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Going back to a progressive?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Olympus, May 20, 2015.

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  1. oldfortyfiveauto

    oldfortyfiveauto Member

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    I've got three Square deals and can't fault them. Conversion kits are $87 now, but that's only $20-$30 more than most regular carbide dies. That cost also includes the shell plate and powder die adapter. That minor difference should hardly qualify as a show stopper.
     
  2. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    Olympus;

    Yes, if you're already reloading for a cartridge, you already have the dies for a 550.

    900F
     
  3. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I have the Lee Deluxe dies, the set that comes with 4 seperate dies. Will those work with either the 550 or the LnL.
     
  4. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    olympus.. yes, I use my lee dies in my 550. Both presses use a standard die, but you still need to get a new shell plate (conversion kits)
     
  5. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes. The 3rd die is a combination taper crimp (for semi auto calibers)/bullet seating die and the 4th die is the Factory Crimp Die which is essentially a taper crimp die with a carbide sizer ring at the bottom. If you want to seat and taper crimp separately, especially with larger sized lead bullets to not shave the sides, you may want to get a separate taper crimp die so as to not post size the bullet. For jacketed/plated bullets, combination seating/crimp die works fine and many use FCD like the crimp die as the smaller sized jacketed/plated bullet diameter is less affected by the post-sizing carbide ring.

    Also, when using Lee dies on Dillon and find there's not enough threads left on top for the lock ring, you can use the lock ring on the bottom side of the toolhead. ;)

    Since I use a 650 with a case feeder, I would cheer for Dillon but Walkalong and many others like the LNL AP. I think the main difference between the 550 and LNL AP is the manual vs auto index. I was trained to reload on 550 and Pro 1000 and I chose the Pro 1000 mainly due to the auto index feature. With a case feeder, operating the ram lever with right hand and setting bullets with left hand makes the reloading much faster without the chance of a double charge.

    Just keep in mind that 4 station press allows you to seat and crimp in separate steps but 5 station press allows you to add a powder check die (I can seat/crimp in separate steps on 3 station Pro 1000 by using resized brass).

    I like the four Pro 1000s I have each dedicated to specific caliber/bullet so I can simply walk up to a press and add powder/primers to start reloading. Even after I bought the 650, I would not give up my Pro 1000s.

    If you load multiple calibers and do frequent load developments, caliber change on 650 will cost extra while it will be cheaper on LNL AP.

    Between 650/LNL AP, I think you will like both based on owner reviews and I may still end up getting the LNL AP later.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  6. Bamashooter

    Bamashooter Member

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    I have 2 550b's and a SDB. The 550 is a workhorse with very few issues for me in 20+ years. The fifth station is to me is a solution for a questionable problem, you have 2 chances to visually check your powder levels,once when you set the bullet and once when you upstroke after charging, so I personally see no definite need for a powder check die. The SDB is also a great little press, but as stated it's drawbacks are straight wall pistol rounds, proprietary dies and somewhat cramped work area. The benefit of auto index and casefeeder to me are not an issue, I load and shoot 2 to 3 thousand rounds a month and my presses have never came up short providing my needs. You can use any standard dies (Dillon,RCBS, Lee,Hornady, etc. in the 550, so if you already have a set of dies in the caliber you wish to load you have saved that expense. Dillons service and support is the best. My recommendation is for the 550. Hope this helps and best of luck whatever you decide upon.:)
     
  7. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    bama.. I've always crimped and seated in the same stroke, so I tend to have a spare position open in my 550..
     
  8. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    While I know that looking down the case is technically an option in reality when you're set up for operating the lever our eyes are simply not in a good place to look into the cases to visually check the powder level. As a result I've been meaning to install a small mirror to allow this along with an LED light that would illuminate the casing interior.

    But good intentions and roads paved with them them being what they are it's still on the ToDo list and not on the press. I continue to trust the powder measure to drop the powder instead. And that's also why I suggested that the powder checking die isn't a bad option.

    Having both a Dillon 550b and a single stage Hornady there is one other consideration that comes to mind. It's not an uncommon thing to need to tweak a die now and then. On the Dillon the modified wrench I did up to fit around the tight space works fine for loosening the lock nuts. On the Hornady loosening the lock nut means twisting the bayonet bushing out of lock until it binds and then back into lock. This could prove to be a bit of a PITA for making really fine adjustments. It's a small but potentially annoying aspect to a press which is otherwise a great deal for the money.

    It also suggests a fairly easy modification where a notch is filed into the bushing flange and a small hole drilled into the frame so a drop in place locking pin made from a cut off nail can be used to lock the bushings once in place.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  9. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    Yeah - I personally wouldn't load without a powder checking die. What you "should" do doesn't always translate to what actually gets done. I'd rather have an actual even to catch my attention when something is wrong rather than rely on me never once forgetting to visually inspect the powder.

    I also don't like the manual indexing on the 550 myself. A double-pull without indexing forward is going to double-charge a case - again - I don't trust what one "should" do. Auto-indexing takes care of that issue.
     
  10. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Some individuals that utilize "Progressive Loading Equipment" like to emphasize the rate of production. I for one on the other hand emphasize the ease of production. I have a Dillon 550B and (2) SDB units. Along with the progressive units a Redding single stage unit. No matter the unit employed attention to detail is an absolute necessity.

    I do not consider myself a Handloader but rather a Reloader. There are differences between each.
     
  11. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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    While the dies you have will work fine in the Dillon tool head, you will aneed a Dillon powder die for station two .
     
  12. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    Fella's;

    Dillon sells, or did, an adapter bushing so you're able to mount another brand of powder measure to the RRL550B. I've got one, and have used it to mount my RCBS Uniflow to my 550. Haven't looked to see if it's currently available, but I'd think it would.

    900F
     
  13. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I think so far I'm kind of leaning toward the Hornady, but there has been a LOT of great info and food for thought here. I haven't fully committed though.
     
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Dillon's adapter is still available.

    Hornady and RCBS' case activated powder measure system also works on the Dillon 550s.
     
  15. joem1945

    joem1945 Member

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    I use the 650 with the case feeder. If your going for volume get the 650. No BS warranty is top of the line. I load between 7K to 8k rounds a year.
     
  16. mmorris

    mmorris Member

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    I know it has been 5 days, but if you are still deciding here is a pdf I made on how I use my LNL. I like the multiple setups to do different jobs and fast changeovers.
     

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  17. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I think I'm going to order the Hornady press today.
     
  18. ustate

    ustate Member

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    I'm another Dillon fan. I started on a Lee Turret then bought the Dillon 550 off of a friend about 9 years ago. It had sat in his garage for years so I sent it to Dillon for a cleaning, the thing came back looking brand new and many parts had been replaced. Their customer service is outstanding, they've replaced parts that were broken by my own fault and they still replaced them for free.
     
  19. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I understand trying to save money on the press, I did the same 30 years ago when my brother and I went in 50/50 for the new Dillon SD as it cost $130 back then and that was a lot of green for two kids.

    That said, how did trying to save money on your last progressive go?

    Not really a good deal if you are always having problems. How about this, try the Dillon first and if it runs too good, then sell it. They hold their value better than any other brand of press. I have never lost money on one, can't say the same for the two LNL's I had. Guess the free bullets with a new one eat up the resale value.

    You can't trade a new in the box LNL for a used 550 much less a 650.
     
  20. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    ive had both and right now have 2 dillons and 2 lnls My recommendation is this. Stay away from the lnls theres still frustration at times with them. I think 99 percent of the shooters out there can get by with a 550 Dillon. Its not quite as fast as a lnl but I think if I could figure it out my 550 would crank out just as much ammo or close to it in a 4 hours when you factor in the tweeking and problems on the lnl. I don't remember the last time i had to stop for something other then lunch or loading primer tubes using my 550. The lnls main problem is the case feeder system. Its an add on afterthought where the 650 Dillon is designed right out of the box to use a case feeder and actually is awkward without it. No matter what your choise throw out any idea of a pro 1000 or loadmaster!!
     
  21. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    I have always said the best progressive(Or any press) is the one that fits your needs and wallet.
    However. When one wants to step up to a high end high dollar machine there is something to be said for the fact that there are only two presses for the home consumer market that have a level of reliability and operation to warrant a manufacturer to make auto-drives for them.
     
  22. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I was dead set on the Hornady yesterday, but I reread the posts and watched a ton of videos and I actually ordered the Dillon 550B today. The press and one conversation kit set me back $380.
     
  23. konertjm

    konertjm Member

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    A move you will never regret. :)

    Jim K
    Proud owner of an XL650.
     
  24. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I have been using a LnL about 7 years and have no complaints. I have probably loaded nearly 50k rounds with it....I like the fact that it auto indexes unlike the 550.
     
  25. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Yes, don't ever consider a quality press that cranks out ammo that costs 200 bucks.

    Myself and many others here have proven that the Pro1000 makes just as good of ammo just as fast and just as reliably as presses that cost four times as much.

    But, hey, don't let fact get in the way of brand snobbery.
     
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