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Thread: Single Stage Metallic Press Discussion

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Single Stage Metallic Press Discussion

    So in my hoard of used reloading equipment are quite a few single stage presses, all the way back to a Pacific Multi-Power C-press. Amazingly (well, not if you were of the same vintage as that press) it still functions perfectly, never has a broken part, and does not seem to wear any. Which got me thinking as (for some ungawdly reason) I was perusing single-stage presses on eBay:

    • Is or was there ever a truly "bad" single-stage press? I mean how hard is it to do some stress calcs, bolst/beef up the cast iron so even a C-press can perform where the industry has moved to O-presses?
    • Is there anything truly new in single-stage press design, anything "must-have" beyond changeable shell holders instead of the old caliber-specific rams that Pacific used to use?
    • What were considered the top-dawgs in single stage presses? I have an RCBS Rock Chucker, but there are several "versions". I'm kinda partial to the Pacific 00-7 press, just let go of a basic Lyman press, and even have a Lee Reloader (non-breech lock) that I got for $1 and used to use as a straight generic depriming station.
    • So for the serious compulsive hoarder, which presses are must-have?

      Thanks all for the discussion!
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I got my first Rockchucker in 1972 and it has NEVER failed me yet. I have upgraded it with NOTHING too. It would be line reinventing the wheel...
    Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway!

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master pertnear's Avatar
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    The biggest innovation of the newer presses is that they catch all the ejected primers.
    Visit my fictional blog "The dr Chronicles" about a laid-back Texan named dr - Enjoy!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    tion... not a Criticism, as I got used to the two a Very Long Timer Ago

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I too am in love with my Pacific 007... Bought New about??? 1983 maybe.
    Never missed the Rockchucker...Do Miss the Jr!!!! Blew that.
    Have a couple old C presses.. even one of the Finger Pinchin old Pacifics!!!
    Would Never be without the Lttle Entry type Lee, long as No LnL thanks.
    Primers... With the Primer arm in Place on the Redding Turret, primers are put on Floor
    without the Primer arm on the 007... Spent primers go on Floor!!!!!
    An Oddity I learned to deal with Long Ago..
    Last edited by racepres; 11-21-2022 at 05:18 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master elmacgyver0's Avatar
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    I have a RCBS RS2, it came in kit with ram prime, 5-0-5 scale loading block, case lube, funnel and primer flipper.
    I think I paid about $50 bucks at a store like K-Mart on clearance. My first reloading press, still use it.
    I later bought the Lee hand press, so far, I haven't used it.
    Since then, I bought the big cast iron Lee press that can load 50 BMG.
    I have other presses, but this is about single stage presses.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion8 View Post
    Is there anything truly new in single-stage press design[/B], anything "must-have"
    After the 'O' frame came along, and Hornady off set the opening on theirs, I'd say the single stage is pretty well perfected.
    Years ago, a Rockchucker fell into my lap. After it bit me a few times, I sold it and went back to my 007.

    The LNL feature is new, but I really don't care for it on either of my Hornadys.
    For me, it's a solution for a problem I don't have and JB welded all the bushings in mine.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion8 View Post
    [*]Is there anything truly new in single-stage press design, anything "must-have" beyond changeable shell holders instead of the old caliber-specific rams that Pacific used to use?[/LIST]
    I'm going to answer only that part of the question:

    I won't be alone saying the Bonanza/Forster was/is one of the truly new and worthwhile presses that came along. But to that dynasty, I'm going to add one more, if not in the same quality dept, it's certainly fits the "must-have" part, and the new, even a revolutionary improvement.....and that's the Lee APP!

    IMO the best part of it, is giving a single-stage press a case and bullet feeder! Collators? Any collator can be slightly modified and used, from Lee's Shaker to Dillon's Case Feeder, to Mr. Bullet Feeder, to the 3D printed ones.

    When I first saw an APP video at Lee Precision's Web Site, I thought wow, what a time saver....and it's not beyond the reach of even the "poorboys" of the hobby...kudos to Lee Precision!

    I have an RCBS Summit Press, that I was intrigued with enough to buy, but it didn't replace the Rock Chucker, but instead made a great companion. But seeing, buying, and using Lee's Automatic Processing Press, made me want to improve the Summit the same way......so I did......and someday I think all single stage presses will evolve towards having their own feeders.

    Little video, in case you haven't seen it yet to make my Point, of my "New" RCBS/Lee Hybrid with feeder.

    Last edited by GWS; 11-21-2022 at 06:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
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    It’s not new, but an innovation Herters came up with half a century or more ago was the “Super U” press, kind of a combined O and C. Not sure it offered any real advantages, but mine sure does look beastly!!
    "It aint easy being green!"

  10. #10
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    Linkage, interchagable shell holders, 7/8 dies, primer disposal........ everything is essentially the same at present save the Coax.
    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" Looking for an RCBS Ammomaster and H&R shotgun barrels regardless of condition

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion8 View Post
    ... how hard is it to do some stress calcs, bolst/beef up the cast iron so even a C-press can perform where the industry has moved to O-presses? Is there anything truly new in single-stage press design, anything "must-have" beyond changeable shell holders ...
    Not really. I obviously haven't personally laid hands on every model and brand of press made over the last 50+ years but I've reloaded with and micrometer tested for springing on as many conventional presses as I could get my hands on; I've not found any real difference in presses.

    Contrary to conventional but untested "wisdom", it seems all full bore reloading presses, including "O"s and "C"s of iron and aluminum alloys, were and remain far stronger than they need to be to handle any routine reloading task. (Meaning none the people who engineered them were fools.)

    The biggest user differences I've found between common "C" and "O" presses of any era is the compound leverage of an "O" press makes it much easier to FL size big rifle cases.

    What were considered the top-dawgs in single stage presses? I have an RCBS Rock Chucker, but there are several "versions".
    IF any one press was the best on the market we'd not have had such a long string of our RockChucker versions!

    IF any brand or model of press (or dies or ....) were statistically better than any other, the better maker would be crowing the proof of that. But, no maker does because it would be false advertising and that's illegal!

    I kinda ... have a Lee Reloader (non-breech lock) that I got for $1 and used to use as a straight generic depriming station
    Excellent buy. I detest fads like the "quick change" die gimmicks but I have and love two little Lee Reloader presses. I use one with a Lee Universal Decap Die and the other to reprime with an old Lee AutoPrime II. That simple but effective primer handling system has been the single best "press purchase" I ever made!

    Just as an impulse test, I tested & proved how little Dick Lee's inexpensive aluminum body "C" presses would spring when FL sizing .30-06 cases. My big green RC II springs about three thou with that stress but my little red Reloaders don't spring enough to measure! So much for common knowledge ...

    If you consider press size and brute strength to be the most important features take a look at Redding's "700 Ultra Mag".

    So for the serious compulsive hoarder, which presses are must-have?
    Sorry, it's just not that simple. They're all slightly different but all of them are basically quite good. We must choose what we buy from what's available and no one press is perfect in every way. If I tell people my favorite press and they got one just like mine they will have only bought what I think serves ME best and, unless they need exactly what I need, that very unlikely event would be unfair to them!

    That said, for a primary single stage iron press I generally recommend Lee's Classic cast above all others. It handles big cartridges (up to .50 BMG), it's strong enough to swage (small caliber) jacketed bullets, it has excellent handling of spent primers, the unique operating handle is fully adjustable and it's an excellent $ value; what's not to love?

    Thanks all for the discussion!
    You're welcome, and good luck!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 405grain's Avatar
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    I am clueless to these new-fangled innovations. I've been using the same Rockchucker I bought back in 1982 for everything. The only part that I've ever had to replace on it was the tray that catches the spent primers. I predict that it will still be working 100 years from now.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    My Co-Ax is over 50 years old....as is my Rock Chucker. Nothing “new and improved” IMO that would make me invest in another single stage.
    Don Verna


  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    My RCBS Junior isn't all that old, but after a few month with a Lyman Orange Crusher I boxed it back up and remounted the Junior. Only "innovation" is my jackleg mechanic's case ejector.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cognitive Dissident

  15. #15
    I’ve only ever had one press failure over many years and different presses, and that was a Lee Challenger that the toggle linkage broke on. Lee sent me a replacement for free, and after I fixed it I sold it. I replaced it with a Lyman Orange Crusher and it’s still in the lineup today. That was about 35 years ago.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion8 View Post
    So in my hoard of used reloading equipment are quite a few single stage presses, all the way back to a Pacific Multi-Power C-press. Amazingly (well, not if you were of the same vintage as that press) it still functions perfectly, never has a broken part, and does not seem to wear any. Which got me thinking as (for some ungawdly reason) I was perusing single-stage presses on eBay:

    • Is or was there ever a truly "bad" single-stage press? I mean how hard is it to do some stress calcs, bolst/beef up the cast iron so even a C-press can perform where the industry has moved to O-presses?
    • Is there anything truly new in single-stage press design, anything "must-have" beyond changeable shell holders instead of the old caliber-specific rams that Pacific used to use?
    • What were considered the top-dawgs in single stage presses? I have an RCBS Rock Chucker, but there are several "versions". I'm kinda partial to the Pacific 00-7 press, just let go of a basic Lyman press, and even have a Lee Reloader (non-breech lock) that I got for $1 and used to use as a straight generic depriming station.
    • So for the serious compulsive hoarder, which presses are must-have?

      Thanks all for the discussion!
    I have had/used single stage presses for more than 1/2-century (wow! time flies) starting out with an RCBS kit from mail-order Gander Mountain. After using Redding Boss's for a bit, I "discovered" the Mayville Engineering (MEC) single-stage press, and could almost write an advertisement for this product! The smoothness/balance of handle is unparalleled by any others I've experienced; the work-space is large enough for reloading even teeny (e.g., .25ACP) cartridges; and -- imho one of its best attributes is its alignment is such that run-out/concentricity is almost negligible.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	307147 My other "favourite" is the Forster Co-Ax..
    Back to this MEC Marksman, in their description they wrote, "This heavy duty, ductile cast iron, single stage press features a patent pending self-centering shell holder base. The new base aligns the shell holder so that it precisely aligns every cartridge with the die above it. It also features a smooth ram for accuracy each round you load. Standard 7/8"-14 TPI dies from all major reloading manufacturers are compatible. This sturdy press also features a wide enough clearance to load calibers from .22 Hornet all the way up to .416 Rigby. Made in the USA."
    That "This heavy duty, ductile cast iron, single stage press features a patent pending self-centering shell holder base. The new base aligns the shell holder so that it precisely aligns every cartridge with the die above it...." imho says it all .
    geo

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Baltimoreed's Avatar
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    Watched the video, very clever but you’ve still got to load the feed tube so you’re still handling the brass so I don’t see where you gained anything. Still takes time to load a hopper. I’ve built case kickers and primer arm assists for my Lyman T2s that speed things up by allowing your hands to stay busy but not have to work as hard. I prime on the press.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pertnear View Post
    The biggest innovation of the newer presses is that they catch all the ejected primers.
    Oh, this made be laugh. Yea, the older ones send spent primers all over the place. Need to place a bucket under those presses. But still won't give up the RCBS JR3...

    45_Colt

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Since I started with a "Whack-A-Mole" Lee loader... I first went with Hand Primers...and then to the little Lee Loader Press (everyone should have one or two) dedicated to the Auto Prime II... Never looked Back.
    Edit: I do have this odd habit of Cleaning primer pockets... Prolly unnecessary... but, habits ya know!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I got into reloading about 10 years ago. I looked at several different reloading presses, and decided that the LEE single stage anniversary press delivered the most bang for the buck. I have never regretted that decision, and I have never experienced any issues with 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