Dillon, Lee, Hornady Progressive Comparison

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by EL_NinO619, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. EL_NinO619

    EL_NinO619 EX-Swage Monkey

    Gotcha to look didn't I? You thought, Oh no not EL_NinO again and his frigging Lee & Hornady..? :supergrin: Not my point of view. But this guy took time with every machine. He gave a honest review, I believe.


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    #1 EL_NinO619, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  3. I read that back when I was trying to decide which press to get. It's a good read, I think, but I've no experience with Dillon or Lee to compare. His assessment of Hornady seems to be right on, although I don't have a case feeder, so I really can't comment on that.

  4. So you implying he is right and others on this forum have essentially done the same thing are not being "honest". I have owned all three. The LoadMaster shouldn't even be compared to those two and the 650 is far better then the LnL. He even admits the LnL didn't work as good and he still preferred the LnL. That makes zero sense to me. What I learned from the article is the following....

    Anyone can post anything they want on the internet. That doesn't make it true.

    That article helped me rationalize a LnL over the 650 and that was a HUGE mistake.

    I have a objective ways I can prove the Dillon is better. It's called a Caliber conversion kit. Look at all the caliber specific parts Dillon has that Hornady does not. It's those parts that make the 650 the better press.
  5. There really isn't much value in that write up. He uses subjective observations as opposed to measurements etc.

    The issue is which machine loads properly spec ammunition reliably. Next you can determine the speed and cost you want for further evaluation.
  6. EL_NinO619,

    Thanks for the posting, definitely food for thought. As the author of the article presented at the out-set, some are very outspoken about their choice of presses... and perhaps from their point of view and use of equipment - rightfully so!

    I started out with a LEE single stage because that is what the guys who were teaching me were using (these were long time/old time re-loaders). Since I have LEE dies & such, I progressed into a LEE classic turret press. Now despite some minor "quirks" these two presses have served me well for my test loads and larger productions runs.

    I the past 3 years, I have been getting involved with more and more competitions and local matches so I am going through quite a bit more ammo than in the past. Historically I have used the winter months for re-stocking my ammo and competing from spring to fall. My LEE's just can't keep up. I have been looking into a "Progressive" press and did some of my own comparison.

    I am the type of person who likes to do my homework, buy something once and keep it until it just falls apart. Based on my research, a Dillon is more expensive, a bit of a pain to get set up right, but (watch the wording now) in the long run... is the best bang for the buck.

    That is why this spring (unless this president and is band of merry men totally jack this country up) I have decided to purchase a Dillon to keep up with my growing ammo needs.

    That's my perspective
  7. There are so many things in that article that are wrong it's amazing.

    1) Hornady does not have a "mostly" controlled feed path on it's cases for it's case feeder. That is it's biggest issue. Dillon does.
    2) If you spill powder on the LnL it does get in the primer setup and the primer setup will jam. If your not careful (ask Zombie Steve) the press will explode parts into the ceiling.
    3) Dillon Powder measure is WAY better then the Lee. It meters the same as the Hornday (both are as good as you can expect them to be). I never found Either lacking. I hear Hornady is better with Stick Powders. Never tried them in either press. He talks about squibs and bridging. Never Ever had that happen on the Dillon. It did happen on the Lee. Just because two things look similar doesn't mean they are the same.
    4) He should have measured the primer seater throw and height. The Hornady is MARGINAL in this area. Dillon is not.
    5) Dillon has a solid ram. Hornady is hollow, thin and flexiable.

    I could go on and on.
    #6 Colorado4Wheel, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  8. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    I didn't read the article but I know the proper route for reloaders to take. If you have the long green, and the need for the volume, the 650 is the way to go. If money is tight and you have a lot of calibers and not much need for volume or abilty to deal with quirks, get the Lee turret. If you don't have a lot of money, can tolerate some small quirks, get the Lee Pro 1000.

    The Loadmaster, LNL, or anything else that is complicated, relatively expensive compared to the 1000 or turret, and loaded with quirks, should be passed over.

    My Pro1000 isn't perfect, but it is dead nuts simple and for the price, I can live with imperfections that are easy to work around. The occasional screwed up primer feed is easily cleared, it takes a second or two. My 650 is nearly perfect, so it justifies the cost. The constant issues with the LNL, reported by people I trust, that are impossible, or nearly impossible to fix, doesn't justify the cost which is nearly as high as the 650.

    The LM seems to have been an answer to a problem that doesn't exist. They made a machine that costs more than the 1000, is more complicated, and does nothing the 1000 won't do except have more dies stations which aren't needed. I've been reloading since 1986 with three dies and have been scratching my head at all of the new holes the press companies keep coming up with ever since.
  9. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Oh, and I'm not a big fan of the 550. I'm sure it works, but ig I'm going to spend that kind of money on a press, I'd save a couple more bucks and get the 650 for all that it does. I'm not spending that kind of money to manually index and hand place cases.

    The Square Deal B looks like a viable option, but I hear very little about them. I'm aware of the pistol only limitations, but the price is right and having a Lee turret or any single stage on the other end of the bench is easily done for the rifle rounds.
  10. No, I merely meant that that was one of the seemingly trillion pieces of information I read thru in the quest to make an informed decision. The setup I have works perfectly, and I'm happy with it.
  11. http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=58616&st=25

    Read that thread. He post in it. He says he doesn't do production often. It's interesting how he admits to soft peddling things for fear of getting sued. That tells you a lot. I never soft peddle anything. You want a honest opinion about a product I have used you will get it from me.

    He does like his LnL. He didn't seem to have the issues other have had (who knows maybe he just didn't report them). Many in that thread had the same issues I and other have had. He is entitled to his opinion as am I. I used the LnL for 5 months and found it severely lacking. Decided if you want to trust the opinion of someone who soft peddles issues or just tells it the way it is. Mine jammed every 100 rds at least and wouldn't seat primers any better then 99%. 1 failure to fire in a 100 rds is just not acceptable.
  12. I wasn't referring to your post.
  13. Having used both Lee progressives and owned the Loadmaster and the 650 I have to say that for 1/3 the cost of a 650 the Loadmaster is worth about 1/2 the cost of the 650. But the pro 1000 at far less cost is probably less problematic and even a better value 1/2 the performance at 1/4 the price.
  14. As you were, carry on..... ;-) Sorry bout that
  15. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    I read that article several years ago. I wish I hadn't because it helped reinforce my choice of buying a LNL AP. I returned my LNL. To be completely fair had I not owned the 550 for several years first I would have spent more time trying to work out the issues I was having with the LNL. If you don't want a case feeder and your not spending 90%of your time loading 9mm then it is still a viable choice.
    I would describe the differences as the LNL AP being home owner quality were as the Dillon is commercial quality.
    If you are going to buy a case feeder the price is so close you might as well opt for the commercial quality one any way. I am going to agree with Brian Enos and say that the vast majority of reloaders should just buy the Dillon 550 and done with it.
  16. So that is two people sucked in by his supposedly accurate and fair review.
  17. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    It cost me about $100 to learn that lesson. But it was my own fault for being such a CRB and making my choice over the difference cost of caliber conversions. I didn't have as many issues as you did. I just had enough were it felt like I was downgrading from my 550 not upgrading.
  18. C4W, I'm curious what kinda problems you had? I've run a lotta ammo thru mine, and never had any issues. I almost went with a 650, but didn't have funds.... figured I could add a case feeder later for the LNL. Still don't have the funds for that, but someday, when I'm not paying $2500/month for child support, I'll get the case feeder.
  19. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak KO Windows

    Curious.. which Dillon are you considering? I have no experience w/ the 550 (or the LNL for that matter), but if you get a 650, I have a feeling you will be VERY pleased.

    Oh dear... That might require multiple posts, as his posts will be very long.. :)
  20. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo
    Millennium Member

    You read all kinds of remarks and comparisons about reloading machines on the web.

    What you don't read is what kind of shooting a person does and what kind of machine(s) would best support that shooting sport.

    None of these machines is the "best" for every shooter. Most guys don't shoot enough to need any type of progressive machine at all.

    Many of the negative reports you read are the result of some guy trying to make a machine do something that it wasn't optimized for. You know, .458 Winchester Magnum on a progressive.... etc.

    Every shooting community I belong to has a group wisdom about what reloading equipment and materials best support the sport they're involved in. You have to find the guys that are successful at the sport and pick their brains about the processes they use in the reloading room. You can save YEARS of trial and error this way.
    #19 Three-Five-Seven, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  21. Here is a partial list, Divided into Annoying but liveable to Totally Unacceptable.

    Annoying but Liveable.
    1) LnL bushing System. Each bushing fits the press different. Some are loose and easy to handle by hand, some are tight and a PITA to remove. They don't have flats so if they are tight in the press then you have to put a wrench on the die to remove the bushing. Sometimes the bushing comes loose, sometimes the die comes loose. I never figured out how this annoying setup helped ME any over Dillon's toolhead that just slides in and out easy as can be.
    2) Casefeeder has to be modified to work right, The bowl is misalligned with the drop chute. I fixed it, but I am not the only one with this issue. It's common.
    3) An entire list of stuff that just isn't as good. Roller handle is non-existent from Hornady, the aftermarket one isn't near as good. Strong mount doesn't exist and the aftermarket one doesn't have good bullet tray setup or case bin setup. Ergonomics are all wrong. Too much happening from one side with out the casefeeder. My 550 was faster and better by far. Casefeeder is noisy as well.

    List of the Totally Unacceptable.

    1) Primer setup would not seat primers all the way. I got about a 1% failure rate with CCI. Ram is hollow and thin, so it flexes, the primer punch has a really short throw and doesn't seat deep enough. You have to push to hard but the spring on the primer punch coil binds at the end and causes the inconsistent seating. It's not fixable. I need 100% reliable priming not hit or miss. I tried cutting the spring, Hornady put a metal plate on the press (Ugly and caused other issues because now the punch was slightly raised at rest). Look at a LnL primer punch vs the Dillon. LnL is 1/5 the size so it has a short throw. It's just plain inferior. This issue alone makes the press useless. Not everyone has this issue but I know others with the same issue.
    2) Casefeeder slider setup is HORRIBLE. The case is not captured like on the 650. So it can get off track. The Primer on a fired case is often raised just a little so the case is tippy as it slides to the shellplate. Some cases tip as they go over the spring. I could never get even 100 cases loaded with out a failure. More like one in 50. I can load 1K's of rounds on my 650 and these issues will never occur because the rim of the case is captured in a custom part (with a grove for the raised primer). Dillon is designed for reliability. LnL is a afterthought casefeeder and not near as good.
    3) 1/2 indexing is a PITA. The press is always indexing, so you have to move the handle slower all the time to avoid spilling powder. As a result the press is way slower then even a 550 if you have anything close to a full case in 9mm. Dillons let you control the indexing speed by hand or by moving the handle slower at just the very end of the cycle. Much better.

    I got the LnL to have faster production then my 550. In the end the LnL with a casefeeder was slower then my 550 and way less reliable. Glad Hornady bought it back. Even if the LnL had a better priming system it's still a inferior design in a lot of important ways.
    #20 Colorado4Wheel, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013

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