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Question for Lee guys that went to Dillon..

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by FiremanMike, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. FiremanMike

    FiremanMike Way too busy

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    I'm not talking the guys who got their Lee and hated it from the start. I have got my Lee dialed in and cranking out consistent 9mm rounds without issue. I'm looking to change calibers which simply involves getting another turret and another set of dies.

    Like any guy, it makes me wonder.. When, and why, would I ever go blue at this point? I'm comfortable with my Lee, I know how to tune it, and I know how to make it make bullets. The dillon is insanely more expensive, caliber changes are quite pricey, and it seems all I would gain is speed..

    So, for those of you lee loves who eventually went blue, why did you do it, and what did you find when you changed?
     
  2. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

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    This *might* be all the answer you need. Had I known how much I would shoot, instead of the 550B, I might have gotten a 650. Heck, I'd LOVE a 1050. I slowed down over the winter, but I was shooting over 2000 rounds per month all summer/fall. Wouldn't mind that being 2500.

    With the tumbling, sorting, and hand gauging time thrown in, sitting at the press to crank out 500 or more per week adds up. And my Dillon 550B has handled the 12,000+ rounds since I got it flawlessly... let me know how your Lee has held up once you make it that far.
     

  3. ER_STL

    ER_STL

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    I've got the Lee Classic Turret and I love it but the more I shoot the more I wonder if the 550 might be my next purchase. Like you said, you gain speed, and that's the key reason.

    For me, it's more than just production rate though. I'm probably overly careful when I load as I make a conscious effort to verify that the primer is correctly in the cup, validate that the powder charge is in the brass prior to seating the bullet, etc, etc. It's basically a mental checklist of "primer, powder, bullet, seat and crimp" that I say to myself as I'm loading. While I'm still loading about 150-200 rounds an hour, it can sometimes get mentally exhausting. With that same level of effort on a 550 I could load more rounds in the same amount of time before tiring.

    I don't plan on buying a 550 any time soon but it's certainly a justifiable purchase.
     
  4. Fire_Medic

    Fire_Medic Polymer Butcher CLM

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    That's why I bought a 550 to start off with. You can be as careful as you want since you have to manually index the rounds, unlike the 650 and other models.

    It's like the best of both worlds. And as you get more comfortable and quicker, the machine does also.

    Just my $0.02 :wavey:
     
  5. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Why would you "go to Dillon?" I have 2 Lee presses and a Dillon on my reloading bench and I use them all for different things. I mainly use the Dillon for pistol ammo, the Lee Turret for revolver ammo and the Lee single stage for rifle ammo.

    I like the Dillon because it is a very fast and reliable press for cranking out thousands of rounds of 9mm, but I do revolver ammo in lower volume, so I use the turret. With rifle ammo, I measure each powder charge and am trying to make accurate ammo, not a large volume, so I use the single stage (sometimes the turret).
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  6. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    I have owned a Lee Classic Cast Turret (your current press I think) and a Load Master. I wish I had never sold my LCT. My load master I don't miss at all. As far as what you gain going "blue" or dare I say "red"

    1) More speed. Thats the main thing. Thats why I tried the LM and eventually bought the 550. This was well before the new version of the LnL came out with all the improvements.
    2) Nicer press. The LCT works fine. It's just the other press are a little more precise and nicer. It's not a huge thing. I much prefer the Dillon powder measure for a variety of reasons.
    A) It resizes the neck OUT after the intial case sizing. This uniforms the case tension on the bullet.
    B) Much better adjustablilty of the powder charge.
    C) Easier to make the press consistent. You don't have to be as precise in how you pull the handle with the "other presses" because each operation produces a bullet. No pulling the handle 4 times to get the powder charge settled to throw a test charge. That type of thing.

    You didn't ask but here are the things to really like about your LCT and the reason to never sell it.

    1) Cost, it's cheap, it has the most speed for the money and really cheap prices for caliber conversions. If I still had my LCT I would be loading .380 and 10mm on it with out a doubt.
    2) It's actually a nice press. I like the feel of it when I use it. It's just honest for lack of a better term.
    3) Once you get it dialed in for a caliber it's easy to get it back to the same settings. I actually like the powder measure because of the discs. They never change, cant change. You always go back to the same place easily. I would own a bunch of custome sized discs to fill in the gaps in the stock Lee setup.
     
  7. ER_STL

    ER_STL

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    Yup - that's pretty much what everyone said when I was doing the comparison between the two presses. Cost was a factor at the time for me though and it was easier to get into the Turret. As Bren has also mentioned, if I ever end up with a Dillon I'll continue to load .38 special on the Turret but move 9mm (of which I shoot more) to the Dillon.
     
  8. DoctaGlockta

    DoctaGlockta

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    What about the Lee guys who went Hornady? Don't forget about us :wavey:.

    Every time I see one of your posts I get the theme from Fireman Sam in my head going. It is driving me nuts.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW0ggNVhaE0
     
  9. creophus

    creophus Born Again

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    I went from a LCT only to having a 550 and an SDB on the bench as well. I was shooting IPSC competition and found the LCT to be too slow considering the time I had to put into loading my ammo.
     
  10. dudel

    dudel

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    Had a Lee LCT. Sold it and moved up to a 550b. The Lee held it's value surprisingly well. I don't see the caliber change a pricey compared to a Lee. Dillon toolheads are double the price; but that's $10. Hardly in the pricey range. On the Lee you swap the powder dump to the new toolhead, on the Dillon you do the same. At worse, you're buying an additional powder funnel (which also does the expansion on pistol rounds), but it's also a few bucks.

    There's no comparison in build quality. The Lee has quite a few plastic parts. The only ones on the Dillon are the primer pick tube, the plastic ball handle, the low primer warning and the powder tube. None in the Dillon drive mechanism.
     
  11. alank2

    alank2

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    Hi,

    I've never loaded on a LCT, but for a low end press I hear it is the way to go. I've got a 550 that I love to load on - it does everything I ask of it. I like the pure simplicity of the 550, nothing is more complicated than it needs to be.

    Thanks,

    Alan
     
  12. MoNsTeR

    MoNsTeR

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    Speed matters, at least up to a point. If you shoot little enough that 100rds/hr is a comfortable pace, and don't mind the awkward routine of loading on a turret press, and don't break your Lee Auto Disk after a couple thousand rounds, then what you have is just fine. Once you start to shoot more though, these things will start to weigh on you, and you will start to wish for a better way. During peak shooting season my wife and I are consuming around 1000 rounds per month total, and I could not stand to load that much on my old Lee Turret.

    The other point that's always worth making is that the cost of a press is really quite trivial. A Dillon press will last longer than you will, which is a lot of time and a lot of rounds over which to amortize a few hundred bucks.
     
  13. RustyFN

    RustyFN

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    Mike I would say the main reason to go progressive is when you need the extra speed. Otherwise a progressive is not needed.
    That's just my experience and opinion.
     
  14. fredj338

    fredj338

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    SO true. Most guys buy waaaay more press than they need. I honestly don't know any shooters that need a 1050 but I know several who have them. Same for the 650, great machine, but unless you are only loading one or two calibers, 1000rds a month each, it's just more machine than 95% of shooters need. Probably why I haven't "upgraded" from my 550B to a 650, just can't rationalize the "increase" from 450rds/hr to what, 600 vs the cost & complexity (not interested in a case feeder).
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  15. FiremanMike

    FiremanMike Way too busy

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    Wow I just looked at some videos and then checked dillons site.. The 550b doesn't auto index at all? ever? That sucks :(
     
  16. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Some see it like that some see it different. If you want auto indexing get a LnL or 650. I personally only miss autoindexing with a casefeeder. It helps to understand the workflow process of the 550. But in brief, while your right hand is grabing the new case your left hand is indexing the press, As soon as your done putting the case in station one your already done indexing the press. So basically from a speed perspective it's not much if any slower. But, add a casefeeder and things change. Keep in mind on the LnL most people are loading the case and the bullet from the left side with their left hand. We do have one guy on this forum he loads the bullet from the right. Watch the videos on Hornady's site for LnL setup. It's pretty clear what I am talking about when you see the setup videos and how the press runs. I think it's the one about die setup.
     
  17. FiremanMike

    FiremanMike Way too busy

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    Yeah I just checked out the LNL and I'm somewhat impressed. That said it seems you must buy hornady dies to load on an LNL, so pretty much all of my current reloading equipment is useless..
     
  18. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    Fireman...:

    You don't have to use Hornady dies with the LNL... any dies will work. Both of my LNL's are set up with RCBS dies right now and my Dillons are set up with Dillon dies.

    I also use Lyman, Redding and Hornady dies in my LNL's... I don't own any Lee dies but they can also be used.

    Jack
     
  19. DoctaGlockta

    DoctaGlockta

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    I use Lee dies with my LNL
     
  20. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Actually, that's the reason I like it. More control and attention to the ammo and I still turn out 100 rounds in about 15 minutes. Auto-indexing = a lot better chance of blowing up my guns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010