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Post by PMcfall on 3/17/2020, 10:51 am

I'm trying to help a friend enter the world of progressives to load for a 45.  I used a C-H Mark III and IV for the past 30 years or so and since it is no longer made, my advice about which press for a new comer to buy would be worthless.  I figure of lot of you use Dillon products and I would be interested in hearing your opinion as to which to buy, the Square Deal or the 550.

He is not a competitor, so his shooting will be limited compared to the number of rounds we bullseye shooters go through.  A large expenditure wouldn't make much sense so I suppose we should look at the lower cost presses.  I would appreciate your suggestions and if you suggest a certain setup that you have, would you buy it again if you were starting over?

Thanks
Phil
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Post by mspingeld on 3/17/2020, 11:30 am

This is older but very interesting. I'm a Hornady user and happy. Dillon users love theirs as well so you'll get lots of opinions.

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

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Post by oldsalt444 on 3/17/2020, 11:32 am

The best low cost option would be the Lee Loadmaster or the Lee Pro 1000.  I have both and have loaded many thousands of rounds with them.  I prefer the Loadmaster because it has 5 stations instead of just 3 on the Pro 1000, so you can crimp in a separate step.
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Post by PMcfall on 3/17/2020, 12:16 pm

Just watched the video on the Lee Loadmaster.  Looks pretty slick.
Phil
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Post by zanemoseley on 3/17/2020, 12:21 pm

The Hornady LPL AP is a great affordable system and has several quick change features for caliber changes.

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Post by dapduh2 on 3/17/2020, 12:35 pm

I asked that question a month or so ago in the ammunition topic section. I got a lot of feedback on there about the Dillon XL750. Based on their recommendations I am placing an order soon for just that. I have no feedback on it because I don’t reload yet, but I was convinced by others to go that route.
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Post by SteveT on 3/17/2020, 12:55 pm

Easiest setup is Dillon Square Deal B. It has limited (pistol only) cartridges but works good out of the box. Not the best priming system, but good enough and you can see everything happening so it's easier to understand how it works. Get a powder check and primer warning system and it would be hard to mess anything up too badly. Dillon instructions and phone support are excellent if he needs help.

The only mistake I ever made was accidentally switching the seating and crimping internal dies resulting in a bunch of rounds that still had flaired mouths and jammed in the chamber. It only happened once but of course it was the day before leaving for Canton and Camp Perry. Normally, if I haven't loaded in a while, I like to load 50-100 rounds and test them to make sure everything is set up right then go home and load a lot, but I didn't have time before leaving. That was miserable.
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Post by javaduke on 3/17/2020, 1:35 pm

Well, since you've asked for opinions, here's one, very biased Smile
I owned a Lee Pro1000 and I hated it. It took me significant amount of time to tune it properly, and it still was very finicky and required a lot of attention. I then got my Dillon 650 and can't be happier with it. I load 45, 38, 32 and 6.5 Creedmoor on it, have separate toolheads for each caliber and even with small to large primer change it still takes me less than 5 min to switch from caliber to caliber. Yes, it's expensive, but the "buy once, cry once" saying is IMHO perfectly applicable here. I do understand the desire to save money and reduce costs, but strictly IMHO reloading is not where I would be willing to cut the corners.

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Post by mikemyers on 3/17/2020, 2:19 pm

You could also buy an RCBS Pro2000, have a high quality press, and NOT have a tube full of live primers sitting in front of you.  It's made from cast iron, is rugged, accurate, and easy to use.  It's a five-station press, which makes it more versatile.  

It's readily available, but not currently in production.  It was replaced by a different design press, and the last time I checked those out, there were far too many complaints about the newest model.  
I know people at RCBS who are still using the Pro2000.  

Here's a four-minute video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCOjenjFKmI


Last edited by mikemyers on 3/17/2020, 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by James Hensler on 3/17/2020, 3:17 pm

Lee auto breech lock Pro 4000! Winner hands down everything for like 250 bucks new I bought extra stuff and still under 300
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Post by TexasShooter on 3/17/2020, 4:53 pm

When I first got into reloading I talked to a bunch of reloaders, and asked advice on a bunch of different firearms forums, and by far the most common answer was: If you want a progressive and buy something other than a Dillon you're either going to regret it later, or end up buying one later.

I could have got started much cheaper than I did but I saved up my pennies and got a 550b. Still haven't found even a hint of a reason to regret it. Lots of folks around here know more about this than I do, but I promise this free advice is worth everything it cost you  Smile

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Post by Wobbley on 3/17/2020, 7:28 pm

TexasShooter wrote:When I first got into reloading I talked to a bunch of reloaders, and asked advice on a bunch of different firearms forums, and by far the most common answer was: If you want a progressive and buy something other than a Dillon you're either going to regret it later, or end up buying one later.

I could have got started much cheaper than I did but I saved up my pennies and got a 550b. Still haven't found even a hint of a reason to regret it. Lots of folks around here know more about this than I do, but I promise this free advice is worth everything it cost you  Smile
There’s one person on this forum bought a Dillon 750 and found some aggravating issues with it.  There’s a short post in another thread.

Part of this is the (apparent) mantra at Dillon to make it cheaply.  So things tend to get kluge-ed until it works.  Since the parts are small and cheap, the easy solution is to just replace them, hence the “no BS warranty”.  Not that I’m disparaging that design approach, but the integration of the various things is a mess from an engineering perspective. Rube Goldberg would be proud.
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Post by jglenn21 on 3/17/2020, 8:36 pm

and mine has been perfect .... go figure Smile
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Post by PhotoEscape on 3/17/2020, 10:25 pm

Wobbley wrote:There’s one person on this forum bought a Dillon 750 and found some aggravating issues with it.  There’s a short post in another thread.
Ashley,
If you are referring to my post, I must be honest that I'm perfectionist (according to my wife).  I'll take Dillon 650 or 750 over any LNL AP or any other press for its versatility, and yes - great warranty from manufacturer. Can these models be better?  Yes, of course!  I'll be testing one more enhancement this weekend, and another one is in production now.  However overall, I'm happy with 750.  One very specific enhancement I like very much.  Changing from one primer size to another now takes a minute, and doesn't require taking half of the press apart as with 650.  However I also want to point out that if anyone is looking for press for single caliber, I'd give strong consideration to old Star. In single caliber it would be as economical as Dillon 550 or even SDB, IMO.

AP
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Post by mustachio on 4/1/2020, 2:36 pm

I used a Lee Pro 1000 for years and always got good quality ammo from it. I now use a Lee Turret press that has auto index. I have more control over the ammo loading process. If I want to stop loading for a bit all I do is NOT put in an empty.  Three cranks of the arm and the loading is done. For the price, Lee is a good investment.
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Post by 10sandxs on 4/1/2020, 7:50 pm

I bought a dillion 550 24 years ago...100k+ rounds later I thought about upgrading to the 750... cant justify the money... so I'll just suffer with the 550 ( said with thick sarcasm)

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Post by mpolans on 4/1/2020, 11:47 pm

If he's not going to do any rifle calibers, and only doing a couple pistol calibers and not switching frequently, I'd say a Square Deal would be fine.

If he's planning on doing rifle calibers, or frequently switching calibers, I'd say a 550 or better would be the way to go, just for the ease of swapping out multiple toolheads.

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Post by pgg on 4/2/2020, 5:41 am

mikemyers wrote:You could also buy an RCBS Pro2000, have a high quality press, and NOT have a tube full of live primers sitting in front of you.  It's made from cast iron, is rugged, accurate, and easy to use.  It's a five-station press, which makes it more versatile.  

It's readily available, but not currently in production.  It was replaced by a different design press, and the last time I checked those out, there were far too many complaints about the newest model.  
I know people at RCBS who are still using the Pro2000.  

Here's a four-minute video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCOjenjFKmI

I have two RCBS Pro2000 presses and they are terrific. I also like the primer strip feeding as opposed to the tube / pipe bomb arrangement. Some people complain about the lack of a case feeder option, but I find that it's not a handicap since the press is arranged to hand feed cases from the left while pulling the lever on the right.

I'm not sure I'd buy one today though - as you say, they are out of production, and while parts are still available I'm not convinced that 5 or 10 years from now you'll be able to find shell plates for other calibers, die plates, or other repair parts.


Two other things I always add to any discussion on loading pistol ammunition on a progressive:

1) One station should have a powder check, lockout, or cop die. It's easy insurance against missing, low, or double charges. 

2) Try to select a powder that is bulky enough such that a bullet can't be seated if the case is double charged.

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Post by bruce martindale on 4/2/2020, 9:35 am

As an owner of 2 Stars, a Dillon 550, a Lee pro 1000, a Lee Loadmaster, and a ss RCBS press, (plus7 shotgun presses) , l have to say the Star gets the bulk loading but the match ammo comes off the Loadmaster. It has however been modified...take the autoindex rod out and toss it; index by hand. The case feeder retracts but needs a kick to go all the way out and is pushed in by hand. Don't run low on primers in the feed slot or it will mess up. Keep an eye on the shellplate and turret lock so it doesn't come loose.

They can be finicky so if you aren't attentive or mechanically inclined, they may be frustrating. I like to quote my Hammerli manual on magazines:" careful handling serves to avoid anger"

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Post by LenV on 4/2/2020, 8:08 pm

A Lee turret press is really all a casual shooter needs. Mine required zero extra tweeking and put out great ammo right away. I probably loaded 20k rounds on mine before I purchased The Lee Loadmaster. So what if you have to pull the handle 4 times to get a finished round. It's a lot easier to pull.
   I still use the turret press for 41mag, 44mag, 45auto rim, 45 Colt, 400 Corbon, 380, 357mag, 22 Hornet and 223 to name a few.

Progressive presses Dscf1145

The other neat thing about the Lee Turret press is how easy it is to change calibers. I spent the extra 11.00 per caliber to buy extra turrets. Once I set up a load I don't have to do it again. I can change calibers in 5 minutes. I even bought extra seating dies for the 45acp to change bullets just as fast.
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Post by PMcfall on 4/3/2020, 1:22 pm

Well, we found exactly what he needed.  He bought a Ponsness Warren P-200 which will load all he will need fairly quickly (150-200/hr). 

 You youngsters won't remember but when I started bullseye all these options in progressive presses simply were not available.  There were Stars (too expensive for me back then) and maybe C-H Mark III, IV and V.  I went from a single stage press to the PW P-200 and thought I died and went to heaven.  Not too long after that I bought my first C-H Mark IV and it carried me throughout my bullseye career.  I now have one for 45 and another for 38.

Thanks for the help and suggestions.
Phil
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Post by CraigB5940 on 4/3/2020, 3:45 pm

I've been using a Hornady LNL AP for ten years no complaints at all. It's reliable, rugged, and does not take long to change between calibers save for changing over the automatic case feeder which may be the same with other units that use the same type of electric driven case feeder system. Ten years before that it was a Lee Pro 1000 which was cranky at times for needing frequent adjustment but a good value to enter the reloading hobby.

BUT... Watch this Hornady video at your own risk! They are shamelessly using sex to sell their product! Their products don't need sex to sell them! They are good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEiJmmqwq-s

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Post by PMcfall on 4/3/2020, 4:20 pm

But it certainly doesn't hurt.  Rosie is definitely easy on the eye!
Phil
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 4/4/2020, 3:58 pm

550.  For auto indexing, I would go with a 650/750 over the Hornady.
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Post by zanemoseley on 4/4/2020, 4:37 pm

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:I would go with a 650/750 over the Hornady.
Only if you plan to use a case feeder. The 650/750 sucks for feeding brass by hand, you end up having to hand fill the case tube every 20 rounds or so. The LNL AP is really set up well for hand feeding.

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