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If you were to start over now knowing what you do about reloading...


Mancolt
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On 12/23/2020 at 1:04 PM, SnipTheDog said:

 

What would you recommend as a single stage?

I started with and still use a Lee Turret press. I would suggest either the Classic or Deluxe model. Even though I have a Dillion 750, I find myself still using my Lee presses.

Edited by ts199982
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My generic advice that worked well for me...

don’t be in a hurry to make a purchase. Try before you buy as much as possible. Whether that is finding local friends that have reloading setups they can walk you through, a range that operates presses like M160 in Dallas, or you can check out displays at stores and used to be pre COVID-19 you could go to badass events like the nra show and check everything out and ask a buttload of questions to the smart folks from the companies in person! 

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On 12/27/2020 at 5:35 PM, ts199982 said:

I started with and still use a Lee Turret press. I would suggest either the Classic or Deluxe model. Even though I have a Dillion 750, I find myself still using my Lee presses.

I have two 1050's now, but would like to do some rifle loading with a single stage as a proof of concept more or less.  Eventually I'll automate the 1050's, but for now they work and are just fun to create ammo with.

Edited by SnipTheDog
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I'll be the crazy person here and say, I'm fine with my Lee presses.  I got them used, a Loadmaster and a Pro1000 off Craigslist for like $150 for the pair.  I had lots of priming issues early on, simply because I didn't replace parts, most of which Lee would have sent me just for the cost of shipping.  I wish I had replaced parts sooner, I wasted a lot of bullets from sideways primers. I'll always have a love/hate relationship with these presses.  But they work well enough that I'd be hard pressed to justify spending a grand to upgrade.   

I'm glad I picked Titegroup for all pistol loading.  It simplifies things. An 8lb jug of Titegroup will keep you loading for a while.   I learned that I'm a fool for not learning from 2016 to build up a stock of at least 10k primers.  I could have afforded it this time around too, which makes it worse.  Never again!  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's probably a really strange time for guys to get into reloading with all the component shortages and stuff, backorder on all kinds of things including presses, etc. I'm lucky that I kind of got into it right before everything got too difficult...

 

If I could do everything over again, for pistol rounds and for maybe investing in different toolhead/caliber conversions, I would have just started with a manual Mark7 Evo with Mr. Bullet Feeder (MBF), buy once cry once. For progressive presses it's about as good as is available on the planet right now, and it doesn't cost much more than the next rung down (RL1100), or two rungs down (XL750/650), even though it does more and is a more evolved/sophisticated piece of kit. It was literally designed from the jump to be automated down the road if one wishes.

 

I have an XL750 with case feeder and MBF and it's honestly been enough for me for making a boatload of high quality 9mm... but then I had to go and get into precision rifles, and now I've got a single-stage setup too just for my precision rifle stuff (usually just batches of 100rds, sometimes 200)... which was the right move for me instead of going with different toolheads/caliber conversions for my Dillon. And in many ways, 2 presses can be better than 1 depending on what you want to accomplish.

 

Thing is, while ~$3k seems like a lot for a press, once you consider that shooting is an expensive hobby no matter which way you cut it, and in a way the guns and/or presses are the cheap part compared to components and other "consumable" costs... and everything is relative, in the rifle world scopes can cost ~$3k easy, support bags are ~$100, a USPSA belt can be hundreds of bucks... 3 stacks for the best press out there is actually kind of a bargain looking at it from that point of view.

 

If one plans to load high-volume or bulk .223/5.56 you absolutely need swaging on the press, if you're going to pay for a press that has swaging, it's the Dillon or the Mark7, and side by side, even costing $1k more the Mark7 isn't the one that's overpriced IMHO.

 

I don't think the learning curve is as steep as some make it out to be with progressive presses, especially in the era of youtube and having this forum as a resource.  Get as much press as you can afford, just go slow and be safe while you learn the ropes.

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8 hours ago, ck1 said:

If I could do everything over again, for pistol rounds and for maybe investing in different toolhead/caliber conversions, I would have just started with a manual Mark7 Evo with Mr. Bullet Feeder (MBF), buy once cry once. For progressive presses it's about as good as is available on the planet right now, and it doesn't cost much more than the next rung down (RL1100), or two rungs down (XL750/650), even though it does more and is a more evolved/sophisticated piece of kit. It was literally designed from the jump to be automated down the road if one wishes.

 

The only place I disagree is the gap between the xl750 and the 1100/M7 Evo. As I was trying to decide between all 3 options (750, 1100, M7 Evo) they really broke into 2 buckets. $650 for a complete setup is a big diff from $2k and $3k to me. I usually do buy once, cry once, but for just getting started, it was hard for me to justify spending 3x to 5x as much as a 750 for either of the other 2 options.

 

If I get really into reloading I could still see myself getting an M7 Evo eventually. But I dont think I'll regret the 750, as it wasnt a significant purchase and I can leave it set up for a lesser used caliber.

 

My impression (having never used one) is that the 1100 sits in an awkward gap. It's way too expensive (my opinion, I'm sure some will disagree) for what you get and doesn't deliver enough incremental to the 750 and has not been refined/improved enough over the years to justify its cost relative to an M7 Evo. I would guess for many that could drop $2k for the 1100, talking themselves into $3k for the Evo isn't much of a stretch.

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2 hours ago, Mancolt said:

 

The only place I disagree is the gap between the xl750 and the 1100/M7 Evo. As I was trying to decide between all 3 options (750, 1100, M7 Evo) they really broke into 2 buckets. $650 for a complete setup is a big diff from $2k and $3k to me. I usually do buy once, cry once, but for just getting started, it was hard for me to justify spending 3x to 5x as much as a 750 for either of the other 2 options.

 

If I get really into reloading I could still see myself getting an M7 Evo eventually. But I dont think I'll regret the 750, as it wasnt a significant purchase and I can leave it set up for a lesser used caliber.

 

My impression (having never used one) is that the 1100 sits in an awkward gap. It's way too expensive (my opinion, I'm sure some will disagree) for what you get and doesn't deliver enough incremental to the 750 and has not been refined/improved enough over the years to justify its cost relative to an M7 Evo. I would guess for many that could drop $2k for the 1100, talking themselves into $3k for the Evo isn't much of a stretch.

 

Yeah, in a lot of ways the XL750 is probably the "goldilocks" machine. Adding an MBF, one doesn't give up much at all for making pistol ammo even against the others, and is just fine until one has a reason and/or the money to move up to an Evo. I agree that the 1100 is in a weird spot, it just doesn't have enough real stations for what it costs IMO, and swaging is only really a big deal with certain calibers. As an 750 owner making 9mm, I just try to avoid picking up mil-crimped brass if I can, or just quickly go through my brass (it's not that bad) if I'm going to get ready to pump out a bunch of rounds and don't want to be interrupted, and not having swaging hasn't really been an issue (in fact 9 out of 10 times the 750 will prime mil-crimped brass just fine when I miss them).

 

But, I don't really consider the XL750 a $650 machine either, that's a little misleading as 99% of guys going for a 750 absolutely need the case feeder (+$300ish), so really it's more like $1000. With how fast things add up in this sport, I don't see it as a huge stretch for one to save up longer and/or talk themselves into a couple more grand lol.

 

 

Edited by ck1
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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought an XL750 right when they came out, it was my first press and I was brand new to reloading.  I recently sold it and bought a Mark 7. If I could rewind, I would just start with the Mark 7 in manual and then step to autodrive/sensors, and add a final step of auto priming station.

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Yeah, the cheapest part of shooting a lot is buying the gear. I usually spend 2-3k a year in ammo/components alone so dropping 3k on a press doesn't seem that bad.

 

I think with the 300 in price increases to the 1050/1100 in the past 2 years puts the press in an even more awkward spot as it's closing in on an Evo price and getting further away from a 750. 

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As someone new to the reloading game, I would say there is good information here. I went ahead and bought the 750 with a few bells and whistles. I hope I didnt make a mistake.. I guess I could have bought the 1100 but at some point I had to draw a line.  

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3 minutes ago, daverole said:

As someone new to the reloading game, I would say there is good information here. I went ahead and bought the 750 with a few bells and whistles. I hope I didnt make a mistake.. I guess I could have bought the 1100 but at some point I had to draw a line.  

I don’t think you made a mistake. If you don’t plan on shooting (processing and loading) .223, the 750 will suffice. However, if you plan to load and shoot high volume of .223 down the road, then the 1100 is the better choice than the 750.

 

I had a 650 at one point because I ran out of patience waiting for the 1100. After the 1100 was finally available, I bought it mainly for processing .223 and sold the 650.

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2 minutes ago, George16 said:

I don’t think you made a mistake. If you don’t plan on shooting (processing and loading) .223, the 750 will suffice. However, if you plan to load and shoot high volume of .223 down the road, then the 1100 is the better choice than the 750.

 

I had a 650 at one point because I ran out of patience waiting for the 1100. After the 1100 was finally available, I bought it mainly for processing .223 and sold the 650.

Funny you should say that about the .223 I bought the dies and the quick change to make the switch over easier. Truth is, is that I dont even own a firearm that will shoot .223 but as I seen around here "buy once cry once"...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/19/2020 at 10:38 PM, TheChewycookie said:

I would've gone immediately to a Dillon 650/750 since I primarily shoot pistol and have a basic understanding of mechanics. I can treat it like a turret press that I don't have to touch as much. I currently have a 550 (that I won from a random draw) which suits me fine that I upgraded to a C model and a single stage from a garage sale, but looking back I would've saved a lot of heartbreak if I had just gone to a semi-auto progressive. At my current financial situation and understanding of progressive presses, I would be frustrated with automation which I may plan on getting sometime in the distant future.

 

I would also prefer wet tumbling so there's no dust to aggravate my allergies.

Ditto 

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Start using a Lee U and FCD die from day one.  For 9mm anyway.  I was never able to get 40 perfected.

Use a hundo gauge for all match rounds.

 

I started on a 650 and bought a 2nd which I automated for processing (got the Mark7 unit used).  I don’t need swaging.

If it was just me shooting I would still be using the 650 but my wife shoots too and just got sick of pulling the handle.  Skipped the 1100 and went with an Evo pro.

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  • 1 month later...

I'd never have purchased a Dillon product, I'd have bought larger quantities of components instead of smaller amounts of what was cheapest at the time, and I'd have stocked up on primers and powder.

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8 hours ago, Twinsen said:

I'd never have purchased a Dillon product, I'd have bought larger quantities of components instead of smaller amounts of what was cheapest at the time, and I'd have stocked up on primers and powder.

Care to elaborate on your bad experience? What would you have bought instead?

 

Sounds like Dillon is by far the most popular press for reloader. At least that was the conclusion I came to when looking into which press to get.

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Yeah, that's pretty common.  I posted about several of my issues with Dillon on this forum, but I can't seem to find any of my previous posts or topics.  I assume if I explain, the post will disappear.

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/27/2021 at 6:23 AM, Mancolt said:

Care to elaborate on your bad experience? What would you have bought instead?

 

Sounds like Dillon is by far the most popular press for reloader. At least that was the conclusion I came to when looking into which press to get.

I have two 1050's and am a Dillon fan.  The other press that seems to be coming on strong is the Mark7.

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Whatever automated press you decide on, I'd recommend a single stage - Like the Lee Classic Cast - for odd little jobs that spring up.  I have a Classic Cast and it is a very good press, one thing I like about it is that the expended primers fall thru the rClassic Cast Pressam, into a tube and then into whatever you want to put them in.

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The only one that I haven't heard mentioned here, which I think could really shake things up, is the new Frankford Arsenal FX-10. There's not a lot of info available on it yet, but release date that I saw is late this Calendar Year. Will be a 10 station press with on press swaging, and expected price is around $700. I think it will be an extremely strong competitor to the Dillon XL750, 1050, and even the Mark 7, since capacity is the same but price is expected to be 1/4 what the M7 is and 1/3 what the 1050 is (and more stations to boot than the 1050). It obviously won't be as refined as the M7 and maybe not the 1050, and may not be as easily automatable, but I am seriously considering the FX-10 as my next potential upgrade from my XL750.

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2 hours ago, Mancolt said:

The only one that I haven't heard mentioned here, which I think could really shake things up, is the new Frankford Arsenal FX-10. There's not a lot of info available on it yet, but release date that I saw is late this Calendar Year. Will be a 10 station press with on press swaging, and expected price is around $700. I think it will be an extremely strong competitor to the Dillon XL750, 1050, and even the Mark 7, since capacity is the same but price is expected to be 1/4 what the M7 is and 1/3 what the 1050 is (and more stations to boot than the 1050). It obviously won't be as refined as the M7 and maybe not the 1050, and may not be as easily automatable, but I am seriously considering the FX-10 as my next potential upgrade from my XL750.

I'm curious to this one as well. It seems like everything is A la cart so not sure what the savings will really be once you start adding options. May be worth picking up since I can 3d print a case and bullet feeder for it.

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54 minutes ago, Intheshaw1 said:

I'm curious to this one as well. It seems like everything is A la cart so not sure what the savings will really be once you start adding options. May be worth picking up since I can 3d print a case and bullet feeder for it.

 

I assume you mean like the case feeders and bullet feeders? Only the casefeeder appears to be included with the RL1100 and M7. I always assumed it was an add-on for both of those, but that at least helps to justify the $2k and $3k price tags, respectively.

 

Even still, I would expect Frankford's Casefeeder option to be less than Dillon's, and still to come in at $1k or less (w/casefeeder, but without bullet feeder) given their press is so much less expensive. Whether it works as well (and for that matter, the FX-10 itself) remains to be seen.

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