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Old 03-17-2017, 12:37 PM
cds43016 cds43016 is offline
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I currently load on a Lee Turret Press for 357 Mag, 327 Federal Mag and 32 S&W Long. I shoot about 200+ rounds a week of 357 and maybe a couple hundred rounds each of the others in a year. My Lee Turret Press is set up to auto index with a case kicker from Inline Fabrication. This setup works great and produces quality ammunition. Caliber changeover is a snap. I have separate complete turrets set up for each caliber.

However, I donít prime on the press. After tumbling I size and deprime on an old Lyman Spartan Press, inspect and then prime using a RCBS Bench Primer. All this for 100 rounds may take 30-35 minutes.

I then finish loading on the Turret Press. Since the cases are already sized and primed I can use the extra die position to mount an RCBS Powder Checker Die to verify the load from the Lee Drum Powder Measure. 357 and 327 cases are tall, narrow, and dark inside and my loads are light - a potentially troubling combination. The Powder Checker Die works great to minimize this. I still, however, make a final quick visual inspection with a swiveling mirror before seating the bullet as a double check. Additionally, I verify the charge weight every 25 rounds or so. Total time for this step including set up, reloading, final inspection and put away is about 55-60 minutes for 100 rounds.

Iím thinking of potentially adding a progressive press. Each week Iím starting to shoot increasingly more. I used a Lee 1000 many years ago, when I shot Bullseye. I loaded many thousands of rounds with it and hated every minute. Too much going on at once and most of it not right. The good news was that 45 ACP was easier to load in my view than 357. 45 ACP cases are short and wide which makes it easier to see what was going on in the case. I canít imagine comfortably loading 357 on this press but I know people do. Back then too you had to figure everything out yourself. There was no internet.

I have been reviewing progressive presses over the last year and there are several great options out there. One weakness of all presses, including progressives, seems to be priming. Iíve never got it to work well with either Lee. On YouTube and this and other forums itís the most mentioned problem with all presses. Primers get jammed up, end up on the floor, try to load sideways, upside down, high, not at all, detonate or worst of all chain detonate. This later problem is especially distressing and seems to be a problem most associated with the Dillon 650. It appears that rotary dial that feeds primers to the case is prone to a chain detonation so that if one goes off they all do including those in the primer tube. Dillon has built in safeguards and barriers on the press to minimize personal injury and property damage but a questionable design nevertheless. Better to prevent the problem than respond to it. Odd that this was never addressed with another design over the years other than shielding. There should be a 650B. Yet the 650 has been around a long time so Dillon considers it safe and the system must work. I understand that the 550 and 1050 are not as prone to chain detonation as the 650 since they use an on demand sliding bar primer feed as do most other progressive presses.

I know if things go right, priming on a press works very well. Millions of rounds have been loaded safely and successfully. Many never experience a problem and some responses Iím sure will confirm that. I just will never be comfortable with it. I guess I donít like to walk and chew gum at the same time. I will probably always off press prime. However, I do want to increase my speed without compromising safety and peace of mind. I may be overly cautious but I respect the risks associated with reloading. Itís a great hobby and the only way you can afford to shoot more without winning the lottery. Itís indeed a riskier hobby than stamp collecting. Loading thousands of rounds on a Lee 1000 would make anyone overly cautious. However, the Lee Turret Press works very well.

Iíve been looking mostly at the Dillon 650 (surprised?) and Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press. I like the idea of auto indexing especially if priming is disabled. Each press has its pluses and minuses Ė proponents and detractors. The press would be dedicated to the 357. The other calibers I would continue to load on the Lee Turret Press. Caliber changeover is not a major consideration.

The proposed load process would go something like this using Dillon nomenclature:
1) Dry Tumble cases as I do now
2) Install a separate Die Head in the press with just a Sizing Die and run the cases through to deprime. Should be very quick especially if I had a case feeder.
3) Inspect, clean primer pockets and hand prime. I know some donít consider cleaning primer pockets necessary but I still do it. It makes me feel better. Itís easy to do and itís relatively quick as part of case inspection. I use a bush in a Dremel Tool set at the lowest speed.
4) Store primed cases until have accumulated significant number to justify reloading (not something I do now Ė I donít want the loading session to be too long. Concentration can be lost).
5) Replace the die head on press with one that contains a powder measure, a powder checker (a necessity) and seating and crimping dies. Load cases. Focus is just on getting the powder right and the bullet seated (the walking and gum thing). Again, should be very fast yet safe.
6) Final visual inspection and run through a Case Check Gauge.

It appears other than the manual priming many people do something similar already. Case prep, setup and inspection are usually not mentioned in discussing reloading speed. Itís just how fast the press spits rounds out. But these steps also take time.

For example, many people wet tumble cases. In almost all cases they deprime before wet tumbling on a separate press to be sure primer pockets are cleaned. Case inspection is next. Checking for split cases, steel pins from tumbling stuck in case, wrong caliber cases in the mix (a .380 in with 9 mm), a small primer case when expect a large (45 ACP), crimped primer pockets etc. All this takes time as does press setup such as loading primer tubes, powder filling and charge weight checking, final inspection and put away. With rifle, even worst - add lube and trim. We all do these steps to one degree or another depending on what we shoot and where our brass comes from. Some steps are fixed no matter what we use. Iím hoping that the most significant savings in time would be in actual reloading itself because of the increased efficiency of the press and doing larger batches in the same timeframe.

Does all this sound reasonable or am I expecting too much? What can I expect? I know I will never achieve the full potential of either press with the approach I propose but itís something Iím very comfortable with. That matters too.

I donít want to get into a blue vs red discussion. Both should work OK and are both good presses. I could live with either. I just wonder if I will experience significant enough increase in speed without compromising safety and peace of mind to justify the additional expense. What I have now works very well. I just want it to be faster.

As always thanks again in advance for your input.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:03 PM
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I also use the Lee turret press, but with about 12 different calibers.
Looked at progressives every which way and never made the leap.
Also decap and wet tumble.
The changeover between calibers on progressives seems to eliminate much of the time savings for me.
As one fan advised me, just buy 12 progressive presses, one for each caliber...
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:19 PM
MyDads38 MyDads38 is offline
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Wow, that's a LOT of information! I have the Lee Classic Turret and enjoy priming on it. I finally upgraded from an original Lee 3 hole turret, which I also primed on. The only press I don't particularly like priming on is my 1978 RCBS Reloader Special. Oh, nearly forgot-I have a new Lee Classic Cast which I also enjoy priming on. I have an original Lee Auto Prime hand unit that I have used for small lots on occassion.

I also deprime then wet tumble, which frees me from ever cleaning primer pockets. Once my cases are deprimed, cleaned and inspected the loading procedure is easy. I would think you could load 200 rounds of 357 ammo in an hour, once you were set to go with the LCT, and not be in a hurry to do so. I can't help with the progressive questions, as I've never owned or used one. Too much going on for me personally, as I like to have more control over each round than a progressive would allow me.

Find what works for you, I just don't like loading "in a hurry"; quality is more important to me than quantity.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:23 PM
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Great discussion cds43016 especially about the priming and loss of attention while reloading. I follow a similar plan as you do now. I do not have any answers unfortunately.
I have a Lyman turret press, which I seldom use.
I clean and hand prime as you do but use 2 separate Lee single stage presses side by side. One uses the expand and Lee Auto Disk powder measure through the die. Next,remove cartridge, inspect powder level and seat and crimp on next die.
If my mind starts to drift,I leave and come back later.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:26 PM
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Now that I got the Lee Safety Prime figured out and correctly setup on a Lee Classic Turret Press I do a lot more on press priming where as prior priming was all off press with a Lee hand primer.

I would hand prime while viewing this and other sites on a PC or watching dramas on the boob tube.

I deprime with a Lee Universal depriming die in an empty 4 hole turret before dry tumbling the cases.

The depriming pins are removed from the dies in the 4 die turrets.

About 95% of my reloading is 38spl and 45 Auto Rim.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:40 PM
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If your only experience on a progressive was a Lee 1000, I don't doubt you are traumatized. However, I think your approach to using a good progressive does little to increase safety, and add needless complications.
I use both turrets (Lee) and progressive (Dillon) and have more issues with the turret press than the Dillons. Once you try it a few times, Dillon caliber change is simple, and it is a good time to clean it, anyway.
I strongly suggest you find an instructor or mentor with Dillon or Hornady progressive and learn how to use a good progressive correctly. Then you can make an informed choice based on YOUR knowledge, not supposition from hearsay.
I teach and mentor reloaders, and you need some help.
I have had one person I've taught reloading that I finally told him to forget reloading, because he could not focus on what he was doing and do it correctly and consistently. I could give him a box of 1000 mixed brass to sort, and by halfway through he was mixing them back in the wrong boxes.
Other than him, everyone else has learned to use a Dillon correctly.
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:49 PM
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I shoot about the same volume and calibers you do, OP. The only press I have ever had is an XL650, so I can't compare to others. It works pretty well for me. I have found any priming issue has to do with how well anchored the press is to the bench / table, and how smoothly the machine operates. The latter is very much effected by the brass being cycled. Brand new brass that's perfectly clean tends to be a bit grabby in the sizing die, and can really grab onto the expander. If that happens, and the press isn't rock solid to the bench, and the bench to the floor, the negative g-force of a stuck case releasing from a die can cause the primers to jump creating an opportunity for them to flip sideways/over.

I have two solutions for this: About 500lbs of bullet inventory on my bench shelves, and let my corn cob media get carboned up. Used media seems to put a dry film on the cases that makes them slide through the dies as if the are conventionally lubed.

I can easily get 500 rounds per hour with .45ACP / COLT and .44 Mag. The bullets of the larger rounds are just more tactile for my clumbsy fingers. I'm by no means trying to be preechy about my press. Like I said, it's the only one I've ever used / ever had, and I'm quite satisifed with it.

Though it wasn't asked, I will mention I MUCH prefer the RCBS lockout die to the Dillon powder check alarm for cranking out large batches of ammo. The lockout die actually "stops the press"

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Old 03-17-2017, 02:29 PM
cds43016 cds43016 is offline
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I shoot about the same volume and calibers you do, OP. The only press I have ever had is an XL650, so I can't compare to others. It works pretty well for me. I have found any priming issue has to do with how well anchored the press is to the bench / table, and how smoothly the machine operates. The latter is very much effected by the brass being cycled. Brand new brass that's perfectly clean tends to be a bit grabby in the sizing die, and can really grab onto the expander. If that happens, and the press isn't rock solid to the bench, and the bench to the floor, the negative g-force of a stuck case releasing from a die can cause the primers to jump creating an opportunity for them to flip sideways/over.

I have two solutions for this: About 500lbs of bullet inventory on my bench shelves, and let my corn cob media get carboned up. Used media seems to put a dry film on the cases that makes them slide through the dies as if the are conventionally lubed.
I understand the importance of a solid bench. I keep heavy tool boxes under mine to keep it from moving. Rock solid.

I also have experienced the sticking problem with new brass. I also tumble new brass in used media to slick it up. It works real well.
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Old 03-17-2017, 02:48 PM
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I am not sure where you heard about primers chain detonation on a 650. It's almost impossible to happen as the primer that you are loading is NOT in line with the primer magazine. I only have about 10K thru mine, but 150K on a 550, never exp a chain reaction detonation of primers. I am not saying it can't happen, I just suspect something else was in play other than it just happened.
I teach this stuff & load on a 550 & 650. I have loaded a bit on a Hornady LNL. I have played with a Lee Loadmaster. If you really want speed & trouble free progressive, you do NOT buy a Lee. Priming is the single biggest headache on any progressive. The 650 is nearly perfect in this respect. The only thing I would change is a manual cutout, so you can cycle thru w/o advancing the priming wheel. Guys have rigged them but I would like to see it as a factory item. If the point of spending the $$ is to get trouble free progressive reloading, it really doesn't get much better than a Dillon.
If you want a case feeder, go 650. if you NEVER want a case feeder, then the LNL is a decent press. If you want pure simplicity in a progressive, then the Dillon 550B/C is hard to beat. Go fast, go slow, use it as a ss press or an inverted turret. The 550 will easily give you 450rds per hour, the 650 with case feeder, 700 is pretty reasonable. All will do this with 75% less work than any turret. I like options.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:09 PM
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I have a Dillon 450 that over 35 years has been up graded to a 550b, I have easily loaded 1/2 million rounds on it. My F-I-L has 2 Dillon 1050's, with about 5 million rounds on them combined. Neither od us has had a single primer detonate at any time in the reloading process. Before his place burnt down, he had a Camdex reloader, with over 40 million 38 specials through it, again with out a primer detonation. ( I also had a Hornady L-N-L AP for a couple of years, but found it very poor compared to a 550b!, but never a primer detonation!)



Time has proven what the good ideas are and what aren't! All good progressive presses have shielding for safety in case of the unlikely, but loosing sleep isn't necessary!

I have had the 450/550 since 1984 and learned how to load fast with it! In my last upgrade I installed a case feeder. It dose make loading easier, it dose not make loading any faster (When you already know what you are doing). On either the 550 or the 1050 a bullet feeder won't increase speed either as long as you are hand powered. With the electric power supply systems the 1050 and the Hornady L-N-L systems take off. But my needs and your needs seem a little shy for that expense!

Real speed comes from having a good system, fluid motions and no distractions! The biggest slow down has always been, Primer replenishment! I own 10 large primer tubes and fill these when starting, That is 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours of loading. I take a break at that time. My F-I-L has 5 primer tubes per machine and with 3 people we load 4 or 5 hours without breaks. 2 people operate machines and the third keeps the primer tubes filled, and all the other components topped off. Every 500 rounds we shift positions (20-30minutes) If you move fast you can get a break in between shuffling components. With 2 1050's we can load over 10,000 rounds in a session! With the 1050, it takes care of primer crimps for you, so 223, 308, & 30-06 are as fast as 38 special (if you have to right dies).

This should give you an idea of what kind of output you can expect.

Ivan
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:25 PM
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I am not sure where you heard about primers chain detonation on a 650. It's almost impossible to happen as the primer that you are loading is NOT in line with the primer magazine. I only have about 10K thru mine, but 150K on a 550, never exp a chain reaction detonation of primers. I am not saying it can't happen, I just suspect something else was in play other than it just happened.
It has to do with the way primers are fed to the case in the 650. A primer going off at the case may chain back through the rotary primer disk and cascade to the primer magazine. Google 'Dillon 650 primer detonation' to see some examples. The 550 does not work the same way as do most other presses from my research. It may be rare but certainly an underwear changing experience at best.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:01 PM
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Like you, I've used the Lee Classic Cast Turret press for a number of years but honestly always primed my cases on the press using their safety prime. Yep, occasionally I've flipped a primer on the floor but it's worked fine for me. For pistol cartridges, I've never seen the sense in primer pocket cleaning, even for bulls-eye loads. I just dry tumble clean my cases and then go to town. My output with the Lee was running around 150-170rd/hr.

I switched to the LnL AP press over a year ago and continue priming on the press without any problems. My output has just about doubled, and I don't have a case or bullet feeder. Just run at a reasonable pace that allows me to "eyeball" the powder charges, and that fifth station gives me room for the powder measure and still seat and crimp separately. The Hornady priming has been bullet-proof for me, once I cleaned off a few burrs on the primer shuttle. The slowest part about using the LnL is having to stop and refill my priming tubes(I'm too cheap to buy more spares I guess).

I'm sure that a Dillon 650 would also do just as well, as long as it's setup properly. FWIW, I didn't even look at the 550; after the LCT, going to a manually indexing setup just seemed like taking a step backwards.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:45 PM
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I'd be curious to know, not first hand though, what exactly it takes to get a primer to go of on the deck of a press. I'm wondering because I certainly mangled, and I mean completely destroyed, a few primers when I started out. I was shocked to see the condition of the destroyed primers. I was surprised they didn't go off. Maybe I wasn't pushing the handle back fast enough to get a reaction? I go easy on the back stroke (primer seating on a 650) as a precautionary measure.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:27 PM
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I'd be curious to know, not first hand though, what exactly it takes to get a primer to go of on the deck of a press. I'm wondering because I certainly mangled, and I mean completely destroyed, a few primers when I started out. I was shocked to see the condition of the destroyed primers. I was surprised they didn't go off. Maybe I wasn't pushing the handle back fast enough to get a reaction? I go easy on the back stroke (primer seating on a 650) as a precautionary measure.
Just from what I read, somehow in the process a primer is pinched or crushed in the press. It could be from trying to insert a primer in a case that already has one, trying to put large primer in a small primer pocket (you have to love the guy that decided to put small primer pockets in 45 ACP), priming a case that has a primer crimp that wasn't removed, trying to load a sideways primer or primer that just gets somewhere where it shouldn't. The list can go on. I guess whether it goes off depends on what's happening and the force applied. It also may depend on the primer brand being used. Some are more sensitive than others. There is also some luck (or bad luck) involved. The key is how the press reacts and how the force is contained.

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Old 03-17-2017, 06:35 PM
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If you want to increase production, I would suggest first streamlining your current setup.

Deprime/resize and prime all on the Lee Turret. Does it take some adjustment? Sometimes. Is there a skill curve? Yes. But I hardly ever have a primer hit the floor anymore. When you're starting out, cup your off-hand under the primer dispenser, and don't lower until the dispenser swings away freely.

Without the Inline Fab accessories, I've hit 225 rounds in an hour (9mm). .38 is a bit slower (more checking involved in the longer case), but completing all the operations on a single press still nets me well over 125 an hour, even at a leisurely pace.

Folks will debate on the value of a powder checker. Personally, I've never used one, but I spend a long time weighing every charge of a new load. You can try out Inline's press-mounted lights, or a cheap reading light rubber-banded to the press.

To be honest, if you're dissatisfied with your production, it's because you're using your turret press as a single-stage, my friend.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:52 PM
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It has to do with the way primers are fed to the case in the 650. A primer going off at the case may chain back through the rotary primer disk and cascade to the primer magazine. Google 'Dillon 650 primer detonation' to see some examples. The 550 does not work the same way as do most other presses from my research. It may be rare but certainly an underwear changing experience at best.
I understand fully, I run both presses. Possible, sure anything is possible, people get struck by lightning & win the lotto. I submit still, something else happened other than normal priming. I have crushed primers in my 650, never a detonation. Even if it did, the steel tube will protect the reloader better than anything Lee ever built. I do know several reloaders injured by detonations using their Lee however. Why Lee specifically states to NOT use Federal primers. I am pretty sure Dillon has no such admonition.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:58 PM
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Just from what I read, somehow in the process a primer is pinched or crushed in the press. It could be from trying to insert a primer in a case that already has one, trying to put large primer in a small primer pocket (you have to love the guy that decided to put small primer pockets in 45 ACP), priming a case that has a primer crimp that wasn't removed, trying to load a sideways primer or primer that just gets somewhere where it shouldn't. The list can go on. I guess whether it goes off depends on what's happening and the force applied. It also may depend on the primer brand being used. Some are more sensitive than others. There is also some luck (or bad luck) involved. The key is how the press reacts and how the force is contained.
This is the point, crushing a primer slowly does nothing. I have done it dozens of times. Crush it flat, anvil up or down, crush it sideways, nothing. I suspect 99% of primer detonations is the user forcing the priming issue by slamming the press handle forward. This is exactly how a primer is designed to fire, by impact.
I load every primer on my 650, even the Federal, when I can find them. Just don't use the handle as a mallet, slow steady pressure & you will never have a detonation. Well never say never, again, people do win the lotto.
Fwiw, i have the occasional sp 45 get in my 650, you feel it right away. The only way that primer fires is if you slam the handle forward & force it. That is a user error. Slow & steady, i still get 700rds in an hour.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:11 PM
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Having used the Lee 1000, I understand your concerns. It works but it is finicky. I find the Dillon Square Deal to function far more reliably. It is cheap enough to keep one set up for .38/357 and another for .45 ACP.

The low volume stuff is handled with a Lyman Spar-T I have been using since Eisenhower was in office.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:36 PM
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Just from what I read, somehow in the process a primer is pinched or crushed in the press. It could be from trying to insert a primer in a case that already has one, trying to put large primer in a small primer pocket (you have to love the guy that decided to put small primer pockets in 45 ACP), priming a case that has a primer crimp that wasn't removed, trying to load a sideways primer or primer that just gets somewhere where it shouldn't. The list can go on. I guess whether it goes off depends on what's happening and the force applied. It also may depend on the primer brand being used. Some are more sensitive than others. There is also some luck (or bad luck) involved. The key is how the press reacts and how the force is contained.
I've done just about all of the above, and no bang. As I stated earlier I suspect I prime too gently in most cases to cause a problem. I suspect folks setting off primers are a bit too quick with the priming ram...quick enough to make them do what they are supposed to do.

I really wouldn't worry about it too much.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:54 PM
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Well, if you are determined to prime off press, your process seems reasonable. That was the question, right?

I would suggest using your Lee Turrent Press to deprime and size, if you have room for two presses on your bench. Or us Inline Fabrication Mount with quick change. I've had good experiences with it.

I've recently switched from a Lee Turrent to a progressive (unnamed per your request). Been happy with the change, though, there was a bit of a learning curve.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:24 PM
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WoW!Tall order you got there!But I think there's an answer to every problem.Here is what I think.First,like FredJ338 said(and I too had lots of crushed primers in auto index press),a primer might/will detonate only if it gets an impact.Don't go slamming the ram up and it shouldn't happen.
As for your output target vs tool to use within the parameters you have,I wouldn't go with an auto-indexing press but rather with a manual indexing one,like the 550.
I've got both of them and my goals being similar to yours,if I'd have known,I'd have gone manual indexing with both.I know,the output is a little less with manual but I load for fun and I don't have as much fun when I keep wondering if everything is under control.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
I understand fully, I run both presses. Possible, sure anything is possible, people get struck by lightning & win the lotto. I submit still, something else happened other than normal priming. I have crushed primers in my 650, never a detonation. Even if it did, the steel tube will protect the reloader better than anything Lee ever built. I do know several reloaders injured by detonations using their Lee however. Why Lee specifically states to NOT use Federal primers. I am pretty sure Dillon has no such admonition.
You make my point. People do get hit by lighting and win the lottery. It only needs to happen just once. Events shouldn't happen but they do.

My goal is to produce the highest quality ammunition in the safest way possible. People can get hurt reloading if they are not careful and constantly diligent regardless of the equipment they use. Most equipment today is high quality regardless of brand. The real variable is the person using it. I want to go faster but I will not sacrifice safety nor quality to do so. I will also not go out of my comfort zone just to reach some number. Off press priming and making sure the powder level is safe is my comfort zone. Also the more things that happen at a time, the greater likelihood of a lapse.

Other peopleís comfort zone may be different. Thatís OK but this is mine. I just want to use the best equipment available.

The times I posted were total times, from the time I enter the reloading room to the time I turn out the lights. Not dead slow but not fast either. The dog doesnít get through the door until his tail does. Most estimates donít include the ancillary and preparatory tasks around reloading. My estimates do. I try to be very diligent and careful when I reload maybe to a fault. But I know when I go to the line, I have the best and safest ammunition that I can possibly produce.

In my match days, I saw a few squibs on the line and an overcharge. Fortunately, no one was hurt. For these to happen there was a lapse somewhere. Thatís why I never shoot reloads done by someone else. I donít know the diligence they took. I also donít want these events to occur just because I was in a hurry to reload. Yet, if can go a bit faster without comprising quality and staying within my comfort zone, Iím for it. That was the reason for my inquiry.

There is a lot of expertise and experience here.
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:24 AM
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I understand fully, I run both presses. Possible, sure anything is possible, people get struck by lightning & win the lotto. I submit still, something else happened other than normal priming. I have crushed primers in my 650, never a detonation. Even if it did, the steel tube will protect the reloader better than anything Lee ever built. I do know several reloaders injured by detonations using their Lee however. Why Lee specifically states to NOT use Federal primers. I am pretty sure Dillon has no such admonition.
I don't understand it, either. He's got a whole tirade about Federal primers in his book, and then suggests only loading 20 or 25 primers at a time in the on-press device.

I think his big thing was not having all the primers in a line. At any point in the Lee on-press priming tool, no primer is ever facing another primer.

I understand what Lee was saying, but I don't particularly agree with it.

*shrug*

People have been injured by primer detonations in all makes and model of press and priming tool. And they've been injured by being idiots. It's not that I don't care or think that all designs are equally "safe"...the design just isn't the focus of safety, imo.

Hence, I don't handle primers carelessly, and I always wear safety glasses when I load. Costs me nothing, and might save me a lot.

I do ignore the aforementioned warning about Federals. I load 50-100 primers at a time, whether they're large or small, and whether they're Federal, CCI, or Winchester.

I really like the Lee on-press priming tool. Refilling primers takes just a minute--the tray in the device doubles as a flipper. And I don't have to mess with primer tubes or strips or anything.
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:06 AM
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Reading the responses, the focus of this tread has shifted to primer detonation especially on a Dillon 650. This was not the intent of my post. Can it happen? Yes. Likely to happen? No unless your careless or unlucky. But it does happen. If it happens on a Dillon 650 the probability of a chain detonation is increased because of the design. But the 650 does have safeguards in place if it occurs.

Primer detonation is a potential problem but not the reason I prime off the press.

If there is a problem in the reload process, many times it’s a problem with the priming. A primer falls on the floor, a primer is flipped over, sideways you name it. It can happen just as easily in hand priming as it can on the press and it does. When it happens, the reloading flow is disturbed and can lead to other mistakes when it happens. Possibly a squib or an overcharge. It was certainly a problem with the Lee 1000. I was constantly fixing or adjusting something. When that happens, mistakes can happen. You must have discipline to reload especially with a progressive loader. Are there better presses than the Lee 1000? Certainly, the answer is Yes – just about any. Fortunately, I never produced a bad load with the Lee 1000 after many thousands of rounds, But I could have if I wasn’t paying attention. If I could do that on that press, I’m not concerned any of the new ones. It couldn’t be any worst.

When I started with the Lee Turret I tried priming on the press but it wasn’t great either - doable but not great. The biggest problem I was having was not priming but trouble seeing inside the case of the 327 and 357 even with lights and mirrors. I was hard to determine the exact charge because of the light loads I was using. I could see powder but was it right? The RCBS Powder checker die to the rescue. Works wonderfully except that I needed another die position. I didn’t want to give up seating and crimping in separate steps. Since the priming wasn’t that great, I took out the sizing die and did sizing in a separate step on an extra press I had. Now what to do about priming? Size and prime on the turret? No been there done that. Tried hand priming. It works great. I felt like I had good control and a great feel of what’s happening. It felt good and made it part of case inspection. Would it work well if I was loading 500 rounds at a time? Probably not.Hand would get too sore. But for what I do load and project to load very workable especially if it is spread out.

Taking priming off the turret makes that whole process on the turret simpler. I just have to put the case in the shell holder, pull the handle to dump powder, another to check the load, seat the bullet on the case after a quick powder check again, another handle press to seat and another to crimp. Loaded round is automatically ejected to a completed bullet tray. I very seldom have to stop with a problem and none because of primers. My arch nemesis before. The Inliine Fabrication case kicker works great. Final inspection with a case gauge and done.

Could I go faster? Yes, but I take my time to be sure everything is right. The older I get the simpler I like things even if there are more steps. This process is very simple and easy to stay focused. Extra steps but fewer moving parts at one time and easier to correct a problem when it occurs.I like that.

Still four pulls of the handle. I think I could better. If I was using a progressive I have only one handle pull without loss of control and quality following the same steps. This seems easily managed and should be very smooth, quick and easy to stay focused. This is what I’m considering. Besides on press priming is always an option, just not one I want to take advantage of at the moment.

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Old 03-18-2017, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wise_A View Post
I don't understand it, either. He's got a whole tirade about Federal primers in his book, and then suggests only loading 20 or 25 primers at a time in the on-press device
I used the old Lee hand primer for decades. Almost always with Federal LP primers. Never and issue - until all 25 blew up in my hand and sent me to the emergency room.

In hind sight, there is a warning, clean your priming tools on a regular basis to get the primer dust out.

There is a reason for the tirade in the book. 25 primers going off is rather spectacular.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:44 AM
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I have two Dillion Square D presses. Had them for a long time. I gave up on the priming system. It'll work great for thousands of rounds and then I end up spending weeks to get it working again. decapping and priming in a separate operation gives me a chance to inspect each piece of brass and ensure the primer is seated correctly.

In reloading, speed is not always a good option.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:03 AM
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My progressive experience is just a few weeks and around 500-800 rounds of 357 Magnum, 45 ACP and 44 Magnum.

I have never liked priming on a press and thus have been priming with a hand primer. To my surprise the Dillon RL550B priming works smoothly and provides pretty good feedback. This is especially noticeable with 45 ACP where I have reloaded a mix of different cases and they have different primer pockets, including crimped ones. I can feel when there is trouble seating a primer fully.

Now I am looking at a Hornady LnL AP and/or Dillon XL650, mostly out of curiosity. The RL550B is already very nice, and the manual indexing is not a problem at all.

I load 100-500 rounds at a time so a super high production rate is not all that important to me.
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:48 AM
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Default I too use Lee

I have two Lee 1000's, one for handgun calibers and one for my .223 and .308 the only rounds I do progressively are .9's and .40's
.38/.357 the Sig .357 require a little more attention and do them manually using a Lee reloader press, same with the colt longs. I know it takes longer , but im not in a hurry and it pays to be safe. After all I don't want to have to buy a half a pair of gloves. A shooter at the range double loaded a 45 colt and blew the cylinder out of his Uberti, hit one finger but he still has it.
The gun was junk afterwards
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bugkiller99 View Post
Well, if you are determined to prime off press, your process seems reasonable. That was the question, right?

I would suggest using your Lee Turrent Press to deprime and size, if you have room for two presses on your bench. Or us Inline Fabrication Mount with quick change. I've had good experiences with it.

I've recently switched from a Lee Turrent to a progressive (unnamed per your request). Been happy with the change, though, there was a bit of a learningt curve.

Good luck with your search.
Just me maybe, I don't get the concept of buying two presses & doing multiple steps when one press can do it all 3-4x faster??
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:31 PM
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You make my point. People do get hit by lighting and win the lottery. It only needs to happen just once. Events shouldn't happen but they do.

My goal is to produce the highest quality ammunition in the safest way possible. People can get hurt reloading if they are not careful and constantly diligent regardless of the equipment they use. Most equipment today is high quality regardless of brand. The real variable is the person using it. I want to go faster but I will not sacrifice safety nor quality to do so. I will also not go out of my comfort zone just to reach some number. Off press priming and making sure the powder level is safe is my comfort zone. Also the more things that happen at a time, the greater likelihood of a lapse.

Other people’s comfort zone may be different. That’s OK but this is mine. I just want to use the best equipment available.

The times I posted were total times, from the time I enter the reloading room to the time I turn out the lights. Not dead slow but not fast either. The dog doesn’t get through the door until his tail does. Most estimates don’t include the ancillary and preparatory tasks around reloading. My estimates do. I try to be very diligent and careful when I reload maybe to a fault. But I know when I go to the line, I have the best and safest ammunition that I can possibly produce.

In my match days, I saw a few squibs on the line and an overcharge. Fortunately, no one was hurt. For these to happen there was a lapse somewhere. That’s why I never shoot reloads done by someone else. I don’t know the diligence they took. I also don’t want these events to occur just because I was in a hurry to reload. Yet, if can go a bit faster without comprising quality and staying within my comfort zone, I’m for it. That was the reason for my inquiry.

There is a lot of expertise and experience here.
Ok, i know you are a new guy, but news flash, reloading can be dangerous. Use the equip as designed, not likely to have an issue. You can what if it to death, but i dont wear a seatbelt & helmet when i drive. Respect the process but don't fear it. Generally, stupid people have accidents because they dont follow the rules & rush the process.
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:38 PM
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I have two Lee 1000's, one for handgun calibers and one for my .223 and .308 the only rounds I do progressively are .9's and .40's
.38/.357 the Sig .357 require a little more attention and do them manually using a Lee reloader press, same with the colt longs. I know it takes longer , but im not in a hurry and it pays to be safe. After all I don't want to have to buy a half a pair of gloves. A shooter at the range double loaded a 45 colt and blew the cylinder out of his Uberti, hit one finger but he still has it.
The gun was junk afterwards
Many guns have been kb with ammo made ona ss press. It is always the process & nut pulling the handle. Some people can't reload, they do 't have the focus & attention to detail. That is why there is factory ammo.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:44 PM
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Ok, i know you are a new guy, but news flash, reloading can be dangerous. Use the equip as designed, not likely to have an issue. You can what if it to death, but i dont wear a seatbelt & helmet when i drive. Respect the process but don't fear it. Generally, stupid people have accidents because they dont follow the rules & rush the process.
I know reloading can dangerous but I don’t fear it at all. I do, however, respect it and have been enjoying it as a hobby since 1970. Knock on wood, I have never produced a bad load or had a safety problem. Safety is always first.

Your right about the human element being the major variable. Reloading requires concentration to be safe. You should make sure you are not preoccupied or in a hurry and your equipment is maintained and safety systems on the equipment is not disabled or bypassed when reloading. At the very least, always wear safety glasses when reloading and shooting.

Oh by the way, please wear seat belts when you drive. They are there for your safety and in most states it's against the law to drive without them. A helmet is optional.

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Old 03-19-2017, 09:50 PM
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I used the old Lee hand primer for decades. Almost always with Federal LP primers. Never and issue - until all 25 blew up in my hand and sent me to the emergency room.

In hind sight, there is a warning, clean your priming tools on a regular basis to get the primer dust out.

There is a reason for the tirade in the book. 25 primers going off is rather spectacular.
What supposedly caused the primers to go off?
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:55 AM
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I prime on my LNL and have no issues. Very smooth operating and priming.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:29 AM
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Default It's the process, not the press

The only time I have had a primer detonation is with brass that had a crimped primer pocket when I missed removing the crimp. It has happened 4 or 5 times on my Dillon 450 or 550. Also it happened one time on a Dillon 650 with 45 ACP brass that had a crimped primer pocket. In all events it was a single primer, there was no chain reaction.

CDS4306, your reloading methods are very safe but will be very difficult to increase your production rate because of the number of times you handle an individual piece of brass. Priming "off press", cleaning each primer pocket, individual inspection at each stage are time consuming that reduces your production rate. Your overriding concern is absolute safety, not a high production rate.

The unspoken fact in most of these threads is, "We trust our progressive machines to load acceptable ammo at 400 to 800 rounds per hour without excessive hands-on visual checking." To stay in your 'safety and comfort zone', you want to perform those checks. Your reloading process is very time intensive.

I've been reloading since 1974, used Dillon progressive presses since 1981, and simply trust my presses to do the functions accurately and safely because of their design. I haven't cleaned a primer pocket since 1978 since I proved to myself that it didn't reduce my group sizes. I'm not an extreme precision benchrest shooter or a perfectionist. I don't use maximum load powder charges so there is no need to weigh every powder charge. My process works for me, but I know you could never be comfortable using my method. I can't imagine using your process for just 5 test rounds.

To increase your production rate, you have to change your process, not go to a progressive reloading press. Your process eliminates any increased efficiency inherent in the design of a progressive press. Any changes to your process will take you out of your safety comfort zone. Just save your money and continue your reloading process with the press you now use.

I'm not attacking you or criticizing your reloading methods. To increase your production rate, you need to change your process, not buy a "faster" progressive reloading press.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:23 AM
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Talk about an over reaction thread.....

As has been stated, you'd litterly have to intentionally quick smash a primer to get it to go off. I don't freak out about primers as some have.
I once said what happens with primers burning off in a can, and got the impression from some, that major explosions happen. They don't. They pop a few feet.

No way, would I hand load primers off press, when using a Dillon 650. I think that anyone who really uses these machines will soon find, the smoothness & technique to avoid flipped primers, no primers, and sideways primers. While a beginner might end up with 20 screwed up primers per hundred, that will quickly go to a zero count, or one or two at best.

Quote:
Oh by the way, please wear seat belts when you drive. They are there for your safety and in most states it's against the law to drive without them. A helmet is optional.
As to this, seven years ago, I hit a deer at 65 mph on a motorcycle, as it leaped off a hill and over the left side of the highway, to land directly in front of me. I hit it's direct mass on a 800 pound bike, but it didn't blast through it. Instead the front wheel was pushed into the engine. I was thrown over the windshield, hit the asphalt on the left side of my head, and tumbled over & over for 150 feet. Time did seem to slow, as I was conscious, with no feeling of pain. My mind, said, when will I decelerate?

I did happen to wear a full face helmet that day, considering I often didn't on cross country rides. The helmet saved my head, the face guard flipped down to save my face, and somehow I didn't break my neck. The helmet did take out my collar bone, shoulder blade, and all left ribs were broke, as well as a non-functioning left lung.

But, I'm still here to prime on the 650! Just thought I'd throw this in for anyone wondering about helmets. P.S. Protective clothing helps too. I wasn't wearing any. Severe road rash, that took doctors hours to clean up.

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Old 03-20-2017, 12:50 PM
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Good thing you didn't have your seat belt on!
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:05 PM
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I think we found our new Marathonrunner.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:25 PM
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"To be honest, if you're dissatisfied with your production, it's because you're using your turret press as a single-stage, my friend."
I agree with Wise_A.

I use a Hornady LNL and i'm very pleased with it. With every pull of the handle I put a cleaned case in and drop a bullet on and a complete round drops out. The primer slider can get dirty and start to hang up but other than that I haven't had any issues with the 10,000 plus rounds that I've done on it. The biggest annoyance is how fast you go through the 100 primers in the tube.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:36 AM
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Default Speed isn't the issue for me....

....but taking some of the work out of it is. I'm considering going to a progressive because it's one pump instead of three for each bullet. I've also been streamlining some to speed up without losing quality. Got a digital scale that I like, and a RCBS Uniflow powder measure. It's easy and accurate enough that I don't have to use my scale nearly as much to check weights.

I've absorbed a lot of work over the years just keeping my operation cheap, but now easier is in the cards.

I may also try repriming on the press whereas now I use a hand loader.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:37 AM
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If I was in CDS' position and was absolutely committed to using the powder check die (not a bad thing--not my particular choice, but whatever), I would consider a combination seat and crimp die:

(1) Deprime/resize/prime
(2) Expand/Charge
(3) Powder check
(4) Seat+Crimp

And then really, really make the effort to convert over to on-press priming. I agree, it was hard at first. I even spent a long time feeding small primers by hand. But with a little tweaking and the right technique, I don't drop primers anymore. At all.
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:19 AM
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scanning the process of what SomeOneElse believes important safety considerations leaves little room to comment....

in my own reloading process similar concerns result in a related yet different choice of credible steps to take

the only way ~I~ have found to 'go faster' is to leave out behaviors that aren't really contributing to safety or production

therein lies the choices of 'different steps' to achieve the same goal
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:04 PM
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scanning the process of what SomeOneElse believes important safety considerations leaves little room to comment....

in my own reloading process similar concerns result in a related yet different choice of credible steps to take

the only way ~I~ have found to 'go faster' is to leave out behaviors that aren't really contributing to safety or production

therein lies the choices of 'different steps' to achieve the same goal
You can only go so fast thru technique & efficiency. At some point you have to up your equip game to increase production. Good equip allows this w/o compromise in ammo quality. The idea that you cant make quality ammo on a progressive is about 30yrs old. It is as safe as anything can be when dealing with things that go bang. Again, respect the process but dont fear it.
Ss press, about 75rds / hr
Turret, about 150rds / hr
Progressve, about 400rds
Progressive with case feeder, about 700rds
Progressive with case & bullet feeder, right on 1000rds
YMMV, but those are reasonable rates over one full hour from scratch with all components staged & ready to go. No amount of fussing gets your turret to 400rds, but you can always slow the progressive down.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:18 PM
Nitrous SSC Nitrous SSC is offline
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For the money the Hornady Lock and Load AP has been such a kick *** press for me. Overall it's almost half the cost of a Dillon including supplemental hardware. Progressive is where life begins!!! I did single stage 9mm and it was such a huge waste of life.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:43 PM
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Just ordered a Hornady L-n-L AP progressive with full quick change parts for four calibers. To compliment my Dillon RL550B. It will be interesting to compare them.
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:02 PM
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If I was in CDS' position and was absolutely committed to using the powder check die (not a bad thing--not my particular choice, but whatever), I would consider a combination seat and crimp die:

(1) Deprime/resize/prime
(2) Expand/Charge
(3) Powder check
(4) Seat+Crimp

And then really, really make the effort to convert over to on-press priming. I agree, it was hard at first. I even spent a long time feeding small primers by hand. But with a little tweaking and the right technique, I don't drop primers anymore. At all.
This is the first approach I considered. I just hated to give up the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Did I just open another can of worms?
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:12 PM
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I have a RCBS Rockchucker Supreme single stage press & have been thinking about going to a Lee turret press , but I generally only load 50 to 100 rounds a week. I think I'm going to stick to my RCBS single stage because it works great for me. It helps that I am retired because I got all the time I need to load. I primarily load 38 Special/magnums, 44 sp/magnums, 45LC, 223s, and some others, all on my single stage press.

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Old 03-21-2017, 11:19 PM
cds43016 cds43016 is offline
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
You can only go so fast thru technique & efficiency. At some point you have to up your equip game to increase production. Good equip allows this w/o compromise in ammo quality. The idea that you cant make quality ammo on a progressive is about 30yrs old. It is as safe as anything can be when dealing with things that go bang. Again, respect the process but dont fear it.
Ss press, about 75rds / hr
Turret, about 150rds / hr
Progressve, about 400rds
Progressive with case feeder, about 700rds
Progressive with case & bullet feeder, right on 1000rds
YMMV, but those are reasonable rates over one full hour from scratch with all components staged & ready to go. No amount of fussing gets your turret to 400rds, but you can always slow the progressive down.
You're right Fredj338, technique can only get you so far.

Itís the same with the history of computer systems. Years ago, when there were mainframes (about the power now of your laptop or phone), technique was everything in programming. You had to be as efficient as possible to process all the data because of the limited power of the hardware and hardware was very expensive. But there was only so much you could do. The price was that the programs were hard to debug and very difficult to change. Now with the technological leaps that occurred over the years, the focus has been on maintainability and modulization so that changes in systems can be addressed easily and quickly. Complexity needs to be reduced as much as possible (back to the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid)). Simple steps even if more. Technique is still important but not so much now as then. The speed of the hardware out paces any inefficiency in programming technique or process. Hardware today is relatively cheap. Could the programs today be faster? Yes, but they just need to be Ďgood enoughí to get the job done as long as they are easy to maintain. You can always throw more hardware at it. Total Cost of Ownership is most important, not absolute efficiency in most cases. Hardware is cheap, people arenít.

In my case Total Cost of Ownership is safety, simplicity and reasonable speed. I am not saying that other approaches are not safe and simple. I respect other ideas and want to hear them. That's why I posted this inquiry.

Kind of looking at the same idea here. I will never need to load 600 rounds an hour. I just want to increase my speed to be Ďgood enoughí and still feel comfortable. I know that if I change some of my processes I can pick up speed with my current hardware. Thatís a given. However, even with that, there is a wall and a challenge to my current comfort zone (comfort zones change over time based on experience and improvements in technology, and yes - I have primed on a press for years). By possibility upgrading to the right hardware, even if the process remains the same, I think total time can be reduced. A progressive may do that even if only get half the efficiency of what the hardware is capable of and still accomplish my goals. And if I need to load 600 rounds an hour, I can improve the process. Having options is always good.

There have been many differences of opinion expressed here. We have different needs and experiences. That is very good. We all do, however, share a common love for shooting sports and can learn from each other. I thank everyone who has responded. I am listening and paying attention to what is said and value your expertise and experience even if we donít always agree. Thatís how we grow.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:17 AM
Wise_A Wise_A is online now
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This is the first approach I considered. I just hated to give up the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Did I just open another can of worms?
Tell you the truth, I wouldn't want to be without my separate seating and crimping dies, either!

I dunno--it depends a lot on just how much time you have/want to devote to reloading per-week. At two hours a week, I think it'd be tight, even if you performed all steps on the turret. A progressive might be a better fit at that point.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:19 AM
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For the money the Hornady Lock and Load AP has been such a kick *** press for me. Overall it's almost half the cost of a Dillon including supplemental hardware. Progressive is where life begins!!! I did single stage 9mm and it was such a huge waste of life.
Everyone says this but if you price the lnl equally equipped w/ a 650, about $75 less, not half. The lnl is just the press. The 650 comes with conv & most of the case feeder stuff. The lnl is a decent progressive though, especially if you dont want the case feeder.
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