Single Stage vs Progress for Newbie

Dr. Vette

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To add to my previous post and the comments since then, most of my reloading items were Christmas or birthday gifts. Start out with the basics and keep your list of "gifts" up to date all year long. In a couple of years you can get a long way on reloading tools.
 

tailbon3

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Aug 24, 2009
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Ok, I have a crazy idea for you. If you really, really want to start cheap, go with the Lee Breech Lock Hand press
Breech Lock Hand Press - Lee Precision

It costs about $30 on amazon and can be handy to have when you are at the range. I even used it once on a hunt to seat my bullets just a hair deeper in the case, but that is a whole other story :)

Ok, crazy ideas aside.. the folks here are super helpful. I have learned so much from this website. Here are a few threads with TONS of helpful info. The first link below has lots of discussion on reloading equipment. One of the others has some very helpful youtube videos.

http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f28/what-setup-beginner-reloader-143285/
http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f28/new-reloader-questions-151604/
http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f28/reloading-help-146598/index2.html
 

CleanShot

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Bergen County, NJ
I'm not looking to go super cheap however this can be a pretty expensive hobby to start picking up. I can tell you since I started hunting in 2013 I've spent a fortune. I didn't have any family or friends who hunted so starting from scratch you can really ring up a bill.

Compound bow $1200
Sluggun $1000
22LR $500
Shotgun $600
243 win $1600
7RM $1600

And I'm not counting Camo, tree stands, harnesses, accessories, cleaning supplies, range memberships, etc. There is only so much I can spend without the wife beginning to cringe. My choice is start reloading now on a cheap setup or hold off and buy something nicer later. I thought there might be an advantage to just starting to reload without the fancy stuff. That's why I noticed some folks recommending the cheaper equipment with nice dies. That's the source of the questions.
 

gohring3006

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Any of the single stage presses will work for what you want to do. I use the CO-AX and Hornady lock n load. I use them mainly because of the die setup, once I set them I don't have to screw the dies in and out of the press. I would recommend the single stage for a beginner, its just easier to keep track of all the stages of reloading, especially charging cases. I will say that I have shot against guys using turret presses,progressive presses and every kind of single stage there is, and they all are capable of making very accurate ammo. I used to think my CO-AX was king of presses, but they all can do well with a meticulous guy doing the loading..
 

rcoody

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I'm not looking to go super cheap however this can be a pretty expensive hobby to start picking up. I can tell you since I started hunting in 2013 I've spent a fortune. I didn't have any family or friends who hunted so starting from scratch you can really ring up a bill.

Compound bow $1200
Sluggun $1000
22LR $500
Shotgun $600
243 win $1600
7RM $1600

And I'm not counting Camo, tree stands, harnesses, accessories, cleaning supplies, range memberships, etc. There is only so much I can spend without the wife beginning to cringe. My choice is start reloading now on a cheap setup or hold off and buy something nicer later. I thought there might be an advantage to just starting to reload without the fancy stuff. That's why I noticed some folks recommending the cheaper equipment with nice dies. That's the source of the questions.

Looks like you like nice stuff. Women buy jewelry and men buy guns and fishing tackle. Buy her a nice diamond and she probably won't mind if you buy your toys.

You will have to ask yourself will I be happy with this equipment or will I always wish I had bit the bullet and spent another $100. only you can answer that. I loaded for 20 years with a rockchucker and rcbs dies. Only when I got the long range bug did I learn about all the stuff out there.

I tell those if you get into reloading because you think it is cheaper you won't last.

If you get into reloading because you are trying to squeeze the best accuracy out of your rifle you will be hooked for life.

trying to shoot those tiny groups consistently is addicting.
 

CleanShot

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Looks like you like nice stuff. Women buy jewelry and men buy guns and fishing tackle. Buy her a nice diamond and she probably won't mind if you buy your toys.

You will have to ask yourself will I be happy with this equipment or will I always wish I had bit the bullet and spent another $100. only you can answer that. I loaded for 20 years with a rockchucker and rcbs dies. Only when I got the long range bug did I learn about all the stuff out there.

I tell those if you get into reloading because you think it is cheaper you won't last.

If you get into reloading because you are trying to squeeze the best accuracy out of your rifle you will be hooked for life.

trying to shoot those tiny groups consistently is addicting.

I'm certainly not interested in reloading for cost savings. I would have even if reloading saved you 25% off factory ammo it would take a **** long time to recover your equipment coat. I'm completely in it for the accuracy. As a new shooter it's a catch 22. Do you wait until you are accurate enough for reloading to make a difference or will you never know if you're marksmanship is up to par if you're shooting inaccurate ammo? I'm trying to take out the variables so I can put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the man behind the rifle.

My wife isn't going to stop me from buying anything I want. She's pretty **** cool but there are budgets to be balanced and I need to be fair with the spending so she too can buy what she wants. So really this is a matter of what I mentioned earlier. Do I buy something nice now or buy something ok now to just get started? One thing that is always in the back of my mind is also will I be into it enough to justify the cost of the nice stuff and and if I am into it will I be satisfied with the cheap stuff. First world problems as the saying goes.
 

CleanShot

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That reminds me. I recently saw this video. I'm sure you guys have all seen this dudes videos. He seems to be knowledgeable and can shoot out some serious distances. He says he still uses a Lee Challenger as his main press. Maybe that subconsciously sparked my internal debate on this.

[ame]http://youtu.be/auazxCSXUzk[/ame]
 

gohring3006

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I'm certainly not interested in reloading for cost savings. I would have even if reloading saved you 25% off factory ammo it would take a **** long time to recover your equipment coat. I'm completely in it for the accuracy. As a new shooter it's a catch 22. Do you wait until you are accurate enough for reloading to make a difference or will you never know if you're marksmanship is up to par if you're shooting inaccurate ammo? I'm trying to take out the variables so I can put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the man behind the rifle.

My wife isn't going to stop me from buying anything I want. She's pretty **** cool but there are budgets to be balanced and I need to be fair with the spending so she too can buy what she wants. So really this is a matter of what I mentioned earlier. Do I buy something nice now or buy something ok now to just get started? One thing that is always in the back of my mind is also will I be into it enough to justify the cost of the nice stuff and and if I am into it will I be satisfied with the cheap stuff. First world problems as the saying goes.
I'm confused, the way I'm reading your post, it seems you think if you buy a single stage, it will be cheap. If you want a very good single stage that's pricey, get a CO-AX if you want a very good single stage that is not as pricey, get a Rock Chucker. Same with a progressive, get a Dillon if you want a pricey one, or get a Lee if you don't want to pay as much.

I would be willing to bet, that 99% of precision long range shooters, use a single stage. And probably 99% of high volume AR and pistol shooters use progressive. One buddy of mine bought the Lee progressive as a beginner and he tried to sell it to me Sunday, he has a Lee breach lock single stage on the way. He had a primer go off while loading and he's over it....
 

CleanShot

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I'm confused, the way I'm reading your post, it seems you think if you buy a single stage, it will be cheap. If you want a very good single stage that's pricey, get a CO-AX if you want a very good single stage that is not as pricey, get a Rock Chucker. Same with a progressive, get a Dillon if you want a pricey one, or get a Lee if you don't want to pay as much.

I would be willing to bet, that 99% of precision long range shooters, use a single stage. And probably 99% of high volume AR and pistol shooters use progressive. One buddy of mine bought the Lee progressive as a beginner and he tried to sell it to me Sunday, he has a Lee breach lock single stage on the way. He had a primer go off while loading and he's over it....

I probably wasn't clear. So the debate started as a Hornady AP vs Single Stage. I think it seems most people are clear that single stage is what's right for me. The question for me at this point is get a lee kit and see how things go then upgrade as needed or just wait a bit then jump to the Co-Ax and some Forster/Redding dies.
 

Three44s

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As I see it you've got about four or five single stage presses to chose from:

The Challenger, Rock Chucker, Lee Classic cast and the Coax.

I'll tell you that the Challenger is no flake. The Chucker is the gold standard. The Classic cast is the new gold standard and the Coax is the top of the line.

As you trade up in presses, you would find that accuracy improves with equipment and technique as well.

You can take a Challenger in expert hands and turn out some real humdingers.

You could take the Coax and turn out some humdingers while wearing blind folds.

If you buy a Challenger, lets say ........ we can coax you thru it and you'll get pretty good pretty soon ........ and you'll never likely let go of it ....... you may still yearn for a Coax and even buy one later ........

Or you can just dig deeper and get the Coax and never look back.

I don't have one ...... yet ......... but someday I plan on landing one ....... I have been loading since the fall of '75 and I have loaded a LOT of good ammo.

Now as far as dies ....... there is no die for the money better than the Lee Collet die.

When I am thinking of a new to me cartridge ........ the FIRST thing I check on is whether Lee makes the collet die for it.

Trust me ......... the Collet is the way to go for a bolt gun newbie and everyone else as well.

They are VERY good and very reasonable!


........... and no lube on the cases ......... either! Just a little care of the die occasionally.

If the collet die on a good press does not do the trick ....... your next step would be hand dies and a hammer or an arbor press ...... we are talking what many in the benchrest community use.

For me ..... I look back from my age at 59 to me as a kid ........ and I would buy the Coax and be done with it ........ I don't regret the path I have been on but that's one change I would have made if someone gave me a "do over button".

The main thing is get on the bus and start having fun and kicking #$%#$%%#

Most of the equipment is pretty close to each other ..... it's more important that your are in the game than what color your equipment is.

Best regards

Three 44s
 

Dr. Vette

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Now as far as dies ....... there is no die for the money better than the Lee Collet die.

When I am thinking of a new to me cartridge ........ the FIRST thing I check on is whether Lee makes the collet die for it.

Trust me ......... the Collet is the way to go for a bolt gun newbie and everyone else as well.

They are VERY good and very reasonable!


Best regards

Three 44s

LOL. I often have the same thought. I've modified Lee 25-06 and 7mm Rem Mag collet dies to work with 257 Wby and 7mm Wby cartridges just so I can use them.

The other thing I look for is whether or not I can get Lapua brass for the cartridge. It's why my latest long range rifle is a 243 Win.
 

SidecarFlip

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Over the years, I've used every brand from Pacific Tool and Gage to Lee. Far as I'm concerned, Whidcden dies are the best available and also the most expensive...

You get what you pay for.

One nice feature of a Whidden die is the floating sizer ball and floating bushing retainer. Very nice inovation an d not available on any other die.
 

CleanShot

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Bergen County, NJ
I'd be reloading 243 win and 7RM for now. I believe the former has Lapua brass while the latter does not.

Sounds like a lot of great advice. I think I'm going to wind up with a CoAx and a Hornady Lock N Load AP over time but for now I'll hunt for a CoAx deal.

Dies sound like a whole other world of pain and learning. I was under the impression the RCBS and Redding dies were the go tos but if Lee offers something as well it sounds like even more options to pick from.
 

CleanShot

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By the way does the CoAx come as a kit or do I need to figure out the scales etc separately?

Also why hasn't anyone mentioned the Hornady Classic press? Not in the same league?
 
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