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Old April 14, 2012, 12:54 PM   #1
kmaultsby
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Opinions on Progress Reloaders

After looking at a lot of video and reading I still have not decided of the big three I want to Purchase. I am looking at RCBS 2000 the Dillion 650 and Hornady LNL. I will be reloading for sure 9mm, 45 ACP, and some 40 S&W. In rifles mostly 223/556 maybe 308 in the future. What I am look for in the press because I live in a townhouse room is at a minimum.
1. Something that I can break down a reassemble quickly. (not fully disassemble)
2. I can change caliber quickly
3. Change powder measure quickly

I know there are a lot of Dillion fans out there and it is the best but after looking at videos and some reading and what I am my needs are, I not to sure. Would love to here from others on how long and how easy for them to change to another caliber and make adjustments.
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Old April 14, 2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Me too,

I, too would love to know the comparative speed, convenience and expense of swapping calibers on progressive presses.

I know that caliber swap on my Lee Classic Turret takes about 10-20 seconds if I don't have to change the powder measure and a couple of minutes if I do. A little more to re-set and verify the powder drop (though the auto-disk is supposed to be immune to changes in setting, I have to re-verify with several weighed powder drops for my peace of mind).

I used to have a pair of Lee Pro-1000s (one for large primers and one for small) and here's what I remember from that experience and I think some of it transfers to your three brand choices:

If you spend the extra money for a spare carrier for each caliber, the caliber swaps can be very fast and easy. If you use the same carrier and swap parts, it takes longer.

I believe most loaders leave their presses set up and just cover them with a drape or dust cover when not in use.

If you do long runs of a single cartridge, your time spent swapping calibers becomes less and less a percentage of your loading time than time spent on the other two activites: 1) The one everyone concentrates on - Cranking the handle and 2) the one few talk about - Keeping the case feeder, powder measure, bullet feeder and primer dispenser filled.

So, everyone who answers, please specify if you keep multiple powder measures mounted on tool heads (which costs more, of course, but is a savings in convenience and time, but how much of each is what the OP seems to be asking and is what I REALLY want to know). Specify if you have multiple carriers and how much they cost in dollars and how much they save in time.

Thanks.

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Old April 14, 2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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The question comes down to how many rounds you plan on reloading at a single time. If you are loading 400 or 500 at a crack then a progressive makes sense. If you are like me and reload 50 to 100 at a time then a Lee Classic Turret press makes more sense. Right now (today) I am loading 400 - 9mm rounds and yes I wish I had a progressive but I will live through it without the extra cost.

Lost Sheep, yes I do keep an extra powder measure on my set-ups and an extra turret is about $11.00 for the press, but you knew that so I am guessing you are asking the progressive guys what their cost is.

Jim

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Old April 14, 2012, 01:45 PM   #4
Arizona Smithshooter
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I am a fairly new Hornady LnL user...I have been using it since last December. I load 9mm. .38 spl, and .223 for my AR. All of those rounds use Small Primers, so during a caliber change I do not have to change out the primer feeder assembly. That would probably take 5-10 minutes at most. Changing the Shell Plate from 1 caliber to the other takes less than 5 minutes. Changing the Powder Measure from handgun to rifle takes me about 10 minutes. The measure needs to be reset to the correct case height of the caliber you are using, as well as changing out the powder metering system.

Once your dies are setup and adjusted it is simply a matter of removing them and installing the new caliber dies. Readjustments aren't necessary unless you use a different bullet.

RCBS has just come out with a new bullet feeder for handgun bullets that speeds up the loading process tremendously. It only costs $35.00 and works very well.

https://shop.rcbs.com/WebConnect/Mai...2+New+Products

http://www.rcbs.com/downloads/instru...FeederInst.pdf

I would also recommend using a powder check die. I use the Hornady Powder Cop die for my .223, and the RCBS Lock-out die for my handgun loads.

Hornady is still running their free bullet promotion. I am still using the free bullets I received...made the deal a better value.

http://www.hornady.com/promotions/get-loaded-2012

Last edited by Arizona Smithshooter; April 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM.
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Old April 14, 2012, 01:46 PM   #5
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I will be doing 500 to 1000 rounds shoot IDPA and soon USPSA. Mostly 9mm for this but 40 after I start shooting in USPSA.
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Old April 14, 2012, 01:46 PM   #6
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It's all about budget, how much you want to tinker and how mechanically minded you are.

From cheapest to priciest.
1) Lee Loadmaster. The Pro is nice, but so is having the extra 2 die locations. I have the Lee and like it very much.
2) Hornady LnL. If I had a bigger budget I would have gotten this press. But again, not disappointed with my Lee Loadmaster.
3) Dillon 650 or higher. If money was no object, I'd have one of these. But Monsy is only an object if I have to spend some. 4-5x as much at a Lee Loadmaster. 3x as much at the Hornady.

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Old April 14, 2012, 01:53 PM   #7
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Of those three I'd go with the LnL.

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Old April 14, 2012, 02:02 PM   #8
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Based on your response a progressive would be the way to go. The Hornady LNL is a good press, but with the auto case and bullet feeder it runs about $1,100 the Lee LoadMaster is a less expensive alternitive at about $240.00 and comes set for one caliber with dies and powder measure. It does take a little more work to set it up and make sure it is cycling properly but is not that hard to use.

I shoot IDPA and only need to load 150 rounds per match, but spend half my time shooting and half reloading. So a progressive would be in-order if I shot many matches. I have had 8 years of trouble free use from my Lee equipment so I would have no problem ordering a Lee LoadMaster for my progressive press, I just don't want to have to spend that much money on ordering 1,000 bullets at a time.

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Old April 14, 2012, 02:11 PM   #9
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Arizona can you use the Bullet feeder on the Hornady?

Last edited by kmaultsby; April 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM. Reason: mis spell
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Old April 14, 2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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Yes...it even says that in the instructions. Works slick as a whistle! It does use up one station, so because I am using a powder check die as well, I must first run my cases through the resize/decap die, then set up the other dies to begin reloading...in other words it takes 2 pulls of the handle to make one round. You can set up the powder drop to drop the powder through the Expander die, but I find it just as easy to resize the cases, then run them through my case tumbler and that gets the primer pockets clean as well.

Just looked at the Hornady web site...their case feeder lists for $446.00, so the $35.00 RCBS feeder is quite a bargain. It was first seen at the 2012 Shot Show...saw it first on the Shooting USA TV show.
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Old April 14, 2012, 02:40 PM   #11
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Yes the LnL is my first choice at this time. I am curious why not as much feedback on the RCBS equipment is there a reason?
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Old April 14, 2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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I've also wondered why RCBS progressives are never talked about. My RC Supreme is a wonderful tool, built like a tank.

I would think their progressives would be nice as well?

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Old April 14, 2012, 04:37 PM   #13
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I looked at a RCBS Pro 2000 and I think it is fairly well designed, as is most stuff RCBS turns out.

The powder measure is not part of the toolhead, so you can't really have the same "quick change" that you can with a Dillon. It isn't that this is all that important, but some might perceive it as a shortcoming rather than wise economy of design.

The primer strip mechanism may be fine, too. It may just suffer from being different than a vertical primer magazine.

Other than minor differences like this, I don't know why the Pro 2000 does not appear to be as popular.
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Old April 14, 2012, 04:57 PM   #14
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With the Hornady you only need one powder measure. The lower "die body" part contains the adjustment for the case activated powder measure. For quick changeovers, you can buy a lower assembly for each caliber (they cost about $25). I made a label for each caliber.

The powder measuring insert can be removed with the push of a button. I purchased an insert for each caliber (they cost about $10) and leave it set for my favorite load.

When I was deciding between the LNL-AP and the Dillon 650, the ease and cost of changing calibers was a factor in favor of the Hornady.
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Old April 14, 2012, 05:36 PM   #15
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Good points. Thank you all for your feedback I am really taking a close look at the LnL system.
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Old April 14, 2012, 06:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
I am curious why not as much feedback on the RCBS equipment is there a reason?
Quote:
I've also wondered why RCBS progressives are never talked about
Perhaps its because they work so well that there isn't much to gripe about, and Pro 2000 users are too busy loading to spend much time on the forums. I'm a died-in-the-wool Pro 2000 lover as of 3.5 years ago, when I did my own research on progressives, and chose the RCBS over the Dillon 650 (Hornady came in third for me). So why am I here? Work is slow, out of bullets this week, and well....I like the forums FL, THR, and Ar15.com, ...always something to learn. (my wife says addicted)

Anyway RCBS Progressives are talked about.....but the blue koolaid drinkers out shout everybody else. Consider that the Dillon progressives have been out for many years....lots of presses out there being used. The Hornady marketing is great...free bullets and a pretty cheap price to boot. Free bullets have sold a lot of presses. But free bullets aren't worth it if the press doesn't fit your reloading style. Comparatively, you are on your own if you want to know about the virtues of the Pro 2000. If you'll do a forum search on "RCBS Pro 2000" on FL and on THR You'll see plenty from me, from Peter Eick and many others (on THR I go by "GW Staar"). The Pro 2000 really does have some advantages over the others, especially if you load many calibers and want the quickest most convenient caliber changes. For example, one changes primer size changes by just unscrewing the primer rod and screwing in the other size....10 seconds. The APS primer system is a shining star IMO! It's the fastest and safest primer system out there when you buy the super convenient preloaded CCI APS primers.

Quote:
I looked at a RCBS Pro 2000 and I think it is fairly well designed, as is most stuff RCBS turns out.

The powder measure is not part of the toolhead, so you can't really have the same "quick change" that you can with a Dillon. It isn't that this is all that important, but some might perceive it as a shortcoming rather than wise economy of design.

That's a misconception. Quick change for a Dillon requires money and a powder measure for each caliber. With the RCBS you can do much more with one measure and do it faster. For rifle reloading, do the following: Unscrew the thumb screw, pop the spring loose, lift out the P.M. upper and pour out powder "X". Replace the P.M. upper, push the spring back on, and replace the thumbscrew. 10 seconds off 10 seconds on. Then pour in powder "Y". Powder drop load is set by micrometer (which setting you determine previously and record). Return the mic to the setting for the particular load is just a turn of the mic body. 3 seconds.

For pistol you can do it the same way, or you can buy extra powder drop dies/expanders for each pistol caliber and mount them permanently to your tool head in station 2. That leaves room for things like lockout dies and bullet feeders. Again, adding a powder measure to such is simply a drop in, attach spring, and tighten the thumb screw away.

The primer strip mechanism may be fine, too. It may just suffer from being different than a vertical primer magazine.

Yup, suffers from the "different" thing. Once you start buying and loading pre-loaded strips of primers....you will never go back. Talk about fast. For your stash of non APS primers, they send you a strip loader. Once past the 1 hour learning curve, you can load a box of 100 primers into 4 strips as fast or faster than pecking a hundred in a tube. The difference? You can store the strips you load like that, safely for years. You can load on the press with no worry about a full tray or tube blowing up. In this case different is better....but we reloaders are traditional types and change is not so traditional...however improved it is.

Other than minor differences like this, I don't know why the Pro 2000 does not appear to be as popular.
One reason is RCBS's less than brilliant marketing. If you missed RCBS's annual video from the shot show....you missed the marketing. Another reason is that RCBS felt that the APS strip primer loading system (using the space where a case feeder could go) was more important than a case feeder. (I happen to agree) They do bullet feeders, but not case feeders. Have I and other pro 2000 users suffered? I don't think so. Complicated case feeders are part of the problem with changing calibers quickly.

IMO, Dillon 650's are great for IDPS, IPSC pistol competitors who load 1000's of their pistol caliber, and don't change calibers on their presses very often....except I still don't like primer tubes. A hundred explosives touching just doesn't give me confidence.

Now on Hornady AP's: they are fine machines, but their case feeders aren't problem free, nor is their primer feeder. Case in point is the many threads on those subjects.

Is the RCBS Pro 2000 perfect? Not close....neither is any other progressive including Dillon's 1050. But I like it's simplicity. Fewest moving parts on a progressive. Less to go wrong....NEVER get's out of sync, once setup the first time. One more thing: The Pro 2000 is cast iron...strong as hell. The only other progressive boasting that is the Dillon 1050. You think the other Aluminum Presses don't ever break? Think again.

I added a Hornady Bullet feeder to my Pro 2000, because it too is simple and simple means fast caliber changes. If you choose a Hornady, you'll find their bullet feeder is way more trouble-free than their case feeder and won't slow down your caliber changes. I (GW Staar) did a review on this bullet feeder on THR. (including videos on caliber changing on it.) Nice tool.

Last edited by GWS; April 15, 2012 at 12:48 AM.
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Old April 15, 2012, 10:27 AM   #17
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Hornady LNL AP.

Two years, prolly 10,000 rounds of centerfire rifle ammo (I don't handload for our handguns) and not a hiccup.

I've never looked back at my choice.
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Old April 15, 2012, 12:00 PM   #18
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I made this choice just a year ago. My deciding factor was cost of changing calibers. You put up three choices and others have offered even more. If you are looking apples to apples you really have only 2. The LNL AP and the 650, they are the closest in a heads up comparison.

RCBS does have a following but based on sales they are #4. Lee is the cheapest but seems to have more work required.

Big blue has its "blue army", they will tout every reason as to why you need to go blue. Its hard not to drink the "blue aid". But looking at the sales and availability not as easy to get the basic parts. You can order anything on the internet of course but its not at the LGS for the vast majority.

So by now you know that I went with the LNL AP. Parts that are common are in some of the LGS and the odd ones are on the internet. I also noticed that there were a lot of used Dillons for sale and not so many LNL's. In fact the LNL was in short supply when I got mine. I also noted that there were a lot of Dillon owners buying LNL AP's.

Change time between calibers is 5 to 10 minutes vs my old Lee turret a very long change over. But to be fair I don't change it very often I find myself waiting for larger runs of one calibers. You can get by with one powder measure but 2 might be a little better (pistol/rifle).

As far as breakdown why not look at one of the Lee portable loading stand? Pick up the whole thing then stick it in a closet... just a thought.

Costs for change over caliber to caliber in general terms Dillon 100/LNL 35.
Both are good presses and there is no right or wrong answer.
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:08 PM   #19
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There is no right or wrong answer ....virtually all of the reloaders being made out there these days is good equipment.

Personally, I like the Dillon 650 with a case feeder...but there isn't anything wrong with the LNL...or the RCBS for that matter. To me - it came down to a comfort factor ...a lot of my friends have Dillon presses -- so I can use their experience if I had an issue / and the techs at Dillon - were very helpful when I was calling asking questions about their press.

Yes, the Dillon is a little more money ...but over the lifetime of the press..its insignificant in my view.

What I do think is important in picking a new press ..is that it have the capability of a powder check, powder cop or lock out die ...so you get the feedback on your powder drops.

Yes, I have toolheads set up for every caliber I load...with powder measure and powder check dies installed and ready to go. It makes changing calibers really convenient. Yes, I have the casefeeder ...and again it speeds things up a lot ...makes reloading very convenient.
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I've loaded on other friends LNL, and one of the RCBS presses ..and they aren't bad presses ...but I do think the Dillon 650 is a little heavier / a little stronger press...( it isn't about paint color ..) ....

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Old April 16, 2012, 09:32 PM   #20
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I agree ^! I had neighbors with Dillons so I wanted to have compatibility but also I was impressed how well put together and this was my first press and have found the press easy to use!

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Old April 16, 2012, 11:30 PM   #21
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I bought the Lee Loadmaster, they can be a bit quirkey but once you get the hang of them they are fine presses.

A complete change over for takes a few minutes, less if I dont have to change the primer system.

I reload .45 acp 357 and 40 s&W and will be adding 9mm and 45 colt soon, I am thinking of buying another press one for large pistol primers and one for small.

I bought my Loadmaster at www.titanreloading.com for 218 bucks that included dies powder measure and the case feed tubes.

All though I bought the coalator for the case feed and I bought the bullet feed I decided that I like to hand feed them and keep a little bettor control over the making of my ammo, and I still can pump out 300 rounds an hour if I need to but I usually do around 200 or so.

Lee presses are a great value money wise all though all the presses mentioned in this thread are all fine presses.

It just depends on how much you want to spend. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Lee Loadmaster.
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Old April 17, 2012, 05:55 AM   #22
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buy the dillon and buy once.....
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Old April 17, 2012, 08:30 AM   #23
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Quote:
buy the dillon and buy once.....
Typical....if it ain't blue it ain't real.

Quote:
There is no right or wrong answer ....virtually all of the reloaders being made out there these days is good equipment.
BigJimP is mostly right, That "There is no right or wrong answer", generally speaking, is true as rain. But there is a right and wrong answer for an individual. Depends what you want to reload, how, and how often. One machine will fit you best and it's your responsibility to do the research and figure out which machine's design fits you best.

Quote:
I had neighbors with Dillons so I wanted to have compatibility
IMO that's not a good reason. I have friends who have Dillon 650's all the way to the other end of the spectrum to the Lee Pro 1000. They all had their learning curves and their pros and cons....as friends we got them all to work just fine and everybody's happy. But we all load differently. One of my friends loads only 9mm, another loads only .45 for a month, then changes over to .223 and loads that for a month, I've been known to load three calibers a night (for a shoot with the grandsons the next morning).....for me RCBS fit best.

osageid was initially impressed with his press choice and he's happy with it. (and probably his neighbor's happy with it), Great. It obviously fits well enough. But was it luck or research that got him there? There are even Dillon lovers who started out on 550's who bought 650's and sold them to return to their simpler machines.....they aren't for everyone.

Think of the RCBS Pro 2000 as a 5 station 550 (way simpler than the 650) with a choice of manual-advance or auto-advance. (a choice you're not locked in to since you can upgrade for $100 anytime.) Then think of that 5-station 550 autoadvance with a primer system that is totally safe and twice as fast. (with preloaded primer strips)

Then think of such a machine that is so simple that you can add a simple bullet feeder, (and I made a simple case feeder for mine) as you progress along and want more automation.

Last edited by GWS; April 17, 2012 at 08:42 AM.
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Old April 17, 2012, 09:06 AM   #24
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a 'bit'

I've made over 8,000 rds in a day using my XL650.
More than a few times.....

I've been asked to 'help' progressive press owners sort out 'issues', and suggest the best choice for the OP is a Dillon XL650 with case feeder, roller handle, and as many toolheads with powder measures and powder-check stations as he/she needs.

I offer this advice based on my experience with different brands.
I have absolutely NO 'fan-boy' feelings in this advice, simply suggesting the best machinery for the chosen task.
Presses are tools, ay?
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Old April 17, 2012, 11:22 AM   #25
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Watch presses in action and see what you like: http://ultimatereloader.com/

Then read this: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf
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