how to select a press?


December 13, 2009, 05:29 PM
Hello all I need a reloading press to load 9mm,.45 acp, 10mm, 44mag, 500mag, 9x18, .223, .308, .30-06, 7mm mag, 7.62x39,7.62x54r. I think a single stage press would work. I don't want to spend more than $150 for just the press. But since I know next to nothing about reloading I was hoping someone with more knowledge than I could provide some direction.

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December 13, 2009, 05:39 PM
Just about any single stage press would work. IMO some of the better ones are Lee Classic Cast, RCBS Rockchucker, Lyman Crusher, or Redding Boss. I have an old Rckchucker II but if I were going to replace it today, I'd get the Lee CLASSIC CAST. Midway USA has them on sale for $76. You won't find a better press for anywhere near that money. In fact I'm not sure there is a better single stage, maybe fancier but not stronger or better.

December 13, 2009, 05:41 PM
You need a large single-stage press for the larger rifle calibers you mentioned.
Not only for more cam power / leverage, but to have a large enough frame opening to get your hand & the rifle round in at the same time.

The RCBS Rockchucker has been a mainstay for a long time, and you won't live long enough to wear out.

Lee has a new cast iron press that a lot of people like but I have no experiance with them.

Just pick a big cast iron one from any of the major manufactures and you will be good.


December 13, 2009, 06:23 PM
I've been using a Rockchucker for more than thirty years and I'm a big fan of RCBS. That said, if I were to buy a new press today I'd take a serious look at a Forster Co-ax. They're plenty stong and, with a little tweaking, the shell holder system works well. I also like the idea of the floating die system. Is all that enough to make me replace my Rockchucker? No, but what I have ain't broke. The bottom line is that any large, quality press will work and any of them will last a lifetime but, all of them have pluses and minuses.

December 13, 2009, 08:48 PM
You may want to give the Lee Classic (Cast) Turret press serious consideration. This is mine. I have it outfitted as shown to load 45-70. Extra turrets are available for about $12 each and for as many cartridges as you listed it would be a time saver to go this route.

December 13, 2009, 09:02 PM
I should add I do my case sizing on a single stage press but it can easily be done on the turret. The Lee Classic Turret has the same linkage as the Lee Classic Cast single stage and thus the same mechanical advantage. The Lee turret press design facilitates some "play" in the turret and shell holder that facilitates die self-alignment similar to the Forster mentioned above. I have both Lee cast presses and like them both. The Lee presses do not "cam over" like my Redding presses, they are outfitted with a mechanical stop on the linkage that prevents camming. I think Lee did this to prevent damage to some of their die designs such as the Collet Neck Die. Both single stage press designs (Lee and Redding) have advantages and disadvantages. This is how I have them mounted on my new bench. Whichever press you get, make sure you mount it on a stout bench to prevent flex. Flex is really annoying. I mounted mine on 5/16" steel plates secured directly over the uprights on the bench. It's he!! bent for stout and I have zero flex.

December 13, 2009, 09:51 PM
In a single stage there are 2 ways to go....

• A single-die setup where you change out the die after completing each step of the process. On most of these, the dies simply screw in, like a RCBS Rockchucker. The Hornady Classic uses a quick-change bushing, which gives you the option of screwing it in or buying a quick change bushing for each die.

• A turret-style setup, like the Lee Classic Cast (shown above), the Lyman T-Mag or Redding. With a turret style multiple dies are installed and the turret is rotated to position the die of choice above the ram. The UltimateReloader.Com has a great video of a Redding being used.

All the presses made now are really good. The differences in price simply reflect the differences in features and materials. Remember that most presses pay for themselves very quickly, so it's not always wise or necessary to shop by price alone.

Hope this helps!

December 13, 2009, 11:30 PM
I'll have to second the Lee Classic Turret. Don't judge it by price alone due to the fact there's nothing anywhere near it's price that can touch it. The Lee Classic Cast single stage is a deal also. It's as good as almost any of the others are and for way less money. Actually imo it's better than most because you can use the safety prime to speed things up. Also it doesn't throw primers all over the place, they just go down the ram.

Years ago I'd never have considered a Lee press but these 2 classic models are well designed and very strong. They're not made out of aluminum like the older ones but have cast iron bases and the rest is steel. They're also made in the U.S.A. Lee Precision has decided to challenge the higher quality competition without raising prices very much.

Uncle Chan
December 13, 2009, 11:54 PM
3rd on the Lee Classic Turret.

December 14, 2009, 12:03 AM
+4 on the Lee products. With your goal of loading a dozen different calibers, you will very much come to appreciate the lower cost of die changes using Lee.

December 14, 2009, 12:06 AM
One other thought: With that many pistol calibers, how many rounds are you going to need and how often? Using a single stage will keep you pretty busy if you shoot those handguns very much and then add in the rifle loading..

December 14, 2009, 01:36 AM
If it were me starting today with what I now shoot, I would buy both the Lee Classic cast and the Lee Classic Turret.

I would load as:

Lee Classic Cast = 500mag, .308, .30-06, 7mm mag, 7.62x39,7.62x54r.

Lee Classic Turret = 9mm,.45 acp, 10mm, 44mag, 9x18, .223

Was over my buddies house last week and while I was there, my buddy assembled 200 rounds of 40 S&W and I was only there for a couple of beers talking about our next pig hunt. The time before that, he assembled 38 SPCL "lite loads" and had a few hundred made in a couple of hours while I helped out with some brass work (I got to drink beer, he didn't :)).

This is really all most folks need.


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