How fast is your progressive really?


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45+9
March 12, 2012, 03:42 PM
I'm using a Lee Cast Turret for loading 9mm and 45 auto. With a spare turret and powder measure, caliber changes are less than a minute. Currently, I can set up, run 200 rounds, break down and be out of the shop in 1 hour and 15-20 minutes. I would like to at least double my output, but I'm not sure how much time is spent changing over, fiddling with it, etc with a progressive. If I can at least double my output, I would go with a 550/650 or LnL. Probably change calibers once, no more than twice a month.
So, what's your production per hour spent over all, not just pulling the handle?

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MtnCreek
March 12, 2012, 03:49 PM
You get as good or better production than I do w/ a 650. Increase the output from 200 to 2,000 and I'll be set up with a new cal, 2,000 rds loaded and cleaned up in about 4 hrs.

David E
March 12, 2012, 03:59 PM
Depends on the caliber. Most pistol cartridges on the 650 with case feeder can go 1000 rph, provided you have 9 primer tubes loaded and you WANT to go fast. 800 rph is a relaxed pace. Basically, once everything is adjusted for the caliber, 5 minutes = 100 rds

I don't count change over time, as I don't load 100-200 at a time, then switch calibers. Its usually not less than 1000 until I'm ready to change over, if then.

Mike 27
March 12, 2012, 04:00 PM
I really haven't went for time on my LNL, but I can match your 200 without getting in a hurry. The main reason I am responding is once you have your dies set up in the bushings it takes about 10 minutes to change over. The most time consuming with the LNL is adjusting your powder measure for the new caliber. The dies are drop in, and the shell holder only takes a few seconds to change out. Hope this helps, but I really have not been in a hurry or checked to see my production time but 200 in 1hour 20 minutes is no problem.

GarySTL
March 12, 2012, 04:11 PM
As Mike said, caliber changes on the LnL is very fast. Setting the powder measure is the part taking the longest. If you need a different primer size, add a few minutes. I load 9mm and .40, so don't need to worry about the primers. I don't have a case or bullet feeder for the LnL.

I recently bought an XL650 with the case feeder and find I can load much faster as I don't have to handle the cases other than drop them in the hopper. But caliber changes seem like they'd take longer unless you have extra tool heads. If you need to change primer sizes and perhaps adjust the case feeder it looks to take a while.

I'm mostly shooting 9mm now, so have the XL650 set for that and will do 40 on the LnL.

rsrocket1
March 12, 2012, 04:19 PM
Using my LnL, I could match your throughput. I sea match and not double or triple your throughput because I personally don't load for speed. I load for safety and aim for consistency. I perform multiple checks at each station and my appreciation is that I perform 6 functions with a single down and up stroke. This makes loading 100 rounds a very relaxing 20 minutes rather than a tiring chore. Performing 5 die operations with a single push is what makes me appreciate the progressive.

Walkalong
March 12, 2012, 04:26 PM
With pre-primed brass, & inserting each case and bullet by hand, loading 500 rounds in an hour is easily done on the LNL. 600 or 700 is very doable. I probably average a round every 5 to 6 seconds if I stay steady. No reason not to think that with a case feeder greater rates could be accomplished.

TonyT
March 12, 2012, 04:30 PM
I use a Dillon 550 and opt for safety & consistency over speed. I inspect each case before sizing and the powder drop before seating the bullet. My overall average is a respectable ca 300 per hour.

ReloaderFred
March 12, 2012, 04:42 PM
On my Hornady LNL, I run a leisurely 400+ rounds an hour loading .38 Special with pre-primed cases. I could probably go faster, but find no need to. I'm opting for quality when reloading, hence priming in a separate step.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Blue68f100
March 12, 2012, 04:43 PM
I have the case feeder on my LNL-AP and do 500-600/hr very easily, with primer tubes filled. I don't see any reason to rush since you need to confirm powder drops. Without the case feeder I was doing around 300/hr, I was not rushing. Once you get into a rythem it goes fast. Change over to a different caliber is very quick as mentioned. I have the micrometer head on my powder piston. This allow me to quickly dial in my charge. I have separate powder base dies since I use PTX. This allows me to just change the dispenser over and every thing is preset for the case expander. Doing a complete change over is less than 10 min, and that includes changing the primer size. I spend most of the time getting the powder charged dialed in to my liking.

David E
March 12, 2012, 04:44 PM
I use a Dillon 550 and opt for safety & consistency over speed..

What, others don't?

A "faster" way is to check the cases before putting them in the "to be reloaded" stock.

The 650 can utilize a powder check station. It is also on the side allowing visual inspection.

I could do about 500 safe and consistent rph with my 550

evan price
March 12, 2012, 04:52 PM
I'm running a Lee Pro-1000 and easily run 250 and into the 300s without breaking a sweat or compromising safety. If I had the components already set up to go and the press was running absolutely foolproof I can go faster but wouldn't want to to stay safe.

My best speed in terms of speed versus safety was 1000 pieces of 38 Special in three hours flat including caliber conversion, setup and etc. which is 333 per hour.

joed
March 12, 2012, 05:04 PM
These rates are dependent on cartridge with some being slower. To me 9mm is time consuming compared to others.

On my Dillon 650 I can do roughly 500 rounds an hour and that is doing everything on the press including priming. Caliber changes take 20 minutes.

With the 550 I could see rates of 350 to 400 cartridges an hour. These rates are not hurrying but producing efficiently. Caliber changes are 15 minutes.

You want faster? Dillon 1050, 1200 cartridges in an hour. And this is not rushing either. Caliber changes are 30 minutes. But this press excels at producing quantity. Even with the long caliber change I bet it would still be faster then the other presses catching up within the first hour.

To get these rates I load up 8 tubes of primers before hand and just fill as needed.


I'll give you a tip if you're looking at increasing production. Every progressive press I have has a powder check die and primer alarm. I urge everyone to add these and I will not own a progressive without these alarms. It's not "If" you get a bad charge but "When".

sugarmaker
March 12, 2012, 05:06 PM
I have an lnl and 4 powder measures. 3 of them are lee pro disks (which i prefer), one is the lnl measure i use for 223. I have a uniflow on a seperate stand for low volume. I also have a case feeder. I also have hornady bullet feed dies with tube feed ("manual") for .357 and .44. I bought the hornady die boxes so I can fit all dies in their bushings together. the lee pro measures are left on their respective expander dies in the factory cardboard boxes so no adjustment for flare or charge once they are set and i stick to the standard load. With 1 measure per caliber and not changing the primer feed or case feed, changeover is literally 5 min. counting filling the powderr measure. Loading 100 primers takes 3 min or so, loading all 3 bullet tubes (40 each) takes about 2 min, get and fill powder takes a couple min, then we run a few through the system, check weight, for another 2 min or so. So 10 min setup. At that point it's pretty easy to run 400 an hour without the case feeder provided my assistant fills the primer and bullet tubes. If I have to change the case feeder over, that's another 10 min, and it's another 3 min or so to change primer sizes. With the case feeder and my 14 year old filling primer tubes and bullet tubes as fast as he can we've loaded 600 .357 rounds in about 30 min once things are set up, which I guess is about 25 min total for everything. It takes as long to fill primer and bullet tubes as it does to make loaded rounds so divide that by two if alone. My 44+357 stations are (size and deprime)- (prime)-(expand+charge)-(lock out powder check)-(bullet feed)-(seat+crimp). 500SW stations are (deprime)-(prime)-(carbide size and ensure flush primers using inverted primer stem on case web)-(charge and expand)-(lock out powder check)-(seat and crimp). .223 stations are (lee collet size)-(prime)-(redding body die size + forster trim / chamfer / deburr case)-(lnl charge)-(dillon powder check)-(Forster BR seat).

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
March 12, 2012, 05:33 PM
I've loaded with all of the major brands of progressives. Most any of them without a case feeder will produce between 400-600 rounds per hour. The thing to realize is everything is dependent on a variety of things: Setup, preparation, ergonomics and your concentration/focus.

The more ergonomic your press and bin setups are, the more rounds you can do per hour.

The more organized your bench space is, the more rounds you can do per hour.

The more preparation you do, the more rounds you can do per hour.

The better the ergonomics are on your press, the more rounds you can do per hour.

The more focused you are and the better you concentrate, the more rounds per hour you can produce.


So all things being equal, there's a wide variety of production available from any one of the progressive presses. All brands produce ammo reasonably efficiently for most people. The biggest part of getting production is having the press, regardless of brand, properly adjusted, cleaned, tuned/tweaked and operating it smoothly. You do all those things, you get good production from about any brand. You don't, you won't get good production.

Variable that affect speed are primer brand, brass and bullet size. Other variables are changeover time and prep time. Some brands take more of some things than others.

I have reached a point I want a press that's fairly easy to change over with minimal adjustments and I can leave setup for one cartridge until I've ran off a large number of cartrdiges. This way, I can run off 25 at a time between half time shows, advertisements and such on the tv and never "feel" I've reloaded anything.

And I know if I do my part polishing, tuning, adjusting, loctiting and setting up strong mounts, roller handles, brass and bullet bins, then get supplies ready and in place, then be focused on the process when reloading, the press will do it's part by rewarding me with ease of operation and production efficiency. This will lead me to lots of cartridges:

The big blue bin is now overflowing:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v33/DaveinOakwoodGA/RCBS%20Pro%202000%20Operation%20Pics/IMAG0341.jpg

This is 1500 cartridges I reloaded 25 at a time while watching college basketball. Never realized I was reloading it. Never felt it, just did it here and there.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v33/DaveinOakwoodGA/RCBS%20Pro%202000%20Operation%20Pics/IMAG0347.jpg

But lots of cartridges isn't the whole story. There's also quality of cartridges produced. You want to slow down and operate your press in such a fashion as to produce quality cartridges. Producing quality cartridges leads to accuracy. Accuracy leads to shooting satisfaction.

jmorris
March 12, 2012, 07:23 PM
Bullet fed 1050, 100 rounds in 2.5 min.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/th_1050.jpg (http://s121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/?action=view&current=1050.mp4)

cfullgraf
March 12, 2012, 07:24 PM
When actually stroking the handle on my Hornady L-N-L, I get about 500 rounds per hour. I start with primed cases like a few others.

Coming from a high speed consumer goods production background, instantaneous machine speeds are useful, but don't tell the whole story. It does not matter if your machine runs at 1000 units/hour if half the time it is shut down while fixing problems.

Generally, I run batches of 500-600 cartridges. No case or bullet feeders.

If you add in case prep, press set-up, priming, checking powder charges, resupplying components, correcting jams, packaging and storing ammunition, and clean up my rates are probably really about 250-300 cartridges per hour from fired case to reloaded ammunition.

jmorris
March 12, 2012, 07:29 PM
I generally don't run quite that fast but 100 rounds every 3-3.5 min is no problem (if you have no problems) even with my bullet and case fed 650's

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/bullet%20feeder/feeder1.jpg

angus6
March 12, 2012, 07:33 PM
Never checked on a total, but do a 1-2 count for a couple primer tubes, I always figured 300 an hour off of my LCT

mizer67
March 12, 2012, 08:15 PM
Starting with filled primer tubes, pre-set powder measure full of powder and brass, I can load 750-800/hr of 9mm on my XL650 with case feeder, manually pulling the handle and placing bullets.

With my LNL, when it was case fed, I could only manage 450-500/hr, mainly because I was fixing issues and taking extra care to make sure primers were fully seated. Hand feeding cases to my LNL, I could do about 375-400 rounds an hour of 9mm.

Kevin Rohrer
March 12, 2012, 08:29 PM
I do with my 550 exactly what TonyT does. Safety over speed. I reload as fast as I choose to, and have no reason to hotrod.

codefour
March 12, 2012, 08:42 PM
This is a hobby, not a production based profession. I don't get all worried about production rates. I enjoy my time working my press to unwind after a crappy day at work...

I load on an auto-advance RCBS Pro 2000 without a bullet feeder. Taking my time, checking every case visually for powder, I have timed myself at 400 rounds a minute working at a leisurely pace. I timed myself for S@its & giggles one day using my iPhone's stopwatch. I then counted the empty APS strips. I have gone as much as 500+ and hour but it was not relaxing.

BYJO4
March 12, 2012, 09:02 PM
I load 350 rounds an hour on my LNL without using case or bullet feeders.

David E
March 12, 2012, 09:13 PM
I have timed myself at 400 rounds a minute working at a leisurely pace.

I think you win!

ColtPythonElite
March 12, 2012, 09:15 PM
4-5 rounds per minute is easy to do with my L-N-L.

joed
March 12, 2012, 09:19 PM
I think you win!
LOL, that's what I said too when I read it.

GT1
March 12, 2012, 09:47 PM
This is a hobby, not a production based profession. I don't get all worried about production rates. I enjoy my time working my press to unwind after a crappy day at work...

For some reloading is not the hobby, it is a means to an end, which might be shooting 1000-2000 rounds a week for uspsa practice. Output is very important in that case when it comes down to getting it done in one or two hours, or six.
Many work, have families, and precious little time to sit at their reloader reminiscing about how enjoyable it is feeding bullets powder and primers into a machine.

Lost Sheep
March 12, 2012, 11:11 PM
Paying attention to your rate does not automatically mean you are in a race.

I used to do 50-60 rounds per hour on my RCBS RockChucker single stage, including die installation, primer tube filling, setup and teardown (I keep my gear boxed up and stowed between loading sessions).

With my Lee Classic Turret, I can set up, load 100 rounds and have everything cleaned up and put away in less than an hour. Way less.

Without setup and teardown (but keeping the primer feed and powder measure full) I can load 150 rounds per hour.

With my Lee Pro-1000, I could load 150 taking all operations into account. If I didn't count filling all the tubes and things and clearing jams, I could probably have doubled that. Granted, I did not have the case collator, which would have sped things up some.

My main problem with the Pro-1000 (which I would have with ANY progressive) is that trying to monitor multiple operations simultaneously was difficult for me. I slowed down to be careful. Stroke, stop, check this, check that, place a bullet, stroke again, stop, check this, check that, place a bullet.

I am much happier with my turret.

You may be more comfortable with a progressive than I was. More power to you.

About the race for rate: I monitor my rate as a curiosity. Not as a competition (not even with myself). Loading is a relaxing activity which I enjoy as much for that feature as I do for its output.

Shooting is a relaxing activity, too, but a different kind of relaxation. I am blessed that they complement each other.

Lost Sheep

Waldog
March 12, 2012, 11:16 PM
The only time I ever timed my LNL with a case feeder, I got 100 rounds in 9 minutes?

Claude Clay
March 12, 2012, 11:25 PM
square deal makes 400 an hour but adjust it to 300 to include time spent loading the primer tubes, sorting and preping the cases.
rifle on the lee 4 hole turret is about 75///hour with everything in place to start. i also use the lee for small runs of handgun ammo--38 S&W, 7.62 x 25, 32-20.

very seldom does it actually feel like work. working up a load for a new gun or type of exercise is fun. making by the 500 for CASS or IDPA practice is more likework. but of the kind i choose.

HankB
March 12, 2012, 11:30 PM
I have a Dillon Square Deal B; when loading .45 ACP, a box of 50 rounds takes me almost exactly six minutes, for a cyclic rate of 500 per hour. For the SDB, both cases and bullets are inserted manually, and this is a good, comfortable rate. I probably could speed up by 30%-50%, but rushing things like that would increase odds of a mistake.

Now, that's the short-term cyclic rate; add in all the other parts of the process like refilling the powder hopper, occasionally checking the powder charge, refilling the primer tubes, inspecting and boxing the ammo . . . and my overall cyclic rate drops to somewhere around 300 per hour.

Lost Sheep
March 12, 2012, 11:31 PM
square deal makes 400 an hour but adjust it to 300 to include time spent loading the primer tubes, sorting and preping the cases.
rifle on the lee 4 hole turret is about 75///hour with everything in place to start. i also use the lee for small runs of handgun ammo--38 S&W, 7.62 x 25, 32-20.

very seldom does it actually feel like work. working up a load for a new gun or type of exercise is fun. making by the 500 for CASS or IDPA practice is more likework. but of the kind i choose.
Claude Clay,

I am curious. 75 per hour on the Lee Turret? Are you using the auto-indexing and the Auto-Disk powder measure and continuous processing or are you batch processing (or a mix of batch and continuous processing)?

Does the loading of rifle cartridges vs handgun cartridges make a big difference?

Thanks, and thanks for sharing your information.

cfullgraf
March 12, 2012, 11:45 PM
My main problem with the Pro-1000 (which I would have with ANY progressive) is that trying to monitor multiple operations simultaneously was difficult for me.

Ths is one of the reasons, not the only one, I decoupled the resizing process from the loading process on my Hornady L-N-L.

I can load 100 rounds in an hour on a single stage press, lights on to lights off. The cases are resized and prepared. I really did not need the volume of ammunition that a progressive makes. I wanted a new toy to play with and to reduce some of the multiple case handling required on a single stage.

If I were competing and needed tons of ammunition, I would have a dedicated press with all the bells and whistles to crank out the most ammunition in the least amount of time.

After a lackluster start with the Hornady, I am pleased with the rates I got using the process that I use.

Finally, I am finding the Hornady very flexible and I am doing small batches, 50 to 100 cases, on it efficiently as well as large batches.

rikman
March 13, 2012, 12:14 AM
A lot faster than my turret press. But it's not a race for safety sake.

Hunter125
March 13, 2012, 12:26 AM
You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.

rikman
March 13, 2012, 12:32 AM
Hunter,

My plan was to start out with just a turret press, but I bought one off a club member at a good price and started out with both. I have 2 Dillon 550B's.
IMHO as long as you take your time, figure out a rhythm and quirks of a progressive press they are fast and safe. If I feel like I might have messed something up, I just pull the shell holder pins and pull out the case and dump my powder and start over...

cfullgraf
March 13, 2012, 12:36 AM
You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.

There is alot going on with a progressive but that does not mean you could not limit the operations at any one set up until you learn each step of the process.

My opinion, single stage presses are handy to have around. There are several tasks that they do better than any other press. I feel it is better to learn on a single stage, but loading can be learned safely on a progressive or turret.

Except for the the press itself, virtually everything you use for single stage loading can be used with a progressive, except for Dillon SDB. So, you really would not "waste" any money. I am talking about dies, scale, powder measures and so forth.

The Lee turret press can be set up to load as a single stage and switched to auto index once you are comfortable with reloading. With a single stage, you do things in batches.

Welcome to reloading.

CGT80
March 13, 2012, 01:26 AM
My 1050 with bullet feeder will crank them out at a rate of 2000 rounds per hour, but I usually only do a couple hundred at a time. I run montana gold jhp bullets and check my brass thoroughly before I put it into a drawer at the bench to be used for loading. I have hang ups sometimes, but not often. I can walk up to the press, load a few primer tubes, throw bullets in the feeder, spray lube cases and load that feeder and start cranking out ammo. In 20 minutes I could crank out 300 rounds without killing myself. That would make a real world number of 900 rounds per hour of 9mm. I leave the 1050 setup for only 9mm. Three of us use it for our race guns. My old 550 is much slower and more prone to having problems. I load everything but 9mm on it, but in much smaller volumes, so speed isn't everything, but it still beats the crap out of single stage loading.

Lost Sheep
March 13, 2012, 05:21 AM
You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.
You can teach a babe to walk wearing roller skates but it is a lot easier in shoes.

You can learn to load on a progressive, but it is a lot easier on a single stage.

You can easily make a turret act JUST LIKE A SINGLE STAGE. Just leave the turret stationary.

You can easily make a progressive load very much like a single stage. But it requires more fiddling around, which is distracting while you are supposed to be paying attention to the primary tasks of sizing, priming, charging, belling, seating and crimping, not where the cases are moving around.

It is more complex and requires a bit more attention, but it can be done.

I do not recommend it unless you have a mentor/tutor in the same room with you and the press. If you are learning on your own from books, videos, over the internet or on the phone, I recommend single stage or turret.

Like I said in my earlier post. Progressives have too many things going on for my comfort level. That applies even if you only have one case and one station working at a time. Shell plate rotate automatically, primer feed drops one automatically. Distracting.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep.

fiftybmg
March 13, 2012, 05:35 AM
I have the LnL. No case feeder or bullet feeder. It takes 20 minutes to produce 100 rounds, without rushing, and eyeballing every case charge on the press. This includes filling the primer tube. If you had to change from small to large pistol primers, give yourself a leasurely ten minutes extra.

joed
March 13, 2012, 09:09 AM
For some reloading is not the hobby, it is a means to an end, which might be shooting 1000-2000 rounds a week for uspsa practice. Output is very important in that case when it comes down to getting it done in one or two hours, or six.
Many work, have families, and precious little time to sit at their reloader reminiscing about how enjoyable it is feeding bullets powder and primers into a machine.
Well said, there are reasons people move up to a progressive. I did it when I started shooting 300 rounds a week. My progressive freed me to spend time with family and friends, it was not some kind of mechanical therapy.

At one point I was shooting 500 rounds a week at the range, now I doubt I shoot 500 in 6 months. But I'll keep those presses ready should I start shooting again.

CraigC
March 13, 2012, 10:08 AM
Without a case or bullet feeder, I run around 400-500rds per hour on my Dillon 650. I'm sure I could double that with a bunch of primer tubes, case and bullet feeders.

On the RCBS turret, 100rds.


You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.
I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to learn the process, one step at a time, on a single stage or turret before moving to a progressive. You will need one anyway. Some will say, "but I'm mechanically inclined, I can figure it out". Well I'm mechanically inclined too. Have always done most of my own gunsmithing, mechanic work and put a V8 in an S-10. I'm analytical by nature and a perfectionist and I couldn't imagine learning how to handload on a progressive. You need to learn how to drive in momma's station wagon before you get in a race car.


For some reloading is not the hobby, it is a means to an end, which might be shooting 1000-2000 rounds a week for uspsa practice. Output is very important in that case when it comes down to getting it done in one or two hours, or six.
Many work, have families, and precious little time to sit at their reloader reminiscing about how enjoyable it is feeding bullets powder and primers into a machine.
That's me. I've never really enjoyed handloading and envy those who do. It's always been a means to an end and I'm always looking for ways to streamline the process. There are lots of other things I'd rather be doing. Which is why I will probably never cast my own bullets. Just not worth my time when I can buy them relatively cheap.

MtnCreek
March 13, 2012, 10:22 AM
........I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to learn the process, one step at a time, on a single stage or turret before moving to a progressive. You will need one anyway. Some will say, "but I'm mechanically inclined, I can figure it out". Well I'm mechanically inclined too. Have always done most of my own gunsmithing, mechanic work and put a V8 in an S-10. I'm analytical by nature and a perfectionist and I couldn't imagine learning how to handload on a progressive. You need to learn how to drive in momma's station wagon before you get in a race car...............

+1. When I started loading on a progressive, I already knew how to reload and I thought I was really good at it, until I found this site (thr)... :o If I had started on the progressive, I would have still figured it out, but I feel I would have missed out on a lot of the finer details of reloading. For me, a progressive is a good tool to get high production for an already proven load. I have a couple of single stage presses for the hard work.

jmorris
March 13, 2012, 10:47 AM
You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage?


That really depends on you more than anything. A lot of folks think reloading is just pulling a handle and are unhappy when they learn that there is a lot more to learn than that. Its not rocket science but just look at the thickness of "The ABC'S of Reloading" and you can gather there is more to it than yanking a handle for a few minutes.

That said you can run any of the progressives "single stage" by only putting one case in it at a time (with the 650 you'll want to add primers one at a time if you do this) that's what I did 27 years ago when I started loading with a progressive.

Kevin Rohrer
March 13, 2012, 11:19 AM
Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage?

No and Yes. A single-stage or a turret is safest as it forces you to go slow and take your time. It's also easier to double-check everything at each stage and correct mistakes.

Baby steps, Weed-hopper.

Waldog
March 13, 2012, 11:25 AM
I have two progressive presses that are busy loading straight wall pistol cartridges. I still use a single stage press for 99% of my rifle cartidge loading.

beatledog7
March 13, 2012, 01:55 PM
I studied this diligently before I bought my single stage press.

I concluded that the speed advantage of a progressive press materializes to its fullest only if you're willing limit how much you process the brass. Step one sizes and deprimes on the down stroke of the handle and reprimes on the upstroke. The case moves to to the next station for powder, then to next for a bullet. All this means that no brass processing beyond sizing can occur.

I like to do more than that to the brass: primer pocket cleaning, trimming, chamfering...

Sure, I could do some of this then start the progressive process at the powder charging station, but then a large part of the speed advantage is already lost.

So I use a single stage.

REL1203
March 13, 2012, 01:58 PM
I do about 400/hour on my LNL without a Case or Bullet Feeder going at a decently safe pace that I am comfortable with. Any faster and I start to feel unsafe. I am extremely happy with my LNL over my Lee Turret for Straight Wall Pistol, i still use it for all rifle except 223.

fields
March 13, 2012, 02:02 PM
I have access to both a LNL and a single. I use both to load 9mm. The progressive takes a lot of concentration for me (beginner), and is unfortunately set up outside because of the room necessary. The single, I set up on the kitchen table with C clamps. I work on either to fit my needs and/or the weather. It is easy to "feel" what is happening on the single. I can do some of the steps of the single while watching TV, or talking to the wife. Love to keep about 3,000 cases ready for powder and bullet, so I can then quickly load them however I want. I have taken the ready cases out to the LNL for the final processing. I think you should get a single, as it is a lot of fun to play with, its easy to load 5 like this, 10 like that, and any other combination you would like. Will never sell it. During the loading stages, I like to have no distractions.

My actual thru-put on the LNL is about 150 an hour placing bullets and cases on the machine. I probably have only run about 2,000 thru the LNL, so I am a beginner. Usually I only make about 200 or 300 at a time
.
My biggest trouble with the LNL is getting them primed. Read a lot if you get the progressive- I made ALL/HAD the mistakes/problems discussed here.

gahunter12
March 13, 2012, 02:32 PM
You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.



I started on a Dillon RL550b. My first 200 rnds I used it as a turret press one case at a time. Then I started running progressive, but taking my time. It took me about 2hrs to crank out 200 rnds. I can easily crank 300 rnds per hour with it now. I could go faster, but I look in every case before placing bullets. Also the RL550b is a manual index machine where the Dillon 650, 1050, and Hornady are auto index.

Muddydogs
March 13, 2012, 04:08 PM
I studied this diligently before I bought my single stage press.

I concluded that the speed advantage of a progressive press materializes to its fullest only if you're willing limit how much you process the brass. Step one sizes and deprimes on the down stroke of the handle and reprimes on the upstroke. The case moves to to the next station for powder, then to next for a bullet. All this means that no brass processing beyond sizing can occur.

I like to do more than that to the brass: primer pocket cleaning, trimming, chamfering...

Sure, I could do some of this then start the progressive process at the powder charging station, but then a large part of the speed advantage is already lost.

So I use a single stage.

This is not really true. I can size deprime on my progressive with a lube die way more 223 cases an hour then I can with my single stage. I then process the brass all I want and head back to prime powder and bullet these cases on the progressive which takes way less time then doing the same on a single stage. For pistol calibers and plinking ammo there is no good reason to prep the brass to much. For my pistol I have no need to clean primer pockets or mess with the flash holes, the same holds true for my AR fodder. Know if I want high end pistol or rifle hunting loads then I will do all sorts of things to the brass to make it the best it can be and most of this I do load with the single stage. Any way you look at what you do with your brass a progressive will load more rounds an hour then a single stage just by the nature of doing multipule steps at a time.

Blue68f100
March 13, 2012, 04:10 PM
I learned on a RCBS SS press 35+ yrs ago. Knowledge learned here made it pretty easy for me to move to a progressive. But the main reason I moved to a progressive was due to due to a bad back limiting how long I can sit and tennis elbow. With a SS requiring 4-5x the stroke of the ram you can see how that can hurt a bad elbow. Add to the fact I'm limited as to time I can be up the progressive made sense. Now I'm mechanical incline, perfectionist so looking after the finer details was easy for me. So working out problem and re-engineering weak areas on press operation is a natural. What is easy for me may be very hard for you.

You guys are making progressives sound really attrative. Would you suggest one for a first time reloader, or would you start with a single stage? I have had my eye on a turret press for a while now as well.

Yes and NO. You can learn on a progressive using only 1 station at a time. Straight wall ammo is the easiest to learn on. I also recommend med to slow burn powders to fill the case and give a lot of elbow room to compensate for errors. The largest mistakes noob's make is improper die setup. Mess up here no need in doing the next step.

Another problem is buying equipment that is not reliable and you are working on it all the time. Buy Quality once and don't look back. With this said you will see more threads on Hornady LNL-AP and Dillon 550b and 650. Both have a NBS warranty. These are the front runner when it comes to Progressive. Yes there are others but they don't fall into the same class as these two do.

Now if you have a mentor to guide you through the process will make the learning curve a lot shorter. When I started loading the internet was just a dream, so finding solutions where limited. Most of my learning school of hard knox, and books. I have helped several to learn the reloading skill/knowledge. Even skilled knowledgeable SS uses have problems with progressive.

So yes you can start on a progressive. But only use it as a SS press for the first 1000 rounds. If your able to run 1000 in SS mode and not have to adj any dies you have every thing adjusted right, and moving to progressive should be painless.

There is no perfect AP press, they all have issues/problems. Even $30k machines have problems, but the time between failure is a lot longer since these are main production machines. Most all home use presses have priming issues, but can be made reliable. It all into the finer details on how smooth a press will run.

With my mechanical skill I picked the LNL-AP for it fit my budget and I like the simplency of the press. At that time they were offering 1000 free bullets which make the press cost like a SS press. I do not care for companies that set the price across the board on their equipment. Parts and accessories are normally a lot higher over the competition. Are they worth it, you have do decide that. 25 years ago you only had 1 to choose from, Dillon. Now that they have competition the tables are turned a little. Do they make good equipment, yes. But so do others cheaper.

The bottom line is your decision. Only you know your aptitude when it comes to mechanical equipment and your capability to solve problems. In any case stick with straight wall ammo for the start. Bottle neck ammo require a lot of case prep, die setup is more critical. But all means stay away from high density powder that is ultra fast. These type powders have damaged more guns than any other. I do not use them in 35+ years.

off my soap box.....

kelbro
March 13, 2012, 04:15 PM
Never really worried about the speed on my Dillon 550s. What I do know is that when you load a thousand rounds of pistol, you save around 3000 strokes of the handle.

beatledog7
March 13, 2012, 04:50 PM
Muddydogs (re: #51):

I agree you can used revised processes to allow for processing of brass, and, though I didn't even know such a thing existed, I can see how a lube die would speed up resizing.

No doubt a progressive is ultimately faster; my point was that how much faster is process driven.

latesvak
March 13, 2012, 05:18 PM
With my lnl ap at an easy pace iget 600 rph. Nt to bad and way more ammo then I have time to go shoot.


latesvak

joed
March 13, 2012, 09:14 PM
What I do with my Dillons is cheat. I'm a big believer in Hornady Oneshot. I'll stop every so often and spray the cases and start pulling the handle again.

Without doing this I'd be drained from the 1050 in an hour. That press is faster then I can go and I've seen 1200 in an hour. But after an hour I have to slow down, to old anymore.

1858
March 14, 2012, 02:02 PM
I use a Hornady L-N-L AP with the optional case feeder and can easily load one round every five seconds but ten rounds per minute is more reasonable. I start with 100 primers in the primer tube so I need to stop after ten minutes to refill the tube. If I allow five minutes for that step I can comfortably produce 400 rounds per hour without too much effort. 400 rounds is plenty for a USPSA/IDPA match or practice sesson at the range. I don't have any flipped primers, squibs or any other issues with my reloads so I'm more than happy with 400 rounds per hour. I've seen more than a few issues in matches due to bad reloads and have even given ammunition (my reloads) to other competitors so that they could finish a match.

Peter M. Eick
March 15, 2012, 09:01 PM
With my Pro2000, I can crank out around 650 rounds an hour but I rarely do it. I like to do around 400 to 450 per hour.

This is my hobby. I am not doing it to finish a task, I do it because I enjoy the results and the science aspect of what I have done.

wanderinwalker
March 15, 2012, 10:54 PM
I usually estimate my rate of production on the LEE Pro-1000 at 300 an hour. I don't run it with a case or bullet feeder, which slows down production but I don't mind too much. I'd still rather load 500 rounds of .38 Special on the Pro than try to do 200 rounds of match .223 ammo with a single-stage.

cfullgraf
March 15, 2012, 11:21 PM
This is my hobby. I am not doing it to finish a task, I do it because I enjoy the results and the science aspect of what I have done.

Definitely!

I just spent an enjoyable evening converting a Redding 10-X powder measure to operate on my Hornady L-N-L. I did not even load a single round--zero rounds per hour.

Many thanks to 1858 and rsmith0399 for the tips to make the modifications.

I will give it a whirl tomorrow.

dmazur
March 16, 2012, 06:55 PM
I have a 550b and I get around 300 rds/hr for pistol and 200 rds/hr for rifle.

This time includes the time I spend setting up case cleaning and trimming bottleneck cases, and labeling and loading plastic cartridge boxes.

Actual time sitting at the press is more like 400 rds/hr pistol and 300 rds/hr rifle, but I haven't timed myself with a stopwatch.

I know can do a couple thousand rounds over a weekend, basically two long evenings.

As to the comment that progressive presses limit case prep, I don't believe that is true. Some models may discourage that, but you can usually work around the problem.

The 550b for example, has no auto-index to disable, so you can leave the toolhead full of the normal complement of dies and just use Station 1 by itself. After you have a bin of prepped brass, all you have to do is insert the case at Station 1, push forward to prime, then index before pulling the handle (if you like to do all kinds of primer pocket prep) or just index before pulling the handle (if you believe primer pocket prep is a waste of time.)

As far as complexity = "too many things going on at the same time", I suppose you have to have a certain amount of faith in your setup, and then check to make sure it is still in adjustment.

For example, I check powder charge and COL every box (every 50 rds for pistol and every 20 for rifle). For bottleneck cartridges, I check every case after resizing in a cartridge headspace gauge (for length to shoulder datum and trim length), then toss the long ones into a bin for trimming. When I label and fill a cartridge box, I check every primer for "below flush". When I trim, I check with calipers periodically to make sure the trimmer is still in adjustment.

So far, I've found the 550b to be remarkably consistent. But I'll admit to running the press "one round at a time" for quite a while until I believed it was consistent. And, while you are doing this, there is only one thing happening at one time.

Lost Sheep
March 16, 2012, 10:46 PM
(edited for brevity) As far as complexity = "too many things going on at the same time", I suppose you have to have a certain amount of faith in your setup, and then check to make sure it is still in adjustment.

Right on, Dmarzur. That's my problem. I want to watch each step individually.

On another thread I extolled the virtues of being able to overcome that "hairs of the back of my neck" feeling with the power of intellect. I can do it with some things but not with my powder measure or primer feed. Wierd.

You're right, of course. (As I am, too, I believe.) I do what I am comfortable with and confident of, and nothing more until I mature some more as a handloader.

Lost Sheep

dmazur
March 16, 2012, 11:48 PM
Lost Sheep -

Sorry. It wasn't intended as an attack on any method of reloading or any type of equipment.

I suppose what I was trying to say (and failed) was that a certain faith in the machinery seems to be necessary. As is some level of "quality control".
And this applies regardless of the type of press in use.

In other words, I'm not sure I would watch everything with any more scrutiny than I do now, once I had set it up, even if I was using a single stage press.

For me, and my comfort level, setup is everything. I feel pretty good once I've done that and cranked out a few test rounds, which get measured six ways from Sunday.

However, because of Mr. Murphy, I stop and check periodically just to make sure something unexpected didn't jump in.

I caught one once. Powder measure linkage disassembled itself, and I did a box of .44 Magnums with errors. I caught it with the powder throw test, which I do for every box. So I stopped, checked, found the loose linkage and had to pull down 50 rds.

(Side note: I cannot understand how someone can load 500 rds with loading mistakes, unless they were trying something new and had not tested it for feed in a semi-auto pistol or something similar. For that, of course, you load one box and try it out. Then if you like that flavor, you order a gallon.)

I believe understanding process is what is important.

I would not say that there is any "reloading maturity" required to use a progressive press. At least, no more than is required to use any press.

I have read too many posts of folks who have managed to get into trouble with a single stage press, so obviously simpler equipment is no guarantee of safety.

I congratulate you on your patience in trying to teach reloading to others. I have read your exhaustive equipment recommendations with admiration for your attention to detail. I sometimes envy your ability to explain complex concepts in simple language.

So no, it was not an attack. My apologies.

Lost Sheep
March 17, 2012, 01:42 AM
Dmazur,

No attack was felt and no apology needed. I do appreciate the sentiment and especially your compliment on my other posts. Thank you.

I didn't have that much faith in my progressive, and watched every stroke like a hawk. Especially after I once had to pull 35 rounds (like you, I loaded progressive in continuous mode and stopped every 50 and checked everything) to ensure I found every defective round. My fault. I ran my powder measure dry and did not notice. My bad. My embarrassment. I hope it does not diminish me in anyone's eyes.

Re-reading the last paragraph, I see now that it is I who does not deserve the level of trust required of a progressive press user, not progressives in general. I guess it is good that I know my own limitations. I will try not to project them onto others. Mr. Murphy is not just an acquaintance. I suspect he may be a relative of mine.

On the "maturity" term. Perhaps I should have used the term "expertise". It was late and my vocabulary app was stalled out (to mix metaphors).

Anyhow, matching user skill and capability to the level of sophistication and complexity of the equipment is important. But, as you observe, no guarantee of safety. I believe it just makes it easier to maintain.

I enjoy your insights, knowledge and observations as well, dmazur. Thank you for you kind words and for you contributions to the forum.

Lost Sheep

oldfortyfiveauto
March 17, 2012, 10:16 PM
I've got 3 Dillon Square Deals....I run about 300-400/hour depending on caliber. 32H&R/327 mag and 45acp run the fastest. 380's the slowest. Have to baby the machine to keep from slinging the powder out when it indexes.

With my 550b I run about 400/hour with bottleneck cases.

Shotgun is another story. 4 MEC 600's and 2 9000's. The 9000's run about 350/hour in either 12 or 28ga. The 600's are only used for load development or small batches.

The thing that really controls the speed is all the supporting stuff like having primer tubes preloaded and all your components handy. Poor bench layout can make the jobs miserable.

GLOOB
March 18, 2012, 04:19 AM
380's the slowest. Have to baby the machine to keep from slinging the powder out when it indexes.
Try Winchester AutoComp. It meters great, it's really dense, and it's great in 380.

Pete D.
March 18, 2012, 08:29 AM
I use progressives as a means to an end. Less time loading means more time shooting.
That being said....I load 50 rounds in ten minutes comfortably.
(two Lee Pro 1000s, a Dillon SDB, a Dillon 550, a MEC 9000, a Mec Grabber, a MEC 650.)
What I find misleading about rate per hour info - in advertising and in this thread - is that preparation time is not considered as part of time spent.
with primer tubes filled
Yeah, how about that? Isn't loading up primer tubes or trays part of the process, part of the time spent? You have a Dillon press and you want nine primer tubes filled......how long does that take to do (unless you have a machine for it)? Add that time to your production and what is your rate then? (Load one primer a second into a tube and 900 of them will take at least 15 minutes, realistically even longer.....add that in to your time spent actually pulling the handle). In just about any press that I know of, you have to add primers every 100 rounds; that slows you down.
Cyclic rate is one thing; actual time is another.
Pete

dmazur
March 18, 2012, 02:06 PM
Cyclic rate is one thing; actual time is another.

Absolutely. In giving my estimates I tried to include everything, including case trimming, labeling boxes, etc.

While the question about trimming wasn't raised, I found I was spending so much time trimming that it seriously decreased production rates. And, while a Giraud is quite an investment, it gets the rate back up to where I wanted it.

So, yes, a progressive press isn't a universal answer to increasing reloading production rates.

EddieNFL
March 18, 2012, 03:16 PM
Cyclic rate is one thing; actual time is another.

650 w/case feed:

Cyclic rate is 1080 RPH (18 RPM). Never timed myself from start to finish, but estimating 20 minutes to fill the measure and top off once, fill eight primer tubes and empty the measure, production rate would be 720 RPH...and I believe 20 minutes to be on the high side.

Production rate - 720 per hour (from opening to closing the powder locker).

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