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Old April 30, 2014, 12:46 PM   #51
BigJimP
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In the big picture...having quick change kits with powder measures and dies installed...makes sense ( and no, I understand its not free - but its sure not that expensive either )....and it cuts the time to change calibers down to just a few minutes ( like on the Dillon 650).

It doesn't make sense to me to change calibers often...vs just loading 20 boxes, box them up, store them for use...and then change calibers...regardless of whether you're a casual shooter or a high volume competition shooter. Many of us, sit down at the press...when we have an extra hour or so, load 500 rds or whatever.....case gague them...and box them up and store them for use.

In the end (and I've had a 650 for about 10 yrs or so..)...if you take care of a press, you'll be able to sell it for more than you paid for it anyway.../ and over 20+ yrs, the money for quick change kits, etc...if it enhances your enjoyment of the hobby ...isn't really that big a deal.

But Dillon, Hornaday LNL, RCBS ....all make good equipment ...they do things a little differently / but its hard to make a bad choice from that group.
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Old April 30, 2014, 03:56 PM   #52
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I remember an old guy who reloaded MANY years ago who had multiple single-stage presses -- one for each stage in his reloading process. This was probably before the affordable turret and progressive presses came on the scene though. He seemed to achieve pretty good throughput since he drafted his kids for operating the various "stages".
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Old April 30, 2014, 04:29 PM   #53
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I remember those days too....( we bought old presses / cleaned and fixed them up ...).../ and they were good operations for the time..( in the 50's and 60's) ....

but I'm not giving up my progressive press anytime soon....in fact, if we ever find the weekend house we're considering a few hundred miles away ( I'll buy a second Dillon 650 - to use out there) ...
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Old April 30, 2014, 06:40 PM   #54
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I know a couple of people who do that with 2 or 3 Lee Pro 1000's.....actually makes some sense for those with smaller pockets who never can quite see the big picture BigJimP referred to. They actually can be made to work well as long as you don't change calibers.

I was too poor for multiple single station presses in the 70's. Had to go in with a friend to get one Rock Chucker in those days.

Last edited by GWS; May 1, 2014 at 08:19 AM.
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Old May 1, 2014, 02:25 AM   #55
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If you really look at it, the Lee Pro 1000 kits are not that bad of a deal.

They are currently $178 at Midway and include dies and powder measure.


$178 -- price of kit for .45ACP
-32 -- cost of Lee 3-die set
----
$146


Now, to setup a removable toolhead for a different caliber for a Dillon, it would cost you:

$ 46 -- Dillon caliber conversion kit
23 -- Toolhead
77 -- Dillon powder measure
----
$146

Interestingly the same price, but the Lee includes a case feeder whereas the Dillon does not even have one available for the 550.

Personally, I prefer the Dillon powder measure to the Lee AutoDisk. Probably because I prefer things made from metal instead of plastic.

But just from a cost standpoint, it appears that you could buy a complete caliber specific Lee system for the cost of just getting the new caliber specific parts for a Dillon. Well, if you can get by with just a 3-hole press... I have a 4-hole press and all of them are used. I could definitely use a 5th position sometimes, but I'm not willing to spend the money on a Dillon of that size.
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Old May 1, 2014, 11:18 AM   #56
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Just so the OP has the full picture....and I like the Dillon 650 / and would buy it again....

But conversion kits on 650 are $ 78 ( shellplate, casefeed adapter parts, etc)
Quick change kit is $ 108 (gives you toolhead, stand and powder measure)
So its really $ 186 total.

Add I would buy another Powder check die for that caliber --- so $ 69

So a full conversion kit, to me, on the 650 is really $ 255 .

( but again, I think its worth every dime )....and I didn't include dies, because every press needs dies....( but they're $ 64 ) .../ and a case gague for every caliber $16 - which again is a smart thing to have - for any press) - in my view.
-----------
But comparing cost on conversion kits...on a Dillon 650 vs Lee Pro ..isn't the big picture / its kind of like comparing a hand cross cut saw -- to a table saw / yes, they'll both get the job done...and they're sort of the same thing...maybe...
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Old May 1, 2014, 02:45 PM   #57
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I get your meaning, but that comparison is a little harsh.....at least it earns a skill saw (reciprocating saw) and a straight edge. .....or better a Ford escort vs a Lincoln.
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Old May 1, 2014, 02:49 PM   #58
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Ok, I understand.... ....
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Old May 2, 2014, 08:03 AM   #59
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Quote:
My Hornady LnL AP looks and feels (and weighs) like cast iron.
A Hornady CS rep confirmed that it is cast aluminum.
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Old May 2, 2014, 09:47 AM   #60
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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.
Schmellba99.....one of those rare times is now.....RCBS Pro 2000 on sale at Midway! (along with other RCBS products) Midway's today email flyer.........wow! "Mentioned" even.
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Old May 2, 2014, 10:26 AM   #61
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I have an older Hornady LNL-AP. I chose it over the Dillon SDB because of the proprietary dies thing, and because the Dillon won't load rifle cartridges nor some exotic pistol cartridges. In retrospect, these were not very good reasons. I also got 1000 free .30 rifle bullets -- that was a good reason

Overall I like the press, but it has 2 flaws:
  1. The ejector for the finished cartridge is awful (they have fixed this on newer models) and I've just taken the ejector off completely rather than mess with it. I could get the press retrofitted with the new ejector system, but then I would have to replace or modify all my shell plates.
  2. The priming system has very no mechanical advantage and very poor "feel". I have to just about stand on the handle to prime cases and can't tell exactly when they bottom-out.

I end up leaving the LNL set up for .38 Specials for months at a time because that's what I shoot the most. Every once in a while I will change it over to 9mm or .45 Colt and run a big batch of those (the primer works a *lot* better with large primers) and then it gets left set up for that until next time i want to load some .38's. I reload everything else on single-stage presses.

My next project will be rigging up a white LED with a lithium battery in the center hole at the top of the press or along the front rail to illuminate the stage. Right now I have a cheap LED pocket flashlight jammed in one of the die holes and that works pretty well -- except it takes up one station.
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Old May 2, 2014, 11:45 AM   #62
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The priming system has very no mechanical advantage and very poor "feel". I have to just about stand on the handle to prime cases and can't tell exactly when they bottom-out.
I have to disagree with this (assuming it's the same system the newer version of the LnL AP uses). To me it is a great system, once I worked a couple of bugs out of it (I'd say design flaws, though minor they were) and got the new style of primer plunger to replace the older one that came with my press originally.
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Old May 2, 2014, 11:49 AM   #63
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What's this "new style primer plunger"?
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Old May 2, 2014, 01:47 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Real Gun View Post
My Hornady LnL AP looks and feels (and weighs) like cast iron.
Easy enough to check... Get a magnet...
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Old May 2, 2014, 02:11 PM   #65
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Gun View Post
My Hornady LnL AP looks and feels (and weighs) like cast iron.
Easy enough to check... Get a magnet...
Duh!
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Old May 3, 2014, 07:18 AM   #66
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They are a little more expensive, but I have found Dillon to be the ne plus ultra in consumer progressive loaders.

I had a first generation Lee Loadmaster, and I successfully loaded thousands of rounds on it. It left much to be desired in comparison to the Super 1050 I bought years later. (But then it cost a fraction as much as well).

I had a Pacific (now Hornady) progressive that I had no end of issues with. I wanted to like it, but in the end I found the Lee Loadmaster to be a better press.

Good luck in your search.
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Old May 3, 2014, 09:38 AM   #67
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+1 for Dillon 550 or 650.
Don't think I've ever found anyone complain with hornady either. You could use one powder measure while switching but for $100 more it is super quick to change out and not crazy expensive. I'd rather go with consistency and accuracy over simplicity in caliber changes.

Why not buy whatever system you're leaning toward and just sell it if you don't like it. Other than lee, most presses hold their value. Just keep all of the packaging.
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Old May 3, 2014, 03:04 PM   #68
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On the Midway site, they actually list what the press is made of (more or less). On some of them, they just say "alloy", but that doesn't mean anything. Is it an aluminum alloy? Or maybe a steel alloy? On some though, they do list "cast iron", but cast iron is also an alloy. About the only thing that we as consumers can determine is whether it is magnetic or not. If it is magnetic, then it will be some sort of iron based alloy (e.g. cast iron, steel, etc). If it is not magnetic, then it will probably be an aluminum alloy, but it *could* also be one of the stainless steel alloys since some of them are extremely close to being non-magnetic.
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Old May 3, 2014, 06:22 PM   #69
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Dillon's machines are a cast alloy...but what the heck difference does it make ...the bottom line is Dillon has an unconditional warranty on all hobby level machines ( not the 1050), whether you bought them used or new ....and more to the point, I've never seen or heard of one break among the dozens of guys that I know use them....and they work !

I could care less what they're made of ....if they are made well, that's all that matters to me ...and the Dillon 650 has for 10+ years, and I am confident, will continue to meet all my needs to load about 30,000 handgun rounds a year for as long as I choose to continue to do this / and even though I'm in my 60's now, I expect to be reloading at least another 15 or 20 yrs....and I'll pass it down to one of the boys in my family that wants it...and it'll live for another generation ..or two or there....

and while I like the Dillon 650 press....I'm confident the Hornaday LNL or the progressive RCBS machines will live on well into 2 or 3 generations as well...

Who cares what they're made of ...they're either solid long term machines ..or they're not...
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Old May 3, 2014, 09:48 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimP
Dillon's machines are a cast alloy...but what the heck difference does it make ...the bottom line is Dillon has an unconditional warranty on all hobby level machines ( not the 1050), whether you bought them used or new ....and more to the point, I've never seen or heard of one break among the dozens of guys that I know use them....and they work !
Which goes back to what I was saying -- alloy of what? It's possible to have a cast iron alloy or a cast aluminum alloy. Our bullets are usually a cast lead alloy. Just like a "steak" could mean any type of meat (e.g. pork steak, elk steak, *dog* steak, or even beef steak), "alloy" means nothing by itself. Of course, one could even argue that even with details on the alloy, it means little without information on how it is heat treated.

I have a Dillon and I am satisfied with it. I also have a Lee turret and a RCBS single stage that I am satisfied with for the jobs that I have delegated to them. I'm just being picky about the term "alloy" and how it gets thrown around so loosely by some people (such as in Midway's pages on each of the presses). If you are going to use a term, you should at least strive to be accurate in the use of the term.
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Old May 3, 2014, 10:52 PM   #71
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I'm reminded of another thread that discussed the merits of aluminum alloy over iron and steel. One poster suggested that you don't see aircraft manufacturers using steel or cast iron.....they use "high tech aluminum alloy."

Then another observed, how that was totally true.....the reason being that aircraft built of iron and steel are too heavy to fly!

Then he added, "but the tools and forges used to make those light aluminum alloy parts are made of the strongest and best steel."

You might notice that the good cast aluminum presses are big....even massive. Big parts are stronger. The same amount of strong is smaller if it's cast iron.

The weak links are parts that can't be massive. Like in the pictures below:
Dillon 650
Hornady AP
RCBS Special-5 Aluminum Press

That's where they break. But as long as Dillon, Hornady, Lee, and yes RCBS are willing to replace them when they do, all is well. You're just inconvenienced.

Last edited by GWS; May 3, 2014 at 11:31 PM.
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Old May 4, 2014, 09:39 AM   #72
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Off in the weeds again with that "how many fairies will fit on the head of a pin?" Come on...the presses are strong enough. Why do we need to know alloys to +-1%. It's pretty easy to tell when pushing a lighter press (or mounting) too hard. Any failures are probably not in the casting itself.
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Old May 4, 2014, 10:39 AM   #73
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Every picture I posted above are of failures in the casting itself. If they were strong enough, people wouldn't be interrupted for a week or more, waiting for broken casting parts replacement. Such failures NEVER occur when it's convenient. But hey...far be it from me to deny anyone the freedom to buy aluminum tools if they prefer them.

The silver lining is that reloading equipment companies are rare....they accept responsibility, and replace the parts for free. Wouldn't it be nice if electronics or computer companies were like that?

I'd just rather have a Dillon 1050, RCBS Pro 2000, Rock Chucker, Redding, or Lee Classic Cast cast iron....character weakness I guess.
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Old May 4, 2014, 11:14 PM   #74
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I have a Lee Breech Lock Classic Cast, A Lee Classic Turret, and a Hornady LNL AP. I like them alla nd they all work great after I got the QA bugs worked out. Unless you are going to load a lot, why get a progressive? I am retired so while I like using the Hornady, I could do everything I needed on my Turret. I just spent more money to play with the LNL. If that is ok, then listen to those that have all the various progressives and decide. They all have their quirks and many require ordering parts as the hurry up an get them out the door QA is lacking.
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Check out the inlinefabrication.com for their adapter plates so you can hang the unused presses on the wall when not in use to save bench space.
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Good hunting!!!
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Old May 4, 2014, 11:57 PM   #75
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You know I have used the Dillon 550 B lots since it arrived and I was able to buy it used for a good deal with much of the accessories that I needed. I also got a RCBS Rock Chucker. I haven't even made one round with it.

I supposed if I were making match ammo for my 308 or 223, I would use it, but I found that I can make very precise 223 by skipping the powder step and add the powder by hand.

I really haven't found a use for my single stage other than pressing in some wheel bearings.

They are both quality machines. After much research, the LNL and the dillon were neck and neck in my book, but after searching many places including ebay and craigslist, I was able to find a great deal and got the Dillon.

My suggestion, you should look around for someone getting out of the hobby and get a deal. I got mine for about 1/2 price since the guy needed cash for a different toy and had stopped using his reloading equipment. I also got bullets, brass, powder, clays and much more.

I do hope this helps you decide. Like you I was torn between the LNL and the Dillon when I found my deal.

Mel
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