At a Glance: Best turret reloading press
Comparison of Best turret reloading press
Our Top Pick
|Redding – T-7 Turret Press||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Lee Precision – 4-Hole Classic Turret Press||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Lyman – T-mag II Turret Reloading Press||View Latest Price|
Most shooters start reloading their own rounds because of the money they can save. That means that they need to buy a reloading press. If they want to reload a large volume but are still new to reloading, the best bet is to choose a turret press. However, reloading should not just be about saving money. Accuracy and safety of the reloaded ammunition are important factors to consider as well.
Our list of the 6 best turret presses on the market today
We compared the best options to make it easier for you to decide which turret press will work the best for you. In making our seleciton, we looked at the material, durability, brand, warranty, turret indexing, ease of installation, ease of use, safety, and accuracy. Of course, the price tag is important too.
Redding – T-7 Turret Press
Redding is a reloading company that has been around since 1946. It makes its products here in the USA and offers a lifetime warranty on them unless they were misused or handled carelessly. Their customer service is very good too.
This is a very sturdy and durable turret press with a robust but simple design. The T-7 is made from cast iron and it features a seven-station turret head. It incorporates a 1-inch diameter ram. This press is suitable for ⅞ inch to 14 threaded dies, including the longer competition dies. If you like to reload different calibers, you can buy multiple turret discs, one for each caliber, and keep the dies inserted for faster reloading.
The 7 station turret head is easy to remove and exchange. The dies fall into places on the turret disc very snuggly. The turret disc is indexed manually with a small ball handle connected to the turret disc. After each reloading step you just push the turret disc to the station to the right with the handle. The ball of the handle is very comfortable to hold even for a longer reloading session. The smart primer arm will help with seating small and large primers. It’s a bit tricky to seat the primers into tight pockets, especially for beginners. The end of the primer slide bar is a bit too long, preventing the primer ram cup from lining up with the hole in the shell holder. A quick call to Redding or a few minutes with a benchtop grinder could probably solve the issue.
- Sturdy and durable
- Well-known brand
- Interchangeable turret heads
- Positive ram stop via powerful compound linkage
- Sufficient compatibility with smooth 1.75-inch ball
- Smart priming arm
- Additional ram stoppage
- Lifetime warranty
- Manual indexing
- High-end model
- Setting primer can be tricky for newbies
Lee Precision – 4-Hole Classic Turret Press
Lee Precision is an established reloading brand that provides a full two years warranty on its products.
This press is made from cast iron with a stainless steel turret disc. The ram is 1 ⅛ inches in diameter. That makes it one of the industry’s largest rams. The ram itself is placed in the middle of the base of the press. The lever handle is finished with a hardwood grip. Rifle cases over three inches long can be loaded thanks to the long stroke and auto-indexing. The auto-indexing moves the turret disc to the next station with every pull of the handle. That means you do not have to do it manually. If you are looking to load cases over four inches long, you just need to deactivate the auto-indexing.
This press has a 4-hole turret which allows you to produce a high volume of rounds. You do not need to exchange the dies for each reloading step as you have to with a single stage reloading press. If you plan to reload multiple calibers, it is a good idea to buy multiple turrets and have one for each caliber. There is a clear PVC tube attached to dispense the primers, although sometimes a primer will fall out of the slot before making it into the PVC pipe. Another downside is the fact that the entire turret disc lifts up and down about 1-2mm which might not be the best for precision.
- Durable cast iron base
- Hardwood handle
- 4-hole turret for all necessary dies
- PVC tube attached for dispensing the primers
- Suitable for a high volume of rounds
- Great for rifle cases
- Good price for a turret press
- Turret disc wiggles
Lyman – T-mag II Turret Reloading Press
In the late 1800s, William Lyman, an avid outdoorsman and inventor created his first reloading product. Since then, the Lyman company has been focusing on innovation and manufacturing great reloading tools. According to Lyman, performance means delivering value while advancing technology. Lyman’s products work well and deliver what is expected of them. However, their warranty is not on par with the other manufacturers described here.
The Lyman T-Mag II press is made of an iron frame. It is finished with a durable powder coat for a lifetime of use. The press has a flat machined base for easy mounting to a wood or a metal workbench. The press handle is ambidextrous so left-handed shooters will appreciate this press a lot.
There are six stations on the turret. Exchanging turret discs is very easy since the handle also works as a turret-removal wrench. That means you do not need any additional tools. The turret accepts 7⁄8 to 14 inch dies and works for both rifle and pistol cases. It has an improved turret retention system for smooth turret indexing. However, it is still manual turret indexing. After each reloading step you just push the turret disc to the station on the right with the small ball handle. The press also Includes both a universal priming arm and a primer catcher for faster reloading.
- Strong iron frame
- Durable powder coat finish
- The handle can be used as a wrench
- Suitable for rifle and pistol rounds
- Smooth turret indexing
- Priming arm
- Primer catcher
- Manual index
- Shorter warranty period
Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press
You won’t go wrong if you choose a Lee Precision product. As mentioned above, Lee offers a two-year limited lifetime warranty and has great customer service.
The Lee turret press is made from cast aluminum. That makes it durable but keeps it lighter than cast iron. The turret disc is made from steel. The ram is slightly off to the right side, offering greater hand clearance and allowing you to feed the cases easier. The ram has 13/16 inch diameter. This press offers a comfortable and ergonomic wooden handle grip. However, the handle keeps bumping into the top of the press when pushing the handle up. On the plus side, it is suitable for any caliber, including the largest Magnum cases. If reloading different calibers is your thing, just buy multiple turret discs (one turret disc per caliber). You don’t need any special tools to exchange dies, shell holders, or the primer arm. It accepts ⅞ to 14 inch threaded dies.
The mount on this press is shorter than that on the Lee Classic Turret Press. Also, the sides of the base castings are not machined out as precisely as on the Lee Classic Turret Press. That makes mounting of this press on a workbench harder. Another downside is the primer catcher. Attaching the PVC primer catcher on the lower part of the ram might be harder on some workbenches.
- Made from cast aluminum and cast steel
- Bigger hand clearance
- Easier to see the rounds
- No need for extra tools
- Ergonomic handle
- Medium price range
- The mount is not as good
Lyman All American 8 Turret Press
Lyman is an established reloading company. Its products are of high quality. The company offers good customer service but its warranty could be better.
Lyman’s eight-station turret press is made from rigid cast iron. The turret disc is machined from cast iron as well. That makes this press very sturdy and durable but also very heavy. The ram has a 1″ diameter. The press features an extra-large 8 station turret disc. The turrets are swapped easily thanks to a turret bolt. The 8-station turret is the largest available currently on the market. It can hold two complete 4 dies sets or up to four 2 die sets.
The frame is large to allow the reloading of very long cartridges, and it has a durable powder coat finish. The handle is ambidextrous and is equipped with a ball handle. It is tight but works smoothly. The press comes with a straight line primer feed that is easy to use. Simply push the priming arm forward at the bottom of the ram travel to position it beneath the shell holder. There is a heavy steel shield surrounding the primer tubes for added safety. The press is designed to be used with any standard ⅞” to 14 thread dies. It also accepts standard shell holders.
- Made from rigid cast iron
- Ram has a 1-inch diameter
- Extra-large 8 station turret disc
- Ambidextrous handle
- Straight-line primer feed
- Easy to use
- Manual index
- Higher price
RCBS C-frame Cast Iron 88901 Turret Press
RCBS was founded in 1943 by Fred T. Huntington in Oroville, California. Huntington, an avid shooter, started to make his own dies for reloading varmint rounds in the back room of his father’s business. His company RCBS has become a well-known brand in the reloading business over the years. It offers a limited lifetime warranty on most of its products.
The RCBS Turret Press consists of a cast-iron frame, toggle block, and turret head. There are 6 stations on the turret disc. That allows for many combinations and sequences of the dies. Even setting two or more calibers at the same time is possible. You can easily switch the turret discs by releasing the turret bolt. The handle is ambidextrous and it features a comfortable ball. Primer plugs and sleeves for seating large and small primers are included, however, dies and shell holders have to be bought separately.
This is a great press but the instructions might not be detailed enough for reloading beginners. Setting up this press is easy. It is recommended to clean and lube all the parts of the press for maximum effectiveness. You should use RCBS shell holders with this press to keep the primers in the proper position. The priming bar requires a specific amount of pressure. If you push it too much or not enough, you might waste some primers. It is important to experiment and find the best way to work for you.
- Well established brand
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Easy to switch turret discs
- Ambidextrous handle
- Dies for two calibers can be set on one turret disc
- Manual index
- Instructions are not very detailed for beginners
- Higher-end price
Is reloading something you want to get into?
If your main hobby is shooting then you will probably know that high-quality ammunition has become quite expensive while suffering periodic shortages. Unless you are very rich, you might like the idea of getting rounds for a cheaper price. And that is where reloading comes in. There are many advantages to reloading, besides saving money. Here are some pros and cons to make you find out if reloading is something you should do:
- Reloading your own rounds will give you the power to make accurate and precise rounds of any caliber.
- You will understand how ammunition is built and you will feel pride in becoming more self-sufficient.
- On the other hand, reloading can be quite tedious work. You will have to repeat the same steps over and over while fully focusing on the task at hand.
- When reloading your own rounds, you have to be careful to produce only good quality ammunition. You will be shooting those rounds from your own firearm and you do not want any accidents to happen.
- Buying reloading tools will cost you money, but it is an investment in future savings.
What to consider when picking a turret press
Choosing a turret press is like choosing a new computer. You can do a lot of research, watch youtube videos, talk to your reloading friends, but in the end, you have to make a decision yourself.
There are, however, some factors to consider when buying a turret press. You should always look for:
- an established brand with a decent warranty,
- good quality material and construction,
- ease of installation,
- ease of use,
- accessories and features.
The price of the turret press will also be important. However, never compromise quality for a cheaper price in a reloading press.
1. Construction quality
Most turret presses are made from cast iron, cast aluminum, or stainless steel. Good quality construction is necessary for a turret press to produce accurate ammunition. When installing your turret press all the pieces should sit tightly together. The press needs to be tightened to a workbench to operate properly. There should not be any wobble or move in the turret disc. The dies should sit snugly in the turret disc and the handle needs to be attached securely to the press.
2. Upgrade options
You can always upgrade your turret press to make it more efficient and effective. There are multiple options for upgrades.
- One of them is upgrading the ball handle lever to a roller handle, for example. Roller handles are more ergonomic, and will give you more power and ease in operating your turret press.
- Another useful upgrade is a case kicker. It was designed to help you save time with your reloading by ejecting the finished round out of the case holder. It ejects the round to the right of the press so you will only need to ensure that the case holder opening is facing the correct direction for ejection. With every pull of the lever, the case ejects flawlessly.
- Sometimes you can upgrade a turret disc with a smaller number of stations to a greater number of stations. For example, if you buy a three-hole turret press you can exchange it for a four-hole turret press.
- Another useful upgrade is installing a primer catcher. It will help you to collect used primers and prevent mess around your workbench.
- A Powder dispenser on a riser would be the next handy upgrade. It will measure out the exact amount of powder and insert it into the cartridge.
3. Ease of use
To enjoy reloading your own ammunition, you need to have a turret press that is easy to use. Most turret presses are built that way actually. You have a moving turret disc on the top of the press with dies for each step of the reloading. Those are called stations. The perfect turret press will go from one station to another smoothly. If you are just a beginner in reloading, it is a good idea to watch some videos or read the user manual to learn how to use your new turret press.
There are multiple accessories you can buy for reloading purposes available on the market. Here are the tools that will make your reloading easier and faster:
- A good quality and accurate scale
- A powder measure
- A hand priming tool
- A universal case loading block
- A deburring tool
- A powder funnel
- Spray lube
- A powder trickler
Die changing system
The fastest die changing system is quick-change die bushings. They reduce the amount of time spent on adjusting the dies after exchanging them. Instead of turning, you just literally snap the dies in place and can start reloading. Die bushings are very helpful if you have only one turret disc.
On the other hand, turret discs are quite cheap so you can buy more of those and set the dies for each caliber permanently on one turret disc. In that case, you do not have to change the dies very often and don’t need the quick-change bushings.
Turret press vs single stage press
Here are the main differences between these two types of reloading presses:
- Includes a rotating disk (the “turret”) which can have up to eight holes for mounting the dies
- No need to screw and unscrew the dies
- Great for reloading large volumes of ammunition
- More expensive
Single stage press
- Only one die at a time can be used on the press
- For each reloading step a new die has to be screwed on and off
- Suitable for lower-volume reloading sessions
Usually, the dies are referred to as the “stations” since each of them is used in one stage of reloading. When all necessary reloading dies are attached, the turret is rotated over the case holder so that all the necessary reloading operations can be performed consecutively on each case. With every pull of the handle, the turret rotates to the next station. This rotation can be manual or automatic. The stations in a turret press include:
- Decapping die
- Resizing die
- Powder funnel
- Seating die
- Crimping die
With a turret press, you can make more rounds than with the single stage press. The average reloading rate can be up to 200 rounds an hour with a turret press.
What is auto-indexing on a reloading press?
Indexing refers to moving the dies (or casings when using a progressive press) to the next position/step of the reloading process.
- Most traditional turret presses have manual indexing. That means there is a little ball handle connected to the turret disc which you will use to move the turret disc to the next station to line it up with the reloaded cartridge. This is easy to do, you just have to remember to move the cartridge to the next step in order to not repeat or skip a station.
- Auto-indexing is an upgraded style of indexing in which the turret disc is moved to the next station automatically with every pull of the handle lever. The way this works is the following:
- The turret press has a square profile rod in the middle.
- The rod is grounded in a ratchet in the press base.
- The top of the rod is sitting in the middle of the turret disc.
- With every pull of the press handle, the ratchet moves the rod and the rod moves the turret disc to the next station.
Auto-indexed presses usually retain the possibility of manual indexing for extra-large cartridges as they would not work with auto-indexing.
How automated presses work and do you need one
Fully automated presses are set up with a motor/auto-drive and they do all the work for you. You only install the automated press once for a given caliber and let it work. These presses have a de-primer, a primer, a scale, a powder trickler, and everything else necessary connected to the press so that reloading can be super fast. There are usually two types of automation:
- A regular reloading press (turret or progressive) can be operated manually or an auto-driver can be added for quick automation. Such presses are not going to be as fast as the fully automated ones though.
- Fully automated presses have an engine included in them. There are sensors that check if all the steps of the reloadingprocess have been fulfilled. If, for example, the powder runs out the machine immediately stops working. The same applies for knocking the primer out, putting another primer in, seating the bullets, and crimping. You operate the press on a screen connected to it. The screen will tell you when there is something wrong with the press or if powder is missing, for example. You just fix the problem, click on the screen, and continue working. Fully automated presses usually have different speed settings included. These are the most expensive reloading presses on the market. It is like having a small reloading robot in your garage.
If you would like to learn more about automated reloading presses, check out this video.
If you are reloading a really large amount of ammunition, an automated press would make sense. On the other hand, automation does not come cheap. Some of the fully automated presses have a price tag in the thousands of dollars. For hobby shooters, manual or auto-indexing turret presses are more than enough.
How to change calibers on your press
When you own a turret press, changing calibers when reloading is not a big deal. You will usually own multiple turret discs and each of the discs will hold dies for a certain caliber. The steps to change calibers on your turret press are as follows:
- If your turret disc is set up with a powder measure and a riser, take it off first.
- Next, take off the turret disc and exchange it for the different caliber turret disc.
- Set the turret disc on the press and re-attach the powder measure and riser back.
- Exchange the shell holder on the ram.
- Now you are ready to reload the new caliber ammunition.
If you would like to have a visual aid for changing the calibers on your press, check out this video.
How to use a turret press
Using a turret press is quite easy after you do it a couple of times. Follow the following steps to reload your ammunition well and safely:
- First, locate the resizing die (Station 1) above the shell holder, and place the case into the shell holder with your left hand.
- Pull the handle to resize the case with your right hand.
- As soon as the case mouth clears the decapping pin on the way out, index the turret one position to the right (to Station 2). If you have a turret press with auto-index, the pull of the handle will move the turret disc to Station 2 automatically.
- Station 2 is usually the expander die. When moved over the shell holder, the case can be run right back up into the expander die.
- Next, prime the cases off the press with either a hand primer or bench-mounted priming tool. Also, lubricate the case.
- Locate the powder measure (Station 3) above the shell holder, place a primed case in the shell holder with your left hand, and pull the handle with your right hand to charge the case.
- As soon as the case clears the powder measure on the way out, index the turret one position to the right (Station 4) with your left hand to position the seat crimp die above the shell holder. Again, if you have an auto-indexing turret press, it will move the die there automatically.
- Place a bullet on the case with your left hand, then run the cartridge up into the seat/crimp die.
- Remove the finished reloaded round.
- Repeat all the steps for the rest of the cases.
Having your own turret press will allow you to reload a large volume of ammunition. It will also make it easy and fast to reload different calibers of ammunition. However, that will be true only if you buy a good quality reloading turret press.
As mentioned above, there are multiple factors to consider when finding the perfect turret press. All the turret presses we reviewed today are made by established reloading companies that all manufacture good quality reloading products. However, there are certain differences.
- If you are looking for a turret press with an extended lifetime warranty, then choose the Redding – T-7 Turret Press.
- If you prefer an auto-indexing turret press over a manual one, then choose between the Lee Precision – 4-Hole Classic Turret Press or the Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press.
- If you want your turret to have more stations so that you can have multiple calibers on it, pick either the Redding – T-7 Turret Press or the Lyman All American 8 Turret Press.
- If you plan to reload very large cartridges, then the Lyman All American 8 Turret Press should be your choice.
- If an ambidextrous handle is the most important feature, then one of these presses will be suitable for you:
- RCBS C-frame Cast Iron 88901 Turret Press
- Lyman – T-mag II Turret Reloading Press
- Lyman All American 8 Turret Press
Whichever turret press you choose, always make sure to follow a proven round recipe to protect yourself and the people around you. Have fun and shoot safe!