Which Single-Stage Press?


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Bobson
June 26, 2012, 01:08 AM
So I've come to the conclusion that a Single-Stage press will do everything I need in a press, but now that I've been researching them more, I'm starting to find issues I hadn't heard of before. So naturally, I decided to ask here.

Some expectations/wants/needs I have for my press (and equipment in general), before listing the options:

1) Quality. This press must be built well enough to last my lifetime, under normal conditions, of course. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's buying equipment/gear/guns/whatever of marginal quality. I'm not wealthy, and I'd prefer to spend a bit more the first time, rather than regret my purchase later.

2) Ability. I need to be able to load/reload everything from 9mm Luger to .375 H&H Mag. It's not that I will load everything in between, but I will re/load 9mm Luger, and I will re/load .375 H&H Mag, and several cartridges in between. These two calibers are the smallest and largest I'll be dealing with.

3) Brand? Parts/accessories availability is a must. I live in a major city right now, but I expect to move to an extremely rural environment outside the lower 48 states within the next year. That isn't a sure thing yet, but I figure why not be prepared for it? Like I said, I want this thing to last until I'm too old to use it, and I don't know where I'll live when I'm 80.

That's all I can think of for now. Reason I believe a Single-Stage is good for my needs is because even one round per minute is something I wouldn't have a problem with, and from what I understand, a Single-Stage can put out as many as 100 rounds per hour. So anyway, here are the presses I'm considering, along with my current thoughts on each:

- Forster Co-Ax S/S Press - $265. I've never heard of Forster at all before specifically searching for a single-stage press. However, it's the most expensive in the group by a large margin. This isn't a problem if it's worth the money.
- Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic S/S Press - $140. Don't know much about it, aside the fact that Hornady seems to make great ammunition. Is their reloading equipment just as good? More importantly, does it meet the three criteria I listed above?
- Lee Classic Cast S/S Press - $105. Read many mixed reviews about these. Some people seem to be great fans of Lee, others view Lee as a starter brand with little long-term value. Also read some reviews saying Lee products are somewhat below average in build quality.
- Lyman Crusher 2 S/S Press - $125. Only thing I know about Lyman is their reloading manual is very popular.
- RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme S/S Press - $150. This is the press I had intended to buy, but I've started to find reviews saying RCBS' quality has tanked as of late, and these presses are significantly inferior to RCBS Rock Chuckers of the past.
- Redding Big Boss II S/S Press - $165. TBH, I know very little about Redding.

If there's a press I haven't listed that I really ought to consider, by all means, educate me. As always, anything you can teach me is extremely appreciated.

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blarby
June 26, 2012, 01:14 AM
My lee single stage is like the energizer bunny.....or a timex watch.....

I may not like some of their dies, but the press is fantastic- get the anniversary kit if you can.

Scimmia
June 26, 2012, 01:16 AM
From what I understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong), Lee presses only accept Lee dies, RCBS presses only accept RCBS dies, etc.

Incorrect. reloading dies have standarized on 7/8"-14 threads and are interchangable between press brands (Not counting large series dies like 416 Barrett and 50 BMG).

Really, I think every one of the presses you listed meets all of your criteria. There's not a bad one in the bunch.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 01:27 AM
Reloading dies have standarized on 7/8"-14 threads and are interchangable between press brands.
Thank you very much.

(Not counting large series dies like 416 Barrett and 50 BMG)
Does this include .375 H&H? Or will dies in this caliber also be interchangeable between brands?

Scimmia
June 26, 2012, 01:30 AM
.375 H&H uses standard size dies, so you're just fine. If you want to go bigger, the large series dies are standardized, too, so you're not locked into brand you just need a press that can handle them.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 01:34 AM
Awesome, thanks.

Centurian22
June 26, 2012, 01:46 AM
Voted Lee based on research I've done alone. Good luck.

Wildbillz
June 26, 2012, 01:46 AM
My Vote would be for one of the RCBS Rock Chuckers. But I think I would look for an older one not one of the new models. I like the primer arm on the old ones better. I am still using the one I got for Christmas in 1978. Done from 380acp up to 300Win Mags on it. Only thing that has gone wrong with it was a primer arm cracked at the set screw. Called RCBS and got a new on in the mail a few days later at no charge.

WB

Otto
June 26, 2012, 01:49 AM
I'm assuming you don't possess any reloading equipment yet. If that's the case I'd suggest the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme reloading kit.
Just add calipers, dies and a trimmer and you're basically good to go.
The kit runs $300 minus a $50 rebate = $250. RCBS makes quality stuff and backs it with a Lifetime warranty....Lee and Lyman does not.

If all you need is just a press, then get the Redding Boss II...it handles spent primers better than RCBS which makes it a bit more appealing.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 01:59 AM
Appreciate your advice, sir. You're correct in assuming I don't own any equipment yet, and the kit you mentioned is the one I was most focused on. All my reloading will be done in either the garage or a shop with concrete floor, so my reloading setup could throw all spent primers on the ground, and I wouldn't have a problem with it. I'll just sweep up after each session - no big deal.

Otto
June 26, 2012, 02:04 AM
http://www.cabelas.com/product/RCBS-Rock-Chucker-Supreme-Master-Reloading-Kit/1324071.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Drcbs%2Brock%2Bchucker%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=rcbs+rock+chucker&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

blarby
June 26, 2012, 02:29 AM
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423081/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-anniversary-kit

$99.00

Look at all that stuff.......... Oh ya, everything you need ! Well not everything, but the basics for certain.

I'd recommend an RCBS trim-mate, or the lyman one as soon as possible...case prep by hand is hard on the fingers.

The auto prime is fantastic for priming on the press, it really is.

Once you get a few quick-change bushings ( get the ones with the built-in lock ring, trust me) you'll be amazed at how fast die changeover can be.

The little primer pocket cleaning tool....not so much. I'd get the lyman toolheads, and put 'em on a trim-mate. If the trim-mate is out of your budget, the Lyman hand tools are great.

$300.....$99.............$300.........$99.....

You can use that other $200 right away to get some other tools you are gonna need : A tumbler, a caliper, maybe a digital scale, an impact puller for breaking down "bad" cartridges.. You'll find lots of uses for that $200, trust me.

Your choice !

ArchAngelCD
June 26, 2012, 02:35 AM
The Forster press is a very high quality precision tool but at a cost.

The RCBS Rockchucker is built like a Mack Truck and will load anything you throw at it except for the 50 BMG.

The Lee Classic SS press is just as strong as the RCBS but at a lesser cost. I see no reason not to buy it over the Rockchucker and use the saved money on dies.

I own a Forster Co-Ax, an RCBS Rockchucker and a Lee Classic Turret Press and use them all. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 4 I posted about.

ArchAngelCD
June 26, 2012, 02:37 AM
I do not like the Lee Challenger press, it's not built well at all IMO. The Lee Classic Cast Iron Single Stage press is a much better press and the linkage on it is twice as strong as that on the Challenger press.

Scimmia
June 26, 2012, 02:52 AM
$300.....$99.............$300.........$99.....

Your choice !

Yeah, for a far better press, far better scale, and better manual. I use a Lee Classic Cast, but wouldn't hesitate to go with a RockChucker.

blarby
June 26, 2012, 03:03 AM
Not here to start a war, but its not $200 better :p

FROGO207
June 26, 2012, 06:21 AM
The Forster Co Ax uses special lock nuts that hold the die in that allow quick changes without screwing them into a plate. I do not own one but got a couple chances to use one to load a bunch of ammo. It is a great press but for that much money--not my first choice. I own a couple Lee, a couple RCBS, a Lyman, a Hollywood, and an old C&H press. Also a Lyman and RCBS turret presses. ALL of them will last my lifetime as well as two or more lifetimes after that.:cool: Note I do not own any aluminum frame presses. All of mine are rugged and made of cast Iron. I also vote for you to look for a good used one to buy. The old saw of "they don't make em like they used to" is true here here IMHO. The older ones are built like anvils IMHO.:D The money saved will definitely help buy the other stuff needed as well as the "kits" ALWAYS have stuff you do not end up using so why buy it in the first place. If you know or can find someone local that may let you use their press to load some ammo the obvious to us seasoned reloaders may help you make better purchase decisions when you finally do. Patience is a money saver and I am all about being money wise. Good luck finding your place in the reloading world.

kingmt
June 26, 2012, 06:34 AM
I don't know that 1 press is better than the other. There are several good press you just have to decide which 1 meets your needs the best. Price is not a good indicator. Just because you paid more doesn't mean you get more. The Lee classic breech lock has a removable bushing that if you remove it can handle the 50 bmg dies.

cfullgraf
June 26, 2012, 07:10 AM
The best press is the one whose color best matches the decor of your reloading room.

In other words, they all will serve you well.

"All" was not a choice.

hang fire
June 26, 2012, 12:45 PM
Few years back I got the Lee Classic Cast on sale for 79 bucks and is has proven to be fantastic, my old Orange Crusher has been relegated to under the bench. Why anyone except through brand loyality, would buy a more expensive SS press is beyond me.

Legion489
June 26, 2012, 01:23 PM
I have a RCBS ROCKCHUCKER I bought 40+ years ago. It still works as well now as it did then. You will NEVER regret buying quality! RCBS has a LIFETIME warranty too. RCBS dies are very good.

Forster is excellent! I have not, personally used a Co-Ax, but people who have them love them. LIFETIME warranty. Best dies you can buy (along with Redding and Dillon).

A friend has a Lyman Orange Crusher and likes it. Not sure what the official warranty is, but they stand behind their stuff, unlike other companies of low quality junk.

Redding is extremely high quality and has a LIFETIME warranty, although I have not used their presses. Their dies are works of art!

I have not used the Lee cast metal presses (and do NOT recommend ANY pot metal presses of any make!) but after the usual spat of "they are so great!" from the un/mis-informed, many sites are getting the truth out that they seem to have lots of play between the bushings and the press, and the dies and the bushings, if you get the L'N'L model. There are MANY Lee sites that you can check to see this, along with many other handloading sites that state this as well. Lee quality control is, shall we say, "iffy". I have a quote here some where from Dick Lee (<edited by taliv>) that the Lee warranty is just sucker bait to lure in the unknowing (from HANDLOADER'S DIGEST). The Lee (so called) "warranty" is two years, unlike the others who have LIFETIME warranties, which should tell you something as well. I have owned or used all of the non-iron Lee presses and in my opinion they are worthless. Other claim they have them and love them, which might well be true, but in MY experience they are not worth the trouble and aggrevation, so I recommend that people buy quality to begin with and avoid the learning curve. Lee dies are very good.

Although you didn't ask about them, the Dillon 550B can be used as a single stage (although not for case forming and/or swaging, where the others excell), and then you can progress to a progressive, with (GASP!) a LIFETIME warranty.



There is no truth of which I afraid. - Thomas Jefferson
Say you are an idiot, say you are opposed to Legion, but I repeat myself. - Mark Twain (paraphrased)
Read the Legion Five Report at LegionFiveReportblogspot.blog

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 02:02 PM
Every press listed meets the criteria on all three. Of the O frame presses listed the Lee classic cast and the Redding big boss II are the two best because of their primer catch features. The rockchucker supreme is a good press if you don't mind spent primers all over the floor and if you don't mind Chinese frame castings. If you get the Lee classic cast press i would recommend the standard press and not the breech lock version.

rcmodel
June 26, 2012, 02:08 PM
My old Rock-Chucker has been in continuous use since I bought it in 1970.

The only part it ever needed was a ball-end handle to replace the old straight bicycle grip handle they used back then.

I called RCBS to buy one about 5 years ago, and they sent me one free by return mail!
Not bad customer service for a press that was by then nearly 40 years old!!

rc

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 02:09 PM
(<edited by taliv>)

What do you think you are acting like running all around the internet from site to site expecting people to keep listening to your crying and whining because in your mind you feel you got the short end of the stick. I'm pretty sure i know who you are and frankly I'm getting sick of seeing your whiny posts all over the place. GROW UP AND GET OVER IT!

Bull Nutria
June 26, 2012, 02:19 PM
i have a Lyman Spartan C type press i bought new in 1976. parts are still available for the primer arm but the model is discontinued. i lost the primer cups and springs and for $10 they sent me an assortment!! it is solid! Lyman makes quality tools!

Bull

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 02:20 PM
Lyman makes quality tools!

For sure no doubt about that!

RustyFN
June 26, 2012, 02:24 PM
Best dies you can buy (along with Redding and Dillon).

What makes RCBS, Redding and Dillon dies the best? I am curious because I have never used RCBS or Redding. I have used Dillon dies and like Lee better. I use Lee dies on my 550.

manithree
June 26, 2012, 02:26 PM
I'll echo what I've said before. I'm still fairly new to re-loading, but if I had bought a s/s for handgun on someone's advice, I would hesitate to take their advice again.

I ended up with a Lee classic turret, and I load .38 spl, 9mm, and .40 S&W in turret mode. I take out the indexer and use it as a single stage for .22-250, .243, and hopefully .30-06 soon.

I've read a lot of bad things about Lee progressives, but not the s/s or turrets. And the price of the classic turret is so close to the s/s, and it does both, why not enjoy your high-volume handgun reloading more for only a little more money?

I haven't done 375 h&h on my classic turret, but I'm pretty sure it will do it.

jcwit
June 26, 2012, 02:42 PM
Legion489

Dick Lee (<edited by taliv>)

I think we all get the idea you do not like Lee or their products, now grow up and act like an adult and stop the name calling.

Regarding which press to buy, any and that is [B]any[/B of the major manufactures currently in business will more than meet your needs that you list. Spend the bucks you have but remember price alone does not indicate quality and value.

The first press I got has gives me the best value by far and none could even equal it. It is a BAIR press I got way back in the 60's, yup 50 years ago. Why can none equal the value? It was a salesman's sample given to me as a gift, gratuity if you will, sorta hard to beet that for value and yes it still performs as well today as it did then.

JO JO
June 26, 2012, 03:52 PM
redding makes good stuff to,

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 04:07 PM
redding makes good stuff to

As far as fit and finish of the press (O frame) the redding beats them all.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 04:09 PM
Thank folks. This has been answered, and I appreciate it.

You are mistaken if you think the moderators around here are going to continue to tolerate this.
I agree, but will add that you're not helping the situation by repeatedly feeding the troll. Mods, please feel free to close this as you see fit. Question has been thoroughly addressed.

THe Dove
June 26, 2012, 04:12 PM
From the looks of your poll, RCBS is your answer.........

The Dove

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 04:33 PM
Thank folks. This has been answered, and I appreciate it.

Well???? we gotta know what you decided on.

I agree, but will add that you're not helping the situation by repeatedly feeding the troll.

Yes i realize that.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 04:59 PM
Well???? we gotta know what you decided on.
My bad lol. To be completely honest, I'm not sure whether it's going to be the RCBS Rock Chucker or Lee Classic Cast. I'm also not sure whether I'm going to go with a kit, or if I'm going to buy a press on it's own, and mix and match and build my own kit. If I go the kit option, it'll likely be the RCBS, because I haven't found a kit offered with the Lee Classic Cast. If I build my own kit, I'll probably select the Lee Classic Cast. Just gonna depend on the price of the items if purchased separately.

Also going to check out reviews on each individual item in the kit, and look to better offerings for the items that are sub-par. I know, I know. It's a long drawn out process. This is how I shop... :o

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 26, 2012, 05:06 PM
An RCBS Rock Crusher will outlast our lifetimes, if kept from the elements and prevented from rust or corrosion. In fact, I bet it would last several lifetimes! At nearly 30 years of use, they are just broken in.;)

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 05:13 PM
Also going to check out reviews on each individual item in the kit, and look to better offerings for the items that are sub-par. I know, I know. It's a long drawn out process. This is how I shop.

You'll probably find the most reviews at midway, but you'll likely find better prices elsewhere.

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 05:15 PM
You'll probably find the most reviews at midway, but you'll likely find better prices elsewhere.
Thanks for the heads up :) I had been doing most of my research on Midway; but I was under the assumption their prices are also among the best. Where might I find better?

GT1
June 26, 2012, 05:26 PM
Spent primers contained verses all over the place will show your choice to be a happy or sad one later. Especially if you are in the house instead of a shed out back, or some such.

Also going to check out reviews on each individual item in the kit, and look to better offerings for the items that are sub-par. I know, I know. It's a long drawn out process. This is how I shop...

Me too, I enjoy saving money that can be used to buy components or other things.

When/If you price check the Lee stuff try fsreloading.com

4895
June 26, 2012, 05:28 PM
If you buy Green (RCBS), then it will match all of the other equipment that you will probably buy, in color that is. I haven't found a bad product made by RCBS yet, unlike some others.

taliv
June 26, 2012, 05:35 PM
the co-ax is a superior press in MANY ways.

better built
more mechanical advantage
more ergonomic
much better primer seater
>that you can use any time w/o unscrewing dies and inserting adapters like the rock chucker
>that operates at the point of least mechanical leverage so you can feel the seating and avoid crushing primers

you can switch dies out in half a second. go from decap to sizer to seat your primer to bullet seater to crimp die in as long as it took to write this sentence.

superior case holder
>that self-centers making more concentric ammo (and the die floats too)
>that you don't have to buy different shell holders for each caliber

better spent primer disposal

rugerman
June 26, 2012, 05:43 PM
I too would go with rcbs.My rockchucker is over 36 years old and still works great. Back then there were fewer choices I chose rcbs and have never looked back.

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 06:03 PM
Thanks for the heads up I had been doing most of my research on Midway; but I was under the assumption their prices are also among the best. Where might I find better?

Check grafs.com as shipping is a flat $5.95 and also checkout midsouthshooterssupply.com there are others that are usually lower such as natchez and i think wideners is very reasonable, but i haven't been to their site in a while. F&M (not FS) has about the best prices anywhere on Lee stuff, but it may take a couple of weeks to get an order from them. Sometimes you will come out better at midway depending on what you buy and one thing for sure they have excellent customer service and hasty delivery.

JimKirk
June 26, 2012, 06:13 PM
the co-ax is a superior press in MANY ways.

better built
more mechanical advantage
more ergonomic
much better primer seater
>that you can use any time w/o unscrewing dies and inserting adapters like the rock chucker
>that operates at the point of least mechanical leverage so you can feel the seating and avoid crushing primers

you can switch dies out in half a second. go from decap to sizer to seat your primer to bullet seater to crimp die in as long as it took to write this sentence.

superior case holder
>that self-centers making more concentric ammo (and the die floats too)
>that you don't have to buy different shell holders for each caliber

better spent primer disposal

Agree with this .... is may cost more at first .... but as you use it ...you'll find that it is worth every penny....

As far as "special" locknuts for the dies .... The Forster brand along with the round Hornady work best .... but all of my RCBS dies are old and they came with round lock rings that work just as well....My Lyman die round rings work too...

Uniquedot
June 26, 2012, 06:28 PM
F&M has the classic cast for $93.99 and the RCBS supreme for $126.75 as well as the Lyman crusher for $109.99 You really can't go wrong with either, but the Lyman can't take large series dies though. Looks like midway has a great price on the big boss 2.

DoubtingDuck
June 26, 2012, 07:48 PM
Harrell presses (http://harrellsprec.com/index.php?crn=205&rn=381&action=show_detail) are worth owning and using. I've tried the ones in your list and none are really up to creating precise ammo. I'm not saying they are junk, they are just inferior to a benchrest loaders press. :)

Bobson
June 26, 2012, 08:18 PM
The Forster Co-Ax does sound appealing, but I wonder if I would fully appreciate what it offers over the less expensive presses, considering this would be the first press I've ever used. The ability to swap dies out so quickly is the most appealing thing listed there. Not to minimize the other attributes; just saying.

@ DoubtingDuck: I don't know the future, but my best guess is that benchrest shooting is something I'll never really get into. :p

midnattsolen
June 26, 2012, 09:11 PM
Any one of the presses you've listed will definately meet your requirements. The biggest decision is which manufacturer's kit to buy when starting out. I bought a basic RCBS RS3 kit. I looked at LEE but just did not like the looks of their powder scale. It looked a little on the "cheap" side. My RCBS kit came with the 505 scale, which at the time came highly recommended. I added a caliper set and was ready to go. Later on I added a Lyman universal case trimmer and an RCBS powder measure. So far I have been happy with my RCBS press.

res7s
June 26, 2012, 11:12 PM
I own three Lee's(Classic Cast, Classic Turret, Challenger), one RCBS RS/JR, and one Dillon RL300. I use my Lee Classic Turret press the most. I wouldn't buy the Hornady because it's aluminum. I prefer iron or steel. If I was going to buy a new O-frame, it would be a Lee Classic Cast. If I was going to buy a single stage and money was no object it would be either a Forster Co-ax or a Redding 700 Ultramag. While it is a C-frame, you'll notice the linkages are attached at the top of the frame and this should limit any flexing of the frame. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/736031/redding-700-ultramag-single-stage-press You'll also notice the linkage bolts are supported on both ends. A friend that swages pointed this out to me. Apparently he once broke or bent a bolt on a Redding Big Boss. The RCBS RC, Lyman Crusher II, Lee Classic Cast all fully support the linkage bolts. Next, the Redding presses and the Lee Classic Cast have hollow rams. This allows the primers to fall through the ram into a tube, instead of bouncing out of a tray onto the floor. This doesn't sound like much, but it is aggravating after a while. I would have voted, but you didn't allow us to vote for more than one press.

If you decide on buying either an RCBS or Redding I suggest buying a used one as well. Also never over look closeouts or factory reconditioned products. Lyman has Orange Crushers for $87.75. IDK how reasonable they are on shipping, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. http://www.lymanproducts.com/store/page166.html

If Natchez will ship to your state they usually have good prices.

GLOOB
June 27, 2012, 02:39 AM
I'm surprised hardly anyone comments on the priming systems on these presses. A press that spits spent primers haphazardly into a non removable base and that's so awkward to prime on that using a hand primer is faster and easier.... well, sure it might last two lifetimes instead of one. So I guess you want your kids to suffer with it after you're gone??

Prioritizing durability on a single stage press doesn't make any sense. You'll spend 100's of times the cost of the press in components by the time you wear one out.

Most SS presses "die" by being left in the basement to rot or sold off in a garage sale after they've been upgraded or the hobby abandoned. Not because they wore out or broke.

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