Reloading Press Advice

Based on the information in the post which press would you recommend?

  • Area 419 Zero Press

    Votes: 26 22.8%
  • Dillon 550C

    Votes: 23 20.2%
  • Dillon XL750

    Votes: 13 11.4%
  • Forster Co-Ax

    Votes: 54 47.4%
  • Hornady Iron Press (Kit)

    Votes: 3 2.6%
  • I'm off my rocker with the choices above, I should buy the cheapest single stage and "upgrade" later

    Votes: 10 8.8%

  • Total voters
    114

TangoSierra916

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  • Oct 11, 2017
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    Looking for some advice on a first press purchase.

    To start with, the usage of the press will be:

    - Reloading for an AI AXMC (so wide range of caliber options possible)
    - Rifle only 6mm, 6.5, 308 and 300NM. (Maybe 9mm pistol down the road but not a priority/consideration at the moment)
    - To start I want to match factory ammo results then hone in on precision from there
    - Not F Class shooting, primary uses will be targets, hunting and competitions in that order
    - Learn more about ammo, ballistics and the effects of component changes on the round
    - Measure each powder charge off press and manually pour in each round
    - Start slow, learn the process then add speed while maintaining quality

    Perhaps its the wrong mindset, but im looking for a press that i can grow into both size and feature wise that offers a learning curve. I know this is a rabbit hole and look forward to the challenge. I'm not too concerned with press price but also dont want to pay for unnecessary things, also dont want to start with a 2 press approach.

    Ive been talking to many members as well as some shooting/reloading mentors to come up with the press list in the poll, if you wouldnt mind voting for an option or posting feedback I'd appreciate it. With so many press options, I had to narrow it down a bit, so the list selections are all a bit different in design, but have it narrowed down based on feedback and research.
     

    D̷e̷v̷i̷l̷D̷o̷c̷A̷Z̷

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    The hide will tell you to pre order the most expensive press not expected to be delivered for 25 weeks and then they will call you names for wanting it sooner…..all while we reload on a single stage Lee.


    What’s your TOTAL reloading budget? Asking because the brass trimmer the hide will tell you to order cost $500. That's before they tell you about the annealer you need too.
     

    hafejd30

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  • Feb 27, 2019
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    I know we’ve talked outside of this thread. But I love my rcbs Rock Chucker and think it’s a decent option. I want a zero press but I want a lot of things 419 makes. But not sure it will improve my loads. My last 1,000 yard fclass match I shot several 197/200’s which is about as good as I can shoot with the best ammo

    You’ll never regret buying the best you can afford. I know you like your toys 🤪

    If you ever travel north into the Yoop I’d be happy to give you some pointers and check out some options. I even have a 1,000+ yard range you can test them on. You can even get behind your AXMC again 😎👍
     

    TangoSierra916

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  • Oct 11, 2017
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    The hide will tell you to pre order the most expensive press not expected to be delivered for 25 weeks and then they will call you names for wanting it sooner…..all while we reload on a single stage Lee.


    What’s your TOTAL reloading budget? Asking because the brass trimmer the hide will tell you to order cost $500. That's before they tell you about the annealer you need too.
    total budget to get everything an plop down at the bench to kick things off would be 2500 ish. I know after that there will be add ons, but trying to get things rolling with that budget and adding on things once I find a need for it.
     

    Jmkjr87

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  • Aug 13, 2019
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    Buy the best you can afford, that being said there isn't anything a zero press can do that my redding big boss 2 can't do. This is what I got and I make excellent ammo for PRS matchs.

    Redding big boss 2
    Chargemaster 1500
    Redding bushing sizing die and micrometer seating die.
    Hornaday trimmer that doesn't get used because my brass doesn't grow.
    Area 419 funnel kit, this is a must have!
    EP intergrations case annealer.
    Frankfort arsenal wet tumbler
    Hornday tumbler for corn cob media

    That's all ya need buck
     

    hafejd30

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  • Feb 27, 2019
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    For what you want to do a single stage will work excellent. Personally I’d go progressive press if you get into pistol caliber reloading. I’ve loaded 45 on my rock chucker and the juice isn’t worth the squeeze

    Something like a RCBS 1500 is worth it’s weight in gold vs a rcbs 505 or other beam scales. You don’t need a auto trickler V3/4 but if you have the $$ why not

    I prefer to trim/debur manually. Use rcbs hand trimmer and hand debur tool.

    Get a tumbler (I use corn media), Hornady OAL tool, bullet puller and stuck case remover.

    My go to dies are Lee collet/Redding body/Redding comp seater
     

    Bacarrat

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  • Jan 22, 2007
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    Any of the presses you pick isn't going make much a difference in precision. I have the 550, CoAx and a Redding Big Boss, never noticed any difference in terms of quality out of any of them. Pick the one with the features you want. But if I was to keep one, CoAx all the way. Not having to dick around with shell holders is nice, the cam over power is nice but you are kinda limited on space for the big magnums, unless you tip the bullet and case in first.
     

    mikeshaw2

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    I should note,

    Get a progressive for pistol but a separate single stage for rifle
    I've been researching this recently cause while I like my M Press, there's always something tempting me to spend money

    If money's no object: Area 419 turret press and the Dillon pistol progressive

    If money's something of an object: Forster co-ax

    Next step down: M Press or a turret press that isn't Area 419

    Whatever else you buy, good dies do do a better job than less expensive dies. AMHIK

    HTH

    M
     

    Andrew863

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    I would go redding t7 or rcbs rockchucker. U can buy other presses that are pretty and shinny but the ammo will come out the same. If u want to reload high volume the Dillon would be a good choice but I would get one of the two I mentioned and keep it set up for the rifle stuff.
     

    hafejd30

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  • Feb 27, 2019
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    If you want to get the most consistency in regards to things like neck tension then two things I’d invest in is the AMP annealer and AMP press. The press paired with a computer will graph your seating pressure and note inconsistent pressures as well as tell you if neck tension improves or gets worse as you make changes in dies/steps etc

    Those would be my next upgrades. But the amp press would just be for improvements in fclass. For the rest of my shooting my benchsource annealer and rock chucker are perfectly fine
     

    Huskydriver

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    Here just to say Dillon or gtfo and GBPSWE. 🤣


    You can load just as accurate rifle rounds on a 750 as you can a single stage.... Just takes a little more work getting the press set up initially.

    Only you know how much you plan to reload but my time is money and I love how fast I can load and the thought of going back to single stage makes me want to throw up.
     

    6.5SH

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    Here just to say Dillon or gtfo and GBPSWE. 🤣


    You can load just as accurate rifle rounds on a 750 as you can a single stage.... Just takes a little more work getting the press set up initially.

    Only you know how much you plan to reload but my time is money and I love how fast I can load and the thought of going back to single stage makes me want to throw up.
    Ha! My sentiments exactly but advise the 550 for the extra control of no auto indexing and easier setup. But the power of the extra station and other automation on the 750 can't be denied.
     

    Scrumbag

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    If it were me, I'd look at a Lee Turret Press

    You don't have to have the turret set to auto rotate but it will let you change chamberings very easily.

    It will also let you load 9mm relatively quickly if you go for Auto rotate and use a Lee Auto Drum
     

    MK20

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    I would get a good turret press. Redding or Lyman, etc. Then get a couple of auto powder tricklers. Get an annealer if you feel like spending or do the old drill/socket/torch method. If doing a lot of brass the Giraud trimmer is really nice but there are many cheaper case prep options our there.

    The monetary investment is not very significant compared to cost of loaded ammo.

    Also, if you are not absolutely married to weighing each charge off the press, just get a Dillon 550 and use Staball 6.5 or PP2000MR or some such powder. Then you will have ammo that for all practical purposes will shoot as good as the weighed charge ammo and you can shoot more.
     

    Near miss

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  • Apr 8, 2019
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    I got into reloading 9 months ago and really enjoy my hornady.
    The LNL QD adapters on dies are awesome. No issues going single stage with them.

    Here are my expenses so far, they may have ran slightly out of control but so far so good.
    Tbh, I did well w/o the ultrasonic cleaner but got it for cleaning my suppressor and now using it for cases too.

    Screenshot_20221011-162402_Excel.jpg
     
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    Rexman

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    I just started reloading this year and wanted a Co-ax but couldn’t find one so started with a MEC Marksman. Since then I did find a Co-ax so have both presses. The MEC is an excellent press but the ease of changing dies on the Co-ax makes it the winner for me.

    I would suggest getting the short handle for the Co-ax as I find it easier than the normal handle. You can also cut the handle down to save cost.
     
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    spife7980

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    I just started reloading this year and wanted a Co-ax but couldn’t find one so started with a MEC Marksman. Since then I did find a Co-ax so have both presses. The MEC is an excellent press but the ease of changing dies on the Co-ax makes it the winner for me.

    I would suggest getting the short handle for the Co-ax as I find it easier than the normal handle. You can also cut the handle down to save cost.
    And if you are doing low leverage stuff, like depriming, you can remove the handle entirely and just rock the wishbone itself for a super short stroke.
     
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    SporterII

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    I too am going to mention a Rockchucker. Very good investment in utility and longevity. “Upgrade later” but retain this press.
     

    Team RCBS & Bushnell

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  • Lots of Rock Chucker mentions, which is awesome. Personally, if I were starting out right now and looking at a Rock Chucker I'd say look at the Rebel as well. The tolerances are just a bit better, it's certainly built heavier, and the primers dropping out the bottom vs out the side of it is legit. You can simply put a bucket under there to catch the spent primers, but it also keeps dirt/grit off the ram for smooth operation. For sizing the Rock Chucker and Rebel are both fantastic. Lots of strength and leverage.

    For loading I prefer the Summit though. It's great to have it more in the middle of the bench vs on the edge, and I dig the short handle option since it gives good feedback feel during seating while having to swing the lever a much shorter distance.

    And of course if you're military, veteran, LE, EMS, student etc. - Apply for VIP. It's worth it.
     

    Krob95

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  • Sep 7, 2019
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    Forster coax hands down for the simple fact you can prime on it and it takes literally 2 seconds to swap dies. Once they're set, you don't need to touch them again. It's what I've been using for the last almost three years. I've probably reloaded about 6k or more rounds on mine and never felt the need to upgrade. For 350 bucks or whatever they're going for now, they are worth the very minimal investment. Works great for multiple calibers.
     

    Rocketmandb

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  • Nov 2, 2018
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    I had a Rock Chucker when I started out, and it's a great single-stage press. I then bought a Redding T7 and love it.
     

    redbullitt

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    Okay... here goes.

    I like the dillon 550 for its speed and precision, but it is expensive and easier to fuck up your loading vs a single stage press. Its good to be comfortable with the process when using it, catch double charge or no charge etc.

    I started on a lee hand press. Awesome little thing for under 100 bucks as a kit and fits in a shoebox. Lots of sub moa 223 ammo loaded in that back in the day and at camp. Big cases are difficult... im not man enough to do it comfortably, soo

    After that i got a rcbs rock chucker, old one, before chinese garbage infusion. Its an excellent affordable press. Again, lots of good ammo loaded here.

    Currently use a redding big boss 2 i just snagged here on the forum and a dillon 550c. Both are fantastic, but pricey.

    My buddy has a coax. Its awesome, youd like it, but again pricey compared to some other options.

    If youre starting out, youll have a lot of stuff to buy id go mid-level press and lots of other gear , but if you can afford it, buy once and cry once. Besides, we are all missing the point... multiple presses... this is the way lol.
     

    Team RCBS & Bushnell

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  • After that i got a rcbs rock chucker, old one, before chinese garbage infusion. Its an excellent affordable press. Again, lots of good ammo loaded here.


    The Rock Chucker and all our presses are made in the U.S.A. Not sure where the China rumor started, but it's false.

     

    jbuck88

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    I'll vote to stay away from the Dillon for your first press. There is way too much going on to focus and learn with each step before start getting into a progressive.

    The Rockchucker is a good press but has a smaller window. I think the newer models have a larger window, but the two I have are old.

    I would say a turret press is a huge upgrade to the single stage press. I upgraded my press to a area419. I have zero regrets.

    The other best upgrade I got was a rcbs chargemaster 1500. Their are newer models out now, but I haven't felt the need to upgrade mine yet.
     
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    OkieMike

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    I use a Redding Big Boss 2.

    I won't blow smoke up your butt and try to convince you it's the best. Hell, I won't even tell you it's good.

    It's an iron O frame. It does what I need it to... Meat and potatoes.

    And most importantly... It was IN STOCK when I decided I wanted to buy a press. A consideration we used to take for granted.

    Mike
     

    Nbleak21

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    TLDR: get a CoAx.

    I’ve got an M-Press, Co-Ax, and XL750, and have had some time behind a rock chucker.

    I have over $2k into my xl750, and yet still prefer CoAx for anything not high high volume (high volume as in 9mm, 5.56, 300BLK) if I’m not running at least 200rd of the same/similar load, then it’s not running.

    All the rounds you mentioned I’d be running on my CoAx without a doubt. Spend the other budget on some of the other items mentioned here: good scale, funnels, annealer, FART, ultrasonic cleaner, etc.

    Rock chucker is nice for $, but CoAx is a little more refined and worth the extra coin.

    M-press still only exists because I have so much time in trying to make it run dependably that I have a mental block that won’t let me scrap the damn thing.

    No experience with 419 Press though.
     

    rdinak

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    Show me the man that shoot the difference between match grade ammo loaded on 550 vs a Coax vs a Redding T7 and I tip my hat to his extensive training and technique.

    Each press has strengths and opportunities.
    Coax-great primer catcher, easy die changes-on press priming sucks and you cant mount precision gauges due to heigth.
    Dillon 550-Produces match grade ammo, caliber changes are easy with additional tool heads-Prefer to resize on a single stage and then load the prepped brass to the dillon
    Redding T7-Allows for multiple caliber dies and gauges to be mounted, excellent primer catch system. Built like a tank

    I vote Dillon and a single stage! However much more important than your choice of press or dies is a reloading mentor. Have a grumpy old man with OCD come over to help you learn how to set up your dies, explain and teach load development and help you understand the process.
     

    Taylorbok

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    Show me the man that shoot the difference between match grade ammo loaded on 550 vs a Coax vs a Redding T7 and I tip my hat to his extensive training and technique.

    Each press has strengths and opportunities.
    Coax-great primer catcher, easy die changes-on press priming sucks and you cant mount precision gauges due to heigth.
    Dillon 550-Produces match grade ammo, caliber changes are easy with additional tool heads-Prefer to resize on a single stage and then load the prepped brass to the dillon
    Redding T7-Allows for multiple caliber dies and gauges to be mounted, excellent primer catch system. Built like a tank

    I vote Dillon and a single stage! However much more important than your choice of press or dies is a reloading mentor. Have a grumpy old man with OCD come over to help you learn how to set up your dies, explain and teach load development and help you understand the process.
    Not sure if you have this backwards but most people I've seen brass prep on a progressive. (Decap, FL size and then a mandrel) then use a single stage or arbor press to seat bullets.

    I also bought an M-press to test out and hated it, I wanted to like it but the leverage seemed brutal, it was fine for sizing smaller cases but once you put anything larger on it was a real battle
     

    milprileb

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    While its true the Co Ax has a fool proof primer catcher, easy to use, easy to change out dies and tons of leverage.

    None of that really matters. None of that does a bit of good for accuracy. Same for my 1969 er Rock Chucker, my Dillon 450 or Dillon 650 presses and these press have a purpose but its not making 1000 yd precision ammunition.

    When I am loading for long range (800 to 1000 yd) shooting, the Co Ax makes the best ammo. Concentricity counts. Best ammo...from the Co Ax for precision rifle work or for any rifle match.

    Those other presses are great for normal reloading purposes and in my opinion, progressives do not make rifle ammo that can compare with rifle ammo made on my RCBS Rock Chucker and Absolutely are not in the same food group as the CO AX for precision hand loading.

    Reloading for 63 years, bought everything produced and learned the hard way what works. This is how it shook out in my life time.
     

    whatsupdoc

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    No press will make any difference in the quality of ammo. The press has zero affect on case neck concentrically.

    Total waste of money.
     
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    milprileb

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    Seating bullets on a Co Ax insures concentricity. I did not say anything about neck concentricity as that is done by my bushing dies in the Co Ax.

    Brass prep on a 750 is not seating bullets nor dropping powder charges which your Palma buds ain't even doing on the 750....

    Please read what I posted and stay on target here. Thank you.
     
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    mikeshaw2

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    Seating bullets on a Co Ax insures concentricity. I did not say anything about neck concentricity as that is done by my bushing dies in the Co Ax.

    Brass prep on a 750 is not seating bullets nor dropping powder charges which your Palma buds ain't even doing on the 750....

    Please read what I posted and stay on target here. Thank you.
    I noticed that on my M Press too. The small amount of wiggle in the system allows things to self-center

    M
     

    Alan Warner

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    There are many other items you need to
    Start that will eat $ quickly. Mics, in gages, annealer, and on and on.
    Get a used Rock Chucker
    It will allow up to sizing and seating a Chet Tac size and allow you more room in your budget for the shit you,ll

    find you need next. It,s not so much the press, it's the dies that matter
    I use two RC,s in the shop every day that are 46 and 36 years old. An A 6 for the 50 cal. Dies
    Single stage will allow you to get a feel for thing like lube consistancy, and a whole lot more of what is going on every time you use it.
    Look for used ones that are 30 or more years old. Those are pre China crap
    Used to be 50 $, now they run 1 to 150
    I paid 55 for the A,6 20 years ago. Last I saw they where running 600.
     

    hafejd30

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    There are many other items you need to
    Start that will eat $ quickly. Mics, in gages, annealer, and on and on.
    Get a used Rock Chucker
    It will allow up to sizing and seating a Chet Tac size and allow you more room in your budget for the shit you,ll

    find you need next. It,s not so much the press, it's the dies that matter
    I use two RC,s in the shop every day that are 46 and 36 years old. An A 6 for the 50 cal. Dies
    Single stage will allow you to get a feel for thing like lube consistancy, and a whole lot more of what is going on every time you use it.
    Look for used ones that are 30 or more years old. Those are pre China crap
    Used to be 50 $, now they run 1 to 150
    I paid 55 for the A,6 20 years ago. Last I saw they where running 600.
    I think rcbs put the “made in China” claims to rest already here
     

    Gustav7

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    I don't think it really matters what press you get first man... you're just gonna need something to learn on. I personally started on a Lyman Turret press and then a Dillon 550 which I still have, and I also have a Dillon 750.

    The Lyman and the Dillon 550 required no difference in set up. You can literally use the Dillon 550 as a single stage if you want or as a progressive. They're easy to use and easy to scale up to more later. They have funnel attachments for pouring weighed charges in later or you can run a powder measure. You can do 2 tool head setups or just do brass prep, etc. They are great "forever" press. A 550 will make as good of ammo as any other press.

    But, in the end, I doubt you'll disappointed with anything you get to start.
     
    Last edited:

    hafejd30

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  • Feb 27, 2019
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    The Rock Chucker and all our presses are made in the U.S.A. Not sure where the China rumor started, but it's false.

    Well, maybe so. How many have you set up and inspected?
    Just the one rock chucker I have. About 12 years old. But I have no reason to not believe the info straight from the makers mouth

    So if you have some proof like a “made in China” sticker on your rcbs box or info from rcbs then I’m all ears. Otherwise your just spreading shit you don’t actually know. Which cost companies who contribute here business because of your false info
     

    kthomas

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    Forster Co-ax is a solid value proposition. Works well, doesn't break the bank.

    The Area419 press has some cool features, but at the end of the day it's not going to produce better ammo than a Co-ax. Cool press if you want to splurge, but not the best value proposition, especially if you are on somewhat of a budget. I'd put that money elsewhere first where it can actually make more of a difference.