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Thread: Does press make affect accuracy?

  1. #1

    Does press make affect accuracy?

    Hi all,

    This year I plan to start reloading for my .223. I am gradually building up my kit, most of it 2nd hand. I bought a Lee Challenger press but I recently read that the press and dies are the part of the kit where money should not be skimped. I know that Lee stuff is ok but the cheapest of all the loading manufacturers.

    As I would like to really get the most accuracy out of my rig should I look for a better press or is the one I have just as capable? Or is it a case of trying my press and get a different one if not happy?

    I will only be loading .223 and only for one rifle.

    Thanks.

    Danny.

  2. #2
    Ive use a lee press and rcbs dies (as they were given to me) and get a .5" group with my 308. I had a 25-06 up till april and again I had .5" groups but with Lee dies both at 100yds. So myself personally I dint think it matters a great deal, untill perhaps you shoot benchrest.

    Nutty

  3. #3
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    I've used one or two presses, the RCBS Rockchucker, the Aussie Simplex (a Lyman Orange Crusher copy), Lyman 310 Tool, Lyman Tru-Line, and even straight line dies of the Wilson make. Using an arbor press.

    The single most PRESS RELATED cause of potential inaccuracy is end float on the ram. That is it can waggle and wiggle left to right, side to side, back to front. Now it won't ever be absolutely rigid as it wouldn't work if it were such a tight fit. So that is where Wilson straight line dies are meant to be better, as the case is pushed totally into the die an so zero end float.

    But my experience is is that for the average hunting rifle it makes no difference using Wilson dies. Indeed they may make less accurate rounds that those that have been neck sized to a particular rifle on a standard press.

    So the bottom line is if the ram on your press wobbles like the clapper on a bell it WILL make a potential difference but if it has normal and expected side to side end float it won't. Lee, Lyman, RCBS they all wear in time some more quickly than others and depending on if just used for reloading or for swaging cases or heavy duty case forming.

    But in the normal way of things if there is some end float that is normal. Won't be an issue. But if it wobbles like the clapper on a bell it is!

  4. #4
    I agree with what ES said to a point. I have seen some second hand presses that were worn wobbly. No point in bothering.

    That's about where I draw the line in the sand though. One of the best presses available is the Forster CoAxial in which there is no set position for the die. It kind of loosely floats in the frame. In this manner, the die and the cartridge are self aligning. (If you think about it, the Wilson/arbor press combo does the same thing in the end) This is accomplished on standard presses by the minute clearances in the shell holder. The shell holder itself is basically just held in the ram by a clip/detente which will allow some side to side play. A certain amount of play is necessary/desirable to have the cases align in the die.

    But, again, a new quality press won't be a problem. I have RCBS, Lee, Lyman and Forster. I use them all.~Muir

  5. #5
    I'm still using the same press I bought 35 years ago , it's made thousands of rounds .Care in assembling the ammunition and correct preparation makes a lot more difference than the make of press.If you spend a lot on a mega press you can expect it to last longer , my RCBS jr press was / is a mid-range press and is still showing no signs of wear -- it'll still be good when I'm dead and gone and the next owner will be making good ammo with it .I also have a Lee press , I use it to reload at the range , I take prepped and primed cases and work up loads in situ . The rounds made thus have to be accurate , I think it was 35 !!!.

    "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
    Adolph Hitler 1933

  6. #6
    I started out 40 years or so ago with a Lee Challenger that is still in use for case trimming, universal decapping and ram priming of some of the exotic BP cartridges I reload.

    It was when I started re-forming brass in the press that I realised I needed something a little beefier, so got myself a Lyman Crusher.

    The Challenger press loaded my rounds using Lee, RCBS and Redding dies which are still in use in the Lyman. I also use NDFS dies in the Lyman for .577 Snider and .577/450 Martini-Henry.

    The Lee kit provided 1/2" MOA loads, as does the Lyman (except in the BP stuff!).
    Last edited by charadam; 07-01-2014 at 17:02.
    "Nonsense! They couldn't hit an elephant at this dista.....................".

  7. #7
    This question is similar to "which spanner is best for tightening nuts ?"
    As has been said, so long as the press is not slack then they are all as much of a muchness.
    I have used, and seen being used, several different makes of press over quite a long period and not seen any 'slack' ones being used, either they don't become slack very often or they get changed as soon as they do.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by waterford103 View Post
    Care in assembling the ammunition and correct preparation makes a lot more difference than the make of press.
    Absolutely true.~Muir

  9. #9
    'Floating' here is purely a euphemism for 'manufactured imprecision', if you think about the self aligning 'property' it is something the maker hopes that you will believe enough to part with the hard earned.
    One thing that most do not understand is that it takes more care and time to align a ram bearing journal to a screwed in die than to just cut a slot and market that as 'self aligning'.
    The single most PRESS RELATED cause of potential inaccuracy is end float on the ram. That is it can waggle and wiggle left to right, side to side, back to front
    - in the co-ax case the the ram clearance is added to the much vaunted x,y,z die wobble now! - note you are paying for that wobble!

    In a Wilson set up with an arbour press there is little hope in alignment - don't believe me?- take a look at Richard Franklins (and some others closer to home) videos to see how it all slips together cockeyed,
    same as the 'co-ax' nice marketing job - just have a real think about how it supposedly works they are selling you a 'tool' with inherent wobble (see videos) as noted earlier.
    Yes I'm speaking from experience - oh and I have real arbour presses not the cheapo aluminium toys that will 'spring' without effort and are sold at premium prices.

    A good 'O' frame press that is kept clean and lubricated will do a Zanussi!*










    *goes on and on and on and on and on.......

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by j0e_bl0ggs View Post
    'Floating' here is purely a euphemism for 'manufactured imprecision', if you think about the self aligning 'property' it is something the maker hopes that you will believe enough to part with the hard earned.
    One thing that most do not understand is that it takes more care and time to align a ram bearing journal to a screwed in die than to just cut a slot and market that as 'self aligning'.

    - in the co-ax case the the ram clearance is added to the much vaunted x,y,z die wobble now! - note you are paying for that wobble!

    In a Wilson set up with an arbour press there is little hope in alignment - don't believe me?- take a look at Richard Franklins (and some others closer to home) videos to see how it all slips together cockeyed,
    same as the 'co-ax' nice marketing job - just have a real think about how it supposedly works they are selling you a 'tool' with inherent wobble (see videos) as noted earlier.
    Yes I'm speaking from experience - oh and I have real arbour presses not the cheapo aluminium toys that will 'spring' without effort and are sold at premium prices.

    A good 'O' frame press that is kept clean and lubricated will do a Zanussi!*










    *goes on and on and on and on and on.......
    You don't own one, do you?~Muir

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