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Progressive Presses?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by twoblink, Jan 21, 2003.

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  1. twoblink

    twoblink Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Houston, Texas
    I have plans to start cranking out my own stuff (at least on the rifle round side) when I move back to the states..

    I don't know squat about presses, but I know I want a progressive... And I want to make sure that the press I buy will do anything from 30-06 to 9mm rounds...

    I can walk and chew gum at the same time, which means I'm 4x smarter than your average politician, so how long do you think it will take me to learn how to use one?

    Also, please recommend some presses and websites for me to look at.

  2. Northwest Cajun

    Northwest Cajun Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Spanaway Wa. & Lafayette La.

    For the first time reloader I'd start with the AT500 and then as you become more confident you can upgrade to the 550.
    Thats what I did . The AT500 comes with a special shell holder that will let you load 40 different calibers, one at a time. Remember to check the case head size of the shell you will be loading as not to get the same size twice, when you upgrade ( .45acp,.308,.30-06, all use the same shell holder)

  3. cobb

    cobb Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    S. MN.
    Check out the Dillon line of machines. I reload several pistol calibers and .223 on my 550 with no problems.
  4. Bacchus

    Bacchus Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    If you're sure that you want a progressive, go with the Dillon. They have a great reputation for customer service.

    One good thing about reloading is that you can get some stuff now, read about it, and then expand as you have the time/money.
  5. cordex

    cordex Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Try a bunch of presses if you can. Some don't like Dillon (I'm very happy with my 550, though).
    See if you can find someone to mentor you. Some mentors might even have spare reloading equipment laying around to loan you.
  6. Carlos

    Carlos Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Portland, Oregon
    Yet another Dillon 550B plug. I'm happy with mine.
  7. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    High up in the Rockies
    First, B4 buying anything, get a good reloading manual. In my experiences teaching classes, the Lyman manual is the best for beginners. However, the Speer, Hornady, Hodgdon and Sierra are excellent as well.

    I think you're wise to get a progressive. In my experience, the Dillon is the best. I used an old 450 for years before the 550 and 650 came out. I now use a 650. I do reload rifle cases, .308, .30-06, .223 on my Dillon.

    Having said all that, I must also say that IMHO, you would be wise to get a good quality single stage press FIRST, and learn to reload on it. A Redding Boss, Lyman Crusher, RCBS Rockchucker would serve well.

    Even though I use the Dillon 650 for rflt reloading, I use my old Lyman Crusher single stage to resize and deprime my rifle cases first, then continue the loading process on the dillon 650.

    Just something to think about.
  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    You might...

    go back to TFL and do a search. This was covered a couple times

    I have a Dillon 450 (pre-runner of the 550). Good solid, excellent customer support (usually). Also has the (snob) pride of ownership, which I happen to like :) Once you get them set up, they're a real "machine" and you can crank 'em out fast. Powder changes are a PAIN. The volume is determined by a little bolt head in the back. I like the primer being in the front where you can see it easier. Dillon wants you to buy a head assembly complete with powder measure for every caliber. With that set-up, it costs well over $100 per caliber. If you have 4 calibers, better figure on $1,000 spent if you're starting from scratch.

    I also looked at a Hornady. The responses to the new L-N-L were very positive. Powder changes are a lot faster (interchangeable micro-adjustable bushings). I use AA5 in 3 different calibers, so you could have 3 different marked bushings and have instant powder volume change. Also, the L-N-L has 5 stations. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it lets you add the powder check die...important for pistol.

    There's little a single station can do that a progressive won't, but the opposite isn't true. Pistol will get old REAL quick with a single stage...at least it did for me. I shoot maybe 200-300 rounds per session. I can knock them out in about 1/2 an hour on the 450.

    So...FWIW...if I were starting over and paying typical retail, I'd get a L-N-L or 650. When you start, load 1 round at a time.

    Now, I did find a used Hornady for $65, and got my Dillon with 4 sets of carbide dies for $120. I'm gonna buy multiple presses and dedicate to caliber. Great way to go if you have the room. As suggested above, you might go with the AT. You could get 3 for what a 650 costs, but it takes more room and you've only got 4 stations.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2003
  9. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    OKC, OK
    I loaded on a Lee 1000 for a couple of years. Although it ain't much of a machine I did manage learn it's quirks and became fairly proficient with it.

    I've been loading on a Dillon 650 for awhile now. This machine is incredible. Bought it initially set up for .44 Mag without the casefeeder. Didn't take long to decide I wanted the casefeeder. Now, I've got conversions for:

    .44 Spcl./Mag.

    BLUE is habit forming...

    Just judging your character type from your posts (which can certainly be dangerous:D ) I'm guessing you'll end up with the 650. Honestly tho', I believe I prefer single stage for most rifle reloading.

  10. Quantrill

    Quantrill Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Flagstaff, Az., USA
    Progressive Press

    I vote for Dillon if you want the 9mm and 30-06. I have a 450 and a 550 and they are great for versitility. Quantrill
  11. Blackcloud6

    Blackcloud6 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    The only press I've ever had is a Dillon 550 and I like it a lot. You can learn on a progressive and make safe ammo for ever on it. BUT!!! I had a Kboom this year on a .45 ACP round I made years a go on the Dillon when I first got started. I can only attribute it to a double charge, which would have been my fault.

    You need to develop good habits of checking each case after your drop the powder to ensure it has powder and that it does not have too much. The pistol calibers are the easier ones to mess up on as they can hold many times the amount of max powder. You usually know if double charge a rifle case as it spills all over the place. The high wall pistol cases are even easier to double load (.38 Special, .45 LC etc).

    Its easy to just and start cranking away on pistiol ammo on a progressive and then have one distraction (kid, phone, wife yelling "dinner," etc) make you miss a step and up goes that case a second time.

    I luckly thatit was a 1911 type pistol the blew. I ended up just losing the grips, the magazine and had a stinging hand and ringing ears.
  12. colima

    colima Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    San Diego
    I've been using the Dillon Square Deal B for several years to reload a number of pistol calibers: .45ACP, .357, .45 Colt. Its the smallest and least expensive of the progressives. Its a great press for the .45ACP and .357 and an acceptable press for the .45 Colt, which is pretty much at the limits of the press mechanically. If you don't need to reload for rifles, or if you are happy using a single stage for rifle rounds, the Square Deal B is a great press for personal use.

    All the good things you hear about Dillon service are true in my experience. They rebuilt mine for free after I cracked a mounting lug on the frame. They always have knowledgeable people available on their phone help line, which has guided me through several problems that turned out to be operator error.
  13. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    People's Republic of **********
    I use a RCBS Pro 2000. Its a pretty beefy O-type press and you can use it for rifle caliber rounds as well. Before that, I used a RCBS Rockchucker, and that definitely can handle rifle calibers. The Pro2K is much more massive than the Rockchucker.

    The only advice I can give is to start S-L-O-W. Pulling bullets, tapping out a stuck bullet from a barrel, or having a KaBoom is definitely not fun.
  14. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    At one time...

    There were 4 Dillon presses in my reloading room - one XL-650, one RL-550B, and two Square Deal B's. That, and two single stage presses - a Hornady 007, and RCBS Jr.

    My partner bought me out, so now I'm down to a RL-550B and Square Deal B, and the two single stage presses.

    I'd recommend starting out on a single stage press, learning the finer points of quality ammunition manufacture. Then, when you get your progressive, use it as a turret-type press, making only one round as it goes around the different stations. Once you're confident, and can stay focused on all the steps as they happen inside the press, then you can go full progressive, making multiple rounds as the shellholder rotates. You'll be making quality ammo in virtually no time.

  15. Shoney

    Shoney Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    All my friends used to have dillons, so I loaded on their 550 and 650 machines and was in heaven. Tens of thousands on the 550 and many thousands on the 650, wonderful.

    When it came time to buy my own, I thought I would be open minded. I tried a Hornady Lock-N-Load Progressive. Needles to say I thought it was a superior machine. Much more innovative ideas and improvements over the dill, much easier for me to operate, quicker changeouts and at a much lower price. I love it.

    It amazed me that my Dillon friends were cold toward the idea of even trying to load a few on it. They blindly said Dillon was a better machine without even trying it.

    Don’t short yourself, give the Hornady Lock-N-Load Progressive a serious look!!!!!!!!

    Best, Shoney
  16. The Shadow

    The Shadow Member

    Jan 15, 2003
    C S A
    Love my Dillon 650, with the case feed all you do is set a bullet on a case and pull, bingo a completed round. I guess I'm lazy!
  17. IRock

    IRock Guest

    I started out reloading on a progressive from the beginning. Read the directions, pay attention and take your time at first. It's not rocket science. Save time and money and just start with a progressive, you won't be sorry. I would recommend a self indexing press also to make it more automated. That would be like a Dillon 650 or up, or a Hornady. I prefer the Hornady myself. They both have or will have case feeders available too. Just my opinion. Make it easy on yourself.
  18. Freedom in theSkies

    Freedom in theSkies Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Helping to stop Terrorism...One day at a time...
    I started on a RCBS partner kit press several years ago and have been expanding on my reloading equiptment and capability ever since.
    First of all, you don`t want to get overwhelmed when you are new to reloading. I loaded about 4000-5000 rounds of 9mm, 38spl/357 and .223 in the first year, on my partner. Then I bought a Lee 1000. I use it primarily for the pistol stuff, and the single stage is VERY handy for rifle catridges and functions that you would otherwise not be able to perform quickly on a progressive, such as depriming before cleaning, primer pocket swaging, precision loading for extreme accuracy etc;

    I plan on buying a Dillon 650, or Hornady L&L this spring, to replace the Lee1000 (pistol&.223 only) because I now shoot alot of .308.
    Maybe RCBS will have something worth looking at by prchase time...I love their customer service!
  19. 1goodshot

    1goodshot Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Get a Dillion 550 you will be happy. They are very easy to use.
  20. Zero

    Zero Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    550B as Progressive, Single Stage, Turrett

    My 550B can act as any sort of press I want it to. I can load my pistol rounds in full progressive mode. I can put one die in the toolhead and use it as a single stage, or I can put all dies in toolhead and load one round at a time much like a turret. Why's everyone so hot on single-stage for rifle reloading. Single stage has a handle and shell holder on a ram that pushes a cartridge into a die to perform a function,,,lets see my 550B has a handle and it also pushed a ram with a shell holder and a cartridge into a die...
  21. dan_s

    dan_s Member

    Jan 13, 2003
    Sterling, Va.
    I would consider an auto-indexer such as the Hornady or the Dillon 650. When you buy, be sure to factor in caliber change costs..
  22. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

    Dec 26, 2002
    Northern Calif
    Star Universal Reloading Machine Owners

    For the thousands of owners of the most expensive pistol reloading machine and the most accurate that can decap and reprime GI 45acp primer pocket crimped brass without removing the crimp there is the Star Reloaders Discussion and Support group.

    Paul Jones

    Inherited or unwanted Star reloaders, parts and accessories are wanted
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