Budget Progressive Kit?


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TenDriver
February 3, 2012, 01:34 PM
I've been wanting to reload for a while now, and have finally started looking around at presses. I'll be reloading .270 Win and 44 Mag mainly, possibly 9mm and a few other at some point.

I have a 3 yr old at home and free time is limited, so with this in mind I'm thinking a progressive press is more the way to go. Can anyone advise on a good progressive kit to get started?

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drsfmd
February 3, 2012, 01:41 PM
The Lee is case specific. I mean, it *CAN* be converted, but it's not easy.

If you really want a progressive, I'd look for a used Dillon RL550. It doesn't auto advance, but it does everything else progressively. You should be able to find a used one for $300-$350 depending on accessories, dies, etc...

Edit: I answered a question that you edited out... left my original answer here.

Walkalong
February 3, 2012, 01:47 PM
Budget minded? Lee.

TenDriver
February 3, 2012, 02:05 PM
Starting to think the budget and experience level will dictate a single stage press.

GT1
February 3, 2012, 02:51 PM
Watch the Lee Classic Turret videos on youtube.

About twice the speed of a SS. It is a favorite among many reloaders and some nice press kits are available out there.

Kidslash
February 3, 2012, 02:57 PM
Buy Once, Cry Once. Save up and get a Dillon. You will get most of your money back if you decide to sell it down the road.

cberge8
February 3, 2012, 03:03 PM
I bought a Lee Pro 1000 a while back. While not the best, it does work well for me.

As for caliber changes, I can swap between any two calibers in under a minute.

The only downside is the priming system, but once you get used to it, it is not bad.

Otto
February 3, 2012, 03:20 PM
If you want to cheap out on reloading tools, Lee corners the market.
Dillon compared to Lee is like comparing Stihl to Homelite.

GT1
February 3, 2012, 03:30 PM
Buy Once, Cry Once. Save up and get a Dillon.

Not the best advice for someone that isn't sure what they might be getting into.

Dillons are nice, top of the line moneywise. I'm not sure they are the best press one can buy. A Hornady LnL AP or a RCBS Pro 2000 or even a Lee loadmaster will crank out bunches of ammo. All of these manufacturers will fix whatever breaks, and make right whatever is wrong, on their dime.

All progressives are finicky, have their quirks, and amplify mistakes.

One should do a lot of reading before deciding to jump in to such a thing. If you do the research first there is never any crying. :p

MtnCreek
February 3, 2012, 03:33 PM
Starting to think the budget and experience level will dictate a single stage press.

There's a lot going on with a progressive. Keeping up with the mechanics of the press while learning to load would be tough IMHO.

mdi
February 3, 2012, 03:40 PM
I would not recommend a progressive press to learn reloading on; too many things happen every time you pull the handle. But, everybody seems to be in a hurry these days (very dangerous when it comes to reloading), so a Lee Turret will put out a little more rounds per hour than a single stage and it can be used single stage to start. You need to learn what every step in reloading does and why it's done, and it's so much easier to do with a single stage press. You will need to know how to adjust dies to troubleshoot your problem ammo, which won't happen with the "install it and forget it" turret plates or the "breech-lock" bushings. I'd recommend a good single stage press from any of the major reloading equip. manufacturers, a set of carbide dies for the .44 and a reloading manual. Reading the manual's reloading data will give you info on powder,primers, and bullets to buy. Of the cartridges you mention, the .44 Magnum is prolly the easiest to learn reloading with.

Look into getting a copy of ABCs of Reloading and Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook. Reading through these books will give you a good idea as to what equipment will suit your reloading needs...

Blue68f100
February 3, 2012, 03:45 PM
I think people with Lee progressive spend more time working/tweaking than reloading. You would be a lot better off with a Turret than the progressive. The Hornandy LNL-AP is a good progressive with lots of options, cheaper than the Dillon 550b. But if your mainly shooting rifle and revolver a SS press will cover your needs. You can batch load and load near 100/hr.

sellersm
February 3, 2012, 03:55 PM
Lee Classic Cast Turret (LCT) is my recommendation. No, it's not a progressive (you work on one case at a time) but you can take out the index rod and have a SS press. 150+ rounds/hour is easy-peasy... Easy as pie to change calibers too! Kemp's gun shop (they're online) has a great starter kit that includes the LCT. Just be sure it's the CLASSIC CAST press, not the cheaper aluminum one!!

If you must have a progressive, then Pro1000 or a LoadMaster might work for you, especially if you're a bit mechanically inclined. Lots of resources on the internet for all the progressives out there, btw. Youtube has some good resources from 'california liberal with a gun', and UltimateReloader site has good vids & info.

Kingcreek
February 3, 2012, 04:55 PM
Dillon has a 550 basic loader that can be upgraded later.

germ
February 3, 2012, 05:09 PM
+1 on the LCT. Then, after a year or so, determine if you really want/need a progressive. During that year, save your money toward a progressive and you also have all that time to research and maybe even try out a few that others have. Then, if you do decide to get a progressive, you'll likely find the LCT to still be of great value to you.

The overall reputation of lee progressives does not fall in the positive column. I would not recommend a loadmaster unless you get one for free. I got mine for free and made it work, but I would suggest looking elsewhere. I haven't used a 1000, but I generally consider it in the same category as the loadmaster.

I also have the LNL AP which is a good press for me. If I were looking today I would also consider the Dillon 550. I'm partial to (or spoiled by) the 5 holes in the LNL though.

EddieNFL
February 3, 2012, 07:52 PM
Not the best advice for someone that isn't sure what they might be getting into.

So he buys quality and gets a much higher percentage of his money back if he unloads later.

Also, less frustration during the learning curve.

J_McLeod
February 3, 2012, 07:58 PM
If you're willing to spend some money, the Hornady LNL is a great press and it's cheaper than the Dillons. You can also load single rounds on a progressive to start with. I load a few singly before starting any progressive section. If that's too much, get the Lee turret.

thorn-
February 3, 2012, 08:45 PM
There's nothing wrong with starting on a progressive press. I've done it (with no problems whatsoever to learning the process), and others have too. That doesn't mean everyone needs to do it that way, but again - it's not a foolish decision, if you have the attention span to learn to do things the correct way.

And if you don't, using a single stage just means making the same mistakes at a slower pace. ;)

And FWIW, I do recommend the LNL-AP as a good press. They've had some quality control issues with a particular part lately, but they're trying to get that resolved... and despite that, it's a great press and more affordable/flexible than some other higher-priced choices. It's certainly not as low-budget as Lee products, though.

thorn

kingmt
February 3, 2012, 08:58 PM
I agree with Thorn.

I have no problem with my Pro1000 but it won't do rifle without a mod. I'm thinking of going to the Load Master.

Lost Sheep
February 3, 2012, 11:14 PM
If you want to cheap out on reloading tools, Lee corners the market.
Dillon compared to Lee is like comparing Stihl to Homelite.
Stihl and Homelite at least share a basic function and design parameters. Dillon does not make a single stage nor a turret.

I do agree with you if you are talking about comparing Lee Progressives with the Dillon progressives, though. TOTALLY.

However, if you don't need but 100 to 200 rounds per hour, the Lee Classic Turret is the best auto-advancing turret press on the market at any price. (Of course, it is the ONLY auto-advancing turret on the market. But that does not negate the fact that it is one, fine press).

So, to the OP, please share with us what your needs are in terms of quantity (per hour, per month and per loading session). Will you leave the press(es) set up or store them away after each loading session? How often will you change calibers?

If small sessions, putting away after each session and switching calibers often, consider the Lee Classic Turret.

The nice thing about the Lee Turret is that it is amenable to continuous processing (like a progressive, one round, start to finish before starting the next case) and equally adept at batch processing (do one step on the entire batch of cases before moving on to the next step).

The nice thing about the Progressive (and I favor the Hornady and Dillon over the Lee Pro-1000, but have no experience with the Lee Loadmaster or RCBS) is that, since it is performing all the steps simultaneously on a number of cases, you get one round per stroke of the handle. But that is the bad thing about progressives, too. I never got comfortable with monitoring multiple simultaneous operations.

Lost Sheep

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
February 4, 2012, 12:21 AM
Something to think about is components for a lot of ammo cost a lot of money. If you don't have the money to buy an expensive progressive press setup, you probably don't have the money to afford to feed it components to reload with.

Think about how many cartridges you can afford to buy per month and add about 200-300 to that. That'll be pretty close to what you can afford reloading components for.

If I were a betting man, your component volume will dictate what press to buy. All that said, the one press I can think of that will load you a lot of rounds at a reasonable rate, is very affordable and is of high quality is the Lee Classic Turret press.

This press is very well made, easy to operate, easy to learn reloading on, turns out high quality cartridges, handles rifle cartridges and is reasonably productive.

How productive? Most folks who use it in it's auto turret advance mode can easily turn out 150-200 rounds an hour without much work involved and with lots of fun. If you are willing to fine tune and adjust it and organize yourself to reload efficiently, you can turn out over 200 and if you really work at it and use both hands efficiently, you can hit 300 an hour. But at 300, you will need extra safety primes for both large and small calibers, as well as a way to top off the powder quickly. You will also need to work and know how to work.

Dillon 550's mentioned above, will get you to an easy 350 an hour and 550 can be reached if you work at it. The Hornady LnL will do an easy 400 an hour (No case feeder, no bullet feeder) and 600 can be reached if you work at it. Dillon 650 speeds are similar, but the 650 comes with a good bit of the case feeder attached, so add about 50 an hour to the Hornady LnL speeds.

Speed comes with increased costs though.

I noticed you mention both a rifle and a pistol cartridge. Think about how many of these cartridges you want to shoot. I'm betting the .270 Win is a hunting rifle and a 100 cartridges a year with do you fine with that. So from a volume standpoint, you're looking at your pistol cartridges. .44 magnum is a higher recoil cartridge, so you may not want to reload a lot of that to shoot. I'm not a big caliber revolver guy, so I can only speculate. The 9MM and other pistol cartridges, especially automatics, is where you get into volume reloading. But again, you have to be able to afford the components.

My advice is to look real strong at a Lee Classic Turret.

And read the sticky for new reloaders at the top of the page. Lots of information to help you make a decision.

RandyP
February 4, 2012, 12:34 AM
This question comes up almost daily on a couple reloading forums I frequent, and if 150-200 rounds per hour meets your realistic ammo needs, a Lee Classic (not Deluxe) 4-hole turret will make you a happy reloader with money left over to buy components and dies.

I am certainly NOT knocking spending $500- $1000 on a Dillon press IF it meets your needs. But you also don't 'need' to spend $200,000 on a Aston Martin just to drive 3 miles to the grocery store.

TenDriver
February 6, 2012, 11:11 AM
Stihl and Homelite at least share a basic function and design parameters. Dillon does not make a single stage nor a turret.

I do agree with you if you are talking about comparing Lee Progressives with the Dillon progressives, though. TOTALLY.

However, if you don't need but 100 to 200 rounds per hour, the Lee Classic Turret is the best auto-advancing turret press on the market at any price. (Of course, it is the ONLY auto-advancing turret on the market. But that does not negate the fact that it is one, fine press).

So, to the OP, please share with us what your needs are in terms of quantity (per hour, per month and per loading session). Will you leave the press(es) set up or store them away after each loading session? How often will you change calibers?

If small sessions, putting away after each session and switching calibers often, consider the Lee Classic Turret.

The nice thing about the Lee Turret is that it is amenable to continuous processing (like a progressive, one round, start to finish before starting the next case) and equally adept at batch processing (do one step on the entire batch of cases before moving on to the next step).

The nice thing about the Progressive (and I favor the Hornady and Dillon over the Lee Pro-1000, but have no experience with the Lee Loadmaster or RCBS) is that, since it is performing all the steps simultaneously on a number of cases, you get one round per stroke of the handle. But that is the bad thing about progressives, too. I never got comfortable with monitoring multiple simultaneous operations.

Lost Sheep
I plan on leaving the press set up. As to the rounds per hour, I really don't have a requirement. My intent is to view reloading as another hobby. There really isn't a 'rounds per hour" requirement. When I shoot, I might go through 50-70 rounds through my 44, and the 270 now stays in the closet unless I'm hunting with it. Range trips happen once a month if we're lucky.

I only shoot 22, 40, 44, 7.63x39, x54, and 9mm. There is the possibility of 38 / 357 as they are in the family as well. I think we're satisfied in buying 9mm ammo locally or through Mastercast from an economic standpoint. 357 may be a different story but time will tell. Ammo prices for both 7.62s are low enough I can't see investing in dies and brass for those, and the 40 is shot rarely.

The above is what makes me think the money would best be spent on a single stage press.

sellersm
February 6, 2012, 01:19 PM
Based on what you stated, I'd suggest the Lee Classic Cast Turret (LCT, cast, not the cheaper aluminum one). You can remove the index rod and use it as a single-stage press if you desire. Piece of cake to swap calibers, just get a bunch of extra 4-hole turrets. In just minutes you can be reloading all your different calibers!

Unless you're doing 50bmg, I"m sure you can do all the calibers you listed on the LCT, either as a SS or as a turret. Lots of videos out there showing how to do rifle loading using the turret head without the index rod in place, which is, to me, the best of both worlds!

Good luck and welcome to the addiction, er, I mean hobby!

straitnate14
February 6, 2012, 05:05 PM
lee 1000 works fine, mount it to a strong table put a ball point pen spring on the powder measure return and keep the primer chute full. Not the greatest press in the world but it works great for me.

Ken70
February 6, 2012, 06:14 PM
Just get a Loadmaster. It's $220 with the caliber of your choice. If you actually read the instructions, look at the videos, and adjust and operate it like it's supposed to be, it cranks out good ammo.

I bought mine in '95, followed the instructions and had no problems. Including the primer system, ran over six thousand rounds on the original primer parts. Finally mangled a primer slider running crimped brass, ream all the range pickup and no more trouble.

The Windex drinkers will tell you to buy their stuff, it works, but it's going to be expensive. Go look at the Windex catalog and price out what you want then go look at Lee Factory Sales and see what it cost from them. And it's not like the Windex drinkers will tell you, there are a lot of happy LM owner. I took the money I saved and bought $800 of primers, powders, brass, bullets and all the other stuff you need to reload.

I helped a couple of locals that were having problems with their LM's. Once I fixed all of their screwups they were really surprised at how well it works. (they didn't like reading or following instructions)

Lost Sheep
February 6, 2012, 10:31 PM
I plan on leaving the press set up. As to the rounds per hour, I really don't have a requirement. My intent is to view reloading as another hobby. There really isn't a 'rounds per hour" requirement. When I shoot, I might go through 50-70 rounds through my 44, and the 270 now stays in the closet unless I'm hunting with it. Range trips happen once a month if we're lucky.

I only shoot 22, 40, 44, 7.63x39, x54, and 9mm. There is the possibility of 38 / 357 as they are in the family as well. I think we're satisfied in buying 9mm ammo locally or through Mastercast from an economic standpoint. 357 may be a different story but time will tell. Ammo prices for both 7.62s are low enough I can't see investing in dies and brass for those, and the 40 is shot rarely.

The above is what makes me think the money would best be spent on a single stage press.
With that kind of quantity, a progressive's capacity would be wasted money and effort (swapping calibers would be more work than it is worth).

A single stage press would do very well for you. If you increase your quantity of shooting you will appreciate the Lee Classic Turret, which can produce 2 to 4 times as many rounds per hour with no sacrifice in accuracy or safety. (The time savings is provided by the fact that you don't have to remove and reinsert the case multiple times.)

However, a single stage press is rigid. If you want supreme accuracy, a Forster Co-Ax or single stage "O" frame press will keep alignment just a little better than a turret press.

I predict that you will wind up owning two presses eventually. A Lee Classic Turret for your handguns and a single stage for your rifles. Think RCBS RockChucker, Forster Co-Ax or one of the Lyman, Hornady or Redding presses.

If you get the Turret first, you may decide to do without the single stage. If you get the single stage first, you will find yourself shooting so much handgun that you will want the greater speed of production of the turret.

Just my prediction. Wild guess. Based on my experience with me and the posts of many who say, "you don't save any money reloading your own, you just get to shoot more."

Lost Sheep

MtnCreek
February 7, 2012, 08:52 AM
Windex drinkers
When did they start making presses? Fine product for cleaning glass, but I don't think I would want a windex press.

MikeRussell
February 7, 2012, 09:42 AM
I don't think the Lee Pro1K would work for .270 (cartridge is too long), so I'd recommend a turret press...since you don't have a "speed" that you'd like to crank out rounds. Any maker's turret press is fine, they all sell a lot and everyone has their preferences.

Now, if you wanted to crank out 9mm & .44mag but precision reload for the .270, then I'd recommend a single stage (for the .270) and a Lee Pro1K for the handgun rounds. Those with limited experience with the Pro1K will tell you it can't be swapped or it takes forever. The first time or two you try, yes it will take some time. I had one that I used to swap between 9mm, .40s&w, and .45acp. Swapping 9mm to .40s&w took less than 30secs (you don't have to swap the shellplate), swapping to .45acp or back took less than 2mins. As far as speed, the Pro1K isn't a speed demon, but I could get out over 300rnds per hour while stopping about every 20 to check charge & OAL.

kingmt
February 7, 2012, 09:50 AM
270 could be done with a simple mod.

carbuncle
February 7, 2012, 10:49 AM
Starting to think the budget and experience level will dictate a single stage press.

I just went through this same debate, I have my first kid on the way, and still decided to start with the Lee Anniversary kit: convenience is fine, but I'm looking at this as getting into a new hobby and I want to learn the basics before I get into volume production.

Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk

res7s
February 7, 2012, 02:42 PM
Buy once cry once. I use my Lee Classic Turret press, WAY more than my Dillon. I just don't need to load a thousand rounds every time I sit down. It's a fine press, but it's not what I'd recommend unless you were going to compete.

I think if you stay with it, your grandchildren will own several presses one day, a Lee Classic Turret, a Lee Classic Cast, a Dillon RL-550, and probably some sort of MEC shotshell reloader.

Loic
February 7, 2012, 03:37 PM
my first press was/is the lee deluxe turret; it's very simple to work with, very smooth and not problems with anything. I load 9mm and 38 spl. the 9mm are a little easier (less effort) than the 38spl. if you want to use the press as a single stage you just remove the rod, it will take a whole 30 seconds to do that.. I can load about 140 9mm in an hour and 100rd of 38 spl / hour.

a couple months ago I bough the Lee load master, I need more output with my 9mm (I shot 7k rds in 4 months) the LM is more of a pain to set up. I still get some problems with the primer been "crushed" once in a while. but on this press I can load 100 rd of 9mm in 10 minutes.

of the 2 press, I like the turret 10X more than the load master because its so smooth and easy. but I like the output of the LM.
changing caliber on the turret takes me about.. 30 seconds but I bought an extra turret where I set up my dies, so all I have to do is exchange the turret and put the other shell holder. ( the 4 hole turret cost is about $13..)

I just bought a remington 700 sps varmint in 22-250, so now I'll be looking at reloading this on the turret as well.

Loic
February 7, 2012, 03:39 PM
i dont know if its ok to post link, so if not, mod please remove.

this guy sale only Lee product at a good price : https://factorysales.com/html/xcart/catalog/index.html

dnmccoy
February 7, 2012, 05:10 PM
I too started with Lee equipment, and while the classic turret was an okay machine, I have heard mostly bad reports on the loadmasters and pro1000. The priming systems on the lee machines are junk, and while people say," I prime off the press" I laugh because that's ruining the whole point of going to a progressive.My motto is buy once cry once. Used 550's can be found for good prices everyday. I got mine from a fine fellow on this board and I just made my 8000th round the other day. If you don't mind slower production, finicky products and having to tinker with your machine constantly, the Lee is for you. If you want a quality machine get a dillon or a hornady

EddieNFL
February 7, 2012, 08:01 PM
When did they start making presses? Fine product for cleaning glass, but I don't think I would want a windex press.

It's a defense mechanism.

RustyFN
February 7, 2012, 08:12 PM
The Lee is case specific. I mean, it *CAN* be converted, but it's not easy.


Maybe it's late but I'm lost on this one. If you could explain it I would appreciate it.

altitude_19
February 8, 2012, 02:14 AM
I bought a RCBS PRO2000 to start with and was wanting a single stage on very short order. It's counter intuitive, but progressives can actually take more time than they save in some instances (setup and calibration). I can actually load cartridges SS with only 15 minutes here and there. Load in stages (size a bunch, come back a few days later and flare them, etc). I don't fire up my progressive for anything less than 200 rounds in a sitting. I shoot a lot more than you and get away with my single stage Lyman in most instances. I really think you'd kick yourself for dropping the cash on a progressive, ESPECIALLY if you mean to treat this more as a hobby than a way to keep the guns hot.

kingmt
February 8, 2012, 09:49 AM
I too started with Lee equipment, and while the classic turret was an okay machine, I have heard mostly bad reports on the loadmasters and pro1000. The priming systems on the lee machines are junk, and while people say," I prime off the press" I laugh because that's ruining the whole point of going to a progressive.My motto is buy once cry once. Used 550's can be found for good prices everyday. I got mine from a fine fellow on this board and I just made my 8000th round the other day. If you don't mind slower production, finicky products and having to tinker with your machine constantly, the Lee is for you. If you want a quality machine get a dillon or a hornady
Why bash something you know nothing about. I can't say Lee is better then Dillon or Dillon is better because I have never used a Dillon. i can speak about the Pro1000 & setup is quick & easy. I can set up the press as fast as a SS even faster if the dies are preset in the turret. I don't have problems with the primers ether. The only primer problems I have had was from crimped 9mm pockets had nothing to do with the press. As for tenkering all that I have done is modify a turret so the press would work with 30-06 & make a tool to hold primers in the tray while installing or removing it.

Loic
February 8, 2012, 07:00 PM
I still think the lee turret would match your need. Don't discount reloading your 9mm, my cost for 9mms is about 11 cts/round. Once you buy extra turret for diffetentes caliber dies, it will take you 30 seconds to change calibers ( that how I do between my 9mms and 38spl, but I have a powder measure on each set) I have the cheapest deluxe lee turret and have no problems with it after about 2000 rds with it.

RustyFN
February 8, 2012, 07:24 PM
My motto is buy once cry once. Used 550's can be found for good prices everyday.

Isn't that kind of contradicting?

Lost Sheep
February 8, 2012, 07:51 PM
Isn't that kind of contradicting?
No, I think the philosophy being espoused is similar to my own.

If you buy the very best, it only hurts once.... In the wallet.

If you compromise on quality, it hurts every time you use the (inadequate) tool.

The trick is to buy good enough to satisfy yourself, but not so extravagantly that you wasted money on features or capacity you don't need.

Lost Sheep

p.s. The quote "In the wallet." was lifted from a 1972 Peter Sellers film, "Where does it hurt?", which, considering the state of health care in the U.S. today, is still topical.

RustyFN
February 8, 2012, 09:20 PM
No, I think the philosophy being espoused is similar to my own.

The way I read it is to save your money and buy the most expensive brand because they are the best. You can find them used every day.

If they are that much better than everything else then why are there so many for sale.

Don't take it wrong I'm not saying anything bad about Dillon, I own one. I just thought it was funny to say buy the best and they are for sale used all over in the same sentence didn't make sense.

GT1
February 8, 2012, 10:58 PM
I own a relatively new Dillon XL 650. While I didn't cry at all when I bought it there is definitely a few tears in my future when it will roll a primer, or something else in its somewhat complicated bell and whistle set-up needs taken apart, cleaned and re-aligning.

Anyone with a brain can go read Enos' forum>'Dillon reloading equipment' to see they don't run perfectly, in fact they are about as fiddly as any progressive press, doesn't matter what color they are. I would go so far to say they aren't the best press one can buy(The best press for any one person can not be written in stone, anyway, the best press is the one that fits the needs and wallet of the user).
But they do have a great no questions asked warranty.
So does RCBS, and Hornady, and I've never heard of Lee not taking care of someone when their press goes down, either.

I have a LCT next to my 650, I like it as much as I can like any tool. I think it is the best buy in reloading presses, hands down.

I am pretty certain there are a boatload of pro1000 and loadmaster users cranking out millions of rounds of ammo and they don't even realize they aren't supposed to be because it is bad equipment. ;)

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