Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Just bought progressive press - wow wow and wow

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by tlfreek, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    211
    So....

    thought i would post for those of you who were like me using a single stage press.

    I have been in the market for a progressive press for around two months now although I wasn't quite sure which one. I wanted the Dillon 650 with case feeder, but when I added up all of the options (it's like buying a car leather seats versus cloth aluminum handle versus plastic) I needed (wanted) it came out to over a thousand dollars. So I decided to hold off and move on it during the winter months. A week after I formulated my game plan, a member on this board was selling a smaller Dillon setup for 45 acp. After some thought..I bought it.

    Coming from the single stage press perspective - this machine is truly incredible - I love it.

    Pros -

    I can load (accurately) around 100 rounds of 45 ACP every 20 minutes. This is a comfortable pace and doing periodic checks of powder and things.

    Ergo wise - this device is perfect. I have tried to perfect case placement and bullet placement on my last setup and never really had it nailed - this device has perfected that.

    It's a Dillon

    Low primer indicator is nice although not necessary, but cool and a positive.


    Cons

    It's complex and if you're not paying attention you can make mistakes. I always check powder levels at least twice for each case when I load, and since I did not check each case on my first two hundred rounds (lots of other moving pieces) I cannot with udder certainty know that the first two hundred rounds I loaded are perfect - hence they will be busted apart and redone.

    It would be cool if Dillon made a light that would attach to the press so that you can easily check status at any given time. I find myself now shining a flashing light periodically to check things. This is a hassle.

    It's a Dillon


    -Overall I am simply ecstatic that I can churn out hundreds of rounds in a hour. The result is what I wanted - however its very clear that if you make a mistake with your setup and dont catch it, you can have hundreds of rounds that are garbage, questionable or need to be broken apart.

    I would NOT recommend this to someone new to reloading.
     
  2. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Buckley Active Member

    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    74
    YMMV but I found the 550 easy to figure out what's going on. Most people with patience and mechanical aptitude should be able to pick it up pretty quick. Make sure your room is well lit and you can see the powder as you place the bullet. The powder bar is fairly accurate so once you get it set you can trust it. I check every hundred rounds or so when doing pistol calibers.

    For the rounds you already loaded you can do a weight check to see if you have any squib or double charged. Just get an average weight of some good loaded rounds and if you have a variance of your powder charge weight then something is wrong with that round. Also might be a good idea to get a powder check die if you don't trust the machine
     
  3. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    Likes Received:
    1,175
    Oh when you said "progressive press", I had thought you bought the New York Times or something.
     
    Gunner3456 and (deleted member) like this.
  4. shoe

    shoe Carlton, OR Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    6
    I got a RCBS lockout die to help calm my nerves on powder loading, you should check it out. In between primer refills I check the powder drop for level and adjust if needed. I use the hornady powder drop and found if I cranked the living **** out of its adjustment bar lock it stays good for a the whole session.
     
  5. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    211
    tried that - I checked 15 rounds and the range is sometimes 15 grains apart. if one were double charged I wouldn' t know using this method - at least I don't know how to do it.
     
  6. shoe

    shoe Carlton, OR Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    6
    Oh wait Dillon has a powder check system as well don't they?
     
  7. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    Likes Received:
    1,175
    Problem is that the 550 does not have enough stations.
    I have the 550 and a SDB and run the SDB for loading my 45s. I prefer the self-indexing as opposed to the manual indexing of the 550.
    I'll probably sell the 550 and move up to 650 sometime in the future.
    I did read how some people have attached a flashlight holder to their 550 or maybe next to it, to shine a light into the cases as they work it.
     
  8. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    2,166
    Likes Received:
    120
    A flexible arm bed lite, or larger light like for a drafting table, (old tech) works well
     
  9. shoe

    shoe Carlton, OR Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    6
    Oh wow did not know that, didn't know there was a progressive with 4 stations :| would explain why it was so much cheaper.

    Well then guess the OP could us velcro or a releasable zip tie with a rubber pad on a flashlight and mount it to the side of the press or even the powder measure?
     
  10. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    155
    This isnt really a reliable method when loading pistol rounds, variances in bullet and brass weights can be larger than the powder charge weights, so you really cant tell. With some rifle loads you might be able to notice the difference.

    The best method I have found is check each case visually before seating the bullet, if you have the press set at the right angle, you can see the powder easily. Also I check the charge weights after each 100rds to check for any mistakes or changes in the powder measure.
     
  11. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    I just picked up a really neat little borelight,with flexible shaft,at walmart for about 5 bucks.if taped to a press,it could be bent to light up any desired area.

    as to mearuing loaded rounds,way too many varaibles to do this accurately.pull them if in doubt.

    it may be 'wrong',but I haven't peeked into a case in years.I double then triple check the powder wegith being dumped,then watch the powder bar on every pullof the handle,to make sure it's operating,and not dis connected somehow. I DO however check the weight every hundred rounds,never vary's once it's set.that's on my dillon 550b
     
  12. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    90
  13. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    Likes Received:
    1,175

    I don't remember exactly how the light was setup, but do recall that it was a goose neck type of light.

    Of course, if you own a 550 and get your "system" going there should not be any problems with overcharges. You will make each round the same way in the same sequence, unless something goes wrong. If something makes you stop, you check where you are at before continuing,
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    You raised a couple of points that almost everyone who gets a progressive press, of any brand, goes through. You have to monitor 3, 4, or 5 things that are happening every time you pull the handle. It can get confusing until it becomes an ingrained routine. And once it's routine there is the possibility that some important steps are just taken for granted and errors occur.

    To answer that there is a product on the market. Not too well known but has been discussed on some of the forums that deal with Competitive shooters. It's the
    Press Monitor shown here in several models. SA Development Products

    From models with dual power sources so you don't loose track, even in a power outage, to just a simple, basic, no frills, "round counter".

    This device can monitor the amount of powder you used, when it's getting low, whether you have moved the press handle to the full limits to insure proper primer or bullet seating, and also includes that light you mentioned.

    I will be adding one to my XL-650 before the fall.

    For all those others out there that are considering progressive presses for their pistol rounds, don't overlook the Dillon Square Deal B. High volume in a small press for not much more than one of the cheap offerings out there. Lots of Pistol shooters will buy another SDB for each of their pistol calibers rather than bother at all with changeover. Don't have to spend a grand if all you are loading is 9mm, .40, or .45acp.
     
  15. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    15
    I am new to reloading, so please forgive my ignorance. I am establishing a single stage press (hornady) and gearing up to load my first rounds next week. Question: couldn't you verify your your loads by weight? I mean, you say the first two hundred rounds loaded may be flawed, but if you weighed your cases before loading (not sure if that's common with pistol), wouldn't you be able to minus the weight of the bullet (230 gr?) and see if their is either enough powder vs double charge? I know you're only dealing with a half dozen grains of powder per charge or less...

    Also, what kind of puller do you recommend for pistol rounds?

    As for the light, they make clamp lights - UberLight LED Task Light for example (though on Amazon, it's $70 - WAY too expensive for me, but similar products may be an option?) that may make things easier.

    Thanks for the review of the Dillon - it was very informative, even for a newbee.
     
  16. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    211
    tried that - I checked 15 rounds and the range is sometimes 15 grains apart. if one were double charged I wouldn' t know using this method
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    Unless you wrote the weight of the case on each one before you loaded it you wouldn't have an accurate weight. Pistol case weights can vary almost as much as the weight of some powder charges.

    Weighing a finished round to check for errors in powder charges is not a recommended practice. About the only think it MIGHT do, if you were using this method in rifle rounds, is show a "No Powder" round.

    With my pistol loads I prefer to use a powder that fills the case at least 90%. This way, if I did have a double charge, it would spill over before I put the bullet in. Double Charges are most dangerous as they almost always do damage the to firearm. At least a squib just puts a bullet in the barrel without spreading parts all over the range. Of course one needs to STOP if they encounter a squib, not continue on by pulling the trigger again on a revolver or cycling the slide on an automatic.
     
    rrojohnso and (deleted member) like this.
  18. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    15
    Very informative deadshot - thank you for your great response.
     
  19. iomatic

    iomatic Portland Member

    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    14
    This is great info.

    Would you all recommend going straight progressive for a first time loader who is looking more long term?

    I'm thinking .45, and maybe two rifle calibers (30-06) & either a 7.62 or 5.56 (recommendations on a direction?)
     
  20. tlfreek

    tlfreek Vancouver WA Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    211
    I am fairly new to this too and I started with a single stage and have loaded several thousand rounds of different calibers. Because of this approach, I've learned the basics and overall a large chunk of information that I am not so sure I would have learned with a progressive. I would highly recommend a single stage first. although you may upgrade to a progrssive later you can always use the single for large magnum rifle or other which you most likely would not do on a progressive.