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Which progressive press?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ohihunter2014, May 7, 2019.

  1. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    At what point do you resize the case?
     
  2. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    How quickly people seem to ignore that part of the statement. I sure do wish I could find a DILLON, even a used one, for under $400.00... I hear stories of them but have never seen one.
    It's always much more fun to spend someone else's money isn't it?
     
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  3. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    Labnoti, for my use, I had to desecrate your post by quoting and separating it into smaller paragraphs ..... because my old eyes just couldn't keep my place that long.:) Sorry, my weakness.

    But you had a lot to say, and so I was wanting to read it all.....did not want to miss anything.

    You all know I use the RCBS 7 station press and I also use RCBS's 5 station press too. I use the 5 for pistol these days and the 7 for.......bottle neck rifle! :) (mostly .223 & .308 for semiautos). Few people load those in one pass either. A few try, using Dillions on-press trimmer. Neck sizing is out for my needs.....I don't load much for bolt actions.

    I bought the Pro Chucker 7 just because I'm the curious type who likes a challenge....what with the teething pains out of the starting gate with that press. Have made it sing, and I like it a lot....but it's not for everyone....especially those with impatient natures. For them Dillons have had many years to get the bugs out of theirs.....and have a lot of experience coaching the impatient tweaking their machines for them.

    What do I do with more than two stations for bottle neck? Besides smile a lot?...... case feed, prime, m-die expand, powder drop, video powder cop, bullet feed, seat, crimp. Those in bold are those that make me smile the most....

    BTW, I help my brother keep his Dillon 650 running......he's an ER Doctor...his patience is gone by the time he gets to reloading.;) He needs the 650. But is it the perfect progressive? Not even close.....no such thing. They can all load faster than single station....you just have to learn the system and obey it's rules, no exceptions.

    The #1 rule each and every one? Maintenance. They all get dirty and dry.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  4. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    My first Dillon’s cost a lot less than that, when I bought them, have more than doubled in value over the decades though.

    F08DC1AE-730B-4497-89E8-08EE3A754C8A.jpeg

    I think it’s odd how some will invest money into presses that only go down in value. Dillon’s go up over time but they don’t obsolete them and quit supporting presses often, why they gain vs loose value.
     
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  5. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Nice try, what's the date on that old ad? Let's see Today's ad!
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I not sure, 33-34 years ago I think they were even a little cheaper but you know what they are worth today.

    Any idea what other stuff available back then like an RCBS 4x4, Hornady Pro-Jector, or Lee 1000 goes for on the used market?

    Even decades old Dillon’s bring 80% of current brand new prices on the used market, why is that? What makes them different from the other brands?
     
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  7. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    I think it's the drugs they put in the baby blue paint.....makes addictive smurfs. (just kidding)

    Seriously, though, what makes them different? They were the first "people's progressive". and the Dillon family didn't do anything to screw up their lead......and you are right about the importance of not obsoleting their presses. And they haven't sold out to big business......yet.

    That said, the Pro Chucker 7 has a lot of great potential....maybe the overseers above RCBS will get out of the way and let it develop....but they probably won't.
     
  8. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Stage 1) decap and lube
    Stage 2) resize and prime
    Stage 3) powder charge
    Stage 4) Dillon powder level check
    Stage 5) seat and crimp

    This is my setup for 9mm and .45 acp. I swap the powder level check between the two. For the Dillon powder level check to work in stage 4 I had to drill an extra hole in the heads for the powder level check activation shaft to go through.

    On larger pistol cartridges like 44 mag and 50 ae I do not use the powder check and seat in stage 4 then use a Lee collet crimp in stage 5. A double charge in 44 or 50 will pour out all over the press and the cartridges are big enough I can see in them easily enough to check that there is powder in each case.

    The lube die really smooths out the press stroke and speeds it up. Because there is less resistance on each stroke it is also MUCH more obvious when something does not feel right.

    Rifle rounds are a completely different setup. The lube dies don't work on rifle rounds because the lube dies do not put any lube on the necks.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  9. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Actually I do know as I follow the used market pretty closely. One doesn't see many 4X4 around, though complete working ones still bring pretty good money.
    As for the Dillon products I have no dispute with their quality or value. In my view the Dillon 550 just like the new Lee ABLP are in a class among themselves. There is just nothing similar in the market to compare it to.
     
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  10. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    For that price range the new Lee press looks intriguing. I went with a Hornady LNL 4 or 5 years back and its loaded probably close to 20,000 rounds for me. I bought it used from someone who couldn't get it to run right...

    I watched the Lee video and the problems I see with that Lee press is that you have to grab an individual primer for every round and the powder drop through process requires you to use a powder scoop for charging the case. Combine that on top of setting the case and bullet every time and that gets to be a pain. With the LNL I grab a bullet and case at the same time with my left hand as I'm pulling the handle, set the case and bullet down as I'm pushing the handle to prime the case, and the whole process goes in one smooth motion. The LEE press appears to take at least twice as many steps for each round.
     
  11. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    FWIW, I was trained to reload on Dillon 550 and Lee Pro 1000.

    My initial impression of Dillon press was "stout, industrial" and Pro 1000 in comparison seemed "barely adequate". :D But my reloading/shooting mentor was a bullseye match shooter who sweated the details and he told me what mattered to our pistols and holes on target was the consistency of finished rounds.

    He had me load my test rounds on both presses and to my surprise, even the "humble" Pro 1000 produced relatively consistent finished rounds. Mind you, we pre-resized our brass, cleaned the primer pockets and hand primed the brass for my USPSA matches. When test rounds from both presses produced comparable shot groups at the range, he asked me if our pistols would be able to tell which press the rounds were loaded on. ;)

    Fast forward 25 years and 500,000+ rounds later, I intentionally load all my test rounds for various THR myth busting threads on the "humble" Pro 1000 because it can produce consistent OALs and powder drops. In the myth busting "Pre-Resized Brass Affect on OAL Variance - Progressive Press" thread, Pro 1000 produced .002"-.003" OAL variance with unsized brass and .001" OAL variance with pre-resized brass using RMR in-house jacketed bullets and Pro Auto Disk is capable of metering most small granule powders with .1 gr variance - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...progressive-press.833604/page-2#post-10779806

    I attribute the small OAL variance to free-floating shell plate and press ram under resizing die (station #1) design that better address shell plate tilt/deflection issue of other progressive press designs (And very consistent ogive of RMR in-house jacketed bullets). This same ram under station #1 design is used for Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...progressive-press.833604/page-2#post-10779966

    BTW, bullseye match shooting member ljnowell won first place in league with rounds loaded on Pro 1000 - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/first-place-in-bullseye-league.780168/

    Here's thread that outlined ljnowell from unboxing to loading first rounds on Pro 1000 - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/preventing-pro-1000-set-up-problems.761231/

    While I would consider my Dillon 650 with case feeder a "great" progressive press, I would consider my Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro way more than adequate for most pistol/short rifle cartridge reloading.
     
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Auto Breech Lock Pro can be used with Auto Drum or Pro Auto Disk case activated powder measure.

    This is true and something one needs to factor when considering the Auto Breech Lock Pro.

     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  13. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I owned an RCBS progressive (4x4) as my first progressive press... it was so miserable I gave up reloading for a time. I have worked on 2 other RCBS progressives... I don't think I could ever be convinced to buy another RCBS progressive even through 7 stations would be really cool! I don't understand the big price jump between the Pro Chucker 5 and Pro Chucker 7... they are essentially the same press?

    The blue coolaid IS quite addictive... you should try it some time! :)
     
  14. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    Yes, and search ebay for any of the older RCBS progressives (piggyback and PB II, Pro2000, Ammomaster Auto, etc) and you find them selling quickly for a premium.
    Most users have figured out ways for them to be easily changed over, reliable, and productive.
    And they often don't have the Uniflo PM in the AD, why is that :scrutiny:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-RCBS-P...128504&hash=item3409d37834:g:ACgAAOSw4xdczFnq

    :D
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Are you using the pre failsafe rod measure or did you change that as well?
     
  16. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    I understand your concerns, but you are missing a few key points of operation in your description of, I'm guessing, the ABLP press.
    1st, the primers can be dispensed from a tray via a (pez) dispenser and not grabbed individually, but you need to activate it by hand.
    2nd, the powder can be dispensed "automatically" thru the expanding die using either a Lee Auto Disc Pro or Lee Auto Drum powder measure.
    3rd, a Lee Universal Case Feeder can be used instead of setting a case for every cycle of the press.

    Most progressive users de-prime cases, prior to reloading, for tumbling, as primer smooge from de-priming tends to mess up some progressive's operation, and many even batch prime cases off the press, before a run thru a progressive, so no need for the pez type primer dispenser and it's inherent hand operation.
    So now the operator input has been reduced to the right hand placing the bullet, and the left hand pulling the lever.
    And with the addition of a bullet feeder die and tubes your right hand is reduced to holding your coffee cup.:uhoh:

    The ABLP press is sold stripped and marketed as an upgrade from a turret, with most components being transferable (you need a shell plate though).
    The added stuff (case feeder/primer feeder/bullet feeder) will cost something.

    Many forward thinking companies (Honda Motorcycles, etc) develop/sell products in anticipation of the market, and often the target market is confused by a new product's features/attributes....until they take the risk and try it, and become familiar with it.
    That's how I view the ABLP press.
    jmo
    :D
     
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  17. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    I find this very interesting and contrary to what I've been doing with a Lee Turret press, Lee Pro1000 and now the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro.

    I have never had to use a powder scoop to charge cases on any of these presses. The Auto Disk and Auto drum work very well on all three. The turret press and ABLP can use the Safety Prime which once one learns how to use it also works very well and not much different than any of the primer feeds on most single stage presses. The Pro1000 as far as I am convinced has the best design and use of any in the market. It's fast, simple and provides very good feel. I was extremely disappointed when Lee didn't incorporate this into the ABLP.
     
  18. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    I have tried "blue coolaid" as in Dillon 650s.....a friend's and my brother's. It's just a press....things go bump just like on any other press, especially but not exclusively, during the learning curve, and when it gets dirty. The one big plus is the very good case collator.....but its an option....one which I can buy for my Pro Chucker 7 as well.....

    A minus? Nothing serious as long as you buy the collator. Without it feeding cases is not real great....it becomes a short tube feeder......then again with a Lee shaker or my improved one and some long tubes it's not so bad. Actually I prefer tubes and the shaker for the minimum caliber change effort. It's a matter of what you load......if you don't have to change calibers frequently, Dillon's collator is the bees knees.....just depends what you reload and how often.

    You asked about the price jump.....I actually bought the 5 plus the 5 to 7 upgrade kit cheaper than I could find the 7 alone. The 5 comes with a small Uniflow Powder Measure, and of course a 5 station die plate and 5 station sub-shell plate

    The upgrade comes with the 7 station die plate, the humongous high volume Uniflow (holding a pound of powder), plus the 7 station sub-shell plate and a few parts to change the priming system.

    So then I ended up with 2 powder measures...big & little, for less than buying just a PC7 by itself. How's that possible? Who knows? I will say the sub plate is more complicated than the one for the 5.....and the die and shell plates are obviously more expensive to build. So more expensive sub plate, die plate, and powder measure....that's about it.

    Thankfully they now sell the 7 shell plates by themselves no longer combined with another humongous powder measure. (that was a marketing mistake brought on by the erroneous idea that separate p.m's were necessary because of the close together holes in seven station die plate????). I pointed out to them that if they sold separate powder dies that wouldn't be necessary. They did just that 2 months later.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  19. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    ► If you'll take the time to get very realistic about the Volumes of ammo you'll need, then that will narrow down your choices to 1 or 2 presses, thereby making your choice much, much easier.

    ► You mentioned price being a concern, but 2 important factors come to mind...
    If your brother lives close by, then there's absolutely no reason to consider buying duplicate presses. Buy one great press that checks all the boxes, and then share !!

    Allowing cost to enter the consideration is foolish because reloading has a very definite and FAST pay back. Face it, we'd all be driving Mercedes and Lexus cars if we got paid back by the mileage we drove, but that's exactly what happens in reloading. The more ammo you shoot, then the more money you save. So you need to look for a system that loads in 60-90 minutes, all the ammo you want to shoot in a week. That is to say, all the ammo you can load on a weeknight, to shoot on the weekend.

    You never want to miss a beautiful Saturday because you're stuck in the basement pulling a lever on a press that saved you $100 and almost meets your needs. That $100 spread over the 200 weekends is insignificant.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    But how many of us happily drove Hondas and Toyotas for decades before moving up? Not necessarily in style but reliably day after day. ;)

    And for those who haven't used the new Auto Breech Lock Pro and commenting, like Hyundais/Kias, it's a huge step up compared to Lee's other presses in terms of construction and function.

    What used to be is sometimes no longer the same.
     
  21. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

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    I'm still not sure why most of the posts in this thread are about Dillon. The OP didn't even want to spend $400. Why are we talking about Dillon.

    To meet the price point and round count the OP wants, the choice seems to be pretty clear to me. The LCT or the ABLP are the winning choices. 200-400 RPH, and most parts are interchangeable between the two.
     
  22. brasscollector

    brasscollector Member

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    I was looking at the ABLP rather seriously and this is pretty much the whole reason I went with the LNL. I didn't see any advantage in a progressive press that wasn't at least going to feed the primers. I, too, had very little trouble with the safety prime system other than a rare primer landing on the floor. However, the whole reason I was buying a progressive press was to automate as much of the process as possible, feeding every primer was definitely out for me.
     
  23. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I got my 550 from someone who got it through a large estate purchase.
    I got a good deal on the Dillon and he made good money selling the stuff he didn't need.

    For the OP, I agree with Thomas. For 2,500 rounds a year, I don't know that I would mess with a progressive. I have a Lee turret press that I really like and it easily does that quantity of rounds with no trouble.

    If I were going with a progressive press, I would hold out for a good one. Doesn't have to be a Dillon. RCBS and Hornady make fine ones too. Just my opinion. I'm no Lee hater, I own more of their equipment than any other brand, just not progressive stuff.
     
  24. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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    I watched several YouTube videos with an LCT & Case Kicker before buying one. You can watch them do 4-5 per minute loading handgun brass.
    A few tips:
    1- With Pistol you can adjust the length of the lever for a shorter stroke.
    2- Your left hand is in constant motion as well as your right hand. Reach for brass & bullets without stopping to look.
    3- Good Lighting so you do not have to stop to look.
     
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  25. R44 flyer

    R44 flyer Member

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    Every other progressive press but Lee requires the primer feed be filled by poking 100 primers one at a time into a tube. The safety prime can be filled and installed and you can load a dozen rounds before others can load their first round.
     
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