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Thread: Progressive presses

  1. #121
    Boolit Master
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    In order to double charge a case in a 550 you would have to try to put a bullet in a case that already has a bullet in it, try to put a new case in the first station that still has a case in it and ignore these and not turn the shellplate. I have had my 550b for about 25 years and haven't done this yet. Turning the shellplate with your left hand as it moves to grab another bullet becomes automatic after pulling the ram lever. While doing this your right hand grabs and installs another case. Going slowly at first, maybe 200 rds per hr, and it soon becomes automatic. I still do not reload while distracted by anything even a radio. I'm not saying the 550b is the best press for everyone but it's the best I have used for me. The only thing it has ever done wrong is to not feed a primer maybe once or twice per thousand. Not dangerous but makes the need for occasionally pulling a bullet.

  2. #122
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    It's not that bad on the Loadmaster. I have cheap webcam I have had forever mounted in the second die hole. I can see everything taking place on the shell plate and powder level, even if a primer didn't seat. So no chance of a double charge. Check the laptop screen for powder charge and primer then place a bullet and the pull the handle. Repeat until there are enough bullets for a small army.

    I did have an occasional casing not primed. Like 1 out of 100. But now I can see if a peimer is seated through the case.

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  3. #123
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    I like the accessories.

    Attachment 252913
    Man, have I been ordering my Dillon stuff from the wrong place... I've never even seen that as an option (although I don't think I could afford it, anyway).
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  4. #124
    I have a Lee Loadmaster somewhat modified to my likings. If I had the money I'd get a Dillon with the X Drive. Doing only several calibers also help slim down the process.

  5. #125
    Boolit Master
    Petander's Avatar
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    I guess it's like switching between automatic and manual tranny cars.

    We load differently. Like now I have loaded 357 mag (LNLAP) every day for a couple of months, changing only bullets. I might load 15 min or one hour, cat may break in my reloading room every now and then... (Does anybody know what makes cats to vigorously break in rooms with closed doors...?)

    I like how I can leave the press so that everything is in sync when I come back. No extra thinking required.


    Square Deal would be good but the proprietary dies... expander problem for sure. The four die limitation is sort of strange with both.

  6. #126
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    I was gifted two Dillon 550s from two different friends. One was set up for .45 acp already, I bought a .45 auto rim plate for it. The other has become my 300blkout and eventually a 7.62x39 press. I also use two Lyman T2 turrets and a Bair Kodiak for my Ď06 and .30-40. I have an old Pacific auto index 12 ga press and didnít like it, way too complicated imo, I need to sell the dumb thing. I prefer manual operation, youíve got your hand right there to place a case or bullet in the press, how hard is it to turn it 1/4 turn?
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 12-14-2019 at 02:34 PM.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    In order to double charge a case in a 550 you would have to try to put a bullet in a case that already has a bullet in it, try to put a new case in the first station that still has a case in it and ignore these and not turn the shellplate. I have had my 550b for about 25 years and haven't done this yet. Turning the shellplate with your left hand as it moves to grab another bullet becomes automatic after pulling the ram lever. While doing this your right hand grabs and installs another case. Going slowly at first, maybe 200 rds per hr, and it soon becomes automatic. I still do not reload while distracted by anything even a radio. I'm not saying the 550b is the best press for everyone but it's the best I have used for me. The only thing it has ever done wrong is to not feed a primer maybe once or twice per thousand. Not dangerous but makes the need for occasionally pulling a bullet.
    I have watched a friend double charge on a 550 when adjusting his bullet seating die.
    It was caught and not a problem but in the right circumstances it can happen on any progressive I have experience with, in a moment of distraction . Progressives demand my undivided attention and any interruption requires every station checked before proceeding ( I say this based on my own errors I have caught ) , this should be SOP . I like them and use them , but they are more like work for me than an enjoyable hobby like a single stage or turret.
    The reward is at the end of a session when filling all the box's with 5 or 10 X the ammo I could have loaded on my single stage in the same amount of time. If you don't need the quantity they are a waste of money unless you just like to collect equipment that is a different hobby.

  8. #128
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I have watched a friend double charge on a 550 when adjusting his bullet seating die.
    It was caught and not a problem but in the right circumstances it can happen on any progressive I have experience with, in a moment of distraction . Progressives demand my undivided attention and any interruption requires every station checked before proceeding ( I say this based on my own errors I have caught ) , this should be SOP . I like them and use them , but they are more like work for me than an enjoyable hobby like a single stage or turret.
    The reward is at the end of a session when filling all the box's with 5 or 10 X the ammo I could have loaded on my single stage in the same amount of time. If you don't need the quantity they are a waste of money unless you just like to collect equipment that is a different hobby.
    Yup. If you're going to use a progressive press, you absolutely MUST get in the habit of looking at the powder charge in the case you're about to put a boolit in, and pay attention to the level of powder in the case.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  9. #129
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    After using autoindex machines for many years,even thinking manual just feels strange. I didn't know Dillon 550 is manual until a week ago.

    There was an ancient 550 on Ebay, I was going to bid but it already got sold "buy it now" for nearly a new press price. I think I have a Dillon fever.

    I don't want another LNLAP mostly because of those O-ring bushings.

  10. #130
    I’ve gotten into the very deliberate habit of pulling my handle and holding it down until I actually pick up a bullet from my bullet box, then I raise the handle, rotate the shell plate or turret and place the bullet in the charged case. Then depending on the press do the next step. I peek into the charged case occasionally and of course watch my powder level, topping off when it gets to 1/4 full.

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I have watched a friend double charge on a 550 when adjusting his bullet seating die.
    It was caught and not a problem but in the right circumstances it can happen on any progressive I have experience with, in a moment of distraction.
    Sounds like you have never used a progressive with auto indexing, as it's near impossible (for me) to double charge on any of the auto index presses I reload on.
    You might double charge if you short stroke but that would be an obvious lapse of concentration.
    That and having some extra "sized/pre-primed" cases on hand to plug in when priming goes south, makes it way easier to continue on without removing every case in every station.
    I use a bullet feeder, stand to load, and have a mirror for powder check.
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    Last edited by Kenstone; 12-14-2019 at 11:35 PM.
    Size/Prime a few cases when starting off with a progressive and put them aside. You can plug them back into the process when a bad/odd case screws up the priming station and continue loading.

  12. #132
    Boolit Buddy
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    I also have a Hornady Powder cop die on my press. And have installed Inline Fabrications led light system. Lights up the whole inside of my press. Makes it hard to double or short charge a case.

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  13. #133
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    Im sure Im a green horn too many here with progressive presses. But my one and only is a Dillon 550B. Once I decided on Dillon after my research. I bought the 550 just because i didnt want to spend the money on a 650. The caliber changes are cheaper also. I thought its simplicity would be beneficial to me since it was my first progressive. I was concerned at first about the lack of a powder cop station. But paying attention with any reloading is a good idea. You can make mistakes on a single stage press too. The manual index actually helps in keeping your focus on the shell plate where it belongs. I load sitting down. So I position my stool to the side where I can easily look into the case before bullet placement. With the powders I use its pretty hard to double charge without seeing it immediately.
    The 550 is plenty fast for me. I actually don't use it much any more because Im shooting other stuff I dont reload on that. But it's a pretty solid machine. Easy to set up. Easy to change calibers, even when changing primer size. And Dillon CS is great. I had one issue with a priming bar and they walked me through the problem on the phone and made sure it was running right before ending the call.

  14. #134
    Boolit Buddy
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    The only reason I bought a Hornady LnL is when I decided to start reloading it was the week after Sandy Hook. When I got to Cabelas. The gun dept and especially the reloading area looked like the bread shelves before a big storm. It literally was the only press on the shelf. I almost missed getting it. Because another guy was headed for it and got delayed by his wife. Got some really bad looks from him as I passed him with it in my carridge. First press and first time reloading. Steep learning curve. I had a what I belive was a double charged round go off in my Beretta 92F. As my son was shooting it. Locked the slide back so hard I had to take it to the clubs gun smith to get it apart. He checked it out and said it put a few rounds through it one at a time. Then progress to using a magazine. I realize that it could have been much worse. That was before I started reloading. I always keep that day in mind when I'm running the press.

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    Last edited by XDROB; 12-15-2019 at 12:17 AM.

  15. #135
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenstone View Post
    Sounds like you have never used a progressive with auto indexing, as it's near impossible (for me) to double charge on any of the auto index presses I reload on.
    You might double charge if you short stroke but that would be obvious lapse of concentration.
    That and having some extra "sized/pre-primed" cases on hand to plug in when priming goes south, makes it way easier to continue on without removing every case in every station.
    I use a bullet feeder, stand to load, and have a mirror for powder check.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have loaded on auto index progressives for at least 30 years .
    For me the problem shows up most , not when it's working like it should be , but after a stoppage of some kind what ever it might be , to make adjustment or run out of primers or a primer misfeed a crushed case or whatever it might be that is when a charging error none or double is most likely to occur . It is not a common occurrence most other errors on a progressive are a slow down and irritating , powder errors are dangerous .
    Every one that uses progressives hopefully have integrated ways in the process to guard against errors .
    But progressives demand my undivided attention I may not be as good a multitasker as some but some mistakes can have serious consequences .

  16. #136
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Have followed this thread for 7 pages and many have expressed the same thoughts in many different ways.

    I will repeat my sentiments and advice that I espouse to new reloaders or those just starting with a new type press. Always take the time to build a repeatable process, one that becomes ingrained in your mind and muscle memory. This way if and when something feels out of sync or not quite right you will automatically stop to investigate. In my case this is why I sort brass by head stamp to run thru my progressive. Because I also become accustom to a feel and again if something doesn't feel right I stop. I don't get into such a hurry that I look like a drunk at a slot machine on a Friday night.

    As to powder charges, unless you are weighing every charge a mistake can happen and even with that it still can. Especially when using a mechanical powder dispenser/powder measure. It doesn't just happen on progressive presses either. Even when using a loading block it can happen which is why I look into EVERY case as a quality control check, and is also why I do not use high density fast burning powders like Titegroup. Even with a medium fast powder like HP-38 I have tested and I cannot visually tell the difference in cases that are off by just .3gr or powder. Yes I have taken cases and loaded 10 to my target weight then taken3 or 4 and over and under filled them by .1gr until I was over and under .3gr and then mixed them all together on the bench. So that was a combined 34 charged cases on the bench. I could not pick out which 4 were .3gr over or .3gr under. Try it and see if you can pick them out.

    In my mind reloading is all about consistency/repeatability, process. It makes no difference to me what equipment you are using or if you are a single stage, turret or progressive press user. It doesn't even matter what components you are using as long as you are using it correctly and safely and can determine when there is the sense of a problem.

  17. #137
    Boolit Master
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    kmw1954,

    Great advice that fits any handloading style wether it be single stage or progressive or with a turret.

    Three44s
    Quit fretting about climate change. Itís how much stronger gravity is getting every day that is bothering me!

  18. #138
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Three44s View Post
    kmw1954,

    Great advice that fits any handloading style wether it be single stage or progressive or with a turret.

    Three44s
    I agree totally . You can often feel or hear a problem before you see it.

  19. #139
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yep, I agree too. The HUGE advantage of single stage loading is you can easily bake a lot of QA into it. Otherwise you have to make up for that in a lot of ways. If I was loading ammo I wanted my life to depend on I'd never do it on a progressive.

    In other news it seems like I'll be picking up my buddy's 550B tomorrow. Looking forward to that honestly. If it acts better than the LNL I may end up offloading it or relegating it to specific calibers. Then again, I got the retrofit stuff for the priming system. It seems as if the timing of the primer slide is a lot different (as to not bend the engagement point on the shuttle) and it also seems like there's a lot more adjustment to it. Even more than the one I modified slightly by ovaling the hole more with a file. Will it work out well? Don't know truthfully but we'll have to crank a few boxes out and find out.

  20. #140
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    I load 9mm , 45acp , 38s , 357s , + cast for 30-30s , + 7x57s on a lee loadmaster and love it , rifle brass is sized off press on a single stage but primed on the loadmaster . It's bolted down right beside a Dillon 550 that I use to load 223 ammo on . I like the auto index feature but I don't think it's faster because I take the time to watch the operation while it's happening all the way around the shellplate plus the primer drop before sitting a boolit in the charged case .
    I have never actually saw a 650 in operation but I have helped a buddy pull down a bucket full of 9 mm ammo his friend loading on a 650 . It was not the 650 that loaded the bad rounds it was the operator - the machine loaded every round the same . I can honestly say the 550 is a much sturdier and we'll built machine them the loadmaster but a perfect round is a perfect round .
    If I only wanted one press on my bench beside the single stage , it would be a 550 with separate tool heads & powder measure .
    Later today I'm going to load a 50 round box of 7.65 Argentina ammo on a single stage weighing the powder charge by hand on a scale and enjoy doing it .

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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