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Metallic Reloader question

2493 Views 28 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  grntitan
So i'm wanting to start expoloring the metallic part of reloading. I'd say i have a pretty good grasp on the shotshell thing and i'm currently loading on a Pacific DL366. My goal is to be able to load .40~~.45~~.223/5.56~~.44 mag. all on the same machine. Is that even possible or do i need seperate machines for pistol and rifle? I think i'd like to find the MEC 600 jr. of metallic loaders. The only thing that scares me is i won't like it because its single stage. I'm really not a heavy duty metallic shooter but i think i can definately justify reloading by the amount i do shoot. Some have mentioned the Lee hand loader sets but after seeing one, i just don't think its for me. I'm not wanting to dump a butt load of money on equipment. I do already have accurate scales and a good deal of knowledge on reloading but i'm open for suggestions here.

How much(conservative figures, not your record LOL) can be loaded per/hr on a single stage machine? Will i hate myself if i go single stage?


So what machines do i want to explore? Which ones do you pass on.
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Dillon seems to be the go to loader for metallic progressive. Some of their machines will use conventional dies, some require Dillon dies.

I load primarily hunting loads and weigh every powder drop - so I use a single stage machine - A forster co-ax. They are probably the best single stage you can buy. RCBS rockchuckers are very good as well.

John
 

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A Rockchucker press made by RCBS would be a good choice. You will need 4 sets of reloading dies. You will need 4 shell holders for the shells you want to load. Also you will need a tool to clean the primer pockets, and a tool to chamfer the case necks. You will need case resizing wax and a powder measure. After you get things figured out you will be able to load about 100 shells in an hour. HMB
 

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Agree with Rockchucker- you do want to start with a single stage and maybe stay with it

The thing that differentiats metalic reloading from shotshell reloading- it is very possible to hurt or kill yourself or others if you make a mistake with metalic

Regards from Iowa

Gene
 

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The Dillon RL550 will do exactly what you want. It is a manual progressive and you change tool heads with dies for each caliber or keep the same tool head and just change dies. One allen screw holds the shell holder plate which is also changed for each size shell plus 2 screws IIRC for the priming system for large or small primers. After the initial setup in each caliber the changeovers are about 10 minutes max. Dillon also makes a Manual unit based on the 550 with a shell holder with the 4 most common head sizes (one at each holder position) and you load one round at a time through a complete cycle it is called the BL550 (Basic Loader 550)and does not have the automatic powder or primer features that are standard on the Progressive.

--- Chip King ---
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
100/hour ain't bad at all i'm taking notes, RCBS Rockchucker....... check. I'll look up your suggestions up later when i can read up.

I do like the sound of a manual progressive. I have a Pacific 300 like that. It would allow more attention to all stages indexing manually. I'll look at that Dillon too but i suspect its not gonna be within the range i want to spend.

Thanks for the help so for.......

Matt
 

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Forget all the case lubes and go with a Carbide resizing die, if you really want to put out some nice looking reloads, then thats where the fifth die comes in. It will resize the loaded round and put a tapered crimp on the case mouth. Added because of typo error, thats a 4 die set not 5 dies.
 

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I started with a RCBS Master Reloading Kit and a RCBS Accessory kit. In the accessory kit you will find a caliper (to measure case length and overall cartridge length) and other useful tools.

You will also need a set of dies, press shell holder, trimmer shell holder and possibly a trimmer cartridge mouth holder for each cartridge you intend to reload.

IMO, metallic reloading requires much more attention to detail than shot shell reloading. You will also IMO find that you will spend much more time in brass preparation than in actual cartridge assembly.

One very important consideration for metallic reloading is th keep track of the number of times a cartridge case has been reloaded. I put my cases into lots of 50, each in its own plastic box, and keep a record of how many times a lot has been loaded.

With shot shell, you are dealing with pressures in the 7,000 -11,000 PSI range. With metallic, you get into the 55,000 PSI and higher pressures so there is less margin for error.

Select, weigh and measure components carefully and ALWAYS follow the reloading manual.

Metallic reloading is to me a very enjoyable activity.

Ed Ward
 

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Go with the Dillon 550B!

It will load EVERYTHING except the .50 BMG!

I can load 200 9mm or .38spls in 15 minutes ... that includes getting everything together.
 

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Take a look at PW's metallic presses they work great.
http://reloaders.com/index.php

Another overlooked press is C-H http://www.ch4d.com/

If you want speed go with a progressive.

If you want control, go with single stage.
 

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I really like Redding presses and their dies as well. I load for several cartridges--.222 Remington; 22-250; .243 Win.; .32 H& R Mag; .38 Special/.357 Mag; .44 Special/Mag; 9mm Luger, just to name a few.

I particularly like the Redding Carbide Dies and their Profile and Taper Crimp dies.

I use the Redding T-7 Turret Pres.

Allen
 

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Before you buy any equipment, buy the Lyman #49 reloading manual. (Roughly $20)

It has a lot of valuable information on how to get started in metallic reloading, and will provide information for you to decide on single stage vs a progressive press.

It will also have reloading data for all the calibers you mentioned. As it is not published by a powder manufacturer, it has data for several different makes of powder.

Dan
 

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I don't honestly know you would ever load 100 shells an hour and a single stage press. I must seriously be missing something. Really.

Lets say you get 100 factory new shells:

Lube 100
Resize 100 so they are consistent and measure with caliper
Clean (gotta get that lube off) 100
Trim 100
Debur 100
Prime 100
Meter out powder for 100 (this will take all day by hand, I suggest a good dispenser, and even then still spot checking)
Seat bullets for 100 and measure with caliper

You can save a fortune on metallic reloading. However, pressures are much more higher and metallic loading is a lot more time consuming, especially single stage. It takes a while to get everything dialed in. Patience is a must and you really have to enjoy it.

The initial start up cost for even a simple set up is going to be much higher than 50 bucks for an old Mec Jr.

If your not looking at high volumes every weekend, a single stage press will be fine. It is what I use. I still use a balance scale.

Nick
 

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I've been handloading metallic cartridges since the mid-70s and still use a RockChucker IV. Unless you're into seeing how fast you can empty your gun's magazine and expect to go through an awful lot of ammo in the process, there's no need for speed when manufacturing ammunition. But I shoot to put small groups of holes in the target, not just to hear the gun go "bang" a lot. I will admit to seeing other shooters at my club who apparently have other goals...

I now load for over 30 cartridges and enjoy the time I spend at my bench.

Ed
 

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A Rockchucker is the way to go in most cases. I also have a Redding T-7 and really enjoy the idea that I simply rotate the head to access the next die. I own two progressives, both Hornady's and I have owned Dillons. The name of the game with rifle loading is acccuracy not volume so either the Rockchucker, Forrester or Redding T-7 will be perfect. Pistols use more rounds and accuracy is not always measured in sub MOA units so, some form of semi-progressive may be in order. The T-7 really steps out from the crowd then. It's not as fast as the Dillon but it allows much greater control over the finished product,
 

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grititan,

I have four Dillons, a Star and a Co-Ax.

Ahab is overstating what a normal person can do on a 550. I can barely run at that rate on my 1050's. Even Dillon does not rate the 550 at 800/hr - and they embellish their numbers by not counting the time to load primers and powder.

Without knowing how much you shoot, my advice is buy a used single stage or turret press. I started with the C0-Ax (35 years ago) as my "thing" at the time was to produce very accurate ammunition. I still use it, but it is expensive and overkill for what you need.

If I was buying a press now, I would likely go with the Hornady Lock-n-Load. Their system allows the dies to stay adjusted so it is much faster for caliber changes. (The Co-Ax does that too)

The Dillon 550B is not a good value when compared to the Hornady AP (Auto Progressive) - IMHO - and I have a 550B. I really like the added safety of auto indexing for pistol loading.

Don Verna
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks to all of you for the suggestions and advice. I have narrowed my search down to the RCBS Rockchucker and the Hornady Lock-n-Load. I think both of these will be more than enough machine to suit my needs. I'm leaning towards Hornady because i use their shotshell equipment and just feel comfortable with their customer service.

Thanks again,

Matt
 

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Just starting, then the RCBS Rockchucker is way to go, I've had mine since 1972. go carbide for your pistol cases (any non-bottle neck case), and you can never have too many add-on tools... You can't go wrong with RCBS or Redding dies, as said before you want to clean the primer pockets and Dillion 550, you will not be able to (yes but, don't go there) Think QUALITY and strive for HIGH QUALITY reloads other wise you just as well shoot factory stuff.... watch the DVD by Redding or Serria... then when you shoot action pistol, or need 1,000 per day, go with the Dillion 550....Grubby
 

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One suggestion - get the larger version of whichever loader you decide upon. I had a standard RockChucker for many years and never saw a reason to replace it until my son bought a rifle chambered for the 7mm STW back when that cartridge was first chambered in the Remington Model 700. We soon discovered that the cartridge's length made placing the bullets in the case mouth when the case was in the shell holder or inserting a case with a bullet in the mouth into the shell holder difficult. That's when I bought the RockChucker IV (the "IV" stands for the loader's four-inch opening) and since then, I've begun loading for numerous other lengthy cartridges that wouldn't have fit into my old RC easily.

Ed
 
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