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:)We have had a similar reloading journey to many here. Had a Rock Chucker and was perfectly satisfied with it loading rifle and a limited amount of handgun (mostly revolver) ammo. That was until we were bitten by the "combat shooting" bug in 1977. We were lucky and had fallen in with a pretty good bunch of shooters some of whom had Star machines ($1000+) and a few had C&H Auto Champs. This was in the pre-Dillon days. We bought a C&H machine and, even with it's quirks, it served us well. Then Dillon came on the scene and the 550 became the standard for the average shooter wanting to load in volume; and then the 650 and the RL1000, 1050, etc.... Our old Rock Chucker has been replaced by a Redding T7 for low volume cartridges but for everything we shoot in volume we now run 3 Dillons; a 550 set up for .223 with a Hornady powder measure, a 650 with case feeder for .45ACP and 9mm, and another 550 for all the other handgun cartridges we shoot.. We shooters owe Mike Dillon and his heirs a huge debt of gratitude for putting progressive loading within reach of the average shooter. We have tested the progressives from RCBS, Hornady and lee over the years. We could live with the first two if forced to, but based on close to 40 years of use it's hard to beat the Dillon machines and the company's service. And yes, progressive loading is really pretty simple; just pay attention to the details.
 
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Maybe. But if you aren't a decap first & wet tumble kind of guy, and don't load rifle, then starting with just a 550 or 750 will be A-OK.

I only started w/ a SS because I started collecting brass and decapping/cleaning about a year before I started reloading. Loaded 45acp on a 550 for 2 years (ish) before branching out to a Co-Ax and some rifle ammo....
Another thought that enters the conversation should be that of the folks that are still a bit timid about the entire matter. A scale, powder drop, priming tool, dies and a decent caliper are all expenses in addition to the press itself. Some folks may not want to go in head first until they know that it is something they want to do. Then again, many of the items I mentioned already come with a progressive. I think it’s safe to say we are both right....to an extent. The guy that jumps into a 1050 just has a bunch more disposable income than I had some 40+ years ago.
 

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I just reloaded 1000 rounds of 9MM ammo. I had about 11 hours in casting, sizing and loading the rounds. I have several tire shops that supply me with wheel weights, so essentially have no expense in bullets. Primers were pre-panic and I had $38.00 in primers, a little over 1/2 pound of powder at 25.00 a pound or $12.50. Brass is range pick-up so I had $50.00 in a thousand rounds of 9MM. Todays prices are around $400.00 for 1000 rounds.
These are bare minimum expenses. Lead could be $18.00 and brass if you had to buy it. Plus 11 hours of work. Plus $1200 dollars in casting equipment ,molds, lubri-sizer, and Dillon 550 press. So how much is your time worth?
 

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Do you like to do it? Or not?
Is golf or fishing worth your time?
The choice is up to the individual. If someone just hates it, there is a choice.
Granted, there are some folks that dislike it, but find it necessary because they just can’t keep buying cases upon cases at retail.
It is certainly better time spent than staring at puzzle pieces on a card table, waiting for someone to deliver your Jello to you......
 

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I had $50.00 in a thousand rounds of 9MM.... Todays prices are around $400.00 for 1000 rounds...... Plus 11 hours of work.
So you made about $32/hr to load. Plus it's availible, and tailored to your gun and needs! If you enjoy it, even a little- that's awesome. If you hate it, still good. $400/case is cheaper than I've seen anything yet but the comparison holds true either way.
 

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I enjoy the process and attention to detail. This keeps my mind sharp and my hand eye coordination fluid. Finding a load that is accurate in your pistol and shoots smooth is the next advantage. Now I have loads I created and can make as many of them as I have components anytime I want to. No more worries about running out of ammo and shooting less as a result. Now pass the Jello
 
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