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Discussion Starter #1
I've wanted a progressive press for pistol for a while now, mostly since I got my progressive shotshell press and it spoiled me. I had about $400 to spend. I was pretty well sold on the Hornady LNL AP, and I was all set to order it. I went in and ended up with a Dillon SDB, since I am really only loading .40 S&W at the moment. That was Monday, it came in today and I cut out of work early to go pick it up. I'm pretty mechanically inclined anyway, so the press took about 30 minutes from taped box to cycling brass. It comes about 90% set up, literally just install a few parts, screw on a brass catcher and primer catcher and adjust your powder measure. I'm not counting the 4 trips to the hardware store to get the right bolts. The first time they were too big, the second they were not long enough, the third one of them was a metric mixed in, 4th time is a charm. Anyway, I ended up going back to work for about an hour, but the whole time all I could think about was cranking out ammo. When I got home, I did just that. I had to adjust it a bit, even though it said it was adjusted and they included some test cartridges. I cranked out 100 and went to the shooting range. Awesomeness, accuracy was good, function was perfect, I only had one high primer (doesn't lock the press up if you do that, thankfully.) I came home and cranked out another 500. Before, I could do like 100 in 4 hours. Reloading was becoming a chore, and literally making my elbow sore. With the progressive, a loaded round is produced with every pull of the handle. My bench is a mess but here is the newbie:



 

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I just recently changed to progressive loading for pistol ammo and it made a huge difference. Even on a turret press it was pretty tiring to load 3 or 4 hundred rounds but on the pro 1000 i can load 500 and never get tired. I don't even sit down at the bench when loading up 500 rounds or so on the pro. Maybe someday i will get a dillon.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I looked at the Pro 1000 and LoadMaster but the reviews were all over the place on them. One thing is for sure, Dillon makes a great press. I can't say the Lee is bad, I've never even seen one in person much less pulled the handle on one. The nice thing about the Dillon is that when I upgrade, it won't be hard to sell this one.
 

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The pro has a simple case feeder but it works really well and it has auto indexing and it only feeds primers if a case is present. It's a fast and easy press to use and it's simple so i don't understand why so many people seem to have problems with them. I still want a Dillon just because everyone else has one :) when i do upgrade i will probably just end up getting the loadmaster though since it can be had for $206 and comes with the dies, powder measure and case feeder. I should mention that right after i got the pro and started to use it... after about ten minutes i wanted to take a hammer and destroy the press! I said words that were not Christian like! Then i decided to get out the instructions and read them and after understanding the simplicity of the press i have not had one single problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Admittedly, I was not a Dillon fan before, hence the reason I wanted the LNL AP. The reason for that sentiment was that a friend had wanted to reload, and I offered to help him set it up. He bought everything and brought it over. I believe it was a 550, but he was reloading .223 Rem. He was loading military cases, and you can't do that on a 550. Only the 1050 has a built in swager. In due respect, it had much more to do with this friend's choices and not the Dillon, although the directions and primer feed was pretty annoying to say the least. This was several years ago.
 

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I ask anyone thinking of buying a progressive to always consider the hornady L-N-L.
For me, it has two attributes that, combined, put it above the others:
1) 5-stations
and
2) all case and bullet handling is done with the left hand and the bullet seating station #4 is right under your nose so you easily inspect the charge in each case.
Then there is the ease of caliber conversion and comparatively inexpensive caliber conversions.
The SDB is $366 (with proprietary dies ready to load). the 550B is $420 (no dies but includes the shellplate, buttons, and powder funnel of your cartridge), and the XL650 is $545 (no dies but caliber conversion kit in your selected cartridge).
Caliber conversion kit for the SDB is $82, for the 550B it is $44 (plus $97 for the Quick Change conversion kit—toolhead and powder measure basically), and for the XL650 it is $76 (plus $100 for the Quick Change conversion kit).
The L-N-L is $386 at MidwayUSA (plus the cost of a shellplate and dies—$30 and $40—for a total cost of $456) and caliber conversions consist of a shellplate for $30 and, at most, five bushings at $30 for 10 busings, or $45 for caliber conversion. In general, the shellplates are usable for several different cartridges. Then you add in the value to you of 500 free bullets.
These all cost real money and one must think of immediate and future costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You certainly bring up good points. If I was in the market for a 650XL, I would buy a Hornady LNL. I would have had to order the LNL, Midway is $386, plus $25 shipping, the bullets are worth about $80, but I gotta pay $15 shipping on them.

Money aside, the SDB is a great press, it does exactly what I need it to, and it does it very well. I've loaded 1500 rounds since I got it yesterday afternoon. I'm happy with it.

I'm approaching a winter work slow down, so I didn't want to spend a lot of extra money to get things running. I'll be busy casting bullets this winter so I can shoot even cheaper. When spring rolls around, I'll consider the LNL. I do like it, its a good press, I believe it competes very well with the Dillon. I doubt Hornady can match Dillon's customer service, but if its half as good, it'll be awesome.
 

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Admittedly, I was not a Dillon fan before.
Some people think you can't reload with anything other than a Dillon. My nephew brought one of his friends over to do some shooting, and he was amazed at the fact that i let them blast away several hundred rounds. When i told him "no worries i loaded them at minimal cost" He said "just last week i went to a sporting goods store because i wanted to start loading my own, but when the guy showed me that the press i needed was going to cost over $1500.00 alone, i gave up on that idea"

I brought him inside and showed him how quick and easy it was to use the classic turret, the single stage and the pro 1000. When i told him how much they cost he got his interest back! Of course in the process i probably just lost a supply of range lead and free brass which they were giving me. By the way i asked him if he told the guy at the sporting goods what calibers he planned on loading and he said " for now just my 30 06 and 12 ga." Unbelievable that anyone would try to sell a beginner interested in starting out loading for one caliber a Dillon 1050!

I loaded him some slugs, buckshot, and birdshot on the load all and the mec, and when i told him the load all cost less than $50.00 and "works this well" he decided to start with shotshells. I dont know if he has bought the press or a turret since he was interested in that one too, but i am sure he will do more research on the costs of his interests from now on.

By the way this thread got me to thinking about the loadmaster and that LFCD station again... I ordered it last night. It's all your fault! :D
 

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Mattsbox99 said:
The nice thing about the Dillon is that when I upgrade, it won't be hard to sell this one.
Forget it. You'll never sell it. You'll just get another in a different caliber and keep the SDB dedicated. That's what happened to me with .45 ACP.


Just to correct some other potential misimpressions:

A Dillon 1050 will not reload shot shells. That takes a 900. Maybe the salesmen was trying to move two presses at $1500? I agree that's not at all reasonable for a beginner. Indeed, I prefer beginners to start on a single stage press, even if it's a loader, just so they learn what to look for by inspecting their work at every stage of the loading process. It's not that they can't learn on a progressive, its just that I think you get more rapid familiarity with identifying problems and what fixes them by single stage loading first.

The idea you can't load military crimped cases on anything but a 1050 is a little like saying you can't write with a computer that doesn't have voice recognition software. The built-in swager is a convenience, but not a requirement. You resize and decap military cases on a 550, for example, and remove the cases to deal with the crimp separately. You can do that with a separate Dillon swager or with a primer pocket reamer or with a case trimmer accessory. Some folks just use a countersink on a drill (though the the repeatability of that worries me). Crimp removal only has to be done once, after which the case reloads like any other. The fact the Dillon 550 is manually indexed actually makes it easier to use like a single-stage press for that kind of initial size and decap operation than the auto-indexing progressives are. Should you find you need to stop and clean primer pockets every so often, it's easier for that, too.

Dillon shell plates handle multiple calibers, too. Conversion on the 550 between any of the common .473 head diameter rifle calibers, like .30-06, .270, and any of their spin-offs, or .308 and the like, just requires changing the dies. You can buy an additional tool holder and a separate powder measure if you want to make the change in a hurry, but otherwise there is no need. That's optional. Only the Square Deal requires Dillon dies, so the 550 lets you use what you already have.

The Dillon parts do cost more, but a lot of that goes for the lifetime warranty (which the professional 1050 does not have, by the way; its one drawback) which gets you rapid free replacement of broken parts at any time, no questions asked; no need to return the damaged parts, no need to explain how you screwed up. They're really good that way.

I've never had the opportunity to use the LNL press. I hear good things about it and it does cost less than a Dillon 650. I'll have to look to see how it compares on options?

The Lee progressives seem to garner the most reports of issues of one kind or another. Some folks have them running perfectly, and others can't seem to keep them going for more than a couple hundred rounds at a stretch, even with help from the factory. I don't know what that's about? The only Lee progressive I have is the no-longer-made Load Fast for 12 gauge shotshells. The primer feed is the only repeat offender there: simple failure of the primers to slide down the shoot. I could probably fix that with a vibrator. I've not tried any of the other Lee progressives.
 

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The Pro 1000 I have has loaded many thousands of rounds for me - but you have to pay attention!!! But that's true of all progressives. I find that the rythymn you get into is important - and that comes with use of the product. My biggest gripe was always running out of cases to load! FWIW....
 

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The only Lee progressive I have is the no-longer-made Load Fast for 12 gauge shotshells. The primer feed is the only repeat offender there: simple failure of the primers to slide down the shoot. I could probably fix that with a vibrator. I've not tried any of the other Lee progressives.
I bought the loadfast when it first came out along with spare parts and extra bushings... Used it twice and sold it for $35.00! It worked well and loaded shells pretty fast but i didn't like the way it sized the hulls. If i recall it was a seven station press with a shellplate which all seven holes were designed to size the cases which were inserted underneath it... and the primer feeder had a trigger on it. I also had three load alls and a mec 600 all of which sized cases on the same principal of squeezing it through or into a die... then i bought the old sm77 and nothing compares to sizer on this press for shotshells. I still use the load alls but sold the 600 and the loadfast. I still use the old lee hand loader for paper hulls too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've figured my SDB doesn't really like Remington small pistol primers, I started with them and had to tap the primer rod on the upstroke to get one to fall into the slider. I figured it was no big deal and then I ran out of the Remington's and went to the CCI 500s and it fed those perfectly, no tapping. Production level increased.

One big thing I like about the CCIs is that my RCBS primer pick up tube will take them right out of the tray, no flipping required. The Dillon tube won't do that.

I see that Wolf primers are packaged anvil up so no flipping with them at all, I may give them a try next time I buy primers. Widener's has them for $18/k.
 

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The Dillon parts do cost more, but a lot of that goes for the lifetime warranty (which the professional 1050 does not have, by the way; its one drawback) which gets you rapid free replacement of broken parts at any time, no questions asked; no need to return the damaged parts, no need to explain how you screwed up. They're really good that way.

They had me return my damaged shell plate, but they did replace it promptly with no further questions.
 

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I read an article a while ago and the fellow said winchester primers fed smoother on his Dillon. I don't remember which Dillon he was using though. Maybe he worked for winchester though since as i recall he also said winchester brass worked better than other brands.
 

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COSteve:
I started with a Dillon 550B but after 4½ years and 70,000+ rounds I yearned for a casefeeder. As I shoot rifle rounds, the 550's wasn't an option so Mrs Santa got me a Dillon XL650 w/casefeeder and now 4 years and 65,000+ rds later I couldn't be happier.
You've got my attention. What is it that you are doing that uses a steady 16k-17k rounds a year? Gosh.....just the expense! What cartridge?
Considering all of my reloading - rifle (Dillon), pistol(Lee) and shotgun (MEC) - I do about 10K a year. I thought that was a lot. Whew.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can't tell a difference in brass, most of my .40 S&W is winchester though.

I was digging through stuff and I found a 5 gallon bucket full of .40 brass, so I managed to melt some wheel weights down to clean ingots today and dig out my casting stuff. I'm gonna learn how to do this stuff. I bought it all a few years ago adamant that it was the only way I was gonna be able to shoot a bunch. I made about 40 lbs of clean lead, at 145 grains a piece I should get close to 2000 bullets.

I'm pretty much stoked right now with the potential I have. I got a couple pounds of titegroup today for $13/ea, just need a few more bricks of primers.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You've got me beat! However you also have a few more years than I do, :D
 
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