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Thread: Brass Prep and progressive presses

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    I used to have 3 to 5 guys over a couple of times a month and we got to to shooting Garands and semi auto 308s and ARs not to mention the pistol ammo we were going through we would have 4 presses running at the same time , up to that point all my bottle neck rifle was loaded on a single stage after all that stopped I went back to the single stage for most of my rifle usually just 20 to 40 rounds a session I shoot mainly handguns the auto pistol rounds 9 , 40 , 45 and 38/357 on the progressive but for those I have thousands of cases so don't need to load for them as often . The 3 different 32 cartridges 380 , 2 44s and 45 colt I load 50 to a couple of hundred at a time those are all loaded on the turret press . We all find a system we like and I am not locked in to any thing this is just how I have been doing it the last few years , works for me but it is sure not the only way or necessarily the best way.
    I always start with clean unsized deprimed brass , my final rinse on my brass has a little amourall ultra shine thanks to tips I got here , and it is all the extra lube any of my carbide dies need to run smooth , I have the rcbs bench primer I use for some rifle the rest is primed on the LCT or the progressive. I like all my presses they are certainly not the best equipment made but they do the job I want them to . Ain't life great

  2. #42
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Right now, on average, it takes me roughly an hour to load a box of 50 pistol rounds using my single stage press. It can get fairly tedious; after an hour or so I'm ready to quit...
    On a progressive without case and bullet feed can load 100 rounds in under 10 minutes, if everything is ready to go. With case and bullet feed I can load 100 rounds in under 4 minutes and it’s less work than loading them more than twice as slow on the manual fed machines.

    That said, either are much faster and a lot less work than using my turret or single stage presses.
    Last edited by jmorris; 02-12-2020 at 09:17 PM.

  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy Captain*Kirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
    On a progressive without case and bullet feed can load 100 rounds in under 10 minutes, if everything is ready to go. With case and bullet feed I can load 100 rounds in under 4 minutes and it’s less work than loading them more than twice as slow on the manual fed machines.

    That said, either are much faster and a lot less work than using my turret or single stage presses.
    Do you ever feel like you don't have total control over the reloading process? I would worry that I missed a powder charge or didn't seat a primer correctly. With single stage, even though slow, I know that box of 50 is done right. Maybe once I had run a couple hundred through a progressive I would feel a bit more confident.
    "Are you gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    People use different ways to check powder charge , I use my eyes I look at every one before I set the bullet on it because I do it this way I don't use a bullet feeder. Many of the progressives give enough feedback when priming you can feel the primmer bottom out in the pocket then I do a final check on the primers when I box the loaded ammo. I don't try to set any speed records on my progressives even taking your time you get a loaded round each pull of the handle but they have learning curve once you get familiar with your press you can tell something is wrong by feel or sound in addition to sight.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master


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    You got some good advice about testing loads with anal case prep and not so anal case prep....and thrown vs weighed charges. Too much reading what "experts" write can send you down rabbit holes. IMHO, you are overdoing the case prep and wasting time weighing powder charges for pistol loads.

    Cut down the "wasted" time and see how you feel about your production rates. Pistol ammunition is different than loading sub-MOA riffle ammunition. I have proven to myself that thrown charges and no case prep gives me an accuracy of 3" at 50 yards with pistol ammunition. I do not need any better than that. I am anal about rifle loading but I do not shoot much rifle so the time is not important. This year, because of the quantity of .223 we will be using, that will be loaded on a progressive if testing shows only a small increase in group size. I know match rifle teams that load on a progressive so I am confident it will not be an issue...but will test anyway.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  6. #46
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Do you ever feel like you don't have total control over the reloading process? I would worry that I missed a powder charge or didn't seat a primer correctly.
    With case and bullet feeders all I am doing is paying attention to everything and stroking the handle. I use powder check dies that alert if the powder charge is incorrect.

    They are sensitive enough to detect stepped cases even when the powder charge is spot on.


  7. #47
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Even when I am not “in control” I have confidence in the end product, like with this machine I automated.



    It doesn’t even rely on the attention of an operator.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    You can go as slow or as fast as you want to at that point but you turn on the collators, I always activate the powder check and low primer alarms before starting and then commence loading.



    Then pay attention to the process.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain*Kirk View Post
    Do you ever feel like you don't have total control over the reloading process? I would worry that I missed a powder charge or didn't seat a primer correctly. With single stage, even though slow, I know that box of 50 is done right. Maybe once I had run a couple hundred through a progressive I would feel a bit more confident.
    Not at all. I load on a pair of Dillon 650s. The Dillon powder measure is very accurate. Once I have it set I don't bother to check it as I know it's going to be +/- .1 gr or less.

    Primer seating is easy. Just make sure you firmly push up on the handle EVERY time.

    It's really really hard to miss a powder charge. You have to deliberately short stroke the handle to make it happen. You can run a RCBS Lock Out die on the press. It will stop the press on a missed charge or a double charge. Double charges are only caused by extreme user error.

    The biggest thing with a progressive press is to ALWAYS complete the handle stroke. Don't short stroke, don't double stroke. Go fully from front to back each time.

    If ANYTHING interrupts this cycle clear the deck on the press and start over.
    NRA Benefactor.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain*Kirk View Post
    Do you ever feel like you don't have total control over the reloading process? I would worry that I missed a powder charge or didn't seat a primer correctly. With single stage, even though slow, I know that box of 50 is done right. Maybe once I had run a couple hundred through a progressive I would feel a bit more confident.
    It is the same mindset, i.e. to know that the ammo is done right. Die setup is similarly crucial. The sensitivity when seating primers on my progressive is very high. Easy to feel the primer starting, bottoming out, and then the slight bit of crush that I like. No different than on a SS or hand priming tool. It is an engaged process.

    Regarding charges, I eyeball every charge just like I would if metered from the standalone Uniflow. No difference in charge consistency if metered from a standalone Uniflow or from the Uniflow mounted on the progressive. Identical results. I don't need to hand weigh spherical or flake powders (except 800-X).

    Last week I spot checked several 308 loads with SMK bullets and found that it would have been very difficult to improved concentricity on a SS.

    Now, ammo that I feed big extruded powder, like IMR 4350, will be dropped and trickled and loaded SS. But I would still use the APS priming on my press to act like a bench primer. It is that good.

    You are right that some hands on experience, first setting up the dies, and then operating the press, would give a lot more confidence in the outcome.
    Last edited by Taterhead; 02-14-2020 at 02:46 AM.
    "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something."
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  11. #51
    The most progressive I’m willing to go is my turret RCBS press. I totally get the automated when feeding volumes of brass thru the chamber. But alas. I just don’t shoot that much. Very impressive set ups. Too bad ATF won’t let up in manufacturing laws so you guys could produce for the open market. But then again looks like sooner than later we’re gonna have to take a stand. “Virginia” !!

  12. #52
    Boolit Master


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    Along the same lines, how are progressives with traditionally lubed bullets? In my specific case I pan lube and am a bit messy. I have to remove my seating die every 200-300 cartridges to clean the wax off or I will have seating issues. Do you progressive guys have similar problems?

  13. #53
    Boolit Buddy Captain*Kirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nccaster77 View Post
    The most progressive I’m willing to go is my turret RCBS press. I totally get the automated when feeding volumes of brass thru the chamber. But alas. I just don’t shoot that much. Very impressive set ups. Too bad ATF won’t let up in manufacturing laws so you guys could produce for the open market. But then again looks like sooner than later we’re gonna have to take a stand. “Virginia” !!
    Just ordered the RCBS turret press...
    "Are you gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ickisrulz View Post
    Along the same lines, how are progressives with traditionally lubed bullets? In my specific case I pan lube and am a bit messy. I have to remove my seating die every 200-300 cartridges to clean the wax off or I will have seating issues. Do you progressive guys have similar problems?
    That would be true with progressives too. Dillon desiged their seating and crimp dies with this in mind. The die bodies stay locked in place on the tool head. By removing a clip, the die internals are easily removed for cleaning. Then they are clippes right back into place with the settings proeserved.
    "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something."
    ~Thorin Oakenshield

  15. #55
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taterhead View Post
    That would be true with progressives too. Dillon desiged their seating and crimp dies with this in mind. The die bodies stay locked in place on the tool head. By removing a clip, the die internals are easily removed for cleaning. Then they are clippes right back into place with the settings proeserved.
    Yep. The Dillon seat and crimp dies are the best.

    You settings don't change due to the die body staying in place. Pull one clip and the guts come right out. Also the seating stem is reversible. Round nose on one end, flat on the other. You can also get a SWC seating stem that indexes on the shoulder.
    NRA Benefactor.

  16. #56
    Boolit Buddy Captain*Kirk's Avatar
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    jmorris, those videos are awesome! I'll bet you have quite a bundle invested in all that.
    "Are you gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

  17. #57
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Taterhead View Post
    That would be true with progressives too. Dillon desiged their seating and crimp dies with this in mind. The die bodies stay locked in place on the tool head. By removing a clip, the die internals are easily removed for cleaning. Then they are clippes right back into place with the settings proeserved.
    One reason I only buy Dillon dies for loading pistol ammunition.

    Ickisrulz, you might want to try BLL. It will not be as messy as pan lubing and it is faster. PC'ing is another way to address the problem if you have a place to cook the bullets.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  18. #58
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain*Kirk View Post
    Just ordered the RCBS turret press...
    Good for you , it should serve you well as long as you want to load.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain*Kirk View Post
    Just ordered the RCBS turret press...
    You’ll luv it. I slow down for rifle loads but churn out pistol loads.

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    One reason I only buy Dillon dies for loading pistol ammunition.

    Ickisrulz, you might want to try BLL. It will not be as messy as pan lubing and it is faster. PC'ing is another way to address the problem if you have a place to cook the bullets.
    Then there is the ultimate “lube”.......swaging. I’ve had a blast the last few years focused strictly on .45 cal. Swaging both jackets with cores and cut .40 cases with cores. Fun stuff. It’s fun confusing shooters when I lay down a completed swaged .40 case projectile with primer intact. Love that initial look they give me.

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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