Hornady or Dillon?


February 7, 2008, 11:34 AM
I'm trying to decide between the Hornady AP progressive and the Dillon 650. I am pretty sure I wouldn't be disappointed with the Dillon, but Hornady's 1000 free bullet offer has my attention.

Does anyone have any experience with the Hornady?

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February 7, 2008, 12:43 PM
I've had one for well over 7 years. Buddy of mine owns a 650 and I reload quite often on both. Both of us having used the warranty over the years, warranty is a wash. The quality on both is about the same. The Dillon reloads pistol a tiny bit easier than the Hornady. The Hornady does a better job on rifle, especially extruded powder dispensing. The Hornady offers the ability to change one die at a time. Dillon offers a few more gadjets you can odd on, but most can be adapted to the Hornady fairly easily. The powder measures will exchange between the two. Speed is about the same if they're set up the same.

Having used both, I'd still pick the Hornady. I prefer it's features. Before you buy either, I suggest you go to each website and come to understand the features each press offers, then make your decision. Both presses are a great choice.

A last thought: Don't buy either unless you're firing and shooting a lot of ammo or have very very little time to reload and only shoot a couple calibers. Most reloaders don't need anything like the capacity either offers. If they had been available and if I had bought one, the Lee Classic Cast single stage and Lee Classic Turret would have met all my reloading needs including reloading for IDPA, IPSC, High Power Rifle and the occasional 3-gun matches I shot.

Hope this helps,


February 7, 2008, 12:57 PM
Ask yourself if you are going to be switching calibers. I have about 8 different ones that I load with my Hornady LNL and have zero problems. Fast changes too! I haven't added a case feeder yet but do recommend the pistol rotor for pistol loads. Oh and get a few extra case retension springs. Hornady will gladly send you a new one if it breaks (for free) but you will end up waiting a few days. I keep 4 extras and have only broken one so far. I have had mine for about 5 months and have loaded well over 3000 rounds.

Do the math and figure out how much you need to do all the different calibers you want. If you are doing more than a couple then the Hornady is already cheaper, even without factoring in the free bullets. Factor in the pistol rotor and extra die bushing for other calibers (10 pack is cheapest).

I still have lots of free .30 bullets waiting for me. :)

February 7, 2008, 01:05 PM
I would agree with everything Dave said, except when it comes to the single stage or classic turret. I load on a 550b. I've checked out the classic turret, and would only get one for loading a specific rifle cartridge or two that I intended to weigh out each charge on, and picked it up for a song. As it is, I have no problem doing that now on my 550. I'm not sure how well the 650 lends itself to that though.

As far as the single stage goes, I like reloading, but I don't like spending that much time at it. I like to do my reloading a couple hours here or there when time permits, and I want to be able to shoot for a couple months without having to load up more before the next time out to the range.

Edit: I should point out that I picked up my 550 long before there was any freebee offers by Hornady, and I know that would have influenced my decision.

February 7, 2008, 01:12 PM
I have the LNL-AP, and am very very happy with it. Setup was pretty simple for a progressive, and regardless of what some say about being able to turn out 400 a week on a single stage or turret, it's simpler for me to just run those in a couple of hours with time to make my double checks, and have more time shooting. I reload for .45acp, and will be picking up a set of 22-250 dies next payday.

February 7, 2008, 03:51 PM

Food for thought. Before I got into reloading, I did a lot of design engineering work, including designing systems for manufacturing, some of which was similar to reloading presses. So I tend to be a bit more "out of the box" and more open minded when it comes to reloading applications.

On the Lee Classic Turret, (Unique primer disposal system, keeps the press clean - no primer nasty) which is capable of handling a good number of large size cases, caliber changes are fairly inexpensive. This allows one to add a caliber change for not a whole lot more than a die set. So if you have a caliber change you want to add and do load development for, expense is almost never a consideration. You also don't need to weigh charges for rifle, just get an RCBS Uniflow and a Hornady case activated powder drop.

You'll need to buy one case activated powder drop system (50 bucks if you don't already own a Hornady LnL AP, but this is a one time purchase.) This allows you to reload rifle on the thing by buying a set of dies, a turret (10 bucks) and a CAPD base (basically a die and around 14 bucks or so wholesale) You then switch the CAPD and Uniflow easily from turret to turret.

Can't add a caliber much less expensive than that and still be able to produce an easy 200 rounds an hour. Is it as fast as a progressive? No, but it can produce a lot of ammo fairly easily and with no drama. Besides, 200 rounds of 7.62 X 54 Russian is way more than plenty to shoot in a M44 or M38 in a couple shooting sessions and I don't know about you, but I don't want to load enough of it to buy a conversion for my LnL AP.

On the Lee Classic single stage press. Unique primer disposal system, keeps the press clean (no primer nasty). You can add a LnL conversion kit and make it quick and easy to change dies. Then, using the LnL bushings, you can quickly switch it out from a swager die (such as a CD 4D brand, work great) to a Lee decapping die to adding a Dillon Trimmer to a Lee sizer for sizing cast bullets, etc. Combined these items and the LnL bushings and you can make this single stage an extremely versatile tool for handling a variety of oddball tasks a progressive isn't suited for or you don't want to put on your progressive press. Additionally, you can load .50 ACP on it, which one can't do on any progressive. Finally, it has the cheapest caliber conversion, a single set of dies. Just a really handy tool to have on the bench.

What I'm suggesting here is there are a variety of things out there one can do with such presses one can't do with a progressive. That's what makes them handy. And they''re so very inexpensive for what they can add to one's bench.



February 7, 2008, 04:07 PM
I also have the Hornady, but still load a lot on a Redding single stage. I like to just go out and load 50-100 rounds to get out of the house and have something to do. If I load on the prog. press I will run around 4-500 an hour. so I run through my supplies pretty quick.

If I was buying again I would look for either the 650 or the Hornady on sale or used, but with the bullet offer it would be hard to beat the hornady. there both just as good as the each other.

February 7, 2008, 04:21 PM
I have 3 Dillons. My last press was a Dillon 650. The only reason that I purchaced the 650, because the Hornady LNL, could not be found. I think that the 1000 bullet deal is too good to turn down.

Chris Rhines
February 7, 2008, 04:59 PM
I looked at both, and decided on the Dillon. I've never had any cause to regret my choice.

- Chris

February 7, 2008, 06:26 PM
Don't get me wrong, those dillons are great presses, and I don't regret my choice of the 650. And now if I had my choice, I would go with the 650. It don't take long, to load a big bucket load of ammo.

February 7, 2008, 07:01 PM
Dave, you make some good points. I also have no problems thinking outside of the box, and have patents to prove it. But I still don't mind stating I'm not inclined towards a single stage or a turret press, unless I found one for really cheap. I still look at it as taking from my component $.

I don't know how well the Hornady works for single stage operations (its no problem on a 550), but the 1000 bullet deal does make the price of entry into a progessive very affordable.

February 7, 2008, 09:42 PM
Please note that the following information is based on my personal experience(s) and has previously been posted elsewhere.

First, let me say that the current crop of progressive presses being offered by Dillon, Hornady and Lee are all very good tools with excellent warranties and support. That said, following some five years of hard use, I consider the RCBS Pro 2000 to be an exceptional press and have been extremely happy with it.

I previously used both the Dillon 550 and 650 for several years and they each worked extremely well, albeit demonstrating a need for little "piecey" parts from time-to-time. Not an issue with the 2000. My reason for the switch involved the move from loading high volume(s) of a single cartridge, (Bullseye and IDPA competition), to moderate quantities of several different cartridges with fairly frequent changeovers. For me, the 2000 is the quickest and easiest to convert of all of the current offerings, including Dillon and Hornady.

The RCBS is arguably the strongest and simplest progressive available. Sans case feeder, the PRO is larger and heavier than a Dillon 1050. I prefer iron to aluminum, especially in the critical toggle-link assembly. Yes, I have seen six broken toggle assemblies on Dillons, one of which occured on my 650. The precision and ease of use of both the priming and powder metering systems, respectively, on the RCBS is excellent. I did purchase the optional tube priming system but haven't used it as I've enjoyed the strip system far more than I thought I would. My preference is for manual indexing over auto index. Interestingly, my rate of production did not change between the 650 and 2000; however, to be honest, I did not use (or want) a case feeder on the former.

If I were starting over again, I would select the RCBS, even for high volume match shooting, especially if I didn’t have to lug the beast to matches. It's obvious why it was/is the press of choice of the NRA technical staff and shooters/writers such as John Taffin.

As previously stated, I still recommend a good single stage press for someone starting out…in addition, once you have a progressive you will likely find yourself using or needing a single stage from time-to-time, down the road.

In comparing progressive presses do not let the price of the press mislead you. Compare the different offerings based on four or more dedicated cartridge setups. Green is far cheaper than blue and will be in a horse race with red.

February 7, 2008, 09:58 PM

I own a Hornady, but personally I don't see any real difference between the two except for the free bullet give away. I bought my Hornady before the Get Loaded promotion started and by the time I figured the price difference with the case feeder and roller handled set up for three calibers there was only about ~$100-$150 difference between the two. I have roughly $700 invested in my Hornady and I the spreadsheet from back then had the Dillon at $818. What made my decision to go with Hornady over Dillon was because all of my local shops carried Hornady and Dillon would have to be mail ordered, now Sportsman's Warehouse is carrying the 550B. I can tell you I have never regretted my decision and I have loaded 1000's of rounds, both pistol and rifle without any problems once I got familiar with it. IMO I think there is only one press that is better then either the 650 or the AP and that would be the 1050, but that is a lot of money and something I can't justify even with the amount of ammunition I shoot.

Don't agonize over the decision just go with one, neither one is better then the other they are both quality machines backed up with excellent customer service and a no BS guarantee. Hell even the warranty service I have received from RCBS has been a no BS guarantee. You'll hear testimonial that one's a piece a junk and the other is quality and vica versa, but in the end the only variable is the operator, so go figure where the real quality issue lies. Good luck with your choice and hurry up and get it so you can start enjoying it regardless of which one you decide on!:cool:

February 7, 2008, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the help guys, I think I'll go with the Hornady.


David Wile
February 8, 2008, 12:24 AM
Hey folks,

When I saw this thread, I thought it would be blue bashing red bashing green bashing blue etc. Boy, was I surprised. Most folks responding here seemed to be well informed and thought both Dillon and Hornady produced quality products, and I am one of those folks. I have all colors of machines on my loading bench, but I chose the Hornady Lock & Load when they first came out about a dozen years or more ago.

I think Bill made a very important point when he stated, "...I still recommend a good single stage press for someone starting out…in addition, once you have a progressive you will likely find yourself using or needing a single stage from time-to-time, down the road." I have made the same point many times over the years. I simply do not see how someone can have any realistic understanding or appreciation of reloading if they did not start their journey on a single stage press. I still have three single stage presses that I actually spend far more time using than I do the Hornady progressive. I find the same to be true of loading shotshells, and I still have two single stage MECs that I use in addition to the three Hornady 366s I use.

In fact, I also use the Lyman/Ideal Nutcracker tool to reload a few calibers when I really want to go back to my roots.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

February 8, 2008, 07:11 AM
you can't beat the deal with the 1000 free bullets, most places are out of stock for a few weeks, but they are a great made press (I picked one up) and worth the wait, and easy to use and change over. I think both the dillon 650 and the hornady are a wash except for the price. good luck with either one.

February 8, 2008, 10:05 AM
I simply do not see how someone can have any realistic understanding or appreciation of reloading if they did not start their journey on a single stage press. I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this blanket statement. I've worked with (repaired, built, programmed, some design, etc) automated equipment for over 25 years. I've seen literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of different processes for manufacturing. And I've spent a few weeks in the Federal plant in Anoka installing equipment along the way (and I can't tell you how strong the desire is to back up the truck and start loading it up every time you walk by a 3' square bin filled with shiney 9mm, 45acp, etc). If I had started on a single stage, it would have drove me nuts and I would have probably converted the press to a boat anchor.

So I think I should conclude with this: know yourself. For many people, the single stage or simple turret is a good starting point. For some others, it isn't.

To the OP, with the 1K bullet deal I actually considered picking up a Hornady around Christmas, but with a kid in college and another soon to start, there's no way I could justify it. It's all I can to do to keep my current press supplied with components these days.

February 8, 2008, 10:52 AM
I have the LNL and could not be happier!! DaveinFloweryBranch was very helpful when I had questions. Thanks again Dave!

I think this is the first time I have seen a thread on this subject that didn't bring out the Blue verses Red mafia's!! Read this post. It is full of good info: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

February 8, 2008, 04:22 PM
I don't think I've ever heard anybody say Dillon makes other than top-notch stuff. Some Dillon guys, and I repeat only some, seem to take personal offense if it's suggested that their equipment is anything less than perfect. It isn't, of course, which is why there are countless threads on this and other forums dealing with improvements to Dillon machines, and correction of problem areas. I have a LnL AP and believe me, it isn't perfect. There are known issues with ejection of 9mm brass, and die compatibility in station 5. The powder-thru expanders have caused a lot of grief. My press arrived with burrs on the subplate that ate case retention springs, and two female bushings so loose they'd let dies pop out of place in the middle of the loading process. No big deal, and all is now well. The SDB/550/650, 2000 and LnL are all great machines, and each has it's following. It's just a shame some followers are so thin-skinned.

February 8, 2008, 11:56 PM
I too bought a LNL after researching for a few months. One factor that hasn't been brought up is the price per conversion between the two. Now the difference of minutes that it takes to convert between the two didn't matter to me. Being cheap, I chose the LNL as it didn't have a couple price factors thrown in (tool head for one). My notes say it was $196+dies for a *complete* Dillon caliber change (don't have the exact parts list ATM) compared to $102+dies for the LNL (again, no list ATM). Of course you can compare the "bare bones" caliber swap prices and go from there, but I'm cheap AND spoiled and compared accordingly. Yeah, I'm weird. :D


February 9, 2008, 12:52 AM
Again guys, thanks for all the responses. It did help me in my decision.

I should have mentioned my 15 years of reloading experience on single stage and progressive presses in my original post to keep us on track. I would also agree that there is little need for a progressive unless you shoot an awful lot. I loaded for 5 years on a Lee Challenger press, and it worked well for what I was doing.

Thanks too for not letting this get into a "my brand is better than your brand" deal either - shows the character of the patrons of this board.

February 9, 2008, 11:45 AM

Here is A good link to the cost of changing over and press cost.

highlander 5
February 9, 2008, 01:00 PM
I have 2 650's my only complaint is changing the primer cup assembly tis a royal PITA which is why I own 2 1 has been set up for large primers the for small.
I started with the 450 converted it to the 550 then decided I needed larger reloading volume so off to the 650 I went.

February 9, 2008, 06:17 PM
That's a plus for the LnL. Changing primer sizes only takes a minute or two, working slowly. On the other hand, the last primer (at least on my press) is gonna jam. I have to pay close attention when getting near the bottom, or risk a lot of powder all over the place.

David Wile
February 9, 2008, 09:06 PM
Hey Pinkymingeo,

I have been using a L&L for quite a few years, and I am familiar with your last primer jam problem. Somebody somewhere came up with an idea that I tried and found it to solve my problem for me. It involves using a wooden dowel that fits inside each primer tube (large and small), and it is pretty simple in use.

Start by putting two primers in an empty tube, then place the tube in the press ready for loading. Then put the right size wood dowel in the tube and let it rest on the two primers. Cut the dowel off about one inch above the end of the tube. Mark the dowel at the top of the tube, take the dowel out of the tube and paint the top part dowel above the mark (about one inch) with red paint. Then add five more primers to the tube so you have a total of seven primers in the tube. Put the dowel back in the tube and let it rest on the seven primers. Make another mark on the dowel at the top of the tube and paint the dowel with white paint from the second mark up to the red section.

Now, when you fill that primer tube and stick the dowel in the tube and resting on top of the primers, you can watch the dowel drop down the tube as you use the primers. When you see the dowel get to the white paint mark, you know you only have seven primers left and should consider refilling the tube. If it gets to the red mark, you are really heading for problems.

The dowels are easy to see as you work, and it has been a good solution for me. I hope it might help you. If you are already aware of this idea, just ignore my comments and chalk it up to an old mind with nothing better to do.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

February 9, 2008, 09:23 PM
Thanks, Dave. I use a dowel with an empty mark, but have been too dense to make an approach mark so I know when to get ready. I'll do it.

February 9, 2008, 10:20 PM
Wow David, that's the coolest idea I've heard in a while. I'd buy you a beer right now, were it feasible. :)

David Wile
February 10, 2008, 01:06 AM
Hey folks,

Thanks for the kind words. I wish I could say I thought it up myself, but that just isn't the case. Someone I no longer remember mentioned it on this or another forum, and I thought I would give it a try. It worked like a charm for me. Other than that last primer jamming problem, my L&L works like a charm. I have not had any other problems with the primer feeder like some folks have mentioned, but I make sure my primer feed mechanism is clean and "lubed" with some powdered graphite.

I never felt a need for a case feeder or a bullet feeder and still do not. I would be curious, however, to know what some other folks think about the case and bullet feeders??

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

April 14, 2008, 10:44 PM
+1 for the LnL


April 15, 2008, 08:17 AM
I had an early version of the Hornady. I now own a Dillon 1050. Each has its plusses, but in the end I think I would choose a Dillon 650 were I to do it again.

April 15, 2008, 09:20 AM
Try both and decide which features are most important to you. They prime and index/eject differently and the ergos of the Dillon are very different when set up with all the overpriced goodies. You can also get a generous spare parts kit for the Dillon which may be important to you if rely on the press for match ammo. The Dillon equipped as it should be is more then twice the price of the Hornady and the caliber changes cost a lot more.

You pay a lot for the last %10 and it won't be worth it for everyone. If you reload 36 different calibers then you definitely want to lean towards the Hornady. If you only load three like me then the cost of equipment and caliber changes becomes less important over the long term.

Kentucky Jelly
April 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
I have never used a Dillon so I can not comment on it. I have a LnL and love it so far. I just got 1,300 free bullets, and it only took 4 weeks to get them at the most. Free Bullets help me buy new dies lol.

April 16, 2008, 04:24 AM
Both sides have their adherants. When the honesty comes out they're both equal on performance.

The difference is that the Hornady costs less to start with, is cheaper and easier to convert to different calibers, and comes with a lot of free bullets.

What's not to love?

Oh yeah, and my brand is better than your brand :neener:


April 16, 2008, 07:47 AM
Get the Hornady and get them 1000 bullets. That is like hitting the lotto in the shooting world right now. That will save you over $100 or more depending on what bullets you get.

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