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

First topic message reminder :

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 PhotoEscape on 4/4/2020, 8:10 pm

zanemoseley wrote:
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.

I have very limited knowledge of LNL AP, - many years ago I did my home work, selected Dillon platform and never changed, except adding two Star presses for particular calibers.  However question comes to my mind.  What is the point of having progressive press and not using case feeder, and for that matter bullet feeder as well?  Especially when one is loading pistol calibers!  My 45 ACP Star loader came with Hulme case feeder.  For those who don't know,- it pretty much same as manual 20 case feeding into Dillon 650/750.  So the first thing I did was making attachment / stand so I can use Dillon's case feeder with my 45 Star.  It was a 3x productivity improvement.  With Mr. Bulletfeeders on my two 650s, and one coming for new 750, productivity is also about 3x higher then just with case feeder alone, and I don't run into pinching my fingers if I wasn't fast enough to get them out of the way or raising ramp.

That is IMHO.

AP
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Post by zanemoseley on 4/4/2020, 8:41 pm

I can run super fast without a bullet or case feeder. I've learned to grab both the bullet and case with my left hand (I'm a lefty) while keeping my right hand on the handle. I have no desire at all to add a feeder, would just cost more money, take up more space and greatly increase caliber changeover time.

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Post by PhotoEscape on 4/4/2020, 8:48 pm

zanemoseley wrote:I can run super fast without a bullet or case feeder. I've learned to grab both the bullet and case with my left hand (I'm a lefty) while keeping my right hand on the handle. I have no desire at all to add a feeder, would just cost more money, take up more space and greatly increase caliber changeover time.
Zane,
Something tells me that you have never tried running press with case and bullet feeder.  Once you do try...…………  Well, humor me... what is your super fast round count on your LNL AP?

AP
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Post by zanemoseley on 4/4/2020, 9:45 pm

I dunno, I can try to measure it sometime but it's plenty fast for me. I only shoot 4-5k of 45acp a year, feeders at that point seem overkill. If I shot 50k a year I would look into one. I probably spend more time decapping and cleaning my brass than I do reloading. My guess is I could load 600-700 an hour if I had everything ready including tubes of primers.

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Post by PhotoEscape on 4/4/2020, 10:14 pm

Right!  No, Zane, it is because you are 35 (or about) and value time / money ratio differently!  Wait for another 25-30 years, and value of your time will change.  At that time 900-1200 rounds per hour will out weight cost of case and bullet feeders regardless of the number of rounds you'll shoot.  I don't mean to lecture or anything else, it is just what it is life wise.  For me at least!  So leaving above a side.  Case and bullet feeders allow to achieve at least 50% gain productivity wise (6 minutes per 100 with re-filling feeders and primer filler, and that is without much effort,- officially timed by my friend.  Truth be told, keeping such pace for more than hour at the time is difficult nowadays, so I'm taking brakes by switching to different tasks), and I don't spent time pre-filling primer tubes, - I'm using Dillon's primer fillers, and I don't de-prime pistol brass either.  I do sort brass by head stamps prior to cleaning though!  And then QC and packaging takes additional time on the back end, but that is how my work flow is setup.

AP
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Post by John Dervis on 4/4/2020, 10:17 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:
zanemoseley wrote:
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.

I have very limited knowledge of LNL AP, - many years ago I did my home work, selected Dillon platform and never changed, except adding two Star presses for particular calibers.  However question comes to my mind.  What is the point of having progressive press and not using case feeder, and for that matter bullet feeder as well?  Especially when one is loading pistol calibers!  My 45 ACP Star loader came with Hulme case feeder.  For those who don't know,- it pretty much same as manual 20 case feeding into Dillon 650/750.  So the first thing I did was making attachment / stand so I can use Dillon's case feeder with my 45 Star.  It was a 3x productivity improvement.  With Mr. Bulletfeeders on my two 650s, and one coming for new 750, productivity is also about 3x higher then just with case feeder alone, and I don't run into pinching my fingers if I wasn't fast enough to get them out of the way or raising ramp.

That is IMHO.

AP

I'll chime in on using a press without a case feeder. I bought my XL650 in 1998 and I'm not even sure the case feeder existed then.  Even if it did, I'm pretty frugal so I never got one but I wanted the 650 because it has the 5th station that I use for the powder check.  The press came with one of those plastic tubes and I bought 5 more.  I capped the tubes and put a pin at the other end so I could load 100 cases into tubes (19-.45acp will fit). That matched the 100 primers so that's been my routine for most of those years.  I load 300-400 rounds in an evening after dinner but I haven't actually kept track of the round per hour rate. The only downside is once in a while I will run the tube dry because I'm not looking at it so I cycle the press on an empty station.  Most recently I have been experimenting with single loading a case so the new process is to seat the bullet with my left hand, drop a new case in the feed mechanism (I removed the tube for this) with my right hand, then cycle the press.  This way of doing it seems just as fast as taking the time to load up the tubes so I'll likely stay with this for a while.  I won't argue the fact that a press with a case feeder is going to be faster but how fast do I need to be?  In a week I can load all the ammunition I'll use in a year so having all sorts of expensive accessories doesn't really appeal to me.  If I were shooting more or loading for other people, higher production might make sense but for this works for me.

John

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Post by Wobbley on 4/4/2020, 10:55 pm

I’ve used a LNL AP with case feeder and (tube) Bullet feeder.  My cyclic time with all this is one round every second.  Add the inherent delays due to refilling tubes, (bullet and primer), taking care of mis-feeds etc. and your down to 900 per hour.  It’s a lot smoother if you size the brass first.  The Hornady powder measure is head and shoulders better that the Dillon.    The primer system is better than the 650.  And the two-step advancing make it less likely to slop powder out of the ammo.
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 4/5/2020, 1:02 am

PhotoEscape wrote:
zanemoseley wrote:
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.

I have very limited knowledge of LNL AP, - many years ago I did my home work, selected Dillon platform and never changed, except adding two Star presses for particular calibers.  However question comes to my mind.  What is the point of having progressive press and not using case feeder, and for that matter bullet feeder as well?  Especially when one is loading pistol calibers!  

Agree with AP - 100%.  Especially on the value of time.

Wobbley wrote:The Hornady powder measure is head and shoulders better that the Dillon.    The primer system is better than the 650.  And the two-step advancing make it less likely to slop powder out of the ammo.

Agreed that the Dillon powder measure needs work, but with some minor changes, which PhotoEscape provides, and some polishing/grounding, you can get accuracy that's well beyond what is required to get X-ring performance for pistol.  I'm able to hold about +/- .04 gr now after polishing the funnel, which is perfectly acceptable with good metering pistols powders, and before that, about +/- .06.   I also wish there was a micrometer system or at least a knob like the photo escape.

The only caliber I've worried about with the index is 9mm and for a few dollars a new spring and detent ball fixed that.  My Dillon is smoother than any Hornady LNL I've used after modifying the press.  I wish there was Dillon stock because I've sold a lot of them to LNL owners.  Regardless, I would like to see Dillon change the powder system, its a lot of effort to get it sorted and there are several better systems.

I do disagree on the priming system, I think the Hornady is inferior, but also not a fan of the 750/550.  The 650 is time consuming and expensive to change if you want the whole assembly.  I've seen and helped fix (to the best of my ability) several Hornady presses, but one we couldn't get sorted and never primed reliably.  Fundamentally, faster doesn't always mean better, unless the goal is to make large amounts of mediocre ammunition quickly.  I also like the Dillon auto primer filler, not sure if there is an equivalent with Hornady.  That's a big time saver if you are feeding cases and bullets and working through components. None of the presses discussed have a great priming system compared to a press like the 1050 that will swage the pocket and allow you to control the depth.  

The Hornady case feeder is not as robust as the Dillon IMO having used both. That’s a big selling/use point for me.  I can load cases in my Dillon, take them to a neighbor with a LNL and it will shut down his feeder.  

The biggest hit on Hornady for me is what some view as an advantage.  The bushings.  There is nothing you can do other than maybe epoxy them in to remove the "slop/error" induced, however then you'll have a dedicated press for a single caliber, which defeats the purpose of a quick change system.  If you ask heavy hitters in precision reloading like John Whidden or David Tubbs they'll explain why.  Not a great press for rifle.  Pistol isn't that demanding so I doubt there’s a statistical difference, but haven’t done any testing.  If you ever have a chance to visit the AMU reloading shop you'll see some Hornady dies, but none of their presses.  Over the years I shot there I’ve never heard of the staff using them at home either.  That IMO, is a good indication/hint.  You’ll be using Whidden tool heads and locking them in which adds some cost for caliber changes unless you go with the 1050 for rifle, and IMO the 550 shines here as the lack of auto index is an advantage since you can remove the powder funnel and hand weigh your charges.

Progressive presses - Page 2 9-FF83-D7-F-1208-4617-A8-D1-BD7-EB36-F080-C

Take a look at single stage presses, this the consolidated results of all testing from the article below.  Hornady only outperformed the Lee Breech Lock, which also uses a bushing system.  In theory the single stage should outperform the progressive version and its not impressive.

https://ultimatereloader.com/2019/04/08/fourteen-reloading-presses-compared-single-stage-shootout/15/

Progressive presses - Page 2 PRESS-SCORING

I don't like the expensive (and relatively slow) caliber changes on the 650/750, especially on the 650 if you change primer size.  The 550 is much cheaper, but doesn't auto-index and lacks the 5th station.  It does have a price advantage compared to the 650/750, and can make shockingly good ammunition.  The 550/750 are nice because primer changes are fast compared to the 650.

Here’s my uneducated take and mental calculus on how I chose a press (apologies for the run on sentences and various grammar errors):


  • If you don't need a case feeder or might add one later, and it isn’t as critical or don’t desire to make precision rifle ammunition and want to save money on caliber changes, and want to do them quickly - Hornady
  • If you want to load various calibers in smaller amounts, not in a rush, like the idea of a non-auto indexing press, intend of will load for precision rifle, and don't want/need a case feeder and looking to save money over a 650/750 - Dillon 550
  • If you want to load a few calibers, in high volume, including precision rifle and want/need a case feeder - Dillon 650/750
  • If you are loading common, typically pistol calibers only, and an enthusiast - Star
  • If you want the best progressive on the market, have the funds and experience to use it and don’t desire to change calibers frequently to load high volume for both pistol and rifle  - Dillon 1050


This is a great website for determining which Dillon (if you go that route) is the best fit:  https://brianenos.com/dillon-2/


Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on 4/5/2020, 10:49 am; edited 13 times in total
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Post by messenger on 4/5/2020, 7:01 am

I started on a single stage then made the jump to a progressive. I'm a lefty too. I was pretty fast on my LnL hand feeding brass and bullet. I bought a case feeder on an impulse buy. The Dillon is a superior brass feeder
 and $100 cheaper but the powder measure and primer delivery system goes to Hornady.  When I got into reloading I never had heard of a Dillon but Hornady was a known name because of their commercial ammo. I liked the idea of the quick change die bushings. Once I got the case feeder it made reloading much more relaxing. Changing between large and small primer was still a pain. Eventually got a second setup and bought all the Inline Fabrication goodies. I can cruise and get 500 - 600 round an hour. Hammer down and hit 700. I have used a Dillon and they are a little smoother in operation. All of them have their quirks, pluses, and minuses. I've paid my dues on the LnL so I'm sticking with it. I have a friend and he has a few 650's, two of them with auto drives, case feeders, and bullet feeders. He gets 900 per hour. Kinda boring and no exercise. When I looked into loading shotgun I checked into the Dillon 900 but the reviews were a little scary. So i went with the Hornady 366. I now have five Hornady presses.

Bill
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Post by PhotoEscape on 4/5/2020, 11:07 am

Wobbley wrote:I’ve used a LNL AP with case feeder and (tube) Bullet feeder.  My cyclic time with all this is one round every second.  Add the inherent delays due to refilling tubes, (bullet and primer), taking care of mis-feeds etc. and your down to 900 per hour.  It’s a lot smoother if you size the brass first.  The Hornady powder measure is head and shoulders better that the Dillon.    The primer system is better than the 650.  And the two-step advancing make it less likely to slop powder out of the ammo.

It is very impressive, regardless of which platform is used.

John Dervis, - Not sure what you wanted to illustrate.  The only point I want to make relative to your post, - you are using case feeder IMHO!  It is not the same as Zane's manual feeding of each case argument, as you are preloading all those tubes you made.

One more thing I wanted to highlight.  Nothing precludes one from using Hornady's powder measure on Dillon platform, and I know couple of forum members that do just that.  Same is applicable to using old style Dillon's powder measure with two springs on Hornady.  Case activation will work in both situation.  One issue has to be strongly considered though comes from the fact that Dillon's new design includes fail safety mechanism.  This prevents from double charging the same case, although it doesn't prevent from omitting the charge.  In my book squib is better then potentially harmful consequences of shooting double charged round.  Both Hornady's and old Dillon's designs do not provide for the safety.

AP
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Post by zanemoseley on 4/5/2020, 8:37 pm

That's why I advocate the use of a 5 station press like a LNL AP, 650 or 750. Then you can use a powder check.

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