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Single Stage vs Turret press for beginners

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TennJed, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. TennJed

    TennJed Well-Known Member

    I am just started gathering info on reloading and wanted your opinions on single stage vs turret.

    I will start loading for 357mag and 45lc and shoot around 500 a month of the 2 combined. (I also shoot a good bit of 9mm and will reload for them later).

    How much fast is the turret over the single stage? How much can I reasonable expect to load in an hour with a single stage
    If you went from a single stage to a turret did you keep the single stage and find a use for it or did you sell it?

    I sorta feel that if I will eventually progress to a turret press why not spend the money and get one to start with BUT $30 for a lee reloader single stage press is not a huge investment, especially if I can always find a use for it.

  2. RandyP

    RandyP Well-Known Member

    At a relaxed pace I batch load 50-75 rounds per hour on my single stage and 150-175 RPH on my 4-hole turret. Either is fine for a rookie reloader (or a seasoned one)

    Progressive presses will do many hundreds per hour and fit high volume shooters' needs quite well, though they are not perhaps the best choice for all newcomers to the hobby?

    I also am a fan of Lee gear for the serious budget savings over the other brands and readily conceed that Dillon makes the best and highest cost units. In my opinion ALL the manufacturers make good, reliable gear and they ALL produce equally safe, relibale and accurate ammo.
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Personally, i have never seen any advantage of a turret press over a single stage and the non-Lee presses cost lots more than their single stage brethren.

    Lee turrets with the auto index is a potential positive feature, but, it is a Lee. Lots of folks like the Lee turret presses.

    With a single stage, i can flip on the lights in my loading room and flip them off an hour later with 100 rounds loaded. I cannot do any better on my shot shell loaders, which operate like a turret press.
  4. RandyP

    RandyP Well-Known Member

    I reckon then for you, a turret would not be an improvement, For me (and virtually ALL other auto-advancing turret users) my output triples vs the single stage batch loading process.

    Perhaps you are using the turret press wrong?
  5. coebam

    coebam Well-Known Member

    I started reloading about 4 months ago. I decided to go with the lee classic turret press. It is fine for newbies, then after you feel more comfortable it is able to do 150-200 rounds per hour. No regrets here!
  6. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    go with a lee turret. get their bolt on primer feeder and their autodisk powder drop. It's almost idiot proof and way faster for me than a single stage, and if you want to run it as a single stage you just pull out the indexing rod. (30 seconds tops)

    caliber change is simple and easy, you don't have to worry about your dies getting out of adjustment.

    I started with one when I was 14 and learned easy (see the aforementioned idiot proofness).
  7. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Well-Known Member

    The Lee Classic turret will do great for loading 500 rounds per m onth of pistol ammo. I loaded for quite awhile on a single stage. It worked well, but as my shooting volume went up, it did get to be a chore with the single stage. One thing that sped things up with the single stage was sizing in big batches, say 300 or so cases in one sitting. Then Prime them all, then flare them all. Then when you feel like loading all you have to do is drop some powder and seat the bullets. But that is still not nearly as efficient as the Classic turret. You prime when you size which saves a lot of time plus you use an automatic powder measure that drops powder when you flare. You just don't have to handle the cases with your fingers as many times, so it's much more enjoyable and faster but you still get to see every case go through every step individually, so it's easier to maintain quality control compared to a true progressive.

    It's not such a wonderful thing for loading rifle cartridges though. It will work, and I loaded up a lot of rifle cases with my Classic turret. But recently I drug my single stage out of retirement and made a spot for it on my bench once again. The turret press is not much of a time saver for rifles. After sizing rifle cases, you still have to stop and measure for length and trim if necessary. And the automatic powder measures just can't drop 60 or 70 gr of rifle powder. Besides, I trickle my rifle powder charges to get the weight right anyway. Plus, when you ssize on the turret press, there is a slight amount of slop in the system after the shell holder hits the die. Yes, it's consistent, but trying to get my dies adjusted to just bump the shoulder back a couple thousandths is a lot more tricky with that slop to account for. The single stage just works better for me when it comes to rifles. But for 500-1000 rounds per month of pistol ammo, the turret is hard to beat.
  8. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

  9. Spammy_H

    Spammy_H Well-Known Member

    I have the Lyman T-Mag and love it. Nothing wrong with the Lee, but Lyman's my preference.

    To directly answer your question - I don't think that there is a problem for a rookie to use a turret press. I wouldn't recommend a progressive for a rookie, but turret should be fine.
  10. Red Cent

    Red Cent Well-Known Member

    The turret is way more practical. For each caliber you can purchase an inexpensive toolhead for each caliber. Twist and change toolhead/calibers. If the budget will allow, purchase powder drops for each toolhead. Each toolhead would be "fixed" for adjustments.
  11. Old krow

    Old krow Well-Known Member

    Kept it. I've used both and like both. I can and have found uses for both, it just depends on what I am loading.

    For rifles and working up loads I use the single stage.

    Once I have good recipes, I load the handgun cartridges and some .223 on the turret. It is faster, I don't know about triple, but it is noticeably faster.

    Dedicated turrets and powder drops make the setup and caliber changes pretty quick. Without the indexing rod a Lee Classic Turret is in essence a "multi-stage" single stage press.

    I think that either one are fine, both are better.
  12. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Well-Known Member

    I started with Lee presses 15 years ago. I have no issues with them and use their dies for most of my handgun calibers.

    However, when I started loading for my 30-06 and my 45acp, I wanted to be able to set my dies and not move them. I bought the Redding T-7 turret press and love it. I may not make me much faster at loading ammo, but five of my dies never move.

    So, to answer your question, yes I believe a turret press of some kind will make your reloading a little quicker as you won't have to switch out dies anymore, though you could check into the lock and load dies. That may be another option for you.
  13. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    I don't see a whole lot going or a turret press over a Lee Breechlock. The main advantage is also its drawback. Auto powder dispenser is the best thing about a turret. But that also means it takes longer to change calibers and/or put the thing away (if you're so inclined as to stow your press when not in use, like myself). And without an automatic dispenser, I could probably make ammo faster on a SS press than you could on a turret.

    I just got done flaring, filling, seat/crimping over 200 rounds of .357 in about an hour on a Breechlock. That includes getting and putting away the dies, bullets, and powder, and getting online and double checking my recipe. These are cases I sized/primed yesterday, which took maybe 20 minutes. These were cast bullets with a crimp groove, which are nice and speedy to seat/crimp in one step.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  14. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    I think the turret press is the way to go, especially for revolver loading.
    For my revolver loads I resize/reprime, expand/flare, charge, then into a loading block for powder inpection. I only have to handle the case once instead of in and out of the press for each die. That's where the time is saved.

    For auto rounds I can run each case through my 5 stations and have a finished round while handling the case just once. I can see the powder charge with 9mm and 45acp while they are in the press, so I don't have to remove them from the press for powder inspection.
    With a single stage that's four or five times in and out of the press for each cartridge.
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    The only advantage I can see is in that one hour I can load twice as much as you on my LCT.
  16. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    Just my opinion: A turret press IS a single stage press.
    The advantage of the turret press is that the 'next' reloading stage comes up without having to change dies/etc. You can even load each step in 'batches' if you so desire.

    IMHO, an auto indexing turret press can be fairly inexpensive and is a good way to start reloading, especially for pistol/handgun shooters who will want more volume even if they don't know it---yet.:D
  17. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    I do the exact same thing when I load 223 on my classic turret. I will size and prime a bunch of cases. When I sit down to load them with the sizing and priming done I can load 300 to 350 in one hour.
  18. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    IMHO, a turret press has all the advantages of a single stage with the added advantage of greater speed and preset dies. There is no disadvantage to a turret press.
  19. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    Having had a number of presses - single stage, turret & progressive, I agree with most of the posters here.

    A Lee CLASSIC turret press is definitely a good buy.
    Although you will find uses for a single stage even if you later upgrade.
  20. rikman

    rikman Well-Known Member

    Yesterday, 12:23 PM #9

    Join Date: December 29, 2010
    Posts: 27
    I have the Lyman T-Mag and love it. Nothing wrong with the Lee, but Lyman's my preference.

    To directly answer your question - I don't think that there is a problem for a rookie to use a turret press. I wouldn't recommend a progressive for a rookie, but turret should be fine.


    What Spammy said
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011

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