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I am beginner at reloading. My reloading objective is to start loading 40 S & W’s to shoot in either my Sig P229 (40 S & W with a W. German frame made 1997 with 2.1K rounds through it) or Sig P239 (made1998 with 1.3K rounds through it). Loads will be straight out of the reloading manual. I plan on this being my learning platform. Once I have mastered basic loading I will move to my Sig P229 Elite Scorpion (40 S & W made 2014).

In another winter I want to go to the .223 and then to .308. I’m retired and so the next several winters will focus on this full time. Plan on reloading 40's at a rate of 100 - 200 rounds an hour. So here’s where I am at:

I read a number of articles about reloading for beginners. Some said to start with a single stage press, others said “no” save some extra money and buy a good progressive loader. More than one article I read said most beginners who start with a single stage only later regret not spending a little more for the progressive. The last one I read was “Best Reloading Presses for Beginners” dated Jan 17, 2019 by Pew Pew Tactical:


In this article I read:

“...I recommend that most people start with a progressive reloading press. While a single stage or turret press can usually be found new for under $200, and a progressive press usually starts at about twice as much, a progressive is more flexible for future reloading needs. ...”

The article had a number of Dillon’s listed that captured my attention starting with the Dillon Square Deal B to the Dillon 1050. So.... I ended up buying a Dillon XL 750 (still in the box unopened).

Since buying the Dillon some of the books I have ordered on reloading came in and some state the opposite. That a progressive press is too complicated for a beginner.

So my Question is: do I hold off on putting together the Dillon 750 XL and get a used single stage press prior to start using the Dillon since it is a lot less complicated to learn the basic skills of reloading or do I start using the progressive since it’s far more efficient in reloading ammunition. I’m open either way. I realize this is a hard question to answer because it is not possible to judge my mechanical skills.

So my question is did I buy the right reloading platform?
 

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Short answer - Yes

For pistol the Dillon progressive presses are the best choice in my opinion to start with.


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Although I disagree with PewPew's premise that beginner's should start with a progressive press I do agree that many start with a single-stage press and move on. And you can use that to your advantage by buying a lightly used single-stage for almost nothing. Furthermore, for the cost of a set of dies and a shell holder you can convert from .223 to .308 to .40. And it will only take a minute or two to do it. Check out the cost and time to do the conversion for the Dillon. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy the Dillon; I'm saying start out small and cheap and see what works for you. My guess is if you shoot competition with your pistols and need to make hundreds of rounds in a short time then you'll end up buying the progressive for the pistol and keeping the single-stage for the rifle.
 

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I think the right answer is somewhat personal. I was gifted a progressive when I first expressed an interest in reloading. Then I had a friend spend the weekend over (he likes my cooking so it was an easy sell) and I got a great reloading course.

He brought over a single stage setup so I could understand why and how of everything. Then we set up the progressive and went through some rounds. All good.

But

FOR ME to much was going on at the same time and I was uncomfortable not being able to monitor each step closely. Within short order ... Squib.

I then went and bought a single stage. I used it for maybe five years and happily loaded thousands of perfect rounds.

I recently sold it and used that money to get a turret press. I still like being able to carefully monitor each round but it is much faster than single stage.

Everyone has their comfort level and ammo needs. That will guide you. Me .. I shoot about 400 rounds a month. I can easily produce that and still stay in my comfort zone.

I don't see a progressive in my future and I am thrilled with the time I spent with my single stage really understanding reloading and not just knocking out ammunition.
 

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That's a great press and even a beginner can learn on a progressive just load one piece at a time and setup one die at a time.

If you have any questions dillon is always very helpful as well as YouTube.
Plenty of people on here can help as well.
I have a super 1050 powered by a Mark 7 and just sold my million rouns 550 and upgraded to a 750.
 

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So here’s what I ended up doing. 30 or so years ago I was shooting IPSC with my .45, using government ball. I decided to buy a race gun in .38 Super, but that required I reload because you could not make major with factory loads.

I bought a Dillon Square Deal. Within an hour of getting it, I decided it wouldn’t do, so I sent it back and got a 650. Set that up and started reloading .38 Super off the charts. It worked great!

Over time I expanded to other calibres. I loaded .38 Spl, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .40 S&W, .308, .30-‘06. I found it wasn’t that hard to produce quality ammo reasonably quickly. I would load enough for a couple months, then cover the machine. Methods of storing the ammo became an issue. I used plastic boxes, old cartridge boxes, and ultimately plastic bags. One advantage was that you could write load data with a marker pen on the bag, so you knew what that bag held. Throw away the bag when you were done. This especially became useful when I began loading for my Dakota Predator in .20 Tactical. For that I ended up buying a Foster Bonanza single stage press. I also bought a powder dispenser that trickled the charge to the nearest 0.1 gr. It yielded very accurate cartridges - I could kill a prairie dog at 800 yds.

A good case can be made for having both. You use them a bit differently. Bulk shot ammo you can load on the Dillon. Precision rounds seem to load better on a single stage. Your .40 ammo would fall into the former; rifle stuff could go either way, depending on what and how you shoot.
 

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You did fine with your Dillon 750 purchase. Take your time and understand every function of the press. Dillon will help you Spend plenty of time with your empty casings, examining them etc. Read about loading and watch U-tube videos. Process and sort this information. Load conservatively, get a chronograph to check the FPS of your rounds. Pay attention to detail and record keeping! Take it real slow, and be anal about all you do with your re-loading. It isn't for everyone, it requires some mechanical ability, and the time and ability to focus and pay great attention to detail. Take it seriously and you can still enjoy it. I have loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds through my modified 650, and prefer my re-loads to factory rounds.
 

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If you don't mind paying considerably more than other good progressives, then you did okay.
 

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I learned from a friend on a single stage press. As the OP mentioned, there is a lot going on with a progressive. Honestly, I really like the slow pace of doing each step mostly by hand. I really find reloading relaxing. I think the main benefit of a progressive is speed once you get it setup properly. If you don't need the speed...
 

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I learned from a friend on a single stage press. As the OP mentioned, there is a lot going on with a progressive. Honestly, I really like the slow pace of doing each step mostly by hand. I really find reloading relaxing. I think the main benefit of a progressive is speed once you get it setup properly. If you don't need the speed...
😁 Everyone needs speed. “Speed is life.” [anonymous fighter pilot]
 

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I think if I was starting today to reload I would go with one of the Dillon Progressive loaders too. I would find someone who has used one and get them to teach me the set-up and operation.

I'm still using the same Lyman T-Mag (turret press), I bought way back in the early '80s. Yeah it's a little slower but makes really high quality reloads. I've never had a single issue or needed a repair or part for it. With a friend helping and doing the priming with a hand tool, not on the press .... we loaded 600 .45 acp in one evening. I can't imagine how many thousands of .38..357, .44 and .45 have gone through this press. And also did a few 30-06 too.

Just take your time, learn your equipment and you'll be making good reloads in no time ...(if you can find primers).
 
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You can't go wrong with a Dillion but ...it has a learning curve so don't be upset when things don't always go right the first time out. Take you time and don't have any distractions around when you are working.

Actually the ideal setup is to have a single stage along with a progressive. small runs of rifle or even handgun are easier in that manner.
 

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I load my pistol on a Dillon 550. I load my 223 on the same press but because I have to lube the cases and don't want the mess on the 550 I size on a single stage (Forster Bonanza)
Then I prime them with the RCBS primer
I also keep a decapper on the Bonanza when I am loading pistol
You will get a bad seating on a primer or one with flip in the primer tube and it requires pulling the bullet, recovering it and the powder and case
I also have a PCBS Rock Chucker which I load match 223/308/8MM Mauser and others

A good single stage press is a must and once you start using the 750 you will find you need other quality tools to make you truly capable of all those things you have yet to become aware even exist in the world of reloading
After well over 25 years and about 600K reloaded I am always learning something new and finding something that makes my job easier/better

You will need both or you will need multiples of both
 

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I load my pistol on a Dillon 550. I load my 223 on the same press but because I have to lube the cases and don't want the mess on the 550 I size on a single stage (Forster Bonanza)
Then I prime them with the RCBS primer
I also keep a decapper on the Bonanza when I am loading pistol
You will get a bad seating on a primer or one with flip in the primer tube and it requires pulling the bullet, recovering it and the powder and case
I also have a PCBS Rock Chucker which I load match 223/308/8MM Mauser and others

A good single stage press is a must and once you start using the 750 you will find you need other quality tools to make you truly capable of all those things you have yet to become aware even exist in the world of reloading
After well over 25 years and about 600K reloaded I am always learning something new and finding something that makes my job easier/better

You will need both or you will need multiples of both
Definitely agree that you’ll need more than one press & you learn something new each day you load.

I have 2 Dillon 650’s ( small primer & large primer dedicated machines) & a Forster co-ax for precision rifle.


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For pistol, it's either progressive or don't bother. I started on a single stage and gave it up because reloading 1000ds of pistol rounds was too tedious. Picked it back up and went with an xl750 and I can now churn out about 700-800 rounds an hour (with casefeeder and bullet feeder and Hornady 1911 primer tube filler) and most importantly it's not tedious to do. For rifle, you can do it on the Dillon, but I generally only load 20-50 at a time so it's not a big deal doing that on a single stage press.

Btw, it's not too complicated for a beginner, just watch a bunch of videos on setting up the Dillon and folks showing it in operation. It's really not that complicated if you do research ahead of time.

I'd say one thing lacking in any of the reloading manuals and such is a discussion about lead. There is no safe level of lead. The biggest source of lead from shooting/reloading is the lead dust from the primers. That lead dust is quickly absorbed by your body if you breath it in. I'd highly recommend wet tumbling all cases with steel pins before handling or de-priming them. Wear some nitrile gloves and perhaps a P100 respirator with 2091 filters before you have cleaned the cases and de-primed them. Finally wash up with some d-lead soap after any reloading sessions.
 

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You did well with the 750. keep in mind though that the learning curve is a bit steeper compared to a single stage or non-progressive press. Just make sure you’re focus on what you’re doing and try to get rid of any distractions or minimize them.

I started with. Dillon 550 then went to a 650 and now have the 1100. Reloading had been a breeze since I also have a casefeeder and bullet feeder.

Good luck and be safe.
 

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For a beginner I would suggest using a single stage press. Learn the basics of reloading with it and once you feel really comfortable handloading then set-up that Dillon progressive press.

Good luck, remember safety, and have fun! (y)
 

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I started with a progressive many years ago, and never regretted it. I think you made a great choice. You can load one round at a time for a while to get the hang of it, but I bet you won't do that very long before going full progressive!
 

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As a long time reloader(before progressive presses were readily available) I normally do not recommend a progressive as the first press for the beginner because of all that is happening with a single pull of the handle. However, just because you can load 600-700 rds per hour doesn’t mean you have to load that fast. Initially, treat your 750 like a single stage press. Start by sizing/ decapping at station 1. Once the sizing die is properly adjusted, move on to the remaining dies. When all the dies are adjusted, you can start loading- one case at a time. Start with one case, and run it through all stations until it is complete. You are using your progressive as a single stage press. Once you are thoroughly comfortable with what is happening at each station, try doing two cases at once, and than work your way up to being fully progressive.

Experience has taught me that for Pistol calibers, it is beneficial to initially start with a load that fills at least half the case- this makes a double charge less likely, as well as more noticable. While failing to drop a charge can be a real PITA at the range(always take a cleaning rod or other tool to drive out the stuck bullet- or take a spare gun(Been there- Done that- Got that T-Shirt), dropping a double charge and rapidly disassembling the gun can be more hazardous to your health(Don’t have that T-Shirt- and don’t want it). Surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but you should know that you will not save any money by reloading- you will just shoot twice as much as you would have if you didn’t reload!

Don’t be in a hurry when reloading- that is when you will make mistakes. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so stop and figure out what is different before continuing. Best of luck and enjoyment with your reloading.
 
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