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Lee Classic Turret vs Dillon 550


pealandco
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I just started reloading 9mm a few weeks ago w/ a Lee Classic Turret and dies. So far it has been OK, but I keep hearing that Dillon gear is a good upgrade over the Lee products. I am thinking about keeping the Lee Classic Turret around for load development and maybe dedicated decapping since I don't want to get dirty stuff near the Dillon. Dillon would be used for production. I do a fair amount of USPSA/IDPA shooting and the volume the Lee puts out just isn't there for me.

Also, for those of you with Dillon 550's - should I go with the Dillon dies and how do they compare with the Lee dies? How do you like the powder measure? I'm using the Lee Auto Disk today, which I like because it does a good job of not leaking fine flake powders like Silhouette. I have a hatred for the Lee Auto Drum because of the leakage issues. Any other upgrades from Dillon that are recommended for the 550?

Edited by pealandco
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I recently changed from a Lee 1000 to a Dillon 750. There is a huge difference in quality in the two presses and I wish I’d have got the 750 years ago. I still use the Lee dies. I have used Universal Clays and H335 powders and the Dillon powder measure has been more consistent and overall better than the Lee powder measures. 

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I started with the Lee classic cast turret. I chased the accuracy that machine, with cheap dies made, for a long time with a single stage. I upgraded to a Dillon 650 about two years ago. I love the 650. I see very little advantage a 550 has over the Lee. With the inline fabrication auto case kicker setup, I clocked myself at about 350 rounds per hour, using the auto drum measure. That's with 9mm on the Lee.

 

For not much more, you can get a 650/750. I've heard a fair bit of issue with the 750's priming system. I've never had issues with primers going off in my 650, what I hear is the best way to avoid that is to keep the priming disc clean.

 

Another reason I advocate for the 650 class. While you may not need the full volume it's capable of, it allows you to spend less time loading, and either more time shooting or more time with the family (that can be a bad thing)

 

Even without the case feeder on my 650, I was able to load world faster on the 650 than the Lee. If you've got/can get the extra cash for the 650(try to find one used, I'm sure there's a number of people who sold 650's to buy a new 750). But if your budget is fixed on the 550, I don't think you'll be disappointed... The blue Kool aid... She ain't bad, ain't bad at all...

 

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, nhyrum said:

I started with the Lee classic cast turret. I chased the accuracy that machine, with cheap dies made, for a long time with a single stage. I upgraded to a Dillon 650 about two years ago. I love the 650. I see very little advantage a 550 has over the Lee. With the inline fabrication auto case kicker setup, I clocked myself at about 350 rounds per hour, using the auto drum measure. That's with 9mm on the Lee.

For not much more, you can get a 650/750. I've heard a fair bit of issue with the 750's priming system. I've never had issues with primers going off in my 650, what I hear is the best way to avoid that is to keep the priming disc clean.

Another reason I advocate for the 650 class. While you may not need the full volume it's capable of, it allows you to spend less time loading, and either more time shooting or not time with the family (that can be a bad thing)

Even without the case feeder on my 650, I was able to load world faster on the 650 than the Lee. If you've got/can get the extra cash for the 650(try to find one used, I'm sure there's a number of people who sold 650's to buy a new 750). But if your budget is fixed on the 550, I don't think you'll be disappointed... The blue Kool aid... She ain't bad, ain't bad at all...

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

 

Good info - guess I really need to take a look at the 650 then. And yes, I am looking to minimize my time producing a given load (development is another thing) once I have everything dialed in. 

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On 6/21/2020 at 6:10 PM, pealandco said:

 

So, I should skip the 550 completely?

Yes.  Unless you are loading longer rifle cartridges than the 650/750 can handle, they are far more versatile and faster loaders.   By all means get the case feeder too.  

 

I used to own one of the original 3-hole Lee turret presses and found it functional but rather crude.  Leed dies are adequate but their "Factory Crimp Dies" for pistol cartridges are unique and well worth having.  Otherwise their products are meh.

Edited by SteelCityShooter
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Loaded a ton of bullets with a Lee progressive... had my share of heartaches and broken parts, but was what I could afford back then. Went to a Dillon 550 and wished I did it years earlier. Have had no issues using my Lee dies, but I only load pistol. Great product and well made !

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I started with Lee single, had the turret, moved up to the 1000 and after a whole bunch of frustration bought a 650. 
 

Compared to the Lee a 650/750 can produce at least double the output, with better consistency and accuracy of the finished round. But it also costs a whole lot more than Lee products. 
 

These days I load with a 1050 and considering the difference in cost I should have skipped the 650 and gone right to 1050. 
 

If budget is a big factor and one doesn’t need a lot of ammo Lee presses work just fine. 

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I had the old 3 hole Lee Turret 30 years ago and hated it.  I have a 550 and two 650's now.  I like the 650 a lot better.  I have used the Dillon Pistol dies but I use the Lee 4 die pistol sets except for the seating die, I use the Dillon there.  I like the Lee FCD in the last station.  If your not shooting a lot, the Lee machine will wok.  I have a friend who shoots 3 gun with his two teenage boys.  He kept breaking parts on the Lee Turret press and now has 3 Dillons.  While I really like the Lee 4 die pistol set, after I got a Sinclair concentricity gauge, I have little respect for the Lee Rifle dies and Forster is my go to choice for more precision rifle stuff.  The Dillon powder measure is more than adequate for pistol.  I get a little spilled power.  You can go up a 1/10th of a grain unlike the random jumps on the Lee disks.  I you keep powder in it and have the fail-safe rod hooked up, its gonna drop powder.  Its gonna cost roughly a grand to go with a 750 with the case feeder, but you will not regret it.  Selling used yields about 80% of new prices in the Dillon world if you don't like it.  My wife told me to get a 1050 and I wish I would have.  My presses are stock.  I recommend the strong mounts.

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14 hours ago, pealandco said:

 

So, I should skip the 550 completely?

Yes, I would go straight to the 750.

 

I had a 650 years ago, got out of the game for a while, sold my press and gear.  I then got back into it and bought a 550 and wish I would have went with a 650/750.

 

Don't get me wrong, the  550 is  a great press especially if you are going to be loading several different calibers  including rifle but the 650/750 is a nice step up with the auto index and shell feeder. 

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32 minutes ago, DWS said:

Yes, I would go straight to the 750.

 

I had a 650 years ago, got out of the game for a while, sold my press and gear.  I then got back into it and bought a 550 and wish I would have went with a 650/750.

 

Don't get me wrong, the  550 is  a great press especially if you are going to be loading several different calibers  including rifle but the 650/750 is a nice step up with the auto index and shell feeder. 

 

OK, I think that I'm sold on the 750 over the 550. I also like the fact that I can use the powder check on the 750. Reading recently about the issues that people have had with manual auto-indexing turrets and double charges or squibs makes the powder check appealing. I'm usually very diligent when I reload, but mistakes happen. 

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2 hours ago, pealandco said:

 

OK, I think that I'm sold on the 750 over the 550. I also like the fact that I can use the powder check on the 750. Reading recently about the issues that people have had with manual auto-indexing turrets and double charges or squibs makes the powder check appealing. I'm usually very diligent when I reload, but mistakes happen. 


I have a 550 and a Square Deal. Both are good machines. I prefer the 550 and manual index over the auto index of the SDB. Personal preference. I would offer that a good light on your reloading station is more important than a powder check station. Something to consider. 
 

I had a Lee turret Press and gave it away. Still have a couple of RCBS single stage presses I picked up along the way. 
 

Whether you choose a 550 or 750 you will be much happier with those than Lee 

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6 hours ago, pealandco said:

 

1K-2K/mo is where I would like to be.

Any of the Dillons work be able to make that happen.  The Dillon is a better Machine than the Lee but that's why it cost about 4 times as much once your get everything for it. 

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 Like many others here I started with a 550 back in the 90's and ended up with 4x550 and 3x650.... We are not hoarders, we are collectors!

 

Anyway, for larger volumes I prefer the 650 but for smaller volumes and load development I use the 550. For precision rifle (308 and 6BR) I use a tricked out 550 (but without the Dillon powder measure). Both presses have their virtues I think.

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I started with a Lee Turret press many years ago.  I still use it as a single stage and for pulling bullets with the Hornaday cam lock bullet puller.  I upgraded to a XL650 after about 1 year.

I still use Lee dies in all of my presses.

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Similar story to the rest, started with the Lee Turret press a few years ago and after 8 months upgraded to a Dillon 550. I almost cried tears of joy after the first few rounds compared to reloading on the turret press. I reloaded over 15,000 rounds in a year and a half and just upgraded to the Dillon 750. 

Recommend the 750 with a case feeder for sure. It’s a little bit more of a machine than the 550 and took some tweaking but after a few days she’s all dialed in. I recommend just going with Dillon dies too.  As someone told me prior to getting the 550, “you’re always going to want to go faster”

 

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On 6/22/2020 at 7:18 AM, pealandco said:

 

OK, I think that I'm sold on the 750 over the 550. I also like the fact that I can use the powder check on the 750. Reading recently about the issues that people have had with manual auto-indexing turrets and double charges or squibs makes the powder check appealing. I'm usually very diligent when I reload, but mistakes happen. 

 

I like that decision. Especially given your 2k/month intentions.

 

I went from a Classic Turret to a 650. The main reason I skipped the 550 was that I did not want to give up the auto indexing.

 

At 2k/month you should definitely consider a case feeder. 

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I think reloading style is something to think about as well. Do you want to sit down and reload for a few hours at a time to load for a few months or load a few hundred here and there when you have time.

 

A little bit here and there, the 550 works but if you want to load for 4 hours straight I'm not sure I'd want to do that on a 550. Right now I load a few hundred here and there when I have time and the 550 serves that purpose well

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