Reloading Press Question


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BlayGlock
January 22, 2010, 04:58 PM
Currently I am loading on a Lee single stage press and it used to work well enough, but now I have decided to shoot in some pistol competitions. I guess I will shoot on average about 1000 rounds a month. I have just started my Masters degree in addition to working full time and now the single stage press takes more time than I would like.

How much faster would a Lee turret press be? I already have Lee dies and such. Could I reload my monthly quota in a couple of hours or should I upgrade to a progressive press of some sort? Thanks.

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BlayGlock
January 22, 2010, 05:03 PM
Forgot to add: I will only be shooting 9mm for the time being.

And How about a Dillon Square Deal?

bds
January 22, 2010, 05:07 PM
I have used the Lee Pro 1000 to load my match reloads for over 15 years. The Auto Disk provides very accurate charge-to-charge powder measurement which is critical for accurate loads.

Lee Pro 1000 can do about 600-900 rounds an hour with the benefit of a case feeder, but I recommend you size/deprime first and hand prime cases for smooth/faster reloading. I use a two press setup (single stage and Pro 1000) where I have the sizing/depriming die on the single stage press and flare/powder charge and seater die on the Pro 1000. This setup allows me to do more quality control checks. Since you already have a single stage press, you might consider this.

You can find more pros and cons info on Lee Pro 1000 here:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=497331&page=2

snuffy
January 22, 2010, 05:09 PM
The Lee turret equipped with a safety prime, pro auto disk with riser, and auto index can load up to 200 rounds an hour. That's after a learning curve of approximately 1 month. And that's if you have all the components for the 200 rounds right at hand.

Otherwise, 100-150 rounds/hr. are easily obtained. Now that's straight wall pistol/revolver cartridges. Rifle will take a bit longer if you trim after sizing, and to wipe off lube,(or tumble loaded to remove the lube).

Don't get a progressive until AFTER you've tried the lee turret. Most neve do get a progressive after they see how fast the lee turret is.

Also, if you decide on the lee turret, BE SURE you get the classic turret, don't bother with the 3 hole, or older 4 hole turret.

ambidextrous1
January 22, 2010, 05:13 PM
bds wrote:

"Lee Pro 1000 can do about 600-900 rounds a minute..."

Dayum! I gotta get me one of them!:D

RippinSVT
January 22, 2010, 05:15 PM
I love the Lee Loadmaster, which is their premium progressive. I use it predominately for 9mm, and found it for around $210 on Midway.com on clearance. That being said, I HATE their case-feeding system. I got so mad at it last night that I just ripped it all off and started feeding cases by hand. Also, with short cases like 9mm and possibly .45ACP, you'll probably need to file the case-inserter down to prevent binding.


But to answer your question, it is much faster regardless. Every pull of the handle is doing 3-5 actions at once. It'll take a little while to get it all dialed in, but once you do, it is very fast. I can sit down and load 50 rounds of 9mm in 20 minutes without the case-feeder, and about 50 in 10 if it's working. That's taking my time and watching out for everything I need to look for (low powder, primer feed binding, ect.).


When I was doing all my 9mm on a single-stage turret, I would do maybe 50 rounds in 45 minutes max. Now I just sit down, check my powder/primer levels, and start cranking.


Hint: Buy 3-4 turrets/powder-drops/shell plates for other calibers you reload to make switching calibers a cinch.

uf-engineer
January 22, 2010, 05:18 PM
id get a progressive and be done with it. I got a LNL for my 1st press & could't be happyer.

RippinSVT
January 22, 2010, 05:19 PM
bds makes a good point on sizing/depriming first. When you work the lever, this action is what provides most of your resistance. It also helps to "feel" the primer insertion when they are already sized.


If you are only bulk-reloading for one auto caliber, you can't beat the Pro 1000 for speed/price. That being said, the Load-Master is better built and will last a lifetime.

EddieNFL
January 22, 2010, 05:22 PM
IMO the Square Deal is your best bet. If you plan to add more calibers in the future, I recommend either the 550 or 650. The Hornady LNL auto would be a good choice, as well.

I wish someone would show me how to load 900 rounds per hour. I can hit a cyclic rate close to 1,000 per hour, but actual production rate is a "bit" less.

Nate1778
January 22, 2010, 05:23 PM
I timed myself on my Loadmaster the other night, did 450 .38 specials in an hour including putting them in their boxes. As stated above they do take a bit to setup and one must be mechanically inclined to operate one, but one they are they will produce ammo with the best of them.

The only advantage of a turret with that caliber is a crimped primer pocket won't jam up the gear works like it would with a progressive. I usually could get 150 rounds an hour with the turret but that was moving at a pretty good clip.

bds
January 22, 2010, 05:24 PM
"Lee Pro 1000 can do about 600-900 rounds a minute..."

Dayum! I gotta get me one of them!

I meant to say 600-900 rounds an hour :o

I have seen commercial reloading machines that do several rounds a second tho.


I wish someone would show me how to load 900 rounds per hour.

Here (and he's even priming on the upstroke too): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kWXyxOEbZ0

If you use sized/primed cases, it is faster yet and more smooth/less effort with no wasted time due to stuck/jammed primer.

EddieNFL
January 22, 2010, 06:17 PM
Yeah. I saw that video.

twice barrel
January 22, 2010, 07:20 PM
I have the Lee Classic Turret & just love it. But if I were going to be shooting one pistol cartridge only and competitively I'd be looking into the Loadmaster. There are a world of youtube videos and websites with tips to address this press' quirks that leave me confident its one I could move to directly from a single stage. But then I've used a progressive loader in years gone by and can appreciate their initial cantakerousness.

Gotta have patience and an open mind,

TB

treerooster
January 22, 2010, 07:52 PM
I found the Lee Deluxe Turret kit at Widener's for $91.00. So I ordered it I have been using a single stage press. I am waiting for the big brown truck to pull up anytime. So i am ready to get it set up and working. I like the single stage press for rifle reloading. But not for large amounts of pistol reloading.

j21blackjack
January 22, 2010, 09:24 PM
Just got my Lee Classic Turret Press today from here https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=630&category_id=190&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=41&vmcchk=1&Itemid=41

The whole kit including the upgrade to the Pro Powder Measure and the Lage and Small Primer was right at $200. Didn't really need another set of dies, but for the price who cares, I just got a size I didn't already.

BlayGlock
January 22, 2010, 11:54 PM
Leaning towards the SD since I will only load pistol on it. I only have 1 rifle anyway, a .308 which I will load on the single stage press anyway for load accurizing.

Sunray
January 23, 2010, 12:20 AM
"...just started my Masters degree in addition to working full time..." Geezuz! And you find time to reload. Impressive time management skills. Mind you, reloading can be good therapy. Get you away from work and school. You don't have to load complete rounds in one sitting either. You can get the cases to where they just need powder and bullet and finish 'em as required.
"...the single stage press takes more time..." Speed with a single stage press is matter of technique. However, my best techniques won't beat any progressive. A turret just means you don't have to change dies. It'll be faster than a single stage, but not as fast as a progressive. A progressive may be too big of a pile of money though.

jmortimer
January 23, 2010, 12:31 AM
I doubt anyone has ever regretted getting a Lee Turret Press. Richard Lee the man himself said that if he could only own one press it would be his turret press. As usual I would recommend reading customer reviews/comments on Midway USA. You will quickly see that the Lee Precision Classic Turret is worth every penny. As for a progressives, as much as I love Lee Precision I would not get one of their progressives - get a Honady Lock and Load or Dillion if you must have a progressive. If you get a Lee progressive you have to learn to love it. Just read the reviews and decide for yourself.

Zeke/PA
January 23, 2010, 07:48 AM
I bought a Dillon Square Deal a few years back from a co-worker and it is heaven on earth.
I do about 250/300 rounds per hour and it's more than enough for my amount of shooting.
I load .38 Specials and 45 Auto and it's really a snap to go from one to the other.

EddieNFL
January 23, 2010, 09:25 AM
I timed myself on my Loadmaster the other night, did 450 .38 specials in an hour including putting them in their boxes.

The video linked above is cyclic rate and cannot be sustained unless another person is resupplying PPP. But using two people cuts the production rate in half; 450 rounds per person, per hour.

iScream
January 23, 2010, 10:53 AM
Forgot to add: I will only be shooting 9mm for the time being.

And How about a Dillon Square Deal?
I have a Dillon SDB and I really like it a lot. The standard SDB disclaimer is that it uses proprietary dies, which won't work on other presses. That means the dies you say you already have won't work on it either.

Once I'm set up and ready to go, I can knock out about 250 rounds per hour of 38 Special. That's with checking the powder charge on about every 50th round. If I ever invest that $10 in a primer flip tray and buy a couple extra primer tubes, the rounds loaded per hour will definitely go up.

-Chris

Crashbox
January 23, 2010, 11:05 AM
id get a progressive and be done with it. I got a LNL for my 1st press & could't be happyer.

I bought a LNL AP almost three months ago for my first press as well and I like it a lot. My throughput is about 125-200 rounds an hour including checking every 10th-20th charge weight. It has also been my experience that the Hornady powder measure is very consistent FWIW. But I must add that I found the LNL AP a bit finicky to get running *smoothly* but once you've got it set it seems to stay that way for a while (from what I've read elsewhere).

There is one catch I discovered, though, but it appears common to virtually all progressives: the indexing action will tend to shake powder out of full-tilt loads. When I tried loading 17 grains of 2400 for my .357 Magnum behind a 125-grain JHP, the powder bits went here and there and caused a real nuisance with the primer feed. This can be significantly reduced by riding your finger along the side of the shell plate while it is moving, thereby reducing the sudden stop (thanks to Mongoose33 for the suggestion!). So I found the progressive best for loading medium-power loads and using powders such as TiteGroup which do not fill the case as much.

Just my pair of Lincoln coins, YMMV.

iScream
January 23, 2010, 11:19 AM
The video linked above is cyclic rate and cannot be sustained unless another person is resupplying PPP

Dumb question. Does PPP = Projectiles, powder and primers?

-Chris

ambidextrous1
January 23, 2010, 11:19 AM
EddieNFL wrote:

"The video linked above is cyclic rate and cannot be sustained unless another person is resupplying PPP."

I think I agree; I don't know what PPP means, but a second party must top off primers, powder, cases and bullets while the operator keeps up his cyclic rate.

Oh, don't forget to carry away the loaded cartridges!

We'll ignore the time spent cleaning and inspecting the cases, and the inspection and gauging of the completed ammunition. Is the press using sized & primed brass in that video?

If you live alone (as I do), the necessary support operations result in "down time", when the press isn't being operated. I have used the Dillon primer tube loader for several years now, and that helps a lot.

robctwo
January 23, 2010, 11:33 AM
My buddy bought the Loadmaster as his first press. I learned to load on it.Bought the LnL. He struggled with his for 5 years. He bought the LnL last spring. He wonders why he wasted those 5 years......

116,000 through mine. Had a problem at 85,000. Hornady rebuilt the whole thing for free.

BlayGlock
January 23, 2010, 12:07 PM
"...just started my Masters degree in addition to working full time..." Geezuz! And you find time to reload.

Yeah, I dont have any kids yet, so that helps. I do find reloading fun, its just a time crunch issue.

Thanks for all of the replies. I may just go all out and get that cool Dillion 650XL. We'll see how the budget goes because I also have to get a 9mm 1911 to go with the press. Imagine all the explaining I had to do to pull that one lol.

bds
January 23, 2010, 12:47 PM
Have fun with your matches and studies. The motorized case feeder for 650 will definitely save you on time. :D

Marc257
January 23, 2010, 12:48 PM
The Square Deal is hard to beat for single caliber loading. Get some extra primer pickup tubes and you can take your time and still easily load 300rds/hr.

lgbloader
January 23, 2010, 02:22 PM
I like my Dillons (550b and 2 XL650's) but I sure do want a Lee Classic Turret.

LGB

twofifty
January 23, 2010, 03:56 PM
LGB, that last comment is very interesting.

Isn't it un-American to believe that a smaller cheaper press might have some advantages over bigger more expensive ones? ;-)

Could you tell us what tasks you would prefer doing on the turret rather than on your 550b and two XL650s? Can a smaller simpler press be faster in some circumstances?

Thx.

snuffy
January 23, 2010, 05:08 PM
I found the Lee Deluxe Turret kit at Widener's for $91.00. So I ordered it I have been using a single stage press. I am waiting for the big brown truck to pull up anytime. So i am ready to get it set up and working. I like the single stage press for rifle reloading. But not for large amounts of pistol reloading.

When the brown truck DOES show up, send that deluxe back, then get the classic. If you don't, you'll come on here with a post like "how do I keep those @#*^+ primers from flying everywhere EXCEPT where they're supposed to land"? Another gripe will be; why can't I use the safety prime on my deluxe?

ambidextrous1
January 23, 2010, 07:07 PM
Marc 257 wrote:

"Get some extra primer pickup tubes and you can take your time and still easily load 300rds/hr. "

I don't think anyone should have to endure the primitive, repetitive motor skill of loading promer tubes when that operation can be performed by a bench-top machine; and while that machine is is runnung, the press is producing ammunition.

jmortimer
January 23, 2010, 08:02 PM
You will not care about the primer "issue" with the regular Turret Press if you use the Lee Auto Prime and prime by hand, Many, many swear by the Auto Prime. It makes sense to me.

James Thomson
January 23, 2010, 08:53 PM
I think I would rather have the Dillon 550. It reloads just about all ammo where the Square Deal only loads pistol if I remember. It doesn't take standard reloading dies and it's not that much cheaper than a 550. You can grow with a 550. Just my opinion for what it's worth. I have a 550 and 650 and I still like that 550 the best.

EddieNFL
January 23, 2010, 09:21 PM
PPP - Primers, powder, projectiles...forget the brass. Probably because I load so much on a 650 with a casefeed.

kennedy
January 23, 2010, 09:45 PM
Lee turret is the way to go, I use it to load volumes of .40 and .223, I use the lee auto prime, I like the way it feels priming by hand, and the lee auto disk powder dispenser. Then for precision .308 I do the same except weigh each powder load by hand. I also have turrets set up for 6.5X55 and 7.62 X54 its so easy to change calibers I don`t plan on buying any other press.

rquack
January 24, 2010, 09:47 PM
Look on EBay for used Dillon reloading equipment. Should be able to get your Square DealB in 9mm for a reduced price. I saw several a few hours ago. I own a SDB; I load 9mm and 38 Spl on it. I can load about 400 per hour. I would buy it again in a heartbeat; I also agonized over buying a Dillon before I made my purchase a year ago. I don't regret the purchase for one minute; it has been an exceptional machine. Check out the forums at Dillon and Brian Enos for user help too. the folks at Dillon are especially helpful and friendly. The SDB is a small compact machine that puts out large volumes of ammo in a very reliable manner.

BlayGlock
January 27, 2010, 12:52 AM
I really do think I am sold on the square deal B. I really only load pistol in bulk, and it comes set up from the factory ready to go. I looked and ebay has some great deals. Thanks

lgbloader
January 27, 2010, 03:17 AM
LGB, that last comment is very interesting.

Isn't it un-American to believe that a smaller cheaper press might have some advantages over bigger more expensive ones? ;-)

Could you tell us what tasks you would prefer doing on the turret rather than on your 550b and two XL650s? Can a smaller simpler press be faster in some circumstances?

Thx.

Hey twofifty,

Un-American... Hmmm... I'm not sure. I really don't think it has any advantages over my blue presses. I just like the thing.
As far as smaller and cheaper goes... A good press is a good press is a good press.
I go over my surfing buddies' house and mess around with his for a bit and wish I had one for the motorhome, you know what I mean?
I can load circles around him if I am using my 550 and even faster if I'm loading 9mm or 45acp (the two 650's are dedicated to those two calibers).
Me & Mrs. LGB used to shoot tons but times have changed a bit and I don't shoot near the amount I used to.

It is my honest opinion that most folks (not all) could easily get by with a good single stage and a Lee Classic Turret.

That said, I love my tools and I am glad that I am blessed (I sincerely thank THE MAN UPSTAIRS) financially to have "The Cave" that I have with all the presses, components, and various gadgets that I sometimes take for granted, not to mention my nice collection in the safe. Only in America...

Bottom line, I guess I could really get by without all my presses except one, my old faithful single stage.

Now, does that sound Un-American?

Cheers...

LGB

twofifty
January 27, 2010, 10:00 PM
Un-American? No, not at all.
Your earlier posts showed that you believe in matching the tool to the task, rather than going for the big show. I was pulling some legs, just not yours.

Cheers.

X-Rap
January 27, 2010, 10:09 PM
You said you also load 308 but do so on single stage for accuracy. I would certainly look hard at the Dillon 550 and get set up for the 308 also. I load 223 and 308 on mine and get well under MOA accuracy using 335 and BLC-2 powder. Puts a smile on my face to load at so much faster rate with those rifle rounds.

bionian
January 28, 2010, 12:04 AM
I had been using a RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press. Since I shoot autoloaders, a single stage just didn't seem time effective. Since I did hand-priming, and since I practice tripple-taps, I could shoot them about two or three times as fast as I could load them. At Christmas I bought a Dillon 550 progressive press, and I have been thrilled with the result. The 550 is a four-stage press. Stage one is the sizing/decaping die, and the Dillon primes the case at the top of the upstroke. While I don't get exactly the same feel as I did when I primed by hand, since the priming occurs at the top of the stroke, I have developed a "feel" for the primer, and can I can tell if the case doesn't get primed properly. Stage two is and expander-die/powder measure in one die, stage three is the bullet seating die, and I have a Lee Factory Crimp die at stage four. With each pull I am preparing four cases at the same time.

The 550 has an optional case feeder which I didn't buy. I you decided to load additional calibers later on, changing the 550 is quick and easy. I have purchased a separate toolhead and powder measure for each caliber I load. I purchased a caliber conversion kit and a quick change assembly (which includes the powder measure) for about $150 for each additional caliber, and I can go from .45 cal to 9mm in about 10 minutes. Once the setup is complete, I can comfortably load about 250+ rounds per hour- faster than I can shoot them, and I have only been using the press for about a month. If I tried, I could probably load even faster, but I am willing to sacrifice some speed for safety and accuracy. If I had another couple hundred dollars, I suppose I could add the shell feeder, but I am satisfied with what I have right now.

Once piece of advice- if you go with a progressive, try to purchase the set-up video. I paid $20 for the Dillon RL 550 B setup video, and it was worth much more. I thought that setting up a progressive reloader would be complicated, but I watched the video once, then played it as I was setting up the press, and I had no problems at all.

I am glad I went with the progressive over the turret press. With the turret you are still only working on one case per pull, while with the four-stage progressive you are prepping four with each pull, and each pull completes another round. I still occasionally grin when I hear the "clink" of another round hitting the tray.

-Rick

BlayGlock
January 28, 2010, 12:24 AM
I think I will get the video now that you suggest it. Thank for the heads up Rick and welcome to THR.

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