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RCBS Big Max

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by B.Reid, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. B.Reid


    Jun 20, 2005
    Have any of you used one of these? I came across one but I have never seen one of these before. I bought a bunch of reloading stuff from a guy and this was part of the deal. Any idea of what it is worth?
  2. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    It's a big honker of a press. Big spade handle which is easier than the ball (a forerunner to today's roller handles). The frame is parallel to the table, so you load/remove from the front (vs the side as on most SS). LOTS of clearance. Sort of the big daddy to the Rock Chucker. It's overkill for most reloading; although it would be great for swaging. If it's in good shape (ie no rust, smooth linkage, no broken/missing parts), I suspect you could get a couple of hundred with the right party.

    Here are the instructions.

  3. I've never seen one of those. What years were they made?
  4. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Mid to late 60's IIRC. They were expensive as all get out. The universal shell holder was the cats azz. It did unscrew and you could screw in a ram extender with a standard shell holder. There was an extension handle I'd forgotten about till I took another look at the instructions. You could put a ton of omph on the handle, which made it soooo good for swaging operations.
  5. srd


    Apr 4, 2009
    A friend of mine has one for just what dudel said..swaging bullets. Its a monster compared to other presses. Very heavy duty and well made. There is a lot of cast iron in that unit !
  6. B.Reid


    Jun 20, 2005
    They were made in the 80's from what I have been able to find out. It is in good shape I have the extended handle, and I plan to sell it. It is just more than I need. It is a heck of a press the ram is at least two inch in diameter.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  7. rg1


    Aug 5, 2003
    I've had one since the early 80's. A great heavy duty press. Just an educated guess as to the value. If it is in decent condition and has all the parts I'd say $250-$300. It should have the automatic shellholder, regular shellholder, a ram prime unit with both large and small punches plus a punch holder that snaps in the shellholder and holds the punches, and a little plastic cup that snaps onto the bottom of the ram to catch spent primers. This little plastic cup didn't hold up to well and often cracks and it wouldn't be a biggie if it were missing or damaged. It also had a tool to tighten or remove the auto and standard shellholders that screw into the top of the ram. This press is still in demand and goes for premium prices. It wasn't cheap back in the day either. With special threaded 50 BMG dies it can be used for a 50 BMG press. I think it has 1 3/8 threads with the die bushing removed?? Also a great press for swaging bullets, or any other heavy duty operation. It has a long handle travel, a 4" plus opening between shellholder and bottom of die holding bushing, but I've reloaded many rounds from .380 to 300 Wea Magnum on it. I've got other presses on my bench now but still use the Big Max a lot. It has good feel and sensitivity even for a big press. Don't sell it too cheap.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  8. johnjohn


    May 24, 2009
    Baton Rouge La.
    Keep that thing it'll do anything you want and more.Probably a lot better workmanship than anything built nowadays.
  9. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    I'd like to have it in the event I ever have the need to load up a few concealed carry artillery rounds. I wonder if you can mount a 50 pound capacity powder measure to it?

  10. GLShooter


    Jan 3, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've got one of those from the early 80's. It only has one purpose in life and that is to swage 223 cases up to make wildcat 9 MM rounds for my 9 MM American. You know the one, 90 grain bullets at 2000 fps out of a 5" 1911.