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Old 10-03-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
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Reloading

Any reloaders out there? I'm looking to get a progressive press. Currently, I'm comparing Dillion presses vs the RCBS Pro-2000.

I have a lot of RCBS dies for my old RCBS rock chucker, which is one plus for the RCBS. How about durability or usability?

I've read a bunch on-line, but I'm curious what my PM friends might think.

Thanks!

ADK
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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As far as I'm concerned Dillon is the Gold Standard in products & most important service.
Are you reloading pistol or rifle ammo?
I prefer a single stage press for rifle ammo,EX: RCBS Rockchucker.
If you're reloading high volume rifle,.223 etc... Dillon would still be my first choice.
You can use RCBS,Redding,Lee Dies on Dillon Presses.
Hope this helps.

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Old 10-03-2012, 07:38 PM   #3
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I would be reloading both pistol and rifle... mostly:

Pistol: .45 ACP, .44 Special and Magnum, .380 Auto, with some .38
Rifle: 5.56, 7mm-08, and my favorite gun --- 45-70 Gov't

It wouldn't be so high volume on the 45-70, but I do like to shoot maybe 100 rounds through that gun each year. The 5.56 would be a few thousand rounds / year. The .45 would also be a few thousand per year.

Are the single stages just more accurate for loading rifle?

I'll have to look at the Dillion a little more. I read somewhere that you needed to use the Dillon dies... but I guess it warrants a little more research.

Thanks for the help!

ADK
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:32 PM   #4
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Pro shooter and reloader here. Dillion RL 550b with all the accessories - worth it.
I also own almost every other machine, but the Dillion 550 is the one. Especially if you get the toolheads so each caliber you load can be set and forget, almost - very quick to change setups unlike almost all the others.

You gotta have the roller handle, the bullet tray, and the finished round tray, the big hard stand at least. You don't need the powder level or primer level junk. Lifetime warranty, no BS. I've made maybe 30k rounds with mine, no issues at all with it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:43 AM   #5
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That's two points for Dillon! Thanks for the opinions / experiences so far!

Some folks I spoke to at the range seem to prefer the RCBS, but the more I look into it, the more that then Dillon is winning!

I'd like to hash it out and pick up a new press sometime late fall / early winter --- after hunting season.

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ADK View Post:
That's two points for Dillon! Thanks for the opinions / experiences so far!

Some folks I spoke to at the range seem to prefer the RCBS, but the more I look into it, the more that then Dillon is winning!

I'd like to hash it out and pick up a new press sometime late fall / early winter --- after hunting season.

ADK
Keep us updated, I have been thinking about getting into reloading in a couple of years.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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I have some RCBS stuff, it's good, but the press is single stage. I use it, and some (believe it or not) Lee stuff while working up special rifle loads, rather than let them rust. But once something is dialed in, I just go back to the dillon. I mentioned that model as being able to do both rifle and pistol, and a good one to learn on, then live with.

Yes, at least for sizing dies, get the Dillon ones - they produce very good results and don't have "crashes" like some other size dies in a progressive press. Their setup is self aligning and simply works the best for the calibers it's available for. I think I have every brand of everything, bought when I had too much money and a lust to win some championships (which I did). Most (but not all) of the fancy high priced stuff with micrometer heads, or changeable inserts etc - not worth it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:53 AM   #8
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I meant to post a little treatise here after I saw the post last night, but postponed it to watch the debate. Doesn't look like I need to do so; DCFusor said it well.

I have been a reloader since highschool (30+ years), and I too have used most everything. My favorite, by far, is the Dillon RL 550B. I load 9mm, .45 ACP, .38 special, and .223 with it by the thousands. I have separate tool-head/powder measure set-ups for each caliber, so I can change from one to the next and be reloading again in less than 5 minutes. While it is not mandatory, I too recommend using Dillon dies with this press. In addition to what has already been said, Dillon makes them so that they can be easily cleaned without interfering with your set-up (which is very important with some cartridges like .223). and be back to reloading in minutes.

I load most of my hunting loads (.308, .243, .280 and the great .45-70!) with a Redding Turrent 7 press. I used an RCBS Rockchucker for years; only switched because I wanted to be able to leave a few calibers set up on the press.

Reloading is a great stress reliever and past-time for the winter months. I highly recommend it to everyone who truly enjoys their firearms and has a desire to learn more about them.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:37 PM   #9
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I have old Lyman presses. One single Stage, and one progressive. I use RCBS carbon dies exclusively. I collect Colt and pre 1964 Winchesters, so I load for them. .357 for the Python and Trooper, .38 for the Detective Special, and .45 ACP for the M1991A1. Got a Winchester '94 that shoots .32 Winchester Special. I use a MEC for my shotgunshells. I think they're all pretty good, I'd just stay away from Lee. They're really cheap and I've found erroneous data in one of their data books.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HCA1961 View Post:
... and the great .45-70!...
Amen! Most favorite rifle, right there.

I will keep everyone posted on what I end up picking up and how it goes. I really appreciate all of the input from the forum!

I'm still listening, though, before making a purchase!

ADK
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:37 AM   #11
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In a slight defence of Lee - they do make some ground breakingly good things, along with some utter crap.

Good things:
Collet neck sizer - better than anything else on the market, but you have to use it as the directions indicate - you will break it if you try it in a progressive press, I use my RCBS single for that job. If you can get by with neck sizing, no other brand, and I have them all (or 4-5 anyway, with bushings, micrometers and other expensive junk on them) - is even close. Truly.

Their "perfect powder measure" really is - and it beats my $200 each custom benchrest meters in accuracy, while also being calibrated in real units, not arbitrary ones. It even beats the robot Lyman powder measure that weighs each charge.
(save your money there - none of them take into account that powder is slightly hygroscopic and you need more weight when damp than dry - just a little hint)
By-weight is handy to publish, but it's volume of powder that matters...truly.

Lee's theories on how to shoot cast bullets are the real deal (match peak pressure to metal yield point), Lyman's are just plain dead wrong (and sometimes a bit dangerous).

Lee bullet casting dies are about the best there are, and I've got the trophies to prove it. Lyman's take a lot of maintenance to stay good (they rust fast). Other nose pour molds are good, but cost like bernanke was buying them.

Lee's single stage dirt cheap C press is what I use to seat bullets in the "lab" setup.
The positive stop gives the best repeatability out there. Their bullet seating die is "OK" if used in that press. All this BS about this or that seating die making more concentric rounds is total, utter BS - you have to get the brass prep right, and if you do, they all work well, if you don't, none work well.

If you use their factory crimp on hunting ammo, it does a better and more reliable job than anyone else's does and leaves the ammo straighter (this matters).

I'd like to hear about exactly what inaccurate data is in the Lee reloading manuals, as I find it reasonable for the rounds I load. If you want hot - Sierra or Hodgden. Conservative - Lyman, Lee. Nosler, speer - just forget that crap - none of it's ever been good for me, anyway.

You usually can't use a Sierra or Hodgdon "max" load - usually have to take 1-2 steps back for accuracy. Speed doesn't matter if you miss!

Lee's junk - anything like priming stuff. Any of their progressive presses. Most of the rest of their dies. They don't get everything right. Their case trimmer is "avoid" for certain as it indexes off the wrong part of the brass. I hear horror stories about their hand priming tool.

The Dillon dies are best for their press in almost all cases. I use an RCBS micrometer seating die, though. Their powder measures are "adequate" for all but Class F super long range shooting (remember to toss out the first few charges, though). Their full length size dies create the least runout of all brands - I've measured that extensively against all comers. I don't crimp target ammo, as you lose a bit of accuracy.

I use Sinclair's expensive priming tool for low volumes. It's almost as fun as sex it works so well and tactile-ly. Else the Dillon. I also use Sinclair's neck turning stuff for high precision, and lyman's inside/outside chamfer tools for rifle. The Sinclair stuf is pricey, but at the time, I didn't care, just the best was what I wanted for competition.

You really should do bullet casting for the older .45's, it's simple, works well, cheap, and at least at my range, I get nearly all the lead back and reuse it. That's what the older ones were designed for and the barrels last forever if you get all things like sand out of your lead (easy, it floats).

You should get at least the Sierra and Lyman and Lee reloading manuals, and perhaps those cheap "data from everyone for this one round" ones at Midway. Between them, you'll get a better overall picture of what's good and what's possible.

You will of course make mistakes, so a bullet puller is key to own (imagine a pencil without an eraser). A few other things I have - a way to measure the net round length when the bullet is just at the lands (several tools work for this), a runout indicator (I like the Hornady one), a case trimmer that goes by total length (forget the brand I have, but you can unscrew the handle and use a drill to turn it).
Case trimming is crucial for anything going to be shot in a semi-auto, particularly if you're full length sizing. Brass gets longer in that case and may pinch the bullet if forced into a tight chamber, or worse, refuse to go all the way in, reseat the bullet, all sorts of bad stuff can happen if the brass gets too long. For AR type stuff, I trim to minimum length, and again when it hits the max length. After that, it's time to think about the maxim "the trashcan is a reloader's best friend" - Safety! Knowing you've made substandard ammo leads to "half-ass-ism" when developing shooting technique and no one wins there, just ditch anything not perfect.

In almost every case, handloaded ammo will beat factory by about double in accuracy, or more. It's not that they don't know how to make ammo, it's that they have to make it at the low tolerance size limits for SAMMI so it'll fit every gun, and you make stuff that really fits your particular gun, therefore no rattle fit or misalignment. A bullet that doesn't start out straight will be deformed going down the barrel and won't fly straight after that.

So it's not just about being ready, or saving money (that latter is debatable unless you do a few k rounds/year), it's about quality and results.

I don't use my Dillon in full-progressive mode on rifle loads that need lube on the brass. I size (but not prime), then remove the lube in lizard litter in the tumbler before doing the rest. Most of the available lubes work well - I like the Dillon for convenience, but they all get gummy later on - so you need to get them off before stashing the ammo or it all glues together or gums up your gun.

And oh yes, you'll need a tumbler and media separator, or some other way to clean the brass before you start. It's not just a case of looking nicer. There's a difference in burning rate of powder in clean vs dirty brass, and this is crucial to repeatability which means accuracy. I happen to have the Dillon stuff, but most all of it is good.


If you have neighbours or friends who shoot, more often than not you can get them to spring for a Dillon toolhead and dies for their calibers - stored and used at your house, of course. Nice way to be ready for anything. All you usually have to do is show them how much better your own gun shoots with reloads than factory ammo.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #12
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Wow, thanks for all of that information. It's appreciated!

What do you think of the Dillion method of using the tube for stacking primers vs. the RCBS strip mounted primers?

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Old 10-05-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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I've just started a gun-stuff subforum on my own boards, and when I get that round-tuit I'm going to make some movies and post them on the real techniques and gear I use in reloading, developing and testing loads. I basically bought everything on the market for a couple types of rounds I was using in competition, then just found out what actually works the best in practice, which as luck would have it, is often not so expensive and is less work on top, once you know a few tricks, and what's actually good and needed. I'll post here with a link to it when I get that done.

Once I get a load designed and tested, it's all dillon, even for my 6 ppc benchrest and other wildcat stuff - it's just as accurate, but far easier and faster to make rounds with it. And yes, I tested for that specifically - compared to RCBS single stage with all the tweaking I could put on that - the Dillon still wins, due to superior design (self centering stuff and all sorts of cool tricks). When I first got it, I thought there was too much slop and shimmed/screwed some stuff down, and its accuracy went to hell in a hand-basket - they know their shit, so I went back to "stock".

You can (easily) do a lot worse than all-Dillon, but there are a few neat other things out there in the accessory realm that are also good (and less expensive). The thing about Dillon - the stuff lasts forever and the warranty is truly no bullshit, period, end of story.

I do know someone who has worn out a couple of RL super 1050s, but then she's a pro ammo maker with huge sales - they wear out some stuff at around 100-200k rounds through the machine and need a $5 replacement part if you're using them commercially like she is (Dianne Bishop of Bishop ammunition). If I wear mine out, the replacement is free - for life. And your kids lives. And so on.

Every time I talk to Dianne on G+ she's chamber-checking and eyeballing hundreds of rounds to make sure each one that goes out is perfect. Maybe I can talk her into joining here, she's of the right mind otherwise as well. A stacker...

Oh, your question. I've had no trouble with the primer stacks, though I've heard of troubles with them - with federal primers, which I don't use, mostly (CCI makes almost everyone else's primers and they are very good - and cheaper). The strip guys tie you into that proprietary system you might be sorry about later if they don't "fly" commercially (and they aren't, after a couple years). But I am careful. Worst case, you make your ceiling look like a shotgun was fired at it - you'd be fine, but your ears would really be ringing if you got a whole stack to go off. But in reality? I can't see how that could happen. I've had primers try to seat sideways (with a dumb operator with no sense of touch) and be fully crushed, and they don't go off - and by that time, they are a long way from the stack in the double-wall tube anyway, in the Dillon design. Doesn't seem like a realistic problem to me, at least so far.

Edit:
if you're reloading milsurp brass with the primer crimped in - you need a sense of touch - but that's all - to reseat a new primer. Some of them you have to kind of tease back in, which is what I do rather than buy an expensive pocket swager. It takes care of itself after the first reload of that brass anyway. And no, you don't need the 200 buck primer tube filler, come on, that's an easy and fun part of the game to just use a flip tray and pick them up from the box (they are usually all right side up anyway in the box).

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Old 11-09-2012, 07:41 AM   #14
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Dredging this thread up from the past...

Picked up the RCBS Pro2000, manual w/ the add-on of the automatic upgrade. I have it set up to rock-and-roll on some .45 right now. It took some serious time to set up, but it works beautiful.

I'm also looking into getting one of these set-ups:

http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/

I like the idea of that stainless media and, honestly, I need a bigger tumbler.

ADK
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:30 AM   #15
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Make sure you get a chronograph and a few loading books. You often find that things don't work quite the same in your gun, and some of the loads published aren't safe i your gun. Nothing beats a guess like a measurement.

In .45, seating depth (OAL) is crucial, moreso than almost any other round. This is not just for feeding, it's for pressure. Some people trim cases since that one headspaces on the case mouth - so you have to be real careful about crimp or it will go in too far and maybe not fire and come back out.

I have a couple .45's, one with a muzzle brake. For that guy I use a larger amount of Unique powder as the extra gas helps the brake. For the other one, I use bullseye, since you use less of that, and less total recoil without a brake (and less flash and bang, but same bullet velocity). You'll see this in the load manuals - in general, you use less of the faster burning powders for everything else the same.

I like bullseye and unique for handguns (outside of .357 mag which is its own world) as they burn very cleanly. If you use Lee's bullet molds and liquid alox lube, it's like you almost never have to clean the gun - and you shoot almost free, since the brass can be used till you wear out the primer pocket, or nearly, and you get the lead back from the target backstop.

Edit, the best media is "lizard litter" sold at pet stores. It's the same stuff as crushed walnut shells sold at higher prices when labeled media for shells. It absorbs the lead from the primers better and keeps your loading area more lead free - the one case of lead poisoning in this game that's been reported is from cleaning brass. You use a little "polish" which is cheap and like runny toothpaste added to it, and discard it when it's dirty.

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:17 PM   #16
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I have re-loaded since I was a kid. Always used an RCBS single stage press. Would love to get a progressive, but I do so little reloading right now, I can't justify the cost. I've never heard any legitimate complaints about Dillon. I get the blue press every month and enjoy drooling over their nice toys while I'm in my "office."
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #17
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There's nothing at all wrong with a rock chucker, I use mine for a few things, and for some things, it's the best - like high effort lead bullet sizing, neck sizing with the Lee collet die and so on - It's easier to set up for one-operation kinds of jobs. Some people like it better than the Dillon, as they like to see uniform powder height in a loading block of shells while doing things single stage. I've learned to just trust the Dillon measure - with one exception - bullseye powder on a hot day is "sticky" and the amounts you use are so small, it's hard to throw and good to check all the shells on as it's easy to have one empty and the next double charged if you're not watching. Bad news if that happens.

What I like about the Dillon RL-550b is that it isn't auto-indexing. Having the plate turn automatically on most progressives is what gets a lot of people in trouble, as they just start mindlessly jerking the handle and make some rounds that are a QC nightmare if something goes wrong at a station.

Once it's set up, the Dillon is actually slightly better at making low run-out ammo. They have a pretty cool self-centering die plate that helps there, and their full length resize die is also the best on the market - in ANY press. But I only FLR for some rounds here - mostly I'm using fire-formed ammo as it's much more accurate (and yes, sometimes even in semi-autos - works fine for about 2 times, then you have to FLR again in my ARs).

The reloading thread on my forums is temporarily stalled. I'm waiting for some hopefully better video to show up from Vice.com - they came out here and filmed me for 3 days all day, so we got some shots of the thing in action with a better camera and cameraman. I should have the videos back from them in a couple weeks - they want to publish their own article first so I don't scoop them with their own stuff. Seems fair.
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:43 PM   #18
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Hello. I am the Dianne that DCFusor spoke of from Bishop Ammunition
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:38 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dianne View Post:
Hello. I am the Dianne that DCFusor spoke of from Bishop Ammunition
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:18 AM   #20
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Hi Dianne, welcome to the forum.

DCF must be busy because he hasn't been around in a while. But he tends to do that.
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