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Old 06-03-2022, 10:35 AM
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As someone who exclusively shoots 357 magnum and has found it harder and harder to find and afford. I've been thinking of making my own, as in another thread I asked what ammo people trusted, many said their own. Made sense to me and I wanted to give it a try myself to save money, ensure availability, and just seems cool to make your own stuff. I was curious what a good first press would be for a novice and if their is anything I should know before starting to make my own 357 magnum rounds. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:03 AM
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Get at least a couple of current paper load manuals; read them until you understand the entire process. Then make a choice as to what press to buy. A single stage would be best for a beginner and far easier to learn the basics of handloading. While you may eventually want a progressive (only if you load lots of ammo) there's always a usefulness for a single stage tool, a press you'll never outgrow, especially if you find you like load development and experimenting.

Avoid YouTube and other such sites at least until you have a basic background in handloading, a background that will help you weed out bad information before you develop poor handloading practices. Good luck-
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:13 AM
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Lee progressive is cheap, reliable for 200 rounds at a time but does require maintenance to run smoothly. Dillon lasts forever, expensive, adjustments are critical (no such thing as close enough). RCBS single stage is gold standard for tough and reliable. Their single stage press have been around since the late 40's.

Based on my experience, I recommend a used 550 or 450. Set up for a single caliber, 357 mag with 38 Special dies, it will never lose adjustments. Maintenace is clean the primer feed slide every 1,000 rounds and it will be trouble free. A 550 comes with auto prime, auto powder, and auto eject. A Dillon 450 can be upgraded. Mine was bought new in 1983, upgraded when they became available, and then I bought a used 550. The 450 is small primers, the 550 large primers.

I do not own a current production Lee press. I bought a MidwayUSA Anniversary Special press and reloading manual 15+ years ago before I bought the second Dillon. The combo was $20. You get what you pay.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:35 AM
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A Dillon 550 can be operated with one piece of brass at a time (other 3 stations empty) while learning the ropes. They are reliable and seldom break. Mine, from 1985, has only been back to AZ once. It was an early model without the grease holes. When it came back the replacement parts had them. It gets used to load maybe an average of 20k rounds of pistol/rifle a year. A couple minor parts breakages over the last 35 years which Dillon has always handled quick and cheap (free). 550 requires a couple minutes of maintenance every thousand rounds to keep it perking smoothly.

The only non-Dillon part I have on my 550 is a primer slide bearing device (plate & ball bearing rig) that a shooter from TX sells on eBay. I highly recommend.

I shoot a fair amount of .38 Spl and some .357 Mag. It is much more affordable to shoot both if they are reloaded rounds.

Study those paper reloading manuals. Pay attention to how to calculate cost per round. Pick powders for .357 at least partly on cost per round, not necessarily on maximum velocity.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:44 AM
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Definitely NOT Lee. This isn't good equipment.

You can buy any other and make your experiences.

At the end of it all you'll have a Dillon machine or 2. May as well get one out of the gate.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:49 AM
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Go for the Dillon 550, new or used. I have loaded on most of the single stage and progressives out there, for 50 years or so. I have 4 Dillon 550s. They are the high quality value for those who aren't loading tens of thousands of one caliber. I could have bought any press made, but these have served me well for over 30 years.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:56 AM
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If all you are are planning to load is one "standard load" in a pistol caliber a Dillon Square Deal will be as simple and straight forward as it gets. If fiddling and diddling with endless variations of bullets and powders then a single stage press will better suit your needs.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by oysterer View Post
Definitely NOT Lee. This isn't good equipment.

You can buy any other and make your experiences.

At the end of it all you'll have a Dillon machine or 2. May as well get one out of the gate.
Do you speak from experience?Please post your actual Lee experiences.

I couldn't agree LESS!

My Classic Turret Press just keeps on ticking.Been using it since 2014 when I returned stateside.I has produced many thousand of rounds trouble free.

I loaded a box of 50 32 H&R Magnum last night using a Lee Carbide 4 die set,a Lee Hand Press and a Lee Pro Bench Powder Measure.The scale was an RCBS 10-10
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:29 PM
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I had a Lee single stage press more than thirty years ago. For routine handloading, it worked as well as any other single stage press, and I've had a variety of presses since the mid-60s. I will assume the new Lee models are as good as the one I had, but I don't know for sure.

I was doing much wildcat case-forming years ago and went with a heavier press for such work, but the Lee probably would have been fine.

I know many like to criticize Lee products and maybe some of that criticism is justified, but I suspect many of the critics have had limited or no experience with the products they condemn.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:31 PM
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What reloading press depends on how much you shoot. I started out on a used RCBS Rockchucker and used it for years, still have it and use it for ammo that Is unusual and rifle ammo. If you shoot 2 or 3 boxes of 357 each time you go out to shoot a single stage is fine. Used single stage presses are usually fairly cheap. I paid $25 for my Rockchucker and they can still be found for around $50. i think Hornaday sells a electronic scale for about $35, I like the Lyman 55 for a powder dump $25 or so used. I like lee dies with the factory crimp die if buying new. Used dies $10 - $25 but inspect them. Note: For 357 I would buy carbide dies and pass on lubing brass. It really doesn't take long to load 100 rounds of ammo for a days shooting. I have a friend that loads all his 38 with a tong tool. When he plans to shoot he sits down turns on the radio and knocks out what he needs. You will find the more your reload the more you will shoot. I got into progressives by accident, I took an Old Star progressive in on a car I sold and now have 3 Dillon Square Deals and a 550 and 650. If I could only have one I guess it would be the 550. I find I reload during the chilly winter and shoot all summer without doing any reloading. Finding components right now is fairly expensive.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:37 PM
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OP mentioned Dillon and Lee specifically and I guess I'd opine they are, more or less, near the opposite ends of the spectrum at least with respect to cost. I've used both along with Redding and RCBS and a myriad of just about every brand of die, scale, powder measure, etc.

If you are just starting out it makes sense, IMHO, to begin with a single-stage press. It's economical, simple, and doing the various steps separately will furnish a real feel for the process. Eventually, if you like reloading, you may wish to upgrade to something a bit faster - but progressive and multi-stage press setups won't load any more accurate ammo than a single stage. If you end up reloading for rifle a single stage may always be something warranting bench space.

As far as brands go you will, no doubt, find as many opinions as there are readers of your post. In all candor there is not as much difference between them as some would have you believe. Lee is likely the most economical if purchased new. I've used Lee products for many, many years and have had excellent results. Pertaining to single stage presses I admit to being partial to my Redding Boss press but it's orders of magnitude more costly than Lee and does not produce a finished product that is distinguishable from cartridges made on my Lee equipment. A Lee turret press may be a good compromise as it can be used as a single stage and can enable you to go much faster once you get the hang of it. Mine has preformed splendidly for many years.

You may want to check out used presses and dies via ebay or gunbroker as some good deals can occasionally be had. I've found some really nice older dies and beam scales on ebay and they have served very well.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:47 PM
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I started with a Lee single press but went to a Lee Classic Turret press soon after and never looked back. With it I have 4 sets of dies as I load for .38/.357,.40S&W, 9mm, and .380. I purchased extra turrets so switching dies takes a minute.

I am more than happy with it.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockquarry View Post
Get at least a couple of current paper load manuals; read them until you understand the entire process. Then make a choice as to what press to buy. A single stage would be best for a beginner and far easier to learn the basics of handloading. While you may eventually want a progressive (only if you load lots of ammo) there's always a usefulness for a single stage tool, a press you'll never outgrow, especially if you find you like load development and experimenting.

Avoid YouTube and other such sites at least until you have a basic background in handloading, a background that will help you weed out bad information before you develop poor handloading practices. Good luck-
What rockquarry wrote ^^^.

Crawl/walk/run. Single-stage is walk and allows you to learn the process with smaller chance of failure, minor or catastrophic. Walk would be a turret press and some skip this stage. Run is a progressive.

I have all three sorts and they all get used.

Yes, you will save a BUNDLE handloading .357mag. Especially if you stick to cast bullets.

As for brands, most all are good, some are terrific. Lee is a good place to start if you are on a budget. Used gear from RCBS, Lyman, etc. is a good deal. Some of the Lee stuff is great quality, some is passable. STARTING on a Lee progressive would be a hard row to hoe.

One of the reloading kits, soup-to-nuts is not bad. I did that with a RCBS Rock Chucker kit. Still use most of the gear (lube & lube pad, nope!). The chucker to load rifle, the mechanical scale to check my digital scale, and so on.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:51 PM
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40 years ago I got into a Pacific (Hornady) reloading kit. 07 press. balance scale, drum powder measure, reloading handbook, then later a Thumbler's tumbler model B. Everything still works. I weigh every powder charge except .38 spcl and .45 ACP with 231 powder. I use RCBS, and Hornady , and one Redding die sets. After several thousands of loadings, the 07 press became sloppy in the ram clearance area so I replaced with a lightly used RCBS Rock Chucker, both presses single stage. I broke a aluminium Lee carbide die. I once entered the blue colored manufacturing and sales front to be greeted with an arrogant staff. I present myself as working class and bear no shame, however I will not put up with summary dismissal in a retail environment. I have not been back and will not go back there.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:56 PM
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A LEE Classic Cast Iron single stage press (If you can find one?) will be sufficient to load your 1st 4 to 5 thousand 357 Magnum reloads. Buy the Hornady LnL conversion bushing kit and a good set of 38/357 carbide dies (Hornady, RCBS, etc.) or the LEE 4 Die set and you will be good to go.

A good scale and initially individually weighing each load can eliminate the under & over powder charge horrors (the dreaded Squibs & the KABOOMs!) that seem to be a never-ending subject on this forum. A cartridge case gauge is a worthwhile investment as well.

You will be able to load various different types of bullets before too long, once you master the correct expansion and crimp functions. Unless you shoot many hundreds of rounds on a weekly basis your production rate will be more than sufficient and you will eventually find reloading in 50-100-150 increments pretty easy and quite satisfying.

Cheers!

P.S. Hopefully you will (of course!) not be shooting ANY dreaded 38 Specials (because the "crud ring will destroy the barrel"!) and are not shooting one of those "frail K-frames" whose forcing cone will surely self-destruct from flame-cutting after only a few (thousand?) rounds...?

P.P.S. After checking on the net perhaps the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme is a more available solution: Natchess actually has them now and they are on sale... Maybe even amazon with FREE DELIVERY?

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Old 06-03-2022, 01:30 PM
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My 1st press in 1966 was a Rock Chucker.After I got the hang of it reloading I bought a few Star machines,H&G molds,Star sizer and greaser and got in on a group drop shipment of bullets,power and primers with Jimmy Cirillo and Bill Allard.
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Old 06-03-2022, 01:47 PM
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Another way to look at this... I've had four progressive machines, beginning with the first after I had been handloading for about twenty-five years. I sold the last one several years ago, but never got rid of the 1960s Texan turret press I've used off and on for decades. I never used a progressive to load rifle ammunition, only handgun cartridges. I doubt I load over 12,000 - 15,000 rounds of handgun ammo a year, so I never really needed a progressive, just wanted a few. Being a slow learner, it took a while to figure out the Texan would do all I required.

Not the fastest, but it's the most versatile of presses for loading handgun ammo. For rifle cartridges, perhaps no more than five thousand per year, I still use three single-stage machines: a Redding Ultra Mag, an RCBS Big Max, and a Forster Co-Ax. I bought all these new and the newest is more than thirty years old. The Co-Ax sees the most use, but they're all good presses.

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Old 06-03-2022, 01:54 PM
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Get a really good scale and single stage press of some sort first. When you get really comfortable with that get a Dillon. I've had a 450 for over 40 years with no problems. From what I've heard if you do have a problem their customer service is AAA1.
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Old 06-03-2022, 02:13 PM
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I think saying a Lee auto indexing progressive is a great press because you have had great service from your Lee classic cast single stage is just as bad as someone with no experience with the Lee saying that they are not in the same quality league as a Dillon, RCBS, Hornady, etc. Actually its worse, because you are comparing apples to oranges, while everyone knows Lee is an " inexpensive" brand, shall we say. That's not necessarily bad, but it carries certain truths.
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Old 06-03-2022, 02:32 PM
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I use a lee classic turret and a Lyman All American turret.

The lee works great for the regular reloading duties. Setting up dies is a tad odd as the die head raises up a smidge when the ram comes all the way up, but nothing to be scared of. The stuff loaded on it is as accurate as anything else Iíve ever used.

The Lyman is from 1969, it is a tank and doesnít budge any. I bought it used obviously, itís nice for forming duty, decrimping primer pockets. It takes a weird shell holder and I found an adapter to use regular shell holders. Itís my dedicated benchrest round press.

Progressive presses crank out ammo in a hurry, and itís accurate ammo as well. How much you shoot should be a consideration as to what kind of press. No sense spending $600+ on a press to load a couple hundred or less a month.
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Old 06-03-2022, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudy686 View Post
As someone who exclusively shoots 357 magnum and has found it harder and harder to find and afford. I've been thinking of making my own, as in another thread I asked what ammo people trusted, many said their own. Made sense to me and I wanted to give it a try myself to save money, ensure availability, and just seems cool to make your own stuff. I was curious what a good first press would be for a novice and if their is anything I should know before starting to make my own 357 magnum rounds. Thanks in advance!
Lee is good to start out and get into the hobby cheaply. I use some Lee equipment, however there have been too much of it that I have thrown out the window because it was more of a headache.

Dillon is top of the line and will be a joy to use. I'd go straight to Dillon. A simple Square Deal B is what I use for most of my handgun ammunition and it is superb. You can't go wrong.

I can load up about 300 rounds of 357 Mag in an hour with a SDB, especially if I keep several primer drop tubes loaded.
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Old 06-03-2022, 02:55 PM
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I've always used Lee progressive loaders. I've literally loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds of .38 Spl with one and never had any issues with it. I've loaded tens of thousands of .38 Super with another one and it's never caused me an issue. So I can recommend Lee hands down.
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Old 06-03-2022, 02:58 PM
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Donít fool around. Buy once, and never cry once! Dillon is the absolute best in product and customer service.

Sdb is fine if you only load one round. 550 you can expand on.

Regards, Rick Gibbs
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:09 PM
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No doubt Dillon is absolutely top notch, and for those who actually reload thousands of rounds per month it is most likely the way to go: great after the sale support, etc., but...

It's kinda' like the plethora of 3/4 Ton 4WD diesel pickups you see pulling an 18' camper or sailboat to the lake twice a year: do you really need one or would a 1/2 Ton do the job just as well?

Cheers!

P.S. Of course, this from a guy who remembers $5,999 half-ton fullsize domestic (a.k.a. Big Three) pickups vs. the $50K+ ones of today!
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:10 PM
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My Lee experience:

--I load across more than two dozen calibers
--loading with Lee dies and a Lee press since 1989
--only began tracking production from my bench in 2010
--production, not counting 2022 so far is 152,295

I will put up my ammo against anyone and it's ludicrous to make blanket statements against Lee equipment. Doing so typically shows either a lack of experience or a genuine lack of skill.
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:19 PM
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I love my Lee Loadmaster. Got it a year and a half ago, had never reloaded before. Yes you need to dial it in, but its easy to do.
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:20 PM
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I like Lee dies, good value for the money. I avoid other Lee products, as they are the cheapest made in the industry. In ascending quality with dies my experience has been Lyman (the poorest quality), RCBS (had two that we’re out of round), Lee, Redding and Forester Benchrest As the deadnut best.


I’ve had Lee and Hornaday presses, that always required tweaking. I now have an RCBS RC, Lyman Turret (for pistols), Forester Co-Axial press (for rifles) and a Dillon Square Deal in .45 ACP. The problem I’ve had with the Dillon is that I like to clean the primer pockets before I load the cases. The other issue I’ve had with Dillon is the occasional high primer. I now resize, clean the pocket and prime the cases in separate operation. I then feed those cases into the Dillon at the second stage.

Unless you need a high volume of reloads, in a short amount of time, you are better served with a quality single stage press. As mentioned before, get a printed reloading manual and read it until you understand each step fully. I’ve always like Lyman’s manual.
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:22 PM
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THE Progressive Press Shootout (12 presses compared) - YouTube
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Old 06-03-2022, 03:48 PM
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The first question Iíd ask is: how many rounds do you plan to load at a time?

I only reload one caliber: 38 Special, and I typically donít reload more than a box or two at a sitting. I use the humble Lee Hand Press. It is *far* from efficient, but I think itís a great way to learn. Darned cheap, too.

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Old 06-03-2022, 03:57 PM
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Default LEE Classic Turret Press

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Originally Posted by Vulcannut View Post
I started with a Lee single press but went to a Lee Classic Turret press soon after and never looked back. With it I have 4 sets of dies as I load for .38/.357,.40S&W, 9mm, and .380. I purchased extra turrets so switching dies takes a minute.

I am more than happy with it.
I agree, and since I am well past such things, I have a one up for sale, with 3 sets of dies. (9mm, 38, and 45)
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Old 06-03-2022, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by StakeOut View Post
Do you speak from experience?Please post your actual Lee experiences.

I couldn't agree LESS!

My Classic Turret Press just keeps on ticking.Been using it since 2014 when I returned stateside.I has produced many thousand of rounds trouble free.

I loaded a box of 50 32 H&R Magnum last night using a Lee Carbide 4 die set,a Lee Hand Press and a Lee Pro Bench Powder Measure.The scale was an RCBS 10-10
I agree, I have been using a Lee Classic 4 hole Turret Press for handgun ammo since 2006 and its still working very well.

I use an RCBS Rockchucker for my rifle ammo but for the .223 which I load on the Lee Turret Press.
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Old 06-03-2022, 06:23 PM
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Love my Dillon 550, but you have to understand how it works to keep it running well. Cleanliness is really important.
I also love my RCBS Rock Chucker from about 40 years ago. My Grandkids will still be using that press, indestructible. My recommendation would be to start with one of these.
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Old 06-03-2022, 06:57 PM
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How many rounds do you intend to reload at any time and how much $ are you willing to invest in something you may not like? Is your time more valuable than your money?

If you plan on reloading a couple boxes a month, you'll never recoup your initial investment. Plus components are just as hard--or harder--to find than manufactured ammo.
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Old 06-03-2022, 07:15 PM
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If you really get into handloading only to save money, you miss out on the most important aspects of the hobby - making ammo tailored to your needs and making ammo that is more accurate than commercial ammo.

I guess many get into handloading thinking they will save money and I suppose that's true to a point. As I look back to 1964, I think saving money had something to do with it for me, but I quickly got over that when I discovered what a fascinating hobby I had come into.
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Old 06-03-2022, 07:23 PM
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Q So what have we learned from this thread so far?

A There no one solution that fits everyone's needs,experience level,budget,production rate and the hands on experience with the same or similar products.

If you are satisfied with your Dillon or you are happy with your Lee then stick with it.Satisfied customers are repeat buyers and good advertisement for the brand.
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Old 06-03-2022, 07:32 PM
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I started reloading in 1971. Literally 10s of thousand of rounds loaded, with 1 squib (my problem).

100% have been with Lee equipent. Had one issue, and they replaced the die for free. Customer service is next to perfect.

If you are a snob and like a BMW, then pay for it. If you want quality at a good price, buy a Chevy. (or maybe Lee should be called a Buick).

If you want FAST, buy a Dillon and hope you can amortize the cost. If you are a regular guy and want good ammo, buy a Lee.

I am convinced the Lee haters just have a hidden agenda.
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Old 06-03-2022, 07:38 PM
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As others have said, it depends on how much you shoot.
The best press for the $ is the Lee Classic Turret (4 hole). You can knock out 100 rounds in an hour.
The best press (IMHO) for volume pistol cartridge is the Dillon SDB. I can knock out 300 an hour.

I have used a Lyman turret, RCBS Rock Chucker, Lee Classic Turret and Dillon SDB. Only the Dillon and Lee remain. I never shot more than 1k of 45acp a month. Now I shoot about 1k a year. I use the SDB for 40SW, 45acp,9mm,44mag. I use the LCT for rifle rounds and special sizing operations.
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Old 06-03-2022, 07:59 PM
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I like to be able to look into the case after charging. When using Bullseye or Red Dot you cannot tolerate a double charge of either. It will take the top strap off a S&W. RCBS rockchucker, 10-10 scale big Ohaus/RCBS powder dump. Electronic powder dumps have been known to get all messed up. RCBS will replace anything that wears out or breaks for free. For shotguns you will want a MEC Grabber progressive. You can load a box in about 5 minutes. Using cast bulk bullets and Bullseye. You can get 1700 38 Sp shots per pound. 357 loads can use 38 sp cases. If you get started, remember to be ready to buy in bulk when opportunities arise. Primers and powder are always difficult when there is a situation like today where the Ammunition makers are mysteriously having a rush on product. Control the ammunition you control the gun.
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Old 06-03-2022, 08:27 PM
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I've been reloading for 40 years.
Some Lee products are great, perform well and hold up to the test of time. The Lee Loader is an excellent example. Many other products, though, rely heavily on cheap aluminum or zamac parts that quickly wear out or break. You have to do your research.
The aforementioned Lee Loader is a great way to get into reloading. They are very affordable. It is slow and deliberate, and makes you learn the fundamentals. Even if you later buy a press, you'll probably keep the Lee Loader for it's practicality and portability. Pair it with the Lee powder scoop set to expand your loading options.
Dillon equipment is the gold standard in terms of quality and service. Their equipment is an investment. Should you choose to sell it one day, you'll recoup most, if not all, of your initial investment. And, their customer service is friendly and knowledgeable. They stand bhind their products.
You can't say that for Lee.
Also, Lee customer service is terrible. They can be very snarky to their customers. If something breaks the best you can hope for is a partial discount on a replacement, if you pay to ship the broken item back to Lee. Resale value on most Lee items is practically nill.

And, there's one more subjective issue. Lee outsources a lot of production to China. To me, that's a big problem.
Dillon, with a few exceptions, produces everything themselves. They don't make electronic components. And, their carbide die parts are outsourced. At least they are domestic production, as this quote atests:

"Customers with existing carbide die backorders, we have not forgotten about you! Die orders are filled based on the date they were placed, oldest orders first. Because we refuse to shift carbide production to China, we have been slower to get caught up on demand. However, the dates shown for newly placed orders do reflect that our carbide suppliers are steadily increasing output, without compromising the quality everyone expects from Dillon Precision. We appreciate your patience and your loyalty to Dillon Precision. "
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Old 06-03-2022, 08:35 PM
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I started loading on a brand new Herters press because it was cheap. It was built like a tank and I should have kept it, but I had the desire for an RCBS Jr. I bought a used one and used it for a good many years, until I wanted more production. Then I bought a Dillon 450. Used it awhile and sold it to a friend and got the 550B. It has been fantastic.
A friend uses a Lee press and he got another friend a Lee progressive of some sort and I watched it being set up and used. I wouldn't own one!! Thank you very much!! BUT, my friend, new to reloading, has used it a couple years and makes some very good ammo. He is a meticulous person, though, and takes good care in what he is doing.

Bottom line: We all like to think we have the answer with what we have and use! In reality, if you do your part, I think all of them will produce a fine product.
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Old 06-03-2022, 09:55 PM
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I started reloading 9mm when I was in college in the 1970's. Used an RCBS Rock Chucker single stage, and a Redding balance beam scale. Then I quit, and packed it away for about 40 years. A few years back, now retired and spending more time at the shooting range, I got all the old stuff out to start reloading 38 Special and 45 ACP. I bought Lee dies. Still using the Redding scale. But it wasn't long before I got tired of handling each cartridge multiple times.

My shooting buddy had a Dillon 550. (Still does, but now he's added a 750.) He demonstrated it, and I used it to load a couple hundred rounds to get the feel for it. Nice piece of work, but I decided to get a Lee Classic Turret. I have not regretted my choice. I don't keep track of how many rounds I've loaded thus far. Many thousands. The only problem thus far was the decapper pin breaking on the 45. I called Lee, they were very nice, one replacement was free and promptly received. My press was made in the USA. The carbide dies don't say where they're from, which is usually an indicator it's not USA.

Likes: price, simplicity, the fact you have a good "feel" for each operation, because you're only doing one operations with each crank of the handle.
Dislikes: Same number of handle cranks as a single stage, but it's quite a bit quicker because you're handling the cartridges a lot less.

I agree with dla above who said 100 rounds per hour is a good expectation. Earlier this week, I did 200 rounds of 45 ACP. Everything was going smooth, so on the second hundred rounds I timed myself, without rushing, just working smoothly. I did 100 rounds in 35 minutes.

I think it's human nature the more somebody spends for something, the more passionate they will be defending their choice, and the more likely they'll be to be critical of other brands. But still, I don't think there's any doubt Dillon makes good stuff. I just chose a different path.

My advice - start with the Lee Classic Turret. You may not even enjoy reloading, in which case you won't be out a ton of money. And it also may be all the press you will ever want.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-03-2022, 10:04 PM
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Might want to buy a few cases of primers before you worry about Dillon or any of the others. You can’t load empties if you don’t have primers.
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Old 06-03-2022, 10:17 PM
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Start out with an RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press.
All brands of dies are pretty good. Even Lee brand. Leeís can have some interesting features.
If you feel the need to add a progressive press later, donít mess around-just get a Dillon and donít look back.
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Old 06-03-2022, 10:28 PM
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It may be a couple of years before you can find enough primers to need a progressive press anyway.
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Old 06-04-2022, 12:10 AM
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I bought a Lee single stage in the 70's and loaded thousands of rounds of pistol and rifle ammo on it. My son wanted to get into loading a few years back and he is still loading with it. I have a rock chucker setup that works great but I us a Hornady lock and load progressive I use most of the time anymore. The Dillion 550C sits in the closet since I started using the Hornady. Not that one is better than the other I just prefer the Hornady.
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Old 06-04-2022, 01:04 AM
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A single stage press is always a smart buy. No matter how much you ramp up production in the future you will always find a use for a single stage press. If your budget is tight or you just don't have the room on your bench, a turret is a great compromise. Several others have mentioned the 4-hole Lee Classic, which is a great press. It's really a great value for the money and it takes up surprisingly little space. The turrets are also dirt cheap so you can keep all your favorite calibers set up and swap them in seconds. Personally, I found the powder measure system and the priming system to be unsatisfactory. There are alternatives, however.



If your heart is set on a progressive, there is no comparison between Lee and Dillon. I say this as a big Lee fan who owns a bunch of their products. There are some things you just can't make cheaply and a progressive press is one of them. I would go with the Dillon.

The 550 is probably fine if all you plan to reload is 357. The XL750 is a more sophisticated press and you get a 5th die station. I use all five stations when I load 357 on a 750 but it isn't strictly necessary. The only thing about the 750 is that once you start pulling that handle, you are knocking out reloaded rounds. It's not a great press if you wanted to just load a few rounds each at different powder charges. It's a little fiddly to get set up but once it's dialed in it will run away from you if you don't keep up. There is no purpose in loading less than 100 rounds at a time.
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Old 06-04-2022, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
My Lee experience:

--I load across more than two dozen calibers
--loading with Lee dies and a Lee press since 1989
--only began tracking production from my bench in 2010
--production, not counting 2022 so far is 152,295

I will put up my ammo against anyone and it's ludicrous to make blanket statements against Lee equipment. Doing so typically shows either a lack of experience or a genuine lack of skill.
Both companies make good products - and both companies make less-than-good products. For cost, Lee can't be beat for dies, single stage presses, or turret presses. For progressive presses, Dillon out shines all comers.

If you haven't used one, try a Dillon. I've owned both Lee Progressive presses (2) and a Dillon. I won't bother saying which is better.
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Old 06-04-2022, 10:36 AM
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Default Lee bashing

Despite some contributors to this thread attempting to defend Lee products the bashing, unfortunately, continues.

Lee claims on their corporate website that all their products are made in the USA. I can't imagine why one would doubt that and question their honesty.

They do not manufacture aluminum dies. Come on now. The funnel on their expansion dies is aluminum and never contacts the case or is subject to friction of any kind. Saying their dies are aluminum is a real stretch.

They have proved, scientifically, that their aluminum frame presses are considerably stronger than they need be for extended, heavy-duty, use. Years ago when I wore out the aluminum lever coupling on my original Lee single stage press they sent me steel replacements free.

If anything manufactured by Lee breaks their policy is to replace it free with no questions asked. That has been my experience.

Your mileage may vary but my experience with Lee customer service has been stellar - same as my experience with RCBS and Dillon.

Their 4-die sets are the most complete, and affordable, dies sold by anyone. They guarantee their products will load ammo as accurate, or more so, than any other brand. If you can demonstrate otherwise they'll buy everything back.

I have used every brand out there and many that are no longer out there. I like them all and am partial to certain setups for certain uses loading over 30 different cartridges and I have been reloading for over 50 years.

If Lee charged 30% more for their stuff most of the criticism of their products would go away. Other than the lever coupling and a primer ejector pin on a sizing die I've never broken a Lee product, nor worn one out, in 50 years. They replaced both for my asking. Can't say that about all the other brands I own and use - and the Lee stuff sees more use.

I drive Ford pickups but do not bash Chevy or Dodge. If you have a favorite reloading rig - great. Tell us about it. The Lee bashing makes me want to stop looking at reloading posts on this forum.
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Old 06-04-2022, 11:17 AM
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Default Presses! ? ! ?


This is my reloading bench! Please notice all the blocks w/dies installed and all are handgun caliber! I bought this press when me and the wife began shooting competition. We were shooting approx. 500rds a week, in multi cals, with practice and events every week! The Dillon was the answer. In one evening, I could load everything needed for the next event plus extra! On the right side of the pic you will see and old C&H 3 station and not in the pic are 3 OLD Herters presses and one being a turret type. The Herters are used for all rifle cals and case forming for the wildcats I play with.
OP, the answer to your question is another question! How many rounds do you shoot every week? If the answer +500 then you shound probably consider a progressive press. If the answer is less I would look for a good used single station or even better would be a good turret press(the dies are adjusted and left alone when changing the process)! Consider a hand priming tool to reduce time spent reloading.
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Old 06-04-2022, 02:27 PM
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I for the most part have little regard for Lee products...except for a few. I think the Lee powder scoops are a great product. I also have a Lee Classic Cast Turret. Got it off ebay CHEAP. It is ok to load the less loaded cals for my handgun shooting. In fact I just bought a 4 die set in 44Sp/mag to use for loading my midrange 44 mag. The set was mismarked and I got them for 31 dollars new. I use the Dillon 750 to load 44 Sp. 38 and 357. I use a goober friend who loads my 9mm...on one of my Dillon 550's. My Redding T-7s are used for rifle and max loads in 41 and 44 mag. Not really dissing the Lee stuff..but much of their progressive presses were terrible and I never liked Lee Loaders. I mostly use the more expensive presses because I have found keeping them in good order means you will never lose money on them if you ever sell....and presses like the Dillons work well. I have collected presses etc for quite a while.. Selling the collectibles like the A2s , A3s, Dunbars and others. Time to let other folks enjoy the stuff from yesteryear
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