standard press with quick change bushings or a turret?

mr_magicfingers

Well-Known Member
Another in the continuing series of questions I ask about reloading kit prior to buying some.

Looking at presses and I'm unsure between a single stage press with a single die and a turret press. As I understand it from reading books, each time you put in a die, it needs to be adjusted for correct placement, which involves tweaking with it. Alternatively you could use something like the locknload bushings so that once the die is correctly set, it's an easier change out. Alternatively, you use something like the Lee turret press and set the dies for each calibre up in their own turret which you can easily change out.

Are there advantages/disadvantages to each of these options? I don't plan to load lots of different calibres, only .308 for now but potentially .223 at some point in the future. The Lee Classic Turret seems to receive very favourable reviews compared to many other presses and seems very convenient for setup. The quick change bushings though mean similar setup convenience can be brought to a regular single stage press such as the classic cast press and they're about the same price. Just wondering what would be reasons for choosing one over the other.

Thanks.
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
IMHO setting up a die only takes seconds & you get perfectly repeatable performance as long as you do it properly each time. So a simple single station press is more than adequate. Best option if you are a beginner.
More complexity means more can go wrong & pre-set dies open up the possibility of assuming they are set & screwing up.
Quick swap systems on a single stage press work ok but cost more than plain screw in types.
The only turret press I have owned was big solid Redding one. - Very expensive when new & it didn't make better ammo than my single station Lyman & RCBS Rockchucker 2.
Light weight turret presses are available from Lee - never played with one so can't comment other than as above - although more complex means more opportunity for errors or breakdown.

Ian
 

jackselby3000

Active Member
Another in the continuing series of questions I ask about reloading kit prior to buying some.

Looking at presses and I'm unsure between a single stage press with a single die and a turret press. As I understand it from reading books, each time you put in a die, it needs to be adjusted for correct placement, which involves tweaking with it. Alternatively you could use something like the locknload bushings so that once the die is correctly set, it's an easier change out. Alternatively, you use something like the Lee turret press and set the dies for each calibre up in their own turret which you can easily change out.

Are there advantages/disadvantages to each of these options? I don't plan to load lots of different calibres, only .308 for now but potentially .223 at some point in the future. The Lee Classic Turret seems to receive very favourable reviews compared to many other presses and seems very convenient for setup. The quick change bushings though mean similar setup convenience can be brought to a regular single stage press such as the classic cast press and they're about the same price. Just wondering what would be reasons for choosing one over the other.

Thanks.
I am in a similar boat and have watched (much to my girlfriends dismay) loads of you tube clips on both single stage and turret press use. I was sold on the auto indexing system until I noticed that the turret seemed to shift up very slightly as the ram hit the die (Lee Turret). Now this might be ok as by then the die has done it's work but instantly put me off. I will look out the video if I have time. Might have been old and worn but I would rather have a simple system and no moving parts when it comes to reloading.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
The criticism of turret presses, such as the Lyman, for rifle calibres was that as the press in not an "O" style but a "C" style (by not being a closed O shape but an open C shape) than it would not stand the stresses of repeated full length re-sizing of rifle case. OK for pistol cases but not good for rifle cases. Eventually, it is believed, you get wear where the rotor is attached to the top of the pillar on the press and as a result the die eventually rests at an angle when the case enters it.
 

robertw

Well-Known Member
You can't beat a good solid single stage press I used one for many years before getting a Dillon 550 I use it for pistols only and still use the single stage for rifle, the Redding T7 is by far the best turret press on the market the Lyman is second and I don't rate the Lee
But you will find you need the single stage even with a turret, if you want to speed up die changes then go for the Hornady single stage with the breech lock system, I wait until I have a large amount of cases to process then resize and prep them at one time and
only load what I need so i don't have a lot of loaded rounds on hand, changing dies is not time consuming a few twists is all it takes,
and once they are setup they don't move, only adjustment need is if you change projectiles, I know some guy's that have banks of Dillon presses setup on their loading benches just because they can, keep it simple you make less mistakes
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
The criticism of turret presses, such as the Lyman, for rifle calibres was that as the press in not an "O" style but a "C" style (by not being a closed O shape but an open C shape) than it would not stand the stresses of repeated full length re-sizing of rifle case. OK for pistol cases but not good for rifle cases. Eventually, it is believed, you get wear where the rotor is attached to the top of the pillar on the press and as a result the die eventually rests at an angle when the case enters it.
That's strange, I've got a Lyman Spartan "C" style press - It's 30 years old & has been used all those years sizing rifle cases up to 30-06 & 303 with no flex or brakage. It's a strong cast iron build & you'd have to be really brutal to break it! - Not the same as the cheaper alloy versions out there made by other manufacturers.
Also the old Redding turret press I used to have was extremely heavy & strong & didn't flex when used similarly up to 30 cal rifle. It was made to close tolerances & was in no way not up to the job or fit for purpose - unlike some of the crappy light weight alloy offerings out there.

Ian
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
That video was really interesting. I've just bought the Challenger kit myself. I can see how the turret press would be a huge advantage if you're loading a lot of rounds at a time
 

jackselby3000

Active Member
That video was really interesting. I've just bought the Challenger kit myself. I can see how the turret press would be a huge advantage if you're loading a lot of rounds at a time
Would be keen to know what you think of the challenger. I've had one in the "basket" for a few weeks but am still not 100%. I'm not keen for a turret cause I am OCD and taking time to check and measure will be easier doing processes in batches rather than round by round in my world.
 

Triffid

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't worry about the turret moving up a little when you raise the ram. The important thing is that it goes up consistently the same; some people would argue that a little play aids in the self-centering of case within die.
Even in the best press there's some play in the system. For example when you set up resizing dies, the instruction say something like raise the ram up until the shellholder touches the bottom of the die and then a quarter-turn more. That quarter-turn is to take the slack out of the die/press thread interface.

Triffid
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
I used a Lee turret press for some 16 years or so and made decent enough ammunition with it. There is play in the turret and I believe it's a disadvantage.
After I bought my RCBS Rockchucker and started caring about how I set my dies up rather more, the ammunition I make is far and away more consistent and better. I've now been using the RC press for over 15 years and wouldn't part with it.

Having said that, brass prep., accuracy setting your F/L die & seating your bullets correctly are more important than which press you use.
ATB
 

1066

Well-Known Member
The Lee turret press is a wonderful tool, it's churned out millions of excellent rounds of ammunition at an affordable price. However, where it really shines is when you need to load considerable quantities of straight walled pistol calibre rounds - The simple turret press, coupled with Lee carbide dies and an auto-disc powder measure is a brilliant combination, I've loaded many tens of thousands of rounds of .357, .38. .32, .45 etc. with no problems.

It works well for the smaller rifle rounds too if your in a rush or need a quantity, however, it's not my first choice if you are looking for accuracy. Remember, the die, when you are sizing or seating a bullet, isn't in the centre of the turret, it's on the periphery. If you're going to decap then immediately prime on the press, when are you going to clean/check primer pockets? Are you going to just measure loads or are you going to weigh them.

The more effort and time you want to spend striving to get the best out of your rifle ammunition the less attractive a turret is.

On the other hand, a good single stage press, like the Lee Cast iron classic press will last a lifetime and is capable of making really excellent rifle ammunition. Setting up the dies is no problem, the dies all have lock rings so they can be returned to the same position or you could invest in the breech lock inserts to make it even easier.

So, for my money, I would say the turret is the perfect tool for gallery rifle/pistol rounds but a good single stage press is better for accurate rifle rounds.

If you do a variety of types of shooting you will eventually have both (and probably a hand press as well)
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I used to teach that novice reloaders should stay away from turret presses and especially, semi automatic/progressive presses. As was said, setting up dies takes seconds and the results are very repeatable. Novices aren't usually adept at watching 4 operations at once. Get a good single stage press and learn to use it.

FWIW, I don't' believe a bit of flex hurts. My Bonanza Co-Axial has a die that just rides in a slot so it is free to move about. I produce some very accurate loads with it so it can't be doing too much harm.~Muir
 

1066

Well-Known Member
FWIW, I don't' believe a bit of flex hurts. My Bonanza Co-Axial has a die that just rides in a slot so it is free to move about. I produce some very accurate loads with it so it can't be doing too much harm.~Muir
I think a degree of "flex" to allow an amount of self-centering may be a good thing if it's in a straight line, I actually use the Lee "O" ring locking rings on my Redding competition dies for this reason. I think using a lightweight turret (or a cheap "C" frame single stage press) for full length sizing stalking calibre brass can lead to the wrong type of flex, i.e. one sided, this can only lead to unwanted bullet/neck run-out and consequence loss of accuracy.

I quite agree with what you say about novice reloaders and turret/progressive presses. By the time you notice that the powder hopper has bridged over/empty (was it just that case or the last 5?), the odd primer is up side down/missing or you've tried to decap a Berdan primed 308 case by mistake, it's all too late.

Get familiar with the basics first.
 

srvet

Well-Known Member
I started reloading ammo with a turret press back in 1993. I sold the turret press that year and bought a single stage RCBS press (reloader special 5) that I still use today. In my opinion the idea of a turret press is better than the execution. I was definitely underwhelmed by the lee press even though the ammo did go bang at the appropriate time. The other thing that no one has eluded to is the self indexing turret means that you have to run each case through sequential procedures, ie first pull size and deprime, then reprime on the upstroke, second pull charge the case with powder, nothing on the upstroke, third pull seat and crimp the bullet. Then repeat ad infinitum. I found this harder to get into a rhythm as the presses don't readily allow you to take a step backwards to correct an error. The same goes with progressive presses but about 5 times faster.
Changing dies takes a few seconds providing the lock ring is appropriately tight. I would suggest going for a good solid single stage press first and run cases through in batches rather than loading each round individually as a self indexing turret press requires you to do. This allows you to get used to all of the processes individually and maintain consistency.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I think a degree of "flex" to allow an amount of self-centering may be a good thing if it's in a straight line, I actually use the Lee "O" ring locking rings on my Redding competition dies for this reason. I think using a lightweight turret (or a cheap "C" frame single stage press) for full length sizing stalking calibre brass can lead to the wrong type of flex, i.e. one sided, this can only lead to unwanted bullet/neck run-out and consequence loss of accuracy.

I quite agree with what you say about novice reloaders and turret/progressive presses. By the time you notice that the powder hopper has bridged over/empty (was it just that case or the last 5?), the odd primer is up side down/missing or you've tried to decap a Berdan primed 308 case by mistake, it's all too late.

Get familiar with the basics first.
Agreed. As was said, most turret pressed are best for loading pistol cases. I also have a Lyman 6-hole turret circa 1970 and it evidences very little 'flex' but I won't use it for rifle -handgun only, a task which it performs very well.~Muir
 

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