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Hornady LNL or Dillon 550B?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HKGuns, Feb 23, 2005.

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  1. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    I was all set to order a Dillon 550B. Now, after reading the thread below and other information on the Internet I have having second thoughts about it.

    Now I can't make up my mind between the Hornady LNL and the Dillon 550B? I feel like a woman who can't make up her mind! (No offense to any women on here)

    I will be using it for .45 ACP first and foremost, but would also like to use it for other calibers eventually. I read the thread below and it appears he Hornady is pretty good competition for the Dillon if not superior in some ways.

    The auto-indexing isn't a big deal, but its there as Hornady already has a case feeder.

    The Dillon press forces you to buy different powder measures for different stuff which I don't know if I like....

    The Hornady "may" have primer feeding problems......Maybe its fixed.

    The Hornady has a solid platform for Dies.......

    Cost is nearly identical.........

    Help me flip a coin.......Is there something I'm not seeing that pushes one over the edge?

    Please, no bashing either product unecessarily. Just factual discussion to help me be happy with my decision. I've read great things about both and some not so good things about both.
     
  2. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    Get the Dillon. There is a reason they are so popular (like 90+% of IDPA/IPSC shooters), and their warranty/support is great.
     
  3. Cortland

    Cortland Member

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    You're on the right track. You're asking questions. There was a time when Dillon was the first and often thoughtless choice. ANYHOO, get a Hornady.

    I know plenty of IPSC and IDPA and Cowboy Action and bowling pin shooters. Those who do well are successful because of their skill, firearms, and dedication. The color of their press doesn't seem to make much of a difference in their scores (go figure). So let's address the specific attributes of the presses in question and leave the celebrity endorsements for tennis shoes and soft drinks. ANYHOO...

    The Hornady blows the Dillon out of the water with respect to caliber conversions. The Dillon 550B is so just plain slower to convert from one caliber to another than the Hornady LnL AP (I have owned and used both). The Dillon is also designed around forcing you to buy as much extra crap as possible (like a different powder measure for every toolhead). The Hornady gives you precise, repeatable powder measure settings without the need for 1) separate powder measures, or 2) dialing in a new load every time you change calibers which involves a tedious guess-and-check process with the Dillon.

    The current Hornady LnL APs (those with serial numbers >7000, made after Feb. 03) do not have primer problems. I have experienced fewer primer problems with my post 7000 LnL AP than I did with my 550B (fewer moving parts!).

    Not when you consider that the LnL AP's features put it closer to the 650 than the 550.

    If you haven't done so already, read the link in my sig "Don't Drink the Blue Kool-Aid."

    Get the Hornady. Grafs is selling them for $300 right now ($270 with dealer discount!!)
     
  4. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    Hornady, Dillon and RCBS. Can't go wrong with any of them. Buy based on what your favorite color is, I say. :)
     
  5. jem375

    jem375 Member

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    Dillon of course, they sell more than all the others combined.........
     
  6. 1911user

    1911user Member

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    Read the setup/instruction books for both. They are available on the respective websites. The Dillon 550 (after 15-20 years) finally has some serious competition from the Hornady progressive. Look at the differences in powder measurement changes and changing from large-to-small or small-to-large primers during a caliber change. I have a 550 setup but could probably be happy with either one purchased new at this time. For all of the screaming and confusion, the dillon powder measure isn't hard to use or reset to another caliber. I also own the older version of the Hornady powder measure that is used on the hornady press. Mine came with micrometer adjustments for powder dispensing, now you get to buy them for $25 each, but you'd only need one for rifle and one for pistol otherwise you'll be adjusting the powder measure the same way as a Dillon measure with an unmarked bolt. Or you could buy extra measure inserts for the powder measure and keep one per caliber (an option for dillon also). Of course the adjustment bolt can be marked and notes made, but that isn't in either factory instructions.

    If I'd bought the hornady press several years ago, I'm not sure they would have upgraded my press to the improved priming system (Dillon would/has over the years) and I know Hornady will make you buy a $70 sub-plate so you can use the case feeder (with presses over 2-3 years old) that the newer presses don't require. Of course, if you are buying a new hornady press that doesn't matter.

    I almost did buy a Hornady progressive in 1999 (when I found my dillon press used and Dillon refurbished it for free). I'm kind of glad I did not buy the Hornady in 1999; the prices were similar, like today. Being an early adopter would have been more expensive. The question you should think about, is Hornady going to find and correct some problem a year or 2 from now and charge you for the upgrade/fix if you want it? I doubt that'll be an issue, but 5 years ago it would have been a really good question to think about. I'll just keep rolling blue dice and supporting Mike Dillon's machine gun habit. :D
     
  7. jamz

    jamz Member

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    Tough call. I struggled with the same decision a few weeks ago, but I could only find lock n loads for $400, which as a lot more than the Dillon, so I ended up with the Dillon. It would be ideal if you could try out both, if there are people in your area willing to let you give it a shot. I imagine that any dissatisfaction with one vs. the other would be pretty trivial.

    I just started with this reloading thing myself, and it takes me maybe 20 minutes to do a caliber change. I'm really curious about the LNL myself now, and would love to try one out. One thing about getting a Dilllon first is you can always return it/ebay it and not lose money.

    -James
     
  8. phungus

    phungus Member

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    Midway, as far as I know, has had the L-N-L's for $300 for several weeks now. They were only $330 or so without the discount.
     
  9. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Member

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    Dillion, Their warranty is like Craftsman Tools, for life... no questions asked. Plus the factory support and communication with you is first rate. The Blue Press catalog keeps you informed of their products.

    I load 45ACP, 38 spl, 357 on mine. The biggest delay that I run into is the swapping from the small to the large primer slide. Powder messure and bar are no problem. 10-15 minutes to swap. Keep in mind that I do not swap too often. I run a 1,000 rounds plus between swaps. I set down and load that amount in about a couple of hours. That will last me for a month. My most used dies are 45ACP, for my IDPA guns. Those are ususally in the machine the most. When the factory price of 9mm goes up, that will be my next caliber to reload.

    To be honest, I have not seen the current Horniday or RCBS. But when I looked 8 years ago, the best progressive on the market was Dillion. I see not reason to change. It flat out gets the job done.

    What is neat, is that I can go load a quick 100 in less than 15 minutes. It sure the hell beats the single stage Lee I learned on.
     
  10. 1911user

    1911user Member

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    With the size/weight of the presses, shipping can be a noticable expense. I don't know about hornady and who has best pricing/shipping for it.

    For Dillon, I'd say Brian Enos (www.brianenos.com) has one of the better deals with no shipping charge if the dillon order is over $400 and his customer service and knowledge is excellent. The only cheaper Dillon dealer I've heard of on the internet is Rush USA and I haven't heard any good comments about them; not worth the risk IMO. You could try to buy from ebay, but it is a risk and often Dillon equipment goes for new/near-new pricing even if obviously worn or missing a part or 2; kind of nuts, but it's good if you are selling Dillon equipment on ebay. I have gotten some good dillon/reloading deals from ebay, but you have to be very patient and knowledgable.

    Another factor to look at is the reloading dies themselves. Dillon dies are different in that they are designed for dillon progressives and don't come with the exander die. The expander function is handled by the caliber specific powder funnel mated with a generic powder die which has the powder measure attached to it. Anyway the dillon dies are different in that you can remove the seating and crimping die inserts for cleaning without losing their setting; this is handy if you load mostly lead bullets and have to clean out the lube buildup on occassion. They aren't cheap at $50 a set, but do have certain advantages for high volume progressive users. I use them for 45 and Lee dies for 38/357 and 9mm. The cleanout feature is unique but lots of companies make good reloading dies. You'll want a seperate crimp die and seating die for pistol ammo no matter which brand.
     
  11. SLCDave

    SLCDave Member

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    I looked at Graf's, but their site said the items in red weren't available for any discounts, and were $310. I think I'm getting one myself as soon as the tax man gives back what they took from me.
     
  12. jamz

    jamz Member

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    I think that if Hornady provided the same lifetime no BS warantee as Dillon, they'd take over the market.

    -James
     
  13. LHB1

    LHB1 Member

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    Hornady does provide a lifetime warranty on their reloading presses. I have had excellent support for my two presses. AFAIK they solved the primer feeding problem 8-9 years ago. I haven't had any feed problems since then.

    Good shooting and be safe.
    LB
     
  14. phungus

    phungus Member

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    I haven't dealt with Horndady, yet, but I do know that Lee offers great service. People make a big thing about Dillon's no BS service, but I think the other manufacturers realize that they have to compete with that. If they've sold you something that is broken or defective, they're gonna replace it.

    I don't know if the same holds true for RCBS, as I haven't had to call them yet (though my stuff is all RCBS).
     
  15. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I read the manauls for both as suggested by 1911user. After reading, it really sounds like the Hornady is the better press for the price. Dillon certainly is a nice press, and I'm certain is worthy of everyone's recommendation.

    I also called the Hornady Sales line and asked some questions. Hold time was short and I talked with a nice young girl, who directed me to the technical guys when she couldn't answer my questions. Hold time again was short and the gentlemen I talked to was able to answer my questions openly and honestly.

    FWIW, I've decided to order a Hornady LNL AP from Midway USA. I certainly hope I don't regret the decision not to go with Dillon.

    Thanks again for all of your input.
     
  16. Cortland

    Cortland Member

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    Great decision. Although MidwayUSA is out of stock. The total price may end up being cheaper with Grafs after shipping. Also be careful ordering Hornady parts from MidwayUSA, as some of the parts are specific to post- or pre-7000 SN presses. A few months ago I ordered a few spare cartridge ejectors for my post-7000 LnL -- it turns out the spares that Midway was selling were for pre-7000 LnLs. Hornady made it right by sending me the correct post-7000 part for free, and they seemed to indicate that they'd rather Midway stop selling spare parts. Anyway, the point is you're better off ordering spare parts directly from Hornady.
     
  17. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    I've never dealt with Grafs before, but will check them out because you're right about Midway being out of stock.

    Thanks for the heads up on the parts from Midway.
     
  18. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    I didn't know shooting IPSC made me, or anyone a celebrity. No success factor was implied, but those who reload, can better afford to shoot. And the fact exists, over 90% of those who compete, use Dillons. (I believe the press number is higher...)

    Changing a toolhead and a shellplate is a breeze. If you don't get one, it'll take you 10-15 minutes to change. Sounds a little biased Cortland.

    But hey, I think both presses would work. I'm quite happy with Dillon, and it is all I'd consider if I have to do it again. I'm sure others are happy with other brands. Some will forever stick with single-stage.

    Regardless, the fact remains, Dillon outsells all the others COMBINED. Might be something to that.
     
  19. Cortland

    Cortland Member

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    Hey, I've owned a 550B, you don't have to tell me that. The part you left out is re-setting the powder measure. It's a pain. Dillon wants to sell you a $55 powder measure for every toolhead. End of story.

    Well heck, Ruger sells more guns in America than anybody else. Do they make good guns? You better believe it. Do they make the best guns? Not really. Is there something to that? Not that I can see.
     
  20. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    Come now, changing the powder charge takes 3 min max to throw sets of redundant charges and weigh them. The only point that baited me to reply was your original argument on the time to change. You had it with a quick change kit, and without. It's not objective if you portray it worst case with the worst options. I'm just getting set up for .308 Win. It should take me 60 seconds or less to swap tool heads (that have powder measures, left preset) to or from .45 ACP(pistol) to .308 Win (rifle). The shellplate etc. is the same, primer tube is the same. But that is best case. Worst case, once you're used to it is 10 min.

    In the hornady's defense, it is my understanding that the powder measure remembers settings. This would be nice, but you'd still have to weigh them.

    No harm, no foul. Pick a color. Any color, regardless, you can afford to use better ammo, and loads suited to your gun if you do.

    I don't know if I buy that reloading is cheaper, because you'll just shoot a lot more :)
     
  21. Mike Kerr

    Mike Kerr Member

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    I really like my Dillon 550's. I mean I really like them. I still have Lee Loadmaster's (2) and have had Lee Pro 1000's, Lee Turrets etc. I'll admit I am a little bit of a reloading equipment addict. If I haven't tried it I'm somewhat frustrated until I do. Did I mention I really like My 550's ? I've been fortunate to recoup the majority of my equipment cost in Lee presses and accessories; and my extra Dillon equipment cost has recovered almost 100% (It is amazing how excited people get on E BAY.)

    That being said, I am giving serious thought to trying a Hornady LNL. One reason this forum is cool is you get comments from other reloading enthusiasts who have different experiences on the learning curve - maybe not better experiences - but different. I have read enough comments in enough forums over the last few years to believe Hornady has worked out many of their initial issues with the LNL and I'm about ready to try one to find out. Do I need one? No. Would it be fun to try one? Yup. Why? Well Why Not? .

    Dillon has great equipment, great customer service and one heck of a track record. Lee gets the low cost end of the progressive press business but they don't really compete with Dillon in most competition shooting circles. Then here comes Hornady with their newest progressive, the LNL, and after a few years of working out the bugs they have a viable press. So a little competition might be good for everyone and reloading is too much fun to let one source have all the accolades, no matter how well deserved.

    Regards,

    :) :) :)
     
  22. 45Badger

    45Badger Member

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    Can't comment about the Hornady, but my Dillon 550 gets a clear. "Hell yes!"

    Love it. :D
     
  23. oct_97

    oct_97 Member

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    In recent dealings with Hornady as a dissatisfied customer who has just plunked down a lot of money for one of their LnL AP’s I found them to be rude and offensive.
    Here is the link to a survey conducted by handloads.com. asking viewers to rate companies on their customer service, participating allows you to see the results. Note the large differences in the ratings between Dillon and Hornady.
    There are two sides to every story, but, the bottom line is that I was an unhappy customer and they did absolutley nothing to try and address my concerns. I did not even set the press up but sold it at a considerable loss just to make it go away.

    www.handloads.com/misc/companyrate.asp
     
  24. Cortland

    Cortland Member

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    Just as a matter of curiosity, what was the problem where in you didn't even set the press up?
     
  25. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    Fella's;

    This thread got me to thinkin'. Now that I'm reloading .223 on my 550B, I really should buy another 550B. One for small primers & one for large.

    Just keep one set for the .223 & 9mm & the other for all the rest. I could buy somethin' else, but why bother? I'm all set up with Dillon now & I'm happy as a clam with it.

    I ordered the first one direct from Dillon several years ago. What's the advantage to ordering another one from Brian Enos?

    900F
     
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