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Reloading 45acp

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Post by Dlakejr2876 Sun Jan 07, 2024 7:47 am

A little birdie told me a Dillion 750 press is the way to go.   If I wanted to purchase “everything”to start reloading this week.   What are the must haves?

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Post by RoyDean Sun Jan 07, 2024 8:00 am

If you have never reloaded before, then an XL750 is a handful, to say the least!

I have several 650's ( the father of the 750). They are great. Dillon customer service is great.

BUT. Reloading is not like Lego. Sorry to be rude. But, IMHO, you are best to go through a "rite of passage" first. You really need to understand the fundamentals first.

If you have the funds. Buy a really inexpensive press. A Lee single stage? And a set of Lee dies (they are excellent). Most important, an accurate powder scale (cheap digital off Amazon) and a digital caliper (off Amazon). Make some ammo. Test it. OK? If not, you need to check your process. Carefully!

Now decide on your needs and buy a 750, or whatever. You can sell on the now unwanted stuff at modest loss

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Post by Allgoodhits Sun Jan 07, 2024 8:20 am

Dlakejr2876 wrote:A little birdie told me a Dillion 750 press is the way to go.   If I wanted to purchase “everything”to start reloading this week.   What are the must haves?

Scales and dial calipers and of course dies. It was suggested a single stage press to start with until you get up to speed. That is sound advice of course. I would say buy the 750. If any doubt whatsoever, simply use it as a single stage press until you grasp the concepts of what each stage does. Primer tube detonation can occur and double charging can occur when errors are made. These occur when a minor problem arises. You back up to see what happened, then proceed. IF you don't start as single stage loading, then I would suggest, that when you have any hangup, or something does'nt feel right. STOP. Remove all cases from shell plate, then proceed with an empty shell plate.

It won't take long to get the "feel" of how things are supposed to feel when working the handle. If it doesn't feel right, STOP. Investigate, then proceed. It is not difficult, but it does require paying attention. I would add, that if anyone approaches you to talk while loading, stop loading. Conversation can be a distraction. Last, wear eye protection at a minimum, ear protection suggested.
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Post by 1911-45 Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:01 am

Dillon 750 is the top of the line and can be complicated to set up and run. On my 550 I can load 100rds in 7 minutes...

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Post by Pinetree Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:35 am

I started reloading as a wee lad (on a Pacific press) and would say that the Dillon SDB is more than enough for 45/ Bullseye loads.

I use mine for 38/357, 44 and 45, and have a "Rock Chucker" for the rifle calibers.

Having said that, the above advice is spot-on.. a progressive press while capable of mass production is also capable of screwing up things in a hurry if you're not paying attention.

A scale is a must, as is a way to measure (dial caliper/micrometer).. you'll also want to get a bullet puller for when said screwups occur.

A primer flipping tray is handy, and even with Carbide dies some case lubricant helps (a lot).

So yeah, you can just go buy the stuff and start cranking out ammo.. but understanding the process and doing it correctly is the goal. The 750 is top of the line, but (in my opinion) overkill for 45acp.


P. S. You cannot beat Dillon's warranty.
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Post by L. Boscoe Sun Jan 07, 2024 10:08 am

unless  you are shooting more than 200 res per range trip, I would say
the Dillon 550 is easy to use and requires you to pay attention, which the 750 and such are capable of sneaking a mistake by ye.

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Post by Wobbley Sun Jan 07, 2024 10:20 am

If you have no or little experience in reloading, I concur that you should start with a single stage press.  In single stage, the ammo goes trough a single stage on a batch.  The press has a single die location as compared to a progressive which has multiple dies and multiple operations per stroke.  But it doesn’t take that long to learn so I’d look for an inexpensive single stage press.  Lee makes one that comes to mind and you can sometimes find something used.

Pistol shooting consumes a lot of ammo, up to 4000 to 8000 rounds per year.  So a progressive press becomes very useful.  With these there is a definite learning curve.  So, I offer these thoughts after using some of these machines:

The Dillon 550 is really a ‘semi” progressive as the case must be advanced manually.  In theory these can produce around 500 per hour but most produce 300 or so on a continual basis.  Most pistol shooters need more.

The Dillon 750 and the Hornady LNL AP are roughly equivalent in capability.  An honest 600 per hour if you have case feeders and bullet feeders.  Bullet feeders are great but they cost you the ability to have a powder check.   The Dillon 750 CAN be auto-driven (motorized) but it that adds a lot of complexity likely more than you want to deal with.  Even then the safe throughput is about 1500 per hour.

Then comes the Dillon 1050/1100 and the Lyman Mark7 machines. Manually you can get 1500-2000 per hour and an honest 1000 per hour.  If you auto-drive this production gets really attractive.  A 1050 can load at 2000-2500 per hour with factory level quality.  The key is to process the brass in a separate run, prime as an additional run, then load.  The rationale is that it allows the priming station to be your powder check and the powder measure is moved to station:2 or 3.  Bullet feed in station 5.  But this is very sophisticated setups.  Which is why I recommend you know what reloading is all about.

For the record, I have 2 Dillons motorized and a few other progressives and I still buy ammo….
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Post by PhotoEscape Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:20 am

Wobbley wrote:Then comes the Dillon 1050/1100 and the Lyman Mark7 machines. Manually you can get 1500-2000 per hour and an honest 1000 per hour.  If you auto-drive this production gets really attractive.  A 1050 can load at 2000-2500 per hour with factory level quality.  The key is to process the brass in a separate run, prime as an additional run, then load.  The rationale is that it allows the priming station to be your powder check and the powder measure is moved to station:2 or 3.  Bullet feed in station 5.  But this is very sophisticated setups.  Which is why I recommend you know what reloading is all about.
This paragraph requires a bit of clarification.  As designed Dillon's 1050 / 1100 presses have Sizing / Depriming on Station 1, Primer Pocket Swaging on Station 2, Priming on Station 3, Powder Drop / Case Mouth Expansion on Station 4.  Stations 5-7 are designated for finishing operations, i.e. powder check, bullet placement, bullet seating, crimping.  There is a bit of flexibility here depending on reloader's desires.  However more frequently (especially when we are talking about loading 45ACP) Station 5 is used for bullet feeder, Station 6 for bullet seating die, and Station 7 for crimping die.  The only way to use Powder Measure on any station other than Station 4 would be to use very old style of Dillon's PM with two springs facilitating powder bar return or non-Dillon's PM, i.e. Mark7.  Either route will eliminate safety mechanism built into the press.  That's very important to understand and using this work flow requires additional attention from the operator.  My recommendation - use press as designed!  Also, IMHO 1050/1100 presses are less versatile than 550/650/750 presses.  I'd say it is SDB on steroids.  Yes, it can be changed from caliber to caliber, even with primer size change.  But it takes way more effort and time in comparison with smaller machines.

Now......... contrary to opinions expressed before, I am proponent of starting with press that one ultimately intents to use.  If it is progressive, i.e. Dillon's 750, that is what I recommend starting from.  IMO it is easier to learn once all stages sequentially as opposed to learning each stage separately. It might sound paradoxically, but there are way more mistakes made using single stage press / batch reloading than using true progressive press (I would recommend to stay away from Dillon 550 / Star / Turret presses, or any other that do not have auto indexing). Single stage press work flow is all human driven, and hence more errors.  It is way easier to double charge case or totally miss charge when one has tray with 10/20/50 cases in front.  Obviously one must start slowly and learning each stage, - setting press up with attention to each station would provide for that.  Than move into processing just a hand full of rounds paying very close attention to each step and tuning press and work flow.  Measuring and then disassembling loaded rounds and examining for powder weight, crimp impression on bullets, etc.  This is where single stage press (or even two) becomes very handy, i.e for using bullet puller. 

However, regardless of what equipment is selected for starting in reloading, the most important is to remember - ATTENTION TO DETAILS!

AP


Last edited by PhotoEscape on Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by NukeMMC Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:21 am

As has been said above, but bears reinforcement:

Reloading, like shooting, is about fundamentals. A single stage setup, for your first couple 1000 rds will:
- make all the mistakes you will see. This will teach you what to look for as you load.
- Teach you how to set up a die in relation to the shell holder. You will have to do this on a progressive or single stage, 1 operation at a time.
- Won't confuse you. A single stage will only have 1 operation giving you trouble. You can have multiple problems on a progressive (hence learning to set each stage up individually). Multiple problems can mask each other and confuse the crap out of you.
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Post by Rodger Barthlow Sun Jan 07, 2024 11:25 am

This may sound like I'm being a wise a$$ but if you are buying a progressive reloading press because you don't want to take the time to learn to do it right don't buy anything and stick to factory loaded ammo till you find the patients to do it right.
I started loading shoot gun shells when I was 12 on a single stage press.
I didn't get my first progressive press till after I had shot bullseye for a year and then I bought a Dillon Square Deal B. I loaded .45acp,.38spl and S&W.32 long all on the same press having to break the press down to change the dies for each caliber. At one time I had three Square Deal Bs because I got tired of having to send the first one back for an overhaul since I was wearing it out from breaking it down so much to change calibers. I found a used Dillon 450B very well used and set it up to load .45acp and sold my first Square Deal B. Then I found a like new 550B which I set up for 38 Super and sold the Square Deal B set up for S&W .32 long. Yes I still have the Square Deal B that is set up for .38spl.
Now do you really want to go down that Rabbit Hole? 
Oh yeah I forgot to mention Scales and other pieces of equipment you will need to get started.
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Post by troystaten Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:07 pm

Personally I use a single stage press (an RCBS)  and a little dandy powder dispenser, I still have a RCBS beam scale, a set of check weights, RCBS dies (taper crimp for the 45), an ultra sonic case cleaner, a Starrett dial caliper and some wood blocks that hold 50 cases. I have been reloading for a long time and can reload a lot of ammo without too much trouble.  Unless you are shooting so much ammo that you can't keep up I would start with a single stage press unless you like the process of setting up a progressive press.  You can get great deals on used presses on ebay.  Unfortunately work keeps me from the range and I don't get to shoot more than a couple of times a month so I don't need to produce thousands of rounds a month to keep up with my ammo demand.   Either way good luck with your endeavor.

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Post by messenger Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:30 pm

Get a single stage press. Have a friend who is experienced help with selecting dies and reloading accessories. I started with the "complete kit" that Hornady has. I believe RCBS has a kit also. If an experienced person is not available YouTube is a good source of information. Take your time and be careful. Ask questions. Mistakes can have dire consequences.

Bill
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Post by funski Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:50 pm

I have a Dillon 550 press. It is semi progressive, meaning you have physically turn the turret to the next stage.  Once the press is set you do not have change dies. You can also use it as a single stage press because it does not auto advance.  Check the Dillon website or you may find a used one.
Just my 2 pennies.
Jim

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Post by Randy_D Sun Jan 07, 2024 2:07 pm

I have shot high power for better than 20 years, just got back into bullseye last year.  I shoot at least 3 matches a month, work on average 55 hours a week and I accomplish this all on a single stage rock chucker and an old Lee turret press (three hole) that I also use as a single stage.  That said better than 95% of the people I shoot with use a Dillion 550, which can be used as a progressive or single stage and they love them.  I guess what I am saying is there is no one right answer, if you know others that reload it might be good to see if they will let you see the process they use and then you can make a better informed decision.

Either way, best of luck to you in your choice

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Post by Cmysix Sun Jan 07, 2024 2:11 pm

Thoughts on a 350, 450? got a guy has one rusting in the shed has everything, just can't seem to make his mind up on how much?
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Post by targetbarb Sun Jan 07, 2024 2:47 pm

Whatever press you select, get a light for it.  Most of us reload in a garage and the lighting may not be fabulous over the reloading bench.  Many lights are available and most simply drop into the center hole on the toolhead of a progressive press.  I'm sure that are similar devices for single stage presses.
LOOK into EVERY case before seating the bullet - watching for a double charge or anything that just doesn't look right.  Unlike rifle cases, a number of pistol calibers have sufficient head space to accommodate a double charge.  
When reloading, do ONLY that.  No TV, no chatting with a friend, no multitasking, no daydreaming.  If you're interrupted, stop with the ram in the down position so that it's easy to see what step was the last completed when you resume.

Talk to a friend(s) who reloads, there may also be reloading classes in your area - inquire at gunshops, ranges, etc.  It's not rocket science, but disastrous results are very possible if you don't know how the various processes work.  ASK questions!!!  And keep a logbook of the details of your reloading, make sure to label every box/batch in detail.  Have fun!

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Post by chiz1180 Sun Jan 07, 2024 3:00 pm

So first off, what are your needs/goals? Just 45, 45+ some other pistol calibers, some rifle? 

What you likely would have noticed is that everyone has a different opinions and approaches. First concern should be safety at both the loading bench and at the range.

As far as a press goes, a single stage is mechanically simpler than a multi-stage progressive and thus much simpler to set up, but you need to set it up for each step in the loading process. On the other hand you a progressive is a bit more involved for the set up and requires you to maintain and observe multiple processes going on simultaneously. Mistakes can be made with both.

Here is a summery of my process with some reasoning:

My loading process actually requires two press set ups, I have dedicated presses for each. Note I have included other process steps that don't necessarily involve the press but are important.

Press 1- De-priming and sizing:
The first set up is for removing primers and sizing. I lubricate the brass for this step. I have this as a separate step as de-priming is a bit of a dirty process, This press gets taken apart and cleaned 2-3x as often as my other press. The de-priming/sizing die gets cleaned regularly as well. A clean press runs smoother.

Brass Cleaning:
I clean my brass with either and ultrasonic cleaner or a wet tumbler. I then allow the brass to dry.

Priming:
I prime off the press using a hand primer. Probably not the most popular method but it allows me a chance to visually inspect the brass for any potential problems. I started this after I got tired of filling primer tubes and realized I could prime the brass just about as quickly as filling a primer tube with the bonus of being able to cull out brass with problems missed in the other steps. Yes, their are gizmos that can expedite filling primer tubes, the availability of those devices was extremely limited when I started hand priming. 

Press 2-Expanding, powder, bullet, seating and crimp
I have a 5 station press set up as following:
Station 1 is empty
Station 2 is expanding
Station 3 is powder drop
Station 4 is seating
Station 5 is crimp. 

However a much safer set up is this:
Station 1 is expanding,
Station 2 is powder
Station 3 is powder check
Station 4 is seating
Station 5 is crimp. 

I didn't have a powder check die when I started, so I have made it a habit to check powder in the case before placing a bullet. Once thing to note that is somewhat caliber dependent, I sometimes use a powder through expander in addition to the dedicated expanding die, other times I just use a powder through expander. I have specific reasons for this depending on the caliber.  

QC:
I visually inspect and chamber check each round I load. I dislike alibis, especially if they are preventable. Also part of my QC step is checking the presses for worn-out parts, clean and lubricate as needed.

A note on powder measurement. I always confirm my powder drop with a minimum of 10 drops and taking the average weight measurement of the 10 to confirm the setting in addition to noting the drops are within the tolerance I expect. I have both a balance type scale and an electronic scale. I check both for calibration with check weights.

Seating dies, if you are loading SWC bullets, it is best to seat them from the shoulder rather than the nose. Many seating dies are easily modified to accomplish this if not already equipped.   

Thus far I have tried to keep my explanation without mentioning brands, equipment from any of the major brands should be fine. For what its worth, I use Hornady LnL presses as well as an RCBS rock chucker press. I have dies from Lee, Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman. I have both RCBS and Hornady powder measures. Ohaus balance and a few electronic scales. I also use various Mitutoyo, Starrett, and Brown and Sharpe measuring tools for set up and checking when needed. I currently do not have a case or bullet feeder due to space constraints, between the two I would probably value the case feeder higher.

Loading ammo is more than just a press, some dies, and some components. Even though I utilize multiple presses, I could do it all on one progressive (any brand) or even the single stage. Long explanation but hopefully it provides a snap shot of the steps and tools needed.
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Post by Dlakejr2876 Sun Jan 07, 2024 3:39 pm

Thank you

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Post by Arthur Sun Jan 07, 2024 4:14 pm

Buy a reloading manual and read it cover to cover a couple of times. I like the Hornady. Safety glasses when loading and shooting, always. Check the powder level in every case. No high primers. Dillon carbide dies from the start.  
For lots of years shooting High Power a single stage was ideal for me. Started Bullseye and it was tedious. Next step was a used turret press and that saved me changing dies. Then I bought the 650, and I really like it a lot.
2 years ago I was rushing and ignored a rough feel due to a problem seating a primer. Set off one or more primers, it was a mess. Destroyed the primer feed system. 30 years of experience and a moment of being sloppy had consequences. I probably have gotten away with sloppy before, but this time it caught up with me. 

Best, 
Arthur

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Post by rburk Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:28 pm

I use a headlight when I reload to look into every case before placing a bullet for seating, to check for a double charge or no powder, either are bad news.  I load on a Dillon SDB which is a progressive machine, I believe the auto indexing helps prevent double powder charges.

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Post by Merick Mon Jan 08, 2024 9:44 am

PhotoEscape wrote:...It might sound paradoxically, but there are way more mistakes made using single stage press / batch reloading than using true progressive press...

There might be fewer plane crashes than car crashes, but plane crashes are spectacular.

I am soured on progressives from having dealt with a Lee Loadmaster earlier in life. The shell plate flexed all over until it was fully loaded, the primer feed wasn't that consistent, so each crash screwed up all 5 stations, and the next 5 it took to get it fully loaded again, assuming you caught the primer failure early enough to not have to tear it down to clean out loose powder.

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Post by chiz1180 Mon Jan 08, 2024 9:51 am

Merick wrote:
PhotoEscape wrote:...It might sound paradoxically, but there are way more mistakes made using single stage press / batch reloading than using true progressive press...

There might be fewer plane crashes than car crashes, but plane crashes are spectacular.

I am soured on progressives from having dealt with a Lee Loadmaster earlier in life. The shell plate flexed all over until it was fully loaded, the primer feed wasn't that consistent, so each crash screwed up all 5 stations, and the next 5 it took to get it fully loaded again, assuming you caught the primer failure early enough to not have to tear it down to clean out loose powder.
Double charges from a single stage setup arguably have very spectacular failures too.
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Post by BE Mike Mon Jan 08, 2024 10:15 am

I own a single stage press, a Dillon 550 and a Dillon 650. If you are patient, just a little mechanically inclined, have good attention to detail and can follow written, as well as, video instruction, the Dillon 750 will do just fine. One advantage of the Dillon 650/ 750 is that they have an extra station that can be set up for a powder checker that will warn you of a super low or high powder charge. That in itself is a huge plus. Besides the powder check, you may want to add a primer filler. I have used a Frankford Arsenal Vibraprime for many years and it does just fine. It does require a tiny bit of technique, though. Looks like it is priced just under $60.00 everywhere, these days.


Last edited by BE Mike on Mon Jan 08, 2024 1:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Merick Mon Jan 08, 2024 10:31 am

chiz1180 wrote:
Double charges from a single stage setup arguably have very spectacular failures too.

I meter a charge and seat a bullet while the next charge meters.

I consider batch drop charging roughly as dicey as a progressive without a charged indicator.

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Post by Centerline Mon Jan 08, 2024 11:50 am

I started with a Dillon 550c.  Rotate thru the station points until you have the hang of it and then go to full progressive. Same process you would use to make sure all your settings are ok for a new type of bullet. I would have purchased a larger unit if I had the money and if I had a massive amount of bullets to load. Otherwise it's just more stuff to change out between calibers. It's annoying enough going from small to large primers.
As far as accessory equipment needed, I have a rcbs primer tray (maybe the 750 has a fancy automated primer tube filler?) and an electronic scale from Frankford arsenal. Also I have a knurled socket I use for adjusting the powder measure so I don't need to use a wrench.  I would highly recommend getting additional heads so you can leave the die settings for other calibers. I like the Dillon dies. Brass cleaning equipment is another conversation.  I use One Shot spray lube for my brass before I send it thru the press. They say its not required with the carbide dies but it saves my elbow.

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