Want to buy the best progressive reloading press for the money? Good! This article contains a list of top 5 products with detailed reviews. You’ll also get a nice “Buying Guide” here to assist you in finding the most suitable progressive handloading press for you. In addition, we have added a large FAQ section along with a detailed discussion on the handloading system to satisfy your all interests and questions about this topic. I can assure you, by the time you’ve done with this article, you will be sure about the product you’re going to buy.
If you have affection towards shooting, then you need to collect guns, ammo, primer, and many more things. These are often quite expensive and not reachable for every class of people. But this difficulty can easily overcome if they have a progressive reloading press. Using this tool, anyone can produce their needed ammo in any quantity without having hassles. But the vital question is which one will be most suitable for the users. Besides, if you are a newbie in this segment, then it is harder for you to find the right one. So, to decrease your toils, we are here presenting this article. Through this writing, you will get to know the right features of the reloading press and get a list of market best products with details.
More: Don’t miss our review on Best Single Stage Reloading Press Kit and 5 Best Reloading Press Reviewed
Top 5 Best Progressive Reloading Presses for the Money
The world's market of making and delivering progressive reloading presses is quite competitive. That is why; the manufacturers are trying to provide the best products to their consumers. But, to get the best value for your money, you should choose wisely.
Now, here's the list of our picks for your:
1 Hornady Lock-N-Load
2 Lee Precision Load Master
3 Dillon Precision
4 Lee Cast Aluminum Pro 1000 for 45 Colt
5 MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press
1 of 5 Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press Review
We will start our list with the most lucrative reloading press for you. Obviously, this model has an auto-progressive reloading press that ensures swift moving of dies and quickly filling of calibers.
Besides, with five grounding bushing process, you will be capable of rectifying your cartridge from .223 to .45 caliber within a short time. Moreover, you will get great convenience while releasing the round without modifications. In this continuation, its auto-eject system will allow you to eject every time without any exception.
It comes with a great powder drop – accurate, consistent, and reliable. This powder drop is also case activated; means, it won’t charge any powder if there’s an empty case in this stage. So, if by any chance you forget to put a case you won’t have to worry about wasting powders.
Hornady Lock-N-Load accepts dies from different brands (Lee, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, etc) which have standard 7/8"-14 thread. You just have to adjust the die into the bushings and you are good to go.
This tool is a five stage press. Like most of the progressive reloading press, the first stage is sizing stage for sizing the case; both de-priming and re-priming also occurs in this stage with an integrated priming tool. The second one is the powder charge stage.
After that is has a powder cop stage, which isn’t available in Dillon Precision 4 stage press. In this stage the press ensures accuracy of powder charging in the case. Fourth stage is the “bullet seeding” stage and final stage is the crimp.
It includes powder drop, priming tool, rifle and pistol metering assemblies, primer catcher, cartridge catcher, prime pick up tube, and 5 Lock-N-Load Bushings.
Here's a video on reloading with Hornady Lock-N-Load:
Pros and Cons of Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press:
- It has got a reflexive auto-indexing process to produce quality ammo
- You will get natural going metering supplements, collective case deposits to make the quality cartridge
- Enables quick changing of dies and calibers
- Built-in grooming system, case-activated powder drop, large-volume hopper
- It’s suitable for reloading rifle and pistol round
- Suitable for little experienced hand-loaders
- Setup is easier and hassle free
- Suitable for both rifle and pistol round
- It doesn’t come with any dies
- Priming tool isn’t great
Why should you buy this progressive press?
You will find it as the best progressive reloading press kit for its awesome quality. Especially because of its incredibly reasonable price, it’s really tough to beat it. Believe me, this solid press will provide you the best value for your money.
2 of 5 Lee Precision Load Master Reloading Rifle Kit Review
Sometimes, users need to have a cost-efficient reloading press kit to produce high-quality ammunition. In this case, this Lee Precision LoadMaster can be your best choice for doing so.
It can reload more than 500 rounds of bullets and cartridge in a single hour. Besides, you will find a chrome coated diameter, which will ensure the longevity of the cartridges.
Also, it has a detachable tower skull that enables things quicker. It is companionable with a lot of standard dies that have the capacities of 7 rounds in an inch.
It’s a five station reloading press – in station one the cases are decapped, got resized and primed in station two, in station three charged with powder, then bullets are seeded in four and finally the last station is crimp. It has no powder cop stage like the Honardy, that’s why chances of missing an error in powder charge are possible with Lee load master. To avoid this, loader would have to be really cautious during loading.
This auto indexing progressive reloading press can also be used as a single-stage reloading press if you want to. So, it’s great for a beginner to start with. It will help them to gather all the knowledge and experience for stepping up to more advanced reloading practices.
Lee Precision Load Master has a large 1 3/4 inch diameter ram with a large stroke clearance. That’s why it can reload even the largest magnum rifle cases. It also accepts most type of popular dies from different brands. You probably would face little difficulties while setting up this tool. However, after proper installation you’ll be impressed with the quality.
This is a complete package. So, it comes with the entire required instrument set to start with handloading right away. However, it doesn’t include case preparing tools through.
Watch this video for a clear understanding:
Pros and Cons of Lee Precision Load Master Reloading Rifle Press Kit:
- Auto indexing progressive reloading press
- Very reasonable price
- Can reload around 500 rounds/hour
- Chrome coated diameter increases the cartridges lifetime
- Compatible with different standard dies
- Five liberal stations -to enrich the product quality
- Can be used as single stage reloading press while needed
- Auto Drum Powder measure that increases accuracy
- Able to reload large rifle cases
- Built-in priming tool isn’t great
Why should you buy this press?
In spite of being the cheapest progressive reloading press of our list, it contains all most all the advanced features of a fine progressive reloading press. If you are new to reloading, it can be a great tool to start with especially for its capability to work as a single-stage reloading press.
3 of 5 Dillon Precision 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine Review
In this progressive reloading press kit, you will have the scope to select a caliber change kit to get included with proper care. The manufacturer has designed it correctly. So, you can make lots of cartridge within a short time.
Here, one thing you should keep in mind that the manufacturer sells dies separately with this press kit. But, the production capacity of it is quite impressive. You can produce and load more than 120 calibers approximately. Also, this press can produce rounds with higher accuracy and precision.
It’s a 4 stage die. Unlike Hornady, it doesn’t have the powder cop stage for ensuring whether the powder charge is correct or not. Hornady clearly has an upper hand in this case as powder cop reduces the chance of any mistake in powder charging.
Rest of the stages of reloading are similar to Hornady – sizing stage (removal and reseeding new primer also happens in this stage) following with powder charging, bullet seeding and crimp stage.
Dillon Precision 4 stage reloading press is a manually index progressive tool which means, unlike the previous press, you’ll have to advance the shell plate manually. There for, if you somehow miss this, you can double charge your cases. And, you know it’s the most dangerous error you can possibly do during hand loading.
This progressive reloading press comes with powder measure, tool head, cartridge catcher, and caliber conversion. You’ll have to buy rest of the components i.e. dies, bullet tray etc. separately.
This video shows how to reload with Dillion Precesion Manual Progressive Press:
Pros and Cons of Dillon Precision 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine:
- It is can reload both the rifle and pistol cases
- It can produce lots of ammo within a short time
- Reasonable price
- You will find it has a robust casing structure
- It has reliable ejector system to eject the cases after stage 4
- Sturdy and durable
- Ensures high accuracy
- Shell plate have to advance manually to the next stage
- Absent mindedness with this press can cause serious accident
Why should you buy this press?
Dillion has been praised as the most precise reloading press for years by the experts. Although, this press isn’t auto progressive like the previous two presses, the quality it serves makes it worth the money you’ll have to spend for it. So, if you’re looking for the most superior quality press that can produce cartridges with highest accuracy, then you should go for this awesome reloading press.
4 of 5 Lee Cast Aluminum Pro 1000 Reloading Kit For 45 Colt Md: 90643 Review
You may find this model is the right useful tool for you because of its high-quality features. It has an auto-indexing process, which will enable you to sort the cartridge based on the quality. Besides, the scaling feature will ensure the mixing of gunpowder in the right proportion.
It is quite easy to set up and operate to make the perfect cartridge. Even a beginner can do it quickly. The buildup quality of this product has gained high acclamation from the users. The manufacturer has made this model with solid cast iron. It will ensure the strength and durability of this model.
This press is suitable for reloading different types of rounds. You’ll just have to collect the appropriate dies for that. For example, if you want to convert it for reloading .223 then you’ll have to buy/ collect shell plate, primer, and dies for .223 cases.
Lee Cast Aluminum Pro 1000 Reloading Kit comes with dies, auto dram powder measure, priming tool, case feeder, shell plate etc.
Pros and Cons of Lee Cast Aluminum Pro 1000 Reloading Kit:
- Suitable for reloading rifle and pistol rounds
- Can be convert it to reload different types of calibers
- It is quite easy to set up and operate
- It has got a perfect scale to mix up the powder in the right proportion
- You will find an auto-indexing process with to enrich the cartridges
- The cast iron made body ensures strength and durability
- It only fed primers and powder if a case is present
- Easy to change calibers and dies
Suitable for less experienced loader
- Priming tool isn't very user-friendly.
- Instruction manual isn’t very helpful with the setup
Why should you buy this press?
Every user has a goal, which is making the quality calibers for the shooting. Besides, they want durable reloading press kit as well. In this case, this model can be the perfect choice for you.
5 of 5 MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press (best shot shell reloading press) Review
Shot shell pick
In the market, the products are a lot, but you may find difficulties in getting the right one. You know what, the quality of the product varies from brand to brand. But, you can choose this model with closed-eyes. It is because; this brand has got a considerable reputation for providing quality products.
In this model, you can find a double head tray to load the gun powder while reloading the cartridge. Besides, the hand lever of it ensures the absolute pressure in the process of producing calibers. It has got a grabber gun shot case reloaded. Most importantly, it can measure gun powder appropriately.
Pros and Cons of MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press:
- It has got six bushing work stations to enrich the reloading process
- You will find it trivial, inexpensive, and adaptable
- The manufacturer has designed it along with ambidextrous tower-grip
- It has the capability of firm altering of calibers.
- It has come with an insufficient traditional primer system
Why should you buy this press?
If you are looking for the finest reloading press for reloading shot shell, that can fast altering system, then it can be the best choice for you. Besides, the price of it is quite reasonable.
After a long intensive research, our best pick for you is Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press. Along with other advanced features, this progressive press has an unique feature which other presses of our list of top reloading presses do not posses -a powder cop station; in this station an "O-ring" indicates whether the cases have charged with right amount of powder or not. And, by this it reduces the chance of double or zero charging. In addition to this, Hornady is very reasonably priced.
However, if you're looking for a more budget friendly one without compromising the quality much then, Lee Precision Load Master Reloading Rifle Kit would be the best choice for you. You will find it as capable enough to cope with perfect dies. Besides, it has got five liberal stations to increase product quality. Moreover, it provides the facility to accommodate significant gun cartridges. You can find it as the cheapest product in the market. So, in every aspect, it can be the best progressive reloading press for the money.
Both of this two can reload rifle and pistol rounds. But, if you want to buy a progressive reloading press for reloading shotgun shell then you should buy MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press. It's the best press for reloading shot shells.
Buying Guide: How to Buy the Best Progressive Reloading Press for the Money
In buying any kind of product, users like to ensure a few things in that particular product. You must have a concern about durability, cost-effectiveness, and service quality. You know what; these things can be perfect if you choose the right product. In this way, if you want to buy the best progressive reloading press, then you should consider the following features.
You should get the right amount of product. You know what, the best outcome will deliver the highest level of production rate. On average, you can get 400 rounds of calibers in a single hour. In this way, you can ensure the right amount ammo based on your needs.
With the right one, you will find the auto-indexing system. It will ensure the quality of the cartridge. So, before buying, you should consider these features as well.
In the best reloading press, the manufacturer provides separated dies to make it compatible with all kinds of guns. You should look for this feature in the product.
It will not cost you much. The market is full of various products. But first, you need to match your budget with the price of the product. You know what, the cost can be so crucial to get the perfect reloading press kit to make the quality cartridge.
What is the case run out?
Answer: The case neck evades two objects end to end. It is familiar as the case runs out.
Do I need extra dies with the reloading press?
Yes, it will be useful for you to make a quality cartridge.
What is the average round I can make in an hour?
With the right product, you can make 400 rounds in an hour.
Which should I buy - a single press reloading press or a progressive press?
It depends on you. Do you shot regularly above 500 rounds? Do you enjoy reloading? Do you have sufficient knowledge of reloading with at least some experience? If all the answers are yes then you should go for progressive reloading press. Otherwise, you should start with a nice single stage reloading press.
Why single stage is the best for beginners?
When you use a single-stage press, you will have to do everything - one step at a time. It’s a slow process and good for learning. It will force you to get proper knowledge and experience on each individual step. So, you’ll become expert at what actually going on each step of handloading.
Apart from that, as a beginner, other advanced reloading systems may overwhelm you. So, the chances of making mistakes will be higher in that case. But, as you’ll have to do each step at a time with a single-stage reading system, chances of missing anything or making a mistake will be less.
Which one is more cost-effective - a single press reloading press or a progressive press?
If you shot a lot then the total production cost will be minimized with a progressive reloading press. As, with this handloading tool you’ll able to make a large number of rounds. within a small period of time. However, progressive reloading tools are more expensive, so there’ll be more initial expenses than single-stage reloading equipment. But high quantity productions will ultimately reduce costs.
On the other hand, if you don’t use much ammunition regularly and want to reload a few hundred cartridges each week then single stage reloading press will be more suitable for you.
I want to start handloading by myself, should I start with progressive reloading or single stage? Why?
You should start with a single stage reloading press if you are completely new to handloading. The entire operation of reloading includes a lot of small steps. Each of these steps is equally vital to producing a solid cartridge. Unless adequate knowledge on each step (what is actually going on) you won’t be able to do it right. A progressive reloading system is an advanced procedure, where you may end up with making incorrect cartridges without knowing what you’ve done wrong. The result could be fatal.
Also, with progressive reloading press you may produce more cartridges than you actually need. So, if you aren’t shooting thousands regularly then you should consider other slower and less expensive presses in the beginning.
However, with a single-stage reloading press, you must need to know each step properly. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reload anything. So, if you start with single-stage system, you will acquire proper knowledge of handloading. These “know-how” will make you eligible for more advanced progressive reloading system.
Is hand loading risky?
Actually, handloading has none or very negligible risk. But, the result of your reloading is risky, if you are doing it wrong. Remember, firearms aren’t toys. Your faulty ammo could take someone’s life including yours. So, yeah it’s risky!
But, if you are doing everything right then you can completely remove the “risk” part from reloading.
Is reloading with progressive press risky?
Handloading itself has no risk. You’ll be completely safe when you do it. But, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the result can be risky if you make faulty cartridges. And, the chance of making faulty Ammos is higher with progressive reloading system. As most of the operations are automated you may become little careless sometimes. One of the most common errors is incorrect powder charging – either no charging or double charging. If you’re not enough mindful then you may make cartridges with an excessive amount of powder or no powder at all. Both of these two situations can cause serious accidents.
Which one is better – turret press or progressive press? Why?
Again, it mostly depends on you- the number of ammunitions you use regularly. Turret press could be a better choice if you shot more than 100 bullets each day but not more than five hundred then you can go for a turret press. They are faster than single-stage presses but much slower than progressive presses. It stands somewhat middle of these two reloading systems. Turret presses are less expensive than progressive presses, obviously.
On the other hand, progressive presses are suitable for the shooters who shot five hundred, six hundred or even more than thousands of rounds regularly.
What preparation I should take before starting handloading?
You probably should gather some knowledge about the entire process first. For that, you may see one of your shooter buddies who are experienced in this area or take a course.
Is it a good idea to take a course on handloading before starting?
If you are really serious about it, and you don’t have anyone to help you one-to-one, then it’s a very good idea.
How much it will cost me to establish a complete set up of progressive reloading?
Depending on the brands, it would cost you at least around two thousand bucks, if you’re planning to buy everything associated with progressive reloading. But, this expense may go higher if you buy all the best stuff brand new. However, you can reduce the expense if you do the opposite – you can buy some used equipment to trim down the cost, I guess.
Is the reloading process itself is risky?
Handloading press is the basic and a special kind of equipment used for handloading. Handloaders used this press to make ammunition from used cases/ brass and new bullets. The total process of handloading involves a number of steps including cleaning used brass/ cases, de-priming, re-sizing of used cases, seeding new primers, charging powder, and finally adding bullets in it. After cleaning, a handloading press is used for the rest of the associated tasks for making new ammunitions.
So, handloading press is used for de-priming, shaping or resizing cases, seeding new primers, charging powers, and finally pressing new bullets in it. However, in the case of a single-stage reloading system, de-priming, resizing and powder charging are normally done with other small types of equipment such as hand priming tool, case resizing tool, powder measuring scales, scales for measuring cartridge size, etc. On the other hand, in a progressive reloading system most of the tasks can be done with a complete reloading press.
What are the Benefits of Handloading
Handloading can save novice hunters from buying special rifles. Sometimes, new hunters start with low powered round when they are learning and hunt small games. However, when they become more experienced and want to step up for big games then they want to have powerful shots. So, they normally buy new rifles.
Hence, the same rifle can serve their desire by increasing the power of their bullets. And, this can be done by handloading. Also, this special hand loading technique allows a hunter to use the same rifle/ gun to hunt different types of game animals.
Normally in a family where hunting is a normal phenomenon and a usual trend followed by the members, handloading could be more useful. As, the young members start with small games they need low power shot (lower recoiling force). But when they want to step up for big games the same person would want more powerful weapons. In this scenario, buying rifles for each stage isn’t much viable.
A more cost-effective solution for this problem is handloading. As cartridges with different recoiling force can be produced easily, the same rifle can be used with special hand loaded rounds for hunting for different kinds of games.
Also, if you need a huge number of ammunitions regularly then you can minimize the overall production cost. Although, handloading tools will cost you initially, in the long run you can overcome this initial cost and reduce cost per each round. How? First of all, you’ll re-use the cases. Secondly, when you buy a large number of other stuff – primers, bullets, powder you will also enjoy some discounts. Finally, as you’re going to do it in your leisure time, there’s no labor cost also. So, the final result is a large number of ready rounds for much fewer costs.
Another popular reason for handloading is the scope for customization. You can design more accurate and precise rounds for competition. As the hand loader can modify the power, size, and shape of the cartridges, he can install different characteristics and features in his rounds. It means he can produce what he wants.
Reloading for outdated weapons is also common. When ammunitions for specific kinds of rifles aren’t available commercially, what can you do other than handloading?
What are the major types of hand reloading press?
Press is the main equipment for handloading along with other accessories like dies, shell holder, priming tool, scale, powder measure, bullet puller, case trimmer, primer pocket tool, etc. However, our main concern is the press here.
There’re basically three types of presses are used in handloading operation. They are categorized based on their operation steps.
This one is the most basic and simplest among all. With this press you’ll have to do the entire work one step at a time for reloading and/or loading each cartridge/shell.
It’s a more advanced press system than a single stage. Unlike single-stage, it can reload faster as it allows mounting of all the required dies for reloading one cartridge. When you set all the dies correctly, the rest of the operation is similar to single stage reloading press. Turret presses are more expensive than single stage press. But, that extra money worth it as it allows much faster production. Turret presses are more suitable for those who shot more frequently.
Progressive reloading press
It’s the most advanced handloading press among all. After proper installment and setup of different components, the rest of the operation is mostly automated. Therefore, handloading allows for much faster reloading than the previous two presses.
However, preparing the used cases is similar to the other handloading press. Although progressive presses are a much faster and effortless option, it’s not suitable for all because of its high initial costs and high production rate. Shooters who regularly use more than five to six hundred rounds will find it more useful, as it will reduce the overall costing of ammunition. Also, handloading with progressive reloading requires at least some basic knowledge prior to starting reloading with this press.
What are the Major Steps in Progressive Press (tasks in each station)?
Here we’re going to discuss the major steps of handloading that took place in each stage of the progressive press. Read carefully and you’ll have a clear idea from this vivid manual. Though, the major task and steps are the same for all the progressive press, however, there might have some dissimilarity in the process from press to press. So, for the consistency we’ve described the whole procedure of handloading with Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press.
Cleaning used cases:
The first task before starting handloading with the press is to collect and clean used-cases. You can check this video if you’re not familiar with this task. After cleaning and drying the cases you can directly start handloading.
Step 1: Sizing and priming
In this step, a sizing die is used in stage one (of the press) to resize the used cases. Here, you can use any standard measure that dies for that. Hornady sizing dies has a de-priming pin, so when you press a case inside the die for resizing it will de-prime at the same time. Many experience hand-loaders remove the de-priming pin from the sizing die for consistency and reliability. They used a hand tool to de-priming the cases beforehand. When you put the case in this stage and press the lever up – the sizing is done.
An interesting thing is a priming tool is also integrated into this press. So, when you pull the lever down, this priming toll seeds a primer into the case. For that you have to fill the priming tube with primers.
After that the cases are measured to see whether they’re in the right length by comparing them with an ideal length. If any case is not in the right size then a case trimming machine is used for resizing it to the right length. After resizing, you can lube the cases and prepare them for charging powder.
Stage 2: Powder charge
This is the most critical part of reloading. A Hornady power charger comes with the Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press kit, is used for charging the cases. But, first you’ll have to prepare the powder charger so that it drops the correct amount of powder each time.
For that, you will need a high-quality powder measure scale. With the help of this tool, you can measure and set the correct powder. When you searching for the correct through and adjusting the powder charger always measure the fourth powder through to ensure that the powder isn’t compressed or lofted inside the measuring chamber. You should repeat the process a few times for ensuring consistency.
As mentioned earlier, this is the most crucial stage of reloading. The most dangerous errors can happen in this stage if you forget to charge or double charge a case. This error can cause injuries or even death. So, stay very careful here.
Step 3: Ensuring correct powder charge with powder cop
In the third stage of Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive reloading press, a powder cop ensures that you’ve charged the right amount of powder in your cases. This stage eliminates any chances of charging errors that can happen in the previous stage. Hornady powder cop has an o-ring when you press the charged case in this stage, this o-ring rises in accordance with the amount of powder inside the case. It won’t rise at all if there’s no powder in it or will rise to high if the cases are double charged. So, you should always keep an eye on this o-ring during the loading operation.
Step 4: Seeding bullets
This one is actually the final stage of reloading your ammunition. Here, a bullet reseeding die is used for seeding bullet into the charged case. You have to be careful about the alignment of the bullet and case when pressing ammo into the die for ensuring “0” run out. Otherwise, your bullets will be deformed inside the barrel when it gets into the forcing cone.
A bullet comparator tool is used to measure the complete round and compare it with your desired size. If there’s an anomaly, then you can adjust the length of your case or check where to change in the process.
Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press has another stage for crimp and die. This stage isn’t mandatory.
Main components/equipment of a progressive press kit
By this time, I think, you already have an idea about the necessary tools required for the complete process of handloading. If you’re planning to buy a progressive reloading press then you’ll get most of them with your package. You’ll have to buy the rest separately. Anyway, here’s the list of tools you will need for the complete process:
- Workbench for setting up the reloading press
- Case Tumbler for cleaning and polishing used cases
- Case trimmer
- Case prep tool
- Priming tool for priming and de-priming. Most progressive reloading press integrated has primer tool in the press
- A mechanical scale or digital caliper for measuring the length of the case and round
- Powder scale
- Powder charger and funnel; most progressive reloading press kit comes with this tool
- Dies (sizing die, bullet seeding/ seating die, factory crimp die,
- Bullet comparator
- Shell holder
- Reloading press
- Case lube kit
- Bullet puller etc