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Author Topic: Dillon or RCBS  (Read 6125 times)

DCox

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Dillon or RCBS
« on: August 09, 2010, 10:33:39 am »
Hi,

My first post.  I read as much as I can on your FAQ and other people's similar questions, but I am still having a hard time deciding between a simple single-stage press or a progressive Dillon 550.  I think I would practice a lot more at the range if I were reloading myself, rather than encountering the sickening feeling of purchasing factory boxes.  I also would like to learn to research what loads best suit my particular guns and, when hunting, what loads others have found most helpful in particular calibers.

I love to shoot (and hunt), but I have never reloaded before.  I will be reloading in the .44 mag., .270 win, 6.8 SPC, .40 S&W, and maybe the 7.26x54R.  I have no desire for super fast production, but my time is also valuable to me (as with all of us).  On the other hand, I am concerned (perhaps needlessly?) that a progressive press is not the best platform to learn hand loading on.  I also wonder if a single-stage would permit more accuracy with certain types of loads.

Since you guys have been there already, in hindsight what do you think?  Go with the Dillon 550 (and a bit more $ upfront), or go with a single-stage RCBS?

Thanks in advance.  I am really looking forward to getting into hand loading and learning from this site.

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    JesseL

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 11:10:14 am »
    I'd start with the single stage, learn the basics, get comfortable, and see how much speed you really need.

    If you shop around you can find some incredible deals on used presses. It will be easier and less expensive to set up with dies and shellholders for all the calibers you want to load. Even if you later get a progressive you'll probably still find the single stage useful for cartridges you don't load in high volume or for running operations not really suited to the progressive (like decapping prior to tumbling).
    Arizona

    cpaspr

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 11:18:17 am »
    First -welcome to WTA!

    In my opinion, and I know there are some who have the opposite opinion, start with a single-stage press.  Specific brand is not as important.  Learn the process well.

    I've been actively reloading my own for about 10 years, but was first exposed to it 35+ years ago when I helped my dad.  Only in the last year have I picked up a progressive press, but I still do most of my work on the single-stage presses.  I don't shoot high quantities of high-power center-fire rifle ammo.  Since all my loading for these calibers is primarily hunting oriented, I weigh every charge.  The progressives just can't give me that kind of accuracy.  For handguns, for myself and the accuracy I need, the progressive is fine.

    So, in my opinion, just starting out, get a single-stage setup.  You can get more precise loads when you need it, but can also produce "good enough" plinking or practice ammo as well.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 03:38:10 pm by cpaspr »
    Oregon

    cpaspr

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 11:32:05 am »

    Jesse -

    I've recently been using the Dillon as a "partial" progressive in a couple of different ways. 

    When I bought it (used), it didn't have any primer tubes.  Still doesn't.  I had over a thousand .45 ACP cases that I had already sized, de-primed, belled and re-primed using the single-stage press and a Lee hand-prime.  I set it up and simply took out the size/de-prime die before adding powder and bullets. 

    I'm currently out of bullets, but have a few thousand tumbled cases, so I'm now in the process of size, de-prime and bell.  I've backed out the seat and crimp dies.  I'll either hand-prime these cases later at my leisure, or if I get primer tubes before I am to that stage, I'll simply re-prime them when I run them through the press again when adding powder and bullets. 
    Oregon

    DCox

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 01:38:30 pm »
    This kind of confirms what I had been leaning toward.  Thanks.

    This may seem self-evident to you, but where does one typically find used single-stage presses?

    JesseL

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 01:46:43 pm »
    This may seem self-evident to you, but where does one typically find used single-stage presses?

    Local print classified ads, Craig's list, Backpage.com, garage/yard/estate sales, buy-sell-trade sections on internet forums like this one.

    Sometimes gun stores that sell reloading supplies will have some used stuff available. Pawn shops too for that matter.

    Arizona

    cpaspr

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 02:56:23 pm »
    This may seem self-evident to you, but where does one typically find used single-stage presses?

    You can no longer buy bullets, brass or magazines there, but e*bay still allows reloading presses, dies, tumblers, etc.  They (e*bay management) are hypocrites, and many shooters refuse to do business with them because of their stance on magazines and cartridge components, but you did ask where used equipment could be found, and e*bay is another option.

    Oregon

    DCox

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 03:33:53 pm »
    Thanks you.  This is very helpful information.

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 06:38:43 pm »
    I started out on a Lee Anniversary kit for around $70  which came with everything except dies, caliper, and tumbler.  The RCBS is a much nicer press but for basic ammo you won't know the difference.

    Later I moved into a Dillon 550B and still use the Lee kit for short runs of reloads.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." -Thomas Jefferson

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 01:02:00 am »
    I'd suggest four things-

    1. The RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit- http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=646599
    2.  Another manual(the Hornady 2 volume set would be nice)
    3.  The ABCs of reloading - http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+abcs+of+reloading&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4645891677&ref=pd_sl_14g6do1qw6_e
    4.  A good tumbler, I prefer Dillon or Hornady myself.

    Read the ABCs first, then the other two manuals information sections before you even set your press up. 

    The reason I recommend the big press kit is simple, once you get the hang of it, if you are organized and run a smooth steady pace, 100 rounds an hour is no problem at all. Later wen you need more production, bolt a progressive on the other end of the bench, and use the single stage for load development or high precision applications.


    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    THE NORSEMAN

    • To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. - Richard Henry Lee
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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 07:22:10 am »
    Also, a chronograph is highly recommended within the first year or so.  There's a lot to be learned there.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    DCox

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 06:27:39 pm »
    I'd suggest four things-

    1. The RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit- http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=646599
    2.  Another manual(the Hornady 2 volume set would be nice)
    3.  The ABCs of reloading - http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+abcs+of+reloading&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4645891677&ref=pd_sl_14g6do1qw6_e
    4.  A good tumbler, I prefer Dillon or Hornady myself.

    Read the ABCs first, then the other two manuals information sections before you even set your press up. 

    The reason I recommend the big press kit is simple, once you get the hang of it, if you are organized and run a smooth steady pace, 100 rounds an hour is no problem at all. Later wen you need more production, bolt a progressive on the other end of the bench, and use the single stage for load development or high precision applications.


    Thanks Norseman!   Believe it or not, I asked my wife and kids for the ABCs of Reloading book last Christmas and have been slowly making my way through it.  I wanted it to see what all was involved in handloading, and the book was what pretty much convinced me that I would enjoy doing it.

    Moreover, after reading all the various opinions on really good presses, I had already concluded I was going to go with the Rockchucker Supreme.  What I had not yet decided is whether it was in fact better to get the kit and buy other, perhaps better hand-picked items, or just learn with the kit and supplement or swap out things as I become more proficient later.

    Your final recommendation fit my plan as well.  The most volume shooting I do is with my GLOCK 23 (.40).  I can realistically see later down the road getting a Dillon 550 for standard handgun loads (I want to add a single-action .45 cal. cowboy gun at some point as well), and keeping my RC for the rifle loads.  You summarized and confirmed everything I had put together (though it took me a long time to sort through all the information).

    I am not yet at the stage to know the value of the chronograph, but I am sure that will become clearer as I get set up and become more familiar with this dimension of handloading.  Thanks again!

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 11:55:42 pm »
    Thanks Norseman!   Believe it or not, I asked my wife and kids for the ABCs of Reloading book last Christmas and have been slowly making my way through it.  I wanted it to see what all was involved in handloading, and the book was what pretty much convinced me that I would enjoy doing it.

    Moreover, after reading all the various opinions on really good presses, I had already concluded I was going to go with the Rockchucker Supreme.  What I had not yet decided is whether it was in fact better to get the kit and buy other, perhaps better hand-picked items, or just learn with the kit and supplement or swap out things as I become more proficient later.

    Your final recommendation fit my plan as well.  The most volume shooting I do is with my GLOCK 23 (.40).  I can realistically see later down the road getting a Dillon 550 for standard handgun loads (I want to add a single-action .45 cal. cowboy gun at some point as well), and keeping my RC for the rifle loads.  You summarized and confirmed everything I had put together (though it took me a long time to sort through all the information).

    I am not yet at the stage to know the value of the chronograph, but I am sure that will become clearer as I get set up and become more familiar with this dimension of handloading.  Thanks again!


    Or, you could buy the Dillon 550 and run it as a single stage press.  Once you got the hang of things you would have a progressive ready to go.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." -Thomas Jefferson

    DCox

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #13 on: August 15, 2010, 01:39:17 am »
    Or, you could buy the Dillon 550 and run it as a single stage press.  Once you got the hang of things you would have a progressive ready to go.

    I did not realize a progressive could be run with the same precision as the single-stage press for rifle loads, etc.

    cpaspr

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 06:22:10 pm »
    I did not realize a progressive could be run with the same precision as the single-stage press for rifle loads, etc.

    See my second post above for one way of doing it.  For absolute accuracy, you would probably pull each powder filled case and dump the powder into the scale, true it up, then put back into the press, rotate to the next position, add the bullet, and continue.  For plinking ammo, I'd probably just weight-check every 10th or 20th case.
    Oregon

    DCox

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #15 on: August 16, 2010, 07:40:40 pm »
    See my second post above for one way of doing it.  For absolute accuracy, you would probably pull each powder filled case and dump the powder into the scale, true it up, then put back into the press, rotate to the next position, add the bullet, and continue.  For plinking ammo, I'd probably just weight-check every 10th or 20th case.

    I sure would put a progressive to good use, as I love shooting my GLOCK 23 and would like to produce no small amount of of 5.56 for the AR (plinking).

    However, as I understand it, I really do need accuracy for what I want to do with the hunting pistol (.44 mag.), the .270 and a future 6.8 SPC (God-willing).  None of the hunting loads would be volume, and if it weren't for the GLOCK and the AR 15, I would not even consider a progressive.   But I really would shoot those two more if I handloaded more.

    So, to summarize:  if I am understanding correctly, I could actually use the Dillon 550 with single-stage precision results, however, it would involve the extra step of dumping the powder, reweighing it, and reintroducing it again into the case.  Is that correct?

    I really appreciate this input.

    cpaspr

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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 01:25:23 am »
    That's what I'd do.  Norseman may easily have a better procedure, as so far I've only loaded .45 ACP on mine, and I don't use the full cycle all at the same time.  Later maybe, but not right now.

    At a minimum, using the 550 on the .45s combines the size & deprime stage with the bell stage when using a single stage press.  Likewise, it combines the add powder, add bullet, seat bullet, crimp bullet stages.  When I do these last 4 on the single stages I'll add powder to 50 cases and put them in the loading block, double checking the powder charge every 10.  Then I use a flashlight to make sure all 50 are level, no double charges or missing charges.  Then I go back and add a bullet and seat it.  Times 50.  Finally, run them through the Lee FCD to apply the final crimp.  So at a minimum, the 550  will probably cut my time per cartridge by half.  Probably more.
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    Re: Dillon or RCBS
    « Reply #17 on: August 17, 2010, 08:44:39 am »
    The one thing that a single stage has over progressives is having the die right in line with the ram.  With progressives, its offset, so you always have a slight amount of deflection.  Not a big deal unless you're shooting benchrest or something similar.

    Boils down to this-

    If you like inspecting the cartridge at every step of production, and can live with 100 rounds per hour, a single stage is fine, if you need more rds/hr or aren't obsessive compulsive with ammo inspection, progressive is the ticket.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

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