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Single Stage vs Turret press for beginners

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TennJed, Jun 3, 2011.

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  1. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    I am just started gathering info on reloading and wanted your opinions on single stage vs turret.

    I will start loading for 357mag and 45lc and shoot around 500 a month of the 2 combined. (I also shoot a good bit of 9mm and will reload for them later).

    How much fast is the turret over the single stage? How much can I reasonable expect to load in an hour with a single stage
    If you went from a single stage to a turret did you keep the single stage and find a use for it or did you sell it?

    I sorta feel that if I will eventually progress to a turret press why not spend the money and get one to start with BUT $30 for a lee reloader single stage press is not a huge investment, especially if I can always find a use for it.

    Thanks
     
  2. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    At a relaxed pace I batch load 50-75 rounds per hour on my single stage and 150-175 RPH on my 4-hole turret. Either is fine for a rookie reloader (or a seasoned one)

    Progressive presses will do many hundreds per hour and fit high volume shooters' needs quite well, though they are not perhaps the best choice for all newcomers to the hobby?

    I also am a fan of Lee gear for the serious budget savings over the other brands and readily conceed that Dillon makes the best and highest cost units. In my opinion ALL the manufacturers make good, reliable gear and they ALL produce equally safe, relibale and accurate ammo.
     
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Personally, i have never seen any advantage of a turret press over a single stage and the non-Lee presses cost lots more than their single stage brethren.

    Lee turrets with the auto index is a potential positive feature, but, it is a Lee. Lots of folks like the Lee turret presses.

    With a single stage, i can flip on the lights in my loading room and flip them off an hour later with 100 rounds loaded. I cannot do any better on my shot shell loaders, which operate like a turret press.
     
  4. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    I reckon then for you, a turret would not be an improvement, For me (and virtually ALL other auto-advancing turret users) my output triples vs the single stage batch loading process.

    Perhaps you are using the turret press wrong?
     
  5. coebam

    coebam Member

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    I started reloading about 4 months ago. I decided to go with the lee classic turret press. It is fine for newbies, then after you feel more comfortable it is able to do 150-200 rounds per hour. No regrets here!
     
  6. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    go with a lee turret. get their bolt on primer feeder and their autodisk powder drop. It's almost idiot proof and way faster for me than a single stage, and if you want to run it as a single stage you just pull out the indexing rod. (30 seconds tops)

    caliber change is simple and easy, you don't have to worry about your dies getting out of adjustment.

    I started with one when I was 14 and learned easy (see the aforementioned idiot proofness).
     
  7. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Member

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    The Lee Classic turret will do great for loading 500 rounds per m onth of pistol ammo. I loaded for quite awhile on a single stage. It worked well, but as my shooting volume went up, it did get to be a chore with the single stage. One thing that sped things up with the single stage was sizing in big batches, say 300 or so cases in one sitting. Then Prime them all, then flare them all. Then when you feel like loading all you have to do is drop some powder and seat the bullets. But that is still not nearly as efficient as the Classic turret. You prime when you size which saves a lot of time plus you use an automatic powder measure that drops powder when you flare. You just don't have to handle the cases with your fingers as many times, so it's much more enjoyable and faster but you still get to see every case go through every step individually, so it's easier to maintain quality control compared to a true progressive.

    It's not such a wonderful thing for loading rifle cartridges though. It will work, and I loaded up a lot of rifle cases with my Classic turret. But recently I drug my single stage out of retirement and made a spot for it on my bench once again. The turret press is not much of a time saver for rifles. After sizing rifle cases, you still have to stop and measure for length and trim if necessary. And the automatic powder measures just can't drop 60 or 70 gr of rifle powder. Besides, I trickle my rifle powder charges to get the weight right anyway. Plus, when you ssize on the turret press, there is a slight amount of slop in the system after the shell holder hits the die. Yes, it's consistent, but trying to get my dies adjusted to just bump the shoulder back a couple thousandths is a lot more tricky with that slop to account for. The single stage just works better for me when it comes to rifles. But for 500-1000 rounds per month of pistol ammo, the turret is hard to beat.
     
  8. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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  9. Spammy_H

    Spammy_H Member

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    I have the Lyman T-Mag and love it. Nothing wrong with the Lee, but Lyman's my preference.

    To directly answer your question - I don't think that there is a problem for a rookie to use a turret press. I wouldn't recommend a progressive for a rookie, but turret should be fine.
     
  10. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    The turret is way more practical. For each caliber you can purchase an inexpensive toolhead for each caliber. Twist and change toolhead/calibers. If the budget will allow, purchase powder drops for each toolhead. Each toolhead would be "fixed" for adjustments.
     
  11. Old krow

    Old krow Member

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    Kept it. I've used both and like both. I can and have found uses for both, it just depends on what I am loading.

    For rifles and working up loads I use the single stage.

    Once I have good recipes, I load the handgun cartridges and some .223 on the turret. It is faster, I don't know about triple, but it is noticeably faster.

    Dedicated turrets and powder drops make the setup and caliber changes pretty quick. Without the indexing rod a Lee Classic Turret is in essence a "multi-stage" single stage press.

    I think that either one are fine, both are better.
     
  12. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Member

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    I started with Lee presses 15 years ago. I have no issues with them and use their dies for most of my handgun calibers.

    However, when I started loading for my 30-06 and my 45acp, I wanted to be able to set my dies and not move them. I bought the Redding T-7 turret press and love it. I may not make me much faster at loading ammo, but five of my dies never move.

    So, to answer your question, yes I believe a turret press of some kind will make your reloading a little quicker as you won't have to switch out dies anymore, though you could check into the lock and load dies. That may be another option for you.
     
  13. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    I don't see a whole lot going or a turret press over a Lee Breechlock. The main advantage is also its drawback. Auto powder dispenser is the best thing about a turret. But that also means it takes longer to change calibers and/or put the thing away (if you're so inclined as to stow your press when not in use, like myself). And without an automatic dispenser, I could probably make ammo faster on a SS press than you could on a turret.

    I just got done flaring, filling, seat/crimping over 200 rounds of .357 in about an hour on a Breechlock. That includes getting and putting away the dies, bullets, and powder, and getting online and double checking my recipe. These are cases I sized/primed yesterday, which took maybe 20 minutes. These were cast bullets with a crimp groove, which are nice and speedy to seat/crimp in one step.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  14. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    I think the turret press is the way to go, especially for revolver loading.
    For my revolver loads I resize/reprime, expand/flare, charge, then into a loading block for powder inpection. I only have to handle the case once instead of in and out of the press for each die. That's where the time is saved.

    For auto rounds I can run each case through my 5 stations and have a finished round while handling the case just once. I can see the powder charge with 9mm and 45acp while they are in the press, so I don't have to remove them from the press for powder inspection.
    With a single stage that's four or five times in and out of the press for each cartridge.
     
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    The only advantage I can see is in that one hour I can load twice as much as you on my LCT.
     
  16. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Just my opinion: A turret press IS a single stage press.
    The advantage of the turret press is that the 'next' reloading stage comes up without having to change dies/etc. You can even load each step in 'batches' if you so desire.

    IMHO, an auto indexing turret press can be fairly inexpensive and is a good way to start reloading, especially for pistol/handgun shooters who will want more volume even if they don't know it---yet.:D
     
  17. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    I do the exact same thing when I load 223 on my classic turret. I will size and prime a bunch of cases. When I sit down to load them with the sizing and priming done I can load 300 to 350 in one hour.
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    IMHO, a turret press has all the advantages of a single stage with the added advantage of greater speed and preset dies. There is no disadvantage to a turret press.
     
  19. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Having had a number of presses - single stage, turret & progressive, I agree with most of the posters here.

    A Lee CLASSIC turret press is definitely a good buy.
    Although you will find uses for a single stage even if you later upgrade.
     
  20. rikman

    rikman Member

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    Yesterday, 12:23 PM #9
    Spammy_H
    Member


    Join Date: December 29, 2010
    Posts: 27
    I have the Lyman T-Mag and love it. Nothing wrong with the Lee, but Lyman's my preference.

    To directly answer your question - I don't think that there is a problem for a rookie to use a turret press. I wouldn't recommend a progressive for a rookie, but turret should be fine.


    ^^^^^^^

    What Spammy said
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  21. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    There are pros and cons for each.

    There are pros and cons for each.

    Single stage presses do processing in batches. Turret press can do either batch or continuous.

    However fast you are with a single stage, I estimate you will be about twice as fast with an auto-indexing turret, all other things being the same. Single stage, I did 50 rounds per hour. The second time I used my Lee Classic Turret, I loaded 100 rounds in 47 minutes. Both production times included setup, primer tube filling, changing dies, the "whole shootin' match" (pardon the pun) and all peripheral activities.

    If I were to have only one press, I would get a Turret.

    I use my turret for everything, but I am also keeping my single stage (just in case I need a REALLY STRONG press and if there is a job whose tools will not fit into my turret). I have not found such a job yet, but just in case.

    This is my recommendation: By all means get the Turret if you intend to load in the few hundreds of rounds per sitting. Single stage if in the dozens or extremely low hundreds of rounds.

    Get both if you can afford them, but don't buy cheap if you can possibly help it.

    Why learn to load ammunition in batch mode? In batch mode you repeat each intermediate step 50 times before going to the next intermediate step. This is good for the understanding, good for the muscle memory and good for visualizing the absolute consistency required for good quality ammunition. Each one of the intermediate steps MUST BE IDENTICAL (identical crimp, identical powder charge, identical primer seating and so forth).

    After a few hundred or a few thousand rounds, reinstall the autoindexing rod and use the press in continuous (straight-through) mode AFTER you are completely familiar with the process (can visualize it in your sleep) and understand the reasons behind each adjustment, each operation and what effect varying the operations parameters will do.

    I cannot emphasis enough the importance of THINKING about the process of loading. And not just thinking about it while you are doing it, but thinking about it before you do it. Ask yourself the questions before doing. Think only about consistency while doing. It is easier to do that thinking in batch mode. That (in my opinion) is why most people recommend learning on a single stage and why I recommend learning in batch mode (no matter what kind of press).

    Lost Sheep
     
  22. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    The guys who don't see the advantages have obviously never used a turret. I have the lee breech-lock and a classic turret.
    There is NO comparison on speed ESP if you use the safety prime and the auto disk. There is much less time moving brass on and off the press and the process is much more automated. The turret is easily 3-4 times faster than a single stage ESP if you are hand priming.
    I say start with the classic turret and save yourself some time.
     
  23. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    The big advantage would be that you could have done all of this in less than a hour with the turret instead of sizing and priming one day then filling, seating and crimping the next.

    I can load a pistol round from start to finish every 10-12 seconds on a turret(yes i have timed myself). That's about 300 rounds per hour including sizing, priming, flare/charge, seat and crimp.
    No way a single stage is that fast. Watch a few YouTube vids and you will see.
    Not trying to start any crap, just tryig to help the noobs know the truth!
     
  24. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    300 rd an hour, umm, sorry. That doesn't include breaks, refilling your primer and component trays, or switching calibers/powder measure, etc. I've seen a guy doing 1 round per 10 seconds, but everything is already set up, and he has the cases and bullets lined up and ready to go.

    There's no doubt a turret is faster than a single stage. But when you're switching between multiple calibers, that difference comes at a cost of either a powder drop for each caliber plus the extra storage space. Or the extra time of removing, reattaching, and readjusting your powder drop every time you change caliber. This is why I threw my Perfect Powder dispenser in the closet, never to be seen again. And even if you have a dedicated powder drop, there's no way it's "at least 3-4 times faster."

    And FYI, the Safety Prime is actually slower than priming on a Lee Breechlock by hand. You have to stop at the top of the stroke to use the Safety Prime. On a Breechlock, you can put the primer in while putting in the case, so there's no wasted time.

    I've filmed myself using a Lee Breechlock. I put the links at the bottom. The seating/crimping step wasn't filmed while "in the zone." If it had been it would be less than 4 seconds per round. (And when I'm in the zone, I'm looking at my box/tray of bullets while pulling the lever, deciding which one will be easiest to pick up, next!) Total estimated time is about 13-14 seconds per round. I know there's more time getting the stuff in place, and whatnot. But still, compared to 10 seconds per round maximal turret speed (also not including setup), it's not vastly slower. Certainly not by a multiple of 3-4. Even if crimping in a separate step, that only adds about 2 seconds per round, done the same way as the flaring in the second vid.

    Sizing/priming ~ 4-5 seconds per round
    http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/?action=view&current=loading001.mp4
    Flaring ~ 2 seconds per (note, if I was better at math, "I could probably do these 100 cases in closer to 3 minutes!")
    http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/?action=view&current=loading002.mp4
    Charging ~ 3 seconds per
    http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/?action=view&current=loading003.mp4
    Seating ~4 seconds per, not reflected in this video.
    http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/?action=view&current=loading004.mp4

    The larger the batch you do on a single stage, the more efficient it is. So yeah, that's one advantage of a turret, if you load in small batches. I don't care if I get my first finished round today or tomorrow. It's the overall work involved per round that matters to me. So I wait until I have a crap ton of cases, then size/prime them at once. Then I can take my sized/primed cases and make however much of it into finished ammo, depending on my needs.

    And space matters to me. I load 4 different calibers regularly (using 2-3 different powders for each caliber) and an additional 2 calibers, less frequently. I have all my various scoops in an Altoids tin, which is a bit smaller than 4 different turrets with a powder drop on each one, and no time spent fiddling with the dispensers for different loads. If I'm going to go that far, why not just go for a progressive?

    IOW, a single stage press has a significant space savings advantage compared to a progressive (powder dispensers and tool heads). A turret does not. A progressive has a significant speed advantage over a single stage press. A turret does not. A turret is just a (semi)progressive for cheapskates, as far as I can tell.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  25. Shoot66

    Shoot66 Member

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    Disengage the auto-index and the turret IS a single stage press. If you are ready to speed it up a bit, put it back.
    The question is what is YOUR goal. What type of ammo you want to produce and in what quantity. If it is general ammo in a higher quantity, the turret is the ticket. If you are after high accuracy ammo, in lower quantity - a quality single stage with high quality dies would be the right way .
     
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