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New guy contemplating handloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by brandon_mcg, Nov 17, 2010.

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  1. brandon_mcg

    brandon_mcg Member

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    Hello all! Love this forum as it has provided me with a lot of insight regarding handloading. I have read all the forum threads regarding getting started into reloading; however, I have become a little confused on what route to take. I'll try to provide a general overview of what I am looking for in handloading:

    -I mainly shoot .45, around 100-150 rounds a week.
    -I also shoot .308 and 9mm as well but only around 50 rounds a month for the .308 and 100 rounds a month for the 9mm
    -I am not wanting a high production type press. One that produces 200 rounds a week would be awesome as I would like to take my time with the reloading process.
    -I am planning on picking up a manual or two and reading them before starting this endeavor.
    -I am considering the Lee classic turret reloading kit or the Lee anniversary reloading kit to begin with.

    My main confusion stems from the fact that I see a lot of people recommending a single stage press for low production and rifle cartridges but I also see a lot of votes for a turret type press for handgun reloading.
    Which would be best for my situation? I would not mind paying the extra money for the turret style press but I also want to make sure that I will be able to reload .308 rounds as well.

    I thank everyone in advance for their help as I am sure that everyone here is very knowledgeable on this topic!
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Single-stage for me.
    I can't see a turret press being of any benefit to me at all.

    When I reload, I do each stage in large batches, change dies, do the whole batch, and so on and so forth.

    When I get to the powder charging, I use loading blocks with 50 or 100 cases set mouth down.
    Each one is then charged and set back down mouth up.

    When all 50 or 100 have powder, I look at the powder level in each case and verify they are all charged, and all the same.

    Then set bullets in the case mouths, and go to the press and seat them all.

    Doing one round at a time from start to finish in a turret press scares me.
    But I have been doing it the way I outlined for 50 years without a squib load or over-charge, ever, and it's too late to change now.

    BTW: Just processed 750 9mm cases last week.
    All sized, expanded, polished, and primed.

    At this point I can throw powder & load 50 rounds of 9mm on my single stage in about 15 minutes.
    And I will know for a fact they all have powder in them!

    rc
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  3. sniper55

    sniper55 Member

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    rc, I agree 100% your way is also my way!!!
     
  4. russ45

    russ45 Member

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    The turret is not much of a benefit for rifle cartridges, and the stroke is not long enough to de-prime and prime those tall cases. However, for 45 ACP and 9MM, etc. you are way out in front with a turret. 200 per hour is easy. I put a light by my press so I can see the powder in the casing before I set the bullet. I use my turret for rifle cases as well, I just have to do the de-priming in a separate operation and remove the indexing rod, turning it into a single stage press except that I don't have to change the dies, just rotate the turret. For the loading you described, I suggest the Lee 4-stage turret press so you can use the factory crimp die for those auto pistols.
     
  5. MCMXI
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    MCMXI Contributing Member

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    brandon_mcg, I would suggest that you start with a single stage press. However, after a while you might begin to see the appeal of a single up/down stroke of a press handle to produce one finished round. Think about it, 100 pulls of a handle to make 100 rounds or 500 pulls to produce 100 rounds .... assuming one up/down stroke to resize/prime, expand, powder, seat and crimp. I've been reloading since '92 and have assembled tens of thousands (maybe 100k +) rounds using a progressive press without any problems. I've also assembled tens of thousands of rounds using a single stage press and they both have their place on my bench. There's a lot more going on with a progressive press, so I always recommend that new reloaders start out by mastering every step of the process on a single stage. This isn't to say that a new reloader can't start out with a progressive. Different strokes for different folks ... pun intended.

    I don't load any rifle ammunition on a progressive press so the above paragraph pertains to reloading handgun cartridges only.

    :)
     
  6. cavman

    cavman Member

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    I started with a Dillon 650 progressive press. That was about four years ago. It has been a good decision for me. I shoot only .45 ACP (have some .223 and 30-'06 and .38/.357 but haven't gotten reloading for them, yet). I actually only shoot a couple hundred a week, although during the Bullseye season, it can be double or triple that easily.

    That said, I have picked up a few .45s for wadcutters and Service shooting, and am now getting to the point where load development is getting more and more likely as my shooting has gotten better. I will be getting a single press for load development as I haven't found it too easy to make 10 or 20 of one charge and then 10 and 20 of another, and so on and so forth. And if I get into rifle reloading I think I will prefer the single for load development even more.

    To those in the know, is the Single for load development especially desired over the Progressive?
     
  7. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    For handgun ammo I very much like my turret press.
    I'm not loading for competition, I just like ridding the world of those evil paper targets.

    "There's no need to fear! Hondo_dog is here!" LOL
    (I know, I'm dating myself)

    For my rifle - yes a single stage does very nicely.
     
  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I use a "traditional" (that is to say non-advancing) Lyman turret, but I load in batches of 50 using RC's method. In this mode the turret allows me to "flip back" if I find a runaway shell case loose on the floor. (Which with my housekeeping is always a concern.) The 6-hole turret allows me to stay "tooled up" for 2 rifle cartridges at all times. Finally, I find it indispensable to have a Lee Universal Decapping Die in one of the positions because there always seems to be a need to stop what I'm doing and de-prime some oddball case. Having a dedicated de-priming station is simply "double darn" convenient.

    Lyman_Tmag2.png

    I like the Lyman T-Mag style presses, but it uses the older open primer cup catching system. So I'm thinking of updating this press to the cleaner Redding T-7 turret.

    t7%20side.png
     
  9. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Rambling on

    Regardless of the press you choose, I recommend start reloading in single stage mode. There is too much going on with a progressive that will put a beginner into information overload.

    There is an advantage to having a single stage press around. It can do some special chores much better than a progressive. Also, a single stage press is more convenient for low volume production. I can set up and reload the same number of cases in the first hour with the single stage press as I can on the progressive. about 100 cartridges. Of course, the progressive leaves the single stage in the dust in the second hour.

    Most dies will work with most of the progressives on the market so you would not have start buying from scratch if you upgraded to a progressive later. Do the research so you buy the right stuff.

    Lee presses and dies are pretty good equipment. Their auxiliary equipment like scales and powder measures leave something to be desired. I would get an RCBS, Hornady, Redding, or Lyman beginners kit instead of a Lee even though it costs more. The auxiliary stuff is much better. Or buy al a carte. Of course, the auxiliary equipment will work with both a progressive and a single stage.

    I reload on a single stage press using a method similar to rcmodel. I prep brass shortly after shooting and set it aside. Then at a later date reload a bunch. I added a progressive last year but I resize and clean in one step, then reload at a later time using the clean and prepared brass. Just my weird way of using a progressive. I still use a single stage press for rifle rounds.

    I do not see the value of spending the extra money on a turret press. Although I have never used one, studying their operation just does not make sense to me. Go single stage or progressive in my opinion.

    Rambling off. Welcome to the great world of reloading.
     
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Welcome to the club.:D
    I have been accused of being a little bit anal about my reloading habits.:eek: I agree with RC Model on this issue and hand load in larger batches. This allows me a lot less die changing and more inspection/care time on each finished round. If in the future you WANT to upgrade to a turrent or progressive there are still a lot of things that the single stage press will be useful for at that time. I have never seen the need to go faster than a single stage will allow me to. I have taught several people to hand load on my setup and none have complained about how slow it is.:D They do however all like the ammo that they produce when done. My reason is---until you learn the basics there is no need to speed up the process of making second rate ammo.:scrutiny:

    BTW I do have a turrent press that almost never gets used.
     
  11. rick300

    rick300 Member

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    I'm in rcmodels camp, I load about 300 to 500 ruonds a month,. Its not about production for me, It's about relaxation. I enjoy making them as much as shooting them, sometimes more. Life is too short to hurry. Be safe Rick
     
  12. MrWesson

    MrWesson Member

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    If loading handgun rounds IMO turret is the best way to go.

    50rds an hour vs 400 rounds an hour, you decide.

    Reloading provides you with a reasonable reliable source of ammo, potentially better quality and you save a few bucks.

    Casting will save you tons and I do it for that reason. I reload 1000rds of 9mm for around $40 vs $160 store bought.

    Reloading/Casting/Shooting are 3 different hobbies for me.
     
  13. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Read loading books and manuals and watch videos on the manufacturer's web sites and on YouTube.
    I would NEVER go back to a single-stage press unless I was loading for rifle. Since I go a couple of years between rifle loading, I have never been other than completely happy with a Hornady L-N-L, even for those few rounds.
    Any progressive can be used as a single stage press while one is learning.
    I have used the Hornady (Pro-7, Pro-Jector, and L-N-L) and the Dillon 550 and 650. The Dillons are only a pleasure if you have the case feeder (which can be a headache of its own) or you don't mind manually loading the case feed tubes. I have no experience with the RCBS or the Lee.
    If you want to start with a single-stage, start with one that you will keep forever: Lee Reloader Single Stage Press for $28.
    You can learn all about reloading on it and you will keep it for processing just a handful of cases, depriming cases before cleaning, using the Lee Bulge Buster, or sizing lead bullets with the Lee kits.
    Then, you can decide if you want a really nice single-stage press (Forster Co-Ax), or a turret (Lee Classic Turret—the others are just doe storage devices), or a progressive (Hornady L-N-L), and not be out anything since the little press comes in handy every once in a while.
    Get the Lee 4-die carbide sets, a Lee Safety Scale, a Lee Perfect Powder measure, powder, bullets, cases, and primers.
    Read a couple of reloading books. In fact, you can get the little press and the Lee book together: Lee Reloader Single Stage Press Kit for $31.99. Read all instructions before doing anything and follow every Lee instructions to the letter.
     
  14. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    I use my turret press exactly the same way I'd use a single stage.
    The only difference I see is that instead of screwing something in I turn a little platform a few clicks.

    I'd say get the turret press, simply because it is that little bit more ergonomical and it's not like you're forced to use the feature.
     
  15. Misfired

    Misfired Member

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    I'm not a high volume shooter. Probably shoot 300 rounds of handgun per month.
    I started reloading about 6 months ago.

    Couldn't decide what to get so I got the Lee hand press, RCBS auto-prime tool, and RCBS 505 scale and lee dippers. Getting pretty good with the dippers.

    Haven't really felt the need to change anything yet.
     
  16. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Member

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    Exactly what he just said.

    I've found out through trial and error, that I'm actually an amateur machinist, who occasionally produces a loaded round of ammunition...

    One more person in favor of learning on the single stage, and moving over to the progressive later if you feel the need...

    -tc
     
  17. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    The problem with a progressive press is when you want to do small batches of different calibers. It's not worth the effort to change the dies and shell holders out just to make a couple hundred rounds.

    The turret press seems to me to be just as good as a single stage press in that regard, but with the ability to make ammo at least twice as fast for the handguns. So I say go for the turret press if you have the money and the space. There's really no reason not to. You can use it as a single stage press, too. Even if you preprocess all your brass by sizing/priming in advance, you can still use a turret press to quickly expand/charge, seat, and crimp in small batches, cutting out the loading block and the insertion/removal from the shellholder for each step.

    That said, if you have the time to kill, there's no reason you can't easily meet your needs with a single stage press. I cranked out a thousand rounds on one in the first 2 weeks, and I enjoyed every second! I think I like it more than shooting! But for me, it boiled down to space. When I'm done with my press, I take it down and put it up in the closet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  18. rozziboy18

    rozziboy18 Member

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    yet another vote for single stage. ive ben reloading for close to 6 years now and have had three presses. a rcbs rc single stage, a hornady lnl, and a dillon 550b. the hornady is all i have now and i have found that i have no proble with 100 rounds of 45 in an hour. single stage is better when your starting out. it will help you learn the fundamentals of reloading, its also easyer to spot mistakes.
    imho of course

    brandon
     
  19. evan price

    evan price Member

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    A turret press is really no different than a single stage; you just gain the flexibility of not needing to change out dies to do a different function. I would recommend any new loader to seriously check out the Lee Classic Cast turrets.

    The advantage of a turret over a single stage is no need to remove dies. Just load them in the turret and set them up and never mess with them again. Get a turret for each set of dies and you are set. Yo udon't have to use the auto-index feature- I don't use it at all.
     
  20. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    I find the single stage works fine for me, although I see nothing wrong with the other presses. Especially for hand gun ammo. I use about 400-500 rifle loads a month and I load them exactly the same way as RC. I just relax, take my time, and I'm picky about it. Which probably slows me down some.
     
  21. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    I have used the method that RC states for 40+ years ... worked for me with out any squibs or failures to fire.

    To me... the turrent press(non auto advance) are just a quick way to change dies. I have the Forster Co-Ax for my fast die change... no flex like "some" of the turrent press have.

    Jimmy K
     
  22. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I love my RCBS Turret! It as all the advantages of a single stage, yet you get to keep your dies preset in turret heads to speed things along. I also do my loading in batches, as RCBS recommends. It is far easier and quicker when doing small batches during load development than a single stage. Unfortunately, most of those with a bias against turrets will never see the other side.
     
  23. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    I've been loading longer that many, not as long as some. Of all of the equipment that I've used, I've found the Dillon 550b to be the most versatile. Since it is a manually indexing press, it does a pretty good job of mimicking a single stage and also does a good job as a progressive for small rifle and handgun. I've had mine for about twenty years and it's loaded at least a quarter million rounds and is still going strong. Right now, I'm loading 9mm, .38/.357, .45ACP, .223 and .308 on it. It takes no longer than five minutes to go from one caliber to another, including primer ram changes.

    Still, if you have absolutely no experience with loading, you can't go wrong with an RCBS Rockchucker. It's a monster of a press and will out last you and your grand children.
     
  24. MCMXI
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    MCMXI Contributing Member

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    When I bought my third press about six months ago, a Redding Big Boss II, I had considered a Redding T-7 but decided against it. At present, I reload for seven different rifle cartridges and I weighed the convenience and potential time savings of a rotating turret with dies already in place to the cost of having to buy extra turrets at around $63 each along with the inconvenience of storing them. I considered the fact that it takes all of 30 seconds to change out a die which is nothing compared to the time taken to resize, remove case lubricant, clean primer pocket, trim, prime, dispense powder, seat bullet and crimp (in some cases). So basically, there are arguments for both a traditional single stage press or a turret style press for rifle ammunition depending on your preference. One isn't significantly superior to the other. However, I will NEVER go back to loading pistol ammunition on a single stage press or a turret press with the exception of low-volume loadings such as .454 Casull.

    The smallest batch I'll assemble for load development is thirty rounds so again, I don't see any significant benefit of a Turret press. I will say that if I was just starting out, and was only going to load for one rifle cartridge, then I'd probably buy a turret press, and specifically the T-7. I would add turrets as needed and would figure out an elegant way to store them on my loading bench.

    :)
     
  25. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    A Lee turret ... disk ... thingie ... costs 15 bucks max. On top of that I live in an apartment (a one bedroom apartment) and for some reason the four (4) extra little 4 inch disks are not an issue in space savings.
     
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