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new to reloading...progressive or not?

I am just about ready to get into reloading, have the money for a Dillon 550 but have been reading that you should not start on a progressive. I've also been reading some horror stories about reloading too. I will mostly be doing 45ACP but eventually will want to do 223 and 308's as well. Planning on getting a reloading manual and perhaps a video tape before even looking into reloading, but don't know which one. As long as I am careful, how dangerous is it?

Comments

  • danski26danski26 Member Posts: 284 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    IMHO you will always need a single stage press. I still use mine from time to time. Why not start out with a rockchucker or a redding ultra mag? Even a turret press "what i do 75% of my loading on" would be ok to start on. It's just there is a lot going on with a progressive for a new handloader to keep an eye on.
  • One shotOne shot Member Posts: 1,064
    edited November -1
    One of the best presses to learn on is a single stage press.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,201 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Purchase the book first or as part of a single stage press kit. There is nothing "hard" about reloading. it is a very simple mechinical process. The danger comes in when you deviate from information printed in the books.

    I've been reloading for 34 years, since I was 14. I have three single stage presses. A single stage press loads fast enough to be useful and slow enough so you can learn, see and feel when things are not right. I had a Dillion 1000 commerical reloader, I sold it to buy more guns.

    Rifle cases are best loaded on a single stage press for accuracy.

    There are several kits available for reloading that even include the book! Purchase a kit, read the book and start reloading. The purchase of the 550 can wait until you find out if reloading is your cup of tea. The Dillon products are top notch for sure, you can not go wrong there!

    Remember, buying the press is only the first step, you need a lot more equipment that just a press to reload. Dies, scale powder funnel, powder, primers, case cleaning equipment, bullets and all sorts of handy gizmos to make reloading more fun.

    HAPPY SHOOTING!
  • goldeneagle76goldeneagle76 Member Posts: 4,359
    edited November -1
    thanks for the replies...think I will steer clear of the progressive until I get my feet wet. As far as turret presses go, I did a search on the site and could not find much info on which ones are good. One guy voted for RCBS and one for Lyman...any help as to which would be a good starter turret?
  • goldeneagle76goldeneagle76 Member Posts: 4,359
    edited November -1
    Is this a good one to start on?

    RCBS Turret Kit $340

    Includes Turret press, Uniflow powder measure, model 5-0-2 scale, Speer Manual #13, Case Lube Kit, Deburring tool, Case Loading Block, Fold-up Hex Key Wrench, Primer Tray 2 and powder funnel.

    What else will I need in addition to this? Dies, case trimmer, etc?

    Thanks in advance.
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    RCBS Rockchucker is built like a tank; Lee's New Classic Cast Press is as well, far better than their old O frame press, which will acceptable, has a weak linkage and will break now and then resizing rifle cases. I'd go with the Lee Classic cast job as it is a third the price of the RCBS and from what I see just as beefy (I own the RCBS and have used the Lee).

    Jon
  • sig232sig232 Member Posts: 8,018
    edited November -1
    I agree that the RCBS Rockchucker is a great starting press.

    But....I recently switched to a Dillon 550B and if I had it to do over again I would start with that press. You get the video with the press that shows you how to do it all. You can start out using the press just like single stage, except you don't have to mess with changing out the dies. You just load one shell at a time and take it around through all the stages. Very simple and at some point in the future you will feel confident to start reloading all the stages at the same time.

    I recently sold all my single stage equipment. Had the Rockchucker and all the stuff, dies, scale, powder measures, etc. Sold my Pacific press that I used 30 years, and all its equipment.

    I load 45 ACP, 9MM, 45 LC, 44 Spc, 40 S&W, 380, 356TSW, 38 Spc, 357 Mag, 44 Mag and 450 marlin. All on the Dillon.

    If you learn on the dillon you only have to learn once. Start with the Rockchucker then in a short time you will want the Dillon and have to do it all over again.

    The dillon is pretty much foolproof and simple to learn.

    In my humble opinion.

    Sig232
    NRA Patron Member
  • CubsloverCubslover Member Posts: 18,601 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I just started this year. Bought a Lee Anniversary kit. I don't have any experiance with the others (RCBS, Dillon, Turret styles, etc.) Have loaded probably 500rds in it and love it. It is slow though, and I agree with the veterans here, get a single stage and learn the science behind reloading before getting a progressive. I will probably buy a Dillon progressive press this fall.
    Half of the lives they tell about me aren't true.
  • goldeneagle76goldeneagle76 Member Posts: 4,359
    edited November -1
    after looking around I think I'm going to go with the Lee Classic Turret press for now. The price is great , it's faster than a single stage but not as complex as a progressive. Cabelas has the 4-hole turret press, auto disk powder measure, scale, primer pocket cleaner, cutter and deburring tool in a kit for $80. I think all I'll need after that is the primer feeder, dies...and of course the reloading manual is on the way now. Is there anything I'm missing to get started? Aside from the cases, bullets & powder?
  • MosinNagantDiscipleMosinNagantDisciple Member Posts: 2,612
    edited November -1
    A set of calipers couldn't hurt, so you can check the length of your reloaded cartridges, and for checking case length once you've fired your first reloads.

    Frankford Arsenal sells some very nice ones for under $30.
  • fire for effectfire for effect Member Posts: 121 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Once you get into reloading, you can step up to a progressive press.
    I started off with a Rock chucker, them moved up to a Dillon 450... that was thirty years ago.... I now have the Rockchucker, which I still use, plus the Dillon 450, and a Dillon 550, and a Hornaday Lock and Load Progressive. I should also mention the Corbin Swaging press that I use for making Jacketed .308 bullets.

    My favorite Progressive Press is the Hornady, which I use exclusivly for loading .308.
  • CubsloverCubslover Member Posts: 18,601 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by goldeneagle76
    Is there anything I'm missing to get started? Aside from the cases, bullets & powder?


    MORE MORE MORE manuals. You can never have enough.
    Half of the lives they tell about me aren't true.
  • goldeneagle76goldeneagle76 Member Posts: 4,359
    edited November -1
    The Lyman 47th edition is on the way to my house...are there any good reloading videos out there? Getting a visual always helps me along.
  • goldeneagle76goldeneagle76 Member Posts: 4,359
    edited November -1
    Also forgot to ask...until the Lyman manual gets here I'll b asking questions. Do I need to get a tumbler right off the bat or do the cases not need to be cleaned before every reload?
  • fire for effectfire for effect Member Posts: 121 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by goldeneagle76
    Also forgot to ask...until the Lyman manual gets here I'll b asking questions. Do I need to get a tumbler right off the bat or do the cases not need to be cleaned before every reload?


    Cases should be cleaned and inspected for defects before every reload. Get into the habit early, and you won't be sorry.
  • GUNFUNCOGUNFUNCO Member Posts: 2,920 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My 2 cents worth.

    Buy a RCBS Rock Chucker first.

    Use the extra money to get all the other tools that you will end up buying anyway. Like a case trimmer, tumbler, caliper and micrometer, primer pocket and case prep tools. Also powder measure and a good electronic scale and primer seating tools.

    Load several hundred (or more) rounds the old fashioned, slow way. This will teach you to check powder levels and primer depth, bullet seating depth etc.

    Then when you switch to a progressive, you will know what should be going on at each station. You will always want a single stage press to do other operations like case decapping/sizing for special processes anyway.

    This way you will learn by doing a single process, hundreds of time to familiarize yourself with how it should be done.

    This is the way you should learn and are not as likely to endanger yourself by loading a double charge or something like that. I set up my Dillon 550 and my kids could load on it at about 6 years of age but they were not aware what was going on and how to handle problems that occasionally arise. They aren't difficult to operate but you can run into serious problems if you don't keep an eye on things and then produce a round without powder or a double charge if you need to stop during the process to check powder or adjust seating depth or crimp. And one small distraction could result in a very expensive gun (or person) damaged. Thats why most of us encourage you to learn on the single stage.

    Get with someone who reloads and have them show you how to do it one evening. Post a note at a local gun club or range-you might be surprised how willing people are to help you start.

    Most people that try reloading end up enjoying it nearly as much as shooting.

    Also check auction sites for used equipment. I must have half a dozen extra presses from people I have bought out when they moved or divorced or got out of reloading after a while. And I have 4 set up on my bench right now.
  • mpolansmpolans Member Posts: 1,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm going to break with the crowd and say get a progressive press; specifically, a Dillon Square Deal. The Square Deal is an order of magnitude faster. Plus, since it is auto-indexing (unlike the 550), it's much harder to double charge a case.
  • 320090T320090T Member Posts: 2,715 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'd start with a single stage to learn the basics then go to progressive for large quans. I still load rifle on a rock chucker, pistols on a 550B. There are TONS of used stuff out there that is perfectly good so look around, check at your local club, range, or look in sale magazines like Thrifty Nickle, The Trader, etc. You can go to us.trader.com and find used stuff there. Reloading is fun! It is raining in Central Indiana today, crap all week, so I am attacking a bucket full of 9mm. Oh yeah, a case polisher is great but to get started, you can use a scouring pad type pad to clean rifle cases.
  • fire for effectfire for effect Member Posts: 121 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by mpolans
    I'm going to break with the crowd and say get a progressive press; specifically, a Dillon Square Deal. The Square Deal is an order of magnitude faster. Plus, since it is auto-indexing (unlike the 550), it's much harder to double charge a case.


    I would ignore this advice. Do not get a progressive until you are familiar with the basics of reloading. You need to walk before you run.
  • BHAVINBHAVIN Member Posts: 3,490 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Besides the Dillon square deal B is only for pistol rounds. The single stage advice above is sound.
  • rediceredice Member Posts: 1,550 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by MosinNagantDisciple
    A set of calipers couldn't hurt, so you can check the length of your reloaded cartridges, and for checking case length once you've fired your first reloads.

    Frankford Arsenal sells some very nice ones for under $30.


    You would be much better off buying a quality caliper from a machining store than buying any of the ones you find at gander mountain or menards and in most cases you will pay the same or less, I myself am buying one here real soon for reloading and it will be this http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PARTPG=INLMKD&PMPXNO=4617819&PMAKA=890-9373 26 or 27 bucks and if you do a google search you can almost always get free shipping at enco.

    I only say this because ive done quite a bit of machining and I wouldent trust anything not from a machining store or that costs less than 50 bucks. I actualy have a cheep lyman 120 dollar digital caliper I use for machining and I catch a lot of crap for it but being digital its darn near bulletproof I havent had any problems with it, since I can re-set the zero very easily and quickly.

    However if a dial caliper goes out of zero expect to dink with it for the next few hours to get it back if you even can, thus buy something decent in the first place and you will have less problems in the long run, also you should check or have your caliper checked for accuracy at least once a year or once every 6 months depending on your usage, personally I check mine once a month when I am machining and instantly if I get anything looking like a funny measurement. But I have the capabilities to do that in this case a quality gauge block set that cost more than most of my calipers.

    EDIT: I fergot a few things for reloading so had to run up to gander mtn they had a newer model lyman digital caliper there for 54 bucks, well I bought works good just going to keep a gauge block with my reloading stuff to check it every once in a while just like I do in machining.
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