One Dillon 650, or several Lee Loadmasters?


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Adamsstreet
December 22, 2011, 08:12 PM
Currently, I am only interested in loading for 4 pistol calibers, .380, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45ACP. I would prefer to set up a machine for each caliber, and leave it set and ready for use. Space is not an issue, my bench is 20 feet long.
For similar money, I can get 4 Loadmasters, set up and ready to use, or one Dillon with all I need to handle the 4 calibers. Should I get 4 of the Lee machines, or just go Blue right now and say that was a silly plan?

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45_auto
December 22, 2011, 08:45 PM
Drink the blue Kool-Aid and be done with it.

I started with a Lee, went with the Dillon 650 about 15 years ago. Best thing I ever did in the reloading department.

I currently load 38 Special, 9mm, 38 Super, 357 Mag, 40 S&W, 44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 308, 30-06, & 35 Remington on the 650, each with it's own toolhead. I use a single powder measure.

Takes about 3 minutes to switch calibers if they use the same primer size, about 10 minutes if I have to change primer sizes. I keep meaning to get another primer system and keep one set up for small and one for large, but haven't quite felt the need yet.

The 4 separate Lee set-ups would save you a couple of minutes switching calibers, but they won't come close to the robustness and reliability of the 650.

thorn-
December 22, 2011, 08:48 PM
Get one machine, and learn to use it effectively first.

And FWIW, take a look at the Hornady LNL-AP before you get the 650.

thorn

dbarnhart
December 22, 2011, 09:09 PM
The Dillon 650 and the Lee Loadmaster are on opposite ends of the 'Requires tinkering' scale.

Dillon: Once set up for a specific, it will crank out ammo at a prodigious rate. It just works. The downside is that caliber changes are either a)time-consuming or b) expensive.

Go to http://www.UltimateReloader.com and watch the videos of doing a caliber change on the 650

Loadmaster: If you like the Dillon you will hate the Loadmaster. My impression is that it was designed to be a lower cost machine at the expense of needing more fiddling and tinkering to keep running smoothly.

Some suggestions:

1. Since you are reloading pistol only, why not consider multiple Dillon 550's ?

2. How about two 550's, one set up for small primers and the other set up for large primers. Buy the caliber conversion kits complete with powder drop for each caliber. The caliber conversion kits are less than the cost of separate Loadmasters and would allow you to change calibers in just a few minutes.

3. I've been very very happy with my Hornady LnL-AP. Caliber changes are pretty painless.

cfullgraf
December 22, 2011, 09:15 PM
Look at the Dillon SDBs if you only plan to load handgun.

I have two, one dedicated to 45 ACP and the other to 9x19. No change over time, no adjustment time.

But, there is more flexibility available with a Dillon 650 or a Hornady L-N-L AP.

twohightech
December 22, 2011, 09:17 PM
I was thinking last night about how much money I have spent on shell plates ect...for cal change. It would be nice to have a reloader set up for each that way you can load a few as you need them. I hate to load less than 1000 or 2000 before i break it down to change over. I do like your ideal but most peeps here will say Dillion. I have a load master and it does take some time to get bugs worked out. With you leaving it set up after you get it set you can load lots of good ammo. I just got an LnL because the primming on the load master takes a lot of work to change over and get/keep it running right. Good luck every whice route you take. How if you have the funds get four 650's

Hondo 60
December 22, 2011, 09:18 PM
There's just no comparison.

I have a 550 & there's no way in heck I'd ever go back to a Lee progressive.

Now if I had need for a Turret press, that I might consider a real quandry, but not a progressive.

Adamsstreet
December 22, 2011, 09:32 PM
I want to stick with an auto indexing progressive. The Loadmasters can be picked up with dies and all, ready to use for under $250. The 650 is about $550, no dies. $100 for the quick change kits, still no dies.......

I don't mind a little tinkering, I own an auto repair shop, and am a pretty handy fellow.

I will make my batches 1000 rounds per session

rehorne
December 22, 2011, 10:09 PM
Go Blue and never have to look back. Have 2 550's in my shop at the house and another 550 at the business plus a 650 and 2 1050's. Ya think I'm a Dillon fanboy? They are like the enegizer bunny, just keep going and going and going

777TRUTH
December 23, 2011, 04:43 AM
Look at the Dillon SDBs if you only plan to load handgun.

This is the way I would do it vs multiple Loadmasters. Add a Dillon 550/650 or Hornady LNL and you can load almost everything.

Personally I would rather use 1 press for multiple calibers.

dirtengineer
December 23, 2011, 05:36 AM
I own a Hornady LNL, but I have loaded extensively on a loadmaster. It works good once you get everything running well, but it is a challenge to get it working.

I have never used a 650, but I have used a 550. The Hornady is superior to the 550 in my opinion.

If you can find folks who own them so you can try them, that is what I would recommend.

FWest
December 23, 2011, 07:17 AM
If you like cheap tools and don't mind fooling with a press try the Loadmaster. If you have a taste for better tools go with a Hornady or Dillon. I had a Loadmaster and am a mechanic, it's like Snap-on vs dollar store tools, in my opinion.

BeerSleeper
December 23, 2011, 07:43 AM
The only thing I see you gaining with multiple loaders is the ability to load multiple calibers SIMULTANEOUSLY. Is this something you anticipate doing? If not, red, blue, and green progressives all have their own slightly different forms of quick caliber changes that facilitate changes faster than manually screwing out and resetting dies.

Even though you have the space on your bench for 4 presses, wouldn't it be nice to still have that space available for other things?

Do you have a single stage? From starting out --> One progressive is already quite a leap. Four is a really long way to go. If you are starting from the very beginning, and have room for multiple presses, I'd consider a single and a progressive instead of multiple progressives. In that instance, I'd look at the Hornady LnL line. Their SS and progressives share common quick change bushings, and with one little custom machined washer, they can be synchronized such that you can use the same bushings on each press.

dbarnhart
December 23, 2011, 07:49 AM
>>>I don't mind a little tinkering, I own an auto repair shop, and am a pretty handy fellow.<<<

Actually you can get a Loadmaster NEW from MidwayUSA for $239.99

So buy ONE Loadmaster and see if it agrees with you. If so then buy the others.

MtnCreek
December 23, 2011, 08:00 AM
You would probably be very happy with the (4) Lee setup, unless you had the opertunity to run a Dillon 650... Let there be light.:)

Kevin Rohrer
December 23, 2011, 09:20 AM
Blue Cadillac or red & silver Yugo. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

germ
December 23, 2011, 09:39 AM
I've never touched a Dillion but I do have a loadmaster. Without a second thought - GO FOR THE DILLION!!!!

That said, I also have an LNL AP which I like very much.

Because I have the case loader working pretty well, my loadmaster has been relegated to decapping duties only, just prior to tumbling. This allows me to zip through a lot of them very quickly.

Deavis
December 23, 2011, 11:52 AM
Dillon, the difference in quality and production is noticeable when compared to Lee. Yes, it will cost you more but in the long run it will be a small portion of your loading cost over the next 10 or 15 years.

Never used a LnL but I hear great things, they are cheaper to deck out than the Dillon.

jmorris
December 23, 2011, 11:55 AM
Buy once, cry once. I can make more ammo with a 650, in one hour, than you could on 4 load masters (1000 of them for that matter).

esheato
December 23, 2011, 12:48 PM
Caliber conversions OTD on my 650 run about $250 per caliber. I also have small/large priming setups....so two screws and it's changed.

All told, maybe 5 min to change. And I leave my powder measures full. So I dump the first load, and then crank them out. It's always, always right where I left it.

Adamsstreet
December 23, 2011, 01:19 PM
Sounds like I will be doing more reading about the LNL, and decide between it and the 650

RandyP
December 23, 2011, 01:38 PM
Or two Loadmasters, one set up for small pistol primers, one set up for large?

Hey, it's fun to play with someone else's wallet - LOL

What is your realistic ammo consumption per month? I agree that the very highest priced progressives can really churn out the ammo, so can a $30K Camdex, but if you want to reload as a relaxing hobby and don't need to load a years worth of ammo in 15 minutes, why pay the high tithing? In the car analogy I don't 'need' an Aston Martin just to go 2 miles to the grocery store once a week....it would sure be cool, but kinda hard to justify on a cost vs need basis - LOL

greyling22
December 23, 2011, 01:43 PM
The real issue with the loadmaster is the primer feeding apparatus, and lee has just "redesigned" it. I got my new part and loaded 200 rounds the other day. The jury is still out for me. No mangled sliders, but I bound up the press twice when the primer seater didn't retract. Perhaps it was an indexing problem.

Loadmaster does not take as much tinkering as everybody is making out, but it does need a lot of tweaking on the setup end. You can get a refurb from lee for about $185, dies, powder measure etc included.

The best thing the loadmaster has going for it is the case feeder. Oh my goodness, that thing is awesome. Dillon/hornady have a good ones too, but it costs an extra 300 or so and takes batteries and space.

if you're trying to decide between the hornady and the dillon, read the article linked here: http://www.xdtalk.com/forums/ammo-can/82099-good-article-comparing-lee-dillon-hornady-presses.html

Red Cent
December 23, 2011, 03:15 PM
If you have the change, Esheato's set up is best. Unhook powder drop bar, pull two pins and remove tool head. Slide another toolhead with dies and powder drop back in, hook up the bar and go. Like he said, changing primers ain't that hard at all. Pricey though. Still cheaper than buying four Dillons.

Consider something.

International Defensive Pistol Association (magazine)
Fourth Quarter 2011
Volume 15 - Issue 4

Reloading presses used by shooters in the World Championship
Dillon - 185
Hornady - 9
Lee - 6
Lyman - 1
RCBS - 9
Redding - 1
Safariland - 1 (I have no idea either)

kreidel
December 23, 2011, 03:21 PM
I own a Dillon... do I qualify for the World Chamionship?

Are those real numbers or internet folk lore? If they are accurate that really says something!

RandyP
December 23, 2011, 04:17 PM
Competition shooters can burn up more ammo in a month than many folks will shoot in a year. I am not at all surprised to learn their need is best met by the highest volume (and also highest price) presses, namely Dillon.

I would frankly be stunned to learn someone shooting 1000+ rounds a week was using a single stage or a $30 Lee whack-a-mole Loader.

jmorris
December 23, 2011, 06:14 PM
I own a Dillon... do I qualify for the World Chamionship?


Are those real numbers or internet folk lore? If they are accurate that really says something!


All you have to do to qualify for the world championship is shoot any two other sanctioned matches in the last year. The numbers are real, they come from the survey every shooter fills out to get a "prize bag". There are not a lot of "action" style competition shooters that reload to relax or as a hobby. Getting it done quickly without a lot of jams or other things not working, it what we look for. In that respect Dillon has earned the # 1 spot, for now.

The really telling part is that IDPA boasts in the rule book that it's about "real world" and practicle defence ammunition, while top shooters don't follow that idea.

mallc
December 23, 2011, 06:39 PM
I did seen anyone ask how many rounds the OP runs per year. I have Dillon 650s with case feeders for long runs and LNL without case feeder for 101 to 500 rounds per run.

The calibers listed by the OP allow the use of RCBS Lockout dies in station 3 of the LNL so he would have decent safety on the LNL that you can't do on the 550.

The change overs on the 650's are pricey and time consuming. I know someone will argue the point but I dedicate powder measures for regular runs on the LNLs instead on adjusting the station. One the other hand, once the change over is checked, the machine requires essentially no adjustment.

I've had a couple Loadmasters come through the shop - both from guys who wanted to spend more time shooting than loading. Both tried the 650 and the LNL and both bought the LNL with case feeder. Both are happy.

Hope this helps.
Scott

Adamsstreet
December 23, 2011, 08:21 PM
Shooting 500 rounds each of several calibers during a weekend with the wife and friends will be pretty normal after getting a good press. I will prefer to load 1000 of each caliber at a time, to save time on changeovers, and primers and projectiles come 1K at a time anyway.

I don't reload any rifle ammo, but that doesn't rule out that I never will, down the road.

Within reason, cost isn't a huge deciding factor. I can set aside a grand to get a press and its accesories. I already tumble with stainless, and have well over 1000 rounds of clean brass for each caliber.

Main focus is ease of use, less time for caliber changes, reliability....

jmorris
December 23, 2011, 08:27 PM
Within reason, cost isn't a huge deciding factor.

What is a reasonable dollar amount to you?

Adamsstreet
December 23, 2011, 08:57 PM
As stated, I have about $1000 for a press, dies, and things to make it work.

dnmccoy
December 23, 2011, 09:19 PM
Dillon!

Uniquedot
December 23, 2011, 09:30 PM
So buy ONE Loadmaster and see if it agrees with you. If so then buy the others.

That's not a bad idea. I have a loadmaster and i never have problems with mine, but there are a lot of folks whom seem to, but whether they can't comprehend an instruction pamphlet or there is serious QC issues at Lee i don't know, but mine just keeps on running smoothly and spitting out the ammo.

Uniquedot
December 23, 2011, 09:39 PM
I can make more ammo with a 650, in one hour, than you could on 4 load masters (1000 of them for that matter).

How do you figure? i can load 200 primers in my loadmaster tray and fill the case collator and already have a box of ammo loaded before you could even fill the primer tube unless you have one of those expensive primer tube filler thingy's, but still if i had 4 LM's set up with 200 primers in each tray and four case collators full of cases there is no way you could load 1000 rounds before me. It takes about 7 minutes (or less) to load 100 rounds on the LM if you are trying for speed so that's 200 rounds in 14 minutes without having to add primers. Even if the 650 will load them faster you would still have to stop after 100 rounds to add primers. Or were you just insulting the OP's intelligence?

jmorris
December 23, 2011, 11:37 PM
How do you figure? i can load 200 primers in my loadmaster tray and fill the case collator and already have a box of ammo loaded before you could even fill the primer tube unless you have one of those expensive primer tube filler thingy's, but still if i had 4 LM's set up with 200 primers in each tray and four case collators full of cases there is no way you could load 1000 rounds before me. It takes about 7 minutes (or less) to load 100 rounds on the LM if you are trying for speed so that's 200 rounds in 14 minutes without having to add primers. Even if the 650 will load them faster you would still have to stop after 100 rounds to add primers. Or were you just insulting the OP's intelligence?

No insult, this is TheHighRoad.

This is what a Dillon looks like loading 100 (rifle) rounds in 2.5 minutes.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/th_1050.jpg (http://s121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/?action=view&current=1050.mp4)

My 650's can load my pistol rounds just as fast.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/650feeders.jpg


I do have the primer fillers as well but that's not really the point.

Owning or having owned machines made by Lee, RCBS, Hornady and Dillon for metalic reloading I can assure you over 1000 rounds the Dillons will have less malfunctions than any Lee progressive I have ever owned or seen in action.

Metal Tiger
December 24, 2011, 01:07 AM
Red Cent,
Thanks for the data:

Consider something.

International Defensive Pistol Association (magazine)
Fourth Quarter 2011
Volume 15 - Issue 4

Reloading presses used by shooters in the World Championship
Dillon - 185
Hornady - 9
Lee - 6
Lyman - 1
RCBS - 9
Redding - 1
Safariland - 1 (I have no idea either)

I am going to show this to my brother a Red State inhabitant.

StaTiK
December 24, 2011, 02:07 AM
You could always get (4) SDBs... used prices are comparable to new Loadmasters, and if you're looking to compare longevity my bet is on the guaranteed-for-life SDB.

Just an idea.
-StaTiK-

thorn-
December 24, 2011, 02:11 AM
Still failing to understand why someone new to reloading should be advised to get four of ANYTHING...

Again - get one press that works well, and get multiples if you have needs down the road. If you find that a particular press takes too long (or costs too much) to change calibers/primer sizes, get one that DOESNT have that problem.

thorn

Uniquedot
December 24, 2011, 03:42 AM
My 650's can load my pistol rounds just as fast.

If you can do 100 rounds in 2.5 minutes you can definitely get it done quicker than i could, but i wonder how consistent your powder charges would be at such a rate? after all it does have to flow to get into the case.


Owning or having owned machines made by Lee, RCBS, Hornady and Dillon for metalic reloading I can assure you over 1000 rounds the Dillons will have less malfunctions than any Lee progressive I have ever owned or seen in action.

If i had just one malfunction in only 1000 rounds with my loadmaster i would consider it one too many.

EddieNFL
December 24, 2011, 07:09 AM
In the car analogy I don't 'need' an Aston Martin just to go 2 miles to the grocery store once a week....

The Aston Martin is far less likely to leave you stranded at the grocery store than a Yugo.

I have a loadmaster and i never have problems with mine, but there are a lot of folks whom seem to, but whether they can't comprehend an instruction pamphlet or there is serious QC issues at Lee i don't know, but mine just keeps on running smoothly and spitting out the ammo.

That would make about 80 percent of Lee owners, um, not very bright.

jmorris
December 24, 2011, 09:30 AM
If you can do 100 rounds in 2.5 minutes you can definitely get it done quicker than i could, but i wonder how consistent your powder charges would be at such a rate? after all it does have to flow to get into the case.

I knew that or I wouldn't have posted such a definitive statement. Powder flows fine at that speed even using 20+ grain charges into a small 223 case mouth, although I don't use extruded powders. Small charges into pistol cases are not an issue.

As for consistent, most all of the pistol ammunition I have loaded this last year was for IDPA competition and I placed high overall in 29 out of 33 matches. One of them (MVSA regional) shooting CDP and the field had 3 Distinguished Masters in various divisions.


If i had just one malfunction in only 1000 rounds with my loadmaster i would consider it one too many.

Myself and others I know who have owned Lee progressives would say you are extreamly lucky. I have never heard that from a Lee owner before.

Red Cent
December 24, 2011, 12:22 PM
I had, at one time, three Lee 1000s on the bench.I learned how to make them operate efficiently. For a while. I spent some time keeping the powder blown away, keeping the primer slide clean, and adjusting that plastic gear for proper timing.
The Lee is not junk. It is made cheaply. You would think they would do a primer tube or something like it.

Then I went to Dillon. I hve never owned a RCBS or a (or is it an) Hornady and I probably won't. I made a choice and it cannot get better than this :cool:.

Loading small (and large) cases on the Dillon, or for that matter any reloader, can be remedied by attaching a fish aerator to the powder tube. I was shown this by a reloader in 2000 and I have them on mine. No bridging.

MtnCreek
December 24, 2011, 12:28 PM
Jmorris,

What kind of bullet feeder are you using?
Thanks!

Master Blaster
December 24, 2011, 01:32 PM
Several fat ugly 60 year old hags, or One beautiful 25 year old Dancer?

Really quantity vs Quality.

David Wile
December 24, 2011, 02:00 PM
Hey folks,

Having neither Dillon 650 nor Lee Loadmaster, I am afraid I am unable to load 100 rounds in 2.5 minutes. In fact, I cannot imagine loading 100 rounds in 2.5 minutes. I like the idea of loading a finished round each time I cycle the press handle, but to load 100 rounds in 2.5 minutes means a complete cycle of the handle every 1.5 seconds. Every 1.5 seconds!!!

I must be out of touch with reality. I cannot imagine the idea of cycling my press handle every 1.5 seconds. Quite frankly, that is just too much like work. I enjoy reloading. It is a pleasurable experience for me. I do not do it with the goal of getting done as quickly as possible. I enjoy watching the machine as it cycles the cases around the stations, I like to place a new case in the first station and place a bullet atop another case before the next cycle of the handle. I feel the primer seat in the primer pocket, and I look in the case that was just charged to make sure it has powder. I sometimes look at the finished round after it is ejected from the shell plate.

I simply cannot do all those things in 1.5 seconds, and worse yet, I cannot imagine why folks strive to do so. Call me old, call me silly, but I did not buy a progressive press to get in a race to see how fast I can load a round of ammo. Like I said earlier, I really like the idea of completing a finished round with each cycle of the handle, but beyond that, I really do not care if my handle cycle takes 1.5 seconds or 15 seconds. I guess I should really be ashamed to admit I frequently use a single stage press to do some of my reloading.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Red Cent
December 24, 2011, 03:33 PM
DW, here is one old timer also. I live to shoot but I don't have a passion for reloading. I have too much going on and I don't want to spend the time at the bench. Home practice, dryfire, transitions need more time than handloading. Other than the season (now) I shoot 5-6 times every month. I load for lever rifle, SA revolver, semi-auto pistol, and shotgun.
jmorris has a number of active reloaders on his bench as do I. I don't think he is always in a race. But the Dillon will run.

I gotta get better with those Safariland Comp IIIs.

mtrmn
December 24, 2011, 05:40 PM
Bought a loadmaster and spent 3 SOLID DAYS trying to get it adjusted so it would work for more than 5 continuous rounds. I never succeeded. Boxed it up, sent it back, and bought the Dillon 550. 2-3 hours to bolt it on the strong mount, install on my bench, and set up to load without issue. No contest--Dillon all the way.

I do still use a lot of Lee products, but I always recommend to stay far away from their so-called "progressives".

jmorris
December 24, 2011, 06:31 PM
Jmorris,
What kind of bullet feeder are you using?
Thanks!


KISS on the 1050 and GSI'S on the 650's.

I will admit I don't load all the time at that rate but it can be done. I also have the 1050 autodriven now. However, this last year I have loaded almost all of my match ammo the morning of the match, instead of "stockpiling" thinking I will finish my new bench "next week". So the jam free speed has been extra nice.

I also still use single stage and turret presses as well but not for very large quanities. They all have their uses, I understand that quite well.

gspn
December 24, 2011, 06:58 PM
Does the OP plan to load and shoot as many rounds as a competitor in the World Championship?

A list of presses used by world champion shooters could be entirely irrelevant for an average joe. He may not have the same quantity/time constraints, the pro's might be sponsored and therefore given a press as advertising for a manufacturer, some manufacturers have made progressive presses longer and will therefore have a heavier representation in the group from that aspect alone. Lots of details need to be considered.

Metal Tiger
December 24, 2011, 07:44 PM
I do not want to sound like a Go Blue Fan boy so I will say please consider the Hornady LOL or the Dillon 650 WAY before even thinking about the Lee. As you have heard from those that have worked with these "cheaply" made machines, they just require a lot of tinkering to keep them running.

Start with ONE Hornady or Dillon 650 in small or large primer and consider adding another at some future date in the other primer. Very nice set up that way.

A very interesting read comparing Lee Hornady and Dillon reloading presses:
Dillon vs Lee vs Hornady or "How I spent my Winter Vacation"

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

Another real nice source for visual information is from http://ultimatereloader.com/
Gavin has extensive YouTube videos on the Dillon 650 and the Hornady LOL systems. Both excellent.

jmorris
December 24, 2011, 07:53 PM
A list of presses used by world champion shooters could be entirely irrelevant for an average joe. He may not have the same quantity/time constraints

From the OP

Shooting 500 rounds each of several calibers during a weekend with the wife and friends will be pretty normal after getting a good press.

26,000 rounds a year (minimum in one caliber not to mention "each") will cost (a lot) more than any press and take a good while to load on the best machine. Why start with something not meant for the job (or at the least a "good press")?

Maybe a good reality check for the OP, 20,000 plated 9mm 147 grain bullets (only) at dealer price is over $1600 why bust butt to load them , and piles of others on a $200 machine?

gspn
December 24, 2011, 08:24 PM
From the OP



26,000 rounds a year (minimum in one caliber not to mention "each") will cost (a lot) more than any press and take a good while to load on the best machine. Why start with something not meant for the job (or at the least a "good press")?

Maybe a good reality check for the OP, 20,000 plated 9mm 147 grain bullets (only) at dealer price is over $1600 why bust butt to load them , and piles of others on a $200 machine?
Thanks...he didn't have volume figures in his first couple of posts so I had no idea how much he inteded to shoot.

That is a lot of reloading...and given the cost of the components he probably won't flinch at the quoted costs associated with caliber changes on the Dillon.

Speed is definately your friend when pushing volumes like that. If you are shooting 500 a week times four calibers you're looking at 2,000 rounds a week times 52 weeks in a year...or 104,000 rounds per year.

If you have a press that will knock out 1,000 per hour you're looking at 104 hours per year just pulling the handle...not to mention sorting brass, buying and dealing with components etc.

Sounds like you might need 4 Dillons and three friends!

zxcvbob
December 24, 2011, 08:43 PM
I want to stick with an auto indexing progressive. The Loadmasters can be picked up with dies and all, ready to use for under $250. The 650 is about $550, no dies. $100 for the quick change kits, still no dies.......
I don't mind a little tinkering, I own an auto repair shop, and am a pretty handy fellow.
I will make my batches 1000 rounds per session

No offense intended, but do you already know what you are doing? If now, how will you know *how* to tinker it?

I have a Hornady LNL-AP and I like it... sort of... but it's more fiddly than I'd prefer. I should have bought a Dillon SDB since I already have a single-stage press for loading rifle cartridges and weird stuff.

Bush Pilot
December 24, 2011, 10:21 PM
Why is it you hear more horror stories associated with Lee presses than all other brands combined? How many times have you read a post about starting out with a Dillon and getting rid of the "piece of junk" to buy a Lee? Have you ever noticed a lack of used Dillon presses at gun shows while there always seems to be plenty of used Lee equipment?

zxcvbob
December 24, 2011, 10:24 PM
I have more Lee equipment than everything else combined, but I wouldn't buy one of their progressive presses. Single stage or turret press? No problem.

Adamsstreet
December 24, 2011, 11:46 PM
I am not new to loading, just looking for a big step up from single stage use. I don't have a problem tinkering or fabricating parts. I have several lathes, presses, and all the tooling to make them work. I am not new to making mechanical things better than they were designed to be. With that said, 4 Loadmasters, once functioning could theoretically be the same price and function as one 650 and kits to make every caliber change.

We have already established the Dillon is the superior machine, and that will likely be the way I go, unless another option falls in my lap for the right price.

We shoot a lot as is, and will just shoot more with our own ammo at a lower cost.

Kevin Rohrer
December 25, 2011, 07:27 AM
How many times have you read a post about starting out with a Dillon and getting rid of the "piece of junk" to buy a Lee?

Maybe in an alternate universe. :neener:

Have you ever noticed a lack of used Dillon presses at gun shows while there always seems to be plenty of used Lee equipment?

I recently talked with a used reloading dealer who sells on EBay. He said he almost never gets Dillon equipment and when he dies get them, they go for premium prices. He won't touch Lee as they have no resale value. :rolleyes:

dbarnhart
December 25, 2011, 08:13 AM
>>>Have you ever noticed a lack of used Dillon presses at gun shows while there always seems to be plenty of used Lee equipment?<<<

Not trying to deliberately be a contrarian, but right now I'm seeing Dillon presses show up on Backpage every week but I never se a Loadmaster (or a Hornady LnL-AP) for sale.

I don't think that's a reflection on the press, just a reflection of the economic times.

RandyP
December 25, 2011, 09:10 AM
If the OP is indeed shooting 2000 rounds per week? Good on ya mate! You should have an impressive collection of your own once fired brass at this point and obviously have a different 'need' (and much thicker wallet) than a whole lot of us average recreational shooters who do not spend 6 figures on just ammo each year.

Lee products have never been designed as apples to apples competition to presses costing 3-5 times as much. Who'd a thunk it? LOL Next you'll be telling me that the Chevy Aveo was not made to directly compete with the Lamborghini Aventador?

For MY realistic wants, needs and budget the Lee Classic 4-hole is a perfect match. It would not be so for the OP's. IF I were ever needing the output of a progressive (lucky me) I would not hesitate to look at the Loadmaster first, heck for $220 (which includes dies and a case feeder) I'd buy one just to try it out for snicks and giggles and to then be able to mock those who bought one and were not clever enough to figure out how to get it to work. I LUV a good challenge - LOL

joed
December 25, 2011, 02:34 PM
Do you want to spend your time loading or tinkering? You don't have a bad idea on multiple presses but caliber change overs aren't all that bad.

I've kind of done the same thing having a 650 for small primer and a 1050 for large primer rounds. But, truth be told the 650 isn't that hard to change the primer setup on. I'd bet no more then 20 minutes at most for a complete change. I could easily live with one press and have been thinking about selling one of mine to keep things simple. At the time I had 2 presses I was loading 2 to 3 thousand rounds a week. I'd bet I'm presently loading 2000 per week on the 650.

I'll add one other thing for you to think about. Look at what a used Dillon press sells for and look at a used Lee. Should you ever decide to quit reloading you'll get your money back on the Dillon. Think I may have paid $390 for my 650 and that was 7 years ago, look what they sell for now.

jmorris
December 25, 2011, 05:27 PM
I am not new to loading, just looking for a big step up from single stage use. I don't have a problem tinkering or fabricating parts. I have several lathes, presses, and all the tooling to make them work. I am not new to making mechanical things better than they were designed to be. With that said, 4 Loadmasters, once functioning could theoretically be the same price and function as one 650 and kits to make every caliber change.

Ahh, a machinist, how about you can make a Lee as good as a Dillon the same way you could make a harbor freight lathe as good as a Haas.

Bush Pilot
December 25, 2011, 05:32 PM
Ahh, a machinist, how about you can make a Lee as good as a Dillon the same way you could make a harbor freight lathe as good as a Haas.
Christmas miracle?

EddieNFL
December 25, 2011, 08:48 PM
but I never se a Loadmaster

My conscience wouldn't let me sell mine.

Adamsstreet
December 25, 2011, 11:38 PM
Shooting won't be every weekend, mostly weather permitting. We tend to get a lot of snow for the first 3 months of the year. Price of components to load and shoot that often is not an issue, its not all coming out of one income. I did mention the wife and friends in my number of 500 rounds of several calibers.

Pretty sure the 650 will be ordered this week, along with the works to get started with at least 2 or 3 calibers. If everything goes to plan, we can be shooting our own rounds in the near future.

Metal Tiger
December 26, 2011, 01:01 AM
Adamstreet,

With the volume of rounds you, your wife and friends go through, your choice of a reliable Dillon 650 will serve you well. You should be able to fill your shooting needs without spending several days to do it.

Good luck with your choices and let us know how it’s going.

thump_rrr
December 26, 2011, 04:40 AM
And FWIW, take a look at the Hornady LNL-AP before you get the 650.

I have the Hornady LnL AP Progressive with case feeder and bullet feeder and it takes nearly 25 minutes to go from a small primer rifle cartridge to a large primer pistol cartridge when all is said and done including converting and adjusting the powder measure, case feeder, priming system, and shell plate.
Purchasing a complete powder measure including linkage costs 50% of the price of a second press so your idea may not be that bad at all.

I know an old school gun shop owner who has 3 loadmasters set up the way you want to and he swears by them.

helotaxi
December 26, 2011, 06:10 AM
Buy once, cry once. Man, I hate that phrase. If there's any crying involved at all, you made the wrong purchase.

I have a Dillon 550. After buying it I wondered why I had been wasting time with something else. The design just works. Period. Any problems (from what I've heard, I haven't had any personally) a call to Dillon makes it right, forever. The no-BS lifetime warranty alone make the Dillon the way to go. I don't consider it drinking the koolaide when a company makes a superior product and has superior customer service, I consider it a wise purchase. No crying involved.

I've heard good things about the Hornady as well, but I don't personally have a use for auto-index or a case feeder (why I chose the 550 over the 650 in the first place).

Muddydogs
December 26, 2011, 10:00 AM
I would recomend the Hornady LnL over the Dillon as well. I am sure you have probably researched this to death and won't go wrong with the Dillon but for the price of the machine, price of caliber changes and easy of caliber changes I think the LnL is hard to beat. It takes very little time to switch calibers, I have not timed it and I just don't throw a shell plate on the press and dump in some powder when I do change but if thats your thing then I would say in less then 5 minutes you can change calibers. When I change I clean the grease off the shell plate and ram, regrease the new shell plate, inspect and clean the powder measure as well as the dies coming off the press and going on, and generally take care of my stuff. It probably takes 30 minutes or better for me to change over but then again I don't have problems while I am cranking out the rounds either.

Muddydogs
December 26, 2011, 10:08 AM
Man, I hate that phrase. If there's any crying involved at all, you made the wrong purchase.

I've heard good things about the Hornady as well, but I don't personally have a use for auto-index or a case feeder (why I chose the 550 over the 650 in the first place).

While I to hate the crying phrase I also don't understand your phrase about auto indexing. To load you have to advance the case to the next station so why not have it auto index instead of another thing your hands have to do? It makes no sense to me why you would not want auto indexing but then again I like the bullet feeder die also so all I have to do is feed cases and pull the handle, I feel that this is safer in the long run because I have more time to visually check powder levels and other press functions since I am not worried about getting a bullet on the case or indexing the shell plate.

joed
December 26, 2011, 11:02 AM
Shooting won't be every weekend, mostly weather permitting. We tend to get a lot of snow for the first 3 months of the year. Price of components to load and shoot that often is not an issue, its not all coming out of one income. I did mention the wife and friends in my number of 500 rounds of several calibers.

You may go nuts like I did when I got the first progressive. Same environment here, nasty for the first 3 months of the year. I kept ordering brass and stock piling ammo all winter. Looking back what I thought was a lot of money for brass then paid off in the long run.

FlyinBryan
December 26, 2011, 01:56 PM
I can make more ammo with a 650, in one hour, than you could on 4 load masters (1000 of them for that matter).

i dont have 4. just one. it definitely took some massaging to get it to run absolutely perfect, and i wouldnt suggest one for anyone that would not enjoy perfecting its indexing and priming.

as for your production being 4 times that of an l.m, that is indeed impressive.

the only timing ive done with mine was for batches of 100 which was right at 6 minutes flat. (100 because thats what my case feeder holds. i usually over fill the primer feeder just because the suggested 100 is less than half of the tray)

this puts yours at 400 per 6 minutes which is amazing.

dnite
December 26, 2011, 05:29 PM
Currently, I am only interested in loading for 4 pistol calibers, .380, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45ACP. I would prefer to set up a machine for each caliber, and leave it set and ready for use. Space is not an issue, my bench is 20 feet long.
For similar money, I can get 4 Loadmasters, set up and ready to use, or one Dillon with all I need to handle the 4 calibers. Should I get 4 of the Lee machines, or just go Blue right now and say that was a silly plan?
I agree with Cfullgraf. Look at the SDB and multipul tool heads. I have a 650 that I use to load 45acp, I use the SDB to load 9mm but also have 40,10,38/357,45lc dies and tool heads.

I bought both machines used, the 650 first and the SDB because it was to cheap the sellers had all the extra dies.

Had I bought the SDB first I would not have bought the 650 unless I wanted to load rifle.
The Dillon cost a little more upfront but you will always get your money back.

dnite

helotaxi
December 26, 2011, 09:42 PM
While I to hate the crying phrase I also don't understand your phrase about auto indexing. To load you have to advance the case to the next station so why not have it auto index instead of another thing your hands have to do? It makes no sense to me why you would not want auto indexing but then again I like the bullet feeder die also so all I have to do is feed cases and pull the handle, I feel that this is safer in the long run because I have more time to visually check powder levels and other press functions since I am not worried about getting a bullet on the case or indexing the shell plate.If I was in a tremendous hurry, your points might be valid. Since I'm not in a hurry, I like things simple. Auto-index, case feeder, bullet feeder, just more things to have to worry about and monitor and pay extra for. I have the bullet tray on the bench to the left of the press and the cases in a bin to the right. My left hand rests on the bullet tray and plays the role of a free bullet feeder and indexer. The right works the lever and plays the role of free case feeder. I don't need faster production than I am capable of. Loading 1k rounds in an evening is a relatively simple matter. Different strokes.

David Wile
December 27, 2011, 12:05 AM
Hey Helotaxi,

We may have different brands of progressive presses, but we both seem to have similar ideas on loading throughput goals - forget the case feeder, forget the bullet feeder. My press does auto index, and that is fine with me. I had been using auto indexing Hornady shotshell progressives for a good many years, so it was natural for me to use it on the metallic progressive. My hand work is a little different, too. I use my left hand to place the empty brass in the shell plate, and my left hand then places a bullet in the charged case. The empty cases and bullets are both to the left of the press. My right hand pretty much does nothing other than operate the handle.

Perhaps you and I could have a competition to see who can load the fewest rounds in an hour and still be satisfied with our production.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Kevin Rohrer
December 27, 2011, 11:24 AM
To load you have to advance the case to the next station so why not have it auto index instead of another thing your hands have to do?

Because w/ the 550, it is easier to correct a mistake and continue to march than w/ a 650.

*If a primer fails to get seated, I just remove the charged case and re-prime the casing at the re-size station, then replace the charged case and continue.

*If a case fails to get charged, I remove the just-primed case, cycle the press to charge the case, then replace the primed case and continue.

Correcting those mistakes is harder to do w/ a 650.

David Wile
December 27, 2011, 12:30 PM
Hey Kevin,

If you are suggesting that progressive reloading becomes more complex with each new generation of machine, I certainly am in full agreement with you. I would submit that "correcting mistakes" becomes more difficult with each step we take along the ever increasingly complex path of progressive reloading.

Different folks will draw their own personal lines of what they will accept in complexity at different places along the path progressive complexity. In the 1950s, I was very comfortable using a MEC Jr to reload shotshells. Then I bought a Pacific DL-300 or DL-350 that was a manual indexing progressive. It had been allowed to rust in place, so I had to completely disassemble it and replace some bearings, but when I was finished fixing it, I had a pretty good idea of how it worked. In spite of that fact, when I first started to try loading with it, it was very complex for me compared to my experience with the MEC Jr. Shot and powder both dropped when they were not supposed to drop, and it took a while to learn how to use the machine properly.

A few years later when I got a Pacific 366 with auto-indexing, it was another step along the evolutionary path of progressives, and it certainly was more complex. To this day, I cannot operate my 366 presses if there are any distractions. It takes my total concentration.

Comparing Dillon's 550 and 650 in complexity is somewhat similar to my Pacific DL-300 something and its successor 366. No doubt about it, they do more things, become more complex, and demand more attention by the operator.

On the metallic progressive press side of the house, I draw my line to include the Dillon 650 and Hornady L&L progressives. I like the auto indexing of both. I cannot, however, go for the auto case feeders and auto bullet feeders. I do not like the noise, and I find they are more distraction than I am willing to accept.

Other folks take the auto feeders in stride. They draw their lines further along the complexity path than I am either willing or able to do. So I know what you mean about the 550 being less complex than the 650, and I would not suggest you are in any way wrong in your assessment of different press complexity.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

helotaxi
December 27, 2011, 01:24 PM
Perhaps you and I could have a competition to see who can load the fewest rounds in an hour and still be satisfied with our production.
The answer last night was 43. They were development loads with each charge weighed, but still loaded on the progressive with the powder dispenser removed and a funnel in its place. I think that I might have been at it for more than an hour though...

jmorris
December 27, 2011, 03:36 PM
If you are suggesting that progressive reloading becomes more complex with each new generation of machine, I certainly am in full agreement with you. I would submit that "correcting mistakes" becomes more difficult with each step we take along the ever increasingly complex path of progressive reloading.

I agree that nothing is a simple as a single stage press.

A lot of the devices and fail safe measures are designed to prevent mistakes (either in operation or end product) they are not designed to make it easy to make/correct a mistake by the user.

So you take the "simple" 550 and you can run the same case in the same station over and over. This may be usefull if some operation did not get done the first time for some reason but also makes the likelyhood of a double charge go way up.

You take the rather complex 1050 that adds dowels to positively index the shell plate, primer pocket swage to ensure no problems with a primer entering the pocket, positive "set" depth of primer seating and a ratcheting failsafe device that prevents anything other than a full and complete stroke of the handle and to correct a mistake is likely to take longer to clear but the likely hood that a mistake occurs in the first place is far less likely as well.

in relation to the OP's original question, get a simple cheap progressive and you will have plenty of "quirks" to tend to, I hope they are quick. Get one of the better machines and don't have as many problems to contend with in the first place.

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