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Reloading question for beginner


Collier Kid

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I started with a Lee Pro 1000.   Added the case collator 4 tube set up with the feeder funnel, as well as the 4 tube bullet feeder set up, additional bullet tubes and a couple more primer trays.   Granted this was 16 years ago, but with a scale, powder funnel and some other accessories I found I needed I spent maybe $450.00 

The press dis sometimes need some tweaking, but so does a Dillon or any other press, it is a machine, and things get out of time.  

 

The Lee press was frustrating at times, but usually it was something I was or was not doing, like keeping it clean!  

 

The three hole set up does not allow for a powder check, my solution was a small dowel, with a sharpie mark at the edge of the case with my preferred powder load carefully measured and in the case at "normal" operating speeds, I kept the dowel in my left hand, and placed in into every case before the bullet feeder placed a bullet on the case.    This simple solution quickly became the norm, and with every pull of the handle you get a loaded and consistent loaded cartridges.

 

Filling three or 4 primer trays, and the extra bullet feeder tubes prior to a loading session, I could load 300 or more per hour, which I also found was about my limit for loading before the ADHD kicks in and my mind wanders from the task at hand. 

 

I loaded on this press for 10 years, 6-8k per year until a fellow cowboy was down sizing and I bought a used 550.  Which for all intensive purposes has about the same load rate, but without the auto index, which I do miss. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Fallon Kid said:

I guess a question that has not been asked, “how many reloaders do ya know that started with a progressive press?” 

Me.

I had no experience loading ammunition. Bought a Lee Pro 1000 and a Lyman manual and started loading 45acp. Bought a second Pro 1000 for loading 38spl. Bought a Mec Grabber for shotshells. 
I have since switched to two Dillon 650’s and a PW 800+. 
I also have a Lee Classic Turret for bulge busting and bottleneck rifle ammo. 
 

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To the OP,

 

I started with a new Lee single stage press with the disk type powder drop that I received as a Christmas present. I purchased the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading and read it multiple times before reloading anything. 

 

About 3 years later, I received a Dillon 550B for Christmas. It wasn't much of a learning curve at all. I average about 600 rounds an hour (.38 spl, .45 etc) with weighing powder every 100 rounds although the powder measure has never been off in the 24+ years that I've had the 550. Loading cartridges that requires filling the case to near the top (9mm, .30 carb, etc) will slow the production to about 500 an hour due to being careful to not spill powder out of the case during stage advancement.

 

I believe one of the most important parts of reloading is understanding the steps of reloading...de-prime/resize, re-prime, case flare, powder drop, bullet seating and bullet crimp. Each of these steps becomes ingrained when starting with a single stage press, at least for me it did. Understand though, if you shoot more than one or two matches a month, reloading on a single stage press IS a time consuming, low output venture.

 

I think that the second most important part of reloading is NO DISTRACTIONS. No distracting music, cell phone, wife (or husband), dog, computer, kids, etc. Close the door to the room, lock it if necessary, and reload.

 

Personally, I don't like an automatic advancing press, but that's just my personal preference. With proper education/understanding of reloading practices, methods and safety procedures you should be able to produce quality ammo with a little practice. If you know a experienced reloader who could mentor you for one or two reloading sessions, take the opportunity to watch, listen, ask questions and learn. It'll be worth your time.

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13 hours ago, Fallon Kid said:

I guess a question that has not been asked, “how many reloaders do ya know that started with a progressive press?” 

I sort of started with a single stage RCBS rock Chucker in that my best friend taught me on one in the two or three weeks I was waiting for my Dillon 550B to show up! Once I got my 550 the RCBS was relegated to the closet, then the garage, now the shed where it currently resides. My experience with the 550 was that it was easy to learn to use, maintain and made quality ammo very reliably. There are plenty of quality machines out there, all of which work and just like cars there are advocates for each. Learning on a progressive (IMHO) is no more difficult than learning on a single stage as long as you are patient and spend some time learning what is actually going on. No matter whose machine each position is doing a predetermined thing to a single round that is part of a well defined sequence in the process of making ammo. The only major difference is that you have multiple rounds in process at the same time. If you chose to you could use a progressive as a single stage and process one round at a time but you couldn’t process a lot of rounds simultaneously on a single stage. And trust me on this once you find out how much ammo you could go through in a bunch of matches you will see the light of a progressive very quickly making hundreds per hour rather than fifty or sixty on a single stage. I like to reload and generally do so 1000 in a batch but even so have other things to do as well. 
Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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only progressive i started with was my honaday 366 shotgun reloader , 

 

i later went to a mec SS , now ive got a ponces/warne , back to progressive but using a lot less shotshells than ever before in my life , cant explain that really , 

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I started with a single stage, because when I started reloading the closet thing to a progressive for a hobbyist was a turret press. Dillon was the company that really made the progressive press affordable/available to the masses. Probably one of the reasons they’re so popular today. When I was a kid my dad had a RCBS for rifle/pistol, a Texan for shotgun shells and an old Pacific for swaging and sizing bullets. We did allot of casting. He just replaced the RCBS a couple years ago. He had it before I was born so he got over 60 years of use out of it. You can’t say that about too many possessions in life. 

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5 minutes ago, Buckshot Bob said:

When I was a kid my dad had a RCBS for rifle/pistol, a Texan for shotgun shells ...

 

Ditto, I have used the RCBS and thinking about unretiring the two Texans (12 & 20GA) from the boxes in the garage.

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I hot a Lee Six Pack a couple months ago. It is very fiddly, but when everything is dialed in, it works...until it doesn't. 

 

It is a pain, for me, to adjust the case loader to new case sizes.

 

If I put too many bullets in thr bullet feeder tubes, it can drop 2+ at a time, and when it hits a case with powder, it will spill powder on the plate.

 

Then, you have to worry about grains of powder blocking the primer channel and not allowing the primer guide going all the way in and jamming when you try to prime on the press.

 

I have found out the hard way that some 357 cases, Norma for one, are way too thick for my RCBS cowboy dies and it makes using them a pain.

 

I am single staging all my 357 rounds on my new Forester Co-Ax single stage until I can weed out all the offending case brands.

 

Like others, I just want to bang out a few hundred rounds at a time, but sometimes I just need a small batch and do not want to spend a hour doing a caliber change and dialing in a new powder measure on the Lee, so I bang them out on the Co-Ax.

 

Die changes take less than a second.

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i do as well , simply because ive had my best luck there , but ill never steer anyone from a dillon , i have multiple friends that use them and have excellent results - particularly those that load a lot of different rounds , they have alll their setups done and stored for quick switch out  , i only load a few so ive not needed to have that ability , 

 

i do have a few i load but not all that much of some and not that tuff to switch out on my lyman orange crusher turret press , i do enjoy my time reloading and dont need to have high volume results for anything i do - thus the head shaking at my newly acquired poncess shot shell loader , but it is a great reloading machine , ive always looked at these and the pacific [i think the same thing] as top of the line before commercial production and damn near there 

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10 hours ago, Gungadin said:

More I think about it progressives are dangerous.  I vote for a more conservative choice :lol:

 

 

Sorry, that was kind of political.  NOT Funny.  Like, I don't buy WOKE reloading equipment.

 

Maybe a REgressive press <_<  Not socialist/communist press.

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5 hours ago, Gungadin said:

Sorry, that was kind of political.  NOT Funny.  Like, I don't buy WOKE reloading equipment.

 

Maybe a REgressive press <_<  Not socialist/communist press.

No need for sorry. There are no snowflakes around here. And it is funny!

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2 minutes ago, Lead Monger said:

I don’t believe that for a minute. What would attract them? 

Too funny...

 

Doesn't matter if you believe it or not. Keep thinking that only conservatives are attracted to this game and other shooting activities. 

 

Good Lord...

 

Phantom

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On 12/8/2023 at 7:54 AM, Gungadin said:

Sorry, that was kind of political.  NOT Funny.  Like, I don't buy WOKE reloading equipment.

 

Maybe a REgressive press <_<  Not socialist/communist press.

i got it and i concur , not that i think reloading is in the socialist daily thinking pattern , they are more thinking how to disrupt the next event of interest to any religious or historical thinking person , 

there is a lot to be said for a single stage loader as well as single action revolvers today - but with the overwhelming number of "anti folks" today our hicaps may end up being more important down the road , 

 

life is good , reloading is good [find your way and enjoy it] then jump into SASS and encourage your friends to join you , some of the best fun we can have these days on the range and in the reloading room , have a supply of ammo for the next "crisis" as a guarantee you will be shooting - i do 

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4 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Too funny...

 

Doesn't matter if you believe it or not. Keep thinking that only conservatives are attracted to this game and other shooting activities. 

 

Good Lord...

 

Phantom

I have participated in other shooting sports where I would consider some of the players to be on the progressive side. Just have not noticed them in costume playing cowboy. 

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@Collier Kid I started reloading this year to support the CAS fun as well. I started, briefly, with a Lee single stage that I had picked up some time ago but hadn’t gotten around to using. I quickly decided it wasn’t efficient enough and I got a Lee Six Pack on sale. I haven’t regretted it.

 

It was a bit fiddly to set up, in part due to my inexperience no doubt. It has a few hiccups now and then, but I can turn out a good amount of ammo quick enough to easily meet my needs. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day I go over to the blue side, but I’m sure this will work for me for the foreseeable future. That let me dedicate more funds to the not inconsequential cost of getting going in this game, so I think it was a good trade off.

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1 hour ago, Lead Monger said:

I don’t believe that for a minute. What would attract them? 

Believe as you choose. I know from first hand experience including complaints made to a local gun club because the ‘cowboy’ didn’t approve of non-pc comments. Complaints that almost cost us the club.

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2 hours ago, Lead Monger said:

I have participated in other shooting sports where I would consider some of the players to be on the progressive side. Just have not noticed them in costume playing cowboy. 

Me Too , actually there are a lot of leftys that come to the range i work at - after the MPLS burning/riots a lot of them bought guns and came to learn how they work and how to use them , i found that refreshing in that they now understood a little - even if they still support the efforts to steal their right to do so ., they somewhat understood why it might be the exact reason for keeping it and making it simpler for the law abiding folks 

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On 12/8/2023 at 1:26 PM, Lead Monger said:

No need for sorry. There are no snowflakes around here. And it is funny!

 

I had to laugh the other day, when a progressive found out that I "Recycled" my brass and thought it was extremely "Green" of me, who else would ever think to recycle their ammo?

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27 minutes ago, Itchy Trigger said:

 

I had to laugh the other day, when a progressive found out that I "Recycled" my brass and thought it was extremely "Green" of me, who else would ever think to recycle their ammo?

One of the instances where recycling actually does save money. See if it’s real you don’t need a law or government incentives. 

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Most of us are old enough that we picked up pennies.  Now I pick up a penny and think 'that was a waste of effort' ...unless it is a wheat penny.

 

Now when I pick up a piece of brass I think 5-7 cents.  And you can actually use it...well somebody can, I have stuff I don't need....

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I'm fairly new to SASS, [2016]; my neighbors and other club members are my mentors. Lee turret [4 hole], Dillon 550, 650 750, etc. Dollar wise and what if I didn't continue with SASS? I went with a Lee Value , 4 hole, press; I've used it steadily for all those years since. Slow, yeah, probably. But reloading is fun for me and I'm only reloading for myself. My choice of equipment isn't for every one, but it works for me.

The suggestion to contact other shooters local to the OP is a good one; you have some thing in common with them; they can show you how the press works [Lee, Dillon, RCBS, Lyman] and what to watch for. Consider used equipment or that equipment that is no longer used. I know of a Dillon 550 for sale, but I'm OK with my Lee. The Lee Loading manual is a good investment.

Good luck with your search and purchase of whatever works for you.

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On 12/2/2023 at 9:56 PM, Fallon Kid said:

I guess a question that has not been asked, “how many reloaders do ya know that started with a progressive press?” 

Me. Dillon 550B. Never reloaded a thing before. My daughter at age 11..........

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Lee is always kind of hit and miss with me. Lots of guys have luck with them. I am not one of them. 

It seems these threads always compare Lee to Dillion.  

 

 

Hornady, Redding, RCBS, Lyman all have starter packs that are a bit more expensive than the Lee, but less than the Dillion. You get better stuff. Personally I would suggest looking at a kit from Lyman that has their 8 station turret. My BIL got it and it is a great starter set. 

 

Me? I use Hornady/Redding dies in Redding or Dillion presses. But I got all my stuff over a period of 3 decades and I used a Hornady press for quite a while....one that I got in one of their starter kits.

Edited by Vail Vigilante
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