Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

First Press - SDB or LCT


Jackmi
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi - I shoot approximately 500-600 rounds monthly of 38 Special and 9mm. I am 65 years old and have never reloaded, but would like to start (handgun ammo only - no rifle). So far I have read "ABC's of Reloading", "Lyman's 49th Reloading Handbook", and "lee's Modern Reloading". The two presses that interest me are the Dillon Square Deal B and the Lee Classic Turret.

The SDB appeals to me for its quality, "no BS" warranty, outstanding customer service, and auto indexing feature. Would the SDB be too complex for a person who is new to reloading? Does the instructional DVD provide adequate information for a person new to reloading? By the way, I have average (but not outstanding) mechancial skills.

I like the Lee ClassicTurret because I could use it as a single stage while learning, easy switching of calibers, and later use the auto index for increased volume. However I understand the Safety Prime can cause issues. The LCT is approximately $200+ less than the SDB.

Which press would suit my needs the best based on the volume of ammo and the fact that I have never reloaded?

I look forward to your advise. Thanks.

Edited by Jackmi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no experience with the LCT, but have been using the SDB for 20 years.

It's a great machine ... Not sure if it's worth $200 more than LCT (it's only

$165??).

It takes me 2.5 hours to load 600 rounds with my SDB. Don't know how

long it would take to load 600 rounds on a LCT - You'd also have to

change calibers - that takes a bit of time with the SDB.

I'd have a

tendency to switch calibers every 2-3 months by loading up more than

I need - load 2-3 months worth at a time, if you have the time.

I can't imagine the SDB is worth DOUBLE the price of the LCT - is that

with all the dies included?

Don't forget to buy a chrono ($70) while you're at it - and scale, etc.

There's a thread here at BE re the Lee LoadMaster - You might want to read

that - very interesting - you say you're not mechanically inclined (me either) -

sounds like you might want to stay away from the LCT.

Edited by Hi-Power Jack
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Safety Prime works fine. Some people just don't know that you may need to shim it up with a washer if its finky.

SDB is a better press. You can easily learn on it. LCT is not a bad press. I own one and rebought it after selling it the first time. But the Dillon is better for pistol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a mature man, you are set in your ways. You are either the kind of person that enjoys a quality piece of tooling & machinery or you prefer saving a dollar over other things. Neither personality is bad. If you save the dollar, buy the lct, if you like quality, buy dillon. Ive had both brands but neither of these models. The quality is immediately apparent with dillon, you will see the dollars with the Lee. I now have 2 dillon 650s so you see where I wound up. YMMV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have owned both of the presses mentioned. Go square deal and don't look back. I had to deal with Lee a couple of times and the last one was when I needed a part that was literally 90 cents and they wanted to charge me 14.95 f to shop it. As far as quality and customer service it is Dillon hands down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

600 rounds/month is a lot on a single-stage or turret press unless you are retired. I did it for over a year. However I do think that learning to reload on a singlestage kept things simpler for me and made it pretty easy to figure out when something is going wrong.

if you decide to learn on a progressive, it would probably help to have someone experience spend an hour or so with you getting going. Might save alot of time and be safer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 years reloading competition pistol ammo in .40 and 9mm here. I'm pushing 200K rounds on the only press I've ever reloaded ammo on, a SDB that Dillon has rebuild for me more than once. The only original parts left are the ram, dies, tool head and measure, and the loaded round bin. The repairs and replacement parts cost me nothing but shipping the press to Arizona. Their tech support was always available and helpful, and the occasional small part requested for a quick fix was always in the mail promptly, gratis. If I ever sell the SDB to upgrade (and I wouldn't, I'd just add a 650 or 1050 to my bench), I'll get close to current retail (more than my purchase price of years ago) because any buyer knows they'll get the same service.

I don't know Lee, since I haven't reloaded on their presses (I once had a single stage that I used for resizing bulged brass). But, even if they could match my experience with Dillon, I see no reason to change.

Just my own experience, though there are hundreds on this forum who could say much the same.

ETA:

Oh, and, Welcome to the forums!

Edited by kevin c
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience... I bought a Lee Turret 40 or 41 yrs ago. I've loaded well over 1/2 million rounds on it. Used it for 9mm, 38, 357, 44mag, and 45. Takes (literally) 30 sec to change caliber. All the quality you will ever want. You can do an honest 200 rounds/hr if you want to. I don't. Bought 2 Lee Pro 1000s for that... No experience with Dillons, except for the guys I know that have sold their Dillons (and bought Lee). IMHO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only place to buy the LCT at is Kempfs Gun Shop. It comes with the proper stuff and not the Lee scale. Get the Dillon scale.

That's exactly what I did, and I also upgraded to the Pro powder measure. I loaded thousands of rounds on my LCT and overall it wasn't bad. It was a great press to start on and made things easy. However, it is quite slow. I was loading ~125/hr. I'm sure the SDB is a better press because, well it's Dillon. If you can afford it, that might be a good solution.

For my needs, the LCT was a better fit. I also REALLY liked the auto-indexing. I now have a 650 and it's just amazing. I'm blue for life!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your input. I wan't sure whether a Lee Classic Turret would fit my need for 500-600 rounds monthly. Also needed to know if the LCT is a quality piece of tooling.

I was concerned that the SDB might be too complex for an individual who is new to the reolading scene. As I mentioned in my first post, I have average mechanical ability. Aso, is converting from 38 Special to 9mm a difficult or time consuming task? By the way, would it be of value to get the Dillon instruction video, or are the youtube videos on the SDB suffice?

I appreciate your advice. Thanks.

Edited by Jackmi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Square deal B isn't that hard to learn on at all. Once you set it up you dont have to change the settings.

I have a hornady lnl and a sdb. I have the sdb set up in my apt, the lnl in my dads basement. I gotta say that I like both presses but I think the sdb is the most underrated press for loading pistol ammo. It's simple, reliable, makes great ammo and has Dillons great warranty. It's progressive so you dont have to manually index it.

I say go with the sdb. No questions asked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The SDB is what will fit your needs. With the SDB set up and running you load 1 found per handle stroke. It takes 4 strokes to produce one round on the LCT. You have to position the primer by hand on the LCT, the SDB sets the primer automatically. So, 600 handle strokes or 2400, you pick. You already know about the quality and the warranty. The SDB is simple and straight forward to set up and operate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's not included in your choices but I would get a dillon 550

with the 550 you can use it as a turret press until you get comfortable with progressive re-loading

simply put 1 shell on the shell plate at a time and load that one shell, re-size and deprime, rotate, prime, powder drop, rotate, seat, rotate, crimp rotate. after the 1st round is done, repeat

once you get the hang of it, you can start to re-load progressively.

the lee press is cheaper, but the dillon will hold it's value in the long run

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Learned a lot on my LCT. Still have it on my bench for low round count loading. I can easily do 100 to 150 rounds an hour without to much effort. I do most of my reloading on a 550 now just for the extra speed.

The one thing that has not been mentioned yet is that if you start on the LCT you can use ANY dies you want. If you get the SDB you have to use the proprietary dies that come with it. The 550, 650, and 1050 use standard dies so if you upgrade to one of them after the SDB you will also have to buy new dies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's not included in your choices but I would get a dillon 550

with the 550 you can use it as a turret press until you get comfortable with progressive re-loading

simply put 1 shell on the shell plate at a time and load that one shell, re-size and deprime, rotate, prime, powder drop, rotate, seat, rotate, crimp rotate. after the 1st round is done, repeat

once you get the hang of it, you can start to re-load progressively.

the lee press is cheaper, but the dillon will hold it's value in the long run

IMHO, this is good advice.

Another possibility is do what I did, get a single-stage lee press (not the turret, but th really cheap one), and learn to load on it for a few months, then switch over to the dillon 550 or 650. You'll always be able to use the single-stage press for developing new loads and various other tasks, and you can still use the lee dies and pro-auto-disk powder measure on the 550.

Regarding caliber changes, I have a dedicated toolhead for each caliber, and a dedicated powder measure (dillon for .40, pro-auto-disc for 45), so it takes me 10 mins or so to switch calibers. switch tool head (30 seconds), switch shellplate and locator buttons (5 mins) and switch from large to small primer gizmos (5 mins). 9 to 38 should be faster since they both use small primers. I don't know how it works on the SDB.

Honestly, every option that has been mentioned is viable and will work fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been reloading on a LCT for about 4 months now. I shoot about 300-400 rounds a month and it works great for me. I can do 150 rounds an hour if I get into the right rhythm, and the economics of it can't be beat. I bought at Kempf's with the Pro powder measure, bought a scale seperately and started loading. I have not had any problems with my LCT, but I have only loaded about 800 rounds on it.

It is interesting to see other people worrying about finding ammo to shoot, when I have components for over 2000 rounds stocked up and ready to be assembled whenever I want to go shooting. It is a great feeling to be self reliant for your ammo shooting needs and not have to rely on Walmart to be stocked whenever you want to go shooting. Either way you go, enjoy your new reloading hobby!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the post that mentioned the difference between the SDB and the LCT is quality vs price. Personally I went with the LCT (www.fsreloading.com) and have loved it. From a learning perspective I think learning the basics on a single stage press or a turret press is extremely important and Lee allows you to do that safely and economically. For 600 rounds a month you're looking at about 3 to 4 hours of actual reloading time per month which isn't bad at all.

Another thing to consider is the expense of all of the equipment that goes along with the press, things such as a tumbler, calipers, scale, case prep tools, etc can quickly add up.

Once you have reloaded a number of rounds and if you feel you want to upgrade to a Progressive rig, I don't think you will have any problem selling the turret and putting the money towards the new one.

That all being said, you will be very happy with either of the presses.

Sent from my DROID4 using Tapatalk 2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's not included in your choices but I would get a dillon 550

with the 550 you can use it as a turret press until you get comfortable with progressive re-loading

simply put 1 shell on the shell plate at a time and load that one shell, re-size and deprime, rotate, prime, powder drop, rotate, seat, rotate, crimp rotate. after the 1st round is done, repeat

once you get the hang of it, you can start to re-load progressively.

the lee press is cheaper, but the dillon will hold it's value in the long run

I agree the 550b is the right way to go. I started with a LCT then went to a rockchucker for a lot of long range rifle stuff, then to a 550b and now I am using the 650. The 650 is a bit more advanced for the mild reloader but the 550 is a great press and once you set the dies you just swap the die heads out, no constant readjusting dies. The SDB does not have interchangeable die heads

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...