Best Non-progressive Press


January 28, 2004, 09:49 PM
How does the Dillon 500 compare to the Rock Chucker press? Is there another brand that is better than both? Im new to this and would like to start out with gear that will last and I will enjoy using. Thanks!

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January 28, 2004, 09:58 PM
The 550B and the Rockchucker represent two different worlds of reloading.

It would be helpful to know what you're planning on reloading. Pistol calibers or rifle calibers? What kind of volumes?

Forgot to add, the 550 IS a progressive press.

January 28, 2004, 10:06 PM
There are two different styles of the 500, the 550b is the progressive one. The other one is the same but doesnt have the parts to use progressivly I guess. For now I will be reloading mostly 243 winchester and some 338 winchester magnum. Dont know it I will ever bother reloading for my 9mm pistol, ammo is cheap and I dont use it nearly as much as the rifles.

Here is a link to a little info about the non progressive version of the 500, Link (


January 28, 2004, 10:20 PM
use a lyman turrent press but im thinking of getting something progressive for 45acp

Ala Dan
January 28, 2004, 10:50 PM
You are comparing an automated press, to a single
stage press; which IMHO is quite unfair. :( Sure,
the Dillon is a very fine machine; capeable of mass
production handloads in a short period of time.

But in our business "QUALITY" should go
in before the name goes on! With that said,
there is NOTHING that beat's a single stage press
in this respect? You ask, "why"? Its simple, you
handle each case on an individual basis several
times; before turning out the finished product,
which allows for more consistent case
inspection. A deformed case can be discarded
from virtually any step in the process!

Now, with all that out of the way there is of
course the "Rockchucker" and "Rockchucker
Supreme" from R.C.B.S., as well as those from
other major manufactuer's. The old CH Tool
and Die Company use to produce their CH
press, which was a very tough machine that
was capeable of handling all handloading steps;
including case forming. Hornady (the old Pacific
Tool & Die Company) makes excellent products;
as does Redding, Lyman, Lee and others.

After using the regular R.C.B.S. "Rockchucker",
I can highly recommend it. An the added fact
that R.C.B.S. customer service gets an A+x5
rating, makes it #1.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

January 28, 2004, 10:59 PM
Ah ... right, the AT 500 :o Never really seen the point of that machine, but I digress.

My advice is:

Lee Classic Cast press, Lee dies, Lee auto-prime w/ shellholder set, Lee case length gauge + cutter head + lockstud + chamfer bit, RCBS Uniflow, PACT digital scale, Lyman auto-flow tumbler, plus whatever calipers and bullet puller you want.

The Rockchucker is a fine press, but if you look at recent threads on the Lee Classic Cast I think you'll find most people consider it be the Rockchucker's equal at a significantly smaller price.

January 28, 2004, 11:08 PM
In my opinion its the Forster Co-Axial press.
Unbelieveably strong and precise, just slide the die in and out of a slot, and the ability to prime on the press.
Powerful enough to use for caseforming rifle brass with a sweet touch for seating bullets and primers.
Expensive and worth it.

January 29, 2004, 12:32 AM
I agree with Peakbagr. If you want or need the BEST single stage press, it would probably be the Forster.

However, an RCBS Rockchucker, Hornady Lock-n-Load or other top of the line single stage will last for many thousands of rounds of ammo.

The Dillon 500 is neither fish nor foul. It is probably not as strong as a premium single stage press but not as fast as a good progressive.

January 29, 2004, 12:52 PM
Of the two I've owned -

Forster does have the overhead clearance issues which show up with the tall micrometer adjustment dies and such. Worth the money but a little different rhythm to it. Nice features like the clean primer catching and almost universal shell holding and if you like the primer seating. Mostly I decap punch and base and prime with a hand tool so it solves problems I don't have.

The classic Rockchucker had problems with primers bouncing around on decapping - glue a soft bottom in the base of the original cast metal primer catcher (with the rubber band) to keep spent primers from bouncing out and accumulate lead styphenate. The angle may suit or may not. Did a nice job of reasonable case forming for me.

Sort of like which is best Dillon depends just a tad on how big your hands are and how much caliber changing you do so there is no single best single stage press - though I've heard good things about the big Hollywood's I've never used them.

Ala Dan
January 29, 2004, 01:42 PM
Um, lets see? My 2000 model RCBS Rockchucker came
with a plastic primer catcher; but sometimes I
still have a problem with primers bouncing out onto
the floor of my work area. :( :uhoh: :D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Smokey Joe
January 29, 2004, 04:48 PM
Amen to AlaDan!!! And the several other single-stage users who have posted here! The Dillon advocates all seem to assume that you should be doing what they do, because they like doing what they do. It's nice to hear other THR members who single-stage and like it that way!!!

January 29, 2004, 06:25 PM
Another single-stager here!! I like to look at/fondle each case as much as possible (yes, it's sick, I know :)) and I'm not loading for an AR/AK, so max output isn't a priority.

I have no idea how many thousands of rounds have been loaded on my 70's vintage RockChucker, and it looks like it'll go however many more thousand I'm up for. The only knock on it is, when loading long cases (the longest I have are 300 W'by and 416 RMag), the throat opening is a touch short to get the bullet in on top of the case. I've worked the handle a fraction early a few times and taken some half-moons out of my fingers. :uhoh:

The next one, if there IS a next one, will be either the RC Supreme or Redding Ultramag.

BTW, Cabela's has the RCBS "Supreme Master" kit (you need to add dies and a case trimmer), on for $220 If starting from scratch, I'd go with that and never look back. Add some good dial calipers, a trimmer, another scale (to use as a double check on the other one),and the little odds/ends you'll invariably find a "need" for, and you're in business.

BTW II - If you only shoot 20 or 30 rounds a year, it'll take a LONG time to recoup the investment. You can tie up thousands if you're one of those types :rolleyes: who has to try out every new powder or bullet that comes along.


Mal H
January 29, 2004, 07:10 PM
A couple of you have mentioned that spent primers tend to bounce out of the catcher when you deprime. I had the same problem. I taped a piece of cardboard to the catcher - problem solved. (See attachment)

Looking at the cardboard, I see that I must have used the cover of an old National Bullet catalog, but any piece of cardboard will do as long as it is related to reloading. :D

January 29, 2004, 07:17 PM

Now that's a good idea!! I've been picking up spent primers off the floor for way too long. One of those... "Now why didn't I think of that?!?" moments.


January 29, 2004, 08:29 PM
The Dillon AT500 is as good as any heavy duty single stage press, like the Rock Chucker (I have both), and can be used as such, however it can be used like a turret press, only better because you can interchange shell plates for easy caliber change. The best part is that if you find yourself wanting higher productivity, you can upgrade it to a 550, and you can do it in stages, so adding an option like the automatic powder measure will substantially improve your ability to make more ammo, in less time.

Smokey Joe
January 30, 2004, 12:18 AM
MalHÑNice pic! Been doin' the same for yearsÑmake my "fence" out of masking tape, so the primers that bounce, stick. They can get into no further mischief. When reloading session is over, just remove fence, wad up & toss along with all the primers in the catcher. IMX, rifle primers are much more likely to bounce than pistol primers.

Hey, R WestÑFondling pretty ammo is NOT sick! Handling that pretty brass is part of the fun, IMHO. And each time you handle it, you get a better idea of the condition of each case, as to neck splits, etc.

January 30, 2004, 05:58 AM
It sometimes pulls 9x19/9x21/38 Super rims off during resizing.

My Lyman Crusher II offers THREE mounting holes.

My LEE's are broken.

Matt Dillon
January 30, 2004, 06:38 AM
You may do well to consider the new Lee Classic press. I mounted one yesterday and am very impressed. Also regarding spent primers, they have a great idea in providing a plastic tube at the bottom of the press to funnel the spent primers into a garbage can. This is one solid and well built press, and Midway has them for $50.00 if you have an FFL or are a dealer. This can't be beat!:D

January 30, 2004, 12:22 PM
I don't understand why RCBS didn't make the RockChucker deprime like the Lee Classic does.

I love my RockChucker except for the stinkin' primer cup.


Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 31, 2004, 01:11 AM
I sold hundeds of them for the previous company and you pick up a a empty case and move it through 4 positions and in seconds it is completely loaded. No loading blocks needed and I mentored the hundreds I sold in the 70's and have caliber conversions and parts left cheap. There is nothing to rotate and wear out as it is a multi-lifetime press


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