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· Larry the Conservative
5,458 Posts
People load a lot of ammo with cheap equipment. That is a fact. The question is how much time you are willing to put into it.

With inexpensive equipment there will be functional problems that you will have to keep a eye on, things loosen up and must be re-tightened and there may be alignment problems with castings. Fit and finish on a $100 press is not going to be as nice as a $1000 press - this matters to some, not to others.

A lot of your happiness with a piece of any equipment is based on how little trouble you have with it. Progressive presses, by their very nature have a LOT of adjustments to keep track of and as a beginner reloader, I would never recommend a progressive press as a "first" press. The learning curve is steeper than you might think.

Some people do jump in with a progressive, but you sure see a bunch of guys at gun shows with these lower end machines for sale and if you manage to get them to open up to you, they'll tell you how much junk ammo they chunked out without getting one good round. These will be guys who thought all they had to do was to pull it out of the box, dump in powder, primers and brass and away they'd go.

It don't work that way. And the cheaper the progressive is, the more problems you have. The Lee 1000 starts at $197 at our LGS compared to the Dillon XL650 at $550. Then by the time you buy all the attachments, caliber change over or two, case feeder, etc., and the other tools you need to reload you are at $700-800 for the Lee or $1200-1300 for the Dillon. IF you decide that reloading is not for you, any Lee equipment has a resale value of around 30%, Dillon equipment sells on Ebay for 80-90% of retail. Just saying that there might be a reason.

The Classic turret is a much better choice for the beginner, but I'd ask around and find a local reloader who might be willing to show you his equipment and perhaps walk you through reloading. If possible find guys with Lee, RCBS and Lyman presses.

I use a Dillon XL650, RCBS Rock Chucker and a RCBS turret press for reloading. I think the price difference between the Classic Turret press and the RCBS Turret is around $25-35. A RCBS Master Reloader Kit that has almost everything you need to start reloading is on sale right now at Cabelas for $300.

The reason I keep a couple presses around is to set one up for just depriming cases. I clean my cases using a ultrasonic cleaner and having the primers out first lets everything get clean including those pesky primer holes.


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