Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Need Advice Selecting My First Reloading Press

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gerrym526, Sep 2, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. gerrym526

    gerrym526 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Idaho
    Guys,
    Like most of you, I'm now looking to begin reloading because I like to shoot, and ammo costs are through the roof. Calibers I'll be reloading are 45ACP, 9MM, 38/357, 223.

    I'm tool-friendly (a serious amateur woodworker) so not scared by set up tasks.

    I would like opinions on the following questions to help me select my first reloading press-
    1)Turrret vs. Progressive-like the idea of producing large quantities of ammo quickly.
    2) How difficult is it to re-calibrate a progressive press if things get out of whack-have heard horror stories that trying to find which stage is out of adjustment can take hours-is that true?
    3) Best value for the $-I'm very willing to settle for a turret press and sacrifice some speed of reloading for lower cost. All you Dillon owners who love your presses don't need to respond to this topic since I don't want to spend that level of $'s for my first press. I'm more interested in opinions (good/bad) on Hornady LNL AP, Lee Turret, RCBS Pro, etc.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
    Gerry
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    I would get a high quality single stage press and learn to reload with it.

    Later on is the time to go progressive, after you get a clue what you are doing one step at a time.

    The LnL, turrent, etc really save you no time because you do each operation in large batches with a single stage press.

    The is absolutely no reason or speed advantage to change dies or die stations 3 or 4 times each round you load.

    A single-stage press will always have many good uses on any reloading bench, no matter how "progressive" you get later on.

    rc
     
  3. dawico

    dawico Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    250
    Location:
    Lampasas, Texas
    A Lee single stage with a full circle frame will suit you just fine. Some of Lee's machining is a little rough, but the design and overall quality are there.

    A turret press is more or less multiple single stage presses put together over one ram. Unless you never want to change dies for the two calibers you reload, they save no time in the long run over a single stage press. A progressive press is a whole different animal.

    From what I hear, the Lee progressive presses are to be avoided. Besides them, it sounds like a good progressive (Dillon, Hornady LnL AP, etc) is out of the question at this time.
     
  4. joed

    joed Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Messages:
    2,152
    Location:
    Ohio
    I usually recommend a single stage to start out. But seeing as you have mechanical ability get a progressive. I'm not a fan of the Hornady press as I see a lot of people having timing issues on them. Someone may say I'm wrong but do an Internet search on the LnL progressive and you'll see the problems. Mostly seating primers or timing. Never had any of that on a Dillon.

    I've owned nothing but Dillon for the past 9 years and no problems to report. Did a lot of research before deciding on a progressive. Ruled out the turret as it isn't much faster then a single stage.

    Have owned all the Dillon presses except for the SD. One bit of advice I'll give you on progressives, make sure it has enough stations for a powder check die. This is the reason I sold a 550 and moved on to a 650. Without a powder check die eventually you will get into trouble with an over/under load. I will not own a progressive press without a station to check the powder.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  5. kdb

    kdb Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    ohio
    I have looked at almost all the presses out there and picked Lee over the rest. A single stage press would be your best pick, progressive presses are hard to work with. If you want to load several cal. you have to change dies and face plates I use a 4 tourret lee press but I only load 45, 9, and 38 special rounds. The 223 you want to load can only be done on a single stage or a dillon press. You can buy a single stage from midway for around a $100.00 and get almost everything you need other then the dies.
     
  6. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,709
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    I recommend a Lee turret press.
     
  7. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,797
    A single stage is by far the better way to start and you will always have uses for one even if you later move to a progressive, etc. Lee's Classic Cast is perhaps the best of its type regardless of its low cost. (If I had to replace my Rock Chucker that's what I would get, it's actually the better press.)

    There is no real advantage to any conventional turret press (IMHO) but Lee's Classic Turret is not conventional. It has a useful auto-indexing head that you can disable for single stage use for learning and the heads are inexpensive enough to make having one set up for each cartridge practical.
     
  8. GICO

    GICO Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Go with Lee. It works well for a cheap setup. The kit has almost everything you need to get started. As go get use to it youd probably upgrade peices of your setup anyway. Better/faster scales, measuring devices, brass cleaner, etc. Also probably do some other tweaks and mods as you go along as you find your perfect load. My Lee press still works great. Nowdays I have it setup as a backup press and is always setup the way I like for my .270 anytime I need to pop out a few new rounds it's ready to go. The Lee scales are quite acurate for what it is ... I stuck to it while looking for my perfect load then after I got the new scale, remeasured the load from the Lee scale with the new scale ... it was out by .1 of a grain.
     
  9. joed

    joed Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Messages:
    2,152
    Location:
    Ohio
    I looked at Lee presses in the beginning too. The reason I didn't go with them is some of the users told me the primer feed is an issue and they seat primers using a handheld priming tool. To me that seems like a waste of time if you can't do all the steps on the progressive.

    One of the questions I asked owners of progressives when I was looking was how many rounds an hour they are doing. If you get answers of "I don't rush", "I take my time" or "I don't count" there is a reason they can't give you an answer, they're having mechanical issues.

    The Dillon presses I've owned have all been dependable. The 550 produced 350 to 400 rounds an hour, the 650 does about 500 to 600. The 1050 I have does an honest 1200 an hour and my arm generally needs a rest after the first hour.

    Go with Dillon and the press will hold it's value should you ever decide to sell it. Lee on the other hand would not get you much money if you wanted to part with it.

    There are lots of choices. Do some internet searches on the different brands and you'll find the problems you'll encounter with each brand.

    To the person that said you'll never outgrow a single stage press, he is right. I still load most of my rifle rounds on a Rock Chucker.
     
  10. RealGun

    RealGun Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,257
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    If your budget allows for a Hornady LnL AP, do it. You can start without a case feeder but expect to add it at some point. It will allow you to place bullets and cases with your off hand. I don't have a Hornady but it is on my wishlist, and I have been through dozens of these threads and read all the arguments, done all the quotes, etc.

    I use Lee and am doing fine but I have a wood shop too and do like nice tools and machinery. It makes for a better quality of time while doing the work.

    I can appreciate why many report having machines dedicated to a caliber setup, i.e. more than one press. I have that too, but believe Hornady would be one of the better ones for doing changeovers that aren't too stressful. I also have four bandsaws and five drill presses, so you get the picture.
     
  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,170
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I would recommend the Lee classic turret if you are only loading 800 to 1,000 rounds a month. I have been loading on mine four years now and it has been a great press. The safety prime and pro auto disk powder measure have worked near flawless. The LCT can also be used as a single stage press and when you want to load three times faster just put the auto indexing rod back in. I have a feeling that 200 rounds per hour on the LCT will meet your needs a lot longer than 50 per hour on a single stage.
     
  12. kutter

    kutter Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    126
    Someone above said something about not being able to load .223 on a Lee Turret, wow I wish I had known that before I loaded the couple of thousand sitting in my garage right now :neener:

    It works just fine for .223, I even load .308 on mine I just don't use the powder dispenser, I weigh all of my charges on my .308 and then seat the bullet. I am told that long rounds can be problematic, but I don't plan on loading anything like that and if I did, I would just buy a single stage since I kind of want one anyway for load workup and small batches.
     
  13. bds

    bds Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    13,632
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    gerrym526, I have helped some shooters new to reloading setup on Lee Pro 1000 Progressive. As many have posted, starting reloading with a progressive press is not for everyone (I did, and look how confused I am :D).

    rcmodel gave good advise, learn the reloading basics on a single stage press first. The setup I now use and recommend is both single stage and progressive press mounted on the same bench. I use the single stage to separately deprime and resize as I hand prime most of my cases. If you reload 9mm, resizing 9mm case is much easier on the single stage press (I use and recommend RCBS Reloader Special 5 but any "O" ring single stage is more than adequate). I also often prefer to do 38/357 on the single stage and you may prefer to do some test loading of 223/rifle cartridges on the single stage. It's the best of both worlds.

    Since you are mechanically inclined, check out these 9 part videos on complete disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly of Pro 1000. If it looks like it's something you can do, you might give it a try. BTW, Pro 1000 will load 38Spl/357/9mm/40S&W/45ACP and 223.

    Complete disassembly/reassembly - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzaPXj4g8D0&feature=related
    Loading on Pro 1000 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj7JwO28Wzo
     
  14. Muttt

    Muttt Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Near Seattle, Wa.
    You can get a nice RCBS RS5 Reloading Starter Kit for less than 250 bucks. Right now RCBS has a cash rebate also. I would start with the Single Stage and use that to learn the basics. Then, if and when you decide to get into it further, you can always upgrade to progressive. Most still use thier single stage even though they have a progressive. So, you won't be wasting money if you upgrade later.
     
  15. pcwirepro

    pcwirepro Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Messages:
    316
    I second this opinion if you plan to reload quite a bit of pistol.
    I would steer clear of the Lee Pro1000 and the Lee Loadmaster.
    There are an intrepid few that can make them work but in the long run you'll be happier without all the priming and indexing issues they present. I started with a Pro1000, moved to the Loadmaster thinking it was an upgrade then finally threw in the towell and bought the Hornady LNL. I now use the LNL AP and the LNL Classic single stage and I couldn't imagine any press offering more.

    That said, the Lee Classic Cast Turret seems to be the economical solution. A good friend just started with one and aside from needing (2) risers on the powder drop to clear the priming mechanism he hasn't had any complaints.
    The Lee Classic cast seems to be the press of choice.
     
  16. Hagen442

    Hagen442 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    The Dodge House , NC
    Reloading

    Ck LNL Prices against Dillon 550
    I have been the LNL Route due to cost, not a good experience.
    Words of Experience
     
  17. fourdollarbill

    fourdollarbill Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    Ohio
    Opinions

    Bull Poop! I have read line after line, paragraph after paragraph about these so called nightmares. I run a LNL and a Loadmaster and neither one have any such issues that takes hours to fix. I think this comes from frustrated people that are not inclined to fix the issue. I could write a ten page all hell breaks loose article on shell plate alignment and scare everybody away from buying it too or I could just fix it. Good Grief, it did't even take the factory an hour to build the press and box it up.

    I would venture to say a LNL is very nice and can serve every purpose. The Lee Loadmaster is better BUT it will require a few minutes of tinkering if you need to replace a wear part or make an adjustment. I have a friend with a Loadmaster set up just for 223 and he likes it very well.
     
  18. hydraulicman

    hydraulicman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Messages:
    226
    lee classic cast turret

    same price as a good single stage. but way faster
     
  19. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5,324
    Location:
    Manitowoc, WI
    I think your best bang for the buck is a Lee Classic Turret Press. You can use it in Single Stage mode til you really get the hang of it. Then simply reinsert the indexing rod & you've got a great turret press.

    If I knew then what I know now, that would've been my choice. But even the oldest of the old timers still use a single stage for some operations. So if you decide to get a single stage, it won't go to waste.

    Just my $0.02
     
  20. mdp75

    mdp75 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    waveland Ms
    tell ya what bud I have an old lee single stage press sitting on my floor taking up space pm your addy pay for shipping and its yours... happy reloading.. pay it forward
     
  21. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,375
    Location:
    S. C. Florida
    Gee, Christmas got here early......
     
  22. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,937
    Gerry.......I believe you got your best answer with the first response. The longer you stick around here, the more you will come to respect the knowledge of rcmodel. Much also depends on how many rounds you shoot a month and whether you look at reloading as a hobby or as a chore. I shoot approximately 500+ rounds a month of various calibers(.357, .44, .45ACP, .460S&W, .32 Win. SPL., and 30-06), with various types of loads within individual calibers. I do this all on a Rock Chucker and have done so for years. I load when I have the time and always run out of empty brass without ever running out of ammo. I can't brag about my rounds per hour, but my ammo is accurate and consistent and I always have something to do on rainy Sundays and that hour between when I get home from work and supper.
     
  23. mdp75

    mdp75 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    waveland Ms
    yep I still load on my rock chucker. I love that press. and between my wife and I we shoot 2K + a month easy sometimes I have seen us go through 5K rounds a month. she loves reloading as much as I do and between the two of us we can knock out a batches of a hundred in about an hour and that rifle rounds that have to be trimed and lubed ect. we can do 200 rounds of straight wall pistol an hour.
     
  24. flashhole

    flashhole Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,067
    Location:
    Owego, NY
    My advice is get one of each of the Lee Classic presses, single stage and turret. I have both on my bench and have established routines for loading that take advantage of the best features of both.

    This is how I set up my turret. The specific set up is for 45-70 and I use the Lee Dipper Cups for charging. I can easily do 100 rounds an hour with this set up with pre-preped brass. I size the brass before hand on the single stage.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the two Lee presses on my bench.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    2,375
    Location:
    S. C. Florida
    I'd say go with the best deal you can get on a single stage press for now. They all work pretty much the same if they're a single stage anyway. Then whatever money you save, put it toward a really good scale. You'll always have some use for a single stage press, so it wont be money wasted.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page