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Old 09-16-2011, 01:56 PM
isaias_1 isaias_1 is offline
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Default what reloader for me?

I am looking to get into reloading. I have no experience but with all my weapons it would be best to do my own reloading to save some cash and have some fun plus pass it on to my children too. I have a 30 Carbine, M1 Garand (30-06), Two Mosin Nagats (Carbine and Regular), an SKS (Yugo), DPMS AR-15 (5.56 and .223 Cal), plus a Savage 64 (.22LR) I bought to teach my oldest to shoot. I also have a springfield 1911 A1 Mil Spec, a S&W Sigma 40VE (.40cal), and a Bersa .380 Thunder. I love all my guns and I want to be able to reload all those rounds with the exception on the .22LR. Any advice on how to proceed would be great and what loader to look at first. I have a lee catalog and am waiting for the Dillan one to come in. Going to request one from RCBS. Thanks in advance for the info.
Isaias
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:00 PM
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Welcome. You will get lots and lots of different views.

Here is a good thread to look over and maybe answer some questions.

First thing to buy is the ABC's of reloading and I always suggest to go to the RCBS site and watch their videos, It will give you an idea of what is involved ( not that you have to buy their stuff but it is one of the best. Don't be intimidated by the Smurfs who like those Blue Dillon things.

RCBS - Precisioneered Shooting Products - Guide to Reloading



Want to start reloading, need ya'lls input
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
Welcome. You will get lots and lots of different views.

Here is a good thread to look over and maybe answer some questions.

First thing to buy is the ABC's of reloading and I always suggest to go to the RCBS site and watch their videos, It will give you an idea of what is involved ( not that you have to buy their stuff but it is one of the best. Don't be intimidated by the Smurfs who like those Blue Dillon things.

RCBS - Precisioneered Shooting Products - Guide to Reloading



Want to start reloading, need ya'lls input
I want to emphasize this. Add to that buy and read a few of the big name reloading manuals like Lyman, Lee, Hornady, Speer, and any others. My first press was a RCBS Rock Chucker and I really like it but I kind of wish it was a Forster Co-Ax instead. Then I bought a Lee Classic Turret and I loved it. Actually I still love it and intend to keep using it. But now have started getting everything for a Hornady Lock N Load AP for my very first progressive press. All that yabbering being said, I'm not in the half that reloads to save money. I do it because I have learned that I love loading my own ammo. I also learned to cast my own and the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook was invaluable for this. I think I'm not alone in that many of us start reloading to save and then go nuts and find it just becomes a part of the hobby that is just as fascinating and enjoyable as the shooting.

Soooo.....

Try to figure out what your end desire is and if you can, try to decide how deep you are willing to go. Any single stage press is a good safe way to start, but the Lee Classic turret only takes about five seconds to be made into a single stage press. I love the Rock Chucker but could just as well have started with the Lee Classic Turret. I no longer find it so easy to give this kind of advice since I have now dove into the deep end. You may find you could buy the Lee single stage kit and in six months you may find you are worse than me. It's hard to say. Good luck though!!!
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:38 PM
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Dillon 550B will satisfy virtually any of your needs short of the .50 BMG (I use a LEE Classic Cast for this caliber) and would be my first recommendation followed closely by Hornady's Lock-n-Load progressive. I've got a dozen different presses. Most work as advertised. The better products offer lifetime warranties. Dillon has went over and beyond in taking care of me after the sale, Hornady has also done well. RCBS has left me high and dry and left a bad taste in my mouth though I realize I may be the odd man out here. Any of the 3 manufacturers named will likely be an excellent choice for you.

If you plan on loading a lot of ammo (perhaps 400 rounds per month) or plan on doing this for a long time (life long endeavor), look at a nice progressive set up from the get go. If you think you'll load fewer rounds or aren't sure about your decision and are just feeling the water get a single stage press. There is one nice thing about starting off with a single stage press and that is simply that you really get a chance to inspect and get a feel for each step in the process. It might be a better way to learn. It doesn't take long to get on to this and for those that are careful a progressive makes sense after only a short time.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:48 PM
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Dillon!!
Dillon!
Dillon!
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:46 PM
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I started with a Lee progressive and later went for a redding single stage. I would suggest starting with a single stage and learning the basics from there. If you are mechanically inclined a good progressive might not be a bad choice. I would avoid the lee progressives just because of the various headaches I had with them. And caliber changes are a real pain. Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:17 AM
Clark B Clark B is offline
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I started reloading not to save money, but because I am the sort that has that curiosity about how just about anything is made. That being said, when I'm in the mood for it I love reloading, but it's a real chore if the mood ain't right. I started with a Lee Challenger single stage and actually enjoyed that part of it, then progressed to the Hornady LnLAP, and the hobby started to feel like production work, and I get enough of that at my job. Recently I sold the progressive and bought the Lee Classic Turret and find that I am enjoying it again. I can say this without any reservation, I have never had a bad cartridge come out of my Lee stuff, but can't say that about all the other brands or dies that I've tried. One thing is for absolute certain though, a good single stage press is always handy, even if you end up using progressives for the bulk of reloading.

As an aside, reloading the 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R is a real frustrating endeavor as components are a bit harder to find and most foreign ammo is Berdan primed, so the brass (usually plated steel) is nearly useless outside of scrap value unless you are willing to devote a good deal of time to removing the primers, drilling a flash hole and swaging the primer pocket to accept the smaller diameter Boxer primers available here in the States. You will also need to find reloading information that is specifically tailored for the Garand to keep from destroying that great rifle.
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:17 AM
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Good morning
My dad was into casting & reloading with his Navy buddy. When I ETSéd in 1974 I was soon into my own reloading with a Green single stage press. Got a Speer #10 reloading manual (still use it) and read the whole front numerous times. By mid 1980´s I got into a Dillon 550B and have no regrets. Easy to use and caliber change is very simple with the removable tool heads. Will load any caliber you have as I reload all those also. You can find good used Dillons all over for a lot less than NIB. Plus Dillon still has one of the best garentees out there. Now I have several Dillons and would highly recommend that dirrection.
Mike in Peru
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:03 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark B View Post
As an aside, reloading the 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R is a real frustrating endeavor as components are a bit harder to find and most foreign ammo is Berdan primed, so the brass (usually plated steel) is nearly useless outside of scrap value unless you are willing to devote a good deal of time to removing the primers, drilling a flash hole and swaging the primer pocket to accept the smaller diameter Boxer primers available here in the States. You will also need to find reloading information that is specifically tailored for the Garand to keep from destroying that great rifle.
Clark, Privipartisan 7.62x54R ammo is Boxer primed, brass and quite reloadable. I get the 180gr stuff, shoot it then reload it for son #2. Been able to get MOA groups from his Mosey that has a scope, reconditioned bolt and a synthetic stock. See if that ammo is available in your area.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:41 AM
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Been where you are.
I am different than most folks. I don't care for basic needs or basic construction.
I decided--after about 6 months of research and asking these questions and reading ever danged post over at Graybeard Outdoors that Lee's and RCBS's were going to dissapear after I got up to speed that I would avoid this kind of initial purchase.
I got a Hornady LNL.
I am now going up to a Dillon after about 6 years.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:58 AM
lougotzzz lougotzzz is offline
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I scout the reloading boards and in the past days I have seen tons of presses and stuff for sale. From single stage to progressive.

I started with a single stage about 3 years ago and I am running 3 single stages. I got them all for a song. They work great and for Match grade rifle ammo it is the ticket.

There are 2 types of reloader. One who wants to just pull the handle and a round pops out and the other wants to know the particulars and make real quality ammo.

I am not saying you will not make quality ammo with a progressive but I am saying you are going to spend tons of cash either way. People think because they reload they are saving money. Well they are but there is an up front cost to get to that point.

And it is thousands.

I would go with all used equipment in single stage to get my feet wet. You can always sell it and up grade.

Good luck
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:06 AM
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For a starter, I recommend a quality single stage press. Good used ones are abundant. Hornady, Lee, RCBS, Lyman, etc. I have an old Pacific and an old Hornady which work well for me. The comments by others are very useful and helpful, follow the recommendations.

Stay away from SmartLoader, these are Chinese built
Buy American.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:31 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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I agree, get some books, then figure on starting out single stage.
You have a lot of widely different guns and calibers and each has its own requirements for good ammo. It is easier to get there one step at a time.

Later you might want to look into a progressive for quantity loading of pistol and AR ammunition. But the single stage will always be useful for small lots, test loads, and the big rifle rounds.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:15 PM
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I got into reloading as I'd started shooting Bullseye and factory ammo was breaking the bank. As i didn't know any better(pre-internet)I bought a Dillon 550B and all the goodies. I took it very slow, asked alot of questions, and sucessfully produced thousands of .45 acp rounds. I eventually expanded to reloading all of my guns ammo. Those .22lr are tough.Just kidding about that.

The one thing about a progressive like the 550 that doesn't auto-index is you can use it like a single stage if you want. That's what I did at first. De-cap, re-size, and prime. Put the cartridge in a holder. Get 50 done like that. Next, put in the powder and bell the brass(actually, set up the bell before even putting powder in the measure). Next, get the bullet seating depth right and finally the crimp. After you get it all together, off you go. It's relaxing for me.

I wouldn't bother with 7.62x39. If it's for your sks, it's not worth the expense and time.

Regardless what you choose, be safe and have fun!

Hobie
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:58 PM
Clark B Clark B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith crazy View Post
Clark, Privipartisan 7.62x54R ammo is Boxer primed, brass and quite reloadable. I get the 180gr stuff, shoot it then reload it for son #2. Been able to get MOA groups from his Mosey that has a scope, reconditioned bolt and a synthetic stock. See if that ammo is available in your area.
I got some Boxer primed brass for the 54R, just haven't decided if I want to take the plunge in buying the dies when I still have about 1000 surplus rounds that I am very slowly going through. Unfortunately the bullets themselves are very limited, and the correct diameter is commonly available in 123 gr and 175gr, and I want to find 150 gr, which is quite rareish. The x39 OTOH, is quite frustrating when dealing with reloadable fodder. It cost a lot, and depending on brand can be either large or small primered. And to think I have 11 rifles that fire those two chamberings, and some are wondering why I'm considering firing off the ammo I have and selling them and staying with domestic offerings. I hate being at the mercy of importers and foreign munition plants.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:19 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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125gr .311"
Sierra Bullets - The Bulletsmiths
150gr .311" These will shoot consistently into 1"@100 @2900fps +
Sierra Bullets - The Bulletsmiths

These will not shoot as well as the Sierra 150gr but are another option for the caliber.
http://www.hornady.com/store/303-Cal-.312-150-gr-SP/
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:23 PM
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I started with a rockchucker. I have a 550B also now. Still use thr rockchucker for making hunting bullets.



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Old 09-18-2011, 08:41 PM
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I agree any good single stage and several good manuals and taking the time to really study them and you will enjoy reloading.Ive used an old rockchucker for thirty years or so and its a really good way to kill an afternoon and make some ammo that works better than factory.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:13 PM
Clark B Clark B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith crazy View Post
125gr .311"
Sierra Bullets - The Bulletsmiths
150gr .311" These will shoot consistently into 1"@100 @2900fps +
Sierra Bullets - The Bulletsmiths

These will not shoot as well as the Sierra 150gr but are another option for the caliber.
Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Bullets :: Rifle :: Choose by Caliber :: .312 303 CAL :: 303 Cal .312 150gr InterLock® SP
Thanks for the heads up. Looks like American companies are starting to offer more components for Ruski cartridges. Now if we could get them to offer cheap bulk FMJ for them.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:17 PM
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I like my single stage press for loading rifle ammo but I also use my Lee turret press without the auto-index rod for rifle ammo too. If you have limited space and want something that's not too expensive I would buy a Lee 4 hole CLASSIC turret press, not the Deluxe. It will safely load between 180 and 200 rounds of handgun ammo per hour. And like I said above you can easily load rifle rounds too.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lougotzzz View Post
There are 2 types of reloader. One who wants to just pull the handle and a round pops out and the other wants to know the particulars and make real quality ammo.

I am not saying you will not make quality ammo with a progressive but I am saying you are going to spend tons of cash either way. People think because they reload they are saving money. Well they are but there is an up front cost to get to that point.

And it is thousands.

Good luck
Well, just not true. The initial investment is not cheap, but consider the price of even the cheapest factory ammo today, a bargain easily paid back in 1-2yrs of shooting for anyone that shoots more than 100rds/m, even 9mm only.
Example: A Dillon 550 w/ dies, scale & couple of other small bench tools, will run you less than $750. With 9mm ammo sitting around $20/100 & the reloaded cost around 1/2 that, you are saving $10/100. So in 7500rds, you paid for the press. Shoot 45acp, $40/100, reload for $20, press is paid for in 3750rds. If you have more time than money, a Lee classic turret or single staqge press will cu the cost in half but you are not breaking any spead records.
ANyone that tells you they do not save money reloading just isn't shooting enough. You per round cost will always be 1/2 of cheap factory or less. Some of us shooting our own cast bullets are shooting 45acp for the cost of 22lr.

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Old 09-27-2011, 08:31 PM
isaias_1 isaias_1 is offline
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Thanks to everyone that replied. I will look into a single press first and start to do the 30-06 and would maybe some .308 since I am looking to build an AR-10. Is it feasible to do .223 ammo on the single press also? As far as tool I have tons as I am an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and an auto mechanic on the side. Thanks for the advice and any sales that you guys might have or see please let me know of them.
Isaias
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:48 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you're approaching it the wrong way. Any press will do. I personally hate Lee press and dies, but use their priming tool. I attend a lot of gun shows, and most of them have private tables where shooters are selling (and buying) all order of things. If I were you, I'd look for a used press.

Very few of them ever wear out, more are neglected to death. Last spring I bought a top of the line Lyman (from maybe 25 or more years ago) for a huge sum... $50. But it had dies for .45 ACP in it. It will last till I die.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:57 PM
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Bonanza Co-Ax -- smooth and easy without the hassel of shellholders.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:10 PM
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Now that I know you have a technical background and are good with your hands I'd say go for it and buy a decent progressive. Once again, I'd steer you towards the Dillon 550 B or the Hornady Lock-n-Load progressive. Having a single stage will never be a waste, so there is no problem with going the way you have suggested. You can always use it for a dedicated station in the future. That said, if you buy a progressive from the get go you'll never have a need to upgrade and there would never be a duplication of expense. A mechanic will have no issues mastering a progressive press. Stepping down from my soap box. Good luck and good reloading.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:01 PM
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A good single stage RCBS and a Dillon 550B should fix all your needs. Get good & current manuals, stock up on bullets. powders & primers and have fun.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:24 PM
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Dillion 550 is the one that I would get!
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:15 PM
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Dillion 550 is the one that I would get!
+1

This will do it all, single stage mode or progressive.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:03 PM
isaias_1 isaias_1 is offline
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Well I got a good deal at least it seams to be for a Lee 50th anniversary with some dies (unknown caliber) and the 2nd edition reloading book that mee sells I think it's called Modern Reloading. All of it for $80. What do you guys think about this for a starter? Thanks
Isaias
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:18 PM
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Lee makes some very fine stuff. The carbide dies are what I use for .45ACP,they work great!. I`m using a Lee 4 hole Turret press and have loaded many thousands of rounds without any problems. Works for me.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:23 PM
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Well before I got my reloading set up I spent months looking over and researching presses-pros and cons. Narrowed my search down to the Forster Co-ax, Redding Big Boss 2, and a CH4D 444. Then after much thought and deliberation narrowed it down to the Forster & Redding. Looked at the calibers I was going to be reloading:45acp, 9mm, and .223 remington. Then ruled out the Redding due to long stroke design, and secondly I couldn't purchase through Cabelas, & use discount and points to reduce cost. So there I was ready to purchase a FOrster Co-ax. Then local gun seller, says "hey I saw a reloading setup at a garage sale you that you might be interested in." Drive over check it out and now I have a RCBS Rockchucker II. Purchased the RCII, Uniflow, 5.0.5 Scale, 44 mag dies, 2 boxes of 44 mag lead, inexpensive gun rest, all like new in the box $125. Still want a Forster...maybe someday.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:58 PM
38-44HD45 38-44HD45 is offline
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Another vote for the Dillon 550.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:05 PM
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if you go single stage (which is great for rifle cartridges) I would recommend the Forster Co-AX, if progressive the Dillon 550B is a great choice (nice and slow, everyging is manual, though I biase with Dillon as I run a XL650 w/casefeeder. The Hornady LNL progressive is good but if you plan on adding a casefeeder, go with the 650 as Hornady haven't figure their casefeeder problems yet..

Oh, btw.. reloading doesn't save money, you just end up shooting a lot more
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:34 PM
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I do not begrudge starting out with the Hornady single stage---it is a dang good press. It will always be used.
Get the single stage and learn--learn what you like and don't like--when you get tired (and you will) of a single stage at least you have learned good habits before you move on to the Dillon 650.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:56 PM
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I started loading on a Dillon Square Deal progressive press 21 years ago. I was shooting lots of 9mm and wanted to be able to sit down and load 250 rounds at a time. Then I bought an old used RCBS JR3 single stage press from a friend along with a bunch of accessories. Once I figured out the routine and reduced it to as few steps as possible it's not really too slow and I like the results much better. The Dillon dies sized the tapered 9mm cases poorly and I sometimes had a bit of trouble with the primer system. These problems are gone on the single stage press and changing calibers is SO much easier. Since the single stage press does just one thing at a time the feel is much better and quality control is almost built into the process. I think lots of reloaders overlook the single stage press. It's worth considering.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:22 AM
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With that many calibers on your reload list, look for a setup that offers easy versitality, which may take some (like Dillon) out of the picture. I've always used a simple single-stage press. Cranking out massive quantities of ammo has never been my agenda, so it works for me (since '75, mind you). Swap dies and shellholder and I can reload any caliber of my choosing.
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:18 PM
isaias_1 isaias_1 is offline
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Well the lee loader is nice. It's a bit older as it doesnt have the breech lock. It is a challanger press. Came with a hand primer and a set or 30/30 RGB dies. I don't have a need for them so would like to trade someone that would like to have them. Thanks. Also the book is the 1st Ed.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:09 PM
Bongos17150 Bongos17150 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMSgt View Post
With that many calibers on your reload list, look for a setup that offers easy versitality, which may take some (like Dillon) out of the picture. I've always used a simple single-stage press. Cranking out massive quantities of ammo has never been my agenda, so it works for me (since '75, mind you). Swap dies and shellholder and I can reload any caliber of my choosing.
if you are only looking at 200 or so rounds of each caliber to be reloaded in succession, the 550B would be a good choice, change over is like 5 minutes if that.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:17 PM
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SatCong SatCong is offline
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Originally Posted by blujax01 View Post
Dillon!!
Dillon!
Dillon!
PLUS 1 on Dillon.
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