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Progressive User Method Preference

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by CKweigand, Dec 13, 2018.

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  1. CKweigand
    • Contributing Member

    CKweigand Member

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    I’ve been reloading for a few years now. And I’m always trying to increase the efficiency of my workflow...By no means am I saying I try to take shortcuts or cut corners. Just simply stating I like to make my moves count..I’ve went from a RCBS single stage that when all was said and done maybe 300 rounds of 45acp or 9mm would take me 20 hours on a weekend to get done...and now I’ve moved to a Hornady LNL for about a year now and can produce just as much in a little over an hour I would say...

    There has been some tricks I’ve picked up on my LNL and just some things anyone with a progressive would hone in on. And while I could simply load each station with a cartridge no problem and get a finished product every time the lever gets “thrown” I’ve seemed to regress in my effieciency....

    I’ve caught myself instead of loading every station up and trying to “mass produce” in as little of time as possible, to actually just running one case at a time through all the stations...

    Some things I’ve noticed right off the bat from doing so...
    1.) load count is lower by the hour (whoop-de-do Basil.)
    2.) I get a better feel for every station as one case goes through as opposed to all stations being loaded up.
    3.) because I can feel one station at a time I can diagnose and troubleshoot any hiccups 90% faster.
    4.) Quality control takes a more emphasized role by loading one at a time
    I almost forgot how focused and attentive I was being on the single stage. Not saying I’m never concerned with quality or safety but I can definitely tell I was more laxed than I should have.
    5.) this goes with no. 4 but I can easily verify that each station has been processed and not be distracted so easily by 5-7 operations going at once.
    5 1/2.) The rounds being produced are more consistent going through one at a time. OAL very rarely differ by more than a tho’ and my powder charges never vary if at all.
    6.) I’m enjoying the process a lot more by loading one at a time.

    I got so distracted by looking at load count I forgot how enjoyable the process was. Going from single stage to full on progressive to now once again a hybrid progressive method. So I guess I had to re-train my brain and reset what I consider being effiecient really is.

    Does anybody out there practice the same methods on a progressive or is it just full bore mass production? What methods do you implement that bring you the most satisfaction?
     
  2. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    Well.......no! That's the same as loading on a turret rig. The whole point of a progressive is a completed round with every stroke of the handle.

    I usually load in lots of 2000 rounds. I get the most satisfaction when I can load an entire lot in one evening.

    OTOH, it's your press, use it any way that floats your boat!:thumbup:
     
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  3. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    In theory you could get a difference in dimensions running only one case through because the shell plate is not balanced by having cases on the other side of the plate being worked by the dies. If your measurements say otherwise, you are golden.

    I generally run my LNL-AP in full progressive mode but I often start with one case if I have made any adjustments to the dies (for example changing to a different bullet. I’ve noticed no difference between the first cartridge or two that “flew solo” and the others run with a full shellplate.
     
  4. CKweigand
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    CKweigand Member

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    I guess I’m doing it all wrong chey....I’m so stupid,stupid,stupid. Lol.
     
  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Yep, you pretty much have a nice indexing Turret press now,;)
     
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  6. roval

    roval Member

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    Uuh No! only for the first few rounds after setting up a particular load/caliber and measuring the COAL. and then rechecking after all stations are used.
     
  7. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    I enjoy reloading on my single stage more since getting a progressive because like you say its more relaxed and I'm more attentive to each process. I load all my hunting and defense rounds single stage. I have no problem running the progressive full bore when I need to turn out a bunch of rounds thought. I will sometimes do a combo of presses, if I'm loading 44 or 357 hunting rounds I will run the cases through the LnL for sizing and belling then hand weight the power and seat bullets on the RCBS then back to the LNL for crimping.
     
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  8. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I could see early setup doing things this way, and I may do it when I get into loading S&W460 mag because I want very consistent loads. However, for my plinking and practice pistol ammo, I go full progressive. 200 rounds per hour is doable on my manually indexing press if you have everything adjusted right. I'm sure others can go faster.
     
  9. dave333

    dave333 Member

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    Some folks like to shoot so they can reload, some reload so they can shoot. Sounds to me like you are the kind of guy that likes to empty out brass just so you can fill it back up again. There is nothing wrong with that, I know lots of guys that are the same way. Heck, to a certain extent I like to play with different powders, bullets, and bullet weights and probably spend too much time doing that.

    The other side of the coin is the guys that have reloading on their to do list along with the rest of their chores. This is where progressive presses shine, getting one of the chores out of the way faster and easier.

    Bottom line, use your press however makes you happy. I will say you can still load high quality ammo in a hurry with a progressive, you just have to use all your senses (touch, sight and hearing) at the same time instead of one at a time like you can on a single stage. I just got a LNL a couple weeks ago myself and am still getting used to the press, but Im coming from a Lee Loadmaster so the process is still very similar but the two presses feel and load very differently. A couple years ago I was churning out up to 500 rounds an hour (though those days were very rare as something usually got fouled up, enter the LNL) of 9mm major ammo on my Loadmaster that would group 1.5" at 25 yds so you can have speed and quality at the same time. If you want to go slow go slow, but if you want to go faster, trust in your senses and go faster.
     
  10. VAReloader

    VAReloader Member

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    Lately on my LNL, I do the following, not the fastest but it works and lessens the effort needed for my old achey shoulder.
    1 - Deprime and wet clean.
    2 - Size, prime and flair a large amount of cases, generally keeping them in batches of 100.
    3 - Charge, seat bullet and crimp.

    This allows me to focus on proper priming in step 2 and proper charge in step 3.
    I can do full progressive and sometimes I do but this method keeps me focused on those two steps that can mess things up in a hurry.
     
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  11. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I load precision and regular rifle loads on a single stage.

    The progressive(s) (Dillon 650 & 550) are for quantity, usually a 1000 or 2 at a sitting. For that ammo, it's generally for practice or matches (IDPA & 3Gun) and for that I enjoy shooting way more than loading. When the weather's decent I shoot a couple times a week (backyard range) in addition to matches. That equates to a couple thousand rounds a month between practice and matches. A single stage, or using a progressive press like a single stage just won't cut it. There's other stuff that needs like keeping the acreage mowed.

    Bottom line is, some guys shoot more than others and everybody has differing amounts of free time.
     
  12. rjbmjb
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    rjbmjb Contributing Member

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    I run them through my LnL AP first with only the decapping die, then wet tumble with pins If the brass is really dirty, I may wet tumble first.

    I then prime off the press with my RCBS hand priming tool. I used to prime on the press, but I like to check the brass during hand priming and it is easier to deal with tight pockets and split cases when they are not on the press.

    Second run through the press to charge, set the bullet and crimp. With the decapping die removed, I get a better "feel" and I don't get distracted with priming issues.

    I am retired and I shoot to reload, so the extra time is of no consequence. I also don't worry about how much I am saving by reloading, so I don't have to track the extra time I spend, the electricity, lemishine and detergent I use for the extra wet tumble, the portion of my Netflix subscription I use when I hand prime and I don't have to argue with myself over whether not reloading activities should be subject to the $15 minimum wage or whether or not I should consider myself to be an employee or contractor with the resulting tax implications :). After spending 36 years in the banking industry, I recognize that cost issues are important to some, but, oddly enough, not to me.

    I am also not a benchrest shooter. While I admire guys who can put 5 rounds through the same hole in the target, most of my rifles are old military with iron sights, and these old eyes are the greatest source of error. If I could load the most accurate ammo in the world, it would only confirm that the "flyers" are actually operator error. I remember one day at the range several years ago when I watched a guy clamp a rifle into an elaborate rest, set 3 flags downrange to gauge the wind, and spend 10 minutes putting those 5 rounds through the same hole at 100 yards. I shot 10 rounds through my SKS standing offhand and hit the target 7 times at 200 yards (it was a big target). We both felt we had a successful day at the range, even though our expectations were wildly different. It's the same with reloading- some want to load as quickly as possible, some are more interested crafting absolutely identical loads to get the best accuracy, some are more interested in saving as much money on ammo as they can. One process cannot satisfy all of these goals, you just have to pick the one that works best for what you are trying to accomplish.

    I enjoy reading threads like this, particularly when the posters explain the rationale behind their process, because I am always open to new ideas and I have gotten a lot of them from this forum. I am always impressed the depth of knowledge and experience of a lot of the posters here.

    Keep up the good work, and have a Merry Christmas!
     
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  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I suppose that’s all that matters.

    I purchased progressive presses to perform all the operations simultaneously. The only time I run just because he through at a time is while I am setting things up.
     
  14. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    I run my Dillon 550C in full progressive mode, but I throw powder off the press after I run it through the expanding station.
     
  15. rskent

    rskent Member

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    It’s not about me, but since you asked. I load however I feel. Sometimes I load full progressive, sometimes I load one at a time. Most of the time I use my L&L by running the brass through, decaping, belling, and priming. Put um on the shelf. When I want to load them, powder bullets and crimp on the second go around. It works for me. But then I don’t go through a ton of rounds either.
     
  16. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    I'm with rskent. Some times resize and tumble, then full on progressive. Sometimes, especially rifle, I do like the OP does.
     
  17. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I usually go full progressive. However, I decap all my brass (on my LCT) and wet tumble, before I introduce the brass to my Dillon. I have even taken the decapping pins out of the sizing dies on my Dillon tool heads.

    I have sometimes operated in 1/2 progressive mode. I will size, prime, and expand/flare brass in at one time. I store the brass, ready to drop powder. I mainly do this for new load workups. I will drop powder with my Chargemaster, for a whole batch of brass in my reloading tray. Then I take the brass to the Dillon and introduce the brass into the sizing location, running the seating operation followed by crimping operation. So I end up with 2 pulls of the lever for each completed round.

    I'm all for using the equipment in the way that makes one happy. :thumbup:
     
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  18. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    3 presses available, RCBS Jr3, Lee 3 hole turret and Lee Pro1000. All have a use though I do not use the Jr3 much. The turret get used to work up loads or small runs less than 50. Everything else is done on the Pro1000 including priming and I am loading 380, 9mm and until recently 45acp on the Pro1000. I recently acquired a 45acp with a very tight barrel that requires the FCD in order to get reliable chambering so I recently added a Lee ABLP.
     
  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    No. I have an LCT for that method. I wouldn't have bought a 650 to just do what I can already do with my LCT.
     
  20. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    I've 'de-capped only' on my LNL AP before,,, (Because it's faster than using my RockChucker. :) )
     
  21. VAReloader

    VAReloader Member

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    I have 3 presses.
    Cheap Lee single for decapping pistol brass prior to wet cleaning.
    Forster Co-Ax for my bolt rifle ammo that gets some special attention, why, because I can
    LNL AP for all pistol and 223

    Whatever works for you and speed at which you are comfortable.
     
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