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Used equipment? What to look for?

nightpoison

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So im going to look at some used equiment that someone is selling. All I know is that they are probably Hornady presses, red. Dont know if they are progressive or single stage. I'm talking with the wife as the husband is no longer with us, so she doesn't know what everything is.

I took eddies class a few years ago but never picked up my own equipment. So I have an idea what to look for, but I wanted to ask if anyone has suggestions on what to look for to make sure the equipment is in working order and not going to be a bigger issue than what its worth.

Thanks for thehelp in advance.
 
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I'd say general appearance is key. Is it rusted, or is it clean with a light coat of oil on it? Still in the box? Bolted to a bench and nice and tidy where its obvious the guy took care of his gear? I think it'd be pretty hard to mess up a press without blatant abuse or neglect.
 
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Bring a small but strong flashlight to look inside the dies for corrosion. Bring some fired brass and cycle the press a few times to make sure the linkages and timing are all ok. It can be tough to tell if a small part is missing or broken from just looking at it.
 

EddieCoyle

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I once bought a Dillon 550 at a yard sale for $30. The thing had been ridden hard and put away wet. It was mostly there, but in really rough shape, a real f***ing mess. I called Dillon and they told me to send it in. $60 later they sent me back a virtually new press that I sold on eBay for an enormous profit (97% of the price for a new one) without ever loading a round on it. I'm not a fan of manually indexed progressive presses. The reason it sold for so much was because everyone knows that Dillon will make an old press new again for short short money.

I bought a Hornady L-N-L Progressive brand new and loaded well over 100K rounds on it. It was a struggle. I was constantly replacing priming mechanism and case feeder parts. Literally dozens of them in some cases. There are some serious design flaws in that press. I stayed with it because I spent good money on the press, and I'm not a quitter. When it was clear the press was worn out, I called Hornady and asked if they'd rebuild it and offered to pay them to do it. They said that they don't do that, and told me to buy a new press.

So I did. I bought a Dillon 650, and haven't looked back. The L-N-L is not even close to a good as a 650. On paper they look similar, but in terms of quality, and trouble-free operation, it's not even close.

If you can get a really good deal on the red press, sell it on eBay and use the money for a Dillon. If the red press turns out to be a Lee 1000, run.
 
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The new high-end presses are those by Mark VII. Their CEO and designer are friends who I used to shoot with at Hopkinton, and their design guru still maintains a house in MA though he primarily lives in FL now to be near the Mark VII factory. The CEO moved to FL full time. Did a lot of nerd stuff and fiber pulling with their designer.
 

dhuze

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I got a Dillon 550L with 9mm dies in it at a yard sale for $100. I'm also not a fan of the manually indexed progressive presses, but I got a little used to it and still use it for 9mm and 380's.

I do a lot of single stage loading so even the manual press seems much faster to me. One time I did put a bullet on a case in the powder charging station and broke some pieces of the press. I tried to buy the parts from Dillon, but they insisted I take them for free.
 
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I'm also not a fan of the manually indexed progressive presses
Two characteristics of double charges:

1. Generally loaded on a manually indexed press

2. The press operator is certain he did not miss an indexing operation
 

mac1911

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Red could be lee. Does not make it bad. Although know your prices of standard equipment. Last deal I got was from a guy who said I'm not hauling this shit out of the basement if you want it give me $200 and take it all. Even got the broom and dustpan! After everything was sorted I think I got about 30% of it useable and about $150 worth of lead shot.
Take a good look and know your prices.
 

nightpoison

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Hey guys thanks for the info. So here is what I got and what I'm thinking.

There were three presses. A Hornady LockNLoad progressive, a Hornady LNL classic, and RCBS Rock Chucker press. Over 12k primers, mostly CCI and Winchester. 15 bottles of unopened powder, hodgden and accurate. and another 40 bottles of opened, but near full powder. some cases, not much, and cast and store bought bullets. There were 41 different die sets and 10 shell plates. Also the boxes I grabbed had a number of misc parts like scope rings, pistol grips, and a number of other things.

So here is what I'm thinking. I'm going to go through all the boxes I grabbed, sort them out and make sure all the parts are there. I think with the exception of the primers and the unopened powder I'm going to sell it all. I was already thinking it, but reading Eddie's post and a few others made up my mind. I'm selling it all and grabbing a Dillon setup. I've been wanting to pull the trigger on a Dillon, and well nows the time. Well once it all sells.

What are your suggestions for the opened powder. The guy was really organized. Everything is labeled, I looked at his notebooks and he really was meticulous with his notes, BUT I know its a risk and no one will probably want it. So fire dept or police station?

She also had some tannerite, and wasn't sure of the legality here in mass, so I gave it to a friend who lives in NH to hold on to for me. Anyone in a free state interested?

Keep an eye out in the classifieds and the karma forums. As I'll be putting up for Karma scope rings, grips, and anything else I think would be cool on a Karma.
 

drgrant

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Two characteristics of double charges:

1. Generally loaded on a manually indexed press

2. The press operator is certain he did not miss an indexing operation

3. the operator never took any precautions to ensure that a double wouldn't happen
eg:
3a. the operator didn't look into the case before placing a bullet
and/or
3b. the operator thought that loading large capacity cased pistol ammo on a 550 was a good idea (it's generally not. )
or
3c. the operator thinks its cute to use stupidly fast burning powder and make powder puff loads, yielding a tiny load that can easily be doubled without being able to observe it easily

I had a 550 and probably loaded like 20K on that thing and only had one tiny batch of squibs. (which I knew the moment I loaded themwere possibly squibs, but fired them anyways, lmao) Not one double... but the practices I had in play made it very difficult to double a load.

-Mike
 

Michael J. Spangler

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There is morning wrong with a manual advancing machine. As mike said above it’s operator error.
You can $&^* up on an auto advance machine just as easily.
You’re paying attention to some primer feed issue and the case keeps making its way around and turns out to be a squib becuase you weren’t paying attention.

Moral of the story pay attention. Take a class like Eddie Coyle offers and go slow.
There are a million ways to screw up but luckily all can be avoided with some attention to detail and focus while making ammo.
 

EddieZoom

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That's a pretty big haul. Nice.

Hey guys thanks for the info. So here is what I got and what I'm thinking.

There were three presses. A Hornady LockNLoad progressive, a Hornady LNL classic, and RCBS Rock Chucker press. Over 12k primers, mostly CCI and Winchester. 15 bottles of unopened powder, hodgden and accurate. and another 40 bottles of opened, but near full powder. some cases, not much, and cast and store bought bullets. There were 41 different die sets and 10 shell plates. Also the boxes I grabbed had a number of misc parts like scope rings, pistol grips, and a number of other things.

So here is what I'm thinking. I'm going to go through all the boxes I grabbed, sort them out and make sure all the parts are there. I think with the exception of the primers and the unopened powder I'm going to sell it all. I was already thinking it, but reading Eddie's post and a few others made up my mind. I'm selling it all and grabbing a Dillon setup. I've been wanting to pull the trigger on a Dillon, and well nows the time. Well once it all sells.

What are your suggestions for the opened powder. The guy was really organized. Everything is labeled, I looked at his notebooks and he really was meticulous with his notes, BUT I know its a risk and no one will probably want it. So fire dept or police station?

She also had some tannerite, and wasn't sure of the legality here in mass, so I gave it to a friend who lives in NH to hold on to for me. Anyone in a free state interested?

Keep an eye out in the classifieds and the karma forums. As I'll be putting up for Karma scope rings, grips, and anything else I think would be cool on a Karma.
 

EddieZoom

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There is morning wrong with a manual advancing machine. As mike said above it’s operator error.
You can $&^* up on an auto advance machine just as easily.
You’re paying attention to some primer feed issue and the case keeps making its way around and turns out to be a squib becuase you weren’t paying attention.

Moral of the story pay attention. Take a class like Eddie Coyle offers and go slow.
There are a million ways to screw up but luckily all can be avoided with some attention to detail and focus while making ammo.

Having used both auto and manual flavors of Dillon progressive presses I can honestly say I prefer the manual (550). I am much smoother with far fewer issues than I ever was on my SDB. Speed (rounds per hour) is a little over-rated metric IMHO.

BTW, never produced a double charge or squib on either press....now don't get me wrong I've made some absolute [email protected] ammo...just nothing that was potentially unsafe.
 
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