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  1. #1
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    Default Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    OK, new to the forum and just getting introduced to reloading. I'm active duty Air Force and am planning on reloading mainly two calibers for starters. First caliber is .308 Winchester for my DPMS Panther LR. 308, and the second is 25-06 Remington for my Ruger Mark II Model 77 bolt. Both rifles are used for hunting and range shooting.

    I am going to be reloading several hundred rounds per month (500+) for .308, but not nearly as many for 25-06. I have been advised on two different presses (kits), one a RCBS Rock Chucker, and the a Dillon 550B with a 308 Winchester conversion kit (and of course, all necessary accessories including those needed for brass recycling and resizing dies particularly for semi auto etc). (Left over deployment money is set aside for good start-up, been advised at $600 up front, with approx $200-300 for other items as well)

    For starters it seems to be the general consensus to begin with SSP, but I would like to save the money and start with a progressive, and my cousin said to go straight for the Dillon, but use it as in "SSP mode" by running 1 case through at a time to get VERY familiar with it before attempting progressive mode. With the manual index, a guy should easily be able to do that. I have read the "beginner's threads" and have read my Hornady 7th Edition, and Lyman 48th Edition books through twice each (working on 3rd reading, still haven't bought anything past books). I am very mechanically inclined with 10+ years experience in machinery, milling, mechanics and metal working with an experienced eye. I'd like to know your advice on my situation, and also as a note that I will have an experienced loader working at my side (both have used SSP & progressive presses) for at least for the first few thousand rounds. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    I personally would recommend staring out with a good quality SSP like the RCBS Rockchucker for a couple of reasons. 1) It's a smaller investment if you decide for some reason reloading is not your thing. 2) It allows you to become very familiar with each step of the reloading process.

    Once you get started and decide to move up to a progressive press you can always use your SSP for other duties. For example I have a progressive and two SSP's on my bench. I load mostly pistol ammo so I go through a fair amount of rounds. I load on the prgoressive and I use one SSP strictly for de-capping brass, and I use the other for factory crimp dies.

    I bought all of my presses second hand. They are all RCBS products and all work perfectly as designed. I understand Dillon presses are very well built, but I think you may be pretty much limited to using Dillon accessories. Maybe someone with Dillon experience can speak to that. Good luck which ever way you decide to go.
    Yippie-Ky-Ay

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    My suggestion is to start with a ssp or a turret press. As noted above, you may come to find out that you are not that intersested in reloading and want to get rid of it all, not that it would be that hard to unload a Dillon. More importantly, having a "slower" press will allow you to get the feel of working the brass and be able to get to know if something is going wrong since you will be performing one step at a time. I like my Dillon progressive and use it for pistol loads. Eventually I will load some rifle rounds with it. Good luck!
    ““Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice.””

    -Anonymous

    Jeff

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    My recommendation would be to start with a single stage or turret press as well. Not only will you get to know reloading, and each individual process, better, you can still use your single stage or turret if you later decide to get a progressive. I use my turret press for the calibers I don't reload very often and for developing a load. There is no point in getting a progressive set up for five to ten rounds if you can just do that on a turret or SSP until you find the load you like.

    If you later decide to get a Dillon, go with the XL 650. It's not too much more expensive than the 550 and you'll appreciate the automatic indexing. I have only had mine for less than a month now, and am very glad that I went with the 650 because it has automatic indexing and five stations instead of four. This means that one station can be dedicated to a powder check station which checks each case for a double charge/no charge. Also, an automatic case feeder is available for the 650 for rifle and pistol rounds, whereas the 550 has automatic case feeders only for pistol rounds. I use Lee, RCBS, and Redding dies on my machine with no problems. Pretty much everything else has to be from Dillon though.

    So... start with a SSP or turret. Once you decide that you like reloading and want to go with a progressive, get the XL 650.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

    EDIT: Oh, and welcome to the forum. Thank you for serving and happy Veterans Day!
    loose≠lose; you're=you are; 'your' shows possession.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    I bought a Rock Chucker kit (Press, 505 scales, uniflow powder measure, etc.) 33 years ago & that's all I've ever used. I load everything from 9mm to .300WSM & I've never had anything break. If I had it to do over, I'd maybe get the kit with the electronic scales/measure. Then again, maybe not.

    I have no experience with progressive reloaders, so I can't help you there, but have heard good things about the Dillon.
    "It's hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
    Thomas Sowell

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    You should start with a single stage press. I have used the Lee aniversary kit for years. I would love to buy a progressive but they cost a small fortune. With a budget of $600 to start you won't be able to buy a 550 anyway unless you find a used one for a steal. Good luck, reloading is fun!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    Thanks for the info! Here's a follow up question. The Rock Chucker press for SSP starting, but instead of buying another press, does anyone have experience with the "progressive piggyback kit" for the RCBS RC for later?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    welcome to the fraternity ryan.

    i agree that a progressive setup is something to look at, but not until you get some reloading experience. i disagree that single stage presses is the way to go...

    40 years ago, its strength and compound linkage made the rockchucker a staple on any bench...lee's classic cast turret press gave gave me another choice. it's turret design lets me back up if i missed an operation or to load one or two shells without a lot of die swapping; it's compound linkage gives me a press able to swage or easy resize large magnum cases; its removable turrets let me change calibers in seconds.

    lee's classic cast turret and a lot of extra turrets can be purchased for the price of a rockchucker...i have a rockchucker...it's used for odds and end work these days.

    budman

    ps...no i don't seel for lee.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    OK guys here's the update. I purchased the Hornady LNL single stage kit since I planned on getting the LNL AP later, and low and behold I was given a LNL AP Press for Christmas! So far I've just prepped the brass, inspecting, resize & de-prime, clean the primer pocket, trim, chamfer & deburr and measuring each one. The cool thing about these presses is the bushings/lock rings are interchangeable. But yes, I am only running single stage for now...

    So far I've gotten 140 once fired brass prepped and 100 new brass (308 Winchester) done. I'll only be reloading that for now, but I do have a SKS and a 25-06 Remington for later.

    Thanks for the help and advice!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Beginner Reloading Progressive VS SSP

    Welcome to the Dark Side. What starts off small will lead to having bins of brass, lots of tools, a load of books, ammo cans of primers and a safe of powder.

    Enjoy.

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