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How fast is your progressive really?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 45+9, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. 45+9

    45+9 Member

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    I'm using a Lee Cast Turret for loading 9mm and 45 auto. With a spare turret and powder measure, caliber changes are less than a minute. Currently, I can set up, run 200 rounds, break down and be out of the shop in 1 hour and 15-20 minutes. I would like to at least double my output, but I'm not sure how much time is spent changing over, fiddling with it, etc with a progressive. If I can at least double my output, I would go with a 550/650 or LnL. Probably change calibers once, no more than twice a month.
    So, what's your production per hour spent over all, not just pulling the handle?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  2. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    You get as good or better production than I do w/ a 650. Increase the output from 200 to 2,000 and I'll be set up with a new cal, 2,000 rds loaded and cleaned up in about 4 hrs.
     
  3. David E

    David E Member

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    Depends on the caliber. Most pistol cartridges on the 650 with case feeder can go 1000 rph, provided you have 9 primer tubes loaded and you WANT to go fast. 800 rph is a relaxed pace. Basically, once everything is adjusted for the caliber, 5 minutes = 100 rds

    I don't count change over time, as I don't load 100-200 at a time, then switch calibers. Its usually not less than 1000 until I'm ready to change over, if then.
     
  4. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    I really haven't went for time on my LNL, but I can match your 200 without getting in a hurry. The main reason I am responding is once you have your dies set up in the bushings it takes about 10 minutes to change over. The most time consuming with the LNL is adjusting your powder measure for the new caliber. The dies are drop in, and the shell holder only takes a few seconds to change out. Hope this helps, but I really have not been in a hurry or checked to see my production time but 200 in 1hour 20 minutes is no problem.
     
  5. GarySTL

    GarySTL Member

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    As Mike said, caliber changes on the LnL is very fast. Setting the powder measure is the part taking the longest. If you need a different primer size, add a few minutes. I load 9mm and .40, so don't need to worry about the primers. I don't have a case or bullet feeder for the LnL.

    I recently bought an XL650 with the case feeder and find I can load much faster as I don't have to handle the cases other than drop them in the hopper. But caliber changes seem like they'd take longer unless you have extra tool heads. If you need to change primer sizes and perhaps adjust the case feeder it looks to take a while.

    I'm mostly shooting 9mm now, so have the XL650 set for that and will do 40 on the LnL.
     
  6. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    Using my LnL, I could match your throughput. I sea match and not double or triple your throughput because I personally don't load for speed. I load for safety and aim for consistency. I perform multiple checks at each station and my appreciation is that I perform 6 functions with a single down and up stroke. This makes loading 100 rounds a very relaxing 20 minutes rather than a tiring chore. Performing 5 die operations with a single push is what makes me appreciate the progressive.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    With pre-primed brass, & inserting each case and bullet by hand, loading 500 rounds in an hour is easily done on the LNL. 600 or 700 is very doable. I probably average a round every 5 to 6 seconds if I stay steady. No reason not to think that with a case feeder greater rates could be accomplished.
     
  8. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    I use a Dillon 550 and opt for safety & consistency over speed. I inspect each case before sizing and the powder drop before seating the bullet. My overall average is a respectable ca 300 per hour.
     
  9. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    On my Hornady LNL, I run a leisurely 400+ rounds an hour loading .38 Special with pre-primed cases. I could probably go faster, but find no need to. I'm opting for quality when reloading, hence priming in a separate step.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I have the case feeder on my LNL-AP and do 500-600/hr very easily, with primer tubes filled. I don't see any reason to rush since you need to confirm powder drops. Without the case feeder I was doing around 300/hr, I was not rushing. Once you get into a rythem it goes fast. Change over to a different caliber is very quick as mentioned. I have the micrometer head on my powder piston. This allow me to quickly dial in my charge. I have separate powder base dies since I use PTX. This allows me to just change the dispenser over and every thing is preset for the case expander. Doing a complete change over is less than 10 min, and that includes changing the primer size. I spend most of the time getting the powder charged dialed in to my liking.
     
  11. David E

    David E Member

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    What, others don't?

    A "faster" way is to check the cases before putting them in the "to be reloaded" stock.

    The 650 can utilize a powder check station. It is also on the side allowing visual inspection.

    I could do about 500 safe and consistent rph with my 550
     
  12. evan price

    evan price Member

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    I'm running a Lee Pro-1000 and easily run 250 and into the 300s without breaking a sweat or compromising safety. If I had the components already set up to go and the press was running absolutely foolproof I can go faster but wouldn't want to to stay safe.

    My best speed in terms of speed versus safety was 1000 pieces of 38 Special in three hours flat including caliber conversion, setup and etc. which is 333 per hour.
     
  13. joed

    joed Member

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    These rates are dependent on cartridge with some being slower. To me 9mm is time consuming compared to others.

    On my Dillon 650 I can do roughly 500 rounds an hour and that is doing everything on the press including priming. Caliber changes take 20 minutes.

    With the 550 I could see rates of 350 to 400 cartridges an hour. These rates are not hurrying but producing efficiently. Caliber changes are 15 minutes.

    You want faster? Dillon 1050, 1200 cartridges in an hour. And this is not rushing either. Caliber changes are 30 minutes. But this press excels at producing quantity. Even with the long caliber change I bet it would still be faster then the other presses catching up within the first hour.

    To get these rates I load up 8 tubes of primers before hand and just fill as needed.


    I'll give you a tip if you're looking at increasing production. Every progressive press I have has a powder check die and primer alarm. I urge everyone to add these and I will not own a progressive without these alarms. It's not "If" you get a bad charge but "When".
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  14. sugarmaker

    sugarmaker Member

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    I have an lnl and 4 powder measures. 3 of them are lee pro disks (which i prefer), one is the lnl measure i use for 223. I have a uniflow on a seperate stand for low volume. I also have a case feeder. I also have hornady bullet feed dies with tube feed ("manual") for .357 and .44. I bought the hornady die boxes so I can fit all dies in their bushings together. the lee pro measures are left on their respective expander dies in the factory cardboard boxes so no adjustment for flare or charge once they are set and i stick to the standard load. With 1 measure per caliber and not changing the primer feed or case feed, changeover is literally 5 min. counting filling the powderr measure. Loading 100 primers takes 3 min or so, loading all 3 bullet tubes (40 each) takes about 2 min, get and fill powder takes a couple min, then we run a few through the system, check weight, for another 2 min or so. So 10 min setup. At that point it's pretty easy to run 400 an hour without the case feeder provided my assistant fills the primer and bullet tubes. If I have to change the case feeder over, that's another 10 min, and it's another 3 min or so to change primer sizes. With the case feeder and my 14 year old filling primer tubes and bullet tubes as fast as he can we've loaded 600 .357 rounds in about 30 min once things are set up, which I guess is about 25 min total for everything. It takes as long to fill primer and bullet tubes as it does to make loaded rounds so divide that by two if alone. My 44+357 stations are (size and deprime)- (prime)-(expand+charge)-(lock out powder check)-(bullet feed)-(seat+crimp). 500SW stations are (deprime)-(prime)-(carbide size and ensure flush primers using inverted primer stem on case web)-(charge and expand)-(lock out powder check)-(seat and crimp). .223 stations are (lee collet size)-(prime)-(redding body die size + forster trim / chamfer / deburr case)-(lnl charge)-(dillon powder check)-(Forster BR seat).
     
  15. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    I've loaded with all of the major brands of progressives. Most any of them without a case feeder will produce between 400-600 rounds per hour. The thing to realize is everything is dependent on a variety of things: Setup, preparation, ergonomics and your concentration/focus.

    The more ergonomic your press and bin setups are, the more rounds you can do per hour.

    The more organized your bench space is, the more rounds you can do per hour.

    The more preparation you do, the more rounds you can do per hour.

    The better the ergonomics are on your press, the more rounds you can do per hour.

    The more focused you are and the better you concentrate, the more rounds per hour you can produce.


    So all things being equal, there's a wide variety of production available from any one of the progressive presses. All brands produce ammo reasonably efficiently for most people. The biggest part of getting production is having the press, regardless of brand, properly adjusted, cleaned, tuned/tweaked and operating it smoothly. You do all those things, you get good production from about any brand. You don't, you won't get good production.

    Variable that affect speed are primer brand, brass and bullet size. Other variables are changeover time and prep time. Some brands take more of some things than others.

    I have reached a point I want a press that's fairly easy to change over with minimal adjustments and I can leave setup for one cartridge until I've ran off a large number of cartrdiges. This way, I can run off 25 at a time between half time shows, advertisements and such on the tv and never "feel" I've reloaded anything.

    And I know if I do my part polishing, tuning, adjusting, loctiting and setting up strong mounts, roller handles, brass and bullet bins, then get supplies ready and in place, then be focused on the process when reloading, the press will do it's part by rewarding me with ease of operation and production efficiency. This will lead me to lots of cartridges:

    The big blue bin is now overflowing:

    [​IMG]

    This is 1500 cartridges I reloaded 25 at a time while watching college basketball. Never realized I was reloading it. Never felt it, just did it here and there.

    [​IMG]

    But lots of cartridges isn't the whole story. There's also quality of cartridges produced. You want to slow down and operate your press in such a fashion as to produce quality cartridges. Producing quality cartridges leads to accuracy. Accuracy leads to shooting satisfaction.
     
  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Bullet fed 1050, 100 rounds in 2.5 min.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When actually stroking the handle on my Hornady L-N-L, I get about 500 rounds per hour. I start with primed cases like a few others.

    Coming from a high speed consumer goods production background, instantaneous machine speeds are useful, but don't tell the whole story. It does not matter if your machine runs at 1000 units/hour if half the time it is shut down while fixing problems.

    Generally, I run batches of 500-600 cartridges. No case or bullet feeders.

    If you add in case prep, press set-up, priming, checking powder charges, resupplying components, correcting jams, packaging and storing ammunition, and clean up my rates are probably really about 250-300 cartridges per hour from fired case to reloaded ammunition.
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I generally don't run quite that fast but 100 rounds every 3-3.5 min is no problem (if you have no problems) even with my bullet and case fed 650's

    [​IMG]
     
  19. angus6

    angus6 Member

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    Never checked on a total, but do a 1-2 count for a couple primer tubes, I always figured 300 an hour off of my LCT
     
  20. mizer67

    mizer67 Member

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    Starting with filled primer tubes, pre-set powder measure full of powder and brass, I can load 750-800/hr of 9mm on my XL650 with case feeder, manually pulling the handle and placing bullets.

    With my LNL, when it was case fed, I could only manage 450-500/hr, mainly because I was fixing issues and taking extra care to make sure primers were fully seated. Hand feeding cases to my LNL, I could do about 375-400 rounds an hour of 9mm.
     
  21. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    I do with my 550 exactly what TonyT does. Safety over speed. I reload as fast as I choose to, and have no reason to hotrod.
     
  22. codefour

    codefour Member

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    Where's the fire??

    This is a hobby, not a production based profession. I don't get all worried about production rates. I enjoy my time working my press to unwind after a crappy day at work...

    I load on an auto-advance RCBS Pro 2000 without a bullet feeder. Taking my time, checking every case visually for powder, I have timed myself at 400 rounds a minute working at a leisurely pace. I timed myself for S@its & giggles one day using my iPhone's stopwatch. I then counted the empty APS strips. I have gone as much as 500+ and hour but it was not relaxing.
     
  23. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    I load 350 rounds an hour on my LNL without using case or bullet feeders.
     
  24. David E

    David E Member

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    I think you win!
     
  25. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    4-5 rounds per minute is easy to do with my L-N-L.
     
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