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Old 05-24-2007, 09:40 AM   #1
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Reloader Opinions Please

Howdy All,

I'm planning on taking the reloading plunge in the near future. I'm a complete newbie to reloading, never having touched the stuff.

There is a SCREAMING deal available on a complete Rockcrusher beginners kit (RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press Master Kit ), for like $230 out the door. I know this is a great deal and I can't go wrong with RCBS.

But I hear the siren song of high volume reloading already (.45ACP/.223/.308 self-loaders). The Dillon 550 seems to be highly praised. Multiple functions with one pull of the handle, easy quick caliber changes (once a die plate is set-up and adjusted).

Is it worth waiting a couple of extra months for a Dillon kit (to save the money, that is)? Space is a MAJOR issue, as the best space is an open-air machine shop occupying our porch (which can be enclosed partially, if need be). There is ZERO space available inside.

Thanks!

Jon
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
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Start with the single press, and work your way up to progressive only AFTER you have really, really learned what you're doing. Then you can either sell your single equipment or keep it around for calibers you don't load in volume.

The ONLY way I would okay going direct to a progressive is if you have someone who is an experienced, safe progressive reloader work with you PERSONALLY and set it up and teach you how to run it.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:30 AM   #3
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Completely agree with Snake on this. Start with a single stage press and learn with it. Even when you progress to a progressive, you will still need a single stage press around so you aren't losing anything. Loading with a progressive is neat and really shines when loading a lot of ammo BUT there is a lot to watch on one to keep from messing up. A loading mess up can be as minor as stoping up a gun during a match to outright maiming or killing you.

Grab the RCBS kit and also get you a good (Lyman, Sierra, etc.) reloading manual. Read, study, ask questions (here is a great place) and, best of all, find a buddy who is experienced and is willing to let you sit in on some of his/her reloading sessions.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:50 PM   #4
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I prefer the Hornady to the Dillon. Got my Lock-N-Load for under $300. Their die setup is nicer because you can unloack each die individually. I had some time on a single stage before but I don't think it is horrible to go straight to progressive. You need to pay VERY close attention though. I do not have a single stage and do not see a need for one. Perhaps with the Dillon to avoid messing up the die plate but I can put any die I want in station one without changing settings.
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:18 PM   #5
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I agree with Snake et al...learn on a single stage... that way you can only screw up one thing at a time.

I would caution you about loading "outside" to store your powder and primers in a climate controlled atmosphere
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:31 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone!

I found out today I'm elegible for a limited-to-employees-once offer for the RCBS kit...$210 delivered to my door.

Eligibility is in two more months

That will give me time to rearrange my shop, and make an enclosure.

Jon
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:13 AM   #7
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Two most important things (IMO) to understand as you begin your venture into reloading previously fired cartridges -

Understand Headspace and keep all sizing lubrication away from the shoulder and neck. After that, it's smooth sailing.


FWIW - Many will concur, here, I'm sure -

The best, most easily understood book to begin with is the Speer. I began with vol. 11. Current is 13. I still refer to those volumes for specs & reference.

Best with the project
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blusteel
The best, most easily understood book to begin with is the Speer. I began with vol. 11. Current is 13. I still refer to those volumes for specs & reference.
The Rock Chucker kit he's looking at comes with the Speer manual. Although I wonder if it isn't a cheap stripped down version because I don't have the same high regard for it that other's here seem to.

I have the Hornady manuals, and I like them a lot. The articles in the front gave me a good understanding of dynamics that take place when a cartridge is fired and how the reloading practices affects it. they have detailed case dimensions and a lot of loading data for a lot of cartidges.
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Old 05-26-2007, 01:43 PM   #9
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Single stage is far more versatile at this point in time as you can get set up for additional caliber for $50.00 or less. I have 60 sets of reloading dies I run off the same tool. Personally I like the Redding and RCBS tools for new production although my personal tool is a Hollywood Senior.
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:21 PM   #10
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I started loading with a LEE hammer die set a very long time ago . Had Dillon been available I would have been all over it , it was a great value for me when I got it .
In some cases I have used it as a single stage and without harm or distraction . When loading I'm not in a hurry and set-up time doesn't matter to me since I will load for several thousand of a particular cartridge . The last .45 ACP sitting lasted for just shy of thirteen thousand rounds , the M-2 ball loading went on for about twenty-five hundred .

I still have a Bonanza CO-AX , a 007 press , a Corbin silver series and a LEE hand press and they all get used at one time or another . The choices you have are immense but that's not a bad thing .

As long as your shop is not enclosed , you might consider stripping the oil off the ram and replacing it with Dry-Slide as a lubricant .

Jack
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:16 PM   #11
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I would get the Dillon 550B. It might take up a bit more space than a rock chucker, and you can use it as a single stage press as you learn the ropes of reloading. Once you are comfortable at it, you can use it as a progressive and start loading 300 rounds of match grade ammo an hour.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:19 PM   #12
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In my heyday, I could churn out 150-200 rounds per hour on any one of three single-stage presses I tried.

With the four progressives I've tried, the true limit seems to be 300 rounds per hour, because of loading primer tubes, and for two of them, loading the case tubes. Each task takes about the same time, roughly. For example, the RCBS Green Machine uses a neato 5-tube revolver-type system (slow to load tubes), but also uses a neato primer flipper that you just pour into the priming system*--that saves time. Net result: same reloading speed as a Dillon 550, with primer tubes and just putting the cases in one at a time.

This even applies with the Star, with primer tubes AND case tubes (it has the casefeeder option). 300 rounds per hour, although that one could perhaps go higher because it is so smooth and jams up so seldom.

Biggest advantage of progressive is you can throw out a bunch of rounds without switching out dies. That's convenient.

I won't buy the Dillon primer tube loader OR the casefeeder because I believe they are drastically overpriced. Thinking of rigging up a pour-the-primers in the tube thing, though.

*THE weak link on the Green Machine is the primer feed. It can skip primers, the transfer slide has tight tolerances and really jams up hard if something goes wrong, and it just isn't polite to me!
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grump
In my heyday, I could churn out 150-200 rounds per hour on any one of three single-stage presses I tried.

With the four progressives I've tried, the true limit seems to be 300 rounds per hour, because of loading primer tubes, and for two of them, loading the case tubes.
300 per hour was the best I ever achieved with a Lee Prog 1000, and for the very same reasons. Oh you can crank out a box in about five minutes but you have to stop every now and then and top everything off, and that takes time. Might be able to up it a little with a second set of hands doing nothing but keeping everything full.

Best I ever attained on a single-stage was 100 per hour.

I haven't loaded since I moved into this house, over a decade ago. My stuff is still all packed up out in the garage. Been wanting to get back into it lately. I dread the thought of getting the prog running, so I am thinking of just going back to the single-stage, and maybe resize 500 in an evening, then decap and bell them the next evening, and so forth. Couple weeks of that while I'm watching TV and I'd have a few thousand rounds loaded up.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake45
I dread the thought of getting the prog running, so I am thinking of just going back to the single-stage
Exactly, the bottom line (emphasis added)

Can we say retraining session ?

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Old 05-30-2007, 09:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Snake45
Start with the single stage press, and work your way up to progressive only AFTER you have really, really learned what you're doing.
The best advice ever given in this forum.
 
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