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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
trying to decide which one to get.
I like them both.
I just finished doing 1000 9mm on a friend's dillon. But dillon has a very poor support locally.
can I get pros and cons of each from the experts? no opinions please, just facts.

I have yet to run a LnL but from Swimmy Jimmy's videos I like the way it runs
 

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Easy choice.
The Hornady has a much better powder measure. The Dillon does not auto index making a double charge possible. Hornady has less expensive caliber change. Hornady not only supports their machines with great customer service, they also can help with load data
 

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1. LNL Powder measure is MUCH better.
2. With LNL die bushing system, you can swap calibers in under two minutes.
3. Caliber swap out is CHEAPER on LNL verses 550
4. Primer system is much simpler and reliable PROVIDED IT IS ADJUSTED PROPERLY
5. Case retention on the shell plate is SUPER easy. Retainer spring has a LONG life and is easy to change. No pins to get lost!
6. Without a case feeder, you feed cases and bullets with left hand. Right hand never leaves operating lever.
7. Spent primers fall thru the press and into the trash. Press STAYS MUCH cleaner.
8. LNL has five stations. 550 has four stations. Five stations needed for powder check die or bullet feed die. Can't do either on a 550.
9. LNL has smoother indexing. Shell plate indexes 1/2 step as ram goes up and 1/2 index as ram goes down. Less powder "bumping" out of the case while indexing.
10. Bullet seating is accomplished at the FRONT of the press. This make it easy to look INTO each case prior to seating bullets. 550 seats bullets at the REAR of the press.
11. An finally, Hornady Customer Service is equal to Dillon. At least, in my experience and I own both Dillon and Hornady AP presses.

PS. In all fairness, the 550 is an OUTSTANDING press. However, it operates much differently than the LNL. There are pro's and con's on both sides. Good luck!
 

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As far as I am concerned, I only see one clear choice, the Dillon, and that's the facts.
 

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I had trouble early on with my LNL, but the Hornady customer service was great. They replaced the press with no questions asked and now it works like a charm. I've never used a Dillon so can't comment on them, but to me the auto indexing is a must. A lot people use the the 550 and are happy with it, but it does not have auto indexing and you have to move up to the 650 if that is a feature you want.

As others have said the powder measure works really well. It maintains the same charge weight within +/- 0.1 grains for as many as 500 rounds. I rarely check it any more after getting it set the first time. When I first got the press I was checking about every 5 or 10 rounds. Then reduced the checks to about every 25 rounds then to 50 rounds and now It's every 100 rounds when I run out of primers.

The die bushings make caliber changes a breeze. Once you set the dies up the first time you never have to touch them again unless you change seating depth or case mouth expansion.

The auto indexing eliminates one hand operation every time you pull the handle. With out auto indexing and if don't have a case or bullet feeder three hand operations are required every you pull the handle; set the case, set the bullet, rotate the shell holder plate, then pull the handle. With auto indexing you set the bullet, set the case then pull the handle. It may not seem like much improvement, but it's one less thing to remember and one less thing to do each time you pull the handle and that makes a difference in speed and concentration.
 

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Another happy LNL user here, over 25k rounds so far without a hitch (other than some of my own mistakes). The real seller to me is the local availability of LNL equipment, There is no Dillon parts on the shelf within 100 miles of me. Even though Dillon is touted to be the best and longest running for customer service, Hornady is rock solid behind their equipment 100% of the time. If I need a replacement part it is swiftly mailed within a week, no questions, no charge.
 

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I have owned BOTH of these presses. After 5 months of total frustration with the Hornady, I gave up and bought a Dillon 550.

No issues with the Dillon.

The LNL just refused to run and would break parts every 50 rounds or so. My experience with Hornady customer service was poor. I have had issues with almost every Hornady product I bought within the last year. Consequently, I will no longer buy Hornady products of any kind. Their quality control recently is non-existent.

Do yourself a favor and buy the Dillon.
 

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I can't beleave LD hasn't chimed in on this one.

Anyway, comparing the LnL AP to the 550B is like apples and oranges. The 550B is manual progressive and the LnL is auto. You should be comparing to the 650. Different game.
 

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You know how I feel. Right now I have two friends that have Dillons and neither one is working. My point is it does not matter what you buy, nothing is perfect. The fact is both Dillon and Hornady have exceptional customer service so it comes down to which one will fit your needs the best. I sure like my auto-index and the ease of caliber change over.
 

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My Dillon is not working right now, either. But then, I had to put it back in its box to move it over here. If your two friends are having problems with their Dillons then they need to call 800-223-4570 or 480-948-8009 to get the problems resolved.
 

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My issues with the Hornady LNL press:

1. Breakages of the indexing pawls
2. Completed rounds are thrown occassionally to the wrong side
3. Breakage of the shell retaining spring
4. crushed case
5. Constant issues with primer loading
6. LNL Bushings releasing dies during loading, or locking in dies

Client service was poor. They are open only 4 days a week and parts take at least 5 business days to ship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
wow, thanks guys. I had a problem with the blue where the shell plate came loose and crushed a few cases. My friend and I were unaware of the set screw but I will tell him today.

It sounds like Dillon's service is real good but as I mentioned before local support is non-existent.

auto index is a nice feature but I am not sure if I really need it.

lower cost of caliber change is nice. I have 3 to do now with 2 more planned.

4 stations is not very appealing

Dillon having a primer alert is nice. can a guy add one to LnL?


I would like to run a couple hundred in a LnL and get a personal feel before I make a decision.

I have seen all the videos by "Bill Morgan" a few times and he has his ducks in a row with a real strong sales pitch. Maybe he should be in sales. The videos show all the usual complaints-issues and how to fix them which negates and fears I have about the machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
can we cover the pros and cons of auto index?
 

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68c15:

First off, let me tell you that up until the last few years Dillion was 100% mail order. I now see them in gun stores. The service or support you need is via the phone. It is excellent and changed the way all manufactures support their reloading equipment. It was not this way until Dillon entered the market place.

While some think one or another feature on each press is better than the others the main difference and the one that makes a real difference is the auto indexing. I have had several different progressives over the years and auto indexing is a problem to me, not a good feature. It is usually a crude and abrupt mechanical system that can throw the powder out of the case on advancement and greatly impedes fixing a problem with a cartridge on the table. Jams (and any press will have them on occasion) are much easier to solve when the table is not wanting to always go forward and is able to be hand manipulated back and forth. Jams can lead to a powder spill onto the press and must be fixed with a delicate hand and some auto indexing mechanisms don't allow for hand manipulation of the table.

Manual indexing is no problem unless you want to go 90 miles per hour reloading. You get a flow of hand manipulations and I do not miss auto indexing. In over 25 years of reloading on my Dillon RL550B for over 30 different cartridges my Dillon has NEVER double loaded because I pay attention and eliminate distractions. I have not found the Dillon powder measure to give inaccurate results but I try to use spherical powder from Hodgdon and Winchester. I can also use short cut Hodgdon extruded powders or flatten spherical or flake powders.

But the biggest advantage of the no-auto advance Dillon RL550B I see is the ability for the press to be three in one: progressive, turret, and single stage. That is because it is a manual advance press. One example of where this is handy is in reloading rifle cartridges.

Rifle cases need to be trimmed about every third reloading. So I pass them through the first stage (sizing and depriming with NO new primer installed, which must be done before you trim) and remove them out of the second stage. I process them in a lot. I then move the lot over to the trimming tools, trim and move back to the press. I remove the sizing die (use the lock ring with an allen set screw to keep it adjusted properly) and run the lot progressively through the press.

Another example is when I wish to do a handful of cartridges. I can use the press as a turret press completing one round before I load the next case at station one.

If volume reloading is your game and you have other means of doing single stage reloading then maybe the Hornady LnL is for you but if a versatile press with decades of proven reliability and service from Dillon suits your needs then the Dillon RL500B should be your choice.

One last area is the press design. Dillon's RL550B was designed at least before 1980. Along the way they have made upgrades which they provide for free. They will totally rebuild a heavily used press for free (mines been re-built two times for free). During these decades RCBS has had several failed progressive press designs and Hornady has had at least one failed progressive design. I had the Hornady progressive shotgun press that had a bunch of problems so intense they brought out a totally new press. When I contacted them about replacing my early version and getting some credit, they had no interest at all and offered no help financially to get me to a press that worked. Hornady is not on the top of my list of potential reloading tools. LEE is on the very bottom thanks to many bad experience with their tools including one of their progressive presses.

Years ago when I started reloading I bought a Dillon Square Deal when I thought my only gun would be my 9mm pistol (Today I have three safes full of both rifles and handguns). When I figured out that the Square Deal was too limiting I talked with Dillon about my dilemma and they took the Square Deal back at full value to apply to a new RL550B. And this was a couple of months beyond the one year money back Dillon guarantee.

Recently there have been several reports here about failed new Hornady LnL presses (auto advance mechanism, imagine that). You can search this forum and I'll bet that you will find nearly zero complaints about the Dillon RL550B and of those most are operator error from people who did not read the instructions.

We all get to choose so choose wisely as these presses are a pretty big investment. For large volume reloaders I say you may want to go with the Hornady LnL. For a versatile press where time is not so limited then go with the Dillon RL550B. But there is not much difference in the number of cartridges produced per hour between the Hornady LnL and the Dillon RL550B (bare presses) when you get right down to it. I have two hands and pretty good dexterity and manually moving the table is no problem for me.

LDBennett
 

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can we cover the pros and cons of auto index?
I don't know of any real negative with the auto indexing if it works. I had large problems with it when I first started using the press. Hornady replaced the whole press twice before I finally got one that worked like it should. It seems the indexing is flawless or it does not work and there is no in between. I never did learn what the root cause was, but Hornady CS was great the whole time. In fact if CS had not been so good I would have returned the press about two weeks after it arrived.

There are some operations that need a single stage press like de-bulging .40 S&W cases and I thought the LNL could not be used as a single stage, but it turns out it's very easy to make it a single. All you have to do is remove two indexing pawls and that only takes a few seconds. Putting them back in and adjusting the index is also quick and painless.

If there is any negative about the press it is the learning curve. At least for me it took many loading sessions to learn how to properly operate the press and how not to break something every time. Sometimes the press will lock up (by lock up I mean the shell holder will not turn without a lot of force). When that happens you have to teach yourself to STOP don't force it or you will break something. When the press locks up it means a case is not in the holder correctly or is tilted, or a primer did not get completely removed from the case, or a primer did not get seated all the way. It is also possible to trash lodged under the primer punch and it will not retract which will lock the slide and cause the cam wire to pull loose. If that happens you must learn to STOP. If you don't you will break the cam wire bracket.

Another part of the learning curve is keeping the press clean. The tolerances of the moving parts are fairly tight and debris under the shell plate, or in the primer slide channel, or around the primer punch can cause all kinds of problems. I keep a can of compressed air by the press at all times and use it frequently.

The indexing positives are apparent the very first time you start to reload. Speed is the most noticeable benefit. I like to de-prime all my brass before I clean it up and I can de-prime a thousand cases in less than an hour. The operation is to inset a case and pull the handle - that's all. I don't have remove the case and I don't have to turn the shell holder plate.

The other, maybe more important, positive is auto indexing eliminates one hand operation each time you pull the handle. When loading a lot happens every time you pull the handle. The press has five stages, but seven different operations are performed every time you raise and lower the handle; re-size and de-prime, seat a new primer, drop powder, expand a case mouth, seat a projectile, crimp, and eject a loaded round. With all that going on it's easy to get distracted and forget to turn the shell holder plate by hand. If that happens you will get a double powder charge. With auto indexing that does not happen.
 

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stev32k said:

"With all that going on it's easy to get distracted and forget to turn the shell holder plate by hand. If that happens you will get a double powder charge."

All you have to do on the Dillon RL550B is to use your left hand to advance the table then with the same hand add a bullet while with the right hand you add a new case to station one and then pull the handle. While there is a lot going on it is being done by the press, not you. With a bare Hornady LnL press you still have to add the bullet and put a new case on the table. On the RL550B you can not add a case or stick a bullet on a powdered case without advancing the table so how can you get a double charge if....YOU PAY ANY ATTENTION TO THE OPERATION AT HAND???

It is like anything else....You develop a series of hand movement that become automatic. To start out, you can not load in a new case unless you move the shell plate to the next position. So you can not forget to move the table (shell holder) if you are aware enough to try and put a new case into the shell holder. What happens on the Hornady LnL if you forget to put in a case and operate the handle without a new case on the table... an empty case (no powder). Nothing is FOOL PROOF. Any press needs to be attended to and you need to eliminate all distraction when reloading. Reloading done wrong is dangerous so maximum attention is required, auto indexing or not.

In 25+ years of reloading on my Dillon RL550B I have NEVER double charged any case! As I said before that is because I pay attention while reloading as everyone should.

We all get excited about the press we choose (or the car or gun or whatever we choose) and think that nothing could be as good. I feel that way about my RL550B and you obviously feel that way about your Hornady LnL. Neither press is bad but just different. With 25+ years of experience with my Dillon RL550B it has proven to me and many others of its value. The Hornady press is relatively new to the game and time will tell if it is as good as the Dillon. So far it seems to be, so the choice between the two is really a toss of the coin as I see it. My experience with Hornady is not good and that colors my choice and the fact that there was no Hornady LnL 25 years ago. I also do not like auto advance due to bad experience with it on at least three other progressive presses I have owned. But for a newby either press is a good choice.

LDBennett
 
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