The RL 550B uses any standard 7/8×14-tpi dies as long as the dies deprime in the resize die. An operator can reload rifle and pistol cartridges in the RL 550B from small handgun calibers like the .32 ACP all the way up to large rifle calibers like the .338 Lapua Magnum. This four-station press comes with a powder measure, a priming system, dies, a tool head, hex wrenches and a catch bin. Just add components and adjust the dies to start. The press is manually indexed so the operator must rotate the shell plate by hand to advance a case to the next station. (<a target=blank href=https://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/pid/23594/catid/1/RL_550B>http://www.dillonprecision.com</a>; 800-762-3845)
This four-station loader is perfect if all you want to do is reload one handgun caliber. Station 1 resizes and deprimes a case; Station 2 primes the case, drops the powder and flares the case; Station 3 seats the bullet; and Station 4 crimps the case. Dillon ships the Square Deal with a powder measure, a priming system, dies and a tool head—everything you need to start reloading except cases, primers, bullets and powder. The press automatically indexes so all you have to do is manually load an empty case and bullet at the respective station. (800-762-3845; <a target=blank href=https://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/pid/25237/catid/1/Dillon_Square_Deal___039_B__039_>http://www.dillonprecision.com</a>)
The five-station XL 650 ups the production rate by using an automatically indexing shell plate. All the operator needs to do is place a bullet at Station 4 and crank the handle. With the optional case feeder you can dump a box of brass in the feeder and it will automatically feed cases right side up into the shell plate. The extra station—Station 3—offers an optional powder check, a sensor that goes into a case to monitor the level of powder. If there’s not enough powder or too much, an audible alarm sounds. This press comes with a powder measure, a priming system, a powder die, hex wrenches and a catch bin. (<a target=blank href=https://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/pid/23803/catid/1/XL_650>http://www.dillonprecision.com</a>; 800-762-3845)
Consider Hornady’s Ammo Plant press the company’s AP press on steroids. This kit includes a pistol bullet feeder and case feeder so all you do is dump bullets and cases into the respective feeders and then just crank the handle to produce a fully reloaded cartridge with every pull. The automatic indexing moves each station half of a stage on the down stroke and the other half on the upstroke for ultra-smooth functioning. Caliber changes take less than five minutes. (<a target=blank href=http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-Ammo-Plant-110-VT>http://www.hornady.com</a>; 800-338-3220)
The Pro 1000 progressive press from Lee Precision is designed for creating pistol calibers, from .32 S&W Long through .45 Colt, and small rifle calibers like the popular .223 Remington. Feed a bullet, pull the lever and a finished cartridge drops into the bin. Each stage’s operation is automatic except for manually placing a bullet in the case mouth. (262-673-3075; <a target=blank href=http://leeprecision.com/reloading-presses/progressive-presses/pro-1000/>http://www.leeprecision.com</a>)
The Lock-N-Load AP is a five-station press that uses Hornady’s patented Lock-N-Load bushing system, which makes the Lock-N-Load AP one of the quickest change-over progressive presses. Quick-change metering inserts allow an operator to switch from one powder to another with the push of a button. The universal case-retainer spring lets you quickly and easily remove and replace a case at any point in the loading process. (<a target=blank href=http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-AP>http://www.hornady.com</a>; 800-338-3220)
The Pro Chucker 7 is the only seven-station, auto-indexing press on the market, so an operator can fine-tune their reloading, like seating and crimping bullets, in separate stages, or use a bullet feeder or a Lock-Out or Powder Checker die. Seven stations means this press is highly customizable to your reloading needs and style. The quick-change drain tube allows you to drain the powder measure without removing it from the Pro Chucker press.(<a target=blank href=http://www.rcbs.com/Products/Presses-and-Kits/Progressive/Pro-Chucker-7-Progressive-Reloading-Press.aspx>http://www.rcbs.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
The RCBS Pro 2000 loads rifle and pistol rounds and accepts any standard 7/8×14-tpi dies. This five-station press allows for the use of an optional Powder Checker or Lock-Out die, so operators can seat bullets and crimp cases in separate operations. Quick-change die plates mean swapping out calibers is fast. If you have a need for more speed, an optional Auto Index upgrade is also available.(<a target=blank href=http://www.rcbs.com/Products/Presses-and-Kits/Progressive/Pro-2000-174;-Progressive-Press.aspx>http://www.rcbs.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
The Pro Chucker 5 is a five-station, auto-indexing press that features quick-change die plates for fast caliber changes and greater efficiency. The large 4.6-inch operating window means you can load all pistol and even large, magnum-length rifle cartridges. Plus, the Pro Chucker 5 can be converted from five- to seven- station operation with ease.(<a target=blank href=http://www.rcbs.com/Products/Presses-and-Kits/Progressive/Pro-Chucker-5-Progressive-Reloading-Press.aspx>http://www.rcbs.com</a>; 800-379-1732)
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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When it comes to defensive handgun ammo, there are three things that must be considered:...
by Richard Mann / Nov 25, 2015