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Been thinking about getting back into reloading ... was in it lot a years ago. Had a Dillon Progressive and looking at another ... also looking at the Lee, RCBS and Lyman. Anyone have a strong preference for one over the other? ... and why? Any comments greatly appreciated.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Mike F

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I have the Lee stage press and my brother has a Dillon progressive. The Dillon is awesome!

I took a picture of an article from June in Outdoor Life that hopefully you can see enough to read. Unfortunately, prices for all of the reloading components have even increased since then. Good luck!

Sorry it's crooked - I don't know how to change it.

Got it.....I hope

shotshells-1.jpg

post-22292-0-55222800-1385481611_thumb.j

Edited by garimpo
standing the shell upright...maybe
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I have been reloading since I was 10 years old but never needed a progressive press. I have always heard about the Dillon being the best but can't speak from experience.

It takes a couple evenings to load the 500 rds needed for a two day dog hunt. Other than this one extreme case my old RCBS "O" press works great. As long as a system allows for neck sizing rather than full length sizing and exact tolerances in seating depth you will do fine.

With the proper powder for the case the powder charge does not have to be that exact. Volumetric proportions are just fine. Primer seating pressure is important for accuracy so I would take a look at how any progressive handles that operation.

So often rifle cases stretch that the sizing/trimming/cleaning and crack inspection is overlooked. If a progressive fails to perform it will be here. This takes the most reloading time and a progressive won't save you much if you need to trim and check cases for cracks. I size, trim, inspect and prime in one operation and load and seat on the single press. The ammo is more accurate and reliable this way. That holds true for rifle but progressives load fine pistol ammo because they don't need this treatment to be top shelf ammo.

I suppose I am saying that I see limited value in a progressive for match grade rifle ammo but feel it is perfect for pistol rounds. And I of course expect a bunch of howling from the peanut gallery about my opinion but I am going to post it anyway.

I do have two presses set up so it saves the time of switching dies. It is almost as easy to move a cartridge between presses as it is to turn the wheel of a progressive. And I prime with a Lee tool that has a torque indicator to seat those caps right down against the bottom of the pocket with enough pressure to "kiss"the face of the primer a bit. If you get a clean, fire formed, neck sized case primed carefully and seated WAY out so it touches the leads you will have ultra consistent ammo.

For the AR platform you can't seat them long. They won't go into the magazine or they will stick. Most matches are shot with single shot inserts in the magazine. You hand feed each round because they are seated so long! All my bolt action guns will feed custom length handloads but mil-spec rifles will not. So there is my spin on accurate and reliable handloads.

If you feed any press clean brass that has been trimmed and primed carefully, has been formed in the chamber of the rifle it is loaded for, and is seated at the optimal length it will shoot better than the rifle or the marksman.

If you have dirty primer pockets and brass that has been reloaded several times you will have accuracy problems, split necks, seperated bases and other failures. It may not be the fault of the press but it is tempting to feed a progressive fired cases and watch the loaded ones come out like magic. The foundational principles can be easily overlooked. The discipline involved in reloading for a rifle should equal the discipline involved in carrying it. My old press keeps me in touch with that and somehow I feel that the speed of a progressive may negate that.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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You can get about anything you want here except quality .22 ammo. They even have shelves of .223 , 9mm rounds.

Everything is available on the internet you could need. Delivered to your door in three days at less than Sportsman's Warehouse prices. I saw bricks of 22 ammo at wall mart last week. It seems the fear is wearing off or the money is running out. One or the other.

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I have been very happy with my Hornady progressive unit. Very easy to change caliber it's fast and easy enough for me and just keeps putting rounds out with no glitches. Mostly reload .45 ACP and .45 Colt, but also do .38-.357 too. One of these days I will get it set up for the .300 Win Mag but am content to just by factory ammo for that and factory reloads for my .223. Also have a Hornady single stage I started out with.....

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What calibers are you loading Mike?

The size and length of cases make a LOT of difference. A press that does fine with pistol ammo may not handle the torque needed to do many rifle cases. 223 rounds are no big deal but big rifle cases need a beefy press. Steve mentioned the 300 WinMag. Anything built on the 06 case or bigger really requires a big press. If a fellow intended to use just any ol equipment to form brass like that you want some good overkill on the press and a really solid mounting surface. Even my "O" press is a workout. I pulled a workbench apart loading 338 cases not too long ago.

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Have you guys ever had a problem with static electricity in your tumbler? The media sticks to the sides of the tumbler when I dump it out and sticks to everything else, any ideas.

I quit using a tumbler and now use Hornady One Shot case cleaner in an ultrasonic cleaner. It's faster, quiet , leaves zero residue and cleans better than a tumbler.

Edited by El Dorado
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I use soap and water in a 5 gallon bucket after tumbling. If you add a little ammonia it flattens out the polish from the tumbler and any cracks in the neck or along the bases will really stand out. They will conduct moisture through the crack a little and it helps to see those tiny ones.

I am not sure tumbling does much except make you feel good. Primer pockets are the only spot on a piece of brass that need more than a wipe with a polishing cloth. I tumble and wash cases after three or four reloadings. I will meticulously clean the primer pockets with a "secret solvent" and a little straight brush.

High speed rifle cases usually grow 1/32" in a couple shots. Sometimes more depending on the rifle, the sizing method and the loads. I trim after every shot with 22-250 and 243. I can only get two shots out of a 223 before it is dangerously long for an AR type rifle. So I generally wipe, neck size, trim, clean primer pockets and then soap and water. Dry them in the oven and then prime them. I am looking at the necks, shoulders and where the brass thins at the base whenever I handle the cases.

If the brass gets tarnished looking it hides the imperfections. After a while I will tumble the brass but I hate to tumble sized trimmed brass because the necks get beaten up in the tumbler. So I tumble and wash first before sizing.

When using odd brass it is important to know how many times it has been used. The biggest no no is just tumbling all brass together and having once fired and five times fired brass in the same bunch. When brass begins to wear out your whole bunch will show failures. I try to use brass in lots of 100 rds and when a few start cracking I throw the whole batch away and start with a fresh batch of once fired rounds. I sometimes cut a tiny notch on the head of the brass with a riffler each time I clean the primer pocket. That way I can see how many times that case has been reloaded. It helps to keep things reliable, especially with the AR. There are a lot of good reasons to not have a casing failure with that rifle and it pays to make sure that you don't have one.

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Bob ... Primary reloads will be 9mm luger for the Sig 226 and Kahr PM9 ...some 5.56 NATO (Hogan AR15 with 14" barrel and an 8" RH twist if that helps any) ... occasionally some 44 mag for the S&W 629 ... I will also be reloading some hunting rounds for the 30-06 (shot through a Remington 7600 pump rifle ... not the carbine). Little brother may want some 308 at some point(Remington 7600 pump rifle) ... that would be in the future though.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Mike F

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Have you guys ever had a problem with static electricity in your tumbler? The media sticks to the sides of the tumbler when I dump it out and sticks to everything else, any ideas.

Static guard and dryer sheets. Wipe the interior of your tumbler with the dryer sheets and spray your media with the static guard. I'm an amateur pyro, so working with the chemicals I do, any stray static could easily kill me. Tumbling casings... not so much.

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BB

I inspect all my 223 cases and trim them after every shot just like you. The biggest problem I have is the primer pockets tend to get loose,when I find a loose primer pocket I mark that shell with a sharpie so they will never be loaded again after that final shot, and if there really loose I throw the entire shell. I would rather waste a few primers then have a problem.

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Those little 223 Migrate forward from the base fast. I can usually tell the loose primer pockets by the headstamp. The letters will get shallower and travel all the way to the edge of the rim!

Cases built on the 30-06 round remain stable at the head but thin just forward of the base.

So the little ones will generally tip you off to brass wear on the face of the head. Big rounds seperate exactly where the "band" is on a conventional magnum case.

Those primer sockets are a big item. They have to have a solid bottom free of crud and be seated against it.

I always use mag primers. Despite scuttlebutt they are not hotter. They just have thicker shells to handle more pressure. If you always use these and kiss them a bit with your seating tool a large pocket can be used but it gets too big fast.

I use 5.56 rather than 223 cases. The brass at the head is thicker and deforms less. They take less powder to achieve the same velocity and make a hotter, better round. Especially for those heavy bullets. Your charges will fill the case completely and be more uniform speed and pressure. With light (50 and under) bullets the 223 case is probably a better choice.

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BB

, and if there really loose I throw the entire shell. I would rather waste a few primers then have a problem.

There is a method to save them for a few more times. Take a ball bearing larger than the opening. Place it over the hole and pop it with a hammer. It will "bell the mouth" of the hole. The primer pocket will still be a bit large BUT the opening will get tighter.

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BBob ... Found that out about the light bullets in my AR. The 55's I was using at first ... factor mil spec ammo ... didn't punch round holes at 100 yds ... they were slightly elongated vertically so I knew there was a problem. That is also why I want to load my own. I will be using only 556 cases for the reloads ... haven't even tried a 223 through the rifle yet and probably won't unless someone I'm shooting with happens to have some extras they don't want to shoot. Thanks for all the suggestions ... I do appreciate it.

Mike F

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There is another angle you might consider especially with a twist as steep as yours.

Jackets on varmint bullets are thin. Almost any bullet that is designed to come apart onn a super small target will be damaged by your barrel. It can cause them to come apart from the centrifugical force. They often shed half a jacket and wobble downrange somewhere or just explode into pieces about 50 yards out. 8:12 won't do it on a hunting bullet or an FMJ (maybe). A varmint bullet or "zombie" round will. shoot poorly and may not even make it to the target.

There are very few bullets for the 223 that are designed to kill. For defense or hunting I suggest a 65 Gr. Barnes or Nosler partition.It is a good weight for 8:12 and is lethal. You miiight be able to shoot a 70 or 72 out of an 8:12. There is a night and day difference downrange between these bullets and anything offered by most other bullet manufacturers. Since the AR is such a strange duck and there have been so many twists over thhe years it is tough. With little baby bullets like the 223 their design is incredibly important.

Also, you want a blunt, almost round nose tip profile. And a flat base. Those tiny bullets don't have much bearing surface and it makes a big difference. A 50 gr Hornady spire poit boat tail does not have a straight spot on the side! A 62 gr Nosler flat base locks into the rifling along 3/8" Of its length. So heavy or light, when loading 223 notice the shape of the tip and stay away from boat tails. Use an expensive hunting bullet for defense or hunting. Learn what weight bullet shoots well in your barrel and don't deviate much more than 5 grains one way or the other and you are good to go!

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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BBob ... Found that out about the light bullets in my AR. The 55's I was using at first ... factor mil spec ammo ... didn't punch round holes at 100 yds ... they were slightly elongated vertically so I knew there was a problem.

Mike F

You might be "key holing". That is to say that EXACTLY where the round exits the barrel there is an uneven space that causes the burning gases to start flying out in a small space before the bullet gets fully out. The end of your barrel might have a nick or is just uneven. The bullet MUST clear the end of the barrel evenly or it will start to turn as it goes down range.

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Have only worked with muzzleloaders, accuracy depends very much on the muzzle crown. Always used a large spindle lathe with a 4-jaw on both ends to indicate the barrel true.

Cut a recess at the muzzle .020-.030 deep then with a very sharp tool-bit cut a small 45 degree chamfer on the muzzle end. complete with fine emery, slowing turning the lathe in both forward and reverse, until it was smooth enough to not tear the patch. Have fixed many commercial muzzle-loaders that were inaccurate this way.

Hope this helps, bob

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