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Batch loading on progressive reloader

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by KY DAN, Oct 24, 2021.

  1. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

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    I have a friend who I consider my mentor in many ways of life and today I sent him a text message after I spent 2 hours reloading 38 special on my dillon rl1000 and I had less than 30 rounds to show for my TROUBLES.

    I switched to a new 5k case of federal small pistol primers and my primming went to crap, previously I had used cci/remington and the primming system flowed like water. I cleaned everything up and lubed with graphite and got back to loading only to face the same issues again and again before I finally sent my text.

    My friend called and the first words out of his mouth were "what have I tried to tell you this whole time Daniel"? I had to sheepishly say "take the process one step at a time and do not do everything at once so I have complete control over each step". My friend ran a commercial ammo business for decades and did quite well and used the batch loading method.


    I am now an advocate of batch loading and have adjusted my pistol caliber process as follows.

    1. Dry Tumble clean
    2. Lube all cases
    3. Resize all cases
    4. Dry tumble lube off cases
    5. Prime cases
    6. Load ammo without fear of issues

    May not be the fastest but I can now guarantee perfect ammo.
     
    Skylerbone and bullseye308 like this.
  2. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

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    What you've described won't get you in any trouble and should speed up your loading considerably since you are using a progressive press and if your powder measure is set correctly.
     
    Bronx kid likes this.
  3. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Nothing wrong with that. I batch process on a single stage but I did use a progressive for a couple years and still used primed brass on it when it came time to load ammo. All my brass gets deprimed on the single stage with a universal deprimer, then it gets tumbled clean. Next is lubing then resizing and flaring if it needs it then swaging and then priming with a bench mounted “hand primer”. All my brass is stored by the ammo can primed and ready to load. It just makes things easier.
     
    Skylerbone likes this.
  4. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I enjoy the control over the reloading process when batch loading. Could have gone to a progressive press years ago but still load on a single stage and a turret. To me there would be little advantage for using a progessive with rifle ammo as I have a fairly involved brass prep routine off the press
     
  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The purpose of a progressive press is to speed up the loading process by combining multiple actions into every pull of the ram handle. If it’s not operating correctly, the answer is to fix the malfunction, not to scrap the process.

    There are several batch or short cycle processes which can be implemented on progressive presses - such as the interruption of rifle cartridge reloading to allow case trimming - but if my progressive presses don’t operate in the workflow I need, I fix the press, not the workflow. I don’t let the tail wag the dog.
     
    243winxb, Demi-human, mcb and 13 others like this.
  6. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    If you don’t mind, do you mean an rl1100, and, what exactly was the issue? I’m not questioning your decision to send cases three times through the press to load them, whatever works for you is great. I have an rl1100 and am experiencing a learning curve on it and any information is helpful.
     
  7. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That... ^^^

    If your press worked well with one kind of primer, and now doesn't work with another... the primer is the likely culprit, not the press. I understand in these days of lean, we can't just go out and buy what we want... so I sympathize.

    I have batched some brass, but as Varmint mentions, the whole idea of a progressive is to eliminate steps, not add complexity. Your friend and mentor is correct, sort of... if there is a breakdown in the process somewhere, you need to find the cause and fix it, before expecting everything to work like it should. I don't agree that batch processing is the Answer to a malfunctioning press.
     
    Demi-human and Shak3s1977 like this.
  8. JEBruns

    JEBruns Member

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    Agreed. Maybe spend time dialing it in and get the most out of it.

    I have an RL1100 for my 9mm, recently stepped up from a 650XL Dillon. I don't do any batch processing. I wet tumble with primers still in place. I do not lube the cases. Then I just pull round after round through the press and let it do it's thing. I did have to do some tweaking on the press to get it dialed in, like all new presses I've owned over the years. But it is smoking now. I run CCI, Federal and Win primers through it with no issues.
     
  9. JEBruns

    JEBruns Member

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    I just setup a new RL1100 in the last couple of months. PM with any questions and I'll try to help. There was a bit of a learning/tweaking curve.
     
  10. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    Ok, it's Monday and maybe I guess i'm still asleep. You mentioned an issue with priming after switching to federal small pistol primers. So what exactly was the issue? You didn't say what was going wrong, or how what you listed as 6 steps solves that.

    You shouldn't have to do step 2 and subsequently step 4 (although there is nothing wrong with doing that especially with mixed headstamp range pickup cases) at least with respect to solving a problem using Federal primers instead of CCI.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I see a lot of posts about "de-progressing" the loading process; mostly doing "brass prep" so as to not burden the machine with anything but powder and bullet. There are a number of presumably high volume shooters who keep two press heads or even two separate machines to make double handling more convenient. I don't get it. I dry tumble, run the loader, and gauge the product.

    I have had trouble with both my Dillons in the past year, both in primer seating. The 550 turned out to have a cracked toggle block which eventually showed its nature by falling completely apart. Replaced on warranty but a lot of aggravation in the meanwhile. I don't know what was wrong with the S1050, but a good clean, lube, and adjust fixed it. I added a priming station hold down just for insurance.

    The OP's expert friend sounds strange. A commercial loader batching it? I watched at a nearby commercial loader where I had gone to buy components and parts. They had a couple of industrial loaders, Camdex, I think, for the common calibers, 9mm and maybe .38, but I also saw a guy pumping the handle on a 1050 to produce .45 ACP. Clean brass into a well maintained machine, loaded ammo out. They also had several 550 and 650 loaders left set up for low volume products.
     
    dcloco and .38 Special like this.
  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If your method make you happy, I am happy for you; however, the problem solver in me wants to know why you are able to prime with the machine with out issue but only when you are not doing any other processes?
     
    Demi-human and .38 Special like this.
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I do that for my automated machines. Because they are automated it adds little work and ensures every case can pass through the machine without causing a stoppage.

     
    Nature Boy likes this.
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    True, it adds little work, but after a large investment.
    Heck, Dillon saw such things and now sells a dedicated "prep" machine, not to mention the Lee device which has been fallen on with glad cries.
     
  15. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

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    No I mean a dillon rl1000, it's a press that had been discontinued for 30 plus years. It's a rare breed, you never see many for sell or on the forums.
     
    lordpaxman likes this.
  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    My assumption was that his definition of “commercial” manufacturing is boutique custom loading, opposed to high volume production. None of the high volume, commercial manufacturers I know are operating their presses as single stage.
     
  17. KY DAN

    KY DAN Member

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    I never saw his operation, he said at his peak his camdex machines were producing 900,000 rounds a month in the 80s/90s. He supplied multiple police depts and multiple indoor ranges across the south west.
     
  18. EricBu

    EricBu Member

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    +1. Fix the problem. You should be nailing at least 500/hr on that press with ANY primer, and without breaking a sweat. Isolate your priming system and work through the issue. The guys on here will solve it for you, or call Dillon if you need extra assistance. It's almost certainly an adjustment issue, and easily fixed.
     
  19. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    What sort of lube are you using on .38 Special cases that needs to be removed. I use an old RCBS steel sizing die for 38 Special and Hornady spray lube works great. You don't even know it's there.

    Priming the case should be about the easiest part of the process. I have no idea how the rl1000 works but I'd guess that once it's running smoothly it shouldn't matter if it's integrated into the rest of the reloading process or done independently.

    Additionally, I wouldn't assume the ammo will be perfect because the primer got seated. There are dozens of other things that can go wrong.
     
  20. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I'm another one who is scratching his head. I set my progressives to do what it says on the box: pull a lever, get a cartridge, repeat as necessary. When I want or need to do things one step at a time, I use a single stage.
     
    reloaded_in_pa and nofendertom like this.
  21. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    It's your tool, use it the way you want. Or...
    Take a couple dozen sets of bullets, shells and (perhaps used) primers that you can reuse a few times to run through the press while you watch what happens at every step. Take your time and learn how to adjust and tweak it to work with the Fed or any other primers. Repeat until you are expert at it.
     
  22. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I certainly can see the point that if you spend the money for a quality progressive it should be able to live up to expectations. I would not discount its utility for handgun ammo or with new brass that would need little to no prep work. However to this day I don't have the need to crank out ammo at that rate so cant justify the expense.
    Of note I have a friend who has a couple 1050's and have had a chance to use them.when working well I admit they are slick. But the loss of involvment in each step seems foreign to me.
     
  23. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    It’s not uncommon at all for REmanufacturers to have “prep” machines for reusing mixed brass.

    Products like these are not intended for consumers or casual reloaders.

    https://www.magmaengineering.com/case-master-rimless-case-sizer/

    http://www.camdexloader.com/RifleCaseProcessor.aspx

    That said, the above exist so they don’t have to have to turn their Camdex or ammoload machines into single operation machines, rather ensure they feed them initial products that are capable of producing the desired end result.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I process brass with a fellow shooter here occasionally which has a range brass and reman business (trading access to his machines for range brass I source). We batch through, but we don’t completely abandon the progressive capabilities of the press. A handful of Mark 7 Autodrives on 1050’s, multiple swage steps in one pass, multiple decappers (in case a pin breaks), and size and expand. Another toolhead for a trimmer. Hitting the actual loading process then on a 3rd machine, it’s progressive process to prime, charge, and seat. Another shooter/range owner/MD/ SOT/Manufacturer, replicated the set up (as am I for myself) for their business - they set up 5 1050’s with autodrives so far, one set for each of their major cartridges to minimize changeovers, and a couple set for brass processing - each process is progressive among multiple steps, not mistakable for a single stage operation. Absent the autodrives, I used the same progressive process when I was working for a smith with a Type 6 making for locals, and set up the same process on 2 progressives when I struck out on my own. Batch through cleaning, prep, and then loading... but major processes, not individual steps.

    That’s a very different “batch process” than the single stage game described above by the OP.

    If this guy was single staging 900,000 rounds/mo, considering a common 100rnd per hour single stage loading rate... well, that math doesn’t add up, as there aren’t 9000 hours in a month... not 9000 hours in 10 months...

    And of course... it’s 30-40yrs later. We’ve redesigned a few new tools for the task since then...
     
    Demi-human likes this.
  25. EricBu

    EricBu Member

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    A Camdex is a commercial machine........does several thousand an hour.
     
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