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Tell me about progressive presses

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by stevekl, Sep 24, 2008.

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  1. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    I don't really know anything about progressive presses. I'd like to hear from some people who use them. I've always loaded on a Lee turret press, and I handled primers, powder and bullets manually. Do progressive presses really do all that stuff for you with just a throw of the lever, because that sounds too good to be true!

    So what's your favorite? How well does it work?
     
  2. jfh

    jfh Member

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    Read--and even print--this PDF file comparing three progressives.

    Yes, they all will build one round with one stroke of the lever--but there are many ways to use them.

    Volume is the issue, IMO--I can load about 200 rds/hr. on my updated Lee turret, but 400 rounds or so per hour on my Load-Master.

    However, the mental effort is much greater with a progressives; TINSTAAFL.

    Jim H.
     
  3. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    You will always have to handle the bullets, primers and powder but with the progressive its just to load up the dispensers. Once they are filled then you can load until they run out. Usually the primer feeder tube will hold 100 primers, generally you'll have to load the bullets by hand but there are those with automatic bullet feeders, the same goes for the brass. Your time saving comes with 4 or 5 operations done with one press of the lever.
     
  4. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    Would you say that it induces less fatigue? I hate to admit to being lazy on the internet, but yeah I am lazy sometimes. A few days ago I set out to load 50 rounds of .380 ACP and I got through about 20 or 25 before I decided I was way too tired to continue! This is on a turret press manually handling primers, bullets, and scooping powder with lee dippers.
     
  5. taprackbang

    taprackbang member

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    I just ordered a progressive press from a friend of mine. He let me load about 50 rounds of .40 pistol rounds and they fired perfectly, better than factory accuracy. It is a lot of fun, too.

    Recommend it highly. I think it is the best deal going.
     
  6. GLOCK45GUY

    GLOCK45GUY Member

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    The first press I bought was a used Dillon SDB in .45ACP.

    Just make sure your aware of all the functions at every station, and keep an eye on your primers and powder.

    The last thing you want to do is be watching TV and be half loading rounds.
     
  7. Blacklabelz

    Blacklabelz Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRZrbv_8kx4

    Watch that video, and the other 4 in the series. The guy tells you everything you need to know about reloading/progressive presses that you need to know. He is using a Dillion 550B, which in my opinion is an awesome progressive press because its so darn easy to use.

    My 550B has 4 stations that work at the same time with one pull of a lever. 1) resize/de-prime/re-prime, 2) bell case mouth (pistol rounds only)/fill with powder, 3) seat bullet, 4) crimp bullet. It has an automatic powder measure which is very accurate (with flake powder like Unique its randomly .1g +/-).

    The machine was geared more towards handgun rounds in my opinion, and allows me to pump out about 500 of them per hour. Rifle rounds are alittle bit harder because it dosn't bell the cases mouth and if you arnt using BT rounds its like a balancing act. I can still reload about 250 rifle rounds per hour though.

    You can buy multiple toolheads for the 550 if you plan on reloading alot of calibers. This allows you to set up a toolhead one time with your dies (takes about 30 minutes of trial and error), and then you can switch between calibers in a matter of seconds.
     
  8. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    Can I use the lee dies I already have with any brand of progressive press?
     
  9. Blacklabelz

    Blacklabelz Member

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    Well, I know the Dillion 550B uses standard 7/8" x 14 dies.. not sure about other progressives however.
     
  10. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    No one mentioned my favorite, the RCBS Pro2000. Other than in my airplanes I do not like aluminum, and the front runners in the list are aluminum. Machine tools are commonly made if cast iron, and that's not without reason. Cast iron is superior, just as 4140 is superior to aluminum in guns.

    Now someone will try to "educate" me about how great aluminum is, sheesh. :rolleyes:
     
  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    You would be a lot happier with the turret press if you would use it to it's full potential. Use a pro auto disk instead of dippers and the safety prime and it will seem like a totally different press.
    Rusty
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  12. g.willikers

    g.willikers Member

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    Progressive loaders are like a fast and great handling sports car. When they are working as they are supposed to, there's nothing better. When they are not, you will wish for the simple life.
     
  13. VARifleman

    VARifleman Member

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    The only progressive being made now that doesn't use that size is the Square Deal B.
     
  14. Fly320s

    Fly320s Member

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    If that is all you load in one session, then you won't get much benefit from a progressive.

    A progressive press is best for large batches. When I go to load ammo, I load about 400 pistol rounds in one session. That session typically lasts about 1.5 hours including set-up and clean-up. Any longer than that and I get bored (and start day-dreaming, which can be dangerous), tired, or cold from being in my basement too long.

    So, unless you plan on shooting more and loading more, skip the progressive and get some good accessories for your current set-up.
     
  15. Griz44

    Griz44 Member

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    Buy your ammunition at Wally World. Any type of reloading will require some effort. Lifting those heavy 38 bullets and monster brass is going to be exhausting! I'm sure that loading a full 50 rounds would deplete you to the point you would not be able to hold your firearm up high enough to shoot any of them.

    Is this a troll attack? Your kidding, right?
     
  16. scotty

    scotty Member

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    Yes, a progressive will allow you to load ammo at a much faster rate than a single stage or turret press but it comes at a price.

    First and foremost, you are performing multiple operations at multiple stations simultaneously- sizing, priming, powder charging, bullet seating, crimping, etc. This requires vigilance on your part to be sure that each operation is performed properly each and every time.

    Setup time is increased. My personal progressive is a Dillon 550B and I have a toolhead for each die set and changeovers are quite easy but that is only the beginning. After a changeover, powder charges, bullet and primer seating, and crimping all need to be verified before going into full production.

    Don't get me wrong; the Dillon is a fine machine and does its job very well, but I usually don't use it unless I'm going to load a large batch of identical loads. I didn't feel the need for a progressive until I started competing in pistol matches and my appetite for ammo went way up. Doing 1000+ rounds a month on a single stage got old real quick.

    I still have my Rock Chucker and use it regularly for small batches or working up loads where a progressive would be cumbersome.
     
  17. Baldy

    Baldy Member

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    The real progessive is the Dillon 650 XL. They are the Cadillac of the home hobbyist. You got to have the case feeder also and then they can't be beat. Watch the video that comes with it a couple of times and read the book and you are off and running. They can do it all. :D

    Dillon 650XL....................................................................Dillon SDB
    08NB002.gif
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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  19. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    What about my kidding?
     
  20. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    But, how do you afford all the bullets and powder and primers? I can outstrip my purchasing power with a single stage press, what would I do with a progressive???

    <grin>
     
  21. Shoney

    Shoney Member

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    If the question was, ”Tell me about pistol powders?”. And someone posts, “I’ve only used UniTiteDot123. Because I’ve always used it, it’s the greatest powder since sliced cumquat and raisin bread.” And they don’t compare it to any other powders or justify why it is the best. Would you put any faith in that powder or trust that poster?????????????

    The same is true of recommendations on progressive presses. If they have only use one progressive, how the bleepity bleep bleep do they know it’s the best for them or you???????????????????

    I started loading on a single stage press in 1960. About 17-18 years ago; I bought a used Dillon 550 and then became an official member of the blue buffoon battalion, and became guilty of spreading “lots of BS” blue bullroar. I was like so many of the dishonest or blindly brand loyal people who have never owned or loaded with any other progressive, yet cluelessly advocate a single brand.

    When I first saw the Hornady LNL Auto Progressive 8-9 years ago, my blue product loyalty was badly shaken. I soon after bought the LNL Auto and have never regretted it. The 550 is still a good machine, and I have it dedicated to one cartridge. I used to load regularly with a friend on his 650; until one day (after years of loading on my LNL), he announced that his wife had given him permission to sell his 650 and buy an LNL.

    The LNL AP is by far a much better machine than a 550 or 650. I could go on for pages as to why it is so much better if you are interested.

    Sooooo!!!! “Caveat Emptor.” As my dear departed grandpappy used to say, then he would loosely translate it as: “Never trust a naked used chariot salesman.”
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I own six different progressives; one of them is an LNL. Although it’s a great machine for the money, I’ll have to disagree, the 650 is a better machine if you’re blind to the additional cost.
     
  23. Shoney

    Shoney Member

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    Reasons why the LNL AP is superior to the 550/650.

    * Powder measures LNL is case activated and is more accurate. The old technology slide powder measure of the Dillon$ is it's weak point which leak ball powders and spill powder because they’re not case activated. The micrometer inserts for the LNL produce more easily repeatable accurate settings., especially with flake powders.
    * The quick change features of the powder measure make it an infinitely more flexible system.
    * In working up loads, where you need to remove all but one die, it takes about 5 seconds to remove and reinstall on the LNL. It can’t be done quickly or easily on the Dillon$.
    * Primer systems, none are ideal. Used primer disposal on the LNL is thru the plate into a tube, out the bottom into the trash. This prevents primers from rolling around and spent primer compound from gumming up the mechanisms like it can do on the Dillon$.
    * Primer problems: Dillon 550 flips primers upside down about 10-1 over LNL and 650 flips primers about 2-1 over LNL.
    * The LNL produces cartridges with a great deal less run out. The friend who has a 650 challenged this and we did a long process of measuring run out on 4 different chamberings using the same die sets his Rockchucker and 650, and my 550, and LNL. The LNL produced measurably more concentric cartridges. Because of this accuracy, I rarely load rifle ammo on my single stage press’s any more.
    * I consider Dillon$ exce$$esive co$ts to be a major factor. A$ many Dillon owner$ have written, Dillon Rape$ you on Acce$orie$.
     
  24. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    HA Ha HA....

    These threads are entertaining.

    This beer taste's Great!!!! NO!!! it's less filling!!!!

    TASTES GREAT !!! LESS FILLING !!!


    HA HA HA....
     
  25. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    When selecting a progressive press, it's probably a good idea to look at what the real high-volume reloaders use, the guys who are loading thirty- or forty-thousand rounds or more every year.

    Hint: They use Dillon presses.

    - Chris
     
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