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Progressive Reloading Presses

The Best Progressive Reloading Press will help you save time and money on reloading your pistols and rifles.

Why Get a Progressive Reloading Press?

If you are a shooter who spends very much time on the range or in the field, you know the kind of expense that is involved in feeding your pistol, rifle, or shotgun. 

Many busy shooters find they can reduce the amount of money they spend on ammunition by reloading.  The tradeoff for spending less money buying fresh ammunition for each shooting excursion but spending more time.

Additionally, as you test and find that most accurate powder load and bullet combination for tack-driving accuracy you will need to reload at large volume.

What to look for in a Progressive Presses

Progressive reloading presses produce a completed round of ammunition with each pull of the handle after the initial setup. It is satisfying to sit at the reloading bench and hear that solid thunk as a new unspent cartridge hits the catch bin as you pull the handle.  

It is the repetitive nature of reloading where a progressive reloading press shines. The best presses will deliver consistency with each pull of the handle, setting a primer, dropping a powder load, and setting a bullet to the proper depth with each stroke.

Durable Materials 

Such precision calls for attention to manufacturing quality control and the selection of durable materials for the construction of the press. 

Progressive presses are, by nature, complicated mechanical devices with many moving parts. The higher the precision in fitting these parts, the better the reloader will operate over time.

Number of Rounds Per Hour

One other statistic many reloaders consider in purchasing a progressive reloading press is the number of rounds per hour the press can produce.

One feature that can increase the number of rounds per hour is an auto-indexing feature on the press. Auto-indexing is a wonderful feature, but it generally increases the complexity of the reloader and the price.

How We Selected The Best Progressive Press

We have reviewed the most popular reloaders on the market and tried to identify the best selection in several categories. There were many options to choose from. For both the new reloader and the seasoned reloader, the chore of sifting through all the data can be daunting.

Best Progressive Reloading Presses

1. Hornady Lock N’ Load – Best Progressive reloading press overall

For features and great value, our choice is the Hornady Lock N’ Load system.  Hornady builds quality presses and keeps the price in an affordable range.One of the best features of the Hornady Lock N’ Load system is the way Hornady uses bushings to allow quick changes of dies.

The Hornaday Lock N’ Load system comes loaded with features that make reloading much easier such as:

  • Quick change Lock N’ Load bushing system to allow quick changes of die sets.
  • Safety powder drop that only activates if an empty shell case is in the powder drop.
  • Self-ejecting finished cartridge system
  • Automatic indexing speeds up production
  • Cartridge hoppers are large, which reduces the number of stops you must make while reloading.

What We Like

  • Fast and Efficient
  • Well-built and durable
  • Reasonably priced

What We DisLike

  • Can be difficult to setup
  • Very heavy

2. Lee Loadmaster Progressive PressBest Beginners Progressive Press

The Lee Loadmaster Profess Press is an ideal beginning press. Its cast aluminum design is lighter than most progressive presses, yet strong enough to handle the most popular pistol and rifle calibers.

One great feature from Lee is the kits that they offer with this press. If you shoot 9mm predominately, you can purchase a Lee Loadmaster Progressive Press with everything you need to start reloading 9mm, including the dies.

Feature-wise, the Lee Loadmaster is no slouch.  

  • Features cast Aluminum construction for strength with light weight.
  • This press can be used as a single-stage press or as a progressive press.
  • ¾” diameter ram and long stroke provide extra leverage.
  • Five station turret accepts all major dies.
  • Has a removable turret for a quick change in calibers.

What We Like

  • Low Cost
  • Great accessories
  • reasonably priced

What We DisLike

  • Maybe prone to jamming
  • Not as durable as some other presses

3. Dillion RL550C Best Manual Indexing Progressive Press

It does lack automatic indexing, but the ergonomic design makes getting into a rhythm while reloading so easy that most reloaders never miss the automatic indexing feature found on other presses

If ease of operation and fast production are your goals while reloading, the best manual indexing press is the Dillon RL550C. It is feature-rich, and its simple design and mechanism will reward you with years of reloading without problems. Considering the list of features tells the tale on the Dillon RL550C.

  • Four stage turret design makes it easy to hit a 600 round per hour goal.
  • Removable tool heads allow you to set up your dies once and then reload them time and time again without finicky adjustments.
  • Ergonomic Design allows rapid manual indexing for maximum production.

What We Like

  • It is built to last.
  • Easy to operate.  A good starting press for beginners as well as a press that will satisfy more experienced reloaders
  • Can be used to produce both rifle and pistol ammunition

What We DisLike

  • It doesn’t come with dies or some accessories that seasoned reloaders may want.
  • Priming process is manual, but an auto-primer can be added separately
  • Heavy

4. Dillon Square Deal BBest Pistol Caliber Progressive Press

If you only reload pistol ammunition, the Dillon Square Deal B is the press to look at for your reloading operation. 

Just like other Dillon Presses, it comes with a lifetime warranty and is a well built and durable machine. In addition to all the other features that come standard with Dillon progressive presses, the Dillon Square Deal B has automatic indexing.

The feature list on Dillon progressive presses is well known but to review a few of them:

  • Automatic indexing allows fast pistol ammunition production.
  • Four station press will work with almost all dies on the market.
  • Available in kits if you reload one caliber
  • Auto-primer and both large and small caliber powder bars included.
  • Kits come with dies pre-installed.

What We Like

  • High-quality Dillon construction
  • Automatic Indexing for faster reloading
  • Dillon lifetime warranty

What We DisLike

  • Expensive for a pistol only press.
  • Only has four stations on the turret.

5. Dillon 750 XLBest Production Progressive Press

If you need to produce high volumes of reloaded ammunition with consistency, the Dillon 750XL press should be on your list of potential purchases. It is the  best progressive reloading press for accuracy. 

Many reloaders consider the Dillon 750Xl a half step below a commercial-grade production reloading system. With the addition of a few aftermarket accessories, the Dillon 750XL rivals many commercial-grade reloaders.

The Dillon 750Xl is a great progressive press for those that shoot more than 500 rounds per week. Capable of producing 500 to 800 rounds of finished ammunition and hour makes the Dillon 750XL the perfect option for shooting clubs or ranges that offer reloads. 

With the addition of an automatic case feeder and primer loader, the Dillon XL750 can produce even more ammunition at a faster rate.The Dillon 750 CL is new to the market and replaced the 650 XL in Dillon’s product line.

Dillon offers a huge range of accessories and addons plus its impressive list of standard features.

  • Large and small powder bars
  • Auto primer system
  • Low primer alarm
  • Loaded cartridge catch bin
  • 1 tool head
  • 1 powder die
  • 1 set of Allen wrenches
  • 5 stage design
  • Handles both pistol and rifle calibers

What We Like

  • Well designed and efficient.
  • High production rates.
  • Very consistent production.

What We DisLike

  • Expensive.
  • Manual indexing.

6. RCBS Pro Chucker 7 – best progressive reloading press for 223

 We had to include the RCBS Pro Chucker 7 on our list.  This press built by RCBS and is new in its product line. 

The RCBS Pro Chucker 7 shines in the features category but comes in a bit more expensive than the comparable Dillon, and RCSBS offers fewer accessories that could make this progressive press a real competitor.  

The price and the lack of add-on accessories kept the RCS Pro Chucker 7 out of the top spot for best production progressive presses but did land it a runner-up spot.  

Check out this amazing list of features on the RCBS Pro Chucker 7.

  • Seven station turret
  • Auto-indexing
  • Quick-change die plates
  • Quick change powder measure
  • Die-cast aluminum frame
  • Zerk fittings for lubrication
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Made in the USA

What We Like

  • Lightweight for its size and functions.
  • Seven station turret.
  • Fast and efficient design.

What We DisLike

  • Expensive.
  • Some problems with primer feed.
  • Cast Aluminum frame not as durable as other designs.

7. Dillon RL1100 – best progressive reloading press for rifle reloading

If you need to load a lot of ammo and you want to maximize your time, the Dillon Rl1100 fits the bill.

The Dillon RL1100 could be considered a true commercial reloading press.   The automatic case feeder and automatic priming system allow production rates of 1100 rounds per minute.

You don’t have to sacrifice quality in your reloads with the Dillon RL1100.  The precision of the Dillon reloaders allows the production of match grade ammo at the same amazing speed. 

Whether you are loading for your competitive shooting or feeding the needs of an active shooting club, the Dillon RL1100 can be the answer.

Dillon’s feature-rich reloading presses include such items as:

  • Eccentric Roller Bearing Drive system of smoother strokes and less effort.
  • Heavier frame increases rigidity and accuracy of the reloads
  • A new and upgraded primer pock swage for cleaner primer insertions
  • Dillon’s quick-change tool heads allow you to pre-set your caliber dies and use them over and over without having to reset each time.
  • Electric automatic case feeder for fast and efficient reloading operations
  • Automatic powder measure with small and large powder bars
  • Low Primer Alarm
  • The auto-indexing shell plate system

What We Like

  • Stout and robust for years of use
  • Commercial grade machine
  • Precise and accurate reloads

What We DisLike

  • Very expensive
  • Can be hard to set up and get adjusted
  • Requires a lot of room with the case feeder

8. Lee Precision Classic Turret PressBest Budget Progressive Press

If you are looking for an entry-level budget-conscious progressive press, the Lee Precision Classic Turret Press is your answer. 

The basic package is available for just over $100. The basic package doesn’t include everything you need to get started reloading.

But it does put the Lee Precision Classic Turret Press into the range that most shooters can afford.

Lee is known for manufacturing quality reloading equipment and providing excellent support and service for their products. 

You won’t find an auto-indexing progressive press at a lower cost than the Lee Precision Classic.

Features on the Lee Classic Precision Press include:

  • The long stroke allows rifle cases to be easily managed
  • All steel linkage for durability and strength
  • Cast Iron Frame for a lifetime of use
  • Through the ram spent primer catchment
  • Instant change turrets for quick and easy caliber changes

What We Like

  • Great for beginners
  • Easy to use and to set up
  • Well-built and durable

What We DisLike

  • Doesn’t come with many of the accessories you need to reload

9. Lyman T-Mag 2 Turret Press  – Runner Up Best Budget Progressive Press

Sometimes a single stage press is better for the reloading job you are doing.  Building precision test loads is one of those jobs that some reloaders perform regularly. 

However, when you are done testing and it’s time to produce lots of ammunition, a progressive press is better.  

The Lyman T-Mag Turret Press can get you both at a price that rivals single stage presses with other features not found on budget-minded progressive presses. 

The Lyman T-Mag press is a bit more expensive than the Lee Precision Turret Press and that edges the Lyman press into the runner up position on our list.

Feature for feature, the Lyman T-Mag Turret Press holds its own with the other presses.

  • Six station turret
  • The compact and efficient design takes up less room on the reloading bench
  • Durable construction with a cast-iron frame.
  • Ambidextrous handle options.
  • Accepts standard 7/89” x 14 threaded dies

What We Like

  • Works for beginners as well as experienced reloaders
  • Accepts both rifle and pistol dies
  • Small footprint takes up less room on the bench

What We DisLike

  • Not many accessories included with the press
  • Requires manual priming

Important Cautions When Using Progressive Reloader

Progressive ReloaderWhether you are new reloader just getting started or an old hand with years of experience under your belt.

It is always a good idea to review some basic safety precautions that every reloader should take when they are at the reloading bench. Follow a few simple rules to prevent unfortunate accidents

Don’t Smoke

Open flames of any kind don’t mix well with primers or powder.  Smoking while reloading is an invitation to a sudden flash fire or worse.

Use Appropriate Tools 

Reloading tools are made from materials that are designed not to create a spark. A spark is just another ignition source looking for a place to create havoc. Don’t provide that chance.

Never Mix Powders

Home brewed powder blends are dangerous.  Without expert knowledge of the components and materials used to create each powder, you cannot predict how they will react with each other. You should load only single powder loads with your equipment.

Store your components safely 

Reloading components should be stored safely, preferably in a metal locking cabinet.  

Focus 

Reloading is a repetitive operation and you can easily lose focus.  Keep your work sessions to a reasonable length and take breaks to maintain your concentration.  

Check and recheck

Make sure that your powder measures are correct and that you are using the proper components for the ammunition you are reloading.Wildcatting can be dangerous and best left to the most experienced professional reloaders.

Consider All Variables 

Progressive ReloaderEach of the progressive reloading presses on our list is available in a variety of different kits.  Whether you reload pistol or rifle ammunition primarily, you can probably find a kit that includes the accessories you need. Deciding what features and accessories you need is a choice that you must make.

Considering all the variables, features, and accessories, choosing a reloader can be daunting. Whether you are a novice looking for your first reloading press or an established reloader looking for a replacement press, finding that perfect is challenging

I hope that the information on our list and our recommendations make the process easier and that it leads you to a productive and enjoyable reloading experience.  You may want to check out the reloading bench article as well.