$400, start reloading or just buy some bulk ammo? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ParisArms
08-15-2012, 22:57
Have $400 that I can throw away. Plan to spend it on something gun related.
So my question is can $400 get me everything I need to start reloading. Will probably mostly load 10mm and/or 357sig(to start). Here is the thing I want to do it right not just do it to be doing it, so i do want throw away equipment. Want something that is relatively easy to operate and safe. I have never reloaded before. So I don't have anything. I have access to whatever die I need to a Dillon 550 if that helps anything if that changes anyone view on this matter.
If I brought bulk ammo it would be SD ammo in all Glock caliber, and 223.


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fredj338
08-15-2012, 23:14
Pretty easy, lets see:
Buy 1000rds of 10mm or 357sig factory for $400 & have 1000rds of empty brass or buy $400 of reloading gear & make your 1000rds of each for less than $200. Then you still have all the gear & a life times of cheap ammo. Hmm, no brainer. If you can start by just getting does, you are miles ahead & the money you save form 2K rds of 10mm or 357sig will buy you a 550B & acc.

walrus108
08-15-2012, 23:32
For those two calibers, it's a no brainer. Reload!

You simply cannot buy cheap bulk in those calibers that is full power, esp in 10mm. And the thing i never got until I started hand-loading, you will be making a much higher quality round than commercial ammo. You can find loads that your particular gun functions well with and shoots the tightest groups with, make a note of it, and you will have YOUR recipe to make. Even if it ended up costing me a bit more than bulk ammo for my 10's, I'd still consider making my own an imperative. I simply cannot buy the ammo that I mostly shoot which is almost as hot as Underwood or Buffalo Bore, but as accurate or better than anything you can buy, for any price. It just doesn't exist!

ParisArms
08-16-2012, 10:56
So what equipment to look at.


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Zombie Steve
08-16-2012, 11:09
Start with the Sticky threads at the top of the forum...

emtjr928
08-16-2012, 12:23
What Steve said.

shotgunred
08-16-2012, 17:16
For your price point you are going to have to settle on the Lee classic press kit. That way you can buy everything you need and get some ammo made.

The Lee stuff is bottom end stuff but it will last for several years. For the last a life time stuff you would need to double your budget.

fredj338
08-16-2012, 18:01
So what equipment to look at.


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Speed & reliabilty cost money. If your ammo needs are nominal, like less than 1000rds a month, it can be quite easily done on a Lee Classic turret in a couple hours a week. If you want a bit better/faster, that would be a 550B IMO. It will outlast you, been loading on one for 25yrs now, never broken anything. Yes it cost more, but you can reload at a liesurely 400rds/hr. The next step up would be a LNL, no case feeder. It isn't really any faster but some like the auto indexing & 5th stn. The top of the line is going to be a Dillon 650 for most of us. With the case feeder,it easily does 700-800rds/hr. So from about $400-$1100, your choice.:dunno:

michael e
08-16-2012, 18:06
For your price point you are going to have to settle on the Lee classic press kit. That way you can buy everything you need and get some ammo made.

The Lee stuff is bottom end stuff but it will last for several years. For the last a life time stuff you would need to double your budget.
My "bottom end" Lee stuff has lasted for over 10 years and still going strong. If he has a limited budget Lee is a great brand. So why will my Lee fall apart on me if taken care of?

SPIN2010
08-16-2012, 18:10
This might be an option for you ... no price listed I see.

http://glocktalk.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=34809&title=nib-hornady-lnl-ap-progressive-press-wi&cat=6

DJohnson8
08-16-2012, 18:47
You won't have a problem with a classic lee press. I too have reloaded thousands of rounds and it works great. I don't care about pushing out 700 rds an hour. I think reloading is fun and I do it more for the relaxing part, and like stated before you can play around and find a combo that your gun likes.

DANDYKILL47
08-16-2012, 18:55
I recently purchased a RCBS single stage press and I am loving it! I've loaded about 2000 rounds on it in the last several months! It runs about $350 for the kit which has basically everything you need except dies (another $50ish for a carbide 3-die set) I'm new to reloading so I have NO experience with other brands, but let me tell you, this press is built like a tank! I'm quite sure it will outlast me! My vote goes for reloading equipment! You can keep it forever!

shotgunred
08-16-2012, 20:13
My "bottom end" Lee stuff has lasted for over 10 years and still going strong. If he has a limited budget Lee is a great brand. So why will my Lee fall apart on me if taken care of?

The lee classic turret is the Bottom end of presses that I would recommend to anyone. I have owned lee, hornady and dillon presses. Lee presses are the cheapest but also the cheapest made. Even Richard Lee himself admitted that his presses were not built to the same standard as the other two. He feels his are good enough were the others are overbuilt. Maybe he is right but Lee presses are not even close to dillon standards. Lee certainly does not offer the forever guaranty the other two companies do.

The lee classic turret is also what will work with the budget posted, were the guaranteed forever presses are not. It is a good press to get started on if you are on a less than $500 budget. By the time you out grow it you will know if you are willing to sink a grand into this hobby or not. When I started reloading I started with a lee turret press because that is all I would spend on a press at the time. Knowing what I know now the dillon 550 is the first press I would by and for most people also the last.

fredj338
08-16-2012, 23:44
My "bottom end" Lee stuff has lasted for over 10 years and still going strong. If he has a limited budget Lee is a great brand. So why will my Lee fall apart on me if taken care of?

Owning something & using something for 10 years are two diff things all together. Get back to me when you hit 100K rds & let me know if the press still works.:whistling: I do not know why Lee users are so sensative about their gear, what, Dillon envy? It's just fact, you get what you pay for in most things in life. Cheap gear will break sooner than better gear, fact. I own some Lee gear, actually quite a lot if you count casting stuff. No doubt it works, but unless you have actually used better, you just have know idea about the diff. It's not gear snobbery, again, just facts. Buy what you can afford. Save & buy better is always better than buying twice IMO.:dunno:

DJohnson8
08-17-2012, 07:58
You guys are missing the TOPIC of this post. He is on a $400 budget. I was too and that's why I bought a Lee, it works great. If anyone is new to reloading why buy a 600/700 dollar press when you don't know of you will enjoy reloading in the first place. Don't get me wrong I'm sure the Dillon presses are great but they had better be for that kind of money. And it's not that Lee guys are always protective of their presses. It's that the Dillon guys are always bashing down on them when in fact they work. Keep your $700 and when I hit 50k I'll just buy another $80 press and have new.

F106 Fan
08-17-2012, 09:11
You guys are missing the TOPIC of this post. He is on a $400 budget. I was too and that's why I bought a Lee, it works great.

It's about discussing the options. By all accounts (I don't own one), the LCT will make good ammo for a fairly long period of time. But, it's slow! At best, it is half the speed of other presses such as the 550B and 1/4 the speed of the more advanced presses such as the 650 or 1050.

It gets down to "How much do you enjoy reloading?". With the LCT, you are going to get to enjoy it for a lot longer! Nothing wrong with that as long as it is discussed up front.

The cost of a loaded round will be the same, regardless of the press. The only real differences come from speed and whether there is a money value to time spent reloading.

There is also the matter of legacy. This is almost never discussed but the Dillon presses will last FOREVER. Multiple generations...

Richard

fredj338
08-17-2012, 09:45
You guys are missing the TOPIC of this post. He is on a $400 budget. I was too and that's why I bought a Lee, it works great. If anyone is new to reloading why buy a 600/700 dollar press when you don't know of you will enjoy reloading in the first place. Don't get me wrong I'm sure the Dillon presses are great but they had better be for that kind of money. And it's not that Lee guys are always protective of their presses. It's that the Dillon guys are always bashing down on them when in fact they work. Keep your $700 and when I hit 50k I'll just buy another $80 press and have new.

Not missing it at all. Read it again. He has CURRENTLY $400 to toss but said he doesn't want junk or have to buy twice. JUst giving him options.:dunno: IMO, budgeting for reloading gear is false economy. Buy what you need, but cost isn't that important. For $700, you get a great setup that lasts you until you die. What is $300 more over say 20-25yrs? Yeah, a coffee or gallon of gas a month. I like thrifty, but I learned long ago that cheap tools only cause headaches in getting the task done. If you have $400, you can double that in 1 year of ammo savings.:wow: Few regret buying quality & when you are actually reloading, you'll enjoy it more if your gear isn't breaking or messing up on you.

JLM63
08-17-2012, 20:54
I bought a Lee Turret press for $25 at a garage sale in 1988. Use it all the time still today to load 6 different handgun calibers.

EL_NinO619
08-17-2012, 23:24
Its been awhile, Man do I miss these questions.

SJ 40
08-18-2012, 06:36
Invest in reloading and shoot for a lifetime. SJ 40

unclebob
08-18-2012, 06:49
I do believe we know what he wants to load for 10mm, 357 sig and .233, But how many rounds is he going to load in a month? 50 or 5000? Yes his low budget is going to work if he only loads a couple hundred a month. Anything above that is not going to work out, and he will just be throwing his money out the window. Also how much time does the OP have to reload? If the person needs to put a value on his time in reloading? Go buy your ammo.
:soap:

redbrd
08-18-2012, 07:22
Yes reload you will save a bundle over buying bulk ammo.

F106 Fan
08-18-2012, 07:58
There is great merit in what Fred is saying and I agree: Buy enough press! Personally, I don't think of the 550 as quite enough for bulk pistol loading but that really comes down to quantity. A choice to be made. And, yes, I have made a dumpster full of ammo on my 550s over the years.

Still, the LCT must have some resale value. Maybe it's just $100 or so. Well, it could be used to make a lot of ammo while sinking some of the savings into an upgrade pot.

I, and I suspect most reloaders, still have every press I have ever bought (I think the count is about 15 including shotgun presses) but I could have sold many of them to buy upgrades if that is what I needed to do.

So, why not? Get the LCT kit from Kempf and have a go. Figure on making an upgrade at some point using whatever resale value you can get. There's always someone who wants to start reloading.

Here is some LCT stuff:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=lee+classic+turret&_sacat=0

The Dillon stuff on eBay doesn't seem like much of a bargain. There is one used press that's about $100 less than new but chasing the bid is probably going to wipe out any savings.

Richard

walrus108
08-18-2012, 09:10
It seems this post has been invaded by Dillon fanboys. Dillon makes great stuff, but so does Lee.

The truth is I own a LCT and it's built like a brick s***house. Lee isn't 'fancy' but it IS top quality. The only parts that can and will (eventually) wear out are under $2 and take literally 30secs to replace. The LCT is not a bullet factory though. I shoot and load hundreds of rounds a week, not thousands. An precision is more important to me than sheer numbers, as it should be to anyone loading towards the top of full power 10mm IMHO. The MOST I can load on medium power stuff is 150 an hour, on my best day, but I'm meticulous. To say Lee is poor quality though is just flat out wrong. I also have used RCBS and Dillon and I wouldn't say the quality is greater. The best way to describe it is that Lee is the Glock of reloading. No frill, no bells and whistles, just basic, reliable, high quality function. Their dies are top notch. The pro auto-disk is very accurate and consistent. I can't see how you could ever hurt the press. Everything just does what it is supposed to and no more. So don't let anyone say that Lee is an inferior machine. That is misleading, total bias/opinion, and off topic for this thread.

It is a good point though that if you need to make as much ammo as possible in as short a time as possible, a progressive press is for you. I don't think Lee makes the best progressive press. I'd get Dillon myself if I had to buy my own progressive press. But there's no better way to start out hand-loading than with a LCT IMO. The Kemph kit IS the way to go for that BTW. But don't let anyone scare you away with slander. It is a fine product and you'll most likely outgrow it before it breaks, but you'll never stop using it. It is simply great for making very precision, each charge weighed ammo.

F106 Fan
08-18-2012, 10:11
It is simply great for making very precision, each charge weighed ammo.

Huh? Are you dribbling powder or using a Lee powder measure?

If you don't mind weighing each charge separately, the Dillon BL550 is only $259.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/25792/catid/1/BL_550_Basic_Loader

This press can, over time and money, be upgraded to a full RL550B.

I am not suggesting that anything less than a full blown RL550B is adequate and I certainly don't recommend the 'over time' upgrade approach, but this is one way to get started. Personally, I can't see handling the primers and weighing powder but if that is the process, the BL550 can do it for a lot less money than an RL550B and not a lot more than an LCT.

BTW, the BL550B is a perfectly fine way to make precision rifle ammo where each charge IS weighed.

I would add the primer system as the very first upgrade!

Richard

brisk21
08-18-2012, 17:16
If you can't spend a dime more, Id get the Lee classic turret press.

Zombie Steve
08-18-2012, 19:13
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x214/sbecht/1976_ford_fiesta-pic-46743.jpg

unclebob
08-18-2012, 19:20
If you can't spend a dime more, Id get the Lee classic turret press.

If I couldnít spend a dime more. Other than maybe .22 I would not be shooting.

Rick305
08-18-2012, 19:22
Could a person reload ammo if they live in a studio (extended stay hotel) ?

I really would like a new hobby -- and .45acp is killing my pockets ..


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unclebob
08-18-2012, 19:29
Could a person reload ammo if they live in a studio (extended stay hotel) ?

I really would like a new hobby -- and .45acp is killing my pockets ..


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Get a .22 conversion. Unless the hotel has rules against it I donít see why you canít. I would get a foot locker that everything would fit into and lockable.

yellowhand
08-18-2012, 20:18
Could a person reload ammo if they live in a studio (extended stay hotel) ?

I really would like a new hobby -- and .45acp is killing my pockets ..


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD


A set up like this might work for you, the top comes right off for transport.

fredj338
08-18-2012, 22:30
It seems this post has been invaded by Dillon fanboys. Dillon makes great stuff, but so does Lee.

The truth is I own a LCT and it's built like a brick s***house. Lee isn't 'fancy' but it IS top quality. .

Let me ask you , have you ever loaded on anything else? If you never had, then you have no idea what you are talking about. To YOU it's great, but it's your only reference. Lee makes cheap, marginal gear & it's price accordingly. Much of their stuff is very marginal & not worth garage sale prices. Some of their stuff is fine, but I would bet the vast majority of first tiem Lee purchasers eventually upgrade to better gear down the road. So if you plan on shooting a lot for 20yrs, just buy quality once & be done.:dunno:

Rick305
08-19-2012, 19:27
A set up like this might work for you, the top comes right off for transport.

Hey Yellow !!

That looks awesome -- now the question ...

What is that/where to buy/where to learn how to reload ?


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unclebob
08-19-2012, 19:36
Another way is to use a Work Mate. Using plywood top and screw and glue a 2x4 that will fit between the jaws of the Work Mate to the plywood.

F106 Fan
08-19-2012, 19:56
Hey Yellow !!

That looks awesome -- now the question ...

What is that/where to buy/where to learn how to reload ?


There are two single stage presses and what looks like a Lee Classic Turret (LCT) on that table top along with a powder measure (the green thing over to the right).

You don't need that much stuff to get started. If you consider the LCT from Kempf Gun Shop you will get a kit that has what you need but doesn't include the Lee scale which is not highly regarded:
https://kempfgunshop.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=630&category_id=190&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=41

You can pick up a quality scale from almost anywhere. I have one of the RCBS scales but Dillon has a better one:
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/25215/catid/7/Dillon__039_s___039_Eliminator__039__Scale

The small table is nice because it leaves room for boxes of bullets and loaded rounds plus space for the scale. Another possibility is the Lee stand. I have never tried it and I wonder how it would work out:
https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=739&category_id=22&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=41

Some people mount their press to a piece of plywood and clamp it to the dining room table while reloading.

As to learning to reload, start with the stickies at the top of this forum. Then buy a copy of "The ABCs of Reloading". It is available as both a hard copy and eBook from Amazon. Get a couple of good loading manuals like "Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading - 8th Ed" and the Speer "Reloading Manual #14". These also fully describe the process. In fact, I prefer these manuals to the "ABCs". Buy one of them first.

Richard

JaPes
08-19-2012, 20:10
Could a person reload ammo if they live in a studio (extended stay hotel) ?

I really would like a new hobby -- and .45acp is killing my pockets ..


I'm a newer reloader. I'm also a low volume shooter & low volume reloader. I don't need to produce 1K rounds in a session. Range time is expensive, and there are only so many rounds I can fire over an hour of range time every couple weeks.

Reducing the cost of ammunition was my primary goal. I purchased two reloading manuals for reference. The Hornady & Lee manuals have sections that are textbook-ish in reloading instruction.

You Mileage May Vary. The choice is yours.

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f275/suba-saab/Reloading/leebreechlockhandpress.jpg

Because I'm am space limited, I use a Lee Breech Lock hand press kit. For .45 ACP I added:



Lee Deluxe Carbide .45 ACP die set
Total quantity 4 breech lock bushings
A Hornady digital scale
A digital caliper
Small and/or large pistol primers depending on case
A Chicago Electric 2.5L Ultrasonic Cleaner (http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-95563.html) to clean once fired cases
A primer pocket cleaning tool

The Lee Die set instructions also has some load data, and comes with a 0.5cc powder dipper. With a 230gr projectile (FMJ or hard cast) the 0.5cc dipper meters a charge of Bullseye that works to my satisfaction in my Ruger SR1911.

The caveat is that I use the dipper per the instructions. I dip, not scoop. I level the powder off the rim of the dipper with a business card. I don't use the card to push down the powder.

300 rounds of .45ACP without issue (knock on wood).

I've also had success with 9mm & .38 Special. I caused a catastrophic failure of my Taurus M66 with a flawed .357 handload. You can read about that here (http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/reloads/74566-i-am-embarassed-ashamed-i-caused-catastrophic-failure-my-m66.html).

Because I'm a newer reloader, the only truly useful piece of advice I can give is:

If you choose to reload, you're accepting personal responsibility for the outcomes of your handloads: good or bad. If you are unwilling to accept that responsibility, do not reload. Keep the safety net of factory ammo warranties & factory firearms warranties.

Good luck with your decision. There's a lot to consider.

yellowhand
08-19-2012, 20:13
Hey Yellow !!

That looks awesome -- now the question ...

What is that/where to buy/where to learn how to reload ?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

You don't buy it, you build it.

From Lowes:
2 foot section of pipe, 1.5 inch I believe, and two flanges, about 4 inches in diameter, 8 two inch bolts, 1/4 inch and taps. Less than 15.00 bucks.

plywood, glued together cross grain, 1 inch total top and bottom, with another 1/2 inch center section for the screws to work against.
Mine is 13 inches wide and 22 inches across.

You can see I place it beside the dinner table and smoke, watch TV, and talk, all while reloading, AND all are big time no-no;s.

Since that photo was taken, took the Rock chucker off, added a Lee Progressive in it's place.

Placed the Rock Chucker onto a separate smaller screw in set up and when needed, just unscrew this one and pop the other onto the base. Use the RC to prep/resize 5.56, 308, 30.06 military brass.

Got tired of sitting out in the reloading room, brought this rig into the house.

Learning to reload, buy a set up, read the instructions, start slow, ask a ton of questions, and one day, place a reloaded round into a firearm and pull the trigger, if all of your fingers are still present, welcome to reloading! Most reloaders will help you, just ask at the local range or gun club.

15K later, have not used my RCBS or Dillon progressive set ups since, great rigs, just need solid bases, not condusive to a happy marriage, if brought into the house and bolted to the counter tops:wavey:

Colorado4Wheel
08-19-2012, 20:24
A single LCT would get it done. Buy it from Kempfs

PsychoKnight
08-19-2012, 20:55
Reloading isn't for everyone. I think its more of a hobby than a disinterested exercise in financial calculations. There are a tone of instructional videos on internet streaming. If you can sit through a couple hours with of people demonstrating how to load and still want to learn more, reloading might be a match you. You'll want to pick up 2 current reloading manuals and read the intro to loading for a formal overview. If you get bored out of your mind learning about all the steps and what to be careful about, this ain't for you. When my two girls were born back to back, I quit shooting and loading for about 3 yrs, but found myself still trolling loading forums and internet articles during that time. For me and many others here, its not just a chore to save money. did you say you can get dies from somebody you know? Try to get some loading practice under supervision of an experienced handloader. More than once, people on this forum have hooked up a newbie with a local loader and spent some time showing them what's involved in reloading ammo. We have reloading workshops at a range here, and I imagine you can locate one in your area. I think spending $150 to learn how to load and to find out if you want to starting loading is worth it. If it becomes a lifetime hobby, the $150 is not even worth thinking about. If you hate this first experience, you'll save the hassle of buying a ton of equipment just to get rid of it.

emtjr928
08-19-2012, 21:26
Having gone through this same process several months ago, I'll add my 2 cents. I wound up with the LCT from Kempfs and have used it to load 9MM, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. It has worked and produces accurate ammo. As things have progressed, I may be soon reaching the point of diminishing returns concerning volume vs time on the LCT. 9MM looks like it is going to be my volume round. I am now contemplating a Dillon 550 or 650 for 9mm and relegating the LCT to the low volume rounds. Bottom line is to try to make the most accurate estimation of your volume requirements. That would seem to drive the final decision. For me, I should have waited and gotten a higher production press with dedicated tool heads and powder measure for each caliber I was going to reload. Live and learn.

papercidal
08-19-2012, 22:22
I enjoy reloading and I knew that i would before i bought equipment (Loaded with my Dad throughout childhood) so it was not all about savings for me but i figure that just loading .45 I have saved about 1400 over the last 2 years after paying for my cheap Lee press.
So even if a cheap press is all you can afford to get started it is far from money down the drain it will have saved you enough to pay for a better press far faster than you would think.

F106 Fan
08-20-2012, 06:57
Having gone through this same process several months ago, I'll add my 2 cents. I wound up with the LCT from Kempfs and have used it to load 9MM, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. It has worked and produces accurate ammo. As things have progressed, I may be soon reaching the point of diminishing returns concerning volume vs time on the LCT. 9MM looks like it is going to be my volume round. I am now contemplating a Dillon 550 or 650 for 9mm and relegating the LCT to the low volume rounds. Bottom line is to try to make the most accurate estimation of your volume requirements. That would seem to drive the final decision. For me, I should have waited and gotten a higher production press with dedicated tool heads and powder measure for each caliber I was going to reload. Live and learn.

9mm and 40 S&W both use small primers so it is easy to change calibers on the 650. For another $80, you can buy a complete primer mechanism for large primers. This makes changing the primer system on the 650 as easy as 2 bolts.

I haven't tried it but apparently the secret is to load large primers with the small primer punch so you don't have to change that part of the mechanism. Or, you can find that dreaded .45 brass with small primers.

Once you start loading on a 650, you will not want to go back to 4 strokes per loaded round. I guarantee it!

Take a quick look at what you have saved over the lifetime of the LCT. Somewhere just over 1500 rounds of 40 S&W has paid for the press kit and any other accessories. It's going to take a little over 5000 rounds of reloading to pay for the 650 but it's going to earn its keep pretty quick!

Richard

fredj338
08-20-2012, 09:05
Once you start loading on a 650, you will not want to go back to 4 strokes per loaded round. I guarantee it!

Richard

Again, few NEED the volume & complexity of a 650 w/ case feeder. For the vast majority of even higher volume shooters, a 550 is cheaper & easier to swap calibers & keep running w/o a case feeder. 400-500rds/hr is certainly doable. The manual indexing makes things so much easier in many ways & is no slower. I love my 650, but if I had to sell one or the other, the 650 would go first.

F106 Fan
08-20-2012, 11:05
Again, few NEED the volume & complexity of a 650 w/ case feeder. For the vast majority of even higher volume shooters, a 550 is cheaper & easier to swap calibers & keep running w/o a case feeder. 400-500rds/hr is certainly doable. The manual indexing makes things so much easier in many ways & is no slower. I love my 650, but if I had to sell one or the other, the 650 would go first.

Actually, the poster to whom I replied brought up the 650 or, more accurately, buying a 550 or 650. Given the chance to talk up the 650, I will always take it.

I only load a couple of calibers on my 650 (9mm and .223) so I don't worry about the cost of caliber changes. When I run out of .38 HBWC, I will add that to the 650. Maybe someday I will load .40 S&W.

I just don't have enough bench space to get much use out of my 550s. They're sitting on the floor and headed back to storage in the near future. I won't get rid of them but I doubt they will ever be used again.

Caliber conversions for the 650 are about $40 more than for the 550 plus an additional $40 if the case feeder plate needs to be changed. So, yes, the 550 is a good deal cheaper in terms of caliber conversion.

There is certainly a place for the 550 in the range of presses between Rock Chucker and Dillon 1050. I have had mine for many years and, in fact, I have an even older 450 over in storage. I have loaded a lot of ammo on the 550s. But there is no comparison between the 550 and 650 other than cost and that is easily paid back in reduced time spent actually pulling the handle.

I understand the debate between manual and automatic indexing. I am going to come down on the side of automatic because I believe it is less likely to ever result in a double charge. I know that paying attention is the ultimate method of preventing this disaster but I just like the fact that the machine can help. Kind of like the low powder alarm or the powder charge alarm. Clearly they are not necessary. But they are nice to have... Just like the low primer alarm.

I am pretty impressed with the Press Monitor II for the same reason. Just one more thing helping me pay attention. Required? No. But certainly helpful!

Richard

unclebob
08-20-2012, 11:20
I love my 650, but if I had to sell one or the other, the 650 would go first.

If I had to sell the 550 or 650? Without giving it a second thought the 550 would go. Something that I have already done and never looked back and wish I still had the 550. The only down side to the 650 is the price of the conversions. For me the 650 is faster, easier, safer, and the priming system is less pain in you know what than the 550 can be. And it is defiantly not complicated.

fredj338
08-20-2012, 13:03
If I had to sell the 550 or 650? Without giving it a second thought the 550 would go. Something that I have already done and never looked back and wish I still had the 550. The only down side to the 650 is the price of the conversions. For me the 650 is faster, easier, safer, and the priming system is less pain in you know what than the 550 can be. And it is defiantly not complicated.

Bob, adding a case feeder to any press complicates it. I never have a case feed jamb putting cases into my 550 by hand.:supergrin: Yes, I do love the priming system on the 650 far better than the 550. It's just I load a bunch of diff calibers & $40+ for each caliber would be a bummer considering some of those only get a few 100 rds a year. One could do as you do & run a small rpimer arm & hand feed cases into the case feeder tube for small runs, but I am quite happy still loading on the 550 with the other 10 calibers & the 650 for 45acp right now. It could change, but I doubt it.:supergrin: I still say 90% of reloaders just do not need a 650 & case feeder & w/o the case feeder, it's just not a bunch faster than the 550 but it is auto indexing & that is a +/- for me. The powder check is nice but I always visually verify. I hate trusting equip.

shotgunred
08-20-2012, 16:53
I wish I kept my 550 when I upgraded. Just because of the difference in prices of new calibers. There are several guns I would like to reload for but don't because it to expensive for 650 caliber conversions for the amount I want to load.

With the 550 loading just 30 minutes a day 6 days a week would get you around 1500 rounds a week. Now some weeks I may shoot 1500 rounds but only once or twice a year. Most weeks I would only need to reload for a hour a week.
With the 650 I just need 20 minutes before I shoot to knock out all the ammo I need. Most shooters never need any more press than the 550. I am also willing to bet quite a few 650 owners are like me and bought one because they wanted one not because they needed one.

unclebob
08-20-2012, 17:25
And you have people that bought the 550 and wish they bought the 650. And some people that bought a 650 and wish they bought a 1050.
I bought a LCT thinking I would load my 9mm on the 650 and my 45 ACP on the LCT about 150 at a time. Did it one time. I will change the 650 out from now on. And just use the LCT for initial load development. And punching out primers that went in wrong.

F106 Fan
08-20-2012, 17:31
Most shooters never need any more press than the 550. I am also willing to bet quite a few 650 owners are like me and bought one because they wanted one not because they needed one.


Not only did I use that excuse for the 650, I also used it for the 1050. The thing is, I wish I had been able to buy them years ago but I just didn't have the money (or interest) when I was working. Retirement is great!

There's also a certain amount of ego involved in buying these presses while still keeping the 550s. No question about it; I WANT these presses whether I need them or not!

Then there is the legacy thing: I want my grandson to have the best equipment possible. I don't want to think about him cussing at me for only leaving a single stage press!

Richard

fredj338
08-20-2012, 18:19
I wish I kept my 550 when I upgraded. Just because of the difference in prices of new calibers. There are several guns I would like to reload for but don't because it to expensive for 650 caliber conversions for the amount I want to load.

With the 550 loading just 30 minutes a day 6 days a week would get you around 1500 rounds a week. Now some weeks I may shoot 1500 rounds but only once or twice a year. Most weeks I would only need to reload for a hour a week.
With the 650 I just need 20 minutes before I shoot to knock out all the ammo I need. Most shooters never need any more press than the 550. I am also willing to bet quite a few 650 owners are like me and bought one because they wanted one not because they needed one.
That was me, but I load on both, like both. The 650 is a great set it up & leave it alone machine IMO. The 550 is easy to pop in & out of diff calibers, even for short runs. So I'll keep both, can't see things getting so bad that I sell my reloading gear. I've got furniture I never sit on that can go first.:supergrin:

APERS
08-20-2012, 19:18
$400? Fur sure get into reloading. Have you considered a single stage press? Midway USA has RCBS Rock Chucker kit for under $300. These are built like a tank, will last longer than any progressive, regardless of brand. good luck with whatever you decide! :supergrin:

fredj338
08-21-2012, 13:29
$400? Fur sure get into reloading. Have you considered a single stage press? Midway USA has RCBS Rock Chucker kit for under $300. These are built like a tank, will last longer than any progressive, regardless of brand. good luck with whatever you decide! :supergrin:

Only because you'll never sniff the round cpunt on a ss press you would on a progressive.:rofl:

unclebob
08-21-2012, 14:25
Only because you'll never sniff the round cpunt on a ss press you would on a progressive.:rofl:

I wouldnít say that I did about 200,000 on a SS and was fat dumb and happy until I loaded on my friends 450. The problem was the 650 had not come out yet. The press I visioned when loading on his press. Now I hate loading even one round on a SS.

roger123
08-21-2012, 14:39
I bought a Lee setup a few months back and am making good, reliable, accurate loads every week. I shoot a couple/few hundred rounds a week (take a week off every now and then as well). I load 357, 38, 9mm and 45 and have no problem keeping up. I enjoy target shooting at the range and have no real desire to compete, just punch holes in targets so I don't see my round count going up astronomically anytime soon.

I commute every day in a Honda as well, sure would love the BMW (and could afford it) but the Honda gets me there. I bought the press for me, not my grandson, he can buy his own stuff if he doesn't want my hand me downs.

We so often get wrapped around the axle on the best, fastest, etc. we loose site of the big picture. Buy what you can afford and are comfortable with, pull the lever and send the rounds down range.

unclebob
08-21-2012, 15:05
Buying a press is based on your rounds count, Time you have to spend reloading. And how much you want to spend. And to some extent on how many different calibers you are reloading for. And a few other things.
Yes a SS many work for a person that only shoots a couple hundred rounds a week. Try keeping up at 500 a week. Yes it can be done. I did it, but it gets old real fast.
A person that shoots a couple of hundred rounds a week a SS or a LCT like I said would work but only if he has the time. Then a press like the 550 would come into play and even a 650 with a case feeder if he really pressed for time.
After taking all of this in consideration. You then throw in how much do they want to spend. But in the long run a reloading press is cheap compared to all of the other stuff the person will be buying.

fredj338
08-21-2012, 23:36
I wouldn’t say that I did about 200,000 on a SS and was fat dumb and happy until I loaded on my friends 450. The problem was the 650 had not come out yet. The press I visioned when loading on his press. Now I hate loading even one round on a SS.

Ok Bob, you would but you are older than I am, maybe even older than Jack!:shocked:
I still occasionally cobble some 41mag loads on my ss press. I don;t shoot my 41mag as much as my 44mag so never bought the setup for the 550B. It's fine, I bet I don't shoot 200rds out of the gun a year. Now the 45acp, 200-300 every week, I would hate to be putting those up @ 75/hr on a ss press.

PsychoKnight
08-23-2012, 05:30
ParisArms (original poster),

Lose interest already?

These 52 responses and thousands of words across 7 days are for your benefit, in response to YOUR question, and you are nowhere to be found. If you were satisfied with only the first response and don't want to engage after the next day, I don't think you have the temperament and discipline to become a safe student of handloading.

Until the o.p. re-engages I don't see any point in continuing this thread - the protagonist has left the stage right after curtain call.

Psychman
08-23-2012, 10:35
I enjoy reloading almost as much as I do shooting. I am one of the "Dillon Fan Boys". I did my homework and started with the best so I did not have to go through numerous other presses before arriving at the Dillon choice. I have a 550B with all the bells and whistles in a dedicated reloading room in a part of my mancave.
OP, I would save up another $400 so you can start out with the best.

fredj338
08-23-2012, 13:31
I enjoy reloading almost as much as I do shooting. I am one of the "Dillon Fan Boys". I did my homework and started with the best so I did not have to go through numerous other presses before arriving at the Dillon choice. I have a 550B with all the bells and whistles in a dedicated reloading room in a part of my mancave.
OP, I would save up another $400 so you can start out with the best.

Very sound advice. I started w/ ss press 35yrs ago, still use it quite a bit. My first semiauto press (hate calling it progressive now) was a 550, then another 550B & now a 650. I have never regretted buying quality tools.:dunno:

Bow Commander
08-23-2012, 19:16
ParisArms (original poster),

Lose interest already?

These 52 responses and thousands of words across 7 days are for your benefit, in response to YOUR question, and you are nowhere to be found. If you were satisfied with only the first response and don't want to engage after the next day, I don't think you have the temperament and discipline to become a safe student of handloading.

Until the o.p. re-engages I don't see any point in continuing this thread - the protagonist has left the stage right after curtain call.

I know the OP is nowhere to be found but I am greatly enjoying the responses in this thread. I am currently doing research before buying and there is a lot of good info here. Thanks everybody for posting.

Question- Is there a good "mid-level" press? If I don't want to go cheapest single stage or the most high end progressive?

PCJim
08-23-2012, 21:14
IQuestion- Is there a good "mid-level" press? If I don't want to go cheapest single stage or the most high end progressive?

Several factors to consider, the most important being the volume of rounds required within a given timeframe and whether you will reload pistol, rifle or both. My personal preference is the 550b which will keep any shooter stocked with ammo and which will handle both rifle and pistol rounds.

I am biased, owning three of these presses with two of them in operation.

F106 Fan
08-23-2012, 21:15
Question- Is there a good "mid-level" press? If I don't want to go cheapest single stage or the most high end progressive?

There's a good deal of information in the 'stickies' at the top of this forum.

Personally, I consider the Dillon RL550B as a good 'mid level' loader. It is fairly fast at around 500 rounds per hour and not terribly expensive. Caliber changes are reasonable and simple to accomplish.

The basic machine is $440 but the picture shows a bunch of options like the strongmount stands, the bullet tray, the upgraded handle and the low powder alarm. This interactive web page will get you started:
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/8/pkg_id/8

I got along for many years without any of the upgrades. I bought a pair 550s back in the early 80s and just upgraded them last year. Somehow, I struggled by... I still don't have the powder alarm on either of them. Nor do I have the upgraded handle. I do like the strong mounts and the bullet tray really improves the ergonomics. This stuff can all be added later.

You will find that the 550B is the workhorse of the reloading community.

Richard

Bow Commander
08-23-2012, 22:48
Several factors to consider, the most important being the volume of rounds required within a given timeframe and whether you will reload pistol, rifle or both. My personal preference is the 550b which will keep any shooter stocked with ammo and which will handle both rifle and pistol rounds.

I am biased, owning three of these presses with two of them in operation.

There's a good deal of information in the 'stickies' at the top of this forum.

Personally, I consider the Dillon RL550B as a good 'mid level' loader. It is fairly fast at around 500 rounds per hour and not terribly expensive. Caliber changes are reasonable and simple to accomplish.

The basic machine is $440 but the picture shows a bunch of options like the strongmount stands, the bullet tray, the upgraded handle and the low powder alarm. This interactive web page will get you started:
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/8/pkg_id/8

I got along for many years without any of the upgrades. I bought a pair 550s back in the early 80s and just upgraded them last year. Somehow, I struggled by... I still don't have the powder alarm on either of them. Nor do I have the upgraded handle. I do like the strong mounts and the bullet tray really improves the ergonomics. This stuff can all be added later.

You will find that the 550B is the workhorse of the reloading community.

Richard

Thank you guys for responding. I will definitely be reading up on the stickies at the top. I tend to over research everything anyway. Most answers can be found by the info already submitted by others, which is great for learning.

I don't have much opportunity to shoot as often as I like. I average once a month and usually take only 100 rounds of 9mm, and a 100 rounds of 5.56 with me. Sounds like for my level of shooting a single stage press really would be sufficient.

walrus108
08-23-2012, 22:54
ParisArms (original poster),

Lose interest already?

These 52 responses and thousands of words across 7 days are for your benefit, in response to YOUR question, and you are nowhere to be found. If you were satisfied with only the first response and don't want to engage after the next day, I don't think you have the temperament and discipline to become a safe student of handloading.

Until the o.p. re-engages I don't see any point in continuing this thread - the protagonist has left the stage right after curtain call.

This was my point in calling out the Dillon is great, all others are trash, guys. The OP wanted to know if he could reload for $400, or should he just buy some bullets and shoot. Obviously, he can only get into reloading with a Lee product at that pricerange. The OP never mentioned how many rounds he needed to make per week. Never said how much time he has. He said he has $400 to start, and some told him that the only equiptment he can get into at that price, and still buy brass, powder, bullets, etc, is not worth buying! He's probly waiting for his order of wolf bullets to show up and doesn't care what we say. Some of us here did him a great disservice.
I HAVE used a dillion press, once. I have a friend who will let me use his dillon anytime I want. It's quite a drive for me and a pain to set up with my dies, but I have done it, ONCE. I am quite happy with my LCT press. His dillon is not better quality than my press, but it does leave mine in the dust, volume wise! That doesn't make it a Yugo though. It meets my requirements. I seriously doubt any of those slamming a LCT have ever used one though. And yes, I DO want a Dillion progressive like my friend has, and I will probablly get one, but not because my Lee has broken. I really can't see that happening. But because I will want more volume someday. I will still do max loads in my Lee though, I'm sure.

The OP asked a simple question, telling us what he CAN afford, and some came in telling him what he should do instead. You probablly scared him off from the one thing he COULD have done. I wouldn't blame him if he wants nothing to do with us. He probablly thinks reloading is prohibitively expensive and we are all a bunch of jerks! And all because some on here hate Lee, and love Dillon. I love all quality products that help me make quality ammo. I also want to do everything to ENCOURAGE new people to reload. Not tell them that unless they can buy our favorite brand press, they are wasting their money. This thread is a shame IMO.

fredj338
08-23-2012, 23:31
I know the OP is nowhere to be found but I am greatly enjoying the responses in this thread. I am currently doing research before buying and there is a lot of good info here. Thanks everybody for posting.

Question- Is there a good "mid-level" press? If I don't want to go cheapest single stage or the most high end progressive?

A Dillon 550B for sure. Yes it's manual indexing, but I actually find that easier to work with across many calibers. If you have to have an autoindexing, then a LNL is about the same price & can be fitted later w/ a case feeder. 90% of all reloaders would be well served their entire lives w/ a 550B & 400-500rds/hr.:dunno:

fredj338
08-23-2012, 23:33
This was my point in calling out the Dillon is great, all others are trash, guys. The OP wanted to know if he could reload for $400, or should he just buy some bullets and shoot. Obviously, he can only get into reloading with a Lee product at that pricerange. The OP never mentioned how many rounds he needed to make per week. Never said how much time he has. He said he has $400 to start, IMO.

He also said he didn't want junk. Look, go on any forum & ask for opinions, you will get opinions. You personnaly don't like the opinions shared, who really cares? No need to reply w/ an opinion of the thread content not meeting your needs, wasn't your thread to start with. Geeze, talk about getting off topic.:yawn:

Chris Brines
08-24-2012, 00:35
My Lee Classic Turret (that was recommended to me by members of this forum a few months back), has worked great so far. I FINALLY got everything I needed to start reloading 38's and 357's, and next caliber will be 9mm. I have everything I need, just didn't have time to load my 9's. The cases are all prepped and ready to be loaded though. I shot my 357's and 38's yesterday, and they shot beautifully (except for the big cloud of thick smoke that came from the powder I was using, Unique). But it was rewarding to know that I loaded those rounds myself. Idk..call me crazy...I just like to make stuff go "boom".

I'd say go with reloading equipment. You can get the kit (I believe it's from Kempf's if I'm not mistaken) for less than $250, and have $150 leftover for stuff like scale, calipers, tumbler (I don't even have a tumbler yet, just been cleaning my brass with the cleaning solution for now), and whatever else you end up needing.

Not sure if it'll leave you with enough to buy actual ammo components, but really the only "expensive" thing is the brass. Save your brass from the range and that'll be enough to get you started. But yeah, I'd say learning to reload is definitely a worthwhile investment.

Even if you just "break even", it's a pretty safe argument to say that learning how to make your own ammunition can definitely be a useful thing. I plan (in the future of course, no time soon) to learn to cast my own bullets, and would even like to learn to mix my own powder (of course only after being taught how to do so by a VERY knowledgeable person, but still this is something I'm interested in learning in the future for sure...).

EDIT: Just read the proceeding conversation. All I have to say is this...I've only loaded on one press, an LCT, and I've only used it 4 times so far. But I'd say it's definitely worth the $$$ I spent on it, and if it were me with $400 to spend on either reloading equipment or bulk ammo, I'd go with reloading equipment, and would be satisfied with an LCT. Of course everyone may have a different opinion on how to go about such a thing, but each person's situation (money, time, space, family, etc....) is different.

F106 Fan
08-24-2012, 08:20
The OP asked a simple question, telling us what he CAN afford, and some came in telling him what he should do instead. You probablly scared him off from the one thing he COULD have done. I wouldn't blame him if he wants nothing to do with us. He probablly thinks reloading is prohibitively expensive and we are all a bunch of jerks! And all because some on here hate Lee, and love Dillon. I love all quality products that help me make quality ammo. I also want to do everything to ENCOURAGE new people to reload. Not tell them that unless they can buy our favorite brand press, they are wasting their money. This thread is a shame IMO.

I think maybe you are overreacting a little. I'm not saying you're wrong, necessarily, but I think you are missing the intent of the posts. At least mine...

Yes, the OP can start reloading on a SS press for $400 and might be able to get the LCT and a decent scale in that price range. Yup! He can start for $400.

But it is also fair to point out that it might be better to wait just a little while and see if he can get to $500 because the RL550B is $439 (less any options that aren't really required anyway) and the 550 is a LOT more press than the LCT. I'm not saying anything whatsoever about the quality of the LCT - I have never even seen one. But I do know that 1 handle pull per round is faster than 4 handle pulls.

I also know that the $439 doesn't include a scale or dies and I know that Lee dies are pretty cheap and a scale isn't going to break the bank.

In my view, the difference between $400 and an LCT versus $500 and a 550B is worth the discussion. Worst case, buy the BL550 for $260 and upgrade it to the RL version over time. At least the end result will be capable of making ammo at a reasonable rate.

Another thought: shooting is an EXPENSIVE sport that provides very little value. Sure, there is the hunting thing (food) but that doesn't require any amount of ammo. Let's face it, all we do is shoot a lot of money at a berm. Think about it: When my family and I go to the action pistol range and blow up 1000 rounds of .45 ACP, we just spent $120 for ammo plus $20 in gas. For a morning's entertainment... Amusement... Not counting the cost of the guns...

Given the amount of money involved, it can't be all that difficult to hang back a little longer and go for $500 versus running out today with $400.

I think it is worth pointing that out. Having been through 6 iterations, I know the value of buying the last press first.

Richard

Colorado4Wheel
08-24-2012, 10:59
550 cost about $270 more then starting with a LCT. It's $270 well spent but there is nothing wrong with a LCT or a SS if you want to start like that.

walrus108
08-24-2012, 11:18
I think maybe you are overreacting a little. I'm not saying you're wrong, necessarily, but I think you are missing the intent of the posts. At least mine...

Yes, the OP can start reloading on a SS press for $400 and might be able to get the LCT and a decent scale in that price range. Yup! He can start for $400.

But it is also fair to point out that it might be better to wait just a little while and see if he can get to $500 because the RL550B is $439 (less any options that aren't really required anyway) and the 550 is a LOT more press than the LCT. I'm not saying anything whatsoever about the quality of the LCT - I have never even seen one. But I do know that 1 handle pull per round is faster than 4 handle pulls.

I also know that the $439 doesn't include a scale or dies and I know that Lee dies are pretty cheap and a scale isn't going to break the bank.

In my view, the difference between $400 and an LCT versus $500 and a 550B is worth the discussion. Worst case, buy the BL550 for $260 and upgrade it to the RL version over time. At least the end result will be capable of making ammo at a reasonable rate.

Another thought: shooting is an EXPENSIVE sport that provides very little value. Sure, there is the hunting thing (food) but that doesn't require any amount of ammo. Let's face it, all we do is shoot a lot of money at a berm. Think about it: When my family and I go to the action pistol range and blow up 1000 rounds of .45 ACP, we just spent $120 for ammo plus $20 in gas. For a morning's entertainment... Amusement... Not counting the cost of the guns...

Given the amount of money involved, it can't be all that difficult to hang back a little longer and go for $500 versus running out today with $400.

I think it is worth pointing that out. Having been through 6 iterations, I know the value of buying the last press first.

Richard

That is a very fair and sober arguement. You stated your opinion elequantly and stated reasons why you hold that opinion, without trying to slam something else. Those who go out of their way to slam the LCT, I always assume, are like you and have never seen one. They are all iron and steel, work like clockwork, and are obvioulsy overbuilt when you see one. They should last forever. If everyone made arguements like yours on here, I never would have posted a second time on this thread. I just think people started a slam fest for no reason and probablly added another person who will soon be on another site telling everybody how rude we are on GT. Many post didn't even attempt to answer any of the OP's concerns or questions. That's all I was saying. I think we scared the OP off, and I really can't blame him.

dkf
08-24-2012, 12:11
I don't have much opportunity to shoot as often as I like. I average once a month and usually take only 100 rounds of 9mm, and a 100 rounds of 5.56 with me. Sounds like for my level of shooting a single stage press really would be sufficient. That is chump change for an LCT setup and the LCT is not as fast as a Dillion 550. If you have the extra money go ahead and pick up a 550. Just want something good and solid to for less money, pick up an LCT.

I have the LCT and load pistol on it for now but 30-06 is next.(The LCT can be used as a single stage by removing the index rod) I would not buy a single stage unless you want to load precision rifle or a larger rifle cartridges. For pistol something with more speed than a single stage is usually desired. Down the road as I pick up more calibers I am going to pick up another LCT or two just because I like to load small lots of different calibers.

fredj338
08-24-2012, 12:58
That is a very fair and sober arguement. You stated your opinion elequantly and stated reasons why you hold that opinion, without trying to slam something else. Those who go out of their way to slam the LCT, I always assume, are like you and have never seen one. They are all iron and steel, work like clockwork, and are obvioulsy overbuilt when you see one. They should last forever. If everyone made arguements like yours on here, I never would have posted a second time on this thread. I just think people started a slam fest for no reason and probablly added another person who will soon be on another site telling everybody how rude we are on GT. Many post didn't even attempt to answer any of the OP's concerns or questions. That's all I was saying. I think we scared the OP off, and I really can't blame him.
In all these threads, I don't think I have ever seen anyone slam the LCT. So maybe you are just sensative to the few Lee bashers out there. Really, cost of gear is almost meanignless over time. So buy what you feel you need. If 150rds/hr works for you, then a LCT is a good way to go. If 75rds/hr works for you, then a ss is fine. If you need more production, then you need better more expensive gear, just no way around that.
So when noobs ask for advice, we try to stear them based on need, budget isn't really on the table when you can wait another 2-3m & come up with more $$. If you are even shooting 500rds of 9nn.m, lay off for 3m & you have saved $300+. Buying something you will outgrow in 6m is false economy. Buy once, cry only once.

RustyFN
08-24-2012, 14:37
Yes, the OP can start reloading on a SS press for $400 and might be able to get the LCT and a decent scale in that price range. Yup! He can start for $400.

But it is also fair to point out that it might be better to wait just a little while and see if he can get to $500 because the RL550B is $439 (less any options that aren't really required anyway) and the 550 is a LOT more press than the LCT. I'm not saying anything whatsoever about the quality of the LCT - I have never even seen one. But I do know that 1 handle pull per round is faster than 4 handle pulls.

But not everybody's needs justify buying a progressive. Why wait and save twice the money to buy a press that is much more than you need when you could have been reloading months earlier and been happy with a LCT.

RustyFN
08-24-2012, 14:55
And you have people that bought the 550 and wish they bought the 650. And some people that bought a 650 and wish they bought a 1050.
I bought a LCT thinking I would load my 9mm on the 650 and my 45 ACP on the LCT about 150 at a time. Did it one time. I will change the 650 out from now on. And just use the LCT for initial load development. And punching out primers that went in wrong.

Then you have people that sold a 550 to buy a LCT. Yes it's true I have talked to a couple of people that have done that because the Dillon is more than they need. Like I have said before Dillon isn't always the right answer.

fredj338
08-24-2012, 15:25
Then you have people that sold a 550 to buy a LCT. Yes it's true I have talked to a couple of people that have done that because the Dillon is more than they need. Like I have said before Dillon isn't always the right answer.

Ok, that is just kinda stupid. Why sell a better peice of gear, even if it's more than you need? Just use it & be happy. They would recover what, $150, just don't see it. No one ever knows where their reloading will take them, why I NEVER recommend a SDB. Selling a 550B to buy a LCT is going backwards in a hurry. The LCT is a decent press, maybe the best Lee makes, but it is not & never could be a 550.:dunno:

ParisArms
08-24-2012, 16:08
[QUOTE=Bow Commander;19340855]I know the OP is nowhere to be found but I am greatly enjoying the responses in this thread. I am currently doing research before buying and there is a lot of good info here. Thanks everybody for posting.

I have been reading all the responses. Going to save up a little more and get a 550.




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F106 Fan
08-24-2012, 16:49
I have been reading all the responses. Going to save up a little more and get a 550.


Outstanding decision! Keep us up to date, we really do want new reloaders to succeed. More reloaders, more component suppliers. More component suppliers, better prices. Heck, everybody like better prices!

Good luck!

Richard

shotgunred
08-24-2012, 16:57
This was my point in calling out the Dillon is great, all others are trash, guys. The OP wanted to know if he could reload for $400, or should he just buy some bullets and shoot. Obviously, he can only get into reloading with a Lee product at that pricerange.

The OP asked a simple question, telling us what he CAN afford, and some came in telling him what he should do instead. You probablly scared him off from the one thing he COULD have done. I wouldn't blame him if he wants nothing to do with us. He probablly thinks reloading is prohibitively expensive and we are all a bunch of jerks! And all because some on here hate Lee, and love Dillon. I love all quality products that help me make quality ammo. I also want to do everything to ENCOURAGE new people to reload. Not tell them that unless they can buy our favorite brand press, they are wasting their money. This thread is a shame IMO.

You should re read this thread. Two of us Dillon fanboys Recommended a LCT for his price range.
But there is some truth to the fact that in order to make reloading pay is to be able to spend enough money to buy in bulk.

RustyFN
08-24-2012, 17:43
Ok, that is just kinda stupid. Why sell a better peice of gear, even if it's more than you need?

Don't ask me ask the guy's that did it.

Selling a 550B to buy a LCT is going backwards in a hurry.

Maybe for your needs. Everybody isn't you.

The LCT is a decent press, maybe the best Lee makes, but it is not & never could be a 550.

Very true. Not everybody needs a 550.

Chris Brines
08-24-2012, 17:57
But not everybody's needs justify buying a progressive. Why wait and save twice the money to buy a press that is much more than you need when you could have been reloading months earlier and been happy with a LCT.

^^^What he said. And in fact, if I am not mistaken, you are the same guy who told me that very same thing a few months ago when I was trying to figure out which press to buy. Of course I'd have liked a Dillon Progressive of some kind, but was on a VERY tight budget. And that would have meant literally, stop shooting altogether, and save up money for SEVERAL more months, just to get the reloading equipment....not even components.

I went with the LCT and have zero regrets thus far. Not sure if I'm really coming out ahead as far as cost goes, but I am learning to reload and that is definitely a benefit for me. Like someone mentioned above, not everyone can buy components in bulk. I bough one box of 500 38/357 LSWC's, one box of 1000 FMJ RN 9mm's, 1000 primers, and 2 lbs of powder (Unique and Titegroup). So I didn't get the decreased cost per round that I'd have gotten had I been able to order like 6K bullets at a time or something...but I am enjoying the fact that I am learning to load my own ammunition...and in due time the bulk savings will come...

In fact I think I'm gonna load me up some 9's this weekend.

F106 Fan
08-24-2012, 18:13
It always comes down to money. If the money isn't there, it just isn't there.

It is worth exploring alternatives before just settling in on an LCT. We could just tell everybody that the cheapest effective press around is the LCT - go buy it. We could elminate the entire discussion around alternatives.

Maybe a short delay makes sense. Maybe the BL550 makes sense (although I am not a fan). But, if in the end, the newcomer wants to buy an LCT, so be it. They'll still be able to make quality ammo. It will just take longer.

Richard

PCJim
08-25-2012, 07:40
There is NOTHING wrong with starting off on a single stage (SS) press. Many of us on here did so and still have them in use. My SS press, a Reloader Special 2 purchased in '83, still sees quite a bit of use, especially in .223 prep, precision loading and small lots of whatever caliber.

However, I will always recommend the 550b as it will accommodate everyone's needs, today or tomorrow, pistol or rifle.

fredj338
08-25-2012, 10:19
Don't ask me ask the guy's that did it.



Maybe for your needs. Everybody isn't you.



Very true. Not everybody needs a 550.

HE already spent the money, the biggest sticking point for many noobs. Like going to the gym; it's not the gym I hate, it's getting up & going. Once there why not work out. Same for the reloading gear. Buy it, us it, but go backwards, nope. If I didn't need it, so what, load slower on it, still a better press than the LCT.

RustyFN
08-25-2012, 11:02
HE already spent the money, the biggest sticking point for many noobs. Like going to the gym; it's not the gym I hate, it's getting up & going. Once there why not work out. Same for the reloading gear. Buy it, us it, but go backwards, nope. If I didn't need it, so what, load slower on it, still a better press than the LCT.

Well it's been a few years since I have seen the thread so I'm going by memory. What I remember is he was loading low volume and 4 or 5 calibers. Don't know if you have ever loaded on a classic turret but it is much easier and faster to change calibers on a CT than it is on a 550. I own both and if I was going to be loading only 100 rounds in any caliber and have to change calibers 3 or 4 time in the process I can guarantee you I would be using my CT and not the 550.

F106 Fan
08-25-2012, 11:17
There is NOTHING wrong with starting off on a single stage (SS) press. Many of us on here did so and still have them in use. My SS press, a Reloader Special 2 purchased in '83, still sees quite a bit of use, especially in .223 prep, precision loading and small lots of whatever caliber.

However, I will always recommend the 550b as it will accommodate everyone's needs, today or tomorrow, pistol or rifle.

There is everything in the world wrong with loading pistol ammo on a single stage press. It is a gigantic MISTAKE!

I should know, I started that way as well. It lasted less than a month and then I was out looking for anything else. Back in the early '80s, we didn't have the Internet and the only advertisements that might be available came from American Rifleman (or similar). If the LGS didn't have anything other than single stage presses, a person could be excused for making the mistake of buying one.

"But it's good experience!". Nonsense! All it does is build up a hatred for reloading. Trickle charging pistol ammo? You have to be kidding!

You simply can not load enough pistol ammo on a single stage press to make a day out of shooting. I wasn't much of a shooter but I was burning about 500 rounds per week in practice. If I wanted to get really competitive, I would burn up that much in a day. Probably more...

There is simply so reasonable way to make a few hundred rounds a week with a single stage press and retain a sense of humor. It is mind numbing! Even 100 rounds is a PITA and that won't feed a 1911 for 5 minutes! Even with our range's limit of ONE SHOT EVERY FIVE SECONDS, you can burn 100 rounds in 8 minutes.

As far as I am concerned the LCT is the absolute bottom end of presses for pistol reloading. Nothing less capable need apply!

Rifle (other than AR-15 and clones) is a different story. Fifty rounds is a big day. Heck, twenty rounds is a lot! For precision work, the single stage (or Redding T7 turret) is the way to go. Still, I would prefer the T7 simply because all of the dies are on the toolhead along with some other gadgets.

Shooting an AR-15 is a lot like pistol. You can't load enough on a single stage press in a workday to keep an AR loaded for 10 minutes.

Considering the thousands and thousands of dollars to be saved by reloading, going cheap on the press is foolish.

New reloaders just need to take a longer view of reloading. Getting in for the least possible cost will, in short order, lead to a really strong desire to upgrade.

Pay attention to the people that have already made that mistake!

Richard

shotgunred
08-25-2012, 17:21
While I agree with you in principal not everyone is going to be willing to drop a grand to try reloading out. Heck personally I am on press 5 and 6. But I never would have started reloading if I had to start by paying for a Dillon 650. Once I knew I liked reloading and was able to see the dollar value in a 650 I bought one. Heck I bought one even though my 550 was doing the job for me.

I have loaded more than 500 38's in a single session. A buddy of mine owns a rock chucker. Three of us would sit at a table and turn ourselves into and assembly line. I don't remember it being a drudgery. We were having almost as much fun making the ammo as we were shooting it. But I can see how sitting there by yourself and cranking out ammo for hours at a time could get old.

fredj338
08-25-2012, 17:25
Well it's been a few years since I have seen the thread so I'm going by memory. What I remember is he was loading low volume and 4 or 5 calibers. Don't know if you have ever loaded on a classic turret but it is much easier and faster to change calibers on a CT than it is on a 550. I own both and if I was going to be loading only 100 rounds in any caliber and have to change calibers 3 or 4 time in the process I can guarantee you I would be using my CT and not the 550.

I agree Rusty, not everyone needs a progressive, but if I only loaded 100rds of anything, I would be happy doing that on my ss press & wouldn't consider tearing down the 550 to do that. To each his own, I just don't get selling better to buy lesser.:dunno:

F106 Fan
08-25-2012, 19:42
While I agree with you in principal not everyone is going to be willing to drop a grand to try reloading out. Heck personally I am on press 5 and 6. But I never would have started reloading if I had to start by paying for a Dillon 650. Once I knew I liked reloading and was able to see the dollar value in a 650 I bought one. Heck I bought one even though my 550 was doing the job for me.

I have loaded more than 500 38's in a single session. A buddy of mine owns a rock chucker. Three of us would sit at a table and turn ourselves into and assembly line. I don't remember it being a drudgery. We were having almost as much fun making the ammo as we were shooting it. But I can see how sitting there by yourself and cranking out ammo for hours at a time could get old.

I think I might have gone for the Dillon 450 right off the bat had I known how grim a single stage press could be. But my LGS had no interest in promoting Dillon or anything else they didn't stock. So, RCBS single stage or nothing because that was all they stocked.

The PW P200 turret press was a tremendous upgrade if for no other reason than I added a Lil Dandy powder measure. No more weighed charges. Now that was an upgrade!

My experience is about the same as yours: I too am on evolution #6, or so but I never had any help with reloading.

Had I known that the LCT was just slightly more than a single stage (if the LCT had existed, way back when), there is no question I would have bought it. If I had just a little more knowledge, I might have started with the Dillon BL550 for only a few dollars more than the LCT. It's not like I didn't have the money, I simply didn't know what the market had to offer.

That's the reason for the discussions: To explain the machine capabilities and costs. I can't imagine anyone reading these posts buying a press from their LGS so as long as it isn't a 'shop loyalty' thing, why not cast a wider net?

Richard

PCJim
08-25-2012, 20:56
There is everything in the world wrong with loading pistol ammo on a single stage press. It is a gigantic MISTAKE!

I should know, I started that way as well. It lasted less than a month and then I was out looking for anything else. Back in the early '80s, we didn't have the Internet and the only advertisements that might be available came from American Rifleman (or similar). If the LGS didn't have anything other than single stage presses, a person could be excused for making the mistake of buying one.

"But it's good experience!". Nonsense! All it does is build up a hatred for reloading. Trickle charging pistol ammo? You have to be kidding!

You simply can not load enough pistol ammo on a single stage press to make a day out of shooting. I wasn't much of a shooter but I was burning about 500 rounds per week in practice. If I wanted to get really competitive, I would burn up that much in a day. Probably more...

There is simply so reasonable way to make a few hundred rounds a week with a single stage press and retain a sense of humor. It is mind numbing! Even 100 rounds is a PITA and that won't feed a 1911 for 5 minutes! Even with our range's limit of ONE SHOT EVERY FIVE SECONDS, you can burn 100 rounds in 8 minutes.

As far as I am concerned the LCT is the absolute bottom end of presses for pistol reloading. Nothing less capable need apply!

Rifle (other than AR-15 and clones) is a different story. Fifty rounds is a big day. Heck, twenty rounds is a lot! For precision work, the single stage (or Redding T7 turret) is the way to go. Still, I would prefer the T7 simply because all of the dies are on the toolhead along with some other gadgets.

Shooting an AR-15 is a lot like pistol. You can't load enough on a single stage press in a workday to keep an AR loaded for 10 minutes.

Considering the thousands and thousands of dollars to be saved by reloading, going cheap on the press is foolish.

New reloaders just need to take a longer view of reloading. Getting in for the least possible cost will, in short order, lead to a really strong desire to upgrade.

Pay attention to the people that have already made that mistake!

Richard

Well, you're wrong on whether a SS can support a day's shooting. It depends upon how much time one may devote to making those rounds, and how often one goes out for a day's shooting. I certainly made enough to support my needs, and I'm sure others here have too.

If you needed 500 rounds for a Saturday shoot, every week, it would certainly be within the capabilities of most SS. Granted, it isn't something that I would want to do any more, especially with the presses I own now, but it can be done.

yellowhand
08-25-2012, 21:18
Have been cleaning up my primary gun room and came across ten wooden Midway loading trays for 45 ACP and
it got me thinking back to my single stage reloading days.
REsize 500
prime 500
bell case mouth on 500
drop powder into 500
load bullet & roll crimp 500
Took about three evening @ 3 hours a session to produce about 500 completed rounds.
I'd shoot 250 and SAVE 250
Got three different brands of progressive presses and have gone back to using A LCT, a Rock chucker, and an old lyman press no longer made and guess what, having more fun making ammo again.
As for bulk ammo, shoot 50/save 50 for 40 years, you got no concerns about having enough bulk ammo on hand for near about anything:)LOL

fredj338
08-25-2012, 21:40
Well, you're wrong on whether a SS can support a day's shooting. It depends upon how much time one may devote to making those rounds, and how often one goes out for a day's shooting. I certainly made enough to support my needs, and I'm sure others here have too.

If you needed 500 rounds for a Saturday shoot, every week, it would certainly be within the capabilities of most SS. Granted, it isn't something that I would want to do any more, especially with the presses I own now, but it can be done.

I started on a ss & shot every weekend. Yes I spent more time reloading back then, bu they, no kids, no money, what else did I have to do? At an honest 75rds/hr, you can certainly feed a 500/week habit on a ss press, it's just time consuming.:dunno:

RustyFN
08-26-2012, 11:51
I agree Rusty, not everyone needs a progressive, but if I only loaded 100rds of anything, I would be happy doing that on my ss press & wouldn't consider tearing down the 550 to do that. To each his own, I just don't get selling better to buy lesser.:dunno:

So what you are saying is you would rather load 100 per week for five calibers ( 500 per week total ) on a single stage than a classic turret? Sounds like you never have used a classic turret. I guess it was logical for him to sell a press he was never going to use to buy a press that fit his needs better. Is it really a better press when it doesn't fit your needs just because it says Dillon on it? It obviously wasn't a better press for that person.

fredj338
08-26-2012, 12:04
So what you are saying is you would rather load 100 per week for five calibers ( 500 per week total ) on a single stage than a classic turret? Sounds like you never have used a classic turret. I guess it was logical for him to sell a press he was never going to use to buy a press that fit his needs better. Is it really a better press when it doesn't fit your needs just because it says Dillon on it? It obviously wasn't a better press for that person.

No, I am saying it would be fine for that small amount of 100rds x 5. Setting up a 550B or LCT is about the same time & the 550B is a better more efficient press, but hey, to each his own.