Dillon vs Hornady

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by FA9, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. FA9

    FA9 Active Member

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    Dillon presses is it hype or is it really that good???

    I've been wanting to reload my own ammo for a while now but can't seem to decide on which press to buy. Dillon or Hornady? It seems like everyone I ask between the two brands it always comes down to Dillon. Is it really worth to buy a Dillon? Is it really that bad arse of a press? I was close to buying a Hornady LnL press but I got told many times that I would regret it.

    I would buy Dillon because its fast to change to a different caliber, warranty, and great customer service(from what I've been told). But what I don't like is the price.

    I like the hornady cause its cheaper(get free bullets lol) and can pretty much do the same as the Dillon. The one thing I don't like about the LnL is the caliber change. Seems like there is more involved unlike the Dillon.

    Also not too concern about accuracy I just like to shoot alot. Mostly pistol.

    I've been watching videos on youtube between the two presses(XL650 and Hornady LnL) and both looks to be the same. The only difference I see is price. Can anybody tell me the pros and cons of each press?
  2. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Well-Known Member

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    the xl650 is way overkill. I can do easily several hundred rounds in an evening on my 550b.
    550 b costs less to buy,and less for required changeover kits for each caliber.
    changeoves on 650 's are NOT easy or quick according to a LOT of posts I"ve read.

    I have a 550b and it puts out plenty of ammo for me,..one round with every pull of the handle.same as the lnl,but you have to manually advance the 550b,whcih I do while grabbing another piece of brass, eazy peazy

    all dillons take changeover kits which cost extra.LNL does not.

    a lot ot Dillon is hype,I have 2 of them because I bought into the hype,but I"m sure the Hornady line of loaders is very good product.

    if I had to to it all over again I'd prolly go Hornady ,or at least give them a very serious look.

    another option IF u are ONLY going to do pistol is the sdb from dillon. small machine,ONLY does pistol ammo,doesn't take up very much room,BUT u do have to buy special dies for it.It comes with a die set,so if u only plan on doing that calbier ur good to go from the start.

    2 things if u go dillon. the roler handle is 'ok' but not necessary, I would not spend the extra dough again on one.
    the Strong Mounts are not necessary if u build ur bench tall enuff. I"haven't needed them in the 15 years I"ve been running mine.
  3. HollisOR

    HollisOR Active Member

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    I have two Dillons (550b) and Lyman single stage. I have never used a Hornady, but I have always liked their products. My biggest problem with the Dillon, it made me lazy. They have really great stuff to cut reloading time down to a few days a year.
  4. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Chief Cook/Bottle Washer Bronze Supporter

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    Well, I have a LnL and love it. It's a little more involved in changeover, but that depends upon you as well. I purchased a lot of the lock sleeves you put your dies into. I get them set up, leave them where they are set for the die set and when done, simply remove the sleeve rather than the die. Then I just insert the new die/sleeve into the appropriate location on the press head. Biggest issue is the powder measure. But, just like the Dillon, you can buy a new measure if you want for each group or, you can do like I have, I have a measure for my pistols and change out the powder measure adjustor. I have one for my 9mm another for my 40 cal and another for my 308.

    Naturally, I check the powder throw closely after a change and make small adjustments as necessary. Additionally, if you go from one size of primer to the other, you do have to change the primer feed on the bottom of the press. I will say that is my least favorite thing to do (I have big hands and the screw for that is very small. Your plates for the case have to be changed as well and are easy to change.

    Over all, if I were to look at both and had to choose a Dillon it would be the 550b. As stated earlier, the 650 is overkill for most of us. But I am happy with my LnL. Automatic indexing works well with an occasional glitch (fixed by moving the plate to the next stop a short ways).

    Sodbuster
  5. FA9

    FA9 Active Member

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    Thanks for the input guys really appreciate it.
  6. oregonty

    oregonty Active Member

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    I have a dillon 550b and 650. I know they are expensive but I have used the 550b for 15yrs with no issues. It has been serviced by dillon a few times though. The customer service is amazing. Im sure that does not help the price point. I have never regretted purchasing my dillon equipment. They are built like a tank and work amazing. The 650 is crazy fast and both machines are very accurate. Here is a photo of my setup. It is overkill but so is my shooting life. I have a hard time keeping ammo and reloading components in stock around here. LOL I doubt that you would regret the purchase of a Dillon press. I also must say that I have never used the LnL. They may be a good press also.
    [​IMG]
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  7. oregonty

    oregonty Active Member

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    You may want to consider purchasing a used Dillon. They are cheaper and still have the lifetime warranty. Both of my machines were purchased used. Dillon provided me with the lost and broken parts that they needed free of charge!!!! Now thats customer service.
  8. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Active Member

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    Picked up a 550B this year and love it so far. If you have prepped brass and primer tubes filled ready to dump it's 450 rounds/hour (give or take) rate for me for pistol calibers. Changeovers are easy and it's nice having the dies already setup ready to go for the next caliber. So far I'm into dillon stuff for $800 for 3 calibers and have dies for a 4th caliber that I swap in when needed. Add all the other stuff needed for reloading and it adds up quick though.
  9. rodell

    rodell Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I happen to own two Dillons (XL650 and a Square Deal "B") but I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Hornady if that's what appeals to you. They are different and the Hornady press had problems years ago but I don't think it is a current problem based on the people I correspond with. Dillons can have problems, too, no matter what the loyalists say.

    Progressive presses are mechanical devices and require maintenance, lubrication and care when operating. If you can pump out 500 rounds per hour you can also pump out 500 empty rounds per hour if you forget to fill the powder hopper! It is not something to do half-heartedly.

    You will also find yourself shooting more when you have a ready supply of ammo. I just pumped out 1,000 rounds of 380 ACP in a short evening.

    As far as cost it really gets absorbed quickly. For the cost one one fine handgun you can load for the rest of your life. Things with lifetime guarantees from reputable companies (both of them) are good investments.

    Whatever you decide get the spare parts kit. When you break something or it wears out on a Sunday you will be glad you did.

    (This may be the best summary of Dillon info on the web: http://www.brianenos.com/pages/dillonfaqs.html)
  10. HollisOR

    HollisOR Active Member

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    That is a very clean set up, looks really good. I often thought about getting a 650. This is my cluster set up:

    [​IMG]
  11. greydog111

    greydog111 Active Member

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    550B will load rifle ammo. Don't know where you got that BS. You are limited to non magnum rifle in shorter cases though. Greydog.
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    The Dillon vs. "Everything Else" and "is Dillon worth the money?" question brings to mind a saying I was taught years ago.

    "You can buy Prime Quality Oats and they are expensive. If you are concerned with price, and it's your only consideration, you can always buy Oats that have already been through the horse. They're always less expensive."

    My answer in the Dillon vs Hornady question would be definitely Dillon. A proven track record and Customer Service that others have yet to achieve. As for which model, that will depend on your needs. For me, I went the "650" route as I'd been through the "good enough" route already. I shoot high volumes of 9mm and .223 so it was a natural for my needs. I also use it for loading .308 and 30-06. For the latter calibers alone it makes no sense to have a 650 but those weren't the calibers I based my decision on.

    Yes, Dillon costs more but just remember, you will be getting the "best Oats available", not "horse processed ones".
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  13. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor Active Member

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    I own two Hornady LnL AP's...here's why I chose them over a Dillon 650...BTW price was not a consideration in my case (I can afford either or both). I had the opportunity try a friend's 550 and 650 before deciding on the Hornady.

    The Lock-n-load bushing system can't be beat for for fast caliber changeovers. Adjust your dies once, and the bushings allow you to place them in any station. I load 9mm, .357Sig, .380 ACP, 40S&W, 45ACP, and .308. Changeover is quick without having to have a complete toolhead and powder measure for each caliber. Swap bushings and shellplate, swap powder measure inserts and you're good to go. I bought the second press so I can have one set up for small primer and the other for large primers.

    The Hornady indexes more smoothly...half on the upstroke and half on the downstroke, no spilled powder as the turret jerks from one position to the next.

    The case retaining spring makes it easy to remove or insert a case in any station, with no brass buttons to remove and replace.

    The spent primer tube means no more primer debris to clean up or gum up the turret.

    The LnL powder measure is easy to adjust, works great with flake or stick powders, and you can easily swap rotor inserts if you prefer to have a custom set ready for your most common loads.

    My impression was that Hornady really did their homework and was successful in eliminating or minimizing some major and minor annoyances that exist in some of the other presses.

    And best of all, Hornady has the same "no BS" warranty that the Dillon owners crow about. I bought my second press on eBay for $120. It is serial no. 0060. I sent it to Hornady and they refurbished it and upgraded it with the EZ-Ject system...All I had to pay was shipping.

    That being said, I doubt you'd be disappointed with a Dillon press either, but I'm pretty happy with my Oats...
  14. AMProducts

    AMProducts Well-Known Member

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    Unless you're buying a 1050, get the hornady, it does everything the 650 does and does it better with less head slop, less primer feed explosions, and at a much reduced cost. Sure, dillon will give you a new primer assembly after yours blows up, hornady saves you the trouble by not blowing up in the first place. I've probably had this happen 5 or more times at work (I am a commercial loader, and we run mostly dillon equipment). I run a Hornady LNL at the house and love it. The caliber change is a little goofy, and yea, I don't like it as much as the dillon, but unlike the dillon, the head doesn't flop around, and I don't get changes to seating length when running 1-2 cases through the shell plate. Also the hornady won't throw primers all over your table like the 650 will.

    I very much have a love/hate relationship with the 650, it's mostly hate, the LNL has let me down in a few respects, like I wish it was faster to change out the dies, and I wish the powder measure was easier to adjust, or could just be swapped out like the dillon powder bars, and I wish they would just have a check rod like the dillon does instead of that stupid lock out die. But with a bit of fitting, you can fit a dillon powder measure to the LNL, same with a powder check die. The spring system that retains the cases has less slop, and doesn't pinch primers anywhere near as often as the 650 does.

    If you reload like 30+ calibers, get a 550, if you demand a name brand and don't care about function, get a 650, if you load 3-5 calibers, and like good quality ammo with an easy to use tool: buy the LNL. Also, don't run hornady dies, they mostly suck, buy yourself some RCBS or redding dies to go in your press. Avoid dillon dies, as they charge you for decapping pins and RCBS (a true-no BS warranty) parts will swap into Redding dies without issue.

    I've never had good luck with dillon customer support either.
  15. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    I too find this annoying on my 650 (but not enough to change brands). I've fixed it temporarily by putting a piece of electrical tape on the bottom of the "key" of the toolhead. A small piece keeps the toolhead at the top of its freeplay.

    For a more permanent fix here is a kit that works great. Puts thread inserts into the toolhead lock holes and then the whole assy is held in place with two screws instead of pins.

    Toolhead Clamp Kit
  16. orygun

    orygun Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    I have 2 sets of Hornady dies... One set for 375 Ruger which works fine. The other set for the 7mm-08 had to be modified to completely resize the case so it would chamber in the rifle. Also, their dies are not as easy to only partially resize (neck size) with. I would not buy another set either.
    Besides the top name brands mentioned above, don't be afraid of Lee dies, especially if you are looking for pistol caliber carbide dies. I have several sets and have been completely satisfied with them.
    I have a Dillon 550B that the wife bought for me 13-14 years ago. I go thru stages where it sits for a long time and then gets used like crazy. I can crank out many rounds per hour with it and am for the most part happy with it. But, there are a few things that I'm not to crazy about. One being the stupid little brass shell retainer buttons! Another is the fact that the dies are so close to each other it can be a tight squeeze getting a wrench on the lock ring to tighten them down.
    If I was to buy another press for the same usage, I would not hesitate to look at the Hornady.
    I can't comment on the Dillon customer service as far as replacement parts, cuz I've not had a problem with the machine that warranted replacement parts. The one time I called them I was looking for the caliber conversion for a 500 S&W Mag. There is much more needed for this swap than a typical one and the guy made sure I was aware of everything I needed.
  17. bmw2

    bmw2 Member

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    He was talking about the square deal b.
  18. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor Active Member

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    Not sure I understand your issue w/ changing out dies on a LnL..twist and lift, how can you get any easier than that? Very convenient for cleaning your dies (I clean my dies after each run of ammo). The powder measure is a cinch also...instead of powder bars, you simply turn the metering insert adjustment to change powder throws, and can swap out preset metering inserts for about $10 apiece, or use a micrometer insert ($30). My LnL powder measure is as accurate as my Redding benchrest measure. If you want a separate powder measure for each caliber, it's cheaper than the Dillon measures, and changeout is simple with the LnL bushings, but why waste money and space when you can simply change out metering inserts in about 5 seconds at $10 a pop?

    Also the lock-out die is an RCBS product, not Hornady's. Hornady sells the "Powder Cop" which is a visual indication only. Although it can be tricky to properly adjust at times, I use the RCBS lockout die whenever I have a station available to use it.

    As far as dies, I have no complaints with Hornady dies and much prefer their seating dies over the others because of the extending seating stem that centers the bullet long before it is seated, and the o-ring style depth adjustment that makes depth adjustments a snap without having to use a wrench and locknut like the others. I do like the Redding sizing dies...their Ti Carbide is the smoothest and leaves the best finish without a doubt. and I use them for most of my calibers; but they are twice the cost of the others.
  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Well-Known Member

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    The complaint about changing the dies isn't a great one, with all the stuff sticking up on my press it's kinda hard to get in there to twist them and get them out, plus I have big hands.

    Yes, the powder measure is quite accurate, it's essentially the standard style measure you get from hornady, rcbs, etc. However, I do like the dillon powder bar system and use pre-set bars that I swap around. You can also put the micrometer powder adjuster on the hornady one IIRC.

    The little extended bushing that flops around on hornady dies is what I don't like. it drives me nuts, because it often gets stuck in the up position and when not paying attention the bullet can turn and crush the case on the up stroke.

    The complaints I have with the LNL are minor compared to my gripes about most dillon products.
  20. OreShooter

    OreShooter Member

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    I don't have experience with the Dillons but a friend bought a 650 and liked it. He had a problem with the cost just to have another caliber setup, however.

    I don't know if Dillon has a micrometer system as easy as the Hornday. On my Hornady I use the micrometer inserts on the powder measure. Its great. I have one for the standard rotor and one for the pistol rotor. It's dead on accurate as all get out and doesn't leak, even the fine powders.

    What I have taken to doing is when I have a charge weight figured out you take a file folder label and stick it on the powder container. Write on there the grain weight for a given setting. Next time I go to setup for a load session, I just look on the container to see what setting got me that charge last time and dial it up on the micometer. Check it to be sure. And don't trust charges on different containers of powder. I recently broke into a new pound of H110 and the charge setting differed by almost 2 grains. Not good when your load is only 17.:rolleyes:

    Also, I use Lee dies with the bushing system. They are a couple threads shorter than say RCBS, but just turn the lock thread upside down. Using the Lee dies is quite a savings right there. It is my understanding that you cannot use Lee dies on the Dillon.

    All you need to change the calibers on the Hornady is a shellplate, about $28 on Midway. Your dies of course, but if you have them already set up in the bushings they take maybe 30 seconds to set in place. Takes 4-5 minutes total. For me the caliber change cost and ease was important.

    Just my 2cents.