Author Topic: press recommendations  (Read 13029 times)

Offline Medic242

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press recommendations
« on: October 02, 2016, 06:21:30 PM »
Looking to start reloading, I have never reloaded before.  Looking at the Lee 4 hole turret.  An advise would be very helpful.  I would be reloading 9mm, 40 S&W, .223 and 30-06.  I do have a budget to work in and that is part of the reason I have been leaning toward Lee.  But if there is a good reason to stay away from it I will wait and save a little more money.  Thanks

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 06:27:19 PM »
I have no experience with the Lee presses. I know people that love them but most I know have their Lee set up on one caliber and load and stay with it.

Other than that, I like Dillon progressive presses and RCBS single stages.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 07:01:14 PM »
I have no experience with the lee turret press(or other turret), but I do have experience with the original Lee  "O" frame press and found it quite lacking, as I have with other Lee equipment I've used. That said, some of the newer offerings seem to be of better and more substantial construction.

I have presses from Lyman, RCBS, Lee, Herters, and Dillon. Since you're going to load for rifles too, I'd suggest something along the lines of an RCBS Rockchucker.

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 08:00:11 PM »
I ran a production loading company (small) for several years and while LEE may be better now,
they were not capable of producing quality and speed of even a Dillon 550B or 650 ..I
also had ,and liked Dillon 1000 (old) and 1050 machines along with 4 electric operated 5000 round per hour
AMMO LOAD machines.

You can produce acceptable ammo with a LEE TURRET press , but the quality and speed of the Dillon 550B
(about 500 pistol rounds per hour) and the LIFETIME WARRANTY for hobby users (not for commercial loaders)
make the Dillon just a bit nicer..If Dillon 650 (I don't think the 550B can do 308) is within your budget with the accessories ,
you will be happier with it. If you only load 400 or so rounds on Saturday..the LEE is OK.

I did use a LEE turret press right up to the day I bought a personal Dillon 55B, I loaned it to a buddy for a few years and
he went and got himself killed on 10/10/2010...I miss my buddy John M. :'(

Offline Marinesg1012

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 10:11:15 PM »
I really like my Hornady lock and load, its a progressive press and once you get the caliber set up you unlock it from the press and you dont have to mess with it again, when you want to load ammo for that caliber you lock your dies into place and get to work.

Offline DrJohn

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 07:29:45 AM »
For low volume I would go with a RCBS rock chucker, for higher volume the Dillon XL650.  I would rather cry once, then each time I use the equipment...

Offline Skispcs

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 09:28:37 AM »
I think that the LEE turret press is great for a beginner. You need to learn how to do each step correctly.  A progressive like the Dillon is too much for a first time reloader in my opinion.
One of the problems with a single position press is that you need to replace and adjust the dies every time. With the Lee turret you can set up the dies and leave them. Time to change calibers, pull out the turret and pop the new one.
Once you are comfortable with reloading one at a time then move to the progressives.
I still use one of my older presses for decapping.


Offline DDJ

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 11:17:54 AM »
I use a Lee 4 hole Turret and it quickly and repeatable switches between calibers.  I run 3 on a regular basis and 3 others on occasion.  I did day one pull the auto index feature so I could run it like a single stage.  I have yet to put it back. 

I do not like the consistency of the powder measure (the Auto Disk) it throws the powders I am using at more variation than I like or the books call for.  This requires me to do 100% measurement. this causes me to spend a LOT of time a t the press to reload (50 rounds an hour).  If you stay with the Auto disk I would recommend the $10 upgrade to the micrometer adjuster which allow you to adjust your powder volume on the fly with out a lot of disassembly.

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 01:52:08 PM »
  If you stay with the Auto disk I would recommend the $10 upgrade to the micrometer adjuster which allow you to adjust your powder volume on the fly with out a lot of disassembly.

But did you find the adjustable measure and more consistent?
I still use an RCBS measure for consistency when not loading on a production machine like Dillon or AMMOLOAD.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 05:27:21 PM »
I have the basic Lee anniversary kit that was just over $100 a few years back.  I load a weird variety of stuff.
Sometimes it's higher volume blasting ammo, some times a few carefully weighed charges for accuracy.

Many progressive presses don't lend themselves well to frequent cartridge changes.  There are many factors of course. 

Because I have only a single stage, I do each step in batches (no turret).  So I'll resize a few hundred. 
Then while my wife is watching TV, I'll hand prime all those on the sofa.

Depending on the cartridge, I may leave some quantity in that resized+primed state.  Maybe I don't know the application, and will decide the charge and bullet type later.

When you have all that prepped and primed brass, charging and seating on a single stage is fast.  I use a standalone powder dropper, and then move the cartridge into the press for seating.
In the event I need a crimp, I just do the full batch again using that die.

In aggregate I don't think it takes more time following my process. The trick is to have a large batch size, to get the benefits of economy of scale.

If my main purpose for reloading was to make large quantities for a given cartridge/load for competition, then the RCBS progressives are a sure win.  But my shooting needs are too diverse at the moment.

Offline hackmeister

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2016, 07:16:21 AM »
Dillon 550.

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2016, 09:53:17 AM »
While I agree in the superiority of the Dillon 550B ,I think now as he is a NEW RELOADER, he may learn better on a single stage,
ONE DIE at a time press as the setup of dies and such on a progressive press can be tough for a new operator.
The LEE turret can be a good press as it can operate as a single stage press ,if desired and loading 'one step at a time' will increase his odds of success.
I actually started with a set of high tech LEE HAND TOOLS where you use a plastic hammer to HAMMER the shell into the dies.
Slowing down the process and operator makes good sense.

I progressed to a NUTCRACKER set and then to a LEE HAND PRESS then an RCBS single stage,then LEE TURRET,
and finally the DILLON 550B and then the Dillon 1000.1050 (FOUR OF THEM) and the motor driven AMMOLOAD (THREE OF THESE at 5000 rounds per hour)

Offline never_retreat

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2016, 10:07:52 AM »
I second the notion of starting out with a single stage press.
Rcbs is built like a brick poop house and has a good warranty. Lyman makes good stuff as well. Dillion of course is the Cadillac but it's spendy for new reloader.
I have used some other people's lee presses and always thought they felt flimsy.
Get a single stage first and work on the riffle rounds first.
You need a lot of other stuff besides the press even to get started.
Dies she'll holder
Powder measure
Scale
Micrometer to check lengths
Case trimmer
I put primers in with a stand alone bench primer tool.
And I'm sure I missed a few other things.

Offline DDJ

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 10:31:14 AM »
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2016, 10:37:28 AM »
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.

Many presses are neither good at priming or dropping powder.  For that reason many standalone tools have come to exist.  I'm a fan of RCBS hand primers. 
Further different styles of powder will meter differently.  Ball vs. extruded matters.  Precision rifle geeks often talk up Varget.  Great powder for a lot of things, but it's long stick like shape is a hassle in many type of powder measures.  It's fine for small batches of hunting rounds, but not worth the trouble if you are cranking out 500x .223

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2016, 10:57:05 AM »
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.

The LEE hand priming tool with it's flip tray and THUMB priming is EXCELLENT for loading and I like the RCBS POWDER UNIFLOW MEASURE on the LEE TURRET or what ever LEE single stage press or the bomb proof RCBS ROCK CHUCKER.

Dillon uses special dies and many other dies will not work so good or adjust for the Dillon DIMENSIONS. A powder scale ,balance or digital will complete a quality loading set
that will last you a long,long time (the turret press...I would use,but suggest a parts kit if it is your only press.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2016, 12:41:03 PM »
True story:

I inherited an old top break Iver Johnson .32s&w (short) revolver.  It's from the late 1890s.
I got the itch to test fire it, but ammunition + shipping was outrageous.

It was cheaper for me to order the Lee bullet mold + Lee die set than the total cost to ship a single box of ammo.

This also allowed me to load extremely LIGHT loads of < 2gr IMR Trail Boss for safety sake.

Offline archer

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2017, 08:51:33 AM »
a friend gave me a rcbs rs-3 press and some assorted dies for it. time to learn

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2017, 08:57:11 AM »
a friend gave me a rcbs rs-3 press and some assorted dies for it. time to learn

Archer,

I'm a fan of reloading manuals.  This edition just came out, and I got it for Christmas, even though I had the previous edition

https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-50th-Reloading-Handbook-Softcover/dp/B01H2JD6CK



It discusses the general process, difference from pistol and rifle, and pretty much everything you need to know.

Offline archer

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2017, 09:00:22 AM »
sweet. thanks. i also got several older manuals i need to look into.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2017, 09:06:55 AM »
sweet. thanks. i also got several older manuals i need to look into.

Reading any manual will be a huge help.  You can lookup the latest and greatest recipes online.  A book from the 1970s won't have .40sw or .300AAC, but the process is otherwise the same.

IMR/Hodgdon/Winchester powders have data online:

http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/

Offline DDJ

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2017, 10:38:25 AM »
An update.

I posted above that I was not happy with my Auto Disk on my Lee 4 Hole turret press. I went out between the holidays and purchased the New Auto Drum.  As of now I am seeing a marked improvement in the consistency.  It still has enough variance that I will likely continue to measure every powder through, but I expect 50% more good throws. 

I ran recorded 100 powder throws from my Auto disk and I will be running the same experiment with the Auto Drum and posting the results hopefully soon.  I have run 50 throws with a different powder to get used to the powder measure and am very pleased with the tightening of the range.  So I recommend that if you are looking at a Lee press you consider the $35 for the Auto-Drum.


Offline armymars

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2017, 09:26:38 AM »
  It's OK to buy last years reloading manual, but remember powder burning rates change with time. The companies will tweek their powders from time to time. This when you need the newer manual. 2400 and WW 296 are good examples.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2017, 12:38:56 AM »
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.
I have had a little time to mess with my LoadMaster now, and I think that you were doing something wrong. You shouldn't need any tools to swap the disk. If you were screwing the hopper screws out each time, something wasn't set right (or maybe I have a newer one and they have changed it).  Also, you can twist the hopper to "OFF" and throw a few charges to empty the disk. Mine has 2 brass knurled nuts that you can remove with your fingers and pull the hopper off. I can change the disk in less than a minute. Granted, it is far from the most convenient solution, but it works decently the way it's set up on mine. 

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2017, 03:41:38 PM »
Medic, did you get a reloading press yet?

It really depends on what you want to do.  I got by with a Lee single stage Challenger for 20 years but I only loaded maybe 100-200 rds at a time.  Around 2005 I upgraded to the 4-hole turret press and am very happy with it. I use the Auto disk for pistol ammo and can crank out 200-500 rds pretty easily.  The rifle calibers I do a lot more case prep so I use it in single stage mode with my old RCBS powder measure.

There really is no wrong answer, any reloading beats no reloading!  There will almost always be a need for a single stage (working up loads, rifle ammo) and those are much cheaper so starting with one is not a bad way to go.  Lee Challenger SS press now comes with the removable collets for dies so you can get similar "set and forget" die set up as with the 4-hole turret.  I think Hornady's lock-n-load Ss press is similar.

A progressive is best if you have a standard recipe and want to crank out lots of cartridges in minimal time.  But you have to really pay attention especially on powder charging or else buy special dies and such to prevent or monitor errors.  Pretty much everyone I personally know that has had a double charge was on a progressive. Obviously thousands of guys use them with no problem, but the chance for error is much greater.  Some guys have the meticulous mindset to reload and some don't.  It may be best to discover if you do/don't on a single stage that a progressive. A progressive can be run in SS mode, but you are paying many times more for it.  If you go progressive then Dillon seems to be the best from the guys I've known with them.

If you like experimenting with different loads, bullets, cartridges, etc then a single stage is the simplest and cheapest to work up small batches.

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2017, 04:06:29 PM »
I want to add something about irregular charges from powder measures as I totally overlooked the static potential of plastic parts
and non-metallic loading benches Static buildup on machines can cause charge problems and can lead to catastrophic discharges
as my powder hoppers held TWO POUNDS OF POWDER...but were entirely metal on the high speed machines and my Dillon 1000
and 1050's had ground straps to avoid static build-up or discharge though it is a rare occurrence for discharge...
Static is often a factor in consistent load measurement on many fine grain and flake type powders.


Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2017, 04:45:38 PM »
I want to add something about irregular charges from powder measures as I totally overlooked the static potential of plastic parts
and non-metallic loading benches Static buildup on machines can cause charge problems and can lead to catastrophic discharges
as my powder hoppers held TWO POUNDS OF POWDER...but were entirely metal on the high speed machines and my Dillon 1000
and 1050's had ground straps to avoid static build-up or discharge though it is a rare occurrence for discharge...
Static is often a factor in consistent load measurement on many fine grain and flake type powders.

I'm guessing this would creep up over time?  What rate of increase?  .1 grain per 100? more, less?
Any time I setup a new recipe, I check the weight every 10 or 20 rounds.  Sometimes an unfamiliar new powder will meter differently.

For the home reloader, would the volume change from static build up be noticeable?

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2017, 05:06:49 AM »
  You would see the powder bits ,or flakes, sticking to the sides of the measure if this were of concern
and I have seen it ,even with our average high humidity in Louisiana. As many measures also use a plastic cavity
to make the charges...this can be a factor...but even metal cavity measures can,and do,pitch irregular charges due to static.


As far as the high volume,all metal,measures that were stainless and measure cavities were brass....
a temperature alert would tell me when it was time to take a break as parts would begin to heat...(from friction)
it would alert at 135 degrees,well before danger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCsUscgCDJ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1m-talNzE

« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 05:20:00 AM by Carl »

Offline archer

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2017, 05:07:17 PM »
those are great machines

Offline Carl

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Re: press recommendations
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2017, 05:21:22 PM »
but just way more than an average guy needs,I am back to a Dillon 550B and the old Dillon 1050..