RCBS Summit press

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Marlene
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RCBS Summit press

#1 Post by Marlene » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:03 pm

OK. I got one. I had been looking at stuff the other day, trying to be sure I was calling a press by the proper name when talking to Sikacz about presses that might be good for him, and I saw it was on sale. I went back and looked some more and thought about it for a while and decided to buy. I promised to tell about it when I got it, so here we are.

The Summit is a single stage press whose notable feature is that it is not an "O" type press. RCBS has been, for many years, synonymous with the "O" press. The Rock Chucker, their flagship single stage reloading press is an "O" press, noted for its strength and compound leverage. It revolutionized the industry when introduced. It was intended for bullet swaging, but quickly turned reloading in to a far less laborious task. RCBS stands for Rock Chucker Bullet Swage. I have a neighbor who is not on the forum but is an LGC member, and he comes to our chapter shoots. His father once had a foundry job in Richmond, CA, pouring castings for RCBS presses.

The Summit, designed in a time when nearly all reloading presses are of the "O" design, aims to offer some benefit that were lost with the old open-front "C" presses that ruled the industry 40 years ago. The big thing of the Summit is its unobstructed open reach to the working area at the front of the press. "O" presses require reaching in from the sides, through the "O". At the same time, the Summit is meant to retain the leverage and concentricity that made the Rock Chucker such a success when compared to the old Pacific and C&H presses.

I read some reviews of the press on the sales websites. Mostly all that I learned there was that people don't know what they are doing. There were multiple complaints that fasteners weren't even tightened on their press. In reality, the press is built with intentional lateral flexibility to make the press self-aligning so that it loads ammo that's more concentric. A review and test from the nice folks at Accurate Shooter confirmed that the level of concentricity the press provides is up to competition levels. I am actually that fussy with some of my rifle shooting, so that's important to me.

This is not loose. This is a space with a spring washer in it. Please don't wail on the screw until it is crushed flat. WTF?
Bendy Washer.jpg
So, I screwed the thing down to my reloading stand and sized some 300 Win Mag brass with it. It works like any other press, except the die moves rather than the case. I like it fine. If it's not securely mounted, it feels janky as hell, just like every other press in the world. I like that there's no movement below bench height and no protrusion in front of the bench (except for the lever when lowered). If I had a more traditional workbench setup for my reloading needs, I'd be even more excited about this aspect. This press seems like a big ergonomic win. I don't see any need for a roller handle on a single stage press, but the optional shorter handle that RCBS offers might be appealing to some people to reduce arm movement for low leverage work. I'm comfortable gripping the lever mid-way along its length, but that probably doesn't work for everyone.
Summit on Lee mountain.jpg
So far, I'm very happy with the open front design. I tend to do medium-low volume work on my single stage. Placing a case in the shellholder, placing a bullet on the case, and taking the completed cartridge off of the press are all noticeably smoother movements. I expect I'll cramp up more slowly on those days I decide that the single stage is the best way to load the 50 rounds of .32 S&W Long I want to shoot.

I saw someone on line complaining that they didn't think this thing was up to their routine of a zillion pieces of .308 at a time. I'm not sure why yet. It might be that you notice a little of the flex in the press when camming-over at the end of the stroke when full-length resizing with a hard fit between the shell holder and the die. That's not a sign of weakness, just a different way for a press to work. If this turns out to not be the strongest press ever built, I still have my Lee Classic Cast. I'm not in a rush to see whether this thing can handle the job of squeezing 24 gauge brass shotshells in to 577-450 Martini Henry brass. I hate that job. It does eat un-lubed 300 Win Mag cases just fine (OOPS!). It even pulls them out of the die, eventually.

Part of what helped me decide to get this press was its ability to work as an arbor press. For those unfamiliar, that's basically like a little drill press without a motor or a drill bit. An arbor press is used with what are called "hand dies" that don't thread in to the press. This is the more controlled version of whacking a Lee Classic Loader with a mallet. When I'm doing weird things with one-off case forming projects or making dies from scratch for a custom project, or when I'm really going for accuracy, I use (or make) hand dies. The Summit becomes an arbor press by screwing flat parts in to the locations of the shell holder and the die bushing.

For me, this press was a good purchase. I'm happy with it. Here are some things to consider if you're deciding whether this is a press you want to buy:
1) I would not have bought this press at the sticker price of $265, but it was groovy on sale at $177
2) I would not have bought any press if I were not unhappy with my current arbor press and needing to replace it (any other option would have been an arbor press only for about $100
3) I am not sure yet whether this will become my only single stage press. I could sell my other single stage and recoup more than the difference between this and any other arbor press, but I won't do that until I am certain that I don't need another single stage for the heavy tasks. It may be fine, but I'm not sure yet. This is still day 1.
4) There is no mechanism provided for priming. Most folks seem to be moving away from priming on the press, but some like it. I do it when I only have a few pieces to prime and the more sophisticated priming tools are full of the wrong kind of primer.
5) Different is scary
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#2 Post by Simmer down » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:28 pm

I like that open front. I use an RCBS IV and I have to stand at 7:00 at mine to have a clear shot at the shell holder with my left hand.

I picked up a cheap Lee ram primer while waiting for the warranty part. It's nice for the rifle brass. For $12.99 you can add a primer to that new set up.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/728999 ... tage-press
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#3 Post by Marlene » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:49 pm

I like those. I probably should.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#4 Post by shinzen » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:59 pm

I'll have to look to be sure, but I may have one laying around. Neat press, I'll be interested to see how it holds up to the case forming process.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#5 Post by dandad » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:02 pm

Nice press. As for the spring washer, or "Bellivile" washer , Those are common use in over head valve systems on cars, and I will have to look it up again, but there are a couple guns that use multiple Belliville washers for the firing pin spring system. When I saw that I was wondering if they might work for magazines too? They would take up a lot less space , making more room for ammo, and the spring washers can be made very strong and springy, as well as they do not tend to relax like regular springs. Well, the quality made ones that is. Cant tell about the cheaper ones..

When I was looking around at Grafs in St. Charles the other week, also over a Pro Bass down the street from Graf, I noticed a tiny RCBS press. I think its the Panther? Or something like that. Seemed smaller than even the Lee hand press. Kind of like the Betty Crocker Easy Bake over version of the Rock Crusher ...
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#6 Post by senorgrand » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:26 pm

Neat!

I too like the fact that there is no apparatus hanging off the table. I also like the open front.

If I ever get a single stage, I'd probably go with this setup.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#7 Post by sikacz » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:36 pm

Great review! Seems to have some really nice benefits.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#8 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:13 am

Its actually built like an arbor press. I like that concept

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#9 Post by eelj » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:13 am

I say keep the O press, someday you might have a more substantial bench to work on and the only thing better than 2 presses is three. I built strong mount type risers for mine and mounting them in the middle of the bench top works great, picking up something from the bench is much better than the floor.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#10 Post by eelj » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:19 am

By the way on another forum a poster from the UK put up a picture of an older press from England that was very similar in concept so it has been done before.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#11 Post by Marlene » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:43 am

Hollywood did it upside down.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#12 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:47 am

eelj wrote:I say keep the O press, someday you might have a more substantial bench to work on and the only thing better than 2 presses is three. I built strong mount type risers for mine and mounting them in the middle of the bench top works great, picking up something from the bench is much better than the floor.
that is a great idea. Im going to look into doing that myself. What do you build risers from? Metal? Wood? 4x4s? .....? Do share.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#13 Post by eelj » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:05 am

dandad wrote:
eelj wrote:I say keep the O press, someday you might have a more substantial bench to work on and the only thing better than 2 presses is three. I built strong mount type risers for mine and mounting them in the middle of the bench top works great, picking up something from the bench is much better than the floor.
that is a great idea. Im going to look into doing that myself. What do you build risers from? Metal? Wood? 4x4s? .....? Do share.

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You can make them from anything. I jumped in half cocked and didn't do the proper figuring and had to modify mine after the fact with 2x4s but they do work. I drilled a 1" hole through the bench for the spent primer tube on my Redding press.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#14 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:24 am

eelj wrote:
dandad wrote:
eelj wrote:I say keep the O press, someday you might have a more substantial bench to work on and the only thing better than 2 presses is three. I built strong mount type risers for mine and mounting them in the middle of the bench top works great, picking up something from the bench is much better than the floor.
that is a great idea. Im going to look into doing that myself. What do you build risers from? Metal? Wood? 4x4s? .....? Do share.

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You can make them from anything. I jumped in half cocked and didn't do the proper figuring and had to modify mine after the fact with 2x4s but they do work. I drilled a 1" hole through the bench for the spent primer tube on my Redding press.
Jumping in half cocked is my forte' LOL

It looks like a good stable , sturdy bench top would be a must it appears. The risers appear to extend the leverage effect where the riser attached to the bench top. However, with it more toward the center of the bench would greatly counter the extra leverage effect on the bench.


Wow, now you have an inside look at the battles i have in my mind all the time. Meaningless dribble that usually ends up making the whole thing a moot point. Lol so back to simpleton mode..lol.
Or was i always there?



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Re: RCBS Summit press

#15 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:29 am

Ok, one more example of my " bb shot into a box car brain" but did you lower the bench top so you can sit while loading? Or do you stand up when loading..

Being a Gimp I prefer to sit on my glutes..

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#16 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:34 am

Marlene wrote:Hollywood did it upside down.

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I have an old H press my gramps made that works like that. Just has 2 side , 5/8 inch post instead of the large center one. My uncle was suppose to mill the lower 1 inch thick plate to accept Lee Holders for me. That was a year ago and now that ive decided to drill it and mount a lee ram that Ill cut to length, he cant find the were he put the lower block...He put it somewhere so he wouldnt lose it... Lol.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#17 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:45 am

eelj wrote:
dandad wrote:
eelj wrote:I say keep the O press, someday you might have a more substantial bench to work on and the only thing better than 2 presses is three. I built strong mount type risers for mine and mounting them in the middle of the bench top works great, picking up something from the bench is much better than the floor.
that is a great idea. Im going to look into doing that myself. What do you build risers from? Metal? Wood? 4x4s? .....? Do share.

Sent from my LGLS770 using Tapatalk
You can make them from anything. I jumped in half cocked and didn't do the proper figuring and had to modify mine after the fact with 2x4s but they do work. I drilled a 1" hole through the bench for the spent primer tube on my Redding press.
A little more cumbersome, but something anyone with basic tools could do..

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/or ... 783c80.jpg



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Re: RCBS Summit press

#18 Post by eelj » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:54 am

dandad wrote:Ok, one more example of my " bb shot into a box car brain" but did you lower the bench top so you can sit while loading? Or do you stand up when loading..

Being a Gimp I prefer to sit on my glutes..

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What you are talking about is personal choice. My back is terrible and for right now standing up ramrod straight allows me the most time before the pain sets in. I like having every thing as close to eye level as possible. My bench is also quite high since I made it to fit me and I'm 6'4".

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#19 Post by dandad » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:11 am

eelj wrote:
dandad wrote:Ok, one more example of my " bb shot into a box car brain" but did you lower the bench top so you can sit while loading? Or do you stand up when loading..

Being a Gimp I prefer to sit on my glutes..

Sent from my LGLS770 using Tapatalk
What you are talking about is personal choice. My back is terrible and for right now standing up ramrod straight allows me the most time before the pain sets in. I like having every thing as close to eye level as possible. My bench is also quite high since I made it to fit me and I'm 6'4".
Lol im 6,4" , 190 pounds and my back is shot too. I feel your pain. Lol. I go from sitting to standing to having to lay down to nothing helps several times a day. Heck , probably enough metal in my back to build a 3 or 4 quality press risers... Lol..

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#20 Post by workinstiff » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:09 pm

Interesting and convineient design. I have a Rockchucker and feel no reason to replace it. Guess I'm in the minority but I do prime on the press during sizing - it combines two steps at once.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#21 Post by eelj » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:58 am

Guess I'm in the minority but I do prime on the press during sizing
I used to, I just don't like fumbling with the primers by hand.

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Re: RCBS Summit press

#22 Post by shinzen » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:23 am

workinstiff wrote:Interesting and convineient design. I have a Rockchucker and feel no reason to replace it. Guess I'm in the minority but I do prime on the press during sizing - it combines two steps at once.
For rifle, I resize/trim/wipe down the cases. Then it's prime/charge/seat/crimp (if needed) as the final cranks of the turret.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#23 Post by sikacz » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:56 am

I was just checking on availability with Cabela's on the Summit since I have Cabela's points and was told the item was discontinued. Hard to believe being such a new item.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#24 Post by Simmer down » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:00 am

workinstiff wrote:Interesting and convineient design. I have a Rockchucker and feel no reason to replace it. Guess I'm in the minority but I do prime on the press during sizing - it combines two steps at once.
:thumbup: Like the pioneers.
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Re: RCBS Summit press

#25 Post by lurker » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:07 pm

dandad wrote: A little more cumbersome, but something anyone with basic tools could do..

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/or ... 783c80.jpg
put that thing on locking casters and you're all set. i keep a barstool in front of my workbench. rarely use it, but it's ready. i guess it's picture time. not set up for reloading yet.
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