Need opinions on reloader

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Bannockburn70, Nov 21, 2021.

  1. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    Gotcha

    Sizemaster would be equivalent of a turret


    Sizemaster is my favorite MEC. btw

    I have a Lee turret and Dillon 550.
    I use the Rock Chucker 90% of the times.
     
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  2. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I loved loading shotshell on the Sizemaster... it really was a lot of fun. All... slam, bam, chink, chunk... and out comes a loaded 12ga round!

    OP, as others are likely to do with your additional information... a single stage press is fine, or a turret (which I don't have direct experience with, but I understand the utility.)

    Yes... and no. The biggest difference I've found with O-presses is leverage. I started my handloading on a RCBS RS3 press, that came in the Reloader Special kit. It's a great press... I still have my original, and I bought another as a spare... but the whole reason I finally bought a Rockchucker is leverage. The smaller RS3 press would size my bigger (.30-06 and .348WCF) brass... but it didn't like it. There were a few sizing sessions I was surprised I didn't break a pivot pin. The additional leverage the RC gives me makes sizing those (and anything else...) a breeze, compared.

    Someone mentioned a press that has die inserts... like the Hornady LNL system. I had a Hornady single-stage LNL press... hated it (and I like Hornady stuff.) Not only was the press assembled with poorly finished and fitted components, with terrible slop, I did not like the LNL bushing system. I felt the extra tolerances introduced by the bushings and their o-rings (to hold the inserts in place) was too much, even for my pedestrian level reloading. That is just my opinion and experience.

    My normal reloading setup consists of the Rockchucker in the garage... where I size all my rifle brass, and the RS3 on the bench where it is used to assemble most rifle cartridges, and to do other prep tasks where the need for leverage is not required.
     
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  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I was that "someone".

    I can't speak for Hornady LNL bushing system but I LOVE the Lee bushing system. My Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro (also comes in Pro 4000 as complete kit) came with the lock bushings and they do not introduce any extra tolerance when locked into place - https://leeprecision.com/spline-drive-breech-lock-bushing/
     
  4. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I had a very early example of the LNL press... maybe too early, before they tightened everything up. It really was a poor excuse for a quality single-stage press.

    As I said... just my opinion, and my experience.
     
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  5. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    My APP came with the Breech Lock system and I immediately bought a set of four more to go with. I didn't think I'd like it but I do. I use one with a Lee Universal depriming die, and one each for sizing dies for 9x19mm, 9x17mm, .40S&W and .45ACP. Sizing .357Mag and .44Mag on the APP is a little tedious for me since I don't have a large capacity case feeder - and attaching one would ruin the portability aspect I like so much about the smaller footprint and light weight of the APP. For stubby little cases like the pistol cases mentioned a single feed tube is fine. I'm not in a hurry. :)
     
  6. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    I have run into one case of the Lee press not being up to the task. Attempting to pull some crimped in bullets from 308 rounds. Strain was getting way up there and I decided to stop before I broke something.

    Have no doubt that a Rock Chucker.....or one of the old boat anchors like a CH H style press.......through bolted with backing plate to a sturdy bench would win that battle every time.
     
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  7. lightman

    lightman Member

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    If you want a single stage press about all of the current makes have a good one. I recommend getting an "O" frame press with compound linkage. I use a RCBS Rockchucker.

    If you want a progressive Dillon is hard to beat.

    The MEC that you are thinking about looks like a nice press and should serve you well.
     
  8. BJung

    BJung Member

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    If you want a Gold Standard press, it's the Forster Co-Ax. It's what the US Army Sniper school uses. I personally own a Rockchucker, used it since I started reloading and will probably pass it down to the next generation.
     
  9. EricBu

    EricBu Member

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    Answer these questions first:
    What do I want to load, pistol, rifle, or both?
    What kind of shooting will I do, long range, competition, hunting, or just recreational target shooting?
    How much am I going to load?
    What kind of variety in calibers am I going to load, just 2 or 3, or do I want to load 20 or 30 calibers?
    Will I embrace reloading as a hobby unto itself, or do I just want to punch out as much ammo as fast as I can?

    Some examples of how those answers might influence you:
    "I shoot 2000 rnds a month of 9mm for competition, but also some 223 and 308." = Dillon 750 or Hornady progressive with a case feeder
    "I shoot 20 different calibers, but want to load a couple hundred at a time, and maybe once in a while, 5 or 6 hundred 45 ACP" = Dillon 550 or some turrets.
    " I shoot 20 different rifle calibers, but will usually only load a few at a time, accuracy for hunting is more important to me than volume. I don't shoot a lot of handguns, but maybe once in a while I'll load 50 for my old 45 Colt" = Rockchucker or Turret style press
    "I shoot 10K rounds a month of 5.56, 9, 40, 38, and 45. I just want to make ammo". = Dillon 1050, Apex 10, etc with bullet feeder and case feeder. If money is no object, add a autodrive.

    In my humble opinion, the basic Rockchucker Kit is the finest complete product based on what's included and it's price on the market to get started with reloading. You can buy the kit, primers, powder, and bullets....and if you have any saved brass, you can roll out some respectable ammo a few hours after unboxing it. Assuming you're not "basic life skills challenged", but we'll assume that isn't the case because you were smart enough to find The Highroad and ask! LOL
     
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  10. mdi

    mdi Member

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    When starting a new "adventure" K,I,S.S! For learning to reload, a single stage is hard to beat (unless you are talking about a Lee Loader. which I started with in '69). One advantage of learning on a single stage is die adjustment. Swapping dies and readjusting them is an extremely important lesson as most problems can be fixed with simple die adjustments and essential for troubleshooting. Also the operator is able to concentrate on one task at a time (and I recommend batch reloading.). Even if a single stage is only used for a few months, there is alwsys a use for one. Even it one chooses a more "sophisticated/complex" method for a primaty press. I have 2 single stage presses under my bench that can be quickly mounted on the bench and size bullets, deprime large amounts brass, prime brass, and several other tasks I might want to do and keep my main press set up.

    I worked with a few apprentices in automotive electronics and found the best, longest lasting teaching method is K.I.S.S. Rather than jump into digital controls, we would start with basics, like batteries...

    Go slow. Double check everything. And most important, have fun...
     
  11. BJung

    BJung Member

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    I hope I'm speaking for the majority of us. You can't go wrong having a single stage press. I can save money buying a Lee but never regretted buying a better quality RCBS press. I suppose Hornady or Lyman are just as good. EC too. Eric Bu makes a good point. He's an active pistol shooter. I tinker with test loads and shoot only a few rounds to practice with bolt action rifles and handguns.
     
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  12. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

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    I still do most of my rifle loafing on my RCBS JR3, but as already mentioned, I was shooting to much 9mm, .380, and .40sw to keep up with on a single stage. So I bought a Lee Classic 4 hole turret. I shoot at least a couple hundred rounds a month and don't have a ton of extra time for reloading. A couple hundred rds a month is not enough for me to justfy a Dillon yet, so the turret is working well for now.
     
  13. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    I bought a cheap 2nd hand Lee 3 hole turret. I reload .380, 9mm, .40S&W, .45auto, .223/5.56, .300 BLK, 7.62x39, 350 Legend, 7.62x54r, & .308. It's a simple switch of die sets to change from one to the other.
    I index it by hand & don't have a problem turning out a couple hundred an hour. It's not fast but the ammo I pump out is accurate.
     
  14. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    MEC, Dillon, RCBS, All very good names. Personally I'm into the blue kool-aid (Dillon). Excellent presses excellent customer service

    By the way. Welcome to thr & welcome to the addic..
    Ohh hobby, ya that's it hobby. :what: :neener::neener: :neener::neener::neener:

    Lol
     
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  15. gspn

    gspn Member

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    For the past 14 years I've used a Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret press to load 13 rifle and pistol calibers. I can buy any press I'd like, but I have found no reason to replace the Lee.

    I added a Hornady Lock N Load for the pistol rounds I shoot in higher volumes, but everything else goes through the Lee.
     
  16. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Forsake the drama and buy a Dillon 550. It will do everything a single stage, (RCBS JR), turret (Redding T7) and do it faster and more accurate. A caliber change over is almost instant with and additional tool head set up. Primer changes also.

    I f you are going to shoot only one caliber a Dillon 550 is not for you,

    A Dillon 550 is sweet.
     
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  17. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    The press is the most attractive part of reloading -- the centerpiece of the bench so to speak, but it doesn't actually do much and with respect to single-stage presses, there are numerous presses that will work just fine. I believe MEC's is an excellent one, as are Lee's cast-iron presses, Bonanza's, Lyman's, RCBS's, Redding's and more.

    Unless you're going progressive, the press isn't the area where you have to think carefully and make good choices. It's the dies and the brass processing equipment. At the very least you need dies and ought to clean the brass. How you clean the brass can have a much more profound impact on your productivity and pleasure than which press you use. Going beyond cleaning, there's also annealing. Both cleaning and annealing are rabbit holes in their own respects.

    Another area that will have a much more profound impact on your reloading experience than the color of your press is how you measure powder.

    As for the brass part and seating bullets, your choices in dies will probably be the most significant to the results. The press is nothing but a pivot handle for the dies.
     
  18. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix Member

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    I have been using the MEC press for rifle cartridges for over a year now. It’s a very good single stage press for the money and I’d recommend it. For many years I used a CH press and it worked well also. The key is consistency and many presses do an admirable job.
     
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  19. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Have a 650, a Rock Chucker and a Forster CO-AX. I tend to go to the CO-AX for load development. Just my preference.
     
  20. webrx
    • Contributing Member

    webrx Contributing Member

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    rcbs single stage partner press for rifle (6.5, 30-30, 243, etc) - my first press

    Later I bought a Lee classic turret for pistol, .38, .357, 380, 9mm,.45 etc. simply because I can make more faster, I bought it on sale and it sat in a box for a year, then once I pulled it out and gave it a whirl I found I liked it for anything where there is a higher volume need.

    I actually load some rifle on the turret, .223 range rounds for the ARs as well, but go to the single stage when loading for accuracy in the bolt action.

    I learned on a single stage and like the unhurried, methodical, single stage process especially when loading for long distance accuracy - as i like to do checks at each step of the process. Having said that, I am sure I could get the good accuracy from the Turret as well, but what I do works for me.

    If I could only have one, I think I could get along just fine with either but would most likely choose the single stage - less moving parts, less to go wrong with it. But I am not restricted to one, so I do what I do.

    Dave
     
  21. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I'd recommend starting with a single stage press. It gives you the opportunity to learn each step of reloading metallic cartridges without the distraction of keeping up with the other steps at the same time.

    If you decide to go progressive in the future, a single stage press is a good piece of gear to have on hand. It does some specialized tasks that cannot be done on a progressive press. Many folks, me included, still reload rifle cartridges on a single stage and reload handgun on a progressive.

    If cared for a good single stage press will last forever.

    I'd get a bigger, heavy duty press such as the RCBS Rockchucker, Redding Big Boss, or Lyman. I am unfamiliar with the new MEC press as it is new to the market but those that have one seem to be happy with it.

    I feel a turret press is a waste of money. I my opinion, there is no advantage in operation over a single stage press and it cost more. Also, extra turrets are not cheap either. Use the money saved by buying a single stage press to spend on other reloading gear.

    These days, most of the manufacturers make dies and shell holders that interchange on other companies' presses. That makes it handy. The Dillon SDB progressive press and a few old, out of production presses use proprietary dies. All progressive presses use shell plates that are specific to the press and do not interchange on any other press.

    All of the reloading companies make good reloading gear. It kind of comes down to discussion like a "Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge" pick-up truck discussion on what an individual likes or dislikes.

    Get a reloading manual or two. "ABC's of Reloading" and most of books published by the bullet manufacturers have excellent reloading instructional information in them.
     
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  22. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    You can load shells and enjoy loading with almost any press on the market. I currently use a Lee Classic. But...I also look at presses and think about changing. My current wish is the Redding Big Boss 2 with the primer feed. One thing I really like is the LNL bushing system and I have it installed on my Lee. I choose that over a turret press and am happy with it. I personally would not load on a single stage without a bushing system for the dies. Unless, maybe, I was an ultra accuracy rifle loader, which I am not and will not be.
     
  23. mdi

    mdi Member

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    The single most important element in reloading is the nut behind the handle. I started with a Lee Loader, then a Lee Challenger,and followed by a Pacific SS, C-H SS monster, a Big Boss, possibly one or two others in between, then a Lee 4 hole turret. I didn't want/need a semi-progressive so I disabled the auto index and used that press for 15-16 years loading cartridges from 32 ACP to 30-06. I would still be using it but I got a bonus and a nice tax return so I got my present press, a Forster Co-Ax, a "Super Single Stage". I like reloading and have never been in a hurry nor have I ever needed to assemble 500 rounds in an hour...

    I often hear "Get a Dillon XXX and you'll never look back". or "buy once, cry once" and I think that's like "First car? Get a Corvette or a Cadilac CT5-V". As a learning tool a progressive is a poor choice...
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
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  24. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    Brass tumblers:
    Thumblers Model B rotary tumbler $375
    STM Rebel 17 (rotary) $259
    Thumlers UV-45 vibratory $1016

    Brass annealers:
    AMP (induction) Annealer $1495 plus AMP Mate $449
    Benchsource gas annealer $561

    Good dies:
    Redding competition three die set $290 to $409
    RCBS Matchmaster two die set $169 to $189

    Powder measures:
    Autotrickler v3 with A&D FX120i $876
    RCBS Matchmaster $899
    RCBS Chargemaster $419

    Brass:
    1000 pieces of Starline 6.5 Creedmoor $600
    1000 pieces of Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor $1030

    RCBS Rockchucker Supreme: $188
    Redding Big Boss II $202
    Forster Co-Ax $353


    The single-stage press is just a pivot handle for the dies. The bigger gains in quality and productivity outcomes are a result of other equipment. The brass tumbler isn't as "sexy" as the press, but if you don't get a good one, you'll either produce dirty ammo or spend more of your time cleaning brass than pulling the handle on that sexy press. Buy a sexy press but drop your charges with a glorified scoop? Or spend all your time hovering over a trickler and beam scale? Nothing wrong with that or what it produces, but you might as well make it the centerpiece of the bench. A good beam scale can cost more than a decent press too.

    I know someone will say you don't "need" all this stuff. So what? Anyone can start with range scrounge and a whack-a-mole press, but once they look to upgrade, it's this stuff that factors in just as much as the press.
     
  25. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    I am happy with my Dillon.
    I am also happy with my Lyman and my Lee and my RCBS....

    I agree in the fact that for a first press, do some research and don't be afraid to spend a few more bucks initially.
    The $200 dollar difference you may spend on any one press vs another, is basically beans in the long run...
    Regardless, the initial buy ( should you/he/she enjoy reloading ) is ONLY a gateway drug down the rabbit hole.....:)
     
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