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Budget Progressive Kit?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TenDriver, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. TenDriver

    TenDriver Well-Known Member

    I've been wanting to reload for a while now, and have finally started looking around at presses. I'll be reloading .270 Win and 44 Mag mainly, possibly 9mm and a few other at some point.

    I have a 3 yr old at home and free time is limited, so with this in mind I'm thinking a progressive press is more the way to go. Can anyone advise on a good progressive kit to get started?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  2. drsfmd

    drsfmd Well-Known Member

    The Lee is case specific. I mean, it *CAN* be converted, but it's not easy.

    If you really want a progressive, I'd look for a used Dillon RL550. It doesn't auto advance, but it does everything else progressively. You should be able to find a used one for $300-$350 depending on accessories, dies, etc...

    Edit: I answered a question that you edited out... left my original answer here.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Budget minded? Lee.
  4. TenDriver

    TenDriver Well-Known Member

    Starting to think the budget and experience level will dictate a single stage press.
  5. GT1

    GT1 Well-Known Member

    Watch the Lee Classic Turret videos on youtube.

    About twice the speed of a SS. It is a favorite among many reloaders and some nice press kits are available out there.
  6. Kidslash

    Kidslash Active Member

    Buy Once, Cry Once. Save up and get a Dillon. You will get most of your money back if you decide to sell it down the road.
  7. cberge8

    cberge8 Well-Known Member

    I bought a Lee Pro 1000 a while back. While not the best, it does work well for me.

    As for caliber changes, I can swap between any two calibers in under a minute.

    The only downside is the priming system, but once you get used to it, it is not bad.
  8. Otto

    Otto Well-Known Member

    If you want to cheap out on reloading tools, Lee corners the market.
    Dillon compared to Lee is like comparing Stihl to Homelite.
  9. GT1

    GT1 Well-Known Member

    Not the best advice for someone that isn't sure what they might be getting into.

    Dillons are nice, top of the line moneywise. I'm not sure they are the best press one can buy. A Hornady LnL AP or a RCBS Pro 2000 or even a Lee loadmaster will crank out bunches of ammo. All of these manufacturers will fix whatever breaks, and make right whatever is wrong, on their dime.

    All progressives are finicky, have their quirks, and amplify mistakes.

    One should do a lot of reading before deciding to jump in to such a thing. If you do the research first there is never any crying. :p
  10. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    There's a lot going on with a progressive. Keeping up with the mechanics of the press while learning to load would be tough IMHO.
  11. mdi

    mdi Well-Known Member

    I would not recommend a progressive press to learn reloading on; too many things happen every time you pull the handle. But, everybody seems to be in a hurry these days (very dangerous when it comes to reloading), so a Lee Turret will put out a little more rounds per hour than a single stage and it can be used single stage to start. You need to learn what every step in reloading does and why it's done, and it's so much easier to do with a single stage press. You will need to know how to adjust dies to troubleshoot your problem ammo, which won't happen with the "install it and forget it" turret plates or the "breech-lock" bushings. I'd recommend a good single stage press from any of the major reloading equip. manufacturers, a set of carbide dies for the .44 and a reloading manual. Reading the manual's reloading data will give you info on powder,primers, and bullets to buy. Of the cartridges you mention, the .44 Magnum is prolly the easiest to learn reloading with.

    Look into getting a copy of ABCs of Reloading and Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook. Reading through these books will give you a good idea as to what equipment will suit your reloading needs...
  12. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    I think people with Lee progressive spend more time working/tweaking than reloading. You would be a lot better off with a Turret than the progressive. The Hornandy LNL-AP is a good progressive with lots of options, cheaper than the Dillon 550b. But if your mainly shooting rifle and revolver a SS press will cover your needs. You can batch load and load near 100/hr.
  13. sellersm

    sellersm Well-Known Member

    Lee Classic Cast Turret (LCT) is my recommendation. No, it's not a progressive (you work on one case at a time) but you can take out the index rod and have a SS press. 150+ rounds/hour is easy-peasy... Easy as pie to change calibers too! Kemp's gun shop (they're online) has a great starter kit that includes the LCT. Just be sure it's the CLASSIC CAST press, not the cheaper aluminum one!!

    If you must have a progressive, then Pro1000 or a LoadMaster might work for you, especially if you're a bit mechanically inclined. Lots of resources on the internet for all the progressives out there, btw. Youtube has some good resources from 'california liberal with a gun', and UltimateReloader site has good vids & info.
  14. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    Dillon has a 550 basic loader that can be upgraded later.
  15. germ

    germ Well-Known Member

    +1 on the LCT. Then, after a year or so, determine if you really want/need a progressive. During that year, save your money toward a progressive and you also have all that time to research and maybe even try out a few that others have. Then, if you do decide to get a progressive, you'll likely find the LCT to still be of great value to you.

    The overall reputation of lee progressives does not fall in the positive column. I would not recommend a loadmaster unless you get one for free. I got mine for free and made it work, but I would suggest looking elsewhere. I haven't used a 1000, but I generally consider it in the same category as the loadmaster.

    I also have the LNL AP which is a good press for me. If I were looking today I would also consider the Dillon 550. I'm partial to (or spoiled by) the 5 holes in the LNL though.
  16. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    So he buys quality and gets a much higher percentage of his money back if he unloads later.

    Also, less frustration during the learning curve.
  17. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Well-Known Member

    If you're willing to spend some money, the Hornady LNL is a great press and it's cheaper than the Dillons. You can also load single rounds on a progressive to start with. I load a few singly before starting any progressive section. If that's too much, get the Lee turret.
  18. thorn-

    thorn- Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with starting on a progressive press. I've done it (with no problems whatsoever to learning the process), and others have too. That doesn't mean everyone needs to do it that way, but again - it's not a foolish decision, if you have the attention span to learn to do things the correct way.

    And if you don't, using a single stage just means making the same mistakes at a slower pace. ;)

    And FWIW, I do recommend the LNL-AP as a good press. They've had some quality control issues with a particular part lately, but they're trying to get that resolved... and despite that, it's a great press and more affordable/flexible than some other higher-priced choices. It's certainly not as low-budget as Lee products, though.

  19. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    I agree with Thorn.

    I have no problem with my Pro1000 but it won't do rifle without a mod. I'm thinking of going to the Load Master.
  20. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    Stihl and Homelite at least share a basic function and design parameters. Dillon does not make a single stage nor a turret.

    I do agree with you if you are talking about comparing Lee Progressives with the Dillon progressives, though. TOTALLY.

    However, if you don't need but 100 to 200 rounds per hour, the Lee Classic Turret is the best auto-advancing turret press on the market at any price. (Of course, it is the ONLY auto-advancing turret on the market. But that does not negate the fact that it is one, fine press).

    So, to the OP, please share with us what your needs are in terms of quantity (per hour, per month and per loading session). Will you leave the press(es) set up or store them away after each loading session? How often will you change calibers?

    If small sessions, putting away after each session and switching calibers often, consider the Lee Classic Turret.

    The nice thing about the Lee Turret is that it is amenable to continuous processing (like a progressive, one round, start to finish before starting the next case) and equally adept at batch processing (do one step on the entire batch of cases before moving on to the next step).

    The nice thing about the Progressive (and I favor the Hornady and Dillon over the Lee Pro-1000, but have no experience with the Lee Loadmaster or RCBS) is that, since it is performing all the steps simultaneously on a number of cases, you get one round per stroke of the handle. But that is the bad thing about progressives, too. I never got comfortable with monitoring multiple simultaneous operations.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012

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