Progressive press what to know? what to get?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TEXASJD, Feb 21, 2021.

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  1. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    SEE, no matter what you think you need or what you really need the answer is always a Dillon. Even if your volume tells you all you actually need is a turret press. Yes there will always be those that insist you need a 650/750 with an automated bullet feeder.

    Guess I'm just jealous and wish I could shoot enough every year to warrant a 650/750.
     
  2. BBarn

    BBarn Member

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    I too insisted on at least 5 stations, and after using a progressive I don't believe I'd settle for less. Added a case feeder later and feel it greatly simplified the process and improved the throughput.
     
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  3. HDMontana

    HDMontana Member

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    I went with the Hornady lnl. I can easily get the extras for it locally, at least before the shortages. It has done well in the couple of years and thousands of cases I have run through it.
     
  4. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I have Dillon presses and have been very happy with many many thousands of reloads in at least 7 different calibers.
    I have nothing against any other brands but I have an honest question for the others here:
    Do the other brands hold value or appreciate like Dillon?
    Used Dillon presses usually sell for not much under new price. I’ve used the snot out of mine and they are worth more than I paid new. I bought my square deal when they first came out for $139(?) and Dillon rebuilt it after the first 30,000 rounds. I bought a 550 when it first came out to replace the old 450 (which I still have and use). I think I paid about $225 for it.
    Do the other brands deliver that kind of performance and value over time?
     
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  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    He was asking opinions on progressive presses, exactly what he got and worth what they cost.

    His preference is up to him. Even if he only loads 100 a year and has an automated press that will do his entire year loading in under 5 minutes, if that’s what he decides on, good for him. I suppose I could say the same thing if he uses a Lee loader and a hammer for 10,000 a year. Neither will change the opinions I have formed on the presses I have owned and loaded on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  6. ulflyer

    ulflyer Member

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    I like the 550 with the manual feature which lets me move a case forward or back whenever I'm changing powder loads, or bullet types. I don't load anywhere near enough to justify the cost of a progressive, probably around 1500 9mm and 1500 45acp a year. Used to load more but shooting less as I age.
     
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  7. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Search ebay for yourself and see. Last night there was a Pro1000 at $450.00+ with 17 bids. Today a quick search found another already at $305.00 with 5 bids and a couple days to go. Even the cheap Lee Challenger presses are sell for way over 2X list price.

    I could buy a Dillon if I felt the need but so far I do not. Instead I am spending $600.00 on a new rifle.
     
  8. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    The 550 is a progressive press, just with manual vs auto indexing.
    I don’t mind manual indexing. It becomes an automatic function when I have my rhythm.
     
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  9. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    I own both of the most popular - Blue and Red (one is for sale in the classifieds!!)

    I prefer BLUE for a couple reasons.

    NO BS warranty - it is true. I have only had to replace two small parts that were already in the spare parts group purchased separately.

    If you are having issues, of any kind, they WILL help you.

    COST to change calibers is LESS with BLUE.

    TIME to change calibers is LESS with BLUE.

    If loading pistol, Dillon carbide pistol dies are THE top of the heap. What other die can the center/working portion of die be removed, with a retention clip?
     
  10. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    And you are absolutely correct in both your statements.
    He also didn't mention his actual needs or expectations, the reason for my statement. I certainly wouldn't push someone that is only going to be loading a couple thousand rounds a year to a press that will accomplish that in as you say "under 5 minutes". In my opinion there are much better solutions to do that.

    Now at the same time if someone asked me about the Dillon higher end presses I would honestly tell them that they are the top of the line for the general enthusiast and that if they felt the need to own one then buy one. I might not agree with their decision but it is really none of my business how they spend their money.

    Guess I just get tired of hearing the blanket statement that anyone and everyone that wants a progressive press needs to only buy a top of the line Dillon and that is the end of the story..
     
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  11. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I don't know where you got that info but it's not correct. A conversion kit is around $200 for a Dillon. LNL-AP dies and Shell plate $125 depending on dies.
     
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  12. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Dillon 650 requires a shell plate, buttons, and powder funnel. 650 price is $83 at Grafs

    Hornady Ammo Plant requires shell plate and powder funnel. Looks like $54 at Grafs - have never seen a $36 shell plate prior to today (Hornady).


    So, comparing 5 station progressive of BLUE and RED, you are correct. Dillon kit also includes casefeeder parts as well.
     
  13. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I kicked idea back and fourth over and over. I decided against going progressive. Reason why. Is because i load a lot of hand gun calibers. And i already have the tool heads for my turret press. Be sides loading is not a race.
     
  14. Armorer 101

    Armorer 101 Member

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    For a first time progressive, the Dillion 550 is a very good place to start with a strong stand and spade handle.
    A couple of things to do for pistol and the 550:
    A) Get two powder throws, one for the rifle bar and one for the pistol bar
    B) Get a die holder head for every cartridge, set your dies, mark the end with black magic marker, put them on a head holder
    C) Get a carbide sizing die or st for every straight case.
    D) Get a taper or profile crimp die for each pistol cartridge, station 3 seat, 4 crimp, it allows slightly different lengths of brass, important for running quantities.
    Been running Dillon with RCBS and Redding dies for a long, long time and many 10s of thousands of rounds. I also have a PW Metallic II, straight line progressive.
     
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  15. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    So a RCSB served me well for 30 years; .338, .280, 22-250, 7mm-08 and 7mm Rem. The upgrade to a digital powder measure 12 years ago was the only real upgrade I ever did. I bought a powder thrower with the original press, mounted it but never put a grain of powder. A hand primer, a case trimmer device and was set.

    Recently I decided to load pistol and volume.223. As I was fighting to get components, I came across a stack of Dillion Rl 550 Cs. I wanted to do some research before I pulled the trigger but when I asked, the salesman said the 9 on the shelf would probably be gone by quitting time.

    I got home and I ignorant and didn’t know I needed conversion plates. I ordered some and in the meantime I loaded about 300 .380 rounds on the Rockchucker. Slow, tedious, but I had ammo for a new gun.

    For about 2 weeks I was intimidated about setting up the Dillion but finally did a month ago. 1,500 rounds later, I’m thoroughly impressed. I now have 5 tool heads, 5 conversion plates, 3 powder assemblies.

    I have no experience with Hornady, Lee, Redding or anything other than RCBS and Dillion so I can’t compare. But I think both of those are quality products for anyone in the market.

    But you must know there is more cost involved that a set of dies and a shell holder. I didn’t, was a little shocked, but if I had waited and researched it, I may not have a press I can pump out 100s of bullets a day therefore I have no regrets.
     
  16. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    Okay those questions answered. Now how much shooting do you do or plan on doing for both? I”m going to assume from your first post that you reload for rifle and if you do what press do you have?
    I’m not going to suggest which press for you to buy as you are going to get so many others telling you what you should buy. I would though suggest you really think about how much you are realistically going to load and what you may add in the future.
     
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  17. TEXASJD
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    TEXASJD Contributing Member

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    I shoot 10mm a good amount I carry one and have 3 others, using single stage press (2 Rock chucker's) loading hand gun ammo will give the blues.
     
  18. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    If you get a Dillon, I'd recommend getting at least the 750 for auto indexing. It's impossible to get a double charge unless you physically take the case out and move it back a station. As far as squibs, they are not impossible like a double charge, but are very unlikely. Something has to fall and interfere with the priming slide and keep the powder arm from charging. I had this happen once in 18,000 rounds. A an extra bullet fell from my bullet feeder and blocked the primer slide. I do eyeball every powder drop do I caught this and then saw that the bullet was stuck on the primer slide.

    I personally don't like powder checks. I tried them and they usually pull up powder. I'd rather eyeball every drop and have more consistent loads and not deal with powder flakes on the shellplate.
     
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  19. gifbohane

    gifbohane Member

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    If you are insistent on a progressive, and you are not working on a tight budget, I would skip to the top and buy a Dillon.

    The way I reload the Redding turret is perfect for me.
     
  20. Harriw

    Harriw Member

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    I concur. I have a powder cop I don't use because it gets powder everywhere (took me a little while to figure out that's where it was coming from too... just about tore my hair out fiddling with the powder drop first). I find a good press-mounted LED light lets you see down into bottle-neck cases, and is a far better solution. I highly recommend the UFO lights made by KMS^2 (they're on Amazon, and available to fit most progressive presses I believe).
     
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  21. Klaatu Barada Nikto
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    Klaatu Barada Nikto Contributing Member

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    Had a Lee Classic Turret Press for years. It was OK and much better than the Pacific that my dad and I loaded on back in the 60's.
    My neighbor had a Dillon XL550 and liked the CSS from Dillon plus the ease at which it ran. I've probably run 30k rounds through my old Lee press but a year ago I bought an XL750, then of course all of the mod stuff.
    It's like the small block Chevy of progressive presses, well supported and many before us have it tweaked. True to form the 750 runs like a dream. A few quirks to iron out but pretty easy to solve.
    The conversion kits can be expensive however I made a cheat sheet of all the calibers that I reload (357 Mag, 308, 223, 300BO, 45 Auto, 40S&W and 9mm). Dillon makes it easy to cross reference https://dilloncdn.com/docs/caliberconversioncharts/xl650-caliber-conversion-chart.pdf
    Then I bought empty Dillon Caliber Conversion boxes and just put the case plates in them. Then I cross referenced and with a label maker stuck labels on them like Station 1 Locator from .223 caliber, shell plate from x caliber, locator buttons from kit x, CF Body Bushing from Kit x and so on. This way I didn't have to buy complete conversion kits, just the items that were unique.
    Dillon dies are very nice, so is a case feeder. The only thing I bought that I don't use is a bullet feeder. My choice is bullet feeder or powder check. I opted for the powder check.
    Pretty much you should go with what you know best and is easiest for you.
    Personally I'd wait until this latest thing has blown over, maybe 8 to 10 months. Then the market should be full of slightly used presses by then.
    Slightly used because people that got into it late couldn't find powder and\or primers.
     
  22. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    >> True. Auto pistol loading drives most of the need for a progressive press simply due to the greater ammo volume. The deal-killer for the single-stage is the requirement to "touch" each cartridge one time at each die. Thus what the progressive press is really solving for the reloader is the "material handling" issue.

    >> While there are a few guys that simply want the best progressive press money can buy to go along with their big home and trophy wife, most of us need to make our decisions based on budgetary realities. So the best way to choose the right progressive is to look at your ammo volumes now and for the next 5 years. Will you shoot more after you graduate? Will you shoot less when the new baby arrives? Will you shoot more in retirement?

    And what are those volumes? Not, what "would you like to shoot", but what will your budget and time actually allow? When you define that number, picking the right press for you will be easy.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  23. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    Dillion fans,,, (and serious types,,,) You'd better skip this post!

    ________________________________________________

    Ya know, I'd get me one of those Dillions, but the shade of blue they come in,,, what is that??? Maternity Blue??? Hospital Blue??? Kinda-but-not-really-sure Blue???

    NOW we know why Dillion has Calendar Girls!!! Gotta have something else to look at instead of that funky blue!

    (I have Red and Green presses. No pastels for me! LOL!!!)
     
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  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I wouldn’t go that far and also use a phrase from the car business, “there is a butt for every seat.” If there were not anyone buying the others, they would go out of business and that’s not even close to happening. Frankly, the lack of any of the others to come up with better machines has allowed Dillon to keep on selling the same old presses decade after decade with very few changes. Mark 7 and maybe the FA-10 will change that. Even the “New” presses/processors they came out with recently are really just going back to the RL press that they had before the Super 1050.

    I have been able to get them all to run ok and load good ammunition. Even the often disparaged Loadmaster.



    If they ran like that year after year, I’d have a room full of them. That’s just not the reality I had.

    The RCBS pro 2000 was fairly solid, with a boat load of APS strips I could likely have lived with it, once I had case feed figured out. Didn’t really like the one press station and the rest in the tool head.?

    I’d likely buy another LNL before I bought a new Dillon SD, they both work ok for pistol rounds but IMO the SD is over priced now. It was cheaper than the 550 for years by good margin, now I don’t really see why one would buy one over the 550. I had a number of LNL’s and you couldn’t trade a new one in an unopened box for a used 550.

    The 2 part index of the LNL seemed like a great idea to reduce powder spill but loading 308 on one only lasted 200 rounds for me. i couldn’t just set the bullet on top as the tip was above the bottom of the die when it performed the 2nd part of the index, so the bullet gets knocked off. I had to stick the bullet up into the die, raise the ram until it indexed the case under the die, then set the bullet into the case and get my fingers out of the way before completing the stroke.

    There is lots of other things that make one preferred over another. Could write a book on them all. Easier to address specific questions with solutions than guess what someone is looking for.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  25. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    We have had the conversation before and I think over the years that I have been here that I have demonstrated that I do not have a brand preference. I do believe at times that ego plays a part in what we use. Same happens when discussing 45acp pistols and the 1911 shooters pipe up. I don't own one and don't want one. But with presses I believe in finding the best solution for what one is doing. I have two progressive presses yet I could easily produce everything I need on a turret press and not fall behind.

    I don't use a progressive press to increase production rate but to reduce work output. Also in my case I went out and purchased an outdated model Lee three hole turret press because I load most of my pistol rounds with just a Lee carbide 3 die pistol set and I can then use the turrets from my Lee Pro1000 and drop then into the turret press and not have to buy extra turrets. This works for me and many others, Keeps things simple. Then there are many others that absolutely despise progressive presses of any type.

    Here is another example of a solution to fit the job;

    005.JPG

    This is an RCBS JR3 press with a 223 and a 30-06 case for comparison. The smaller JR3 press works perfectly with the shorter 223 were one does not need a larger "O" press, like a Rock Chucker with a longer stroke or the compound leverage just to size it. RCBS quit making these long ago but they can still be found on the used market and usually for much less than a Chucker. Oh and yes there is no shell holder in the ram.
     
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