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Thread: Progressive presses???

  1. #1
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    Question Progressive presses???

    One of my goals this winter is to become (and then continue to be) a better handgun shooter, which means lots of structured practice and lots of ammo. For a long time I've been a single stage reloader, but I'm starting to see the value of a progressive press for high volume loadings (in my case .45ACP and 357SIG). I've started looking at Dillon's, and I'm leaning towards a 650. However, this is a whole new world for me, and progressive presses are pretty odd looking contraptions with lots of tubes, hoppers, trays and gizzmos sticking out in all directions. Thier visual complexity makes me wonder about functional reliability.

    What are your experiences with progressive presses...especially Dillons? THanks in advance for your responses.

  2. #2

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    I have two old star progressive loaders and they work great.(.38 and .45) My buddy had a Lee and it worked good also but took some tinkering to get it to work right and it jammed every so ofter. Recently he upgraded to a Dillioin and talking with him he says he loves it. Wishes he would have bought it a long time ago. It was a big investment but said it was worth it. He loads 9mm, and .223 with it I believe. They look complex but once you get into it they are actually pretty simple. If you're going to do a lot of shooting it is the only way to go. Every pull of the handle you get a complete bullet. All you have to do is manually place the bullet on the case.

  3. #3

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    My vote is for the Dillon. They work awesome and they stand by their product. Don't be afraid, they are not that confusing. If you have learned the basics from a single stage the progressive will not be a problem.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    i have owned "star" "ch" and "dillon" progressive presses.........and dillon is by far the fastest, easiest, and most reliable loader ever. the set-up is explained (easy) in the directions and they have tech support that is actually helpful.

    unlike most used presses........dillons hold their resale value, that should tell you alot about their quality.

    good luck.
    jh

  5. #5

    Default Progressive presses???

    Hello, plain and simple--to each his own---. Figure out what you want, ask the guys here lots of questions, do your research and buy it. I have done single and progressive years ago and did it all with LEE and the LEE PRO1000 and loved it. I cranked out thousands of 38 rounds for cowboy shooting and had no problems other then regular maintenance. I have just recently gotten back into reloading and the wife bought me an RCBS PRO2000. I am still working up loads and learning it's personality but it seems like a very good machine. I have not worked with Dillon but have friends that really like them. The main thing here is to research, check your wallet and get what's best for you and allow you to pickup some of the "extra" things that are never included in any kit. Good luck and keep us posted.

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    Thumbs up This is good...

    This is great...thanks guys. Your feedback is consistent with what I have heard from one of my good friends who is also a reloader and owner of a Dillon.

    I am advancing along the learning curve with the progressive presses. AKbear made the point about being sure to budget for the extras that aren't included in the basic package, which is timely advice...that's exactly where I am right now....still trying to figure out what is really needed, but not included in the package deals. I was just reading about "powder dies", "large & small powder bars" and "tool heads". It's a different language from single stage reloading, but it does make sense.

    Am I right in assuming that the RCBS carbide resizing dies that I already own will work in a Dillon?

  7. #7

    Default Dillon....

    My Dillon 550B will be used by my grandkids. The 650 is probably very good. Dillon makes very good progressive presses.

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    Doc, I've got a Dillon RL550 that I've had about 20 yrs. It has loaded close to 2m rds over the years (used to sell a little ammo yrs ago). I have RCBS dies, Lee dies, Dillon dies, and some C&H dies and they all work in the Dillon, (there all 7/14 thread). Have had several probs with mine over the years, called Dillon Tech support and was on my way again, 2 probs were OPERATOR ERROR the others they walked me thru it over the phone. Like RCBS, a part that breaks or fails they have a new one in the mail the next Bus. day with no charge and no questions on how it broke.

    Gun Runner

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    Default Thanks...2 more questions

    Thanks again guys...two more very basic (kind of dumb) questions:

    1. Is the charge drop highly reliable? (I'm one of those extra-cautious guys who has pretty much weighed every charge with the single stage. While I won't be using the progressive press for maximum charges, I still want to be confident in the accuracy of the charge drop).

    2. How do you handle the case lube step for resizing? (Do you have to use carbide resizing dies in the progressive, or do you lube the cases before placing them in the tool head then wipe-off the lube from the finished case?)

  10. #10
    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    1. Is the charge drop highly reliable? (I'm one of those extra-cautious guys who has pretty much weighed every charge with the single stage. While I won't be using the progressive press for maximum charges, I still want to be confident in the accuracy of the charge drop).
    A powder measure works best with a small-grained powder. Ball powders, flake-type shotgun powders, and the small-grained extruded powders like Alliant's Reloader series and Hodgdon's "Short Cut" powers meter pretty well. I don't worry about loading these powders progressively on a Dillon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    2. How do you handle the case lube step for resizing? (Do you have to use carbide resizing dies in the progressive, or do you lube the cases before placing them in the tool head then wipe-off the lube from the finished case?)
    You don't need case lube when using carbide dies for loading straight-walled pistols cartridges, so I'm assuming you mean bottle-neck cartridges. I lube mine before sizing, usually 20 rounds at a time. When I'm done, I toss the loaded rounds in a tumbler for a few minutes to get rid of the case lube. Ten or 15 minutes is usually enough.

    Some folks just use Hornady's One-Shot, and just leave the lube on the case when they're done.

  11. #11
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    Doc, I wouldn't consider anything but Dillon. I have a 550 and a auto feed 1050. My grand kids can operate the 550. It is at it's best with straight walled handgun calibers with carbide dies. I have used the 550 for 223, 7.62x39 and 308 and the spray on dry film lubes are the way to go. I have done the sizing in a single stage so I could clean the lube off and clean the pockets then just run the prepped cases through the 550 without a die in the size slot. But it does work all right with lube.

    Powder drop is via a sliding bar and is very smooth and accurate, it is of course better with ball powder. I've used the small grain extruded powder such as AA2015, H322, H4895, Vihta 133 and a couple of others and the slide bar works very well with those. I have not tried the longer grain powders but I'm sure it would some of them such as H4350, it is small grained enough.

    Dillon has a world wide and lifetime (I think) warranty. They will send you a part in the mail if anything breaks and will give you all the help you need. If you buy a used one, they will even send you a free video on how to set up and use it. All it takes is a phone call. I haven't seen the latest models and up grades lately mainly because the old ones work so well and don't wear out. Adjustments can be tricky and if it isn't working correctly, it is most likely operater error or adjustment. And they will help with that. Good luck and I think the 650 would be a great ammo machine.
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    Default I'm going to do it

    Thanks to all and the Professor for taking the time to share their experiences with progressive presses. It has helped me to hear from you guys.

    One more month of pinching pennies, and I'm going to get the Dillon 650...it's a good move. I'll post back after I get it and make my first run. It'll be fun...a new project.

  13. #13

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    Dillon 650-Works for me!

  14. #14

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    I have the dillon 550B and it is pretty nice. For the pistol powders the powder measure is pretty accurate...if u go to load rifle, the extruded powders don't meter as well if your going for accuracy. (which most of us go for)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ob_1jr View Post
    I have the dillon 550B and it is pretty nice. For the pistol powders the powder measure is pretty accurate...if u go to load rifle, the extruded powders don't meter as well if your going for accuracy. (which most of us go for)

    Ditto, I use a 550B for everything. With pistol stuff used for plinking I use it progressively. For rifle stuff I use it one station at a time and hand measure each powder charge as it doesn't like long grain powders. I rotate the cartridge 90 degrees at a time for a full revolution while seating the bullet and the run out is usually less than .001.

  16. #16

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    I own two Dillon presses. Both are 650. I keep one for my large pistol cartridges. Mostly 45 acp. The other is set up for small pistol. 38 special or 9mm. I highly recommend them for the press and any customer service issues you'll ever come across.

    Start saving up for the case feeder if you weren't going to get it on the initial purchase. The 650 really cranks out great practice ammo with the casefeeder.

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    To piggy back off this thread, has anyone used the Hornaday lock n load? and how do you like it

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by nategr View Post
    To piggy back off this thread, has anyone used the Hornaday lock n load? and how do you like it
    i like mine alot.

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    You know, folk'ses, I have always wondered how such issues as CLEANING PRIMER POCKETS, CASE LENGTH, LUBRICATION, and CHECKING POWDER LEVEL, are properly addressed, or IGNORED, when using a progressive press.

    I use a Lee Turret press for 44, 38/357, and 30-30, BUT I removed the thingy that makes it Auto turn, so basically, all it does is keep me from having to adjust my dies all the time.

    I know that progressive presses can work, but they scare me.

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    I am looking at all options right now, my dad is telling me to get the Dillon 650, that is what he had. I remember using his a lot and how quick you could spit rounds out. I just want to get into for a hobby and to load up on ammo.

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