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Articles from NRA Shooting Sports, Single stage or progressive

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Rule3, Nov 22, 2022.

  1. irving

    irving Member

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    I'm new to the hobby of reloading - started in January of this year. With no one to guide me, I selected the style of press that made the most sense to me at the time. It was a Dillon 550 progressive. I began by making one round at a time (four pulls of the handle to make one round). Once I gained confidence, I switched to progressive (one pull of the handle to make one round). Now, after producing over 3000 rounds of 38/357 this year, I'm glad I didn't get a single stage. I'm not recommending that anyone start with a particular press, I'm just relating my personal experience.
     
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  2. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    Although I do have other presses, I do almost all of my loading on the same RCBS Reloader Special press that I bought in 1979.
     
  3. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Depends on the turret. The RCBS is optimized for batch loading. Performing each step on a batch of cases, one step at a time. It's manually indexed and has six stations so you can have two or three cartridges setup in each turret head. I prime on the press but charge all the cases off the press, in one step. The Lee turret has four stations and auto-indexing. So you're only handling cases once. You start with an empty case and finish with a cartridge, both priming and charging on the press. IMHO, the RCBS is better suited to small batches and load development, while the Lee is more like a progressive.
     
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  4. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Missing nothing. How any posts by new reloaders have you seen that said "My reloads won't chamber", or, Why is there a bulge after I crimp my reloads? Just two problems from misadjusted dies...
     
  5. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I fully support the adjusting dies regularly as I have one set for 38 and 357 and load both by the pile. Some peoples solution is to set them up one time and never change them. Buying extra tool heads and even extra entire presses so they don't have to swap priming systems.
     
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  6. ballman6711

    ballman6711 Member

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    One thing I haven't seen discussed here yet is cost or available space.

    When I started, available space was a large consideration. I simply didn't have the space for a large, tall, progressive. Cost was also a consideration for me (a much smaller consideration), although I could have afforded any press up to about the $1000 range and probably could have stretched my budget as high as $1500. My budget was for just a press, and not all the little things needed (like dies or a scale) to actually make ammo. But the more I spent the more I would have to do without other things, hence one of the reasons to keep the cost down.

    Another thing, I knew nobody that reloaded, and so I had no mentor. I had to learn everything myself from a book or the internet, and the internet can be a sketchy place to get information sometimes. And finally, I wasn't sure if I would even like it, or stick with it, and I didn't want to have a lot of money invested in equipment that could be a bit difficult to get rid of.

    So it really was a no brainer for me when I found a Hornady LNL single stage kit for $200 plus shipping (on clearance from Midway). I only had to purchase dies and I had all my equipment. A pound of powder, a brick of primers, some brass and bullets, and I was on my way. My first loaded round cost me about $400, and the next 499 rounds were free (if you don't count my time).

    This was about 4 1/2 years ago, and I have honestly considered buying a turret or a progressive since then, but haven't for several reasons. First, I don't shoot as often or as much as I did many years ago, so being able to load 100 rounds in twenty minutes on a progressive vs. a few hours on a single stage doesn't have much appeal because I enjoy my alone time at my bench. I also don't see the advantage (for me) in using a turret except to be able to handle each piece of brass less.

    I still think about a progressive from time to time, and I certainly have the space for one now, but I just don't see a need for it in my situation. I could easily afford it, but I currently only work about 18 hours a week and really don't need the time savings it would provide. And I don't see my current work schedule or shooting habits changing any time soon.

    So I really think it comes down to the individual and their current and future expected needs as to whether they should start with a ss, turret, or progressive.

    My situation certainly wouldn't apply to every potential new reloader.

    chris
     
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  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    That pretty much blows this argument out of the water.

    If you are saying a progressing is pretty much a single stage, using that method, why would I need to buy another piece of equipment to learn what’s going on before I use it fully loaded?
     
    irving likes this.
  8. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    A progressive one stage at a time is not a single stage. I don’t get why anyone would say that at all.
     
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  9. roval

    roval Member

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    i started with a turret and after a few months went to a dillon 550. i could just have gone straight to the progressive from the amount of work i did with the turret. i mainly use it for removing live primers for reuse . i still prefer to use the progressive with only the sizing die if i am resizing rifle brass, eliminates removing the sized brass from the shellholder.
     
    Engineer1911 likes this.
  10. JEBruns

    JEBruns Member

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    Nobody is saying that. Just that if you only run one shell through at a time, you will still learn the process at a lower level than 5-8 shells at a time running through the press. And once you get confident with the process, you don't have to run out an buy/setup a progressive, since it's already on your bench.
     
  11. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    An extremely vocal but very small number of “not me’s” disagree with the general consensus advice of the AMU.
     
  12. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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    Wonder how many guys that say a progressive press is to difficult for beginners bought a junk Lee progressive and struggled to get the thing to even operate.

    My dillon 650 ran flawless out of the box and still does 10 plus years later. My Lee APP, a far simpler machine....not so much.
     
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  13. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    i think there are two different points. one is that for precision ammo, a progressive can be as good as a single stage. the other is that you can learn on a progressive by running ammo through one round at a time before running it the way it was intended. you seem to be discussing the latter but i'm not convinced yet that the former is true.

    example: since the case prep stages are the first few and the seat/crimp stages are the last few, sometimes i want to run cases through to prep them and and then pull them out before loading them. and sometimes i would want to run cases through the seater and crimp die without resizing/decaping/swaging/belling/priming.
    the reason for this might be because i want to trim/chamfer the cases after sizing, or because i have a different powder dispenser, or maybe i like prepping 1000s of cases at a time but only want to load 100 at a time.

    since you'd have to have wendigo arms to sit in front of the press and single feed cases into the back, or to remove them by hand from the back and you lose the use of the case feeder and just generally turn the press into an ergonomic nightmare, i just don't see how single feeding a progressive is better than my coax which is way way easier to load by hand because it was designed to do so. it has a big plate and you set the case down somewhere in it and then jaws come out from the sides to hold the case. it's quite forgiving unlike having to stick the case exactly in a shell plate.

    if you just run your precision ammo all the way through your progressive without removing it, thats great. i haven't figured out how to do that yet but i sure would love to
     
  14. irishlad

    irishlad Member

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    This thread reminds of what my dad use to tell me, " just because someone's not doing it your way, doesn't mean they're doing it wrong ". He passed in 1988, I heard it alot growing up as I was pretty cocky growing up :).
     
  15. Tall

    Tall Member

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    Tulsa OK
    Back in the early 1980's I read Lee Iacocca's autobiography. In it he stated something to the effect of "tell people what to do, not how to do it" as one of his effective management techniques. I think it is good advice.
     
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  16. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    I was going to walk through how I do it but found this below.

    With a few minor differences, I follow John Whidden’s precision reloading process on a 650. I even use his custom dies. He explains it all here:

    https://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2018/02/load-winning-ammo-with-progressive-whidden-shows-how/

    He’s a 6 time long range national champion. The results speak for themselves.
     
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  17. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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    Pretty sure David Tubb loads on a 550.
     
  18. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    Wish he was a little more descriptive about his process. In the first paragraph he says it’s full length sized every time and then “the process is completed on the 650” which implies it didn’t start there but it’s hard to say. Did he ever produce the video?
     
  19. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    I went to his YouTube channel to look for it. He has a 5 year old beginner reloading video. In it he makes the statement that it’s a misnomer that people can’t make precision ammo on a progressive press and promises that he will post a video on how he does it in the future but it doesn’t look like he’s done it yet.
     
    taliv likes this.
  20. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    i couldn't find it either
     
  21. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I started on a Lee value turret and still run it. I traded a friend a canoe for his reloading gear, which included a Lee single stage. I only used it a few times, then took it off my bench as it was in the way and not that useful. I ended up giving it away to another friend.

    My thoughts are that the turret press is the press to start with, as the single stage, while useful for learning, is soon outgrown, or frustrates the user at its slowness, because a new user may not appreciate the trade off of precision or cost savings versus time/money. At least with a turret, once it gets cranking, can crank out ammo fairly quickly.

    I can crank out pistol ammo rapidly, and have focused on a decent scale and auto trickler, as I've tried all three of Lee's auto powder products and am less impressed with the accuracy. If I am pulling the brass out to check the charge weights, may as well measure powder off press.

    I would like a progressive, but I don't shoot enough to need one. With even components becoming more expensive, I am leaning more on .22 LR to make up the volume.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
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