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How do you decide which brand to go with for presses?


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Alright thanks guys. I'm actually sorta familiar with the Dillon 550B, but I've never seen the Hornady before in person. Would you say the Hornady is just as good? There's a rebate promotion running... and the Ammo Plant seems pretty affordable yet tempting compared to a Dillon 1050.

ETA - I'm not anti-Dillon. I would have happily taken an XL650 but came across a solid deal on the LnL AP. I'm sure I'd be about as happy on a 650 - possibly happier w/casefeeder, less so on primer handling but close enough to a wash for the loading I do. I still wouldn't have gone with a 550.

There's a Heathen in the house!!!!!!! (Just kidding. Wanted to be the first...)

I've been running a 550 for the past decade. At the time I bought it, I couldn't even afford the 550 but had just thrown my Lee Pro 1000 into the driveway and backed over it a couple of times, so I had no choice. If I were to do it again today, I'd go the 650 route... but I've been promoted and have a couple raises under my belt, so nowadays I can afford it. Saying that, the 550 works so well, I just can't convince myself to buy another loader when I already have one that works great. And I sure aint selling my 550!

I just looked at Brownells, and the Lock-N-Load Progressive is on sale, so you could probably get it for ballpark the same price as a 550 after you account for the dies that come with a 550; if I'm reading the ad correctly, no dies accompany the LNL at that price. I've never run a Hornady (just as Johnson184 isn't anti-Dillon, I'm not anti-Hornady) so I can't say I've compared one vs. the other, but I'd probably still choose a 550 if I couldn't afford a 650, if for no other reason than Dillon's customer service is enough to tip the scales their way.

Correct - no dies or shell plate come with the LnL AP out of the box. It does come with 5 LnL bushings, which is basically the 'equivalent' of a Dillon toolhead (it's of course not a toolhead, but they way the LnL APs swap dies), minor nicety is as you don't always fill all stations, it works out a bit cheaper across N calibers vs toolheads + conversion bits.

LOL on the 'no choice'...after putting the press under your tires. ;)

I found out a good friend just bought a progressive press, so I went to help him get it sorted...somehow, somewhere, he picked up a Loadmaster. I am now crossing fingers I/we won't want to throw it out a window - it's a serious Rube Goldberg machine, reminds me of the old kids game Mousetrap building crazy things..

Hornady's CS is solid, and they do make continuous improvements to the press, from updating the case feeder (no more 're-clocking' the collator) to the priming system, etc. I've gotten a few updated parts for free w/out issue, although they don't AFAIK have a 'found a rusted press in a barn, send it to us' arrangement.

It's an understandably tough call if someone already has a 550 - do they 'need' to upgrade to an added station + auto-indexing, regardless of which brand...for most, no, but some 'want' to...if someone is considering going 550 from the start, it's more palatable to just step up now to a 5 station auto-indexing setup (whether LnL AP, XL650, or maybe the new RCBS).

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Well shoot... I ordered a Dillon 1050.

But that still leaves me needing a press to load my precision rifle rounds (especially 338 Lapua which can't be loaded on a 1050)

Trying to decide if I should go with a Forster Co-Ax or a Dillon 550B just for 338 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor.

Still need a 50BMG press too. Looking at the Dillon BFR, but there's really no good reviews or videos of it out there in action. Wondering if anyone even bought one lol. Also considering the Hornady 50BMG press for the quick change die changes or a Lee Classic Cast. I'm wondering if I should just go this route since I could probably also load 338 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor on the Hornady or Lee press.

Do you have any reloading experience, or the 1050 is going to be your first press??

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I started reloading about 6 years ago on a Lee press. I quickly switched to a Hornady LNL AP and really liked it, it ran well for the 5 years or so. After about a year I added a case feeder then found myself looking for a bullet feeder.... It still wasn't as nice as a Dillon. I switched to a Dillon 1050 this year, I have no plans to go backwards.

I don't think many of us would go to a LnL AP or 650 from a 1050 either! ;)

Some of the Hornady/Dillon conversations are tough - Hornady does/has made numerous incremental improvements over time, but someone looking through forums and reading of experiences from some time ago has no way to even guess this.

Dillon's case feeder system is IMO a bit better due to the caliber specific inserts - while the Hornady and Dillon feeder plates are identical (save a few $ and buy whichever can be found cheaper), it would be nice to have had a bit less tweaking across calibers to get the LnL case feeder to ~99% (I wound up making some home-made funnel inserts, a few other minor bits). To their credit, they did redesign the collator portion and funnel to not require 'clocking' from the older/original models.

I like the Hornady PM, bushings and priming system > Dillons, and Dillon's case feeder and fit/finish (not by much) > Hornady's, but YMMV as always.

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Well shoot... I ordered a Dillon 1050.

But that still leaves me needing a press to load my precision rifle rounds (especially 338 Lapua which can't be loaded on a 1050)

Trying to decide if I should go with a Forster Co-Ax or a Dillon 550B just for 338 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor.

Still need a 50BMG press too. Looking at the Dillon BFR, but there's really no good reviews or videos of it out there in action. Wondering if anyone even bought one lol. Also considering the Hornady 50BMG press for the quick change die changes or a Lee Classic Cast. I'm wondering if I should just go this route since I could probably also load 338 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor on the Hornady or Lee press.

Do you have any reloading experience, or the 1050 is going to be your first press??

Been reloading for a while on a buddy's 650 for a few months so I'm not a complete novice to reloading.

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I am fortunate enough to have had a Cabela's open down the street. Being able to see a few different brand presses under one roof was really helpful. Buying stuff online just plain sucks if you never have the chance to see or feel for yourself. Cabela's didn't sell the brand I bought but I was able to see one at a local shooter's place.

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For single stage, there's only two that consistently get rave reviews. Rockchucker and Forster Co-Ax. If you need the very best match grade rounds that can be made by mankind, Forster. If good enough is good enough, Rockchucker.

Progressive presses kinda go like this...

I have a very limited budget, I don't need to make more than a few thousand rounds a month, I'm rather mechanically inclined and don't mind tinkering: Lee Loadmaster.

I'm a rebel and want to use a machine that's different from everyone else's: RCBS Pro2000 or ProChucker

I need match grade ammo but can't afford a Dillon 1050: Hornady LnL (sorry 650 lovers, the LnL is more consistent)

I drank the blue Kool-Aid but can't afford a Dillon 650: Dillon 550

I need a ton of ammo and/or can't be bothered to own equipment that doesn't flat work: Dillon 650

I need a metric assload of ammo and/or need more than 5 stations and/or prefer to cry once buy once: Dillon 1050

I'm fabulously wealthy: Camdex

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A Camdex 2100 is a hair north of $25,000 with a 6-9 month waiting list.

Maximum cyclic rate is 4,400 rounds per hour. Shorter rounds like 9mm need to run slower, around 3,500 rounds per hour to prevent powder spillage.

They make even better machines but those are for people who are serious about making ammo.

hd0hA4U.jpg

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camdex is really commercial only. apart from the $30K to buy a machine fully setup the way you want it they are just not anywhere near practical for stuff like load development etc. They are fantastic if you need to make 30,000 rounds a week (which is still only running the machine probably 1 day or 2 days per week) but anything less than that doesn't make much sense.

autodrive 1050s have their limitations but considering a fully loaded 1050 with bullet and case feeders, auto primer feeder and autodrive is still under $5K that still makes the most sense for a 'sporting shooter' who needs bulk ammo in one calibre.

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I don't think many of us would go to a LnL AP or 650 from a 1050 either!

I already owned several 650's and 1050's before I ever bought a 550. Sometimes you don't want a tractor for a job you can do quicker with a shovel...

It bridges the gap between a turret and the others quite well while keeping conversions quick.

Edited by jmorris
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  • 3 weeks later...

Dillion, without a doubt for the progressive (either 550 or 650 depending on your needs). On the single stage, the issue is more subjective. The Rockchucker is without a doubt a great press and I own one. However, I upgraded to a Forster two years ago and have never loved a press so much. The difference is dramatic on precision rifle loads. The variability between presses is a great deal less and the ability to change dies is much faster. Spend once, cry once! I use it to reload 6.5CM, 260Rem, and 338 Lapua.

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I went with the Hornady LNL AP when comparing to a D650 due to price. I also like how easy it is to switch calibers and like how the turret rotates 1/2 way on the way up and then 1/2 way on the way down. Customer service has been great. 100% no questions asked. Plus, I prefer red (Go Bucks, Michigan sux!).

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know people love to bash Lee products but I've been happy with mine for the most part. I have 3 Loadmasters, a pro 1000 and 2 turret presses. I also keep 2 singles on the bench for different processes and for Christmas I treated myself to a LnL Ammo Plant. I bought it with all of the bells and whistles because I started pro-staffing for Hornady and got a really good deal on it. I really like the AP. Its a lot faster than the LM and is built stronger. Once you learn how to keep the Lee LM running, it will produce great ammo for you for years. I load all my 9mm on it while the AP is dedicated to 45.

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