Starting over recomendations

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by DRJ1911, May 7, 2012.

  1. I have not reloaded in about 30 years and would like to get started again. I want reload for 9,10 and 45 and have no idea what press to get. I have reloaded only for rifle caliber never pistol calipers before. I shoot about 800rd per month but might shoot more after starting reloading.:whistling: I am retired now so I have a bit more time and would like to get back into it to feed my other hobby. Can you guys help out with some recomendations for a good outfit to get me started?

    P.S. my best old ex friend moved away with all my gear 30yrs ago so I will be starting from scratch. :steamed: Thanks


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    #1 DRJ1911, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  3. XDRoX

    Pretty much only 4 to choose from.
    Either a Dillon 550, 650 or 1050.
    Or a Hornady LNL.

    If you buy a Dillon you will be accepted by more forum members including myself.

  4. There are a couple of good 'stickies' at the top of the forum.

    Since you want to load multiple calibers and a fair volume, I would recommend any progressive loader rather than single-stage or manual turret presses. These would work better for low volume rifle cartridges.

    It's going to be difficult to argue against the Lee Classic Turret kit at Kempf's:

    While I wouldn't want to go that way, it comes highly recommended by some of the folks that hang out around here.

    I tend to be more of a Dillon fan regardless of the difference in cost. Here is a simple machine comparison:

    The workhorse of the reloading community is the Dillon 550B. Although it is not as automated as either the XL650 or Super 1050 and doesn't generally come with a case feeder, it is still capable of making a few hundred rounds per hour and caliber changes are easy. You will also have to change the primer mechanism because you will be using both small and large pistol primers (unless you can collect .45 brass with small primers - and a lot of that stuff is showing up on the ground).

    There is a lot of good reading re: Dillon here:

    Of course, there are many videos on YouTube. However, some are better than others.


  5. Let your budget decided between the Dillon Line.
  6. You say you are retired. But how much time do you have or how much time do you want to spend reloading? Also how much do you want to spend reloading? If you are like most people that 800rds a month will turn into 800 to 1600 a month. IMHO I would not touch a LNL with a 10 foot pole at this time. The 550 will be slower and the conversions will cost you a little less than the 650 and a lot more for the 1050. So for you I would suggest the 650 with case feeder. The older I get the least amount of time pulling that handle and the least amount of work involved the better. I like just looking in the case for powder and the right amount of powder at station 3 and placing a bullet on the case. Also using the Dillon powder check as a backup to my visual. I also have noticed the older I get my mind wants to wonder to other things. The 1050 is a great press but is made more for just one caliber. The conversions are expensive and change over takes some time to do. For me my money goes with the 650.
    But if you want to go with a LCT I have at least I think I have a good deal for you. Or anyone else that maybe interested.
  7. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Ditto, Square Deal B isn't a bad way to get started in a progressive if you're on a budget. If you've got the funds then the 650 is nice.
    Personally I don't shoot that much and reloading is more of a hobby in and of it's self for me so my little single stage is fine for what I do. Sounds like you shoot more so a Progressive would be well worth the money for you to invest in.
  8. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    With out a rough budget and round count we cant give you a good answer. The press is the big ticket item but there are other thing you need that also can pop a budget.

    How much are you willing to spend?
    How many rounds a month do you think you will make?
    Is there any chance that you will want to load the 357 sig or a rifle?
    Do you want a machine that will work 95% of the time or are you willing to spend time working an a reloading press to save money?
  9. Go back and reread post #1 by DRJ1911.
  10. buy a dillon
  11. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    800 rounds a month can easily be done with a LCT. I would on recommend it if he has a tight budget.
    Heck with it this is all I have to say on the subject.

    Which reloading press is right for you?

    I have been asking experienced reloaders questions about their presses and their reloading habits. I find it interesting that the average person loads in short burst. They average 30 to 60 minutes at a time. This seems to hold true weather the person is a competition shooter or a plinker. That leads me to believe that the mast majority of reloaders buy way more press than they really need. As one person pointed out with a Dillon 550 you can load 250 rounds in half an hour and you did just that every day Monday through Friday that’s still 1250 rounds a week. Very few people shoot that many rounds a week on a regular basis. I have shot that many rounds in a weekend but only because I went to a class. I certainly don’t need that much out put every week. Even a Lee classic turret press will yield 500 round a week with that schedule. Am I suggesting that everyone buy a Lee classic turret press? NO But 75% or more of shooters could get by with one if they had to. There is a saying in the racing industry. Speed cost money haw fast do want to spend? The same is true in the reloading industry. The faster you want to go the more it is going to cost you. Thankfully the costs for reloading are tiny compared to racing. Also a quality reloading press can last you a lifetime. Spending $500 to $1000 dollars on a reloading machine doesn’t seem so expensive when you realize that in 10 years you only spent $50 To $100 dollars a year for that machine. Also in the case of Dillons they hold there value. If you decide to sell your reloader you can expect to get 75% to 90% of current market value back on your purchase.
    Case feeders are something to think about even if you don’t want one when you first start to reload. A case feeder will greatly increases your hourly production. Not all Case feeders are made equal. The lee is the least expensive and versatile. The 550 Case feeder was an afterthought. It works on pistol cases only. The 650 1050 and LNL all have similar functioning units that load both pistol and rifle cartages. These case feeders can increases your output 40% or more. The new low cost Hornady bullet feeder has the potential to increases these press another 40% or more. While it can be installed on a four station press you have to give up something else to make it work. Both of these products are reasons to look harder at the 5 station press instead of the 4 station presses. The Hornady LNL and the Billon 650 should both be capable of production rate over 1000 rounds an hour with a case feeder and a bullet feeder.
    The Presses
    Lee Pro 1000

    Some people have fairly good luck with them and swear by them. Most people just swear at them. If you want a cheap press and like to constantly tinker with a press then a Lee Pro 1000 might be right for you. There are more negatives than positives reviews on the web about them. I know one guy that swears by his. I have never used one myself.
    . One Hour Production Rate 300
    Cost $143.99 12 2010

    Lee Classic turret press

    If you are going to look at a Lee turret press only look at the Classic. It’s not a progressive press and you have to pull the handle 4 times for each round. It’s slow, it’s cheap, it works. If you are on a tight budget it will give you more production for the same price as a lot of single stage presses.
    One Hour Production Rate 200
    Cost $94.99 12 2010

    The Dillon Square Deal

    The Dillon Square Deal is a pistol caliber only press... no bottle neck cartridges.. The Dillon Square Deal uses proprietary Dillon dies so you won't be able to use any dies you might already own. If you want to change calibers you have to buy more Square Deal proprietary dies for it. The Dillon Square Deal has a small footprint which is a benefit if you are limited on bench space but a detriment if you have big fingers. The Dillon Square Deal is the least expensive of the Dillon press line. If you are sure you are only going to load one or two pistol cartridge then this might be the press for you.
    One Hour Production Rate 400 - 500
    Cost $365.95 12 2010

    The Dillon RL550B
    RL550B is manual-indexing four station progressive press. The Dillon RL550B is the workhorse Dillon press line. It can load almost any center fire rifle or pistol cartridge. It has 120 caliber conversions available for it. In the Dillon line the Dillon RL550B is the most economical add calibers to. It has less expensive caliber conversions than other Dillon presses. If you were buying just one Dillon press and wanted the most bang for the buck, it would be a Dillon RL550B. According to Dillon more RL550s have been sold than any other progressive machine in the world.
    One Hour Production Rate 400 - 500
    Cost $376.00 12 2010

    The Dillon XL650
    The XL 650 is auto-indexing five station progressive press. The XL 650 was built from the ground up to be an auto-indexing press with a case feeder. The Dillon XL650 comes standard with a tube system for an automatic case feeder. The automatic case feeder is sold separately So the advertised starting price doesn’t accurately reflect the true price of a Dillon XL650. A fully set up Dillon XL650 cost twice what a Dillon RL550B cost but produces twice as much ammo an hour. The caliber conversions for the Dillon XL650 are noticeably more expensive than the RL550B and the LNL. For large volume reloading, versatility and ease of use a Dillon XL650 is hard to beat.
    One Hour Production Rate 800 – 1150
    Cost $ $544.95 bullet feeder $212.95 .12 2010

    The Super 1050 B
    The Super 1050 B is the king of the Dillon line. It is designed for commercial use and not normally in the running for what press should I buy. If you need it you know you need it.
    One Hour Production Rate 1200 +
    Cost $1589.95 12 2010
    Hornady Lock N Load AP
    The Lock-N-Load AP is an auto-indexing, 5-station progressive press that features the Lock-N-Load bushing system, which allows calibers to be changed very quickly. The Lock-N-Load is the cheapest press to equip with additional caliber conversions. During Automatic Indexing Each station moves 1/2 a stage on the upstroke and 1/2 a stage on the down stroke and the up stroke, making for a smoother function. This means less chance of flinging powder out of cases. The Lock-N-Load AP can be used with or without a case feeder. This allows you to start at a Dillon 550B price but to upgrade to a Dillon XL650 speed press at a later date. The earlier editions of this press were known to have issues and were more in line with Lee quality presses. With the new generation of presses Hornady is trying to go head to head with Dillon including matching their warranty.
    One Hour Production Rate 500 with case feeder 800.
    Cost $ $381.99 bullet feeder 279.99. 12 2010

    The Warranty
    lee reloading products are guaranteed not to wear out or break from normal use for two full years or they will be repaired or replaced at no charge if returned to the factory. Any LEE product of current manufacture, regardless of age or condition, will be reconditioned to new—including a new guarantee—if returned to the factory with payment equal to half the current retail price.

    Hornady Warranty “We guarantee every one of our reloading tools and accessories for Life” No-Risk, Lifetime Warranty. Hornady reloading tools and accessories are warranted against material defects and workmanship for the life of the products. Parts which by nature of their function are subject to normal wear such as springs, pins, bearings, etc… and, parts which have been altered, abused, or neglected are excluded for the warranty.
    If the product is deemed defective by either workmanship or material, the reloading tool or accessory will either be repaired, reconditioned or replaced at Hornady Manufacturing Company’s option. If it breaks, we’ll repair it or replace it at no charge.
    Dillon precision No warranty cards, registration or serial numbers are necessary. Whether you are the first owner, or the seventeenth, all our hobby-level reloading machines have a lifetime warranty. If you break, damage or wear out anything on them, it will be fixed or replaced – whatever is necessary to restore the machine to normal operating condition. If a minor part is all that is needed, contact us and we will ship the part. If something major is damaged or broken, contact us and we issue the customer a return merchandise authorization-RMA- to return the item to us for repair. The customer pays the shipping; we fix or replace as is warranted.
    I rate the warrantees from worst to best Lee, Hornady, Dillon. Both the Hornady and Dillon have excellent warrantees. The difference is that Dillon will also warrantee consumables. Hornady has been doing this lately also but it isn’t in there written warrantee. Lastly Dillon will even completely rebuild a press to new condition for a small fee. They don’t care if you are the original owner or if you found it in a garbage can. They still honor their warrantee.

    So which reloading press is right for you? That depends…
    How much ammo you are going to make a month average?
    What is your budget?
    How much time do you have to reload?
    How many different calibers do you want to reload?

    Here is my personal picks.

    You only load 1 pistol caliber and you just want to knock it out fast.
    The Dillon Square Deal
    Budget of $300 or less…… Lee Classic turret press
    Budget $300 to $600 …. .Dillon 550

    Budget over $600 with more than 4 calibers….Dillon 550
    Budget over $800 with 3 calibers…… Dillon XL650
    Budget doesn’t matter with 1 caliber …. The Super 1050 B
    You only want to buy one press to last for the rest of your life regardless of what you want or how many calibers you reload….. Dillon RL550B
  12. Honestly I would say let your budget decide between a Dillon 550 and a 650. I owned a 550 and sold it because I wanted the 650. I didn't like the 550 priming system as much. Many have no issues, some admit it is the weak link in the system.

    The 650 has made me very happy. Plenty on capacity to crank out ammo, very reliable.
  13. I was nearly as fast with my 550 with no case feeder as I was with my LnL and a case feeder. Mostly because a couple jams with a case feed machine ruined your production rate. The LnL was always jamming in some fashion or another.
  14. A full blown XL650 costs $1000. I just bought one a couple of months ago and that didn't include the strongmount and bullet tray which I borrowed off another press. Nevertheless, both are highly recommended.

    If the budget will consider such a machine, there is the advantage that it autoindexes. This makes it MUCH harder to double charge a case. Now, I realize that a) the reloader should always visually check the powder charge and b) the powder should be selected such that a double charge overflows the case but still, I really like the fact that the 650 and 1050 make it darn difficult to double charge a case.

    I also like the fact that both presses have space to install a powder check die. Just one more way to be certain the powder charge is rational.

    Earlier in this thread, I mentioned the Lee Classic Turret and the Dillon 550B. But really, if the budget will allow, the XL650 is the way to go. It is FAST, it is SAFE(r) and it is a fine piece of equipment.

    And, yes, I load in batches of 2k to 4k. The idea of doing a small batch every day on a slow press is too grim to contemplate. But it can certainly be done!

  15. There are no 'weak links' in Dillon equipment! I think you need a little more blue kool-aid. :rofl:

    When it works right, the 550 primer system gets no attention. But, boy, wait until it fails and see how much *ell it gets!

  16. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    Clean it once in a while and your good to go.
  17. Thanks everyone for your replies and great info. It looks like Dillion in ether the 550 or 650 is the decision. I had researched all the brands and decided the Dillion might be my best choice I just needed to hear from those that were up to date on the differences. Thanks again

  18. Lockback

    Lockback Polymerlicious!

    I love the Lee Turret. You don't need to spend a bundle on a press or dies.

  19. You can get the same price but free shipping if you order through That saves about $30, I think. It probably adds one day to delivery.

    If you can swing the XL650, you will NEVER regret it. I've been a Dillon customer for a LONG time and I recently upgraded from a pair of 550s to a 1050 for .45 ACP and an XL 650 for .223, 9mm and 40 S&W (later). Yes, the 1050 is a little faster (very little) but the cost and complication of caliber conversions has convinced me to do that kind of thing on the 650 and leave the 1050 for .45.

    If I hadn't bought the 1050 first, I might not have bought it at all. The 650 is that good! But I have 4 people shooting .45 out of my ammo can so production rate is everything.

  20. :rofl:

    Red that's the issue in a nut shell. I loaded thousands upon thousands of rounds on that press. But you have to take the primer slide out and clean it. The 650 is a bit better in that area.

    I do like the case feeder too. It speeds things up a bit.

    But honestly if you can live with cleaning the primer slide and the occasional adjusting of it, the 550 is a great press.
  21. MarcDW

    MarcDW MDW Guns
    Millennium Member

    My vote goes to the Dillon 650.
    I would not buy anything but Dillon!
    Best service, warranty and quality product in the first place.
    I load with my D650 9mm, .38/.357, .357SIG, .40/10MM, .44/Mag, .45/GAP/LC, .45-70, .22 Hornet, .223 and .308!

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