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progressive presses

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tahoe2, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Member

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    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!!
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    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.
     
  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Hornady LNL
     
  4. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    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.
     
  5. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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.
     
  6. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I have never regretted the purchase of my Dillon 550 over 20 years ago. I only load 8 different calibers on it currently.
     
  7. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    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.
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.:)
     
  9. joed

    joed Member

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    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.
     
  10. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    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.
     
  11. wardor

    wardor Member

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    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.
     
  12. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    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.
     
  13. Chuck Perry

    Chuck Perry Member

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    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.
     
  14. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    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)
     
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  16. wardor

    wardor Member

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    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.
     
  17. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    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.
     
  18. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Yep, the lack of auto indexing is what steered me away from the 550.
     
  19. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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.
     
  20. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    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.
     
  21. wardor

    wardor Member

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    Just as a note, the 1050 does not have the lifetime warranty that other non-electronic products have from Dillon.
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    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.
     
  23. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    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.
     
  24. joed

    joed Member

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    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
     
  25. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    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.
     
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