5 Best Progressive Reloading Presses That Are Pure Quality
We can all agree that shooting games are relaxing. Unfortunately, they can also take a toll on your finances, especially if you decide to depend solely on store-bought ammunition.
Now, would you like to enjoy your hobby at a reduced cost?
Well, all you have to do is start reloading your ammunition. An estimated 65% of hunters in the US are already reloading their rounds to not only save money but also enhance the accuracy and overall quality of their bullets.
The best progressive reloading press creates multiple rounds with each pull of the handle. We have spent hours on end sorting through hundreds of units in the market to present to you the top 5 progressive reloading presses.
How Does a Progressive Reloading Press Work?
First things first, let’s find out more about the science behind the functions of progressive reloading presses. Well, these are the most advanced presses, and they work automatically to generate at least 400 rounds of ammo per hour.
Compared to a single-stage reloading press or even turret presses, these units are more intricate in how they function. This makes it crucial to have reasonable skill levels to better your odds of producing bullets with high efficiency and precision.
When using the press, you should first set up the dies. The machine will then automatically churn out the needed cartridges. Even though utilizing the unit may at first seem complicated, the process is quite easy once you know what is required of you.
The majority of models come with a range of accessories that make most processes automated. Moreover, functions like deburring and powder measuring make every step easy and quick.
The devices come with a lever that professionally joins the casing, primer, and gunpowder to create quality rounds of ammo with each pull.
Are Progressive Reloading Presses Accurate?
For you to have any chance of thriving in shooting games, the accuracy of your ammo means everything. Even though factory bullets are getting better as time goes by, it is also beyond debate that they cannot match the precision of custom loaded ammunition.
Here’s the thing, it is impractical for even premium ammo manufacturers to ensure the quality of each round they create. Remember that they do mass production, and this makes quality control matters even more challenging.
So, are progressive presses accurate? Yes, they are. They come with sophisticated measuring scales, and this further enhances your chances of creating bullets with unmatched precision.
Furthermore, reloading your ammo allows to experiment and do accuracy testing. This increases your odds of creating rounds that are perfect for your rifle and applications.
3 Best Progressive Reloading Presses 2020
Progressive reloading presses are sophisticated, not to mention expensive equipment. Choosing the right unit the first time could save you from a lot of needless frustrations. Dive right in, and let’s have an all-rounded look at the 5 best progressive reloaders in the markets.
#1. Lee Precision Load Master 45 Reloading Pistol Kit
Advanced progressive reloaders are not easy on the wallet. If you are in search of the best progressive reloading press for the money, consider getting the Lee Precision Master 45 kit. It is inexpensive compared to other units with its features and functions, yet it is an equally reliable alternative.
This beast can reload handgun and rifle cartridges at an incredible 400 rounds an hour reloading rate. It has five stations, and this helps to accelerate the whole ammo reloading process.
Moreover, this is a large device with a chrome-plated diameter ram designed to accommodate large-sized rifle cartridges. Among its most outstanding features is an automatic indexing system. This helps to promote consistency in the overall quality of the ammo produced.
Changing from one caliber to another is also smooth and fast thanks to the removable turret head. When altering the settings to a specific caliber, the dies remain intact, and this means their perfect adjustments are not changed. You only need to switch the arrangement of your shell plates.
Another outstanding feature that cannot go without mentioning is the pro-auto powder measure. This helps to reduce the risk of gunpowder wastage through spillage or leaks. The powder measure dispenses just the right amount of gunpowder before the shells are crimped.
The automated systems of this progressive reloading press assist in enhancing quality control. This machine also has a primer system that further makes the entire process smooth and quick.
The only downside is that even though this unit pairs well with the majority of standard dies measuring 7/8 to 14 inches, you need to buy these dies and caliber-specific shell plates separately.
#2. Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloader
Are you searching for a versatile, progressive reloading press? Well, search no more. The Hornady Lock-N-Load press is a model that has you covered. This is a top seller progressive reloader that has won the hearts of numerous shooters for reasons that we will be explaining shortly.
First, it has an EZJect system. This helps to make the ammo reloading process adjustment-free and dramatically speeds up the production pace. With this machine, you can create over 600 rounds of accurate and high-performance bullets with each passing hour.
The automated systems also make this unit one of the simplest to operate. It comes with five automatic indexing stations, making this machine the best progressive reloading press for beginners.
Changing the dies when changing calibers is also a piece of cake thanks to the quick changing bushing system. During our tests, we were able to change 45 to .223 calibers in as little as 5 minutes. Believe us, we were not even trying to be quick.
Compared to other progressive presses at the price range, we must say that this unit’s most impressive feature is the EZJect system. However, there is one more feature that also took us by surprise; the collecting tray that is strategically fitted to ensure perfect ejection of gun cartridges.
Not so many presses are uniquely designed to allow you to offload your bullets directly into your primary storage. Other features that are bound to impress you include the powder drop system that prevents gunpowder spillage and the durable aluminum alloy construction of the tool.
#3. RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press
Let’s wrap it up by reviewing another excellent press from a brand that has been around for over 7 decades. RCBS has a proven track record of producing advanced reloading presses using the most innovative technologies.
The Rock Chucker reloader is without debate the best single stage reloading press in today’s market.
The efficiency and accuracy of this unit make it ideal for even serious shooters. After all, the quality of the ammo produced is, in most cases, more important than a high reloading rate. If you highly value your ability to create high-performance ammunition, this is a unit you must not ignore.
This machine has an O frame that typically provides better rigidity and strength when compared to a C frame. Additionally, it has a 4-inch ram bearing that further enhances the stability of the machine during ammo reloading projects.
One can tell that this machine is built to last because it has a cast iron construction and steel handle.
You are possibly wondering why we listed a single-stage press in a progressive reloader review. Well, this is a uniquely designed unit that can be upgraded to a progressive reloader using an attachment that is also produced by RCBS.
You need to have reasonable levels of skill before you can safely operate a progressive reloader. This unit allows you first to sharpen your skill levels using a single-stage press. You can then take your reloading game to the next level once you have honed your levels of expertise.
#4 Lyman All-American Reloading 8 Turret Press
If you are looking for a trusted name in reloading presses, look no further. Lyman is a name that is highly trusted in the industry and for good reason. This heavy-duty ammunition press frame and the turret are made of cast iron, so it will stand up for many years to come.
With this reloading press, you will get an extra-large 8 station press that makes it simple to swap out turrets. The extra-durable finish helps to ensure this press keeps looking nice for many years to come.
Lyman has made this press easy to use. It holds two complete 4 die sets or four complete 2 die sets.
This Lyman ammunition press comes with a straight-line primer feeder, with both small and large primer tubes. With a heavy steel shield that surrounds the primer tube, one can be sure the press offers complete stability.
#5 Frankford Arsenal M-Press Co-Ax Reloading Press
With the right reloading press, you will have access to plenty of ammo at all times. If you are looking for one of the best ammunition presses on a budget, this Frankford model fits the bill.
This press offers an integral floating shell holder that allows you to have complete control and precision for bullet-to-case alignment. You will not need individual shell holders with this press.
This Frankford press is one of the most versatile in its price range because it allows you to load small magnum ammo or rifle casings. With two parallel guiding rods, this press offers a high amount of stability.
The strong die-cast construction will ensure this press will last for many years. This press also includes two quick-change die blocks that fit 7/8 to 14 reloading dies.
With this press, you can cam over or not, depending on your needs. You do not have to disassemble the entire press when cleaning, making maintenance easier than some other presses.
This press is meant to keep things simple, making it easier to operate, without such a high learning curve. Whether you are a beginner or an old pro, this ammunition press delivers everything you need, while keeping things compact and simple.
The universal shell plate system will work with all types, from .17 Remington to .338 Lapua magnum casings. Once you have used this simple ammunition press, you will wonder how you lived without it.
#6 RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press
The right ammunition press makes making ammo much easier. Imagine having access to all the ammo you need, when you need it most. If you are looking for a benchtop press, then this RCBS Summit is one you will want to check out.
This press is very powerful with a two-inch diameter ram. With full frontal access, you will be able to use this machine with ease. This press accepts all bushings for one-inch dies.
With this press, you can use either hand, offering ambidextrous operation. RCBS has been in the ammunition reloading business for over 75 years, and they are a name you can rely on for all your press needs.
This press can be mounted almost anywhere. During operation, the case sits still down in the press, and then the die is forced down around it. This ensures steady and precise operations that exceed many ammunition presses.
With the all-steel linkage and cast-iron construction of this ammunition press, you can rest assured this machine will last for many years. If you need to crank out rounds of ammunition quickly, this is the press for you. The operating window is 4.5 inches, for a high level of accessibility.
#7 Lee Precision II Shotshell Ammunition Reloading Press
Lee Precision is another one of those companies you can rely on for all your ammunition press needs. Their presses have stood the test of time and continue to rise above the competition.
We included this reloading press in our reviews for our shotgun owner readers who love to have plenty of ammunition on hand. When there are shortages, you can make your own, having access to a steady supply of ammo.
This press is used for 12-gauge ammunition. It loads 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells. This press comes with all the equipment you need, for loading 12-gauge shotgun shell ammunition.
This press is straightforward in design. Once you grow accustomed to the operation, you will be able to load ammunition quickly and easily.
With this press’ hopper, you can load birdshot and BBs. The best part about this press is it makes your newly pressed shells look like they just came out of the factory.
If you do not have a lot of money to splurge on one of the bigger names in the industry, this Lee Precision is an excellent starter option that is ideal for shotgun enthusiasts. If you like to do a lot of target shooting, this will help you make the most of your shells.
Our Recommended Accessories for Your Reloading Press
Here are two accessory kits that we personally loved using while reloading machine. Who knows, maybe you will like one of it too.
1. KMS Squared UFO Loadmaster Reloading Press Light
Let’s begin our review with a reloading press kit that is designed to help you create top-quality ammo with outstanding performance. This product by KMS Squared provides adequate lighting focused on the shell stations.
We find this feature to be remarkably useful because it eliminates the need to use flashlights to verify the levels of powder when setting the bullets.
The package arrives with all that is needed to get your lights up and running. After installation, the amount of light the LEDs produce will knock you off your socks. They are bright enough to eliminate shadows, giving you an unobstructed view of your stations.
The innovative design of this kit also enhances safety. This is arguably the most crucial aspect that most reloaders consider when buying presses. Typically, even mistakes such as double charging the powder or even forgetting to put the powder in a case can result in an explosion, death, or serious injuries.
The instant you turn on your UFO, any blunders you may have made will be crystal clear. This could make all the big difference in your ammunition reloading process. Better still, this is one of those well-engineered units that even come at a reasonable price point.
2. KMS Squared Universal Reloading Press LED Light Kit
KMS Squared has, over the years, risen to international popularity mainly because of its line of reloading press lights. The brand impressed us with yet another powerful unit that ensures you have a clear view of your stations and what you are doing all through the ammo reloading process.
Beware that this light kit is addictive. Once you start using it, there is no way back. It’s easy to assume that your room has adequate lighting for reloading ammo. However, once you switch on this LED light strip, the difference in the clarity of your stations will be clear.
Its 48-inch cord ensures you have more control over where to position your workstation. The 3528 LED light strip is so bright that it illuminates the whole press. This boosts your safety during reloading operations and ascertains so you do not depend on guesswork when measuring the powder levels.
Your ability to identify any irregularities and correct them can save you from an unforeseen catastrophe.
It’s easy to tell that this is an excellent kit by just looking at its packaging. When our unit arrived, it was in a clamshell package, and this helps to prevent damage during shipping. The package also came with detailed instructions that made it stress-free to assemble the tool.
What to Look for When Selecting a Best Progressive Reloading Press
Finding a progressive reloading press kit that is excellent for your needs is an uphill task. Apart from the quality and safety of a unit, numerous other crucial aspects must be considered before purchase.
If you are a serious hunter or you engage in competition shooting, stay with us as we share some of the key features to look for in the best equipment.
There is nothing as vital as ensuring you will have a good user experience. The majorities of progressive reloading press manufacturers strive to use the latest technologies to create more useful and practical units.
That said, a good number of presses come with a range of accessories that automate different reloading processes. Some of the accessories you may get if you purchase a product from a reputable brand include primers, cases, and powder feeders.
The accessories that come with the package help in automating different ammo production stages. This generally aids in improving the efficiency of a device and increase the odds of users creating high precision ammunition in high quantities.
Before purchasing a unit, you may want to take a step back and study the quality of its construction. Take note of the materials used in making various parts, including the accessories. Some of the best progressive reloading presses in the market are made from stainless steel or cast steel.
Type of Ammo Produced
Because progressive reloading presses are precision tools, some models are designed for precise operations. It is imperative to affirm that the machine you choose can create the type of cartridges you want.
Ease of Use
It’s hard to talk about the ease of use of a unit before considering the assembling process.
Typically, having reasonable levels of skill is crucial for you to use and assemble a progressive reloading press. It is even so essential to understand that these machines are created different, and some tend to be more complicated to use than others.
You owe yourself the favor of ensuring that your unit of choice is considerably straightforward to assemble and handle. Take note of your skill levels and in case you are a beginner in reloading ammo, consider devices that have fewer moving parts. They tend to be easier to assemble, operate, and handle.
Generally, progressive reloading presses are highly preferred because they fast-track the process of reloading ammo by creating multiple rounds of ammunition with each pull of the lever.
However, units differ when it comes to their reloading rate. This is the number of cartridges a machine can create in an instant.
The reloading rate of a unit plays a significant role in dictating its overall efficiency. This rate is calculated per hour, and while some machines produce a maximum of 400 rounds every hour, others have a reloading rate of an impressive 800 rounds per hour.
If you need a progressive press and not its single-stage counterpart, the chances are that you shoot a lot. Your needs should play a leading role in dictating whether you should buy a machine with an average or high reloading rate.
In case you want a higher production rate, choose a unit with automatic indexing instead of manual indexing. This is a critical feature that can expedite your ammo reloading processes.
However, bear in mind that presses that have an automatic indexing feature tend to be more complex to operate when compared to their counterparts with a manual indexing feature.
It is not every day that you hit the markets in search of a progressive reloading press. From our perspective, cost is the least important aspect to consider. It remains imperative to prioritize factors such as the features and overall performance of different units.
All the same, it makes sense to set a reasonable budget and stick to it. The models mentioned above offer you the best bargains and excellent value for your money.
It is tempting to go all crazy trying to find the cheapest press on our list. Before you do so, remember that it is not smart to make price an overriding aspect when making any purchase decision.
Number of Stations
If you need an efficient reloading machine that can produce a decent number of rounds with each pull of the handle, the number of stations provided is an aspect you must consider. This feature dictates the efficiency of a device and its ability to simultaneously carry out a range of functions.
Usually, progressive presses have 4-6 stations. Each station serves a unique purpose, which may include assessing the powder, powder dropping, and resizing. Get to know the functions of each station of the machine you desire to buy.
Gunpowder Management System
We can all agree that gunpowder is not cheap. Each grain that goes to waste means a substantial increase in your ammo reloading budgets.
That said, make sure you choose a reloader that has an efficient gunpowder management system. This system not only ensures that a precise amount of gunpowder goes into each cartridge, but it also helps to determine the speed of the entire reloading process.
Compared to single-stage presses, progressive presses are considerably heavier. This increases their stability during applications. As you shop around, focus on finding a press whose weight is suitable for your reloading projects.
A faulty ejection system releases flawed bullets. If you want a machine that can guarantee the overall quality of your ammo, this is another feature to keep in mind when searching for the best progressive reloading press. From our point of view, any model with negative ejection system reviews is simply not worth it.
Caliber Changing System
Numerous aspects influence the overall efficiency of a progressive reloader. Among them is the caliber changing system. We find units with a built-in caliber changing system to be more efficient because they also tend to have a higher reloading rate.
How to Use a Progressive Reloading Press?
People have been reloading their ammo for decades. That said, there are thousands of presses in the market that differ in their overall design.
Even though progressive reloaders work with the same principles, they may vary slightly in how they are used. Always refer to your user manual for more precise guidelines.
Get your progressive reloading press assembled using the instructions on your user’s manual.
Place a fired case at the shell plate on station one and set down the handle to allow the case to go into the sizer die.
Send the case into station 2 by lifting the handle. This will also send the primer to the priming station. You need to apply some force to set the primer in the case properly. Use the adjustment screw at the base of your unit to ensure the primer is at a suitable depth.
Station one is at this point empty, so you can put another fired case. Again, press down the lever to lower the fired case and lift it to push the case to station 2 for indexing. Set the primer at station 2 and repeat the cycle by placing another fired case on station 1.
The powder measure adaptor pours the powder into the case after it is indexed. Before you send your case to station 4, set it on a scale to ensure its accuracy.
When you put another fired case on station 1 and raise the lever, the case on station 4 is automatically dispensed into a die. Lowering the level then gets it to station 5 for indexing.
It is now time to readjust the eject spring case and ensure it is as close to your shell plate as possible. You, however, must affirm that the two do not make contact. When you pull up the lever again, the case on station 5 goes to the bullet seating die. It is then sent into the eject tray when the handle goes down.
How to Maintain a Progressive Reloading Press?
Progressive reloading presses are not cheap machines. We must, however, insist that they are worth it. If you want your unit to serve you seamlessly for many years, you must routinely service it. Here are some tips for ensuring your machine lasts for the longest time possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a progressive reloading press necessary?
If you are a volume shooter, you are likely to find progressive reloaders better than their single-stage counterparts. They accelerate the pace of creating ammo, allowing you to produce 400-800 efficient and accurate bullets with each passing hour.
2. Do progressive reloaders offer a good return on investment?
Yes, they do. Even though they are considerably more expensive than other reloading presses, they produce more and better quality ammunition. If you are a volume shooter, the savings you make reloading your ammo is likely to cover the cost of your unit within a short while.
3. Can a beginner use a progressive reloader?
If you are new to reloading your ammo, you will find it easier to use a single-stage press. However, you can still invest in a progressive press as long as you can get some guidance from a pro.
4. What makes single-stage presses easier to use?
Unlike progressive reloaders that complete a series of processes simultaneously, single-stage presses process one round of ammo at a time. To operate progressive presses effectively, you need to have more than just basic skill levels.
5. What is auto-indexing?
Indexing involves moving the casings to the next stage of a reloading process. Automatic indexing is when a system automatically advances the casing to the next step.
When using a manual indexing unit, the reloading process is considerably slow because you have to move or reposition each casing to the next station manually.
Time is money. Then again, there are other more exciting things you can do with your time than spend a whole afternoon reloading round of bullets one after another.
In case you are always pressed for time, or you are a volume shooter, it makes sense to invest in the best progressive reloading press. The 5 best units mentioned above can enhance the quality of your ammo and save you lots of time and money.