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First machine recommendation


mcmmotorsports
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I am THINKING about making the leap into reloading. I currently only shoot 9mm Minor in competition, maybe 600 rounds per month, little more, little less depending on practice.

Might be adding a .40 limited or 9mm open gun in the future and want to explore reloading machine options. Sure $1,500 for a XL750 with options would be nice, and yes, I know you can buy used, but what are some recommendations for NEW machines in the sub $600 price range? I know everyone is going to have their own preference, but are the Lee and Hornady offerings viable options or is Dillon really the only choice?

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16 minutes ago, MemphisMechanic said:

If you’re serious about a $600 budget? My personal recommendation is a 550.

 

Get your feet wet and get proficient, then we won’t have to talk you into a 1050-level machine. You’ll do it to yourself. 👍

Thx

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I picked up my first press, a 550, this last winter to get into reloading with the intention of getting an 1100 or Evo later. I like the 550 as caliber change overs are cheap and easy. Currently only load 9mm but I'm gearing up for 40, 380, 223, 300 BO and 45.

 

At the time, a 550 could be had for a steal and I saw some crazy cheap local deals after I picked up my press and begged my buddies to buy but none had any interest in reloading. Flash forward to covid and it's hard to find a good used deal unless you're really patient as the cost benefit to reload is a lot better now.

 

As a new reloading buying all the gear, realize the press is only about 1/2 of your total cost if you end up with a 550 as there is a ton of extra gear you need. Scale, case gauges, tumblers, chrono, dies, etc. So if you're budgeting 600 for a press, budget another 500 for the rest of the gear.

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8 minutes ago, Intheshaw1 said:

I picked up my first press, a 550, this last winter to get into reloading with the intention of getting an 1100 or Evo later. I like the 550 as caliber change overs are cheap and easy. Currently only load 9mm but I'm gearing up for 40, 380, 223, 300 BO and 45.

 

At the time, a 550 could be had for a steal and I saw some crazy cheap local deals after I picked up my press and begged my buddies to buy but none had any interest in reloading. Flash forward to covid and it's hard to find a good used deal unless you're really patient as the cost benefit to reload is a lot better now.

 

As a new reloading buying all the gear, realize the press is only about 1/2 of your total cost if you end up with a 550 as there is a ton of extra gear you need. Scale, case gauges, tumblers, chrono, dies, etc. So if you're budgeting 600 for a press, budget another 500 for the rest of the gear.

I appreciate the info. While I know I will be spending more than $600, I don’t want to jump in with a $1,500 machine. Now, if I have $1,500 invested in my 550 setup then so be it, but just starting out, I’m okay operating with the bare minimums.

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51 minutes ago, mcmmotorsports said:

I appreciate the info. While I know I will be spending more than $600, I don’t want to jump in with a $1,500 machine. Now, if I have $1,500 invested in my 550 setup then so be it, but just starting out, I’m okay operating with the bare minimums.

Then the 550 will easily have you covered for 600 or so rounds a month. That's probably 2 hours of time but I usually jusy load 100 here and there when I need the ammo.

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Have you seen the video on this thread? https://forums.brianenos.com/topic/285018-red-lnl-ap-vs-blue-xl750/

 

Here is my $.02.  

 

Short Version:   I have the Hornady LNL.  I have never used a Dillon.  If I was going to stick to a strict $600 or less budget I would get the LNL every time.  If I was willing to spend a little more I might would consider the 750.

 

Long Version to support the short above.  You might only be shooting 600 rounds a month now and you might be ok with basic and simple to start with. But, you have already said if you end up $1500 into it eventually then so be it.  I assume this means you want the flexibility for the system to grow.  I think you need a bare minimum of at least 5 stations on the press to grow without giving up too much.  I think the LNL and the 750 are the same class of machine, but you can get the LNL for cheaper than the 550.  The 550 only has 4 stations as well, so really it would be between the LNL and the 750 for me.

 

When I first setup my LNL, I manually fed cases and bullets and visually checked powder.  I have since added a case feeder, powder check die, and I 3d printed a bullet feeder.   With 5 stations I have 1 de-cap and size, 2 prime, expand/bell and powder, 3 powder check, 4 bullet drop, 5 seat and crimp.  This allows me to load at a pretty good pace safely. Once I got the timing and indexing dialed in, it has been solid.  If you have spent some time on the forums, all presses are going to take some time to dial in...even the $3K Mark 7.  To switch over to load another caliber is about as fast and easy as it gets.  The LNL has been a solid press for me.  

 

But, I cannot deny the following Dillon has.  Dillon is the defacto standard.  The after market for Dillon is much better.  The user base is much bigger.  If I were in the market again, and was willing to spend a little more,  I would give the 750 a serious consideration, but I could not tell you that is because I think the 750 is that much better or because I just want to taste the Dillon kool aid! 

 

 

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I load for 9mm, 10mm, 300 BO, and 223 on a Hornady LnL. Cost wasn’t the deciding factor... I like to be able to buy parts and pieces locally, it’s simple, and I prefer to use die sets that I already have. And lastly, change over is less than 10 minutes for most of the transitions.

They are pretty cheap on sale, so I’m thinking about getting another one and leaving it setup for rifles and the other setup for pistols.


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1 minute ago, terrapin said:

I load for 9mm, 10mm, 300 BO, and 223 on a Hornady LnL. Cost wasn’t the deciding factor... I like to be able to buy parts and pieces locally, it’s simple, and I prefer to use die sets that I already have. And lastly, change over is less than 10 minutes for most of the transitions.

They are pretty cheap on sale, so I’m thinking about getting another one and leaving it setup for rifles and the other setup for pistols.


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Thanks for the input

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20 hours ago, mcmmotorsports said:

I am THINKING about  reloading. I shoot 9mm Minor in competition, maybe 600 rounds per month.

Might add .40 limited  or  9mm Major.

 

$100/month for factory 9mm ammo ….

 

Or spend $ 1,000 for reloading equipment   PLUS   $50/month for components.

 

The 550 sounds like the way to go, but an alternative is NOT to GO at all.

You won't save much by reloading  9mm Minor, in the current environment.

 

Reloading becomes more important with .40 or 9mm Major, but for now,

you could save yourself a hassle

 

UNLESS

 

it gets more difficult to purchase ammo next year.

 

No suggestion here, merely an alternative viewpoint.    :) 

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Yes, that is a huge consideration too. Still weighing all the options. Might wait until I settle on what division I am going to shoot and how many matches I plan on doing. Once I know my actual round count, I can figure out if it is worth the investment.

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I wasn’t even shooting in competition when I bought my 550 from Brian’s store back in 2012. I just want to have one in order to learn the intricacies of reloading. I’m glad I did since I learned a lot from it.
 

Six years later, I shot my first USPSA match and got hooked. My ammo usage had tripled so I bought the 650. Reloading didn’t really save me money but I was able to shoot more with better ammo. It was also very relaxing and therapeutic every time I go to my mancave (reloading room) to reload and listen to my music at the same time.

 

Now I’m patiently waiting for my 1100 to arrive from Dillon.

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Do yourself a favor and find a reloader who lives near you and load a few hundred rounds on their machine (if you're in San Diego you can use mine).

 

I learned to load on a friend's 550, so I bought a 650.  The 550->650 step is more significant than the 650->1050 step.

 

In the reloading math above, the cost of the machine should not considered an expense, but an asset with minimal depreciation.  Dillon machines hold their value well (even appreciate over some periods of time).

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4 minutes ago, kneelingatlas said:

In the reloading math above, the cost of the machine should not considered an expense, but an asset with minimal depreciation.  Dillon machines hold their value well (even appreciate over some periods of time).

Good point, thank you!

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I agree used 650. For a decade I was trapped on a 550 because it met my needs but I still had to do a lot of tedious hand movements . I started shooting alot more pistol.and had to go progressive. The other thing to note is 600 bucks may not get you all the way there. 550 with dies and no accessories will get you most of the way to 600 you still need cleaning equipment/scale/manuals/misc tools/ sturdy bench

Another alternative is a rockchucker package with Hornady locknload bushings. This will be tedius to start but will allow you to gather accessories and won't go to waste when you pick up a second press later. Can be dedicated bullet puller/deprimer

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I have a 650 w case and bullet feeders for 9mm, and a 550 for everything else. I loaded exclusively on a 550 for many years and find it to be a more enjoyable reloading experience. Yes, more manual but also more therapeutic. Reloading on the 650 is purely done due to volume requirements and in same ways, has taken the hobby out of reloading for me. 650 is also much quirkier than the 550, which becomes annoying when it breaks your rhythm. 

 

If I was shooting 600 rds/month and planned to start loading a bunch of other calibers, I'd get a 550. If it's 600 rds/month but soon to be 1k+ and only a caliber or two, the 650/750 starts to make more sense.

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Personally I'd say minimum 650 to start. Even though you're only shooting 600 a month, there's no reason you only have to load that amount. I generally load by the ammo can. When 2-3 30 cal cans are loaded up I'm done until I'm getting low. I load rifle constantly on a single stage but for pistol and .223 I load that by the thousands and a couple times a year. A 30 call can holds 1100 - 1200 rounds of 9mm. 

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On 6/19/2020 at 8:28 AM, kneelingatlas said:

Do yourself a favor and find a reloader who lives near you and load a few hundred rounds on their machine (if you're in San Diego you can use mine).

 

I learned to load on a friend's 550, so I bought a 650.  The 550->650 step is more significant than the 650->1050 step.

 

In the reloading math above, the cost of the machine should not considered an expense, but an asset with minimal depreciation.  Dillon machines hold their value well (even appreciate over some periods of time).

^^This^^  

The major difference between factory and reloads is with reloads you can cater the load to your gun.  You only shoot 9mm.  9mm can be had for stupid low prices.  If I was only shooting one caliber, I would buy factory.  Save the money and buy more ammo.  Have you ever heard of Gunbot?  Here's a link.

http://www.gunbot.net/ammo/pistol/9mm/

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4 hours ago, stick said:

^^This^^  

The major difference between factory and reloads is with reloads you can cater the load to your gun.  You only shoot 9mm.  9mm can be had for stupid low prices.  If I was only shooting one caliber, I would buy factory.  Save the money and buy more ammo.  Have you ever heard of Gunbot?  Here's a link.

http://www.gunbot.net/ammo/pistol/9mm/

9mm used to be stupid cheap which is why I avoided reloading. With rebates, I would get federal black box for around 13 cents per round, which is only slightly more than what it costs to reload.

 

Now, even 9mm went up to around the mid 20s, if you can find it. What I hate about gunbot is that half the time the links are broken or an item is out of stock when marked in stock. Clicked on 15 different links, none were in stock.

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