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RCBS Grand reloader:anyone using one?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Razorback, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Razorback

    Razorback TS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Looks like a really nice loader. Your thoughts please? Thanks John
     
  2. warren

    warren Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Fernley, Nevada
    I've had one for three years now very nice loader. No complaints parts a free including shipping.

    warren
     
  3. Shootrman

    Shootrman Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    766
    The company is great to work with. Easy machine to work with and can take a shell out at any station easily
     
  4. Raystownbob

    Raystownbob Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Central PA
    I agree with the above posters. I picked up a used one a while back and it's been great. Even if you are not the original purchaser parts are free from RCBS and they are very helpful. I wish had made the move to one long ago.
     
  5. CR7Prez

    CR7Prez Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    I've had mine for 3 years now and have put over 50,000 hulls through it with minimal breakdowns. Mostly my fault. I can run AA's, STS, Gun Clubs or Federals with absolutely no problems. I also own 2 MEC 9000's and I'm happy with them also. Although, there is no comparison in quality and performance, the Grand is head & shoulders above the MEC's. A great reloader in MHO.
     
  6. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,457
    Location:
    SE PA
    I've had mine for a long time. I bought it in '95 or early '96. It was one of the earlier units and it did have a few problems, mostly centered around breaking fingers in the wad guide an issues with the tip of the primer drop tube.

    I called once to get a new primer drop kit and a new wad guide. The lady I talked to said the tip was a pain to install, so to save me the effort she was going to send me a complete new drop tube with the tip already installed.

    The second time I called for a new wad guide, I asked them to also send a spare. I was told they had changed the material it was made from and I wouldn't need a spare. I was also asked if I had changed two or three specific parts. I replied I had not, and hadn't had a problem with them. It doesn't matter she said, we've made improvements and I'm sending you the new replacement parts.

    I put the parts in and haven't had a complaint since. Many years after I bought the unit, some of the little plastic gizmos that hold the hull in place under the platen began to wear. On two locations the resizing dies would pull the hull out of the platen and I'd have to manually extract it. I asked for two replacement gizmos. I was told that since I was going to remove the platen to replace them, I might as well replace all of them. So I was sent enough gizmos and springs to do so.

    The press is impressive, as is RCBS' customer service. Aside from the few easily fixed glitches in the first year, it has been problem free. I loaded a LOT of shells- enough to wear out a couple of the plastic hull retaining gizmos. Since I replaced them a couple of years ago, I'm again problem free.

    I like my Grand. If it ever disappeared, I'd buy another.
     
  7. pca7ggr

    pca7ggr Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    122
    The issues I've had were due to trying to load hulls too many time. Once the petals get FUBAR'd its best to chuck them or they many hand up the loaders. Not the loaders fault but the cheap ass user - ;>)
     
  8. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,599
    Leo has one and it's been great....
     
  9. 101Diamond

    101Diamond TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    166
    Got mine when they first came out, I believe in March of 1993. They have made several updates and these a free for the asking. Great customer service.
     
  10. William Perry

    William Perry Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    56
    I have two. One 20 ga. and one in 12 ga. I've had several different brands and I prefer these. Only problem I ever had was when I ordered my new 20 ga. loader. Manual said it came with 7/8 oz. shot bushing. After much ado I discovered there was a 1 1/8 shot bushing installed in it. Only quality problem I ever had. Seems they work better after a few thousands cycles.
     
  11. Rubicon_Joey

    Rubicon_Joey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    585
    I've had a MEC 650, Hornady 366 and now a P/W 800+. My father owned a RCBS grand that was nice but, had too many plastic parts to break. I posted this little write up a while back about my experiences with them.

    The Hornady 366 was a great reloader, but just wasn't as well built as the others. If you want to remove a shell, you have to remove all of the shells prior to the shell you want to remove as you rotate the shell plate back. The hoppers aren't as large as the others and are pretty tall. They also don't have a drain feature like the the others. To empty the shot and powder you either have to wait until you run out or tilt them upside down to get them off the press. Gauge changes are possible, but requires adjusting everything each time you change. It would be simpler to buy a used press in the other gauge, which wouldn't cost much more than the die kit from Hornady anyway.

    The RCBS grand, has too many plastic parts. My father had to replace several of the shell holders and the charge bar lever. However, they have excellent customer service. If you break parts, they replace them for free, for life. They are also pretty good with technical assistance if you need it. It has the powder/shot drains and nice,large,clear hoppers, which is real nice. The primer catch tray is actually a jar the mounts below the reloader. For me it's in the way and would be prone to getting hit with my knees when sitting at the press. The center shaft also extends below the reloader and requires the press be edge mounted. Die changes are simple and can be done relatively quick. There isn't much price difference between it and the P/W.

    The P/W 800+ is what I currently own and I like it the best. It uses the shell holders to re-size the hull. The hoppers are large like the Grand, but they aren't clear. However, they are translucent enough to see the shot/powder levels. Also like the grand it has a powder/shot drain. Die changing with it is as simple as pulling down the handle, removing a plug and then swapping the dies. The other two require that you pull the charge bar (which is easier on the grand due to it's design). The design of the 800+ is somewhat similar to the 366 in that the shell plate is mounted between two uprights and moves up into the dies. However, it is much more robust. The only part I ever anticipate replacing are wad guides. Everything else is well built and will probably never wear out in a couple lifetimes. There are some plastic linkages, but they are somewhat of a fail safe (not allowing you to break other parts) and would requires some substantial force to break. I, like an idiot didn't realize I was trying to prime a hull that hadn't been deprimed and managed to dent the head of hull in enough to fully cycle the press without breaking anything. If that didn't break anything, I can't imagine what would.
     
  12. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    7,759
    I heard from another shooter last weekend someone has a hydraulic system for the RCBS they are starting to sell. I wish they would make one for the Dillon.
     
  13. Jim Porter

    Jim Porter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,313
    I have three PW's. All work well. All have had breakdowns. I have BOUGHT enough primer tray/drop units that I now keep one on hand. I have come to know Wiz by first name buying primer rams and stuff.

    I bought a Grand the first year they came out because I had a friend that was a sales rep for them. IT IS AND WILL BE MY FIRST CHOICE. There were some problems in the first year or so. Wad fingers would not last. The inside diameter of the final crimp die was too small for paper hulls causing them to stick. There have been some in line changes, all for the asking. All of these things have been fixed. I did find out the hard way that you simply cannot run reclaimed shot without extensive cleaning. Ease of operation and load development is 100 times better than the PW's. Hydraulics don't seem to be needed as they have far better leverage than anything else I have used. Shot hoppers hold 30#. If you buy Hornady powder bushings the weight range is limitless.
    Oh, and mine has over 100,000 rounds through it.

    Buy one, keep it clean, learn the workings and you will never want another loader.
     
  14. August1940

    August1940 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    I have a Grand that I bought in 2003. Some of the plastic parts have broken, a couple of breaks were my own fault, and the little clips that hold the shells require fairly frequent replacement, but RCBS sends new ones when ever you need them.

    The only problem I have , is occasionally , the primer won't drop into the tube, or the primer release collet won't drop the primer into the slide that slides the primer under the hull.

    I have been in contact numerous times with the tech dept. and they have sent me new parts, but I still have intermittent failure to drop primers.

    They are supposed to be sending me a new primer drop assembly, but they are presently on back order.

    I also have trouble getting tight crimps on AA/HS grey and red hulls. I get center holes in the crimp.I have tried every combo of wad, shot,crimp adjustment, but still can't get good consistent crimps.

    Any other type of hull will crimp perfectly, just the AA/HS hulls give me problems.

    I have had MEC before, and won't go through that again. Spolar is too expensive for me, PW doesn't intrest me, and not sure about Dillon.

    If I could get this primer drop thing fixed, the Grand would be the best one in my mind.

    Regards August
     
  15. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    5,475
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    I bought one of the first ones and had the same problems as the others who bought early machines. As I am a writer for Shotgun Sports Magazine, the customer service department connected me with the chief engineer for the Grand loader. He used my machine as a test mule, sending me prototype parts to evaluate. We compared notes on adjusting the loader and I convinced him that including a 20-gauge lower shot drop tube would eliminate most of the problem of folded-over wad petals. I also came up with an easy way to see if the wad seating depth is correct and how to tune it by shortening the lower shot drop tube or adding knurled brass washers between the upper and lower tubes to seat the wad deeper. If the shot drop gate moves fully rearward and stops j-u-s-t before the operating handle bottoms out, the wad depth is correct and you should not get buckled hulls. Once we tried a part that didn't work well, he would send me a new loader with the current updates and I would ship mine back for evaluation.

    They are a super loader in my opinion and I wish I could have kept mine as between our efforts, it was a perfect specimen. I have arthritis and my shoulder joints would hurt from the rotational movement of operating any loader, even a buttery-smooth one like the Grand. I don't care for the noise and clutter of hydraulic systems so when Jim Benn introduced his AutoMate electric operator for MEC loaders, I bought one and still use it, although Jim swapped it out for an AutoMate II when he released that updated operator.

    To show you what RCBS' service is like, my loader was damaged in shipment even though I paid a UPS shipping station to package it as well as ship it. The buyer thought he was in for a long fight with UPS and called RCBS to get the necessary parts so he could use the loader in the meantime. Even though he told them what happened to it, RCBS sent him all the parts at no charge! Not many companies warranty shipping damage but RCBS did.

    Ed
     
  16. Proofdoubles

    Proofdoubles Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    199
    RCBS was helpful but the press was not. Sold it.
     
  17. tracyhunter

    tracyhunter Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    700
    They must be OK you don't see them for sale very often.If you do see one they are asking new price.
     
  18. August1940

    August1940 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    Tin Man 88

    I have watched the primer as it is being moved over the tube, and most times it moves nicely over and falls flatly down the tube.

    sometimes it seems as though it gets a little cocked before dropping and then hangs up. If I just put a primer under the hull at that point, and then move on, most times it will drop the primer on the next lever pull.

    I will pay closer attention to the way the primer moves. Thanks for the tip.

    August
     
  19. smittys800

    smittys800 TS Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Also A grand owner, and love it comparedto the Mec and old PW I had. As for the primer issue, same deal here, will skip a primer from time to time. I pre-load the primer tube, can get a total of 200 primers that way, and also have a small mirror just below the powder stage, so I can see if there is a primer there or not, sure has saved a lot of lost powder with the mirror.

    Other that that, customer service is top notch, I've had to argue with them on the phone to take my CC info as all I wanted to order was SPARE parts.

    Best money I have spent
    Smitty
     
  20. August1940

    August1940 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    Smitty.

    Your comment about pre loading the primer drop tube jarred my memory a little and I looked in my owners manual, and it does mention preloading the drop tube with 4 or 5 primers.

    This is a cure for my problem of intermittent failure to drop a primer, but presents another problem.

    After I finish loading , and no longer have a shell in the #1 de prime station, and continue to cycle the press, to finish the remaining hulls in the other stations, it wants to drop a primer into the priming station even though there is not a hull there to prime. Trying to double up on primers caused me to break the primer transfer bar once.

    This has caused problems when I am single loading a hull to experiment with a load, or to adjust a certain station on the press, such as pre-crimp or finish crimp, and only want to cycle one hull at a time.

    I solved this problem of trying to drop a primer when I don't want it to by inserting the primer shut off pin in the primer feed bar that sticks out of the side of the primer tray, and then sliding the spring off of the bottom of the primer transfer bar and sliding the transfer bar back out of the way, thus allowing the press to cycle with out actuating the primer drop collet onto the primer transfer bar.

    When I want to start progressive loading again, I engage the spring on the bottom of the primer transfer bar again,which lets it slide into it's normal position , remove the primer shut off pin, and start loading in normal progression again.

    Hope this isn't too confusing, but your comment about loading the tube with primers is what made me start thinking, and come up with a solution to a problem that was really starting to p--s me off!

    Any way, thanks for your post.

    Regards August
     
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