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Thread: best reloading press for beginners

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    best reloading press for beginners

    what is the best reloading press for someone who is just getting into reloading? ive been looking around and i was thinking about the lee classic turret press or the lee 1000. what do you guys think? im mostly going to be reloading for 357 magnum

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    Out of those choices, I'd recommend the Lee classic turret. It can be used as a progressive or as a single stage. A very handy and versatile press, with inexpensive turrets that can be swapped out when reloading multiple calibers.

    Don't think there aren't better options, such as a Dillon, but they come with a hefty price.

    It's just like cars, how fast you want to go depends on how much you are willing to spend.

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    yeah i was looking at some rcbs presses but whew idk if im ready for that kind of investment. i kind of had my heart set on the classic turret i just wanted an outside opinion on it before pulling the trigger (pun intended)

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Go to the online places that sell them, Midway, Natchez, etc.
    There are hundreds of reviews from guys that bought and use them.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes. However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Never pick a fight with old people. If they don't think they can win, they'll kill you.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    best reloading press for beginners

    Out of those choices the LCT. I have one and use it a lot. Itís one of the most versatile presses. But itís not a progressive. It has auto advance which just speeds up production.

    Iím not one to tell a new reloader they canít learn on a progressive. I will tell you to not listen to anyone that tells you such. But that particular Lee press is going to be frustrating to use. If you want an easy to use progressive that wonít give you constant problems buy a Dillon. Theyíre worth the money and thereís a reason they have the reputation they do.

    For a new reloader buy what you can afford and make it work for you. There will always be a need for a single stage. Any one w/ a compound linkage will work. The differences after that point are ergonomics and options. A turret press is a good intermediate step. But the Lee is the only one w/ auto advance. A progressive should be bought based on the volume of shooting you do. I wonít discourage someone from buying a Super 1050 if they shoot 100 rounds a year. Calling it overkill would be an understatement. But if thatís what someone wants then by all means buy it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    Natchez has a 10% off thru tomorrow.. just saved a bundle buying a Hornady LnL AP from them..

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy zymguy's Avatar
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    What else do you have ? Id suggest budget at least as much on calipers/ measuring tools and manuals as your first press. Youíll be a lot closer to accuracy than buying the most expensive press . When itís time for your press to match your skill youíll know exactly what YOU want in a press


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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Personally I have recommended anyone to start out with a single stage press to begin with, to get used to doing things in a simple & systematic way to learn the techniques needed do do a safe & quality reloading process.
    Then, move on to multiple die locations & operations, after the basics are figured out.

    Of course, there are those who disagree, but so far it seems to me that there sure are a lot of folks who start out with multiple die presses & end up confused about how to set their dies, how the press works when there is an issue with some part of the operation, powder measure use & powder thru dies, bullet/boolit collating etc.. Many of which would be pretty simple to figure out if one started on a single stage press and had the basics down first & them progressed into more complicated processes to reload.

    My own experience & thus opinion is based on learning on my own a long time ago, on a MEC shotgun press & a single stage RCBS press & so maybe I am jaded in my thinking the way I do.

    I have taught several folks how to use the single stage first, and even loaning them a single stage to use, if they did not have one, and a couple of them already owned a turret press(Lyman Spar-T) or even a progressive(Hornady LockNLoad). They all told me since that learning the set ups for a single stage helped them later on, when using their multiple die presses.

    The one with the Lyman Turret said even though it basically does the operations without having to change dies often, it helped if one had to change dies to adapt to another caliber to remember what to do to set the dies up in the first place & to adjust for different things such as different seating & crimp settings, etc.. The one with the Hornady LnL still is uncomfortable using it since he keep running into troubles with setting it up, so he went and bought his own single stage to use, rather than hanging on to mine, and so he could keep reloading rounds to shoot while he worked out the snags with the LnL.

    So, while others may not see it the same way I do, my vote goes to having folks start on a single stage.

    G'Luck! to any who have to make the decision on what to get for a press type! This is a great place to ask!
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Definitely a single stage and I cannot think of one better than the RCBS Rockchucker.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    My choice for a beginner press would be what I learned on, that being the RCBS Rockchucker. Even better if you start with the package deal that includes the other basic tools. Powder measure, case trimmer, balance beam scale and misc. smaller items. RCBS tools will last a life time if cared for and are easy to get a good price for if you move on to one of the great progressives like Dillon. Gp

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    So Iím about 5 years in on reloading, so relatively a rookie compared to some around here and echo JBs advice on starting on a single stage. Learn and understand the basics first before heading down the progressive route.

    Most everything you need to start on a budget can normally be found on the secondary market in places like the swap and trade here, Craigslist and eBay . The big parts- press, scale and primer, case trimmer and calipers are available and can be had for reasonable prices. Get the basics and once you decide to go full tilt and get a couple thousand rounds under your belt you will learn your weaknesses and know what needs upgrading. Stay with the major manufacturers and you should be fine.

    Watch out for some of the older stuff such as Herters, older Lyman and a few others, they often take unique shell holders and replacement parts which may no longer be readily available.

    The number one thing you need though are books and manuals, read the front end of Lee, Hornady, Lyman and so on manuals there are several pro videos and DVDs to be had.

    Beware of the internet and ďthe best load everĒ posts. Do your own math and learn the signs of ovepressure and other issues.

    Most of all enjoy rolling your own and all the ďsavingsĒ your about to reap

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Any of the O types are my recommendation. You will forever use a single stage press when reloading for various tasks such as sizing cast bullets. Forming rifle brass etc. Plus loading on a single stage slows you down a little while you are still new, helps to keep you from blowing your hands and face off.

    Just my two pennies.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy poppy42's Avatar
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    Personally I don’t recommend a progressive press or even a Turret press for someone who is new to reloading. I think you need to use a single stage press before you use Either a progressive or a Turret press. By learning on a single stage you learn all the Processes involved in reloading ammunition. One at a time! You learn how to properly set up the dies, de- cap the brass, prime the brass, etc... With progressives and terret presses all the processes become a little too automated . To easy to make a mistake . And although reloading, if done properly, is very safe it can be dangerous if done improperly or haphazardly . With all that being said the Lee single stage presses offer a new reloader and inexpensive way to get started in a new hobby without breaking the bank. You can always upgrade to a turret or a progressive if you so choose at some point in the future . And there will always be a use for that single stage press that you started out with. I’ve been reloading since the 80s and most of the time I did all my reloading on a single stage press. I did upgrade to a Turret press some years ago for my pistol and small caliber reloads. For the most part my 30.06 are still done on my single stage press. For my needs I have no reason to go with a progressive Press! Unless you’re planning on shooting large volumes of pistol ammunition or maybe small caliber rifle (5.56/223) I see no benefit for me to have a progressive press. I can easily load 200+rounds of 9 mm or 9 mm Makarov on my Turret press in an hour. And I can use all the same dies and shell holders that I used on my single stage press.
    Furthermore I suggest that before you invest in any other equipment you pick up a basic reloading manual ! I highly recommend “Modern Reloading Second Edition by Richard Lee” for a new reloader. It covers an introduction to reloading, types of equipment including a whole section on presses and all the processes involved in reloading. Granted it’s all about Lee equipment but that’s not a bad place to start out . It also has some pretty decent generic load data. It can be found on Amazon for about 24 bucks! That ain’t bad and it’s not a big expense to shell out when you getting started. The Lyman re-loading manual is also a good choice I just think the Lee has a little bit more general information especially for a new reloader. Anyway this is all just opinion on my part and I’m sure there’s plenty that will disagree with me but you asked I answered
    Good luck, be safe, have fun
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  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Single stage Rcbs rock chucker. They last a lifetime and more. But a used one, Rcbs stands behind their product. If your starting out and have time, it’s best to learn first. Other calibers will come and the chucker will do most all.
    Wish list. Things my daughter and I are looking for.

    No 11 310 priming die
    38/357 half jackets
    Kimber micro 9 mags
    Remington 510 bolt
    Star die removal tool

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    I really don't think there is a wrong answer to your question. If mostly .357 then just about any press will do.
    If you see your self resizing rifle cases then I would go with a heavy single stage. Lee and RCBS puts together some package deals that are good if you want to jump in with both feet.
    I would recommend a Lyman reloading manual first. It has good info on the reloading process and reloading information. Also go to youtube. Nearly every reloading company has videos on their products and how to use them.

  16. #16
    I’ll also vote for a used single stage to start out with. Good scales, data manual and a good measure too. Lyman or RCBS products give good service and they stand behind what they sell.
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 03-13-2019 at 08:16 AM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub Jlw6636's Avatar
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    Get the Lee classic CAST turret. If you are just starting out, remove the indexing rod and begin loading in single stages. I myself started with the Lee hand press learn the fundamentals. I then bought a Lee single stage cast press once I felt comfortable and this hobby was something more that I wanted to peruse and wanted the capability to load large rifle cases. Then after time, I moved on to the turret when pistol reloading came into play. The classic CAST will meet all your needs and not beak the bank.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    As I was scrolling through the responses I was framing a response of my own until I read #8 from JBinMN. He said basically the same things I was thinking. As more of the posts unwound, the only thing I still feel I need to add. Although I personally acquired my extensive variety of equipment by swapping, hustling, inheritance and sheer persistence, if I were starting out on a budget and wanted the basic stuff I needed to begin the process, I would look very hard at Lee's basic Breech Lock Reloader Press or something equally basic. I probably would look at gun shows, yard sales, Craig's List, etc, and try to find something used, but I'm cheap.

    I admit I'm an equipment junkie, but in this particular case basic and simple will be the way to go.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  19. #19
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    I think if the OP defines their goals and their budget we can steer them to the best press(Es) for the job

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I agree, the single stage press will get you started, especially with a kit type. You will never regret it, treat it right, learn all you can on that, then if you like reloading, get one that’s faster. But keep your single, its good for testing and load working, ladder testing etc. the progressive are harder to change something, there good for producing large amounts of ammo quickly.

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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