What style of press should I start with?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by RedBengal, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. RedBengal

    RedBengal New Member

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    Hi guys,

    New reloader here, so new that I have zero equipment so far :)

    I'm trying to figure out what to buy. I took the NRA course on reloading, the guy that taught it had a single stage press and a Dillon 650. The 650 was obviously great, but he said it would cost a fortune to purchase all the tool heads and dies for it if I wanted to reload more than a couple things. He uses it for two things and does the rest on the single stage.

    I'm going to start with reloading 9mm and 380, but down the road I want to be able to do .40, .45 ACP and .223. I don't want to limit myself. I've been looking at turret presses, because they seemed faster than a single stage press.

    I'd be interested in hearing what y'all have say about the Dillon vs turret vs single stage, given my circumstances.

    Thanks
     
  2. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    first of all, before buying anything, you need to buy the book, The ABC's Of Reloading and read it, then read it several times. before you buy anything for reloading.

    second, i always suggest for new reloaders to start with a single stage and learn the proper steps and procedures first. you need to learn the basics first and concentrate on them. progressives and turret type presses have a lot going on at one time and for a new reloader, this is a potential accident looking to happen because of not paying attention.

    reloading is very rewarding addition to shooting and i enjoy it quite a bit. it is very safe as long as you adhere and abide by all safety procedures. there is a good reason they are there, to prevent you getting hurt or killed or hurting or killing someone else.

    but please buy the book first, then read it, several times. Amazon.com usually has it for less than $15. read it first, then come back here and ask questions.
     

  3. Crazycastor

    Crazycastor New Member

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    I agree with axxe55. Get the book and a single reloading press to start off with. I'm new reloader myself and in noway would I want to have alot going on with my press while learning it especially with different calibers. Dillion presses are for those guys who load up hundreds at a time. Pistols rounds are usually 50 to 100 at a time. Buy a single and if you later decide to go with a progressive, you can sell the single press.
     
  4. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    What axxe says is a good idea. I disagree with having to start on a single stage but it won't hurt to have a single stage press around later even if you do upgrade to a progressive or turret. A Dillon RL 550 is a very versatile progressive press that is easy to use like a single stage press if you want to.
    Read everything you can before you start then read it again. I have been reloading for 30 years and I still make sure I refresh my memory at least once a year. Have fun.
     
  5. JoshH

    JoshH New Member

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    I have heard a lot of of people say to start out single stage. I agree for many a progressive press is just too much going on at once. I however have been reading up on reloading and collecting brass for over a year and felt as though I personally could handle the set-up and process of a progressive. I didn't want to get all set up and realize I'm going to get a progressive anyways. A lot of you are probably like me and it takes time and some convincing of the better half to save up for a "hobby" like reloading. Knowing I would only have one good shot to get the high quality stuff I wanted I decided to hold out, save up and buy a Dillon XL650 with a bunch of extras. I got the set-up for .223 because that was the kit that was available locally and then bought the .45 conversion kit. Set-up was really a breeze for me, not sure why I heard so many concerns about that? The key for me I think is to just GO SLOW at first, just because Dillon says you can pump out 1000 rounds per hour doesn't mean you have to. I am very methodical with each pull of the lever and check that all stages are functioning properly. Pumped out 400 .223 rounds in about 2 hours this morning with no problems. So I say if you can tame yourself and are willing to put in the time studying and going slow at first, go ahead and get a progressive press. It's a lot easier to justify spending an extra $100 on a single stage setup later on for large rifle rounds than trying to talk the wife into a $500-$1000 machine later on. No doubt the wife will say "cant you just do it on the stuff you already have"?? Go big first:)
     
  6. rockratt

    rockratt Active Member Lifetime Supporter

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  7. JW357

    JW357 New Member

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    +1 on reading up before you start. I didn't get the ABCs of Reloading book and I rather wish I had. I still prolly will.


    I started with a progressive press, and its ok. There is definitely a lot going on and it can be a bit much for a newbie. It kinda was for me. I've made loads way too hot, too light, etc. Most of it is my fault for not doing my due diligence. I'm soon going to be buying a single stage press (or possibly a turret. Prolly single stage tho) because I recently bought a Lee handloading kit for .357/.38 (paid $10 at my LGS) and I love the feeling of having exact control over every single round.

    Hence why I want to get the single stage press soon. Faster, by leaps and bounds, than the handloading kit. Slower, by a healthy margin, than my Hornady progressive press. But I think I might be ok with that because I honestly am not at the point in my life where I need to have thousands of rounds loaded, ready for shooting. Anytime we shoot we prolly put maybe a couple hundred down range. (Mostly because babysitters are expensive and our little one can't go shooting with us for a few more years.)

    So. My advice? Do your research and pick what you think works best for you, based off your needs. Don't get the most expensive progressive press just because you want to crank out oodles and oodles of rounds. They can get very expensive very quick. And if you mess up a batch, you may be sitting with hundreds of rounds that you aren't gonna shoot and need to unload anyway. So do an honest assessment of yourself and buy what you think will best serve your needs and abilities. Don't be afraid to start with a single stage press. I know a lot of guys who use both kinds anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  8. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Member

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    I started out with a RCBS starter kit about 30 years ago a solid "O" frame press and it's still going strong.

    Redding,RCBS etc all make good starter kits with just about everything you need to get started and also get a case trimmer and tumbler plus a set of verniers for case length measurement.

    What ever you get start with the best you can afford, pay once, cry once and you won't regret it 30 years down the track.
     
  9. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    for most beginning reloaders, i still hold to the opinion that a single stage is a better press to start off with. keeping it simple and allowing a person to concentrate on each step and procedure. keeping their focus on one thing at a time. learning to do each step the proper and safe way.

    notice i said most beginners, but not all. everyone has different abilities and how they process information and then can apply it. some can start with a progressive reloader and get up to speed from the get go. but not everyone has that ability. i tend to err on the side of caution when making these suggestions, as i don't know a person's ability to assimilate information or how mechanically inclined they may be. and another thing, not everyone is capable of reloading. they either lack the skill set, or the attention to detail or the ability to focus on what they are doing.

    i will say this again. reloading is avery safe and rewarding hobby to add to shooting firearms, but can be dangerous and even fatal if not respected, and the safety procedures adhered to. i cannot stress that enough. you are building controlled explosive devices that are set off in close proximity to many of your body parts. they can hurt or kill you if you do not pay attention to safety. like i said, i can't stress that enough.

    you need to assess your abilities and be honest with yoursellf after reading the book. better to be honest and stick to factory ammo than to be hurt or dead.
     
  10. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    Any serious reloader should have a single stage press. I have three different presses. I use them for different things. My RCBS single stage will do anything the others will. But not the other way around. If you buy a progressive you will still want a single stage later. That is what I would start with. I have used that single stage to reload .380, 9mm, 38 S&W, 38 special, 357 Mag, 40 S&W, 44 Special, 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 7-30 Waters, 223, 30-30, 7.62x54r, 7.62x39, 308, 30-06, 8x57. Those are just what I can think of sitting here in my recliner. To do all those calibers on a progressive would be ridiculously expensive. But with a single stage press, you just go spend $30-$40 on a set of dies, and away you go.

    I pick up all brass that I find at the range. When I am looking at used rifles at gun shows I think about what brass I have. Whenever I buy something I know that I am only a set of dies away from shooting it. That is a great freedom to have.
     
  11. towboater

    towboater Active Member

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    Whar Rick said. I believe a single stage is the way to go.
     
  12. JoshH

    JoshH New Member

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    To be honest, even though I just recently got started and ponied up for the XL650 I'm already looking into a single stage for loading .308 & 7MM. I went with the progressive though because I have started consolidating platforms and I plan on reloading a lot of .45 & .223, possibly 9MM down the road if prices stay stupid forever. Anything else I want to load for like .308, .44 MAG, 7MM & 30-30 will be done on the single stage for more controlled loads at far less volume.
     
  13. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    I started with a Lee Turret press and love it. I use it like a single stage press but with all of the dies set up. I'm currently loading for 6 calibers and I have enough turrets to keep all of my dies setup. I have added a Lee single stage and it has a Lee universal decapping tool in it. Just for the oops moments with the hand-priming tool. The Lee single stage has a quick change bushing system that allows you to keep your dies setup and just pop the in and out.
     
  14. RedBengal

    RedBengal New Member

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    Gracias

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm probably going to start with the single stage, like a Rock Chucker, just so I can develop some good habits and patterns with each step. I also don't want to break the bank getting started.

    I took a class on reloading and have read one book, but I'll try to check out the ABC's as well. More information is not a bad thing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  15. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    a lot of reloading data manuals usually have lots of information on the reloading process as well, plus you're gonna need a few anyways. on loading data manuals, try to get the mos current volume out as it will have up to date information on the current powders available.

    check our Lee Precision Equipment. lots of good equipment at an affordable price. i usually use MidwayUSA as one of my go to places to order equipment an supplies from. excellent service, decent prices and fast shipping.
     
  16. JoshH

    JoshH New Member

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    +1^^^^ AXXE55 Midway has always been good to me. In fact I ordered a Wilson case gauge last Wednesday and the shipping date said 10/2 but I received it by Saturday and I was able to jump in the press and run a batch. It was a nice surprise to get my product early and no extra $$ was needed. I would recommend MidwayUSA to anyone shopping online. Cheaperthandirt on the other hand lost a customer for good due to horrible shipping and crappy service after the fact. It was a breath of fresh air using MWUSA after that experience.
     
  17. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i have been using them for several years now and have no complaints. another good one i like to use is MidSouth Shooters Supply. they too have good service, decent prices and fast shipping. they carry quite a lot of stuff, but not near as much as MidwayUSA. another good source is Brownell's for parts. god service, not cheap, but quality products and tools, and decent shipping.
     
  18. Fred762

    Fred762 New Member

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    Kiss

    Starting out reloading on a Dillon 650 would be like starting out motorcycle riding a 850lb Harley Road King or Hyabusa crotch rocket. Sure you might get going..but is it fun and safe?? IMHO Keep It Simple.
    Start w a RCBS single stage press and read all u can first. There are lots of ways to screw up. Keep the early press for some stuff and 'graduate' to a Dillon later..you'll be a safer happier loader.
     
  19. Crazycastor

    Crazycastor New Member

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    To me a Dillion press would be good if loading 1000 of rounds at a time. Seems like it would be a pain in the but trying to work out a good load for you favorite bolt action rifle or pistol for that matter. Plus changing out dies and having to reset everything for a different round sounds like it woild be a pain. With a single press you just swap out the dies and your done.
     
  20. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    IMO, if you reload a lot of ammo like some pistol rounds or 223 or 308 where you do lots of shooting, then progressive reloaders are the way to go. but if your goal is more in the line of accuracy and not shooting huge quantities of ammo, then a single stage is a very good choice. i reload all of my ammo on a single stage and it does take a little longer to reload my 45 acp ammo, it does work quite well.

    but IMO, a single stage press is still the best choice for a beginning reloader. it allows them to concentrate on one step at a time and to learn the proper steps and procedures of reloading. IMO, a progressive is what you advance to once you learn how to reload and want to reload huge amounts of ammo.