Got one of these a couple of months ago and I can't say enough good things about it. Extremely well built and very, very simple in design. I don't see where any of the other high end machines have anything on the Grand. Only two things about it that disappoint: not available in anything but 12 and 20 and the stroke with the handle is rather long, but it is extremely easy. You can put a single hull in station 1, cycle it and shut off the primer feed, cycle twice more and insert wad, then cycle until it falls out as a finished reload. There is never a worry about unintended shot or powder drops. Love this machine.
If you are a lifetime handle puller,then you are not missing a thing,if you try and order a hydro unit for the Grand,forget it,the factory will ignore you,call and do an inquiry,about buying one,see how well you make out?
I really don't want the hydro unit. I reload a couple of hundred every week or so and it just takes a few minutes. I don't sit down and do thousands at a time. I have a MEC permenant mounting base on my bench top. I can slide my MEC machines in and out quickly and easily. With the riser bases on the Grand it is too wide to fit into the MEC base. So I welded together a separate steel channel and mounted it outside of the MEC base. Now the Grand slides into one of the MEC base channels and the one that I built. It works really slick.
At the Grand (the event) I spent some time at the Federal/Alliant/RCBS store. They had a couple Grands (the press) all set up and ready for people to try out. I studied them pretty carefully and the factory rep came over and asked what I thought. I told him I had a 366 and a 9000, and it looked to me like they sort of took the best features from each. He chuckled and said "yeah, we tried."
Another customer came in to ask about a problem he was having with his primer feed. The rep took the primer feeder off the press, took it apart, told the guy "you might have a little burr right there, hit it lightly with a file. If that doesn't solve the problem, give us a call and we will send you a complete new assembly. " I was impressed!
I got mine on Ebay over five years ago. - It was a 12 gauge display model from some retailer. RCBS sent me a lot of parts for it at no charge when I first set it up, and I was able to pick up a new 20 ga conversion kit also on Ebay. I just wish they made 16 ga. & 28 ga. conversion kits. It's the best loader I've ever owned.
One tip. Mount a small mirror under the powder drop tube and you can see whether a primer is in the hull or not. Every now and then you can have a powder spill when it misses a primer. I have about 1 miss out of every 250 shells.
A couple things about RCBS/Hornady/PW (and for that matter Spolar) bushings:
You do not need another $15.00 charge bar for each shot weight. There is one bar and $4.00-5.00 bushings for shot. There is no reason to mess around with files, finger nail polish, or tape on the powder bushings. There are some gaps, but in general they come in increments of 0.003 inside diameter. This is close enough together that you can usually come within 1-2 tenths (often dead on) of any desired powder drop.
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