Progressive Press Preference?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 2inchpattern, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    I recognize that when it comes to reloading presses opinions are varied and vehement but I'm going to ask anyway. From your experience, what are the relative advantages and disadvantages of the Hornady Lock N' Load AP, the RCBS Pro 2000 Auto Index, and the Dillon R550-B? I've never reloaded before but am about to take the plunge and get into reloading for a number of calibers (9mm Luger, 45ACP, 223, 257 Roberts, 270 Win, 30-06, 30-40 Krag, and 338 Win Mag) so will be sinking a pretty good chunk of cash into equipment and want to get as much of the straight skinny as I can from those of you who have been using these things for a while before I drop my cash on the counter. Thanks.
     
  2. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    Been using Dillons for over twenty years. I highly recommend them. I don't need to bash another brand to recommend them either. You know of course there will be those that say you shouldn't start out on a progressive. But I say I did it and had no trouble what so ever. Look out for all the negativity about your post cause it's coming. Buy a Dillon and read a few manuals watch what you are doing and have fun.
     

  3. SwampFox

    SwampFox New Member

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    I have been shooting for well over 20 years, but like you I am new to reloading. I just purchased a Dillon 550B. After doing a lot of research I found that many reloaders prefer the Dillon and they have a No BS warranty. I also believe that thier product is 100% U.S. made, where the RCBS is cast in China and finished in the U.S. I have not heard many good things about the Hornady, but I don't own one and cannot say. When my Dillon gets here next week I will let you know how easy it was to set up.
     
  4. noylj

    noylj Member

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    I know which I bought...

    Unlike others, I have used a 550, a 650, and the Hornady L-N-L (including all the variations Hornady has brought out in the past 25 years or so)
    1) The 550 is manually indexed. This means that you have to remember to advance the press. Forgetting can lead to a double charge.
    The Hornady is auto-indexing, so as you lower the ram, the shellplate automatically advances.
    I have a hard time getting used to manually indexing and I see no advantage in it.
    2) The 550 has 4 stations and the Hornady has 5 stations. Back in the late '70s, the Hornady was the first 5 station press that was affordable. I think that Dillon had the 450 out at the time.
    5 stations gives you an extra station. My normal set-up is:
    Resize, Expand and Charge, RCBS Lock-Out die, Seat, and crimp.
    3) The Dillons feed the empty cases in from the right side. The Hornady keeps all case and bullet handling in the left hand. Without a case feeder or stopping to fill a case feeder tube, the Dillon's are awkward to use.
    4) You have to "get up" to look at the powder charge in the case with the Dillon whereas the Hornady puts station 4 right under your nose.
    5) To change calibers, all you need with the Hornady is a shellplate. With the Dillons, you need a conversion kit for a LOT more money.
    6) With the Hornady, you can get 500 free bullets, plus 100 bullets for each die set you buy.
     
  5. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    i recomend the dillon but get the 650 auto indexing is really nice. i like the ease of setup with the 650 especially caliber conversions. ive got a rcbs single tage rock chucker and the xl650 from dillon. been using the dillon for over a decade now. if i had to buy again i would get the 650 again. dillon tech support is pretty good they are available weekends as well as weekdays. i got nothing but good to say about them.
     
  6. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    well if you have to take your hand off the press to put in another piece of brass that will pretty much tell you if you haven't indexed the shell plate. Might not be as fast as auto indexing but that wasn't the issue. If you do have a case feeder for your 550 I garuantee you won't double charge because you can't operate the press with two pieces of brass at station one. You can't use the case feeder with rifle on a 550 but it isn't difficult to get it out of the way if you need to. Or the other option is buy the 650 if you want a case feeder for rifle and pistol it has 5 stations and auto indexes. With either of my dillons I have never had a case that didn't get charged. I know some guys that like the hornady powder measure better and use them on their dillons. I have never had a failure with either of my dillon powder measures so for me it isn't even a problem. Both companies have good customer service. I lost a sizing die once during a move and called dillon to order a new one and they sent me the new one free of charge even though I told them I lost it. Now that's a no BS warranty policy! as far as dillons caliber conversion kit goes it's a shell plate and a powder funnel. I understand why some people don't like dillons and that is fine with me. We can't all like the same things but it never fails when this topic comes up all the guys that use something different have to bash everyone elses equipment. If you have to trash all the other manufactures equipment to make your choice look better maybe your choice isn't all that good. I have equipment from Dillon, RCBS, Redding, MTM and Lyman and it's all good stuff I imagine the Hornady is too.
     
  7. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    Had my Hornady L-N-L for about 9 months now and have loaded around 15,000 rds of 9mm, 45Auto, and .223.
    Haven't had any trouble with the press itself.
    You cant really compare it with the 550 even though it is in the same price range. 5 station with Auto index that is really smooth moving since it indexes half a station on the upstroke and the other half on the downstroke of the handle.
    Doesn't spill as much powder from full cases as other auto indexing presses can.
    The powder dispenser is extremely accurate and changing calibers quickly doesn't require buying another toolhead. Just change the dies and shellplate, and adjust the powder measure. 5 minutes, maybe 10 if you are also going from small primer to large or vice versa.

    Hornady's customer service has been outstanding in the very little that I've needed it. i picked up the wrong shell plate after misunderstanding which plate I needed for the 45 Auto. They updated and added a shellholder #45 that was supposed to be smoother ejecting when they started the new EZ Eject setup.
    I didn't know that when I picked up the old #1 instead. Sent them an e-mail saying that I screwed up and bought the wrong plate by accident and the ejection was hanging up with the #1, was there anything i could do(exchange, etc?)
    They said don't worry about it and then sent me the right plate free of charge and told me to keep the other one I had bought in case i ever needed it for another caliber.:cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    I realize that there seems to be quite a temptation among some reloaders to bash the manufacturers of products that they are not using. That's really not what I'm interested in here. I appreciate the input from those of you who have used more than one of these machines and, in the case of those where there is only experience with one of the brands, I appreciate the details you are providing regarding why you made your decisions the way you have. Doing my best to soak it all up like a sponge. Thanks.
     
  9. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    one other thing. typically the stock shell plate spring on the dillons will make the indexing snappy. i trimmed my spring a bit at a time till it indexes without snapping from one station to the next. this pretty much eliminated powder popping from the case on near compressed loads.
     
  10. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    OK, so help me to understand because I'm getting confused... The Dillon 550 is a 4 stage manually indexed press and the Hornady is a 5 stage automatically indexed press. If, as I'm gathering from input on this and other forums, the customer service of each of them is not only comparable but very good to boot so the brands are pretty much moot, I guess the question is, is there an advantage to one of these setups over the other?
     
  11. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    OK, so help me to understand because I'm getting confused... The Dillon 550 is a 4 stage manually indexed press and the Hornady is a 5 stage automatically indexed press. If, as I'm gathering from input on this and other forums, the customer service of each of them is not only comparable but very good to boot so the brands are pretty much moot, I guess the question is, is there an advantage to one of these setups over the other?
     
  12. SwampFox

    SwampFox New Member

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    The auto indexing is faster. The only disadvantage if any is that it may be harder, more time consuming, to recover from a problem with an auto indexing machine than a manual. However, the auto indexing machine (Dillon 650) does check the powder level to help prevent over/under charge.
     
  13. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    I've never used a 5 station press never needed anything but 4 stations I do like to crimp seperate from seating but you can do that with 4 stations I would imagine the hornady is a little faster than the 550 being that it auto indexes. although my other press auto indexes but I have a case feeder on the 550 and I can load faster with the case feeder and manually indexing. I don't load as fast as either press is capable of. Just to lazy for that much work. I'm very happy cranking out 300 rounds an hour and that is an easy pace to to do. The 550 with the case feeder will do 5 to 6 hundred rounds an hour if you want to work that fast. I imagine the hornady will do that too. What color are your walls will red or blue match them better? :D
     
  14. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    If I do it right and get in a good roll I can squeeze 400 to 450 rounds in an hour.

    I prefer the manual index as it lets you get in there and see things and look at things.

    Many times I have seen the 650 spill powder on loads that really fill the case up.

    I say start with a single stage. I still load most of my rifle on the single stage.

    If you just have to have a progressive then I would go with the Dillon 550. The manual index allows you to use it like a single stage.
     
  15. noylj

    noylj Member

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    As far as I can see, I am the only person who has used three machines and I explained what I liked. I didn't read where anyone had anything bad to say about the Hornady.
    I certainly wasn't bashing anyone, but I NEVER understand the "I bought an xyz and like it, so it is the best and don't even bother looking at anything else."
    I taught my son to reload on the Hornady progressive and he picked it up very fast.
    I can tell you that I prefer the Dillon 1050 and have three of them, but they ARE NOT for the beginner. If I can't have a 1050, I'll go back to the Hornady. If I can't use a progressive, I'll go back to a Forster Co-Ax.
     
  16. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    The pluses

    Hornady: Die change is quick simple and easy. Shel plate and dies and your done. Unless you are going from small to large or large to small priming system. The die sleeves are much much cheaper than Dillons tool heads. You can use 1 powder measure for all you loading. That sucker is CAST IRON. Because of the sleeves you can store dies in the box they came in. 5 station allows you to size, add powder, bell, powder check, seat and crimp. Or size, powder, bell, seat, then crimp.

    Customer service is AWESOME.

    Dillon: One of the best progressive presses out there. disconnect the powder measure arm and pull two pins and your tool head slides out quick and fast. Nice Blue Color. It can be had with a case feeder (All except the SDB) built like a tank.

    Customer Service is AWESOME.

    The drawbacks

    Hornady: Takes a little longer to do a caliber change. Auto index can spill powder. Have to keep changing your powder settings.

    Dillon: COST dillon has tons of gadgets you can add but the price tag is HIGH. You need special stands to store tool heads. Plus you need much more room to store them over the Hornady system.

    Find a store that has one or both and go look at them see if you can operate them and see which one you like the best.

    The Hornady, Dillon, and RCBS progressives are all quality machines that will out live you and your kids. They will all load quality ammo at a pace to feed just about any shooting habit.
     
  17. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    Thanks noylj. I appreciate your approach and the info you have given me regarding each of the different machines. I also subscribe wholeheartedly to strict avoidance of the attitude that "I bought an xyz and like it, so it is the best and don't even bother looking at anything else." Your input and that of the others who have offered me their objective thoughts on the options I layed out has been very helpful as I try to navigate the hazards of this realoading thing. Per suggestions from you and others, I think my next step will be to drop by a store that carries the models in which I am interested and actually see what it's like to set them up and pull handles etc. I have to admit, at this point I am leaning toward the Hornady Lock N' Load AP as its relative cost and comparable ease of use seem to give it a slight edge over the Dillon 550. The 650, at least according to some of the replies I have received, sounds like it may be a bit more that I want to try handling as a first machine and the RCBS Pro 2000 sounds like it may be just a bit lower in the overall quality category. However, as somebody else mentioned in their reply, all of these machines are high quality machinery, each with its own slight advantages and shortcomings, so at this point basing my decision on whether I want a red, blue, or green machine in my garage is just about as good as basing it on any other criteria. Thanks.
     
  18. 2inchpattern

    2inchpattern New Member

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    Thanks for the input. I appreciate your approach and the info you have given me regarding each of the different machines. I try to strictly avoid the attitude that "I bought an xyz and like it, so it is the best and don't even bother looking at anything else" and am grateful for the input that you all have offered me. The objective thoughts on the options I layed out have been very helpful as I try to navigate the hazards of this realoading thing. Per suggestions from a number of you, I think my next step will be to drop by a store that carries the models in which I am interested and actually see what it's like to set them up and pull handles etc. I have to admit, at this point I am leaning a bit toward the Hornady Lock N' Load AP as its relative cost and comparable ease of use seem to give it a slight edge over the Dillon 550. The 650, at least according to some of the replies I have received, sounds like it may be a bit more that I want to try handling as a first machine while the RCBS Pro 2000 sounds like it may be just a bit lower in the overall quality category. However, as somebody mentioned in their reply, all of these machines are high quality machinery, each with its own slight advantages and shortcomings, so at this point, without actually putting hands on the equipment, basing my decision on whether I want a red, blue, or green machine in my garage is just about as good as basing it on any other criteria. Thanks.
     
  19. birdie

    birdie New Member

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    Just buy dillon their no bs warranty is all that and simple easy set up!!
     
  20. RUT

    RUT New Member Supporter

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    I've had two Dillon 550Bs in the past, but my next loader will be a Hornady Lock-N-Load. ;)