Best Press For Precision Shooting? (Single Stage vs. Turret)

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by DougD, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. DougD

    DougD Active Member

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    There's a lot of very experienced and knowledgeable people on this board and I am asking for your help with my selection of a reloaing press. I'm a USPSA shooter and I have done some reloading for .40 S&W on a Dillon 650 which turns out pistol ammo very quickly. However, my reloading experience is actually quite limited.

    I'm starting on a precision rifle project in .338RUM and I will have to reload for this. I don't really feel like a progressive press is the way to go for serious precision/accuracy so I am looking to buy a single stage or possibly a turret press.

    I like the Redding Model T-7 Turret Press because it looks like I could just set my dies once then leave them alone and switch back and forth as needed....but....is the T-7 suitable for precision work? The thing I DON'T like about single stage presses is the need to adjust dies every time they are changed out. Then again, there's the Hornady Lock and Load system which makes switching between dies go fast. But....is it reliable enough to load for true precision shooting? Here's one guy who thinks it is. What about an RCBS Rock Chucker Kit or one of those cheap/inexpensive Lee Single Stage kits ? What's the deal with the Forster presses and their snap-in system? It looks good but some reports make me think it is not the best choice for .338RUM.

    I'm not one of those guys who looks at reloading as a hobby or pursuit in and of itself. I'm only doing it as a means to an end (i.e. feeding a hungry rifle for long range precision shooting...it's the shooting I care about) so I'm obviously looking for the easiest but surest way to produce high-quality ammo. I am going to need a proper powder measure (and trickler?) too since the only one I have is the one on my Dillon 650. I also need a new scale since the one I have now drifts +/- .2 grains too often to be trusted for loading precision rifle stuff.

    I'd really like to hear some opinions on the best way to go here. (Keep in mind that I'm on a budget.) Reloading for long range precision shooting is a whole new world to me and I want to make sure I do this right. I need guidance from the gurus...

    Thank you for any help you can offer.

    Doug
     
  2. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    Most responders will tell you to get the press they use?? (Duh!!) Few will tell you "Don't get the XXX, I have one and it sucks". It's just the way these boards work.

    But keep in mind this.

    Shell holders are NOT precision devices on purpose - the "standing hight" is standardized so head space will be the same with all dies, but the fit of the rim is deliberatly sloppy so the case will self-align to the die.

    So all the hype about the press is nothing - Nada... the case will flop around until it finishes it's trip into the die, and then the precision of the die will determine the precision of the round. You can load great ammo on a dinky press, if the dies are great.

    So whether you buy a RCBS Jr. or a 30 pound animal like the C-H Champion, it makes no difference in the accuracy.

    The bigger presses will make the work easier because they have longer handles and more leverage.

    The T-Presses are handy if you load only one cartridge, and only a few of them... but most loaders soon find that these are not as solid for "big" or magnum cases.

    The Bonanza is nice, but impossible to use most bullet pullers with.

    The RCBS Ruckchucker is an OK middle sized press, but now that they are made in China, they are off of my personal list.

    The Redding large "O" frame is very good.
    The C-H Champion is the animal of the bunch at 30 pounds - and it's not cast aluminum, it's solid iron.

    Redding and Forster match dies are the best available.

    RCBS dies are OK.

    Hornady dies are much better than they should be for the price, and are better than RCBS.

    The US Palma team loads their 1000 yd ammo on a Dillon 550, so don't let anyone tell you that progressives can't load "serious" ammo.

    And I won't tell you which press I use. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     

  3. Centre Punch

    Centre Punch Well-Known Member

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    Hi Doug,
    Your precision rifle will tell us what type of handloading will best suit your needs.
    Are you having a 338 RUM built up by a smith or are you buying an out of the box rifle?
    I think it would be unfair to recommend a level of handloading and thus what type of press to use untill we know what type of rifle you have.

    Ordinary ammunition, loaded with ordinary dies, on an ordinary press would not fully utilize the accuracy potential of a custom rifle.
    Like wise, benchrest quality ammunition loaded on benchrest standard equipment, will be wasted on a factory rifle.
    Having said that i load all my ammo to benchrest standards whether its one of my custom rifles or one of my factory rifles.

    Ian
     
  4. DougD

    DougD Active Member

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    Good points all around. The rifle is going to be built by a gunsmith who specializes in custom tactical, hunting, and benchrest rifles. I'm supplying the parts (Rem 700 action, Krieger barrel, Tubb recoil lug, etc.) and Speedy Gonzalez at TG&Y rifles in Roanoke, Texas, will be putting it all together for me.

    Speedy and I talked quite a while about 338 Lapua vs. 338RUM and the best build for the money on a Remingtn 700 based, precision long range hunting rig. Based on Speedy's reputation and the rifles I have seen from him in the past, I'm going to need to cautiously reload to live up to my rifle's standards.

    Thanks for the inquiry and the good points.

    Doug
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi,
    I agree with all the above.
    I really believe the press isn't as important as the dies. They MUST be able to assemble rounds with less than .002 of bullet runout.
    But, also understand it is your responsibility to set it up correctly, and that may take you some time.
    What did Speedy recommend?
    Good luck to you.
    C'ya, John.
     
  6. Bart B

    Bart B Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    The RCBS Ruckchucker is an OK middle sized press, but now that they are made in China, they are off of my personal list.

    [/ QUOTE ]Hmmm. But using electro-mechanical systems whose parts, subassemblies and complete units comprising systems including the hardware and software that connects them so they'll get your feelings posted on this web site that are made in all corners of this globe is OK. Hmmm.
     
  7. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    The RCBS Ruckchucker is an OK middle sized press, but now that they are made in China, they are off of my personal list.

    [/ QUOTE ]Hmmm. But using electro-mechanical systems whose parts, subassemblies and complete units comprising systems including the hardware and software that connects them so they'll get your feelings posted on this web site that are made in all corners of this globe is OK. Hmmm.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    No... but with computers I have no choice - with loading equipment, I do!

    Hmmm yo' self!
     
  8. Bart B

    Bart B Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    No... but with computers I have no choice - with loading equipment, I do!

    [/ QUOTE ]I was referring to how you got your feelings out to the world. In that regard, you do have a choice; lots of them in fact. There are other ways to convey your feelings to the whole world besides using a computer-based communications system. You're smart enough to figure them out then use them when you're ready to. And they're all 100% made in the USA.
     
  9. dbhostler

    dbhostler Well-Known Member

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    A number of years ago a very well known gun writer did an article on precision reloading. He used progressive presses and single stage presses. I was very surprised when the loads were put on paper. The results were the same. I personally load .223 match ammo on a Dillon 550B, but I load others one at a time on a Sinclair/Hart press. They both work for me.
    db
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi, again,
    Just to give "Catshooter" a boost, I'll say I use hornady presses, BUT.
    I buy Redding Competition dies when I can, and Hornady dies if I can't. I have a couple others, but I almost never use them. (odd calibers).

    I'll even say that I'll buy the Redding dies even if I only load for them every few years. I have a 3 die set of Reddings in 7mm mag that I've never used, and I've had the set for over 2 years. 7 Mag isn't something I shoot very often. I like 6mm, and .30 cal better, and they're Redding's every one.

    How's that for an opinion?

    C'ya, John.
     
  11. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

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    Doug, I kind of feel that a good press and a good set of dies is better. I use a redding turret and I have owned several presses. I like the turret but the alterative is the Redding big boss press. I feel these presses are very well made and have used redding for a long time now. What I like about them is the ram is at its highest point when the handle bottoms out. Some presses I have owned acutually backed up slightly when the handle bottomed out. I don't know if it was a problem or not but I know I didn't like it You have stated that you are not a handload goonie so what I am suggesting here is the better the equipment the easier the job is. If it were me I would buy a Redding big boss press. ( There is one for sale on this site in the swap area or at least was)next I would use forester seating dies they are right and cheaper than redding and then buy redding sizing dies 1 type S neck die and a body die. stay away from lock-n-load bushings I tried them and did not think the trouble was worth the money. All you have to do with the redding and forester is set the die and lock the ring and everytime you screw the die in it will return to it orginial position. I have recently purchased the Redding case trimmer with the micrometer adjustment on it and I like it but I load several different cartridges. If you are mainly going to load 1 or 2 cartridges this is probley over kill, so I would suggest the standard Redding or the Forester the wilson is probely one of the best but the price goes up quiet abeit. Sinclair makes all kinds of small tools -primer pocket uniformer, flash hole deburrs, etc I use alot of there stuff. Next would be a priming tool. I like the RCBS Automatic Priming Tool I have it works sort of like your dillon stuff -put the primer in a tray flip and pick up with the tubes and install on the machine a go to town. It is quick and has good feel. A buddy has the sinclair priming tool and it is and excellant too but it isn't cheap. The extras required are expensive. The RCBS primong tool only requires a shell holder which you would already have for you dies. Then the scale is important. I personally use a balance beam scale with the Lee dip cups and a good trickler I like the Redding trickler because it is heavy. I have no good knowledge on the electric scales I enjoy the balance beam way so I stick with it. I do Have a RCBS 750 but I use it for weighing brass, bullets and shot for the 950 I have.
    I know you only asked about a press but I though you might want to know a little more. So I though I would give my 2 cents worth I hope this helps.

    RH
     
  12. Centre Punch

    Centre Punch Well-Known Member

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    Doug,
    rotorheads recommendation is the best you can get on a budget but i would use the Forster Ultra seater.
    The Redding "S" type neck die uses interchangeable neck bushings to size the neck.
    In order to fully utilise this type of die and to give your self consistant neck tension it is important that you neck turn your case necks.
    Tools for this are available from Sinclair and K&M services.
    The next step up from this would be Redding Competition dies with micrometer adjustable heads.
    The most accurate form of handloading does away with the convential 7/8 x 14 press and utilises hand dies and an arbour press.
    Just as a matter of interest, a full hand die set up from sinclair would work out cheaper then buying a convential press and compettiton dies.
    Check out this link: http://www.sinclairintl.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?category=search&item=KIT5&type=store

    Ian.
     
  13. Bart B

    Bart B Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    The most accurate form of handloading does away with the convential 7/8 x 14 press and utilises hand dies and an arbour press.

    [/ QUOTE ]I disagree. The best accuracy I know of has been done with conventional single-stage reloading presses using 7/8-14 full-length sizing dies. However, if one limits their scope of information to just what the benchresters do, then they will probably think the hand dies used with arbor presses are the way to go.
     
  14. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    I, being a benchrester, use both methods. I neck size, "bump" the shoulder .002", and de-prime with a 7/8 x 14 die that I made, and I seat my bullets with a straight line seater (like a Wilson) that I also made with the chambering reamer.
    "Neck sizing only" kind of went south, amongst BR shooters, a few years back. Most of the people that I shoot with are using a custom made "bump die" to ease the shoulder back about .002". This allows the bolt to close easier and avoids disturbing the rifle in the bags.