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View Poll Results: Which press?
Dillion 550 16 26.23%
Dillion 650 21 34.43%
Hornady AP 24 39.34%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 1, 2011, 04:49 PM   #1
bamiller
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Which Press?

Been shooting for quite awhile, mostly pistol, and am thinking about reloading. I know some recommend starting with a single stage but I have a couple of friends that have loaded for years that are going to let me shadow them so I want to start with a progressive. Just started researching machines and thus far am considering the Dillion RL550B, Hornady AP, or Dillion XL650. Would appreciate any input on these machines or other comparable ones.

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Old June 1, 2011, 06:01 PM   #2
BigJimP
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Dillon makes 4 progressive machines ...the SDB, the 550, the 650 and the 1050 ....in my mind, I'd rule out the SDB and the 550 because you cannot install a "powder check" system...and to me, that's a big deal on a progressive loader when you're running high volume handgun ammo ( 1,000 rds an hour or so ) ...and I want to be absolutely sure my powder drops are basically dead nuts on the mark.

So in the Dillon lineup I'd go with the 650 - because it has that capability. I've had one for several yrs - its been a solid machine / and for what its worth, I'd buy it again.

I think the Hornady LNL is a good press also / but I think the Dillon 650 is better ...but not a lot. Either press is a good machine.

Most everyone is making good equipment these days ...and like in a lot of things, you get what you pay for. Reloading takes attention to detail ...and learning on a progressive is not a big deal. You have to take it seriously / not casually / and learn what each station is doing ....but you should know that anyway, on any style of press.

A Dillon 650, with a case feeder option, is definitely a good long term buy ...and a press you'll have for a long time.

I have a SDB ...that I used to use as a one caliber machine ...but no powder check / so I've quit using it. I've had 550's / and RCBS machines, etc ...and the only reason to use a 550, is if you have some "oddball" rifle calibers that the 650 does not have conversion kits for ...and some guys do still reload some of that stuff ...so they keep a 550 around. I've kind of given up on all that stuff ....and today stick to 7 calibers in handguns
.380 acp, 9mm, .40, .45 acp, .38 spl, .357 mag and .44 mag and shotshells in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 ....and that's enough ....
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Old June 1, 2011, 07:12 PM   #3
bamiller
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Quote:
I think the Hornady LNL is a good press also / but I think the Dillon 650 is better ...but not a lot.
BigJim-Thanks for all your input. I see the Dillion 650 is about $130 more than the Hornady LNL AP. In your opinion is the 650 worth the extra money and if so please explain why? Is one easier to operate than the other? By what I've heard Dillion has a great warranty and customer service but I haven't heard anything negative about Hornady's either.

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Old June 1, 2011, 09:07 PM   #4
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Read this: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf

I also sent you a e-mail.
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Old June 1, 2011, 09:19 PM   #5
GWS
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I went looking for a progressive 3 months before Obama November. I had the same dilemma. I ended up with neither blue or red.

I ruled the 550 out because its manual with no ability to upgrade to auto-progressive, plus it only has 4 stations making it impossible for a check die.

I ruled out the Hornady, just as a matter of taste. I like the idea of having my dies already mounted and ready to go, as opposed to having to constantly unpopulate and repopulate the same head.

So the real contest in my case was between the 650 and RCBS's Pro 2000. However, I probably could be happy with the 650, Pro 2000, or the LnL AP. I could only choose one.

Why'd I pick the green one? I'll list em. Its the only cast iron tool among them. It won't be wearing out. Its so simple...fewer moving parts to sync. The APS primer system is safer and faster (using CCI preloaded primers). It has removable tool heads like the Dillons, the Uniflow powder measure is really hard to beat (ask Hornady...they copied it), you can place cases and bullets on the same side of the press....like the Hornady. Finally, a feature very important for my style of reloading, you can change calibers twice as fast than any other progressive.

What scared me a little? The RCBS's design makes a case feeder unavailable...so far. But I was counting on a reasonably priced bulllet feeder to take its place. I have and use the Hornady Bullet Feeder in my pistol calibers, and it works better and more trouble-free than Hornady's case feeder....so I'm good. But will I want a case feeder too, someday? Only if I want to load faster than I can be safe...so no. Others may indeed achieve that...don't think I want to try. I'm getting older not younger. As it is I can drop a finished round as fast as I can insert a case and pull the handle. And I can do that as fast as I can place a bullet and pull the handle on my good friend's 650. With either press you can load faster than you should. If you pay proper attention to details, you will slow down some.

I like to load 4 rifle calibers and 4 pistol calibers, so caliber change speed (including changing primers) is what really sealed the deal for me. I've used it now for 30 months. More than pleased with the choice.

Others are just as pleased with their choices. There are plenty of pleased Dillon and Hornady customers...just depends on your needs and style.
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Old June 2, 2011, 12:21 PM   #6
BigJimP
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The Dillon 650 is a little more money / and the conversion kits are a little more expensive than the Hornady LNL. But a few hundred bucks over the life of the press becomes a non-issue pretty quickly ...

I have buddies that have Hornaday and RCBS presses ...and I tested them quite a bit when I was going to upgrade ...and there is nothing wrong with any of them. They all have their quirks ...but its nothing major .... I think for me, it came down to the fact that I could call and talk to Dillon's people - on setup issues, questions on the manual, even things like maybe a primer issue or something ...and they've always been very helpful.

I'm not saying you should just go top of the line on everything all the time ...or that more expensive means its built better ....but comparing the Dillon 650, with the case feeder - to the LNL with the case feeder ...the Dillon just seemed to be a little stronger or sturdier...so I bought what I thought was the best press for me / but its a perception ...nothing I can say definitely, here is a weakness in the LNL or here is a weakness in the 650. But I'd suggest you try and find someone in your area that has a 650 and a LNL and ask them to hold a tutorial for you - so you can get a feel for each press.

If the used market is any indication ...there seems to be very few Dillon 650's around used / and when they show up, they're snapped up immediately. I see a lot more LNL's on the used market ...that tend to be around for awhile ...but they sell pretty quickly too. I expect to be reloading well into my 80's ( so at least another 20 yrs or so ) ...and then I'll be happy to pass the Dillon 650 onto one of my boys ...and I have no doubt, it'll live for at least another generation or two ...

Like I said - I'd buy the Dillon 650 again ...and I just talked a new shooting buddy out of getting the 1050 and going with the 650 instead. He had been thru the same process ...spent time with me, on the SDB and the 650, another buddy with an SDB and a 550, and one with a 1050 .../ then he looked at the LNL with another guy ...and the big RCBS machine --- and he came back to Dillon as well / was convinced he wanted a 1050 ...but losing the "No BS warranty" because the 1050 does not have it / its a commercial machine ...brought him back up to the 650. He's been up and running for about 2 months now ...and says he's really happy with the 650 and case feeder. Maybe we're all just drinking the blue kool-aid ...
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Old June 2, 2011, 01:57 PM   #7
CPTMurdoc30
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I find it hard to believe that I am the only person in the world that has a check die on his 550!!! Then again I don't see the need to crimp in a separate step. I size in station 1 powder and flare in station 2 check powder level in station 3 and seat and crimp in station 4.

So to say there is no way to have a powder cop die is WRONG. All the groups below are from my Kimber Custom II using 200 gr Rainer bullets. All loaded on my 550 with the set up above. I don't see the need to separate the seat and crimp process.

All that said If I had to do it over again and I will. I would go with the 650. It really just depends on what color you like. If you like red get the Hornady if you like blue get the Dillon. Both companies are great and have excellent customer service and support. You will get years and years of use and either machine will out live you and your kids I am sure. The Dillon cost more and most everything Dillon cost more. If you have to pinch pennies in a progressive machine then get the Hornady. Buying sets of them LNL collars are a lot cheaper than Dillon's Tool heads. Some people like to have a tool head with the dies all set and the powder measure set to their favorite load all lined up on shelves.







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Old June 2, 2011, 04:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input so far guys. Interesting and informative reading.
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Old June 2, 2011, 06:24 PM   #9
BigJimP
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CPTMurdoc is partly right ....you can put a powder cop die into a Dillon 550 --by leaving out the seating die ...and replacing it with a powder cop die.

By leaving out the seating die ...you have to rely on the crimp die to do both the seating and final crimping...does it work / probably...is it a great idea, not in my opinion. But then I didn't design the loader ...maybe you should ask somebody at Dillon or Hornady if they recommend it or not ...or what the pros and cons of it are. Will it work on straight wall cases, yes, I think it will...but maybe its a compromise if you're using some bullet shapes - not sure. Will it work on a case like .357 Sig ...I'm not sure it would work at all...

But yes, its a work around ...if you already had a 550 ...that you wanted to keep - that might work.

But lets look at the facts of buying a 650 vs the 550. The 550 is a manually indexing machine ...the 650 auto indexes / there are pros and cons to each. I think an auto indexing machine is safer / less chance of a double charge. The 650 costs about $ 127 more than the 550 ...and the toolhead in the 650 has the extra station to allow for installation of the powder check die and still use the seating die and the final crimp dies as intended.

Have a work around for a 550 you want to keep is one thing ...looking at buying a new press is another ...so I stand by my recommendation / and unless I had it recommended from good sources, I would not remove the seating die in my presses. This issue has nothing to do with accuracy of a weapon on targets ...its about dropping the right amount of powder for consistency and safety. There is no doubt a 550 machine can load match grade accuracy rounds ...and so will the 650. Its my opinion that the installation of a powder check die / or powder cop or whatever brand you want ...significantly decreases the chance of a squib round or a double charge ...or something breaking on a powder measure ...where you are getting a wide variation of powder drops ...without being alerted.

Selecting a press - that allows some kind of a powder check ..is the important issue - at least in my mind. If you like CptMurdoc's approach to the 550 ...then do it that way ....
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Old June 2, 2011, 07:48 PM   #10
rdmallory
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I have looked at all three.

Then I look at the pile of powder, brass, bullets, and primers that the $800 would buy and go back to my Lee Classic turret.


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Old June 2, 2011, 09:51 PM   #11
CPTMurdoc30
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I'm surprised it took this long for the Lee guys to show up.

Like I said above if I had to do it over again I would go with the 650.

Some auto presses can spill powder. I think both the Dillon and the Hornady do the half and half index. It indexes half way on the up stroke and the other half on the down stroke. This reduces the force needed to operate the machine and reduces the speed at which the shell plate rotates.

I KNOW that what ever you pick you will be happy.

I loaded 45acp on a RCBS RS press for 2 years. It would take me so long to get enough ammo to go shooting I got the 550. Now 45 minutes and I have 300 to 400 rounds of 45acp ready for a range trip.
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Old June 3, 2011, 12:35 AM   #12
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My first Dillon was a SDB. I wore it out loading 9mm and 45ACP. I sent it back to Dillon they rebuilt it and sent it back and i sold it to a friend. He is probably still loading on it. This was over 20 years ago.

Next I bought a 650 and loaded many thousands of rounds on it. I started loading commercially and bought a 1050.

I ran both the 650 and 1050 until a competitor sold me his business which included another 1050.

Sold the 650.

I now have 2 1050's and 1 550 and a RCBS rockchucker on my bench.

I use the powder check dies on my 1050's, never used them on the 650 (not sure they had them then).

I never thought it was a concern with either the SDB or the 550's. The new 550's have the powder return failsafe bar on them.

I have mutiple toolheads set up for both machines. The 1050's have powder measures set up on themfor the ones I most commonly use.

I have never used a 650 without a case feed so I don't know how you would do that.

Anyone need some conversion's or toolhead's for a 650? I have extra's I don't need. And some spare parts. Will sell for half of new price.
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Old June 3, 2011, 12:47 AM   #13
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DO NOT do anything until you've gone to this site.
http://brianenos.com/pages/dillon.html
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Old June 3, 2011, 06:52 AM   #14
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"DO NOT do anything until you've gone to this site.
http://brianenos.com/pages/dillon.html"

What he said. I logged many hours on Brian's website before I made my decision. Now I can't wait for FedEx to show up tomorrow with my new 550b.
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Old June 3, 2011, 01:58 PM   #15
BigJimP
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For what its worth ....I called Dillon this AM and asked about putting a powder check die into station 3 of Dillon 550 and using the crimp die in station 4 to do the job of the seating die as well as the final crimp...

They suggested it was a poor idea / if you're using a typical 3 die set - where the seating die is seperate from the crimp die / since they're basically doing different things. There are companies producing a combination seating and crimp die ( RCBS makes one I believe ) so putting their die in station 4 might work / and the powder cop or the powder check die in station 3 on the 550 press.

CptMurdoc has obviously been doing this with good results ...but as he says, if he was to do it again, he'd buy the 650.
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Old June 3, 2011, 02:13 PM   #16
c.j.sikes
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bigjimp is right on. i have in my shop all dillon loaders plus an old line holleywood, and several others. moral of the story, buy once and save money. cjs
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Old June 5, 2011, 09:43 AM   #17
bamiller
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Thanks for all the information guys. After researching and considering all the input even though the Dillions seem to be good products backed by a good warranty I think I'm going with the Hornday. Appears to be more bang for the buck along with good quality and customer service.
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Old June 5, 2011, 12:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
For what its worth ....I called Dillon this AM and asked about putting a powder check die into station 3 of Dillon 550 and using the crimp die in station 4 to do the job of the seating die as well as the final crimp...

They suggested it was a poor idea / if you're using a typical 3 die set - where the seating die is seperate from the crimp die / since they're basically doing different things. There are companies producing a combination seating and crimp die ( RCBS makes one I believe ) so putting their die in station 4 might work / and the powder cop or the powder check die in station 3 on the 550 press.

CptMurdoc has obviously been doing this with good results ...but as he says, if he was to do it again, he'd buy the 650
I am wondering if he is really doing that. I'm not familiar with Dillon dies, don't they make a combo seat and crimp die? If not he might be using a different brand die to seat and crimp. Hopefully he will come back and let us know.
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Old June 5, 2011, 02:46 PM   #19
CPTMurdoc30
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Yes I am running a powder cop die on my tool head. I do not use Dillon Dies I am running RCBS I didn't see the need to purchase a $100+ set of carbide dillon dies when I had a perfectly good set of RCBS dies. I did have to change out the lock ring as you can see in the pictures.

Here are some pics of my set up. It runs 400 rounds an hour and my Kimber eats my reloading like a fat kid eating chocolate cake.





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Old June 5, 2011, 03:01 PM   #20
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I think you're going to be pleased with the Hornady, bamiller. The new EZject is the fix with small cartridges being bound up upon the completion stage. I personally think the LNL is an easier/simpler setup. Dies can be changed out in a matter of literally a few seconds. And the indexing seems to be a bit smoother so powder doesn't fling out of the cartridge. I also believe Hornady's powder charger is extremely accurate and consistent.

With that, BigJimP's assessment is spot on regarding Dillon's equipment as well as there are pros and cons of both. If you change your mind at the last second and go with a Dillon I honestly don't think you'd regret it, either.
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Old June 5, 2011, 03:11 PM   #21
alan
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Curious as to the following. By the way I've used a 550 for many years, since the early 1980"s.

Does the Dillon Powder Check system really work?

Thanks.
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Old June 5, 2011, 03:45 PM   #22
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If you have to ask between a 650 and a 550, then money must not be an object. I would go with a 650 then. I don't know anything at all about the Hornady.
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Old June 5, 2011, 07:44 PM   #23
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For what its worth ....I called Dillon this AM and asked about putting a powder check die into station 3 of Dillon 550 and using the crimp die in station 4 to do the job of the seating die as well as the final crimp...

REALLY?
You really thought someone, anyone, would try to seat with their crimp die? Seating/crimp dies work just fine BTW. 99% of the seating is done before the crimping starts.
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