Single stage press bad for pistol ammo reloads?


PDA






rajb123
July 15, 2012, 06:47 PM
.....got a RCBS rockcrusher recently and I started to reload rifle ammo (270 win, 338 win mag) this weekend.... my first lesson learned was the need to use adequate case lube....

After loading 150 rounds, I have concluded that this setup is probably not the best choice for pistol ammo reloads; right?

...anyway, some of the directions in the rockcrusher kit are very criptic like using the primer gizmo, scale and powder measure....

Is there a video that can shed some light on this stuff?

Thx,,,,

If you enjoyed reading about "Single stage press bad for pistol ammo reloads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Mike 27
July 15, 2012, 07:00 PM
A single stage works fine for pistol. Obviously not as fast but you don't have to lube the cases so that makes it a little faster. I still use my single stage on many of my pistol rounds and I have a LNL. When I am working at max loads I use the single (usually my 44mag bear loads).

Lost Sheep
July 15, 2012, 07:23 PM
.....got a RCBS rockcrusher recently and I started to reload rifle ammo (270 win, 338 win mag) this weekend.... my first lesson learned was the need to use adequate case lube....

After loading 150 rounds, I have concluded that this setup is probably not the best choice for pistol ammo reloads; right?

...anyway, some of the directions in the rockcrusher kit are very criptic like using the primer gizmo, scale and powder measure....

Is there a video that can shed some light on this stuff?

Thx,,,,
When I started loading, I used a RockChucker for years for my .357, .45ACP, 9mm and 44 Mag.

Worked great. Reliable.

But slow.

I got a couple of progressives. Worked great. Faster. Easier to make mistakes on. And easier to make a lot of mistakes in a row. I couldn't keep track of multiple simultaneous operations very well. That's just me, though.

I switched to an auto-indexing cast iron turret press and am much happier.

I still keep the RockChucker. It will be available on the used market after I am dead.

The RockChucker is excellent for handgun ammunition. It just may not be the best-suited, depending on what you are doing with that ammunition. Carefully crafted individual hunting rounds would make my choice the RC or other equally robust single-stage press. Making a hundred or so rounds a month for recreational shooting is a reasonable occupation for a single-stage press.

If you want around 500 rounds a month, an autoindexing turret press used in continuous mode is the ticket (in my opinion).

If you want 1,000 rounds a month or more, a progressive is the way to go.

What's best? Whatever fits your needs and your temperament.

Lost Sheep

For a "If I knew then what I know now" thread, click here:
http://rugerforum.net/reloading/29385-budget-beginning-bench-you-will-never-outgrow-novice-handloader.html

FROGO207
July 15, 2012, 07:33 PM
If you batch load your pistol rounds then it goes a lot faster than making 1 or 10 at a time. I usually run 4 loading trays of 50 at a go. I also size, trim if needed, clean, and then prime ahead of time. This works well for me when batch processing a bunch of ammo. I can easily load 300-400 45 ACP or 9MM an hour this way.

EddieNFL
July 15, 2012, 07:43 PM
If you batch load your pistol rounds then it goes a lot faster than making 1 or 10 at a time.

Thanks for the chuckle. At first, I thought, "No way!" But I'll bet somewhere there's a guy...

drsfmd
July 15, 2012, 07:47 PM
These guys nailed it... a single stage works fine, but is maddeningly slow if you are making any volume of ammo.

I don't have the patience to reload on a single stage unless I'm just wanting to load up a few rounds of something new and don't want to change a progressive press around.

Lost Sheep
July 15, 2012, 07:55 PM
These guys nailed it... a single stage works fine, but is maddeningly slow if you are making any volume of ammo.

I don't have the patience to reload on a single stage unless I'm just wanting to load up a few rounds of something new and don't want to change a progressive press around.
That's where the Turret press really comes into its own. Caliber swaps are so much easier than on a progressive (or on a single stage for that matter).

The turret can BE a single stage (for batch processing) simply by not moving the turret head. But is instantly convertible to the much faster continuous processing by advancing the turret head instead of switching cartridge cases. All that case handling takes time.

Lost Sheep

blarby
July 15, 2012, 07:57 PM
I reload approx 500-600 pistol rounds a week on my single stage.

Batch processing isn't the fastest, but it gives you premier quality control and uniformity.

Crashbox
July 15, 2012, 07:58 PM
I use my single-stage press for loading hot .357 Magnum rounds since my progressive press likes to shake the powder out of the cases when they are on the full side.

I also use the SS press for final seating and crimping of my .40 S&W rounds, as the OAL is much more consistent. In other words, I bell, charge and partially seat the rounds on the progressive, then finish 'em off on the SS.

Yes, using a SS press for pistol rounds is nowhere near as fast as on a progressive, but there are a few advantages as well.

rg1
July 15, 2012, 08:13 PM
I've loaded on single stages since the early 1980's. Wouldn't load on anything else. While I don't shoot large volumes or competitions I still have loaded large quantities on single stage presses. Notice I say presses as I find it very helpful to have two single stage presses side by side. I size on one and move the case to the next press for expanding. Seat on one and crimp on the other, etc. Makes it faster and easier. A second used press can be found for not a lot of cash.

BYJO4
July 15, 2012, 08:22 PM
A good single stage press will reload anything accurately. I used a Rockchucker for 35 years before buying a progressive which I now use for all my handgun loading. It's simply a matter of time spent in the loading room. A progressive press produces fine ammo in a fraction of the time it takes to load the same amount on a single stage.

918v
July 15, 2012, 08:25 PM
Single stage is easier to learn, easier to use, and easier to develop match-grade loads. Progressives are for people with ADD.

drsfmd
July 15, 2012, 08:35 PM
Progressives are for people with ADD.

Or a life...

blarby
July 15, 2012, 09:02 PM
Or a life...

Or no hands, if recent experiences with newbies and progressives are indicative of the continuing trend.

eam3clm@att.net
July 15, 2012, 09:30 PM
There is numerous videos on youtube. Some of these videos are actually well put together and can help. I really dont understand why you said that it is not the best choice for pistol ammo. Do you mean that it may not be the best choice for you to use for pistol ammo.

gamestalker
July 15, 2012, 11:57 PM
I've been using a single stage for al my metallic reloading for mroe than 30 years. But if you are intending to load hundreds at a time, get a progressive press at the bare minimum.

GS

4895
July 16, 2012, 12:00 AM
I think a SS press is the best choice for any centerfire ammunition reloading.

I have been interested in a LEE turret press lately but can't find one locally to check the quality and get a hands-on feel for it.

918v
July 16, 2012, 12:03 AM
If you have ask about quality, you won't like it.

MachIVshooter
July 16, 2012, 12:12 AM
anyway, some of the directions in the rockcrusher kit are very criptic like using the primer gizmo, scale and powder measure....

As others have suggested, watch a couple youtube videos. Reloading equipment is really pretty self-explanatory, IMO. The challenging part is just figuring out some of the minutia that isn't explained in the manuals, like not allowing the primer tray to slide out at all on the hand priming tool, or a primer (especially a small one) will flip sideways and jam up the works.

Batch processing isn't the fastest, but it gives you premier quality control and uniformity.

This is why I still do it. I see the utility in using progressives, but I have never had a squib or round with a crushed primer or damaged bullet or mangled case mouth end up in my stock because every single round gets inspected in each stage.

I also find reloading cathartic, so I don't mind spending a few hours over the course of a week to load a few hundred rounds.

WYOMan
July 16, 2012, 12:32 AM
I still use a SS for everything. I'm a very precise, and detail oriented person, plus I find it interesting and relaxing at the same time. Once I have accurate loads for everything, I get bored. For me the quote should have been, " Only hand-loading to find the accuracy potential of a firearm is interesting".

1SOW
July 16, 2012, 02:29 AM
" Only hand-loading to find the accuracy potential of a firearm is interesting".

Still trying to become better pistol shooter, I prefer: "Only hand-loading to find ammunition that allows the shooter reach his accuracy potential interesting".

Lost Sheep
July 16, 2012, 04:05 AM
Single stage is easier to learn, easier to use, and easier to develop match-grade loads. Progressives are for people with ADD.
I think you have that backwards. Progressives are definitely NOT for people with attention deficit disorder. If you can't concentrate, that is a recipe for disaster.

A.D.D. and loading don't mix well without extreme precautions.

Lost Sheep

kingmt
July 16, 2012, 07:51 AM
I got burnt out using a SS & measuring each charge with a beam. I quite loading twice. The last time I started was when the kids found my gear & wanted me to show them. They wanted to keep doing it so I thought there has to be a better way. I did some reading & decided a Pro1000 was right for me & my budget. Well it was more then I could afford but the whole family made sacurfices so we could get it. We also bought a degital scale for $2.50 off eBay. I didn't know that Lee was junk to be able to pass all my problems off on the press. I studied each problem to figure out what was causeing it & learned how to do it correctly. I soon found the powder measure & scale were my bigest improvements but the scale had some short commings. A year later when the battery went dead I had more money & we decided to get the Smart Reloader s/d. I didn't know it was junk ether so it worked/works great.

I still like the Pro1000 but added a Load Master. I still prefer SS for rifle but using a powder measure. I don't mind using SS for pistol as long as I use the Pro Auto Disk. I will never use the 505 scale except to remind me not to buy another beam.

ShadowsEye
July 16, 2012, 09:37 AM
I started reloading about 4 months ago, on a single stage press as the internet wisdom dictates, and I'm fairly glad I did. I've yet to reload any rifle ammo, the big motivation was 38 spl. $24.00 a box was too dang expensive, and I'm able to load 50 highly accurate rounds for about $6. After about 800 rounds I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the process, and I wanted to carry my savings into 9mm, (not nearly as drastic, but still $6 a box compared to $10). And for this I picked up a Dillion 550b. I now load both 38 and 9 on the Dillion, and I plan on adding .223 and 45acp in the future. I'll still hang on to the RCBS for working up loads and for loading 308 and other rifle rounds.

If you were to continue using your SS press for pistol ammo as well, I would do things in phases. Size, prime, bell, in one sitting 200 - 400 cases at a time. Then charge a full loading block and seat/crimp bullets. I found if I did a "marathon" session on the SS by the time I was measuring powder I was already fatigued and my concentration wasn't 100%.

ranger335v
July 16, 2012, 09:55 AM
Any single stage press is great for smallish quanities of handgun and highly accurate rifle ammo, and for learning to reload properly/safely with proper attention to detail. Anyone calling a Rock Chucker a "rockcrusher" and ignoring written instructions to lube cases is not properly attentive to detail. IMHO.

People who weigh individual handgun charges are amusing to me.

Naterater
July 16, 2012, 10:20 AM
IMO, the little lee c press is the best for pistol--you can load it from any direction because it's a C frame, and it's definitely strong enough for pistol. It's smooth and it gives you a much better feel than larger presses. And it's only $24!

beatledog7
July 16, 2012, 10:51 AM
Using a single stage press for any round is perfectly ok, and it will almost certainly provide a higher level of quality control than can be achieved with even the best progressives. That's why I would not recommend a progressive to a new reloader.

I did consider a progressive as my first press. I almost bought a LNL AP, but settled on the LNL classic kit, which netted me most of the other things I needed to get started for the same money as the AP alone would have cost. I have loaded a mere 3900 (nearly 120 different recipes) rounds thus far, each one requiring at least two strokes of the press (size/de-prime, seat bullet) and some as many as five (size/de-prime, de-bulge, flare, seat bullet, taper). That sounds like a lot of work so so few rounds, but I've learned an enormous amount from the process.

The most important lesson--by far--was one I already knew from playing musical instruments: that asking my tools to do my job for me is asking too much. A handloader must be accountable for every step of the process.

I believe kingmt is onto something. Aside from the tedium of brass prep (a much debated topic itself but essentially an off-press task), the most tedious, least interesting part of handloading is metering/weighing powder. Most measures that are quite consistent once they're set. But with some powders they can be a bit fiddly to get calibrated.

If I'm only going to build 20 or so rounds of a proven recipe or any number of a new recipe, I don't bother with a powder measure. I just select a dipper that's going to hold a bit over my desired charge and pour into the scale pan until I'm there. I've learned how to use a dipper to remove .1 grains from the pan very nicely and to trickle from a dipper to get the exact charge. For less than 20 rounds or so, this is less frustrating (and maybe faster) than using a powder drop.

All that leads me to this revelation: the biggest reason to move to a progressive is to avoid the manual powder measuring step. But that would still require the fiddly part of calibrating the powder drop.

The next biggest reason would to avoid so many handle strokes for each round. But to maximize that advantage, the reloader has to forego most of the brass prep steps that many of us perform. No trimming, chamfering, primer pocket cleaning, etc. are possible without interrupting some part of the progressive process.

To summarize: the speed and volume advantages of a progressive press in progressive mode only come into play when the reloader has proven the recipe, has already prepped his brass to whatever degree he chooses (or chooses not to do very much), has verified the die and the powder throw settings, and has decided to make a butt ton of rounds at one go. Maybe it also requires that he is more interested in having the job done than in enjoying the craft of ammo making.

If I ever reach that point, I'll get a progressive.

James2
July 16, 2012, 11:52 AM
I have used only a SS press for many years, loading several rifle and pistol cartridges. I enjoy the reloading, so am not worried about the time spent. When loading pistol, I clean the brass, then size and decap a bunch, maybe 200-300. Then prime with a hand primer tool, not the press. Much easier. I use a powder measure to throw powder and a loading board that holds 50. I will charge 50 then take the board and hold it under the light and look into each casing. This lets me visually check that each has powder, and none has a double charge, then I will seat bullets. No squibs nor kabooms doing this.

Certainly you can pay attention to detail and make some very uniform and accurate loads with a SS press. Pistol or rifle.

No problem to load 200-300 a week with a SS press. If you need more than that, you may opt for a progressive.

kingmt
July 16, 2012, 01:13 PM
Beatledog
You missed taking the case out & putting it back. I haven't cleaned a primer pocket in 10 years. Even with a SS this is a waste of time for me.

I even use my progressive to work a load or just to build a mag full. It doesn't take me any longer to set up the progressive then it does to srt up SS.

jcwit
July 16, 2012, 01:19 PM
Years and years ago I started with a Lee Loader using a rubber mallet, progressed to a Bair single stahe in the 60's which was slightly faster. Moved on up to a turrent press that I used for years. Have now returned to single stage presses, 2 of them side by side with a powder measure to the right hand side of the presses. I now batch load only, able to control myself better this way as I've gotten older.

May not be the fastest but it suits me and I'm more than happy doing it this way.

highlander 5
July 16, 2012, 01:34 PM
Before geting my 550/650 I used a SS press and with my set up I could load 100-150 rounds in an hour,granted it was slow but none the less effective. As many have said do each step as a batch and the whole reloading process will go quicker. And if you think a SS press is slow try the original Lee Loader,the best I could do was 25-30 rounds per hour.

beatledog7
July 16, 2012, 01:44 PM
You missed taking the case out & putting it back.

True, and that's actually a very good point. I could add that I spend more than zero time picking up cases and finished rounds that I've dropped while performing these steps. That's why I'm extra careful when I pick up and insert a charged case. But I tend to fumble more often taking out than inserting.

I haven't cleaned a primer pocket in 10 years.

I do clean them most of the time. Since I'm chamfering anyway, it takes almost no time per round to rotate the case and do the other end (I use an RCBS case prep center). The mound of crud that accumulates around the pocket cleaning head tells me this step may be worthwhile, though I have no empirical evidence that it makes any real difference.

I can finish prepping tumbled brass (size/de-prime, trim if needed, decrimp if needed, chamfer and pocket clean) in about 20-60 seconds per case. That's the stage at which most of my brass gets labeled and stored. From there I can hand prime, set up the dies, flare, charge, seat and crimp 50-70 rounds in an hour. That's very roughly a total of a minute and a half per finished round, which is as fast as I need to go for the volume I shoot. And at that pace, it's still enjoyable.

jcwit
July 16, 2012, 02:01 PM
Before geting my 550/650 I used a SS press and with my set up I could load 100-150 rounds in an hour,granted it was slow but none the less effective. As many have said do each step as a batch and the whole reloading process will go quicker. And if you think a SS press is slow try the original Lee Loader,the best I could do was 25-30 rounds per hour

Heck, I can easily triple that with a Lee Loader and loading in batches. I still use a Lee Loader at the range when wishing to work up loads.

Why does everyone wish to load so fast, I look at reloading as an important segment of my hobby and something I wish to enjoy, not a job I wish to get over with.

When my hobbies turn into work its time to find something else to do in my spare time.

ShadowsEye
July 16, 2012, 04:51 PM
Heck, I can easily triple that with a Lee Loader and loading in batches. I still use a Lee Loader at the range when wishing to work up loads.

Why does everyone wish to load so fast, I look at reloading as an important segment of my hobby and something I wish to enjoy, not a job I wish to get over with.

When my hobbies turn into work its time to find something else to do in my spare time.
Reloading can be both a hobby and a means to an end (shooting) for economic reasons. For me it's both, there's not a great deal of fun in cranking out 200 pistol rounds, but it's a lot less tedious on a progressive press. Conversely there is something very satisfying about cranking out perfect match grade rifle loads slowly and methodically.

918v
July 16, 2012, 06:11 PM
I enjoy reloading. But I break up the steps:

Sizing/Depriming/Case Mouth Flaring/Priming can be done on a Lee Hand Press while watching TV or relaxing outside or whatever. Once your brass is prepped, charging and seating/crimping takes only minutes. You can charge 50 pistol cases in two minutes with a RCBS Little Dandy. You can seat/crimp these rounds in three minutes. Thats a total of five minutes for 50 rounds.

kingmt
July 16, 2012, 06:48 PM
On a SS I didn't enjoy it because it was to time consuming. That is why I quit twice. There was still a draw to it tho & my whole family wants to be part of it. If they aren't part of it thwy want to be a distraction so it is best if everyone has a job. It is also good to have someone else do your QC. With my wife feeding cases keeping the second eye on the primers everything keeps moving along. Her & one of my sons are doing QC & boxing while another is feeding parts. My 3year old girl even helps at times. My 1 year old wants to so bad he can't stand it but I haven't found a job for him yet. I'm thinking a coffee can with brass & walnut might be perfect for him.

If it wasn't for the progressive we wouldn't be able to enjoy it as much as we do. Without the powder measure & scale/despensor we wouldn't enjoy it at all.

GLOOB
July 16, 2012, 09:32 PM
All depends on how much you shoot. It works for me, but shooting time is my limiting factor. I'm a bit of a drive to the nearest range. When I do go shooting, I never manage to run out of ammo. I shoot til I'm tired of shooting. I haven't bought a single factory round since I started reloading, and I have more assembled ammo in stock then I ever had before.

OrangePwrx9
July 17, 2012, 07:46 AM
I've found a combination of turret press and SS works well for me on pistol ammo. I size, decap, bell and prime a single case on my Lyman turret. Then take the case out of the Lyman to inspect the primer and charge. Finally it goes into the old iron RCBS JR to get the bullet seated.

The RCBS appears to provide dead-nuts alignment between ram and seating die, whereas the Lyman always seems a bit iffy.

Lost Sheep
July 17, 2012, 06:02 PM
(truncated for brevity)
Why does everyone wish to load so fast, I look at reloading as an important segment of my hobby and something I wish to enjoy, not a job I wish to get over with.

When my hobbies turn into work its time to find something else to do in my spare time.
I wish to load that fast, not because I don't enjoy loading, but because I also enjoy shooting. More rounds loaded, more shooting.

The regular stroke-stroke, chunk of the press is relaxing, as is the focused concentration on the powder drop, bullet seating, etc.

They say stroking a furry pet lowers people's blood pressure and relaxes them. I suspect (for some, you and me among them) loading might do the same. For others, (those who really DO want to achieve the highest output rates) it may be as invigorating as a tense competition.

Maybe I should start a poll thread asking if people feel they fall into one category or another? Or maybe not enough loaders think about such things.

I keep watch on my output rate not as a race, but for the same reason I keep track of my time commuting to work. It is a curiosity.

Lost Sheep

If you enjoyed reading about "Single stage press bad for pistol ammo reloads?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!