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Old March 22, 2001, 08:46 AM   #1
chokeu2
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Okay, here comes another guy, new to the reloading thing. And of course, totally confused as to what I should buy! I have narrowed things down a bit however. I think... That is where you guys come in. Personally, I am a .45 bigot. But becuase some interesting things are out there, I will buy other calibers. I also enjoy .223 and .308. So, I began the quest for reloading equipment in an effort to keep up with my police officer friends who were having ammo given to them thousands of rounds at a time.

My quest has led me to a crossroad in which I think that I will choose between the Dillon 550B or the Hornady Lock-n-Load AP. Both seem like great buys. But have NO practical knowledge to draw from, I do not know if one is better than the other. I noticed that no one here has anything to say about the Hornady rigs. I looked back a couple of weeks in through the threads in an effort to find info so that I would not ask a question that has been posted recently.

Yes, I am long winded when I am looking for info! Just watch out if you ever ask me about my screen name! ;-)

Having said ALL of that, could you guys throw out your opinions!!??

Thanks!!!
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Old March 22, 2001, 09:50 AM   #2
John Forsyth
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I got the Hornady LNL. It showed up last weekend, but due to business travel, I have not had the time to assemble it.

Here is the breakdown on costs for loading both .40/10mm and .45ACP.

Hornady LNL 302.50
Shell plates 39.90
Dies 56.50
crimp dies 19.00
scale 43.50
10 bushings 30.95 (only needed 4 but will need more later)
Total 492.35

Dillon 550B 325.95
conversion 32.95
powder die 5.95
toolhead 12.95
dies 99.10
scale 48.95
Total 525.85

This is pretty much an apples to apples comparison. Note the crimp dies were not required with the Hornady but I wanted them. You get a 4 station manual with the Dillon vs. the 5 station auto with the Hornady.

The Dillon is a good machine, no doubt. I know several friends that have one. The Hornady is also a good machine. Both have lifetime warranties.

Should have it up and running this weekend. Will let you know how it all goes together.
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Old March 22, 2001, 09:59 AM   #3
chokeu2
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John,
I would appreciate that. I was just at Hornady's site and it looks like the LNL AP has pretty much everything that I need to get started with my .45 loads right away. Save for the powder, shells, etc... Is this a safe assumption? They have the LNL AP showing at $367.65. I would bet that I could get it cheaper from a distributor. I appreciate any advice that you are willing to give, whenever!!
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Old March 22, 2001, 10:30 AM   #4
John Forsyth
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For the best prices I could find on the LNL go to http://www.lockstock.com/ That's where I got mine from. Good service and fast.
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Old March 22, 2001, 04:43 PM   #5
Joe Gulish
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I have had my dillon 550b for over 15 years and have
few problems with it. Yes I have had a few problems
with it but one quick call and the new parts or the
problem was fixed. The parts were sent free of charge
now they only ask you to pay for postage. Their no BS
warranty is just that NO BS.
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Old March 22, 2001, 06:13 PM   #6
Steve Smith
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I don't know about Hornady's warrantee. The Dillon warrantee is legendary, and worth several hundred dollars, IMHO. I love my Dillon 550B...it works very well. I'm sure the Hornady does too. The only things that I can see that might sway it are #1 Warrantee (as said before, I don't know whether Hornady's is as good as the Dillon No BS) and #2 I like the toolhead concept, rather than the LNL concept. That's just me...the dies are ALWAYS in the same place. However, I'm sure the Hornady system is fine.



Just between you and me, I like the looks of the Hornady better than Dillon, but I just like red better.
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Old March 23, 2001, 02:20 AM   #7
Guy B. Meredith
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I prefer the L-N-L system of changing dies--you can selectively replace any one or more of the dies without affecting any adjustments.

The five stations are nice. I use an RCBS lock out die and would put a Lyman multi expander in the powder drop (works for pistol ammo only, I think) to free up a station for use with separate seating and crimp dies as well as the lock out.

I get most of my stuff at http://www.lockstock.com also. Midway did come through with a better deal on a chrono, but that was a sale and the free shipping just put it about $5 less than Lock, Stock and Barrel. T&T Reloading sometimes has even better prices on odd items, but they have not seemed quite as professional.

I posted the following elsewhere. It pretty much sums up my experience so far:

"Dillons appear to be fine machines and something like 70% of reloaders would probably back that up. When I reach a high enough volume I will probably be looking at the top end Dillons, but right now I am only doing 1000 or so a month. I WOULD like to be lazy about shell and bullet delivery

"I, too, elected to go with the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP. The features are similar to the Dillon 650 at a 550B price. One of my friends just returned his RCBS 2000 in exchange for a Hornady L-N-L AP after seeing mine perform and could not be happier. He was absolutely excited to watch mine go through 100 rounds during about 15 minutes of our conversaion. I have not seen a Dillon close up in the last 8 months, but it seems that I had the impression that the Dillons had more cams, springs and thingees than the simpler Hornady.

"I got the Hornady L-N-L AP on sale at $250. It had the .40 cal plate and Hornady traded me straight across for the .38/.357 plate I needed. It turns out that my press had been sitting on the vendor's shelf for quite a while and when Hornady found out they shipped update parts gratis.

"I recently decided to get some Hornady dies and use them with the L-N-L inserts to be able to change over for .357 magnum loads. Even got a base for the powder measure. Haven't done the .357 magnums yet, but recently put together 10 different .38 spl. loads which required exchanging the RCBS taper crimp for the Hornady roll crimp 5 times.

"What a pleasure to just be able to twist one out like the bolt on a rifle and insert the other and take off in all of 3 or 4 seconds. Just had to spend the normal time setting the powder throw for the two powders being tested and knocked off 500 rounds total in the 10 variations in roughly three hours including coffee breaks."
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Old March 23, 2001, 06:39 AM   #8
maxwayne
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Have no exp with the Hornady, have one of their shotgun reloaders and it works fine. Do have a Dillon 550 and it is first rate. I am mechanically challenged and have had no problems with the Dillon. I did use a single stage for 25 years previously. I do recommend the Dillon video, it makes things a lot easier.
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Old March 23, 2001, 11:34 AM   #9
Master Blaster
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I am also new to reloading and I faced the same decision you did a few months ago. I chose the Dillon 550b and I have loaded abot 2000 rounds 400.38 spl,400.357mag, and 1200 .45acp. I have found the Dillon easy to set up and use it has a very accurate powder measure, and it holds all of the die settings well in the toolhead whcih makes changing calibers a snap. The dillon also can use any standard thread dies not sure about Hndy. The primer feed is excellent and reliable and I understand that the Hornady essentially copied the primer feed. I would question the continued accuracy of the Hornady die bushing set up, as it is not proven like the tool head. The Dillon has many years of history and reliability to recommend it, but the auto indexing, and the fifth station feature is very nice on the hornady.
It is the long term durrability and accuracy which is an unknown factor for Hornady. You may want to consider spending a bit more for the dillon 650, or getting one used if you want 5 stations and auto index.

Just my 2cents
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Old March 23, 2001, 01:28 PM   #10
Hipower
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Another vote for Lock, Stock and Barrel. I bought my single stage set up from them when I got started a few years ago. I really appreciated their knowledge and customer service.

GBM beat me to the punch with the observation that the Hornady compares more closely with the 650 than 550.
I'm not sure how they'd stack up price wise, but either way you get a set up that will last a life time.

Dillon service is indeed legendary, but it comes at a cost. Hornady customer service is an unknown. You don't hear to much about them either positve or negative. To me, that probably means there presses are good and the service is tolerable at worst.

I guess it's good we live in a time when there are so many companies offering quality reloading equipment at manageable prices.
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Old March 23, 2001, 01:35 PM   #11
chokeu2
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I love this place. Thank you all so very much for being so helpful. Hopefully one day I can pass this same info onto to someone else that needs it.

Having said that, I think that I will probably try and break the mold and go after the Hornady. I have heard good things about them. As I have Dillon of course. But, I would like to take the risk and try someone that is a little more unknown. See what they can do. We know that they are a quality company. So how bad can it be? Guess I will be finding out!

Thanks again!
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Old March 23, 2001, 02:46 PM   #12
Guy B. Meredith
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Be fair to yourself and give as many a test drive as possible. I like the L-N-L, but counselled my friend to give the RCBS a good try before trading. Each machine has it's personality and learning curve and each of us wants a machine that matches our personality and way of doing things.
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Old March 24, 2001, 04:16 PM   #13
Knighterrant
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Mine is a Dillon 550 and later added-on to become a 550B. Love it and I use it for 308 & 45. Will be soon reloading 9mm also. Dillons "No BS" warranty is just that. They made it they will fix it ! FREE !! I had the primer cup wear out and called to order another one. Not only did they send me that part but another set of parts to make the primers feed easier/smoother. FREE !! If you have the dies already then the 550B is 325.95 and includes one caliber conversion($32.95 normally) and what I would suggest is a toolhead($12.95) and a toolhead stand($10.95). If you are going to load 223 then I would go ahead and get the deluxe Caliber Quick Change assembly ($69.95). Altogether it looks like an expenditure of $419.80 not including shipping.
I use Forster Competition and RCBS dies. Don't think you can't make match quality ammo on a progressive, YOU CAN. It may not be as fast as advertised but I tend to check powder weight about every ten loads. All in all, it works for me.
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Old March 26, 2001, 02:32 PM   #14
John Forsyth
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Well, yesterday I finally had the time to put towards the LNL AP. I like this machine. It works and it works smoothly. Changing the primer system from large to small takes at most 5 minutes. And that is the piddle rate. Changeing shell plates is the same. No time at all. I played with it for several hours. Just wanted to see how it worked and get used to it.

The thing that I like most is the ability to set and work with one die at a time to get it perfect. Once it is set, take it out using the LNL bushing, put it away and start with another. You have all the room in the world, because you can remove the dies and powder measure from the press when you do not need them. When you are ready, set them all in, and you are ready to go.

The Hornady LNL AP is a well engineered machine.
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