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Redding T7 w/Redding BR-30 9 11.39%
Hornady LnL AP 19 24.05%
Dillon RL550B w/o Caliber Conversion 51 64.56%
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  #1  
Old 09-13-2012, 09:32 AM
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Added picture of updated bench in post #30

Birthday's coming up, and I am considering adding a second press to my reloading bench. Right now I am actively loading 45acp, 9mm, and 38 Special, and will be loading .223 & 25-35 WCF. In the future I will probably add 357 Mag. & 30-30 WCF. Right now I have all my brass cleaned, sized/de-primed, chamferred/deburred, and primer pockets cleaned. I do not have high volume needs for ammo, and shoot maybe 2,000 rounds during the shooting season in Maine--have a lot of Winter down time to work on restocking. My initial thought was to purchase a Redding T7 Turret and a quality powder measure (Redding BR-30) to have set up just for rifle rounds (which will not be high volume perhaps 500 per year), and still use my RC II for pistol. Other option would be a Hornady LnL AP, or Dillon RL550B w/o caliber conversion. If I were to get the LnL AP or the RL550B, then I would switch it up and run the pistol on the progressive and run the rifle on the RCII. These are what I am finding for prices.

1. Redding T7 w/quality powder measure approximately: $440

2. Hornady LnL AP: $420 (Does have 500 free boolits promotion)

3. Dillion RL550B: $417 shipped plus 2 caliber conversions kits would be about $509.

Any thought, ideas, suggestions, in this ball-park would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by novalty; 09-24-2012 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:13 AM
john16443 john16443 is offline
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Interesting proposition you offer. Since you indicated that the LNL/Dillon would most likely be used for your rifle rounds, and you plan on reloading more than one rifle caliber, my suggestion is for the LNL.

This is based on the ease of caliber conversion on the LNL compared to the Dillon w/o caliber conversion. If I understand the Dillon requirements for caliber conversion w/o a kit correctly, you'll have to remove, replace, and reset all your dies into the toolhead. On the LNL, all you need to do is remove one set of dies and install the other, a 1 minute proposition since all the dies will be preset in the LN: bushings.

The LNL also auto indexes, the 550 doesn't. The majority of instances of double charging or not charging cases I read on various forums seem to happen on non-indexing Dillons. Not saying they don't/can't happen on others, but if the press indexes with every handle pull, you have a better chance of recovery for errors. The Redding appears to also be manual indexing.

7 stations on the Redding, 5 on the LN, 4 on the Dillon. Since I don't reload for rifle, can't say how many you really need. This may be based on your existing dies and whether or not you use some sort of powder cop die. For me, 4 is too few.

Not sure what you're considering for a "quality powder measure", but I've found the measure on my LNL to work very well and consistently. I believe the Dillon is as good if not better.

You didn't indicate what press you have now. I'll close with this for additional food for thought. For the lower annual ammo volumes you indicate, along with the desire to load both pistol and rifle, don't automatically dismiss the Lee Classic Turret from consideration.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:56 AM
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I voted for the Dillon, having used one for 25+ years it is great for all volume produced ammo. But, for all my rifle ammo (I am not a High Power competitor) I use a single stage press. When I am working with the kind of pressures in a 22-250, 30-06, .243, etc. I want precision one at a time hand inspected reloads. I have never had a problem with my Dillon, and the powder measure is one of the most accurate I have ever used. Caliber change over takes about 10 minutes if you have to change the primer feed. You leave the dies set up in the tool head and never have to change them again ever. The Tool head with dies takes 5 seconds to change if you are slow.
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:21 AM
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Because of the low volume of loading you afre going to do I would buy the Redding Turret press and powder measure.

BUT, I would use the turret press for your handgun loading and the Rockchucker for your rifle ammo or load everything on the turret press...
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:46 AM
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Since the XL650 wasn't a choice (and I understand why), I voted for the LnL.

Surprise!
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
Because of the low volume of loading you are going to do I would buy the Redding Turret press and powder measure.

BUT, I would use the turret press for your handgun loading and the Rockchucker for your rifle ammo or load everything on the turret press...
ArchAngelCD, that is kind of the way I am leaning right now. The volume I shoot really doesn't necessitate a progressive, plus I am not the most mechanically inclined. Right now I already have a pile of brass that I have prepped for loading (cleaned, sized/deprimed, chamferred & deburred & primer pockets cleaned): 1,600 pieces of 9mm, 1,300 pieces of 45acp, 600 pieces of 38 Special, 300 pieces of .223 Rem. This will cover me at least through next year. That is a good point on using the Turret for pistol, I have my RCBS Uniflow now, that I can added a case activated powder drop, and charge the cases right off the press, so I can run 2 calibers on one turret head.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:58 PM
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I went LNL AP over the 550 but if the 650 hadn't been such a jump then I might have gone for it. I think you get more for your money with the LNL AP than the 550. The T7 is a whole different way of loading that the other options. Personally I would rather just batch load on a single stage than use the T7. But a lot of press design comes down to personal preference.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:36 PM
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I used the T7 more like a single stage press with switchable dies. I use Dillons for high volume loading, and I favor the 650, but you will buy alot of Dillon accessories and will need at least the powder/expander dies from dillon. While you can swap out dies, most will buy multiple heads usually with a powder measure so it sets up quickly. I voted T7, single stage loading will encourage you to be more accurate with the set-up. You can buy additional T7 heads.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:59 PM
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Well if I load the T7 head with just the expander and the seating crimp die, I can fit the 3 handgun cartridges I load on one head. Then thinking of adding the Hornady Lock n' Load conversion bushings to my Rock Chucker II. Still would prime on my RCBS Automatic Bench Primer. I think/hope the Redding T7 will speed up my batch loads.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:40 PM
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Why in the world would you pay $440 for a press that isn't at least a semi-progressive? The RL550B is the way to go and you can use it like a single stage very simply, just run one case around at a time. Nothing happens in the stages that there is no case!

The AP would be my next choice but not without a case feeder which is going to be more than $417.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:49 AM
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Why in the world would you pay $440 for a press that isn't at least a semi-progressive? The RL550B is the way to go and you can use it like a single stage very simply, just run one case around at a time. Nothing happens in the stages that there is no case!

The AP would be my next choice but not without a case feeder which is going to be more than $417.
I'm a little confused on the price. The Redding T7 on Midway USA is priced @$274.99 and we all know Midway doesn't have the lowest prices available.

If the question wasn't so specific I would have recommended the Cast Iron Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press @~$100... Spare turrets for each caliber are only $10 each. The RCBS Turret press is $190 but I don't know anything about that press so I can't comment on it. RCBS turrets are $40 which is higher than the Lee turrets but not as much as the Redding turrets which are $67 each.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:46 AM
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I'm a little confused on the price. The Redding T7 on Midway USA is priced @$274.99 and we all know Midway doesn't have the lowest prices available.
I would also be adding a higher quality powder measure as well with the Redding T7 which with a Redding BR-30 powder measure would bring the price to around what I mentioned. If I went with Redding 3BR it would be more in line with the other prices.

Skip, I keep going back and forth in my mind over which press to add to my bench. I see your point on the RL550B, but my biggest concern is that I am not very mechanically savvy, and worried that I will get frustrated with any quirks it might have while loading 100-200 rounds which is about what I'd do in a run. Plus with the prices the Dillon caliber conversion kits for the handgun calibers I am loading is going to run $45.95 ea plus shipping for a increased cost of the press by $92+. So I'd be looking at more $509+, so that I could load all my handguns.

Last edited by novalty; 09-16-2012 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
I'm a little confused on the price. The Redding T7 on Midway USA is priced @$274.99 and we all know Midway doesn't have the lowest prices available.

If the question wasn't so specific I would have recommended the Cast Iron Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press @~$100... Spare turrets for each caliber are only $10 each. The RCBS Turret press is $190 but I don't know anything about that press so I can't comment on it. RCBS turrets are $40 which is higher than the Lee turrets but not as much as the Redding turrets which are $67 each.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:26 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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There are items in a caliber kit that are interchangeable. Some shell plates will work for other calibers. For example, .30 caliber rifle and 45ACP, same shell plate, same pins, different powder insert. Doing that will reduce your cost drastically.

You will NOT go wrong with a Dillon and the RL550B will be easy to operate. Lots of videos to help and lots of folks have them.......Support group.

You only need one die plate, just screw your dies in as you do now. A little more pain but, if money is the issue, you can get by on the cheap.

They also offer a lower end press, you might want to check that out too. You can load one case at a time to cut down on the confusion. After you get comfortable, you can do 2 at a time, every other slot. Working up to the full 4.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Sackett View Post
There are items in a caliber kit that are interchangeable. Some shell plates will work for other calibers. For example, .30 caliber rifle and 45ACP, same shell plate, same pins, different powder insert. Doing that will reduce your cost drastically.
....
And there's an App for that!

Plug in the caliber conversions you have, then the caliber you need. The conversion calculator will spit out the piece parts you have/need.
Dillon Press Caliber Conversion Finder
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:45 AM
mkk41 mkk41 is offline
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For 20yrs I loaded on a single stage. If I had a large lot to do , I liked to do my prep/sizing/priming one nite , loading another.

Till a friend demonstrated his Dillon 550B.

I ordered mine the next day.

Couldn't be happier. If ya shoot volumes of the same load but in several calibers , the interchangable Dillon is the way to go. Yeah , it can get pricy to set up a complete toolhead with it's own powder measure , but being able to change over so quickly is worth it. Since I've used the same bullet/powder combo in .38 Special and .45 ACP for years , I haven't had to readjust anything since I set them up probably. .223/5.56 stuff has been bought but not set-up or used yet.

I could never figure out the reasoning behind the turret press for reloading. Seems like several accidents waiting to happen. How much time does it save or really take to change a die?

Maybe if ya do a lot of experimenting or load development , a turret press would save some time. But for high volume , accuracy and durability , gimme a solid O press.

Last edited by mkk41; 09-16-2012 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blujax01 View Post
And there's an App for that!

Plug in the caliber conversions you have, then the caliber you need. The conversion calculator will spit out the piece parts you have/need.
Dillon Press Caliber Conversion Finder
After lunch.........................DOWNLOADING!

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Old 09-16-2012, 12:59 PM
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Comparing a Hornady LNL to a Dillon 550 is apples & oranges. The Dillon 650 is closer to the LNL, & much more expensive. just sayin'.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:20 PM
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Another vote for the Dillon. One thing to remember is it comes with a "lifetime, no BS warranty". You certainly don't have to be a rocket designer to set them up and use them. If you can read the manual, or are capable of watching a manual, your qualified to own and run one or even reset the darn thing. A good friend has the Hornady LNL and he loves it. He got suckered into the 500 free bullets also. Just after the warranty run out guess what, it broke. I'm not sure how much he has spent on the LNL, but you will not escape the "extras" cost. He even has the auto bullet feeder hooked up to his LNL now. Trust me when I say this, if you have any problems or concerns with a Dillon press, help is one phone call away. Those folks that answer the phones at Dillon KNOW the reloading business and their job is to take care of you, which they have done for me several times. Good luck in you quest and happy shooting.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:39 PM
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Full disclosure - I worked for Dillon for seven years as a "fun job" before finally retiring in 2008. I've never worked for a nicer and more compatible bunch of guys and gals. All are schooled in customer service, and when you get a lifetime guarantee, that's exactly what it means. If you drop, mangle, mis-use, or just wear out a part, a phone call gets you a new one - no muss, no fuss and no bother.

Dillon makes more elaborate and more expensive presses than the 550, but in my mind, none is more versatile or easier to use and the support you get on the phone or on line is fantastic and free. The 550 is a legendary workhorse, and you won't go wrong with it.

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Old 09-16-2012, 03:45 PM
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Default Another "what press should I buy" question

Boy, you really selected a range of presses.
Presses are very individual and you need to determine what is important to you.
IMO, turret presses are really no more than die storage. They are not O-frames and need to be built very heavy (except for Lee, which is an O-frame).
The Hornady L-N-L classic with die bushings will make die changes almost as fast.
If you want a turret, get the Lee with auto indexing.
550: Do you have a NEED to be in control of everything? If so, you might be satisfied with a manual indexing press. I wouldn't, but you may be.
Then, you only have four die stations. If you are going to mass load rounds, you should really have a powder check die like the RCBS Lock-Out die or the Dillon (most will forget to visually check a case and it will happen at the worst time 'cause your mind is on something else).
Since seating and crimping are best handled in separate operations, you will want five stations. Finally, you need a case feeder to actually enjoy the press. As I remember from using a friend's, I had to load 20 cases into a plastic tube or I had to insert cases into the press-mounted case feeder that pushes the case into the shell plate. Found it to be a right pain without a case feeder and told my friend to get one. Of course, at the time, there wasn't a case feeder made for it. I much preferred my Hornady where cases and bullets are handled with the left hand--never needed a case feeder with my Hornady.
Hornady--does it all and for a LOT less money. Caliber conversions are fast and cheap. The only negative to the Hornady is it doesn't have rabid fanboys that can only see blue. Also, without the rabid fanboys, it doesn't hold its value like Dillons.
Now, if you want a press with a case feeder, get the Dillon 650. It costs a lot more than the Hornady, but it was designed to work with a case feeder. DO NOT get one unless you get a case feeder.
Personally, the only press that satisfies me more than my old L-N-L are my Dillon 1050s.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:49 PM
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Full disclosure - I worked for Dillon for seven years as a "fun job" before finally retiring in 2008. I've never worked for a nicer and more compatible bunch of guys and gals. ...
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:25 PM
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The Hornady Lock=N-Load AP Press is what I use and love for the reloading of my pistol cartridges.

I use the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Combo when dropping powder for my rifle cartridges and the Forester Co-AX Press for them too.

All three are great tools. Shop around for the best prices.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:48 PM
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Wow a lot of activity on the post. I still haven't settled on a selection yet. I do hear the points on the Dillon RL550B, as well as the Hornady LnL AP. Really have settled on a price range in the low-to-mid $400 range, which means if I get the Dillon I am going to be handicapping myself to using it for 1 pistol caliber, and stuck loading the rest until I could save up more money. As mentioned before I am probably shooting at the most 2,000 rounds a year (excluding rimfire), which consists of about 1,500 pistol, and 500 rifle--been that way for about the last 3 years. Don't shoot any competitions, just reloading for plinking ammo. Just not sure if my demand warrants a progressive. Too many tough decisions.

Mkk41, in response to your message above, I wanted to ask why a Redding T7 turret is "like several accidents waiting to happen?" Couldn't the same be said about a Progressive?

I am really a beginner reloader; I have loaded a few different calibers, but don't have anything narrowed down as to what lead, powder, case length etc. work best in the guns I am loading for--but they do go bang everytime and haven't had a squid or double charge. You also say that you would have a "solid O-press for accuracy, high-volume and durability." Which is what I have now with my RockChucker II.

Last edited by novalty; 09-16-2012 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:47 AM
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I voted for the turret press based on low production and multiple calibers. The Redding is very nice but Lyman's T-Mag II is less expensive and still has 6 stations per turret head.

I got a Hornady LnL progressive press a couple of months ago. Its a good piece of machinery and Hornady's customer support is great. I don't regret the purchase but it takes a lot of time to get the dies set up for a given caliber and set of components. Changing bullet choice or even batch of cases might mean tuning the whole die set. My typical runs were 100-150 rounds and the progressive really doesn't make all that much sense for that few. It'll be great when I want to crank out 400+ of the same thing.

Unlike more seasoned hand loaders (only 3-1/2 years), I'm still sorting out what components work best for different cartridges. Trying to do a ladder for testing is possible on a progressive, but I prefer to do it on my turret press for pistol rounds.

Turret press process is: prime and bell each case rotating turret back and forth, then hand prime and check every primer's depth by touch. Then I throw powder using trays if it's a know-good load. Back to turret to seat and crimp each case. If building a ladder, I use an RCBS ChargeMaster to throw a charge while I'm seating and crimping the previous case.

Rifle cartridges get loaded on my Hornady single stage. Rock solid and fewer worries about concentricity. Way too much case prep between the two die steps for even a turret to speed anything up.

You might like ChargeMaster instead of the high-end powder measure. Have it throwing a charge while you seat the previous round on the single-stage press. Just a thought...

Last edited by TheTinMan; 09-17-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:56 PM
Wee Hooker Wee Hooker is online now
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I'm a little confused on the price. The Redding T7 on Midway USA is priced @$274.99 and we all know Midway doesn't have the lowest prices available.

If the question wasn't so specific I would have recommended the Cast Iron Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press @~$100... Spare turrets for each caliber are only $10 each. The RCBS Turret press is $190 but I don't know anything about that press so I can't comment on it. RCBS turrets are $40 which is higher than the Lee turrets but not as much as the Redding turrets which are $67 each.
x2 on the Lee Classic turret. Traded in my old Dillon SD and went to this press. Still capable of 150-200 rds/hr and converts to any caliber in 3 min flat for a $9 turret plus die cost. Even the primer size changeover can be measured in seconds.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:33 PM
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Dillon 550 and GET the caliber conversion.

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Old 09-20-2012, 08:07 PM
smithnframe smithnframe is offline
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Are they the only choices? I would go with the Redding mainly cause I dont like Hornandy or and type of progressive press. I am currently using a Forster co-ax, an old Lyman All American turret, a Lyman Tru-line jr. a cheapo Lee single stage and a Lee hand held. Also three Lyman 55 powder measures, an Ohaus duo-measure, two RCBS uniflows and a couple of Belding & Mulls.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:41 PM
sar4937 sar4937 is offline
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"x2 on the Lee Classic turret. Traded in my old Dillon SD and went to this press. Still capable of 150-200 rds/hr and converts to any caliber in 3 min flat for a $9 turret plus die cost. Even the primer size changeover can be measured in seconds."

I don't believe I could do 3 completed rounds per minute on a single stage press. Heck, it takes me more than 10 seconds to change dies and set them up.

The O.P. set a budget, and a Dillon 550 plus caliber upgrades doesn't fit. I do vote for Dillon, but a 650 for alittle more. The one extra stage helps with rifle reloading, and I like auto-indexing.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:24 PM
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After some recent wheelin & dealing I have managed to upgrade my bench with a Redding T7 and Harrell's Premium Benchrest powder measure and a couple other goodies--at a very minimal to no cost. Thought I'd post a pic of my upgraded bench. Added another bench in the basement for gun cleaning and holding my casting equipment and tumbling equipment--which freed up a lot of space on my reloading bench. Just need to get the RCBS Uniflow Case Activated Linkage kit to add to my powder measure on the T7, also going to order a Hornady Lock n Load conversion kit for my Rock Chucker II, to make my rifle die changes quicker.



Last edited by novalty; 09-24-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:41 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Well, if you are happy.........
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:09 PM
TheTinMan TheTinMan is offline
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So after using it, is the Harrell's powder measure worth the big bucks?

Does it throw stick powders well?
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:07 AM
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So after using it, is the Harrell's powder measure worth the big bucks?

Does it throw stick powders well?
Well I have only run a little Hodgdon Benchmark powder through it so far, and it was pretty consistent. But Benchmark isn't very big powder. If it wasn't for the very good deal I got on it, I would probably go with a Redding BR-30.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:48 AM
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After some recent wheelin & dealing I have managed to upgrade my bench with a Redding T7 and Harrell's Premium Benchrest powder measure and a couple other goodies--at a very minimal to no cost. Thought I'd post a pic of my upgraded bench. ...
Nice looking bench.

Okay I love hearing about good deals... what sort of wheelin' and dealin' got you the rig for cheap?
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:22 AM
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I have been reading this post for a while.

As much of as I am a fan boy for the blue guys theres only one thing I like better...

That happens to be "Minimal to no cost"

Use it, enjoy it, if you ever choose to up grade you can trade or sell it and be that much closer to something else.

Its a winner in my mind
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:26 AM
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Use it, enjoy it, if you ever choose to up grade you can trade or sell it and be that much closer to something else.
Wheelgun28, that was my thought as well. I am going to try this setup for awhile, and if it doesn't meet my needs I will look at selling to purchase a progressive.

Bluejax, thanks for the compliment on the bench--it was pretty cheap to build. Marked down 6' countertop from Home Depot for $15 OTD, one length of 4x4 for $11, and the 2x4's I had laying around. It is mounted directly to the wall, and my father-in-law welded up the steel L-bracket to mount under the T7.

Last edited by novalty; 09-25-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:12 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I just found this thead. I have all the presses you thought about and believe you chose wisely. I have 2 Rock Chuchers with the lock and load conversions on them and they are great. My sugestion is set the rifles up on the T-7 and the pistols on the Rock Chucker (you'll never need to touch 3 rifle sets again!) Think about a universal diecapping die on the T-7 (Any huge sizeing die will work for most, like a cheep used 458 win mag die) Another hint: Lee dies are some times too short for LNL apps, you can Loc-tite loading dies in place. A friend of mine did this with really short forming dies and had great results.
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