Single Stage or Progressive Press?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by gymgu, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. gymgu

    gymgu New Member

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    Beginner reloader of .380, 9mm, 45, and .223. I bought a RCBS Rock Chucker new wholesale from a dealer friend who needed to unload it as he is getting out of the business and I wanted something to get started. I was also able to get some of the other stuff I needed including a 45 die, powder, powder gauge, and tumbler from him.

    I wanted a RCBS 2000 but he said there would be a long wait. He said he could maybe get me a slightly used Dillon 650 in a few months.

    My friend tried to discourage me from buying a progressive press as he said that there were too many things to go wrong with them. I'm not interested at this point in the ultimate load for the best match round which I think the single stage is good for. I'm just trying to insure volume production for my handguns as I probably shoot at least 10,000 rounds a year.

    Did I do the right thing given the current availability situation?
     
  2. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Some progressives are easier to change the set up on than others. Some people actually own a press for each caliber that they load. I have a progressive that I load 45 acp on. I use a Rock Chucker for everything else. I probably do about 15 different calibers on that Rock Chucker. Every reloader should own a single stage press. There are simply times that you will need one.
     

  3. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Shooting 10,000 rounds year? You need a good progressive press. The Dillion Progressives are great machines. They are easy to run and have incredible guaranties. Dillion backs up their machines and they are always a phone call away.:)
     
  4. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

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    I think it is good to start with a single stage.
     
  5. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are basically a careful person and at least a little bit mechanically inclined, it's hard to beat the Dillon 550B.

    A single stage is easier to learn on, but you will outgrow it quickly.

    If you can afford it, get a decent single stage as a learning tool, and then move up to the Dillon.
     
  6. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    The 650 is a fantastic press. If you get a good price go for it. The only issues i have is if i make a mistake setting it up.

    I highly recomend getting dillon's video on the 650 if your new to progressives like the 650.

    I use both a single stage and 650 depending on volume depends which press i use. Even for low volume shoots i use the 650 to proccess my rifle brass then use the single stage for charging and bullet seating.

    There isnt much that can go wrong with a 650, other than letting primers or powder run out, since everything is automated except for placing the bullet on the case and there are addons for that...
     
  7. gymgu

    gymgu New Member

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    Thanks for the advice (as well as that from others). I like everything about the Dillon but the primers used in the RCBS 2000 can be bought in strips which may be a little easier to load and use than the stacked primers of the Dillon. Some worry about the primer stack of the Dillon going off if the bottom primer were to fire but nobody seems to know first hand that this has happened.

    Help me out with your rifle brass process. Are you saying that you are adding powder and bullet seating with the single stage? This would seem to require that you manually load each case with a powder charge and then seat the bullet in the press. Why would you not do the whole thing on the 650 which can be set up to do everything (even place the bullets if you can afford the added hardware)? The only thing I see that looks a little iffy with the progressive is the shaking brass of rifle cases as each stage is indexed. This might result in powder being shaken out between stages. Pistol cases being shorter seem less prone to do this.
     
  8. JW357

    JW357 New Member

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    I don't use a Dillon myself, but I do use a Hornady progressive press. I love it. I don't have any experience in single stage presses, but given the volume you shoot, definitely go with a progressive.

    I wouldn't worry about the press shaking out the powder. Unless you double charge it, which you should always pay attention that you DON'T do, you shouldn't be anywhere near the powder shaking out. I've literally never had it happen on my press.
     
  9. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    When you are loading bottle neck rifle cases you cant do it in one go. You have to size and deprime the cases then trim to length and deburr the case mouths. The 650 means i can run all my sizing priming operations at the same time then trim without handling cases.

    Once thats done i can trim and the charge cases with powder then run them through the single stage in the case of 30-06 low volume precision 308 or 223. Or if im cranking out ohsht rounds or practice rounds for the scar17 or bcm carbine i can go back to the 650 and crank em out.

    While i shoot a lot of 308 and 223/556 i dont do a lot of batch loading. Most of it is done in 25-50 round lots or less since i load for accuracy a lot. I like to use a rcbs chargemaster electronic powder dispenser for this and having the brass pre-proccessed on the 650 makes it easy for running through the single stage with frequent changes to charge weights and different powders in the same session.

    Progressives kind of suck for small batches, frequent powder changes, and or frequent charge weight changes when your building accuracy loads. Thats why people often have both single stage and a progressive. All my pistol ammo is run on the 650 since i pretty much never make changes other than confirming the charge weight when i start.

    Some proggressives can have powder jump out but most dont. The dillon tends not to have that happen but it does happen. Mine started out a little clunky but within 500 to 1000 loads the turret smoothed out and its like butter now.

    The rcbs strips are very dangerous since if you have a discharge it can daisy chain the strip. Nothing between you and the primers but air. The 650 has a protected primer housing that is between you and the primer tube.

    An acquantance of mine managed to get a deprimed berdan case in the mix and set off his primer tube in his 650. All of em blew but he was wearing glasses and the dillon primer shield worked saving him any harm other than a good scare and a short wait to get a replacement tube from dillon. Dillon's priming system is probably the safest one out there.

    I do some priming using a rcbs table top primer and it worries me even though its another safe way to prime.

    The strips and hand held primers are very dangerous. We have a member here who got shrapnel in his face from hand priming.
     
  10. cottontop

    cottontop Guest

    I have used a lot of presses in my 50 years of reloading and I have to say that the RCBS Rockchucker is by far the best I have used. They are not as slow as you think and w/ a good powder measure you can load a lot of ammo pretty fast on the RC.
    ct
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2013
  11. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I load 5.56 and 7.62 in batches of 1,000

    I don't know if all of my stages are necessary, but they work for me and give me the "warm fuzzies.":p

    First, I wash or tumble the cases. I install the resizing die ONLY in the Dillon. I spray lube with Dillon lube then resize/deprime,

    I tumble in corncob to remove the lube, and run each case through the case gauge. Those that need trimming are trimmed.

    Brass is now prepared. I install the tool head with all of the dies. In the resizing stage, I install an RCBS "universal" decapping die to knock out any corncob that got stuck in the flash hole during tumbling, and load normal,. high speed.

    I weigh a powder charge every 100 rounds to verify the powder measure setting.

    I have ten primer pick up tubes, in each size, so I only need to load primers in tubes every 1,000 rounds.

    Sounds complex, but once you get into the swing of it, it's easy to load 1000 7.62X51, .30-06 or 5.56X45 in two evenings without pushing yourself.

    Be careful, though. You may find yourself taking out a second mortgage to buy conponents!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  12. gymgu

    gymgu New Member

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    Appreciate the sage advice

    Hey guys. All this experienced advice is invaluable. I already have the Rock
    Chucker so I'm good with the single stage. Now if I can get the 650 in a few months I should be set. Any more comments are welcomed. Thanks to all.
     
  13. gymgu

    gymgu New Member

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    Some questions

    In your decapping process have you ever had a primer not load properly? Some have said that dirty primer pockets can cause this and that is why they decap first, clean next in a tumbler and then in an ultrasonic cleaner to get all the crud out of the primer pockets. Also have you ever had experience with stainless steel media in your tumbler? The claim is the stainless never needs replacing like corncob. The double tumbling you do should really clean range pickup cases.

    Do primers come in more than 2 sizes? Anyway I like your idea of keeping plenty of primer tubes ready before loading.
     
  14. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Primers are only large and small. Rifle and pistol primer are different but the same size/


    Where to start!:)

    first, always remember that Dillon has the best customer service in the industry. It some "thingy" won't fit in the whatchacallit,, call them and they'll walk you through it.

    Never had a problem with depriming. I never worry about cleaning primer pockets. and never had a problem.

    I usually use a Thumler's rotary tumbler and warm water with Liquid tide for initial cleaning. Clean corncobs in a vibratory for lube removal.

    Never tried the stainless steel media. since I clean my brass for functionality, not looks, I never got around to trying that stuff.

    From everything I've read, it's perfect if you want super shiny, new looking cases. I just want them clean enough that they won't scratch my dies or chambers.