Author Topic: The Perfect Progressive  (Read 23546 times)

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Ray Brandes

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The Perfect Progressive
« on: September 11, 2004, 07:01:01 am »
As I continue to examine my new (to me) Star, I am more and more impressed with the design and construction. After reading some other topics here regarding other presses, I began to think, what features and qualities would you combine from all other presses to make the perfect progressive press? Here are some of my thoughts, not necessarly in order of importance.

1) Handle both rifle and pistol.
2) Easily add or remove cases at any station.
3) No powder dropped if case isn't present.
4) No primer placed if case isn't present.
5) Auto index with on/off switch.
6) Stops when primer supply exhausted.
7) Fast and easy tooling change-over.
8) Machine tool like construction.
9) Comfort for operator.
10) Ease of operation.
11) Ease of setup.
12) Configurable for either right of left hand operation.
13) Compact.
14) Inexpensive?????(dream on!)

Being a manufacturer, I can make just about anything. I will be looking for areas where I can improve my Star. If I come up with something good it will be available to all. Don't ask me to make anything that is already available. The Star retro market is very small and I don't want to take a slice of anyone else's pie.

Regards,
Ray in FLA
Regards, Ray

Ray Brandes

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Silence?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2004, 05:49:41 am »
Has nobody anything to say?
Regards, Ray

Kenneth L. Walters

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The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2004, 07:44:32 pm »
Auto indexing is something that appeals ONLY if you haven't tried it.  All the mechanisms I've seen, and I've seen quite a few, were all more trouble than they were worth.  Star, of course, had an auto indexing mechanism but never introduced it.  Though that it added to much wear.  Other companies did make such indexers for the Star.  They worked, sort of, but substantially decreased the life expectancy of the machine.

A much improved Star has been attempted before.  The CPM was a good try but they only made a few machines and would never supply spart parts.  What parts they made went into new units.  CPM, incidentally, stood from Clyde Products Manufacturing.  CPM was noteworthy for another reason.  They first thought of converting a single station machine into a progressive.  RCBS adopted that in their Piggyback series.  Dillon stopped CPM from doing this big time by threatening them with a Patent lawsuit.  RCBS paid royalities and did Hornady.  Lee and Dillon had a patent sharing arrangement.
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Kenneth L. Walters

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The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2004, 07:46:32 pm »
One other thought.  Mike Dillon's first machine, the RL 1000, was his answer to your suggestion.  Didn't sell well.  Almost drove him into bankruptcy.
former progressive press collector

Michael Carlin

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 09:51:19 pm »
Ray,

I really like my Star.  I also really like my Dillon 550B.  My Star is a Universal in 45acp, which has had a primer tube explosion. It did not hurt me, but did kind of wear out my welcome at the house I had it set up in ( I was living in Sr. Enlisted Bachelor Qaurters on Fort McPherson at that time).

In my opinion an auto-indexing maching that could load both rifle and pistol cases, equipped with both auto case feeder and auto primer feed devices might well sell.  It would have to be superior to the Dillon 1050 and sell for the same money or less.

While your thinking hat is on, here are a couple things I would like to buy. A machine to prep brass for high power, it would have to resize the brass without using an expender ball to open the case neck. That would be handled at a station where the hollow tube that expanded the neck similar to a Sinclair mandrel, would also permit a tool to deburr the flash hole.  Swage the primer pocket crimp, and uniform the primer pocket, trim the case to length (max for the caliber), and chamfer the case neck inside and outside, for VLD bullets.

Seat a primer to a specified depth in the primer pocket, charge the case with the powder of your choice weighed like a Prometheus to .01 grains with an SD < .015 and ES for 22 charges of < .095 grains.  Then seat the bullet of your choice to .001 = or - .0005" run out.

Oh it should cost less than $2K and produce at least 1000 rounds an hour.  I am not being facetious, it appears that the road to getting into the reloading business is a tough one.

I truly wonder what a fellow who had Mike Dillon's or your business acumen could do if he owned the Star Machine rights. 

If I had not just gotten promoted to Sergeant Major I might have been personally interested in this sort of venture, and may still well  be in the future.

Respectfully,

Michael
Yours in Marksmanship,

Michael Carlin

Ray Brandes

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2005, 06:35:07 am »
SgtMj Carlin,

Congradulations on your promotion! And Merry Christmas.

The things you ask for in a reloading press are all very desirable. However, to get the powder weight to 1/100 gr is a bit overkill and would most likely require cutting powder grains into smaller parts. 1/10 plus or minus should hold x-ring all day long.

When I started this thread I had in mind what I could make to add to the Star to make it better. After using it for a year or so now I am really happy with it and only would want to clear the powder hopper in a more orderly way.

Watch out for those GAP 45 cases! They have a small primer pocket and if one finds its way into your turret you will be in a world of hurt before you figure out what the problem is. Don't ask me how I know this...

Regards, Ray
Regards, Ray

Michael Carlin

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2005, 10:55:11 pm »
Ray,

Having blown up a primer tube once, I can only imagine the trouble that a .45 GAP with a small primer pocket could cause in a .45 ACP loader. 

I did understand that you were looking for improvements to the Star machine. But my response is a round about way of saying that a well tuned Star is pretty hard to beat for its specfic purpose.  When I was shooting pistol, I cast bullets from wheel weights, in a four cavity mould, lubed them with a Lyman 45 Lubrisizer to .452, and loaded 5.2 of 231with my Star,  and shot a few rapid fire cleans. Ammo was not the hold back!



Yours in Marksmanship,

Michael Carlin

Ray Brandes

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2005, 06:48:53 am »
Mike,
My intention wasn't to improve my scores with a better press. Being distingushed rifle I know better! When I first got the Star I had a lot of problems and worry because 1) a part was missing and 2) the seller never supplied anything more than the Star instructions which weren't very good compared to the instructions he later supplied. A third thing was that I had never. ever loaded for pistol and all my rifle reloading concerns, many of which don't apply to pistol, spilled over to further confuse the issue.

The missing part was a small pin that forced rotating the dial after each pull, the instructions the seller later sent were very good and I will be happy to share them. In several thousand rounds, I have had only one double charge. When it went off I knew it, and all the other shooters at the match knew it!

The only adjustments I ever make are for changing from swc to ball, seating depth and powder charge. I really like the Star and will keep it as long as I am shooting bullseye.

Regards and Merry Christmas,
Ray

Regards, Ray

Ross Chesley

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 09:04:43 am »
Hi Ray,

Here's another painful learning lesson similar to .45GAP -- Winchester NT uses small primers...

You said you're looking for an easier way to clear the powder hopper in a more orderly way...

I have tried out a super product made by member Maurilew -- it is called the powder drain block. It replaces the top of my powder slide assembly and has a drain I use to empty the power measure when I am done loading. It works great. You may want to give it a try or send Maurilew a PM and he will be happy to explain more about it.


Ray Brandes

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2005, 09:43:56 am »
Ross,
It actually was WIN NT cases that screwed me! Since then I found the GAP, but they are a little shorter and easier to spot. I mark all my reloads with a blue stripe. Any brass that comes home that doesn't have the stripe gets a very careful inspection. Berdan, WIN NT, GAP. 40S&W all try to find a way into my press!
Regards, Ray
Regards, Ray

rbwillnj

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 12:15:33 pm »
I find that the fastest and easiest way to clear the powder magazine is to remove the tool head intact and simple dump the powder back into its container.   I have replaced the cotter pin that secures the lower link pin with a "hair pin style cotter pin"  which can be quickly removed.  Removing the tool head takes just a few seconds with much less fuss than any other way I have found to drain the powder magazine.  Once you have the tool head off, your just a few short steps away from cleaning up the base and primer assembly.

I do have a powder drain block on one of my machines, but I rarely use it (I do believe it is a different design than the one Ross mentioned)
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Jet22

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2005, 09:40:56 pm »
Quote
One other thought.? Mike Dillon's first machine, the RL 1000, was his answer to your suggestion.? Didn't sell well.? Almost drove him into bankruptcy.

If you haven't, examine a Dillon RL1000 (not the RL1050 economy version). Its possibly the best mass produced hand operated reloader ever built(also was the most expensive). At $3200 each 25 years ago you can see that he might have had a limited market. Even at that, I know one guy that has 13 of them and another that has 35 of them!! I am lucky enough to own two with a lot of extra parts. RL1000s have been coming up on Ebay but they generally don't get bids over $700-$800. I guess everybody thinks the RL1050 is an improved RL1000. It is if your main goal is to build a top machine a cheaply as possible. The RL1000 was built with the best of everything. It was just too expencive to produce and only about 1100 of them were ever made. Still, if you like the Star (and I think we all do), you will love the RL1000 cause its just a big Star!
Jet22 in Mid Michigan

Kenneth L. Walters

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2005, 11:10:07 pm »
Stories about the relationship between the owners of Star and Mike Dillon vary.  The Star version is that they helped mike quite a bit to get his first product on the market, the super star kit for turning a star into a 223 reloader.  The Dillon version is that Star absolutely refused to help Mike at all.  Who knows.

After the super star kit, the first real Dillon press was the RL1000.  This was meant to be the ultimate star style machine.  I owned one.  REALLY didn't like it.  It was just too complicated.  The automatic indexing was more trouble than it was worth (which is true of most auto indexers) and the primer pocket swage was difficult.

Financially the RL1000 was a flop.  Worse yet Mike was WAY into debt.  He had to think of something or go broke.  His answer, and his salvation, was the RL300, the first successful of what is now the Dillon style of reloader.

Look at an RL1000 if you like but I certainly would not recommend one.  I far prefer the considerably rarer Star rifle machine.
former progressive press collector

Jet22

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2005, 11:57:15 am »
Ken: Sorry you didn't like the RL1000. Sounds like I like mine as much as you disliked yours. They do have bugs in them and it took me 100's and 100's of rounds to to get them to operate flawlessly. I am a retired machinest and mould/machine designer. Working bugs out of production machinery is what I do best. I guess I'm somewhat of a collector of progressive reloading equipment too, although I didn't set out to do so. At the present I have 3 Star Universals (with 5 extra toolheads in various calibers), 2 Dillon RL1000s (one extra toolhead), 1 Hornady Projector, 1 RCBS Ammomaster, 5 RCBS Piggybacks, 1 CH Autochamp MK IV and a Cougar & Hunter Micro Pistol Master. I would love to find a Star Rifle machine for a good price. A friend has both the Star Rifle machine (he says they made 36 of them) and a Star inline!! I'm afraid to ask him what he wants for them.

As far as ease of operation goes, I do believe the Star is probably the easiest progressive out there to set up and operate. There just isn't much to go wrong. Even with the Hulme case feeder and Brewster indexer (which all of mine have), set up correctly, they run flawlessly. Like an old Ford tractor, they just keep going and going.

Jet22 in Mid Michigan

Kenneth L. Walters

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Re: The Perfect Progressive
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2005, 12:26:20 pm »
I sold my press collection to Ron Peterson Guns in Albuquerque.  I think that he may still have a lot of them.  If you call, the only person to talk to would be Ron and that might be hard as I think his wife is very sick.  Still Ron may well have one if you are inclined to press until you reach him.  Tell him Ken Walters suggested calling.
former progressive press collector

 

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