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Mike21STI

hornady LNL vs Dillon 550 or Dillon 650

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I went with a LNL last may and had problems right at the start. Not as bad as others but trouble none the less. My 9mm shell was out of spec and the brass would tilt and hit the die crushing the case. Hornady CS was great walked me through some testing and sent me a new shell plate. I still have the problem sometimes but nothing like the first plate.

The 'remaining' issue sounds like shell plate timing being slightly off. It's pretty simple to adjust once you are staring at a cheat cheat for which pawl adjustment and direction vs changes to up or down strokes, etc.

The biggest issue for me was every time I pull the handle I can see the bushings and dies move. I tried using a heaver o-ring but I could always see a lot of flex in the powder drop. It may be nothing but I can get over it. The bushing system seemed cool but I am not impressed with it at all.

This is odd; I don't see this on mine. The bushing system will have some small amount of movement inherent to it, (as will the entire tool head on Dillons), but that minor movement is also taken into consideration when you set up and adjust your dies, etc. I just ran through a few 9mm to check on mine after reading this, though, and I'm not seeing the movement you seem to be saying you have. What did Hornady CS say on this one, if anything?

Also I don't get why it doesn't come with some kind of a case feed tube. Even the lee has a tube so you don't have to feed every case by hand(so I have been told). I know it's a small issue it just seemed lame that lee offers a nice feature that hornady skipped on.

Probably part of their pricing and cost vs profit model. I've seen at least one person cut off the sub-plate feeder arm, so not everyone wants or can afford the case feeder. Makes lots of sense in that context.

Personally, I'd prefer to not have to stop every 25 or so cases to refill a tube, myself, vs constant loading (at least until time to refill the primer tube).

I never did spring for the case feeder. I just got a XL650 set up to replace the hornady and I wish I would have just went with it the first time. Really once you add the case feeder and the control panel to the hornady the price difference is not that big a deal to me. Over all the Dillon is a better fit for me. Which ever way you go I would suggest to just go ahead and get everything you want at once. Don't wait to add a case feeder or anything just get it all together and cry once. I never added a case feeder to the LNL because I was gonna have to pay more then I did for the press.

Sounds like you got whatever makes you happy, glad it worked out for you! :)

Reloading presses aren't targeted only at competitors, though, and not everyone can afford to 'get it all at once' w/out a thought. I went through getting my buddy set up recently for some 5-6 calibers, and by the time it was said and done (including some components) w/dies, trimmer, tumbler, calipers, etc. etc..but no case trimmer, he was still a couple thousand into it. That one may be a hard sell to some folk's wives in the name of 'saving money' or casual shooters. Press + 1 or 2 calibers, no case feeder, etc..more palatable to many.

I do agree in an ideal world and if $ is no object, get everything you're expecting to want 'later' up front; just acknowledging that isn't always feasible to do. Meanwhile the LnL AP w/out case or bullet feeder is able to curb out plenty of decent ammo pretty quickly.

I agree that for loading a few calibers 'with all the bells and whistles' the end prices aren't that far off, but really confused on your case feeder vs press cost comment.The LNL AP runs $429 (although mid south has it on sale at the moment for $380). The case feeder runs $330, on sale at Amazon at the moment for $300, I bought mine for $246 on a recurring sale Midway does occasionally. This is vs $200 for the Dillon collator. I picked up my case feeder plates on sale for $22 each; BE lists additional case feeder plates at $38 each.

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I have owned all three.

Both the Dillon work as they should. Only issue with the 550 is you need to clean the primer slide as it gets dirty. Small issue with the 650 from a convenience point of view (ski jump). But the Dillon all work as they should.

LnL was a nightmare. I had to reclocking the case feeder bowl to the lower portion. It was dropping cases to hit the edge of the chute and then they flipped. I fixed it with elongating the holes and reorienting it.

The press is always indexing. On the 650 you can time it on the upward stroke to go a smidge slower when it hits the index point. LnL is always indexing. Very annoying. It also indexes after you seat the bullet so the bullet is more likely to tip. Silly design. It also won't load some of the longer rifle cases because the bullet will hit the toolhead area before it indexs to go into the die.

LnL has a tiny primer punch length/stroke. It would not seat CCI enough to work with my Glock with reduced power striker. Both Dillons did this with no problems

LnL has a noisy casefeeder

LnL has a much inferior case slider design. It slides the case on a flat surface and then over the spring. With a Glock you have a little flow around the primer and the cases rock and jam into shellplate. Dillon captures the case in a retainer on the way and has a channel in it so the primer does not cause the case to rock.

Cases bounce off the slider. Especially 9mm. Longer cases work better.

LnL bushings are seldom the right tension. Too loose or too tight. Very annoying to have to pull out a wrench to get the one that is now on too tight and have the die come loose and loose it's adjustment as a result.

Comparing a LnL to a 650 is just not even close. 650 has caliber specific parts for the casefeeder. LnL does not. Universal parts are just a compromise.

Edited by 98sr20ve

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Thanks all, looks like i'll be selling my IDPA gun to get the dillon lol... I'm trying to justify the 650 over the 550 right now but I'm not sure if I need that Mich machine since i'll only be reloading for .40, I like the idea of the auto indexing better though...

Actually loading for one caliber is great. 650 is super when it comes to loading a lot of one caliber fast. Changing calibers little slower on 650 and more expensive. So, for your use case 650 will be great

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Go with a Dillon 650 and never look back. No problems and if there ever is a problem (my case feeder cam helix screw worked itself out) they will take care of the problem quickly and usually for free. Normal wear and tear isn't covered but anything that breaks other than that gets replaced for free. Well worth the extra money.

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I only load 9mm and I went with the 650. Don't try to justify it over a 550, it's just a different machine.

650 with a case and bullet feeder though...oh it's heaven. Only thing better is obviously a 1050.

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Just adding general info here as I'm sure this thread will come up in future searches.

Looks like Hornady made a 'silent change' on their case feeder; just replaced an 'older model' for someone posting in the Non-Dillon section.

I've got the 'new' case feeder model myself, but from the pics of new vs old, looks like any comments about 're-clocking' the collator tub vs the funnel opening are probably moot now..

http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=184675

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Thanks all for the replies. I appreciate all the info. I was sold on the dillon originally but then saw the price difference so i decided to ask around about the other options...

I was in the exact same boat. Only I fell for the LNL because at the time they were giving away 1000 free bullets with it's purchase and .45 230 XTPs were on the list. Like I said I bit, because I wanted to get 650 performance for less money. After setting up for 4 or 5 calibers and getting the case feeder for it, the piss poor case feeder and poor primer seating were the straws that broke the camel's back. A 650 purchased from Brian resides on my bench now. Not a single issue that I can recall that I didn't cause myself. I got 650 performance in the end but even with the free bullets I would have been money ahead just getting it from the start.

Here's some light reading for you to help pick between 550 or 650.

http://www.brianenos.com/pages/dillon.html

Edited by Shadowrider

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Yea...never understood why people try to save a few hundred dollars when in the end, it's going to end up costing you more!

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I would go with the 650 based on the idea that you're only loading a couple of pistol calibers. You'll get great ammo in record time with no fuss.

Also, resale value on the 650 makes this a low risk proposition over a few year time horizon. (Although the 550 maintains it's value relatively well, I see too many people realize the advantages of the 650 with regard to loading pistol ammo wishing they had started with the 650.)

FYI the 650 is great press to start out on especially if you're loading pistol ammo. Easy Pleezy...

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I had to reclocking the case feeder bowl to the lower portion. It was dropping cases to hit the edge of the chute and then they flipped. I fixed it with elongating the holes and reorienting it.

At least this issue seems to be fixed as there is a new case feeder 'silent update.' Looking at pics of the earlier one vs current, the opening from the collator is lined up vertically with the funnel drop tube.

What caliber(s) rifle did you run into problems loading?

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I had to reclocking the case feeder bowl to the lower portion. It was dropping cases to hit the edge of the chute and then they flipped. I fixed it with elongating the holes and reorienting it.

At least this issue seems to be fixed as there is a new case feeder 'silent update.' Looking at pics of the earlier one vs current, the opening from the collator is lined up vertically with the funnel drop tube.

What caliber(s) rifle did you run into problems loading?

Every caliber was a total PITA compared to the 650. 9mm was the worst and my most common caliber. But 10mm and .380 as well.

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Yea...never understood why people try to save a few hundred dollars when in the end, it's going to end up costing you more!

I don't know that it costs more to load on a crappy machine but it makes about as much sense as buying shoes based on price alone regardless of how they fit.

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I own a LNL and have some of the same issues as mentioned here, specifically with the primer system. My recs based upon my experience and lots of time on the boards:

If you are looking to high volumes of a few calibers - Dillon 650 with case feeder

If you looking for simple/ rugged and possibly staying with the same size primer when you change calibers - Dillon 550

If you are looking at low to medium quantities, don't want to spend a lot of money, and are switching between large and small primers - Hornady LNL.

I got my LNL as it was cheaper than a 550, I got some bullets for free, it had a 5th station to allow a powder cop and I wanted to switch calibers/ primers quickly. Seeing folks say the loved their Dillon so much they had 2 (one left with large primers, one with small) pushed me there. I have had issues, but overall happy with putting out 4000-6000 rds total/ yr from up to 9 different calibers

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550 is not slow to convert. I prefer it to the multi die setup you have with the LnL and all those silly bushings. It's easier to just pop out the toolhead, With the LnL I was always fighting that little springs under the slider. It's hard to reach. Dillon has stuff easy to reach. In the end they both take about the same time if you have to convert all the same stuff. So it's really just a wash/what you are used to.

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I've never reloaded on any machine other than my Dillon 650, so I have no comparisons to give you. But I can give you encouragement to dive into the 650. I absolutely love mine. I was a bit leary initially of diving right into a progressive because of some of the "legacy" ideas that you should start with a single stage or a 550 non-auto indexing press, but I'm glad I ignored that. I've loaded around 6k rounds of 9mm and 45ACP in the year that I've had the press. The learning curve was easy for me. I'm fairly mechanically minded, so it didn't take long to figure out the workings of the thing. A few issues I had that were easy tweaks or no big deal:

- When first set up I had a lot of issues with crushing primers. The instructions say to adjust the case holder arm at the primer station so it doesn't quite rest on the case, but I have found that adjusting the arm to give a very slight hold on the case makes the primers line up reliably. Now the only primer issues I run into is when I come across the tight/crimped pocket 9mm cases, or a small primer 45ACP that got through my checks.

- I have very occasionally had a case come down the from the case feeder upside down, but it happens no more than probably 1 case every 2,000 rounds.

- Very occasionally a case will not be inserted all the way into station one and will not slide easily into the decap/resize die, so I have to give it a little nudge. I think it might either be rebounding out of station 1 because I'm running the press too fast, or I need to clean the face of the piece that pushes the case into position. Maybe it's sticking a little. Happens maybe 1 case out of 1,000 rounds.

- It indexes pretty snappy stock, causing some powder spillage. I clipped the spring, which helped. I tried the bearing mod but it didn't really work well for me. In the end, I've adapted my technique to sort of "catch" and soften the case arrival at station 4 with my left hand when placing the bullet. It's a totally unconscious action now, just part of loading, and it works. And it's free!

- As everyone knows, the spent primer cup and unused primer ski jump aren't ideal, but they aren't a biggie to me. I placed a little electrical tape along the lip of the spent primer cup and now don't get any spent primers on the floor. There is the nipple/hose/bottle mod, but I haven't felt the need to bother doing that. The skijump isn't an issue because I know when I have missed a primer, and just place my finger over the end of the ramp on the next cycle of the press to block the primer flying.

It really has been a joy. It's solid, works great, is pretty, and I'm proud to have it on my bench.

Couple recommendations:

- Get the "As it should BE" kit if buying from Brian. The roller handle, strong mount, and bullet tray are all things I couldn't live without.

- Definitely get the case feeder. The XL650 seems like it would be crippled without it.

- I also recommend the toolholder and wrenches that bolt to the press. Makes it really handy to have all of the wrenches you might need right at hand all the time.

11223086684_7280bfc2f5_c.jpg

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I went Hornady because it was cheaper and it was available. I found shell plates online cheap and more stores (both online and B&M) carry parts should I need/want to make upgrades or need replacements.

Both have great customer service. I don't think you could go wrong with either a 650 or LNL AP

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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I went Hornady because it was cheaper and it was available. I found shell plates online cheap and more stores (both online and B&M) carry parts should I need/want to make upgrades or need replacements. Both have great customer service. I don't think you could go wrong with either a 650 or LNL APSent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Not really true on the customer service. Hornady warrants when you are the original owner and Dillon warrants when the press is a Dillon, big difference. A buddy of mine just found out the hard way. He bought a used lnl and needed parts that broke on him. Hornady wouldn't warrant as he was not the original owner.

He spent a week trying to get the press and Hornady to step up, finally he went and bought a Dillon 650. He told me the Dillon was just built better, period.

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I got a 550 when I was 15. I have had it for years. I had a LNL for three weeks. I sold it and bought a 650 after the powder system failed on me. I bought a 650. 550 and 650 are great! 650 slightly more complicated than 550. The 650 is faster but not that much better then 650.

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I started about 6 months ago on the 550b. Really like the machine and have the conversion kits where can do .45acp, 9mm, .38spcl, and .223. Got into shooting uspsa single stack with .45acp and seem to spend all my time reloading .45's as I go through at least 500 rounds a week between practicing and matches, and more than that until time changed and is dark most days when I get home. I just got in before I left for holidays my new 650 with case feeder that I'm going to set up dedicated to my .45acp rounds. Glad I did because just shot a match with my son who got hooked just like Dad, and I'll probably end up having to load for the two of us in .45acp.

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I got a 550 when I was 15. I have had it for years. I had a LNL for three weeks. I sold it and bought a 650 after the powder system failed on me. I bought a 650. 550 and 650 are great! 650 slightly more complicated than 550. The 650 is faster but not that much better then 650.

How exactly did the 'powder system fail on you'?

That's definitely a new one on me. Not too many (no one) puts a Dillon powder measure on other presses, but there are more than a couple running the Hornady PM, so truly confused on this statement.. ?

???

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Normal wear and tear isn't covered but anything that breaks other than that gets replaced for free.

Owning Dillons for almost 30 years now I have never paid for a single part for a SD, 550 or 650, regardless if I messed it up or it just finally wore out.

How exactly did the 'powder system fail on you'?

That's definitely a new one on me. Not too many (no one) puts a Dillon powder measure on other presses, but there are more than a couple running the Hornady PM, so truly confused on this statement.. ?

Unless you have an old Dillon powder measure you would have to add parts to other presses to operate the fail safe linkage, that is likely the main reason you wouldn't see them on other presses.

I wouldn't call it a "powder system fail" but the only problem I had with the PM on my LNL's was when the powder measure self quick detached and jumped from the press. More of a bushing issue than PM issue but it never happen with any dies just the PM.

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Im really happy with my LNL. My only other experience is with my lee single stage though

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Another vote for the 650. I had a 550 for a few years and upgraded. Kicked myself for not going 650 out of the gate. The auto index is the biggie for me. Almost NO way to miss a charge or make a mistake. I have loaded thousands of rounds of several cals and NEVER had a squib. Buy once and cry once.

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I started loading with a square deal, had an L and L for about a week, and now have a 550. The square deal works pretty well, but is a bit of a nuisance to change calibers. The 550 works really well, and is a breeze to change over. The Hornady was a hairy nuisance, so it went on down the road.

I've only seen a 650 in use at friends' houses, but it seems like it would be a big fast press for one caliber, but not one you'd want to convert back and forth all the time.

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