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Step up from single stage press?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by brewer12345, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    1. A turret press.
    Turret presses allow you to touch the brass only once.
    The turret moves the dies to the "next" station.

    2. A progressive press.
    Progressives allow for 4,5 or 6 operations with just one pull of the handle.

    Personally, I went from a single stage, to a turret to a progressive.
    I needed to start slow & work up to the progressive because there's a LOT of stuff going on all at once.
     
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  2. Herman B

    Herman B Member

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    Ah-ha! I can see the individual pulls of the loading phase being less resistant without the sizing die but the overall effort (energy, time) is doubled due to doubling the number of pulls and brass handling. Carbide dies and a little One-Shot lube can halve the effort. (I'm guilty of adding a brass-handling cycle as I deprime before wet tumbling.)

    I urge anyone looking to purchase a press to proceed slowly and do the homework via videos and forums.
    • Closely examine every motion required to produce a round - tally and compare. Seemingly small things, like primer feed and loaded round kick-out, can make a difference over the course of thousands of rounds times x years.
    • Consider cost/ease of caliber changes.
    • Will press accept modifications/enhancements to increase future efficiency?
    • Be realistic about output volume without sacrificing safety/QC. While we can all sprint for a few yards at a time but that's not how we usually operate on foot or on the press. A comfortable, methodical pace pays dividends. A double charge or squib may leave an indelible mark.
     
  3. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    My first progressive press, about 25 years ago, was an RCBS 4x4. A couple of months after purchasing it Igave up reloading. About 20 years ago I decided to try again and bought a Dillon 650XL... I still smile everytime I load a round on it. The Dillon case feeder is just a frivolous waste of money... until I saved up and bought one, now Icouldn't live without it! The 5 years Ihad my 650 without a case feeder I was perfectly happy because I didn't know what I am missing. I appreciate that my 650 was able to grow with me and I have never felt any need to upgrade to a nicer / more capable press.

    P.S. my 650 is silky smooth even though I don't deprime and resize seperately. I started using RCBS lube / deprimming dies on the first stage and lubed pistol brass through carbide dies are very smooth.
     
  4. rskent

    rskent Member

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    Me too, and its my time to waste. Reloading is an extension of my shooting hobby. If I was worried about “wasting time” I wouldn’t reload at all. For me, reloading full auto is not as much fun, more like work. Breaking it up into two stages makes it much more laid back and relaxing.
     
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  5. rskent

    rskent Member

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    There seems like sort of a normal progression. Most start with a single stage, then move up to a turret, then to a progressive. It seems like the path that most people take. To me it makes sense.

    I started on a single that I still use for 223.

    Moved up to a classic turret that I still use for anything a hundred rounds or less.

    Bought an auto progressive for handgun calibers that I want to load in larger batches.
     
  6. rskent

    rskent Member

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    The Dillon 650 is a great press for sure. The people that I know that have them, love them. If I was a USPSA guy I would likely own one. But to say its silky smooth and at the same time say that you have to lube your cases is just a little disingenuous, isn’t it?

    The OP asked for options that wouldn’t cost a fortune. A full auto Dillon is a pretty pricey option.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Actually, for me, I can run the resizing only on the progressive at a considerable higher rate than reloading so the time to double handle the cases is not double the time. Besides, I resize and clean cases shortly after shooting them. Small batches get processed quickly. I then store the cleaned and prepped cases away for a future loading session.

    Where I make up the time difference is I have far less re-work of cartridges and clearing jams as when I try to load from fired case to finished round.

    I could probably spend many hours fine tuning the press and working out the operational issues, but I spent much of working career re-engineering consumer product packaging equipment in attempts to increase production volume. Doing that just is not enjoyable any more. By separating resizing from reloading and priming off the press, I eliminate most of the causes of downtime and headaches making an evening of reloading an enjoyable affair for me.

    I'm not saying everyone should separate resizing from reloading on a progressive. Each needs to use the method that works best for the individual. But separating resizing from reloading is a viable way to run a progressive that still makes lots of ammunition in a short amount of time.
     
  8. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I've been doing some research myself. I'm still loading on a SS press. I'm not sure my ammo usage calls for progressive tho. I'm sort of on the brink of needing a faster press.

    I'll by a Hornady or Lee if I buy a progressive. I've learned that the most expensive isn't always the best fit.
     
  9. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    As long as you aren't stealing the cat's food to eat or anything, as long as you can afford the price of admission, it's a no-brainer. You don't have to All The Way and buy a fully automatic press, either. I like my ProJector because it still involved human input... I place every case on the merry-go-round... which gives me time to look at the case (for cracks, SP/LP primer (45ACP,) headstamp (I sometimes load by headstamp) and other things.) I also hand actuate every powder drop... I am experienced enough to the feel of my Hornady drop to know if it doesn't feel right, and the press allows me to pull a case out of the loading stream and check the charge on the trusty 5-0-5. I set and seat every bullet as well. So, like some of the others have noted, it's not all about volume... it's simply streamlining some of the process. If I was a competition shooter, I would probably own a Dillon; I'm not a blue Kool-aide drinker, but there is no doubt the Dillon performs. I just don't need that level of production, and I like to get my hands dirty.
     
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  10. AmmoMan757

    AmmoMan757 Member

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    I loaded on a RCBS single stage press for years. I wanted to move up to a progressive, but wasn’t sure what I wanted or to drop that much cash at once. I went with the Dillon 550C basic. Think of it more as a turret press when it’s at the basic level. As time when on I kept adding pieces to it to make it a full up progressive. It’s just an option as you figure out what you want/need.
     
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  11. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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    I started with a cheap Lee press, loaded up about 300 rounds and said screw this. Bought a Dillon 650 and never looked back.
     
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  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I bought my first progressive press for a number of reasons, one was the press would consolidate operations.

    I prefer to crimp my rounds separately from seating which requires an extra handling of the cases to obtain the crimp. On a progressive, crimping happens while the bullet gets seated in case. Ditto with case mouth expansion.

    Progressive presses can provide the ultimate consolidation of operations being capable of one round made with each pull of the handle.

    Yes, progressives make more ammunition faster, but they can make the same amount of ammunition in less time.
     
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  13. Herman B

    Herman B Member

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    For those that separate the resizing from loading in your turret/progressive process, which press make/ model are you using?

    Crimping occurs wherever the operator chooses. Many have come to realize, from a mechanical standpoint, simultaneously exerting two perpendicular forces may not yield optimal results. Increasingly, it appears more people are choosing to separate those steps as it makes sound mechanical sense.

    'Ditto with case mouth expansion.' Expand/flare, and obviously charge, in the same station as seating? I've never heard of that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  14. bds

    bds Member

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    For me, separately resizing brass is independent of press used whether Dillon 650, soon Dillon 550, Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro or Pro 1000 but rather on how much less finished OAL variance I prefer. Walkalong pre-resizes on his Hornady LNL AP also to reduce finished OAL variance.

    For accuracy testing of various myth busting threads, I need to reduce or eliminate as much of reloading variables as possible, one of which is finished OAL variance.

    In the myth busting thread where unresized vs pre-resized brass were tested, using unresized brass in progressive mode produced .002"-.003" OAL variance with Pro 1000 - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...progressive-press.833604/page-2#post-10779806

    But using pre-resized brass in progressive mode produced .001" OAL variance with Pro 1000. This small variance is the result of floating shell plate with limit of travel by full contact with carrier top design unique to Pro 1000 and Auto Breech Lock Pro where ram is mounted off-center UNDER the resizing die (Station #1) where most other progressive presses mount ram in the center of shell plate that can tilt/deflect/cantilever with subplate and reason why I use the humble 3 station Pro 1000 for load development and myth busting threads for THR - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...progressive-press.833604/page-2#post-10779966

    Mind you, there are progressive press users who would absolutely be happy with .002"-.003" OAL variance. ;) But there are many THR members who would prefer .001" OAL variance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  15. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    The 650 press itself is very smooth. Lubed cases through a carbide sizing die are very smooth and require almost no force to resize. The whole process of pulling the handle and spitting out a round when the handle comes back up IS silky smooth. I can easily and immediately detect if something isn't right by mere feedback through the handle. Having 5 stations on my progressive is what allows me to run a lube die. I do not how this is disingenuous at all... quite the contrary.

    I certainly don't think a person needs to be a competition shooter to justify a Dillon 650... I am not. A complete 650xl setup does not have to be purchase all at once... it can grow with you over time. Mine did and it is awfully nice to have that growth capability as you expand into the hobby and not be held back by limitations of your initial press choice. I was and lost pretty much every penny I spent on the RCBS 4x4.

    I was once in the exact same place the OP is now. I was merely telling him the choices I made and how it turned out 25 years later. I have confidence in the OP's intelligence and his ability to process the information given to formumate his own choice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  16. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    A turret will only save you the time to change dies, still requires the same number of strokes as a SS press. A AP press will yield 1 round / stoke once all stations are full. I moved to a AP (LNL-AP) when my usage was too much keeping up with a SS press, 5k/yr. And the SS press was flaring up my tennis elbow to a point I had to stop and give it time to heal.

    As with anything mechanical it must be setup and adj correctly in order to run smoothly. Any press not setup right will cause the user grief and aggravation.
     
  17. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    It has been my experience, when talking with Action Pistol shooters, that you are the exception. Especially as the 650 was specifically designed to be used with the Case Feeder...as opposed to the 550 or the Hornady LNL AP.

    The only reason the 650 isn't sold with a case feeder as a package is to meet a price point and remain competitive with other 5 station progressives already on the market

    The above statement perfectly describes the Hornady LNL AP...plus it's original layout is more efficient for case handling than the Dillon
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  18. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I reloaded on my 650 for 5 years before I purchased a case feeder and was perfectly happy with it. Even without the case feeder and just using the feed tube my 650 was more productive than my friends 550. The feed tube without a case feeder is still a productivity booster over inserting each case into the press by hand.

    When I had the money to buy the case feeder I really appreciated its added productivity. I really appreciated that I didn't have to toss out my press or have to put up with some cludged solution when I decided to add a case feeder. I don't have a bullet feeder currently... but it is nice to know I can add one to my 650 when I want to and the 650 will work very well with one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I started doing it when reloading on a Dillon 550. The cost of that was one of the deciding factors in my choosing to go with the Hornady

    That is the same reason that many folks choose to separate resizing and depriming from the rest of the process
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  20. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I'm surprised. My friends who reload on the 550 don't have a problem keeping up with 650 users who don't have a case feeder.

    They have found it more efficient to place a case with one hand while the other hand is placing the bullet...because that was how the 550 was designed to be operated
     
  21. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Put a 650 without a case feeder side by side with a 550 and have 2 guys comfortable with each machine run them for a bit... I think you WILL be surprised!

    Even without the case feeder my right hand would only leave the 650 press handle once every 20-30 rounds... instead of every round. I don't have to worry about indexing the shell plate either.

    P.S. I have never even considered depriming and resizing in a seperate operation on my Dillon 650. I never saw any need to. Even on .308 and .30-06 I don't resize seperately. I do trim rifle brass with the Dillon case trimmer in a seperate step when the brass is new. After the initial trimming I just check rifle brass with case length gauges before hand lubing and tossing the case into the case feeder.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Because a single stage was to slow for my ADDHD. (Self diagnosed, no such thing when I was a kid, we just got bopped.) :)
     
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  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Sizing/Depriming .38 Spl. on the LNL.


    Then hand prime, then box it up until I am ready to load it.
     
  24. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have a Hornady L-N-L, RCBS Pro2000, Dillon BL550, and a Dillon SDB. Most of my handgun cases get resized on the Hornady but some are reloaded on other presses for a variety of reasons. Some cases like 45 Colt and 460 S&W magnum do not play well on the L-N-L so they get resized and reloaded on the BL550.

    I resize 300 BLK and 204 Ruger on a single stage yet load them on the Pro2000.

    The rest of my rifle cartridges are resized and loaded on the single stage.
     
  25. sbwaters
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    sbwaters Contributing Member

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    Happily learned on a Hornady single stage press, and still use it for rifle re-loading. Weekly pistol competition led me to the Hornady LNL and to the automatic powder drop, and to the automatic case loader. Load 100-200 a week in the winter. Still load bullets without the auto feeder, but am grateful to have less manual stress on my hand joints and tendons. I don’t look back.
     
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