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Old October 24, 2014, 12:01 AM   #1
greyling22
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single stage press selection question(s)

2 part posting:

A) Xmas is coming and I'm thinking about upgrading my single stage press (currently have an old lee challenger press that is kind of worn out) I load mostly 257 ackely and 223 with a single stage, though I load some 30-06 as well.
top contenders right now are rcbs rock chucker/lyman crusher (appears to be basically the same press), hornady lock and load, and the classic cast by lee. I like the safety priming gizmo lee offers (works really well on my turret press) and the price of lee. hornady has a similar setup but uses a primer tube instead of a tray (never had tubes before, they look like a pain to fill without a tube filler, and I"m not entirely sure about the die bushing system. rcbs I like the color but not the priming system. I'm sure nothing is really wrong with any of them, and everybody who has one brand will recommend it, but has anybody has more than one of the above and can offer a direct comparison? If I had access to them all I could probably make an easy decision, but I don't.

B) If I decide to go with lee, do I go with the breech lock or the regular press? I switch dies some, but not super often. Are the breech lock die systems (hornady LNL or lee) more consistent or better than the direct thread types?
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:06 AM   #2
RN
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Don't forget forget about the Forster CO-AX my man..Read up on it BEFORE you buy another single stage..I didn't and had to go back and buy it after my Lyman T-Mag gave me some issues..But hey, I now have two great presses and all's well in the world..
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:08 AM   #3
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I'm a low volume reloader. I've never used any press except the RCBS "Rock chucker". Been on my bench since mid 70's. I'm sure you'll get a response from some one that has hands on experience with several of the brands you mentioned.

Good luck in your search.

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Old October 24, 2014, 12:10 AM   #4
Mike Kerr
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" I like the safety priming gizmo lee offers (works really well on my turret press)"

How come you are considering an additional single stage when you already have one ? ? even if its somewhat worn. Plus you have a turret press. Aren't you going backwards?

Just asking.

regards
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:13 AM   #5
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Of prime consideration is the length of the 30-06. Not all presses can accept the longer cartridges. That's going to clear out a couple of your choices.

In your shoes I might add the Redding Big Boss II to the list. It's a big, heavy-duty, US made iron bodied press and the expelled primer is cleanly carried away by a special system the others don't have.

The older you get, the more important cleanliness becomes.
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:15 AM   #6
RN
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One other thing to consider with a CO-AX is the built in priming system is one of a kind..Its really great and the CO-AX also also probably the fastest die changes due to its front loading self centering system. Also the primers are carried away safely and cleanly unlike a lot of other presses..It's a nice press so do yourself a favor and check it out. Every time I load on mine I am in awe of how well it's put together..Really nice tool but can't say anything bad about the others either...
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:42 AM   #7
oldreloader
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As far as I'm concerned it's matter of personal preference. All the presses will do an excellent job. I prefer the Lee classic cast. I sold my RCII and bought one after I tried the Lee Classic Turret. I like the priming system and the spent primer disposal system on the Lee Classic series. Some say the Safety Prime looks "cheap". It works better for me than any other. I have 2 sets, one each for small pistol and rifle and one each for large pistol and rifle.
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Old October 24, 2014, 12:47 AM   #8
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You said you don't switch calibers often, but you gotta remember that you'll still have to swap for different operations. The breech lock is a nice system. I use rcbs locking rings on my lee dies. Once they are dialed in, I lock em down and don't have to mess with them until I decide to change something. I run a Lee single stage "C" press for .223 and smaller and a RCBS jr3/RS (same press) for everything larger. Both serve me well, but I have snapped a lee c press with a .300Wm before, so if I am running something other than carbide dies, I prefer O presses. The classic cast would serve you well. All single stage O presses are pretty similar, and I feel that one could just shop based on price and whether or not they want the breech lock system or not.
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Old October 24, 2014, 03:31 AM   #9
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You really can't go wrong with a Rock Chucker. I have one that has been in use for decades, and it's still as good as the day I bought it used and abused 25-ish years ago. RCBS also takes care of their customers well also. If it an RCBS, they have a bo questions asked policy and will rebuild it even if you aren't the original owner.

Heck, I have a couple of their lower grade Reloader Specials, the RS 2 and an RS1, both are very old, and the 2 is an aluminum "O" frame press, that sucker has had many years of hard use, and it's still working great.

I'm not sure of Lee's repair / replace guarantee policy, but I don't think they treat you the same as the green machine manufacturer.

GS
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Old October 24, 2014, 07:20 AM   #10
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As a long time Forster CO-AX user ... I would suggest what RN does !!
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Old October 24, 2014, 08:05 AM   #11
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Aside from it spreading primers around the bench more effectively than a grass seed spread spreads seeds, the rockchucker can't be beat...but I will not own another one ever due to the primer spreading tendency.
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Old October 24, 2014, 08:23 AM   #12
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In my opinion, the die bushings, either Hornady L-N-L or Lee Breechlock, are over rated. Extra cost for the bushings and how long does it really take to spin a die in or out.

I also vote for looking at the Redding Big Boss II.
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Old October 24, 2014, 09:25 AM   #13
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I have a Lee Challenger that I like. I personally like the breech lock system, I can pop dies in/out quickly without tools. If you have invested in several breech lock bushings already, that might sway you to get the Classic Cast breech-lock version. The downside is that any breech lock will NEVER be more precise than a standard die mount, it can only approach the precision.

One thing I don't like about the Lee is the primer ejection method. All the residue from the spent primers ends up in/around the ram and I have to drop the ram to clean after 500-1000 rounds. Not a problem for low volume rifle loading, but I used mine for decapping lots of pistol casings before I wet tumble the brass.

I now have the RCBS Summit press and really love it for that. NONE of the primer residue ends up on the moving parts, and I made a large tray attachment so I can decap a couple thousand casings without having to empty anything. I have not had it for very long and so far that is all I have used the press for, but will be working up some rifle loads on it before long. I see no problem as it is a heavy/strong press!

One downside for the RCBS Summit, and I assume the Forster as well, is that certain dies/accessories may not mount on the press, such as some collet bullet pullers, since there is not much clearance around the die. Standard presses have an open top around the die.

Anyway, those are my observations, FWIW.
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Old October 24, 2014, 10:50 AM   #14
Steve61
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If you do choose the Lee Classic Cast, which is what I have, I would recommend getting the standard, not breech lock, Classic Cast Press. First off, the standard press will allow you to use loading dies without the extra cost of bushings. Second, if you ever decide you want to start using bushings, Hornady makes an adapter for the Lee press that allows it to use Lock n Load bushings. Third, if you ever add a progressive press, the Hornady lock n Load is a great press that you can then share bushings between. Some users have even machined a shim for their Hornady adapter on the Lee Press that allows the dies within the bushings to be shared between the presses without adjustment. And finally, if you ever get a 50 BMG rifle, Lee has a 50 BMG conversion kit for the standard Classic Cast.
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Old October 24, 2014, 11:31 AM   #15
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+1 on Lee Classic cast. Rock solid and great price. Can't go too wrong with any of them, but why over spend if you don't need to. I use the Hornady Lock and Load bushings on mine and they are great.
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Old October 24, 2014, 01:30 PM   #16
mboylan
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I have a Co AX, a Dillon and a Redding turret. I have been gravitating toward the Redding for almost everything. If you are going to be case forming, bullet swaging or heavily competitive in benchrest, I would suggest the Co AX.
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Old October 24, 2014, 01:37 PM   #17
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Rock checker is awesome, but the primer disposal sucks.

Look into redding big Boss 2. I love that press.
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Old October 24, 2014, 03:54 PM   #18
greyling22
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I appreciate all the suggestions and opinions. The forster, while awesome I'm sure, is out of my price range by a whole lot. I just don't use a single stage enough to justify it. Big boss looks great to be sure, and I really like the angled aspect of the press (ditto to hornady) but the price is pretty high (again, single stage doesn't get used a whole lot) and I really like the idea of not having to fit primers into the little bitty primer cup by hand every time. [and yes, I know you can prime off the press and a lot of people like and do it. I hate it, and my thumbs hate me for doing it. everybody has an opinion, and that's mine.]

So it sounds like the die bushing system does not offer any advantages other than speed of die change, which I don't need, and may not be as precise, which is the whole point o a single stage as compared to a quality turret or 550.

So I'm left with the rock chucker that apparently has primer catching problems, a lyman that is basically the same thing, a redding big boss I don't love the priming setup on, or really the price, and a lee classic that my only complaint might be that the frame isn't angled. too bad Exactly-what-I-want doesn't exist. I guess I need to weigh how much priming method matters to me.
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Old October 24, 2014, 05:14 PM   #19
FMJBT
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The redding and newer rock chucker both have a slide priming attachment add on. They are about $50. Adds to the cost, but they work great. You can always find older rock chucker for about 100, but their priming system is like the hornady.

There are several threads about modifying the rcbs primer catch with a plastic tube for easier disposal.
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Old October 26, 2014, 11:29 PM   #20
280shooter
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I have the same Lyman C ..press for over 40 years. I loaded everything from 9 mm to 444 .I only want one more press.and that's the co ax
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Old October 26, 2014, 11:32 PM   #21
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The REDDING BIG BOSS II deserves a look for sure, great press, primers exit through the ram and a tube. big, strong, CAST IRON.
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Old October 29, 2014, 08:07 PM   #22
greyling22
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well I was sort of all set to grab the lee based on price and the priming system, but I see that I can actually get the rockchucker for $10 less than the lee.

Priming aside, if I was to close my eyes and cycle the press, which would be smoother with less slop, lee or rcbs?
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Old October 29, 2014, 11:48 PM   #23
oldreloader
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyling22 View Post
well I was sort of all set to grab the lee based on price and the priming system, but I see that I can actually get the rockchucker for $10 less than the lee.

Priming aside, if I was to close my eyes and cycle the press, which would be smoother with less slop, lee or rcbs?
Lee IMHO.
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Old Yesterday, 12:12 AM   #24
trigga
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i have the lee breech lock and still use it for resizing and depriming. i upgraded to the lee classic turret. the single stage is handy because it's smaller and easier to handle if you're doing one task at a time.

i do plan on getting the simple lee ss press and hand press too just because they are so affordable...
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Old Yesterday, 01:37 AM   #25
merrill
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Lee customer service

Gamestalker, I recently broke the decapping pin on a Lee die. I went to their web site and ordered one and had it in less than a week. Same experience with the decapper in the Lee classic reloader. Their customer service has been good to me.
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