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Old December 13, 2000, 09:05 AM   #1
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I've been seriously considering reloading due to my fondness of shooting my Sprinfield Armory M1911A1 and my Taurus Raging Bull in .44 Magnum. I got a lot of great advice on this forum. Members who responded pointed out things that I did and didn't need. I appreciate the help. I had just about decided on a Dillon 550B when I came across a Lee 1000 at a recent gun show. The Lee is a fully automatic progressive and comes with the case feeder, primer feeder and a set of carbide dies. I believe, simply by looking at it, that it probably isn't as solidly built as the Dillon, but I don't plan on reloading more than around a 1000 per month.

There's a big price difference between the Dillon and the Lee, especially in the dies. While (Lord knows) I'm old enough to understand that "you get what you pay for", in this case would I be making a big mistake buying the Lee instead of the Dillon?

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Old December 13, 2000, 10:27 AM   #2
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If you are only going to load two calibers and cost is an issue Look into the Lee Deluxe Pistol Kit. It has a turret press and all you need is a set of dies. I also have the hand primer I like this much better. I bought mine from with shipping the cost was $88.
The Lee part number is 90250 without auto index 90251 with auto index this is a Semi-progressive setup. load a round with 3 pulls of the handle.
you can also look at the Lee equipment at I load .44spl .45ACP 9MM and 38/357 with great sucess, now when I decide to go full progressive (when I have a few hundred $$$$ laying around) The Dillon 650 is my choice my uncle uses the 1000 and 1050 ($2000 ea) and they are great I just have a budget to stay with now and the Lee works for me.
Hello My name is Coolray.............And I'm an Addict
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Old December 13, 2000, 10:20 PM   #3
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I'll throw my $.02 into the discussion as I recently started reloading. When I was looking at which equipment to buy I talked to the guys at my club who reload, and who basically use either Lee or Dillon stuff. Several guys said they would only use Dillon, but had never tried anything else. Several guys said buy either, they both work. The last group of guys said they started with Lee because they couldn't afford Dillon and would upgrade when the Lee stuff broke. All of these guys are still using their original Lee equipment after several years. Overall, you do get what you pay for, but sometimes the law of diminishing returns kicks in after a certain point. By the way I decided on the 550B.
--Mike From Iowa
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Old December 13, 2000, 11:01 PM   #4
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Dillon is top notch equipment and their warranty can't be beat. Even though I believe Dillon is superior to Lee, I have been loading with Lee equipment (4 rifle calibers, 3 pistol calibers) for 14 years. Only thing I've been able to wear out is my hand prime (bought another). I appreciate the quality of Dillon but the Lee performs adequately for much less $$. Just my opinion.

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Old December 14, 2000, 12:12 AM   #5
Steve Smith
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There have been several good threads on this subject in the last week or so...the search function is up...for now. It would be wise to read all those posts on the Lee Pro 100, turret presses, and the Dillon presses.

Oh yeah, buy Dillon.
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Old December 14, 2000, 02:28 PM   #6
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Lee's dies are just as good as Dillon's - And if you're loading for a bolt rifle, their collet dies are superior to just about everything but Redding's bushing dies, or custom high-dollar benchrest-smith-made dies...

I'd go with a Lee turret press (the Deluxe Pistol Kit). Or the Pro1000. They're both built on the same 'chassis.'

As for being "solid," the Lee is plenty strong enough to do the job. I've run a great number of rounds through my Lee presses, and have yet to have anything break. I did have a priming tool wear out. Darn. There went $15 for a new one...

And then I discovered I could buy the repair parts for $4. So I have several of their priming tools now, and don't change shellholders.

Oh, and for what it's worth - I see a few Lee presses and a bunch of Lee primers at benchrest matches, but don't see a lot of Dillon stuff...

[Edited by Bogie on 12-14-2000 at 03:10 PM]
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Old December 14, 2000, 03:54 PM   #7
Jack Straw
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I first started reloading using a Pro 1000 for 9mm. I now use the Dillon 550. I don't think the "solidness" of the Lee equipment is an issue, but the little things turned me off of the Pro 1K. I kept having problems with primers failing to feed which has never been an issue with the 550. The 550 is (at least to me) a much smoother operating machine and it has greater leverage which I really noticed when sizing 9mm (and .45acp on a friend's Lee).

If you want to save some costs, you can use Lee dies with the 550 (something I and lots of others do). Or you could go with the Dillon Square Deal B (though it doesn't use standard dies like the 550).


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Old December 16, 2000, 12:05 AM   #8
Keith J
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Get the Lee

And get an extra Disk measure with the micrometer disk. Once you have worn the press out, then you might consider getting a Dillon. The Lee measures are superior for both rifle and pistol. I have both Lee and Dillion and use Lee measures and dies in my Dillon. Dillon rifle dies are overpriced and lower quality. The collet depriming shaft of the Lee's is the best in industry for concentricity as it uses a tapered thread to clamp the shaft over a long distance instead of over a few parallel threads.
All other dies require precise setup to properly center the depriming shaft. Lee's just tighten. And they were the first with a built in stuck case remover.
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Old December 16, 2000, 12:48 AM   #9
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Keith J,
I assume you have a 550. In using the Lee powder measure will it drop the charge auto as does the Dillon? I have found the Dillon to be very accurate and had read that the plastic in the Lee measure made it somewhat fragile. I use some Lee dies in my 650, but I have to put the lock ring under the toolhead. Although I prefer the Dillon dies, for the price the Lees are great and a best buy. Have you loaded rifle ammunition on your progressive? How do you handle the trimming of rifle cases or do you use the RCBS X Die? Thanks. Jerry
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Old December 16, 2000, 10:47 AM   #10
Keith J
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Yes I do have a Dillon Since I only have 4 positions on my 550B, I cannot use a trim die. I instead do a two-pass process on my 550 B, first pass is just sizing/depriming. I clean and then trim, again with Lee's kit. I turn the cutter in a drill press and bear down on the cases at high speed (500 rpm), using the table of the press to stop the pin.

I get clean primer pockets and brass plus its trimmed. Loading on the 550 is a little different this way. You have to either remove the sizing die or insert the new case on the downstroke. The 550 uses Lee dies with no problem in .308 and .45 ACP

The Lee measure is somewhat fragile in the hopper. When it breaks, update it to the sturdy Pro level for $16. The real advantage to the Lee disk is no operating rod to get in the way. The Lee Perfect measure handles IMR powders and is half the price of the Dillon. I've even used it to measure IMR 4064 for my .223 with no bridging problems.

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Old December 16, 2000, 04:42 PM   #11
Kenneth L. Walters
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I've owned and used both the Lee and Dillon. The Dillon is a much easier machine to set up and use. Both are functional but if easy of use is important I'd buy the Dillon.

Also, for what it is worth, I also think that the RCBS 2000 is even better.
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