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Old November 7, 2009, 08:36 AM   #1
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Which progressive?

I'm going to take the plunge and get a progressive. I'm considering the Dillion 550B, the Hornady LNL EZ Eject and the RCBS Pro 2000. I have never used a progressive but my price range is $300-$400 and these three fit the bill. I have all RCBS dies and load .38 Special/.357 Mag, .45 Colt and .40S&W. My rifle calibers are .223, .303 and .308.

Is anyone familiar enough with these to suggest which may serve me better?
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Old November 7, 2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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All I can say is go BIG BLUE. I have a Dillon 550 b It never has a problem unless I create it. It is smooth and works every time all the time. All companies offer good to excellent customer service and support. It really boils down to what does what you want it to do for the price you can afford.

The dillon is a manual index, Hornady and RCBS presses are auto index meaning that the press indexes the cases for you. I like the manual index over the auto and once you get doing it can splash out powder and get messy if you go to fast. All three will handle just about any case except the biggest magnums and the 50bmg.
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Old November 7, 2009, 09:22 AM   #3
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Dillon550b - nuff said.
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Old November 7, 2009, 09:28 AM   #4
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I only have experience with green and blue progressives. Green= No good. Blue= Very good.
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Old November 7, 2009, 09:28 AM   #5
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Physically pick up a Dillon (cast aluminum) and then an RCBS (cast iron) and the choice will be yours.......
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Old November 7, 2009, 10:11 AM   #6
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Read this:

IMHO: Lee is OK, Dillon is good, Hornady LNL is GOOD!

Both Dillon and Hornady have Great Customer Service

When you purchase the LNL you get $225 in free bullets (1000 of your choice!!) Not really a factor but, something to think about.
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Old November 7, 2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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I have the Hornady LNLAP and it's a great setup. I don't have any experiance with the Dillon or RCBS. I've been using mine for about 2 years and it's been great. I load for rifle and pistol and use Lee, RCBS, & Lyman dies. I've only had issues with the Lee die as they are a little short so I have to take the locknut and turn it upside down in order to get enough thread through the bushing. Other than that they work good. The free bullets was a plus for me. I'd say you couldn't go wrong either way. I know Hornady has great customer service as I tried them out last week. I needed a spring that holds the cartridges on the plate. No prob they said we'll get it out to you. In 3 days in was in my mail box. I've also had good customer service with RCBS over an Xdie that I managed to bugger up and they sent a new one free of charge. I'm sure Dillon is great too, they wouldn't be what they are today if they weren't.
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Old November 7, 2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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Definitely go Dillon, but not the 550, buy the 650. The price difference between the two is incredibly small considering the huge improvement in functionality. That extra $120 might be the best investment you ever had in your life.

Lee and Hornady are not in the same class.

As they say: price you forget... quality you will have for years.
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Old November 7, 2009, 03:07 PM   #9
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Dillon all the way
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Old November 7, 2009, 03:24 PM   #10
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I also use the Hornady LNL and only have praise for the system. I was also looking at the Dillon, but the 1000 free bullets Hornady was offering won me over! I don't think you could go wrong with either.
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Old November 7, 2009, 03:36 PM   #11
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I own both the 550 and the LNL AP and have loaded extensively on my hinting buddies 650. The LNL AP is the winner by a long shot. The 550 is set up for one cartridge and gets little use.

When Dillon used to be the only game in town, a loyal and faithful following was developed. I swear that if you ask should I get CCi or Winchester primers, some guy will answer "Get the Dillon." Now that's loyalty, misplaced, but loyal.

If you want a long laundry list of why the LNL AP is better, I can supply you with it, or you can do a search in my name. Here are only a few:

The number one factor why the LNL is better is because it produces more accurate concentric ammo that is measurably better.

The 2nd biggest factor is the Dillon$ exce$$ive cost on acce$$oriie$.

The third is the powder system on the Dillons is the old archaic slide, while the LNL has a micro-adjustable powder measure that is measurably more accurate.

You also get a bullet rebate from Hornady that can be worth about $200 depending on what you get, so that $ can be subtracted from your initial cost.

Good Shooting!
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Old November 7, 2009, 03:37 PM   #12
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Dillon Dillon Dillon

I have two; one Dillon 550, the other Lee progressive PRO 1000
The Dillon is great, c/s is superb. Often they ship me parts free when I break one.
The 550 is also the right speed for a beginner. I have looked at the 650's and think that there are too many auto stages for me to keep up with. I load 9mm, 38/357, and 45 ACP.

Happy trails,

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Old November 7, 2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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I wish I had a dollar for every time this type of thread is posted.

With the budget you have then I probably would say the Hornady, I like it a little better than the 550. I think the 650 is the better of the three. I own the Hornaday and the Dillon 650. I like them both but I will give the win to the 650. it is easier to operated and runs smoother with less jams.

Don't pick your press because of free bullets, the bullets will be long gone and you will still have the press which you may or may not like.

Powder measure - neither gets the win period. Don't worry about the mirco adjustment it can be added to the Dillon too but really isn't needed for either. Each measure will have difficulties with some powders.

Accurate concentric ammo - big win for the Dillon 650 period. There are some cheap after market additions that just make the Dillon out perform what my Hornady LNL AP can produce. Of course if this is your concern then you would want the best and there are some great long distance shooters that swear by the 650 and the add ons. I agree with them after taking the same measurements etc.

However based on price alone then Lee would be your machine next would be the Hornady. But and a very big but the Dillon 650 would be cheaper in the long run because you wouldn't want another press.

Honestly get what you like not what I or someone else likes and get to know the machine then you will fall in love with it. The best way to judge a press is by the positive comments given to the press.

BTW have fun and enjoy which ever press you buy.
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Old November 7, 2009, 05:14 PM   #14
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If I didn't already have the 550b I'd get the Lock-n-Load. The Dillon is a good press, but I've had my share of troubles with it. I had to put a lock nut on the powder measure's through-bolt to keep it from backing out and dropping the square plastic bushing that operates the slide. I've had the plate come loose from the ram and currently I'll lose one or two out of every 100 primers because they pop out of the primer cup somewhere between the primer tube and the hole in the shell plate. The worst malfunction lately was when the little leaf spring stuck back and allowed a full tube of primers to dump all at once. That I have to attribute to rust from always being mounted to a garage workbench in the Houston area. (I found all but 1 and my garage ain't exactly showroom clean!)

Overall, the 550b is a good progressive press but I don't worship at the blue altar. It's held up reasonably well after loading many thousands of .45acp, .38spl, .45Colt, and 9mm.

I load .357mag, .44mag, and bottleneck rifle cartridges on a Lee Classic Turret in single stage mode.
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Last edited by Sport45; November 7, 2009 at 05:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old November 7, 2009, 05:51 PM   #15
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Either you have not done concentricity testing on the 650 and the LNL, or you are disingenuous.

My buddy with the 650 and I did a comprehensive test of the 550, 650, LNL AP, and our single stage presses. We selected a wide range of rifle cartridges in order to make it a fair comparison. The clear winner by a wide margin was the LNL AP.

After years of giving me blue grief about having a red press, my buddy surprised the bajeepers out of me when he sheepishly announced he had sold his 650 and purchased the LNL AP.

Incidentally, several years ago an engineer posted a long explanation as to why the LNL bushing system produced the better concentricity. It was why my buddy and I did the testing ourselves. I now load all my rifle cartridges on the LNL AP.
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Old November 7, 2009, 06:12 PM   #16
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Hi Shoney I am being as truthful as I can be. I never bragged about either the Hornady or the Dillon stock presses when in comes to accurate concentric ammo that is measurably better. If you are happy with the stock Hornady that is great.

However if you want what you are talking about then the Dillon can be made much better and in fact better than the Hornady can ever hope to be. I have talked about this issue before and I will stand by my position that the Dillon is much much better than the Hornady when it comes to this issue. I can't say if the 550 can do the same because I don't own one.

So the issue is accurate concentric ammo that is measurably better.

The first fact the stock Hornady can be a little better. We do agree on this.

The second fact is the Dillon 650 can be made better in this regard than the Hornady. If this is your concern then the Diloon 650 is the clear winner.

What is Concentricity?

Concentricity refers to how straight the bullet is on top of the loaded round. A bullet that is straight will enter the rifling in the barrel that way. Bullets that enter the rifling slightly crooked do not shoot with their highest accuracy. Note instead of putting this in my own words I just repeated this from the below web site so that we could put a clear idea on what we are talking about.

In any event this addition will make the Dillon 650 the clear winner. I have not used one of the 550 so I can't personal say it will do the same thing. However if concentricity is you concern then consider this product.

Here is what I am talking about. Thus from actually using and owning both the Hornady and the Dillon 650 I can say without one bit of doubt the Dillon is better. Now I am not going to say some one has come up with an idea to make the Hornady just as good or even better. I'm just not aware of it at this time.

Remember when it comes to these type of concerns then a little better is not better. If you are measuring it then it has to be the best.
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Old November 7, 2009, 07:07 PM   #17
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When Dillon used to be the only game in town, a loyal and faithful following was developed.
Hmmmmmmmm.... I wonder when that was?

From my memory I bought the Hornady Pro 7 (basically the same machine as the LNL) long before Dillon 650 appeared. I then switched to Dillon, and never looked back.

I suppose we all could provide the lists of "better things" for the presses we like.

As far as Hornady is concerned, I liked only one thing about it - its O-ring case retainer... the rest was just OK in my view.
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Old November 7, 2009, 09:56 PM   #18
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The strength of the Whidden system is that it allows individual dies to float independently to align with individual cartridges in the shell plate, which the Hornady bushings also allow, but the stock Dillon tool head does not.

The problem with the Whidden system is it allows the die to float in its threads rather than in a bushing like Hornady uses. When dies float laterally in standard threads, there is an induced tilt, just like you get when a flat head screw is off center in a countersink. However, the load bearing surfaces of the hornady bushing's lugs are flat or very close too it, which allows lateral float for alignment without imparting a corresponding tilt to the die.

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Old November 7, 2009, 10:54 PM   #19
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The argument of bullet concentricty between the LNL and 650 can easily be put to rest per the OP's requirements. The LNL wins....period. The 650 is $40 more expensive and $30 out of range of the budget. Then, to make the 650 arguably better, even more money must be dumped into it. Having the bullet offer may be of importance to the OP since money is money.

Which is better? You'll NEVER receive a definitive answer. All we can do is provide information and experience and let you decide.

I personally prefer the LNL, especially since the EZJECT has been implemented.

1. The priming dispensing is one of the biggest pluses for me. Hornady definitely takes the cake on this one. NO MESSES on the press nor my bench.
2. The quick change die bushings are ingenious. A quick turn and the dies are out and can still be stored in their original boxes. When I'm ready to load for that cartridge again, a quick turn locks them in the press, a trial run to assure nothing has changed, and off I go...
3. The auto indexing is much smoother operating. Case removal during each stage, if needed, is quick and simple.
4. The limited experience I've had with Dillon's powder measure has not been pleasant. Metering has been very accurate with my Hornady. I love their powder measure metering inserts. It's a quick release spring loaded button style. So, you can buy extras and set them to the powder charge you want and no longer need to fiddle with setting charges again. Hornady also offers a quick change funnel insert to quickly empty the powder measure if changing out powders. In fairness, I don't know if Dillon has a feature like this or not.
5. Once you start adding on accessories on the Dillon in the future, be prepared. They are EXPENSIVE.

Is Dillon a good press? You darn right it is. But my money went to MidSouthShooters Supply to pay for a Hornady. My favorite color by far is blue...unless we're talkin' 'bout presses...
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Old November 7, 2009, 11:25 PM   #20
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I might as well get in on the argument too since that is what this basically is. I see there is not much Lee support which is fine, I've used them and their cheap junk. Ive never personally used a Hornady press, but to me they definatly look to be the best. I have played with Dillon 550's and you could not give me one of those. I would keep my RCBS press anyday over one of those. The priming system is junk on the PRO 2000, ( primer strips ) but the rest of it is good.
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Old November 7, 2009, 11:35 PM   #21
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The priming system is junk on the PRO 2000, ( primer strips ) but the rest of it is good.
Dude, put the crack pipe down, seriously. Pro2000 priming is the best on the market, bar none. I hate messing about with trays of primers. Buying preloaded strips of primers is the way to go.
Safer by far. No blowing up a tube of primers and patterning your ceiling with a Pro2000.
Less chance for contamination by far.
Faster by far.
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Old November 7, 2009, 11:56 PM   #22
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Not sure what a crackpipe is, here in Wyo we dont see many. I've heard theres alot in Kalifonia though. You must be using one if you like that system. HA HA
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Old November 7, 2009, 11:56 PM   #23
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Well I have to admit there haven't been many fans throwing their support for the RCBS. People thought the Edsel looked the best too.

BTW my Blue Press has a pretty sharp cover for December 2009.

Like I said the free bullet offer is nice however you are not buying a press for the free expendable products that will be long gone. That is a hook because they will make up the money with additional accessories for the press. Your budget is low for a progressive if you are going to reload for all of the calibers you have listed regardless of which press you buy.

Blood runs pretty thick with each press as you can tell with many people spending more time on what they don't like about the other press than spending time on what works well with the press they have.

What really gives one press a plus over the other? Well as you can see it depends on what the person bought.

Good luck and just plan on increasing the budget in the long term for either press. The only thing I will add I prefer the Hornady over the 550B and the 650 over the Hornady. Now that reference is given from just a normal reloader that just likes to reload and likes the least amount of hassle when it comes to reloading on a press. Though once a month I do get a nice book in the mail from the Blue company.

Here is what I currently reload, 380, 38/357, 40, 45ACP, 44mag, 25-06, 30-06, 223 and just started the 45-70. My 35 Rem is next and maybe someday I will start on the shotguns.
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Old November 8, 2009, 01:03 AM   #24
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Researched and Bought Hornady LNL AP

First I'd like to thank the general firearms community who have posted experiences (pos/neg) as it gave me a lot of info to consider before making my purchase.

After researching as much as possible (unfortunately with no hands on), I did go with the Hornady LNL AP; mainly due to value for price (compared to the Dillon). I went with the LNL AP for many of the excellent reasons posted by Shoney & Tuttle8.

The free .308 bullets (1000) was another factor for me considering the cost of comparable quality presses. The LNL AP compares with the far more expensive Dillon 650 (not 550) and the auto index DOES make a difference (smart half stage move on up and down stroke too) . Yes, progressives are a little more complex to learn but if you're thinking a lot of shooting for many years, it's definitely worth it. A single stage or turret is great if you don't load too many rounds at a time or want to manually go through each step--which you can do anyway with the LNL AP (the quick change bushing make this even easier).

I got hands on training with a friend who is also an ex-sniper and current gunsmith; because nothing compares with hands on practice from someone in the know.

Also I bought (Amazon & Cabelas):
- DigiWeigh 100AX Gram Digital Scale, on
- Lee Perfect Powder Measure (which IS consistently accurate with ball powder for sure - I used Hodgdon H322) for bench measuring instead of on press. Cheap but good.
- Lee Safety Powder Scale. Useless. It never stops oscillating. The pan is super light so I tried adding weight it didn't work. I use the pan and measure on the Digiweigh (after calibrating the digital).
- Hornady Die Sets (with 100 free bullets per, again great offer), case trimmer
- Lyman chamfer/debur tool, funnel, digital caliper

The EZject is a great feature. The Quick change bushings are another unmatchable feature (as I started using the AP more like a single stage/Turret). All in all, I'm super happy with the LNL AP press and in knowing as my shooting skills increase, I will be able to get the addons that will make my handloading even better.

Last edited by miykael; November 8, 2009 at 01:34 AM.
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Old November 8, 2009, 03:19 AM   #25
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miykael, congratulations on your purchase. I'm sure you will enjoy it and get a lot of good use out of it. Now here is the reality of the whole issue: One day you will have the opportunity to try out different presses or someone else will come out with the "latest and greatest" and you will look at it. Then you will decide that you just gotta have it or you still love your Hornady and wouldn't part with it for the world. This is how it has been with everyone on this forum period. Whatever you do it will come down to personal preference. Again, congratulations on your purchase and safe reloading.

P.S. I own a Dillon and RCBS and love them both.
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