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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I know Dillon is supposed to be the cat's meow and all that and that you can't do better than getting one of their outfits, especially with the lifetime "NO BS" warranty.

However. Which of these presses are easiest to use, especially for a beginner, and comes to you the most complete. In other words, which system do you wind up spending more on options on?

The Lock-N-Load, to me, looks the most complete. And I really like the system they use for swapping calibers without screwing up the die settings when you remove them from the press.

Please be as impartial as possible. :D
 

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There are enough threads in the search function to write volumes on these two presses. I'm sure you'll get some good answers, but this will inevitably open up another can of worms. I don't think I can take any more worms.:(
 

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They are both good, and easy to operate.

That said, I went with Hornady. However, Dillon made its start with progressive presses for competitive shooters. That point is not trivial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I appreciate the responses. And I'm fully aware of all the threads that compare the two and asks "which is best", etc.

My question, as a rookie reloader, was meant to withdraw information about which one comes with the most stuff (which saves money) and is easiest to use for someone with very basic knowledge of the art.

Maybe I wasn't clear?

Thanks, blr.
 

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And I really like the system they use for swapping calibers without screwing up the die settings when you remove them from the press.

Please be as impartial as possible. :D
If you get the extra tools head for Dillon there is no setting up the die settings again.

Caliber conversion, swap large or small primer if needed and set your power throw and your good to go. Buy the complete kit with tool head with Powder measure and all you'll be done in about 5 minutes. The powder measure is set from the last time, verify the charge and load.

I think the differnce is the color you like.:)
 

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I appreciate the responses. And I'm fully aware of all the threads that compare the two and asks "which is best", etc.

My question, as a rookie reloader, was meant to withdraw information about which one comes with the most stuff (which saves money) and is easiest to use for someone with very basic knowledge of the art.

Maybe I wasn't clear?

Thanks, blr.
We know what you are trying to understand.
These brand questions usually wind up becoming press wars.
As in my weasel is bigger than your weasel kind of thing
It must be the macho pride thing working, nobody wants to feel like the equipment they bought is crap or looked down on.

But, to answer your query honestly and correctly you would need to receive a response from someone that has one of each unit and would give you an unbiased opinion of each against the other.
Suffice it to say both outfits make solid productive presses.
(Hornady Vs. Dillon)

Everyone has there own loading demand or requirement, maybe all you want to do is make a few boxes a month for some plinking.
Then just about any multi – stage unit you buy will do this.
If you have loads of free time a single stage setup might be an option although these are modern times and I can not recommend going this route.
Then you have spent a reasonable amount of money on equipment you can quickly outgrow.

Maybe you want to compete in one of the action pistol disciplines, then you might consider one of the larger auto indexing case feeding presses and fill up the basement with ammunition.
They make these also.

The fastest press with all the gizmo’s does not make it the “best press”

I’ve said this before; if the equipment you purchased is delivering the performance you require than you bought the right machine.
Ask yourself, “what do I want this thing to do for me”
Make a list, then compare your needs to what the various presses do.

Just remember in Handloading equipment like most things you get what you pay for.
Buy as much quality as you can afford, you will never regret it.
I have Blue equipment and can fully endorse it, I load for over 25 rifle and pistol calibers and my Dillon presses (2) 550’s and a SDB have never let me down.
Some of my Dillon equipment is thirty years old.
But I can’t say a bad word about other brands mostly because I don’t operate it.
My equipment has been peerless but other are as well.

If you buy a setup from a major manufacturer like Dillon, Hornady or RCBS you will be well outfitted to perform the task at hand.
They all produce the same end result, they just go about it in different ways.
Take your time, read the operating manuals (they should be available on line) shop around either at the local brick & mortar shops or the Net.
You’ll figure out which is the right one for your needs.
Good Luck :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, guys. I appreciate the info.
 

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Your question usually ignites a firestorm of of "Blue verses Red verses etc." What you are not going to find is very many people that have actually loaded on BOTH DILLON AND HORNADY. I have loaded on both. Here is my perspective:

Consider the Hornady Lock and Load Progressive. It’s cheaper than the Dillon 650 and 550 and has several features that, IMHO are better than Dillon.

The Dillon has been on the market a long time and have great customer service, as a result, Dillon users are very dedicated to their blue presses. The Dillon's are EXCEPTIONAL presses and do an exceptional job in reloading. The competition to the Dillon is the Hornady Lock and Load Auto Progressive. Because most of the Dillon users are so satisfied, when you ask the question “Which is better?”, you get swamped with comments like, "The Hornady L-n-L is Junk!" If you asked if they have ever loaded on the L-n-L and 99.9% will say no. When I did find someone that had experience with both presses, most liked the L-n-L and many had sold their Dillon's and bought the L-n-L. However, there have been those that sold their red presses and bought blue. You just have to decide what you like best. Some times it’s just the color, red or blue!!

IMHO the Dillon has one major shortcoming and, most Dillon owners will agree if they are honest. The Dillon powder measure is sorely lacking in ease of use and adjustability. It meters ball type powder very well but flake type powder less so. And, extruded stick type powder is VERY troublesome and not all that accurate. To be fair, extruded powder is difficult in all powder measures. But, the L-n-L powder measure handles all types of powder MUCH better than the Dillon. Also, it is a pain to swap out the Dillon powder measure to another die plate. As a result, many owners have several powder measures on separate die plates for changing calibers. This significantly drives UP the COST.

Also, IMHO, the Dillon priming system is less reliable than the LNL. With the Dillon system, spent primers drop through the bottom of the shell plate into a small cup. It is an “open” system and is easy to empty. However, the press gets dirty with carbon. Whenever carbon/dust/dirt or “primer dust” fouls the primer seating station this causes "flipped" or "skipped" primers. The DILLON primer system works well provided it is kept CLEAN. The Hornady L-N-L spent primers are dropped completely through the press into a plastic tube and into the trash or bottle or whatever you want to use. It is a “closed” system. You never get carbon in and around the bottom of the shell plate. The point is the dirt off the spent primers does not foul the workings of the press. I have never had a “flipped” primer. Although I have had “missed” primers that I feel were operator error (ME!) and not the fault of the primer system. (I forgot to seat the primer!) In all fairness, the LNL primer seating station will also not work properly if the primer slide is fouled with dirt or powder.

If you want a powder check system you need a press with at least five stations. The Dillon Square Deal and 550 has 4 die stations. The L-N-L has 5 stations. The Dillon 650 has 5 stations, but costs significantly more. And, the Dillon 1050 has about 7 or eight.

How the presses indexes is an issue for some people. In reading the web about "KABOOMS" (Blowing up a gun!!). The VAST MAJORITY of kabooms I have read about were directly traced back to a manually indexing press. This is not the fault of the press but, operator error. With a manually indexing press, If you get distracted while reloading, you can easily double charge a case. IMHO, that is less of a problem with auto-indexing presses. The Hornady L-N-L, Dillon 650 and, Dillon Square Deal auto index. The MOST POPULAR Dillon press, the 550 is a manually indexing press. Some people prefer manual, some people prefer auto.

Next, the L-N-L uses a really slick bushing system for mounting loading dies to the press. It makes changing calipers a SNAP. After a die is adjusted for whatever you are loading you can remove the die from the press with an 1/8 turn and insert a different die. Each die has it's own bushing. The Dillon uses a die plate. The Dillon die plate costs more than L-N-L bushings. Another neat feature with the Hornady is that you can buy a bushing conversion setup and use the same bushings on your RCBS, Lyman or other single stage press and the L-N-L!

Additionally, the L-N-L seems to be built like a tank! The ram is about 2"+ in diameter and the basic press is similar in construction to the RCBS Rockchucker. I would say that a side-by-side comparison to the either the Dillon 550 OR 650, the L-N-L is at least as sturdily built. And, in some areas I think the L-N-L is better built. i.e., The massive ram, powder measure, and primer system. The head/top of the press is solid except for where the dies are inserted. The Dillon has a large cutout that is needed for their die plates. By just looking, it would seem the L-N-L would be stronger. But, of course, that may not be the case.
There is one piece that can get damaged on the L-N-L. There is a coil spring that holds the cases in the shell holder that can get crushed if you improperly change shell holders. That's the bad news. The good news is that they are only about $2-3 for three and they won't get crushed if you change shell plates correctly. The other good news is that this spring is the primary reason that while loading you can easily remove a case at any station. With the Dillon you have to remove pins in order to take a shell out of a shell plate.

You can load anything on both the Dillon and L-N-L from .25 ACP to 500 N.E. Realistically, I would say that people with progressive loaders mostly load pistol ammo 99% of the time. After using the L-N-L for while I feel confident that my Grandkids will be using when I'm gone.

In summary, the Hornady L-N-L has all the features of the Dillon 650 but is much cheaper. However, the Dillon automatic case feeder is about $50 cheaper that the Hornady. Changing calipers on the LNL is faster and cheaper. The powder measure on the L-N-L is VASTLY SUPERIOR TO THE DILLON, at least in my opinion. I bought the L-N-L and am very satisfied. A shooting buddy of mine is a long time, dedicated Dillon user. He has three! After giving me a ration of "stuff" about my choice, he came over and used my L-N-L and sheepishly said, "That's a very nice setup!!"
 

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I've used both....both are great....both have great customer service.

I thought the LnL offered more bang for the buck so I went with that.

Some think manual indexing is safer for the beginner. I don't get that argument. For me that is one more step & one more thing you have to think about.

I simply added a Lock-Out die to my LnL and now if there is too much power the press locks up, if there is not enough powder....the press locks up. Plus I still measure on a scale every so often. Can't get much safer than that.
 

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I bought a Hornady LNL and I'am quite happy with it. I load ~ 2,000 rounds/month mainly pistol cartridges. As with any mechanical device there is a learning curve to understand the operation and needed adjustments of any press. You'll probably be happly with any of the major suppliers, just take your time and stick with it. If you get frustrated, walk away and tackle it later. Get some good loading manuals, most will layout the steps of reloading. I found the Hornady book quite good on this subject.
 

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I bought the Hornady LNL AP EZject and case feeder Monday after exhaustive research and many questions. It might get up and running in a few weeks so I have no answers for the debate. I'm red for now so we'll see:eek:.........TW
 

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Congrats on your buy Grainfed!! I think you will be satisfied. If you are going to load pistol cartridges I highly recommend the following:

http://www.powderfunnels.com/

It makes case mouth "belling" a snap!!! The Hornady Powder thru expanders DO WORK but, they are hard to adjust. With the powder funnel expander you only need one and I think it expands any case from .30 cal up to .50 cal.:rock:
 

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Hornady LNL

Although I am a Dillon Blue guy, I started with Dillon before the Hornady Lock n Load was available. If I were getting my first progressive press, this looks like a great one. Last year there was a 1000 free bullet offer, which was a good reason/value to give it a try. I think you will be pleased with your new press!
 

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I guess if I wrote 5000 words to say what could be said in 50, then I'd appear to be more knowledgeable? :) I like my Dillon 650. However, I'd rather have a self-indexing Hornady than a manually-indexed Dillon. Being "simple" isn't necessarily best. In the case of manually-indexed presses, there's a much greater potential for double-charges and squibs.
 

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I too, am a big fan of auto indexing for loading high volume pistol. And that's what I bought a progressive press for. I own a 650 with case feeder. In my opinion, a 650 or a LnL without a case feeder, defeats my entire purpose of owning one.
 

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I own a 650 with case feeder. In my opinion, a 650 or a LnL without a case feeder, defeats my entire purpose of owning one.
Herd hit this on the head. If you're considering the LNL AP, there are only two real considerations that should move you into this "class" of presses--quick-caliber-change requirements, and voluminous reloading requirements.

You can bang out 400-600 rounds an hour at a *very* leisurely pace with either machine, but the LNL allows a 5th station for a lock-out die, the caliber changes are faster and don't require tools, and the Hornady powder measure is vastly superior--that powder measure is damn near the equal of a Harrell; I actually returned my Harrell because it didn't throw any better. All this for at least a couple hundred dollars less than a Dillon (at my last research, which is at least 5yr ago). The early LNL AP's (serial #7000s and below) had some severe teething problems, but Hornady seems to have finally worked out all the kinks in the last couple years and are now finally offering a dependable machine.
 
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