Which Progressive Press


Tony Z
October 3, 2003, 10:28 AM
I have been reloading on a Dillon SDB for many years and have been extremely happy with Dillon's Service and the press. But I want to start loading rifle ammo.

If you could pick your choice of the major progressives, which would you choose?

I am stuck between the Dillon 550 or the Hornady Lock N Load. I like the 550 and the Dillon service, But For changing Calalibers and the auto indexing, 5 stations, the LNL is looking very Good.
I am not going with the Dillon 650 its to expesive. Plus to change dies, parts are very costly.

Tony Z

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October 3, 2003, 11:29 AM
Why do you need 5 stations? I load lots of rifle in many different cartridge types on my 550 and it only takes three; four on those *extremely* rare occasions I crimp (eg. when I pull the bullet and reseat a different one).

IMNSHO, auto indexing is over-rated: 300 rounds of 1/4MOA 223 an hour is plenty fast for me. ;)

Changing cartridges, including primer bar is at most, five minute task. BTW, the priming system on the 550 is not the "challenge" of the other. This is the thing that swayed me to the 550 and I'm very happy with my choice.

Dillon service: last week, after about 50K rounds through my 550, I wore out the powder system. Quick call to Dillon on Friday and a new one was on my doorstep with Monday's mail. No charge. Back to 100%.

Zak Smith
October 3, 2003, 11:54 AM
You could sell the SDB (should be able to get around $225) and then afford the 650 -- it's way faster than the 550, if you care about such things.


October 3, 2003, 12:03 PM
My reloading mentor has had a Dillon 550 for years and was recently given a L&L. He played with the L&L for a few days, hated it, threw a plastic bag over it to keep the dust off and went back to his 550. He hasn't touched it in over a year. Never found out all the details, but I think he didn't care for the priming system and had several other complaints.

Other L&L owners love 'em, I'm sure, but I'm partial to the 550 myself.

October 3, 2003, 12:17 PM
Search terms dillon and 550
Best press that I can think of.
I happen to own one, and can't be happier.

Tony Z
October 3, 2003, 12:32 PM
One issue that has not been addressed is the price of changing dies on the 550 , IE tool heads , Caliber convertion Kits, ect. I load 5 differant pistol cartrages, This is one reason for the LNL. As stated I own a SDB and have used the 550, I really like the auto indexing feature. I know that the 550 is a great press.
I would like to hear from someone who own's the LNL.

Thanks Guys keep em comming.

Tony Z

October 3, 2003, 03:35 PM
You don't need a new caliber conversion for each one.

Tool heads are $11., but if you want to save a couple dollars, you can swap dies in and out of the head that comes with the set There are only a few base plates: I have 3 and load 8 different cartridges: for example, on my bench, 45, 30-06, 308, 243 all use the same. Powder funnel is $6.

What cartridges do you want to load?

Tony Z
October 3, 2003, 08:01 PM
What cartridges do you want to load?

Pistol .380, 9mm, .38/357 44/44Mag .45ACP

Rifle at this point 223, M1 30 carbine.

If the caliber conversion is that inexpensive, then the 550 is looking better, also I have used and like dillon products.

Tony Z

October 4, 2003, 07:46 AM
550 Deluxe quick change kit is $69.95 from Brian Enos, and makes it a lot easier to store stuff neatly.
All you need to do it first class with a 550 is a quick change kit, and a conversion kit in each caliber you intend to reload, minus the one that comes with the press.
The conversion kit stuff fits into the toolhead stand, and allows you to change over without adjusting your dies, powder measure, empty your powder measure, etc.
It makes changing from 9mm to .40 a 30 second job.
It takes a little longer to change from 9mm to .45 because of primer system and shell plate...

Tony Z
October 4, 2003, 10:21 AM
To change calibers using the Deluxe quick change kit, it would cost upwards of $490.00 in Deluxe quick change kits !!!! That's to much. I like
larryw way better.


October 4, 2003, 10:53 AM
For better than 20 years I collected reloading presses. At the end I probably had, and at least tried to use, three dozen progressives. I also collected Hollywood Turrets, Jordan and Potter presses and anything else that was really unusual. No single station machines.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the Dillon's. I bought his first product, the Star super Star kit which converted a Star to a 223 reloader. I also owned a RL300, RL400 (not sure about that), RL450, RL550, RL1000 and numerous RL450 Jrs. Absolutely nothing wrong with any of these. Well maybe the RL1000 is a bit complicated. The two I never owned were the RL650 and the RL1050.

Eventually someone offered to buy all my collection and at a very good price. That chance doesn't come along very often so I took it. Never missed them. They were fun but, well, I had my fun and got my money back. Not a bad deal.

I still reload. I wanted to keep the best of what I had for my reloading. As much as I loved my collection of Star progressive reloaders and my Dillons, those, in my judgement, weren't the very best.

Today I have two RCBS Pro 2000's and two RCBS Piggyback III's. Yes I know the earlier Piggyback's weren't any good but the III's are fine. In my opinion these are better machines than the Dillons because the primer feed mechanism is decidedly better.

I bought the Piggyback's because I also load 50 BMG and I can use the Rock Chucker presses after removing the Piggyback's from them for that.

Dillon's are good machines. You can not go wrong with them. In my opinion, however, the RCBS Pro 2000 is better.

October 4, 2003, 11:08 AM
I have LnL, it is only ok. I don't/can't use the priming system. Others have gotten it to work, but not everyone. Autoindex is nice, powder measure is top notch. Cartridge retaining spring is great idea, but a wear item especially if you change calibers often. It can snag and put you out of business until replaced. Quick change bushings are fairly cheap and convenient, but can loosen in use. The one on the powder measure has to be snugged during every session. Ejector wire at station 5 interferes with non Hornady dies. Ejection can be erratic but not a huge problem. Nice bundle of good ideas and well made. Ejection problems, die interference and crappy priming can all be dealt with somewhat. Dillon makes a better product.

October 4, 2003, 11:10 AM
klw... nice to see you back posting here!

October 4, 2003, 12:29 PM
There is only one brand of reloading press when you want a progressive, and they are BLUE!!!!!!! The company is SUPERB as are the loaders.

I love my 550B. 250 rounds an hour hassle free and the ammo is more accurate than any gun I have. Sub-MOA for sure with a good recipe.

Changing calibers is simple and cheap. I have a toolhead for each caliber I reload regularly (6 of them) and one for the other 8 calibers that I reload once in a long while. I have 5 caliber conversion kits and 7 powder funnels to cover everything I do not shoot stick powder in. I have ONE lonely powder measure. Changing it over from rifle to pistol and back and forth is EASY and takes less than one minute. It also adjusts for the desired charge weight in less than one minute. There is NO NEED for 5 deluxe kits unless you are flush with cash and lazy.

David Wile
October 4, 2003, 12:35 PM
Hey Tony,

I have had a Hornady L&L Auto Progressive since they first came out nearly ten years ago, and the only part I have replaced is the case retaining spring which can get chewed up if you are not careful changing shell plates. Hornady sent me two replacement springs for free, but I have yet to chew up the first replacement spring.

As far as its priming system, I have no problem with mine as long as the machine is kept clean. If spilled powder gets in the primer raceway, it will jam. It works fine as long as it is adjusted properly and kept clean. I do use wood dowels in the primer tubes to insure the last primer is forced into the primer shuttle. I also use dry graphite lube in the raceway to smooth the movement of the shuttle. I think the L&L primer system get a bum rap by folks who simply cannot understand its workings.

For years, I never bothered to utilize the Lock and Load feature of the press. I simply changed all my dies when I changed calibers. In recent years, I have purchased additional bushings for use mainly on my sizing dies. Because of changes in bullets or crimping or whatever, I still don't have much use for leaving bushings on seating dies. This would also be true if I used the Dillon head change method. With the Dillon, however, the heads are a lot more expensive than one or two Hornady bushings. I have not had any bushings loosen for me in the past five years or so.

I also have found that a few dies will not work well with my L&L press. The problem is that the head on the L&L is so massive that some dies are too short to reach through the head far enough. That is not true of all my dies, just a few calibers presented such a problem.

If you do need to use all five stations, the ejector wire at station five will interfere. In that case, you can simply move the ejector wire up and out of the process, and then you will have to remove the finished cartridge by hand before you put an empty case in its place.

The L&L is high quality and produces a good product. You can also add on a case feeder like the Dillon 650 add on, but that idea does not excite me. I like it. It works well.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Tony Z
October 6, 2003, 09:00 AM

If I go with the dillon, were is the best place to buy one.

If someone has one they want to sell, Email me.




Zak Smith
October 6, 2003, 11:25 AM

10% off, excellent service.


October 6, 2003, 12:10 PM
Brian's great to deal with and would be my suggestion too, or you can check GunBroker.com or eBay for used presses and accessories.

October 6, 2003, 12:16 PM
Also check with Chad at http://www.eguns.com/ You might save a few bucks over Brian's price since shipping of the press is free. Discounts on accessories is about the same as Enos. Either way, you can't go wrong.

October 7, 2003, 10:14 AM
a second recommendation for chad.

good guy,have bought several things from him.


Tony Z
October 14, 2003, 11:11 AM
I added a 550-B to my collection of reloading presses last night.
Here is the link to the one I got.

So all I need now is a caliber conversion kit for the M1 .30 carbine.
I have to say I am looking forward to using this press.

Anymore advise would be welcome

Thanks for the tip's


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