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Old January 31, 2006, 03:46 PM   #1
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Dillon RL550B vs Hornady LOCK-N-LOAD AP

I'm torn between the RL550B and the Lock-n-load (lnl).

Some questions comes to mind......

Is the 550 auto indexing?
Can does of you hwo has used the 550 and/or the lnl give me some feed back.

Oh and am new her so hi to everybody
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Old January 31, 2006, 03:56 PM   #2
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Dillon and Hornady

The 550 that I use is not auto indexing. I have never used a LNL so I can't make a comparison. I have seen a LNL in person at the store, and they look to be real robust and well made. What is the difference in price for the hardware to switch to different calibers? Plates on the Dillon vs the cost of the die collets on the LNL? Also, on the 550 I use, it is easier to buy a seperate powder measure for each caliber setup rather than moving the powder measurer around so take that into consideration as well. Is this easier on the LNL? I don't know. Maybe the Dillon is updated now as the one I use is about 10 years old.

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Old January 31, 2006, 03:56 PM   #3
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I'm really not trying to sound like a jerk.
Use the search button.
This has been beat to death as recently as two days ago, and it constantly being revisited.
550s are NOT auto indexing.
Autoindexing WITHOUT a case feeder serves very little purpose because you have to take your hand off the handle to load the cases.
This has changed recently, and I'll explain why.
Up until last year the lock n load AP was competing against the 550, not the 650.
The dillon 650 has a case feeder, is auto indexing and has 5 fully functional stations.
1 Decap, resize, prime
2. bell, case activated powder drop
3. empty (place for optional system like powder check die, lock out die, etc.)
4. bullet seat
5. bullet crimp, auto eject.
Note you can have your cake and eat it too, it checks powder dispense, seats and crimps in different stages, and just generally is the benchmark, the standard that the others are judged by.

The 550 has 4 stations, but due to a very good design, it uses them efficiently, and while a 5th station would be nice, it isn't really necessary.
1. Decap, resize, prime.
2. bell, case activated powder drop
3. seat
4. crimp, eject
(Note that you can't have a powder check system unless you want to crimp and seat in the 4th station.)

The lock N load up until last year, had an awful priming system, needed a $75 backplate to swap calibers, the case activated powder drop just wasn't as good, and the 3rd station had to be used as an expander die (no belling powder funnel.), making the 5 station LNL the functional equivalent of the 550, a 4 station press.
Well, they have prolly been swarmed with suggestion on how to make their press better, and some have been followed, (Now you don't need to buy the $75 backplate, it's included, and the priming system has been improved.), also some people have come up with their own improvements.
Like retrofitting a powder check die into a hollow expander die, and just a few months ago hornady came up with their own case activated through expander die powder drop.
There are still weak points, like not being able to use a lee factory crimp die because it wil crush the eject wire in the 5th station, but it has some advantages.
Like the lock N load bushing system. The adjustable powder measure insert.

This improvement has worried dillon enough to make a case feeder available for their 550, so there aren't as many people trading in their 550s in on LNL presses.
But dillon has not offered a kit to make the 550 auto indexing.
They don't want to cut into their 650 sales.

The LNL is cheaper to do caliber conversions on.
It may or may not take some work at this point, but WITH some work, the LNL is ALMOST the equivalent of a 650, and it's cheaper than the 650 by the cost of the case feeder (Give or take.)
Some will argue that it is the same as the 650 because it has 5 stations, but for some reason the production rates don't keep up with the 650.
Dillon is trying to say that the new case feeder they released makes the 550 as fast/faster than the LNL. (Without auto indexing, I'd doubt it.)
Hornady says they can outrun the 550, have auto indexing, an auto case feeder, and 5 stations for less than the 650.
Who to believe?
Nobody's saying the LNL AP beats the 650, but the 650s more money.
I would have a LNL AP, but since I already have a 550 and 12 deluxe quick change kits, my money's already spent. All I could do now is lose money.
I like my 550, and while I don't have a powder check system, since I average 400-450 rounds an hour just putzing along, a powder check system isn't necessary.
Once you hit 500-600 rounds an hour, a powder check system sounds nicer and nicer, esp. if you already have a 5 station press.
I'm happy enough with my 550 to keep it, it's simple, it never breaks, it changes calibers fast and so easy you wonder why everyone else has troubles, and it does what I want it to do.
I wouldn't buy a 650, the caliber changes are too expensive, the priming system has to be adjusted or swapped, the case feeder takes time to set up, and I just don't need all that capacity.
If I only did one caliber I'd get the square deal.
If I wanted one or two calibers, and I needed 15000+ rounds in a year, I'd get the 650 with all the goodies.
I only loaded 10,000 last year, and spent 2 hours a month and that was it.
If the LNL AP was available 8 years ago, and they had all the bugs worked out of it then, I would have bought it.
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
(Hold me.)

Last edited by caz223; January 31, 2006 at 05:05 PM.
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Old January 31, 2006, 04:05 PM   #4
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i have a lnl and really like it. it's as smooth as greased ball bearings on glass. never a hiccup. just to explain one thing, i don't use it to prime cases, i prime by hand.

i am in the process of buying the case feeder for it. i decided i can't live without it any longer.

now it won't take long and the big blue boys will torch this reply. one thing to keep in mind is to purchase the extra die bushings. they are the best thing since sliced bread.

i wouldn't trade my lnl for two dillons and yes i do have a dillon 550 plus a square b and three lee loaders. and when i first started reloading i used a lyman hand tool.

good luck. you'll love the lnl.




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Old January 31, 2006, 05:05 PM   #5
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How come no one hit in the warrenties. I know for a fact, if something breaks on a Dillon, they with ship the part to you as quick as they can hang up the phone. Free of charge. How's the warrenty on the LNL?

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Old January 31, 2006, 05:08 PM   #6
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Haven't heard anything bad about hornady's warranty.
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
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Old January 31, 2006, 05:42 PM   #7
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I just got off the phone with Dillon, the conversation went like this :

One ring

Dillon: Hello, Dillon Precision, this is Wayne, how may I help you ?


Hi Wayne, I need to buy a fail-safe return rod for a 650, I bought a quick change kit and it didn't have one inside, I forgot to check it before I ordered the quick change kit.

Dillon: Customer number ?

Me: I don't know

Dillon: zipcode ?

Dillon: last name ?

Me: BigSlick of course

Dillon: Got it right here, It will go out tonight. Can I help with anything else this afternoon ?

Me: Thanks Wayne, but I screwed up and forgot to order one, let me give you a card number to bill it to. I don't want to abuse the warranty, I'll call when, if, something ever breaks.

Dillon: I already printed the order, I can't change it now, but thank you very much for being honest.

Me: So what do I do here ?

Dillon: Enjoy... and thank you for calling Dillon Precision, don't hesitate to call us again if we may be of service, Mr BigSlick.

Me: ummm... OK, thanks Wayne

Total call time, less than two minutes.

Who would you buy from ?

Nobody likes war, but if you find yourself in one - fight for those you serve with and to make the trip home. Show mercy to those that deserve it and a relentless, ruthless, cunning evil to those who don't.
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Old January 31, 2006, 05:52 PM   #8
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Everyone knows that dillon's warranty is legendary.
Stories like that are the rule, not the exception.
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
(Hold me.)
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Old January 31, 2006, 06:04 PM   #9
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Hornady L-N-L

Bought Hornady L-N-L about six months ago, and well satisfied. The fifth station allows for the powder check, and the bushings allow for quick changeovers. the case activated powder arrangement is such that many
calibers(small cases) all use the same powder bushing, so don't have to change anything about powder hardware, just quick adjustment of powder meter. Have loaded muck ammo, several calibers, no squibs, yet.
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Old February 1, 2006, 01:50 AM   #10
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I've got a 15 year old Hornady Pro-Jector press. It's been cranking out thousands of rounds over the years.

Errr, it still works just fine. Takes me about 15 minutes to swap out dies, shell plates, primer feeder swap, and change the powder measure to a new charge amount.

It reloads around 400 rounds an hour without a bullet or case feeder. In addition I have to manually reload the primer feeder every 125 primers or so - that takes a couple minutes.

Ummm, in about 40k rounds I've never had to call Hornady's customer support. As long as the press doesn't break, I really don't care if their support is good or not.

The Dillon may/may not be a better press. All I can say is that my Hornady works just fine.
Robert N.

"Remember, Eagles may soar but Weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!"
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Old February 1, 2006, 11:17 AM   #11
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No Contest: Dillon

Have had my 550 for 13 years. Solid Machine. Bought it slightly used. Ive loaded tens of thousand of rounds. Wen I moved it got damaged in the move and needed parts. Called Dillon, explained my problem, told them I bought it used and the damage was my fault New priming assembly, and rotating sprocket. NO CHARGE. Keep it clean, lubed, replace worn parts, it'll last forever.
especially like the NO B.S Warranty.


Last edited by ripsaw; February 2, 2006 at 01:21 PM.
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Old February 1, 2006, 06:50 PM   #12
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I can't imagine priming by hand when using a progressive unless (gag, puke) I happened to be using a Lee Loadmaster.
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Old February 1, 2006, 11:25 PM   #13
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I know more than a few people that do just that, hand prime even though they use a 550. Most do it because they use a universal deprimer to deprime before tumbling (either on the 550 or a single stage, or even hand press). Then they hand prime in front of the TV. Plus it is one less thing to stop and replenish while you're using the progressive.


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Old February 2, 2006, 06:49 AM   #14
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I primed off the press when I first started loading with a progressive.
I had a LOT of brass that was already tumbled, primer pockets cleaned, sized and primed.
With a size/deprime die in the first station it kinda screws up your rhythm.
Because you have to either take out the decapper, or pull the lever, put in a new case THEN turn the starwheel.
Your right hand kinda has to be in 2 places at once.
Cuts my production time way down, unless, of course, you just take out the decapper stem.
I'm not just a gun.
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Old February 4, 2006, 08:24 PM   #15
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Post 2003 Hornady LnL AP

I read in this forum that the post 2003 LnL AP presses has most of the problems takken care of
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