Reloading in 2020

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Reloading in 2020

Postby LumberZach on Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:09 pm

It’s the year 2020. How is everyone reloading now that we are in the future? I bought a basic lee single stage kit years ago, and ended up just not enjoying the time I spent with how tedious my basic kit was.

So what’s the answer? What’s the best balance in not spending a fortune on a large progressive press, but still turning out ammo cheaper. Progressive press, turret press? How do you make brass prep quick?

I’m sure it’s fairly impossible to turn out 9mm as cheap as you can currently buy it, but what to do for .38/.40/10mm? .308/.300blk?
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby Scratch on Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:20 pm

I say if you're planning on shooting a lot, save up some dough, bite the bullet (pun intended) and go progressive. I'd suggest something like the Dillon 650XL. Probably don't need to go as big as the 1050, but I wouldn't go any less than the 550. (Although I really don't have any experience on anything else besides a Lee Load Master so take that for what it's worth)


I started out with a Lee single stage but quickly realized how much time it took to even load 9mm so I bought a Dillon 650 soon after and have no regrets. I even don't regret the Lee as I use it for LRPR. Yesterday I was doing brass prep for 5.56 with the 650 and was glad I had the Lee setup right next to it since I used it on a few random cases that had dinged up case mouths too.

I use wet SS pin tumbling for my 5.56, 300blk and 9mm, but go vibratory rice tumbling for my 308. I also use a two head process for reloading 5.56 using a Swage-It, and Dillon 1500 trimmer on the first head, which seemed to speed up my brass prep a lot. Here's a video on my 5.56 setup:

Last edited by Scratch on Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby Erud on Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:24 pm

I just load everything on my Dillon 550. I only do the brass prep steps that I feel accomplish something on target. Deprime, dry tumble, anneal (rifle only), chamfer/deburr as needed (rifle), then one pass through the 550 for the rest of the loading process. I don't really love reloading, so I try to make it as easy as possible.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby Rip Van Winkle on Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:56 pm

There is no easy answer. Money spent on reloading gear will increase your production and save you time.

My pistol ammo gets loaded on a Dillon Square Deal B, all Rifle ammo gets loaded single stage on a Rock Chucker.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby Jackpine Savage on Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:41 pm

I've been reloading about 8 years. I wish I would have started long before that.

I have a Rock Chucker and a Hornady LNL AP. I use the Rock Chucker for sizing rifle brass and precision rifle loading. The Hornady for pistol and bulk rifle.

There's a few other options out there now, but when I started I narrowed my choices down to the Hornady and the Dillon 650. I wanted 5 stations so I could run a RCBS lockout die to protect against squibs. I decided I wasn't interested in the cost and noise of a case feeder and that pushed me in the Hornady direction. I think the Hornady is more ergonomic without the case feeder, you keep your right hand on the handle and set cases and bullets with your left. I think I'm close to 40,000 9mm now without a squib.

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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby westhope on Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:36 pm

I bought a Dillon 650 in the mid 1990's without the case feeder. I loaded ONCE and then got a case feeder because that slowed down the reloading so much.

I am glad I got the Dillon 650 because it has enough stations I was able to add a "lockout" die to prevent squibs and a Lee "Factory Crimp Die" to do a final sizing and crimp on the fully loaded round. Both eliminated the rare bad rounds I got.

At one time I loaded 10,000 45 ACP a year. Now I load maybe 5,000. I have loaded 45 ACP, 9 mm, 223/5.56 and 308 on the press. Now I only load the 45 ACP. My rifle loading is now done on an old Herter's "O" frame press.

I had one part break on the Dillon 650 in the years I have used it. Dillon overnight shipped me a replacement part along with their spare parts kit at no charge.

The Dillon 650 was replace with the Dillon 750 this past year. I would not recommend a progressive press with fewer stations than the 650.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby LarryFlew on Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:24 pm

I went the other way during the Obummer first term, sold couple Dillons and bought several Lee progressive with money left over. One set up stays 9mm. One does 45,44,32,380. One does 5.56. For accurate 5.56 and 300 blackout I use a Lee turret but use it like a single stage. That allows me to use the turrets from the progressives on the turret for any load testing. No need to reset anything, i just swap complete loaders.

Originally all had bullet feeders, case feeders and primer feeders. Went to manually setting bullets to make sure I had correct powder etc. Being too automatic isn't a good thing.

I think the first thing in doing something like that or going better on Dillon is enjoying reloading and/or coming up with loads that work best in you particular guns. If you don't then don't spend the time and money.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby Holland&Holland on Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:59 pm

Some cartridges you have to reload or you do not get to shoot them.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby OldmanFCSA on Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:40 am

I've been reloading since the 1972 Spring semester at SDSU. An IE instructor got me started with loading of 7.62X54R cartridges.

Since then the reloading process has changed many times for me. Currently (at last count) I reload 47 different cartridges from 22 Hornet to 50 BMG.

48 years of reloading experience = a complete reloading experience.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby TSKNIGHT on Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:23 am

OldmanFCSA wrote:I've been reloading since the 1972 Spring semester at SDSU. An IE instructor got me started with loading of 7.62X54R cartridges.

Since then the reloading process has changed many times for me. Currently (at last count) I reload 47 different cartridges from 22 Hornet to 50 BMG.

48 years of reloading experience = a complete reloading experience.


I started reloading Winter of 82-83 while in Vo-Tech. One of the instructors there shot pistol silhouette which I had just started the summer before.
He helped me get set up to load 44 mag and mentored me in safety and load development. It has been quite a journey since then. I've lost count of how many different calibers I've loaded for.
Currently I load for 5 pistol cartridges and 3 rifle cartridges.

Some of the more interesting cartridges?
25/20, 38/40, 45 Schofield, 22/250, 250/3000, 303, 45/90, 50/110

The 45/90 and 50/110 were loaded traditional with paper patched bullets. There's a real art to loading them and having consistent accuracy.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby hard h2o on Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:59 pm

This is 2020. I reload using a replicator I salvaged from a Federation Starship.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby BigDog58 on Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:17 pm

I started in 2012 and my first reload was 30 Carbine. I still remember going to Bill's (Robbinsdale) with a friend, and firing that 1st round. I still have the case. I had the friends move behind me for that 1st round, hoping there wasn't a "Kaboom". Thankfully, the 1st round was a bullseye and no "kaboom".

In 2013, I went over to meet and get training from OldmanFCSA. His training saved me many years of trial and error, and I made a Great Friend, from that 1st meeting. I now load 26 different calibers ranging from .380 ACP thru 50 BMG. I still blame OldmanFCSA for getting me hooked on 50 BMG and 1000 yard competition (so does my wife).

I started off with a little Lee "C" Press, and quickly moved to a Lee Classic Turret Press, that I still use today. I also have the Lee "O" Single Stage Press, and a Lee Loadmaster progressive press. I load all of my rifle rounds (except the 50) on either the Lee Classic Turret or the Lee "O" Press and nearly all my pistol loads on the Loadmaster. I load my 50 rounds on a Hornady 50 BMG Press. I utilize the Lee Bench mount system for mounting all y presses. I have a small area and bench, so I change presses as the need arises. I can change presses in less than 2 minutes, which I love. OldManFCSA made me a special mounting adapter (He's an Amazing Machinist) to fit the Lee Mounting System. I was going to share a picture of the mount, but I get an error telling me the file is an "invalid" file, even though it's a .jpg file.

I've helped several people that Oldman sent my way, get started in reloading. I'm about to assist a new reloader that's having troubles with his Classic Turret, and get him headed in the right direction. I'm thankful for the chance to meet so many good people that love shooting and reloading.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby crbutler on Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:11 pm

Like others, I reload quite a bit. Started in middle school with my dad, and have been at it to some extent ever since.

I think its over 70 calibers and gauges total. Some common like 9mm or .223, to the wildcats to large bore hunting ammo.

My first rounds were shotshells on an old MEC 600 jr that I still have.

Now I have a 1050 set up for small primers and one for large primers. A 550 for some of the rarer stuff (they don't make 1050 shellplates for everything...) for handgun.

I will use the 1050 for .223 or .308 if I do a large batch.

Some rifle stuff I do on the 550.

Most rifle is on a RCBS rock chucker, but I do have a Forster co ax that I need to find a handle for.

As for dies, the ones I have the most of are Dillon, RCBS, and Redding. A few Forster, a few Lee, and some odd stuff is other than that which I picked up secondhand.

Shotgun- 12 ga target loads when I want a lot are on a PW 1000 hydraulic set up. Most are done on a PW375. I do have a half dozen MEC's that I use for single loads that have been set up and left for over a decade (I hate MEC's crimp set up- its counterintuitive to me) including a 28 ga 9000G and I do .410 trap loads on a Hornady 366.

Only press I got rid of was a hornady single stage with the LNL bushings. I had multiple hundredth OAL variation with that thing no matter what I did. Hornady wouldn't do anything, so into the trash it went. Only piece of reloading gear I have thrown away, ever.

I have all kinds of tumblers and also Ultrasonic and SS pin set up. Note that I use the SS pins the least.

I have probably brought most of the brass handling tools. Nothing makes that easy.

The only one I haven't taken the plunge with is .50 BMG, and that is because I have so much surplus ammo that I would need to shoot prairie dogs with it to burn that up.

Its the rare shot that I take hunting with something other than my own loads. (I will buy factory ammo for the brass, usually) Usually when bird hunting out of state as shotgun shells weigh so much.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby andrewP on Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:02 am

Jackpine Savage wrote:There's a few other options out there now, but when I started I narrowed my choices down to the Hornady and the Dillon 650. I wanted 5 stations so I could run a RCBS lockout die to protect against squibs. I decided I wasn't interested in the cost and noise of a case feeder and that pushed me in the Hornady direction. I think the Hornady is more ergonomic without the case feeder, you keep your right hand on the handle and set cases and bullets with your left.


Same for me, except I use the Hornady powder cop die. The LnL AP is functionally equivalent to the Dillon 650/750, but for the price of a 550, and the LnL bushings really do make caliber changes quick and easy. I do recommend adding a bullet feeder or a case feeder when/if budget allows, as it really does smooth things out when each of your hands only has one task, but even without that, progressive loading really is MUCH smoother/faster than single stage. I would really only consider single stage if I was going to get into precision rifle.
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Re: Reloading in 2020

Postby aprilian on Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:19 am

1) I like reloading
2) I only reload one caliber at this time
3) I load for accuracy

I have a RCBS single stage press that I have modified for speed. I have added the Hornady quick change bushings, primer catcher, a case kicker and a gear track (for bins) on the front of my bench.

Brass prep; Hornady spray lube, decap and size then expand. -- Left hand puts new case in press only, Right hand pulls lever only. Ultrasonic clean and dry
Prime; RCBS APS strips with separate bench mounted primer -- Left hand puts new case in only, Right hand pushes lever and removes primed case
Powder; place 50 primed cases in plastic ammo tray (that come with factory ammo) - drop powder in 50 cases at a time -- Left hand holds plastic tray, Right hand lifts lever only
Bullet; place bullet on top of 50 cases at a time (still in the plastic holders from powder drop) and push it into case mouth. Seat with press -- Left hand puts new case in press only, Right hand pulls lever only
Crimp; -- Left hand puts new case in press only, Right hand pulls lever only

I always have 1k primed cases ready for powder and bullet which allows me to change loads as conditions require.

Loading on a single stage allows me to "feel" any difference in any one step, that is a benefit for me.
Last edited by aprilian on Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
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