Best Progressive Reloading Presses – 2020 Review

by

Finding the best progressive reloading press can be a challenge, especially if you’re looking for something to be used for reloading your own pistol or rifle ammo. You’ll need a reloading press that will be reliable, durable enough to last you many years, and useful enough to allow you to reload multiple rounds of ammo.

Owning one of these will be a lot better than having to constantly purchase new boxes of ammo that can set you back by hundreds of dollars.

To help you find the best progressive reloading press, we’ve put together a list of five of the best presses on the market. Before we get to the list, we’re going to talk about how a progressive reloading press works and what characteristics we looked for in our favorite models.

Comparison Chart of the Best Progressive Reloading Presses

PRODUCTDETAILS
gm2-table__image

RCBS Pro2000 Auto Index Progressive Press

  • Includes five-station plates.
  • Best overall progressive reloading press.
  • Load rate of approximately 600 rounds per hour.
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Hornady - Lock-N-Load Auto Progressive Press

  • Quick twisting lever action.
  • Runner-up for best progressive reloading press.
  • Includes a power measurer for accurate loading.
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Dillon Precision 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine

  • Great for reloading pistols and rifles.
  • Includes many different storage trays.
  • Best progressive reloading press for the money.
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

MEC 600 Jr Mark V Shot Shell Press

  • Reloading press for shotgun shells.
  • Best progressive shotshell reloading press.
  • Includes a charge bar and powder bushings.
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Lee Precision Load Master Reloading Kit for 223 Remington

  • Detachable turret dies.
  • Compatible with rifle and pistol cartridges.
  • Best reloading press for reloading .223 rounds.
View Latest Price

How Does a Progressive Reloading Press Work?

A progressive reloading press is one of the three types of reloading presses available. The other two are single-stage and turret reloading presses. But what makes the progressive different from the other two?

One major difference is the way each reloading press holds a die. A single-stage reloading press can hold one reloading die and one only. A single turret can hold several dies but you’ll need to reload one casing at a time. Progressive reloading presses will have multiple dies and the ability to handle loading multiple rounds at once.

With one turn of the action lever, you can reload multiple rounds at the same time. Each time, the circle of rounds will move up by one. Once a round gets to the front of the line, it will be ejected out of the reloading press itself. 

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

We didn’t choose these progressive reloading presses on name alone. We’ve chosen them based on a few characteristics we believe stand out to us. It’s important to know what all these characteristics are so you can distinguish a great product from a reloading press that may not be so great. Here’s what you need to look out for:

Price

As a budget shopper, you’re always going to check the price tag before looking at anything else. Granted, while the price is important, depending on your budget, it should not be the main reason you choose a particular reloading press. We try to feature product that are as affordable as possible across many budgets. Whether you have money to play around with or not, you’re bound to find a good progressive reloading press here in our review.

Quality

The important thing to look for is quality. The construction of these progressive reloading presses should be solid, sturdy, and made from the toughest materials around. The idea is to have a reloading press that will be useful for years, or even decades. Some people have reloading presses that they purchased over thirty years ago and still use them to this day. It’s surprising to see how reliably they can work when properly cared for.

Which Rounds Will You Be Loading?

Some progressive reloading presses work with only pistol rounds, while others can load rifle rounds. However, there are some that work with both types of ammo. The one you choose will be based on which rounds you’re planning to reload and how often you’ll need to do it.

Quick Take - The Best Progressive Reloading Presses

Review of the Best Progressive Reloading Presses

The following are five of the best progressive reloading presses on the market. It’s important for you to take note of which characteristics and features stand out and how they will benefit you personally.

If a product matches up with your ideal reloading press, then you have likely found a winner on your hands. Now, let’s take a look at the first progressive reloading press on our list:

Pros

  • Sturdy Construction and is Very Durable
  • Quick and Easy to Change Primer Sizes
  • Easy to Operate Lever Action, With a Really Smooth Pull
  • Perfect for Reloading Ammo for Pistols and Rifles
  • Powder Measurement Tool Does a Good Job Preventing Accidental Spillage

Cons

  • Some Lubrication Might Be Required
  • Might Be a Little Tough to Use at First
  • Shell Station Plates are Sold Separately

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were happy with this press all around. They were able to quickly load multiple rounds. One user even said he was intending to stockpile his pistol ammo for competition and casual target shooting purposes. He was able to quickly load about 1000 rounds in an hour-and-a-half with this press. It’s quick and smooth to operate, making it easy to fill many rounds very quickly.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This progressive reloading press is solid in construction and the lever-action doesn’t feel stiff and gritty (even from the first use). Since it’s easy to use, it is newbie-friendly for those who have never used a progressive reloading press. Other than that, it’s easy to change primer sizes if you’re looking to reload other caliber rounds. This takes much of the difficulty out of what is considered the most complicated press type of them all.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by pistol and rifle users alike. It doesn’t matter which type of pistol or rifle they have or the caliber it’s chambered in, gun owners can rely on a progressive reloading press like this. It is especially handy for those who want to reload their rounds and keep from purchasing new boxes of ammo that could set them back a good bit of money.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One thing we suggest isn’t an improvement, but rather a convenient addition. Since the press itself might require lubrication upon use, a container of lubricant to ensure much smoother operation would be something to throw into the mix.

Bottom Line

If you’re simply looking for a progressive reloading press that is easy to use and considered the best in the business, the RCBS Pro2000 Auto Index Progressive Press might be exactly what you’re wanting to put on your bench or in your workshop. This is your best possible option if you want to crank out over 700+ rounds in about an hour.

Pros

  • Very Sturdy Construction
  • Fits Most Dies Without Any Fitting Issues
  • Super Reliable Lever Action is Smooth 
  • Able to Churn Out a Few Hundred Rounds Per Hour
  • Can Accept Many ⅞-14-Inch Dies From Other Manufacturers

Cons

  • Lock and Load Feature Might Be a Little Difficult Upon Initial Use
  • Some Bugs May Need to Be Worked Out Before You Get the Hang of it
  • Some Powder Spillage May Still Happen, But Very Few and Far Between

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers have previously used different types of reloading presses. Some have owned single-stage reloading presses and wanted something of an upgrade compared to their previous reloading press. One user said he was able to crank out twice as many rounds compared to his previous single-stage press​.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This reloading press might be one of the best if you’re considering an upgrade. It’s solid in construction and definitely gives users a whole lot of speed when it comes to the task of reloading. Plus, a lot of reloading benches can easily handle this reloading press. Other than that, it’s a simple design where you dump the powder and place in the cartridges. The press does the rest.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an intermediate level reloading press. It is for use by those who have previous experience in using different reloading presses. It may not be a beginner level reloading press, but it is perfect for those who want to reload their rounds at a much quicker rate than their single-stage press of the past.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One improvement that could be considered is to make it easier to attach or remove the dies. It can be a little difficult to do, even after you’ve used this reloading press for some time. This may require some changes to the reloading press or the dies. It shouldn’t make the reloading process more difficult just because of a few slight changes.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to upgrade from a single-stage reloading press to something with a quicker reloading ability, then the Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Progressive Press is it. It may not be a beginner-friendly reloading press, but once you get the hang of it, the process will be easier than anything else you’ve ever used.

Dillon Precision 14261 RL550C 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine (9mm)

Pros

  • Quick to Load Multiple Rounds
  • Very Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Has the Capability of Loading 120+ Calibers
  • Excellent for Shooters Across Many Applications
  • Easy to Load and Lever Action is Smooth and Reliable

Cons

  • Dies are Sold Separately
  • Usage Might Be Stiff at First
  • Some Accessories Might Need to Be Purchased Separately 

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were budget shoppers looking for an easy to use reloading press that was compatible with a variety of calibers. One guy not only owns a 9 mm but also an AR-15 for his big game hunting applications. He was able to reload both types of rounds with this reloading press with ease. He could crank out about 500 pistol rounds in a half-hour and an additional 300 rounds for his AR-15 in the same time frame. Either way, he was able to reload them at a fast rate.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This product is considered to be one of the most versatile on the market. The reason is because it can handle all kinds of calibers for pistols and rifles alike. Want to reload your 9 mm rounds? You can do that. Need to load your own .30-06 rounds? Done. Best of all, it’s one of the most affordable on the market. All these features at an unbeatable price? We’d be stupid to not include this on our list.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by many gun owners across all kinds of applications, from concealed carry owners to competitive shooters. This is the ultimate reloading station for those who want nothing more than to crank out their own boxes of ammo rather than pay ridiculous prices for new boxes every time.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Initial use will probably be stiff at first. But it would be nice to have a thing of lubricant handy (or have it go along with this press in particular). Another worthy accessory that should be included are primer storage trays that fit across some of the more popular calibers.

Bottom Line

If you want a progressive reloading press that won’t knock the wind out of your bank account, rest assured that the Dillion Precision 4-Stage Progressive Reloading Press will fit the bill. This will work across so many calibers you won’t even need to consider finding another reloading press.

Best Progressive Shotshell Reloading Press:​
MEC 600 Jr Mark V Shot Shell Press

Pros

  • No Spillage to Speak of
  • Reliable and Smooth Lever Action
  • It Can Handle Many Shotgun Calibers
  • It Saves You a Lot of Money on Shotgun Shells
  • It Can Load Eight to Ten Boxes of Shells Per Hour

Cons

  • Might Be a Little Stiff to Use at First
  • Some Have Had Difficulty With Shell Fitting
  • Some Fitting on the Dies Might Be Required

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were hunters and target shooters looking to save more money on shotgun shells. This reloading press gave them the opportunity to do just that. They were satisfied with the overall use. They were able to fill up at least eight boxes of shells to last them a long time. One user said he no longer has to buy a full box since he can make them on his own.

Why it Stands Out To Us

A lot of hunters usually rely on a shotgun rather than some rifles (depending on which game they’re hunting). So, they’ll need an alternative solution that doesn’t require consistently shelling out money for new boxes of shells. This reloading press might be the only one on the market that stands out among the rest for reloading shotgun shells. The operation is fast, reliable, and gets the job done no matter how often you use it.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by hunters who want to reload as many shotgun shells as possible to have on hand. We’re talking enough to last them an entire hunting season. Once you have about eight to ten boxes handy, that’s more than enough to get you through the whole year (or more).

What Could Be Improved and Why

While it might be a little tough to come up with a suggestion, one tip is to do some measurements to ensure that the dies are perfect for pressing. Some have reported fitting issues with this press. So you may need to rely on some dies of your own if this happens consistently.

Bottom Line

If you own a shotgun and need as many shells as possible, the MEDC Reloading Press is probably your best choice. Especially when you have a few shotguns handy in your arsenal. Who says you can have too many shells for your favorite shotgun?

Pros

  • Easy to Reload .223 Rounds
  • Best for AR-15 Rifle Owners
  • Turrets Are Easy to Attach and Detach
  • Lever Action is Nice and Smooth, Makes Reloading Very Quick
  • Accidental Spillage is Few and Far Between or Non-Existent

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were looking for a progressive reloading press that would be easy to use and have a simple design. They were able to use it without any issues or struggles with the controls. Most users were able to reload their rifle or pistol rounds quickly. One guy was able to load his 9 mm rounds and crank out nearly 1000 rounds in one hour.

Why it Stands Out To Us

On paper, this looks like one of the simplest designs out there for progressive presses. Sure enough, it doesn’t look too intimidating to most users but it’s jam-packed with all the stuff you need to make reloading quick and easy, regardless of the rounds you are using.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by hunters, competitive shooters, and casual target shooters. In other words, it’s another reloading press that handles many rounds for all kinds of users. It is the closest thing to a full-fledged reloading station for all your .223 AR-15 rounds.

What Could Be Improved and Why

While there are no major cons to point out, we can still make a suggestion on a slight improvement. Why not include something to sweeten the deal to entice users to grab this? The manufacturer could include some boxes to fit their newly reloaded rounds or a primer tray to store their loaded and currently unloaded rounds. Just a few added accessories might be a great idea.

Bottom Line

If you own an AR-15 chambered in .223 rounds, this reloading press by MEC will be your right up-your-alley. You can quickly churn out a box in nearly an hour and you’ll be set for a day at the range or for the hunting season. Either way, it will definitely fulfill your reloading needs.

Pros and Cons of Progressive Reloading Presses

There are some advantages you can enjoy just by simply using a progressive reloading press. However, it does come with its share of disadvantages. When you invest in a reloading press like this, here’s what you can expect:

Pros

Can Reload Multiple Rounds

This reloading press handles numerous rounds at the same time. So it comes as no surprise that you’ll be able to crank out multiple rounds over and over again. Most of these presses will be able to churn out 500 to even 1000 rounds in a single hour (depending on which caliber you’re reloading and what type of rounds they are). 

Saves You a Ton On Ammo

Consider this for a moment: would you spend quite a bit of money each year buying new boxes of ammo? Or would you invest in a reloading press that will give you the same number of rounds in a short period of time? On top of that, you'll pay once for the press and then can reuse over and over. The answer is a no-brainer.

Long Lifespan

These are built tough and can last you a long period of time. How long, you ask? We're talking years or even decades. Some users have even bought a reloading press and were still able to use it without any issues after 30 or 40 years after their initial purchase. However, you’ll need to do your best to take good care of it as needed.

Cons

Expensive

Yes, these progressive reloading presses might be expensive. But it is not the end of the world. Once again, this is an even better investment compared to having to shell out additional money for new boxes of pistol or rifle rounds every so often.

Not Really for Beginners

This type of reloading press is a little more complicated to use than other reloading presses. In fact, the ones on this list might not be beginner-friendly at all for those who have had no prior experience in using a reloading press. 

Conclusion

A great progressive reloading press is exactly what you’ll want if you want to crank out as many rounds as possible all at one time. This will fill up your ammo boxes rather quickly and give you a supply to last you a while (depending on your application). Find one that will work best for your type of rounds or calibers and say goodbye to buying expensive bullets.

Leave a Comment