Not to start a war here but sell me on upgrading from a Lee?





mpzreb17

Troublemaking Redneck
#1
Been reloading 2 years. Usually just for 45-70 and 308 but can cook up pretty much all of my big 5 from 223 and up. Lets just say the $150 Lee precision models paid for itself and the few things I upgraded like getting an ultrasonic brass cleaner (works great on pistols btw) and digital scale. I actually like weighing out the charges and hand priming with the tv on.

Friends keep pushing me to upgrade to a progressive press, either a Dillon or RCBS. Truth is ive got two full trays of primed brass ill get around to finishing next cold front and will probably be out of powder after that so itll be time for my monthly store run and I have budgeted a good bit of cash into the between jobs slush fund. Do I NEED a new press and what are the general benefits for someone who likes to do things the long drawn out way to get to just pull a lever x amount of times and be done with it? Any horror stories with the automated powder thrower I should be aware of? I dont even use the manual one that came with the Lee.

I should add dont worry about the between jobs part, even with that slush fund I expect an offer from one of three casinos before March.
 
#3
I use Lee presses too (classic cast, classic turret & loadmaster). The loadmaster (I only use for straight-wall pistol calibers) is finicky requiring a lot of attention; when it works, the rate of production is great. The loadmaster has too many errors for my taste. I have been thinking of getting a Dillon XL 650 to replace the loadmaster. If high volume reliable production is your goal, then this is probably your press.

For rifle calibers, I separately resize brass on a single stage Lee classic cast press. I could resize on my classic turret press, however I interrupt the process by removing brass to add powder via funnel powder measured by a RCBS Chargemaster. I have both types of Lee auto powder measure, but most of my ammunition is match grade which is why I individually measure each load. A progressive type press would be troublesome to interrupt the flow, which is why I like the turret press. I do augment my Lee dies by the use of RCBS Gold Medal Match Seater dies.

Many people do not think positively about Lee presses (they are lower cost); I originally had older aluminum Lee presses. The newer cast Lee classic presses, in my opinion, bring the Lee brand to a much higher level. If you want a great progressive press (for pistol calibers), go with Dillon, otherwise I personally would stay with Lee presses augmented with high quality items.
 

4x4Brit

Worktruck Driver
#5
Reasonable question although I think you can get a reasonable amount of accuracy from a progressive. We should test that theory with .308.

To answer the OPs question: No you don't need a new press. The better question is do you want one?
I have thought about setting up 308 for exactly the reason you state; can we match accuracy? Or at least get close.
 

Roach

#operator
#6
I have thought about setting up 308 for exactly the reason you state; can we match accuracy? Or at least get close.
I'm thinking you should be able to get pretty close powder wise which is the real test. I'm thinking the wider your range on your current load the better. Like in 6.5 there's not much variation in my load +/- .2 in either direction. I'm sure you could make MOA ammo if you do all the brass prep before loading them into the hopper.
 

TexasJackKin

Breathng Free, at last
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#7
I do all my rifle loading on a single stage Rock Chucker, I bought new in the '70s, and all my pistol stuff on a Hornady LnL progressive. I may get tooled up to load "plinker" .223/5.56 ammo in the progressive, but I'm in no hurry.

I got the progressive, when I was shooting 1,500 to 2,000 or so rounds per month, a real time saver. So, it boils down to your needs/wants. Get what you want that works for you, not what others "think" you need. It's all good! You will always have use for a good single stage press.
 

mpzreb17

Troublemaking Redneck
#9
I have thought about setting up 308 for exactly the reason you state; can we match accuracy? Or at least get close.
Im quoting yours just because, thank you everyone for the perspective. My experience so far but im also using an M1A thats basically deadass whatever ive fed it, weighing out to my 40whatevermydatasaysgrain 4895 for each one has worked pretty well for me. Now if a powder hopper is going to guarantee the same level of confidence that each round is right, im ok with that. I dont see how in the seating process the dyes let anything bad happen but weve all probably accidentally crunched a brass round once or twice. Why would the ammo not be precision enough either way if everythings done right?

Im just nervous I think from a safety perspective trusting a mass production tier press to get it right every time but im guessing this fear is stupid.

With the single stage press I think I'm just enjoying the time. I can probably run 500 rounds out in 8 hours which translates to 15 minutes of mag dumps or a day of trying my damndest not to miss. But the prospect of same amount of time equals more brass does not necessarily equal blowing myself up is making sense.
 
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MAC702

LEGEN...wait for it... DARY!
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#10
If a powder measure is locked in, and hasn't broken between the first round and the last round, you have very high confidence that your ammo is safe. Weighing each charge manually and individually is more likely to have a distraction cause an issue and not know it. That said, it can be more precise, which only helps if both you and your rifle are capable of taking advantage of it.

Factory match-grade ammunition probably comes out of a powder measure.
 

mpzreb17

Troublemaking Redneck
#11
If a powder measure is locked in, and hasn't broken between the first round and the last round, you have very high confidence that your ammo is safe. Weighing each charge manually and individually is more likely to have a distraction cause an issue and not know it. That said, it can be more precise, which only helps if both you and your rifle are capable of taking advantage of it.

Factory match-grade ammunition probably comes out of a powder measure.
This makes sense for getting over the fear. Thanks. I guess if it happens, oh well, weighing out every so many rounds for consistency will indicate a failure.
 

repoman

New member
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2019 Supporter
#12
I use a Lee single stage for precision rifle rounds, and a Dillon 650 for bulk pistol and .223, its really the best of both worlds; I had Lee Pro 1000 progressive that served its purpose, but after upgrading to a Dillon, I kicked myself for not doing it 10 years sooner, worth every penny.
 

MAC702

LEGEN...wait for it... DARY!
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#15
I have the Dillon (okay, three 650s and a Square Deal) with the powder checker. After the first year, I've never used the powder checker again.
 

1browski

Very Active Member
#17
I also use the Lee classic. I load the 50 bmg on it. Thats all I use it for though because I have other presses and I dont like to switch the ram over to use regular shell holders. I havent had any problems with it yet, but the only thing I would change would be to a solid handle.
 

Mr. B

Obsessed Member
#19
Going to a multi-stage/progressive press can cause some worries - whetehr founded or not. One quirk I have is that even though I use a Dillon press (when I had it set up - still haven't done that since my last move), I disable the first stage and insert primers with a hand priming tool (or purchase fresh brass that already has primers) before I start doing my loading. I do this because it is easier for me to do QC when my "pull action" is only doing one thing.
 

Dusty

Obsessed Member
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2019 Supporter
#20
I have 2 Dillon 550's a Hornady Projector press, (pre lock and load) and a hornady single stage. I would love to have a Dillon 650, Just because it's auto indexing. I have never had a issue with any of the powder drops. My Hornady Projector used to have a manually activated powder drop. You would dump powder all over the place if you didn't have a case in it. That was state of the art back in the day. I have since upgraded it to a case activated powder drop. As far as accuracy goes, @Quickdraw has commented before on the accuracy of the ammo coming off of His Dillon. If I was to buy a new press it would be a Blue one. On a side note That Dillon Rapid Trim 1500 is worth every penny. IMHO