Turret vs. progressive press?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by cremley, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. cremley

    cremley G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,154
    Location:
    Colorado, with all the pot smoking libtards -_-
    So I have had reloading equipment for about a year now and I have been using an RCBS single stage press. It is extremely nice and I like using it but it takes me forever to reload using it. I have only done maybe a total of 300 rounds over the past year due to time constraints. I loaded 40 .308 rounds last week and it took me about 4 hours! Since I will be 21 pretty soon, I am thinking that I will be doing quite a bit of pistol reloading and I know I don't want to take that long when making some reloads!

    So, I have been looking just briefly on getting a turret or a progressive press. The RCBS kit I got does not accept the "piggy back" kit that some other RCBS single stages can accept, so I have to get a whole new press. What is the difference between the two? I really like RCBS but I could be open to others.

    Am I right in thinking that a turret press is just good so you don't have to change out dies but you still have to do a batch through one die at a time and the progressive press just does them one by one each step of the way? Wouldn't it be faster to do it on a progressive? Is there any problems with this? What about cleaning out the primer pockets because it would get deprimed and then reprimed in the next step?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  2. blaster

    blaster G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    4,457
    Location:
    big pine key, florida
    I have used a Lyman turret press since 1982.(same one) I like not having to remove the case from the shell holder for each step. its nice to have all the dies mounted at the same time. you can load fairly fast. I had an old RCBS progressive once. they probably dont make that model any more but it was a p.o.s. one of my brothers and a couple of friends have Dillions and they like them. you can really crank out a lot of pistol ammo with one of those. for rifle or ammo where you want to weigh the charges, the turret is better.
  3. Mooseman684

    Mooseman684 G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    17,238
    I have been using the Lyman 6 hole Turret Press for over 30 years...I can have 3 rifle die sets or 2 pistol die sets ready to load at any time...I keep my powder measure separate for clearance using a loading block for 50 at a time.
    I also Have a 6 hole Texas Turret benchtop press that is really heavy duty...
  4. Big Dog

    Big Dog Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Messages:
    21,069
    Location:
    North Florida - the Gunshine State!
    I love my Lee Turret Press - I have seventeen turrets covering the calibers I load for. Changing from one caliber to another is literally a "Plug&Play" proposition. It's plenty fast for me.
    Since I like doing each step one at a time for the entire batch, before going to the next step, I can't justify a "Progressive".
  5. sniper1958

    sniper1958 G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    Seattle area
    I've used my RCBS single-stage for rifle reloading for over 20 years now. I started pistol reloading with a Lee Classic 4-die turret press. It's not bad and it does the job, but I'm saving for a Dillon progressive. I've used a friend's Dillon and it's so much smoother and faster than my turret press. If you can afford the Dillon, get it (assuming you intend to do a lot of reloading). If you don't anticipate a lot of reloading, the turret will work fine.
  6. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Messages:
    10,770
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Lee 'Classic' Turret press. I can change calibers easily.
  7. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,566
    Location:
    Near the Little Ocmulgee river in GA
    When you switch over you need to let me take that Lee press off your hands. I'll swap you a bag of Beeman's gum and a drunk goat with a bad stutter.
  8. kap-gun

    kap-gun G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    just west of chicago,il
    i have been using a honady L-N-L progressive press for over 10 years now , and i love it. i sometimes use a single stage press to crimp revoler rounds or decap brass
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  9. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    25,473
    Location:
    a secret lab on the shores of lake titicaca
    find a used dillon 550b (thanks moose!)
    everytime i use mine i get happy.
    it is such a nice piece of equipment.
    i been using it for just about everything.
    i do use my lee single stage for depriming/sizing rifle brass.
  10. Slow Go

    Slow Go G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    South Western NC
    "Am I right in thinking that a turret press is just good so you don't have to change out dies but you still have to do a batch through one die at a time..."

    First, Each press type has limits. It's a trade off we make to get the advantages that are most important for ourselves. Usually it depends on the level of precision and volume of ammo we need most.

    You are still new at this, when you get more comfortable AND develop a rythum you will gain a lot moe speed on your single stage. But it will never be fast, single stages are made for best precision and flexability, not speed.

    There are two kinds of "turret presses"; conventional (Lyman, Redding) and auto indexing (Lee). With conventional turrets you may batch process, as most of us do, or manually turn the head to complete a round before removing it. Neither way is very fast but it does have a potential for convienence.

    If you don't change calibers very often, conventional turret heads are a good way to "store" a few dies, set up and ready to use. If you often swap out the dies such turrets may save no time at all. Swapping the heads is difficult, it requires tools and the heads themselves are costly.

    The unique turret system on the Lee Classic Cast is different. The CC can be used as a funny looking single stage OR using an "auto-index" feature that steps the die head with each lever stroke. It is indeed much faster than a single stage. It will produce a finished round for each three or four strokes without handling the case, depending on exactly what you're doing, but it's not nearly as fast as a progressive.

    Lee's CC turret heads are a little less costly than the "quick change" die holding systems. That makes it practical to have a head dedicated to any cartridge you wish. Lee's turret heads can be easily swapped by hand in a few seconds.


    ".. and the progressive press just does them one by one each step of the way?"

    Progressives produce a completed round with each stroke of the lever, actual speed is dependant on how quickly you can feed the cases, bullets, primers.


    "Wouldn't it be faster to do it on a progressive?"

    Yes. Much faster, but at a high cost in money and flexiblity.


    "Is there any problems with this?"

    Yes. Progressives do have several downsides; prices are high and the learning curve for using them can be steep. It's impractical to clean primer pockets or weigh charges if you wish to do that. It is much more difficult to adjust things for a few rounds of this and a few rounds of that when working on load development. It's usually both quite costly and time consuming to switch calibers. But, once they are set up, if you want a pile of a single load for a single cartridge a progressive can churn out a lot of ammo in a short time.


    So, I could tell you what I use most but that would only help if your needs are the same as mine and they aren't. What's most important to you will determine which is best for you and none of us can tell you that.
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  11. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Messages:
    10,770
    Location:
    Central Texas
    +1000!
  12. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    10,002
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Slow Go gave an excellent response.

    I use an RCBS PRO 2000 progressive press for reloading large quantities of handgun ammo. I use my RCBS Rock Chuck single stage press for ALL my rifle ammo.

    I have been using the PRO 2000 press for over 6 years, now. I LOVE it. I have dies set up in their holders for every handgun caliber I shoot. It's easy to change calibers, once you have the dies set.

    As far as cleaning the primer pockets goes, I don't worry about it on handgun ammo, unless I am doing TARGET MATCH ammo. Then I do it on the single stage press, anyway.

    If you want to make LOTS of handgun target practice/plinking ammo, and you want to do it quick and inexpensive, the Progressive Press is definitely a major plus.:biggthumpup:
  13. BaserRonin

    BaserRonin G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,403
    Location:
    CO
    Crem, there have been some great responses. I will just throw my weight behind the Dillon 550. It is worth the extra money. Even if it takes you several extra months to save up for it (that's what I had to do).

    As a side note, I use my old single stage a lot still. All of my rifle brass goes through it, and I am constantly fiddling with a load for something. For some reason I still run all my .44 and .45 colt through it as well...that may just be old habit though.
  14. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    8,736
    Location:
    LHC AZ.
    I started with the lee turett and still have it . also have two horandy lnl 's . to be honest you need some mechanical apptitude to enjoy a progressive. but I load 30-06 on my lnl down to 40s and tons of 38s. you can always remove the powder measure and seating/ crimp dies and process your brass very quickly. then use a load block ann charge 50 cases with powder. take out the dies put in the seater / crimp and blow those out. much faster for me than the turret. I use this system for rifle mostly and near max pistol loads that have expensive bullets on them.works for me, your milage may very.
  15. TGF

    TGF G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,158
    Location:
    Blair, NE
    My LNL AP sits in a box and taunts me to build it a home.
  16. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    8,736
    Location:
    LHC AZ.
  17. GlockMeister

    GlockMeister G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    16,473
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    My vote is for the/a Progressive press. Specifically the Hornady Auto Progressive press. With the new quick change die adapters, you can change out your dies in seconds.

    You're going to love which ever you go with/get anyhow.
  18. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    Messages:
    26,729
    Location:
    Mobile, Alabama
    You mean you don't have to use separate die plates for each set of dies?
  19. Slow Go

    Slow Go G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    South Western NC
    "You mean you don't have to use separate die plates for each set of dies? "

    Or dork around with the primer feed and powder measure? Seems changing calibers involves more than a simple die swap. And the speed of an expensive progressive is useless if you don't need lots of "spray and pray" ammo to pop off. ??
  20. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    25,473
    Location:
    a secret lab on the shores of lake titicaca
    it depends on two things.
    1 you simply love reloading so you want it to take as long as possible.
    2 your time is worthless so you have nothing better to do

    once every few months i sit down for a couple hours and whip up 1000 rounds or so.
    then forget about it.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Powder Keg Lee classic turret press! Feb 24, 2010
The Powder Keg New RCBS Turret Deluxe Reloading Kit Feb 6, 2010
The Powder Keg Lee Quick change Turret stand? Jan 24, 2010
The Powder Keg RCBS Turret Press Deluxe Kit Nov 12, 2009
The Powder Keg Lee 3 hole turret press Jul 8, 2009