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I shoot skeet and clays and it is time to start loading my own. Here is my dilemma - should I get a single stage reloader or a progressive? Cost is a factor, but I'd be willing to pay the extra money if I felt like a progressive was worth the difference. Also, I have a concern that a progressive might be beyond my ability, but since I have no prior experience with reloading, I may be completely wrong about that. Thanks.
 

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edw8ri said:
I shoot skeet and clays and it is time to start loading my own. Here is my dilemma - should I get a single stage reloader or a progressive? Cost is a factor, but I'd be willing to pay the extra money if I felt like a progressive was worth the difference. Also, I have a concern that a progressive might be beyond my ability, but since I have no prior experience with reloading, I may be completely wrong about that. Thanks.
Single stage or Progressive. Common question. It all depends on the amount of ammo you are needing on a weekly or monthly basis.

Minimal shooting requires minimal amounts of ammo, and the single stage will provide this with ease.

However if you will be shooting a lot, then to speed things up, a progressive is the way to go.

State your requirements and we can better answer your questions. Remember, it's very common for a persons requirements to increase, once he starts reloading, so consider that when making your requirement estimate.

DLM
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good question. I normally shoot about 25 - 30 boxes of shells per month.
 

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Progressive!!!!!
I have just moved up to a grabber after many years on the excellent Sizemaster. Having to train myself to pull a finished cartridge off after each pull of the handle!! 8) 8)
Now to find a 20g kit for my sizemaster......................................
 

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edw8ri said:
Good question. I normally shoot about 25 - 30 boxes of shells per month.
A single should be good enough and if you are on a budget look at the Lee Load-All II

Or get a MEC Sizemater with a universal charge bar, unless you are only loading one type of load.
 

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When I used MEC's I never had much luck with the universal charge bar getting consistent drops. Of course, YMMV.

If you have not reloaded before, I'd find a decent used 600 jr. or a sizemaster and use it long enough to figure out what is happening and what it takes to get acceptable shells. Then start looking for a progressive machine.

A single stage machine can probably load about 100 shells an hour without hurrying too much. Some folks do better, some won't make that.

With a progressive you will be able to load anywhere from 400-500 shells an hour or even more depending on your capabilities, load table setup, what loader you decide to buy, etc. You have to remember you're working on 6-8 shells at one time - if anything goes wrong, it can and does go wrong in a big way. Once you get comfortable with the single stage its not that much of a jump to a progressive.

my $0.02

John
 

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Also, I have a concern that a progressive might be beyond my ability, I have no prior experience with reloading

Learn on a Sizemaster,sell it and move on to a progressive.There is ALOT of stuff
happening all at once on a progressive.

Steve
 

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If you shoot that much, you should be able to find someone at the gun club to help get you started.

I would suggest a used Hornady 366 auto progressive. They can be had for $200 to $300 . I think they are the simplest design of the progressive reloaders. Not the fastest, but a they make great reloads once set up and adjusted.

Here is an example from ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/Hornady-366-Auto12g ... 286.c0.m14

Even if you can't find someone to help, you should be able to get the 366 up and running if you have an average amount of mechanical ability. It's not that hard, you just have to be patient and mindful of safety rules. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Shotgunners are some of the friendliest people in the world, and most wound enjoy helping a new reloader get started. There are some very knowledable people on here as well for the Hornady 366. Ask around you club and check their bulletin board.
 

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Steve Y said:
Also, I have a concern that a progressive might be beyond my ability, I have no prior experience with reloading

Learn on a Sizemaster,sell it and move on to a progressive.There is ALOT of stuff
happening all at once on a progressive.

Steve
You can run a Mec 9000 in a single shell mode. Less to watch until you feel comfortable.
 

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Tangarm said:
Steve Y said:
Also, I have a concern that a progressive might be beyond my ability, I have no prior experience with reloading

Learn on a Sizemaster,sell it and move on to a progressive.There is ALOT of stuff
happening all at once on a progressive.

Steve
You can run a Mec 9000 in a single shell mode. Less to watch until you feel comfortable.
Yes I know that,I own 3 of them and a Grabber.You still have to get the bar to lock/unlock each
shell.Recently I have seen a few new reloaders fail at getting a progressive up a running.There is a learning curve.Sometimes it is best to start out slow and move into high gear later.

Steve
 

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Well, the simple answer is that if you are loading approx 3 cases a month, either machine will do, but it will take approx. 3 to 4 hours on the single stage, and about maybe 1-1/2 hours on the progressive to accomplish this. In other words, it will take about 1 hour per week on the single stage to keep up with your needs.

That's not all that big of a deal, in the grand scheme of things. Once you have developed a rhythm and aquired the skills, reloading 8 boxes per hour on a single stage press is pretty commom.

You can get by just fine with a 600 Jr. Mark 5, although I much prefer the Sizemaster, due to the superior collet resizer and the auto primer feed. If using a 600, you really need to add a primer feed anyway. The Sizemaster is simply a better machine and is well worth the extra cost. Production will be faster and far easier.

DLM
 

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Single stage is cheap and pretty easy to find a used one...great way to learn. I still have mine although they are now set up just for hunting loads and mighty handy to have around. 6 pulls on the handle and you have a reloaded shell.

The progressive is just so much faster...one pull, one shell....and more things can go wrong. It ain't brain surgery, you need to pay attention and keep an eye on things...but the jump in productivity is well worth it. I still load 410 on a Sizemaster and it just gets so boring standing there pulling that dang handle over and over and over.....but it sure make pretty shells.
 

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edw8ri

I started out many years ago reloading as a new hobby to save some money in the process of having high quality ammo for my new found sport. Then along came shotgun shooting with of course the ability to manfacture my own shells once again. My first machine was the MEC Sizemaster in 12 ga. which 15 or so years ago was considered top of the line for shotshell reloading. Since then I have a son who has taken up the sport and we quite often shoot 12/14 K rounds a year of 12, 20, and 28 ga. shells, all loaded by the use of a Sizemaster single stage reloader for each gauge.

We both consider reloading a great hobby to this day, the quality of our reloads are equal to the more expensive AA or STS shells on the market in both performance and apperance, and we both understand not all the hulls have to be reloaded at the same setting. Having the ability to keep the machine set and ready for use allows you to pull the handle several times a week if need be to catch up.

Once upon a time I bought a used shotgun that came with a new MEC Grabber, after several reloading sessions and numerous clean up events we decided to revert back to the tried and true Sizemaster for that gauge, the Grabber went away to another happy reloader who later told me it was a great machine but he as well liked his old single stage for ease of operation.

You have been given some excellent advice starting out your new venture, how far you want to jump depends on you, It's allways nice to jump with new equipment, starting out with someones used missing parts machine will surley be a problem for a newbie. You can agree factory adjusted new with instructions will solve 99.9% of your beginner problems, did for me many years ago long before this forum and Google became involved. Back then it was just you, the machine and the walls that learned the new words. As for me and the kid were still trying to get them Sizemasters to become worn out, mabey in another 15 years we will succeed. Welcome to the world of reloading, shoot well..........

TM
 

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Unless you want to spend a lot of time at the reloading bench, I recommend a progressive reloader. If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you can use a progressive reloader. I started with a Texan Mark II-A many years ago and upgraded to a Ponsness/Warren during the mid-1980's. My powder of choice is IMR 700X. The P/W is set up for reloading 1 oz. 12 gauge AA hulls. The Texan is used for loading all other hull/powder weight/ wad/shot recipes. Due to historic primer feed problems with the Texan, I manually feed each primer. By contrast, the P/W's auto primer feed works flawlessly.
 

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Learn from my mistake. Buy a progressive and use it as a single stage first until you are comfortable, then you can use it as a progressive and gain the speed. By using ti as a single stage I me you load one hull and preform all functions until you have a finished shell before you add in another hull, but very quickly you will be able to switch to progressive function.
 

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Doc O Glock said:
Learn from my mistake. Buy a progressive and use it as a single stage first until you are comfortable, then you can use it as a progressive and gain the speed.
Sure agree with that, I now have a 12 ga and 20 ga sizemaster both less than a year old that i'm ready to put on eBay. Wish I listened to everyone when I began reloading and went with a progressive at the beginning.
Mike
 

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Mike-n-CA said:
Doc O Glock said:
Learn from my mistake. Buy a progressive and use it as a single stage first until you are comfortable, then you can use it as a progressive and gain the speed.
Sure agree with that, I now have a 12 ga and 20 ga sizemaster both less than a year old that i'm ready to put on eBay. Wish I listened to everyone when I began reloading and went with a progressive at the beginning.
Mike
+1 to Mike. I Personally think that a progressive Machine like a mec 9000 is the ONLY way to go. easy loading if you keep your eye on things it will make it effort less. just my .02 however I have been reloading only a year and 3/4 and own three loaders and two of them are 9000 and one is a 650 progresive.
 

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Hands down, go progressive. I would never waste money on a single stage unless you can find a good deal on a used one. Even then, only go that route is money is an issue. Once you get a progressive, you will wonder how did you get by on a single stage.
 

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If you go with the single stage first, I'll about bet that sooner or later you'll still end up with a progressive. When you do, you'll kick yourself for ever having had a single stage.

Remember this; it takes 600 pulls of the handle on a single stage to load 100 shells. It only takes 106 pulls of the handle on a progressive to get that same 100 shells. Quick ciphering tells you that the work load for a single stage is far greater than for a progressive.
 

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I shoot 3 flats a month. I bought a sizemaster several years ago. I have no experience with a progressive reloader but I am getting ready to buy a mec 9000 soon. I would suggest buying a single stage reloader and become proficient in all the things that happen during the reloading process. True, reloading is not rocket science, but there are things that you need to be aware of. I have been reading about shot/powder spills, light and heavy drops. wads not seating, etc.... With a single stage reloader you can see little problems and correct them before they become big problems. When the time comes and you spend more time reloading then you want to, then buy a progressive. I am going to keep my single stage to reload my hunting shells. You can also sell your reloader, on Ebay they are going for nearly new prices.
 
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