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Been thinking about getting a progressive press

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by JAckal66, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. JAckal66


    Aug 16, 2012
    What brands do you recommend?

    I have a little Lee single stage that has loaded 5000+ rounds over the years.

    A progressive press scares me a little. There has never been an accident or whoops with my single stage.

    It would probably be better to actually charge powder & seat bullets when my 8 year old son isn't around.

    After I get familiar let him help.

    Any recommendations to a first progressive press?

    I have my own machine shop & CNC + manual machines.

    It is nothing to run multiple machine at the same time, but none of them actually explode if you mess up.:homer:


    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  2. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    What and how much do you shoot a month? Do you plan on getting into competition? How much are you will to spend?

  3. ursoboostd


    Jun 30, 2009
    Florence, Ky
    I love my Dillon 650 and I think most that have Dillons really like them too.
  4. Hoser

    Hoser Ninja

    May 22, 2002
    Get a Dillon and cry once.
  5. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
  6. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    Your budget is the first consideration. Presses run anywhere from $200 up to about $2000. There is a certain amount of ego involved in buying the more expensive presses but there is also productivity. Do you want to load 200 rounds per hour or 1000+?

    Which leads to the second consideration. How many calibers do you load (because a Dillon 1050 is FAST but caliber changes are EXPENSIVE) and how many rounds per month of each?

    If you want speed but less expensive caliber changes, the Dillon 650 is almost as fast as a 1050 but caliber changes are more affordable.

    If you can do without the case feeder, the Dillon 550B is the workhorse of the reloading community.

    This page shows the difference in price and capacity for the 3 most popular Dillon presses:

    You will note that the 1050 isn't really mentioned because it is more of a commercial production machine. But it's FAST!

    Also not noted is the fact that the 1050 will swage the primer pockets on 9mm and .223. This might be important. Or not...

    The other commonly mentioned press is the Lee Classic Turret becuase, well, it is cheap! A couple of hundred bucks and you're in business. But it only loads a couple of hundred rounds per hour.

    All of these presses will load faster than a single stage press. The differences are in speed and cost.

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  7. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    No crying needed.
  8. JAckal66


    Aug 16, 2012
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    For me loading up and shooting 200 rounds of 9mm in a weekend is a lot.

    I already have dies, bullets & brass for .223, .38 spl, .357 mag., .44 spl & mag, .30-06., .243. .30-30, 9mm. & now 357 Sig.

    Around $300 to $500 for just a press sounds right, but things are a lot different than 20 years ago.

    Stopped re-loading around '92.

    My work schedule & home life really changed back then, and it is just now that I am able to enjoy guns again.

    One of those Lee progressive presses would probably work for me.

    Things have changed drastically in the past 20 years.:shocked:

    It almost like being gone on another planet.

    Truthfully, a turret press would be like mass production for me.

    Keep the info coming.

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  9. ricklaut


    Jan 10, 2012
    Las Vegas
    As you've seen, many people are going to recommend Dillon. I'm sure they're fantastic... I've never owned one. Based on what I've read (only), I am leery of the priming tube setup they use.

    I recently went from a single stage to a progressive - I fell into a deal on an RCBS Pro 2000 Auto Index. Simply put... AMAZING. I'm still going very slow on every stroke (deliberately - making sure I'm hitting on all cylinders), and I'm easily cranking out 200 rounds an hour (mind you, speed isn't my goal - but it is a metric to compare with a single stage). I cranked out 400 rounds yesterday and it was almost effortless. I had another spare 1/2 hour today and made another 100. I love the priming system - I've not heard of any accidents with the strips, nor can I envision them exploding based on their design.

    Do some Googling on this RCBS press and you'll see several very informative posts on other forums. My sense is that the RCBS is on par with a Dillon, but RCBS is WAY behind in the marketing / PR arena.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  10. SJ 40

    SJ 40

    Jan 17, 2011
    Former Lee pro 1000 owner/user,for the last ten years Dillon and you could never get me to use one of those red things ever again. SJ 40
  11. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    Sounds like you are a prime candidate for the Dillon 550.
    You might also look at the hornady LNL.
    In addition to the press you have to buy a caliber conversion for each caliber. Most dillon owners also but a powder funnel and tool head for each caliber.
  12. papercidal


    Jun 7, 2012
    I bought a Lee Loadmaster a few years ago. My old man has used a pro 1000 since I was about 8 years old with very few problems .
    My Loadmaster experience however was nowhere near as good and every 100 rounds I loaded on it i put away the difference between the cost to load and factory (about $20 for .45) with the intent of buying a Dillon with the savings. About half way there the press started working flawlessly and continued to do so for about 5000 rounds but tonight it started having problems indexing correctly so I think it is time to order a 650.
    But by my count the Loadmaster has saved me about $1400 over factory ammo in the last 2 years so if its all you can afford it is far from wasted money. But if you can afford it save yourself the frustration and just get the Dilllon to start with with if you shoot anything close to as much as I do it will more than pay for itself
    in far less time than you think
  13. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011

    You can save a few bucks on shipping if you order the 650 from It's only $30 or so but that'll buy a can of powder.

    Fully equipped with the alarms, hardmount and everything except the upgraded handle, my 650 came in right around $1000.

    It is a GREAT press and it is FAST.

  14. JAckal66


    Aug 16, 2012
    Thanks for all of he good advice/answers.

    One of my buddies is looking for a new progressive press. He is going to let me try out his old progressive press & turret press.

    He would sell the turret press if I want it.

    Can't remember the name of it. Redding or Lyman????maybe

    Thanks for all of the help,

  15. Graybar100


    May 6, 2012
    Billings Mt
    I got a Dillon 550 for Christmas last year. I should have gotten one sooner!
  16. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    IT always comes down to time vs money. The least problems will come from Dillon presses. Just fact, so no crying from the Lee guys. The thing is, 90% of reloaders just do not need a 650, cost or complexity. If you really need 700-800rds/hr, then a 650 w/ case feeder is your setup. If you just want 400rds/hr w/ no case feeder but auto index, a LNL is a good machine, not as good as the Dillon for several reasons, but better than any Lee. The DIllon 550 will serve the vast majority of reloaders well. It's affordable for multiple calibers & fast enough @ 400-500rds/hr & dead bang simple. It is manual indexing & that scares the folks that just like to pull the handle. You can't break one & if you do, Dillon fixes it for free.
    I had one for 20yrs, loaded at least 150K rds on it & never broke anything. SOld it to a friend for cheap & he is still reloading on it. I have a newer one, maybe 50K on it, & also a 650 just because. Both machines run & run w/ little to no problems. I load about 1500rds a month of various calibers, so while the speed is not needed, I do enjoy the simplicity of turning out 200rds in less than 20min when I need it.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  17. Gokyo


    Apr 24, 2005
    I vote Dillon 650. buying the best only hurts once.
  18. brisk21


    May 13, 2008
    I have the Dillon RL550B and it is great!!! Id highly reccomend it.
  19. Houdini


    Jul 6, 2007