Which Brand?

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by Richard Davis, Jun 30, 2020 at 9:40 AM.

  1. Richard Davis

    Richard Davis Well-Known Member

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    I've not "rolled my own" ammo ever to date, and although I've occasional thought about over the last 3 decades, the "pandemic" and the '60's riots 2.0 have made me think it's high time to get into it (as I'm sure many of you are in the same boat). Not just for potential cost saving, but for flat out availability?!
    Looked at some of the posts in the reloading section and it seems that the Lyman Reloading and Lee books may be the one(s) to get. Some of the "beginner's" links that various people suggested I can't get to (errors?).
    My question is: what brands of reloading equipment do you all recommend for the beginner, considering value (nice balance of quality/price)? Don't need bells and whistles, also not "junk". Would you recommend all the equipment be of the same manufacturer or does that really matter? Are some brands significantly easier to use than others? I'm looking at 9mm (at least to start out with).
    Had another burning question, and forgot what it was(?). Not a big fan of The Rolling Stones, but they got one thing right "What a drag it is, getting old" :)
     
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  2. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    If you want to buy your press once, I'd very strongly recommend a Dillon 550C.

    "The Dillon RL550C is the most versatile reloading machine in the Dillon Precision Products line. It will accommodate the widest variety of cartridges from 32 ACP up to 338 Lapua, 416 Rigby, and 460 Weatherby."

    RL 550C RELOADER
    https://www.dillonprecision.com/rl-550c-reloader_8_1_23594.html

    "While reviewing data from recent United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) national championship surveys, one statistic stands out, and it’s the overwhelming popularity of Dillon Precision for action shooters that handload or reload. Across the board, the company averaged a whopping 67 percent in the survey results drawn from Open, Production, Limited/L10, Single Stack, Revolver, Carry Optics and PCC division competitors. This is no big surprise, given that most action shooters will expend tremendous amounts of ammunition between practice and match use. It makes sense that many gravitate to Dillon Precision gear, due to its affordability and reputation for quality."

    USPSA Shooters Overwhelmingly Choose Dillon Precision Gear
    https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2019/9/9/uspsa-shooters-overwhelmingly-choose-dillon-precision-gear/

    Dies and other support equipment may be purchased from any reputable manufacturer.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
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  3. Silver-Bolt

    Silver-Bolt Well-Known Member

    It really depends on your volume. As a competitive shooters my wife and have a higher than average consumption rate. I jumped in the deep end with a Dillon 650. I had never reloaded in my life. Fortunately I had several competitor friends that helped/mentor me. The 650 had a little steeper learning curve but no regrets starting with it. I have since added a bullet feeder and it really makes production very quick, accurate, and easy. Dillon quality and warranty are tough to beat. Buy once, cry once.
     
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  4. Richard Davis

    Richard Davis Well-Known Member

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    That's what I'm talking about, thanks fellas! I'll start there.
     
  5. Pat Harmon

    Pat Harmon Well-Known Member Supporter

    I prefer my RCBS Rock chucker.It was my dad's and I still use it all the time.The Dillon may be my next purchase though..
     
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  6. Richard Davis

    Richard Davis Well-Known Member

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    So I looked at the Dillon link, selected 9mm, and watched the video. It indicated that the package does not come with a die/die set (sold separately). Which reloader die would I need to start out with? Looked under the sub- link "reloader die" and there are all kinds at many different price ranges (didn't see any readily marked "9mm").
     
  7. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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  8. LostinTexas

    LostinTexas Active Member

    Progressive presses can be frustrating to learn. The Dillon brand is a good one, but you are in for some heavy loading to recover the set up cost.
    I'd suggest the opposite. A Lee or RCBS single stage will make a short learning curve, let you know what you think of loading, will have a much sooner return for your money, and can be used for EVERYTHING.
    I got into loading my hunting ammo. I have a progressive, but hate the thing. It is nice when you get it ginning, but has been frustrating for me to get that going. Right now it resides in a box in the closet. I don't have a place to mount it at the moment and my single stage is on a portable stand, and working just fine.
    Happy Shopping
     
  9. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    How much time do you want to spend measuring powder and 'cranking' a press? o_O

    Keep in mind that, using a single stage press, at best, you'll likely produce about 40 cartridges an hour (a turret press is somewhat faster) versus 400+ cartridges an hour with a Dillon 550C and significantly more with a Dillon 650 series (or higher) press.

    Regarding the 'learning curve' for a Dillon 550C... it's 'easy peasy'... no problem (and, in reality, much simpler than processing cartridges with single stage or turret presses).

    Setting the dies properly is probably the most time consuming and frustrating, but that's common to any press.

    Just sayin'... :)

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
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  10. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    My current presses... a Dillon 550C (left) and a Lee Challenger (right).

    Presses 1.jpg

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 9:09 AM
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  11. RevV

    RevV Well-Known Member

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    In general, my opinion is that people who disagree with Rob are often wrong!

    I am going to risk it.

    A Dillon is a Mercedes. A Lee is a Toyota (or a Ford, if you like Fords).

    Do you need the best? Can you afford it?

    My Lee works for me.

    Also, I am no expert but I would not start with a progressive; I'd start with a simple Turret Press. That is all I have and I can't imagine needing more.

    Sure, a progressive will load much faster, but are you wanting to make 50 to 100 a day or 1000?
     
  12. RevV

    RevV Well-Known Member

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    As for books, the Lee loading book is FULL of useful information, but for some reason the load recipes focus on powders that I cannot buy locally.

    I don't mind having powder shipped, but in today's world, there something to be said for supplies that you can get locally.

    For me, that's powder like Unique, Bull's Eye, LongShot, TightGroup.
    To get a lot of recipes for those, the Lyman book is excellent.
     
  13. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    RevV, it's truly not a matter of right or wrong... it's simply a matter of time, money, and the ease of producing cartridges. No more... no less. ;) :D

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
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  14. Pat Harmon

    Pat Harmon Well-Known Member Supporter

    I personally don't have the time to do much reloading during the summer months. My loading bench area is in our finished attic space as well.But, I am not usually in a great hurry when I load now. Recently,I purchased a digital powder scale to try this fall when I decide to take time out.I don't get 1000's of rounds out a day but I have a relaxing time while doing it. I also recently bought the Lyman reloading book..It's great for both the beginner as well as advanced loader.
     
  15. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    For those who want simplicity, desire to minimize the initial setup cost, and are willing to spend 2 or 3 hours producing 100 or so cartridges, I'd recommend...

    Lee Breech Lock Challenger Press
    https://leeprecision.com/breech-lock-challenger-press.html
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1013005426

    For those who desire a 'beefier' version of the above press for 'tough to resize' cases, then
    I'd recommend...

    Lee Breech Lock Classic Cast Press
    https://leeprecision.com/breech-lock-classic-cast.html
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1013021227

    The breech lock system allows the dies to be set once and then quickly changed out without losing the setting.

    If you shoot only a few hundred rounds a month, then the above presses will serve you well... they are inexpensive and 'do the job' quite nicely.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 8:21 AM
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  16. Silver-Bolt

    Silver-Bolt Well-Known Member

    Hit up Youtube and watch some videos of the various brands and models. It helps to see them in operation. If you end up with a Dillon (550/650/750) buy the case feeder. Well worth the extra cost. The Dillons can use any popular brand of dies. Dillon brand are fine. For my 9mm I am using a mix. Redding sizing die, dillon seating die, and a Lee Factory Crimp die. The setup on a progressive machine does take a little longer. Very easy with help from videos. Once setup it is unlikely that you will need to mess with it again unless you change bullets.
     
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  17. John in AR

    John in AR Well-Known Member

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    (Largely, copies & pastes from previous reloading threads, with some meanderings thrown in...)

    Personally I use Lee Pro-1000 presses for most of my handgun stuff; everything but 454 Casull. They’re cheap enough to have one set up for each caliber and avoid the hassle of swapping out dies or heads every time I change calibers. That's pretty much how mine are set up - one for 9mm, one for .38/.357, and one that does dual duty for .45acp/.45LC.

    For the Casull, I use a single stage (another Lee), and individually weigh every powder charge. At that insane pressure level, I want overkill on caution and consistency. But for simple to moderate stuff, I've been using a Pro-1000 since the early 90's; maybe late 80's.

    Dillon presses are absolutely nicer than the Lee. But lack of auto-indexing is the main turn-off for me regarding the dillon presses for high volume reloading. Not meant as an insult - I have friends who like them a lot, but I prefer simpler operation with fewer opportunities for John the Yeti to screw something up.

    “Look in the case, set a bullet, pull the lever....look in the case, set a bullet, pull the lever...” That's what an auto-indexing progressive press allows, and simplicity is my friend. And the Lee 1000 presses were under $200 each, including carbide dies.

    Cost-wise, it does snowball over time. You’ll want a scale (or you should), and all kinds of peripherals from chronographs to books to bullet pullers will add up cost-wise. One thing I would recommend highly is QuickLoad software. I bought it on the recommendation of someone here (I think RBBeers), and am a huge fan now. It's money VERY well spent if you want to be able to see what the likely effects would be on changing a recipe. It may eventually pay for itself in money spent, but absolutely will pay for itself in time spent due to reduced incremental load testing.

    Reloading is great and enjoyable, but it’s something that takes quite a bit of shooting and/or quite a bit of time to make worthwhile. I’ve been loading since before I was married and now even cast a lot of my own pistol bullets, but it’s not a real money-maker imo if you’re only shooting a thousand or two of pistol stuff a year; which is a lot more than most people do. If you're going to shoot a lot, if you're worried about future availability, or if you want to tailor a load for something specific, reloading makes all kinds of sense. But for a lot of people, it probably wouldn't.

    {edited because I sometimes spell like a motard.}
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 11:10 AM
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  18. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    The 650's and higher are auto-indexing.

    Dillon Precision Presents the XL650


    Best regards,

    Bob
     
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  19. John in AR

    John in AR Well-Known Member

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    Do they still make the 650? I thought they'd discontinued it, but could be wrong.
     
  20. rbbeers

    rbbeers Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 1:16 PM
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