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Best Progressive Reloader

john bickar
BE Mike
John Dervis
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Post by JNW1 4/16/2021, 1:26 pm

First topic message reminder :

I’m being optimistic and planning on components being available in the future.  What’s the best progressive reloader for .38 Special, .45 ACP and 9mm?  I have used progressive MECs for shotgun reloading.

Last edited by JNW1 on 4/16/2021, 3:10 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Post by Jack H 4/21/2021, 1:54 pm

I have settled in on having 2 Dillon 550 and one Hornady LNL single stage press. 
Surplus to me now is a SDB and an unused Hornady LNL AP.  I do like the Hornady powder measure better than the Dillon.  And the Hornady will work on the Dillon in any position.  The 550s are set up as large and small primer.  I choose not to have feeders, whistles and bells involved. 

Dillon, Hornady, RCBS are all excellent presses.  Choosing your press depends on what and how much you shoot.  The occasional shooter vs the 50 matches a year shooter.  The size of your wallet.  Size of your work area.  And these days components availability.......etc.

I have usually separated my loading into two stages.  Brass prepping, and then final assembly of powder and bullet.  The beauty of this is the sizing, priming, and expanding can be done handling brass only on the right side of the 550. 
Prepped brass then can be powdered, seated and crimped operating only on the left side of the 550.  Two separate and simpler routines I think is a good thing.
Jack H
Jack H

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Post by John Dervis 4/21/2021, 10:21 pm

BE Mike wrote:I have a Dillon 550B and XL 650. Both are fine. I think that a 5th die hole in the press for a powder checker is well worth the difference in price. That APEX 10 (the 7 has been discontinued) looks very nice, but I wonder about a few things. One is that they recommend Lyman dies. I don't have anything against Lyman dies and use them, but I find Dillon dies superior. I also wonder about the ease of caliber conversion and primer feed system. Dillon has the longest track record of current companies and they are quick to respond to inquiries. Their no BS warranty is real. If you are a little mechanically inclined, I'd go with a used Dillon 650 or new 750. The top Dillon machines, i.e. 1050 aren't covered by Dillon's warranty. I expect that Dillon will still be around long after APEX is out of business. Compared to shotgun shells, loading for metallic cartridges requires a little more attention to detail, especially when first adjusting everything.
I saw an add in this month's American Rifleman for this press and at the bottom of the add it states that they are now a division of Lyman Products.  That would explain why the die recommendation I suppose.  I too find Dillon Dies to be better than Lyman BTW but any standard die brand will work.  I do think being part of Lyman will ensure they are around for the long haul though.  I don't often hear of Lyman being the best out there but they have been in business for a long time which says something about their company.


John Dervis

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Post by 8eightring 4/21/2021, 10:50 pm

There are several posts here regarding the progressive presses. My question is where are you finding powder and primers to feed the presses? 
I could get by with one of the old Lee pound and pray loaders right now.

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Post by Dan Webb 4/21/2021, 11:01 pm

John Dervis wrote:I have used a Dillon XL650 since 1996 and have been very satisfied with it.  It's a bit large if all you want to load is handgun calibers but it has a fifth station that I use for a powder check. That feature is a must have for me so that ruled out the Square Deal.  Dillon makes solid equipment and has a great warranty if you should break anything.  To date, I have only broken a spring and they sent me a new one right away.  There are several good brands and machines so you should be able to find one that works for you.

Good Luck.
Same press, same year, and same experiences.

Dan Webb

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Post by lalka686 4/28/2021, 1:31 am

zanemoseley wrote:I use 2 LNL AP's, very high quality for the money and makes very good ammo, also extremely easy to change calibers. I might get crazy one day and buy a Mark 7 reloader just to own an amazing reloader but you really don't need to spend crazy money anymore to get a good reloader for target ammo.
I have one setup for 38 special (which I never touch) and it's my main/most used caliber/press.
The second one is setup for 45 acp and swapping it out to load 9mm takes less than 5 minutes. I'm about to add .223 set to this press.
I have never used a Dillon press but I believe my ammo is as accurate as the one made in Dillon (or better) for about half of the press cost.
Maybe little slower, but I load for accuracy, not for speed. So far, never had a single problem and I believe Hornady have equally good customer support.

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