Advice for a newbie? Which press? Which dies?

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  • SA Justin

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    I'm in the market for my first press. I have no reloading experience but I'm pretty mechanically inclined and detail oriented with not much ADHD. :)

    I have a long history of making value-based purchases only to end buy quality down the road. I want to avoid that MO if possible. I'm looking at either the Dillon 550b or Hornady Lock and Load if I decide to start with a progressive. Alternatively, I'm looking at the RCBS rock crusher for a single stage.

    Any thoughts on single stage versus progressive for a newbie? Any reason why I should avoid any of these options?

    Also, I intend to start off loading 9mm and 5.56 and then maybe .45 acp and various rifle rounds down the road.

    Any recommendation on die sets? Is this something that I'm going to want to invest some money in, or is there not much difference between dies?

    Amazon.com: Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press: Sports & Outdoors
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DH9W8G/ref=gno_cart_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1MKVUID7YE8RZ
    Amazon.com: RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit, Green: Sports & Outdoors
     

    vmax

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    you can't go wrong with having a Rock Chucker around even if you end up with a progressive. I started with one and worked my way through a Lee or two and ended up with a Dillon 650 and I love it. I still use my Rockchucker for different things where I don't want to change my Dillon up like decapping brass for wet tumbling
     

    Dawico

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    The Rockchucker is an excellent choice and will last forever. Lee makes some good single stage presses also though. Stick with a full circle frame design.

    I always recommend a new reloader start with a single stage press mainly because a single stage press is handy to have anyways. They are easier to learn on too. You don't have to start on a single stage but it is definitely simpler.

    As far as a progressive press the Hornady and Dillon presses are both excellent. If I was buying right now I would get a Dillon 650 but the SDB I have serves my purposes just fien.
     

    Moonpie

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    Gunz are icky.
    RCBS makes good stuff.

    Redding is good stuff.

    Lyman is good stuff.

    Dillon is good stuff.

    Hornady is good stuff.

    Can't go wrong with any of them.

    Lee is cheap stuff but it works.
    I use Lee dies in oddball obsolete calibers because they are much less expensive and don't generally get used all that much. Say, maybe, 200 rds a year.
    If you're gonna be cranking out 1000's of rounds buy Redding or RCBS.

    Single stage is SLOW.
    Progressive is fast.
    For ammo you're gonna shoot a boatload of, go progressive.
    If you're gonna shoot small amounts of many different calibers, go single stage. Much less hassle of converting calibers.
     
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    Andy

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    I use a Hornady LNL progressive for bulk loading eg. 45acp - I use a single-stage for rifle eg. 308 or small experimental loads where high volume isn't needed. The point of me saying that is... there's always a use for a single-stage, even if you upgrade later.

    Things is, most newbies will do fine with a progressive press IF they're responsible and take it slowly to build their confidence and technique, because there's a lot going on simultaneously - so fixing an issue with one case can cause issues with another. Not like one feller I know who's impatient and started churning out shitty ammo from day 1 - and ended up kabooming his pistol; when I heard about it, I wasn't surprised in the slightest.

    Dies - most of the time I just use Lee dies, although for 308 I use RCBS.

    If you do decide on a single-stage, don't buy that RCBS kit - buy the press itself and then individual components to your preference.
     
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    Paul5388

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    My main concern is the material the press is made of, so I always pick cast iron on presses that are going to work hard. I use a Rock Chucker (cast iron), Lee Cast Iron Classic Turret and a Hornady LNL AP that is aluminum. The Hornady get's the least use of the three, even though they are all "O" frame presses!

    Dies are a toss up between RCBS and Lee, but mostly Lee duplicating RCBS now.

    Too many people in too big of a hurry now and it makes for junk loads!
     

    andre3k

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    A rock chucker would never be a bad purchase in my opinion. Even if you decide to upgrade to a progressive you will still want a single stage for rifle and low volume reloading tasks.

    Single stage allows you to learn the reloading process one step at a time and learn why you set dies up a certain way. A progressive press is throwing a lot of stuff at a new reloader at once.

    Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk
     

    vmax

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    a bit of hind sight, ... If I had it do to over, I would not buy Lee dies because they are too short to work in my Dillon.
    I would either buy RCBS Carbides or Dillon dies
     

    Wryknow

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    I started reloading about 18 months ago. Started with a Lee Challenger press in aluminum and was over-all pretty happy with it but I quickly realized that a single stage press wasn't cutting it. Single stage is slow and a lot of handling of the rounds as you change dies = a lot of opportunities to screw thing up IMHO. It would probably be just fine if I only wanted to load 50 rounds of rifle ammo at a time but I shoot some IDPA so I need a volume of pistol ammo for practice. A turret press would be better I think but that's still alot of handle pulls still. After a lot of debate I eventually bought a Dillon 550B about 6 months ago and I am very happy with it. It's not perfect, but I can knock out 1,000 rounds in an evening if I need to. Initially, I was worried about buying a non-indexed progressive press but it's really been no problem at all (in fact I think it sort of helps a bit if you're a NEWB because you have to manually control advancing the rounds.) As for the dies, I have always used Lee and been very happy with them. The carbide pistol dies are super and a good value - definitately get the deluxe set with the factory crimp die. I've seen a lot of folks on the range that have had problems with reloads not feeding correctly due to sizing issues and I've never had a problem with it. The final sizing and crimp really helps ensure you are getting a quality final product.
     
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