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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Father-in-law and I are in the mood to load lotsa pistol cartridges, and maybe a few thousand .223's as well. We've been looking at both the Dillon 550 and the Hornady Lock and Load progressive. First impressions are that the Hornady is heavier built, but that doesn' always mean something. Horny's a little mo money than Dillon, but not by much. Cost of parts to change calibers seems comparable. So, the question is, who has used these things, and what do y'all think? Which would you go for? Don't be afraid to shoot either or both down if you know something I need to know!
 

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Let me preface this with the fact that I have never owned, used or even seen the Hornady LnL.

I own a Dillon XL650 and a Dillon Super 1050. The 650 has a lifetime "No BS", as Mike Dillon calls it, warranty. If you have a problem, call the tech guys on their dime. They know these presses forward and back. They can explain in detail what you need to do to repair it, and if it needs parts, they will be in the mail either that day or the next at 100% no charge. I have owned my 650 for about 8 years, and it has loaded no telling how many 10's and 10's of thousands of rounds, with just VERY few minor problems that were taken care of over the phone. I sat down just yesterday and loaded 500 .40SW in about 35 minutes. Cranking out 800-1000 rounds per hour is no problem with the 650.

I really believe that you would be better off comparing the Dillon 650 the the LnL, as they are both auto indexing progressive presses, and both have the optional case feeder available. I personally feel that the auto index feature is an additional safety feature that will help prevent a double charge. The case feeder is almost a must have for you to get the full benefit of the progressive press. If you don't have the case feeder, you'll spend a lot of your time putting cases in the machine. Comparing the LnL to the Dillon 550 is not comparing apples to apples due to the fact that the 550 is manual indexing.

I read several competition shooting boards and several shooting and reloading boards. It seems that I see more complaints on the LnL, but there again, I am a 100% Dillon fan and may be noticing more complaints against the other guys. I went from a Lee Pro 1000 to the Dillon, and it was like going from a Model A to a Porsche.

The fully loaded Dillon XL650 will probably run you close to $1K, if not a little more, by the time you get several caliber conversions and everything you need. The way I look at it thought is that it is a lifetime investment. If you really get down to getting ready to order, I can give you a few tips that will save you possibly a few hundred dollars.

This is kind of like the Ford vs Chevy debate. Everyone likes a certain thing. You may get the LnL and love it.

Lastly, be sure to look at the stats of the USPSA and IPSC national champs. Around 90 to 95% of them load on Dillons. I don't ever remember reading on any of the boards where someone says that they are sick and tired of their Dillon and are going to a Hornady. I DO see them saying that they bought something cheaper because they thought it was about as good as a Dillon, and now they are buying a Dillon.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mr. C caught me there...I was sort of shopping for progressives based on price point, and the Hornady LNL and Dillon 550 are really not comparable, except for price. Thanks for reminding me.

We recently had a Dillon 450 and a HOST of goodies for it stolen from a friends house. Whole thing was very suspicious, but what do you do? We're in the market for another set-up, and it pains me to start over again. If anybody sees an older Dillon 450 with "JFM" engraved in the base, call me.

Right now we're doing bidness with a single-stage press, and that's my motivation to seek a speedier process.

I'm sorta leaning towards Dillon due to the no-bs warranty and their legendary service.
 

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Mr.C

I have been playing around with the idea of getting a Dillon.Where is the best place(cheapest place) to get one.I know nothing about progressive press.I would like to know what are must haves and what things are nice to have. I have a single stage press right now and loading 200 -300 rounds of 40 is starting to get on my nerves.There is alot more time at the bench than pulling the trigger.I would be happy loading 200 an hour.I was thinking about the 550,but if your going to spend that much for a little more is the 650 the better way to go?
 

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You can usually get a little better price over on Brian Enos' website at brianenos.com . He sells Dillons, and when you order, he just turns around and has it drop shipped from Dillon factory. I ordered my 1050 from him a couple of years ago and he knocked $20 off the price of the machine, threw in a spare parts kit for free and also did free shipping. On top of that, when you call to order, you get to talk with Brian himself. He is one of the top USPSA shooters, and he doesn't mind answering questions and sharing his knowledge with you.

If you are only going to shoot pistol, and never want to load rifle, the Square Deal B might be worth looking at. It is auto indexing, but will do handgun rounds only. I know several people that use this press and really like it. It will crank out several hundred per hour without breaking a sweat. The only negative about this press is that it doesn't use the standard 7/8"x14 dies. It uses a Dillon proprietary die that has to be purchased from Dillon.

If you are wanting to also load rifle on the progressive, the SDB is ruled out. If auto indexing isn't a priority, the 550 is the workhorse of the Dillon lineup. Personally, my only concern is that the 550 isn't auto indexing, and if you become distracted, it could be really easy to double charge a load. The thing to keep in mind here, though, is that if you become distracted, take ALL the rounds out of the press and start over, you would only have 4 rounds in the toolhead, so it isn't like it would be that big of a deal.

Personally, I like auto indexing. I feel that it is just another step in the safety process, but at the same time, I don't let my guard down just because I have it. My presses are mounted at a level that I have to stand to load, and I look down into every case to make sure that it has powder in it, and that it appears to be at the right level. If you use a powder with a high enough density, you can fill the case to over 50% of capacity, and a double charge would overfill the case.

Here is a link to a LOT of good info on the Dillon presses... Dillon FAQ

Hope this helps a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can usually get a little better price over on Brian Enos' website at brianenos.com . He sells Dillons, and when you order, he just turns around and has it drop shipped from Dillon factory. I ordered my 1050 from him a couple of years ago and he knocked $20 off the price of the machine, threw in a spare parts kit for free and also did free shipping. On top of that, when you call to order, you get to talk with Brian himself. He is one of the top USPSA shooters, and he doesn't mind answering questions and sharing his knowledge with you.

Hope this helps a little.
Is that what you meant by saving a few sheckles when ordering?
 

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Thanks Mr.C for the good information.The 650 is a 5 station the web site says it has a powder check.What is a powder check?Would that be a bushing to look through,or some sort of indicator pin when case level goes up from being charged?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, this project took an interestng turn...

Mother-in-law hit at Cherokee Casino to the tune of 15K, father-in-law hit for another $2,400 waiting on them to pay off the first 15K...

So pa-in-law up and just bought the Hornady lock-n-load setup. I was leaning toward the Dillon 650, but the LnL system has a few nice features to recommend it, too. It's all about getting it set up and adjusted right, and truthfully, it's not all that fussy to adjust this thing. I may change my tune when the case feeder gets here! Our original agreement was that I would go in half and half with the old man, but he insisted we let the Cherokees pay for the whole thing...:biggrin:

So now we're just waiting to get all the rest of the parts and chunks to get all the way set up, more as that developes.

Oh, and if your're looking at Sportsman's wharehouse for federal pistol primers, I bought all they had saturday! :razz:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey now, be nice to Mr. C-- I've never seen a GOOD, EXPERIENCED reloader's bench that didn't resemble his...I'm sure he's got a fire extinguisher handy, althought I'm not sure that would help much. :fear:

Yea, I tried to keep my end of the deal going halfsies, but he wouldn't hear of it, so I spent that money on Federal primers and some lead. Powder is another subject.

Does anybody have a pet powder for .223? I've got a total of four reloading manuals at my disposal, and all that does is confuse me. I'd like to start buying kegs of powder, but I don't want to commit that much until I figger out what I like. I have on hand almost a pound of IMR 4895, and a pound of different number IMR, (can't remember right now, maybe 4195?) So I've got small quantities of that to play with, but does anybody have a pet load they'd like to share? Of course I'll be verifying all recipies in the books first, I just need a place to start.
 

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I asked the same question on a reloading forum a while back, and they pointed me to Hodgdon H335. It's a TINY powder, and very easy to get everywhere if you happen to bump the pan between the scale and funnel. But, its freakin' awesome in my Howa 1500. Was easy to get close to a pet load my first trip to the range! I figure the fine grain of it allows for less deviation from charge to charge. I haven't been back to do any more load work since, but I also figure it'll work as good as anything else and better than most.
 

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Does anybody have a pet powder for .223? I've got a total of four reloading manuals at my disposal, and all that does is confuse me. I'd like to start buying kegs of powder, but I don't want to commit that much until I figger out what I like. I have on hand almost a pound of IMR 4895, and a pound of different number IMR, (can't remember right now, maybe 4195?)
IMR and H4895 are very good powders to work with. Not the only good powders by any means. but they are good. As Wes said, H335 is good, as well as Win 748, Hodgdon Varget, and Ramshot TAC among others. In 223 with 55 grain bullets, most loads start at ~25 grains, and some go on up to 26.5 to 27 or so. Since I don't want to push my guns to the limit, I use 25.0 grains and leave it at that. I also use 4895 in 308, 30/06, 30/30 and 35 Rem. I like having one powder that can be used in a lot or different loads, and 4895 does a good job of it.

The other powder you mentioned might be IMR4198. If it is, it is a little too fast for AR's. I used lots of it when I hunted with a 223 bolt gun, but the AR needs a different load to operate the gas system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks once again, Mr. C! I like getting info from people who aren't selling me anything!!

The one I couldn't remember was IMR 4198, but I don't remember what we were loading with it lo those many years ago. With what you just told me about the IMR 4895, it's no wonder everybody is out of that right now :smack: .

I'll be working up loads for use in both the mini-14 and AR, plus maybe a separate load for the Savage 110 in .223. I really wanna see how good the Savage can shoot, I feel it has great potential.
 
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