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Old April 24, 2014, 02:32 AM   #26
Danielmurph
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I have a hornady and love it. I only load 9mm and 45 acp at the moment. When I was looking at the dillon but after a lot of reviews I read and the the cost difference I chose the hornady. Hornady is a well known company and just like the dillon have a lifetime warranty. The money I saved I was able to buy some other things like a scale and some tools along with components for loading. I do agree with many that say it is a personel choice but I don't think that any of the presses are truely any better than each other. Will a hornady have problems sure will a dillon have problems sure but that is what happens to a piece of machinery. Good luck on you choice and happy reloading.
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Old April 24, 2014, 05:12 AM   #27
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Thanks all a you guys...

Another thing I should mention is that I never shoot for competition, only for personal satisfaction, solitude, and gratification. I try very hard never to shoot with anyone else around.

I reload for the same reason in addition to the cost savings. It is a fun part of shooting.
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Old April 24, 2014, 09:34 AM   #28
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Reloading for fun means that any one of the mentioned presses will do, nicely.
Doesn't really matter, if there's no pressure to churn out ammo.
Like when realizing the morning of a big match, Ack, there's not enough loaded ammo in the house!!
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Old April 24, 2014, 09:57 AM   #29
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I have a Dillon 1050 and love it. It is a pleasure to use. You can crank out a lot of ammo in short order.
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Old April 24, 2014, 11:09 PM   #30
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I used to be a rabid Dillon fanboy until I tried using my trusty 550B to load some non-mainstream cartridges. These were the .30Mauser and the 25-20WCF. The previously flawless press munched about 10% of my precious brass. Many calls to Dillon tech support did not resolve the issue ("but the book says that works"). I finally snapped and bought a Hornady LNL AP. This did not harm any of my brass even with the same dies. Dillon is a good company, but their presses need help.
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Old April 25, 2014, 04:24 AM   #31
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G.Willikers

You brought up a good point.

I guess I have to admit that I do reload for the fun as much as anything else. Of course I like loading .45LC rounds for about a dime a piece but in the end, I enjoy the process.

If I were made of money, I'd buy one of each just to be able to make the comparison.

It would be nice to be able to go and visit someplace where one or more of the presses were set up, just to play with it before deciding.

I have watched some videos on the Youtube but they are not all that helpful.

I do like reading y'all's comments.
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Old April 25, 2014, 10:32 AM   #32
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In the grand scheme of things, all of Dillon, Hornady and RCBS are going to be pretty much equivalent.

Yep, that's the truth.

Dillon makes great stuff, and they have a loyal Glock like following. If you say anything bad about Dillon, the Dillon guys come out in droves to beat you to a pulp. That being said, a whole lot of what you are paying for with Dillon is the blue paint and the name. Nothing against Dillon - they were the innovators in the market and get to charge for that fact. Comes with the territory of being one of the leaders.

Hornady makes great stuff and can go toe to to with Dillon on anything related to quality, production, etc. (with the exception of the computerized Dillon presses, but you aren't looking at those anyway). The biggest difference when you strip all of the favoritism away is simple - the paint color.

RCBS is pretty new into the progressive market, and while they make a good product, they don't have the market share that the other two do. And you aren't going to find nearly as many accessories available for their presses. To me, that's the biggest drawback of their press. Dillon and Hornady both have beaucoup accessories available and those accessories are readily found. RCBS is trailing way behind in this aspect. But in terms of quality of the equipment, I'd wager that the major difference between the other two when you look at the bare bones is simple - the paint color is green.

The biggest thing to remember when getting a progressive is that it is a complex machine - there is a learning curve. You will get frustrated. You will decide you need XXXXX new accessory for it. You will tinker with it here and there. You will spill powder, you will find out the hard way you are out of primers, you will cuss it. But you will love it when you get all the ducks in a row and you can crank out better than factory rounds in no time flat.

Also, don't get hung up on the "A Dillon 550 can crank out XXXX rounds per hour" or "A Hornady LnL AP can crank out YYYY rounds per hour". Like fuel mileage in diesels, most of those numbers are inflated. And in reality, they aren't important outside of internet "my progressive is better than your progressive" bragging rights. I'm happy with a couple of hundred rounds an hour of high quality ammo out of my progressive - because it's way more than i could crank out in my single stage, it's better than factory, it's cheaper than factory and I had fun doing it. As you get used to the machine and learn more and get more comfortable, the rounds per hour count will likely go up. But a smart reloader doesn't measure his worth on the number of rounds in an hour he can crank out.
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Old April 25, 2014, 10:34 AM   #33
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For your reading pleasure...

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillon...Comparison.pdf
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Old April 25, 2014, 01:45 PM   #34
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Excellent comparison Brian Pfleuger...wish I saw that when I was buying my press!

I have the Hornady Lock n Load auto progressive press and the main things I like is the bushing system, which is it's nicest feature...to change the dies out all you have to do is give a twist and it comes right out keeping your adjustments where they were...very convenient if you ask me.

I also like the way cases are held into the shell plate with a spring, making is very easy to take a case out at any stage of your reloading.

The powder measure is very accurate and gives very consistent powder drops.

The press comes standard with an auto indexing system, so you don't have to spend extra money on a more advanced press.

I love how I can route a tube to a garbage can to dispose of the spent primers...very convenient.

Customer support is outstanding with Hornady (but I never had to call Dillon).

Things I don't like is the indexing movement snaps a little bit which spills a few grains of powder out of the neck. However, when I researched this issue information about the Dillion press were the first to come up, so I think this is typical of auto progressive presses. I called customer service and all I had to do is tweak the pawls and it smoothed it out.

The other issue isn't even with the press itself, but the built in crimper in the die is pretty much useless (even admittedly by Hornady customer service), so I bought the Lee factory crimping die and get perfect crimps now!

That's my 2 cents...hope it helps
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Old April 26, 2014, 09:14 AM   #35
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Having owned a Hornady for 10 years and a Dillon SDB the 550B I would go with the Dillon a lot less finicky than the Hornady. The Hornady is a great machine just needs some refinement hard to keep running smooth and the Casefeeder is more trouble than its worth constantly throwing cases out crazy off the ramp. The SDB is a great press for straight wall pistol. I only use mine now for 45 acp.
The 550B is smooth and works great I put lighting on it so I see every powder charge so to make sure I don't double charge. I was concerned that it would not work well being manually indexed having owned a Dillon years ago that was auto indexing but has proven to be a non issue. I have used the 650 great machine may get one later I personally don't need to crank out that much ammo of the same caliber at any one time I switch calibers reguraly and. 550B does it all.
All will serve purpose good luck
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Old April 27, 2014, 10:11 AM   #36
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What fretless said...

The Hornady is just so eassyy...

I don't know how blue or green compares in these departments, but I like:

Metering inserts cost only a few bucks each- I have one for every load, pre-set to the exact charge needed. Change-out takes five seconds.

Being able to easily remove and replace a case at any point in the process. Adjust powder charge? Pop it out, dump the powder back in the powder drop, tweak it, replace the case, do it over. Same with adjusting bullet seating depth-remove and replace the case easily until it's perfect. I've read case removal/replacement isn't so simple with other makes.

The review that Brian linked for you is what steered me to my LNL AP three years ago and I've no regrets whatsoever.
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Old April 27, 2014, 01:26 PM   #37
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Thanks tobnpr...I forgot about the powder measure inserts! That's a great idea to get some extras...I only have the standard pistol and rifle metering inserts...I added the microjust on the metering insert for even more fine control of dispensing powder, but the standard screw works fine also.
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Old April 27, 2014, 02:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by cryogenic419 View Post
I've been using the Hornady for a few years now and am really happy with it. It might take a few minor adjustments out of the box to get it running smooth as glass but once you do its an awesome machine.

I fully agree with this my Hornady LnL took a bit of time to set up, which any new press will, but once it was properly indexed, it has run like a champ.

I'm a bit different than the original OP. I started with a progressive press and will undoubtedly buy a single stage for my lower volume rifle cartridges.
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Old April 27, 2014, 02:19 PM   #39
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Doc,

ask around at your local gun club ...and find out who is reloading / especially guys with some experience of 5 yrs or more. Chances are you'll be able to meet a few guys that have some of the more popular presses...especially the Dillon presses and probably the Hornaday LNL...and talk to them a little about their presses, what components they like, the calibers they load, etc....

don't press too hard ...but just get to know them a little / tell them you're just getting into making a decision on a progressive press. Same way you'd probably talk to a guy about an unusual gun or a unique model - you see them shooting....what they think about it / would they buy it again, etc...

I'm a pretty quick judge of someone's character...and I can usually spot a guy that isn't serious - vs someone that is really trying to learn and evaluate. When I find the guys that are serious - and I know I can trust them in my home, I'll usually offer them a demo on my equipment to help them evaluate it. So its all in how you approach someone ...and talk a little at the range.

Of course it works both ways...a reloader that has experience, but uses sloppy procedures...isn't of any value to you either...( and there are some of those out there too )...

But no matter what - having a few guys to ask questions of in person, always helps a little.
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Old April 28, 2014, 11:49 AM   #40
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Two responses

Thanks...Both of Y'all.
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Old April 28, 2014, 02:46 PM   #41
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RCBS is pretty new into the progressive market, and while they make a good product, they don't have the market share that the other two do. And you aren't going to find nearly as many accessories available for their presses. To me, that's the biggest drawback of their press. Dillon and Hornady both have beaucoup accessories available and those accessories are readily found. RCBS is trailing way behind in this aspect. But in terms of quality of the equipment, I'd wager that the major difference between the other two when you look at the bare bones is simple - the paint color is green.
Beaucoup accessories?

Besides case feeders, what accessories do they have that RCBS doesn't? Auto primer tube filler, and/or extra tubes? APS doesn't need them. Bullet feeders....available. Who makes the popular Lock-out die? Press comes standard with bullet, case, and cartridge trays, & mic'd case-activated powder measure. Optional excellent powder-through expanders are available. Die heads and shell plates are available.

As for market share....granted, I blame RCBS for that. They are a great company, good at a lot of things, but marketing has never been their strong point. Their presses however are bullet proof, as is their customer service. The Pro 2000 is the easiest press to use out there, fewest moving parts count, less to go wrong, never gets out of sync, and has the safest, fastest priming system when pre-loaded strips are used. 10 second primer size swap is nice. Makes for fast & easy caliber changes for those who like to load 2 or 3 calibers a night. Complex machine? No, pretty simple machine that won't quit. If you leave out the RCBS Pro 2000 in your research, your loss.

Peter Eick is the sage Pro 2000 user in these parts.....he's well past 300,000 rounds now and still smoothly sailing. He did a review of the press back when he passed 150,000 rounds: Peter's Review.


As for the major difference (bare bones) besides paint color? Cast iron Frame. The only progressive that isn't aluminum besides the Dillon 1050.
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Old April 28, 2014, 04:42 PM   #42
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Good post GWS. All true.
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:52 AM   #43
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As for the major difference (bare bones) besides paint color? Cast iron Frame. The only progressive that isn't aluminum besides the Dillon 1050.
My Hornady LnL AP looks and feels (and weighs) like cast iron.
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Old April 29, 2014, 10:39 AM   #44
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But it isn't. Both blue and red presses are cast oversize in an attempt to make up for it. Not saying they are bad presses, but aluminum castings are more likely to break in normal use than cast iron. Dillon's "commercial" press is cast iron. Cast iron only breaks if you drop one on concrete from a goodly height.

Good warranties ease the pain, put you still get to test your patience over the interruption and wait for parts.
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Old April 29, 2014, 12:40 PM   #45
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I have three 1050s and a 650. I love my 1050, but I just wish it had one extra station. There is a station for a powder check, right after the powder drop, but I use it for my bullet drop station. So I am running the 1050s without a powder check. I have had one squib load, and it came from working the 1050 too quickly.

I really hate the 650. It has this nasty tendency to cause powder to "jump" out of the casing as the index plate is being rotated. The cause is the ball bearing that holds each station in place as the case enters its station. Youtube has fixes, and I've tried them all, but none of the solutions totally fix the problem. I've even order the plastic ball bearing and trimmed the spring. It still spits up powder. The Dillon customer service guys (and youtube guys) will tell you to trim the spring underneath the ball bearing. But why does a factory item need to be modified, at all? I think it is a design weakness in the 650. Very annoying, especially in small volume cases like 380 and 9mm.
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Old April 29, 2014, 12:44 PM   #46
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Beaucoup accessories?
How many aftermarket accessories are available for the RCBS? I guarantee you that it is significantly less than Hornady or Dillon. That's not necessarily a bad or good thing, but it is reality. And that can pretty much be attributed to the lack of popularity of the press, because as you said - RCBS hasn't really gone on the warpath of promoting it at all.

I'm sure that RCBS's case activated powder measure is pretty good - considering it is the exact same design as Hornady. In fact, they pay Hornady to use the design.

Cast iron frame is good, but it's not bulletproof either. It all depends on the casting.

All three make great presses - so yeah, when you get down to it, the major difference is the color of paint and whichever bias you use depending on what you like or dislike.

I'm an LnL AP owner, but I can tell you that both Dillon and RCBS make really good progressive presses.
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Old April 29, 2014, 12:56 PM   #47
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I started out with a RCBS single stage press and then came across a Dillon RL-450B. I eventually came across a Lee "Classic Turret Press". Each are mounted on my reloading table and each have their uses. These days, I'm more likely to just use the single stage press for removing bullets from loaded rounds. The Lee turret press gets used for rifle cartridges that I don't shoot a lot of at any one time (e.g. .45-70, .300 Win Mag, etc). The Dillon progressive mainly gets used for handgun rounds that I need to produce a lot of (e.g. 9mm, 10mm, .40SW, .45ACP).
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Old April 29, 2014, 04:45 PM   #48
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I'm sure that RCBS's case activated powder measure is pretty good - considering it is the exact same design as Hornady. In fact, they pay Hornady to use the design.
Before that gets to be internet gospel.....it was Hornady who paid RCBS for the original Uniflow design many years ago. When RCBS started making "Piggybacks" for the Rock Chucker, they had a pretty sad case activated setup for the Uniflow. Hornady had a better idea. RCBS the "borrowed" that idea and tossed theirs.......wouldn't be surprised if that evened things out and no royalties are paid either way now. But that last statement is no more than conjecture....who knows....neither company talks about their mutual back scratching relationship....but it's obvious that they have one or had one.

I never said the aluminum Dillon and Hornady presses are bad presses....they aren't, but I think it is incredulous that the RCBS Pro 2000 is ignored in these progressive press comparisons.....mostly for the lack of a case feeder that many Hornady users pass over because of the stiff price. Or maybe they just hate ATK/RCBS. I was pleased that schmellba99 mentioned that the Pro 2000 exists, and maybe ought to be included. There are good features about all the progressives....and one will fit the O.P. best, but the only way he will find that best fit for hims is to ignore the popularity contests & market share, and look at the features that best fit his reloading needs and style.

I will concede that GSI only makes "accessories" for Dillons. How many of those made of pure gold feeders do they sell to Dillon users? (Jmorris doesn't count....he has unlimited resources. ) What exclusive products are available for Hornady users, that aren't also available to RCBS's? Please educate me.
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Old April 30, 2014, 09:36 AM   #49
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The only place I've bought any aftermarket stuff is from InLine Fabrication. Last i looked, they had all kinds of stuff for blue and red, but no green. That may have changed.

I also rarely, if ever, notice on websites like Midway that the RCBS progressive has something on sale or is really ever mentioned. Again, that's probably almost exclusively related to the lack of marketing by RCBS.

It's just simply not a popular press in the progressive world. Not surprising, given that Dillon had the progressive world pretty much wrapped up tight for many years until Hornady came along, and even then they had to include some pretty solid promotions to get people to look at their press (mine came with 1000 free projos of my choice of caliber from their list, now it's down to 500 I think if it even still exists). I'll be honest, that made a significant impact in my even looking at Hornady to begin with because I got about half (or more) of the cost of the press back in components. Not a bad deal.

I'm sure the press made by RCBS is solid as a rock - pretty much everything they make is. I still load on a single stage RCBS press that is probably 40 something years old, and it shows absolutely zero signs of ever slowing down. I'd expect the same from their progressive, and may have given it a good hard look had it even been on display at Cabela's when I ultimately bought the LnL AP (and I lived in PHX at the time, so visiting the Dillon store wasn't an issue either).
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Old April 30, 2014, 11:53 AM   #50
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The only place I've bought any aftermarket stuff is from InLine Fabrication. Last i looked, they had all kinds of stuff for blue and red, but no green. That may have changed. Or you weren't looking for green....http://inlinefabrication.com/collections/rcbs

I also rarely, if ever, notice on websites like Midway that the RCBS progressive has something on sale or is really ever mentioned. Again, that's probably almost exclusively related to the lack of marketing by RCBS.

Midway doesn't "mention" any product unless it's on sale. RCBS doesn't do many sales, that's true. Sales are usually the result of overstock. Dillon isn't mentioned much at Grafs either....that doesn't reflect anything....except that they aren't on sale.

It's just simply not a popular press in the progressive world. Not surprising, given that Dillon had the progressive world pretty much wrapped up tight for many years.......

The Pro 2000 is gaining all the time.....in spite of the almost total lack of marketing.....the press has to good to grow in that environment. One thing is interesting.....new users of the Pro 2000 post a little on the three forums I play on, while they're learning the new system. Then the posts become rare.... Nothing goes wrong with the press, nothing gets out of sync, nothing......so people have nothing to post about. When they do it always positive, but nobody notices, do they.....many don't read green threads.

I post a lot because I'm addicted to tinkering and inventing new stuff for it and helping new users, and Peter Eick does too, to help new users and to dutifully report the next milestone or 5 gallon bucket full of empty APS strips....(300,000 rounds was the last report...he's probably nearing 400,000 round by now.) I owe a lot to Pete....I credit his first review for removing the blue blinders I use to have on.


I'm sure the press made by RCBS is solid as a rock - pretty much everything they make is. I still load on a single stage RCBS press that is probably 40 something years old, and it shows absolutely zero signs of ever slowing down. I'd expect the same from their progressive, and may have given it a good hard look had it even been on display at Cabela's when I ultimately bought the LnL AP (and I lived in PHX at the time, so visiting the Dillon store wasn't an issue either).
I understand that....and you have to go by how you like to reload as well. Everybody's different. If I was an IPSC pro I'd probaby have at least a Dillon 650 with it's trouble-free case feeder.....but it's not a fit for me....I want to change calibers every night, and I know what's required with a Dillon....used one for a while at a friend's. Just more complicated than I want...it would get old. Even with change kits and a powder measure for each caliber it's slow to change out. Power measures for each caliber is Expensive!

Hornady was a better fit for me, but they have syncing problems with caliber changes, the weakest link being the case feeder on certain calibers. Again more complicated. I like simple....the Pro 2000 is easy to use and simple....it'll never break a major part and never get out of sync once set right. I also prefer die plates to bushings....but that's me.
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