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Noob question about RCBS RockChucker and Piggyback units

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Futo Inu, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

    OK, I was all set to get the Rockchucker Master Kit, but my buddies said no, that I'm going to want a progressive press. I had wanted a Dillon 550, but don't want to wait as long as it will take to save... So, RCBS says that with its "Piggyback 4" unit or some such, the Rockchucker press can later be turned into a progressive. Well, not understanding in my mind precisely how an add-on unit can turn a single-stage into a progressive, I need someone who knows to tell me specifically whether the RockChucker with the Piggyback is a GOOD progressive press, for when / if I go that route in the future? Do it have any deficiencies over buying a progressive from the get-go? So, bottom line, get the RockChucker now (as I want to), or save for the Dillon or some other progressive? Thanks!
  2. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    What cartridges will you be reloading? If low volume rifle, you should be OK with the RockChucker. If you'll be doing any kind of volume, you'll want to start with the progressive, and Dillon's the one to get.

    Don't let anyone tell you you can't get good ammo from a progressive: I load 1/4MOA 223 ammo at 300+/hr with my Dillon 550B.
  3. uglymofo

    uglymofo Well-Known Member

    I don't know if this is too tangental or not. Can't hurt I guess:


    There's a guy selling a Dillon 450; that's the predecessor to the 550. It's "semi-progressive" in that you have to rotate the shellplate by hand to advance the shell casing to the next station. It would make a nice compromise between a single stage (because you could use it like a single stage by only loading one casing at a time until you finished it) and a fully progressive machine. The price is right, and it could be left set up as a permanent caliber when you want to move to a 550. It'll probably crank out 300/hr without rushing when you get used to it. It's set up with a 9mm shellplate; you'll need to purchase each individual shellplate from Dillon (the 550 and 450 plates are interchangeable as I recall) for each caliber.

    That's why I prefer the Hornady LNL AP. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy caliber changes with the LNL, and it's a 5-station press instead of the Dillon 550's 4-station.
  4. Vic303

    Vic303 Well-Known Member

    I bought a used oldstyle Piggyback to go with a new Rockchucker Master Kit a couple years back. It's given me several years fine service, although now I can upgrade the powder dispensing system for $30 to make it more accurate. As the Piggy I got was old & wellused, the spring system left something to be desired, and I never liked to prime on the press, it works well for me. I use the RCBS handprimer tool (both new & APS) and get better seating on the primers, and I can do it while watching tv at night...

    Dillon's are nice I hear--never used one--but RCBS has really fantastic customer service,and a good solid product.

    Loyal RCBS reloader,
    (oh, I reload in rifles .22,.24,.25,.27,.28,.30,.303. In pistols, .357,9mm,.45acp)
  5. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

    uglymofo, not that's not too tangential; in fact, it sounds pretty good and I'll probably just get that one from that guy - I've emailed him. Although, Vic, thank you for your information too, on the original subject - Are you saying that bottom line, if it had been a new instead of a "well-worn" piggyback unit, it would work just great as a progressive press, with no missing features relative to other progressives (other than the press-priming issue)? This is probably a non-issue anyway, since I'll probably be hand-priming regardless of which press I get, since I ALREADY have an RCBS hand priming tool. Oh, I will be reloading both pistol and rifle, and (hopefully) a LOT.
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    I think the problem is that progressives on the whole are already a Rube Goldberg affair. Most work ok, (Dillons work great) but the Piggyback is a Rube Goldberg after thought adapted to another piece of equipment. I haven't owned one, but that is my impression after looking at them.
  7. uglymofo

    uglymofo Well-Known Member

  8. dave5339

    dave5339 Well-Known Member

    I also have an older RCBS Piggyback. It works great! As long as I pay attention that is.

    It can be finicky priming, but like others I prefer to handprime. I've also had some issues with squib charges but that was my own fault and not the equipments. I need to pick up the powder checker die and upgrade my powder dispenser.

    It's relatively easy to set up. I can switch from the Rockchucker to the Piggyback in about 10 minutes. Changing calibers is about a 5 minute operation.

    Looking at the RCBS Piggyback III they've made some improvements. I'd like to upgrade mine just to have the new APS priming system. That way it would be a true progressive.

    Also as Vic303 has mentioned, their customer service is beyond belief!

    Semper Fi
  9. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    I was never very impressed with the Piggybacks.

    I've tried several, and have found them to be a little more trouble than they're worth.
  10. dave5339

    dave5339 Well-Known Member

    The piggyback is a compromise between a full progressive and a single stage.

    For my wife and I it works.

    Your results may vary.

    Semper Fi
  11. renaissance

    renaissance Well-Known Member

    In defense of Piggys

    I started with a rockchucker and then went with the Piggyback when it first came out. That was a Piggyback I.
    It was pretty good.
    When the Piggyback II came out RCBS upgraded me FREEEEEEE
    To the Piggyback II.
    It was much better.
    But THEN
    I Upgraded my Piggy II by adding the case operated powder drop mechanism and the Micrometer powder measure screw adjustmet.

    The only problem with the II was that "Rube Goldberg" swinging pendulum powder drop mechanism which frequently jammed.
    The newer style case operated works just perfect witout every jamming.

    My Piggy II is both "Auto Advance" and The Old Style TUBE Primer system.
    IN MY opinion these two features make it superior to the III and IV.

    And I have the much more trouble free case activated powder drop system.
    (The Screw in micrometer is an add on to any RCBS powder measure.)
    I have heard complaints about the newer primer feeder and I find the old tube style just fine.

    The only feature of the IV is the swappable tool head for changing calibers.
    That would be nice

    But, I would not trade the auto advance and the tube primer for that.

    I am quite Happy with my "Upgraded " Piggy II.

    RCBS would do well to introiduce the II with a case activated powder drop.

    It would be the ultimate Piggy.
  12. dickwholliday

    dickwholliday Well-Known Member

    Wonder why they did away with the auto index on the piggy 3????? to me that was the best thing about them.......Dick
  13. renaissance

    renaissance Well-Known Member

    Auto index on piggy

    If I remember correctly;
    Piggy II was auto Index with the "swinging pendulum powder drop activ ation mechanism"
    They went to "No index on Piggy III probably because the swinger was constantly causing the auto index to Jam Piggy.
    Then they "bit the Bullet" and paid whatever fee they had to, to get license to incorporate the case activation powder drop mechanism.
    This was Piggy IV, now with the "GOOD" powder drop activation mechanism
    (which I can promise will NOT jam the auto index- because I updated my Piggy II with it)
    But now they had already had gone to the manual index
    And never went back.

    I am convinced that I have the best of both worlds with
    Case Activated Powder Drop mechanaism

    The Ideal next step would be bring back the auto index with the case activated powder drop AND the interchangable tool heads of the Piggy I

    RCBS..................Are you listening ???
  14. dickwholliday

    dickwholliday Well-Known Member

    i agree with you that a piggy 2 with the new case activated powder conversion is the best of both worlds........until RCBS goes back to the auto index i tell new pistol reloaders that ask my opinion to get a Dillon Square deal.......DICK

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