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One Dillon 650, or several Lee Loadmasters?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Adamsstreet, Dec 22, 2011.

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  1. Adamsstreet

    Adamsstreet Member

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    Currently, I am only interested in loading for 4 pistol calibers, .380, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45ACP. I would prefer to set up a machine for each caliber, and leave it set and ready for use. Space is not an issue, my bench is 20 feet long.
    For similar money, I can get 4 Loadmasters, set up and ready to use, or one Dillon with all I need to handle the 4 calibers. Should I get 4 of the Lee machines, or just go Blue right now and say that was a silly plan?
     
  2. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    Drink the blue Kool-Aid and be done with it.

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

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

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

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

    thorn- Member

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    Get one machine, and learn to use it effectively first.

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

    thorn
     
  4. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Member

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    The Dillon 650 and the Lee Loadmaster are on opposite ends of the 'Requires tinkering' scale.

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

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

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

    Some suggestions:

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

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

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

    cfullgraf Member

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    Look at the Dillon SDBs if you only plan to load handgun.

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

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

    twohightech Member

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    I was thinking last night about how much money I have spent on shell plates ect...for cal change. It would be nice to have a reloader set up for each that way you can load a few as you need them. I hate to load less than 1000 or 2000 before i break it down to change over. I do like your ideal but most peeps here will say Dillion. I have a load master and it does take some time to get bugs worked out. With you leaving it set up after you get it set you can load lots of good ammo. I just got an LnL because the primming on the load master takes a lot of work to change over and get/keep it running right. Good luck every whice route you take. How if you have the funds get four 650's
     
  7. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    There's just no comparison.

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

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

    Adamsstreet Member

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

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

    I will make my batches 1000 rounds per session
     
  9. rehorne

    rehorne Member

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    Go Blue and never have to look back. Have 2 550's in my shop at the house and another 550 at the business plus a 650 and 2 1050's. Ya think I'm a Dillon fanboy? They are like the enegizer bunny, just keep going and going and going
     
  10. 777TRUTH

    777TRUTH Member

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

    Personally I would rather use 1 press for multiple calibers.
     
  11. dirtengineer

    dirtengineer Member

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    I own a Hornady LNL, but I have loaded extensively on a loadmaster. It works good once you get everything running well, but it is a challenge to get it working.

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

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

    FWest Member

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

    BeerSleeper Member

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

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

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

    dbarnhart Member

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

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

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

    MtnCreek Member

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    You would probably be very happy with the (4) Lee setup, unless you had the opertunity to run a Dillon 650... Let there be light.:)
     
  16. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    Blue Cadillac or red & silver Yugo. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
     
  17. germ

    germ Member

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    I've never touched a Dillion but I do have a loadmaster. Without a second thought - GO FOR THE DILLION!!!!

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

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

    Deavis Member

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

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

    jmorris Member

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    Buy once, cry once. I can make more ammo with a 650, in one hour, than you could on 4 load masters (1000 of them for that matter).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  20. esheato

    esheato Member

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    Caliber conversions OTD on my 650 run about $250 per caliber. I also have small/large priming setups....so two screws and it's changed.

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

    Adamsstreet Member

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    Sounds like I will be doing more reading about the LNL, and decide between it and the 650
     
  22. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    Or two Loadmasters, one set up for small pistol primers, one set up for large?

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

    What is your realistic ammo consumption per month? I agree that the very highest priced progressives can really churn out the ammo, so can a $30K Camdex, but if you want to reload as a relaxing hobby and don't need to load a years worth of ammo in 15 minutes, why pay the high tithing? In the car analogy I don't 'need' an Aston Martin just to go 2 miles to the grocery store once a week....it would sure be cool, but kinda hard to justify on a cost vs need basis - LOL
     
  23. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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

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

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

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

    Red Cent Member

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

    Consider something.

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

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

    kreidel Member

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    I own a Dillon... do I qualify for the World Chamionship?

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