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progressive vs. single stage presses

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by oremike, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I really want a progressive press but I load 5 different pistol and 3 different rifle calibers right now and have loaded over the years close to 2 dozen other calibers. Compounding the problem is that while I have "pet" loads I like to experiment with different powder/projectile combinations and hand tailor loads for different applications. Case in point, I want to hunt pigs in both Oregon and Calif. with the same rifle and pistol, in Cali I need to use lead free ammo while here I can use leadies. As you can imagine there will be a bunch of load development where mass producing ammo might not be what I want to do. I can see if all I make is one load per caliber a progressive would be the way to go, but that's just not me.
     
  2. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    You might want to consider a turret press instead of a progrressive. That way it gives you a little more control of the process and does allow you to load a single round without having to swap out a bunch of equipment.
     
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  3. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Single stage presses are so cheap there is no reason not to have one or two even if you have a progressive. You can get 3-4 single stages presses for the price of a cheap progressive.

    Right now I have 2 RCBS progressives, a single stage and 2 shotgun presses. While I love my progressives you HAVE to have a single stage around for load development, bullet puller, swaging, bullet sizing, etc.

    I like the progressives as they have easily interchangeable plates for reasonably quick transitions. I bought a second one since often I was doing a large batch of one caliber and wanted to run a small batch of something else.

    With the progressive, for rifle I load like this;
    Tumble
    Stage 1 lube/decap die
    Stage 2 sizer
    Swage if needed
    Trim if needed
    Tumble

    Then I switch shell plates;
    Stage 2 prime
    Stage 3 powder
    Stage 4 seat
    Stage 5 crimp if needed.

    This has worked vey well for me.

    For pistol you just tumble, then run them through all 5 stages with loaded ammo coming out the other end.

    In the future when I have more room I plan on getting some single stage presses just for my target guns. I will leave the die in them all the time, that way the load is always the same.
     
  4. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Where do you find wild pigs in Oregon?
     
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  5. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You CAN do load development work on a progressive--but it's sometimes a bit of a PITA.
    I keep a RCBS single stage for low volume (a couple hundred a year) calibers and small quantity
    load development work. My wife and I both shoot pistol competitions, so I have a Dillon
    550 for the volume stuff. No way am I going to do 20,000 per year of 9mm on a single stage!
    I have complete setups including powder measures for the Dillon in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP, and conversions in 32 ACP, 38 S&W, 38/357, 38-40 and a few more that run between 500-1000 a year.
     
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  6. datguy

    datguy Vancouver, WA Member

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    I have a Co-Ax and Rock Chucker single stage. Redding turret and Dillon 550 and 1050. They all have their place. I load everything except precision rifle on the Dillons..
     
  7. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Clover creek ranch
     
  8. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    I don't have a single stage press, but I do have a redding turret press that I like a lot. It's pretty much like a single stage, but it holds 7 dies. Easier load development and smaller runs.
     
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  9. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    If you're making moderate amounts of ammo, but still want to have a "semi-automated feel" you can screw with the setup of the RL-550. When loading match ammo, I use my 550, but in the powder station I'm running an insert that's just a powder funnel, so you pour the powder from the trickler in the machine when the ram as at TDC.

    There are a few mods you can do to tighten up the machine, I put screws in to replace the normal pins to hold the head up, and also machined a solid steel head for mine. I'm a statistical outlier, but you can do some good stuff with dillon gear if you're willing to put the time into it.
     
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  10. FOWELKILLER

    FOWELKILLER buckley ,wa Member

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    i run a hornady lock and load auto progressive for my pistol loads.last year i shot over 6000 rounds of 9mm in idpa uspsa.i did load them 1 at a time for awhile but i got burned out and when hobbies become jobs its all over.but for my br and hunting rifles single stage only,i dont know why but they just seem more micro manageable im sure its just my ocd but its the way i do it.but the hornady progressive is a great reliable press,pretty simple to change out since it has the slip in bushings,the hardest part is the the case expander in the powder drop tube and the correct adjustment when switching from cal. to cal..i will say ill never go back to single stage for pistol
     
  11. fxdc

    fxdc Da Valley USPSA, SPEED STEEL, IDPA, 3 GUN

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    Old rock chucked with a piggyback 3. MANUAL INDEXING

    I have as much control as turrent, I can go either direction when needed.

    single Stage SUCKS BUT I DO MY 308 like that. 223 stays on the peogressive.

    IMAG1085.jpg
     
  12. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Also nothing wrong with a Lee Classic Turret press.

    Works perfect for me on .357, .38, .40, .44Mag and soon to be .223, different heads for every caliber and super quick to change.
     
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  13. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As a follow up, a friend of my father in law is moving to AZ and sold me all his reloading stuff. Main thing was a Hornady Pro-Jector press. On doing some research I found that Hornady will take the Pro-Jector in trade and for 200 bucks will sell me a brand new Lock-N-Load AP press. So I'll be making pistol ammo by the bushel basket full soon.
     
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  14. FOWELKILLER

    FOWELKILLER buckley ,wa Member

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    i think you will love the lnl ap just take your time till you get used to the feels and the sounds.once your turnin out rounds like a machine,i would suggest a bullet feed die,then take a peice of pvc tube about six feet long,enough that it will hold 100 bullets, since the primer tube hold 100 primers.drill out the top of the feeder die to fit the tube and baam no more feeding boolits one at a time buy hand.works great and only costs about $35,or you can buy the $500 dollar hornady bullet feed plant.i run my sizer die in the first hole then powder drop with powder thru expander in the second,then powder cop in the third,bullet feeder in the forth then finally seater die.youll figure out what works for you,this is just what works good for my pistol loading.it takes some getting use to but ive had great luck with mine.happy loading;)
     
  15. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A follow up, I got the Lock-N-Load this week and got it set up. I took my time to get everything adjusted and working right. At first I was not using the powder measure but was using the Lee dipper/powder through expander set up. This was so I could pay attention to what was going on every step of the way. It took a bit to get everything timed and fine tuned but after a couple hours I was making ammo much faster than I could on the Rock Chucker. I then cleaned and set up the powder measure. I ran 50 drops through the measure to "prime" the system then set the drop amount. 10 drops were all +/- .01 of a grain once I got it set. I only made 100 rounds, 50 with the powder measure and 50 with the powder through expander because I don't want to make a big batch of cull ammo right out of the gate. I do believe the ammo is good stuff but will shoot it today to verify that. I can see the value in time savings on ammo I shoot a lot of but will keep the Rock-Chucker for the R&D and low volume stuff.
     
  16. FOWELKILLER

    FOWELKILLER buckley ,wa Member

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    Good job on the set up .taking it slow and easy wins the race with a new machine.now go out and shoot have fun.soon you'll be cranking out 100rnd in 10 min.:D
     
  17. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good job on a careful and considered set up! If you load rifle calibers you will find more than enough uses for your single stage. For example, my .22-250 likes crafted rounds, and even with my AR, I prep the cases on my single stage (deprime, size) before I put a large run through my Dillon. Have fun...you are definitely on the right track.
     
  18. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    After having the Lock n Load for a few weeks I like it but it's not as easy as they make it sound. When everything is working right it works well but it requires constant attention. I've had some problems with the primer feed so if it doesn't "feel" right I stop and make sure it is working right. I've had the shell plate get loose and once had the powder drop actuating arm disconnect. None of this stuff was a big deal and I like to tinker with stuff anyway, but it's not set it and forget it, pull the lever and you're cranking out 500 rounds an hour.
     
  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have a Dillon RL550B and I have to agree with the above statement! Often times everything goes very smoothly and I can make lots of loaded rounds FAST! But it's not always that way... I can't be the only one who will have loose granules of powder that end up on the primer seater causing dented primers? :eek:
     
  20. oremike

    oremike Creswell, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Yep had that problem as well, now there is a model type paint brush next to the press so I can keep the primer put-er-iner clean.:)
     
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