Help picking a press

This is a discussion on Help picking a press within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; My wife gave me the OK to get the press that I want. I am looking at the RL550b, the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive, and ...

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Thread: Help picking a press

  1. #1
    Member Array Ghuqu2's Avatar
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    Help picking a press

    My wife gave me the OK to get the press that I want. I am looking at the RL550b, the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive, and the Lee Classic Turret kit at Kempf's.
    I already have a scale, calipers, and manuals and some Lee dies.

    I want a press that is easy to run, economical, and very little fuss. I will be loading, 9mm, 38, 357 and maybe 30.06 and 303 brit. I'm leaning toward the Lee because of ease of setup and adjust and the ability to then afford a case tumbler, and maybe a crono. I can also get all the "upgrades" w/o having to spend another $300-400 over the price of the press.

    How fussy are the progressives? Right now if I get one, I'm leaning toward the Hornady, seems to be more bang for the buck. What do you all feel? What options are "necessary" over the basic press other than turrets?
    "The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us." Patrick Henry 1775

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  3. #2
    Member Array blackhawkbill's Avatar
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    i have a lee classic cast press , i love it , you didn't name a bad press , i guess just check them all out , and get the one that suits you , or fits the budget ...
    and you thought this would be easy ....

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I have a lee pro 1000 and i bought a dillon 550 about a month ago,the dillon is eaier to operate ,more reliable pimer feed,and can change calibres pretty quick.If i would have bought th dillon first i would of never bought the lee.
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    Senior Member Array fatboy97's Avatar
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    Currently I reload 9mm and .40S&W, and it's very easy to change calibers and very easy to operate. My next step will be to add .38/.357 die set, powder funnel and other parts (shellplate and location pins).
    Be Observant and Be Safe.

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    Member Array mousehunter's Avatar
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    I have a Lee Loadmaster. It requires attention to work reliably, but if you get into a zen state with it it is fairly fast. Progressives are more suite for producing large volumes of pistol ammo, but the single stage will always have a place on your bench for rifles (I just ordered a Lee classic cast press to compliment my loadmaster). Compare and contrast the Dillion 550 and 650, both are expensive, but perhaps you get what you pay for.

    I sometimes wonder if I made the right decisions myself (but then again reloading is not about turning your mind off- you have to pay attention to do it safely - The Loadmaster just makes sure you stay honest about that)
    ---
    fwiw, between the Loadmaster's issues, and personal preference, I deprime/size, prime off press, then load. That adds time to the process, but works better for me.

  7. #6
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    Buy the best equipment you can afford.

    If that is Lee stuff...so be it.

    When you get to a point where money is no object, go with Dillon. I can name a dozen people that started with Lee and ended up going Blue. The only thing they ever regretted was not doing it sooner.

    All of them will load. Some do it better than others.
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    I only have used my Dillon 550B. I ran into a few minor adjustment problems , but once I got it set up it runs fine. Dillon was quick to supply me with a new pin de primer (no charge ) when it broke because I screwed up.
    I also load for my rifle. I use the Dillon like a single stage press for hunting loads.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    i like and have the dillon. but i also use several single stage presses. to me the dillon is easy to use and they will stand behind their product. got my dillon in 1985 and never had any problems with it. i just have problems with the powder drops. they have sent me several different parts for my powder drops.
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    Member Array houdini's Avatar
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    buy a dillon it worth it.

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    I started with an RCBS Rockchucker and then bought a Dillon 550B. I reload both pistol and rifle on it. The lifetime no BS warranty is hard to beat. If it is financially in the cards I would definately get a Dillon. The powder measures are very accurate and repeatable.
    Dale

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  12. #11
    Member Array jbailey's Avatar
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    I must put in 2cnts worth in favor of the Hornady LnL AP. I've had one for a few years and really like the bushing system they use for mounting the dies. Comparing the costs, at least when I bought mine, the Hornady was a good bit less expensive than Dillon once I had all the "goodies" to get under way. The LnL is actually better compared to the Dillon RL650 since the LnL is a true progressive. This fact makes it an even better value.

    Some say that a progressive press such as the LnL introduces unnecessary complexity if you need to rotate the shell plate backward for some reason (usually talking about the 550 Dillon which has manual advance). I can't think of how to explain it, but you can move the shell plate backward if necessary, especially if you realize the need before the plate has moved much. Once I got used to it, the auto indexing was great, in fact I would almost say it was a safety feature, making a double charge very unlikely. I set muy Hornady up using a Lee Pro Auto-Disk measure and Lee dies mounting the Auto Disk on the powder through expander. I can't imagine a much better setup for loading pistol and small/medium volume rifle rounds. I've also had occasion to deal with Hornady customer svc. and they were very accomodating and helpful.

    I do realize that Big Blue also has utterly reliable equipment and great customer svc. If I had bought a Dillon to start with, I'd probably be just as happy.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Good luck and good shooting,

    Jim
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    Member Array ozshadow's Avatar
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    The Kempf Lee Classic Turret kit is a very, very good deal.

    I have a 550b, but for that many calibers it would hurt. The 550 will cost you about $100 per caliber and that is using the Lee 4pcs Carbide dies. $130 per caliber if using Dillons.

  14. #13
    Member Array Ghuqu2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozshadow View Post
    The Kempf Lee Classic Turret kit is a very, very good deal.

    I have a 550b, but for that many calibers it would hurt. The 550 will cost you about $100 per caliber and that is using the Lee 4pcs Carbide dies. $130 per caliber if using Dillons.
    I'm glad you gave me the cost per caliber conversion on the Dillon. Anyone have the numbers on the LNL ap?

    jbailey did you have do do anything special to use the Lee Pro Auto-Disk measure on the LNL? I've heard you can't use the Lee Factory Crimp dies on the LNL, is that true? What other items (other than the case feeder) does the LNL need to run at its best?

    Dillon owners, can you use the full Lee Deluxe Die set in a 550b? Are other accessories necessary make loading easy (other than the auto case feeder)?

    One last question for any progressive owners:
    Why is the warranty comments so important? I know it's important when something breaks or you need service help, but do progressives wear parts, or breakdown that much? I don't hear this from the single stage or turret press owners, I just don't want to spend $$$ and regret it.

    Thanks for all the great feedback.
    "The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us." Patrick Henry 1775

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    Member Array jbailey's Avatar
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    jbailey did you have do do anything special to use the Lee Pro Auto-Disk measure on the LNL?

    Sorry, I should have commented on that. If you use the Lee Deluxe
    4-die pistol set, it comes with the powder through expander die. The Pro Auto Disk measure mounts directly to it, and is activated when a shell casing is raised into the die, simultaneously belling the case and delivering the powder charge, a remarkably simple and economical solution. If you like/use other brands of dies, you may need the Lee extension for mounting the measure higher, so it will clear taller dies. Regardless whose dies you use, you will need the powder through expander die from Lee. Just FYI, Dillon pays/paid a royalty to Lee because Dillon's powder measure uses the same basic design.


    I've heard you can't use the Lee Factory Crimp dies on the LNL, is that true? What other items (other than the case feeder) does the LNL need to run at its best?

    Oh yes, I have a Lee FCD for every pistol cal. and .223 as well. It will repair an otherwise 'out of spec' round so that it will cycle and chamber. The problem comes when you want to use it in the 5th station. Used there, the bottom of the die hits the ejection wire. You can bend/file the wire to fix this, but I don't even use the 5th station, so I don't have this issue. I may be a bit anal, but I gauge every round after it is loaded; and even tho' I am careful, there are a small percentage of rounds that won't gauge. At the end of the reloading session, I replace the taper crimp die with the FCD (crimping is done in the 4th sta.). This is just a simple turn of the LnL bushing to remove the taper crimp die and replace it with the FCD, run the offending rounds through it and done. I don't have a case feeder, so I can't comment - but I can keep up with my ammo consumption without it, including USPSA match once in a while.

    As far a cost per caliber change, all you really need is the bushings to mount the dies in, and the proper shell plate. I load mostly 9mm, .38/.357, and .45Auto with my LnL. For those 3 cal., I need:

    15 bushings @ 3 for $12.50 = $62.50
    3 die sets @ $33.00 ea = $99.00
    3 shell plates @ $26.00 ea = $78.00
    2 taper crimp dies @ 22.00 ea =$44.00
    Total =$271.00/3= $90.33 per cal.

    Of course the plates are good for many more than one cal. I can also load .308, .30/06, .223 and others with the 3 plates I have.

    One last question for any progressive owners:
    Why is the warranty comments so important? I know it's important when something breaks or you need service help, but do progressives wear parts, or breakdown that much? I don't hear this from the single stage or turret press owners, I just don't want to spend $$$ and regret it.

    Customer service becomes very important way down the road and you try to get a small part only to find that the item you bought has been redesigned and parts are no longer available. My Hornady is an old one, and I can still get anything I need - for instance, Hornady had upgraded and redesigned the primer feed mechanism. Would it fit my old press?? "Why, yes sir", replied the voice on the other end of the line. Thinking about a customer's future needs is REAL customer service. Both Dillon and Hornady are known for this.

    Hope this helps,

    Jim

    Thanks for all the great feedback.[/QUOTE]
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  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    There is a used Dillon 550B on this forum.
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