Considering switching from hornady single stage to progressive...what else to buy?


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M1ke10191
October 1, 2012, 04:31 PM
I recently started reloading and bought the Hornady classic kit. I thought a single stage would have been fine, but two things happened:

1) I bought an AR and the time it takes to shoot 50 rounds is way less than the time it takes to make 50 rounds. It's annoying. Same goes for my father and I's 9mm's. 50 rounds from start to finish is about the most my attention span will handle on my single stage.

2) Everyone said reloading would be so much fun and a hobby in itself; time spent wouldn't matter. I don't hate reloading, but I don't consider it fun until I get a finished product. Everything before that is just a means to an end. And when I look at 100+ cases that all need depriming, 100+ cases that then need this and that...it makes me hate my SS press. I have no problem with using it for my Mauser or Mosin, as I'll never do more than 25 rounds or so for each.

Now you might say "well, is reloading worth it for you?" Yes, it is, which is why I'm looking to already (well with winter on the way probably won't actually buy anything til spring) buy a progressive/turret press. I had some questions.

1) Since I have mostly Hornady equipment, if I went progressive I'd probably want to stick with the Hornady progressive press; I have mostly Hornady dies with their bushings, which I know is required. Besides the press, what do I need to buy? I know each caliber (I plan on just doing .223 and 9mm. I'll keep my SS for my larger calibers) requires a shellplate for around $30/ea.

I know the press would come with a powder measure. Now for a progressive, do you need to have multiple powder measures for each caliber? At $75/a pop that can get expensive. How easy is it to detach the measure from the top of the progressive? Also, how hard is it to re-calibrate the proper powder throw if I reused the same measure?

Did I miss any essential or good to have components for a progressive?

2) My other option, of course, is to go with a turret press. I'd choose the Lee if I did this. Then again, I feel like if I'm going to be reloading, I might as well go progressive, buy once and cry once. Is the round count drastically different between the two types of presses? I hear roughly 150 rounds/hour on a turret, maybe 300/hour/progressive. What is your guys' opinion on the two types? I know it's been beaten to death but I figured I'd ask. I am leaning more toward the progressive, though.

Thanks for any input you have.

-Mike

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Shmackey
October 1, 2012, 05:59 PM
It's been a while since I switched from a Hornady LnL, so I'll defer to the others on exactly what you'd need to buy. The LnL is a good press, though, and I'd expect you to like it.

As for question number 2 ... Given your reasons for wanting to upgrade, I think it makes perfect sense to get a progressive. The round count is indeed considerably better with a progressive, and I think it would suit you well if you want to make big batches of 9mm. I would have to slow down considerably to get only 300 rounds per hour. :)

mstreddy
October 1, 2012, 08:12 PM
One thing to add to your list is powder, lots of it. Not kidding there. Mostly... :)
When I started up loading 223 on my LNL AP, one thing I noticed is just how quickly that hopper gets empty.
I started on a SS as well, went to turret and now am running the AP. I'll tell you, and I'm sure Walkalong and others will chime in, loading 223 and other rifle cases on the progressive isn't as direct as you might think. For one, if you have intention on trimming your cases, then you will have to interrupt the loading sequences. What some do is run the progressive in 2 batches, one deprime/resize/expand, take off press - trim, etc, then 2nd batch of prime, powder, seat.
This is not to mention if you have any crimped primers and have to deal with swaging them.
Now, if you are just cranking the rounds out without worrying about trimming and don't have ANY crimped primers, then they will move through the press fairly quickly.

Eddy

KansasSasquatch
October 1, 2012, 08:17 PM
As long as you already have dies and everything for case prep, I think you'll just need the new press and shell plates. The LNL AP comes with a case activated powder drop and you CAN get by with just that one. But if only load 9mm and .223, I would suggest getting a second case activated powder drop and keeping one set up for each. If you load other calibers as well, you may want to consider a powderfunnels.com PTX. With the LNL bushings it's easy to switch out powder measures. If you only have one powder measure it might take you 10-15 minutes to properly adjust for a caliber change but it's still faster than using a single stage.

BYJO4
October 1, 2012, 09:01 PM
The post by mstreddy points out important facts when loading rifle that you don't need to consider with pistol. I have 2 LNL AP presses and they do an excellent job. You will need shellplates for each caliber (normally they can be used for more than one) as you already mentioned. The same powder measure can be used with all calibers and normally can be changed very quickly by having a Quick Change Powder Die ($30) set up for each caliber along with a metering insert ($10) preset for your load. In your case, another variable comes in to play. The .223 requires the rifle powder rotor in the powder measure and the 9MM will use the pistol rotor. Both come with the press but will take you another 5 minutes or so to swap out. Of course you can buy a second powder measure and keep one set for rifle and one pistol. When loading pistol, I suggest you also use an RCBS Lockout Die as a safety precaution. If you do and seperate seating and crimping (as most of us do with semi auto calibers), you will need a Hornady PTX expander ($10) so you can expand and drop powder at the same station.

dennymac
October 1, 2012, 09:36 PM
There are lots of answers to the problem of dissappearing ammunition. First thing to do is to simply load fewer cartridges at a time. I shoot a lot of matches, including bullseye pistol. Those matches use 5 rounds at a time. I practice the same way. 5 rounds at a time. But, all kidding aside, if you get a good progressive press, you can load almost as fast as you can shoot. I shoot the NRA High Power Rifle matches. I shoot an M1A and a pair of AR15's. The Dillon 550 press that I use for the .223 cartridge will load over 350 rounds an hour. And they are accurate enough to shoot into a coffee can at 300 yards, rapid fire from the prone position. I have shot 100 out of 100 points several times, from the sitting position at 200 yards, and from the prone position at 300. Buy the Dillon, and don't look back. Keep your single stage press. It doesn't eat a lot, and it will be useful for as long as you load. The dies all fit, and everything else is good to go. Take the plunge. Have a ball. DennyMac.

KansasSasquatch
October 1, 2012, 11:16 PM
The post by mstreddy points out important facts when loading rifle that you don't need to consider with pistol. I have 2 LNL AP presses and they do an excellent job. You will need shellplates for each caliber (normally they can be used for more than one) as you already mentioned. The same powder measure can be used with all calibers and normally can be changed very quickly by having a Quick Change Powder Die ($30) set up for each caliber along with a metering insert ($10) preset for your load. In your case, another variable comes in to play. The .223 requires the rifle powder rotor in the powder measure and the 9MM will use the pistol rotor. Both come with the press but will take you another 5 minutes or so to swap out. Of course you can buy a second powder measure and keep one set for rifle and one pistol. When loading pistol, I suggest you also use an RCBS Lockout Die as a safety precaution. If you do and seperate seating and crimping (as most of us do with semi auto calibers), you will need a Hornady PTX expander ($10) so you can expand and drop powder at the same station.

What is the Quick Change Powder Die that you speak of?
The PTX expanders are a waste of money if you need them for more than 3 or 4 calibers, unless you use bullet feed dies in which case you get it for free or you need to load pistol calibers under .30. The powderfunnels.com PTX ( http://powderfunnels.com/products.html ) is designed to be used with anything from .30-.50 and for rifle cartridges the powder drop inserts that come with the press work fine. I do agree with the lockout die. It has kept me from making some undercharged rounds when I had a small issue with my powder drop sticking.

BYJO4
October 2, 2012, 12:10 AM
The Quick Change Powder Die is the die the powder measure sits in. You can adjust one for each caliber you load for and simply insert the powder measure in it. Insert the proper metering insert into the powder rotor and you are ready to go. This eliminates any additional adjustments.

http://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l545/BYJO4/LNLAccessories.jpg

KansasSasquatch
October 2, 2012, 12:21 AM
Gotcha. I sometimes forget that they sell the powder measure assembly and that die separately.

cfullgraf
October 2, 2012, 12:25 AM
As BYJO4 said, the quick change powder die makes changing the powder measure over to a different cartridge easier.

But, it can get expensive if you reload lots of different cartridges.

I made drop tubes that were cut so that I do not have to change or adjust the powder die. I just wish I would have thought about making the tubes before buying all the quick change powder dies.

See attached link.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=8008584&postcount=954

I have found a use for a second quick change powder die as I modified a Redding 10-X powder measure to work on the Hornady progressive. The Hornady and Redding powder measures need dies adjusted differently.

Mike 27
October 2, 2012, 11:41 AM
The only thing that I have added was the RCBS Lock out die. Only thing is if you decide to load the rifle on it you can't use it. I don't use the powder through dies so can't really comment there except I have not found a reason to yet. I load 4 pistol calibers on it, and have the plate for one of the rifles but haven't used it yet.

Mike

Shmackey
October 2, 2012, 01:05 PM
You can't use the Lockout die for rifle, but you can at least use the Hornady Powder Cop. It's reassuring for .223 rounds.

KansasSasquatch
October 2, 2012, 01:17 PM
If you use the right powder AND you pay attention when loading .223 there is no need for a powder check die. The right powder at a good AR worthy charge will fill the case at least to the base of the neck. If you have decent lighting you will see the powder charge when you place a bullet to be seated.

wardor
October 2, 2012, 01:18 PM
I'd skip the lockout die. I use to use it 100% of the time, but I stopped after it finally caught 1 error. Not only did I have a case without powder, I also had 4 cases that didn't finish their stations either, including a bullet that wasn't seated/crimped and was about to be ejected with a full powder charge. Get a visual or a visual+audio powder check imo.

Also, you don't have to stay Hornady because you have Hornady stuff -- nearly all the machines use the same dies, but if you do stay Hornady, you'll just need shellplates (and to readjust your dies because the top machine width will be different).

danbowkley
October 2, 2012, 06:36 PM
Shellplates and powder, pretty much. If your dies are all already set up in bushings for the single stage, you shouldn't have to do anything with them besides possibly adjusting them a little.

I also use the RCBS lockout die, and agree with the frustrations above but still use it. Cleaning up the press is a whole lot easier than cleaning up after a double charge goes off at the range. I do keep the body of mine far enough down that it at least doesn't trip the powder measure if it locks up, so all I have to do is back the ram down slightly and remove the offending case, and continue as before, "recycling" the removed primed case to the end of the line.

Having a few spare parts for the LnL-AP can prove handy; I keep an extra retainer spring around, along with that red multi-wrench Hornady sells. For a cheap bullet feeder, you can get the Hornady feed dies and use a length of half inch PVC pipe as a feeder; way cheaper than the unit Hornady sells and almost as fast.

Keep the single stage around though, they're handy to have for small runs and things like the RCBS primer swager.

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