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Armory, Self Defense, And EDC => Firearms (Including Long Guns, Pistols) => General Ammo, Reloading, Bullet Casting, & Ammo Craft => Topic started by: Medic242 on October 02, 2016, 06:21:30 PM

Title: press recommendations
Post by: Medic242 on October 02, 2016, 06:21:30 PM
Looking to start reloading, I have never reloaded before.  Looking at the Lee 4 hole turret.  An advise would be very helpful.  I would be reloading 9mm, 40 S&W, .223 and 30-06.  I do have a budget to work in and that is part of the reason I have been leaning toward Lee.  But if there is a good reason to stay away from it I will wait and save a little more money.  Thanks
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Chemsoldier on October 02, 2016, 06:27:19 PM
I have no experience with the Lee presses. I know people that love them but most I know have their Lee set up on one caliber and load and stay with it.

Other than that, I like Dillon progressive presses and RCBS single stages.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: machinisttx on October 02, 2016, 07:01:14 PM
I have no experience with the lee turret press(or other turret), but I do have experience with the original Lee  "O" frame press and found it quite lacking, as I have with other Lee equipment I've used. That said, some of the newer offerings seem to be of better and more substantial construction.

I have presses from Lyman, RCBS, Lee, Herters, and Dillon. Since you're going to load for rifles too, I'd suggest something along the lines of an RCBS Rockchucker.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on October 02, 2016, 08:00:11 PM
I ran a production loading company (small) for several years and while LEE may be better now,
they were not capable of producing quality and speed of even a Dillon 550B or 650 ..I
also had ,and liked Dillon 1000 (old) and 1050 machines along with 4 electric operated 5000 round per hour
AMMO LOAD machines.

You can produce acceptable ammo with a LEE TURRET press , but the quality and speed of the Dillon 550B
(about 500 pistol rounds per hour) and the LIFETIME WARRANTY for hobby users (not for commercial loaders)
make the Dillon just a bit nicer..If Dillon 650 (I don't think the 550B can do 308) is within your budget with the accessories ,
you will be happier with it. If you only load 400 or so rounds on Saturday..the LEE is OK.

I did use a LEE turret press right up to the day I bought a personal Dillon 55B, I loaned it to a buddy for a few years and
he went and got himself killed on 10/10/2010...I miss my buddy John M. :'(
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Marinesg1012 on October 02, 2016, 10:11:15 PM
I really like my Hornady lock and load, its a progressive press and once you get the caliber set up you unlock it from the press and you dont have to mess with it again, when you want to load ammo for that caliber you lock your dies into place and get to work.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: DrJohn on October 03, 2016, 07:29:45 AM
For low volume I would go with a RCBS rock chucker, for higher volume the Dillon XL650.  I would rather cry once, then each time I use the equipment...
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Skispcs on October 03, 2016, 09:28:37 AM
I think that the LEE turret press is great for a beginner. You need to learn how to do each step correctly.  A progressive like the Dillon is too much for a first time reloader in my opinion.
One of the problems with a single position press is that you need to replace and adjust the dies every time. With the Lee turret you can set up the dies and leave them. Time to change calibers, pull out the turret and pop the new one.
Once you are comfortable with reloading one at a time then move to the progressives.
I still use one of my older presses for decapping.

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: DDJ on October 03, 2016, 11:17:54 AM
I use a Lee 4 hole Turret and it quickly and repeatable switches between calibers.  I run 3 on a regular basis and 3 others on occasion.  I did day one pull the auto index feature so I could run it like a single stage.  I have yet to put it back. 

I do not like the consistency of the powder measure (the Auto Disk) it throws the powders I am using at more variation than I like or the books call for.  This requires me to do 100% measurement. this causes me to spend a LOT of time a t the press to reload (50 rounds an hour).  If you stay with the Auto disk I would recommend the $10 upgrade to the micrometer adjuster which allow you to adjust your powder volume on the fly with out a lot of disassembly.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on October 03, 2016, 01:52:08 PM
  If you stay with the Auto disk I would recommend the $10 upgrade to the micrometer adjuster which allow you to adjust your powder volume on the fly with out a lot of disassembly.

But did you find the adjustable measure and more consistent?
I still use an RCBS measure for consistency when not loading on a production machine like Dillon or AMMOLOAD.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on October 03, 2016, 05:27:21 PM
I have the basic Lee anniversary kit that was just over $100 a few years back.  I load a weird variety of stuff.
Sometimes it's higher volume blasting ammo, some times a few carefully weighed charges for accuracy.

Many progressive presses don't lend themselves well to frequent cartridge changes.  There are many factors of course. 

Because I have only a single stage, I do each step in batches (no turret).  So I'll resize a few hundred. 
Then while my wife is watching TV, I'll hand prime all those on the sofa.

Depending on the cartridge, I may leave some quantity in that resized+primed state.  Maybe I don't know the application, and will decide the charge and bullet type later.

When you have all that prepped and primed brass, charging and seating on a single stage is fast.  I use a standalone powder dropper, and then move the cartridge into the press for seating.
In the event I need a crimp, I just do the full batch again using that die.

In aggregate I don't think it takes more time following my process. The trick is to have a large batch size, to get the benefits of economy of scale.

If my main purpose for reloading was to make large quantities for a given cartridge/load for competition, then the RCBS progressives are a sure win.  But my shooting needs are too diverse at the moment.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: hackmeister on October 04, 2016, 07:16:21 AM
Dillon 550.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on October 04, 2016, 09:53:17 AM
While I agree in the superiority of the Dillon 550B ,I think now as he is a NEW RELOADER, he may learn better on a single stage,
ONE DIE at a time press as the setup of dies and such on a progressive press can be tough for a new operator.
The LEE turret can be a good press as it can operate as a single stage press ,if desired and loading 'one step at a time' will increase his odds of success.
I actually started with a set of high tech LEE HAND TOOLS where you use a plastic hammer to HAMMER the shell into the dies.
Slowing down the process and operator makes good sense.

I progressed to a NUTCRACKER set and then to a LEE HAND PRESS then an RCBS single stage,then LEE TURRET,
and finally the DILLON 550B and then the Dillon 1000.1050 (FOUR OF THEM) and the motor driven AMMOLOAD (THREE OF THESE at 5000 rounds per hour)
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: never_retreat on October 04, 2016, 10:07:52 AM
I second the notion of starting out with a single stage press.
Rcbs is built like a brick poop house and has a good warranty. Lyman makes good stuff as well. Dillion of course is the Cadillac but it's spendy for new reloader.
I have used some other people's lee presses and always thought they felt flimsy.
Get a single stage first and work on the riffle rounds first.
You need a lot of other stuff besides the press even to get started.
Dies she'll holder
Powder measure
Scale
Micrometer to check lengths
Case trimmer
I put primers in with a stand alone bench primer tool.
And I'm sure I missed a few other things.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: DDJ on October 04, 2016, 10:31:14 AM
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on October 04, 2016, 10:37:28 AM
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.

Many presses are neither good at priming or dropping powder.  For that reason many standalone tools have come to exist.  I'm a fan of RCBS hand primers. 
Further different styles of powder will meter differently.  Ball vs. extruded matters.  Precision rifle geeks often talk up Varget.  Great powder for a lot of things, but it's long stick like shape is a hassle in many type of powder measures.  It's fine for small batches of hunting rounds, but not worth the trouble if you are cranking out 500x .223
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on October 04, 2016, 10:57:05 AM
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.

The LEE hand priming tool with it's flip tray and THUMB priming is EXCELLENT for loading and I like the RCBS POWDER UNIFLOW MEASURE on the LEE TURRET or what ever LEE single stage press or the bomb proof RCBS ROCK CHUCKER.

Dillon uses special dies and many other dies will not work so good or adjust for the Dillon DIMENSIONS. A powder scale ,balance or digital will complete a quality loading set
that will last you a long,long time (the turret press...I would use,but suggest a parts kit if it is your only press.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on October 04, 2016, 12:41:03 PM
True story:

I inherited an old top break Iver Johnson .32s&w (short) revolver.  It's from the late 1890s.
I got the itch to test fire it, but ammunition + shipping was outrageous.

It was cheaper for me to order the Lee bullet mold + Lee die set than the total cost to ship a single box of ammo.

This also allowed me to load extremely LIGHT loads of < 2gr IMR Trail Boss for safety sake.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: archer on January 04, 2017, 08:51:33 AM
a friend gave me a rcbs rs-3 press and some assorted dies for it. time to learn
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 04, 2017, 08:57:11 AM
a friend gave me a rcbs rs-3 press and some assorted dies for it. time to learn

Archer,

I'm a fan of reloading manuals.  This edition just came out, and I got it for Christmas, even though I had the previous edition

https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-50th-Reloading-Handbook-Softcover/dp/B01H2JD6CK

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61WbeGp9diL._SL1024_.jpg)

It discusses the general process, difference from pistol and rifle, and pretty much everything you need to know.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: archer on January 04, 2017, 09:00:22 AM
sweet. thanks. i also got several older manuals i need to look into.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 04, 2017, 09:06:55 AM
sweet. thanks. i also got several older manuals i need to look into.

Reading any manual will be a huge help.  You can lookup the latest and greatest recipes online.  A book from the 1970s won't have .40sw or .300AAC, but the process is otherwise the same.

IMR/Hodgdon/Winchester powders have data online:

http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: DDJ on January 04, 2017, 10:38:25 AM
An update.

I posted above that I was not happy with my Auto Disk on my Lee 4 Hole turret press. I went out between the holidays and purchased the New Auto Drum.  As of now I am seeing a marked improvement in the consistency.  It still has enough variance that I will likely continue to measure every powder through, but I expect 50% more good throws. 

I ran recorded 100 powder throws from my Auto disk and I will be running the same experiment with the Auto Drum and posting the results hopefully soon.  I have run 50 throws with a different powder to get used to the powder measure and am very pleased with the tightening of the range.  So I recommend that if you are looking at a Lee press you consider the $35 for the Auto-Drum.

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: armymars on January 05, 2017, 09:26:38 AM
  It's OK to buy last years reloading manual, but remember powder burning rates change with time. The companies will tweek their powders from time to time. This when you need the newer manual. 2400 and WW 296 are good examples.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: 16onRockandRoll on January 19, 2017, 12:38:56 AM
Carl

No I do not find the micrometer adjustable more consistent but when the table is off, and I have never found it exactly correct, I do not need 5 minutes a screw driver and a funnel to remove the disk and replace.  Actually I only used the disk(s) for my first 2 loads and after an hour of "dialing in the correct powder weight" I ordered the adjustable one.  All it does is allow you to dial in the adjustment.  you turn a screw knob on the measure throw 2 or 3 throws and then measure the new powder drop.  For those who do not know the Auto Disk requires you to empty the powder measure, remove 2 screws form the plastic powder hopper pull out the disk rotate it to the next larger or smaller hole then reinstall it.  I did not like the thought of removing screws from the plastic hopper time and time again to rotate the disk as I changed loads.  I knew I was going to be running 3 different loads at a minimum (9mm, .45 and .223) so I decided on the upgrade very early.

The other "upgrade" I did not think of yesterday is the Auto Prime.  This saves a lot of hassle.  It does feel weak and cheep but it works better than dropping primers into the little cup one at a time.

To Never_retreat's comments on the other items that are needed. a BIG +1 not to scare you off but much of that is in a Kit and or Die set.
I would add to that a good book likely 3.  I would recommend reading ABCs of reloading before you make a purchase.
I have had a little time to mess with my LoadMaster now, and I think that you were doing something wrong. You shouldn't need any tools to swap the disk. If you were screwing the hopper screws out each time, something wasn't set right (or maybe I have a newer one and they have changed it).  Also, you can twist the hopper to "OFF" and throw a few charges to empty the disk. Mine has 2 brass knurled nuts that you can remove with your fingers and pull the hopper off. I can change the disk in less than a minute. Granted, it is far from the most convenient solution, but it works decently the way it's set up on mine. 
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: NWPilgrim on January 19, 2017, 03:41:38 PM
Medic, did you get a reloading press yet?

It really depends on what you want to do.  I got by with a Lee single stage Challenger for 20 years but I only loaded maybe 100-200 rds at a time.  Around 2005 I upgraded to the 4-hole turret press and am very happy with it. I use the Auto disk for pistol ammo and can crank out 200-500 rds pretty easily.  The rifle calibers I do a lot more case prep so I use it in single stage mode with my old RCBS powder measure.

There really is no wrong answer, any reloading beats no reloading!  There will almost always be a need for a single stage (working up loads, rifle ammo) and those are much cheaper so starting with one is not a bad way to go.  Lee Challenger SS press now comes with the removable collets for dies so you can get similar "set and forget" die set up as with the 4-hole turret.  I think Hornady's lock-n-load Ss press is similar.

A progressive is best if you have a standard recipe and want to crank out lots of cartridges in minimal time.  But you have to really pay attention especially on powder charging or else buy special dies and such to prevent or monitor errors.  Pretty much everyone I personally know that has had a double charge was on a progressive. Obviously thousands of guys use them with no problem, but the chance for error is much greater.  Some guys have the meticulous mindset to reload and some don't.  It may be best to discover if you do/don't on a single stage that a progressive. A progressive can be run in SS mode, but you are paying many times more for it.  If you go progressive then Dillon seems to be the best from the guys I've known with them.

If you like experimenting with different loads, bullets, cartridges, etc then a single stage is the simplest and cheapest to work up small batches.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on January 19, 2017, 04:06:29 PM
I want to add something about irregular charges from powder measures as I totally overlooked the static potential of plastic parts
and non-metallic loading benches Static buildup on machines can cause charge problems and can lead to catastrophic discharges
as my powder hoppers held TWO POUNDS OF POWDER...but were entirely metal on the high speed machines and my Dillon 1000
and 1050's had ground straps to avoid static build-up or discharge though it is a rare occurrence for discharge...
Static is often a factor in consistent load measurement on many fine grain and flake type powders.

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 19, 2017, 04:45:38 PM
I want to add something about irregular charges from powder measures as I totally overlooked the static potential of plastic parts
and non-metallic loading benches Static buildup on machines can cause charge problems and can lead to catastrophic discharges
as my powder hoppers held TWO POUNDS OF POWDER...but were entirely metal on the high speed machines and my Dillon 1000
and 1050's had ground straps to avoid static build-up or discharge though it is a rare occurrence for discharge...
Static is often a factor in consistent load measurement on many fine grain and flake type powders.

I'm guessing this would creep up over time?  What rate of increase?  .1 grain per 100? more, less?
Any time I setup a new recipe, I check the weight every 10 or 20 rounds.  Sometimes an unfamiliar new powder will meter differently.

For the home reloader, would the volume change from static build up be noticeable?
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on January 20, 2017, 05:06:49 AM
  You would see the powder bits ,or flakes, sticking to the sides of the measure if this were of concern
and I have seen it ,even with our average high humidity in Louisiana. As many measures also use a plastic cavity
to make the charges...this can be a factor...but even metal cavity measures can,and do,pitch irregular charges due to static.


As far as the high volume,all metal,measures that were stainless and measure cavities were brass....
a temperature alert would tell me when it was time to take a break as parts would begin to heat...(from friction)
it would alert at 135 degrees,well before danger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCsUscgCDJ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1m-talNzE

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: archer on February 01, 2017, 05:07:17 PM
those are great machines
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on February 01, 2017, 05:21:22 PM
but just way more than an average guy needs,I am back to a Dillon 550B and the old Dillon 1050..
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: archer on February 01, 2017, 06:02:03 PM
you make me envious
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Medic242 on February 02, 2017, 05:28:00 PM
So I have been doing a ton of reading and watching videos and ended up going with the Lee four hole Turret press.  The kit comes with some things that I think I will end up upgrading in the future but should get me started.  I decided to stay away from the progressive press until I have a little more time and knowledge under my belt.  The big reason I went with the turret is, it looks like I can still get quite a few rounds done in a reasonable amount of time and do the loads that I need.  I will bought the dies for 30-06 .223 and 40S&W.  I will need 9mm but have to wait till I have a little more cash.  The next thing I will be shopping for is the case prep stuff.  So I will always take recommendations.  Thanks for all the feed back. 
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on February 02, 2017, 05:31:09 PM
  You chose well.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: NWPilgrim on February 02, 2017, 08:14:30 PM
There are a lot of things you CAN do for case prep and if you are shooting competition you would want to do those.  But for informal target shooting you can keep it pretty simple.  I recommend keeping case prep as simple as possible and then adding steps as you see the need for more accuracy.  Handgun straight wall cases like 9mm can be pretty much sized and loaded, and optionally cleaned if you want.

RIFLE CASE PREP BASICS - pretty much mandatory
1. Clean - mainly because you will be lubing the cases and they undergo much more sliding pressure than pistol cases.  Simplest is to use vibratory cleaner and walnut or corncob media.  I tried sonic cleaners but the batches are small and the vibratory wore out in less than a year.  I now use wet stainless media to get super shiny brass but that is totally aesthetics, not functional.

2. Lube - Must lube before sizing.  The volume you process may influence the method used.  The .223 brass has relatively little friction in the sizing die except at the very base (head).  It does not require much lube.  Since I reload large numbers of .223 brass at a time I prefer to use Hornady One Shot spray dry lube.  It is not a great lube but sufficient for .223 and super quick to apply.  The .30-06 cases have much more friction in the die along most of the length of the case.  So I use Imperial Case Wax for these.  Just lightly wipe your finger across the wax then rub around the case head and up the sides. A touch of wax goes a long way.

3. Size - normal sizing, and decapping (unless you decapped before cleaning).  There are a ton of various dies but a standard neck sizer for a bolt action, or a full length sizer for semiauto and multiple rifles is fine to start with.  Don't get too caught up yet with case neck concentricity, neck wall thickness, etc.  Some rifles need to have the case sized in a "small base" die, while others get by with a standard full length die.  I load for several Garands and AR15s and never had a need for a small base die.  The SB die will work the brass more and weaken it so avoid it unless needed.

4. Trim - AFTER the case is sized, then you want to measure the case length and trim if over max case length spec in reloading manual.  Usually trim by .01" - .02" under max.  Some guys just trim every batch and don't bother waiting for it to get over max.  If you crimp (not necessary, usually) then you want all the cases to be pretty close to the same length or the crimp will be off on some.  Again there are numerous methods for trimming.  Lee has a pretty nice press mounted trimmer (Deluxe Quick Trim) that is affordable.  If you do a lot of cases in a couple of calibers then something like the Little Crow Worlds Finest Trimmer is super for mounting in a drill and accurately trimming hundreds or thousands of cases.  If you want more precision then something like the Wilson bench trimmer is really nice.  I have all of these and others (it is a hobby right? :) ) and use them for different purposes.  I use the WFT for .223 and .30-06, the Wilson for when most other rifle cartridges, and just getting familiar with the Lee but it looks like it could replace the Wilson by being faster and cheaper. 

5 Chamfer/Debur - If you trim the brass then it will leave sharp 90* edge at the case mouth.  Since rifle cases are not belled during reloading, but instead the bullet is inserted against a tight case neck, it helps if the case mouth is chamfered.  A simple hand tool can do one or both operations (chamfer the inside edge and bebur the outside edge). You may want to run the cases back through clean corn cob media again to remove the case lube, but again functionally it is optional.

6. Inspect - During all aspects of handling cases I am looking for any signs of case neck cracks or case body splits, or the bright ring near the head indicative of imminent case head separation.  Most small dents will be pushed out during the next firing, but if the dent is large enough to make a crease in the brass then toss it.  When seating the primers pay attention to cases that allow the primer to go in effortlessly.  Those cases have had too much pressure and it enlarged the primer cup.  Toss them.  Any time a case behaves oddly in the reloading process set it aside until you can examine it in detail.  If you have any doubts about it throw it out (well recycle anyway).  I probably lose about 1%-2% of cases at the range and about another 5% during reloading.  The higher pressure you load the cases at, the faster they will stretch out and need to be tossed.  I load below max pressures and typically get at least 10 reloads per case.  I find defects at all steps.  Sometimes it is only when seating a bullet that a very small case neck crack shows up (bullet seats with no friction).

Other steps which may be necessary but not always are decrimping the primer pocket on military brass (either by cutting to size or swaging to size the primer cup opening/shoulder); and cutting the primer pocket to a uniform depth (uniforming) if primers feel much different case to case when seating the primers.

So the basic case prep "tools' might be:
* Method to clean cases such as tumbler and media and screen; or just wash the major dirt of with dish soap and dry in the sun, or oven at 150F.

* Spray lube, can of case sizing wax, or liquid lube and pad, plus a case holder

* Case trimmer, and any cartridge specific accessory (case holder, die, shell holder, etc)

* Case chamfer/debur like the Wilson or RCBS VLD, or Lyman handle tools

* Full Length or Neck size dies.

* Possibly primer pocket tools such as swager or uniformer.  Personally I like the RCBS tool that you can put in a drill an it cuts a 45* angle into the pocket opening to remove the crimp.  It is relatively cheap and fast and you only have two version, one for each diameter of pocket (S or L).  For a huge quantity of brass I use the Dillon Super Swager which is bench mounted and is very fast, but it requires a post that fits snugly to the case mouth so it is caliber specific and takes about 5 minutes to switch between posts. And it cost about $100.

Start simple and get more sophisticated as you learn and see the need for what and how you shoot.
*
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 16, 2017, 04:48:18 PM
If you're a heavy .223/5.56 reloading, you'll eventually end up with crimped primer pockets.

As NWP correctly mentioned, there are some workarounds, but I ultimately got one of these when it was on sale

(https://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/880x660/Primary/235/235832.jpg)
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/235832/rcbs-primer-pocket-swager-combo-2

All things considered, I'd prefer to squeeze material rather than cut it away.  After accumulating several hundred NATO cases that had tight primer pockets, spending less than $30 seemed sensible.
Only complaint is on my single stage Lee Classic, it slightly bumps part of the press frame on the lowest position of the stroke.

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: machinisttx on February 16, 2017, 08:50:44 PM
I prefer a reamer to swaging on primer pockets. I can ream ten cases in the time it takes to swage 3-4....and I never ding a case mouth by reaming.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Smurf Hunter on February 17, 2017, 09:34:57 AM
I prefer a reamer to swaging on primer pockets. I can ream ten cases in the time it takes to swage 3-4....and I never ding a case mouth by reaming.

But context is you only need to "open" the crimped primer pocket once.  So unless you routinely shoot new 5.56/NATO rounds, this won't be a routine process.

Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Ken325 on February 17, 2017, 12:10:01 PM
I own the Lee precision classic turret press and a RCBS single stage press.  I really like the Lee Classic press.  I would stick with the classic model as I have heard bad things about some of the other models.  I think the Lee dies are easier to set up and I can quickly change calibers by changing the turret.  The press has some cheap plastic parts on it but you can easily stockpile the inexpensive parts to make sure it will work in the future.  It is great for cranking out pistol ammo.  I use my RCBS press for rifle ammo as I like to weigh each powder charge.  I know the Dillon and other more expensive presses are better but they are twice as expensive.  I can crank out about 200 rounds an hour with my Lee Classic press and it cost just over $200.  It is a pleasure to use.  The manuals are easier to read than the RCBS ones.  Consumable parts are reasonably priced for this press.  I would give the Lee press a recommendation unless your a serious competitor who needs more than a thousand rounds a month.  If that is the case then get a Dillon.   
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: Carl on February 17, 2017, 12:25:31 PM
But context is you only need to "open" the crimped primer pocket once.  So unless you routinely shoot new 5.56/NATO rounds, this won't be a routine process.

I have preferred the uniformity of the swag system VS the rotary cutter though it may make little difference.
Title: Re: press recommendations
Post by: 0802 on January 02, 2020, 07:47:40 PM
If I had it to do all over again (I've had three different progressives, two turrets, and four single stages), I'd start with a Dillon 550 and use it as a single stage until I knew what I was doing.  This is super simple to do since its a manual index (you have to manually turn the shell plate vs working the lever).  Caliber changes are cheaper than comparable presses when you are ready to take that step.  I can't prove it, but I think it has the potential to produce more accurate rifle ammo than a 650.