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Thread: Researching progressive press options

  1. #41
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have an old RCBS single stage , which I've owned since age 18...
    Works good !

    My buddy has a Dillon.
    I can load as fast with my old RCBS as he can with his Dillon, and, I can make better ammo.

    As I load, ..he tinkers, ..adjusts, re fills, ..changes settings, etc.
    .
    I always sort of wanted a progressive, but, As years pass;
    I am actually pretty darned happy that I never owned one.
    .
    If I were to go progressive, I would get a simple turret press, with an indexing head, like the "LEE," and be done with it.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert12345 View Post
    I have an old RCBS single stage , which I've owned since age 18...
    Works good !

    My buddy has a Dillon.
    I can load as fast with my old RCBS as he can with his Dillon, and, I can make better ammo.

    As I load, ..he tinkers, ..adjusts, re fills, ..changes settings, etc.
    .
    I always sort of wanted a progressive, but, As years pass;
    I am actually pretty darned happy that I never owned one.
    .
    If I were to go progressive, I would get a simple turret press, with an indexing head, like the "LEE," and be done with it.
    Your friend must be terrible at setting his press up, or you're the Jerry Miculek of single stage reloading.

    I like single stage presses, and use them regularly for loading various calibers, but there's no way in the world I could come close to matching the output of a 550. I'm lucky to get 100 rounds in an hour and a half on the single stage. I can easily get 500-600 on the 550 including all of the fiddling and refilling. Neither of those numbers includes brass tumbling or bullet casting of course...
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  3. #43
    Boolit Bub
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    I've owned and used Dillon 450 and 550's, Dillon 650 and 1050. Plus Lee 3 and 4 hole press. I still own a Dillon 650 and 1050 plus the Lee 4 hole turret press.
    If someone is constantly tinkering with a Dillon press it isn't adjusted right to start with.
    Someone who can't tie their own shoes should not get a auto press. Having a auto press the operator must understand a problem then fix it. Being in the reloading business for 30 odd years I've had customers be serious and ask 'can this press be operated in a room with the lights turned off'.
    Some people should never have a auto press and some people should never reload ammo. It's just beyond their common sense ability.
    Years ago we used to say 'if you can read and have common sense you can reload'. One of our customers hear that and told us 'I can't read or write a word but I can reload just fine'. We stopped using the phrase.

    An example. A customer sent back a Lee powder measure as it was 20 grains off loading H110 ball powder. I had to test it and the measure would throw a powder charge of H110 of &- 1/10 gr. So I called him and told him the results of my test. His reply was 'did you count the grains of the powder'? He thought the grains where the specs of powder. Sometimes you just can't argue stupid as I explained it to him but he had to check it out.
    Last edited by MK111; 03-12-2018 at 03:59 PM.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master Black Prince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal View Post
    Hands down, it just looks like Dillon is the way to go. Thanks everyone. I'm glad this didn't turn into a "chevy vs. ford" type thread.
    I'm no longer concerned about not having a fifth hole for an M die. It looks like Dillon has that part figured out pretty well if so many seasoned casters are satisfied with it.
    There have been an overwhelming amount of positive experiences with customer service. Apparently Dillon customers don't usually have to pay to replace parts... and it sounds like the parts don't need much replacing.

    I've done a little price shopping... So far, Graf and Sons has the best deal on a 550c. 488.00 shipped to my door with a 45acp conversion kit. That is after an NRA round up. I think this will happen soon.
    I am betting that once you go through the learning curve necessary to become familiar with the press operation, you will also become a dedicated Dillon user. They are absolutely the easiest and most accomodating people you have ever delt with and they are REAL QUICK with their service. You can make the decision to pull the trigger on it without any reservation at all. Good luck and all the best.

    And as MKIII said above, some people ought not try using a progressive press because they don't have enough gray matter to be able to do it. If you can't operate a wheel barrow, you should not try using a progressive press. But anyone who can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time will find it is easy to do.
    Last edited by Black Prince; 03-12-2018 at 04:51 PM.
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  5. #45
    Boolit Buddy Nines&Twos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoZombies View Post
    Your friend must be terrible at setting his press up, or you're the Jerry Miculek of single stage reloading.

    I like single stage presses, and use them regularly for loading various calibers, but there's no way in the world I could come close to matching the output of a 550. I'm lucky to get 100 rounds in an hour and a half on the single stage. I can easily get 500-600 on the 550 including all of the fiddling and refilling. Neither of those numbers includes brass tumbling or bullet casting of course...
    He must be on the other side of the Mississippi River from me to be that good.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nines&Twos View Post
    He must be on the other side of the Mississippi River from me to be that good.
    10 rounds a minute is smokin

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal View Post
    Hands down, it just looks like Dillon is the way to go. Thanks everyone. I'm glad this didn't turn into a "chevy vs. ford" type thread. .
    Congrats Animal on your selection it should serve you well. You also did well in keeping this civil, I've seen some of these get really ugly. The main thing is you picked a press that is going to fit you and your needs. Now you just need to get it, put some time into it to learn it and enjoy the shooting! I myself have 2 old presses and I don't shoot enough to even begin to think about changing to something else. If I can continue reloading for another 15 years I'll be a very happy old man.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    jmorris where in the heck do you come up with all your contraptions?

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinMN View Post
    I started at about 50-60 rounds a minute with a 4 hole Classic Cast about a month ago.
    That's moving! I would like to see a video of that. How long can you sustain that?
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
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    A few musings.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert12345 View Post
    As I load, ..he tinkers, ..adjusts, re fills, ..changes settings, etc.
    .
    Years ago, Precision Shooting magazine had an article on tolerances of a Dillon, think it was a 550. What it gets down to is, with more or less brass on the rotary table, the distance from rotary table shellholder slot to die distance varies. That of course affects COAL.

    Curious, I measured the bullet seating depth on my Hornady ProJector (which was not an old press at that time). I used same batch/brand brass and a quality jacketed bullet. What I found was COAL consistently was different with a table full of brass versus one cartridge alone. It was even repeatable.

    I've taken that to heart now, and save myself a lot of time by setting a new COAL while having the rest of the slots in the rotor full, just like when I'm in full progressive mode. I just deactivate the powder measure and primer feed while doing the adjustment.

    So yes, I can believe your friend fiddles and adjusts too much. But he has to get on with moving up on his learning curve, and not flatline. But it's his life, not ours, if he wants to fiddle and adjust, more power too him. It's just a hobby, after all.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  11. #51
    Boolit Master Outer Rondacker's Avatar
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    I have always set every station with a full press as I learned this one early on. I will say that I have had different COAL on a single stage when I was learning. This came from not having the locking ring tight.

    I have a friend well not so much a friend anymore but a guy I know who does not believe in locking rings and leaves his dies loose. He claims its the cheap RCBS single stages fault he does not get good groups. He also does not own a reloading book. Loads for the fastest hottest he can.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master 1bluehorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outer Rondacker View Post

    I have a friend well not so much a friend anymore but a guy I know who does not believe in locking rings and leaves his dies loose. He claims its the cheap RCBS single stages fault he does not get good groups. He also does not own a reloading book. Loads for the fastest hottest he can.


    Hey, I know that guy too...........

  13. #53
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by kens View Post
    I do not own a progressive, but I been searching such as the OP.
    I seem to have noticed that the priming station is the biggest headache no matter the brand nor style of press, single stage, or turret, or progressive, or brand X,Y, Z.
    From what I have gleened from my searches, it seems that if you had primed brass to start with, then it really wouldnt matter which press you had going forward; because they all can drop powder, and seat a bullet equally easily.
    How many times have you heard of brandX press doesnt like to seat brandZ primers, or maybe not like brandY brass????
    How many times you heard that?

    However, nobody posts about not being able to drop powder & seat a bullet.
    kens,
    I have owned a few machines and my experience differs. The Star was very reliable at feeding primers and the only other press that comes close to seating primers as consistently is the Dillon 1050. All the Dillon presses I have owned (6 total -two SDB's, 550, 650, and two 1050's) were very reliable at seating primers. With any of them, priming off the press is not needed and if there is a problem, it is easily solved at minimal expense and it stays solved for a long time.

    The reports of off press priming I see typically occur with Lee progressive presses and the Hornady AP. Not saying they cannot prime on the press but they may be more difficult to trouble shoot and may not stay adjusted as long. Others with more experience will comment.

    If I was strapped for funds, I would give the new Lee press a shot as it uses the Safety Prime system. It is not "automatic" and thus may be more reliable. The new Lee may not have the speed of the other options but at under $150 is will still produce a completed round with every pull of the handle.

    Animal,
    You will NOT be disappointed!!! The 550 will produce about 300 rounds an hour without breaking a sweat and it is a joy to use. it is simple to adjust the few times you need to. If I had to downsize to one progressive press, it would be the 550 or 1050 as I use them to load pistol ammunition only.

    One last thing. I bet you will be shooting more than 200 rounds per week when you can reload 300/hr. Funny how that works! LOL

    Have fun!!!
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Originally Posted by JBinMN
    I started at about 50-60 rounds a minute with a 4 hole Classic Cast about a month ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by HangFireW8 View Post
    That's moving! I would like to see a video of that. How long can you sustain that?
    LOL An HOUR... not a minute...


    Edited the post to correct. Thanks!
    Last edited by JBinMN; 03-14-2018 at 12:00 PM.
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  15. #55
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    I've never owned a Dillon but would like to try one someday. That being said, I have two Hornady LNL progressives without the case or bullet feeders. I use the Mr Bullet feeder dies along with rigid plastic tubes for feeding bullets. I run right at 500/hr loading 9mm or 40S&W on these. I have found that as long as I keep them cleaned regularly, I have no issues with primers or otherwise. I typically pull the shell plate and primer feed every 1000 rounds and wipe everything down.
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  16. #56
    Boolit Man
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    Well, after reading all of the input here I want to get a Dillon 550.
    I currently use a Lee Classic Turret Press.
    Will my Lee dies work on the Dillon 550?
    Thanks.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master sawinredneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rizzo View Post
    Well, after reading all of the input here I want to get a Dillon 550.
    I currently use a Lee Classic Turret Press.
    Will my Lee dies work on the Dillon 550?
    Thanks.
    Yes, the only press out now that uses specific dies is the Dillon square deal B.
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  18. #58
    Boolit Master sawinredneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohica793 View Post
    I've never owned a Dillon but would like to try one someday. That being said, I have two Hornady LNL progressives without the case or bullet feeders. I use the Mr Bullet feeder dies along with rigid plastic tubes for feeding bullets. I run right at 500/hr loading 9mm or 40S&W on these. I have found that as long as I keep them cleaned regularly, I have no issues with primers or otherwise. I typically pull the shell plate and primer feed every 1000 rounds and wipe everything down.
    Not trying to be “THAT GUY”, but if you are happy I’ll suggest you stay with that. I’m afraid once you tried a 650 your bank account will be empty! I’m not badmouthing other presses, but just from what I’ve seen friends go through vs what I’ve gone through it’s night and day.
    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Irish Proverb: Never approach a Bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or an Idiot from any direction!

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawinredneck View Post
    Not trying to be “THAT GUY”, but if you are happy I’ll suggest you stay with that. I’m afraid once you tried a 650 your bank account will be empty! I’m not badmouthing other presses, but just from what I’ve seen friends go through vs what I’ve gone through it’s night and day.
    Reloading is a crack habit regardless of what press you have. Just saying.....
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  20. #60
    Boolit Master sawinredneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohica793 View Post
    Reloading is a crack habit regardless of what press you have. Just saying.....
    Touché
    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Irish Proverb: Never approach a Bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or an Idiot from any direction!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check