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Step up from single stage press?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by brewer12345, Jun 14, 2019 at 5:06 PM.

  1. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    The long awaited new range 5 minutes from my house is finally open. I hit it up the first time today and I can see myself going through a lot of pistol ammo. I have been loading on a basic single stage. What are my options for stepping up production without paying a fortune?
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    id get the lee, cheap but work good.lucky with that range, wish one opened that close to me.
     
  3. drband

    drband Member

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    Lee Classic Turret or Auto Breechlock Pro.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    A Lee Classic Turret will fill the bill at a price that is easy on the wallet. I started with a single stage, traded into a Lee turret, then finally bought a Hornady Projector (The precursor to the LNL)
     
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  5. Herman B

    Herman B Member

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    For starters, get out your crystal ball and anticipate future needs in terms volume and process. I suggest a progressive that will grow old with you. A turret (one pull, one task; four pulls for one complete round if separating seat and crimp) may have you longing for a progressive before long. A simple Dillon 550C, which has four stations, performs seven tasks with one pull (and slight push for priming), yielding one complete round with every pull. Is body wear and tear a concern...over how many years?

    Consider the features available. Auto index or manual? Will a four-station do or might you want to trim rifle cases and/or install a powder-check, necessitating a 5-station, or more? Changing calibers can be very time-consuming (and expensive) on some progressives. Perhaps add a case/bullet feeder someday? How important is the warranty? Tech support? Handgun only (see Dillon Square Deal B) or rifle also? Ancillary items, such as a mount, light, bins, dedicated toolheads/measures (so as not to fuss with dies), etc. will run-up the tab.

    Take some time to read-up and ponder the options while gazing into the ball. Share your budget, present/future needs (cartridges, quantity, changeover frequency, etc.) and applicable info will be forthcoming. If you need to slowly acquire all the items over the course of months, do it. A Dillon BL 550 is something you can grow into. Buy right and cry once. I get the budget aspect and don't mind spending time at the bench but no more than necessary...rather be playing with kids in the sun.
     
  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Hard to beat an LCT for cost vs benefit, ease of use, and versatility.
     
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  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I learned on a Lee Classic Turret and a Dillon 550, but my first press was a Hornady LNL...which turned out to be a great learning press and very flexible as to setup; as I'm loading 4-5 calibers. The big tipping point for me was the 5 stations for added flexibility.

    If i was only going to load one handgun caliber, I'd strongly consider the Lee Loadmaster. Tune it and leave it set
     
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  8. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    Often overlooked is that the LNL can be used as a 1 stage or a full progressive, OR anywhere in between.
     
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  9. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    A quality press can last more than one lifetime so, yes, thinking ahead is a good idea. How many different cartridges do you currently reload? How many rounds per month do you anticipate? It might be cheaper to buy a progressive in the long run, or you could be just fine with a turret. I prefer a progressive for pistol ammo simply because it is less work, but then I am not getting any younger.
     
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  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    1. I set up the dies as you would a single stage
    2. I check function as a turret
    3. I process/load as a progressive
     
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  11. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    I have the LNL, and I like it a lot. Depending on how many cartridges the OP loads for, the shell plates aren’t cheap. I’ve spent about $200 on plates alone so far. Vs the free shell holder in a set of dies
     
  12. lightman

    lightman Member

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    Well, a fortune may be considered different amounts by different people. I would recommend any one of the Dillons.
     
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    You load 7 calibers on your LNL?

    I don't think I shoot enough of 7 different calibers to justify loading them all on the LNL

    Not everyone uses Lee dies
     
  14. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    True not everyone used Lee dies but most all shell holders cost less than $5.

    10 cartridges. I load a lot of obscure cartridges, also some demand their own shell plate that’s not able to fit almost any other cartridges.
     
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  15. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    LCT, for the money is a good press, much faster than a SS.
    and if you have the $ a progressive. Red, Blue or Green, pick you favorite color.
    One thing about progressives is 4 stations is not enough IMO.
    I have an LNL with 5 and could use more.
    If you want a powder check/lockout die (I recomend one, I for pistol I like the RCBS lockout die) that takes a station.
    If you want to seat and crimp in two steps that takes two stations, bullet feeder takes a station....
    Is four stations enogh to load ammo yes, but I have five and found myself wanting more.....

    I have the Hornady LNL and like it. Money well spent for the volume I load.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019 at 1:32 AM
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  16. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    A classic turret seems appealing due to price and the fact that I am already using all lee stuff. What kind of speed could you get? I figure 500 to 1000 rounds a month is likely consumption.
     
  17. Cheesemaker

    Cheesemaker Member

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  18. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    the classic turret is unique with the auto advance tool head it is a great step up from a single stage for handgun range ammo you can produce good reloaded ammo at a fair pace with it ,
    the auto drum powder measure works great with it, if you do go with a lee turret make sure you get the classic not the deluxe version, of if you can find a used dillon square deal b they are great for spitting out hand gun ammo if you are loading only a specific handgun caliber but even used they still are not cheap
     
  19. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Figure an easy 200 handgun rounds an hour. I can do (and have done) 300+ an hour but it takes some doing. Here are some videos for your consideration. I've also loaded 1000 rounds in a day but it wasn't fun.

    Take no offense at "those of you who have been living under a rock"... it was light-hearted blather but a lot of people take offense at that. Also if you get motion sick easily, skip this one :rofl:


    A pace of 5 rounds of .40 in a minute


    A pace of 7+ rounds of 9mm in a minute (my method for most efficient loading/economy of motion)
     
  20. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Another vote for the Lee Classic Turret.
     
  21. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    I have a Redding T7 and it's an awesome press but not much faster than my single stage for pistol. I think it a great press for reloading rifle.

    I spent a lot of time trying to decide which progressive to move up to. A Dillon 650 with a case feeder is a lot of money. A Hornady LNL a little less and a very high quality press.

    Ended up getting a Dillon RL550C. One if it's drawbacks is it is only 4 station which eliminates a station for a powder cop. But since I have always visually checked my powder charges that wasn't a big deal to me.

    When going from a single stage to progressives there are a lot of very nice desirable add-ons. These add-ons are not cheap. I sacrificed the auto index and case feeder of the Dillon 650 or Hornady LNL for a Dillon RL550C with all the nice add-ons. My Dillon is very nice and am happy with this choice.

    I have never purchased or used anything made by Lee.
     
  22. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    I just put a Lee Value Turret Press up for sale in the reloading equipment section. I went to a Lee Loadmaster and have a Redding for big bore work so I don’t need the other one.
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    These and the one on the press makes 14 shell plates.
    Some do double duty, such as .32-20/.40 S&W, 9MM/.38 Super, .38 Spl/.357 Mag, .44 Spl/.44 Mag.
    LNL Shell Plates @ 60%.JPG
     
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  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I can just as easily load one round on the LNL as I can 1K rounds. Very versatile IMHO.
     
  25. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Couple of things about a Dillon 550. It's basically a single stage until you rotate the shell plate with a thumb. With an additional tool head set up, changing from 45acp to 9mm takes about 5 minutes. If changing from large primer to small primer is required add an additional 5 minutes. A Dillon 550 is very easy to clean. It never gets "out of time" or requires adjustment. Dillon is very high quality. This may not make a Dillon 550 any better than any other progressive but these are differences that are certainly worthy of mention.

    Versatility is what my Dillon 550 does best.
     
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