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Old 11-16-2020, 02:52 PM
Racer X Racer X is offline
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I am just dipping my toes into reloading, and can't really start until primers become available again.

Anyway, here goes. How do you deal with a 5 station progressive press when you have a 3 die or 4 die set? I have a Lee LoadMaster fwiw. The price was right for a used press in good shape. If money wasn't an issue, probably a Dillon 550.

With this Lee model, I can get a different die plate for each caliber, and not need to set up the dies every time I switch calibers.

It has a universal deprimer "die" so that could be one station. Still one station empty, for example.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:04 PM
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If I had a 5 station press I would use the first 3 station and let the rounds rotate thru the stations with no dies until the are discharged after the last station.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:13 PM
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No problem using a 5 station with a 3 set die. That is my experience.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:36 PM
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If I had a 5 station press I would use the first 3 station and let the rounds rotate thru the stations with no dies until the are discharged after the last station.
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That is the missing info. If done at stage 3, the round just rides the carousel till it gets kicked off at the last stage. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2020, 04:50 PM
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Best to seat the bullet in one station and crimp in another.
Might require buying an extra die.
I only load 45ACP and 380ACP on the Dillon as all other cases get trimmed and loaded on the Single Stage presses.
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Old 11-16-2020, 04:57 PM
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For my critical stuff, I might do that. Thanks for the tip/suggestion.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:06 PM
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" I have a Lee LoadMaster fwiw. The price was right for a used press in good shape."

IMHO, the worst press Lee ever made. I tried to mentor a beginner who bought one, and it can be made to work with constant fiddling, but tends to go out of adjustment again with use. I have two Lee presses, single stage and turret (Lee's best press); and two Dillon SDB. I wouldn't trade even the Lee single stage for the Loadmaster. YMMV.

Added: Had I known when I started loading that I would get into IDPA and USPSA with large amount of pistol loading, I would have saved up and bought a Dillon 650 to start. It is just as easy to use as the Lee turret, and can even be operated as a single stage to learn if you want. Then when you need a few hundred pistol loads, you can utilize its full capability.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
" I have a Lee LoadMaster fwiw. The price was right for a used press in good shape."

IMHO, the worst press Lee ever made. I tried to mentor a beginner who bought one, and it can be made to work with constant fiddling, but tends to go out of adjustment again with use. I have two Lee presses, single stage and turret (Lee's best press); and two Dillon SDB. I wouldn't trade even the Lee single stage for the Loadmaster. YMMV.
I agree with this totally!!! I unfortunately bought a Loadmaster to load 40S&W about a year before Dillon introduced the 650(1992 or '93). The Loadmaster was a constant struggle to keep it running and produce acceptable ammo. I bought a 650 ASAP after it was introduced and retired the LM. I tried to give it away to a friend who was looking for a progressive press but he gave me some money for it. He tried it for a while and junked it.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:44 PM
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Amen, LEE LM rest in pieces.
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Old 11-16-2020, 06:07 PM
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What specific issues do they have?
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:02 PM
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I can only speak of the Dillon 550, it is a four station press.

If you use the Dillon powder system it will use a special "powder die", this holds the powder funnel (part of the caliber conversion kit), the funnel will also flare the case mouth. This is used in station 2.

So station 1 is your size die and decap.
Station 2 is prime and powder drop.
Station 3 is bullet seat
Station 4 is bullet crimp

This is the basic setup from the manual.

Some people will add a powder check in station 3. This would require a seat/crimp die in station four.

If you want a Dillon with 5 stations, you'll need a 650/750.

This would allow your powder check set up in station 3, then 4 and 5 are for seat then crimp. Still using stations 1 and 2 for size and powder. If you don't use a powder check you can leave that station open or add a bullet feed or the like.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:32 PM
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It depends on which 5 stn press you have. Dillon uses tool heads, set the dies once. Hornady uses individual breech lock rings, set the dies once. The Dillon just requires 2 pins be removed & the whole tool head is off, new one in, about 15sec. The hornady dies each have to be removed & each new die installed. The lock rings can come loose. I prefer the tool heads.
On either machine, one of the stn can be used as a powder check.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:48 PM
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The best practice if you have station available is to add a "powder cop", it screws in like any other die and drops a rod to give a visual indication of powder or prevents the rotation if powder is missing!

You'll thank me later!

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Old 11-20-2020, 03:42 PM
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I don't recommend going from scrounged brass to a finished cartridge one time around the progressive. Progressives can be very efficient, but there's still a distinction between brass preparation and loading.

Brass prep can involve lubing and decapping, after which it's sensible to clean the brass. I agree that many successful people forgo both, but leaving dirty primer pockets and lube all over the case goes against my sensibilities, as does not lubricating brass even for sizing with carbide dies.

Brass prep could be done with as few as one full-length sizing die, but there are reasons to use more in some cases. You can use a universal decapper in the station with the primer catcher. You can neck size independent of body sizing using a Redding neck sizer or a Lee Collet Die and then the respective body die to bump the shoulder. With a handgun cartridge you might have an additional step to expand the case mouth -- and yes, you can neck and body size handgun cartridges independently and it makes sense to do so because there's no reason to squeeze the body down with the carbide ring that's small enough to give neck tension on the bullet. So there's the potential to use at least as many as four die stations just for brass prep.

The Loadmaster has a larger diameter ram. I can tell you that the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro has a small ram and it's only under the first die station. The other die stations are offset and they're no good for sizing the bodies of rifle brass -- they bind -- but maybe people don't expect to do much rifle on the ABLP though it does fit AR-size cartridges. My point is that in some cases, one die station is better for an operation than another. I know one champion F class shooter that reloads on a Dillon 750 and he'll use the same die station and the same shell plate slot for seating (when he's not using an arbor press), just for consistency's sake.

Once the brass comes off the press, it can be washed and primed. I store mine after that.

To load, I start with a powder drop, then an RCBS lock-out die. Then the seater, and finally the crimp. That's another 4 stations. I'm sure other people can come up with uses for even more stations especially for brass prep, trimming and all, but that's not my point.

My point is that it makes sense to separate brass prep from loading, even if you do all the brass prep with one station. Use the case feeder and the progressive is still faster than a single stage. Loading progressively uses at least two stations for powder and seating but it often makes sense to add a powder-check and a separate crimp.

So there's no reason to worry about using a progressive press even with only one die.
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer X View Post
I am just dipping my toes into reloading, and can't really start until primers become available again.

Anyway, here goes. How do you deal with a 5 station progressive press when you have a 3 die or 4 die set? I have a Lee LoadMaster fwiw. The price was right for a used press in good shape. If money wasn't an issue, probably a Dillon 550.

With this Lee model, I can get a different die plate for each caliber, and not need to set up the dies every time I switch calibers.

It has a universal deprimer "die" so that could be one station. Still one station empty, for example.
I loaded on a single stage for many years and then went with a LNL a few years ago.
#1 - deprime and size
#2 - prime and bell case - powder charge
#3 - RCBS Powder Cop Die
#4 - Seat Bullet
#5 - Apply crimp depending on cartridge

I have several hundred 9 mm and 40 S&W rounds that I had already sized and primed years in the past. All I have to do is twist the sizing die out and not prime on the downstroke. I don't like to do it this way because it gets me out of my usual rhythm but when I run out of these I will be fine.

I have heard people state that even with a progressive, they prime off the machine so it isn't that unusual.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:01 AM
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Back when I started with a progressive press, I had a choice of a four station Dillon or 5 station Hornady.
I looked at my loading cycle:
1) size/deprime
prime
2) expand and flare case mouth
3) manually cycle powder measure
4) seat bullet
5) crimp
Based on my testing, I was NOT going to sacrifice for a 4 station press, so I bought one of the very early Hornady 5-station progressive presses and was happy with it for 30-40 years.
Now, my reloading cycle would be:
1) size and deprime
prime
2) expand, flare case mouth, and meter powder
3) RCBS Lock-Out die
4) Seat bullet
5) Crimp
The powder-though dies and measures from Lee, Dillon, and Hornady have really improved things.
However, after finding deals on Dillon 1050s, my current reloading cycle is:
1) case automatically fed to shell plate
2) size/deprime
3) primer pocket swage
4) prime
5) expand, case mouth flare, and meter powder
6) RCBS Lock-Out die
7) seat bullet
8) crimp

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Old 11-21-2020, 01:17 PM
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I use carbide dies for pistol, no lube required. I have never cleaned a primer pocket on a pistol case, pointless imo. If you want to lube cases, Hornady Oneshot doesnt have to be removed. I also never trimmed a service pistol case, pointless.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:13 PM
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I have a Dillon 550. The difference between the 550 & 650 is 4 to 5 station and auto index on the 650. The dies you use make a difference on how you load. Dillion uses two dies for seating and crimp but RCBS seats and crimps with the same die but gives you a belling die. On a Dillion press you will bell and drop powder on station #2 without the use of any die. The belling die is a feed thru die and operates the powder dump(if a case is present) and comes in a caliber conversion kit. I don't like the auto index of the 650 If you are loading primed brass the steps are different. Normally you will insert a fired case then, cycle the press, and then index the plate by hand. If you are loading primed brass you will cycle the press, insert the fired brass, and then index the plate. There will never be a brass in station #1(size and prime) when you cycle the press! Dillion uses a block to hold the dies so you never need to change the die setting. Caliber change on a Dillion takes about 5 minutes. I never used a Lee press so I can not compare but I have friends that changed from the Lee to Dillion after they started shooting competition and the round count went up!

Some reloaders install a powder dispenser on each block but that gets expensive. I have two, one w/large bar and one w/small bar! I experiment with different powders and weights so the powder dispenser gets changed almost every time I reload!
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskerguy View Post
I have heard people state that even with a progressive, they prime off the machine so it isn't that unusual.
I load on a Dillon 550, but prime off the machine as you mentioned.

I deprime on a Lee Automatic Processing Press, then wet tumble.
I hand prime with either an RCBS Universal hand primer or an RCBS hand primer that uses the shell holder. The universal doesnít grab the .32 cases that well, so I had to go with the shell holder version for them. I removed all the decapping pins from my sizing dies and size in station 1. Station 2 is belling and powder drop. Station 3 is bullet seat and station 4 is crimp.

I changed over from a Lee classic turret several months ago and got rid of all my Lee stuff except dies. Lee dies work well enough in the Dillon that I didnít see a need to change right away.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:25 PM
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I do reloading old school.

1. decap single station Lee press
2. Rough media polish
3. Size length
4. Chamfer case mouth/ clean primer pocket
4A flare case mouth
5. Finish polish fine media added brass polish
6. Primer install hand primer
7, Lee pro 1000 press to charge, load, crimp done.

New looking ammo
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Old 11-23-2020, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
I use carbide dies for pistol, no lube required. I have neber cleaned a primer pocket on a pistol case, pointless imo. If you eant to lube cases, Hornady Oneshot spent have to be removed. I also never trimmed a service pistol case, pointless.
I too use carbide dies for pistol calibres. BUT!!!

Without lubing the cases they stick in both the sizing/decapping die and the neck expander/powder drop die. This causes cases to "jump" after the powder drop spilling powder.

My solution, using a standard three die progressive, is to:

- lightly spray the fired and cleaned cases.
- run the cases through the sizing/depriming die set up in it's own toolhead..
- give a light second spray to the primed cases.
- expand/powder drop, bullet seat and crimp using second tool head.
- tumble the loaded rounds for 30 minutes to remove any residue fo the lube. The cases come out like new factory rounds and feed flawlessly in my pistols.

As to the OP's question: get a factory crimp die and set it up in station 5. leave station 3 empty so that you can see the powder, or install a powder check die.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
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I too use carbide dies for pistol calibres. BUT!!!

Without lubing the cases they stick in both the sizing/decapping die and the neck expander/powder drop die. This causes cases to "jump" after the powder drop spilling powder.

My solution, using a standard three die progressive, is to:

- lightly spray the fired and cleaned cases.
- run the cases through the sizing/depriming die set up in it's own toolhead..
- give a light second spray to the primed cases.
- expand/powder drop, bullet seat and crimp using second tool head.
- tumble the loaded rounds for 30 minutes to remove any residue fo the lube. The cases come out like new factory rounds and feed flawlessly in my pistols.

As to the OP's question: get a factory crimp die and set it up in station 5. leave station 3 empty so that you can see the powder, or install a powder check die.
You must be wet cleaning. I have zero issues dry tumbling with a bit of polish.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:30 PM
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thank you all. I'll look into a powder check die. PLEASE keep any useful tips and warnings coming. Both for me, and anyone else looking.

I plan on eventually running only carbide dies for pistol rounds, except .357 SIG. And I will still use Hornady One Shot, even with carbide dies. Just being thorough.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:57 PM
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Yep, never fails. Someone mentions Lee (any product for any reason) and the Lee Haters crawl out and spew their vitriol throughout a previously good thread. I cannot understand why/how some otherwise "normal" people get so emotional about an inanimate tool and go out of their way to defame a whole company. I have Lee tools and Hornady, RCBS, Pacific, Lyman and probably more and actually the worse design of any tool I've purchased, I've come across is an RCBS product, but I don't go out of my way to defame RCBS ( the RCBS bench priming tool cannot be used flat on a bench. It must ne elevated 4" or have the handle hanging out over the bench edge. The designer was either asleep or drunk when it was designed and the company went on their "tool snob" fans who bought tools only by the color or name on the side). I have used hand and power tools for over 55 years to make a living and I know how to use hand tools. I have tried to duplicate "problems" Lee detractors have complained about and I am unable to replicate the problem most of the time...

But that's just my opinion and just like others I'm allowed...

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Old 11-24-2020, 04:45 PM
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Everybody seems to produce a junk reloading item. My Bench mounted priming tool wprks fine...but it is mounted on a 1/2 plywood board. The RCBS Turret press sucks as does most ofthe Lee progressives. I also have a Hornady Ammo Plant that ...well it ain't an ammo plant
I have a Lee clssic cast turret press that works fine...excpt for the priming tool and the old Lee Target Model loaders made really good ammo. Lee dies will work but are just barely above Herter's dies in quality. Haven't mentioned Dillon because I have had no troubles with them....but I am sure some have. Most problems with reloading equipment is usually the person using it...except maybe the Lee Loadmaster...LOL Heck I had a CH Mark IV that was not very reliable.
Pretty much all can have bad equipment

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Old 11-24-2020, 05:27 PM
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I guess itís a sign that Iíve never reloaded that I figured the thread title was a comment on the current state of Journalism in the country.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:53 PM
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I guess itís a sign that Iíve never reloaded that I figured the thread title was a comment on the current state of Journalism in the country.
This is the Reloading Forum that doesn't have much to do with journalism, but does have a grammar thread or two. Some people make 50+ years with one spouse, others need several. Kind of the same way with reloading presses.
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Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM
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Just had an idea. Add a new sub-forum titled "Whiner's forum". All "complaints" about reloading products and components can be posted there so as to leave more room on threads about other topics. That way all the "____ Haters" can have their own place to whine...
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Old Yesterday, 03:09 PM
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Yep, never fails. Someone mentions Lee (any product for any reason) and the Lee Haters crawl out and spew their vitriol throughout a previously good thread. I cannot understand why/how some otherwise "normal" people get so emotional about an inanimate tool and go out of their way to defame a whole company. I have Lee tools and Hornady, RCBS, Pacific, Lyman and probably more and actually the worse design of any tool I've purchased, I've come across is an RCBS product, but I don't go out of my way to defame RCBS ( the RCBS bench priming tool cannot be used flat on a bench. It must ne elevated 4" or have the handle hanging out over the bench edge. The designer was either asleep or drunk when it was designed and the company went on their "tool snob" fans who bought tools only by the color or name on the side). I have used hand and power tools for over 55 years to make a living and I know how to use hand tools. I have tried to duplicate "problems" Lee detractors have complained about and I am unable to replicate the problem most of the time...

But that's just my opinion and just like others I'm allowed...
And here you are...spewing your vitriol about another company's tools. I have used, sold and worked on progressive reloading tools since 1965 or before and can tell you that all compnies can make bad tools. Many times it is in the eye of the beholder. I had a couple of Lee progressive tools over the years. Oy... Get a Loadmaster to load 500 rounds without having any problems. Can't be done by the average advanced reloading afficianado. Of course I had an RCBS product that was the same way. They discontinued it for some odd reason....fairly quickly. If you are a Lee fanboy...fine. It is your(deserved) choice and opinion but don't moan and complain if their (deserved) opinion does not match yours. I'm not a Lee Fanboy but I like the fact that the Classic cast presses are made in the US of A. Not all companies presses are. Oh and I do have a couple of Lee Cast presses and a die set or two...
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Old Yesterday, 03:26 PM
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Yep, never fails. Someone mentions Lee (any product for any reason) and the Lee Haters crawl out and spew their vitriol throughout a previously good thread. I cannot understand why/how some otherwise "normal" people get so emotional about an inanimate tool and go out of their way to defame a whole company. I have Lee tools and Hornady, RCBS, Pacific, Lyman and probably more and actually the worse design of any tool I've purchased, I've come across is an RCBS product, but I don't go out of my way to defame RCBS ( the RCBS bench priming tool cannot be used flat on a bench. It must ne elevated 4" or have the handle hanging out over the bench edge. The designer was either asleep or drunk when it was designed and the company went on their "tool snob" fans who bought tools only by the color or name on the side). I have used hand and power tools for over 55 years to make a living and I know how to use hand tools. I have tried to duplicate "problems" Lee detractors have complained about and I am unable to replicate the problem most of the time...

But that's just my opinion and just like others I'm allowed...
Mostly because lee makes a lot of just poop. I have lee stuff, it works most of the time, but hard to argue that there isn't better & better usually cost more. If the point of any progressive is to make large volumes of ammo efficiently, lee is a dead last choice.
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Old Yesterday, 03:47 PM
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I use carbide dies for pistol, no lube required. I have never cleaned a primer pocket on a pistol case, pointless imo. If you want to lube cases, Hornady Oneshot doesnt have to be removed. I also never trimmed a service pistol case, pointless.
Same here. Only cases I trim are my bench rest rifle cases. I have noticed with 45 ACP cases that if they are too short, the crimp die doesn't get the case mouth pinched enough and the round won't fit. So I remove those from service.

I've contemplated getting a progressive press but at least for now, they are not available anywhere. Besides, I just use a universal de-priming die before wet tumbling with SS pins. This way my sizing die doesn't get mucked up with powder residue, so I never have to clean it. Never have to touch the primer pockets either because they come out of the tumbler pristine. I use the RCBS hand priming tool which is fast, easy, and consistent. So much faster and easier than using the RCBS priming system on the press. You can even prime your cases while watching the football game on TV. That's why I'm not sure I'll ever get a progressive press. I may some day, but not really sure it would save all that much time, since my cases are already primed and ready to go.
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Old Today, 01:08 AM
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And here you are...spewing your vitriol about another company's tools. I have used, sold and worked on progressive reloading tools since 1965 or before and can tell you that all compnies can make bad tools. Many times it is in the eye of the beholder. I had a couple of Lee progressive tools over the years. Oy... Get a Loadmaster to load 500 rounds without having any problems. Can't be done by the average advanced reloading afficianado. Of course I had an RCBS product that was the same way. They discontinued it for some odd reason....fairly quickly. If you are a Lee fanboy...fine. It is your(deserved) choice and opinion but don't moan and complain if their (deserved) opinion does not match yours. I'm not a Lee Fanboy but I like the fact that the Classic cast presses are made in the US of A. Not all companies presses are. Oh and I do have a couple of Lee Cast presses and a die set or two...
If you reread my post you will see that I was bringing up the point that most of the Lee Haters go out of their way to badmouth Lee products. In the same vein I replied with a well known tool that won't work unless it is mounted on a 4" riser or hanging off the bench, ( the tool that has not been discontinued unless it was done just 2 months ago when I bought mine) but I did not condemn all RCBS products. If the name on the side of the tool was Lee, the exact same tool would be widely condemned as junk.

I have worked with tools all my life and for the last 25 years of my career large in heavy equipment repair facility, and saw first hand mindless too snobbery. Some mechanics bought one $$$ tool manufacturer's products and every thing else was junk. The same as the Lee Haters. Many of the Hater's complaints are unfounded and those unfamiliar with the use of any thing more complex than a claw hammer. I remember the badmouthing of GM's Corvette fiberglass body ad worthless junk from those unfamiliar with modern manufacturing materials (just like Lee). And how was Bill Ruger's modern manufacturing methods, like investment casting and "sheet metal" handguns (just like Lee).

But this whole discussion is a waste of time as any Lee Hater is so "convinced" of his pinion, he is unable to see any truth...

No I'm not a "Fan Boy", I just believe the unnecessary, ignorant baloney about every Lee product is childish and really brings down the "IQ" of a forum (and new reloaders may read this stuff and believe it).

So, flame on Haters, I'm done...
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