Harold Heffern
January 6, 2013, 12:33 PM
Considering seriously about getting into reloading. I look for 223, & 308 ammo to get impossible to get, and I'm not going to pay $40 or more for 20 rounds of 308. Question is I want to get a progressive loader, what's the best I can get?? I've already got chills about getting started and doing this task correctly, but I know a lot of you have been doing it a long time, and are sucessful. I do know in long run it saves money, and you're able to customize you round for your particular rifle. Any help, appreciated.

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January 6, 2013, 12:36 PM
I'd look at Dillon for a progressive.

But be aware that after the craziness of the last two months, you can't get reloading components either..

Everybody in the country is sold out, and likely will be until the dust settles in Washington..


Harold Heffern
January 6, 2013, 12:42 PM
Thanks... You probably right about availability. I know lot Cablelas etc are backordered. Not only Washington, but we got Illinois governor trying backdoor a bunch laws in lame duck sessions. Now not only Semiauto's , but pump shotguns are on the table.

January 6, 2013, 12:42 PM
Please read a few reloading manuals first. Modern Reloading by Richard Lee is good and Lymans 49th ed. is good too.

Steel Horse Rider
January 6, 2013, 12:47 PM
What Poboy said.

January 6, 2013, 12:54 PM
As RC said bad timing. As Poboy said read up on it.

For .223 & .308 a single stage will do a lot. Trimming cases is why progressive is not all it is cracked up to be in progressive. A Dillon progressive is good but may not be what you expected. I load on a 550B and 2 single stages. Overall it is a pretty convenient setup. It depends on your needs and expectations. Space is a consideration.

If you can see the process first hand that will go a long way to help you. Find a loader locally and look on youtube.

Cost is better the higher you go up the ammo quality ladder.

35 Whelen
January 6, 2013, 12:59 PM
I'd strongly advise against a progressive loader if you're just starting out. Find a good, used single stage press (RCBS, Hornady, etc) and spend a few months learning the basics. By then, everything will have calmed down in Washington (hopefully) and you will have a firm grasp on reloading as well. Besides, with components available in limited quantities, a progressive won't do you much good.


January 6, 2013, 01:05 PM
This would have likely fared better in the reloading section. That said...

If you are considering getting into reloading or roll your own ammunition a good start would be Abc's Of Reloading: The Definitive Guide For Novice To Expert. (

Then get a good reloading manual like a current Lyman manual ( or similar loading manual.

As to .308 and .223 reloading? You will find that most of the reloading components like bullets, powder, primers and new unfired brass have become as scarce as the loaded ammunition. Additionally dies seem to be running in short supply also.

So pretty much what poboy and RC said.


Harold Heffern
January 6, 2013, 01:13 PM
Thanks, guys. I will get a manual first, and go with the basic's. Sound like a lot of good advice, and I don't want to get something I don't know a thing about, and get discouraged. Will keep ya's posted..

January 6, 2013, 01:24 PM
As others stated not the besttime, BUT I just started out at Christmas,and havebeen able to scrounge up alot. Iwould suggest a single stage or lee turret(what I got) I use the indexing for pistolrounds and take the pin out to load .223 and .308 I have on one head. Read up! I started reading about 3 months ago and forgoteverything when I got to the store:uhoh:

I made a list of components for different loads and then matched that to what they had in stock, as a newb in this market tailoring your loads to what you can getis about the only option, the bright side is you won't know any better;)

January 6, 2013, 01:47 PM
It may take some legwork or phone work but there are plenty of small shops with components in stock. I took a short road trip last week, used an app to find local shops and stocked up.

If you can find some basics, a Rock Chucker, dies, brass, One-Shot, trimmer, deburring tool and manual, you'll be able to prep things. I spend far more time on brass prep than loading which pays great dividends with accuracy.

Reloading is about the details. A solidly mounted press, accurate powder measure, accurate scale and a firm grasp on procedure.

January 6, 2013, 01:57 PM
I agree with all the others and I must 2nd the suggestion to get a Lyman 49th edition manual and READ it. Also, by the time you buy into this addiction, you won't save much money, if any. You WILL learn a lot, and be able to make high quality ammo tailored to YOUR guns.

You will gain a good hobby that's not near as expensive as, say, building race cars or riding Harley's. At least not now-don't know what will happen once our illustrious public servants get through raping the law-abiding peons under the guise of safety and the greater good.:fire:

January 6, 2013, 02:31 PM
Up to recently I was a fan of the advice about single stage presses. But it was rightly pointed out to me that a Dillon 550b can be easily used as a single stage press merely by removing the cartridge retention buttons and loading the powder manually instead of using the automatic powder measure.

Mind you once you're into reloading your own a spare single stage that can be used for specific things isn't a bad idea even after you graduate to full progressive.

January 6, 2013, 02:50 PM
You can still find components online, just the most popular weights are out of stock.

In .223, Sierra Match Kings in 69 and 77 grains are still available. Same with weights other than 147 /150 in .308. Some spot shortages of course.

Primers are still out there, just not in the usual amounts. Varget powder is a little scarce, but still here and there in 1# containers.

Whichever press you wind up with, read a couple of manuals first, before you jump in. You'll see why as you go along. It's not "rocket science" but it helps to get prepared before taking the plunge.

Check out Natchez and Powder Valley for components, they're not completely out of stock. Midway USA has been hit pretty hard, and is out of many things.

ol' scratch
January 6, 2013, 03:20 PM
There is much more to reloading than getting powder, primers, cases and bullets. You have to trim rifle brass, make sure it will chamber and work up a load. I still keep a single stage to size rifle brass. Also keep in mind that reloading isn't for everyone. If you decide you hate it, your up start cost will be much lower if you get a single stage. Get a few reloading books too. I like the Sierra book, the Hornady book and the Lyman book.

January 6, 2013, 11:24 PM
I's agree with what most have said here. My own suggestion would be to start out with a good single stage press like a Rockchucker to learn the basics. I reload a lot, and for 5.56 and .308 I use exclusively milsurp LC brass for both the cost and quality.

I deprime with an RCBS Heavy Duty Deprimer, easily handles crimped primer GI brass. Next swage the primer pockets with the Dillon Super Swager. Then I size AND trim using a Dillon 1200 trimmer mounted on the Rockchucker, tumble the brass clean and remove any small burrs left from trimming, prime off the press using an RCBS Autoprime mounted on my bench, and finally go to a Dillon press. There I charge, seat bullets, and crimp the cases.

It may sound like a lot of work, but remember the trimming and swaging is done only once in the life of a case, and by trimming to the very minimum I can get 5 reloads without having to trim again. I toss all cases after 5 reloads anyway. Second go-around, all I do is deprime, clean, prime, and load on the Dillon.

Lost Sheep
January 7, 2013, 12:22 AM
Considering seriously about getting into reloading. I look for 223, & 308 ammo to get impossible to get, and I'm not going to pay $40 or more for 20 rounds of 308. Question is I want to get a progressive loader, what's the best I can get?? I've already got chills about getting started and doing this task correctly, but I know a lot of you have been doing it a long time, and are sucessful. I do know in long run it saves money, and you're able to customize you round for your particular rifle. Any help, appreciated.
It would be much easier if you shared with us:

What do you expect to shoot in the future, chamberings, quantities and how much per year.

What are your shooting goals? Hunting, Long-range ultimate accuracy, casual plinking, some kind of competition, etc?

What limitations to your setup are there? Will you have a limited space? Do you have an entire garage? Will you be able to leave your gear set up more or less permanently or will you pack it away when not in use?

What's your budget?

Are you a ready-made kit kind of guy or one who wants to select his tools one at a time? (Both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks, see below)

About the press type., it is easier to learn on a single stage or a turret than a progressive. Lots of things going on simultaneously on a progressive unless you operate it (at first) as a single stage. Even so, it is easier on a single stage. I like it to this metaphor. A child can learn to walk wearing roller skates, but it is easier in shoes.

Also, although you can operate a progressive as a single stage, the the fact that the ram is not colinear with the die being used means there is an off-axis stress and flex to deal with.

Here is a short essay I wrote comparing Single Stage, Turret and Progressive presses.

A single stage can only do batch operation, turret can do continuous operation of batch and a progressive only is "natural" doing continuous operation. Single is slow. Turret can be maybe 2 to 4 times as fast and progressive up to 10 or 20 times as fast as a single stage.

Prices: Single stage is $50-$100. Turret is $80-$150? Progressive is $150-$2,000 (these prices are wild guesses, as I have not priced them in a while).

A turret is a single stage with multiple die stations. That is the only operational difference. But that difference allows a turret to do either continuous operation or batch where a single stage is practical only for batch processing.

Single stages tend to be (but are not necessarily) stronger and stiffer. This is mostly because single stages' frames are usually of one casting where turrets are of at least two parts assembled, and they move, which pretty much requires some clearance. In practice, the difference is vanishingly small. But we still argue over it. Progressives have several mating parts which move and commensurately more play.

Like a single stage, a turret press does only one thing (operation, like size/deprime, belling case mouth, seat/crimp) at a time, but switching between those is nearly instantaneous. This makes continuous processing practical.

Batch processing, you are probably familiar with. You can do your batches in 50 as I do or 20 or 100 or 1,000. But the operations are the same. (For pistol) Size/deprime and prime 50 rounds, then switch dies and bell and charge 50 rounds. Inspect the charges in a batch and switch dies. Seat and crimp 50 rounds. Batch is done. Move on to the next batch.

Continuous processing: Put the empty case in the press and do all the operations (size/deprime, bell/charge, seat/crimp) and remove the finished cartridge only when all the steps are done. This saves a lot of handling the cases (at least three insertion-removal cycles) and amounts to a lot of time saved.

If the press indexes the dies automatically, this saves a LOT of time. If you index the die stations manually, it is a little slower, but still much faster than batch processing.

Turret presses can do either batch processing (as a single stage) or continuous processing with nearly equal facility.

Because many loaders of bottleneck (rifle) cartridges do manual operations or inspections in the middle of the loading process, they choose to break up the continuous process into smaller groupings of operations, making loading a hybrid of batch and continuous. Other loaders of such cartridges use the continuous process, but temporarily interrupt the process to pull each case from the press before continuing.

Progressive presses can do batch processing, but are designed from the ground up to do continuous processing. It is simply their main reason for being; production rate.

Progressives, by definition do multiple operations simultaneously (except if the operator desires single operation, which can be done). That multiplicity of operation allows producing one completed round with each cycle of the handle. This is true whether the progressive is a 3-station, 4-, 5-, 6-, or 7-station press. Extra stations allow for adding things like a powder-check die or separating the seating and crimping operations, but detracts nothing from the one round per stoke output.

I suggest you view the many (almost too many) videos showing the operation of various presses.

Whatever method(s) is(are) chosen for your new press (you know you are going to buy it), if the production algorithm is well designed for the cartridge and the user it will work and is, by design, perfect for them, their temperament and production needs.

Lost Sheep

January 7, 2013, 12:38 AM
bu.. bu... butt how could you hate it?

January 7, 2013, 01:48 AM
Harold, Welcome!

Check out the Lee "Clasic Cast" Turret press, this press would be a very good choice.
as it kind of bridges the gap between a single stage & full progressive.
A lot of people on this site are big fans of this press.

Both the Lee & Lyman reloading books are good books for getting started.
And as mentioned above,.. The ABC's of reloading is a top choice for getting started as well.

January 7, 2013, 08:53 AM
I'm a fan of progressive presses & believe you can learn on one as easy as a SS. Load Master would be a good press for those 2 round if you are going to do progressive. I however have decided it is easier for me to do rifle on a SS. It also seems just as fast. I use a powder dispensers/scale which has the next charge ready before I can say a bullet. That is what speeds it up the most.

January 10, 2013, 11:39 PM
I use a 550B and love it. I started with it and have never looked back. That being said there is a Dillon press that is a turret and can be converted to a full progressive later if you want. It is a 500. I know many people who have a single stage press sitting on a bench or in a closet that is never used. You might find a used one by just asking.

January 10, 2013, 11:54 PM
Even at todays prices for components having sky rocketed, I can still manage to load a box of good quality .270, 7mm RM, or 30-06 for around $8. And those are some nice quality components Sierra bullet, Hornady, and Speer. And my primers are CCI's, powders usually IMR or Alliant.

And since .308 is a very common bullet and cartridge, so those costs could be slightly less depending on brass and bullet choices, match v.s. standard hunting types.

I use 2 single stage presses and actually enjoy the process more than I would with a progressive. But if your going to be shooting thousands of rounds per session than, yes, a progressive will better serve your needs I would think.


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