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Talked out of a progressive press

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by davef, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. davef

    davef S.E. pdx Active Member

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    So this guy on here had a Lee pro 1000 press for a great deal. came with several different die sets, had several other options and the price was more than fair. I went and checked out and was ready to throw down the cash for it. He seemed less than excited about selling it to me though, he kept saying its not for a novice and I should probably start out on a single stage. He repeatedly said it, so by the end of it I guess I agreed and walked away empty handed but now hours later I question my decision. Im intelligent and am good with tools and my hands. Theres a ton of info on the net, Ive been researching what i need and the process for a while now. Thing is I shoot about 300-500 rounds of 9mm a week and the expense is killing me. Seems like a single stage might be great for learning on but will be quickly outgrown as I need to output a large number of rounds.

    Any thoughts or was it divine intervention so I would get a dillon or hornady progressive instead?
     
  2. VW_Factor

    VW_Factor Woodburn Oregon Active Member

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    After doing tons of research myself, I am going to start with a nice progressive.. Why? Because I can use it as a single stage to learn in the beginning and later move on to more complex things.

    To me it seems utterly stupid to not start with nice equipment that you can grow into.
     
  3. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

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    I've been reloading for 30+ years and have no use for a progressive press. Everyone's entitled to their preference.

    They are more complex. You can learn to grow into them, sure. They will not get less complex over time, you will just understand what they are doing better.

    If you compete (ipsc, idpa, etc) and you shoot large quantities of ammo that is exactly the same (bullet, col, charge, powder) then they will crank out large amounts of ammo quickly. If you are like some of us, and switch between calibers, powders, bullets, lengths - then the time it takes to switch out a progressive press will negate any efficiency gains that you get from it.

    On a single state you handle each case when you deprime, prime, charge, seat, and/or crimp. That's at least 4 and maybe 5 times that the cartridge is in your hands, and you have an opportunity to catch a mistake, or spot a hairline crack, or other flaw. I appreciate that.

    Progressive presses take up quite a lot more space.

    Nate
     
  4. yotehunter

    yotehunter north west Active Member

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    I have only been reloading for about 5 years. I use a turret press. I bought the Lee 1000 once and sold it because I thought it was way to complex. Like said above everyone is entitled to there preference.
     
  5. BroncoFan

    BroncoFan Eastern Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I have a Hornady LnL AP for my pistol calibers and an RCBS Turret Press for my Larger rifle calibers. I also have a Rockchucker but have not had it out in years. I would never go back to a single stage press unless I was really, really looking to dial in some long range rifle stuff. The newer modern presses can be set up so switchng between calibers is pretty easy. I can switch pistol calibers in a few minutes and a couple tweaks be right back at it. Beginning you just need to slow down and maybe just use one stage and die to do one stage until you're comfortable with the process. If you don't pay attention during reloading and get a squib or double charge and then double down with your lack of attention when you shoot and you're in trouble. If you shoot a lot and unless you've got money to burn progressive reloading is the way to go.
     
  6. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've got to put a plug in for Blue. Both my wife and I compete--primarily USPSA---and I load 20,000 or so per year of mixed 9mm and 45 ACP. Been flogging a Dillon 550B for 15 yrs or so, and it just keeps chuggin' along. Not a big deal changing between calibers, takes less than 10 minutes.
     
    evltwn and (deleted member) like this.
  7. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I started with a lee turret and had no issues learning, didnt take a class just read the directions. Reloading is a simple process it just seems overwhelming at first. Before you know it you'll be kicking yourself for not starting sooner.
     
  8. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    Otehr than cost, I really like the Hornady L-N-L. Irecently gave mine to my son and taught him how to load on it. I decieded, back in the late '70s (?) that if I bought a progressive it would be a minimum of 5 stations. When Hornady came out with the first 5-station affordable press, I bought it. Upgraded it as Hornady made changes. It finally wore-out just as the L-N-L came out. Great press.
    It seems more open and accessible that the Dillons and it was easy to walk him through each stage and show him what was going on. Started one case at a time and slowly worked our up in number of cases and speed.
    Since the Lee Pro 1000 is NOT a 5-station press, I never really looked at it as moe than a curiosity (like the SDB and 550--maybe be good for some, but not for me).
    There is a forum that is for Lee Presses and they have lots of hints to get the Pro 1000 and LoadMaster set-up and working right.
    If you want a single-stage press, I would look at the Lee Challenger with the die bushings. You may also want to look at the Lee Classic Turret press.
    Go to LeePrecision and Hornady to watch their videos and go to YouTube for some user videos on various presses.
     
  9. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

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    Its best to start with a single stage to learn the steps, but if you wanted to jump up to a progressive for a first press, I would not choose the Lee 1000.
     
    tlfreek and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    almost all progressive presses can run one case thru at a time,while u learn the ins and outs of what it is doing...or supposed to do.A little self disciplline is all it takes to not try to crank em out before you are ready.
    THE number one rule on any press is 'if you think you messeed up,pull the components out,see where u are at,and start over.again,self discipline comes into play here.
    I hear that there are lots of videos on Youtube on the different presses and their habits,I'd suggest viewing some, ,and see if it's something you can take on and feel safe doing so.
    note: even running one round at a time thru my dillon 550b, I can size/deprime,prime,dump powder ,seat and crimp a bullet in way less than a minute per round.speed comes with experience,don't get in a rush,it's your hands firing that round.
     
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't look at as "getting talked out of a Progressive Press" but being "talked out of buying a LEE Progressive". Of all the progressive presses out there, the LEE is the most problematic. From the "Gravity Feed Primer System" to the plastic shell plate advance mechanism, this press definitely is not a device for a true beginner.

    If you want to get a progressive press, fine. If you've been reloading a while, and understand what happens throughout the process then OK. Otherwise, if you want a press that you will spend more time loading and less time troubleshooting, get a Hornady or Dillon. If as you say your big need is for something to load a lot of 9mm ammo, in a short period of time, look at the Dillon "Square Deal B". A basic progressive that does an excellent job of pistol ammo. Costs around $375 complete with dies, ready to load. Just add Primers, Powder, Cases, and bullets. Yes, it only uses the special Dillon Dies. Many people just buy another Square Deal B when they have another caliber that they load a lot. Rather than change calibers on the one press, they just move over and load on the second press without any delay.

    I still have my original Lee progressive and I've found a job that it excels at. I use it to deprime large batches of 9mm brass before cleaning.
     
  12. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    I just started reloading very early this year. I'm not as skilled as those with more experience, but once I get everything set-up and double checked I can easily crank out 2 or 3 hundred rounds an hour with occasional weight checks on the powder. I don't see the use of a progressive press as any faster and I'd have less oversight of what I'm creating.
     
  13. shoe

    shoe Carlton, OR Member

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    I started on a Lee Classic Turret, loved it so much I still have it even after buying a Hornady LnL AP. I use it for non mass production rounds like bench shooting or the uncommon round a friend asks me to reload. Main reason I started with the Turret instead (single stage to me was out of the question because I wanted to shoot a bunch of 9mm and 5.56mm) was cost, EVERYTHING that I needed to get to get started equipment wise only cost me $250. I was able to churn out approx 250-300 rds per hour on the turret.

    Once I am all done "upgrading" my LnL AP it will have cost me ~$1250 to have my perfect setup (The LnL AP itself, case feeder, bullet feeder, and dillon case trimmer) . I bring 1000 of 9mm and 5.56 with me to the range each trip, dont always use all of it of course but that is how much I bring to keep myself in practice.

    My issue with Lee is that some accessories of theirs have to be "tweaked" to function right. 2 of em being the primer feeder for the turret and single stages and the lee powder measure.

    The primer feeders dont always feed right into the primer "cup", theyll either flip over somehow or just not go in. Takes a millimeter adjustment on its placement to get it working perfect, I ended up glueing it in place so I would no longer have to mess with it. Speaking of primer feeding though, DO NOT get the Lee "Deluxe" Turret kit get the Classic. The primer system in that (the part that actually pushes the primer in) FALLS OFF regularly during use, it fell off so many times it broke. Also the "Deluxe's" primer disposal system does not work/is stupid. Instead of going down a waste tube, it comes out to the side of the ram and is supposed to fall into one of 2 holes on the turret presses body. 2 issues with this: #1 they very rarely go into the hole, usually end up SOMEWHERE around you cause it bounces #2 theres no access to the 2 waste holes w/o having to dismount the press.

    The lee powder "pro" auto-disk measure I found annoying enough that I eventually just got rid of it and got a Hornady one. The auto disks somehow spills powder over time onto the press, which is annoying to me and not sure how it does besides there being residual powder in the disk cavities? Also I had to give the measure a good tap each time it came around to make sure it put the correct amount of powder in its chambers, only effective way I found to keep a consistent powder drop.

    I stayed away from the Lee progressives mainly because of the fact there is a "primer blast shield" accessory that is a OPTION to buy, apparently the primer feeders in the Lee's get jammed up now and then. The remedy being the same as the powder measure, tap it to keep stuff going.

    My overall experience with lee has been good but not the greatest, will be using their factory crimp dies on my LnL AP and maybe some of their other dies in the future be we shall see. If you're willing to tinker around with something to have it work right, Lee's fine. If you have the money to spend on a progressive and want to load a decent sized volume get one, if I could do it again I would've gotten the progressive first. The turret has grown on me and it after lots of tweaking works like a charm.
     
  14. OreShooter

    OreShooter Portland Member

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    You done OK. The Pro 1000 can be a problem if you don't keep it clean. As far as research goes, Cowboy T has a great web site that has videos on the Pro 1000 and how to keep it running. He also has added Lee Classic Turret videos which are good to view.
    San Francisco Liberal...WITH A GUN!

    My advice? Get a Lee Classic Turret. It has auto-indexing and you can do 300 an hour if you want, and with the 4th hole you can add a Lee factory crimp die for the 9mm to make sure feeding is assured, all other dimensions and overall length being correct. For starting out you want to go slow and make sure you got it all down right before you start cranking anyway.

    You can get into the Dillon/Hornady-who-is-better discussion later and save a ton of money just by getting the Lee Classic Turret for now. :laugh:
     
  15. shoe

    shoe Carlton, OR Member

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    For me, I thought the same for a while until I used a Dillon with a case feeder and bullet feeder that a friend had. Speeds up the process by a lot. I only have a Hornady LnL AP with a case feeder currently, but want to get the bullet feeder, although I'd have to get rid of either the powder lock out die or the Lee factory crimp die during that stage.

    As far as oversight, I use a RCBS powder lockout die to check powder levels during the loading process. I check my powder measure level for detail after every 100 (when I run out of primers in the feeder) and pick out random completed rounds out of the 100 I just made to check for consistent and safe OAL.
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    What "oversight" would you give up? My Dillon XL-650 allows me to monitor every aspect of the loading process. An alarm that goes off BEFORE the primer feed is empty, a low powder alarm that makes sure I don't fill a bunch of cases with air, a powder check station that warns of high/low charges, a visible check possible before seating a bullet, all included on my progressive. As you not seeing the progressive press as any faster, I create a new round every 2 seconds, once everything is set up. I can maintain a rate of over 600 rounds per hour if I have primer tubes filled in advance. If I had an assistant that put cases in the case feeder, filled the powder reservoir, and added primers, all the while I kept pulling the handle I could approach 1200 rounds per hour. Unfortunately my arm gets tired and I need a break.

    As I see it, a progressive press (the right one) can be 2-3 times faster than your method.


    Just about the same as my similar setup in Dillon cost. Funny how cost differences can close up when the extra features are added:)
     
  17. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I'm not sure I would even rely upon my Lee Pro 1000 to deprime my 9mm cases. I experienced a lot of problems in the press feeding cases from the tubes and then jamming the shell plate. I've kept the Pro 1000 in a box in the garage with thoughts of one day trying set it up to reload .357 magnum. I've just never got around to it. I replaced the Pro 1000 with the Lee 4 hole Classic Turret and am very happy with it. I shoot 200-300 rounds a week and the Lee Four Hole Classic Turret does all I need.

    I'm anal and insist upon watching each step in the reloading operation. I want to see the powder in the case when I insert the bullet and then seat the bullet before advancing to any other operation. I could not do that with a progressive. 1200 rounds an hour ? hmmm I cannot even examine 1200 rounds and hour, let alone reload 1200 rounds an hour. I wonder if the guy checks his cases for cracks before cranking out 1200 rounds per hour, or if he ever stops and checks a powder weight after cranking that handle a couple hundred times.

    Different strokes for different folks. I prefer to take my time and personally observe each step of the reloading operation. As I said I'm anal about this reloading hobby.
     
    deadeye and (deleted member) like this.
  18. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Apparently you have never seen a progressive press in action. Not only is it possible, most who have them do exactly that unless they have a bullet feeder and then just rely on "powder check" devices.

    Again, my XL-650 allows me to look into the case before a bullet is placed on it and it moves to the next operation.

    Dislike a progressive press if you wish, just dislike it for the right reasons.
     
  19. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I believe I do.
     
  20. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I had a Lee 1000. Pile of junk. Love my LnL. My Lee turret press was great but I quickly outgrew it and advanced to a LnL and I've never regretted it.