Decisions decisions...

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SQLGeek
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Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:44 am

I know we've had several press discussions on here but I figure I'd start my own.

I have been shooting in some form or fashion for a little over 20 years and finally want to break into the world of reloading. I have been researching the process and various types of presses for several years so I feel I have a decent theoretical understanding of the reloading process.

I mainly shoot handguns, 9mm and .45 ACP. I will be eventually wanting to do a cowboy round, either .38/.357 or .45 Colt. I also shoot 5.56 and .30-06 (M1 Rifle) in semi-auto. The first two rounds I see wanting to start with will be .45 ACP and also working up an M2 ball .30-06 round for my Garand. I think .45 ACP will be the first round I start working up due to the lower pressures and seemingly simpler reloading process. .30-06 will follow that.

I want to start reloading for the following reasons:

1) Expand into a new aspect of this shooting hobby that doesn't seem to want to go away. :mrgreen:

2) Reduce the cost of more the more expensive rounds that I shoot, chiefly .30-06 suitable for a Garand, .45 ACP and one of the aforementioned cowboy rounds.

All of that being said, I am trying to figure out just which press I want to go with. I feel I have a decent grasp of the pros and cons of a single stage v. turret v. progressive press. I've looked at going with a single stage, as that is usually what seems to be recommended for those starting out. My fear is I will outgrow it quicker than I would like. I don't do any precision type of shooting and don't see that as something I'd be getting into in the future so I don't think the use case for keeping a single stage around after upgrading to a turret or progressive would really apply to me (though I have been wrong before).

I have been looking extensively at the Redding T7 Turret as I like the options it affords with the 7 die capacity turret. For that price range, a friend of mind recommended looking into the Hornady LnL AP. After researching that, it seems like a serviceable option as well.

I pride myself in my attention to detail and if anything, I am fairly conservative and risk adverse in nature so I don't think I would get ahead of myself in starting reloading on something other than a single stage and I feel it would give me the ability to ramp up production as I became accustomed to the process and had everything tuned properly.

That is a lot of text so I will boil my question down to this:

Is it insane to consider starting with a turret or progressive press as long as I am diligent about going slowly when first starting off and ensuring I am performing all of the steps properly?
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flechero
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby flechero » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:59 am

In your shoes (and I'm not too far off in terms of what I want to load eventually) I'd at least consider a Dillon 550. I specifically say the 550 for a variety of reasons.

-Versatility of calibers
-manual indexing (which is helpful for learning, rifle and load devel/workups.
-inexpensive upgrades (compared to other models and brands)
-Can be run manually, 1 round at a time if you want (rifle is a choppy process with sizing, trimming, case prep and manually weighing powder)
-surprisingly accurate/consistent
-Lots of info on precision ammo (F class) on a 550 with basic mods. (google for tons of examples and set up info)

I'm NOT one to get into the brand debates- just look at your processes and needs and get the press that best addresses the worst of each caliber. I think that will clearly steer you towards one press. (or validate the need for a 2nd press)

To your last question- I started with a 550- if you are capable of reading and following directions, it's not an issue to start with a turret or progressive. As mentioned, you can run the 550 as a single and even individually weigh powder with it.

I finally decided to get a 2nd press (Forster CO-AX) for rifle but not because the 550 wasn't perfectly capable- it was purely a convenience buy. I had a $50 off coupon and $250 in gift cards to burn, on top of a $40 off sale at cabela's... so it was free to me with some accessories. :biggrinjester:



eta: I bet you could post, asking for help on this site and get a few people willing to invest an hour or two to help you get an understanding of the processes let you watch/help them load a few to get comfortable.
Last edited by flechero on Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:35 am

I have looked at the 550C but the 4 stations seems kind of limiting. I like the idea of being able to run a powder check as one of the stations. Good food for thought though.
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flechero
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby flechero » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:37 am

I wondered about 4 stations as well but 4 dies is the most I need for any caliber. Heck, I only use 2 dies for rifle.

The powder check was also something I originally wanted but I weigh rifle and development charges. When loading a run of pistol ammo, I can see clearly into the case and do look at each one before placing a bullet on the case. A check die won't detect a slight variance, just a dbl or missed drop, IIRC. So as cool as it sounds, unless you have a bullet feeder and a case feeder and blow them out at a high rate without looking- I don't see the value in a powder check.

There are lots of good presses out there! And once you finally get a few rounds loaded, you'll kick yourself for having not started years sooner!! :lol:

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:05 am

flechero wrote:
There are lots of good presses out there! And once you finally get a few rounds loaded, you'll kick yourself for having not started years sooner!! :lol:


Yes that's part of the problem. It's like choosing a new gun, I can't decide. :lol:

I appreciate the advice and if four stations would really be suitable, then I can always throw the Lee Classic Turret into the mix. I do like the idea of having two different calibers loaded up on the T7 though.... :cool:
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby rotor » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:27 am

I started with a single stage and moved on to a Lee turret. I guess it really depends on how much reloading you are going to do and how much you want to spend. I go for months at a time between reloading and then reload a couple of hundred rounds. Some people reload hundreds every day. If you are going to be a high volume reloader than go for a progressive. If you are going to reload a couple of hundred every now and then get a turret. I would search youtube and see how others use their press. I just don't reload enough to get a progressive. If I did buy a progressive I would stay away from Lee though and probably go to a Hornady or Dillon. When you start adding in bullet feeders, different plates for each caliber, case feeders and all of the nifty toys that the progressives need it can become expensive. I also think that the progressives need more safety checks because it is easier to screw up. I believe that most progressives can be used as if they were single stage as well so if you are planning to be high volume you can start out slow and work up to progressive. All is a lot of fun.

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:59 am

That is my big concern with going progressive is things can start adding up quickly. I'm familiar with the concept of buy once, cry once but the more I think on it, the less I want to spend ~$400-$500 for a progressive kit and then still need to add items like a tumbler, etc. Since I don't anticipate reloading a high volume of ammunition for a while, maybe I just talked myself back into a Rock Chucker.

This is as bad as building an AR, I have a terrible time making up my mind. :lol:
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flechero
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby flechero » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:50 am

SQLGeek wrote:That is my big concern with going progressive is things can start adding up quickly. I'm familiar with the concept of buy once, cry once but the more I think on it, the less I want to spend ~$400-$500 for a progressive kit and then still need to add items like a tumbler, etc. Since I don't anticipate reloading a high volume of ammunition for a while


Hope I'm not coming across as a know it all... more trying to convey that I had much the same indecision and why I did what I did.

I waited about an extra year before buying my press thinking about the same kind of stuff. In the end, I looked more at the time spent loading than the cost of the press. I think time with my wife and son is way more valuable than the $300 extra bucks I could have saved. I figure each time I load 100 rounds I save an hour. SO I have saved 60+ hours so far this year... my conclusion was that time saved is worth that extra outlay up front. And I anticipate the same or more hours "saved" each year.

During the year before I started, I bought some of the things I knew I'd need- like a wet tumbler a Lee C press ($20) and decappping die, bullets/powder and primers. THat way it lessened the $$$ impact and I had already processed the brass I had saved up. I had several thousand cases shined up and components ready to load the day my press arrived.

Good luck! :tiphat:

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:07 am

flechero wrote:
Hope I'm not coming across as a know it all... more trying to convey that I had much the same indecision and why I did what I did.


Not at all! I appreciate your concern but I come here for advice just like this. I certainly understand what you mean about the value of time v. money and truth be told, I hadn't considered the idea of starting acquire equipment while I continue to research presses, etc but that makes a ton of sense. I like your idea of starting to process brass in anticipation of getting the rest of the equipment. I don't have much brass right now as I've moved quite a bit over the past few years so I haven't kept it. But I think I'll search out a cache of once fired brass.

I have a habit of fixating on a topic and then researching it to death. Sometimes "just getting started" is a tough nut for me to crack. It's a personality flaw. ;-)

I will say that reloading is going to be another aspect of the hobby for me, not just a means to an end so I don't mind spending some extra time at the bench. Family is always first for me. Most of my reloading will probably be done when the kids are in bed and my wife wants to watch one of her infernal TV shows. :lol:

Good luck! :tiphat:


Thank you and I appreciate all of the advice you have provided!
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby Deitz83 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:15 pm

I started buying all of my odds and ends (scale, calipers, brass cleaner, dies, tickler and flip tray) earlier this year. I plan on getting the Dillon 550C in Feb. I have been collecting my own brass (40 S & W, 9mm , 223 and 45 ACP) over the past year and half. I am waiting on the black Friday and holiday sales to get a more odds and ends. I kept pushing my date out, because I had a habit of buying another gun. So, I put gun buying on hold (except for the AR I am buying parts for) for a while. After, I got past the withdrawal of not not making a purchase. I got my focus back. Good luck with your decision.


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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby Boxerrider » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:59 pm

SQLGeek wrote:I appreciate the advice and if four stations would really be suitable, then I can always throw the Lee Classic Turret into the mix. I do like the idea of having two different calibers loaded up on the T7 though.... :cool:


I have Lee's Classic Turret and believe it is a great place to start. Four stations is as many as I've ever wanted to use - I like seating and crimping revolver rounds in separate steps. With rifle ammo two stations often get the job done on their own. Extra turrets are inexpensive so I dedicate one to each caliber. If you want to save time changing calibers, then you can dedicate a powder measure to each one too.
The turret press runs as slow as you want while you're learning or tweaking a set-up, and can turn out a lot of ammo quick once you get used to things. If you find it meets your needs for some calibers but doesn't make enough fast enough for others, then step up to a progressive for the high-volume ones and keep the turret for the rest.

Whatever you choose, get at it - you're missing out on the fun!
Jeff

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby SQLGeek » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:31 am

Boxerrider wrote:
I have Lee's Classic Turret and believe it is a great place to start.


Have you had issues with the auto-indexing? I've been reading about that some lately but I'm not clear for which Lee turret that seems to be happening.

Four stations is as many as I've ever wanted to use - I like seating and crimping revolver rounds in separate steps.


Do you crimp with the Lee factory crimp die? Choosing a press seems to be just the start of the adventure. Die selection will probably have me tied up for a while too. :lol:

Whatever you choose, get at it - you're missing out on the fun!
Jeff


I am getting there. I just bought an AR and enough ammo to keep me shooting for a while so I'm scraping my pennies together. I just built my workbench in the garage and I will put in some shelving this weekend. It's been fun just planning this all out and seeing it come together. A nice break from pounding away on a keyboard all day for work.

Thanks for the advice. For the money, the Lee Turret does seem to be taking the lead. The Kempf kit seems to be a good way to go to get started:

https://kempfgunshop.com/Kempf_Kit_w/_L ... -6575.html

Do you use the auto disk or auto drum powder measure?
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby rotor » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:25 am

Having used the Lee I will answer some of these questions as to what I do.
1. No problem with auto indexing
2. I use factory crimp die
3. I use auto drum powder.
They sell a kit at Midway
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/78599 ... deluxe-kit
Has some stuff not in Kempf kit and some stuff you wont use much. For Lee kit I recommend also getting the mounting plates to mount to your table, extra turrets, extra drums for the powder measure, an electric scale, and when you buy dies ( I use Lee) make sure you get carbide and make sure you get the ones with the factory crimp die (deluxe kit). Also I like to get case gauges for every caliber I reload. One extra die, the Lee universal deprimer die. Having the Lee scale is a pain but very accurate and you can make sure your electric scale is accurate. Then you won't use the lee scale again. For cleaning brass I like the kit Cabellas sells of a tumbler comes with media and cleaner. Works good. Ton of other stuff you will need. Have fun.

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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby Beiruty » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:31 am

Lee Classic Turret. You can add the auto-reverse indexing and a bullet feeder and crank at 5 rds per minute.
I have one and I loaded on it from 9mm to 300WM. 0 problem.
If you need help let me know. If you can be in DFW, I will show you my setup.
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Re: Decisions decisions...

Postby TexasJohnBoy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:45 pm

Personally have I started out with a Hornady Classic Single Stage. Mainly because I got a good deal around this time last year on the kit. You are right though, the kit was not everything you needed (contrary to what the box told me!)... I don't feel like I'm too slow with it, and it forces me to check every round at every step since, like you said, I'm new.
I ended up getting a wet tumbler, lee factory crimp die, lee universal decapping die, RCBS primer swager, case gauges, calipers, and a wide assortment of other "stuff" that makes things easy.

I would suggest getting some wrenches that camp out at your bench too, just in case you have to break something loose (in my example, it was the decapping die when the rod to pop out the primer gets pushed up)

Oh, and I desperately want a new scale. The electronic scale that came in my kit wonders on zero constantly, it's incredibly frustrating, so that might be something else to think of. A beam scale wont have that problem, from what I understand, but I haven't gotten one yet, or an upgraded digital one.

All of that said, I really enjoy reloading. It's another aspect of the hobby to be involved in, and it saves a bit of cash in exchange for some work with your hands. Good luck, and enjoy!
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