.

If you load a lot of ammo, a turret or progressive is sure nice to speed things up without having to get in a big hurry. Even lazily plugging along you can load a lot of ammo in a relatively short time.

Loading on a progressive is not rocket science. It just takes a bit more attention than loading on a single stage.


I tumble all my fired brass before doing anything with it. Then I run all my brass through the LNL and size/deprime only the first trip through. At that point I trim, clean primer pockets (for some apps), tumble again if I trimmed/deburred/chamfered, hand prime, and then run it through again to load it.

Shoney
November 2, 2009, 03:21 PM
I used my LNL AP for pistol loading and only fully progressive on gas gun cartidges with ball powders.

About 4 years ago I read a post from an engineer who explained why the bushing system on the LNL AP produced better concentricity. Curiosty set in. My buddy and I ran concentricity testing on our single stage presses, 550, 650 and LNL AP, using a select few rifle cartridges. The LNL produced measurably better run out.

The bushing on a single stage? I tend to agree with RC, but on the LNL AP, they have proved not only their ability to produce better ammo, but they provide for more versatility as well as quickly changing out dies and powder measure emptying, filling and adjusting.

twice barrel
November 2, 2009, 03:40 PM
Well gents, the trouble is I know enough to have an opinion but not always enough to know the benefit. :D

I find it difficult to imagine acheiving a consistently good crimp without having all cases the same length if only to set the die initially. And I loaded shotshells for years without concern for primer pockets and metallics for years without tumblers...but when accuracy was the game I turned necks, trued flashholes, cleaned and trimmed, weighed bullets...you know the drill. And I enjoyed benefits from those actions but after seeing how fast I can burn thru rounds in my auto pistol its all too similar to burning thru shotshells at the skeet range.

I used mostly RCBS years back although the last setup wasn't as good as the earlier ones. Seeing that the Duoflow powder thrower and 5-10 scales are gone was no big deal. For pistols I really enjoyed my Lee Auto-prime hand primer and Auto-disc powder dispenser back then and am glad to discover they're still around and still a bargain.

Sorry for the ramble but reckon as I thought this all thru I realized I had doubts about any benefit from a Lee autoindexing turret since you still have to pull the handle for every process on something. Instead of staging the processes in groups of 50 it appeared you just did 50 groups of 1 so to speak.

But if cleaning primer pockets and trimming cases is a waste of time then a progressive would make more sense. And if my perception of the turret is incorrect I want to hear from honest-to-goodness users but taking the full process into account.

When I guy states he can assemble "500 rounds in an hour" I know this doesn't include cleaning, tumbling, resize/decap, and trimming to length. Yet these are things I clearly thought I would do. Might as well prime them in the little hand autoprime while I'm at it so at this point the progressive only has flare, charge, seat & crimp left to do. If I had to do 1000 a progressive might still be nice, 100 less of a deal. But what if a man is doing 250 most every week?

Hope you can see where the doubt comes in cause frankly I'm tired of pondering on it.

Looking forward to yall's observations,

TB

Shoney
November 2, 2009, 03:55 PM
Is a turret faster than a single stage? Yes!

Even though the "pulls of the handle" are the same, the turret doesn't have the 2-3 "take out - - put back in" steps required for a single stage. Unless you weigh every charge, there is only one time case into the turret shell holder and one time out with a completed round.

Leisure pistol rates of loading on a turret can be 150-250 per hour depending on the cartridge and considerably slower for rifle cartridges.

SSN Vet
November 2, 2009, 04:22 PM
brass prep. = same for turret or progressive.

straight walled pistol cartridges don't grow like the bottle neck rifle cases your used to... so punt the trimmin.... just tumble them, shake out the media and your done.

Lee turret will take 4 pulls per cartridge, and if you prime on the press (I do) you add in charging the primer cup from the Safety-primer while the ram is still up and the case in the sizing die (which works well enough, but can get finicky when the Safety primer tray gets low) .... then you bring the ram down and push the lever forward to seat the primer. I personally don't pay much attention to the warnings about putting to many primers in the primer tray. I don't use Federal primers and I don't lose sleep over lawyers never ending warnings.

One advantage of turret press reloading is that you can observe every operation right in front of your nose, as the dies rotate and the case stays put.

Not having to load and unload the case after each and every operation is another.

You can also pull the auto-indexing rod (takes about 5 seconds) and use the press just like a single stage, accept your dies don't require adjusting from one operation to the next.

With a progressive press your going to make a round every single pull of the lever... and that's all I can say about them, as I have never used one. (Though I hear the call of the Blue Koolaide every now and again, and the Dillion 650 looks like one sweet press)

RandyP
November 2, 2009, 04:39 PM
Progressives are mighty nice, but unless you have the need for that amount of manufacturing output are IMHO a bit of overkill. I get the 'typical' 150 rounds per hour on my Lee 4-hole turret and use the $$ saved to buy components.

I admit that MY weekly ammo needs are not the same as a lot of other folks' but I don't have to load their ammo - lol - and I use reloading as a pleasureable, relaxing pass-time. No need for speed. If I needed several thousand rounds per week, I'd be reloading on a progressive.

twice barrel
November 3, 2009, 12:50 PM
And then there's this "Head space with rimless straight-wall cartridges is determined by case mouth contact. For this reason, precise case trimming is essential and only taper crimps should be used."
Quoted from: http://varminthuntinginternational.com/headspaceandaccuracy.html

That along with my penchant for uniform crimping had me thinking I'd be sizing and trimming a batch of cases before running them.

I have noted many posts from turret press users that really are loading on them as a single station press with the virtue of not having to screw/unscrew dies between operations but the tickler for me has been the Lee Turret presses with the autoindexing capability. I think I would enjoy the inexpensive and convenient caliber changes but am not sure and I don't know anyone loading with one so haven't witnessed one operating in person.

The progressive shotshell presses I have used were all very fast but also canterkerous at times and a real bear to clear when something misfed mid-stream. And caliber changes must be problematic as well although I've watched a video of this on the Loadmaster by a seasoned user that made this look fairly simple. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that it doesn't always go so smoothly for many of us.

Thanks again for yall's comments,

TB

rfwobbly
November 3, 2009, 01:27 PM
I find it difficult to imagine achieving a consistently good crimp without having all cases the same length if only to set the die initially.

If you were talking about revolver ammo, then you would be correct. They use a roll crimp, and the amount of roll is highly dependent upon the case length.

If you are talking auto loaders, like the 9mm and 45ACP, then they are more forgiving becasue they use a taper crimp. In an auto loader the taper crimp is simply to remove the belling so that the case mouth makes excellent contact with the end of the chamber. Therefore depth of crimp, as determined by case length, is not nearly as critical. As long as the belling disappears under the crimp, you're good to go.


And then there's this "Head space with rimless straight-wall cartridges is determined by case mouth contact. For this reason, precise case trimming is essential and only taper crimps should be used."

IMHO, this is a suspect statement. There is truth, but it is somewhat dependent upon your intention as a shooter.

You should use same length and brand of cases IF you are going for group size or maximum accuracy. Case length in that situation will ultimately determine how the cartridge positions itself between the chamber end and bolt face. However in my experience, most auto brass starts well under length and grows shorter with reloading.

However, most pistol shooting around these parts is Practical Pistol competitions where you shoot up to 35 rounds as fast as you can progress through a "course", muzzle blazing at "bulls eyes" that measure something like 8x12 inches at distances ranging from 2 feet out to ~25. So accuracy in that case is counted in inches and divided by the course time. Taking the time to render 3/4 inch groups on each target in this scenario is definitely a loosing plan.

So really to give you more in-depth answers we'd need more info on your calibers and shooting intentions.

UltimateReloader
November 3, 2009, 01:42 PM
Twice -
Since you have the reloading background, and since you're shooting an auto (which can chew through some real ammo), I'd say you are indeed a prime candidate for a progressive press.

To answer your question, a progressive completes a round with every pull of the handle. So comparing one to a single station is easy. Assuming that you are pulling the handle the same speed on either type press, the progressive will be about 4 times faster. This becasue there are 3 to 5 shell casings on the shell plate at the same time (depending upon press brand), each in a different stage of reloading.

You do not see the various videos addressing cleaning and trimming the cases becasue MOST auto pistol reloaders tumble the brass as-shot (as picked up), and then reload polished but untrimmed cases. Primer pockets and case length being a non-issue on auto-loading cartridge cases.

You are certainly allowed to be as picky ("anal") as you like. (I know I can be.) Whereas with rifle you may sit down and do 40 cartridges hoping to achieve a 3/4" group. However, with pistol and a progressive press you'll be running off 200-400 rounds hoping to achieve a 3" group. So there is a huge difference in process based upon the expectation. It's sort of like the difference between being the captain of a Coast Guard Cutter and a Navy Battleship. You wear a uniform for both and both are military vessels floating on water... but that's about where the similarity ends. Follow?


For videos, the UltimateReloader web site has the best videos I've seen. He shows a lot more detail and has great close-ups.

Hope this helps!
Thanks for the shout-out! If you want to see the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive videos, start here: http://ultimatereloader.com/?p=453 --click on the "HD" icon after the videos start for best picture quality. I have some Lock-N-Load classic videos up there as well that show how the Hornady single stage and progressive work together as a great system.

I'll add a couple things about the Lock-N-Load bushing system, and the press in general:
- The lock-n-load bushing and powder measure design make it a SNAP to empty the powder measure. 1/8 turn, lift, dump, and put back in press.
- The bushings make it easy to change your setup (use the powder cop die with different calibers, etc)
- The bushings make it easy to use the same dies on your progressive or single stage

If I'm loading match pistol ammo, I'd use a manual powder measure and a turret (I have the Redding T-7) - otherwise, it's way more enjoyable to load pistol ammo on a progressive.

If you're interested in the Dillon XL-650, you'll find a video series for that press on my site as well.

What ever you do, have fun. Remember that you can get most of your money back selling the press on ebay (whatever press you buy) if you don't like it :)

twice barrel
November 3, 2009, 06:24 PM
"So really to give you more in-depth answers we'd need more info on your calibers and shooting intentions. "

rfwobbly & others,

"Caliber" currently is 40 S&W but I have 9mm Conversion and 357 Sig ordered. The 357 is a bottlenecked cartridge.

"Intentions" are undetermined as much depends upon location conducive to shooting my own handloads and recovering my cases. And that will impact just how much I ultimately shoot.

Truth is I was really into handloading in the past but not for autopistols. Enjoyed working up my alloys and casting too but not interested in that anymore.

Don't know if I'll even fool with the SIG round much but I found it interesting and wanted to give'r a whirl.

My loading bench(s) years ago sported atleast 2 rockchucker and a lyman or two along with tumblers, manuals, Forster trimmer and all the doodads, Duoflow and auto-disc dispensers. I can honestly say I've purchased Hercules Red Dot in 12# red metal cans a good number of times and to be truthful I have zero interest in getting back into it like any of that. While I don't like junk I'm not one to believe inexpensive has to mean it is. And though I don't mind tinkering I don't want a continuous hassle either. In fact I'm at the point where I don't much care for hassles at all but still enjoy doing things for myself and saving cost in the process. A spendthrift at heart I just can't leave my empty cases lay there when I know it would be so much more practical to use those inevitable rainy days to refill them.

Just to ram this home (pun intended); are yall saying I don't even need to waste the money on case trimming tools for the 9mm and 40? (I know the 357 SIG will)

Regards,

TB

delta5
November 3, 2009, 06:50 PM
Here is a video of the Lee Loadmaster in action.

http://www.leeprecision.com/html/HelpVideos/videos/Loadmaster%20operated%20as%20D650-1.wmv

rfwobbly
November 3, 2009, 10:41 PM
Just to ram this home (pun intended); are yall saying I don't even need to waste the money on case trimming tools for the 9mm and 40?

You're reading me loud and clear. On the "mixed brass" 9x19s I shoot, the SAAMI spec is .748 or so. I rarely find a case over .743 these days. So what's there to trim?

Daniel1120
November 3, 2009, 11:12 PM
And if my perception of the turret is incorrect I want to hear from honest-to-goodness users but taking the full process into account.


I use the lee classic cast turret press. I manage about 150 rounds per hour, so long as the auto prime, and powder measure are full, and with cases and bullets infront of me ready to go. I also inspect every cartridge to ensure no split cases or any other problems. I only inspect after I have 50 finished.

I start out with my tumbled cases, primer still in the pockets. The ram on the classic turret is hollow and catches spent primers neatly in a tube.

First station is my expander, which also knocks out the old primers. While its at the top of the stroke I use the autoprime to drop a primer in the primer arm. On the down stroke the primer is set and the turret indexes. Next station is the expander/powder drop. On the downstroke after the expander/powder drop I seat the bullet nicely in the case. Its then put through the seating die. The fourth station is dedicated for crimping. No, not every case comes out with the same exact crimp, due to cases being longer than others.

Ive never, ever bothered to trim or clean primer pockets, and I use mixed brass. I tend to shoot no more than 25 yards. If I was looking for target ammo then I might trim and clean the pockets.

Its a good setup for making pistol ammo, its faster than a single stage but definitely not a progressive. It was good for me to learn on.

My only gripe with it would be the powder drop, because of the disks it uses. For example, one disk may drop 3.8 gn, while the next size up disk will drop 4.1 gn. There is of course the powder bar measure, used to replace the disk and give more flexibilty in amount of powder dropped. But I found this to not work so well with loads of 5 gns or less.

All in all, the turret press makes great plinking ammo, the ammo it produces is definitely more accurate than factory. But a match grade ammo making press, it is not. For a seasoned reloader/caster like yourself I would suggest a progressive. I can definitely see the Hornady LnL progressive in my future. UltimateReloader has some great videos of the Hornady LnL, Dillon 650, and even the Lyman T7 on his webpage, definitely worth a look.

twice barrel
November 4, 2009, 07:34 AM
Guys,

Thanks for the replies!

I've seen that video before...very nice. RFW, thanks for the direct answers!

Daniel, just what I wanted to know.

Regards,

TB

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