Rambling thoughts on inexpensive reloading equipment, part two
by Greg Ritchie
So now you have been loading a while on your single stage press and decided you like the hobby. You have decided you need to increase your production but you still have a budget of $200. We are also going to purchase a second set of dies so you can keep your first set adjusted for your single stage press. Finally we are going to assume that we are loading for a rifle because there is one piece, the rifle charging die, that has to be purchased separately. Handgun die sets come with the powder through charging die which works with the powder measure. Can we do it? Unfortunately I come in at about $3 over budget, $202.93 at today's prices. Let's look at our kit.
Turret press kit:
4 hole "value" turret press
Rifle charging die
Auto disk powder measure
Double disk kit
Powder measure riser
Pacesetter 3 die set
The 4 hole value turret press is an auto rotating press that is good for loading cartridges up to about 308 Winchester in case length. As with the Reloader press, it is adequate for normal reloading chores, but not the press you want for jobs that require excessive force such as case forming. Also like the Reloader press, the Value Turret press collects spent primers in the base of the press requiring removal of the press from the bench to remove the spent primers. My preferred method to improve the handling of spent primers with this press a product marketed by Titan Reloading. http://www.titanreloading.com/press-accessories/titan-primer-chute
They produce a primer director and a primer chute that fits into the base of the press and directs the spent primers into a tube. The tube directs spent primers into a receptacle or the tube can be simply capped and emptied when the tube fills. At today's prices this will cost $17.46, a worthwhile investment but one that puts the cost of our kit above our imposed $200 limit.
The Safety prime attaches to the front riser of the press and when properly adjusted places a primer in the primer cup with a simple click of the tool. The primer is seated into the case on the downstroke of the ram.
The Auto Disk powder measure, rifle charging die, powder measure riser and the double disk kit we will consider as one piece. The rifle charging die works like the powder through expander die in the pistol die sets except it doesn't expand the case mouth. The powder measure riser is necessary so the powder measure will clear the safety prime, and the double disk kit increases the volume of powder dropped by the measure, which is necessary with most rifle cartridges. The Auto Disk powder measure is an effective tool that works best when you know what specific load you are going to use. The plastic powder hopper is attached to the base with screws that turn directly into the plastic. These are easily stripped. Set your powder measure for your preferred load, then leaving it alone.
Once properly set up it is very possible to load 200 or more rounds per hour with the Lee Turret press, a substantial increase over what is possible with the single stage press. Safety is still paramount. You will develop your own rhythm, one that includes visually checking every powder charge. You will want to spot check the weight of powder thrown from time to time as well. Switching out turrets to change between different calibers is easy as well. Set up and store your turrets, one for each caliber you load. It can easily be done in about a minute. Don't want to use the auto index feature. That's easy as well, simply remove the indexing rod. The turret can be advanced manually, or the press can be used as a single stage and you can perform each step in batches, simply advancing the turret to the next station when you are ready.