I think of progressive reloading presses a bit like slot machines, but instead of feeding coins into the machine and hoping for a payout, I feed components into the press and count my wealth by the number of rounds loaded. Progressive presses allow you to produce upwards of 500 rounds in an hour, and for anyone who does high-volume shooting, reloading with a progressive press makes perfect sense.
With the pull of the handle on a progressive press, many different operations are happening at the same time. Typically at Station 1 a case is resized and deprimed, at Station 2 the case is primed, powder is dropped into the case, and the case is flared to accept the bullet. At Station 3, the bullet is seated into the case, and at Station 4 the case is crimped to the bullet. Some progressives have more stations for additional operations.
Progressive presses can be broken down into two types: manual indexing and automatic indexing. With an automatic index, the shell plate rotates the cases to the next station automatically with each pull of the handle.
Progressive presses also allow the operator to install a powder measure, primer system, case feed system and bullet feed system, so essentially all the operator does at the start of a reloading session is fill the power measure, primer tube, case feed hopper and bullet feed tube, then sits back and starts cranking the handle. The setup is more complicated with a progressive machine, but once it is set up, it is like a tiny ammunition factory.
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