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View Poll Results: Hornady or Dillon
Hornady LnL AP with casefeeder for 500$ 19 33.33%
Dillon 550 350$ 19 33.33%
Dillon 650 with casefeeder for 670-700$ 19 33.33%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 6, 2005, 10:48 AM   #1
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Talk me into getting a Hornady LnL AP OR Dillon 550/650 !!!!!

OK, here's my dilemma...

Right now I load about 4-500 rounds of .45ACP ammo a month on my Lee 4-hole turret press.
This press has worked very good for me, it's the manual index variant. I can crank out about 150/hr going nice and steady.

I need to ramp up my output by about another 3-400 a month.
So I decided to splurge on a new progressive setup. My local gunstore owner, whom I trust very much, is telling me to go with Dillon 550, which he has in stock for whatever list price is (I guess 330 bucks or so). He said to stay away from 650, too complicated, no need for it unless I shoot 1000-2000 rounds a month, 550 will work just fine for you, etc.....

I'm fairly mechanically inclined and have no problems fixing my own stuff and setting it up properly, so I would not mind getting the 650 and fiddling with it somewhat (money is not an issue either). I'm really wanting to do about 500-700 rounds/hr, since my time to reload is somewhat limited.

Then I ran into folks who load on Hornady AP and like it very much saying it's the Dillon 650 for the price of 550. I looked around the different websites and I'm finding them for $300 ($450-500 with casefeeder), which to me seems to be a good deal for a well-made press. Claims are : better powder dispenser, 5 hole instead of 4 hole for 550, easier to remove cases from the shellplate, auto index, available casefeeder, cheaper to switch calibers, etc.....

so, what should I do, beside try to find someone locally to try out the presses back to back??? I could try a Dillon at my dealer's place, but he carries no Hornadys....
No Lee progressives considered at all, I liked the turret press but most folks seem to dislike their 1000's and Loadmasters alot..... No offense to Lee guys!
no RCBS or any other manufacturers either.
My main concern is getting good quality ammo,I like to run crimp on a Lee FCD due to my Dan Wesson's tight chamber.
Any advice greatly appreciated
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Old February 6, 2005, 10:58 AM   #2
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I don't think your going to be real happy with those choices do the 650
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Old February 6, 2005, 11:09 AM   #3
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Any good reason why not the Hornady or 550 over 650????
It seems Hornady can do the exactly same things 650 can....for 100 or more bucks cheaper!
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Old February 6, 2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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Compare the prices at and click the link for a good discussion on whether you want the 550 or 650.

Dillon advice

I have the Hornady LNL - an earlier model - and I do have several issues with it. Some claim they have been fixed somewhat in later models. I would give primary consideration to the Dillon.

Here's some ancient discussion on LNL issues.
Dillon/LNL thread
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Old February 6, 2005, 02:31 PM   #5
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I have a dillon 650, and I like it very well. This is my first reloader, and I do not find it to be very complicated at all. I know someone with a 550, and have tried it. I feel that my 650 is easier to use because it has more automation, so I can pay better attention to the loading, and not watching the shells, powder, and so on. As for the Hornady I have no experience, except the place where I bought my 650 also sells the hornady pless, and said it was a good press, but if you have problems and call Hornady, they are nowhere near as helpfull as dillon. He said if you break any part on the Dillon even normal wear and tear items like springs and such, they will replace them without question. He said that Hornady did not offer the same customer service, and charged for small item like springs and plastic peices that are just going to break on both machines from time to time. He stated that he personally has seen Dillon replace entire machines due to operator neglegence without question. Anyway this is just my two cents worth.

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Old February 6, 2005, 02:36 PM   #6
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By the way the dealer I bought the 650 from makes more off of the Hornady press. Despite the higher price of the Dillon press they do not have a very good dealer incentive program, so he had nothing to gain by talking me into the Dillon press.

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Old February 6, 2005, 02:55 PM   #7
Robert M Boren Sr
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I have a 550b and my dad has the 650 with all of the goodies. If you're looking into really doing some cranking the go with the 650 and get all of the goodies to go with it, the low powder sensor, the low primer sensor, and the powder check system which lets you know when the case is loaded with less or greater than 2 tenths of a grain. It's rather spendy but well worth the investment and of course you have to have the roller handle and the whole case feeder system. Dillon does stand behind their no BS warranty. Oh don't foreget the spare parts kit. Either machine will serve you well but the 650 is faster.
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Old February 6, 2005, 06:04 PM   #8
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I have owned four presses over the years

Dillon SDB
Hornady Projector
Dillon 550B
RCBS Rock Chucker

I have had to call customer service for all of them at one time or another. Hornady customer service was certainly congenial, but Dillon and RCBS have been great. RCBS has been most willing to replace anything needed, but the folks at Dillon have gone out of their way to make damned sure I was 110% satisfied every time I called.

I crushed a primer pick up tube by rolling over it with my chair about two years ago. I called Dillon to order another and they wouldn't hear of charging me for a new one. The new one arrived in two days, along with a new set of plastic tips for both primer pick ups and the primer magazines.

I have had a question or two from time to time about load data, dies and other assorted things. Never once have I been brushed off, been rushed to get off the phone or treated like a PITA.

I have never owned a 650 and didn't buy one because the caliber conversions I needed (nine total) and quick change setups were more expensive (by far), and the 550 is somewhat more compact giving me a little more room on the bench.

If you have the room, and the bucks aren't an issue, the 650 may be a good choice for you. I thought a lot about the manual vs. auto index before I decided to go to the 550. After the dies are setup, I can crank out more ammo than I will shoot in two or three trips to the range in just one day.

I have read online stories of both great things and problems with the 650. I think many of the problems some 650 owners have encountered may be from user error more than complexity of the rig itself. I downloaded and read the manual for the 550 and 650 and read both from cover to cover before I went shopping. The 550 is hella easy to setup and understand. The 650 has more moving parts so obviously it is a litte more complex. Either one is easy to setup *if* you follow the manual to the letter.

The Projector I had was a pretty good press overall, but the auto index was more of a bell and whistle than huge time saver.

Service after the sale means a lot to me. None of these rigs are cheap to setup in the most convenient fashion. The LNL dies thing and the extra station is certainly a nice feature, but for me, the knowledge of the 'No BS' warranty and support from Dillon make the choice a no-brainer.

550 or 650 ? Download the manuals and read them before you drop any cash. Don't let your dealer talk you into anything. If you read the manual for one or the other (or the LNL) and find all three to be to your liking, then buy the setup that makes the best sense financially.

I use the Rock Chucker for decap and resize before I run a batch. It keeps the lube out of the 550 and it is hell for stout. I run small batches of new calibers on it before investing in the quick change for the 550.

So, if space is an issue at all, you might also consider the practical aspects of press mounting. The 650 takes a lot of space.

Let us know what you decide.

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Old February 6, 2005, 06:30 PM   #9
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"Either machine will serve you well but the 650 is faster."

Mr. Boren is correct, but the 650 is practically a commercial machine, not something that most of us need. Nothing wrong with having one. I do know that my 550B is consistently accurate to .1 gr. One nice feature in favor of the 550B is that if something goes wrong, the maunal indexing operation allows you to back up and correct the problem, then resume loading with a minimum of fuss. Little speed is sacraficed with that feature.

CAUTION: if you can back things up and correct a problem (a great feature), obviously you must keep your head together and not DOUBLE CHARGE when you resume reloading .
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Old February 6, 2005, 09:29 PM   #10
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I too have had such outstanding succcess with my 650 I am really a strong Dillon supporter.

I have never called Dillon and found myself wanting for answers.

The 650 was my first/only press. I am NOT mechanically inclined but I had watched a buddy buy a 650 as his first press and found he could say nothing bad about the I followed in his footsteps.

I have really enjoyed the "reloading learning curve". Tonight I messed around and tweaked out a few small problems (operator/me issues) and in a short time I had adjusted the powder charge, tightened and tweaked a few areas I had not adjusted properly when I converted from .45 ACP to .357, cleaned up the bench a bit and generally had a relaxing time...I also managed to put out some ammo for my next trip to the range.

The 650 complicated? I've read that a lot on varrious reloading forums. I don't see it. But it may be because I don't know any other machine! I've only been reloading for 3 years and I've never used another press.

On my 650, I really like:
The Case Feed System
The ability to change out priming systems
The ability to change out complete die tooling heads
The Auto-Indexing
The Roller Handle
The Strong Mount
The ease of operation
The way it's make access to anything easy.

I don't like:
The die prices are higher
The initial set-up cost is higher
The idea that anything but a Dillon is a bad choice.

Like others have posted, take your time...ask lots of questions, you will be glad you did.

"Onward thru the Fog"
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Old February 7, 2005, 12:12 AM   #11
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why the 650?

I don't own one. I know people that do own all the presses mentioned. the 650 is faster than the 550B. Every one I know that has had a hornaday press has had "issues" with it.

Me, I really like my LoadMaster. To me, it was more bang for my buck.

The most prevalent press around here is the rockchucker. not many pistoleers in this area that I live now. Most that do serious reloading are either varmint hunters or bench shooters or both. A whole different apple than putting out quantities of pistol ammo. I kind of miss going to the range and comming home with about 200 rounds expended. Tired, but a happy fellow. It's not the same doing alone as it was shooting with 15-20 other folks. Yes the club I shot with had both Guys and Dolls putting holes in those funny brown cardboard targets, knocking over pepper poppers, plates and bowling pins.
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Old February 7, 2005, 03:31 AM   #12
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I'm following this topic very closely. I too will soon buy a progressive press and all this talk about the great customer service at Dillon is really hitting home. RCBS has treated me just great over the years but I'm not hearing a lot of input about their progressive presses. Is the Dillon 550 REALLY so much better than the RCBS that nobody here even considers it?
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Old February 7, 2005, 05:17 AM   #13
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Well for what its worth i own a dillion 550B and honestly wouldnt load on a different press myself, unless at some point i need to reload a larger volume in which case i would upgrade to the 650. The removable toolheads eliminate all the fuss of having to reset your dies everytime you change them. And dillions customer service is barnone the best. The design of the dillion dies takes a lot of the hassle out as well. And to top it all off if you guys do buy one and dont like it. I be willing to bet you wont have any problem getting rid of it at near what you paid for it.
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Old February 7, 2005, 07:22 AM   #14
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I have a new model Hornady. I added the case feeder this Christmas. No issues at all once you get the timing on the feeder set up. My best friend who is even a more avid reloader than me (and got me into reloading) has the 550B and continually tells me that given the choice again, he would have gone with the Hornady now that he's seen mine. I really think that the Dillon and the Hornady are equally as good in terms of quality and service. I've never had to call Hornady for service, but I've spoken to guys who have and they have no complaints whatsoever. The Lock-n-Load system is very nice, and eventually I will change my single stage to a LnL one too. The auto-indexing on the Hornady is a major plus, and overall caliber conversion is a snap too. Twist in the new dies, and one bolt to change the shellplate. Dial in a new setting on the powder measure, snap in a new lower assembly if needed (the powder measure is Lock-n-Load too) and you're basically ready to go.
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Old February 7, 2005, 02:41 PM   #15
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Hello all,

I'm new here, but I've been handloading since I was a pre-teen. I'm now 47 and I had gotten into the Dillon's back when the RL450 was first released. Sometime back in the early 80's. I think I got the 450 back in 81'.

I upgraded that machine about 4 yrs back, to a 550B. Adding to that, another newer 550B and a Square Deal B, I guess you can say I'm pretty much "pro-Dillon".
I've used some of the other machines, RCBS's 4X4, and The Max, as well as Hornady's LnL auto press. I liked them, but not as much as the Dillons.
With the 550B you can realistically produce 250-300 rnds per hour taking into consideration the reloading of primers, and whatever else stops you momentarily.
As far as Dillon's Customer Service, I doubt you'll find better. That opinion is based on over 24yrs. experience in dealing with them.
I once backed into my auto powder measure that sat on top of my press, with two 2X6's that I was trying to move in my shop. Smashed the hopper, bent it all up nice, and ruined it.
I called Dillon to order another one, credit card in hand. Their response.......nope, "all taken care of and on it's way to you free of charge" even S&H.
Man, I about fainted......THANKS !

I never looked back or questioned even trying anything else.

My 2

Take care,
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Old February 7, 2005, 03:34 PM   #16
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Some very good points and suggestions made. I know this is a contentious issue amongs reloading crowd, where brand loyalty runs high. I wanna thank everyone for taking time out to contribute to this thread.

I'm so far leaning towards Hornady. I know most people are gonna say :" You're crazy for not going with Dillon, I've never had any problems with my press and they've always taken care of me!!!"
From what I've heard Hornady takes care of their customers just as well as Dillon and makes a good machine that cranks out decent ammo with little effort.
Less expensive than Dillon, has the casefeeder available, less expensive to change out calibers as well. I will really only be loading .45 ACP for now, since I only shoot either that or 9mm, since I buy 9mm for next to nothing locally it's pointless to reload..
Money is really not that much of an issue with this purchase, however if I can buy Hornady AP with casefeeder for the same price of the 650, I'd rather go that route. Never a bad thing to be careful with your money.
I've always been the underdog this case Hornady is obviously an underdog since an overwhelming majority of reloaders and especially competitive shooters seem to prefer blue presses for their own use.
That just makes me wanna get the LnL even more, I often like to "run against the grain"
For that matter, I may buy a Loadmaster later just for shi*s and giggles
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Old February 9, 2005, 01:54 PM   #17
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I just bought the Hornady LNL AP a few weeks ago and have put 500 rounds of rifle ammo through it with no problem at all, it set up as per the instructions and has functioned as expected.

It is without the case feeder so I cannot comment on that but on all the other points its a winner.

I have read here and on other boards that there were some problems with this press mainly around the primer feeder but that they were sorted post serial No 7000, mine is an 8000 serial and I can confirm that the priming mechanism is spot on, on my press.

I would not buy Dillon on principle, I bought my first progressive 12 years ago when we were still allowed pistols here in the UK and went to Dillon first as they were then as now the fashionable progressive press. When I rang them up I got a really patronising condecending Dillon rep on the phone that wouldn't answer my questions and just kept telling me that everyone else buys Dillon so should I, that was enough to put me of that company for ever.

So I bought a RCBS Ammomaster progressive ( was cheaper too) that has turned out 10s of thousands of rounds both pistol and rifle over the years and has never missed a beat, I cannot comment on the RCBS warranty and after sales service as I've never had a reason to use it, I find the Ammomaster to be one hell of a press and don't understand why RCBS dropped it.

I load now for rifle and use my Ammomaster for .303" as I reload for 12 of these rifles, my other calibres include .22" Hornet, 6.5x54, 6.5X55, 7.62 NATO, 7.62x54R and 8MM.

As I usually load in 100-200 round batches it has never been worth changing calibres on the Ammomaster, for the .303" all I do is adjust the powder measure.

The Hornady product however intrigued my with its Lock n Load bushings and especially its powder measure metre inserts, I felt that this might tip the balance on using a progressive for smaller rums by making the calibre change easy and cheaply.

This it does admirably making calibre switch a doddle, I can use my existing dies and the die sleeves and powder metre inserts are really affordable making the whole thing a doddle.

I cannot comment on the Dillon as I've never used one for the reasons stated above but I'm sure they are fine machines and do as stated, but so does the RCBS model and the Hornady job at a lesser price.

My view is if you must be fashioable then the Dillon is the only one for you, however my experience tells me that there are other products out there that are just as good if not better where you don't pay extra for the name.

You won't go wrong with any of these presses in doing what you need it to, its the VFM stakes that Dillon looses out on my book.
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Old February 10, 2005, 11:14 AM   #18
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RCBS Pro 2000 anyone?

In this class of machine, you might also consider an RCBS Pro 2000. It's manually indexed like the Dillon 550, but with an extra station. I really like the APS primer system, and RCBS customer service - like Dillon's - has been exceptional.
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Old February 10, 2005, 01:12 PM   #19
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For that kind of volume I'd say get the Dillon 650. If you plan on shooting a lot of differant calibers get the L-N-L AP. If I were to start from scrach, knowing know how I actually use my progressive, I'd get a L-N-L AP in a heartbeat and convert my single stage to a L-N-L bushing. Maybe someday, but my Load Master just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny.
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Old February 15, 2005, 02:34 PM   #20
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I'm 99% sure I'm getting the Hornady AP press, and probably from MidwayUSA.
Does anyone else know of a better/less expensive place to get it from???
I'm pretty pleased with Midway customer service, always been good to me.
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Old February 15, 2005, 03:33 PM   #21
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Hornady L-N-L AP is $328.11 at

Though I see that Midway has a sale right now for $299.

USPS lost one of my shipments from Midway a couple of weeks ago and after I waited the mandatory 15 days USPS requires, they went ahead and 2-day'd a replacement shipment out to me and even refunded the shipping charges.

Excellent service from MidwayUSA.
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Old February 15, 2005, 05:52 PM   #22
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USPS lost one of my shipments from Midway a couple of weeks ago and after I waited the mandatory 15 days USPS requires, they went ahead and 2-day'd a replacement shipment out to me and even refunded the shipping charges.
So, did you end up getting a freebie item or just the replacement??? lol
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Old February 16, 2005, 03:25 PM   #23
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Actually, it was $60 worth of stuff (bullets, powder measure stand, etc) and I have yet to see the old one. Knowing the USPS it will probably show up in about 3 years. Either that or someone is casting some mighty wicked free 270grain .44 Speer GoldDot's right now.
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Old March 23, 2005, 11:43 PM   #24
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Dillon 650 all the way. It is not complicated by any means. Just read the instructions....step-by-step and clear pictures directing you how to assemble. Took me two hours to get it all together including all five dies set for 45 ACP. Get the complete setup with electronic feeder bucket, powder checker and the rolling press handle. Yes it boosts the price up another $275 but it is well worth the time saved having the bucket and not having to interrupt the cycle to feed cases....rolling press handle saves the skin on your hands....and the powder checker keeps you honest with your visual checks.
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Old March 25, 2005, 12:47 AM   #25
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I was facing this same question a month ago, ended up with the Hornady LNL....I didn't like that every time you change a caliber with Dilllon they squeeze you for a bunch more money. It also appears most Dillon supporters are happy and therefore haven't looked closely at the other stuff that is out there and potentially just as good if not better.

I couldn't see spending money on a 550B when I could get an LNL for less money and have it be a true progressive. My 2 cents.
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