LNL vs 550RL


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whtsmoke
May 17, 2012, 04:52 PM
ok so ive read as many reviews and watched as many videos on both of these but let me ask my question in another way. Why shouldnt I buy a Hornady LNL or why shouldnt I buy a 550RL?
Ive ben loading since 69 and have used notn=hing other than my old Rockchucker but want to go progressive as I now shoot more pistol do to doctors restrictions on my shoulders.

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john16443
May 17, 2012, 05:07 PM
Loading for multiple pistol calibers?

If no, there is very little difference in cost. LNL will provide you with 5 stations, Dillon only 4. Is that important to you?

Warranty on both is excellent, you here much about the Dillon no BS warranty, but Hornady's is just as good without the fanfare. Both should withstand constant use a long, long time.

Once you get into multiple calibers, the equation may change depending on your situation and what's important. LNL caliber changes are done in 2 minutes and cost no more than an additional set of 4 locking rings or your favorite brand. Dillon indicates that the range of cost for caliber changes is $46 to $56 and takes about 5 minutes.

You'll get responses that cover the extremes of loyalty from users of both brands. Think about not only what you are reloading now, but what you may or want to reload for in the future. That may help you decide.

Crunchy Frog
May 17, 2012, 07:25 PM
I did some comparison shopping when I was ready to move up from my Rockchucker to a progressive press.

Nothing wrong with a Dillon 550 but the Hornady LNL-AP is more comparable to the Dillon 650 since it has five die stations and automatic indexing. I decided on a five station machine so that I could run an RCBS Lockout Die to monitor powder levels.

I think the caliber changeover is faster on the LNL than the Dillon and perhaps a little less expensive. For each caliber, in addition to dies and the LNL bushings, you will need a shellplate (about $30) for the appropriate caliber. You could use the same powder die "lower" for each caliber but for the most convenient changeover I purchase a powder measure die body "lower" for each chambering (about $25). That way I can set each for the appropriate case length which saves a LOT of time. I also purchase a powder measure insert for each caliber that I set for my favorite load (about $10).

I see more online complaints about the LNL than I do about the Dillon. I take internet information with a grain of salt.

Everyone I know who has a Dillon sings its praises. I had some minor teething issues with my LNL but it works great now. I've called Hornady CS a few times and they have been good to work with. Any time I've had a problem with a part they have replaced it promptly at no charge.

I just need to quit buying guns in new calibers!

gahunter12
May 17, 2012, 07:26 PM
I would have to agree. Both are great presses. The main question is do you want a auto index press or manual index? The LNL AP is a auto index press meaning the shell plate rotates automatically as you lower the ram. The RL550b is a manual index. You have to rotate the shell plate. They both have there advantages. The auto indexing keeps you from forgetting to rotate the shell plate which could result in a double charge, but makes it a pain in the butt to backup and correct problems if need be. The manual index allows you to backup if need be or stop production without the shellplate advancing. The down side is if you get distracted you could double charge.

I use the RL550b myself and love it. So much so I'm trying to save my pennies for a second one here soon. I like the manual index my self because I fill I have more control over the entire process.

germ
May 17, 2012, 07:46 PM
You can rotate the LNL shellplate back one station while the ram is above halfway up. Just be carefull the case retaining spring doesn't get pinched.

I've never laid eyes on a Dillion, but I'd like to try one out. 4 holes is a bit of turn off for me though. I'd prefer 6, the more the merrier. I like my LNL.

As for why you shouldn't buy an LNL...hmmm...you don't like the color red? Maybe you would prefer the Dillon toolheads over the LNL bushings?

<edit>BTW, you can get an LNL bushing kit for your rockchucker</edit>

BYJO4
May 17, 2012, 08:01 PM
I agree with everything Crunchy Frog posted. I even have the additional items he suggests that make changing calibers quick and easy. Both Hornady and Dillon are good presses and I have no regrets in finally deciding on the Hornady.

Waldog
May 17, 2012, 08:05 PM
Both companies make excellent products. I have loaded on all Dillon models and they have a strong following. I own a Dillon Square Deal and a Hornady LNL. I prefer the operation of the LNL. Go here so you can see presses in operation: www.ultimatereloader.com

Dillon and LNL operate differently. You may prefer one over the other.;)

hentown
May 17, 2012, 08:16 PM
I'd go with the LNL, due to self-indexing and auto case-feeder, given the two choices in the OP. Given my choice, I'd get a Dillon 650, which is what I did get! ;)

rehorne
May 17, 2012, 08:34 PM
I'm a Dillon Fan BOY!! Have 3 55o's 2 650's and 2 Super 1050's. Of course I am a ammo dealer. They make quick work of loading chores. All but the 1050's have the no B.S. warranty, love that!

Hondo 60
May 17, 2012, 08:38 PM
I'd venture to guess there aren't too many reloaders who have experience with a LnL AND a 550/650.

I have a 550 (upgraded from a Lee turret & Pro1000).

All I can say is, I'd never go back.

longdayjake
May 17, 2012, 08:47 PM
The 550 and the LNL aren't even in the same class. To get something in the Dillon that is comparable to the LNL you should look into the 650. My guess is you are looking at the pricing similarities. For the same price, the LNL is by far the better machine. Now, if you are going to consider the 650 then that leaves room to argue about which is better, but it is unfair to compare the 550 to the LNL. Here is a review I did a while back on the LNL vs. 650. It will tell you a little about the features of both machines that are pros and cons.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=642514&highlight=LNL

noylj
May 17, 2012, 08:55 PM
I used a 550 and 650. Both cry out for a case feeder. They were both a pain to use without a case feeder. The case feed into the shell plate from the right, which makes it awkward. The Hornady is very ergonomic and no case feeder or bullet feeder is needed.
The 550 is very expensive for such a limited press--only 4 stations and no auto-index. Back in the late '70s, Dillon marketed an affordable progressive press (450?)--however, it only had 4 stations. I thought about it but realized for my loading style, I needed 5 stations. Hornady brought out the first 5-station affordable press, with auto-indexing, and I bought it. I enjoyed it for several decades (about 40 years plus!) and upgraded it a couple of times. I finally wore it out, as I remember, in 2009(?), so I bought the L-N-L AP.
I thought the bushings were just a marketing thing, but after setting up the press, I ordered 30 more bushings for all my calibers. I didn't get the EZ-Ject when it came out as I have almost all the shell plates and didn't see any reason to pay $10/shell plate to modify them when I had spent the time from the late '70s removing the finished round by hand while loading the new case and putting the bullet on the charged case.
Currently, my son has my L-N-L and I have three 1050s. If my 1050s and all the extras disappeared, I would buy another L-N-L.
You have to decide which press will make you the happiest.

mallc
May 17, 2012, 09:22 PM
I too have a several auto progressives of various colors and complexity. I sold my 550 when I decided that it's imperative to run a powder level safety check.

I prefer the Dillion 650/1050s for all-around reliability and safety but I have two LNL-APs for less than 500 round runs. The RCBS lock-out dies work very well and the simple powder check is better than nothing (you can turn the check rod upside down for bottle neck cases including 5.7x28). Plus, the Dillon low primer alarm works on the LNL-AP primer shield

Dillon 550 is the better built press but the LNL-AP has five stages and is auto progressive. Given the choice between the 550 and the LNL-AP, I'd definitely do the LNL-AP for the 5th station. If you are going to add a case feed, the better choice is the Dillon 650.

Hope this helps.
Scott

Walkalong
May 17, 2012, 09:27 PM
The Hornady is very ergonomic and no case feeder or bullet feeder is neededThat is what I like so much about it, as well as the fact I can easily see the charge in each case due to where it is on the plate before the seating step..

Both are excellent presses. If you can get your hands on both to try it will be so much easier to decide.

dap22
May 17, 2012, 09:55 PM
I've had 2 L-N-L's one with case feeder one without. I've also had 2 Dillon 550's. I still have the two 550's........'nuf said.

The question is rhetorical. It's a Chevy vs Ford question. Both machines have their advantages. For me the reliability and customer service is why I got rid of the L-N-L's and kept the 550's. I don't reload for speed, I reload deliberately and enjoy spending the time doing so.

morrow
May 17, 2012, 10:01 PM
Go with a Dillon xl650. That's more comparable to a Hornady LNL AP. The xl650 is also way faster than a rl550b and not that much more expensive. Remember these are progressive presses and will eat up their value in primers, powder, and projectiles in notime, so why skimp?

Beware of Hornady, lots of problems. Since they outsource lots of their parts the Q/A is shotty, lately it's been the shell plate drive hub that's been snapping. Since the parts are outsourced, some are backordered so have fun waiting. A year or so ago Hornady was shipping incomplete presses with a note in the box that said "call us for X, Y, and Z parts"
!
A major dislike of the Hornady is how there are lots and lots of bare steel/iron parts, even inside the powder measure. You WILL eventually be fighting rust, and if you use oil to coat your parts, or even dry lube, you WILL be cleaning FAR more often. Inside the powder measure you're kind of screwed...some people use automotive wax with mixed results. I have no idea why Hornady is so cheap and couldn't even blue or nickle plate their bare steel/iron parts. Unacceptable.
There's several 'quirks' that they haven't fixed either, like how the primer punch will divit your press, and the shotty Q/A on the primer system that requires lots of tweaking.

The underlaying fact to be aware of with Hornady is once they make a newer press, they EOL their previous press. You won't be able to buy more parts for it. So make sure you realize you aren't buying a press for life...unless nothing breaks after it gets EOL.

cfullgraf
May 17, 2012, 10:13 PM
When i was investigating buying a progressive after 30 years of single stage reloading, I quickly decided I wanted auto indexing. That ruled out the Dillon 550 for me.

After comparing the Hornady L-N-L and the Dillon 650, I bought the Hornady. I reload on a progressive a bit differently than most, I clean cases after resizing. As a result, I have the option of hand priming which I do as well. The Hornady with individual placement of dies as opposed to the Dillon tool plate is more versatile for my process of reloading.

But you cannot go wrong with either. Pick the one that matches the decor of your reloading room. If nothing else, the significant other will be happy with your decorating sense.

Side note, I also have two Dillon SDBs purchased after the Hornady and like them as well.

jfrey
May 17, 2012, 10:49 PM
+1 on the SDB's. Auto indexing too. Great presses and often overlooked.

Waldog
May 18, 2012, 01:14 AM
I'd venture to guess there aren't too many reloaders who have experience with a LnL AND a 550/650.

I HAVE loaded on the Dillon SDB (Still own it!), 450, 550, 650, and 1050. I have loaded several thousand on each. They are all excellent machines. THEY DO operate differently. Assuming no case feeder, with Dillon you have to feed empty cases with your right hand and feed bullets with your left hand. I find this very awkward. With the LNL you feed cases and bullets with your left hand and your right hand never leaves the operating lever. I prefer LNL by a wide margin. My son has his own LNL as well. There has never been a "Quality" issue and both RED and BLUE machines are excellent, just different.

MarshallDodge
May 18, 2012, 01:39 AM
I've owned a 550 for twenty years and it has served me well. A few years ago I picked up a 650 with a case feeder and it has also served me well. Between the two presses I loaded 12,500 rounds last year with zero issues. Most of that was pistol ammo and I do not use the fifth station on the 650.

Recently I had the opportunity to load on a LNL and like another poster said, the quality is just not the same as a Dillon. Sure, it did what it was supposed to do, and did it well but not nearly as smooth.

If you are going to load 500 rounds at a time of pistol or rifle then get the 550. Above that get the 650 with the case feeder.

joed
May 18, 2012, 07:32 AM
I like a few others found the 4 station 550 lacking because there is no room for a powder check die. It's a great press but there is no room for a powder check die. And I'm not a LnL fan at all.

What do I own? Started with a 550, got a 1050. At this time the 550 started giving me squibs. Sold it and bought a 650.

I will not own a progressive press without a powder check die.

jmorris
May 18, 2012, 10:21 AM
Why shouldnt I buy a Hornady LNL or why shouldnt I buy a 550RL? I own a bunch of Dillons and have/had a few LNLs, they all work. "Why shouldnt"? The Dillons seem to hold their value much better. If you get a 550 and after a few years decide you don't like it, you could trade it for a brand new LNL, if you wanted to.

whtsmoke
May 18, 2012, 11:35 PM
Thanks to all for thier input it a yhes or no type deal, either red or blue I guess. i just placed an order with Midway I got the LNL press with two shell plates and die sewts for 9mm and 45acp. I would have gotten the gotten the extra die bushing I needed but the ones theyhad were the insert and 3 bushings for almost the same as Cabelas deal of the press insert and 12 die bushings. I will use insert on one of my Rocks and the bushings I dont need on some my other dies. Thanks again for your input.

GT1
May 19, 2012, 12:51 AM
I am sure you will be happy, I think the LnL is probably the best five holer out there in the base configuration. The 550 is not really comparable and the 650 needs a casefeeder to shine.

jschroed
May 19, 2012, 08:47 AM
I have a 550 and a buddy has the LNL. Both work well but the LNL is faster.

jmorris
May 19, 2012, 09:17 AM
and the 650 needs a casefeeder to shine.

The case feed is part of the base machine on the 650 what Dillon mistakenly calls the "casefeeder" is just a collator (or casefeeder feeder). This is why the Dillon "case feed cost less than the Hornady (it has less parts) and one reason why the base machine costs more. If you have ever messed with both, you'll also conclude its why the Dillon has less problems.

GlockMasterG9
May 19, 2012, 11:27 AM
Between the 550 and the LnL the LnL is the better choice.
If it were between the 650 and the lnl well now that would be much much harder to decide on.

David Wile
May 19, 2012, 02:31 PM
Hey folks,

While I prefer the Hornady L&L progressive over the Dillon 650, I have used them both and can state they are both good machines. You could not, however, give me a case feeder for either machine. In my opinion, the case feeders do not add anything beneficial these machines. Both machines already produce a completed cartridge with each cycle of the handle - how much more can one expect?

Adding a case feeders and bullet feeders interfere with the way I prefer to reload. I like to look at each station as I place an empty case in place and place a bulllet in place.

The noise factor for the case feeder is also a killer for me. I simply cannot stand the racket those things make. I know folks like them, but they are not for me.

On another thread I saw a completely automated Dillon 1050. It really looks impressive, but that is not my idea of reloading. Just listening to the noisy thing is enough to make me swear off reloading.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

hentown
May 19, 2012, 06:41 PM
I actually tried my 650 without the casefeeder/collator. I hated it. I wouldn't dream of owning a self-indexing progressive without a casefeeder. Now a bulletfeeder, that's something else. I can do without a bullet feeder. I'd presume that anybody suggesting using a 650 without a casefeeder probably never owned a 650.

Walkalong
May 19, 2012, 06:47 PM
I would want a case feeder on a 650 simply because you have to feed brass on the "wrong side". With the LNL I can keep my right hand on the handle and feed brass and bullets with my left hand. That works for me. Goes quickly as well.

I would hate the noise of a case feeder as well. I actually cut off the case feeder arm (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=102185&d=1248571982) on my LNL, as I will never need it.


Congrats to the OP on his choice. I am sure he will enjoy it. Between the two, he could hardly go wrong.

Master Blaster
May 20, 2012, 09:50 AM
I'd venture to guess there aren't too many reloaders who have experience with a LnL AND a 550/650.


Actually I have both set up on my bench right now.
Besides the auto index difference, the 550 is a higher quality press. The tollerences on the 550 are much more consistant than on an LNL. I have had the Dillon for 15 years and the LNL since 2005. I load on both side by side all the time. Search on my ID and read some of my older posts on this subject. As a starting progressive I would recommend the 550 over the LNL especially if you are mainly doing pistol. You will find the LNL has more quirks and needs many adjustments to get it to run well. I can still load faster on the manual index 550 than on the LNL.

JMHO YMMV

jmorris
May 20, 2012, 01:18 PM
In my opinion, the case feeders do not add anything beneficial these machines. Both machines already produce a completed cartridge with each cycle of the handle - how much more can one expect? I can expect 100 rounds loaded 3 minutes after I start. Using case and bullet feeders you don't have to fumble around with either, makes loading effortless.

David Wile
May 20, 2012, 09:41 PM
Hey J,

A hundred rounds finished three minutes after you start!?! Holy crow! You aren't reloading - you are manufacturing! Geez, when I think of what I do in the first three minutes compared to what you do, all I can do is shake my head in amazement.

I fiddle with this and fiddle with that for a lot more than three minutes. I can easily spend more than 20 minutes getting things adjusted just right if I am changing dies and primer sizes. When I do finally get started, I look in each case after it is charged with powder, and I know I did not miss anything.

Compared to you, my output is miniscule at best. Then again, I am not in any competition with anyone else, and I sure am making a whole lot more finished cartridges in a much shorter time than I used to do with a single stage machine. And I do not have to listen to that noisy case feeder that does not add anything of value to my idea of reloading.

It might bring shame on me, but I still load small batches on a single stage press. Worse yet, I sometimes load 50 or more 45-70 cartridges with my old Lyman 310 "Nutcracker" tool just to show folks that it can be done.

Now some folks might say I go the slow way because I am retired and have nothing better to do with my time. Well, I do have other things to do, but I really have to admit that I cannot think of too many things I would rather do than reload cartridges. Maybe it is a calling, but I also did things the same way before I retired.

What can I say? I like reloading for reloading sake. I do not like annoying noise like the clatter of a case feeder - especially when I am doing something that demands all my attention as does progressive reloading. For some folks, reloading is a pain in the neck they tolerate just so they can shoot up their work. I can understand those folks. There are lots of things I do not like doing. I just feel lucky that I can and do enjoy the time I spend crafting cartridges whether it is on a progressive, a single stage, or an old Lyman Nutcracker tool.

I do admit that I thank the reloading gods that I am not forced to do my reloading on an old Lee "Pounder" Loader. Been there, did that, and would just quit if I had to do it again.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Walkalong
May 20, 2012, 09:56 PM
He is probably talking about his automated 1050. Boy can that thing crank em out. I do not have the need for that kind of volume.

David Wile
May 20, 2012, 10:50 PM
Hey Walk,

You may have seen the same automated 1050 video I did, and yes it sure does crank them out. I am truly fascinated by the mechanics of it; that is part of the whole attraction I have had with progressive reloaders for over 50 years. There is something magical to me about levers, cams and things going around. When it comes to loading my own cartridges, however, I like the idea of having my hands and eyes do the things that are important to me.

I can remember a few years ago when I first saw that you installed the EZ-Ject upgrade and that you just cut off the case feeder mount off the sub plate. I remember being surprised and then laughing at your bold action and certainty of purpose. I never had to upgrade to the EZ-Ject, but if had, I doubt if I would have cut that thing off my sub plate even though I would have no intention of using it. After reading what you did, I almost felt like getting the EZ-Ject so I could do the same thing you did.

I love watching that Dillon 1050 just racking them out, but I am also happy with my much slower method of reloading on my L&L progressive. I have always been in awe of the simple idea of producing a finished round with each cycle of the handle, and this was also true back when I first used a Pacific 300 and had to hand index the shell plate.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

jmorris
May 21, 2012, 10:05 AM
He is probably talking about his automated 1050. Boy can that thing crank em out. I do not have the need for that kind of volume.

With that machine 100 can be done in about 2.5 min.

With my bullet fed 650's it takes me about 30 seconds longer per 100. Another nice thing about the 650 is that you can have a bullet feeder, seat and crimp in two stations and have a powder check die.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/reloading/bullet%20feeder/feeder1.jpg

I agree tinkering/adjusting takes up a lot of time that's why I have so many presses that stay setup for specific loads. In the end it's prep that takes the longest time to complete anyway. I still load on single stage and turret presses for more rounds than I'd like to. Sometimes they are the most effective for the job at hand, like working up loads or odd ball/low volume rounds.
I'd have to say reloading would get 3rd place in enjoyment of my shooting hobby, behind shooting and building things for shooting but if I still did it they way I did when I started it would take up far more time.

Walkalong
May 21, 2012, 12:32 PM
I size/decap my cases first, using the LNL, and then hand prime them. I hand primed 500 .32 Mag cases last night. It took 30 minutes. Now I will load them on the LNL. I don't mind the extra time doing it that way. Some folks think it is crazy, but that is OK with me.

I obviously do not go through the volume you do, or I might have multiple machines set up like you do. Loading that much would be work, not fun. I believe I would go for the automated 1050 if I was loaded that much, but I think the components would break me. :)

cfullgraf
May 21, 2012, 03:32 PM
I size/decap my cases first, using the LNL, and then hand prime them. I hand primed 500 .32 Mag cases last night. It took 30 minutes. Now I will load them on the LNL. I don't mind the extra time doing it that way. Some folks think it is crazy, but that is OK with me.



Same here, it works for me too.

Since I break up the process, it affords me the opportunity to hand prime. I can hand prime 100 cases in about the same time as filling a primer tube, less if the press mounted priming system hiccups.

I still load ammunition on the L-N-L way faster than I shoot it. If my shooting volume goes up, I'd look at increasing production. But i really doubt that will happen in this lifetime.

If i ever remove the base plate from mu L-N-L, I will probably cut the case feeder extension off it as Walkalong has. Just listening to u-tube videos of the case feeders gives me a headache. My press runs so well the way it is, as they say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

But what works for me, does not have to work for everyone. That is OK by me.

jmorris
May 22, 2012, 09:34 AM
Some folks think it is crazy, but that is OK with me. If it is a "relaxing hobby" thing I don't have a problem with it taking over twice as long. If it's because the machine doesn't do it's job I'd call it crazy.

if I was loaded that much, but I think the components would break me. that's a good point to bring up, both ways. No need to spend a ton of money on machines for low volume but when (even at dealer cost) 20,000 9mm 147 grain bullets cost $1600 not counting brass, primers or powder (and they are a complete loss of investment) it makes a machine like the 1050 seem cheap, as it will be around forever.

GW Staar
May 22, 2012, 07:11 PM
With that machine 100 can be done in about 2.5 min.

With my bullet fed 650's it takes me about 30 seconds longer per 100. Another nice thing about the 650 is that you can have a bullet feeder, seat and crimp in two stations and have a powder check die.

I agree tinkering/adjusting takes up a lot of time that's why I have so many presses that stay setup for specific loads. In the end it's prep that takes the longest time to complete anyway. I still load on single stage and turret presses for more rounds than I'd like to. Sometimes they are the most effective for the job at hand, like working up loads or odd ball/low volume rounds.
I'd have to say reloading would get 3rd place in enjoyment of my shooting hobby, behind shooting and building things for shooting but if I still did it they way I did when I started it would take up far more time.

jmorris's last statement describes me as well, only I have to modify the building things for shooting line to building thing for shooting & reloading.

The only thing I can't relate to is having the funds, the time, or the space to have all the presses he has each set up for ONE thing. That's really a wonderful thing..a great blessing. My 1 Pro 2000 and Rock Chucker have to do it all.

I used to think I was too dumb and slow to have everything automated. Bullet feeder, case feeder, and primer feeder all going on at once. Now I think I'm too dumb not to have those things automated. Why, I can crank that handle and just do two things: watch the powder level and watch for any powder spills, from getting impatient and cranking too fast making it fly out a short pistol case. Kinda like your foot gets heavy on the gas pedal on a long trip.:)

Walkalong
May 22, 2012, 09:11 PM
If it's because the machine doesn't do it's job I'd call it crazy.I absolutely hate machinery that does not work. My old Projector indexed so poorly with the first style shell plates it drove me nuts. Did you ever see the pic of the Projector I took a ball pein hammer to? That is how I got started hand priming, and now I prefer it.
20,000 9mm 147 grain bullets cost $1600 not counting brass, primers or powder (and they are a complete loss of investment) it makes a machine like the 1050 seem cheap, as it will be around forever.I absolutely agree. Factored in over time that cost is nothing in comparison.

cfullgraf
May 23, 2012, 12:56 AM
If it's because the machine doesn't do it's job I'd call it crazy.


I spent much of my career engineering fixes for high speed paper converting and packaging machinery. Some aspects of the processes just never wanted to be fixed and the machine's efficiency would never meet management's expectations.

Since I have been there, done that, I am not interested in struggling with a troublesome progressive press.

If I find an easy work around that makes the press operate to my satisfaction, producing more ammunition than I can shoot in a lifetime, I am happy. I would rather load ammunition and not tinker these days.

There are some that are determined to get their progressive press operating as the manufacturer envisioned. More power to them.

What is crazy to me is some folks are not open enough to understand there are more than one way to operate a progressive press.

GW Staar
May 23, 2012, 02:20 AM
I absolutely hate machinery that does not work. My old Projector indexed so poorly with the first style shell plates it drove me nuts. Did you ever see the pic of the Projector I took a ball peen hammer to? That is how I got started hand priming, and now I prefer it.


Thank goodness we are past the days of first generation progressives.....I heard enough horror stories that I passed them up....even the early Dillons, though they were better than the rest. You ought to post that picture for us. that'd be entertaining for sure.:)

I primed for years on the Rock Chucker using unsheathed and dangerous tubes. The first Lee primer was cool, but too slow. Patience was never a strong point. Then they added a tray....and I took the tube primer off the press. I've never had an accident with either, but I always had this nagging nervousness.

I'm a rookie at progressives. It'll be 4 years next January. But I fell in love with that RCBS APS system. No you can't feel much, but the primer stop, along with uniformed pockets, means I can feel pretty confident that the primers go in the same. There was a learning curve where I had to learn how to adjust it right, but I don't hand prime much anymore. [Added later] Duh...that's not totally true...wasn't thinking of the non .308/.223/.243 rifle calibers I still reload on the single station R.C. of course...but I still get to use my preloaded primers because I bought the APS hand primer...which works well once you learn its personality. My goal is to eventually load everything on my progressive except experiments.

Originally Posted by cfullgraf
I spent much of my career engineering fixes for high speed paper converting and packaging machinery. Some aspects of the processes just never wanted to be fixed and the machine's efficiency would never meet management's expectations.

Since I have been there, done that, I am not interested in struggling with a troublesome progressive press.

If I find an easy work around that makes the press operate to my satisfaction, producing more ammunition than I can shoot in a lifetime, I am happy. I would rather load ammunition and not tinker these days.

There are some that are determined to get their progressive press operating as the manufacturer envisioned. More power to them.

What is crazy to me is some folks are not open enough to understand there are more than one way to operate a progressive press.
Today 06:11 PM

I can certainly relate to your distaste for tinkering. Once I retire I will NEVER design another building or home....nor set foot inside a wood shop...done that since I was 12.

Playing and tinkering with my reloading equipment to save a few hundred here and there is just plain fun for me. I'm not retired yet, but that's how I unwind and get clients and building projects out of my mind for a few hours.

My goal is to remove every stinking bottle neck that makes reloading a chore in my eyes. At 62, I'm really tired of chores.

There is no perfect press, not even the 1050. But it's like tuning a guitar....once you got it tuned you can make beautiful music together if you have a mind to. I've finally got my setup tuned and I'm having a great time.

I agree totally with you saying there is more than one way to use a progressive....and I'm impressed with darn near all of those ways. I would like to add a corollary to that: Blue presses aren't the only ones that can excel at those various ways...but which ever press you use, they all do best well learned and well tuned.

jmorris
May 23, 2012, 11:21 AM
My goal is to remove every stinking bottle neck that makes reloading a chore in my eyes. That has been something I have been working on for years. Engineering machines/devices, fixes and creating seemless operation, is more fun to me than the never ending loading process. From sorting, cleaning, base sizing, annealing, bullet casting and my current project, loading, I have streamlined the process making it as labor free and efficient as I can without going over my reloading budget.

cfullgraf
May 23, 2012, 03:12 PM
GW Starr, well said!

While I do not like to tinker (my term) or have chores (your term) with the progressive press, sometimes my solution is to by-pass the problem. But, I do design and implement improvements to my presses and processes.

A few of my projects are...

For the L-N-L, I made powder drop tubes, seven so far, that allow me to use only one powder drop die without any adjustments to the die.

I modified a Redding 10-X to operate on the Hornady.

All of my presses are mounted to free standing floor stands of my design so that I can move them in and out of the reloading area. (This was an outgrowth of taking reloading with me on a TDY assignment 30 years ago. I liked the set up and stuck with it)

I reload for between 25 and 30 different cartridges, not all on a progressive, so minimizing change over times are important to me. For instance, all of my six powder measures, not counting the Dillons installed on the SDBs, have micrometer adjusters on them to speed resetting the powder charge from one cartridge to another.

While spending money on reloading gear is not a problem for me, I have a tough time justifying separate presses for each and every cartridge. I just do not load enough of them.

When I first bought the Hornady L-N-L a couple years ago, i was worried that to be efficient on it I would have to run large runs of ammunition. By operating the press outside the "box" I can quickly run small batches, 50 or 100 or so, including changing the press over to a different cartridge quickly and efficiently. Or, I can crank up the press and turn out a zillion rounds.

Also, when investigating progressive presses, I looked long and hard at both the Dillon 650 and the Hornady L-N-L. While the Dillon is an excellent machine, the Hornady was more versatile for my needs.

The Dillon SDBs came later, by the way.

GW Staar
May 23, 2012, 08:45 PM
cfullgraf, the three of us are pretty darn close to being on the same page. Except Jmorris and I enjoy the fiddling and inventing as a hobby in and of itself. Of course, you and him have better tools (in the shop and in the head) and more money to play with. that's okay, I still get by just fine and have great fun trying to find the cheapest path.:)

I found it ironic that cfullgraf investigated the 650 and the AP and chose the AP as a better fit. While I investigated the 650 and the Pro 2000 and found the Pro 2000 a better fit. Nothing wrong with the 650 to be sure, but I didn't want its complexity and expensive caliber change kits. I would only be happy with that system with a case feeder and powder measures set up for each caliber. Price to get caliber change speed was just too rich for my resources.

Using the simplicity of the Pro 2000 I've been able to make it both load and change calibers very fast. With most systems, adding a bullet and case feeder slows caliber changes down quite a bit. That was my #1 goal: have my cake and eat it too. Feeders would have to be made that don't slow down the system much if at all. I think I succeeded...and it cost me around $300...not each....for both.

The O.P. will be happy with his choice.....until he isn't. That's not to demean the AP. That just Human nature. What if they give us a 3rd generation progressive that has 7 stations, both bullet and case feeders included (which do caliber changes in 10 seconds), a brand new primer feeding system that is totally safe from tube explosions, and feeds a 1000 at a time safely and changes primer size in 1 second.....All at $600.:D:D:D:D Best wishes O.P. until then.

cfullgraf
May 23, 2012, 09:56 PM
That is one of the great aspects about the hobby of reloading. Within the limits of safety, it provides a wide variety of options and opportunities for the reloader to mold his process to his liking.

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