550b or LNL AP


PDA






Mtdew
December 10, 2006, 04:53 AM
I'm 90% sure i'm going to buy the LNL however i'm still entertaining getting the Dillon

I'll be loading 9mm, 45acp, 5.56, 7.62x51 and some 7.62x25 & possibly some 8x57 if i get around to pulling down the 27K rds of yugo I have

It will however be mostly used for 9mm and 45

any reason I should go w/ one over the other?

If you enjoyed reading about "550b or LNL AP" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Empyrean
December 10, 2006, 07:13 AM
Although I have not used it yet, I switched from a Dillon 550B to a Hornady LNL AP press with casefeeder. For me, the primary reasons were as follows:


auto-indexing
5 stations
less-clunky powder-measure
easier caliber changes
no toolheads required
case feeder does pistol and rifle cases


It appears to me that the LNL AP is a more versatile press. That being said, I think the Dillon 550B with strong arm mount, bullet tray, aluminum roller handly and empty cartridge bin is a MUCH more ergonomic machine than the LNL AP. I will definitely miss those features and hope that Hornady will work on providing similar items in the future.

If you buy the LNL AP right now your going to also get 1000 bullets from them. I expect to get 1300 from them with the three sets of dies I ordered. It helps sweeten the pot a little.

The LNL AP really compares to the Dillon 650 in terms of features. Hope this helps...

--AJ

hairtrigger
December 10, 2006, 09:03 AM
You should try both machines first.
For me the Hornady feels better. The way the Hornady is set up feels right compared to the 550B.
Same warranty, 550B cost more across the board, especially for caliber changes.
It is your money, buy the one that you like after trying both

loadedround
December 10, 2006, 09:50 AM
I have to go for the Dillon 550B press. While the Hornady LNL press is an excellent machine and a lot of them are in use, I like to point out several advantages to the Dillon. Auto indexing is not that important compared to manual indexing. With the Dillon you can remove a case at any time for inspection or move it to any statio to start or even back up if need be. You are able to operate it at your own pace. Also the Dillon has removable tool heads so that once your dies are adjusted and locked, you remove the entire head to change calibers...dies don't have to be unscrewed and readjusted constantly. Extra die heads are about 10.00, possibly cheaper on eBay.:) That in itself is a big advantage if you load for two or more different calibers. Think about my friend. YMMV

Luggernut
December 10, 2006, 11:43 AM
"With the Dillon you can remove a case at any time for inspection or move it to any statio to start or even back up if need be. "

Are you saying with the Hornady LNL you can't remove a case at any station? Can you not start at any station? I'm looking at the LNL for my Xmas present and haven't used a progressive so I'm curious about this.

hairtrigger
December 10, 2006, 12:19 PM
With the Hornady as well you CAN remove the case at any location.

Here is some interesting reading, this guy does seem to have something personal aginst Mike but he has some valid points

http://www.cs.odu.edu/~rtompkin/hornady/blue.php

Also Dillon Toolheads are just under $25 each compared to a set of Hornady bushings

GrantCunningham
December 10, 2006, 12:37 PM
First, I'll state for the record that I have extensive reloading experience with Hornady, Dillon, and Lee progressive presses. All of them have strong and weak points, and I'm not one to overlook faults in the name of brand loyalty!

Are you saying with the Hornady LNL you can't remove a case at any station?

Yes, you can remove a case at any station - easier, in fact, than the 550b. The Dillon uses little buttons to hold the cases in - you have to pull the buttton out, then pull the case, then replace the little button so that you don't lose it. On the AP, it's held in by a spring - just pull the case out.

Also the Dillon has removable tool heads so that once your dies are adjusted and locked, you remove the entire head to change calibers...dies don't have to be unscrewed and readjusted constantly.

:confused: :confused: The whole idea of the L-n-L system is that you DON'T unscrew dies to change them!

I'd like to make a strong case for auto indexing: it reduces the chance for human error in the reloading process. The chances of a squib or overcharge are higher on a non-indexing press; a slight lapse in attention can result in failing to advance the shellplate, or advancing it twice. Yes, many people have no problems with them - but many have. This is not predictive, you understand, but simply a cautionary note.

My major gripe with the Dillon is their powder measure; I could never get any of my six measures to meter Universal Clays correctly. (Yes, SIX - Dillon makes it a pain to swap and reset the powder measures, making it easier just to buy one for each caliber.) No powder measure is perfectly consistent with every powder over its entire range, but in my experience the Hornady is much better than the Dillon - easier to adjust, too.

Build quality and material choice are equivalent; neither has an advantage in this area, despite what the partisans will claim. Both brands are what I'd call middle-of-the-road in terms of manufacturing quality when compared to, say, a Star Universal.

Dillon is better at "hand holding" than Hornady is; if you're mechanically challenged, Dillon has a whole suport system to help you along. They do "reloading for dummies" better than anyone, and the other companies would do well to take a lesson. Their printed press instructions, for instance, are better than the other makers.

I like them both for different reasons, but today the majority of my ammo gets loaded on the Hornady. Of the presses I've used - Lee LoadMaster, Dillon 550 & 650, and L-n-L AP - the Hornady is my favorite. It isn't perfect, but nothing is!

Empyrean
December 10, 2006, 01:10 PM
I have to agree that auto-indexing does provide a little added measure of safety. One key point to note is that unlike Dillon 550b, you can swap just one die in the Hornady at a time rather than an entire toolhead.

Grant makes a good point about Dillon's customer service. It is definitely a notch above Hornady's as far as hand-holding. The Dillon guys really seem to have quite a bit of patience and really go the exta-mile to explain things in detail. Once you get past the phase of needing set-up support then the warranties are the same.

Idano
December 10, 2006, 01:36 PM
Mtdew if you're considering a progress I personally wouldn't consider the Dillon 550; it's not progressive it's manual index. If you want progressive then consider either the Dillon 650 or the Hornady L-NL Progressive. I just bought a new Hornady L-NL Progressive and seriously considered the 650. I tried out both presses before I bought and I personally thought both presses worked equally well and were both high quality. By the time I configured both presses for three calibers there was only slightly over a $100 difference between the two. It is true the Dillon charges more for conversion, about $65/caliber, but the Hornady shell pates run about $25 and there is a high probability you will end up with one per caliber.The main reason I chose Hornady over Dillon was because I could purchase shell and case feeder plates and bushing locally, where as the Dillon conversion kits had to be ordered. I am very happy with my press and I have already run 3,000 rounds through it a mix of .223, .40 S&W, and 9 mm with out any problems. However, if you buy the Hornady I can not stress enough the need to buy either the Dillon or RCBS Low Primer Alarm, you will be glad you did. The Hornady primer feed is in the back of the machine and doesn't have a indicator of any kind to let you know your low on primers. I originally tried a small wooden dowel a little longer then the primer tube but I would get going along and forget to watch the tube an end up loading a few rounds without primers:banghead:. I also added a digital case counter the only counts on the prime stroke which also helps.

I think whether you choose the Dillon 650 or the Hornady L-N-L Progressive you will be happy with your decision. IMO anyone that tells you that one of these two is better then the other is being biased by what they own, both are excellent presses!

1911user
December 10, 2006, 01:40 PM
One reason for the customer service difference is that you almost have to be an experienced reloader and shooter to get a phone support/order job at dillon. The dillon product line is much narrower than hornady, so that kind of background is reasonable to require. I read the help wanted ad for the dillon phone support positions once. There are lots of questions about a persons shooting, reloading, competition, and dillon-specific experience.

Do a search for my previous dillon 550 and hornady experience. I've posted it several times.

TooTaxed
December 10, 2006, 02:22 PM
I've loaded on both...chose the Hornady for my purchase because of the following:
(1.) The Dillon powder measure is a bitch to adjust compared to the modern Hornady drum powder measure. (My buddy bought three measures for his Dillon...at $60 each..., each set to a different charge, just so he wouldn't have to mess with it when changing calibers!)
(2.) Cost of changing cartridges.
(3.) Cost of loader and accessories...but this isn't really important as frequently used Dillons with complete accessory setups can be picked up rather reasonably on EBAY auctions. (This makes the cost about the same as for a brand new Hornady LNL setup.):p
(4.) IMHO, the Hornady is somewhat cleaner in use (re stray powder grains and decapped primers).

ClarkEMyers
December 10, 2006, 03:16 PM
Hornday LNL over 550B but 650 over Hornady LNL.

On the whole I agree with those who say loading many different cartridges will end up being a little cheaper and easier - but IMHO perhaps more tedious - with the Hornady.

The 650 package will end up being more expensive but bought over time the little niceties will make the whole setup a little nicer and maybe noticably more expensive.

550 is a very good place to start and never a mistake.

Empyrean
December 10, 2006, 03:18 PM
Clark,

Why more tedious with the Hornady over the 650?

--AJ

ClarkEMyers
December 10, 2006, 03:42 PM
See above for a mention of 3 Dillon powder measures for convenience but at extra cost FREX definitely more convenient than the Hornady definitely cheaper but a little more tedious - the Dillon needs but benefits from extras.

Strong mount, roller handle, Akro bins, loaded primer tubesloaded tool heads with Dillon or Redfield Pro series dies for handgun cartridges. Loaded tool heads with dies and a pre-set powder measure for each cartridge or even each load - a distinct tool head for 600 yard slow fire say.

FREX the Dillon brand primer tube loader is very high dollar but certainly the nicest - if they were all the same price Dillon would be the only one sold - and again in my opinion this carries through much - but not all - of the Dillon line. The Vibra tool is almost as good and a lot cheaper.

Kind of like saying the budget should include break-in ammunition before folks buy a Baer - if it's a stretch the Hornady is a better buy than the Dillon.

Empyrean
December 10, 2006, 04:20 PM
I would love to see a time showdown on a small-to-large caliber change between a Dillon 650 and a Hornady LNL AP. That would be an intersesting comparison. I've heard caliber changes on the 650 are tedious unless of course you buy a powder measure for every toolhead and a complete spare primer system. This is where I think the LNL AP shines. It looks to be very quick to change over calibers. I saw a video somewhere were a guy did it in a little under six minutes.

I cannot speak for the reliability of the Hornady as I am still waiting for a few key backordered parts to come in. I can see how the powder measure is drastically simpler and potentially more accurate due to a rotor rather than a sliding bar. In my opinion, buying a metering insert for $10.95 or less to keep with your dies is much better than the Dilon set-up. Just pop it in and you a ready to go. To use the same powder measure for different loads on a Dillon, not equipped with a Uniquetek micrometer, is tedious. It is even worse if you were to switch between the small and large powder bars.

Not having a toolhead means you can keep the dies in their boxes so the expense of optional toolhead stands is gone. My powder-cop die fits in their too. I just wish the powder die did as well. That would be nice and neat! The LNL bushing system is pretty cool. The primer tube is pretty neat on the LNL AP instead of that primer cup I had on the 550. As I said before, I will miss the really nice ergonomics of the 550 equipped with all the bells and whistles.

--AJ

Shoney
December 10, 2006, 06:16 PM
I have the 550 and the LNL and the Hornady is the winner hands down. Whether or not the 650 is better than the LNL is debatable.

Until just before I got the LNL, I was guilty of spreading the blue bullrhoar, like a lot of the dishonest or blindly loyal people who have never owned or loaded with the Hornady.

Customer service is EQUAL between Hornady and Dillon, and perhaps RCBS is a hair better than Red or Blue.

Quick changeover for Dillon 550 and 650 are very very expensive, primarily because of the need to get a complete powder measure to be truly quick.
COSTS - - comparing new to new as opposed to used to used.
550 - - $370 - - $480 for 6 Q C (toolhead & powder measure at $80 ea)
650 - - $480 - - $510 for 6 Q C (toolhead & powder measure at $85 ea)
LNL - - $360 - - $66 for 6 Quick Changeover (two 10 packs of QC bushings $33 ea no new powder measure necessary)

Black Snowman
December 10, 2006, 07:48 PM
For the way I reload, which involves frequently stealing dies for the progressive to use in my single stages, I'd get a LnL if I were to get a new progressive. But in hindsight, a turret probably would be a good option, particularly if I have to reduce my bench space.

Idano
December 11, 2006, 12:42 AM
MR. ClarkEMyers"

Please explain these comments:

On the whole I agree with those who say loading many different cartridges will end up being a little cheaper and easier - but IMHO perhaps more tedious - with the Hornady.

Your following post didn't mention one reason why the Hornady press would be tedious to use:

See above for a mention of 3 Dillon powder measures for convenience but at extra cost FREX definitely more convenient than the Hornady definitely cheaper but a little more tedious - the Dillon needs but benefits from extras.

Strong mount, roller handle, Akro bins, loaded primer tubesloaded tool heads with Dillon or Redfield Pro series dies for handgun cartridges. Loaded tool heads with dies and a pre-set powder measure for each cartridge or even each load - a distinct tool head for 600 yard slow fire say.

FREX the Dillon brand primer tube loader is very high dollar but certainly the nicest - if they were all the same price Dillon would be the only one sold - and again in my opinion this carries through much - but not all - of the Dillon line. The Vibra tool is almost as good and a lot cheaper.

Kind of like saying the budget should include break-in ammunition before folks buy a Baer - if it's a stretch the Hornady is a better buy than the Dillon.

If you have used the Hornady L-N-L Progressive please descibe what you thought was tedious and what made it tedious to you.

1911user
December 11, 2006, 01:55 AM
I've used a LNL-AP and 650 side-by-side. The 650 is definitely smoother. I think much of it is due to the powder measure operation. The dillon powder measure operates much smoother than the hornady with a CAPD. The rotation of the 650 shellplate also seemed smoother. The electric case feed is smoother and quieter on the 650. Both presses auto-index and have 5 die stations, but that doesn't make them equal in quality or operation.

Idano
December 11, 2006, 02:25 AM
1911user you almost had me convinced with the side by side comparison until you mentioned the case feeder, that gave you away.
The case feeder on both presses are identical including their irritating clutch slippage and occasional case jams. In fact you can use the same case feeder plate in both. If the Hornady you tried was truly setup correctly like the Dillon and you tried it before you owned a Dillon I doubt you would have noticed any comparable difference. I admit that I like the Hornady that I bought one instead of the Dillon simply because my local gun shop supports Hornady and not Dillon, no other reason. There is not shame in admitting that you're one of those biased Blue Boys, I like them too.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 11, 2006, 06:21 AM
I owned a 550, sold it, got a Hornady LnL. My buddy owns a 650 and I've loaded on it extensively. The Hornady takes me less than 5 minutes to change calibers on. I didn't time the Dillon 650 changeover, but it was a good bit slower and isn't as flexible. Setting up the Powder measure was a pain. Nor is the powder measure as flexible with different powders.

I say get the LnL over the 550 and the 650 offers no advantages of any significance over the LnL, is slower to changeover and is a lot more expensive. The Hornady is also a more modern design, with the advantage of swapping out a single die in a single caliber, such as going from a neck sizing die to a full sizing die, all in about 3 seconds using the LnL bushings. Plus you can add a bushing adapter to your Rock Chucker or Lee Classic Cast press and have those dies preset for all your presses. Really is nice.

1911user
December 11, 2006, 07:43 AM
Good luck in whatever press you purchase, I'm done with this thread. :banghead:

ClarkEMyers
December 11, 2006, 10:50 AM
As Patrick Sweeney once wisely said:

If you really want to drink the kool-aid, there are plenty of forums out there where your choices in one brand or another can be re-inforced, and other brands can be relentlessly denigrated.

"Take what you want and leave the rest behind."

robctwo
December 11, 2006, 08:26 PM
I am another very happy LnL owner. Over 30,000 in the past few years. Mostly pistol at first. Lots of rifle in the past year. Very nice machine. No idea about the Dillons. Never ran one, never been around one to even watch.

Mtdew
December 11, 2006, 09:07 PM
I went ahead and ordered the LNL.

The price was right esp w/ the free 1k in bullets + free dustcover for $315 shipped and They could verify that the SN was over 10000

I still need to order a few more things to get it set up when it arrives

hornadylnl
December 11, 2006, 09:48 PM
Just got 3 boxes of stuff for my lnl ap today. Case feeder, case plates, dies, bullets, etc. Can't wait to set it up and use it.

Luggernut
December 12, 2006, 01:06 AM
Well... I just ordered a LNL as well.. Seemed like a great deal compared to the Dillon 650. We'll see.

I need to find some Hornady dies, I guess the taper crime dies from other die kits won't fit without mods. For now I'll just do the seat/crimp with my RCBS dies.

Mtdew
December 12, 2006, 03:25 AM
Well... I just ordered a LNL as well.. Seemed like a great deal compared to the Dillon 650. We'll see.

I need to find some Hornady dies, I guess the taper crime dies from other die kits won't fit without mods. For now I'll just do the seat/crimp with my RCBS dies.

As for the crimp die i'm just going to trim/radius the bottom of the die on my lathe. I *think* that should work(seeing as i don't have the press yet)

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 12, 2006, 06:37 AM
Mtdew,

With the insert, then rotate to twist and lock, only one side of the die needs to be removed and not lots of it. I'd suggest putting the die in a LnL bushing, moving the ejection wire out of the way, setting up the die. Next, lower the die and mark with a marker where you need to machine off the die. Once that's done, remove the die and simple mill (I'm guessing you may have a mill as well.) or grind enough enough material on the one side to clear the die. That's what I did. That way, you've removed enough material to clear with less weakening of the overall strength of the die.

Regards,

Dave

Uncle Don
December 12, 2006, 07:33 AM
From everything I've seen and read, you should have a nice press coming. I look forward to reading how you like it.

Empyrean
December 12, 2006, 09:08 AM
In speaking with the engineer from Hornady, he said he thought the new Lee FCDs would work without modification on the LNL AP. I have yet to call them to ask.

--AJ

Mtdew
December 12, 2006, 01:35 PM
Mtdew,

With the insert, then rotate to twist and lock, only one side of the die needs to be removed and not lots of it. I'd suggest putting the die in a LnL bushing, moving the ejection wire out of the way, setting up the die. Next, lower the die and mark with a marker where you need to machine off the die. Once that's done, remove the die and simple mill (I'm guessing you may have a mill as well.) or grind enough enough material on the one side to clear the die. That's what I did. That way, you've removed enough material to clear with less weakening of the overall strength of the die.

Regards,

Dave

Thanks, that sounds like a better idea (yes i have a mill as well)

1911user
December 12, 2006, 02:57 PM
I bought and was planning to shorten 2 lee taper crimp dies (45 and 9mm) to work, then decided to buy the hornady taper crimp dies. At $15 each, it wasn't a hard decision and they do a good job.

callgood
December 12, 2006, 05:24 PM
Interesting thread. I was considering a Dillon 550B to finish out my '06 reloading budget. Bought a Giraud case trimmer instead. Excellent machine, BTW.

One thing I considered as an add-on to the Dillon powder dispenser was a micrometer operated adjustment- comes in small (pistol) and large (for rifle). Each was 49 bucks. Seemed like a good option. Sent the link to my home email, but it was easy to find on the web.

I reload on a Forster Coax. Just don't have a good space for a permanently mounted reloading press. Tonight I'll take my Workmate in from the garage and set it up in a spare bedroom and seat .223 bullets while I drop the powder with a PACT. Gotta be cleared out before #1 Daughter comes home for Christmas! I can also take the Forster in the den and bolt it to a heavy box-like affair I knocked together. Size brass while I watch-listen to a college game. I really envy you guys with a dry basement, spare dedicated room, for reloading. One of these days.

dmftoy1
December 12, 2006, 07:29 PM
Just curious . .why can't you use your existing taper crimp dies in the LNL? Is it particular about any other dies as well?

dmftoy1
December 12, 2006, 07:37 PM
Oh, one other question! :)

Can someone explain why you don't need a powder measure per caliber? Do you just swap in a different insert in the powder measure that's set for the caliber or ?? Also, does the Hornady LNL do the belling of the case mouth in the same station as the powder dispenser? If so, do you have to maintain different powder dies then or ? (and swap the measure from one powder die to another when you change calibers)

I hope these questions make sense. (I'm coming at it from a RL550B user who's lusting after a 650 but hasn't pulled the trigger yet)

Regards,
Dave

1911user
December 12, 2006, 07:53 PM
Just curious . .why can't you use your existing taper crimp dies in the LNL? Is it particular about any other dies as well?
One of the known issues with the LNL-AP is the 5th die station is partially blocked by the ejector wire requiring the use of short crimp dies (specifically those made by hornady) or modified crimp dies. Hornady makes good dies so it wasn't a big deal to use them. Hornady states in the operator manual that only hornady crimp dies (made specially short for the AP) should be used, but they don't say why.

The reason this is an issue is due to the shellplate movement and press design. It only rotates half a step going up and half a step going down. That half step doesn't leave much clearance between the case in station #5 and the ejector wire (it also affects ejection reliability, but that's another subject). I have read, but not seen, that older hornady progressive presses had a mechanism where the ejector wire would pivot out of the way as the ram was raised. That must not have worked too well since they stopped. A dillon 650 uses the same type of ejector wire setup, but the shellplate on it does a full step as the ram is lowered (instead of 1/2 up, 1/2 down) so the ejector wire and crimp die don't fight for the same space. It also allows a better angle on the wire for smoother ejection.

It is my hunch that the ejector wire design is one of the major customer service complaints about the design. You barely have to mention the word "ejector wire" on the phone with hornady and they start agreeing to send a replacement.

Can someone explain why you don't need a powder measure per caliber? Do you just swap in a different insert in the powder measure that's set for the caliber or ?? Also, does the Hornady LNL do the belling of the case mouth in the same station as the powder dispenser? If so, do you have to maintain different powder dies then or ? (and swap the measure from one powder die to another when you change calibers)
Like dillon, you can readjust the powder insert (bar) for each caliber, buy seperate inserts (bars) for each caliber or buy a micrometer adjustable insert ($25 each) for all pistol loading and another for all rifle loading. With the cost of the measure and seperate activation linkage (CAPD), it is not practical, or needed, to buy a seperate powder measure for each caliber. The powder measure and linkage combo would probably cost at least $100 vs. $60 for a dillon measure and the dillon measure comes with rifle and pistol powder bars. The LNL-AP only comes with a basic rifle insert (the (optional?) pistol drum and insert are another $25).
The newest LNL-AP use the same type powder funnels as dillon and allows belling and powder drop in the same station (like dillon has always done); about $8 for each caliber. Before the lastest revision, a generic powder activator was used to drop powder when loading, but belling was done in a seperate die station. So until very recently, a 4-station 550 and 5-station LNL-AP effectively did the same thing and neither could use a powder check die and still seat and crimp in seperate stations.

I had a 550 for 7 years and sold it to buy the LNL-AP to get the fifth die station. For rifle loading, the 5th die station allows a powder check die and makes the LNL-AP worthwhile. For pistol ammo, the LNL-AP works (and I have a case feeder) but I'd rather have my 550 back. The dillon powder measure is smoother and much less trouble in my experience. The 550 powder and priming is up front where I could see what was going on. The LNL-AP has the priming in the back and it absolutely does not tolerate spilled powder or debris in the priming area. There is nowhere for debris to go except to block movement of the primer arm. Keep a can of air handy to clean it in case of a spill. If you miss a primer then dump powder, it's cleanup time. You'll want some way to monitor the primer stack. There is no warning buzzer although a thin dowel rod works OK.

Idano
December 13, 2006, 04:31 AM
You definitely want to invest in a low primer alarm, either a RCBS or Dillon they are the same one is blue and one is green. Like 1911 said you don't want to run out of primers and even with a dowel in the tube to visually monitor you can still forget and run out. I also don't like the Hornady powder measure or CAPD because of the inconsistency between loads, I replaced mine with a RCBS Uniflow measure w/ powder baffle and RCBS linkage. I check my powder measure about every 25 rounds and it is always within +/- .1 gr on flake powders. The Dillon powder measure is finicky to setup and can leak on ball powder but it is rock solid and doesn't fluctuate with the volume in the reservoir.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 13, 2006, 06:50 AM
dmftoy1,

"Just curious . .why can't you use your existing taper crimp dies in the LNL?"

You can, Lee has just been short and fat. But it's not been a problem to modify the die for me. I've not had problems with other dies.

Those that can't/won't/don't modify the presses/dies generally aren't used to working with machinery and aren't comfortable doing so. I"ve worked for years in manufacturing and find reloading machines not much different than equipment I've worked with in manufacturing, except it's human operated instead of electrically operated.

"Is it particular about any other dies as well?"

NO, this press is NOT particular about dies. The Lee FCD in station 5 is the only known "die issue" and it's because Lee dies are fat at the base and doesn't clear the ejector wire. The problem and it's fix are well documented. And this is only in station 5. You won't see the problem if you either seat the bullet and crimp with one die or if you don't use a powder cop type die, because you won't have a die in station 5. That said, I've always had a die in station 5 and have never had a problem getting it to work with minor effort on my part.

"Can someone explain why you don't need a powder measure per caliber?"

Because the measure is so easy to adjust, you can change calibers and have it setup in a few seconds,

"Do you just swap in a different insert in the powder measure that's set for the caliber or ??"

Depends on the setup you have. Generally, you swap out either the micrometer insert for one that's appropriate to the powder and quantity you're using. (pistol or rifle). Or buy large and small powder drums. Best is to get the rifle and pistol micrometer inserts, as they're cheaper. I think Midway quit carrying them because they can sell the drums and make more profit, but Hornady still makes them, just call their technical support line and get the number. As far as the measure goes overall, it's very similar in operation to a an RCBS uniflow, which is very easy to setup and change powders. Since you don't have to pull the powder measure out when you're changing a die set, you just push a button on the powder measure to swap out the micrometer insert or the cylinder from large to small. Quick and easy to do.

BTW, in case you have lots of money to spend on reloading and are a little lazy or crazy, you can use Dillon measure on the Hornady simply by converting it back to the original design. (Call Brian Enos and ask how to do this, involves swapping a couple minor parts, which he has in stock.) There's no concern about double charging because the Lock N Load is automatic advance and isn't easy to reverse on, unless you allow cases to cycle through the press twice (which means you've removed the ejector wire or reinserted a charged case after removing it), not a good practice and no mechanism can stop a double charge from happening in this situation.

"Also, does the Hornady LNL do the belling of the case mouth in the same station as the powder dispenser?"

Yes, they're latest powder measure offers this option. You'll need to buy the bushings, which Midway sells for about 8 bucks per size last I checked. Clean the measure thoroughly and adjust it properly, it'll run smoothly.

"If so, do you have to maintain different powder dies then or ? (and swap the measure from one powder die to another when you change calibers)"

You have that option, they sell the bases pretty cheap. So for example, to have three calibers (.38, .45ACP and .44magnum) you'd need to buy about 30 to 40 dollars worth of bases. A base is the bottom half of the "powder measure die" and would be mounted in a Lock N Load bushing, so once you've initially you remove the spring, rotate and lift out the base, insert a new base, rotate and click to lock in, put your belling bushing in, put your powder measure on the new base, attach the spring, set the powder and away you go. It's quick and a fairly painless process once the bases are adjusted properly during initial setup. Kinda like the way you setup dies in the LnL bushing and then don't have to adjust them again.

"I hope these questions make sense. (I'm coming at it from a RL550B user who's lusting after a 650 but hasn't pulled the trigger yet)"

As an ex 550 user, I've found most switchover owners are much happier with the LnL than the 550. The exception being when they're not at all mechanically inclined. In that instance, those folks tend to have problems with getting the LnL setup to run smoothly. So if you're not mechanically inclined, my suggestion is to stick with the simpler 550. If you're slightly mechanically inclined and have patience, the LnL will reward you pretty quickly by having minimal adjustment thereafter. If you're highly mechanically inclined, you'll wonder how the heck anybody couldn't setup a LnL, as it's pretty darn simple to setup.

I hope this answers your questions,

Dave

dmftoy1
December 13, 2006, 11:30 AM
Thanks! That definately helped. The reason I was asking was that I wanted to get my head around whether I'd always have a free spot for a powder cop when doing pistol cases. (with separate seat/crimp stations). My primary reason for wanting to upgrade (aside from auto-indexing) is to have the ability to run a powder cop. (just as a safety feature) So from reading your reply (for pistol calibers) it sounds like I can set it up just like the dillon in that I have one station do a resize/deprime/prime, one station doing expansion and powder drop, a powder cop in the third, a seating station for the fourth and a crimp in the fifth.

Have a good one,
Dave

Shoney
December 13, 2006, 05:04 PM
DaveInFloweryBranchGA gives excellent advice. I would like to clarify 2 points though.

I have the LNL and the 550. On the LNL I do not have the powder thru die, but will soon get it. I also have the powder cop. When loading jacketed bullets, the 5 stations are full and there is no problem without the powder thru setup. However, when loading lead or plated lead, I seat and crimp in separate operations; and therefore need to either remove the powder cop, or do final crimp in a second run thru (crimp only).

I had problems with my powder measure when I first got it, like a couple of other posts said. I called Hornady and their first question solved my problem. Did you clean all the rust preventative out of the measure as the instructions state? DUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH!!!!! Read the instructions???????? :banghead: :o

Plastic Cowboy
December 13, 2006, 05:54 PM
Shoney- since you have both how does your 550 compare to the Hornady LnL??
Those are the two presses I'm trying to decide between. Right now I'm leaning more towards the LnL.

-thanks

Shoney
December 13, 2006, 07:23 PM
Plastic Cowboy
I got the 550 at an estate sale for $75, along with assorted bullets, primers and powders (it was unadvertised, they didnít have a clue, and I was there very early). It was then and now is dedicated to 38/357. I load 6 other pistol cartridges and 2 rifle cartridges on the LNL. I like the 550, but when I started looking into changeovers for other cartridges, I was shocked at the obscene prices. Ignoring shell plate costs, to make them truly quick, the 550 required a different powder measure for each change, cost being $80 for only the tool head and measure X 8 = $640 (current price). Uffffffdah.

Shopping around I ran into the Hornady LNL progressive, and when shown the quick changeover bushings, it took all of 2 seconds for the lights to go on. Changeover for the LNLis $3.30 per bushing, with a total of $66 (current costs).

I prefer the LNL over the 550 for the following reasons: 5 station vs. 4 station; quick change system is much faster and more versatile; case activated powder measure doesnít leak ball powder, is more accurate with some powders and is easier to adjust.

dmftoy1
December 13, 2006, 08:30 PM
Ok, so just eyeballing "powder through expanders" at Midway and on Hornady's site and it doesn't appear that they have a .458 expander so I'm out of luck if I want to load 45/70 on the LNL press? (assuming I want a powder cop and separate crimp and seating stations)

Regards,
Dave

1911user
December 13, 2006, 08:39 PM
If you started with sized/deprimed 45/70 brass, you could set it up this way.

1. expander die
1a. priming (on downstroke, remember LNL-AP does half steps on the shellplate)
2. powder drop
3. powder check
4. bullet seat die
5. crimp die (keep it short or remove the ejector wire)

Call Hornady, they might be willing to make a custom size expander for not too much money. Or find someone with a small metal lathe; it shouldn't be that hard to make.

For a roll crimp, I'd be tempted to seat and crimp in the same station. Taper crimping is where I really want seperate seat and crimp operations.

ra407
December 13, 2006, 08:51 PM
I am thinking about getting the Dillion 650 before the price increase. What is the major difference between the 650 and the LNL besides the price?

TooTaxed
December 13, 2006, 09:51 PM
Excellent clincher for buying a Hornady instead of the Dillon:

Graf & Sons has the Lock-N-Load progressive on sale for $316...plus 1000 free bullets (they say up to $285 value) and a free dust cover!:D

Mtdew
December 14, 2006, 02:20 AM
Excellent clincher for buying a Hornady instead of the Dillon:

Graf & Sons has the Lock-N-Load progressive on sale for $316...plus 1000 free bullets (they say up to $285 value) and a free dust cover!

Thats where I ordered mine from... and thats $316 shipping included:D

The free bullets are direct from Hornady so it dosent matter where you order the press from... you still get the bullets (as long as you fill out and sent in the "rebate")

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 14, 2006, 07:19 AM
dmftoy1,

"Ok, so just eyeballing "powder through expanders" at Midway and on Hornady's site and it doesn't appear that they have a .458 expander so I'm out of luck if I want to load 45/70 on the LNL press? (assuming I want a powder cop and separate crimp and seating stations)"

Before I assumed the size you need, I would call Hornady and ask if they manufacture that size. Midway often does not stock 100% of a company's products. An example would be the micrometer adjustment stems for the Hornady powder measures. Other companies do or you can buy it straight from Hornady.

If Hornady doesn't have one, they eventually will as they expand the product line. This product is pretty new, so they probably need to develop/expand their caliber offerings, which is typical of such things.

If you need one now, it's a simple steel bushing basically and you could have any competent machinist make you one simply by telling him you need one with "these dimensions." There's a couple fellas over on the castboolits forums that are mighty fine custom machinists and quite affordable. I know of one guy that makes custom dies for the various bullet sizer lubricators out there. His charge for a custom is only $22.00 for the part delivered to your door. Shouldn't be any more for a single custom bushing. Just send him one for an example of it's "angles" and tell him what caliber/diameter you need it in and what it's for. He's a shooter reloader and I believe he owns a .45/70 rifle or two, so he'll know what you want.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 14, 2006, 07:42 AM
RA407,

"I am thinking about getting the Dillion 650 before the price increase. What is the major difference between the 650 and the LNL besides the price?"

I'll try to list a point by point comparison:

1. The 650 and LnL have about the same casefeeder, with about all the same flaws, hitches and imperfections. Not much difference here.

2. The LnL is significantly faster to changeover calibers on. All you have to change is the dies.

3. Because of the Lock N Load bushings allowing you to change one die at a time, you can swap out a single die (such as a neck die for a full size die or a die set up for Semi wadcutters in place of a die setup for round nose bullets) without changing the rest of the setup.

4. The Hornady measure is very easy and extremely fast to setup, and because you don't have to remove the powder measure when you remove your dies, you don't need to buy a powder measure for every caliber you own. Once you've gotten the powder and powder die (really just a die base) set up for a single caliber, you record the micrometer setting on the powder adjustment in your reloading manual for that bullet/caliber and it takes mere seconds the next time you do it. So in a caliber change, you just swap out the die base (if you need to, many times you don't) for the powder measure, then set the powder and you're done. Takes maybe 2 minutes if you're very slow. I know, because I am slow.

5. The Hornady tends to be cleaner than the Dillon, because spent primers are feed away from the press down a tube.

6. The Hornady powder measure doesn't leak ball powders, nor does it have a problem with extruded rifle powders. Just make sure you clean it properly to get the storage coating off and adjust it properly initially and you'll have no problems.

7. The Dillon has a few whizbang accessories, such as the strong mount and the roller handle. I made my own strong mount out of oak (took me thirty minutes) and you can adapt most Dillon accessories to a Hornady if you so choose. That goes both ways. A Hornady measure will fit on a Dillon as well.

8. Speedwise, they're about a tie.

9. Smoothness of operation, I can't tell a difference, some say the Hornady is smoother, some say the Dillon is. I reload on my buddy's 650 and he reloads on my LnL. Both machines are perfectly setup and neither of us can tell a difference.

10. Caliber changeovers on the Dillon generally involve buying more "stuff." I can't list exactly what, because it varies, depending on what you have already.

11. Priming systems are about a tie. They, like the casefeeders, are very similar with all the same issues. Again, if you adjust them properly, they both work well. You can enhance either with a vibra prime or Dillon primer loader and a Dillon low primer warning system. The Hornady is a bit more work, because you have to adapt it, but it isn't a hard thing to do. I don't have the Dillon primer warning on my Hornady, but will probably get it. When I do, I'll have a machinist make me an adaptor out of a durable plastic.

12. Warranty service is about a draw.

13. Hornady appears to be actively involved in improving their product offering and has been for the past 6 years or so. Dillon's product line is about the same as it was ten years ago, with only minor offerings, such as adapting the casefeeder for the 550. The Dillon line is more mature, but it's also resting on it's laurels and could be improved. Dillon was once the reloading industry technological leader and innovator. They no longer are. Hornady appears to be taking that advantage away from them by offering products that do the same thing, but do it just a little more efficiently.

Should be interesting to see how Dillon reacts to this over time if Hornady continues to make inroads into new sales. Gotta love the American capitalist system. Competition is a wonderful thing.

Regards,

Dave

Idano
December 14, 2006, 04:25 PM
ra407 the biggest problem I have encountered with the Hornady is the case extraction wire, especially on 9mm. If the case fits tight in the shell plate it will jam the case against the extraction wire and you will have to manually remove it. The biggest problem with the Dillon IMO is the power measure, it leaks and is very susceptible to bridging on extruded powder.

Mtdew
December 15, 2006, 01:20 AM
ra407 the biggest problem I have encountered with the Hornady is the case extraction wire, especially on 9mm. If the case fits tight in the shell plate it will jam the case against the extraction wire and you will have to manually remove it. The biggest problem with the Dillon IMO is the power measure, it leaks and is very susceptible to bridging on extruded powder

Have you tried opening up the shell plate to aid in the 9mm extraction. I'm not sure if that would work but it's a thought

1911user
December 15, 2006, 02:36 AM
I wasn't aware that dillon powder measures had leakage problems. Considering that I shoot with quite a few people who reload often, you'd think at least one would have mentioned it at least once over the years. Have you experienced it yourself? The three 550 measures I've owned didn't leak with anything including AA#9 (tiny ball powder). I had an old lee auto-disk lock up tight from AA#9 and AA#7 so I pay attention to powder measure tolerences.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 15, 2006, 07:19 AM
Idano,

Shellplates for the original Hornady Projector fit on the Lock N Load. I've had at least two Projector shellplates shipped to me by Midway when I ordered LnL plates. Both plates had jamming issues as you describe. I shipped both back to Hornady and they corrected the issues.

A couple of things you can check:

1. Is there a single or two detent balls on the bottom of the shellplate? The LnL model has 2.

2. Check the radius at the corner where the shell goes in and out of the shellplate. Are these sharp or smoothly radiused.

3. IF they're sharp, but you have two detent balls, then you can either smooth the radius yourself or call Hornady and have rework the shellplates. I've done both.

4. Finally, I've had to adjust the ejector wire so that it engages the particular caliber shell at a more prime location (in the shellplate's rotation) to eject. This is done by loosening the screw that attaches the ejector wire to the press and moving the ejector wire in or out of the hole it fits into on the subplate.

Of the fixes I've mentioned above, the fourth one works real well assuming you have the correct shellplates. BTW, don't bend the wire, you'll just hork things up. You're better off just moving it in or out. It's spring steel and is apt to snap on you.

I hope this helps,

Dave

Master Blaster
December 15, 2006, 09:42 AM
I have been using a Dillon 550B for all of my pistol cartridges for about 8 years now about 100,000 or so rounds combined. I reload .45 acp, .357 magnum, 9mm, .44 magnum on it and I have tool heads set up for all of the calibers.

I only own 1 dillon powder measure ONE. I have no problem switching it from one tool head to another, I also have no problem adjusting it, it takes about two minutes to adjust the charge weight when I switch calibers..

I do all of my reloading of rifle calibers, and any specialized seating of non standard pistol bullets on a Rock Chucker IV. The Dillon runs trouble free, it has its original parts, although I have a spare parts pack I have never replaced a single broken part on my 550.

I also haven't needed a milling machine to adjust the dies, or a wooden dowel to track my primer level. I mostly load cast lead bullets so I appreciate the seperate crimping die. The powder measure on the Dillon shines on its consistency for low charge weights used in pistol calibers. I compare it to my Lyman measure, and my Redding Benchrest measure (both rotating drum designs), they are good for rifle but stink compared to the dillon for small pistol charges under 10 grains. My Dillon measure does not leak powder.

I thought about a Hornady LNL, but the expense of converting is too great since I will need completely new dies or a milling machine and tooling that can cut carbide. :what: I have also compared the cost of caliber conversions without a powder measure in each one,:confused: :rolleyes:
Its the same.

A gent who is a high volume reloader at my club, he assembles components for other shooters as well as himself, and does 100,000+ .45 acp per year, switched from two STAR machines to a LNL a couple years ago. He had many problems with parts breaking and the press jamming in a high volume usage role he also found the seating and crimping with the Hornady dies to be inconsistent and problematic due to the fact that he uses cast bullets lubed with alox.

He sold the LNL and went to a Dillon 650, and the problems went away.

ra407
December 15, 2006, 11:56 AM
He sold the LNL and went to a Dillon 650, and the problems went away.

thats the kind of statement I was looking for to make my decision.

Thanks.

Shoney
December 15, 2006, 01:10 PM
Master Blaster
I thought about a Hornady LNL, but the expense of converting is too great since I will need completely new dies or a milling machine and tooling that can cut carbide.
I use the same dies I used in my 550 in my LNL, so I don't understand that statement.
He sold the LNL and went to a Dillon 650, and the problems went away.

I know a guy who sold his Chevy and bought a Ford and the problems went away. (You can liberally substitue other autos as well)

I know another guy that sold all his toilet paper and started wiping with moon beams, and all his problems went away.

I know a guy---

ra407:
DaveInFloweryBranchGA has given an honest response IMHO.

If you enjoyed reading about "550b or LNL AP" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!