5 Best Progressive Reloading Presses [Pros, Cons, & Images]

by Roy Chesson

June 7, 2021

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A progressive reloading press is a machine that gun owners recycle spent casings to assemble and reload their own ammunition. Using a progressive reloading press can save you time and money.

Who makes the best progressive reloading press? Hornady, RCBS, and Lee Precision make some of the best progressive reloading presses. Having so many options available on Amazon and other retailers can make it hard to decide which progressive reloading press is best for you.

In this article, we’re covering the 5 best progressive reloading presses available to help you make the right choice as you make your way through online reloading press reviews. We want to take the guesswork out of reloading.

Who needs a progressive reloading press?

Progressive reloading equipment is ideal for anyone looking to produce and reload more ammunition in less time. It may not be suitable for everyone, though.

Progressive presses are great for speed and high volume. They’re not as great on upfront cost.

What is the best reloading press for beginners? Single stage reloading presses are the most basic reloading machines recommended for the novice. They’re also the least expensive.

With a single stage press, users choose a single die to create a round with each pull of the machine’s handle.

Progressive Press vs. Turret Press vs. Single Stage

Before picking up a new reloading press, you need to remember that progressive presses are not the end-all solution to reloading. You may want to consider another style of press such as a turret press or a single stage.

What is the difference between a turret press and a progressive press?

  • A turret press handles one cartridge at a time but holds multiple reloading dies to switch between for a quicker experience than a single-stage press. A progressive press can hold and operate multiple reloading dies and doesn’t need you to switch between them manually. Progressive presses are typically more expensive.

What is the difference between a progressive reloading press and a single stage reloading press?

  • The single stage press is much slower than a progressive reloading press, with fewer moving parts. You perform a single step of the process, change die sets, and start another step. This drastically reduces production rates.

What’s the best single stage reloading press?

  • The RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press offers high-quality construction and a press frame that gives you rigid support and strength.

A single stage reloading press might be better for beginners or riflemen who want more accurate long distance rounds. They’re cheaper and slightly more accurate than progressive presses. On the other hand, a progressive reloading press is meant for high-efficiency volume reloading.

Are progressive reloading presses accurate?

Yes, progressive reloading presses are pretty accurate, though not as accurate as single stage presses or turret reloading presses.

A progressive reloading press has multiple dies. Each one plays a specific role, including removing spent primers, bullet seating, resizing casings, crimping, decapping, and inserting powder into casings. A single pull of the press handle simultaneously progresses multiple rounds through the process.

A progressive reloading press has multiple dies. Each one plays a specific role, including removing spent primers, bullet seating, resizing casings, crimping, decapping, and inserting powder into casings. A single pull of the press handle simultaneously progresses multiple rounds through the process.

Progressive reloading presses can use a fixed tool-head and rotating shell holder, potentially improving accuracy.

Speed and volume are really what progressive presses offer. A progressive reloader can offer 3 to 8 stations, which allows you to achieve the production rate you’re looking for.

What is the most accurate reloading press?

The single stage press has fewer moving parts compared to the progressive reloading press and takes advantage of the operator’s attention to detail. This increases its accuracy but doesn’t provide the quick production rate you can achieve with a progressive reloading machine.

The hard part may be choosing the best progressive reloading press for your needs. But there are plenty of options available.

If you’re looking to advance to the next level of reloading solutions for your handgun, rifle, or shotgun, the following are 5 options for you to choose from.

5 Best Progressive Reloading Presses

LEE LOAD MASTER PROGRESSIVE
  • Solid construction
  • Easy setup
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HORNADY LOCK N LOAD PROGRESSIVE
  • Easy and accurate
  • Tons of accessories
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DILLON PRECISION RL550C
  • Great shell plate design
  • Manual indexing
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MEC 9000GN
  • Speedy auto-indexing
  • Automatic shell ejection
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RCBS PRO CHUCKER 7
  • Includes 7 stations
  • Integrated priming system
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The Lee Precision Loadmaster is a budget-friendly solution that offers many features you would expect in other more expensive models, but with frequent discounts. Lee Precision offers several cartridges, including handguns and rifles.

This makes it an excellent choice for less experienced users transitioning to a progressive reloading press from a single-stage or turret press.

Its cast aluminum construction makes it a lighter machine. You can switch calibers easily due to the attached dies and quick-change tool head.

You can perform indexing tasks manually or automatically. If you’re just starting out using a progressive reloading press, manual indexing lets you spend more time setting the stages up correctly before using the automatic indexing option.

Reported users who have experienced jamming were able to prevent this issue by making sure they cleaned their small primer pockets before use.

The number of stations in a reloading press affects the speed and efficiency it can provide. The Lee Precision LoadMaster kit has 5 stations that allow users to reload around 400 rounds in an hour.

This reloading press kit features an oversized diameter ram plated with chrome, allowing you to work with larger rifle cartridges, such as magnum loads.

What is the best press for reloading rifle ammo?

  • The Lee Precision Load Master Reloading Rifle Kit can be less expensive than other models. This makes it an ideal choice when looking for a rifle ammo reloading press that fits your budget.

This progressive reloading press’ Pro-Auto Disc Powder Measure feature prevents gunpowder spillage.

Having 5 stations keeps production rate high even when you work at a slower speed.

This reloading kit is the ideal choice if you’re looking for an affordable press that delivers durability and reliability.

Lee Precision Load Master Pros and Cons

  • Quality construction
  • 5 stations
  • Easy set-up
  • Fast reloading
  • Some additional accessories require purchase

The Hornady Lock-N-Load is a five-station progressive reloading press that’s easy to use and lets you work on multiple calibers.

The Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive reloading press has 5 stations and an auto-indexing feature to make reloading efficient. Its EZject System ejects each cartridge to ensure that you keep production rates high.

If you need to remove a case between stages, the Lock-N-Load’s universal bullet case retainer spring holds the cases during reloading to simplify this process. A Hornady Lock-N-Load AP reloading press makes pressing ammunition easily attainable.

Changing dies is simple with the Hornady Lock-N-Load system, which streamlines reloading when working on different calibers. Additional features like a case feeder and priming system make the Hornady Lock-N-Load an excellent choice for your reloading needs.

Hornady Lock-N-Load Pros and Cons

  • Easy set-up and use
  • 5 stations
  • Accurate powder measurement
  • Fast reloading process
  • Higher cost
  • Additional accessories require purchase
  • Lock-N-Load bushing can become unseated easily

Using the Dillon Precision 14261 RL550C can give you the efficiency you need while offering a high level of consistency. This progressive reloading press features a powder drop measurer for loading any type of cartridge you use.

The machine’s large catch shotshell holder keeps your shells organized, and its 4 stations perform the tasks required to produce the ammunition you need quickly.

The stations provided on the Dillon progressive reloading press allow you to size and prime cases, load your powder, and set and crimp ammunition.

If you’re low on primers, an alarm will notify you to prevent surprise interruptions when reloading. Loading the primer system and performing other essential tasks is clear and easy to do with the Dillon Precision 14261 RL550C.

This progressive reloading press may cost a little more, but you can expect a versatile machine with the heavy-duty durability gun owners want — all backed by a warranty.

Dillon Precision RL550C Pros and Cons

  • High production capacity
  • Shell plate design exceeds other models
  • You can integrate a feeder
  • Manual indexing
  • Higher cost

If smooth indexing is what you want, the MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press gives shooters consistency throughout the reloading stages.

This progressive reloading press allows you to quickly reload a high volume of shotgun shells. The quality of the resulting shotshell can be higher than those you might find on the market.

The MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press includes an Auto-Dex feature that moves each shell plate to the next stage every time you pull the handle. It delivers properly-sized shells that meet your shooting needs.

Using the MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press’s automatic infection and ejection features eliminates many manual tasks required with other reloading presses for shotgun shells.

MEC 9000GN Pros and Cons

  • Fast auto-indexing
  • Accurate shell resizing
  • Automatic shell ejection
  • Variant is for specific gauges

For shooters looking for an even higher production rate, the RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Progressive Press has 7 stations you can work with — more than any other press on this list.

This machine lets users press approximately 600 rounds in an hour and features an automatic indexing system. You can change calibers quickly using its quick-change die plate.

The RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Progressive Press features a large capacity Quick Change powder measure. This minimizes how often you have to fill the hopper. The machine’s drain tube makes it easy to remove the powder.

Having more stations gives you the ability to load the press, set, crimp bullets, and perform other tasks with huge efficiency. Its cast-iron frame means longer lifespan and more stability.

The RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Progressive Press is easy to set up and use, making it an excellent choice for shooters transitioning to progressive reloading presses.

What is the best progressive reloading press?

  • The RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Progressive Press might be the best progressive reloading press with its impressive 7 stations. This gives you a higher production rate, making it easy for you to reload more ammunition in a shorter amount of time.

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Pros and Cons

  • 7 stations to work with
  • Accurate powder measure
  • Priming system
  • Plastic components may not be as durable as other models

Do you need a progressive reloading press?

Finding the best progressive reloading press comes down to the features that each model provides. If you’re looking to make your own ammunition or increase your current reloading production rate, the above 5 options have all the features you could ever need.

Comment below if you agree, or if you disagree! We love to hear our readers’ thoughts.

If you would like to learn more about reloading presses, firearm safety, training courses, accessories, and other topics, start with our Gun 101 – Getting Started With Firearms article.

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About Roy Chesson

Roy Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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