> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Question: Your favorite progressive reloading press



Question: Your favorite progressive reloading press

I'm looking at getting a progressive press later this year; leaning strongly towards one model, but don't want to spoiler it.

I've loaded on friend's Dillon 550 in the past, but want something with 5 stations versus 4. Same friend double charged a run of .45 ACPs and up a brand new 1911...a powder check is going to be a 'must' for me for progressive loading.

9mm, .38/.357 and .223 are the main calibers I'll be loading for at this point. Want something that will outlast me and can be passed on down to the offspring.

So...what does the tribe say?

Also - yes, I will be getting a single stage as well; the $40 Lee Hand Press is hard to say no to.


  1. dillon 650

  2. I went with the Hornady LNL AP. I did two round of research and came to the same conclusion. The Dillion 650 is probably a better rig but the LNL is much cheaper and Hornady give you 500 bullets for the purchase. At the end of the day I love Hornady ammo and they use all their own presses to develop test loads. Good compare and contrast - http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

  3. If You Want To Produce Some SERIOUS Quantities Of Ammo, Go With The Dillon 650. I Can Crank Out 1000 Rounds Of .223 In A Day. Plus, They Hold Their Value In Case You Ever Get In A Pinch & Need To Raise Cash.

  4. I have 2 Dillon 650's and a 1050. If you plan to reload mil crimped 223, the 650 will have you tearing your hair out. Removing the primer crimp sucks no matter how you do it. The 1050 does it for you and does a better job of just about everything. I load large primer pistol and 308 on one 650, small primer pistol and 300BO on the other and 223/5.56 on the 1050. I tried to do 223 on the 650 and I hated redoing it all the time. The primers didn't seat as well and I had to fiddle with it constantly.

    The LNL and RCBS are good units, but they aren't dillons. Another thing, Dillon's carbide dies are the best on the market, bar none.

    I reload 30-50k a year, I wouldn't trade my dillons for anything, even named my son after them.

  5. Spend the money and buy a Forster single stage press and a Dillon 650 for progressive. I now deprime EVERYTHING through the Forster press even if the brass is to be reloaded on my Dillon 550. The primers and dust are contained in the Forsters primer system and no dust is released into the air or all over the press/bench/floor.

    I have also gone to wet tumbling, more work but cleaner. No dust like dry tumbling.

  6. I bought a LNL. Quite happy with it; here is a review I found helpful:

    1. sorry, above address insert / instead of -

  7. I love my Hornady and am familiar with both. Dillon is a good unit but so is the Hornady.

  8. I amgoing to buck the trend. I have a Lee Load master progressive. I load for 9mm and 357/38. I have had it for 10 years and have made over 50,000 rounds through it. Yes I have had to spend about $40.00 on maintenance since I bought it and it doesn't come with a lifetime garrentee but, it has 5 stations. It will load just about anything but 50BMG. It takes about 15 minutes to change calibers. And it only costs $250.00 brand new setup for you caliber. It does take a little tuning to keep running fine but I can pump out 900+ rounds of 9mm in an hour! Being able to make rounds faster then I can shoot them is good!
    I do not use the bullet feeder. It isn't reliable enough to use. The thing that slows it down is the 100 primers per batch. Generally, I load up the case feeder, the primer, and the powder, then pump out rounds till the primer runs out. Then fill check things are tight, check a few random rounds, load things up and go again.
    And I am not kidding about the 900 per hour.

  9. I'm in the business, and I've got around 25 years of loading experience behind me....so:


    RCBS never really dedicated themselves to the progressive press market, and they make a terrific singlestage press, but theyre progressives as I have used them have sucked. Hornady had their Projector press which also was an 'also-ran'. Lee makes a decent design but then executes the design using pot metal and second rate materials. Dude..I have used them all. Buy the Dillon, pay for it once, and you. are. done!

  10. Dillon - worth every penny - case feeder is a bonus. Lee C frame for go bag. Carbide Dies.
    Lee 12g hand loader - for creative loads.

  11. By the by, if youre going to buy a single stage press go ahead and spend the big bucks and get yourself an RCBS Rock Crusher. Your gonna pay around $200 for a new one. If you dont already have your gear, the best deal youre ever going to make will be for an RCBS RC Supreme Reloading kit. It'll be in the $300-400 range but it is everything you will ever need, less dies and tumbler, and has a lifetime no-BS guarantee from RCBS. The gear is excellent quality....Im still using my original press from 1986 that got me started. Yes, the price is a bit off-putting at first but if you buy the package you're pretty much done buying gear. Dont cheap out and go the Lee route...I tell guys that if they dont know if theyre going to stick with reloading, to get the Lee stuff since the entrance costs are so low, but I also tell them that if they like reloading and plan to stick with it they'll eventually want to swap out all their Lee gear for RCBS (or Redding). I do this for a living so I'm quite confident when I tell you to just resign yourself to the cost and get the RCBS kit.

    1. This man has been there, I can back his experience 100%. I started years ago with an RCBS kit and look at me now! lol. I'm currently writing a manual for reloading that covers the prepper and SHTF principles of reloading.

    2. But the green! The horrible green!

      The guy who taught me to reload started with an RCBS kit, too - old, well used but reliable.

      Zero - I take it you mean the Rock Chucker? Apparently, RCBS has changed the design in recent years (to the Rock Chucker Supreme), and while still a good press, 'tis not as excellent as it used to be.

      From all accounts I can find, the Hornady single is as good to better than the current generation of Rock Chuckers.

      r.e. Lee stuff; I actually had the Lee single stage press many moons ago. Didn't really have the space to reload, didn't really have the funds either. Bought the Lee press, set it up, tried to decap a piece of brass and promptly broke the decapping pin on my first go. After some thought and frustration, I figured 'hey, this thing ain't for me at this point." Returned it to Cabellas and got my money back.

  12. jeepboy1991April 10, 2014

    As I posted on the other thread about progressives, I never used a progressive press, only a single stage press my entire reloading career. I use a lyman powder measure and for pistol loads, I would use the scale and the adjustments to set the measure to throw the desired charge then fill a 50 round case block with resized, primed expanded cases and throw charges into the entire block of cases.(these loads were checked against the scale to see that they were plus or minus about .3 grains, example 5.0grains plus or minus 0.3grains)(I would weigh every tenth charge to make sure the adjustment had not slipped) I would then LOOK at each case to see if the powder level was consistent. I never double charged a case this way and never missed an empty case this way. I have had as many as 6 trays of 50 cases on the bench charged with powder on the bench and would then put bullets in the case mouth and run them into the seater die.
    I would do a batch of .45s then switch to 9mm. These loads were considered by me to be "plinking" or "blasting" grade, usable for machine gun shooting or practice. I did load some jhp and jsp loads and was a bit more careful to check the weight of each load but never really noticed much difference on the range on paper targets. .38 spl/ .357 mag cast bullets, the same way.
    Now rifle loads are an entirely different matter. I did make up a bunch of .223 "blasting grade" reloads for use at machine gun shoots. They were thrown from the powder measure and were going to be at least plus or minus 0.5 grains or worse. They were also not trimmed and crimped properly so there were lots of jams due to bullets being pushed into the case mouth during feeding.
    Proper rifle loads need to have each charge weighed on the scale and may need the use of a "powder trickler " to bring the charge up exactly to the desired weight.
    I have found that many ball powders and fine grain stick powders will measure really accurately through a good powder measure and if you take your time and fiddle the adjustments you can get REALLY consistent throw weights. The rcbs and lyman powder measures are by far the better and the lee disk measure is not nearly as good.
    My .308 win load uses IMR 4895 and somewhere years back I found a load that the match shooters use that is supposed to exactly duplicate the nato 7.62 150 gr ball load.I have been slowly working up a couple of 5 gal buckets of .223 brass and trimming and deburring and removing primer crimps over the last several years. This brass came from the machine gun shoots before 2000 when I was tasked with cleaning up the old quarry where they were held. the owner wanted no sign we had been there as part of the deal so I policed up ALL the brass.
    Most of the 223 was boxer and reloadable but the 308 was mostly berdan surplus from Europe and was sold as scrap. The machine gun owners would buy surplus ammo in case lots back then and none of them were into reloading.