Turret or Progressive?
I had been considering for quite some time going from a single stage press to perhaps a progressive or a turret press to speed up my reloading.
I don’t reload for high round count calibers like 5.56 or 9mm as frankly, they are cheap enough it just doesn’t seem worth the hassle of trying to collect the spent brass and the reloading itself.
I do however reload for the guns I hunt with and shoot long range with as precision is paramount to success.
After careful consideration of the pros and cons of Turret vs Progressive I decided to go with a turret system as I felt it would better for me personally.
Progressive turrets have their place in high volume shooting but they are just inherently not as stable of a platform as a single stage or turret.
They tend to have more play in them and with the powder dispenser mounted on the press they just are not as consistent in their powder throws due to the fact that there is movement induced with the system that can make an ever slight difference in the amount of powder thrown.
The turret system is faster than a single stage but more consistent than a progressive.
I like the idea of being able to have a few different caliber dies setup and ready to go when needed.
I had been debating this for a few years and had pretty much made my mind up to go with a Redding T7.
It had the most consistently good reviews of all the turret presses and I was the most impressed with the apparent craftsmanship of the Redding.
It felt the most solid, well machined and smoothest action. In short, just seemed to have more of a precision tool vibe than the other candidates.
I ordered one and mounted it to my workbench, in fact, I decided to completely rebuild my workbench as it just didn’t seem right using it on the old one. It deserved a better home!
Redding Match Type S 308 Dies
I also ordered a set of the Redding Match 308 Type S Match neck die set after having a conversation with Robin Sharpless at Redding. It is worth noting that Robin really took the time to talk with me and help deciding on which die set would be ideal for me. He had me measure the neck thickness of a dozen once fired brass and give him the average measurement so as he could provide the correct S type bushing diameter for proper neck tension. Knowing how critical that is and having struggled with maintaining consistent neck tension on some other dies I have used in the past I appreciated the extra effort.
Setup of the press was a snap as well as the operation of it.
There are 7 die holders on the turret and once you get one setup, you simply rotate, install and setup the 2nd and successive dies.
Operationally, going from the de-priming and sizing die to the bullet seating die is just rotating the turret with the small lever. The die rotation locks the die into place nice and tight.
I setup the 308 dies, I must say, they were the easiest dies I have ever used to setup.
Again, it’s the precision workmanship that is very evident when setting up these dies.
I REALLY like the micrometer bullet seating die has index markings that allow you to adjust in .001″ increments. This really makes the old trial and error method of setting a given COAL a thing of the past and allows easy adjustments between if you are testing various seating depths.
Redding Model 3 Bench Rest powder dispenser
This powder dispenser has a micrometer setting that allows you to quickly, easily, and most importantly, consistently set the amount of powder you dispense. I tested it several times with different powders to see if I got consistent throws on my digital scale. My scale is accurate to with .1 gram and it read the same every time. I tested 3 different powders at 3 different charges, 10 times per.
Time to reload
I worked up some loads with 175g Sierra matchkings with 43.2g of Varget, 2.80 COAL, Lapua brass and Federal BR primers.
10 shots, .3″ group, hard to argue against that.
Redding 25-06 Die with micrometer seating die upgrade
I aquired an old Sako in 25-06, one of my favorite rifle makers and calibers and needed a set of dies for it. It was a no brainer on what to order. Just like the 308, I quickly had a one ragged hole group worked up with the help of the Redding dies.
A look into the future
Suffice it to say, I am very impressed with the Redding products I have and they will be the first place I look to when I need more reloading equipment in the future.
I recently aquired a Nosler 280AI Trophy Grade Rifle and have REALLY grown to like the gun and the round as it was proven this past weekend: I will be needing a set of dies for it, and interestingly, when I spoke with the techs at Nosler about reloading data (they got the 280AI SAAMI approved) guess what dies they use?
And this is REALLY important to me..
ALL of their stuff is AMERICAN made by AMERICAN workers..
No Chinese imported junk to increase their bottom line.
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