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Old October 25, 2011, 12:14 PM   #1
jwalker497
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Hornady Vs Dillon

I want to get into reloading and am looking for the best Progressive press. Based on my limited research, it appears that these two are the top contenders Hornady LocknLoad and Dillon 550.

Are there any others I should consider? Between these two, which is the better platform?

My only croteria is that I need to be able to change calibers quickly.
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Old October 25, 2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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All the info you could want. http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=460533

I’m happy with my Dillon 550 but I’ve never used a LocknLoad so I don’t know what I’m missing.
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Last edited by Jerry45; October 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old October 25, 2011, 12:52 PM   #3
jwalker497
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Thanks Jerry
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Old October 25, 2011, 02:38 PM   #4
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Read this: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf

This was also recently discussed at: http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=95703

Good Luck!
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Old October 25, 2011, 11:21 PM   #5
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I loaded more in one day on a Dillon 650 than two years of having the Hornady LNL.
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Old October 26, 2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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I have never had any use for a non indexing progressive so the 550 is the only Dillon that I don't have. I would keep the LNL over the SD but the 650 over the LNL.

I can tell you that the LNL has the quickest die change, if you don't have tight O-rings for the bushings they will unlock themselves.
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Old October 26, 2011, 09:32 AM   #7
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Yeah, if it is the 550 vs the LNL AP then I would go with the LNL AP every time. If it was the 650 vs the LNL AP it would be a harder choice. I own two LNL AP presses and the first one gave me a bunch of headaches before I got it working. The second one is awesome and has restored my faith in Hornady products. I think that the Hornday LNL AP is a better value IF you get a good one. I have heard stories from guys that have had problems with both platforms so I think it probably comes down to whichever one you think is a better value. Blue stuff is much more expensive. That is why I went with red. I make just as much ammo as I would with the blue press.

If you do get the Hornady press then make sure you only use CCI primers in it. I have run winchester, wolf, PMC, and remington pimers through mine and the only primers than never gave me issues in the primer feed were CCI. Others have had better luck with different primers, but I am sticking with what works for me.
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Old October 26, 2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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I use a 550B with 2 caliber change setups, 9 and 40. Both use the same shell plates,but, different brass pins. It take just a few minutes to change calibers and run a few test rounds. I use Lee sizing/decap dies and seating dies from the Lee 3 die sets on both changes. The Lee sizing die goes down farther on the brass than the Dillon die, and removes any bulges. You'll get the bulges from range brass in both 9 and 40 cals. I like the Lee seating die for the fine adjustment. It's easier to turn the knob than to turning the die. I have no experiance with any other press. I found no difficulties in learning to use it, but, reloading for the first time can be intimidating on any brand of equipment. Expensive? Probably ,but remember, you're in this for the long haul.
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Old October 26, 2011, 01:43 PM   #9
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I’ve been loading on my 550 B for about 15 years. 9 mm., .45 ACP, .223, 45-70. Caliber change out, including shell plate, takes less than 5 minutes. If you’re are going from small to large primers or visa versa it takes another 3 minutes. I take my time and clean as I go and it never takes more than ten to do a coplete caliber converson and primer feed change out. No problem with any type of primers. “ONLY” problem I’ve ever had was one of my powder throwers started throwing inconsistent loads. Mechanically everything was working well. Called Dillon. Young man said could be rust in the feed tub. Yep! Ran a plumbers brush in and out a few times and no more problem. And seriously that's the only problem I’ve ever had with it. KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old October 26, 2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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Dillon 550
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Old October 26, 2011, 06:47 PM   #11
John D
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My experience with my Dillon 550 is very similar to Jerry45...I have had basically NO problems. And, I load an assortment of calibers and case types: 9mm, 10mm, 38/357, 45ACP, 44 mag, 38-40, 30-06. Even the 38-40 hasn't been a problem, and this is a thin-walled, bottle-necked case.

The only thing I've ever done is replace one of the plastic tips on the primer pickup tube. This is an outstanding machine and the customer service at Dillon is incredible - they answer EVERY stupid question I've ever asked!
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Old October 26, 2011, 09:23 PM   #12
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hmm not making this any easier. I am completely new to this so I would prefer whichever machine is more user friendly, requires less maintenance and easiest to operate.
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Old October 26, 2011, 09:33 PM   #13
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The BLUE guys have their opinions and the RED guys have their opinions. Yours is a tough decision. Both companies make a quality product. But, they operate differently. Choose what suits you best.

Be sure and check out this website: http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showforum=78

This forum is full of Dillon information.
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Old October 27, 2011, 08:03 AM   #14
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I guess that makes me purple

I've got presses from both companies:

- Dillon RL550B
- Hornady LnL

Couldn't be happier...well, actually, a bigger bench and some additional reloading equipment would be nice

Good luck with your selection--you'll be fine either way. Just for the record, I bought the Dillon first, so that is my reference reloading press to which I compare the others.
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Old October 27, 2011, 11:47 AM   #15
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I know lots of shooters who have Dillons. They are well satisfied with them.

I chose the Hornady when it came time to buy my first progressive. I am now loading 4 calibers and recently added a casefeeder.

The Hornady is more comparable to the 650 than the 550 in that it has five stations (the 550 has four) and automatic indexing (the 550 is manually indexed). The Hornady is less expensive than the 550 or 650; and the equipment needed to change calibers is a little less expensive than with the Dillon. Hornady has a rebate program that gives you 500 bullets when you buy the press (you do pay shipping and handling).

One reason I wanted a five station press was to be able to use a powder check die to help detect under-charged or over-charged cases. I went with the RCBS Lockout Die and am well pleased with it.

I see a lot more online complaints about the LNL than with Dillon. I've had a few fiddles and tweaks along the way but my press works fine.

I would like to have had firsthand experience with both presses before buying but that was not possible.

One thing I have noticed is that used Dillons seem to sell at pretty high prices. Don't know if you would do as well selling a Hornady.

Brian Enos' website has lots of good information on the different Dillon models. Take a look there.
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Old October 27, 2011, 11:54 AM   #16
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Why dont you just end this second best thing and buy a RCBS and never look back?
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Old October 27, 2011, 01:06 PM   #17
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The Dillon 550 has some limitations....its manually indexes and it will not allow the installation of a powder check die....in dillon's lineup you have to go to the 650 to get those options.

The Dillon 650 and the LNL are equivalent machines - and both very good machines. Most every company out there is making decent equipment these days.

To me a "powder check" - so you don't get any squibs or double charges is a very big deal ...and I wouldn't own a press for metallic that didn't have it installed - Hornady LNL calls theirs a powder cop ...but same basic concept. To me its a big deal ....and the auto indexing takes another place for "human error" out of the press operation. I don't like the 550 ....
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Old October 27, 2011, 05:41 PM   #18
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As longdayjake pointed out about primers I struggled with the priming setup on the hornady LNL. After careful evaluation I took a round file and bored out the priming slide mechanism slightly and beveled the top like the bottom. this took about 5 minutes. Oh my goodness I can't believe how smooth it is now and I have no troubles running any primers at all through it. Just last night I did a caliber change to reload 44magnum my favorite caliber and reloaded 200 240gr 44's all in 38 minutes including caliber change, this was just at a very slow pace looking inside of each case which is a habit because I do have the hornady powder check die. Just a habit I can't break.

Bad thing about progressives you better keep many components on hand. I thought I had more than 200 bullets of 44 mag but I didn't now I am waiting on an order to come in.
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Old October 27, 2011, 05:58 PM   #19
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I'm partial to the blue gear myself. I bought my first 550 when the progressive choice for the reloader working a job was the Lee or the Dillon. Lee did not even enter into the claculation. A few years ago, while thinking about my reloading habits, both large and small primer calibers I happened onto a great deal on a nearly new in box 550. Now my reloading table has a large primer machine and a small primer machine, so caliber change outs are lightning quick. Btw I keep seperate charge bars set up for my standard loads available, a whole lot cheaper and only a wee touch slower than a new measure for each caliber. I am very satisfied with my set up.
I have also used a red machine my friend has and it is nice, but different. I could get used to it. My preference is Dillon because that is what I load 10K or so a year on. I do not fault anyone for using/buying a Hornady LNL. And like the man said with the 500 bullet rebate and current pricing it is somewhat cheaper if you are buying new....

Bottom line I don't think you can go wrong with either. Try to find a shooter who has each and see what features are critical to you and buy the machine that suits
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Old October 27, 2011, 07:55 PM   #20
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Powder check

Here's how I "powder check" on the 550:



Big thing is that you can't be distracted for any reason, else you'll lose track of whether or not you've already charged the case.

It's a cheap-o LED lamp from IKEA, and you can even see small charges in there with that light shining in just before you seat the bullet.
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Old October 27, 2011, 08:20 PM   #21
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I was given a Hornady Pro-Jector (an older model, ancestor of the LnL) a couple years ago.
It needed some parts (primer feed tubes and small parts, nothing too complex), I contacted Hornady. They just said, well, we don't support that model, why don't you buy a new LnL? I spent the next 7-8 months looking on eBay and a number of reloading forums. Apparently they went from the Pro-Jector to the Pro-7 to the LNL, and none of the parts (I needed) are interchangeable...and neither of the earlier two models are supported. So I had a paperweight. I ended up pretty much giving it away.

I was also loaned an early 80s Dillon 450. It had been in storage and had some rusty/missing parts. I contacted Dillon; they sent the parts free of charge. Yes, even though there was no failure in manufacturing or during use, purely neglect/loss on the customer's part...they replaced the parts free of charge. More importantly, they had the parts.

That made up my mind. I don't want planned obsolescence or something that is "no longer supported" in ten years. I now own two Dillon 550s.

Last edited by orionengnr; October 27, 2011 at 08:25 PM.
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Old October 27, 2011, 08:31 PM   #22
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I wish I had room for a Hornady turret press between my RCBS single stage and Dillon 550.
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Old October 27, 2011, 10:00 PM   #23
jwalker497
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Beanie - nice lamp fix. Do you know if the Hornady makes this process easier?

So far there have been many interesting points. I really need to make a compairson list to compare the strengths
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Old October 27, 2011, 11:03 PM   #24
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You will be best served if you can find someone locally that has both presses that you can try. They really do operate differently. If you can't find some locallly this website has good video of the operation of Dillon, LNL, RCBS and LEE:

http://ultimatereloader.com/
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Old October 28, 2011, 09:13 AM   #25
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My first progressive was a Dillon 450. I used it for years with no issues. Great machine for one caliber reloaders. It did need a Star Wheel to advance the cases, which it now has available. Then I got a 550. I have had the 550 for years now also. Sold the 450 to a buddy who is still using it. No telling how many thousand shells have been loaded on it, and as far as I know no problems ever.

I mainly load 38 Special, 40 S&W, and 45acp on the 550. I have dedicated powder measures for each one, so setup is a snap. The priming set up is not a big deal to change either. I normally load my ammunition by 2 methods. By the 500 round box or boxes of bullets, or till I run the primer feed out if I am changing from small to large primers.
I am running 40 S&W on mine at the moment. I will run out of 140 gr cast bullets today. I will then switch back to 38 Special till I load the last 1500 bullets I have on hand in that caliber.
First of the year I will need to start plussing up my 40 and 38 bullet supply again. Missouri Bullet Company will be happy to hear that.

That gives you an idea of how many rounds I load. I have my primer arm start to stick now and again. Normally it is starting to get pretty dirty, and is in need of a good cleaning.
I wore out the bushing and the little square slider for the powder measure. Called Dillon up to order the parts. They shipped me a set of repair parts for both of my older model powder measures at no charge. I asked about the primer arm sticking while I was on the phone. The nice young man told me three things to check and or adjust. That was not a 100% fix, but pretty close. I think I have wear on the priming tubes plastic end for my small primer feed.

Dillon has always had great customer support. It is nice to talk with someone when you have a problem that knows more than you do. That is pretty rare these days. Then we have parts support. I would have had no problem at all paying for the parts that I wore out. This should give you an idea why Dillon has so many satisfied customers.

The 550 not having automatic advance, or a 5th station.
I get along just fine manually advancing my cases.
I use the same Powder Check that Beanie Bean uses. I look in each case and visually check the powder level. This system seems to work just fine.

If I have some down time this winter I may take my 550 apart and clean it, check for wear, and add some grease zerts to the press linkage while it is apart.

Reloading Dies. I have been an RCBS and Redding fan forever. With that said my brother got all Dillon pistol dies for his 550. He had his press stolen out of a storage unit. We did not recover the press, but we did get his dies back. I started using his 38 and 45acp dies. WOW I liked them. I just ordered a set of 40/10mm dies to replace the RCBS dies and Lee taper crimp die I had been using to load 40 S&W.
What is so great about Dillon Dies you ask?
Lets start with the Sizer Die: It uses a decapping pin with a head so it will not pull out. It also has a spring loaded feature for positive spent primer ejection.
Seater Die: It has a clip on top to drop the guts out for cleaning without losing your die setting. It also has a 2 ended seater head for flat point and round nose. Push a pin out swap ends, and put the pin back in. That simple.
Taper Crimp: Same deal pull the clip to drop the guts out for cleaning.

In my opinion they are the way to go on a progressive press.

Did I mention GREAT Customer Support?

Bob
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