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Thread: Vintage press recommendation?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Vintage press recommendation?

    Hi all,

    I'm keeping my eyes out for a quality vintage (in this case, probably post-WWII, pre-1990's) single stage reloading press. I know the RCBS A-2 press has a great reputation. What other presses would you recommend from this time period? I'm doing mainly pistol reloading, but want something stout enough to handle deer-caliber rifle rounds also. Leaning mainly toward Redding and RCBS, but open to other suggestions.

    Which are your favorites?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy


    BorderBrewer's Avatar
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    Take a look at a Pacific Super Deluxe. It is a stout press.
    "The Constitution should be taken like mountain whiskey -- undiluted and untaxed." - Sam Ervin

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    It doesn't take super strong press to reload pistol and rifle ammo. The big brusers really shine when doing case forming and bullet swaging operations. If you are not doing case forming and bullet swaging, there no sense in having an A-2 or similar press. Any cast iron press from Lyman, Pacific, Herters, CH, RCBS and Redding will do the job you want.

    I have an RCBS A2 and several 1950's Pacific C presses. When it comes to reloading rifle and pistol ammo, the Pacifics will do just as good a job as the A2.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I would also consider the old Bonanza Coax press. While still made it dates back many years and was considered one of the best or premier press for many many years. For pistol rounds one of the lyman truline jrs would be fun to use.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master


    jmort's Avatar
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    I have two A2s and a Big Max
    Those fit the bill
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    GONRA hasalotta Really Big Presses. Younger son hasa Dillon Progressive.
    Told him when he starts to reload .300RUM, let Dad to the case prep.
    (Have my OWN Dillon -sofar for Fun Guns.)

    Want Son to save wear 'n tear on HIS Dillon - and get proper headspace.
    THEN reload Dad's prepped cases on HIS Dillon.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Gonra, sounds like you have a good plan going!

    Since I may reload .300 win mag and 45-70 later on, I'm leaning toward finding a larger "O" or "H" style press. And I appreciate a well-made piece of equipment.

  8. #8
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    You won't go wrong with any of the RCBS A series presses, they have the power to full length resize anything you can fit in them. That said, my favorite is the 1967 Rockchucker. It will do everything the bigger A's will do on a more user friendly frame. RCBS had the market cornered with it's patent until the mid 1970's for the swing arm, variable power linkage design, the only design with real power. Everyone else was stuck using the older (4 to 1) Pacific style linkage.

    Bonanza is great, look for an early one painted Herter's brown.

    Another fun press is the Forester Automatic Turret press, if you can find one.
    Ken
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
    Newsletter editor: Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    Archive manager, Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    email: pressman@antiquereloadingtools.com
    www.antiquereloadingtools.com

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Hollywood Senior

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    Member: Orange Gunsite Family, NRA-Life, Varmint Hunter's Assn, ARTCA, American Legion, & the West Branch Gun Club.

    Caveat Emptor: Do not trust Cavery Grips/American Gripz from Clayton, NC. He will rip you off.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    For bench candy get a Hollywood Universal 12 station turret, or a Pacific super Mag press.

    The super mag has three rams a compound linkage that is attached at the top of the press.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Any single stage will work for reloading. The big presses shine for case forming. But even then the old ones w/ simple linkages fail in comparison to modern compound linkage presses. I have an A2 and honestly donít see a need for it. The Lee Classic Cast press I have will handle anything I throw at it. I personally find the ergonomics on a lot of presses to be bad. There are lots of old presses that command stupid amounts of money because theyíre old. They arenít going to load more accurate ammo than a modern press. I have no problem paying for the best tool available regardless of cost. The old presses arenít the best tools available.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    My favorite is a Redding #7 c frame and I have Hollywoods, A2's Pacifics and others

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I had a little trouble a few years ago resizing some 300 Winchester once fired military brass , until a reloading buddy gifted me a older Pacific 007 single stage press . Now I can pretty much (smash ) anything I want to brass wise .

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    There are a lot of good presses out there from those decades. It really comes down to cost, what your willing to spend. A good A series RCBS is probably going to be one of your more reasonably priced presses. A Hollywood or bonanza will be more expensive. And there will be some closer to the RC and others up there with the other 2.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    My favorite early press is the Lyman AA. Excellent access to the shellholder and the primer punch sits right in the front and doesn't move.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Started reloading rifle and pistol in the late 60's with my buddy's Lyman Spartan C press and later got one of my own. Think I paid about $20 new. Used it for over 20 years and got a Lee Challenger for my son and then used that for rifle until he moved and took it and replaced it with an RCBS RC. About 10 years later got a Lyman T mag cheap off a member here and now use that for 45ACP (only pistol I load for now).

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    RCBS Rockchucker hard to beat and can be easily converted to progressive with their Piggyback unit

  18. #18
    I love my Herter's Model Super 3. Very strong and plenty of leverage.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I'm using a Bair Grizzley and a Bair Brown Bear as regular use presses, as well as a Hollywood Jr.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    I started out on a Pacific Super press, still use it. For full length sizing, the compound linkage RCBS Rockchucker sure makes light work of it. Came across a Lyman Spar T turrent that I set up for pistol, very convenient. Whenever I come across old reloading stuff at gun shows or garage sales, I grab them. Never paid more than 40 bucks, most a lot less. Went to a shooting range with a friend last week, they had a table of free stuff. Picked up an old dirty & filthy Bair press and a 450 sizer, can't believe they sat there all day until I grabbed them. They did look pretty sorry tho. Spent a couple of hours cleaning them up, both nice serviceable units now.

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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