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Old October 16, 2015, 11:09 AM   #1
marine6680
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Progressive press... Need opinions on the different models available

Thinking I would like to pick up a progressive press. I mostly do pistol reloading.

I currently have a Lee turret, and it allows me to crank out about 50rds in 15-20 minutes. After I have everything set up and ready of course.

It works well enough, but I would like to up the output rate.

I'm not looking to get the biggest and best press available, just one that is good quality and suitable for my needs.


I would like the ability for the press to have a case and bullet feed, as that is what really speeds up the process.


I was looking at the different Lee offerings and the Hornady ammo plant.

The Hornady costs a good bit, but it does seem like a good press. Not sure about the Lee progressives, but they cost much less.


So any opinions from owners would be helpful.

Thanks
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Old October 16, 2015, 12:17 PM   #2
condor bravo
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This has been kicked around quite a bit lately and no doubt you will be getting emphatic replies from the Dillon people, I guess I am one, especially for the 550 or 650 model. But to ask for a case feed and bullet feed is reaching for the top of the line and most expensive of course. Neither are necessary for good production and you will probably want to re-think that. All brands have their particular hang-ups and it may be difficult to determine which is the least offensive. The priming system for all seems to give the most problems. A case feeder and bullet feeder might be asking for more problems but I have no experience with either. Lots of controversy it seems on the Lee tools, some say that they do not even belong in the big leagues, but no experience with them.
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Old October 16, 2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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Yeah, any reason you haven't included Dillon?
If it's the cost of their accessories, check out the youtube videos on how some folks have adapted less expensive versions.
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Old October 16, 2015, 01:13 PM   #4
lee n. field
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Quote:
I was looking at the different Lee offerings and the Hornady ammo plant.
Lee Pro 1000, I can tell you from experience, can be frustrating and finicky to keep running.

I have seen a couple folks (on a Lee specific Facebook group), who have modded a Lee Classic Turret into using a pro 1000 shellplate carrier, turning it into an improved Pro 1000. It is said to work better, because of the sturdier frame.

That's all the progressive experience I have. I'm sure others will chime in.
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Old October 16, 2015, 01:17 PM   #5
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Lee Pro 1000

I absolutely love my Lee Pro 1000 for pistol ammo - I use it primarily for .40 S&W and .38 Spl. My magnum revolver loads are all done on either a very old Rockchucker or a Lee Classic Turret press simply because I do not load high volumes of them.

You certainly will not find a lower cost alternative for a progressive press, and in my experience they are VERY reliable, even after thousands and thousands of rounds. The Pro 1000 is not particularly difficult to set up and tune, but getting it right is critical for completely problem free reloading. The primer attachment causes some people problems, but in my experience that is 100% caused by dirt and carelessness.

I have no issues at all with the case feeder on the Pro 1000, but I have never tried their bullet feeder - I find there is enough going on with the progressive loading that I actually like having to pay enough attention to every round at end of the process to manually place the bullet on top of the case before I pull the handle each time.
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Old October 16, 2015, 01:24 PM   #6
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Decide on your budget first. A Dillon BL 550(an RL550B without the automatic priming and powder systems.) runs $259.95 sans dies. Uses any manufacturers' standard 7/8"-14 reloading dies. Dillon's warrantee is pretty much identical to RCBS' too. Any issues, get fixed with a phone call or E-mail. Don't know about used kit though. RCBS' does.
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Old October 16, 2015, 01:25 PM   #7
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If you are just going to do pistol then get a Dillon SDB
Re LEE Pro1000's had 4 of them and found that I spent more time keeping them running than reloading. Sold them and bought 2 SDB's and haven't spent a minute on anything but cranking out thousands of rounds,,, I do the Rifle on a couple of Lyman Turret presses
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Old October 16, 2015, 02:09 PM   #8
lee n. field
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Quote:
I absolutely love my Lee Pro 1000 for pistol ammo - I use it primarily for .40 S&W and .38 Spl.
I stopped loading .38 Special on mine. The case is too tall, and the angle is such, that it is very difficult to visually check that powder has dropped. I had a couple squibbs.

When I got my Classic Turret a couple years ago, I stole the Pro Autodisk off the Pro 1000 to get the turret running, and de-facto retired the Pro 1000.

Only recently have I started working with it again. I got a Pro Auto Drum for the turret press, which freed up the Autodisk. I moved the Pro Autodisk back to the Pro 1000. I've skipped the pull chain, and left the return spring I had to put on the powder measure when I put it on the turret, to reset the measuring disk. Seems to work OK, much more convenient than the chain.
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Old October 16, 2015, 03:08 PM   #9
marine6680
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The case and bullet feed is really to speed up the process.

I will look into the Dillon mentioned.

I was looking over the Lee load master, as they come with dies. I could get the 45 version, and add that to the list of calibers I reload. Just need a shell plate for 9mm.

I don't load hot, and I have found my Lee autodisk to be very reliable. (after some tweaks) it lacks fine precision though, so changes can vary a couple tenths between settings, maybe more.

The ammo plant is interesting but expensive.
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Old October 16, 2015, 03:11 PM   #10
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I can only comment on the Hornady LNL as its the only progressive press I have. I have no case or bullet feeders and have had no issues with it. Because Dillion is so hard and so expensive to get here the Hornady especially with the bullet rebates was the best.
It has put out a lot of really good pistol ammo for me.
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Old October 16, 2015, 04:28 PM   #11
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I have a dillon 650 - love it
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Old October 16, 2015, 04:58 PM   #12
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I have a Lee Pro 1000 and it works just fine for 9mm Makarov, 9mm Luger, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. The case feeder comes with it and works fine. Once in a while I get cases fed upside down but if you pay attention, that's not a problem. Upside down cases can be minimized by dumping the cases in toward the outside of the case loader top while kind of "swirling around" the top of the feeder.

I've never had much trouble with the primer feeder as long as you don't let it run too low, or let splashed powder accumulate around the primer feed area.

I don't have a bullet feeder but that doesn't bother me. I can knock out a 1,000 rounds in 3 to four hours.

Make sure you have a light positioned so you can visually verify that powder dropped before placing the bullet on top of the case. Buy an extra set or two of disks for the powder measure and customize them to your production loads.

I have loaded .223 rifle on the Pro 1000 but my rifle reloading process has too many "in-between" steps to make practical use of a progressive.
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Old October 16, 2015, 05:32 PM   #13
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I use a Hornady LNL and love it, I load from tiny 30 Mauser to huge 45-70, something like 15 different calibers, with no problems. I keep a log with powder measure height setting and drop tubes so changing calibers is quick. I cannot tell you how much I load a hour, as I am not into a race, but when I sit in front of the press, I go until I am out or components or I have enough loaded to fill my needs. The Hornady LnL does have a optional case feeder, which I use when doing large loads, and a bullet feeder, which I have used when loading 9mm.

I thought I was going to buy a blue press, but at a national show, I could not get anyone there to show me their presses and explain their values, where as at the Hornady booth, they went out of their way to show me their press and what it could do.
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Old October 16, 2015, 05:45 PM   #14
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I have the Hornady lock n load. Love it, watch the set up videos by Highboy and it runs like a charm

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Old October 16, 2015, 07:01 PM   #15
Carriertxv
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Dragonflydf is the Hornady case feeder working good for you? I think I want to get one but have seen negative reviews on it. Though a lot of the bad reviews are coming from mostly non Hornady users.
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Old October 16, 2015, 07:07 PM   #16
marine6680
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The Dillon SDB looks good, especially for for pistol calibers... the 650 has a lot of options.

I load 9mm and 223 currntly, and possibly 45 and 308 in the future.


I always liked the look of the Hornady, but it looks large.
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Old October 16, 2015, 07:15 PM   #17
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The Hornady will load all the above calipers. And it's not too large mate.

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Old October 16, 2015, 07:19 PM   #18
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Should you be inclined to try a Lee product for the lower cost, I would think that Lee press proponents would recommend the Load Master over the Pro 1000. The 1000 has only three die stations compared to the Load Master's five. The aluminum design of the 1000 might seem flimsy compared to the steel construction of most other brands of progressives. But many still swear by their 1000s. It may boil down to what you are willing to pay. Give the Dillons some serious thought. The 550 has four die stations and the 650 has five. One big difference is that the 550 has manual advance from station to station while the 650 uses auto advance (that can be deactivated, as I understand it, should the auto advance contribute to excessive problems).
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Old October 16, 2015, 07:28 PM   #19
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The biggest problem I have had with the case loader was getting the disc to stay engaged with the drive. I had to shim it out to get it to sit deeper onto the motor. The Hornady case loader is the same as the dillion, just different color plastic. I mostly use it when I am loading 9mm, 45, 223, as when I load any of those, I tend to load a lot of them.
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Old October 16, 2015, 08:10 PM   #20
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Does the Hornady offer an on press trimmer for rifle brass?
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Old October 16, 2015, 08:24 PM   #21
condor bravo
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Note to marine 6680:
You may find that loading rifle rounds, including .308s, on a progressive puts considerable strain on the press and you may want to forego with the .308 loading on whatever press you decide on. As many others have said who use progressives, they use single stage presses for rifle loading (lighter calibers like .223s can be an exception).
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Old October 16, 2015, 08:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
The 1000 has only three die stations compared to the Load Master's five.
The Loadmaster effectively has 4, because of the way they do the priming.
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Old October 16, 2015, 08:54 PM   #23
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Hornady doesn't offer an on press case trimmer but you can mount a Dillion one on the Hornady.
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Old October 16, 2015, 10:26 PM   #24
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I have no trouble with rifle cases in the LnL, just make sure the cases are well lubed when you size and cap them. Depending on what I am loading I will size cap and prime, then in one station I have the Lee quick trim die and I will trim them and set them aside for later loading. Some of the rifle loads I have done are 223, 30-30, 308, 7.7 Jap, 7.5 x 55 Swiss, 8mm Mauser,
I have reformed 30-06 into 8mm on the press and had no problems, the press is way over built and if you get a stuck case, it is because of a lack of lube and not the presses fault.
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Old October 17, 2015, 11:36 AM   #25
marine6680
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So far, I am liking the Dillon 650.

Manual bullet feed, but cases are fed from a tube. There is an option for a case feeder to fill the tube for you.

And the price isn't bad... I can get a 9mmbsetup going, with a quick change kit (minus dies) for around $750


But the LnL looks good as well, higher initial cost at $1200, but more options, and all components are auto feed.

I can always use my turret for larger caliber use.
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