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First of all I reloaded several years ago and had a RCBS ammo master 5 stage progressive. It worked okay, but given the low volume I reloaded it had its problems. I plan on only reloading 9mm so I'm trying to achieve a balance between cost, time, and ease of use. I shoot 200-300 rounds per month. I'll buy some of the accessories and press used if I can save money. I'm looking at Lee products and am trying to decide between a single stage press/kit, 3 or 4 hole turret press/kit, or the Lee Pro 1000 progressive.

Single stage:
This is the least expensive, but how many rounds per hour? I'd imagine you size & decap several hundred, then prime manually prime them, then bell the case mouth, then seat the bullet. This seems like a lot of repetitive steps, switching dies in and out, priming separately. On the surface it seems like a lot of work.

Turret:
This seems close to a progressive with all the dies at the top, but only one cartridge at a time and not 4 or 5 at a time like a progress. So you have to move the press 3 or 4 times to produce a round, but I think all the functions(size/decap, prime, bell case, charge, seat and crimp) all are without having to swap out dies, etc. How many rounds per hour? Seems easy enough.

Progressive:
Most expensive, but once you get going it is one pull of the lever and one round comes out. Assuming it functions as it should mechanically other than refilling powder, primers, bullets, and brass, it should load quickly. My ammo master had these inexpensive nylon bushings that easily stripped if you stopped in mid stroke and tried to back down. Like if you happen to not put a bullet in the case for seating/crimping or primers ran out, etc. I had to manually index the press.

Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated on the pros and cons of these different options.

CSTripp
 

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For 200-300 round a months Single Stage should be OK! But I would go with the LEE Turret. It’s still a single stage press only faster.

Unless you’re really busy I don’t think you need a progressive press...

With a single stage you have to do steps in batches; decap/resize, prime (hand priming tool is useful), flair the case and charge it (Lee auto Disk is VERY handy) than seat the bullets. With primed cases ready and Auto Disk set up you can crank 200 rounds in just over an hour (but you’d have to go fast). Lee Challenger is a good inexpensive single stage.
 

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I use a Lee single stage for 357 mag/38. I have used it for 9 and 45acp. I do not have auto disk so I have to weigh each charge. It does get a little repeatative. I try to only load 50 at one time to avoid a loss of concentration .
I usually stay ahead so I have 200-300 rounds on hand.
I like the single stage for rifle where accuracy is of more concern the volume.. but for revolver it is a little on the slow side. Most likely my next purchase will be the lee turret.
 

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Gray_Wolf said:
For 200-300 round a months Single Stage should be OK! But I would go with the LEE Turret. It’s still a single stage press only faster.
Gray Wolf is correct IMHO. Go with a turret press. I shoot between 150 to 250 rounds per week. Mostly 38 Specials, 357's with some 9mm thrown in for varity. I use a 4 hole Lee classic turret press (get a Lee carbide factory crimp die!!!) and taking it easy, crank out about 100 to 120 rounds per hour. I do use a Lee auto disc for throwing the powder and that speeds up the process. Depending on where you buy it, the auto disc with the micro charge bar only costs about $40. I also considered a progressive but have found that the turret more than accommodates my reloading needs. If you are loading more than one caliber on a steady basis I would recommend getting a die turret for each caliber you load. It makes set up and swithing dies a snap.
 

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I agree, the Lee Turret is the way to go for the volume you are talking about. They work quite well and they work faster than the old single stages.

I WOULD NOT recommend a Lee progressive, especially the Lee LoadMaster. To many things to go wrong. I spent more time working on the press than working with it. If you feel the need for a progressive go with Dillon 550B or RCB or Redding.
 

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I haven't tried the Lee turret, but everyone who has likes it, it seems. From what I've heard, with the auto indexing feature on it (you can get it without), it'll crank out a month's ammo for you in not much over an hour. I can't do much better with my progressives and spend the attention I feel compelled to spend on 'em making sure powder charges are right and such. I'm shorta thinkin' I should have an auto-indexing turret press, might like it better than my Pro 1000, though I doubt I'd prefer it to my Dillon for 9mm loading, a square deal press.

I have non-indexing old Lyman 6 hole turret I've used for 30 years now for single stage reloading. I only got the Dillon square deal when I was shooting IDPA about 10 years ago and was shooting a LOT of 9mm.

James41 is right on the Lee Progressives to the extent that I check the steps because if I don't, something will happen like the powder charger will hang up and I'll get a dud or the primer feed, have to jiggle it, especially with small pistol primers. These little things slow you down. It works, but it's not the best. I got it for cheap off ebay for 45 bucks set up for .38/.357 which is what I wanted. If I'd had to buy new, I'd have gotten the auto indexing turret on recommendations from a lot of reloader/shooters.
 

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+1 for the lee classsic turret press,and with the pro auto disc powder measure you should be able to load enough ammo. the only thing is
always check your load from the measure on your scale,once it is throwing the right amount run a five or six and then weigh again just to be sure it is throwing the desired charge.

go to lee's site they have a video of this press in operation.

if you want progressive, look to hornady's lock n load. this appears to be a good press and i believe you get 1,000 bullets with the purchase of this press. good luck, dan
 

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The purchase has to fit the need. As Native Texan has pointed out the auto indexing turret is, IMHO, the way to go. There are as many was to reload as there are calibers. For instance, I de-cap all my casings first, very much like a single stage, and them use a Lee auto primer to reprime my brass. Then it's back to the turret for flaring, charging, bullet seating and crimping/resizing. While there are many presses on the market that I'm sure are more "quality" than Lee products, the Lee stuff seems to get it done. I look at their equipment the same as cars.......a Mercedes-Benz will get you there faster, but given time, so will the Chevy.
 

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James41 said:
I WOULD NOT recommend a Lee progressive, especially the Lee LoadMaster. To many things to go wrong. I spent more time working on the press than working with it.
That was my experience with the Lee Loadmaster, as well. Got so fed up with it that I sold it and bought my Dillon XL650. What you go with will depend upon what your time and budget will allow. The Lee Turret Press will be the most economical way to go.

Will RCBS not repair your Loadmaster? Get in touch with them and maybe they will fix it, free! Dillon certainly does! Lifetime warranty to the original owner. RCBS might be doing that now, too! They have to keep up.
 

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jwc007 said:
That was my experience with the Lee Loadmaster, as well. Got so fed up with it that I sold it and bought my Dillon XL650. What you go with will depend upon what your time and budget will allow. The Lee Turret Press will be the most economical way to go.

Will RCBS not repair your Loadmaster? Get in touch with them and maybe they will fix it, free! Dillon certainly does! Lifetime warranty to the original owner. RCBS might be doing that now, too! They have to keep up.
I think i am missing something here.... why would RCBS repair a Lee LoadMaster? Especially as Lee wasn't all that interested in doing it when i called them about the problems i was having with it.

I had the full boat Lee Loadmaster with auto everything. The manual really sucks when it comes to setup and it took quite a while to finally getting it to work even at a 75% level. Cheap plastic parts were always breaking or bending and i would do maybe 100 rounds then have to stop and work on it. The primer system was a bugaboo that was always giving problems, the case placer was always giving a problem and the auto indexer was a great source of problem, not to mention the bullet placer that was constantly dropping the bullets.

When it worked properly it worked great, but i found i spent more time adjusting and replacing parts than i did working with it and sold it at a good loss after having it only a couple of weeks.

A friend of mine has the 4 hole Lee Turret and he loves it. He loads for a 357 and his rifle with it. I ended up with a Dillion 550B because the Turret doesn't really do the volume i needed for a 9mm, 40SW, 45ACP, and an AR15. I loaf along doing about 200 to 250 rounds an hour with the 550B and it keeps up quite well with my shooting.
 

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What I meant to ask is whether or not RCBS would repair it's AmmoMaster Press. Slip-up on my typing. AmmoMaster, Loadmaster, master of what, you would wonder? Master of just driving you nuts I would suppose!

Nice thing about my Dillon, I've spent very little time ever repairing it. Lost a Spring once and that's about it! Wish everyting else ran as well!
 

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My dillon square deal has these little plastic fingers that guide the primers into the primer feed. They wear out. First time it happened, I called dillon and they sent me a supply that got here in several days. I was impressed. :D I might eventually get a caliber conversion for that square deal to .38 so I can use it instead of the Lee Pro 1000. The 45 ain't the pain on the lee cause the large pistol primers feed better. The dillon would be much better for my .38s, though. It's set up for 9mm now. The big problem with that press is set up time and cost of caliber switching. I wish I'd spent a little more and got a 550 or 650, frankly.
 

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Dillion is famous for customer service and replacing parts that go bad, even if it was your fault. If you ever feel the need to upgrade, go for the 550B, excellent machine. I can do 250 to 300 per hour on it, but usually run 200 to 250 because it is so easy.

Unless your really needing volume the 650 & up is really kind of a waste of money because without all the fancy and expensive case feeders and such add ons that do not come with them standard they are really not any better than a 550B.
 

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My Basic XL650 is a very nice press, and may have cost a bit more than the 550, but I still beleive that it was money very well spent. The basic difference is that the 650 is a fully progressive press where the 550 is a semi-progressive press, requiring one to manually rotate the shell plate. There are pros and cons to both systems.

With the 650, you don't have get ALL the options, such as the Electric Case Feeder, and that brings down the price, considerably.
 

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Yes the 650 is a heck of a good press, but without all the extras it really isn't much if any better than the 550B other than it has the auto index and there are arguments to be made on both sides of that for sure.
 

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++Lee 4 hole auto indexing turret, I can do 3-4 rounds per minute. So 180 rnds an hours isn't hard. The auto primer feeder (which I don't have) could speed it up some, but it's so easy my 8 & 10 yo do it while I watch. Changing calibers is a 5 second job if you have a 2nd powder measure.
 

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For reloading you can't beat the Lee Classic Turret press. I learned reloading years ago on a Dillon SDB progressive press but didn't want to get into a progressive when I got back into reloading a while back. I started again with a single stage Lyman and then added the Lee Classic Turret press and haven't looked back. You can use the auto index or use it as a single stage and it's a breeze to change calibers.

Cabela's has a package deal with the Lee Classic Turret press and all the add on stuff you need for a decent price, I just added the micro disk, adjustable charge bar and a few other things. I load .223, 30.06, .38/357, 9mm, .45 ACP and will be doing .380 ACP and .32 along with .308 Win.

A lot of people diss Lee products but the Classic Turret press, Pro Auto-Disk powder measure and their factory crimp dies are winners in my book.

Robert
 

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gringle84 said:
For reloading you can't beat the Lee Classic Turret press. A lot of people diss Lee products but the Classic Turret press, Pro Auto-Disk powder measure and their factory crimp dies are winners in my book.
An excellent point. Those are probably the same people that hold Taurus in such low regard. Afterall, how can it be any good if it cost so little? I've had nothing but great performance from my Lee Classic turret. On the average I pump out between 200 to 300 rounds per week and have never had a problem that wasn't my own making. A big +1 on the auto disk powder measure. Yea, it looks like cheap plastic but again, it does exactly what I bought it to do. As I mentioned in an eariler post, the Lee factory crimp die is the best money I've spent.
 

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rainman said:
A big +1 on the auto disk powder measure.
Another +1 here! They work great on my Dillon 650, and I have one for each Caliber, mounted on the Tool Head! Makes Caliber Changes a snap!
 

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I lost the expander insert in my .38 die. I've decided, transporting the heads around from my Pro 1000 (I guess it fell out when I was totin' it around) from now on I'm going to screw the little top part in to keep the insert in until set up. Then, I'll take the cap off and install the auto disc measure. I did find out that a 9mm expander die works for .38s. LOL I need to order the part or another die, but the 9mm expander will work until it comes. I got a couple hundred rounds ripped off, though, using the 9mm expander.
 
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