A progressive reloading press allows people to reload their ammo faster than tedious single-stage presses. Gun and hunting enthusiasts love them because they can reload upwards of three hundred rounds an hour, saving money in the long run.
The Short Answer
Unlike the other reloading presses in this review, The Mark 7 Evolution reloading press comes assembled atop an aluminum base designed to be bolted into your workbench. This ten-stage progressive reloading press comes packed with additional bells and whistles for the extreme reloading enthusiasts.
However, at nearly $3,000 without any upgrades, this product is best suited for a niche smaller than the typical reloading hobbyist. In terms of production capacity, the Evolution Advanced Mark 7 could keep an active platoon locked and loaded. Regardless, this is the best progressive reloading press regarding production capacity, versatility, and durability.
The Mark 7 Evolution allows you to produce upwards of 3,500 rounds in an hour with the right operator. However, this increased capacity doesn’t sacrifice the quality of every single reloaded round. The Mark 7 comes with a 10-inch HD tablet, mount, and different sensor systems to ensure every round is fitted to your ideal specifications.
You can fit the Mark 7 for calibers ranging from 380 ACP to .30-06 Springfield in terms of range. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about only buying new brass or only used casings since both work just fine with the Evolution.
Other Great Progressive Reloading Press Options
Hornady’s Lock-N-Load auto progressive press is a five-station press that produces a loaded round every time you pull the handle. Once you learn the basic functions of the best progressive reloading press, precision shooters and volume shooters alike can save thousands by reloading their own ammo.
The primer tube holds up to a hundred primers, and it’s a quick and easy process picking them up with the tube. Once you load the primers into the press and you’ve calibrated everything, you can go ahead and start cycling the rounds through the press. After you get the hang of the entire system, you should be able to load upwards of four hundred rounds an hour.
This entire process takes time to learn, so luckily, Hornady provides video lessons to new buyers. Part of what makes this particular progressive reloading press is Hornady’s “Lock-N-Load” bushing system that lets you change from 223 to a 45 caliber in less than five minutes. You also don’t have to worry about different sized brass falling out of place since the universal case retainer spring holds every caliber in place.
5 Essential Reloading Stations
The first station resizes the brass cartridges and ejects any spent primers still lingering in the casing. Then you push down on the handle to seat the primer before lifting the brass back up into the case-activated powder tube. And if you want to check the powder dropped into the casing, you can pour the gunpowder onto your Hornady scale to check the measurement.
The next station cycles the filled casing into the powder cop, which measures whether you have a full charge. Next, you’ll grab a bullet and seat it in the casing before pulling the handle up to the final station. This station properly seats and crimps the bullet before another handle pull activates Hornady’s patented “EZject” system.
In terms of function and versatility, Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press is the best press on the market. With the user manual and online resources, casual shooters can pick up reloading as a hobby.
The Pro Chucker 7 progressive reloading press from RCBS is a great tool for reloading ammo en masse and comes at a reasonable cost. Unlike the steep price tag of the Advanced Mark 7 models, this reloading press comes in at around $1,000–making it a great option for the reloading enthusiast looking to upgrade from a single-station press.
RCBS was the first company to introduce a 7-station auto-indexing press, and they’ve continued to dominate a market of demanding consumers. The quick-change die plate allows you to switch between calibers efficiently, making for a quick reloading session before you hit the shooting range.
For those looking to amplify the amount of reloaded ammo they can produce, the Pro Chucker 7 features a large powder capacity. The quick-change powder measure allows you to reduce how many times you have to refill the powder hopper without sacrificing the precise gunpowder measurements.
The seven-station capacity allows you ample room to automate tasks. For example, you have the option of seating bullets and crimping them separately or together. You can employ a bullet feeder while still having room for a powder-checking die.
The versatility, performance, and durability of the Pro Chucker 7 make it a prize for reloading hobbyists looking to increase their production capacity. With many of the same features and advantages of a press like the Mark 7 Evolution, the affordable price tag makes this reloading press the perfect gift to yourself and your firearms.
Dillon’s Precision 16944 XL 650 9mm Progressive Reloading Press is the next best progressive reloading press. Like the Hornady Lock-N-Load, this is a five-station press that allows you to reload hundreds of rounds in just an hour. You will need to purchase your own set of dies to make this machine load 9mm rounds.
Once you have everything all set up, you’re ready to start cycling through and reloading ammo.
The first station resizes the casings and removes any primers left over. Pull the handle to the second station to drop down the power and reach the power-check station again. If there’s too much or not enough, gunpowder then a buzzer will ring to let you know.
After that, you manually seat the bullet before pulling the handle and seating the bullet. At the next station, the machine crimps the bullet and the casing before ejecting the reloaded round. Once you get the hang of this process, you can start pumping out around eight hundred rounds an hour.
This is a great progressive reloading press for anyone looking to create their own arsenal of reloaded ammo. Whether you’re upgrading from a single-station press or just getting into the hobby of reloading ammo, Dillon created a great press. Furthermore, safety mechanisms like handloading the ammo and the alarm system make this a great choice for anyone concerned about overcharged or underpowered rounds.
This is the ideal product for shooters interesting in primarily reloading 9mm luger ammo because Lee packs this progressive press with everything you need. The shell-plate comes pre-set with 3 dies to perform the reloading tasks such as filling gunpowder, placing the primer, and seating the actual bullet in place with a crimp.
Lee’s progressive reloading press is a great investment for single-stage veterans looking to automate more tasks. It’s a great middle-ground between simple single stage presses and the more intricate machines like Dillon’s presses. You can also easily change out the pieces to load different caliber ammunition, such as .308, .223, and 6.5 Creedmore.
The only problem we’ve encountered concerns the primer seating, which requires some attention as you’re reloading rounds in bulk. However, this shouldn’t give you an issue as long as you remember to clean the gunk build-up in your Lee reloading press. And this chore should be completed every 500 to 1,000 rounds.
In terms of durability, the intricate parts of Lee’s progressive press stand the test of time. The sturdy cast iron base and other parts have a good chance of outlasting any other product on the market, perhaps even the customer.
This progressive reloading press is one of the best Dillon has to offer. As they say in their promotional material, the machine can “accommodate the widest variety of cartridges from 32 ACP up to 338 Lapua, 416 Rigby, and 460 Weatherby.”
As long as you have the right kit, Dillon’s press accommodates 120 rifle and pistol calibers. A budding gun enthusiast’s best friend, this progressive reloading press allows you to reload hundreds of rounds in an hour. Dillon includes a conversion kit with your purchase, so switching between calibers won’t present any headaches.
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This progressive reloading press is stripped down compared to the more complex eight-station presses. Instead, Dillon’s 550C model allows for more control in every step of reloading the ammo, from resizing the brass to laying in new primers.
Ultimately, this product’s value comes down to versatility and production potential. The ease of switching between calibers make Dillon a favorite for people who might own a 9mm handgun, an AR, and maybe a home-defense shotgun. In terms of production potential, someone looking to sell reloaded ammo will be able to produce upwards of four hundred rounds an hour.
As long as you’re looking to reload ammo regularly, Dillon’s Precision 14261 RL550C is a great investment. The newer 550C model comes with structural improvements, and this helps keeps maintenance time to a minimum.
This turret press is a great medium between a single-station press and the traditional progressive reloading press. Thanks to the multiple die holder, you have six stations that can serve a role in reloading your spent casings with a new bullet.
Lyman’s press works great with both rifle and pistol cartridges, and changing between calibers is easy with the interchangeable system.
For those southpaw shooters, Lyman is looking out for you with the 7040781 Reloading Press and its ambidextrous handle. Whether you’re right or left-handed, the multi-purpose handle allows you to reload ammo without too many adjustments needed.
Finally, the high-tech iron frame was treated and designed to survive the apocalypse, so you don’t have to worry about snapping the frame or any of the other parts.
What To Look for In Your Progressive Reloading Press
First of all, do you actually need a progressive reloading press?
Both single-stage and progressive reloading presses work great for a wide variety of customers and calibers. Whether or not to upgrade from a single-stage press to a progressive reloading press ultimately comes down to what you’re looking to accomplish.
For people who only need a couple hundred perfect, precise rounds of ammunition, a single-stage press is probably your best bet. While the reloading process takes considerably longer, by definition, there are fewer simultaneous tasks than a progressive reloading press.
With that being said, you can expedite the process by completing single tasks for every round you intend to load, such as placing all the primers before moving on to the die, which resizes the brass. For novices, the single-stage press is great for learning the hobby while ensuring every reloaded round meets your exact needs. The last thing you need is to damage a $700 rifle bore because you wanted to save on ammo.
However, if you’re looking to pump out hundreds of rounds for a long day at the shooting range, or you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse after the Yellowstone volcano erupts, a progressive reloading press will be your best friend. If you invest in quality products from companies like Hornady, different accessories will help make sure you don’t overcharge or undercharge your ammo.
One of the most important aspects of any reloading press, whether it’s a single-stage or a progressive press, is the materials of the machine. The products we’ve listed in this review come with durable, long-lasting metals.
However, if you find a reloading press that we haven’t covered, make sure you pay attention to the tool’s materials. So long as it’s reinforced with a skeleton of treated metal, your progressive reloading press will stand the test of time.
Die sets and optional accessories
Optional accessories help make the high-production capacity of progressive reloading presses even more efficient. Tools such as bullet seaters and case feeders expedite the process of reloading quality ammo. Feeders are a popular accessory for presses, which automate processes such as primers, cases, bullets, and powder.
Other companies will offer die sets and kits to make transitioning between calibers an easy process. For example, at some point you might want to resize brass for a different caliber bullet. If you purchase the right accessory, you can easily transitions casings to chamber into different calibers.
How Does a Progressive Reloading Press Work?
A progressive reloading press allows you to expedite most of the tasks needed to build an arsenal of reloaded rounds. A progressive press holds multiple dies on a shell-plate, which rotates like a classic revolver’s cylinder to perform different tasks. You pull the handle each time to perform these tasks, such as resizing brass and loading in new primers.
Progressive presses give you the ability to load upwards of three hundred rounds in a typical hour. Of course, this isn’t included in the learning curve required to operate a reloading press like Hornady’s competently.
What’s the difference between a single-station press, a turret press, and a progressive reloading press?
A single-station press is the simplest method to reload ammo, though it’s the most time-consuming. Once you get the handle of operating a single-stage press, you can produce upwards to 100 rounds per hour. Despite it’s simplicity, hobbyists love single station presses because they’re affordable, with less moving parts, and less maintenance required.
A turret press performs as a progressive reloading press, designed to speed up the process of reloading ammunition. People love turret reloaded presses because, just like progressive reloading presses, the turret press increases the amount of rounds you can produce in an hour.
Furthermore, turret presses usually come with a scale for measuring powder, a revolving and removable turret system, as well as a handy case length gauge to catch mistakes before they taint an entire batch of rounds.
Finally, the traditional progressive reloading press acts like a tiny ammunition factory. Depending on the price and quality, progressive reloading presses are easy to maintain and provide industry-standard precision for filling and seating reloaded rounds.
How do you know if your brass is spent?
As you cycle through reloaded rounds, the brass of the cartridge takes a beating from the repeated explosions. If you chamber the wrong reloaded round, you can end up with a broken firearm and perhaps even worse.
Luckily, there are a couple of easy ways to inspect the brass for wear as you examine them prior to reloading. First, you can check for case head separation by looking for any cracks or malformations around the case head. Any abnormal bulging or cracks in the casing are a big warning sign to toss it out.
Second, you should check for any loose primer pockets in your stash of spent cartridges. After you fire a round, sift through some of the brass and look for backed-out primers. This indicates a loose primer pocket, which presents a whole host of issues. Another way to check the primer pocket is to hand-load a primer to test the resistance. If the primer pops in and out of place with relative ease, that’s an obvious indicator to toss the brass.
Also, if it takes too much force to pop the primer into place, then you might have a brass that’s crimped beyond repair. This is more common with military-grade ammo, such as NATO 5.56 due to the increased grain count.
Finally, the most obvious sign that a case is spent beyond mending is a split neck. Anywhere on the case where the integrity of the shell is compromised means that reloading that brass is dangerous.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t take chances if you’re not sure the case is compromised. Trust your gut and toss it–the fifty cents you save by recycling the brass doesn’t outweigh having to buy a whole new AR setup.
What about safety? How do I not blow myself up?
Reloading ammunition presents some inherent risks, especially considering the fact that gunpowder is involved.
First, you want to make sure you’re storing your reloading gear in a dry location, safe from children and any risk of igniting. Simple precautions like keeping primers far away from your gunpowder supply can save you thousands in potential insurance costs.
Second, you want to study the manual for your progressive reloading press, because this gives you an inventory of different factors. This is why it’s best to pick a reloading spot where you won’t be interrupted. Interruptions always lead to mistakes, which is why it’s vital to pick a spot where you can focus.
At the end of the day, products like Hornady’s Lock-N-Load press and the Advanced Mark 7 an exponential different when reloading ammo. Different stations turned to perform different functions help people churn out hundreds of rounds for every hour spent laboring over the press.
The Advanced Mark 7 reloading press ten-stage progressive reloading press that comes packed with additional bells and whistles for the extreme reloading enthusiasts. With 10-inch HD tablet, mount, and an advanced sensor system to maximize safety and efficiency, you can go wrong with this amazing machine.