Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Quakertown, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    Nearly 30 years ago, I had an RCBS progressive press. I was pretty happy with it, but I got it mainly because my local gun store let me get it on lay-way. I'm now starting over from scratch. And since I'm going to be asking for parts of a setup for Christmas, I want to make sure to get a good setup.

    I plan on shooting about 5K 9mm, and maybe 1K or more 5.56 NATO per year. I want to set up a progressive press for at least these two sizes, though I'll possibly expand to several others, mainly pistol rounds (.40 S&W, .357 SIG, .45 ACP, and .45 LC most likely).

    I remember Dillon advertising heavily as being the best system, but I'm not sure if that was actually the case. I didn't know anybody that was upset with their Dillon system, but there wasn't that much in the way of forums back when I was paying attention, so I didn't have that many people I could ask, other than gun shop people.

    So...RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, ... ? And which model.

    Also, any good choices for vibratory case cleaners? I never had any experience with them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    next to my neighbor, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    Welp, the dillon xl750. I have the 650 and love it. I want the 750 because I don't
    feel like sliding a bunch of brass down a copper tube.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    I have a Square Deal B, but that wouldn't be very good for some of your calibers (it only does straight walled pistol cartridges with proprietary dies). It works pretty well, but the spent primer catcher can be hit or miss, and it'll sometimes decide to not feed a primer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Richboro, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    RCBS makes the best single stage press so keep it (you will still use it).

    Dillon makes the best progressives. I had a 550 for over 30 years and have easily cranked out tens of thousands of bullets. Some people like the 650 with the auto advance but I don't miss it.


    Everything else (dies, scales, trimmers, etc) can be a mix of manufacturers.
    Last edited by Delkal; November 10th, 2019 at 11:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Narvon, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
    Age
    57
    Posts
    432
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    Ill chirp in before the LEE bashers, I have very good luck with my Pro 1000 progressive presses, although I do not prime on then as this step can be finicky and run them in a different sequence as normal. for the cost you can get three or four set up for the price of a Dillon and accessories needed to run them and never have to change out caliber set ups. for the quantities you posted they will do you fine. I currently have them set up for 45ACP, 40S&W and .223

    My '06, 30-30 and .41 Magnum stay on the single stage and turret press. A digital powder dispenser scale is a must have, when I started with just the .41 Mag I fussed with a balance beam scale, it's eternally in a box with my 8 track tapes and other antiques, I would have surely given up reloading without a digital powder dispenser,best reloading purchase I've made, I'm currently using this :

    https://www.lymanproducts.com/gen6-c...-powder-system

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    NEPA, Pennsylvania
    (Wyoming County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    I'm a Lee single stage press user. Cant afford the other brands especially Blue ones.

    Sgt. Recon I use both a digital and a beam scale. The digital gets erratic at times and every once in a while the beam scale (RCBS 505) seems to get stuck. Since I lack complete confidence in either I use them both to verify

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Narvon, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
    Age
    57
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    432
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    Flyingguy, I also verify with a smaller digital scale, try this out...After much initial frustration with my digital dispenser, I replaced the fluorescent lights (with electronic ballasts) over my work bench with LED's and the problems ceased. I also had some very strong rare earth magnets used to hang tools and such at the bench, cleared them out also. many of these state in the manual not to be used near cell phones, microwaves or cordless phones ect

    It is so consistant now I only double verify the firsthalf dozen or so charges and randomly every 6-12 drops dependant on the caliber and load, always spot on

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Douglassville, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    I am not far ahead of you on this except that I have never reloaded so all I can do is share what I have found. I found a gently used Dillon 550 with four caliber change kits. I also took a class at Kings Shooters Supply in King of Prussia, which they conduct on a 550 press and for $25 I think it was a great class. They also sell Dillon stuff and have a solid reputation and I recommend that you take a look at them. According to the class teacher, the differences between the 550s (as you know there is a 'b' and I think a 'c') are structural (heavier parts, grease fittings) but they all still function the same. The 550 has four stations (resize and decap, bell and powder, seat bullet and crimp) and the 650 has five (I believe you can stick a swager in there for crimped primers). The 550 is hand indexed and the 650 is auto indexed and you can get a brass feeder for the 650. You may be able to get a brass feeder for the 550 but I don't think it works well. I also have a bag of .223 brass that you can have to get you started there.

    One other thing...I have heard that shouldered brass is tougher to load and best done manually, one stage at a time. If that is wrong I'd like to hear more input on it.
    I know where Hunter's been.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Tioga County, Pennsylvania
    (Tioga County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    I got a Hornady Progressive Press after all the research I did and it took a little tweaking and learning to get it going, but it's been fine and loading 9mm.

    Part of the reason as I recall to get it was the price, the free bullets, the ease of ordering and acquiring accessories either at Amazon or in person at places like Cabelas or Grices and the fact the Hornady was more versatile with five stations compared to the Dillon 550.

    I do wet tumbling rather than dry and really happy with that and not having lead tainted dust all over.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Getting back into reloading - what to get?

    6000 rounds a year is only 500 a month.

    500 on a Dillon 550 is about 2-3 hours. I know they say 500 an hour but you gotta throw brass prep,filling primer tubes, military primer crimp removal etc... time in there.

    It is a manual index press but they are easy to change calibers and the manual indexing comes in handy when you are doing brass prep. it runs like a single stage.

    The 650/750 with brass and bullet feeders will really increase production but they are finicky and take adjustments when you switch calibers.

    I say get the 550. You will not be disappointed.
    Bring back dueling

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