progressive presses


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tahoe2
October 2, 2012, 10:21 AM
Dillon, Hornady or RCBS; thoughts & feelings? I'm tired of fussing with my LEE Pro 1000!! I load 7 rifle calibers & 4 handguns, I shoot a couple hundred rounds a month and hunt whenever possible. That's it, thanks!!

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Sam1911
October 2, 2012, 10:28 AM
Each manufacturer has its fans and foibles.

I use a Dillon 550 for a similar variety of rounds, with a higher round-count. The 550 is versatile and easy to change cartridges on.

At only a couple hundred a month, you really don't need case-feeders and auto-indexing and the other bells and whistles of the 650 or other more expensive presses.

That said, you're probably not loading all your rifles on the progressive, right? You can on the 550, but it doesn't really seem worth the effort for a box or so of the lesser used cartridges every once in a while.

ColtPythonElite
October 2, 2012, 11:14 AM
Hornady LNL

Mike 27
October 2, 2012, 11:30 AM
I have the horrnady but I load all of my rifle on my single stage Lee. I have the place for .223 but have not used it for it yet. I haven't had any major issues with the LNL and it works great.

KansasSasquatch
October 2, 2012, 11:30 AM
I think the Hornady is going to be the cheapest and most readily available out of the choices you mentioned. I think if you look hard enough on the net you will find that all progressive presses can have some minor issues, but I haven't had any with my LNL that make me regret my purchase. I did consider the RCBS and Dillon but I couldn't find a shop around here that has Dillons and the RCBS didn't seem like it was worth the extra money.

Kingcreek
October 2, 2012, 11:44 AM
I have never regretted the purchase of my Dillon 550 over 20 years ago. I only load 8 different calibers on it currently.

RandyP
October 2, 2012, 12:13 PM
For that low a volume I'd actually suggest the Lee Classic turret - 150-175 rounds per hour at a very relaxed pace - super affordable turrets and accessories to have setups for all those calibers ready to swap out in seconds.

No contest that Dillon makes top of the line (and price tag) progressive presses, and all the others make great products too.

cfullgraf
October 2, 2012, 12:24 PM
Loading rifle on a progressive does not ring my bell. Others like it. So, except for 30 Carbine and some plinking 223 Remington, all of my rifle cartridges are loaded on a single stage.

But, I hear the Dillon 550 is great for rifle.

I have a Hornady L-N-L and two Dillon SDBs. The SDBs are dedicated to 45 ACP and 9x19.

I like the Hornady very much and it affords me alot of flexibility for different tasks and easy cartridge changes not counting the priming system.

But, i could do the same on a Dillon 650 or the RCBS progressive just as easily. Hornady was giving away 1000 bullets with the L-N-L when I bought it.

I prefer an auto-indexing progressive, but will admit, I have never loaded on a manual indexing press.

Choose the one whose color matches the decor in your reloading room.:)

joed
October 2, 2012, 12:59 PM
I can't say anything about Hornady or RCBS, but I have owned Dillon presses for the last 11 years. Started with the 550, bought a 1050, then sold the 550 moving up to a 650.

I have been very happy with Dillon equipment. Bottom line is if I needed another progressive I would buy Dillon again.

The only suggestion I have is make sure you have a station for a powder check die. I will not run a progressive press without a powder check die.

X-Rap
October 2, 2012, 12:59 PM
I went with the 550 over 20 yrs ago as well, I now have 2 and no regrets. I have never used another so I am quite biased but when I look at some of the competitions models they don't seem as robust.
I load 380, 9mm, 40/10mm, 38/357, 44spcl./44mag, 45ACP, 30carb, 223, 308 on mine just due to the volume. The conversion set ups are spendy so I still run 357sig, 45LC, 454 on single stage along with my other rifle rounds.
If money is no object I'd say that powder granule shape is the only limitation.

wardor
October 2, 2012, 01:22 PM
Recently sold my LNL AP and bought a Dillon XL 650 and I love it. I would not go back to the Hornady. It's a good press, and barebones, it's much cheaper -- if you think you'll ever want a case feeder, go Dillon XL 650 from the start IMO. Caliber conversions are more expensive, but it just works so much better in my experience.

I have a full write up I've been working on comparing them, but I haven't had time to finish it. If you want to see it, just let me know though. I tried to give both of them fair shakes; however, my preference would be Dillon over and over again.

Kingcreek
October 2, 2012, 01:28 PM
I will point out that both of my Dillon presses are worth more today used and dirty than I paid for them new, and both of them paid for themselves in savings a long time ago. Cost and value are two different things. My square deal B has loaded 35k and my 550b has probably done that many or more. They owe me nothing but I'm confident they will continue to produce quality reloads. I have had nothing but great experiences with Dillons customer service.

Chuck Perry
October 2, 2012, 01:36 PM
I vote for the RCBS Pro2000. When I was ready for a progressive again, I looked at all the options. Quality of ammo was more important to me than speed. I also didn't want a lot of stuff to fuss with to keep the press tuned and running. The Dillon 650 I used to have was a great press with a lot of features, but for me it was a pain to set-up and maintain. If you're making big runs (500+) of only a few calibers the Dillon is great. If you're making a couple hundred of this and that throughout the month, not so much. Anyways, I narrowed my choices down to the Dillon 550 and the RCBS Pro2000. I liked that they were both a simpler press, plus I really wanted a manual plate advance as opposed to automatic. With those two choices, the RCBS offers one additional die station and the APS priming system. The APS, in my opinion, is the best progressive priming system out there. You can buy the strips loaded with CCI primers, or use the clip loading tool and whatever primers you like Loading the strips is much quicker than loading primer tubes. Plus, changing primer size on the press is a breeze with the RCBS. Two minutes compared to 15-20 with the Dillon. I find that the die plates fit the press more snugly than the Dillon's did, which results in better consistency and alot less fuss when initially adjusting your dies. The shell plates are easier to install. On the Dillon, you don't tighten them all the way down, but not too loose either. Too tight and it doesn't index right, too loose and it effects ammo consistency. On the RCBS you crank the retaining bolt all the way down and you're done. The RCBS allows me to concentrate on my ammo instead of press maintenance.

GW Staar
October 2, 2012, 01:38 PM
All good presses, and you need to do a little investigating on your own to analyze your specific needs and druthers. What fits another may not fit you as well.

I was looking for fast and easy caliber changes (I load 4 pistol and 4 rifle so far on mine), simple operation with minimal syncing needs, and a good primer system. Although I looked hard at Hornady and Dillon, (even used a 650 for a few hours) the RCBS Pro 2000 fit best for my particular needs. (nearly 4 years ago, today, like it even better.) The APS primer system, using preloaded CCI strips has been awesome, after loading tubes of primers for many years. Safer and faster.....but the old ways still work, are still popular, just need more vigilance and patience. (In my experience anyway)

RCBS's progressives will not have the votes of the other two presses, because it's still the best kept secret in the reloading world. RCBS has never done well at marketing.:rolleyes: People that have them are reloading, not spending all their time on forums trying to get them to work. Why do I hang around? (I'm bored at work...slow economy...rather talk with you guys than surf.:D)

jmorris
October 2, 2012, 01:46 PM
I think the Hornady is going to be the cheapest and most readily available out of the choices you mentioned.

I have never known Dillon to be out of machines. Always in stock when I ordered the 6 I have.

The last LNL I ordered cost $325 the last 550 was $334, not enough difference to base a decision on cost. Really a few hundred dollars isn't that much in the long run and the OP is tired of "cheap" from the look of it.

As for quality, when talking progressive presses, more match winning ammo is loaded on Dillon presses than any other brand.

wardor
October 2, 2012, 02:05 PM
Also remember Dillon's price include the conversion for 1 press, so for the Hornady, that would mean you need to add $35 to the price.

Example to load 45 ACP:

Hornady LNL AP (from Midway) - 394.95 + shipping
Shellplate for 45 - 34.99 + shipping
-----------------------------------
$430+shipping (likely $30-40 from Midway)

*I won't include dies, because they cost the same if you buy the same dies for either press

Dillon XL 650 in 45 ACP - $566.95 + free shipping from Brian Enos.

Now if you want a case feeder, add $430 (399 for the feeder and 30 for the case feeder plate) to the Hornady and $218.95 to the Dillon. Now you have a price of $830 for the Hornady and $786 for the Dillon 650. Conversion will cost more for the Dillon over time, but truly the cost is not what it seems. I cannot speak to the RCBS Pro2000, but it does operate most similar to the Dillon XL650.

The biggest advantage for the Hornady is you can run out to Bass Pro/Cabelas and buy stuff for it, you can't for the Dillon.

Blue68f100
October 2, 2012, 03:26 PM
The LNL-AP is Dillon's 650 equivalent not the 550. So your comparing a NON auto indexing (550) to a auto indexing.

I have had my LNL-AP coming up of 5yrs now with no regrets. Would do it again. The LNL is a very simple design with a lot less moving parts than the Dillon.

All progressives have the + & - , there is no perfect press for consumers. Once you learn the machines they all will produce good accurate ammo. Some just more reliable than others. With all having a lifetime warranty and no BS warranty find someone near that has the models your looking at and give them a run. Then you will have a first hand experience.

ColtPythonElite
October 2, 2012, 04:11 PM
Yep, the lack of auto indexing is what steered me away from the 550.

KansasSasquatch
October 2, 2012, 04:41 PM
When I was looking for a press I couldn't find a shop that had a Dillon in stock. I didn't feel confident ordering one online seeing as there was a lack of local support for them. It may not be the same for anyone lucky enough to have a local shop that deals with them. Granted, I didn't call EVERY shop in my area, but I called the ones that I knew had good reputations. But I could go to Cabelas 10 minutes from my house and check out RCBS and Hornady in person and buy just about anything I need for them. I like my Hornady press and so far I prefer RCBS dies. I'd like to get a Dillon 1050 someday, but that's probably not going to be anyday soon.

SSN Vet
October 2, 2012, 04:42 PM
just a Classic Cast Turret press guy dreaming of a progressive press here...

I always wondered.... who on earth would bother with a progressive press that doesn't auto-index??

But recently my brother was visiting (he lives in an RV) and I got to see his Dillion 550 set up in action... and I have to say, it is a very versatile press, and flipping the shell plate fingers with your thumb is not much effort. To a guy like me, for whom a run of 200 to 400 rounds is "big", the 550 makes a lot of sense. But I'm getting by with my Classic Turret and money is tight... so I can only dream.

wardor
October 2, 2012, 04:45 PM
I'd like to get a Dillon 1050 someday, but that's probably not going to be anyday soon.

Just as a note, the 1050 does not have the lifetime warranty that other non-electronic products have from Dillon.

Sam1911
October 2, 2012, 04:53 PM
I always wondered.... who on earth would bother with a progressive press that doesn't auto-index??

As you probably saw, it isn't much of a drawback. And NOT having the press force you to move to the next station can be mighty convenient sometimes.

Of course, having the press help you not forget to move the plate can be thought of as a safety feature of sorts as well.

Honestly, being used to the 550, I find auto-indexing annoying.

Definitely two sides to the issue.

Kingcreek
October 2, 2012, 06:05 PM
My left thumb automatically advances the shell plate very time on my 550. I like it better than the auto index on my square deal.

joed
October 2, 2012, 06:52 PM
I've owned just about all the Dillon presses except the SDB. They've all been good presses. The 550 without auto index is not slow, in fact it's very versatile. My only complaint with the 550 is I'd like to have one more die station. I believe I paid $324 for my 550.

The xl650 is a nice press with the case feeder and auto indexing. The extra station is used for a powder check die. Caliber change overs are a little slow on this press but I figured a way around that, I use it for small primer cartridges. This press with all the options wasn't very cheap, I may have spent amost $700 total.

I picked up a used 1050 from one of the gunshops here for $900. Think about that, $200 more then a 650 and you need no optional equipment for the 1050. My 1050 will run circles around the 650 any day, it's a very fast press. No guarantee? In 6 years I haven't broken a part so I couldn't care less about a guarantee. I made one big mistake buying this press. They had 2 for sale, like a fool I only bought 1. The next week when I went back the other press was long gone.

If there is one press that I would like to try it's the RCBS

BYJO4
October 2, 2012, 07:04 PM
Like others have said Dillon 650 or Hornady LNL AP are excellent presses. I'm sure RCBS is good but I have never seen one in use so took it off my list. Your reloading volume is low at this point but a progressive is nice if and when you increase the amount you shoot. I have the Hornday press and it has been perfect for my needs. I also think it is the easiest to use as a single stage which I prefer for most of my rifle loading since I have to trim cases after sizing and I like to measure each powder drop for maximum accuracy. Of course I take full advantage of the progressive features when loading for handgun.

cfullgraf
October 2, 2012, 07:39 PM
I like the Hornady L-N-L for one reason is that I can install only the dies I need for the task at hand. I prefer to clean all my cases between resizing and reloading.

But, I could do something similar on a Dillon 650 as well, just differently.

I have been looking at the RCBS progressive. The APS system intrigues me for improved primer system operation. I have a the RCBS Universal APS hand primer and like the way it operates, although I do not use it all the time.

But again, any of the progressives will make good ammunition quickly. It depends on the various options that peaks your fancy.

Lost Sheep
October 2, 2012, 10:23 PM
I used to have a couple of Pro-1000 presses, but traded "up" to a Lee Classic Turret.

My throughput has not diminished. (100-150 per hour) I am as fast as was on the progressives, plus, I am not a nervous wreck at the end of my loading sessions.

Swapping calibers is a 30-second affair and that includes putting away the other swapped-out caliber in the box. Cost of swapping is a lot less, too. For someone who loads a variety of calibers, ease of switching is (in my opinion) a big factor.

Lost Sheep

tahoe2
October 2, 2012, 11:10 PM
So I have two Pro 1000 presses (.41 mag, .357 mag) and two single stages for Rifle calibers; I generally load 50-200 rounds at a time for handgun, and 20-100 at a time for rifle.
I try to stockpile several hundred for each caliber before going shooting. I would like to be able to switch from pistol to rifle on one press, and of course cost is always a factor.

Lost Sheep
October 2, 2012, 11:36 PM
So I have two Pro 1000 presses (.41 mag, .357 mag) and two single stages for Rifle calibers; I generally load 50-200 rounds at a time for handgun, and 20-100 at a time for rifle.
I try to stockpile several hundred for each caliber before going shooting. I would like to be able to switch from pistol to rifle on one press, and of course cost is always a factor.
I stow my gear away after each loading session, so ease of setup and teardown is important to me. Speed of swapping calibers is important, too, as I will do 100 rounds of one, 50 of another and if I am feeling particularly ambitious a couple hundred of another.

If I did 500 rounds at a time, I would definitely be in the market for a progressive, but I don't, so I'm not.

The Lee Classic Turret suits my loading style (and my budget) just about perfectly. If you decide to consider it, do not get it mixed up with the Deluxe Turret. The Classic Turret has a vertical opening and ram stroke a full inch longer than the Deluxe and is stronger and runs cleaner (the spent primer handling of the Deluxe is the same as your Pro-1000, the Classic Turret drops them down the hollow ram into a flexible tube for easy disposal and very few, if any, escape their intended path).

Lee's Turret presses (both the current model of the Deluxe and the Classic) have 4-station turrets and auto-indexing (No other turret presses from any other maker have auto-indexing), making them as adept at continuous processing as any progressive press. Removing one simple part (10 seconds, no tools, just your fingers) turns off the auto-indexing and lets you operate your Turret as a single stage for efficient batch processing which you are used to on your single stage press. You might be able to do away with your single stage press entirely. (I have semi-retired my RCBS RockChucker, but I keep it around for sentiment more than anything else.)

Lost Sheep

oldfortyfiveauto
October 2, 2012, 11:40 PM
Honestly, being used to the 550, I find auto-indexing annoying.

Very true in my experience.

cfullgraf
October 3, 2012, 12:02 AM
I stow my gear away after each loading session, so ease of setup and teardown is important to me. Speed of swapping calibers is important, too, as I will do 100 rounds of one, 50 of another and if I am feeling particularly ambitious a couple hundred of another.

If I did 500 rounds at a time, I would definitely be in the market for a progressive, but I don't, so I'm not.



I also store everything away at the end of a reloading session. My bench does multiple things, all gun related, but I am never sure what I will do one day to the next.

One of the reasons I postponed buying a progressive for 25 years was the notion I needed to run large batches of ammunition on the press and cartridge changes were somewhat time consuming.

The gadget guy in me and some extra funds convinced me to take the plunge. I was as much interested in reducing operation of the handle as i was increased production.

I have learned by separating the resizing process from the reloading process I can do small batches or large batches. I can charge the cases with powder on the press, or on the bench. Because I separate the resizing from the reloading process, I can prime with a hand primer and avoid the primer system change over and the other change over items take a minute or so.

I have found progressive presses can be quite flexible. I can load 100 rounds in less than an hour or load for an evening and have a mountain of loaded cartridges (300-400 per hour).

I still can't justify the cost of the progressive except for the entertainment value for the amount that I shoot.

A Lee cast iron turret would have probably served me just as well.

Lost Sheep
October 3, 2012, 02:53 AM
One of the reasons I postponed buying a progressive for 25 years was the notion I needed to run large batches of ammunition on the press and cartridge changes were somewhat time consuming.

(edited for brevity)

This is true, but apparently not to the extent you believed.

Some progressives are difficult to swap calibers. Some are easier. Some are made easier by having enough spare parts to enable swapping an entire carrier assembly rather than changing out parts. Kind of a modular approach.

You don't need a Dillon 650 to take advantage of the large throughput capacity of a progressive (but the case feeder does help a lot) and a 550 doesn't take up much more space in operation than a Lee Classic Turret and less space than most other turrets.

I know that you know this now. Others can learn from our experiences.

I still like my Lee Classic Turret better than the Lee Pro-1000. Watching multiple simultaneous operations drove me crazy, especially when there was fine tuning to do to keep things running smoothly. When I get done with a loading session now, I am relaxed and my ammo boxes just as full.

Lost Sheep

Magnum Shooter
October 3, 2012, 01:03 PM
That is funny guys, the reason I went with a progressive press is so that loading a thousand rounds of 9mm and another thousand of 45ACP wouldn’t take all day. Even at 200/hr 2000rds will take 10 hours, with my XL650 at a slow comfortable pace of 500/hr it takes 4 hours. Leaving 6 hours for a long range trip.

Sam1911
October 3, 2012, 01:16 PM
That is funny guys, the reason I went with a progressive press is so that loading a thousand rounds of 9mm and another thousand of 45ACP wouldn’t take all day. Even at 200/hr 2000rds will take 10 hours, with my XL650 at a slow comfortable pace of 500/hr it takes 4 hours. Leaving 6 hours for a long range trip.

That's interesting. I kind of go the other way. I leave it all set up so any time I have 10-15 minutes I can go bang out a box or two and never have to face 4 or 6 or whatever hours straight sitting at the bench pulling the handle. By grabbing the few "lost" minutes before dinner a couple nights a week I can keep up with my ammo consumption without ever seeming to spend a "real" block of time loading.

9mmepiphany
October 3, 2012, 02:46 PM
This thread has been very enlightening, as I am looking at getting a progressive press too...yes I'm finally coming to the end of my pre-Y2k ammo purchases of South African ammo. (9mm @ $72/k - delivered)

Like Sam, I'm not look at long reloading sessions, but see the advantage of maximizing loading efficiency for those spare moments throughout the day.

I originally envisioned 2 Dillion SqDBs but am now thinking a SqDB and a 550...I'm looking at loading most pistol calibers, I still have my old RCBS Rock Chucker for rifles and odd pistols

Sam1911
October 3, 2012, 02:54 PM
I really like the whole SDB concept. If you know you're going to burn through 9mm at a steady rate, regardless of other things you might occasionally need, you have a dedicated press to do that. You've got to be putting quite a bit of lead downrange to really out run your ability to keep up using that press.

If you don't have the space for a single-cartridge press and another press, the others are probably better choices, but having about 15' of bench space where I could have 5 or so SDBs ready to load my most common cartridges anytime, all the time, would be quite handy!

9mmepiphany
October 3, 2012, 03:20 PM
An early question was, "How many SqDB caliber conversions does it take to justify just getting another press?"

Auto indexing isn't a deciding factor for me either

SSN Vet
October 3, 2012, 05:55 PM
My suggestion is that the OP keep his two pro 1000 presses set up... each for one of his highest volume handgun cartridges .....

and ....

suppliment this with either a Lee Classic Cast turret press.... or a Dillion 550

BullfrogKen
October 3, 2012, 06:10 PM
An early question was, "How many SqDB caliber conversions does it take to justify just getting another press?"

9mmE - Just check the prices in the Dillon catalogue. Having one 550 that'll do darn near everything and one Square Deal set up for one, or even two, of your most-used pistol calibers is a wise approach to take.


I have single-stages here I still use often for smaller batches of rifle calibers. But I like the Dillon line a lot. And the customer service is like no other. You could send them a box of busted parts and a cracked frame and they'd send you a new press to replace it.

Like Sam, I also appreciate the flexibility of not being forced into an auto-index cycle on the Dillon press. The manual index of the 550 really is nice. I'm totally impressed with the Dillon line.

jmorris
October 3, 2012, 06:50 PM
That's interesting. I kind of go the other way. I leave it all set up so any time I have 10-15 minutes I can go bang out a box or two and never have to face4 or 6 or whatever hours straight sitting at the bench pulling the handle. I even do this with my automated machine. Let it load up a few hundred at a time for matches and stop. I don't like having a ton of loaded ammo then they change the rules. As an example I setup one of my machines to make a run of 2000 SSR loads then a month later they changed the rules from 125 power factor to 105PF. I lived and learned...

Steel185
October 3, 2012, 06:54 PM
I know I'm late to this "party" but I have a Hornady LNL and it runs great for me, but i just have it for 45ACP so its not a "challenging" caliber.

Also, if you are looking for someone to "unload" your Lee 1K, I have one of them and I can put it to use.

Sam1911
October 3, 2012, 07:07 PM
As an example I setup one of my machines to make a run of 2000 SSR loads then a month later they changed the rules from 125 power factor to 105PF.
And the problem was??? ;) You didn't want powder puff loads to game the game anyway you? ;) ;) ;) :D

jmorris
October 3, 2012, 07:50 PM
Oh, I still run them as I am usually the only MA class SSR guy wherever I'm at but I generally don't try and handicap myself.

orionengnr
October 3, 2012, 09:18 PM
...I believe that my bias is valid, and is based on my experience.

I had expressed an interest in handloading (and had actually started collecting my brass for a year or more) when a lifelong friend moved to Germany about five years ago. He sent me his Dillon RL450 and a bunch of dies and accessories, manuals, etc. It was a Hell of a Care Package, utterly unexpected and very appreciated. :)

He had not used it in several years, and several small parts were missing (or perhaps lost in shipment?)

I contacted Dillon, and they were good as gold. Sent parts out ASAP, on their dime. And a copy of The Blue Press...

I started cautiously, loading .45acp ammo using W231 and 200 gr SWC lead bullets bought from a local commercial firm.

I was fairly successful, and very taken with the process...to the extent that (as others have stated) handloading quickly became, in addition to a means to an end, an end itself. The entire process, from collecting brass, to sorting, cleaning, sizing...each step is enjoyable and satisfying, as there is a tangible result/output at the end of each step.

The Blue Press provided monthly opportunities and reasons to spend a bit of money, and (here and there) I got into that habit. I also bought used and new dies for additional cartridges at Gun Shows, on eBay, here on THR, etc...

That 25+ year old 450 was a quality tool. Bob's time in Germany was a variable, but I anticipated his return at some point.

Between that and monthly issues of The Blue Press to add to the temptation, at a certain point, I was eyeballing that 550 every month. My wife bought me that new 550 for Christmas '09 :).

When Bob returned shortly thereafter, I sent his 450 back with his dies, his accessories, his reloading manuals and my thanks. :) Also a bunch of .44Spl, 38 Spl and .32acp brass...cartridges that he had expressed some interest in loading for...especially since he also "inherited" from me a Taurus 431 and a Kel-Tec P32.

In that same time frame, I also inherited a Hornady Pro-7 and an old RCBS Rock Chucker from another friend when he moved away.

Spent a bunch of time reading up on, then cleaning, lubing, adjusting the Hornady Pro-7. It looked like a quality 5-station press. Unfortunately, it was missing most of the priming system components...so I used it as a complex single stage for the only cartridge I had a shell plate for....45acp. Since I was already loading .45acp on the Dillon, there was no real benefit to the Pro-7.

I contacted Hornady, and their rep said, "No, we don't have parts for those, and we do not support that model. No, the Pro-Jector or LNL parts will not work. You need to buy a new LNL."

I did some searching on other handloading/reloading forums, even eBay...no luck. Several months of searching later, I gave up and sold that Pro-7 cheap to someone who had one (and enough parts to make this one work).

As a result, it will be a cold day in a very warm place before I buy another Hornady press. Planned obsolescence works great for the seller...not so much for the owner.

The Rock Chucker still has a place on my bench. I have used it for small production runs of .380 and 10mm. Also some .45 LC shot loads, using the Speer shot capsules.

FWIW, I bought a bedraggled 550 at a gun show about a year ago. It was missing a number of parts. Called Dillon, read them the list, and they sent me all of the requested parts, because they were all available. Support after the sale. Not a unique concept, but apparently, foreign to some manufacturers.

Better yet, without my asking, they only charged me for about half the parts I asked for. Was that because I was a repeat customer, or because they consider some parts "consumable"? End result:

That is the kind of Customer Service and Support that makes for a loyal customer.

I sold this 550 to a good friend for what I had into it (a fair bit under the price of a new one). He had been coming over and loading on my 550 for a little while, and it was a perfect opportunity for both of us.

He was (at the time) new to handloading (just as I had been a few short years ago) but is taking to it quite well.

He is now producing .38 Spl and .45acp in decent quantities, and is another satisfied Dillon customer.

Sorry for the novel.
YMMV, but that is my story, and I'm sticking to it. :)

cfullgraf
October 3, 2012, 09:19 PM
If you don't have the space for a single-cartridge press and another press, the others are probably better choices, but having about 15' of bench space where I could have 5 or so SDBs ready to load my most common cartridges anytime, all the time, would be quite handy!

I built a shelf storage stand for my SDBs. Just one loading location at the bench and I change cartridges by swapping out the entire press. The hold down bolts have wing nuts on a for quick change.

My storage stand has a second position for when the spirit moves me to buy a third SDB..

I would not want to do with my Hornady L-N-L without a bridge crane in the reloading room.:)

BullfrogKen
October 3, 2012, 09:43 PM
Yup, that's why Dillon is awesome.


And the presses flat out work great, too.

alienbogey
October 4, 2012, 01:39 AM
Here's another vote for the RCBS Pro 2000.

Mine has been great and has produced tens of thousands of rounds over the years that I've had it. RCBS customer service has been every bit as good as the Dillon stories I hear.

The Pro 2000's primer feed system is, in my opinion, superior. You won't hear or read about primer explosions with the 2000.

Still Shooting
October 4, 2012, 04:05 PM
I used a Dillon 550 in the 1980,s when I was shooting a lot of handguns and .223; it went away in a divorce. Recently a friend sent me his RL550B (freebie) since he had never used it(!) and it does .30 M1, .45ACP, and .223.

I had an old Pacific single stage, but retired it 3 years ago for a Redding Big Boss. I love that press, and it is threaded to also take Hornady LNL collars. I do load 14 rifle calibers, so the quick-change option is great! The Big Boss also has good leverage, and plenty of room for fingers to set bullets, etc.

jwkimber45
October 4, 2012, 11:12 PM
Dillon is the only way to roll. VERY VERY high quality equipment. Customer service is second to none.

1SOW
October 4, 2012, 11:58 PM
I'm about in the same boat. I'm loading more often than I want to on my Lee Turret.
Others say they get 200+ rds /hr with pistol. I don't.

Dillon is offering a new 550 with out all the bells and whistles, but THE SAME PRess---much cheaper. I'm told the Lee powder-disc system and dies work on the 550, as it uses the same full size dies. So switching from your 1000 wouldn't have to be quite as big of an investment.
The nice extras can be purchased and added as the need occurs: powder system, bullet and case feeders, etc..
Dillon's no haggle warranty is unbeatable. Forever is long time--I hope.

See, I'm talking myself into switching over.

GaryL
October 5, 2012, 12:24 AM
I'm never too sure about jumping into these threads, since everyone has personal preferences. Hopefully this is more informative than otherwise....

I've had a 550b for 10-12 yrs. It worked great right out of the box, but I did find 1 or 2 things that needed tweaking to improve the experience. Mainly the primer catch chute which would hang up once or twice an hour. As far as the manual indexing goes, I think it makes the machine extremely flexible. I batch process my hunting ammo on it, which allows me to do the little extras to improve accuracy that I never bother with for most of my ammo.

I also have a Lee Classic cast for odd little jobs to avoid tying up the 550b. It didn't take long with the CC to realize I would not have the time or inclination to load more than the occasional small batch on it, and even then I'd feel like it was more of a chore than a hobby. Kudos to the guys who've spent years using a single stage for all their handloading.

A Hornady progressive, or the 650 would be nice for increased production, but I could also make an argument for another 550b and set one up for large primers and the other for small primers. Change-overs don't take too long, but I find it's just enough to keep me from arbitrarily switching calibers for small batches.

nyc71
October 5, 2012, 01:53 PM
I have two 550b & a LnL AP, up until recently the LnL was working fine but the it started acting up so I sent it back to Hornady. If it doesn't work as advertise then I'll get rid of it. From this point on any other press will only be a Dillon.

jmorris
October 5, 2012, 04:17 PM
The paw adjustment really isn't that tricky but you are correct that Dillons don't have indexing problems. Certainly not the 550;)

SSN Vet
October 5, 2012, 04:24 PM
I did find 1 or 2 things that needed tweaking to improve the experience. Mainly the primer catch chute which would hang up once or twice an hour.

This is my brother's only bone with his 550... other than that, he loves it.

SSN Vet
October 5, 2012, 04:31 PM
I'm about in the same boat. I'm loading more often than I want to on my Lee Turret.
Others say they get 200+ rds /hr with pistol. I don't.

Don't feel bad .... I don't either.... I probably average 100/hour... but that includes re-filling the primer tray, topping off the powder (I find the Auto-disc is more consistant when you keep it > 1/2 full) & boxing up and labelling my finished ammo.

I get a little ache in my neck after 400 pulls on the handle, and rarely go more than 90 min. straight.

dap22
October 5, 2012, 08:07 PM
I was tractor shopping about 8 years ago. Price was a consideration but not the ultimate deciding point. I ended up with a John Deere and haven't regretted it for one second.

Buying a reloading press could in some ways use the same logic. My first was a RCBS single stage which I still own, and there have been others along the way including a couple red progressives. Should have used my tractor buying logic and bought blue to begin with. My 550's are alot like my tractor.......not the fastest or replete with all the options, but purely functional and built better than most all the others.

jmorris
October 5, 2012, 09:28 PM
I ended up with a John Deere and haven't regretted it for one second.

Buying a reloading press could in some ways use the same logic. Very good point. If a $1000 Ford 8N will do the job, no reason to buy a $20k tractor.

Also a 1050 doesn't cost that much if a season worth of bullets alone costs $1600.

SSN Vet
October 5, 2012, 09:39 PM
I really shouldn't have followed this thread... now I'm really wanting a 550.

nyc71
October 10, 2012, 12:41 PM
Finished mounting the "small primers" 550b setup, it feels crowded with the SS in the middle but it was either mount it on a separate mobile mount, on the other working bench, or built another separate square like bench to mount all the presses. I may eventually move it right next to the LnL AP
173245

Firehand
October 10, 2012, 01:56 PM
The only experience I've got with progressives is with a Dillon Square Deal B and a RL450. Both were bought used, and the only problem I've had is a nylon bushing on the SDB has cracked and I need to get a new one.

The SDB came with 9mm and .45acp dies, and they work well(with this press, you have to use the proprietary Dillon dies); the 450 uses any standard dies.

warhwkbb
October 10, 2012, 02:31 PM
I just loaded my 50,000th round out of my RCBS Pro2000. Is it better than a Dillon 650? I don't know but I sure would like to find out. I've never had the chance to work with a Dillon. But next time I need a press I might look into the 1050. Is there anyone who has BOTH the PRO2000 and 650 to comment on each objectively?

What sold me on the Pro2000 is how easy it is to switch calibers. I load 16 different calibers and I appreciate that I can switch calibers in less than 2 minutes. (I load everything from 32ACP to 401 Win) As a bonus, I think the RCBS UniFlow powder measure is hard to beat for ease of adjustability and accuracy.

For 20+ years, I had wanted a Dillon 650, but when I went to buy one locally, the salesman directed me to the PRO2000. He may have been right! Go figure...

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