Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jeff H, Nov 16, 2016.
What made you decide to get a 650?
bds is a wise person. I'll second everything he has said except I don't know anything about the newest Pro presses & waiting to buy "one". Instead of limiting yourself to "one" I'd suggest you get both. Decide for yourself which one you like better.
My thoughts on the matter of different opinions of the Pro 1000 vs LNL. The Pro is a much cheaper then the LNL so it attracts many more first timers. These people rush to the internet seeking help with their problems only giving half the information that is needed to help solve their problems. Then there is a in rush of comments & claims of horror stories that makes it harder for purple in the know to help them. Then there is hat the press isn't that expensive so the one that are lazy just throw up their hands & call the machine junk.
On the other side people buying the LNL expect this press to work & it is much more of an investment so they are willing to do more work to find out what is going on.
Both presses will make good ammo as long as you do your part. There is a little more to the LNL so it takes a little more attention in setting up. Once set up & running it's about the same. If I remember right there is a longer throw because of the size of the handle I also didn't like. So since it sounds as tho your heart is really pulling you to the LNL go with that. You'll be much more willing to give it a fare shake. Then after your used to it & know how to use a progressive start watching for that used Pro that a new user has given up on & buy it for cheap. Just keep in mind they may have broken something trying to use it.
Again more important then the press is your work bench. You may not see the flex & vibration in the bench but it's always there. The more you can limit it the better your progressive is going to run. I've ran the Pro from a board clamped to a table weighting less then 100 lbs & clamped to a desk that's a few hundred lbs. It's like using a completely different press. I'd prefer a concrete top if I ever get around to doing it.
Get a Ergo Handle for the LnL. Inline Fabrication!
I love Midway and buy a lot from them but Midsouth always has a better price on the LNL
Having said that it is not a point of debate that the pro1000 can be made to work. You just have to know going into it that it requires in many cases a lot of tinkering. As another poster has said so well if your up to the tinkering then think seriously about this press. In the Lyman handgun reloaders book it makes the point very well that handloaders don't generally save much money by this hobby because they tend to buy more tools and shoot more ammo.
I have the LNL and it works for me as advertised. Once in a while I have to look at some aspect of it and make a minor adjustment, maybe once every 6000 rounds. Lost in this discussion is the fact that the LNL (like the Dillon 650) is a true 5 station auto indexing press. To me if your willing to settle for a 3 or 4 station press, looking to load handgun on it, then why not give the Dillon Square Deal B a good hard look? Why is it that we buy a press that we want to last 30 or 40 years but then get ourselves all tied up in knots over something like a $40.00 set of dies that may or may not be useable on a press that we are considering for purchase? I don't like to make dumb purchases either but in the less than 4 years I've been handloading I've accumulated 3 sets of 9mm dies, looking for that one combination that gives me what I want. OK but that's just me and true it is but if your using up 1000 rounds per month then you want things to run smoothly because you really don't have the time to fiddle around with your press.
OK, I have said it many times that handloading is like a religion. We want to get others to join our church. We get pissed when others reject our faith. As a church member the only people I want joining my church are those who believe the same as my church and want to be there, not change what we have. When you join the Lee pro team 1000 you are joining a church that has little to zip in the way of future expansion. The other churches in town, Dillon, Hornady and RCBS have many opportunities for add-ons and extras. These add-ons and extras, while at times are expensive, allow the parishioner to expand their enjoyment of the hobby and increase the output of their machine. These add-ons are very well made and will last many years. This you are not getting when you join the pro 1000 team. But on the other hand your investment in the pro congregation is a bit less than $200.00 which is a minimal tithe and/or love offering.
But at the end of the day go to the church that you like best, not the one I think you should join.
In the first post he said he wouldn't buy a press that would not work with the Lee dies he already has.
I believe you are looking at this the wrong way. You wouldn't buy a truck by price alone; that's terrible logic. Price alone would have you buying a low-cost micro-truck knowing you needed to haul 4x8 sheet rock every day. That's silly. You'd look at the utility of the vehicle.
In the same way, I'm suggesting you look at your actual ammo volume needs per week. If you have the volume, then the payback (the difference in price between WalMart bulk ammo and your reloaded ammo) will actually pay for the entire setup in less than 1 year, usually closer to 7 months. This has been proven over and over.
Right now I'm seeing on average a $12-$15 savings on every 50 round box of pistol ammo I reload. For every 1000 rounds you load, that's 20 boxes, or a savings of $12x20... $240. You won't have to load but 3000 rounds to completely pay off your entire $600 LnL AP !!! In fact, it will be completely paid off in 3000 rounds if you only save $10 per box !!!
Start a spreadsheet of your costs and see if this isn't a better decision making method.
PS. I agree with the decision on the LnL AP. You won't be sorry.
I think I'm done debating this. I never regretted a single Porter Cable or Delta tool I bought over the years and I've never replaced them either. I still have a couple of the original Rockwell brand as well. They never let me down. With as much as I abuse tools, I don't think I would have fared near as well with Skil tools. Sure I would have saved on the initial purchase, but over time..... The LNL looks solid and well built. Not likely to wear out over the next 40 years.
Congrats on your decision. Walkalong and many members like their LNL AP.
I was taught to reload by a bullseye match shooting mentor. He used Dillon 550 and Lee Pro 1000 for his match loads and said both presses produced accurate loads his match pistols could not tell the difference (he shot sub 2" at 50 yards).
For USPSA matches, I went with Pro 1000 for auto index over manual index 550 and because Pro Auto Disk could not drift with powder drops.
Over the decades, I thought about buying Dillon 550/650/1050 but wife kept asking, "But honey, will they make more accurate loads?" and I reluctantly had to tell her "No" because I already did comparison tests with rounds loaded on Pro 1000 and other presses.
For retirement, I chose Dillon 650 with case feeder due to auto index and lifetime warranty which 1050 lacks.
BTW, for those who question the consistency of loads from Pro 1000, I use it for my load development and accuracy testing for THR threads and bullseye match shooting member ljnowell won first place in league with Pro 1000 match loads - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/first-place-in-bullseye-league.780168/
And after owning both you feel the Pro 1000 is the better press?
That's like asking which I prefer to drive between 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 4x4 crewcab vs 1997 Suburban 1500 4x4. The Ram truck is a dream to drive on the road but too firm/stiff for rough dirt roads. The Suburban is a dream to drive on rough dirt roads, smoothly gliding over bumps that will torture you in the Ram truck. But do I consider the Suburban better than the Ram truck? My brain/heart say no but my butt/lower back say yes for rough dirt roads.
I do not feel Pro 1000 is a better press over the 650 instead simpler 3 station press for high volume pistol loads with easier/faster caliber changes. Even with the 650, I like having the dedicated Pro 1000 options for each caliber. If I were to shoot matches again, I would gladly use the Pro 1000 with pre sized cases that are hand primed for separate seat and crimp operations.
I could do another myth busting thread on rounds loaded on 650 vs Pro 1000 but can tell you the rounds loaded on Pro 1000 are very consistent in powder charge weights and finished dimensions.
And you see that is the problem. You cannot do everything on a 3 station progressive without some kind of compromise. Personally I really don't care if you make a compromise or not because I'm not the one using your press. But we are being asked for our opinions.
Any press will do if your volume is 50 rounds/month. When that figure hits 500 rounds/month things are different. The last USPSA match I shot in (last month) I used 450 rounds. That would have been 9 boxes of factory ammo, over $100.00. On a 5 station auto indexing press it takes me an hour to make that much ammo. On a 3 station press where you size and prime separate it would take twice as long. OK with me if you like doing it that way but the reason I went progressive after suffering with a SS and turret press was because I was spending too much time at the bench.
I owned four Pro1000 presses and couldn't get them to operate reliably. They made great ammo when they worked, but I spent 20 minutes adjusting the mechanism during each 100 round session... and it was usually the primer feed.
Most people buy a progressive press to load progressively. That is to say... install an empty case at one end and have a finished cartridge pop out the other. When you sneak this highly deceptive caveat in there about pre-primed and pre-sized cases, that is most probably NOT what most people want to do. Therefore, it is NOT what they have in mind when they go press shopping.
A good press should be as reliable as a toaster. It should be able to turn out 1000 rounds with only primer tube refilling. Luckily the OP chose the LnL which is in that class.
After using several different presses I have to agree with bds. I've only used one press I've hated so bad I wouldn't suggest it to anyone but even that press is liked by several people. Personally what I like about my LNL the most was that I got it cheaper then a Pro1000 because the guy that bought it bought the wrong shell plates & didn't know why it wouldn't turn. I machined the plates & got everything running pretty smooth except the powder measure & decided I didn't really like it much. I used it some off & on then sold it for the same as new. I also sold everything that went with it. Then I sold all of my RCBS stuff except for one set of dies I couldn't find the second bullet seater to & my first press that is called a Jr. I replaced all the RCBS dies with Lee. The money I had left over paid for my casting pot, 4x 6 gang bullet molds, two different buckshot molds, & several sizing dies, & 2x side cut pliers all new. Everything except the buckshot molds & plires were from Lee. I think that was the only time in my life I think I came out ahead. Everything I sold went at almost new prices & some a little over new prices.
My only regret is probably the Load Master. It isn't that I don't like it but if I knew then what I do now I wouldn't by it again. I'd probably buy a couple more Pro 1000s tho if I had room to set them up.
I also have a Smart Reloader despenser that I know gets given a undo bad name that I've been very happy with. It's been running for years as smooth as can be. I used it for load work up since I can just tap a button & get the next .2gn measure.
To me it's all been money well spent tho. I've enjoyed all but one press & has all paid for itself. I might even by more of each just so my kids don't have to debate in which one gets what. They may have to do that over the dies tho. They should be well set when I die.
You have to consider everything including the possibility of case and bullet feeders if you don't start with them. Where they will go and would they fit
inside your reloading space.
I think the one feature that separates some of these from the Lee is reliable priming via long primer tubes. Reliable case activated charging too specially
wiht the finest ball powders that make plastic dispensers stick and even cease.
Dillon is very reliable and very nice and a typical pistol press to reload massive volumes.
The Hornady needs some tuning at first but when you get it going then it is an ammo factory. I like the idea of changing
individual dies with bushings w/o having to change entire plates. brass and bullet feeders work great.
Hornady piggy back is a good way to get started and it can be upgraded with some skill and the priming (tube fed) is very reliable.
I saw deals on the hornady entire set with feeders that were amazing so look for season specials.
I think someone with skill and patience could make the lee work for some objectives but I don't think it is worth the headaches for the average guy.
Plus it will need better case activated dispenser from other brands and perhaps a few other upgrades. The unreliable priming is what kills the deal.
Lee makes some other things that are nice and well priced specially for budget oriented people but the progressive press is a different story because
constant stoppages are the norm that defeat the original purpose of the progressive method. I didn't own one but my buddy did and I came over several
times and did some improvements but in the end he ended up buying an entry level dillon. I load rifle in one Lnl and another for pistol. I also have the piggy back
and a large single stage big boss for the largest magnums.
But I do have one of those small Lee (breach lock) that is great to take to the range to work on reloads and seat bullets.
There is no problem. You can & I do everything in the three stations.
I don't know if I ever went 1000 in one session by 500 is pretty easy. The only thing I run into is a problem with a few primers. Not quite seated is a easy fix on a finished round (I know there is going to be a few gasp over that) & very rarely a smashed primer that the finished round needs taken apart. I had more issues with the LNL then the Pro. I have mite issues with the Load Master then the Pro.
The only time I do prep on a case before it goes in a progressive is when I am loading once fired factory cases. Most have crimped primers so I deprime & sewage the primer pockets before they go in the press.
Truthfully I like using the single stage best. If I'm doing rifle I prefer to do them in batch. I like priming on top of the press much better then in it so I don't even prime & size at the same time. I also give my brass a quick tumble after sizing & priming so that makes a SS more attractive to me for rifle. I got the progressive because I was just going through to many to do on a single stage. Straight walled cases run through it smoothly. I also have a hard time handling primers because of there size so the priming system is another big plus.
I don't think the OP will be unhappy with his decision tho. I wish him many happy hours of loading. At this point I don't think he should consider anything else because when he starts having problems which he will then he will take the time to figure out what is going on where if he was swayed now he'd probably just blame the press instead of trying to figure out what he's going wrong.
You guys bashing the Lee that don't even own one is crazy. Going next door to use one doesn't credit you. rfwobbly that has had 4 I'll give some credit to. I don't know his problems with them but I will say it has to be something in the setup.
The powder measure didn't work well for me with the chain so I converted it back to the spring. They also leak with small ball powder but measure well. 200 rounds of 223 the other day & it leaked about 20gn. I'm not happy about that but it isn't a big deal to rake back in the jug ether. I never did get the bullet feeder to work but I didn't see where it would be very useful or time saving ether even if it did work.
Talking pistol ammo here....
If you want dead nuts accurate ammo.. short of bullet quality.... I don't see any way to do it but get the high pressure loading operations done first. Sizing and expanding. I've seen and used ammo loaded on God's gift the 1050... and it was like +/- .010". I'm not into that. I want +/- .001" if I can. And when you size and expand on the press it makes it much more difficult.
Not counting if a .380 slips in or some stainless media is still in the primer hole. Both counts bring the whole thing to a stop. And it's now 5 times harder to deal with the problems. Once my sizing and swaging are done, it's clear sailing from there. I can scoot pretty good and have super tight control of my COL's when it's just priming, dropping powder and setting bullets.
Most pistol ammo won't touch an expander until you drop powder on a progressive. The easiest way to get rid of the "high pressure loading operations" is to lube the cases.
Really no big deal in any case for most pistol ammunition. One can load
sub-MOA rifle ammunition on a progressive. Seems like most people would be really happy with 1" 25 yard groups from thier pistols and that's 4 MOA. Ammunition is not the limiting factor in that equation.
But I agree anyone can load crummy ammunition from the single stage user to a manufacturer with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
I'd take 1" groups with my pistols at 25 yards any day!!!
25 yards hell I would be ecstatic at 7 yards!!! Eyes don't see very good anymore.
That was kind of my point, it doesn't take having one thousandth accuracy on any aspect to achieve the results most are happy with for pistol or really rifle ammunition.
You could split the difference and get the 550 even though it's manually advanced you can still turn out 100 rds in 15 min no problem. I bought my first Dillon when they went factory direct and have been hooked ever since.
Ditto. I do exactly the same thing. I did glue a thin washer onto the press where the primer dimple was cratering into the press frame. Problem solved and seats primers fine.
What if you guys drilled trapped & put a hardened set screw in it?
Get the LNL over the Lee. Mine has been solid. You won't need the progressive capability for rifle as it appears you know already. Caliber changes are pretty easy with the bushing system on the LNL.
I tried that years ago. The problem you run into is the shape of the seating anvil base will fit into the recessed allen head. This will put some side torque on the seating anvil assembly wearing out the anvil as you seat primers. Once you get excess side play it starts hanging up. It's better being flat so it it can slide just a tad. It's not easy to gain access to where you need to drill, too. Without taking the base off. I used a 90deg drill and stubby bits. Used the body of the seating anvil as a guide.
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