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Which press?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by nathanours, Oct 31, 2011.


  1. nathanours

    nathanours
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    Hey guys, I'm new to reloading (well haven't even started yet) and I have a few questions.

    I just ordered the ABCs of reloading I've seen you guys mention, and I'll give that a thorough reading when it arrives in a week or so.

    My question is, which press should I buy? I've got a budget of around $200 max for the press itself. I know I'll still need dies a scale, a powder measure, and a tumbler at some point too.

    I've currently got around: 500 5.56x45 brass, 2000 45 auto, 4000 9mm, and 500 38 special brass to reload that I've saved over the last 2 years.

    ETA: that is about how much I shoot in a year or two, so that is the volume I'll probably be reloading, maybe more if that matters.

    I want a good quality press that will hold up well, and people have recommended to me the RCBS rock chucker, and the lee classic turret. What are you guys opinions of those two?

    I tried the search function, but for some reason it isn't working.

    Thanks,

    Nathan
     

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    #1 nathanours, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  2. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm
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    Classic Turret press will load faster than the single stage, since each case is ran through the series of 4 dies without changing to complete a single loaded round. The single stage is best loaded in batches, so you put the sizing die in then run all the cases to size, deprime, and reprime them. Then take out that die and put in the next and run the cases through that step, etc.

    Both are great presses for what they are. With shooting that volume, you'd be fine with a single stage press. With a turret press you can cut your loading time in half and have that much more time for other matters (be they gun/shooting related or family/life related).
     

  3. nathanours

    nathanours
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    Which brand is better quality, Lee or RCBS?
     
  4. creophus

    creophus
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    At that budget...Lee Classic Cast Turret.
     
  5. Hogpauls

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    I use the Rock Chucker Supreme, it's built very well and will be around for the grandchildren to use. I shoot and load 6000-7000 rounds a year of various calibers and have no problems keeping up using the single stage. The press alone will run around $130 and the kit for $300 depending where you shop.
     
  6. nathanours

    nathanours
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    The $200 is only for the press, not everything. So you guys think I'd be okay reloading that volume with a single stage?
     
  7. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm
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    The RCBS is over-engineered more than the Lee. The RCBS is stronger by design than the Lee and has a longer warranty. I've had a Lee Classic Turret for several years and it's still running strong. A friend is using it to load .44 Mag.
     
  8. unclebob

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    Like what was said before, how much time do you have to reload? If you are like most people you will double the amount you shoot now.
     
  9. F106 Fan

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    Well, I'm going to suggest a different approach. Consider the Dillon BL550. It is a stripped down RL550B that is still a progressive press. Sure, it's $60 more than the budget but at least it has a future with an eventual upgrade to a full-blown RL550B.

    You will need a powder scale immediately. There is simply no other way to meter the powder charges unless you add some kind of powder dispenser. But you would need a scale anyway.

    Just something to think about...

    Richard
     
  10. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis
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    Pretty good advice. But to add....

    I have a single stage RCBS that is 39 years old. I still use it for bullet pulling and for short runs (typically rifle). If you get a single stage RCBS, you will always find a use for it, even if you get a progressive later.
     
  11. PCJim

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    Like some others, I still have and use the press that got me into reloading, a RCBS RS2 back in '83. I now load almost exclusively on a 550b (can't get myself to fall in love with the SDB). I still work up loads as well as perform some rifle prep work on the ss.
     
  12. nathanours

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    I honestly have plenty of time, so that really isn't a concern. I'd rather get something good to learn on.

    What do you guys recommend for a powder scale, and a powder dispenser if I get the RCBS?
     
  13. freakshow10mm

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    Powder scale I use a cheap digital jeweler's scale that converts to grains. I like the RCBS Uniflow powder measure as it comes with a bar so you can mount it around the sizing die and secure with its lockring so it hangs off to the side. Size the case, reprime it, then take it out of the shellholder, slide it under the powder measure to drop the powder charge, then place in your loading block. After that is done, put in your seating die and just seat the bullets.
     
  14. fredj338

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    I started w/ *& still use a RCBS ss press, but you would never get me to go back to it for volumn handgun reloading. The LCT makes mroe sense & should last you along time, maybe all the press you'll ever need but for heavy duty case forming or bullet sizing. A good scale, powder measure & die setups & you are on your way.
     
  15. unclebob

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    For the life of me I cannot understand why people that have a progressive press think they need to work up loads on a single stage press. I just does not make any since too me.
     
  16. creophus

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    Scale: RCBS 505
    Powder measure: RCBS Uniflow
     
  17. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm
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    If I have one caliber setup on the progressive and want to make a quick run of another caliber for load workup, I don't want to tear down the progressive to make the caliber change only to change it back shortly thereafter.

    When I do load workups I usually bring the components and the Lee hand press to the range and do it there.

    When I use the progressive to load workups, I drop 10 cases into the casefeed tube and load those, then increase the PM a bit, drop another 10 cases into the tube and continue.

    If I'm doing workups for more than one caliber, I use the single stage as it's faster to setup than the progressive, especially if I'm only loading 50 rounds to test.

    I don't think you need a single stage for workups, but certain instances it's nice not to have to touch the progressive.
     
  18. dkf

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    I have an LCT but if I was buying a single stage press I would lean towards the Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press. Lees breech lock system is pretty slick and quick. You can put Lees safety prime setup on the classic cast press also. I was thinking about picking one up to go with my LCT but I may just buy another LCT in the future.
     
  19. F106 Fan

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    Oh, absolutely! I have both an RCBS RockChucker and a Big Max. I use the RockChucker for rifle reloading - in particular, .308 and 6.5x284 NORMA. But for these, 100 rounds is a big session. Fifty rounds is more typical.

    For these, I trickle the powder and try to make every cartridge identical. I spend a lot of time on case prep and such. The results are worth it.

    However, when it comes to .223 and 9mm, I use the 550B and for .45 ACP I use the 1050. I'm in a hurry...

    I could use the 550B as a rotary single stage press, it would certainly do the job. In fact, it would be easier to prime cases on the 550B than it is to use a hand priming tool. To trickle the charges would just involve changing the powder dispenser with some kind of funnel. If I didn't already have the RockChucker, this is exactly how I would do it.

    In fact, now that I think about it, maybe I should move my precision rifle loading the the 550B. All I need is a new die head and maybe a new shell plate. Then I could recover some bench space currently used by the RockChucker. This is a really good idea!

    I guess I have to agree with some of the others, there is simply no point in buying a single stage press. Everything you can do on a single stage can be done better on a progressive regardless of how you operate the progressive.

    And there is probably no reason to buy a turret press either. It has no upgrade possibility and it is unlikely to be the last press. A 550B could very well be the last press unless pistol loading gets out of hand. Then a 650 or 1050 would be a better choice. But the price goes up considerably.

    No, I think I'll stick with the recommendation for the Dillon BL550 with the idea that the press will be upgraded to a 550B over time. It will do everything the turret and single stage presses will do and it has a future.

    Richard
     
  20. unclebob

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    I guess it all depends on how you do it. I don’t change the powder measure for adding powder. Only to bell the case. For powder I pull the case out of the press and either use the RCBS charge master or use the Dillon powder measure with powder and dump the charge on the other scale then trickle in the rest of the powder. Yesterday I load 100rds of 45 ACP ammo for an upcoming GSSF match on a LCT press. Everything was already set. But I could have changed the 650 from 9mm to 45acp loaded the rounds and put it back to 9mm in the time it took me to load them of the LCT.Once I have a load I don’t change the powder bar setting. It only changes if I change the type of powder or the amount of powder. So unless I come up with a better load for that round the powder measure stays the same.