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Thread: Why would you recommend a single stage press for handgun only loading ?

  1. #81
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    My take on this question is that unless you are going to do batches of ammo of more than 100-200 rounds frequently a progressive machine is pointless.

    A while back I loaded 200 ea. .30 cal. Carbine rounds in 2 hours with my Hand Press. They were loaded for a friend and he will never shoot them all.

    The vast majority of people who shoot, don't shoot enough in one year to justify the expenditure for a Progressive Machine like a Dillon. If you are loading in batches of 20-50 you can get by quite nicely with a Lee Classic Loader, a Plastic Mallet, and a small tool bag with a few other tools to make loading easier. You also don't need a dedicated reloading bench taking up room in your garage or spare bedroom.

    All I use my D550B for is loading .45 ACP, 40 S&W and .223 rounds because they are the only ones I shoot a large enough volume of to justify using the progressive. I'm loading upwards of 1000 rounds each of those on each run and only will do it maybe once a year.

    Everything else I load is done on my Hand Press at the kitchen table. It is as fast as any other single stage press, and it is a helluva lot more comfortable to use sitting at the table watching TV.

    I load .308, .30-06, .30-30, .303 Brit, .45-70, .44 spec/mag and really anything else that comes up because it is doubtful there will be more that 50 to do of any given caliber at any given time.

    There is a practicality component here as well, and just because you want something doesn't mean you need it .

    However,,, if you are needing to load for High Volume Pistol or Rifle shooting then the Expense would be warranted. It would also be the right tool for the job. A Progressive Machine is NOT the right tool for loading 20 rounds for hunting next year, a Lee Loader is the right tool for that job!. A Single Stage Press is a luxury for that type or reloading and the cheapest one you can find is the best one for the job. Lee has one for $57.

    However all Lee Reloading Presses are currently out of stock! So that should tell you something about the current status of Reloading in this country and the world. I am shipping one of my tools to an Island in Norway that is so far North that the sun doesn't shine until late March! Apparently they have the internet there, cuz that's the way they got ahold of me..

    My .02

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 02-08-2021 at 05:14 PM.
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  2. #82
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    The question should be why not to recommend a single stage press to a new reloader. Pistol or otherwise.

    If they enjoy reloading they will keep it forever and learn the ins and outs. They can progress from there.

  3. #83
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    I think most people start reloading for cheap ammo to shoot and aren't looking for a new hobby. That's why I recommend either a Lee loader or a progressive. But I do help them get set up and going.

    Look at how many guys who want to do a bunch on trap/skeet/etc start with progressives right away.

    If making a recommendation on anything, the first thing one needs to know it what does the person expect for an outcome.

    Me I started reloading when I was 10 years old. Got a .410, a box of ammo, a Lee loader, a 100 primers, #1 of 2400 and a bag of shot. If I wanted to shot more than the 25 rounds, I had to reload. Only got a new box of ammo when the 2 1/2" .410 cases were 2" long.

    But for one of my uncles reloading was a hobby. He used to buy every new powder that came out and tested it in his rifles.

    PS. FWIW. I still use that same Lee loader for all my .410 needs. Never needed to move up from it. But my brother shoots a lot of .410 so he bought MEC.
    Last edited by perotter; 02-10-2021 at 12:00 AM. Reason: ps

  4. #84
    I've never loaded metallic on anything but single stage presses. Ran 3 at once with different operations when the boys were small.
    I do 99% of my loading on an old RCBS partner press on a make shift bench on top of the coffee table in front of the t.v. during the evenings anymore.

    I hunt with handguns and load for accuracy. Even my plinkin ammo.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by perotter View Post
    I think most people start reloading for cheap ammo to shoot and aren't looking for a new hobby. That's why I recommend either a Lee loader or a progressive. But I do help them get set up and going.

    Look at how many guys who want to do a bunch on trap/skeet/etc start with progressives right away.

    If making a recommendation on anything, the first thing one needs to know it what does the person expect for an outcome.

    Me I started reloading when I was 10 years old. Got a .410, a box of ammo, a Lee loader, a 100 primers, #1 of 2400 and a bag of shot. If I wanted to shot more than the 25 rounds, I had to reload. Only got a new box of ammo when the 2 1/2" .410 cases were 2" long.

    But for one of my uncles reloading was a hobby. He used to buy every new powder that came out and tested it in his rifles.

    PS. FWIW. I still use that same Lee loader for all my .410 needs. Never needed to move up from it. But my brother shoots a lot of .410 so he bought MEC.
    Yeah, that .410 Lee Loader is worth it's weight in gold right now. Have you seen the prices for them on Ebay?

    I load all my .410's on a Pacific DL266 cuz I shoot skeet with them.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  6. #86
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    Until just now I hadn't looked at the price of them on Ebay in about 10+ years. People certainly do still want them. I like having Lee Loaders around for when I want to load up a few for simple testing when my presses are setup for something else. The loading is all done in less time then changing over one of my presses. The .410, .308 and .357 mag where all I used until I was until I was about 23 years old.

    On my fraternal mothers side, they reloaded their ammo since the late 1800's(Great Grandpa). It is expected in my family that one reloads all their ammo. When I was about 5 when visiting a Great uncle I seen the reloading equipment. I know the shotgun stuff wasn't much different than a Lee Loader. But I don't what they had for rifle as I was to young and nobody wanting to answer my dozens of questions.

    When I see used ones in gun shop at a reasonable price I buy them. Even when what they are for is something I don't have, but someone I know does. I don't even know what ones I all have. But I know I have all of the shotgun ones, including the deluxe 12 ga.

    My brother is on the home place dairy farming and shots at something every day rain or shine. Living or a target. Mostly the .410 unless it's something that requires a rifle.

  7. #87
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    If I am advising a New person to reloading I would certainly ask them many questions. First question would be why do you want to do this and the second question would be what do you expect to achieve or gain from this..

    For someone that wants to specifically reload just pistol ammunition as I did at the time I would not suggest a Single Stage nor would it be a Progressive. A true single stage is too time consuming for most pistol loading and unless doing a couple hundred at a time every time a progressive isn't needed either.

    I have read all the comments and I keep seeing and hearing that the Turret is more costly than a single stage. HOGWASH! FS Reloading offers the Lee Value Turret press for under $84.00 every day while Titan Reloading offers the same press for just $95.00 every day. The Lee Challanger press retails for around $75.00/$95.00 while the Lee Classic Cast single stage retail for around $150.00/$198.00, RCBS Rock Chucker $200.00 So that blows that theory out of the equation.

    The lee Value Turret press was designed as a pistol caliber press, hence the lighter weight and the over-all shorter height and no need for compound leverage to resize pistol brass. I see no need for a Rock Chucker of Big Boss press to reload lowly 380acp or 9mm., heck not even for 38Spl!!!

    The average pistol reloader is not going to be swaging bullets or reforming brass to a different caliber.

    Now to be certain to everyone that I and not biased to one type of press I have an RCBS JR3, Lee Value 3 hole, Lee Pro1000 and a Lee Pro4000 ABLP and yes I use each and every one of them regularly. Right now because I am developing ladder loads for a 223 I am mostly using the JR3 and the Value Turret presses.

    Then if I had to recommend a single stage press to reload pistol only rounds I would offer the smaller RCBS JR presses for their shorter frames and simple linkages or the old fashioned C press..

  8. #88
    Boolit Buddy gnappi's Avatar
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    Gads, so many conditions for a reply.

    OK, don't use one...
    Regards,

    Gary

  9. #89
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    Most people who start out reloading want to save money over the cost of factory ammo. The single stage is the most cost-effective way to begin, if they’re loading any more than a few at a time.

    Most people are not going to “learn the process” by watching a shell go into a single die on a progressive. Those buying them want to yank a handle and watch the loaded rounds fall out. This is not necessarily usable ammo. I know some full-auto guys with roomfuls of Dillon reloaders who experience lots of failures-to-feed in the stuff they crank out, and these are not beginners, either. Tearing through belts, drums and sticks full of reloaded rounds points these failures up in a way no other shooting venue can.

    It also isn’t necessarily safe ammo. The newbies on the SASS site who wanted to start out reloadin’ cuz th’ cost o’ thet faktry ammo was breakin’ thim were encouraged to start off with one o’ thim thar Dillions. It might be coincidence that the threads on revolver blow-ups started proliferating on the site, or, of course, it might of been thet thar SEE thang, whar if a necked-down, overbore rifle case loaded with a mere 90 grains of progressive-burning powder instead of the normal 100-grain starting load would detonate, then certainly 3 gr of Bullseye instead of a normal 5-gr charge in a straight case would also release vast, destructive energies when lit off by the primer. Maybe so; I dunno. Sounds like a lot of rationalization to me.

    Most people use a turret press just to store their dies, using it as a single stage for the individual parts of the prep for all the cases, then turning the turret to the next stage. Really using the turret on an individual case until it is a fully loaded round again is a pretty tiring operation (for me, at least) and requires a lot more concentration than the individual stages on a whole box of empties. A real expert, doing this, looks like that Hindu god with all the arms doing so, if he’s getting the full speed benefit out of his turret press. Aside from not having to screw dies into and out of the single stage, a turret won’t do much for a beginner. Except cost more, of course.

    There is, also, the very real possibility that the new prospective reloader will get tired, or bored, or the cost of ammo will come back down, or he’ll find some pal to reload for him. The cheap single stage gathering dust in the corner is at least less costly and so easier to unload than the turret or progressive that is gathering dust in the corner. Fewer parts and auxiliaries to get lost while sitting around, too.

    If the beginning handgun reloader is already shooting several thousand rounds a year, he doesn’t need any advice from me.

  10. #90
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    I have always recommended single stand to a new reloader. They all have both handguns and rifles so I tell them they will need for bottleneck rifle anyway. They are pleased when their ammo works. And I can’t watch them all the time. If you make a mistake on single stage, it’s easy to remover that cartridge and and stage of its process. It’s also easy to do a safety check on powder charges.

  11. #91
    Boolit Buddy GasGuzzler's Avatar
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    I wouldn't. Everyone needs more than one press. Most people should start on a single. I said most...

    Lee's LCT can have the case advance disabled so one can learn single then go kind of progressive.

  12. #92
    Boolit Buddy 2A-Jay's Avatar
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    I have both a single stage press (Rock Chucker) And a 6 station Turret Press (Lyman Spar T). I use both for Hand Gun Ammo. I also use both for Rifle Ammo. It really all depends on my mood and how much time want to spend on a particular reloading session.

    I started out with a Single Stage (I only had one Pistol at the time) I still use the Rock Chucker for Handgun Ammo more often, but that is just me.

  13. #93
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    I can load all day long on a SS. Kinda peaceful, solace like feeling. One activity at a time. Resize, deprime numerous, bell mouth, drop powder, seat bullet, crimp. Very satisfying. Just where in life. In a hurry, get a progressive. Just where you are at with life. My SS? A 406 CH I got off a clearance table in a long forgotten department store back in 67 or 68 for the princely price of 19.00. On my reloading bench as we speak. Love that thing. I can still get the plates from modern C-H. Great for loading precision hunting loads. BTW, I also have a Dillon 550 and a SDB sitting there.
    Last edited by gbrown; 02-21-2021 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Additional information
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  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    I spent about an hour or so loading 49 usable 38 HBWCs on a dirty, out of adjustment Dillon Progressive Model 550 press because I didn’t want to spend a couple of hours to tear it down completely and rebuild it to run a small batch (and this doesn’t count the 8 rounds that came through without primers nor the 10 that came through with ruined primers upside down or sideways - let’s not talk about that cost!)

    Sunday afternoon I spent less time loading 50 rounds of 327 Fed Mag on a single stage RCBS Jr.

    I’m sure glad I don’t have to limit my loading to a fast, efficient progressive press! YMMV!

    Froggie
    Take that down to a load development project instead of doing a load block of ammo.

    That load development project becomes a royal pain on a progressive, but a breeze on a single stage or turret press.

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  15. #95
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    I've never tried but how does a progressive do at sizing boolits?

  16. #96
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    I've trained and helped equip maybe 4 dozen new reloaders or low experience reloaders. The first question when approached is what is your experience level with reloading? Second is what your expectations are? Third what are your actual needs? From that intelligent recommendations can be made. A generic one size fits all recommendation is not an intelligent recommendation. A recommendation that fulfills their actual needs and expectations is an intelligent recommendation. Experience level is not part of the equation. If their actual needs and expectations lean towards a single station that is what I will recommend and train them on. If their actual needs and expectations lean towards a progressive that is what I will recommend and train them on.

    The same basic operations happen on a single station the same as a progressive's. Only real difference is that on a progressive they normally happen at once but they don't have to. When I train a new reloader on a progressive the progressive is used as a turret press until they have a very solid understanding of how each station functions. No different than on a single station or turret.

    I did have one individual that I had to flat out tell reloading was not for him regardless if it was a single station or a progressive. Sometimes the student is not equipped to learn but mostly it's the instructor that is not equipment to teach if the student fails to learn.

    I am mostly around competition shooters and new competition shooters. At least 50% of them started on a progressive's press with zero issues. If you don't understand what you are doing on a progressive you don't understand what you are doing on a single station. Properly taught single station and progressives are equally safe or unsafe.

    I also do most of my load development on a 1050 or a 650 and it's generally still quicker than on one on my single stations. And yes when a single station provides an advantage I will use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    I spent about an hour or so loading 49 usable 38 HBWCs on a dirty, out of adjustment Dillon Progressive Model 550 press because I didn’t want to spend a couple of hours to tear it down completely and rebuild it to run a small batch (and this doesn’t count the 8 rounds that came through without primers nor the 10 that came through with ruined primers upside down or sideways - let’s not talk about that cost!)

    Sunday afternoon I spent less time loading 50 rounds of 327 Fed Mag on a single stage RCBS Jr.

    I’m sure glad I don’t have to limit my loading to a fast, efficient progressive press! YMMV!

    Froggie
    How does one get a 550 that dirty and or out of adjustment??????????

    At the first minor indication of any issues those issues should have been dealt with at that time??????????

    I keep all my empty primer boxes behind each machine until I have a maintenance stoppage for round count. A maintenance stoppage is any type of hangout or glitch that is more than a case feeder dropping a case upside down.. With the 650's that on average is one per 6,000 and on the 1050's that is about one per 9,500 rounds. I do keep a vacuum and compress air at the machine I am using.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 02-21-2021 at 03:38 AM.
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  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim147 View Post
    I've never tried but how does a progressive do at sizing boolits?
    I wouldn’t on my Dillons but I have single stage presses and lube sizers. The load on a single stage is centered but on progressive presses it’s a very lopsided load.
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  18. #98
    To each their own, people laughed at me when I started casting and loading 9mm. Not so much laughing going on about it these days. If you are considering getting into handgun reloading, and you plan on doing a decent volume of shooting, the progressive will save you allot of time over a SS.

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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