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Multiple reloading presses?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by CDR_Glock, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. CDR_Glock


    Apr 1, 2010
    In the interest of time, I am opting for two reloading presses. One for large pistol primer and one for a small pistol primer (i.e. Dillon 550B for a 357 and a 45 ACP, separately).

    If I ever get into reloading for rifles, I plan to get another press to do 308.

    Is this a common practice to do this? Just wondering.
  2. JBnTX

    JBnTX Bible Thumper

    Aug 28, 2008
    Fort Worth Texas
    If you can afford it and have the space, it's a good idea.

    I reload 6 pistol calibers on one Dillon 550b. It takes less than 5 minutes to switch calibers, with the longest time being spent changing from large to small primers.

    I just couldn't justify the expense versus less than 5 minutes to switch calibers.

    I do have 3 different powder measures though, so I can leave two of them set for loads that I shoot the most of, like 45 ACP and 9mm.

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014

  3. 2@low8


    Sep 18, 2009
    I currently have 10 individual presses mounted on my reloading benches. I custom built the space to handle them all.

    5 Mec reloaders (12,20,28, 410 and another 28 ga), a Lee cast single stage, and RCBS single stage and three Lee 1000's (45, 38 and 9mm).
  4. tom mac

    tom mac

    Jan 10, 2014
    Yes...if you load alot... allows you to set up a specific press for cal/load and leave it alone.

    No swapping parts, and having to reset anything...

    If it an't broke, don't fix it rule! :)
  5. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Having two 550b's on the bench, one LP and the other SP, is an ideal setup but a bit overkill. Using quick change tool heads, you can convert from any caliber to another in less than 3-4 minutes, including a shellplate change if required, without touching the priming system.

    Still, only having one 550b and using the saved funds for QC toolheads may make more sense. It takes well less than 10 minutes to change over the priming system - release the spring, remove two screws, lift the unit and remove and replace the primer bar, tighten two screws and attach the spring, change the primer magazine tube and you're done. Maybe 5 minutes after you've done it a few times.

    The real time savings is with the QC toolheads. That is where you want to invest the funds.
  6. usnret


    Jan 15, 2012
    I buy multiple powder bars (Dillon 550B) and leave them set to the powder charge. I just have to change them out, instead of having to set up everytime I change calibers. Plus powder bars cost less than the whole powder measure system.
  7. Right now I have a Lee Loadmaster set up to load 9mm,and that's all it loads. I load .45 acp, .45 Colt, .38sp/.357 mag on my Dillon 550. Takes me a little longer to change over on the Dillon due to the case feeder, but no big whoop. Changing primer slides is really pretty easy. You of course can be extra tool heads, and just leave your dies and powder measures set up for whatever calibers you reload. A quick change over, then replacing the primer slide, which by then probably needs cleaning anyway is pretty easy and fast. Of course this requires an extra investment in equipment.
  8. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    Get a XL650 for your highest yield caliber and a 550 for everything else including .308
    I prep my .308 cases Size/Trim on my 650, remove crimps with a Super swage 600 and either single stage load trickling primer on a single stage or load up with ball powder back on the 650.
  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I wouldn't say common, but many of us have more than one press. I really don't see the point, even though I had two 550B at one time. It is convenient, but unless you are the type that reloads 500rds & then switches over, multiple calibers, just swap the press over. The 550B takes about 5min without the extra powder measure, to go from sp to lp, just not a big time issue IMO. I only have two measures, one for pistol, one for rifle.
    I currently run a 550B for about 12 calibers, a 650 for 2 & a ss press for about 10-12 more calibers I don't shoot enough to bother getting conversions for or don't fit the 550 press. Many Lee users will buy multiple Lee progressives & leave them setup for each caliber, helps keep them running & they are cheap enough to do that.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  10. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    For me I would get one 650 with case feeder, two extra tool heads and powder measures. Another complete primer assembly. The 45 and 308 use the same shell plate and buttons. A few other parts that that you would need to buy would be like the powder funnel and a few other parts. You would have a lot better priming system. Caliber conversions would take about 10 minutes. What I have been told the new primer punch is made where you can use a socket on it now instead of a wrench or a wrench if you like. Or you can do like I do and just use the small primer punch for both small and large primers. The time it would take to do a conversion would more than make up for the difference in speed in loading. You would also have a more versatile, faster and safer press in the 650. And you spent a lot less money on presses.
  11. kostnerave


    Sep 4, 2010
    Have been running multi presses for years. Have two SDB"s for 45 & 9mm and a Lee Classic that handles all my rifles reloading and seldom reloaded 380, 357's. Have a Mec Jr. that does a good job on all my shotgun reloading. If you enjoy reloading its a nice way to spend an hour every evening.
  12. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I have 2 presses. I load 223 and pistol cartridges on an RCBS Pro 2000. Bolt gun loading and odd jobs are done on a Rock Chucker single stage. The Pro 2000 changeovers are incredibly fast. I can switch from small primer 223 to large primer pistol in 3.5 minutes. Add 30 seconds if starting with a hopper full of powder. I use the same powder throw so the 3.5 minutes includes configuring the powder throw, changing die plates and shell plates, and switching priming size. Pretty nifty press if you don't need a case feeder. I wouldn't want to live without the Rock Chucker though.

    At some point I will add a Super 1050 for 223 when volume justifies it.
  13. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    I barely reload and I have 3 presses. A Lee single-stage for small batches and precision rifle ammo, a Lee turret press that I use for medium batches and rifle ammo and Dillon RL550B that I use for bigger batches, like running off a few thousand 9mm or .40.
  14. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    Many years back, I was loading a lot of .45 ACP and .38 wadcutter. So, yes, I bought two 550Bs. They are mounted to my bench but see little use. I also have a 650, 1050 and Redding T7 on my bench. Way too many presses... The others are in storage.

    For the cost of two 550s, as convenient as that may be, I would rather use the money to buy a 650. If you buy the complete primer mechanism, it takes just two bolts to completely replace the primer setup. Some people leave the small seater plug in place, using it to seat both primer sizes, but even if you change from one to the other, it is just a minor issue.

    But yes, there are people who have a pair of 550s with different primer setups. Were I rich, I would have a pair of 1050s for the same reason. Alas, no such luck...

  15. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    That is what I would do.
  16. jmorris


    Apr 13, 2006
    Don't know if it's a good idea but I have a bunch here. Always have every spare part available too.

    The only thing better than having one of everything is having two or more.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  17. WeeWilly


    Nov 12, 2011

    Words to live by.
  18. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Just an unproven theory that I have. I think that people that have more than one press that are different than one another are more prone to having squibs or double charge. Even when I had the LCT, I caught myself screwing up because I’m so use of the Dillon 650 doing a lot of steps automatically for me. Also people that load setting I think are more prone of having squibs or double charges. Yes I know there are people that have done both millions of years with no problems.
  19. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Likes the man who shoots one gun all the time. He probably knows how to use it.
  20. njl


    Sep 28, 2000
    Agreed. Once you figure out the tricks to getting the primer slide installed properly, swapping from large to small primer slides and magazines doesn't make the conversion process take much longer than swapping out the powder funnel, shell plate, and buttons.

    If you've got $ and space to burn, it would certainly be convenient to have a press dedicated to each caliber, but I don't see that in my future.

    Besides, with the 550, you really need to take apart the priming system every so often anyway to clean all the decapping crud off it unless you have yet another press dedicated to decapping.

    For my 550, I do have a tool head per caliber, so I don't have to adjust all the dies every time I change calibers.