Best Progressive Reloading Press – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

If you are an avid shooter, you know what it’s like to go through hundreds and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Investing in a progressive reloading press is a smart financial step and a time saver. We’ve taken a closer look at the best progressive reloading presses available today so that you can make the best choice for you. 

A progressive reloading press is a press with a handle that you pull to make ammunition. It’s a popular tool because you can load 300 rounds or more per hour with most presses. 

There are two types of progressive reloading presses you should know about — manual and auto index. With the manual press, you have to move the shell plate manually, which takes more time and increases the chance for mistakes.  With the auto, the shell plate moves on its own while you pull the handle.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best overall
  • Easy eject system that reliably ejects every cartridge
  • Automatic indexing system
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  • Caliber conversion kit included
  • Manual indexing shell plate
  • Accommodates a variety of cartridges
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  • Best value for the money
  • Could be either single-stage or a progressive reloading process
  • Most durable and long-lasting press
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  • Five stations so you can get a large volume quickly
  • Stroke clearance to load the largest rifle cases
  • Load Singly or Progressively depending on your preference
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  • Cast Iron Frame, so it is very durable and long lasting
  • Case Activated Powder Drop so that the powder is well controlled
  • 500-600 rounds an hour
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How to Choose a Progressive Reloading Press

Consider the following features when choosing a progressive reloading press:

Auto Indexing stations/Manual Indexing stations 

Automatic indexing stations automatically advance the shell plate when it runs. This is important because it simplifies operations. Reloading takes less time, so you can make more rounds and increase productivity. This is a better option than the manual index when it comes to volume because, with a manual, you have to manually push the shell plate every time you pull down the lever.

A High Production Rate per Hour 

A high production rate per hour is something that you should look for in a press if you want a large number of rounds in a short amount of time. In order to get a high production rate, you need to have a press with the capability of reloading efficiently, advancing the shell plate seamlessly, and the ability to eject cartridges without having to make large adjustments. 

The fewer amount of movement that you need between rounds, the higher the production rate per hour. 

The Number of Stations 

Anywhere from 4 to 6 stations make reloading more efficient; the stations allow the press to do several tasks simultaneously so that you can be more productive. With more than one station, you can resize, drop the powder, assess the powder, etc.

Review of the Best Progressive Reloading Press

The best progressive loading presses are those that can press quickly and in large quantities. The following are the best presses based on these criteria. 

Top Pick

Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press Loader – Ammunition Reloading Press with Quick Change Lock-N-Load Bushing System, EZ-JECT System and Powder Measure – Enjoy Fast and Reliable Reloading – Item 095100

PROS

CONS


What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are saying that as a beginner, it would be more beneficial to start with a manual press. The manual comes with fewer parts, is more cost-effective, and less technical. They say that if you are a beginner and invest in an automatic press, you will have to spend time watching videos on how to use it. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

The top qualities that make this the ‘best of the best’ are that this is the quickest and most efficient press that makes the most amount of volume in the shortest amount of time. The automatic reloading allows for quickly being able to switch the dies.

Additionally, the automatic indexing system automatically pushes the shell plate forward, allowing for pressing more rapidly. This reloading press also has an activated powder drop for when the case is recognized and hopper that is large, which allows for greater volume more quickly.  

Bottom Line

This product is not for beginners, but with the automatic reloading, easy eject system, automatic indexing system, and built-in priming system, this press is the best of the best. You are able to get large volumes of rounds quickly.  

Runner Up

Dillon Precision 14261 RL550C 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine

Dillon Precision RL 550C 9mm Progressive Reloading Machine 4 Stage Manual Index

PROS

CONS

 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers say that if you have the money, you should buy one. They say that there is a reason why people like this press and that they love the manual indexing function. If you are a beginner at pressing, this is much more approachable for you. The staging is laid out to be a genuinely high production machine and that other companies fail to measure up. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

This press stands out because it is beginner-friendly because it is a manual, and there are fewer parts that are required. Fewer parts means that you don’t have to spend extra money to get a great round as an end result. Even though it is a manual indexing plate, because of the way that this press is set up, you are still able to get a high volume in less time. Also, maintaining this machine is fast and easy.

Bottom Line

This product requires fewer parts. It’s a manual so it is better for beginners. Plus, it’s more cost-effective than other progressive reloading machines. Even though it is manual, you are still able to get a high volume of rounds in a short amount of time. 

Best Budget Option

Lee Precision 90938 Lee Precision, Load Master Progressive Press Kit, .38 Special & .357 Magnum, Red

Lee Preciesion 90938 Lee Precision, Load Master Progressive Press Kit, .38 Special & .357 Magnum,Red

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are saying that overall, they were happy with the press, but the directions for the press were challenging to follow and that there was some tweaking that they had to do with the initial setup. There were a lot of parts that needed to be purchased along with the press like the dies, a new shell plate, and a case slider. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This press stands out because it is beginner-friendly, and it is the most budget-friendly. This reloading press comes with a reloading press kit. It has five stations and accepts most reloading dies. It is also one of the most durable presses ever made with a cast-aluminum material construction. 

Durability is an essential quality because it means that the press will last longer. This company has excellent customer service if you were to have a problem with the press and it is able to reload quickly.

Bottom Line

This product is the most budget-friendly out of all of them on this list. It is both beginners friendly and for the more advanced because it can be either a single-stage or progressive reloading. It is the most durable and long-lasting press with excellent customer service.

Lee Precision Load Master 223 Remington Reloading Rifle Kit

Lee Precision Load Master 223 Remington Reloading Rifle Kit

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are saying that once you get the hang of the press, it works great. It took an hour to set up, but 500 rounds took a short amount of time. If you don’t want to spend a ton but are also a frequent shooter, this is the perfect one. Note: consider mounting the plate on your workbench.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Lee Precision Load Master 223 Remington Reloading Rifle Kit stands out because it is beginner-friendly and also would appeal to someone with more advanced skills. You can load progressively or singly while not spilling any powder. Since you can load, either way, you are more in control of the press, which appeals to beginners. 

You are able to press large rifle cases in large volumes since there are five stations. This is not a cheap press, but it is also more affordable than other options on this list. 

Bottom Line

This product is one of the more budget-friendly on this list. It is both beginners friendly and for the more advanced because it can be either a single-stage or progressive reloading. It is expensive for someone who is a complete beginner. It is not built as well as more, other expensive presses. 

RCBS Pro 2000 Auto Index Progressive Press

RCBS Pro 2000 Auto Index Progressive Press

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that this is an incredible product that will load for a lifetime. They had set it up in about an hour while reading clear instructions. After setup, they cranked out 100 rounds in about 15 minutes, including powder checks. They are pleased with the press. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

This press stands out because it has a cast-iron frame. Because it is made out of cast iron, the press is very durable. Because it is so durable, the press will be able to withstand many rounds without deteriorating. There are five stations that allow you to move more quickly, and it has a case activated powder drop and is able to crank out 500-600 rounds an hour.

Bottom Line

This product is both beginners and advanced friendly. You are able to make large volumes in a short amount of time. The press is very durable due to the cast-iron frame. Five frames make it more able to produce large volumes.

Progressive Reloading Press Vs. Single Stage Reloading Press – Comparison Overview

There are many options when looking at buying a reloading press. The first choice to make is whether you should buy a progressive or single stage reloading press.

Single-Stage Press

The single-stage presses are the most basic of the two. Single-stage or single-action is when you pull down the handle of the press, each pull of the handle depends on which die is in place. As in, after you pull down the handle you have to manually change the die and then pull again. This means that you will have to pull down the handle and change the die multiple times before having a completed round as an end result. 

This method is a slower process, but it’s more accurate since there are fewer moving parts to be shifted around simultaneously and it’s less expensive.

Progressive Press

Progressive presses are for the more advanced because they do multiple things in one pull of the handle. 

Progressive presses come in two types: manual or auto index. Manual is where you have to manually rotate the shell plate to the next position. This is the more dangerous option because if you double charge the round, the shell will explode in the gun.  

The auto index automatically advances the shell forward, so the chance of double charging by mistake goes away. 

The reason you would get a progressive over a manual is that you are able to get a lot more rounds more quickly. However, they are more expensive and less accurate than the manual.

Conclusion

This is the list of the best progressive reloading presses for beginning or advanced users. It’s important to know if you want something that will give you more volume or more accuracy and how much you will be willing to spend on those things. 

People Also Ask

A reloading press is a large investment with a lot of moving parts. It’s understandable why people would have so many questions. Here are some of the most common questions:

What is the fastest reloading press?

The fastest reloading press is a progressive press with an auto index. This type of press has parts that move automatically, so you don’t have to stop and manually advance the shell or move the plates. From this list, the Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press is the fastest reloading press.

Are progressive reloading presses accurate?

Progressive reloading presses have a lot of moving parts while the handle is moving. The parts automatically advanced the shell, which makes for more room for error. Because of this, the progressive reloading press is less accurate than the manual. The progressive is still worth the investment if you want to make a large volume quickly. 

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

The difference between a turret press and a progressive press is how many pulls of the handle it takes to get a finished product. When using a turret press, you have to pull the handle 3-4 times in order to get one finished round while you only pull once with the progressive press for a final product. 

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.