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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a shooter, mostly handguns, and .22lr's, with a few rifle rounds on occasion. I know you can't reload rimfires. But we shoot quite a few centerfires. I think I might want to start reloading.

How hard is it to get started with a Press? I don't think I want a single stage.
They are very slow and deliberate. Perfect for turning out the "perfect round".
But very time intensive.

What are the differences in a Turret press and a Progressive Press?
Which is simpler? More efficient? More fail safe?
Where can I find basic information on the different styles of presses, how they operate and getting started?

I've been thinking about a Hornaday Lock'N Load Press.
We shoot mostly ..38 specials, .357 magnums, 9 mm's & .45 Colts.
We also have a couple CAS pistol caliber carbines.
I have a few hundred once fired brass already.
Would it be cost efficient for me to be reloading?
Thanks for any & all information.
 

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Just my .02, but I have been reloading for a long time. The getting started is not hard but requires some study or learning at the side of an experienced loader. Either way will begin with a good reloading manual from Lee, RCBS, Lyman, Sierra, take your pick they are all good and very informative. They will outline the steps as well as give indepth information on the types of equipment. To address your questions a turrent press is single stage in operation except to change the die you rotate the turret instead of screwing a new on in. The progressive will drop out a loaded round with each pull of the handle. For a person with no previous experience I really recommend the single stage press for safety, simplicity reasons compared to progressive. when operating a progressive press the potential for problems goes up exponentially. I don't mean to imply you can't do it, but the experience with single stage will help. The money saved will justify the cost, not to mention the fun. The single stage is not as slow as you may believe, its all I've ever used at home although I have used a friends progressive. It was great until time to change from rifle to pistol and re adjust everything. Get a manual and study up, you have a better idea if you want to try it.
 

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I second Bryan's advice. I started with a Pacific single stage and used it for years and thousands of rounds before I got a Dillon progressive. I still have the Pacific and still use it often. You need to learn exactly what is going on during each operation and need to be able to hear or feel any trouble. With 4 or 5 stages happening at once, you might not see a problem until too late.
 

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In my opinion, a turret press is the better investment. One of the largest challenges with any press is getting your dies set to the correct depth and once you get them set correctly you don't want to be breaking them out just to put them in a storage box. With a turrret press, you set your dies and leave them in the plate. If you want to load multiple cartridges just buy a couple extra plates. Another very important item in this equation is a good case trimmer. Once your dies are set you just trim the cases to length and you are ready to get started. I would also recommend a primer tool, whether it be a hand primer or a press mounted unit. Reloading is an on again/ off again activity, you don't want to spend extra time getting dies set everytime you get a chance to reload. Invest a little extra upfront and maximize your returns later.
 

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Once you find a good seating depth for a particular bullet, load up a round without a primer. Put it in the die box. Next time you load that combination, put it in the shellholder, run it up, and loosen the bullet seating plug. Screw the die down until it contacts the dummy, then screw down the seater until it contacts the bullet. Done. It takes seconds to set a die with a dummy round. It's cheaper than extra turret plates, especially if you plan to load dozens of calibers.
 

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Plates cost about 11 to 13 bucks. Most of the time the challenge is finding the time. I am fortunate to have 3 days off a week and between honey-do's and work I think I reload every 4 months and crank out about 200 rounds a pop. that equates to about 3 hours of work each session give or take. I load .38,.357, .45, .223, .308 and even some 30-06 from time to time. I don't own a Dillon, I use a Lee Auto Indexing Turret Press. Put a casing in the shell holder and keep pulling the handle down until the round is loaded. One round per four pulls with a powder dispenser. It don't get much simpler than that.
 

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This is a good book for beginning reloaders. It has been out awhile so it may be available from used bookstores. Your library may have some reloading manuals as well.
http://www.amazon.com/Abcs-Reloading-Definitive-Novice-Expert/dp/0896896099

I use the Hornady LNL press for most of my reloading, and a lee single stage for some tasks. The LNL is a good press, the lock n load bushing system works well and allows one to fairly quickly change calibers without having to reset the dies each time.

Progressive presses like the dillion, hornady etc really shine with the handgun calibers. The straight-wall profile of handgun cases lend themselves well to the multi station progressive press concept. I do reload .223 and 30.06 rifle on the LNL as well but it is a more involved process in regards to case prep and such.

Hornady has just released new version on the LNL that has reportedly addressed one of the potential issues with the press. Some folks have reported problems with the press not reliably ejecting completed rounds, usually 9mm. This seems to be a spotty issue as many people report no problem at all. I've not had any ejection problems on my press so far. The new design reportedly has a lever-arm type of system that forcefully ejects the completed round from the shellplate.

If you do a search on youtube you will find a number videos that show the LNL set-up and operation. In fact there are a number of youtube videos for reloading, including single stage presses, turret presses etc.

If I were to start out with a single stage I would get this press and use Lee dies if I didn't already have dies.
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=317831

If I were to start out with a turret type press I would buy this press kit and use Lee dies.
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=622290

If I were to start out with a progressive I would buy the LNL again as it has served me well.

With regards to reloading being cost efficient, I'm always a bit tempered in my answer to this question as I think we reloaders sometimes set expectations too high. Can you reload a cartridge for less then you can buy a finished cartridge? Yes, how much less depends on the caliber, when you purchased the components, how you purchased the components (bulk or not), and your payback period for your equipment. The popular answer to this question is you don't really save money, you just shoot more.

Not trying to dissuade anyone from reloading but the fact is ammo has gone up in price, and of course reloading components have gone up in price as well. Someone who has a bunch of components already sitting on their shelf that were purchased years ago will have greater savings than someone who is just starting from scratch in today's market. You can occasionally find deals on components through craigslist.

I would suggest that if your mindset is hardcore must save X amount of money with this endeavor and that is the be-all and end-all reason for reloading then you may just well be disappointed. If your mindset is you just want to get each reloading session over with and done so you can save X amount of money then you might be disappointed. If you end up resenting the time it takes to reload then you will be both disappointed with the cost savings and frustrated with the time commitment required.

If on the other hand you are the type who likes to do for themselves and you think you would enjoy the process as well as saving money, then I suspect you would be pleased with reloading. I have found that I enjoy the process, and reloading has become an enjoyable second hobby to shooting.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It looks like I have some studying to do before I buy that first item.
That's the way I approach things anyway.
I think at this point I'll go with some sort of Turret Press, first.
It looks more time-efficient than a straight single stage.

I am retired. I do like to shoot. It's not just about the cost.
It sounds like an interesting, and fun endeavor.
And, I have a little Christmas check, coming in.
I've been around a couple reloaders, before.
Thanks again, Y'all.
 

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I have that Lee clasic cast press and love it. I was in reloading big when i was younger and sold everything. I am now getting back into it. I really like Lee and Hornady products.
 

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John, I reload for all my guns, cast thousands of bullets at a time, even swage my own jacketed hollowpoints. I have at least 1000 reloaded rounds of 9mm, 38, and .357 on my shelf right now and it was all done on a little RCBS jr. press. I personally would advise you to stick with a single stage press, no matter what brand you chose. Speed is not what I am concerned about when I am making ammunition for my guns!
Michael
 

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Do yourself a favor-INVEST the money in a Dillion550-it is a progressive that does NOT auto index,so you can use it as a single stage if you want..I have roughly 400K rds through mine.I have broken parts through stupidity,called Dillion and they were in my mailbox 3days later-no charge...I also have a RCBS single stage I used for weird calibers,and an old Lyman turret.....NOTHING is as easy to use a Dillion,slide the die plate out,put in different caliber,adjust powder,check for next 5 rds,it stays right on...I load my .308 match rds with mine and am shooting-3/8 at 100yds,1" at 200,I'm happy...
 

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I suggest the Lee Aniversary Kit for friends who want to get started in reloading. For a very low price, you get a single-stage press, powder scale, powder measure, priming tool, and the Lee reloading book ... - things you'll need one way or another even if you shift to mostly progressive loading later.

After the 1st couple 1000's rounds, I found a Lee Pro 1000 progressive used with about 4 spare die sets, 3 auto-disk measures, extra shell plates, etc... on ebay for $50. I use it now for 9mm, 38/357, and 45 auto.

Similar to others, I'd suggest starting out on a single stage press to learn the ups and downs of each stage in the loading process.
 

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I've got a single stage, would love a progressive...

The way I see it, you don't get take your first driving lesson in a Nascar rig... you start with dad's ol' beater, nice and slow, and figure things out... later, you progress on to ah, er, the progressive... You can always sell the single later...
 
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