Progessive Presses

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Yosemite Sam

Hunter
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Mar 18, 2002
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Cape Cod, MA, USA
What's the best progressive for the money? And what is "the money"? (Eg, how much are we talking?)

I know I can get a Hornady L-N-L kit from Midway that has "everything I need" except shell plate(s) and bushing(s) for $407. This one has a powder measure included. I'm assuming it has some sort of primer feed mechanism. Powered case feeder sold separately.

An RCBS progressive is around $470-550 (more for auto-indexing; how can it be "progressive" without it?) and sounds somewhat similar. It uses their standard Uniflow powder thrower though, and I'm not sure how this is supposed to work in a "progressive" environment (pardon the term).

From what I've been able to gather, a Dillon setup would cost somewhere around $600 or more to start, and could easily push into the $800-$1000 territory with accessories.

I currently, actively load for 2 calibers. More if you count rifle rounds, but for now I'll stick with single stage for those. But I have die sets for 3-4 other pistol calibers that I shoot, which I don't currently load for (stocked up on commercial ammo before the drought). Reading the description of L-N-L it looks like it could cost $100 or so to add a caliber, and I've heard of similar prices for Dillon equipment.

Is that the case, or am I misreading something? Does anyone here have a progressive and do multiple calibers on it?

I'm currently able to get a consistent 100 rounds per hour out of my Lee Turret. Would I be able to double my output with a progressive?

What brands other that Hornady, RCBS, and Dillon are worth looking at? As much as I like my Lee Turret I know enough to stay away from their progressives.

I thought at one point there was an upgrade kit to turn a RockChucker into a progressive, but I can't find it now. If anyone knows of this please let me know, as I have a RC I could upgrade.

Thanks for any input,

-- Sam
 

96/44

Blackhawk
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Mar 23, 2009
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Minnesota
I have a Hornady LNL, and am very happy with it. You can use your current dies, and it comes with both large and small primer setups, so the only thing you need to switch calibers is the shell plate (around $25-30). I don't have a case feeder, and working at a moderate pace it is pretty easy to do around 250rds/hr. If they are still offering the deal for 1,000 free bullets when you buy the press, it is really a good buy.
 

Chief_10Beers

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Mar 15, 2009
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Kenly, North Carolina
Yosemite Sam":28abqb7x said:
I thought at one point there was an upgrade kit to turn a RockChucker into a progressive, but I can't find it now. If anyone knows of this please let me know, as I have a RC I could upgrade.

Thanks for any input,

-- Sam

Scroll to the bottom and check out piggyback III for the Rocker........................

http://www.gunaccessories.com/RCBS/Presses.asp
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
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Kentucky
Friend of mine bought a piggy-back for his 'chucker.

Took us a couple of hours to install the silly thing.

It absolutely would not stay locked in adjustment.

He used it a couple times, then bought a Dillon. Hasn't had a single problem with the Dillon, and he loads a lotta competition ammo.

He offered me the piggy-back for free, but I had no use for the silly thing. I think it's somewhere under his loading bench.

Just sayin' . . .

:roll:
 

101VooDoo

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
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142
Location
Northern Nevada
Sam,

I've got the LNL AP, and couldn't be happier; load for .44 Spec/Mag, .45 Colt/ACP and hopefully next week the .32 H&R. My only problem is keeping enough brass and bullets available.

Haven't loaded rifle yet, but intend to for .223, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

If you haven't watched the Hornady Factory Videos on You Tube yet, I'd definitely check them out before you make up your mind. There's eight or so of them showing the setup and operation of the press.

After initial set-up and adjustment, I could run 100 cartridges in 20 minutes, which included spot checking powder weights. 100 at a time is about all my attention span allows, I'll go and do something else, come back reload the primer tube and crank out another 100.

Jim
 

Hammer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
231
.

Been loading for over 35 years. Started with a mallet operated Lee Loader and quickly progressed to a RCBS Rockchucker.

Currently load for about 150 different rifle and handgun cartridges. All personal use. Nothing commercial.

Have more than a dozen or so Dillons including the Dillon 450 (discontinued), 550, 650, and 1050.

Also have RCBS, Hornady, Lee, and many other presses ranging from antiques to modern single-station, turret, horizontal, etc.


Your price estimates are about right.

My recommendation based on extensive use and trying lots of different things is if you can afford the entry price, go Dillon.

Again, if you can swing it, the 650 is what I would recommend.


Others will have different experiences, different characteristics they value, and different opinions.

.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
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So. Florida
Hammer":1djte1xg said:
.
Currently load for about 150 different rifle and handgun cartridges. All personal use. Nothing commercial.

Have more than a dozen or so Dillons including the Dillon 450 (discontinued), 550, 650, and 1050.

Also have RCBS, Hornady, Lee, and many other presses ranging from antiques to modern single-station, turret, horizontal, etc.

Personal use ?? Does that include loading ammo for several small foreign armies ?? I saw a picture of your re-loading factory and the adjoining ballistics testing lab. Impressive. :shock:

...Jimbo
 

Old Judge Creek

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
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1881 Ranch, Nv & Northern Ca
I'm kind of like the previous poster except I've been at it since 1957. I disagree with the Dillon 650 though, IMO the best all around progressive is the Dillon 550... Because it is the most foolproof.

For my money, no one makes a better progressive than Dillon.
 

Snake45

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Yosemite Sam":34ywjv5s said:
I'm currently able to get a consistent 100 rounds per hour out of my Lee Turret. Would I be able to double my output with a progressive?
I can get 100 rounds per hour from a single stage. From my Lee 1000, I found I could get a consistent 300 per hour. When you read a review of a progressive press, notice that the writer will crank out 50 or maybe 100 rounds in a certain amount of time and then extrapolate that you could load 500 to 600 rounds per hour on the machine. The problem is that you have to pause every so often and reload the primer feed, the case feed, the powder hopper, etc., and all this takes time. I think 300 per hour or maybe a little more is realistic to expect from any progressive.

What brands other that Hornady, RCBS, and Dillon are worth looking at? As much as I like my Lee Turret I know enough to stay away from their progressives.

-- Sam
I never had any problems at all with my Lee Progressive. After I got it set up, which wasn't difficult at all, it worked exactly as advertised. I loaded thousands and thousands of rounds on it without incident. Extra shellplates are available for caliber conversion. I thought the Lee was easily worth its price.
 

Hammer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
231
.

With hydraulic operation, bullet feeders, etc...

Can approach 2,000 rounds per hour on a Dillon.

Keeping several Dillons running...

Can almost keep up with the charging bull prairie dogs.



Have pseudeo-progressive loading for the African calibers like the 500 Nitro, 500 A-Square, 550 Magnum, 585 Nyati...


.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
I have to say that Dillon is the top of the line,, best progressive press set-up you can buy for the money.
I'm NOT kicking Hornady,, but the Dillon warranty is the industry BEST by far!
I own 3 Dillons,, and they are great. If anything breaks,, or even gets out of spec & doesn't quite work the way it's supposed to,, a quick call to Dillon will get you a replacement for FREE very quickly. (And you always get a live person to talk to,, unless all the techs are busy,, but when you call,, you do not have to play a punch the correct number game either.)
A Dillon Square Deal B is about $360 already to go in one caliber. The 550 is about $420 w/o a set of dies. (You can use standard dies,,) Then the cadalic is the 650 (At least for us hobbiests,) and will cost about $545 w/o a casefeed assy. If you get the 650,, get the casefeed,,, it's well worth the extra $212.
Realistic numbers of production with a 650 is around the 900 rounds per hr if you have 10 tubes of primers ready to use,, (or use the Dillon automatic primer filler,, but it's another $260.) But that's if you stay steady & do not have any slowdowns like a snack, trip to the bathroom etc.) I actually decided to push my 650 once to see how many I could load in 1 hour. I pushed hard & got a bit over 1250 in 1 hr. But,, my casual loading times allow that I get about 700-800 per hr w/o pushing.
I digress,,,,,,
The Dillon is the first word in Progressives,, and the last one you'll buy due to their lifetime warranty!
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
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Mar 10, 2002
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Redlands CA USA
Snake45":v3mm2vpw said:
I can get 100 rounds per hour from a single stage.

Hi,

I, too, can easily do 100/hr on a single stage, sometimes 150 if I'm not interrupted by phone calls and such... and have my "batch" system fine tuned.

I'd think a good turret output could approach 200/hr if one looks at all the operations and positions everything for minimum hand movement and wasted motion.

Progressives need the same attention to detail for max output. When a buddy was loading several hundred a week for all the guys who got together for their weekly range outing, he could only get about 200/hr out of his brother in law's Dillon (back in 450 days, IIRC), but if the two of them worked together, they learned how to work things so they more than doubled one person's output.

From what I've seen, there's probably a greater spread in output figures/hour w/ progressives than w/ single stage and turret presses. Cuz of how folks get everything set up for them is my first guess...

And, as Contender mentions, how hard they push!

Rick C
 

Arokcrwlr

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
690
Location
NE GA, USA
I also have the Hornady L-N-L AP and love it, but I don't have experience with any other progressives to compare it to. Before getting it I used a single stage RCBS. The reason that I bought Hornady is because of the bullet promotion they were running - great deal.

I don't doubt that Dillon is the best because folks who forgot more about reloading than I'll ever know say it is. However, I think that unless you have the need to pump out 10's of 1000's of rounds/year, the Hornady will suit your needs just fine. Oh, and their customer support is pretty darn good as well.

+1 on the youtube videos. The manual is so-so, watch some of the videos on youtube and you won't need the manual.

ETA: I reload 44mag/44spcl, 41mag, 45C, and 45ACP (all lg primers) on my Hornady. The only thing you need to change calibers is the shell plate ($30), dies ($35), and lnl bushings ($8.). Once you have the dies set up in the bushings, it only takes as long as removing one bolt for the shell plate and a quarter turn for each die to swap calibers. If you go between lg/sm primers there is an additional step to set up the primer tube which isn't a big deal.
 

Cherokee

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 21, 2003
Messages
472
Location
Medina, Ohio, USA
I am very happy with my Dillon 650 & case feeder for my volume loading. I have a good friend that is happy enough with his Lee progressive that he is not going to replace it. I also use RCBS RC press and CH "H" press that I used for many years before the Dillon and still use for low volume loading and working up test loads for rifle and pistol. IMHO, go Dillon 550 (manual indexing) or 650 (auto indexing & 5th die position).
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
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Mar 18, 2002
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Cape Cod, MA, USA
Thanks for all the informative replies! I'm also going to use some advice I read elsewhere and see what I can find on the used market.

I will add that the couple of times I've had to contact Lee I have also been very impressed with their customer service. It sounds like all these makers (Lee, Dillon, Hornady, and RCBS, at least) excel in this area.

And I agree about your loading rate being relative to a lot of other things. I get 100/hr out of my turret while checking every nth powder charge, having to fill the primer feed or powder hopper occasionally, etc. I get that. Also understand that single stage can be pretty fast too, as long as you have all your ducks in a row.

Geez, if I had a press that churned out 1200/hr I'd have to buy a lot more brass... ;)

Thanks again.

-- Sam
 

WESHOOT2

Hunter
Joined
Mar 19, 2005
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Duxbury, Vermont, USA
There is no question; there is no alternative; there is no other correct answer: The finest non-commercial progressive press is the Dillon XL650 (w/ case feeder and powder-check station).
Yep.
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
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PA
chaneyd":1izlzx71 said:
Dillon 550B

You mean the only 'progressive' press that isn't 'progressive' ?? If a press needs to be indexed by hand like a turret press, as far as I'm concerned, it isn't 'progressive'. I'm not saying it isn't a great press, because I think most Dillon products are very good, but it's not progressive like the Hornady LNL AP or the doubly expensive Dillon 650.

REV
 
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