Help with figuring out which press to buy...

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by zachp, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. zachp

    zachp New Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Southeastern Ohio
    So I had just made up my mind to buy a Lee Loadmaster. Then last week I recieved a Dillon add in the mail. So now I am looking very hard at the Dillon 550B. I also am looking at the Hornady Lock and Load AP. So I know that Dillon is the "best" but, what are some other opinions about what the others offer? The problem I have with the Dillon is it is manually indexed and I know its not a big deal but just something that takes more time. So I would like to hear some real world experience from you guys and gals!

    Thanks for the help
  2. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Hornady Lock-N-load IMO. Manual indexing leaves room for human error. The Hornady has a safety tube around the primer feed tube for added security. The primer feed works smoothly. Their promotion is 500 free bullets of your choice with a purchase of their press. Also 100 free bullets of your choice with the purchase of each die set. You just pay the shipping. They are the Hornady XTP bullets. Their dies are top notch. The seater die actually guides the bullet into the brass so you can release the bullet sooner. The resizer die adjusts like velvet and is easy to use. The powder hopper adjusts fast and smoothly and throws accurate charges. Provided you don't manipulate the press while you are in process, you cannot double charge a case, and it will not miss charging a case either. The press is sturdy and durable. Customer service is great. If you break it they replace it with no questions asked. Their youtube videos walk you through the entire process of setting up the press from start to finish. Customer service will answer any and all questions. If you lose a spring, not only will they replace it, they will send you two. The fit and finish of the machine work is total quality.

    The draw back is you have to buy a different shell plate for each caliber you shoot. I don't mind because I will have them forever.

    Hope this helps,

  3. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    I second the LNL, opinions are of course bias to ones own equipment ( the blue usually drums up the loudest of them) the manual advance shellplate is no advantage, every double charge incident I have witnessed, read about or heard of was produced on the 550.

    The LNL warranty is a top notch, anything on the press breaks, they send it out no questions. Very friendly and helpful people there.

    Take a good look at the reviews on the LNL at Midway USA, and while there take a look at the parts and add ons available, something Dillon does not allow with their products since they are a propriatary distributor
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  4. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
  5. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    While I do like the Blue, I think the LNL is a great press also.
    Double charges are due to operator error and bad habits, I haven't seen/heard or would attribute a greater number of double charges on a press.
    Dillon is sold by several other companies, not just Dillon. Graf is just one example, but there are several others that sell Blue presses. It's not a propriatary dealership.

    Best advice I could give you is to see if you can find a local reloader and get your hands on a few different presses. I think you'll be happy with either choice. My experience with the Loadmaster is not good for my taste; while it loads ammo that goes boom just the same as any other press; I didn't find it a good long-term value for the money. Parts wear out quicker and frequent tweaking to keep it running smoothly.
  6. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Wooley you got me there, I've never seen Dillon anywhere else, On the other hand taking a look at Grafs websight and master catalog it seems Hornady has the cover.
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
  8. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    You guys are funny.
  9. Appliancedude

    Appliancedude Well-Known Member

    Only interjecting here because I'm thinking of upgrading. What do you guys think of the RCBS progressive. I have the single stage RCBS, which is fine for rifle loads, because I load for accuracy and very precise with each load. Handguns I don't load for accuracy, well I do expect them to hit center mass;). But boy does it take a long time to load up a batch one at a time
  10. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    G'day Zachp,

    welcome !

    firstly how experienced are you reloading ?

    beginner, total . just watched some friends or family etc Lee beginers kit ..

    ok been reloading your own cartridges a while , RCBS or Dillion for the bit extra but for extra bucks but Lee will expand up without a lot of expence too ..

    and for experts sky's the limit really and ya dont have to go into debt for life either

    but a lot of things can be better done and made at home

    tumblers for example

    so where are you at? and we'll suss out whats a decent setup from there ..
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    The progressive press that has the reputation for reliability and service is the Dillon RL550B. The others are late to the party or are the latest in several iterations because earlier examples failed. The Dillon RL550B has been around for maybe 30 years with few changes and a few updates (which owners got for free). When the Dillon entered the reloading business they gave and are still giving a lifetime warrantee. They changed the way the industry does warrantees. Today other reloading equipment manufacturers have tho follow Dillon's lead. That goes for the design too. The current progressive presses from others now look similar to the Dillon but the other's earlier progressives did not and were failures.

    Dillon service is renown for being excellent. My Dillon RL550B has been rebuilt (after heavy usage over several decades) by them twice for free. Anytime I have a problem I call them and they rush a replacement part for free, no questions asked. The LEE stuff I have purchased over the years was junk (my opinion and yours may differ). I had a Hornady shotgun progressive and Hornady discontinued it because it was so bad. They would not give me any credit towards their newer supposedly better press. Hornady left me with a bad taste in my mouth for them. Dillon, on the other hand, took back a Square Deal that I had used for over a year for full value towards the RL550B just to make me happy (I had graduated from just 9mm pistol reloading to needing to reload for rifles too). Now that's SERVICE! Today I reload over 30 different cartridges on my RL550B.

    As to manual indexing, it is an advantage and NOT a disadvantage. Since you have to add the bullet and case to the press manually, using both hands gets the table advanced, the new case added, and the bullet set atop the third station case in a few flowing motions. It in no way slows you down to have to advance the table manually.

    The advantage of the manual indexing is it makes using the press as a single stage or turret press much easier. All progressives occasionally have a problem and the table has to be cleared in order to solve the problem . The ability to manual advance or reverse the table makes clearing the press much easier.

    The LNL Hornady has a bunch of followers but there have been a much bigger bunch of Dillon RL550B owners out there who absolutely love their RL550B's and would not exchange them for the Hornady for any reason. Arguments can be made for each press based on pricing, value, but the Dillon will never loose an argument on who has the best service and the most reliable progressive press with the longest good history.

    My opinion, based on 25 years ownership of my Dillon RL550B, is: forget the others... Buy the proven one, the Dillon RL550B. You will not be sorry.

  12. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    LNL is what i went with. I like it. But you got to look at the budget thing and thats what i had to do. I did have a few thing that needed worked out on the set up of it. I will say this.... ask shooter he helped me out and along with other LNL press owners here and its been working well. Have had it for a year now. Done thousands of rds on it and no major problems just operator stupidity.
  13. zachp

    zachp New Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Southeastern Ohio
    Jack: I have been loading for a few months now with a Lee single stage press. I bought it used to save a bit of money and really figure out if I liked to reload and see if I was going to keep doing it. So far I have loaded for my 25-06, 308, 223(AR), and a few 357 pistol rounds. I dont miind loading the rifle rounds on the single but the pistol rounds drove me nuts, felt like it took forever to load 40 rounds.

    As to the Dillon: I do like the customer service aspect and have never heard a Dillon customer being dissatisified with the product. The disadvantage to me is a few things the auto indexing (while not necessary it would be nice), only a 4 hole tool head (I like the idea of being able to use a Lee FCD in the 5th station of the LNL, price of the tool heads and all associated parts to do a caliber change is a little over priced in my opinion LNL seems to be a good bit cheaper on the caliber change over and i just need to purchase the bushings to change over to another caliber, also the LNL comes with everything needed for the powder drop to do rifle and pistol where the Dillon has to be purchased separate.

    As I type this I think my research has answered my question and I believe I like the LNL for the above reasons. I am still interested in hearing what else you guys have to say.

    And while you are here, what are you opinions of the LNL auto powder charger? might order it this evening to speed up my rifle loading also!

    Thanks for all the help, information, and comments guys. Keep them coming!
  14. DixieLandMan

    DixieLandMan Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    Zachp, I wll speak up for Lee products. I bought a Pro 1000 for my pistols (the shell plate drove me nuts so I bought 3; one for each of the calibers I load. Well, 38/357 is on one.) I have the single stage for the rifle loads and that suits me just fine.
  15. Waldog

    Waldog Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Read this first. It provides a nice comparison of progressive loaders:

    Then go to this website:
    You can see almost every progressive press in operation. All progressive presses load ammo. However, they go about it in different ways. You may find one press operation that is better suited to you needs.

    I have used Dillon and I still own a Dillon SDB. I also own the Hornady LNL. I prefer the LNL system by a wide margin. BOTH COMPANIES PRODUCE AN OUTSTANDING PRODUCT.

    Welcome to the forum and good luck finding what best suits your needs!!
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
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