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I plan to start reloading sometime in the future. Which press should I look into? I hear a lot of good things about the Hornady LNL AP.

Also, I know absolutely nothing about any reloading equipment. How do these presses get mounted? Any special type of table I need to use?

Thanks in advance! :smile:
 

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OK, get ready for a lot of info. I looked long and hard at reloading equipment for about 4 monthes before I made my decision. Since I shoot pistol 99.9% of the time, I wanted a progressive press. With that being said, it came down to three machines for me: a Dillion 550 or 650, and a Hornady LNL AP. I know people with these machines and talked to them about what they liked and did not like about each.

First, both Dillion and Hornady back their machines 100% with a no BS warranty. Second they work and they work well.

I bought the Hornady LNL AP. Bottom line was that it came with 5 stations, same as the 650, auto-progressive, same as the 650, and it cost the same as the 550. Since I was getting everything at once, I got Hornady dies. You do not need to get the same manufacturer of dies as the machine.

Now what else do you need? You need some basic equipment to start, other stuff is nice. I would recommend a magnetic scale, calipers, reloading manual(at least two), any tools that are specific to the press of your choice, and a kinetic bullet puller. I also purchased a tumbler and media sifter for cleaning my brass. I use old coffee cans to store both clean and dirty brass and anything that I want to keep track of.

Where are you going to mount this thing? All this stuff takes up some space. I built a bench in the utility room of my house. It is 42 in long and 24 in deep. Whatever you put it on or make, make it strong and solid. You do not want the press moving when you are using it.

How much do you want to spend? I put about $700 in my equipment. I am completely setup for both .45ACP and .40 S&W/10mm and 9mm is on the way shortly. I have found that the best place to buy was at Lock, Stock, & Barrel Shooting Supply, http://www.lockstock.com , 1-800-228-7925, in Valentine, NE. They have it all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for all the info :smile:

I was thinking about mounting it on my dad's workbench (a big table where his saw is sitting on one side). It should be sturdy enough. Will mounting the press require any drilling, or is it just clamped on?
 

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I recommend starting with the single stage; it's less expensive, less complicated mechanically, in my opinion safer for anyone without a lot of experience, and if you decide to get a progressive later, you can use the dies, etc. Also, the single stage will always be useful for running a few rounds to try a load, or to correct a problem on a run.

I have a Dillon 550, and really like it. For a number of years, however, I used an RCBS single stage press. The speed with the single stage is about one third that of the progressive, but you can verify every step more easily.
 

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All the press mounts I have seen require some drilling. No problem, they will give youa template and tell you what you need.

Let's talk about this single stage vs progressive. I found that you can use a progressive just like a single stage if you want to. You can pretend it is a turrent press if you so desire. Using the LNL AP as an example, if you only want to resize and deprime, just put that die in, adjust it as required and have at it. You can run the press with only a single die in it, or all of them. Treat it like a turrent press, all dies in place, and run a single case through the stations. The beauty of the LNL is that it uses the bushing setup, they can be placed or removed in seconds, and you can fine tune the process for each stage.

Let me be the first to say, I am not that interested in rifle reloading, and this is where a single stage really shines. I want a lot of ammo loaded in a short time. The basics of reloading are the same, whether you do it on a progressive or a single stage.

I would recommend finding someone near you that reloads and ask them to show you how. Once you understand the how, then you will be in a much better situation as to determine what you want and how you want to do it.
 

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On 2001-07-18 18:23, John Forsyth wrote:

Let's talk about this single stage vs progressive. I found that you can use a progressive just like a single stage if you want to. You can pretend it is a turrent press if you so desire. Using the LNL AP as an example, if you only want to resize and deprime, just put that die in, adjust it as required and have at it. You can run the press with only a single die in it, or all of them. Treat it like a turrent press, all dies in place, and run a single case through the stations. The beauty of the LNL is that it uses the bushing setup, they can be placed or removed in seconds, and you can fine tune the process for each stage.
I agree with John. The progressive can be used as either a single station or a turret. Years ago I started with Lee turret press so it can be done. I have had a Hornady Pro-7 and currently a Dillon 650. Each has its strong points. The Hornady splits up the indexing operation into 2 steps so is less likely to have powder jump out during plate indexing. The Dillon has a case feed that speeds up the process some.

Recently, I began loading .30-06 rounds on the Dillon. Initially, I thought doing the bottleneck cartridges would be a big hassle but it turned out to be easy and fun. They came out as well as using my Hornady 00-7 single station press.

(Yes, I keep a single station so I can size cases separately. That way one can clean the primer pockets occasionally. Also, on bottleneck cartridges I expand with a Lyman M die in the sizing die position on the 650 as this is supposed to stretch the necks less and take the expander off the sizing die. Of course, one need not worry about this with a pistol cartridge.)

By all means you need a scale. One may want to get some scale check weights to verify the scale readings. I had one get out of whack once and was glad I checked it. I like Dillon's case check gages. It lets you check overall length of cartridge and case length. Eventually, you will need to get a case trimmer. A cheap short term substitute is made by Lee. If you trim cases you will need a chamfering tool.

I would not be inclined to mount the press on the saw table as sawdust and such would get in the press. Generally, a press is mounted on a fairly firm board (hardwood). Dillon has a reloading table with storage shelves shown in their catalog. I recall seeing a couple of reloading tables in mail order catalogs that had metal cabinets underneath for storage but don't recall whose (perhaps Cabela's Reloading Catalog).
I think you will enjoy reloading if for nothing else you can get more shooting in.


_________________
Bear

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Bear on 2001-07-18 19:45 ]</font>
 

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I have a Dillon 650 and love it. As others have said, you can use a progressive just like a single stage press. One the 650, you can easily disable the auto-indexing feature by removing a small part.

I would recommend dropping the $$ and getting an electronic scale such as Dillon's D-Terminator. It is soooooooo much faster and less hassle than a cheap balance scale.

If you get a 650, get the case feeder. It rocks. I can jam out 100 rounds in no time. Great for when you have a match or class in the morning and realise you don't have any ammo loaded up because you were a doofus and forgot to check last week. :smile:

Even when I'm working with new brass, I like to run them for a little while in the tumbler to clean off all the brass bits that inevitably get left behind.
 

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The guys really provided good information, they did the footwork to make a choice easy. I would suggest if you get the Dillon, buy the strong mounts, this will make it sturdy on the bench and also raise the press a little. I got the bullet tray which is very handy, it keeps your supply of bullets at hand level for feeding the press. I have the 550B and wish for a 650...we are a greedy bunch.
 

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I have used both the Hornady's and the dillons. Both are great presses. I went with the Hornady LnL. It is well made and works great. It is set up for all pistol calibers with a small primer(9mm,9x23,38 super,40sw and 357mag).The large primered shells get loaded on a Hornady Projector(45acp and 10mm).I like them both but the LnL has the advantage for quick change of calibers.

Whichever one you choose it must be bolted to a solid bench,although I've seen guys bolt it to the end of a 2x10x3' and then clamp the board to the bench with a little over hang. If you have the luxury of having a seperate room, use it. I call mine "the Fortress of Solitude"
 

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Presses are easy, benches are hard. The top must be stiff, or the flex of the top will defeat sizing and priming efforts. Laminate a sheet of plywood (at least 1/2", thicker is better) to the top if it doesn't already have one.

If the bench has a lower shelf, great. If not, build/install one. Sling all your heavy components down there. A heavy bench is good, but a heavy bench with 500+ lbs of bullets underneath is better.

Bench height determines working height. Do you prefer to stand or sit when loading? I prefer standing when loading on a Dillon 1050, and sitting for everything else. If you sit, the chair has to be sturdy enough to keep you in place.
 

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I just started reloading about a year ago and I bought an RCBS Rockchucker reloading kit. I couldn't be happier but I'm not reloading several hundred rounds per week. If I were, I'd be looking at something a bit more "progressive."

My reloading bench is one of those old super-sturdy wide carriage computer printer stands. Remember those old 80 column printers that shook the building when they printed? They make great reloading benches nowadays.
 

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My first progressive press was a Hornady five-station press called the "Projector." I had trouble with the machine to the extent that I stopped shooting/reloading for over a year. I was totally frustrated! Most of the problems had to do with adequate primer seating depth. I sent it back to Hornady a couple of times, but I ended up just giving up and selling the press.

I purchased a Dillon RL550B to replace the Hornady press, and I have been in love with Dillon Precision since! What a great company, and what a great machine! If you do have any problems they break their backs to satisfy you! My issues have been minor with the press...mostly just questions.

Take it from someone that learned the hard way: DON'T BUY ANYTHING BUT A DILLON RL550B!
 

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My first press was a Dillon 550B and my second an RCBS Rockchucker. I could have done everything I needed to do on the Dillon but the Rockchucker comes in very handy if, say, I just need to knock out a few rifle rounds while the Dillon is still setup to crank out pistol cartridges. Lately I've been thinking hard about adding a Dillon 650 to the collection but that's only in the wishfull thinking stage right now. I'd need to shoot a lot more matches than I do now to justify the extra cost of another progressive press. As it is, I can load more ammo in an evening than I can shoot in a month so I'm not feeling deprived here :smile:

If you do buy a Dillon, buy the strong mounts and an extra powder measure. I clamp the strong mount legs to a table with two C-clamps when I want to use the press and the press is as sturdy as I want it to be. Plus, its easy to put away when I'm not using it and the footprint is relatively small so it fits easily on a closet shelf or the top of a cabinet. Having an extra powder measure means you can have one setup with the large powder bar and one with the small bar making caliber changes from pistol to rifle and back much faster. The extra powder measures are relatively cheap at $50 or so. Also buy extra toolheads and powder dies so you only need to setup your dies once for each caliber.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: proximo on 2001-09-04 16:34 ]</font>
 

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Look, everyone is going to have an opinion as to which press you should start with. I suggest you consider how much you're willing to spend because like someone else said there's more stuff you have to get for proper and safe reloading. Go to http://www.dillonprecision.com. Get a catalog mailed to you. In that you'll see they have startup kits available. You didn't mention how many calipers or the amount of reloading you're planning on. I started 30 years ago with a simple single stage press where it took me an entire evening to build 30 loads. Today, I use a Dillon 650 with all the bells for 6 calipers and I have 5 heads for 38 Super. I know, I'm a lazy guy but the 650 gives me the versatility. Maybe you don't need a machine this expensive. The choices you've mentioned are fine. Whatever machine you end up with depends on how much time and labor your willing to give up to how much money you're willing to spend.
Concerning what to mount the machine, make sure you have a solid base. I mounted a machine on a Black & Decker work table once. I didn't have much room and when I was finished I removed the machine, put it in a closet and folded up the table and put everything in a closet. The moral to this story is to make sure where ever you plan to load the base is strong, well lighted, and it gives you plenty of room to spread out.
 

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I use a Dillon 650 without the optional case feeder and love it. I've had it since March of this year. Dillon is a great company to work with. I'm set up to do .45's, .38/.357 and 9mm. You can switch from one caliber to another with the quick change kit in less than 30 minutes. Any questions email me.
Go Blue and you'll be very happy.
Happy reloading...Shoot safe.....Chad
 
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