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Old August 24, 2011, 01:05 PM   #1
DarkRayz
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Case feeders and bullet feeders

I'm graduating up from a Dillon 550 to either a Hornady LNL AP or a Dillon 650. I think I'll go Hornady if only to broaden my experience with a different vendors product. I'll keep the Dillon.

My question is on case feeders and bullet feeders. I'd like to get both. Who has direct experience with the different lines? I know there is a mr bullet feeder, and others, but any warnings or recommendations as I prepare to buy a new auto- indexing progressive?

Thx
DR
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Old August 24, 2011, 11:04 PM   #2
jmorris
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The 650 not only is much better with a casefeeder, with a GSI bulletfeeder you can seat and crimp in two steps and still retain the powder check die.
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Old August 25, 2011, 12:56 AM   #3
GWS
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If you have the money, he's right.

If you don't, you have to settle for less. GSI doesn't offer a product for anything non Dillon. Expect to pay a premium for each caliber.

The next tier down is Mr. Bullet Feeder....they can be made to work for most progressives, and their collator is truly a work in efficiency with their very cool bullet turner, they can fill the feed tubes extremely fast. The down side is it is also pricey especially when you want to consider more than one caliber. Also unlike the GSI, you feed onto extremely belled brass that has to stay put while your press indexes to the seating station. Yup GSI is the only pistol bullet feeder that feeds and seats in one station.

The next tier down is the RCBS and the Hornady units. Less efficient collators, and they still require two stations to feed and seat (and the extreme belling of your brass). RCBS has a separate Rifle Bullet Feeder. Really pricey if you want both, but the rifle feeder DOES feed and seat in ONE station....too bad they couldn't do that with pistol.

Hornady has promised a rifle version of their pistol feeder.....promises, promises. We'll see. The Hornady's real advantage is simplicity. That simplicity makes caliber changes extremely fast, and cheap as well. I chose to be an early adopter with Hornady's unit. And I modded it to suit me. And what can I say....the price was right.

I have my experience posted in two sticky threads on Arfcom if you care to look at them...including videos. I don't use Dillon, so besides a owning a less than adequate pocket book, I have the wrong press, to use GSI.

Hornady Bullet Feeder Mods

Adding a stop switch and clear tubing

Last edited by GWS; August 25, 2011 at 10:35 AM.
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Old August 25, 2011, 07:36 AM   #4
jmorris
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If you don't have the money for everything at once, instead of setteling for less, just buy the base machine and add to it as you can.

I paid $250 for the GSI feeders, built my own collators from 6" PVC and 1/2" plastic. They work the same as the KISS/MR.bulletfeeder collator but I didn't want to spend the money for something so simple. The hard part is the drive wheel but that is made simple with an easy to build fixture to maintain spacing.











I also run a KISS feeder but I use them for rifle bullets. They don't require the excessive belling that pistol cases do.

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Old August 25, 2011, 10:46 AM   #5
GWS
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Quote:
built my own collators from 6" PVC and 1/2" plastic. They work the same as the KISS/MR.bulletfeeder collator but I didn't want to spend the money for something so simple. The hard part is the drive wheel but that is made simple with an easy to build fixture to maintain spacing.
jmorris! How does the Mr. Bullet Feeder and your work-alike turn upside down bullets as shown in the following video??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_xPm...eature=related That's the feature that makes their collator more efficient than the Hornady/RCBS offerings. That feature would be worth making your own collator, if you possess the mechanical ability. But if you have to build a collator for each caliber, that would dampen the excitement.

DR, I expect this is the type of info you need to make a decision. One thing that needs to be stressed is that there is no such thing as a perfect solution using any mechanical reloading outfit. Everything you buy has it's imperfections that you learn to work around. You just have to mate up your abilities, monetarily and mechanically, and make a choice based on that, then work with what you get to get where you want to be.

One very important thing you should know. Both GSI and Mr. Bullet Feeder are really a one-caliber machines. Their "conversion" kits for other calibers are, in reality, new machines minus common parts. That means conversion takes time and money. Mr. Bullet Feeder conversion kits are $150 a whack. Want to load 4 additional pistol calibers? Add $600. Double that and more for the GSI.

Hornady and RCBS units can change calibers pretty easily and cheap. Hornady's simplicity wins in that department by far. Easy to change calibers...easy to mod to include clear tubing and micro-switch if you want them.....and you don't have to have jmorris's amazing, to kill for, mechanical and welding skills! I sure don't.

I'm hoping for a "as cheap" rifle conversion next year from Hornady. In this economy, I'm not holding my breath. RCBS already has that, but you have to have a separate tool. No conversion kit, just a whole new tool.

Last edited by GWS; August 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:15 PM   #6
jmorris
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Quote:
jmorris! How does the Mr. Bullet Feeder and your work-alike turn upside down bullets
Here is the way I did it before GSI had a working collator and KISS didn't even exist. I built it to feed my bullet sizing machine. It picks up bullets mostly nose to the center but there are "wipes" to knock bullets off that are not correctly placed. It works much like the $1000+ ma systems collator. Even the MA systems collator has an inverted bullet from time to time so I built a fail safe device that makes it 100%. If the bullet is nose up it passes by the switch onto the feeder. If it is inverted the larger base triggers the switch, activating the solonoid opening a trap door culling it before it makes it to the feeder.









The KISS works around the same idea, that the tip is smaller than the base. Look at the 2nd and 3rd photo of the kiss in my post above. They are rotated across a smaller section that has a slot in it. If the bullet is base down it passes and drops into the feed tube. If it is inverted the tip drops into the slot and drags the tip outward, laying it down (like the one on the right), then back up the ramp tip up. Pretty simple.
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Old August 25, 2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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I don't have a video of the culling device with bullets but here it is sorting 380 from 9mm.

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Old August 25, 2011, 01:31 PM   #8
GWS
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Are we missing a picture? I can't see what you are talking about? Dense I guess. All the bullets look the right direction except the one at 10 o-clock.

I do see the possibilities with a groove that makes the bullet drop more than the wide bases. Just have to wrap my brain around that, for a way to flip them.
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Old August 25, 2011, 03:47 PM   #9
jmorris
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I will take some more photos when I get home.
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Old August 25, 2011, 10:18 PM   #10
DarkRayz
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Thank you for all the information, this is helpful.
I've been saving for awhile. I only reload 9mm now but will be doing .223 and perhaps .45 acp in the future. I shoot about 500-750 rounds a week of 9mm. I'm okay with spending a bit more, but I need reliability and quality. Id really like to get the Hornady lnl AP press.

How about the case feeders? Are they less fussy?

DR
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:34 AM   #11
jmorris
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I tried to do video but the feeder is too fast to catch what is going on.

Step by step this is what it does.

Inverted bullet tip drops into the flipper



The slot in the flipper drags the towards the outside



This lays the bullet flat with the base towards the center of the drive wheel.



A ramp cut into the side of the PVC pipe then lifts the nose upwards.



This photo shows how a base down bullet rides over the flipper slot.


Last edited by jmorris; August 26, 2011 at 08:43 AM.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:37 AM   #12
GWS
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From the hundreds of threads and posts that I've read on three reloading forums over the last three years from users with questions and problems with their casefeeders, I would say the Dillon case feeder is a lot less troublsome. On the other hand, many Hornady users who had problems with their feeders eventually get used to them. Hornady lovers obviously enjoy the other features for why they chose that press.

There is not a case feeder for my RCBS Pro 2000 which is fine with me, as I never intended on automating both sides. When I bought the press I had to make a choice, as all have, as to what design features I preferred for my style and needs; and on the other side of the coin, which undocumented features (they all have those too) that I could live with or best work around. The thing is...there is no such thing as a perfect progressive. On the other hand each of the big three are excellent in their own individual way.

If you think you need to automate both sides, then Dillon and Hornady are the choices. But don't be tempted to do haul ass reloading, because you can. Use the time the lack of those finger operations allows you during reloading, to scrutinize the powder loads in each and every case closer. That's the real advantage of automating both sides. Being better able to pay attention to details...if you will.

For me RCBS's faster, safer APS primer loading system (the reason they don't have a case loader) was and is the feature of choice for me. Everybody's needs are different.

jmorris...great pictures....got to go to work and get my crews assigned and sent out....will analyse them a little later....thanks! Looks cool.
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Old August 26, 2011, 08:51 AM   #13
jmorris
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The 650 comes from the factory with the case feeder, what you have to buy extra is actually a collator or case feeder, feeder. This is why the "case feed" option costs less for the Dillon than the LNL. Also, a reason why the Dillon press costs more than the LNL.

I never used a case feeder on my LNL but from many posts I have read they are not as easy to get them to run right.
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Old August 26, 2011, 09:44 AM   #14
GWS
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Your pictures show the process very well....simple, ingenious! Thanks for taking the trouble! It also illustrates why such a feature makes it necessary to have separate collator innards for every caliber on the Mr. Bullet Feeder (Kiss) and the GSI. (and your custom unit) That appears to be the price of having 100% correct bullet orientation.

The RCBS and Hornady units have universal slots that preclude that design, but their goal (based on price) was to allow one collator plate to do all calibers and make caliber changes fast & easy. They rely on sweepers to adjust for each caliber, that knock off all bullets that are not base down. Not so elegant and fast (or perfect), as all the knocked off bullets have to go back to the bottom and try again. Also not fail safe....once in a while an upside-down bullet will get through. That's why I modded my Hornady to have clear tubing....to prevent surprises. It's not that big a deal to watch for 1 bullet out of 100 and turn it around when it lands on a case....but without the "windows" it is a big deal, because you won't catch it and you have to pull the bullet.

The choice is elegance or simplicity. 100% or 99%. $400 or $1200. (unless you're jmorris the machinist, of course )

Last edited by GWS; August 26, 2011 at 06:23 PM.
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