Single Stage vs Progress for Newbie

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by CleanShot, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    Hello

    I have been doing some preliminary research about presses to get started reloading. At first I was taken aback by the cost of getting started so I thought I'd put it off until I was ready to start longer range shooting. Right now my range only goes out to 300 yards and I spend most of my time still learning at the 100 yard mark. But as I was reading more about reloading I saw some recommendations that newbies should start out with a single stage press and aim for precision rather than producing large volumes of rounds. The idea was that doing small volumes with less fancy equipment makes you focus on each step and getting things right and learning rather than production speed. It seems the single stage presses drop the entry price quite a bit making it more approachable as well.

    However I wanted to get your thoughts on this. I was originally looking at a Hornady Lock N Load AP for maybe sometime in the future but something like an RCBS or Lee single stage might get me started sooner. Thing I don't want to do I spend on something I'll quickly out grow however.

    Opinions?

    Thanks
    Sam
     
  2. Black Tail Hunter

    Black Tail Hunter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Opinions on this will vary, and here is mine. Few progressive presses will render the consistancy and accuracy desired for LR shooting. A few turret presses will but those are really not a true progressive press.

    For starting out, and obtaining maximum accuracy get a good single stage. Rcbs has several nice ones (as well as several other mfgr's). And can be bought for a reasonable amount of money.

    They also offer a neat add on for their Rock Chucker press called a "piggyback" which turns a single stage into a progressive press. With some tinkering they can be pretty good for high volume loading, and then removed for more accurate single stage loading.

    You have to start somewhere, so I would start simple and learn the basics. Then add on to that as time, money and experience allows. Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. rcoody

    rcoody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,022
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    If you are a volume shooter like pistols or ar's you might want a progressive.

    If you are a rifle shooter and are loading for precision then single stage is the way to go.

    I only load for precision. I use a Forster co-ax. It is a little more money than the rockchucker. Now I started with a rockchucker and still have it.

    If reloading is something that you know you are not going to lose interest in in the next year or so you should think about the co-ax. There are features to it that do make loading precision ammo easier.

    Same with dies. You can turn out good ammo with your standard rcbs dies but if you really want to have a chance at turning out precision ammo you should look at forster and redding dies.

    sort of buy once cry once
     
  4. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    What cartridge do you intend to load?

    You will never regret having purchased a quality single stage press no matter what else you add to your bench over time.

    A good compromise for you might be the Lee Classic Turret Press. It can be used in single stage mode or auto indexing mode simply by removing the indexing rod. The press turns out ammo with very low runout when the user does their part. I have both the Lee Classic Turret (2) and the Lee Classic Cast single stage ... and ... two Redding Ultramag single stage presses on my bench. You won't hear any negative comments from me about a single stage press.

    I agree with the comment on the dies, especially the bullet seat die. Spending a little extra money there pays big dividends in the long run.

    Whatever equipment you get, take the time to learn to use it properly and pay attention to the details. Basic reloading steps are dirt simple. The devil is in the details.
     
  5. lynxpilot

    lynxpilot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    I enjoy and treasure my time shooting, but honestly I don't go through that many rounds. I'm doing precision long range stuff and in expensive cartridges, so production isn't and likely never will be my goal.

    When I started looking at reloading, I was still experimenting with different calibers and guns and ended up sparing no expense and bought a Dillon RL-550B with about a dozen quick change kits. It was the opposite of what I needed. I'm sure the Dillon is good quality, certainly good customer service, but the progressive was geared around making lots of rounds quick. One thing a progressive does is volumetric powder measurement. I'm no fan of that at all because the variations are way more than I like for consistency.

    I ended up getting two Lee Classic Cast single-stage presses for the two cartridges I shoot almost exclusively now. It's a slow process, but every round gets meticulous attention and with that comes consistency. The reason I got two was because one of my pet cartridges is 50 BMG, otherwise I would only have one.

    My powder measure is an electronic scale that I keep calibrated and the dispenser is a spoon. My rounds are within 0.1 gr in powder weight. I know the weight of every round, as opposed to progressives where you have to pour it out of the casing to check it.

    Most of the popular brand single stage presses are fine. Dies are critical (and keep them clean!).
     
  6. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    7mm Rem Mag and 243 Win for now...
     
  7. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    Rifle shooting mainly.
    7RM, 243Win (for now)
    Ok so we got:
    • Forester Co-Ax
    • RCBS Rock Chucker
    • Lee Classic Turret
    • Lee Classic Cast
    • Redding Ultramag

    Will any of them do? Is there a preference? Do most people get 1 single stage press for each cartridge they are shooting or am I misreading lynxpilot?
     
  8. Three44s

    Three44s Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Lynxpilot is loading 50 bmg with one of the presses.

    Otherwise, one press would be fine.

    Other's do in fact set up two or even three single stage presses and don't have to back out one die for another ....... they just set up each die in a press and move press to press. That's set of dies for one caliber in a series of presses.

    If you are looking for accuracy in rifle and still using a conventional press then the Coax is the best on your list.

    The RC is a very good press but for the money, the Lee Classic cast is more press for less.

    I have the Classic turret from Lee and it's not going anywhere but you watch the turret as a cartridge moves into any die and you see a movement as it lifts first on the side where the die is that's being engaged and then more as the turret fully seats itself in the top of it's movement regime.

    That's why a Coax gets my nod even though I don't own one yet. You have snap in and snap out die change and a limited float that still retains alignment.

    The RC and Lee Classic single stage presses are screw in or lock in die engagement and therefor, self-alignment is not allowed.

    I have the Hornady LNL progressive and like it a lot ....... it will never be my "accuracy" press ......... they are built for volume. They will produce accurate ammo ...... but not in the realm of long range rifle.

    My main single stage is a Redding Boss and I would trade it for a Coax in a heartbeat ..... it's a good press but the coax is a great press.

    Three 44s
     
  9. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    I found the Forster Co Ax for $300 shipped. Is that decent?

    Is there a newbie shopping list for reloading? What else do I need?
     
  10. LoneTraveler

    LoneTraveler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    512
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    For Long Range or target shooting Single Stage is the way to go. RCBS RockChucker is a place to start, It supplies power to do any sizing on large case with ease. I bought a RCBS Jr. in 1966 have kept it clean and lubed it still serves me well. The Jr. is now my seating press because you can feel the bullet sliding into the case. I bought a RCBS Rock Chunker and I use it for sizing only.

    Get a press that develops its power in the press not how much pressure you put on the handle or you will have to have a very solid heavy table to size on. My Rock Chucker is mounted on a padded board, I C clamp to the kitchen table and Full Length resize 338 WM and 300 WSM very easy.

    A good Reloading Manual, A Single Stage press, Accurate dies, A good hand priming tool, A good set of scales and a good funnel, with your ability will make accurate safe loads.

    Case trimming and neck turning tools will come next.

    A little suggestion. If you buy a RCBS Hand Priming tool, Order your Shell holders in sets. This tool uses a standard shell holder and it takes work to remove the shell holder from the press and put it in the priming tool just to prime 10 shells and return it to the press. Just to prime 10 cases with a different type primer.

    Good Luck, Safe Happy Loading and Shooting
     
  11. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    No one has yet asked the most important question - what is your budget?

    Under the "buy once" rule I bought the CoAx (love it) and the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 (double love it). The CoAx comes with its own primer but you'll need spares for the priming tool as somewhere along the way you might jam a primer in there and need a replacement.

    I have found my Forster Case & Cartridge Inspector to significantly help in sorting out "bad" brass from "good" brass. I sort by neck thickness and runout and it does make a difference. Ironically it REALLY seemed to help with my 35 Remington accuracy; who would have guessed.

    My Forster original case trimmer does a great job at trimming, and uses the same arbors as the Inspector above, so I buy less parts.

    While I have all different types of dies, for your 2 loads I would look at a good full length die, a Lee collet die for the neck (helps also to straighten the brass and can "recover" some bad ones) and a micrometer style seating die whether Forster or Redding. Those would get you a lot of precision for the money. Even if you started with a Lee set for each you could add the micrometer seating dies later. I'm always amazed how the Lee collet die can often produce straighter ammo than very expensive neck bushing dies.

    The Hornady OAL guage and comparator set is an inexpensive way to use your digital calipers to measure loads and be sure you are getting the same OAL for each one.

    Those are the tools that I use on a regular basis that seemed to make the most difference to me. Others may wish to add or subtract based on their experience.
     
  12. rcoody

    rcoody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,022
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    $300 is about right. Sometimes they can be hard to find.

    just remember you must have a good dial caliper

    buy the match forster or redding dies. For a bolt gun I would buy the lee collet neck sizing die and only use my full length sizing die for the first loading and when the brass starts to get a little snug on chambering.

    Lots of different primers out there. I have never used the one on my co-ax. I use this. It is kind of old timey like me but has a great feel seating the primer. Takes a little practice to learn to load the primer tube but after you figure it out its actually pretty quick. Co-Ax® Primer Seater w/ E-Z-Just Shell Holder Jaws - Forster Products


    The hand primer I would use is the Priming Tool


    brass trimming. Don't do it too much. I find my guns like the brass about half way between min and max. Short necks really screw up neck tension. I hate trimming brass with my hand trimmer. I found this and never looked back.
    New Page 1

    powder scales: electronic powder dispensers are all the rage nowadays. I have one. My opinion is they are pretty fast and accurate enough for most ammo but if you really want precision I would get a old timey manual powder dispenser and a really good beam scale and drop your powder charge weigh it and trickle the last of the load.

    as you learn there will be lots more gadgets you will just have to have

    Oh I forgot. You have to decide how you want to clean your brass. You must have clean brass before you resize. Most common is a tumbler and media. They are really cheap. then there is ultrasonic and wet tumbling in stainless media. Takes some study do decide.
     
  13. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,064
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Lots of excellent advices provided.

    Keep it simple for starters and start with the basics (you don't have to get all of them, esp. the nice things to have all at once)... enjoy the learning process and as you gain more experience (and of course fund$), you'll come up with your own wish list or must have as you add gadgetries to your reloading inventory.

    This is just is JMHHO but brass prep is the most labor intensive and is my least favorite of the reloading part.

    Happy safe reloading and enjoy!
     
  14. rcoody

    rcoody Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,022
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    This is just is JMHHO but brass prep is the most labor intensive and is my least favorite of the reloading part.

    I agree 100%. That is why I buy lapua brass. With it all I do is full length resize, check trim length which I have never found needed trimming, Chamfer the case mouths and prime and load.