OK, the tax refund and annual bonus (the latter absent for 2 years) are now in hand. This year the priority is on reloading equipment, and I'm getting ready to invest.
The choice as of now is narrowed down to a Dillon 550B or a Hornady Lock-n-Load AP - comparable price level. I'm looking for qualified opinions that will push me firmly in one direction or the other.
Both are backed with lifetime warranties. Dillon is famous for their ruggedness and great customer service; the Hornady has some features which seem a bit more advanced and more comparable with the higher-priced Dillon 650, like a 5th die position and auto-indexing. For caliber changes, the two machines take different approaches (shell plate change vs. toolhead change) but the cost comes out about the same. The Hornady powder measure seems easier and cleaner to change, but it looks like the Dillon handles primers a little better.
The Hornady progressive is a bit newer than the Dillon 550, so I suspect it won't have as large or loyal a fan bases as the Dillon, but I'm more interested in overall performance than popularity.