Poll: What Progressive Reloading Press Do You Use Most?

I would love to find out more about what equipment people are using for metallic cartridge reloading. Please pick the press that you use most frequently.

Which of the following presses do you use most?

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If your most used press is not listed here, please leave a comment!


80 thoughts on “Poll: What Progressive Reloading Press Do You Use Most?”

    1. I thought about that- sounds like I need to put up another poll at some point… 🙂 Wanted to capture what people are using most with this poll… (Example: If you have 3 progressives, and two are covered with dust, don’t want those biasing the results for this poll…)

      1. I load my pistol ammo for the most part on Dillon Square Deals…. I have two, one for small primers and the other for large primer cartridges. I load my .204 Ruger, 6.5×55 and .260 Rem using Wilson Neck Dies and In Line seaters using a Sinclair Arbor Press. I size my 6.5 Grendel on an RCBS Summit (now, RCBS Reloader Special prior to the Summit) and use a Wilson In Line seater for bullet seating. The Grendel is fired in an AR platform and full length sized to ensure feeding.
        I have a FrankFort Ardenal Portable Reloading stand that I use my Arbor Press on and It also has a Huntington Die Specialties Compac Tool with the proper size decapping die mounted. I use it in front of the TV for decaping, and neck sizing. I also seat primers there. I only perform non-critical, no brainer operaions there….all critical operations are done in my gun/reloading room with no distractions.

  1. I agree with John and Eddie… I have 3 Dillons and wasn’t sure what you were asking because my 650 and 450 are dedicated presses and my 550 is what I load 4 different calibers on. Was this question based on volume?

    1. Wrong; Jason you can’t afford to keep it. Sell the Lock an Load on ebay, cut your losses and go Blue. The best money that I have ever spent was on the Dillon XL-650. I bought it back in 1992, I have 10s of thousands of rounds from it and it continues to be of great enjoyment to use. I don’t shoot every week I don’t shoot every month, but when I am out and see a deal for components at a gun show or when shopping around I buy a box here or a pound there. I also buy bullets by the thousand when I see a deal. I enjoy the loading activity nearly as much as shooting, and I owe that to the 650. It works and works. It needs maintenance, cleaning, and occasional part from the spare parts bag. I get a kick out of the smooth operation and the ridiculous amount of ammo it turns out. I load 38, 9mm, and 45, and shoot them all and like them all, so I load a thousand of something break the machine down to bones and rebuild to another cartridge and away we go no issues period. Best of luck to all looking to a great machine the 650 for me is the one.

      1. I have a 650 also. Great machine if you don’t change the dies. The thing is a NIGHTMARE set up. Takes about 4-6 hours to set up a new caliber. I bought it some years ago, have loaded about 50k .45 ACP on it but changing to another caliber, well, I would be better off buying a machine dedicated to all the pistol calibers I load (9mm, .38/357, .40, 10mm, 41 mag,, .44 special/mag) I don’t even begin to try rifle on it. what I generally do is leave the 650 in a caliber and use the RCBS single stage for rifle and whatever pistol ammo I need. The Star machines were easier. Oh yes, I remember them. Have been reloading since 1974.

  2. I use an RCBS 4×4. Only press I’ve ever had. Completely manual, loads ~125-150 rounds/hour including lots of QC of the ammo (it’s unnecessary, I’m just paranoid about ammo quality). Never had anything break on it, but RCBS has sent me free of charge updated primer tubes, so I’m still sold on it.

  3. I too would like to hear of Hornady pain points as I’m thinking of getting one cause the indexing on my loadmaster is drivng me nuts!

  4. I have a Dillon 650 and imho it just don’t get no better. It’s the only one I have had for about 3yrs now. I have run about 50,000rds thru it of all different calibers and I am well pleased with it. I sure don’t know what more the average fellow could ask for in a press.

    1. Baldy
      I am totally with you. I bought mine in 1992. For the guys out there that are looking for a lifetime of re-loading look seriously at the XL-650. Yes its an investment, but ask me after 20 years of flawless operation if I remember the cost. “No”. I know everybody has their aspect of re-loading and shooting that they like the best, and that’s great. To support the progressive machines and specifically the 650, I like to shoot and I like to re-load, but when I settle on a load that really works for me I want to set down at my bench and crank out 100 in less than 10 minutes with start up primer fill charge weight checks and so on, or have a session last 1/2 hour and have 2, 3, or 4 hundred rounds ready to shoot, but that’s me.

  5. I’m still stuck in the single stage with a RCBS rock chucker. Looking to step up to a Hornady LnL.

  6. Hey guys just used my lock and load AP today for the first time with new bullet feeder, also have the case feeder. Once I got it set up worked great, just love Hornady products and they carry a great warrenty. Also have a RCBS 4×4 works good all except for the priming station it sucks. I see why they went to the strip priming.

  7. I use a Hornady with over 100,00 rds loaded thru this one press. no sign of wear still loads true .My 22k hornet contender hangun off rest holds 3/4 in groups at 100yrds.

  8. Lock-N-Load used by more people…that’s a shocker. Just goes to show you how much you can believe on the internet. When I was searching for my progressive it “appeared” the “blue” team was the clear majority. I ended up with the Hornady and never looked back…great product!

    1. There are more 550B sold than every other press combined. This just isn’t a Dillon site. Ask the same question over at GTR or B.E.

      Both companies make quality presses. One just makes a hobbyist press and the other makes both hobbyist and heavy duty production models. Pick a press that fits your needs and budget and go make some ammo.

      1. Oh puhlease. Just because you want to feel good about spending twice as much money for 1/2 the functionality, have at it.

  9. I use an RCBS Turret. I just bought a 2 Lee Pro 1000 cheap in parts and rebuilt them… Just knocking the kinks out of them.

  10. I have four of the presses that are listed and 12 total. It’s hard to say which one actually gets more use. As a shooter I go through cycles. I get on a kick and one month I’m shooting a revolver. The next perhaps a .308 or .223 and the next month maybe a .40 Glock. I have enough presses that I’ve kind of migrated to dedicated presses for specific functions or calibers so it kind of goes along with what mood I’ve been in recently and what I happen to be shooting this month. By the way this month has been an AR month in both .223 and .22 LR, I went yesterday and had a great time.

    I’ve used virtually all of the popular presses on the market at one time or another. Dillon’s commercial presses are awesome products but perhaps out of reach for many people who are just getting into reloading. I don’t own one of these but have a friend that has two and have spent significant time cranking out rounds on them. That said, I’ll leave these presses out when making the following statement.

    If you’re looking at cranking out a lot of rounds at a relative low cost Lee’s LoadMaster though finicky is tough to beat. User familiarity is the key issue when using this press in my opinion, it’s not a good choice if you don’t want to really pay attention to what you’re doing. Of all the presses I own, I will say it’s the one that you must be on your toes when using. Though it’s true you can get in to trouble with any press, you can do it in a hurry with a LoadMaster. I use mine primarily for 9 mm and .45 ACP. The Lock-n-Load is also a nice press but for what ever reason I’ve never fell in love with it. I use mine primarily for .40’s and .380’s though I have Hornady’s dies in .357 and 44 Magnum for it as well. I’m sure I would appreciate this press more if I had only one press and were changing calibers often. In my circumstance this isn’t such a big issue. More often than not I use an RCBS AmmoMaster for.38’s, .357’s & .44’s.

    The press I trust the most and have dies for virtually any caliber sitting on die plates and ready to pop in is the Dillon 550 B. I use mine primarily for .223 but also use it for most other calibers as well. I also have a 650 but don’t like it as well as its little brother. I actually think I like the .550 simply because of the manual progression. It’s hard to get ahead of yourself with this Dillon yet you can still really crank ammo out. I use a LEE Classic .50 for .50 BMG and have a number of other single stage presses dedicated to sizing or decapping. I’ve said a lot here but really don’t know which I use the most. Guessing I would say it’s the 550.

  11. If the question had been longest it would have been “other” My RCBS JR I got in ’76 as a swap for a bubba’d Carcano I’d only paid $7 for. Still run that little press regularly for ancillary operations alongside my LNL-AP.

  12. I have only one progressive and it’s an RCBS 4×4. I have had it since they came out, and there is no telling how many rounds from .380 thru 454 it has cranked out. I have worn out several pieces and RCBS promptly sent me the replacements no charge. I use it mainly for handgun rounds but it is also nice when doing bulk resizing operations of 200 or more rifle cases.

    I have looked into others, and really have had my eye on one of the Lee turrets, simply for the simplicity of them and the lack of room I have left to mount anything much bigger. I could go the Dillon route but really don’t have the extra cash for it. If I didn’t have the RCBS I would bet it would be Dillon in it’s place.

  13. Very gratifying to see a ratio of 225 Dillon 650’s to 214 of their 550 !

    All the local IPSC types tout the superiority of their 650’s over the 550 & so forth ! {most of them couldn’t tell you how a 550 operates in the 1st. place but they “Know” the 650 is Dillon’s best machine and the best one for “You” !}

    Own & use two 550’s and see no reason to “upgrade” to the mighty 650 ! {with possible exception of the case feeder buts that’s the main reason to get the 650 in the 1st. place !}

    on another note it’s nice that U.L. uses other makers dies in his videos, never could rationalize using Dillon’s dies unless its for lead ?

    While am using Hornady’s “new” spray case lube and liked their “original” One-Shot better yet find the new stuff more than adequate, would like to hear from others their thoughts on the other more popular case lubes if they have used one brand against the other{s} Same would apply to brass cleaner/polisher but separate of the million or so home-brewed concoctions of auto waxes & mineral spirits, etc.

      1. MR.BULLETFEEDER.com will handle cast bullets. I also shake a mica on the bullets before charging the hopper. The new machine is just really something to behold..ENJOY !!! MJKjr

        1. The Mr Bulletfeeder WILL handle cast bullets but… Be prepared to either use mica as Gavin says or wear a hard hat! Jacketed 230g bullets work fine but when the mechanism begins to get gummed up, you’ll find bullets push out the front and drop right on your head or in your lap. Lemme tell ya, that ain’t fun! Yes, you CAN load lead bullets thru a Mr Bulletfeeder but that doesn’t mean you should. Stick with jacketed and crank on.

  14. I was seriously looking at buying the Loadmaster, and after doing research I found many, many unhappy customers. (too bad because I’m a huge Lee fan and I have great results with their powder measures, scales, dies, etc) Then I looked at Dillon, but the huge jump in price is a factor. Now I think I’ve settled on the Hornady Lock N Load AP. Its even more solid than a Dillon and has many features that Dillon doesn’t. It has great reviews and many say it runs smooth while having tight tolerances. I like the 1/2 step on the top and bottom of the stroke that reduces jarring. I like that there are 5 stations, like the spring that retains the cases, the powder measure, etc. I like the fair price and the 500 free bullets is a great bonus. When you factor in the value of the bullets, the price isn’t much more than the Loadmaster. Although not a big deal, but I even like the color (red) WAY better than that “baby blue” (sorry if you are a fan) The red even matches my Lee gear. Dillon made a name for themselves for many reasons, and I respect their products, but now their are other options that allow as good or better quality for less money. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make a decision on this one! : )

    1. Ditto to your comments on the Dillon I just couldn’t spend that much more for blue. And caliber changes are a deal breaker for sure $$. I had a load master and sold it soon after fighting endlessly with primers. I like Lee stuff. My pro 1000 can crank out some good ammo in hurry. And my 4 station turret works like a champ. I just ordered my hornady L N L. Looking forward to getting the case feeder soon.

  15. I have been using a pair of Lee1000s for some years. I purchased a Hornady LnL AP, not realising that it came with a powder measure and pretty much zilch otherwise. Everytime I went to use it I found that I needed somethign else. Then I decided to buy the new EZject plate and powder measure linkage before I started. Still waiting for them and only managed to source 2x shellplates so far.

    Then, I happened upon a well used, but well cared for RCBS Ammomaster Progressive with 6 shellplates. I picked up the other one I needed (and one that I didn’t need, a No4, but it should be fun reloading my 300WM, 338WM and 375 H&H on a progressive press lol). This is a cool press and I like it a lot. I plan to use the Hornady Bullet Feeder dies I have already bought with this press, but with homemade bullet drop tubes.

    The Lee1000s will still see some use, loading Black Powder loads in my 44/40 and 45 Colt and occasionally 38 Specials when loaded with Black Powder. I use sticky bullet lube with the black powder, so I will be staying away from the bullet feeders, etc with these.

  16. I forgot to mention, that Hornady in the lead business has got to be a crock! Everyone I know who reloads a lot use the big blue presses. I’m pretty much the only one on the parade ground in step (although I did own a 550 many years ago and was hapy enough with it). A bit of brand pride coming through I think.

    1. Don’t know many people or you are a SMURF. I Use LEE, Hornady and RCBS (A4 BIG MAX) that will make scrap metal out of a Dillon. A Lee adjusted by someone that actually reads the manual works just fine. It is when you force the handle that things break. Yes they have plastic but under normal working handle pressures they hold up. My turret has yet to need adjusting after 4+ years of use. The only issue with the Pro-Jector is that I did buy all the shell plate when I should have, my bad. Still love it is serial # 00014, yes 14 no missing digits. When reforming brass The A4 is the go to machine hands down. I am sorry a Dillon is not the all doing answer Mick and the BLUE-only machineheads out there. By the way I also shoot lead in a GLOCK, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth. They are very accurate.

  17. I have loaded tens of thousands of pistol in 4 calibers with my lee loadmaster….I am very pleased with it.there is no doubt,the “top rung “blue presses are the best there is….bar none. however, consider price,one can purchase a lee loadmaster for the cost of 1 caliber change in “blue press”. I am able to change calibers in @15 minutes…..the cost of a caliber change set-up is very reasonable….the unit is very compact to store away when not in use,(mine is mounted on a piece of1.5 ” of plywood and I c-clamp it to bench)…..the down side of the loadmaster is, getting a knowledge of setup and how to deal with the problems that will crop up…..there are many resources on u-tube where others have found fixes for various problems……the parts one needs from time to time,are available from midwayusa and the mfr…..so,….if you are somewhat mechanical and analytical,…a lee is the way to go,if not,….spend the “big bucks”….KEN J

  18. I use both the Dillon 550B and a Star Reloading Press. I use the Dillon for 9mm and .223 and the Star for .38 Spl and .40 S&W.

  19. nothing but blue. have tried LNL and Lee Progressive 1000’s, but always one problem or another. I have three 550’s, and care-take on three others. They just work. I have thought about upgrading to the 650, but then I would be too efficient, and have more spare time for the wife-person to find something else for me to do.

  20. I have 2 LNL, 1 purchased new and the other with a case feeder which I purchased from an unhappy reoader at a greatly reduced price. I stripped and cleaned the 2nd hand press, replaced bent or otherwise “modified” parts then set it back up to Hornady specs and have since loaded many thousands of pistol rounds with only one problem, the pistol rotor does not like bulky Trailboss powder so I need to change to the rifle rotor when loading with this powder. It is fairly obvious that some shooters should not be allowedin the same room as a reloading press

    1. sometimes….sometimes a powder measure can be dusted with mica- motor mica (widely available-midway-midsouth-Brownells) where it allows the inside of the powder measure to act ultra slippery to the powder used, without—without affecting the nitro powder used. be certain to ‘dust’ in in with some sort of small facial (womens make up) brush that has a longer handle to reach down inside the cylinder–don’t forget the rotor as well. try it. then smile like a Chessire cat.

  21. I started with a RCBS Rockchucker in 1968 with RCBS 243 Win dies for a then new Rem 700 ADL. I still have that loading rig an I use it for all my most accurate Rifle loads now with Redding Dies and a LNL conversion for fast die changes.

    I recently bought a Hornady LNL Single Stage Press and it seems fine. I was told that if I setup dies in it, I could just drop them in my two LNL AP Presses. I haven’t really proved that out yet. I would like to hear from others that may have tried and/or proven this out.

    I have 5 Square Deal B’s which I prefer for smaller/shorter Pistol cartridges like 380, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP & 38 Super. I leave them set up for each caliber.

    I bought my second LNL AP for the longer Pistol cases like 44 Mag, 45 LC, 41 Mag, 10mm etc. It is much preferred over the SDB for these.

    My first LNL AP is left setup for 223/5.56, 204 Ruger, 300 BLK and other Rifle cartridges with that small base size.

    I have one Dillon 650 which I leave setup for the 308/7.62×51. Its has the case feeder and I shoot a lot of 308 in an M1A, a PTR-91, a LR-308, and several Savage Bolt guns.

    I like the Dillon 650 and LNL AP both best.

    Even with all these presses, I still spend more time on case cleaning and prep than actually loading. I have 3 Gracy Case trimmers and one Hornady Case Prep Center. I have several old style case trimmers which are idle. I have three vibratory case cleaners. One Dillon and two Lyman.

    I wrote all this as the question of which is your favorite press is not a simple one based on my 45 years of pulling handles on reloading presses.

    Oh yeah, I have 4 MECs and 2 Ponsness Warrens for the shotshells.

    Brian – Thank You Sir for this great site!

  22. I know I probably and the only one on this but I came across a Pro 1000 for 40 bucks with three sets of .45 dies, .380, two sets of 9mm, two sets of .38/.357. After putting all together I’m at 2,500 rounds and no real complaints… I’m also halves on 550b. I like em both!

  23. I am seriously doing research on a progressive press and still am not any closer to deciding on one.
    The cast iron base of the rcbs pro 2000 seemed like a well built unit, the hornady lnl ammoplant was intriguing but is made of aluminum alloy w/ some pot metal and then the dillon xl650 looks like its made out of polymer and pot metal…. but has good reviews. Ive read about and viewed on utube about issues w/ the rcbs and the hornady that some people have had concerning primer/wheel problems, bad location, primer pin not centering on the casing, etc & the lnl ejector not working as well as the powder tube being a hassle on the hornady.
    They also complained of the cheap pot metal parts snapping in two and breaking.
    The cost is not an issue for me at all, I just want a unit that is past all the issues and would prefer steel as I shy away from cheap metals and plastics. Unfortunately for me there are no units in a store to see for myself due to the cleaning out of the inventories lately. I will probably buy one online on gunbroker or ebay, and need to see what more I can learn first before blindly sending my money out to buy a product that Ive never checked out in person first which sucks. Ill continue to read and learn more on here.

  24. I use a Hornady LnL AP. I load 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 41 Magnum, 44-40 WCF, 44 Special, 44 Magnum, 45 Colt, 45-70 Govt. I also use Hornady dies. It performs very well. The ammo ends up being very precise. I have adjusted the advance pauls a couple of times. And replaced a case retainer spring once. I find the setup very straight forward, and it is worth taking your time to get the setup right.

    I also use a Hornady case prep center. I find it easy to use and very precise. Again, taking care with the setups yields better results.

    Wondering if anybody here is using a Hornady shot shell reloader?

  25. I’m between a Hornady LnL and a Lee Loadmaster(.223 setup). My logical side tells me the Hornady is the one to save up and buy, but the impulsive and frugal side tells me to try the Loadmaster.

    I don’t mind tinkering and like a certain amount of modding as long as I can get it working. If I got the Lee, I would tumble, lube, deprime all my sorted cases. Trim(Trim IT tool), and resize on my Lee turrent(RCBS X-die), prime then move onto the progressive once I Save 500+ cases and then load on the Loadmaster with modified stations to move the Powder drop to station 1, station 2 powder cop, station 3 seat bullet(eventually a bullet feeder die), 4/5 would be seating/crimping depending on if 3 is used as a bullet feed die. Once my cases were prepped correctly with the X die, I could try to run them after cleaning(as they shouldn’t need trimming), and use the standard Lee die layout, but I’d lose my powder cop then which I’m not sure I want to do. I have a feeling I’d end up with a LnL eventually anyway, so maybe just best to start there. My mad scientist side of me wants the tinkering of the Lee, and I could afford that this winter instead of waiting >>>>>>>>>>

  26. I bought a Dillon 550 about 25 years ago. I remember being terribly disappointed because the Square Deal had recently came out and I wanted one badly because all I shot was pistols at the time, but Dillon was completely sold out of Square Deals, so I had to settle for the 550. Looking back, that was a blessing in disguise. The 550 loaded handgun rounds just fine, and the occasional rifle round, too. Much later, I got into AR’s and AK’s, that’s where the 550 really shines; bulk rifle reloading. I suddenly realized I had two presses in one. Good thing I didn’t get the Square Deal first, I would have had to buy a 550, too.

    As an aside, I configure the 550 a little differently for bulk rifle loading, primarily at the first station and with the priming apparatus removed (less hassle, more versatility). I de-prime, clean, size, and prime the brass off the 550 because believe I can do those steps more precisely by hand, and when reloading in bulk the additional time doesn’t amount to all that much. It also eliminates some of the progressive steps which cuts down on the #*@!.

    I install a Lyman M-Die at the first station. I neglected to mention that I FL size the brass without the decap rod installed, so the neck still needs to be expanded. The M-Die expands the neck from the outside-in, so the brass is not stretched like it is with an inside-out expander ball, and having the bullet seated seconds later the neck tension is consistent round-to-round. Also, with the M-Die adjusted properly, the case mouth won’t scrape the bullet during seating, that’s uber important if you are coating your bullets (which I do).

  27. Have you done a review, or function analysis of the different powder dispensers such as the RCBS Chargemaster, etc., and, if not, could you plan for it in the near future? Perhaps you could do it in a manner where the reader could get a “feel” as to which machine would best suit individual needs.

  28. I used a rockchucker for years and wanted to speed up the process. I seriously looked at Dillon but I really don’t like all the rods and stuff hanging off the press making things work. I also don’t like the powder measure being made of what looks like potmetal. I started researching the Hornady Lock n Load AP and it had everything that I needed, plus at a lower initial cost. Dillon makes a good press, but it just isn’t for me. So far the Hornady has been rock solid and I am looking forward to a lot more rounds being processed through it.

  29. I use the hornady lock n load auto progressive because of the ezject system. There are some others though that are also good but I still stick to what I know is the best.

  30. Originally started re-loading in 70’s, all rifle for bench rest, used Rockchucker with all appropriate components.

    Fast forward 30+ years, Kid’s gone, close to retirement, got back into shooting, this time pistol only.

    After spending 3 years hunting down best prices in 9, 40 , and 45 factory ammo, I discovered Bullseye and steel competition, and the need to reload in order to be even semi-competitive, I would need to reload.

    After much investigation, I determined that I needed to drink the Blue koolaid.
    Most advice indicated a 550 as the best re-starter press, and I had listed and priced all the components I would order to load my 3 pistol calibers.

    Ran across a local Armslist add for a 650, less than 1 year old with everything I needed, including all 3 sets of dies and the case feeder for less that what I would spend on a new 550 with all the same extras with a 550, and no casefeeder.

    Never looked back. Great machine. All of my problems were self-inflicted, and part of the learning process.

  31. If I could find someone to switch a 550B for my LNL, I would. Main reason is not dissatisfaction with the LNL as much as change of how often / much I shoot. All reloaders will reload bullets. Some do it better than others.
    I think the new RCBS Pro 7 and Pro5 are great and answer some of my wants. I just don’t need the expense. I don’t need a 7 station press but I like the idea that I could use more items as they are developed but also, the index speed is automatically slowed down and the mechanism is very simple. To each their own.
    Just remember, some of these reloader companies are masters of advertising. Some will look after your interests after the sale. Some will continue to innovate. Some don’t need to. See which units have been around the longest with the least noticeable changes. There’s your winner.

  32. single stage rockchucker -have tried others turret prss for me thay don’t do the job the way I like it done… over the last 30 or 40 years have called rcbs a few times they are always there with ansers…

  33. Can I change loader accessories with different brands ? such as the powder charge, I don’t want to buy something if I don’t have to.

  34. I have owned a lee loadmaster, a Dillon 450 and a Dillon 550. Lee loadmaster was a definate example of you get what you pay for it worked but I was always tinkering with it. Both dillons were good presses no complaints 2 sons have them now and they r still going strong. I have been loading on a rcbs single stage that belonged to my dad. I have been thinking lately about a hornady lock n load so I will probably give one a try and let u know

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