I’m trying to decide what press I want. I want to reload 9mm, .40, 10mm and 5.56 pretty much the basics and maybe move up to .308 or 30.06 down the road. I was thinking a a turret press might be what I want. I’m a casual shooter and just want to shoot for less money especially with 10mm.
I was leaning towards the lee value press kit, any reason not to or anything I should avoid?
I don’t want to get crazy with it but I want something decent
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Yeah, a turret type press is fine, easier to switch around than most any progressive, without the cost anyway.
I get by fine with a turret type press, I switch around a fair amount.
It doesn’t hurt to get a good, current, reloading manual & start reading. You will need some accessories, but not EVERY accessory.
Depending on the history, ‘brass prep’ is a fairly major process, depends on type too, handgun or bottle-neck rifle.
Lee Turret or Lee Breech Lock Auto Pro.
If you don't shoot much either is good.
I've had a few things I've had to fix on my Breech Lock Auto Pro but it only cost me $110.
Since you have multiple calibers, I'd certainly consider something with a quick change feature.
I definitely plan on shooting more, that’s a big part of why I’m doing this, the wife is a nazi about spending money on ammo so this is my work around. I’ll for sure be loading 5.56 and 9mm/10mm. What kind of accessories should I get? The thing about these kits is that they probably don’t come with the best accessories. I think I want a digital scale for sure
I’m somewhat of a Redding fanboy, though have a fair amount of Lee, Hornady & RCBS too.
That’s why if you start with a good manual, Sierra, Hornady, even an older Lee, you’ll see required steps & can tool up accordingly.
I’d rather buy piecemeal than just getting a kit, I may like this make for that, the other for a later step. A book like ‘The ABC’s of Reloading’ would list steps too.
I’m an advocate of quality or quantity loaded, never really had a mishap. Instead of trying to get more than a cartridge was designed for, I’ll just reach over for the next round up. I started with simple Lee loaders & a mallet back in the 70’s.
Always start with test batches before going for numbers, that may be 10-15 rounds.
Don’t expect to list every accessory you may need & buy, you’ll always be adding an item or 3 along the way, I still do. A few absolute essentials are a scale, calipers, brass prep tools, priming tool, powder scoops and/or dispenser, brass trays, & whatnot.
Just take an area like ‘brass prep’, much can be done with simple hand tools, or one can spend $200+ & go electric with rotary stations. If loading 40 rounds of 30-06 to go deer hunting, little need to spend a lot.
Does the guy out in the deer woods with a $1400 Sako have a better chance at the big buck than the buddy with a $400 Savage? My experience has been no, though I do enjoy quality firearms.
Buy a used Dillon 550 from someone that is getting out of reloading. There are lots of little tools that will nickel and dime you over time. Over the years I have probably bought six setups from either estate sales or someone that is selling their entire set up. Each time I kept what I wanted and sold what I didn’t. You can make money sometimes on it.
As far as going with a turret vs a 550, I started on a 550 and currently own a Lee turret along with a rcbs single stage and a Dillon S1050. All are good but if I did it over I’d still start on a 550. It’s not that hard to learn and you can produce so much faster.
Most reloaders will typically recommend a single station press for those with no previous experience. A turret press is a good alternative to a single station, as it still only performs one operation at a time, while allowing a fairly quick transition to the next operation. It is basically operated as a single station press.
In my case, I started reloading over 30 years ago, with .357 Mag. and .22-250 being my initial focus. A used RCBS single-station press served me well for many years, but did limit output for obvious reasons.
About five years ago I decided to upgrade my equipment, as my causal shooting had moved to 9mm and 5.56, and average round-count consumption per month had increased dramatically. I researched both turret and progressive presses, before electing to go with a Hornady L-N-L AP progressive press.
At that time, however, I did almost purchase the Redding T-7, since it is rugged unit and could also handle the larger rifle cases for precision target shooting use. But, since I kept my RCBS single station for those cartridges (.308 and .30-06), which I load in lower volumes, I decided to move up to a progressive press for my higher volumes, such as 9mm, 10mm, 5.56, etc. I initially purchased the basic AP press kit, and have added the bullet drop die with tubes, which I load in advance. I am now looking at options to add the automatic bullet and case feeders, but have been doing okay without them up to this point. I only mention this as a reminder that you can always upgrade later as you gain experience, and if you purchase a basic turret press now, it will be a good starting point.
I feel you are on the right path when looking at turret presses. I don’t have experience with them, but advise that your choice would be based on your budget and your potential future needs. A turret press could be a good choice when starting out.
No matter what you get it will be great therapy.
Keep telling your wife that and how much money you are saving. Never Include freight or tax in any of your calculations and always round down.
Works for me.
Yep, Dillon 550...thank us later. I would also procure a basic single stage press for simple little chores such as popping out some primers to process the crimped pockets. Bullet puller is handy at some point, you will need one some day
A 550 would be my choice as well. If you're unsure, you can use it with only one die in the tool head. A fancy single stage until you're comfortable. Also, with the manual advance shell plate and no case feeder, you can put one piece of brass in and cycle it all the way through the stations. Once you pull that loaded round out, you can add another single piece of brass until you're ready to batch load.
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For not much money and good performance I went with a Lee Turret press when I started reloading.
I buy Hornady dies for the free bullet rebates.
Both have worked well for years. Changing to different calibers is inexpensive and easy.
I bought a Hornady lock&load progressive and like it, but still use the Lee for many purposes.
-Digital Scale, 20g or 50g
For rifle rounds
-Get the Lyman EZEE trim, it will trim .223, .243, .308.
-If you are doing 5.56 NATO cases you will need a primer pocket tool. I use the Hornady.
-Case sizing lubricant
-Case gauge, I use L.E. Wilson
-A powder measure like the Lee Auto Drum
Things like case feeders and bullet feeders can wait until you're ready to do high volume reloading
XLT - May I ask what brand bullet feeder is that you have on your 1050.....Thanks Mark
The first reloading press always seems like a hard decision to make. There are many things to consider. How many rounds a week/month are you going to shoot? How much time do you have to sit down and go through the reloading process? What is your budget for the equipment. There are so many excellent presses to choose from as well.
If you are a low volume shooter, say 200-500 rounds a session (week/month?) I would say that a turret press is perfectly fine for your needs. If more than that perhaps a progressive like one of the Dillons is a better choice.
If you decide to go with a Lee turret press, I would suggest the Lee Classic Turret Press instead of the Value Line one. I have the Classic Turret Press and it is a better built press than the Value, the primer catch set-up is better and it doesn't cost all that much more. Both of them use the same turrets and you can use either one as a single stage type set up for batch processing by removing the indexing rod, and that makes them fairly versatile and can help to ease you into the reloading process. Extra turrets are inexpensive so it is nice to have a turret set up for each caliber and swap things out quickly.
You don't have to spend a lot on pistol dies. The Lee Carbide 4 die sets are perfectly fine for pistol loading and they also include the shell holder for the caliber. Rifle dies are another animal. My choices there would be RCBS, Forster, or Redding in no particular order. Unless your rifle has a tight chamber (most AR's don't have tight chambers) you don't need to use a small-base sizing die, you will only over work the brass and shorten the life of the cases.
You don't need to use lube with carbide sizing dies for pistol, but MUST use it for non-carbide pistol sizing dies and all rifle dies, or else you will get cases stuck in the sizing dies. I suggest using Redding's Imperial Case Sizing Wax for case lube.
For a scale I have both a beam scale and a digital scale. The beam scale is a Redding Model 2 Master Powder Scale and the digital is the Truweigh RELOADR Marksman Digital Reloading Scale that you can find on Amazon. Both are reliable and repeatable for me and they agree with each other on weight. I use them both to check and verify when I set up my powder measures.
Powder measure will depend on how you want to throw your charges. Do you want an on the press powder throw or do you want to charge the case with a funnel or directly from the powder measure? If on the press, then the Lee Auto Drum Powder Measure should work fine for you and attaches directly to Lee's expanding dies for pistol if you use Lee's pistol die sets and then you would have to buy a rifle charging die for rifle cartridges. If you want to charge your cases off the press then I would suggest one of the Redding powder throwers of your choice.
These are my opinions and my experiences only and yours could be different. There is no way to tell you exactly what to get and guarantee that the set-up is perfect for you. Some of it is trial and error to find what works best for you. Hope some of my opinions help you on your way to the wonderful world of reloading. There can be a big deep rabbit hole to travel down if you get too caught up in it...lol
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I built it myself, here is a video
XLT - Thanks Sir. I read your responses to others so I will not ask....SUPER impressive units. Wish my mind thought this way but it never has and now it is getting to old...Thanks for responding and linking the video...WOW...Mark
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Buy Blue. Been a Dillon fan from the beginning of my reloading experience. I feel they have the best warranty on the market. Others strive to be Dillon.
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Bought my Dillon 450 press in 1984(still have the invoice!), and have added various upgrades over the years. Just because the Dillon 550 is a progressive press, doesn’t mean you have to use it as a progressive. With the manual indexing, you can load one round at a time, until you get used to the process, and then start working multiple cases. Believe me when I say it is no fun when you get to the range, and the one round you forgot to drop powder in is the first round you try, and the bullet lodges in the barrel!
I can easily load 400+ rds an hour on my Dillon, which is more than enough to get me through any shooting session. And it will easily handle rifle rounds also. If and when you outgrow the Dillon 550 press, you will have more than enough experience to know exactly what press to upgrade to( bet it will be another Dillon). Besides, Dillon Customer Service is second to none. I have worn out several parts over the years, and a phone call to them had a part in the mail ASAP, and free! When my Square Deal(purchased used) broke a primer return spring, and I could not get it to work again with the free replacement spring they sent, I decided it was time for a refurbishment to the press(listed on line for $99). Got the press back about 10 days later, with a new primer system, and everything other than the frame replaced, for no charge. You might be able to find a press, cheaper, and maybe the same quality, but not with their level of customer support. Go “Blue”, and You will never regret it.
PS- I am not affiliated with Dillon in any way, except for being a very satisfied customer of 36 years.
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