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I have been looking into reloading since I go to the range every weekend and can go through 200 to 400 rounds at a time depending on what guns I take with me. I would like to get a progressive press but my gut is saying start with a single stage.

Midway has the Lee Anniversary kit w/manual for $78.99. I know that Lee is not the best but would this be a good kit to start with? I'm looking at spending about an hour a day during the week loading only 45, maybe 9 or 223 as time goes.

In addition to the kit and dies, I'm thinking that the only other things I will need are a tumbler and caliper. If not, what eles should I be looking at?
 

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Dillon 550, think of it as 3 single stage presses with a powder measure included. Simple and with a manually advancing shellplate it's not as much to keep an eye on or a hassle to fix when something goes wrong. Other options that are a bit slower but have quick die swapouts are the Hornady LNL, Forster Co-Ax, Redding T7.
 

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Save yourself frustration, and headaches. Buy a Dillon 550 and you will never regret it. Best service policy in the industry and most popular press on the planet for good reason.

Stay Safe
 

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Not starting any flames, but I started with a Lee Pro 1000. 1/4-1/3 the price of Dillon. Primers are easier to load, caliber changes are less than 5 mins. Auto indexing so no double charges if you forget to rotate the shell plate. Powder measure disks so no trying to get the powder measure adjusted and extremely easy powder changes when you want to. Dillon has excellent cust service but I've never needed cust service for my Pro 1000. Next box of 1000 primers will make 97,000. Started reloading 4/98. PM me if you want more info. Tracy
 

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I would agree with the others comments about getting a Dillon. I started with a Lee Turret press but eventually my shooting exceeded my ability to produce enough ammo without spending many hours trying to keep up. My Dillon 550 solved that problem.

If you can afford the Dillon...by all means go for it. The one thing I will recommend is .... don't go cheap. You'll end up frustrated and hate reloading (and have wasted your money...which would have been better spent on a better reloader).

Considering costs....I'll give you an example from personal experience. I shoot about 12K - 15K rounds per year. My annual ammo costs by reloading is about $700. If I had purchased that ammo, it would have cost about $3000 (and thats looking at cheap ammo). Keeping this in mind...you can see that it doesn't take long to recover your initial costs.
 

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I have a lee anniversery kit and I have only taken it out of the box. I would love to get started but dont really know where to start. Its very intimidating to me! If i just had somebody local to get me started.
 

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tsp45acp said:
Not starting any flames, but I started with a Lee Pro 1000. 1/4-1/3 the price of Dillon. Primers are easier to load, caliber changes are less than 5 mins. Auto indexing so no double charges if you forget to rotate the shell plate. Powder measure disks so no trying to get the powder measure adjusted and extremely easy powder changes when you want to. Dillon has excellent cust service but I've never needed cust service for my Pro 1000. Next box of 1000 primers will make 97,000. Started reloading 4/98. PM me if you want more info. Tracy

Tracy,
I applaud you for being able to keep a Lee Pro 1000 running for 100k rounds. Even more so if you've not had to change any parts. No flames, but you must have gotten the "golden" model.

I tried one and gave it away. My personal recommendation, FWIW, is a Dillon 550 to start with and a 650 for high volume work.

dj
 

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Getting started?

Ask anyone you see at the range with plastic ammo boxes or coffee cans if they reload. Most people are more than happy to talk about their hobbies. If you can, ask to have them walk you through the process and let you use their press to see what its like. I've started several on the path of ammo rolling. Most reloaders know other reloaders. Get to know them and try several brands of equipment.

From the cost versus speed angle, I reccommend the Lee turret press with auto indexing. As someone else said of the 550, you can think of it as three single stage presses with a powder measure. The auto index can be disabled easily.

If you have questions p.m. me and I'll do what I can to help.

Paul
 

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Dajarrel,
It hasn't been perfect, just for the money Lee vs. Dillon vs. everything else, it can't be beat. At approx. 30,000 rds(60,000 pulls of the handle) the shell plate holder wore out and cracked the fingers that run up and down the pole. I ordered another w/ diff cal (357/38) dies so I'd have the small primer set-up also. I later bought another plate for back-up also buying diff cals. so I could load 380's. I'm getting ready to order some other re-build parts ( should be less than $50). To keep things in perspective, of the 96,000 rds so far 93,000 have been 45's and the other 3000 rds have been a combination of 380, 357,38. Of the 93,000 45's, I run the loaded rd back thru another run using a Lee factory crimp die- in other words double the 93,000 handle pulls to 186,000 plus the other 3000 totals almost 190,000 total pulls of the handle. I agree there are alot of better/ higher quality presses out there, I just think I've gotten more than my $$$$ worth, and I like some of the simpler things you can do like cal changes, powder change, and auto indexing easier primer loading.
Not all Lee presses are great, I had the Loadmaster and tried for approx. 5000 rds to get it to run . Bolt holding the handle to the press broke so I gave up on it. Sold it to a friend (yes he did know about the probs I had with it, he just wanted to get into reloading) Tracy
 

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Luckiduc13 said:
I have a lee anniversery kit and I have only taken it out of the box. I would love to get started but dont really know where to start. Its very intimidating to me! If i just had somebody local to get me started.
I'd be happy to help a new reloader. If you live near St. Louis, MO send me a PM. I figure, the more reloaders there are, better products and prices are sure to follow. Plus, I just like reloading.
 

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Luckiduc13 said:
I have a lee anniversery kit and I have only taken it out of the box. I would love to get started but dont really know where to start. Its very intimidating to me! If i just had somebody local to get me started.
Might I suggest a book... "NRA guide to Reloading" It's not a recipe book, but a step by step guide to how it all works. What each step is doing and why. It's even got a glossery of terms in the back to help with all the jargon. I found it to be very helpful when I started out, and had no one to coach me.
 

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Luckiduc13 said:
I have a lee anniversery kit and I have only taken it out of the box. I would love to get started but dont really know where to start. Its very intimidating to me! If i just had somebody local to get me started.
I suggest doing a bit of reading on your own. Buy a good reloading manual as it will be invaluable. The problem with getting help from guys at the range is that they may not be safe reloaders. Don't trust what they say at face value. I know a guy who doesn't use a powder scale. He just uses the chart that came with his powder measure, and has never double checked the accuracy of his measure. He doesn't own calipers either. He just seats his bullets to whatever depth that "looks right".
It works for him, and he is at the range every week usually shooting several hundred rounds. Personally I'll continue to use my measuring devices and double check my loads .
Take care,
John
 

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Might want to reload

If your shooting as many rounds as you say you are, then you should seriously consider reloading. You'll definitely see a savings (after the initial
investment). You may find it quite enjoyable.

I would go with the Dillon. I currently use the 550 as well as some of my
friends. You have the versatility of loading handgun or rifle ammunition. The
square deals are also nice loaders, but they are limited to handgun ammunition
and you have to use special dies made for the square deal. You can't use
any other dies not even Dillon's own standard dies.

Dillon's customer service is excellent and their no bullcrap warranty is top
notch. I've had two breakages of my press and they have sent me parts
at no charge and no questions asked. This is a lot in itself. Machines do breakdown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
This is great info and agree that to keep up with what I can and do shoot that a progressive would be the best way to go in the long run but if it turns out that I a) don't have time to reload
b) can't get the hang of it
c) have a primer go off scarring the :barf: out of me/wife/daughter/neighbors
d) any combo or all of the above
then the wife would reload me for spending upwards of 700 to 1000 for a progressive setup. That is why I keep leaning twards a single stage, I've even thought of getting one of the hand loaders just to give it a try.

And Primerinmyshoe, thanks for the offer but that would be a long drive for me :)
 

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for what it's worth, i am in the same boat. im a broke college student, and want to get into reloading. i have a few friends that do some. if you are dead set on a single stage, i would suggest an rcbs ruckchucker. will load anythying you want to.

that is the route i am taking, until i can afford a dillon 550 or 650.
 

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I agree with starting out on the single stage press. I know, many folks will say just dive in and do the progressive thing from the outset, and I really have no quarrel with them, except to suggest that you should walk before you run. A single stage lets you go at your own speed and inspect and experiment with every stage of the process, from inserting a shellholder onto the ram, to changing and adjusting dies, to setting flare and crimp, to letting you inspect every round as it's done. I think that this is important for someone who's just learning the craft.

I started on a single stage press in 1976, and I've never moved "up" to a progressive. Granted, I don't shoot 500 rounds a week, but I've never had a problem with keeping myself in ammo, and I'm not an impatient person by nature, so reloading on a single stage has always been enjoyable for me. My old press is a Pacific, which is long gone nowadays, but Lyman and RCBS make excellent, high quality cast iron single stage presses. Redding is also another good choice.

Later on, if you're ready to go the progressive route, your single stage will still have a place on your bench, especially if you're working up a new load. You can do 5 or 6 rounds at a crack and try them out, which is a bit of a pain with a progressive. Maybe more info than you wanted to hear, but that's just my .02. :)
 

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I'd suggest getting one or two Lee Hand Presses to supplement your main presses. Sometimes I don't want to be stuck at my reloading bench in my basement. I can do the mindless stuff, like depriming and sizing, and belling with a Hand Press while I watch TV upstairs.

And, start collecting the large 3 lb margerine tubs. I have stacks of them for all my pistol calibers, with labels like:

45 ACP - 1 dirty
45 ACP - 2 tumbled
45 ACP - 3 sized
45 ACP - 4 belled

Let your girlfriend or wife use the Hand Press. It'll firm up her bust.
 

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I started reloading early this year. My choices were based on advice I received from members here on the Reloading Bench. I struggled and waffled back and forth as regards to which equipment to get; turret or progressive, Lee or Dillon or Hornady, etc., etc. Ad infinitum.

In the end I ended up buying a used Dillon RL550 progressive press from Ebay. I'm going to recommend this press for a few reasons. First, Dillon has an impeccable warranty … if you buy used and anything is busted or malfunctioning, Dillon will GLADLY ship you out replacement parts, gratis. Over the past 8 months or so, Dillon has sent me a few worn out components until my press was as I wanted it. With this sort of customer support, you are not at a disadvantage in buying used. You will need to be patient to find a good deal online, but with patience, good deals can be had. With the Dillon, you will now have a press that will last a lifetime no matter its condition (Dillon’s warranty) and one that is a PLEASURE to work on … Dillon will make certain of that, so no worries. If you decide you do not like reloading, now or down the road (or if you wish to upgrade/downgrade) you will be able to sell the Dillon press for what you paid for it (maybe even at a profit if you look at some of the prices they fetch on Ebay).

Therefor, if you have the $$$ outlay initially, you CAN’T loose buying a Dillon: you will either 1) get a killer top-of-the-line press for a lifetime of painless reloading, 2) satisfy your curiosity and realize that reloading is not your cup of tea and recoup your investment when reselling the press.

**Note: I ended up getting my Dillon RL550 for free. I bought a very large lot of reloading goods on Ebay from an elder gent retiring from the sport, sold off 75% of it which were I didn’t need, and the press + some many other supplies ended up being free, for my efforts.
 
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