Turret or Progressive required for pistol ammo?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by lions, Aug 14, 2009.

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  1. lions

    lions Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    I'm going to get started in reloading so I was reading through the sticky for first timers and saw this sentence.
    Should I consider it, or do I need it? I'm going to be reloading .223, 9mm, .40s&w, .357, and .380.

    Right now I'm looking at the RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press with the whole start-up kit. Opinions?

    It sounds like the argument for turret and progressive is saving time, is that correct? I'm not going to be doing a huge volume and I have the time anyway. Thanks for the help.
  2. RoostRider

    RoostRider Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    It is not required.... but it makes reloading somewhat faster in a turret, and considerably faster in a progressive.... I think the thought process behind that claim is that you will be loading a lot more cartridges if you are loading for pistol...

    I have never heard anything bad about the Rock Chucker, but it wouldn't be the press I would want unless I was loading rifle rounds that needed serious consistency... simply because it is slow to do one step, change die, do one step, change die.... etc...
  3. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

    May 4, 2009
    Louisville Ky
    Single Stage 50-100 rounds an hour

    Auto Index Turret 100-250 rounds an hour

    Progressive 200-1000

    I load .380, 9mm, and .38/.357 and my Lee Turret serves my purpose. there are times I wish I had a progressive, but caliber changes take 5 minutes and its uber easy to use. Its all up to you. I would highly recommend a turret press as you can take the auto index off and use it as a single stage at first. Then when you get it down move over to full index mode and produce some ammo.
  4. forty5

    forty5 Member

    Apr 25, 2009
    The Rock Chucker is a good high quality single station press. The only advantage to a turret or progressive press is speed and convience. If you are not loading large quanities of ammo the Rock Chucker would be a very good press to learn reloading on. If later on you need to reload faster or find you need larger quanites of ammo you can move up to a turret or progressive. You will always find many uses for a good single station press even after you move up to a turret or progressive press.
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    There's a lot of conventional wisdom that says buy a single-stage press first, use that to learn the reloading basics, and then move up to a progressive when you get sick to death of loading handgun rounds at the speed a snail reads Proust.

    There is really no reason you have to start out on a single-stage. Any non-auto-indexing progressive or turret press can be run one stage at a time (if you feel the need) until you understand what you're doing.

    I did load .45 Auto on a single stage press for a couple of seasons of an old PPC league I shot for a while. Now we were only shooting 50 rds. a week, so pretty low volume. I dealt with it.

    When I switched to a progressive (Dillon 550...of course) it was a night-and-day difference! Now, a week's 100-200 rounds of practice ammo only take a short 15 minutes to load up. Shoot, I loaded 1,800 rounds last weekend just to clear the space on my reloading bench. No rushing, just a few 100 at a time until I worked through the pile of componants.

    It's an amazing time savings. Switching back would be almost unbearable.

    But, I do still have a Lee single-stage bolted to the bench too, for the calibers I've not set up the progressive tool heads to run on the 550. It's fine for small batches. And cheap. You could always buy one and get loading, and then go progressive when you develop the confidence to move up.

  6. hydraulicman

    hydraulicman Member

    Jun 18, 2009
    No high volume and time. Get the turret
  7. fourdollarbill

    fourdollarbill Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    I would get a turret press and you can run it in single mode if your bored and auto index mode if you need to hustle it done. The progressive is fine but the novelty ran out when ammo component prices went through the roof.
  8. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    W. Washington
    It's also that pistol cartridges actually really benefit from the speed advantage of a progressive because there's MUCH less case prep to be done between operations on the press.

    You don't "need" a progressive to load handgun ammo. I'll often work up a batch of 50 or so rounds with my hand press if I don't feel like changing over my Load Master for a small run.

    My brother who doesn't shoot much only has a hand press. He makes up 100-150 every now and then before he goes to the range. Takes him maybe an hour or two.
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    They suggested a turret or progressive for speed of loading, simply because we have a tendency to go through a lot of ammo shooting pistols.

    Any press will do. I started on a RCBS single stage press, but quickly moved to a progressive as I became confident and wanted to turn out ammo faster and easier.

    You will always find uses for a single stage if you start out that way. It won't be wasted.
  10. kurt250

    kurt250 Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    reloading press

    got the rcbs pro-2000 progressive press a couple months ago. it is a very good press. easy to run, has a really great powder measure system and has a primer strip system that works great. has interchangable heads for dies so very easy to change from one cal. to another. i load 38spl., 45acp., 44spl., 9mm. load black powder cowboy ammo but use lee turret for that. you will have to order one and that may take some time. its that way all over for reloading supplies. i started with a rock chucker but only use that for spl. cartridges. 43 mauser, 41 swiss, 11.7danish and stuff like that.rcbs is a good product and there customer support is first rate.rock chucker is just to slow for the amount i shoot nowdays. kurt250
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    If you just want one press to do it all. Make sure it is capable of handling the larger (read longer) rifle cases. Like .30-06 and .300 Win Mag...

    A good inexpensive set up is Lee's Classic Cast "O" single stage press and Lee's Classic Cast turret. Of course you still need all the trimin's. Like caliper, case trimmer, dies, turrets (if you get the Lee turret), manual or two, etc, etc....
  12. JLCook

    JLCook Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    I started reloading about 1 year ago (loading 45 acp) on a Lee Pro 1000. So far I have been very happy with the press. Just this month I am setting it up for reloading 9x18. To me the Lee pro 1000 would be a good deal for the calibers you list, all can be loaded on this press and you probably can buy a Lee pro 1000 press kit for one calibers and supplies to convert to all of you other calibers for about the same or not much more that just the RCBS rockcunker press kit. ( I hear the laughs now about Lee products, but it works fine for me)
  13. Landric

    Landric Member

    Apr 19, 2003
    North Carolina
    I loaded all my ammunition on a Rockchucker from 1994 when I started handloading until 2001 when I got a Dillon Square Deal B for .45ACP. After that I still loaded all my other ammunition except .45ACP on the Rockchucker until early this year when I got myself a Lee Classic Turret. I still use the Rockchucker for low volume rifle and even some handgun, but I do all my large volume stuff on either the LCT or the SDB (still .45ACP only).

    You do not NEED anything more than a single stage. You might eventually want a faster system, but it is not necessary to be a successful handloader.
  14. oldreloader

    oldreloader Member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Magnolia AR
    I do everything on a RCBS JR3 and a Lee Breechlock. I just enjoy reloading and love spending time at it so I stick with single stage. That's just MY personal preference. Single stage, turret, or progressive will all work. IF I was going to do anything different, I would probably try the Lee Classic Turret.
  15. Samgotit

    Samgotit Member

    Nov 22, 2007
    How much ammo do you shoot in one month?
  16. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

    Jul 4, 2007
    NAS Pensacola
    For what calibers you list, a turret might be a good idea. Single stage presses are a nuisance with pistol cartridges, because there's a lot of steps. Progressive presses are a pain with rifle cartridges, because of the casework involved after depriming and resizing. In a perfect world, a single stage press for learning the ropes and 223 brass prep (as well as any other rifle calibers you later tackle) and a progressive for prepped 223 brass and all of your pistol. A turret press would be a good compromise if you don't want two presses.

    With a progressive press, you also incur the cost of shellplates, powder funnels, locator buttons, etc. This isn't an issue with single stage or turrret presses.

    If you're just loading a couple hundred rounds a month, a single might work. The turret will be 2-3 times faster, the progressive 4 to 5 times faster, based on my own pace.

    Yeah, Sam got it. Good question. :D
  17. Mags

    Mags Member

    Apr 8, 2009
  18. ClayinAR

    ClayinAR Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    I have a Lee turret for rifles. Use it single stage at a time. All the dies for one caliber are mounted on a toolhead. Change caliber, only have to change toolhead and shellholder. No set up and adjust every time. Change in seconds. I have a toolhead for every caliber I load. .need to redo a case? Simply turn the tool head back and do it.
    But for pistol cartridges I use a Dillon 550, also have a couple of Herter # 3's. Don't use them anymore.
  19. evan price

    evan price Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    http://www.ohioccw.org/ Ohio's best CCW resour
    I do my rifle cases (except .223) on a Lee Turret. I have the dies setup for each caliber in their own turret plate. Takes me all of a minute to change calibers. I also have a "utility turret" which has the Universal Decapper, Primer Pocket Swager & a spare rifle-charge die. .223 and pistol run in the Pro-1000.

    I would say for any new reloader, get a decent turret like the Lee for a starter press. You can always pick up the Lee Reloading book with the free small press for if you need a single stage for something.

    Single-stage reloading with a block is a tedious process I want to avoid.
  20. MifflinKid

    MifflinKid Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Maryland (but I'll get back to Pennsylvania some d
    Get a progressive press. Your list of calibers leads me to believe you're going to be shooting a lot.

    Nate1778's numbers are good
    You will be thankful for the speed of a progressive.
  21. jfh

    jfh Member.

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maiden Rock, WI
    Your list of calibers suggests a lot of shooting. To get some more refined advice, you could tell us more about your expected shooting volume in each caliber--but The BushMaster gave you a good summary of a good place to start.

    A Lee Turret bridges all worlds--it can be used as a single stage, it can be set up with multiple calibers and easily changed, and with its auto-indexing, it works well as a "semi-progressive. The Classic Cast Turret is the latest version, and well-recommended.

    Until you know just how you will do your reloading, and how comitted you will be to the hobby, it would be the press I would start with. You can get going at a modest price, and find out how much you will do with it.

    Jim H.
  22. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    no one can do a thousand rouunds an hour on a hand operated progressive,maybe an automated factory-type machine. maybe
    going for speed will draw blood,trust me.

    that said,you'd be well served by my fav,the dillon 550b.It can be used to do one round at a time in about 15 seconds,less with experience,then load up the shell plate when you know what is happening at each stage.
    for rifle,you will have to size,remove and measure,then procede if the case length is in spec.even at that you could do a completed round in under a minute.Most choose to use a single stage to size the rifle brass in volume,trim it,then use the progressive.
    confusing as heck,aint it?? ;)
  23. snuffy

    snuffy Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    Oshkosh Wi
    For a new reloader, some of the answers already given will be confusing. One answer given was simply "turret". Define turret? There's the Redding T-7, Lyman, RCBS, older ones like Herters, and now Lee decides to call their deluxe and classic presses turrets.

    There's a vast difference between a TRADITIONAL turret and the lee versions.

    There's even a vast difference between the 2 lee versions. The older deluxe turret has been around for 15-20 years. It's cast aluminum base and shorter ram throw limit it to shorter rifle cases. The new lee classic turret, is a much improved cast steel press. With it's through the ram primer disposal, it makes the mess of primers on the bench, floor and in your soup, a thing of the past.

    The Redding, Lyman and RCBS turrets DO NOT AUTO INDEX! Each time in the progression of dies needed to completely load a round, you have to grab the turret and turn it! These turrets are held to the press by a center bolt or nut. In order for the turret to turn, that nut has to be loose. Add to that, the press is basically a "C" type, the front is wide open. It can and will flex under sizing pressure. Then the loose nut induces more deflection.

    As for progressives, unless it has auto index, I won't call it a "true progressive". That leaves out the dillon 550. You have to manually grab the shell plate to turn it to the next stage. Also it's a 4 station which limits it's flexibility, you can't use a powder check and a separate/final crimp at the same time. The 650 is the best bet for a true progressive. BUT the learning curve is steep, and it doesn't lend itself to single stage loading for load workup.
  24. lions

    lions Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    That just about sums it up.

    .223 ~100rds
    9mm ~150rds
    40s&w <50
    .357 <50
    .380 <50

    I plan to be shooting more in the near future so I think I'll go with an auto indexing turret.

    It sounds like the Lee turret can be used as a single stage at first which I like, then I can use the auto indexing and make more ammo/save more time.

    I think the Lee Classic Turret might be right up my alley.

    Thank you all for your help, this is why I love this site!:D
  25. krs

    krs Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Tall Trees
    That's certainly NOT true of my Redding turret press. That nut is Godawful tight and the turret turns just fine. It has a ball detent to stop it at the points where each die is aligned to the ram. It's a VERY strong press, has easily full length sized my .30-06 cases for years, even while being open and easy to put cases and bullets into. And you know what? NOTHING has ever gone wrong with it. :)

    Only if you aren't into a routine. When I used a single stage press (for about 20 years and still have one on the side) I'd size and deprime a whole big batch of cases. Whenever I felt like relaxing for a bit I'd hand prime some of them until they were all done, but chances are I'd have already tumbled and sized/deprimed some more. Then I'd put a batch of primed cases into loading trays mouth up and drop powder into each, 50 at a time, usually two trays at a time for 100 rounds at the sitting. This way I could take the tray and hold it under a good light to make sure that every one of my little buddies had the same amount of powder by level. Then I'd change the die to the seater and pop on bullets as I fed each case to the ram and seat it with a stroke. Sometimes I'd build up such a supply of sized and primed cases that I wouldn't need to do that again in the caliber for a couple of weeks.

    It's all about a routine that works for you and provides you good ammo.

    Sure, it'd be a pain to size one case, then change a die, prime and bell the case and change the die, seat one bullet and then start all over again but that's just not the way single stage press reloaders with half a brain do things.

    BTW Lions, I've loaded for a lot of years and from looking at and reading about the Lee classic Turret loader I think that Lee is really onto a good thing with it. In fact I consider replacing my side press, a single stage, with one of those. It just looks downright convenient and reliable and you'll find that those two characteristics are worth a lot of claimed speed. It's cheap too!
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
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