Side-by-side: All 4 5-station progressive reloading presses!

It’s one thing to look at separate pictures of products you’re comparing, but it’s another thing to see products side by side. I’m thinking of some of the great side-by-side picture comparisons I’ve seen for concealed carry pistols- a picture is simply worth 1000 words!

I thought I would take the opportunity to take a casual shot of the Hornady Lock-n-Load AP, the Dillon XL-650, the Lee Loadmaster, and the RCBS Pro 2000 all lined up so that you can see what they look like next to eachother. This gives you an idea of the relative size of these presses, and also gives you a quick visual inventory of the features on these presses.

From left, Dillon XL-650, Lee Loadmaster, Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, and RCBS Pro 2000
From left, Dillon XL-650, Lee Loadmaster, Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, and RCBS Pro 2000

I hope this lineup is helpful- and I’m excited to bring you more comparisons, videos, and in-depth articles so that you can get to know the capabilities of each of these reloading presses. Want to know something specific? Let me know!


25 thoughts on “Side-by-side: All 4 5-station progressive reloading presses!”

  1. Nice picture it does help seeing them side by side.
    The biggest press debate seems to be the Hornady LNL vs the Dillon 550 being their close in price.
    I would like to see a pic of those two side by side and I’m sure there are many others that would.
    I have the LNL and your videos helped me choose that press and for the money I think it’s a fantastic press.
    Thanks for all you do your site is great!


  2. I currently use a Lee single stage press and am close to going with a progressive. I happened upon your site today and have been watching videos most of the day. They are extremely informative and well done. My research to date has lead me to the Hornady Lock N Load, but the cost of the Lee Loadmaster is appealing. I know you get what you paid for, but is the Loadmaster worth it? Your videos make it appear simple and easy to use. Will my current Lee dies function in a Hornady press? Just looking for your opinion as it is apparent you have experience with both.

  3. I really enjoyed your site & videos. I am a long time GREEN reloader with 2 single stage presses. Currently I am looking into a progressive press & I may be deviating from GREEN (their products & service has been outstanding). I am leaning toward the LNL. For the $$ it seems to me to be the best investment. I am sure some of your bloggers may agree or disagree & I would love to hear other opinions. Also I am particularly fond of your customized handle for the LNL. Keep up the good work.

  4. Gavin,

    I can’t wait to see your camparison info on these presses. As you know I have a Lock n load AP and like it very much. I have started shooting combat matches once a week here locally and it really helps to be able to load your own ammo. I may actually be looking at getting another press so one is set up for rifle and the other for pistol rounds. In the meantime I am trying to find the most affordable way to put together a separate case activated powder measure for my current set-up. That would help me the most in speedy conversions from pistol to rifle.

    Once again nice job.

  5. I was late to reloading and I started out with a SDB Dillon. Picked up a Lee Pro 1,000 and that turned out to be a mistake. Bought a 650XL and haven’t looked back. After over 20,000rds I can say it was money well spent. The big Red Machine looks good but I can’t find anybody around here that has one. East central Florida seems to be Dillon country.

    Good site and keep up the good works here.

    Best, Baldy…

  6. I am looking at some progressive presses and am excited to find your site
    showing many details of the four major vendors. WHAT I really
    need is to hear your comparison analysis and and the areas in which
    each press excels and the areas which is inferior to the competitions

    Your article is great about selecting a press based on our priorities
    but I need to know which presses are speciality in which areas.

    I hope you are not constrained by any vendor relationships from
    telling the honest truth how you see it. Also it would be nice
    if you could create a ” value ” quotient which is the presses
    different abilities divided by price. I already know LEE Loadmaster
    is probably the least expensive but I havent heard if in fact
    it is the best deal. It can only be that if it does a good job
    and is easy to work with etc.

    I hope this info can be posted here and not exclusively
    in some technical RSS feeds etc.

    Your are a pro and I would buy some training step by step
    videos if you produced them.

  7. Hey Gavin,

    Have you given any thought on doing a video on shot shell progressives? I for one would be very interested in seeing one on the Dillon SL 900 in particular.

  8. Gavin,

    I am totally new to reloading and have been researching all the products out there. The two that I have narrowed it down to is the Dillon 650 and the Hornady AP progressive presses. I have an eye for detail and being a carpenter i know how important it is not to skimp on tools. Tools make all the differnce. I am watching your videos and reading reviews while I save up for the press and equipment. By the way, very well done videos and up to date infomation. It has made my research a lot easier. My question is which out of the two are a better value? Easier and more user friendly? Which one has more capabilities of utalizing other manufactures options on it and equipment? I will be loading 9mm, 40S&W, 30-06, 30-30, and 338 win exp. ammo to start. Thanks again for the exellent info and great videos. I value your oppinion and any advise you can pass on.


  9. Your videos are great, very informative.
    I wonder if you could also make videos of the assembly process of the presses. To see how they work is interesting, but to see how a press is assembled would take a lot of guessing away and give lots of aspiring reloaders enough confidence to jump in and buy a press, it would for me.
    Thank you.

  10. Rick,
    I myself have found that if you go onto Hornady’s web-site you will find that there are in fact instructional videos there that show you the step by step how to assemble the presses for them. If you are interested in that press as I am it is very imformative. Go to and go to support there will be the link to view videos of that press. I am not sure about the dillon or RCBS presses I find the Hornady the best press out there and have researched all of them and that press I believe and it is only my opinion is the best there is. Hope this helps a little. Good luck, Happy 4th.

  11. I have an old Hornady Projector press that I haven’t used in a long while and am thinking about starting up reloading for 223 Remington, 45ACP and 9mm. I remember having some dislikes about the shell ejector and powder measure on the Projector and see that they have been redesigned on the newer lock and loads.

    Looking for an opinion or review as to whether the newer press is worth the upgrade cost or are the improvements not worth the $400 bucks for a new press?

    1. I would say it is indeed worth the upgrade. The lock-n-load bushing system is great!. Consider selling your current press (projector?) on ebay or locally. That could get you some good cash to put towards the Lock-N-Load AP.

  12. Thank you for all the information you provide on progessive reloading. I have only owned a lee single stage press in three different calibers. It is very slow changing out and adjusting dies. let alone pulling the lever. I am still trying to decide which progressive is the all around best and trouble free. Do you recommend one over another? Also i would like to know how case trimming for rifles playes into the progresive press. Is the dillon case trimmer the only way to go, or if cases should be trimed after resizing interupting the progressive cyle, or if you can trim before resizing. Thank you for your response…

  13. I have watched the video’s on Youtube about the different presses from Lee to Hornady. I have a lee Load master progressive press. You must set everything correctly, you can’t be off by a millimeter or it will act up and not function flawlessly. But you can’t beat the price. Now I’m looking to upgrade to a better set. I would like to know which progressive press set up would you recommend. I really like the Hornady set up. Which one would you recommend?

  14. I had the predecessor Projector to the current Hornady offering and now have a Dillon 650. The projector had problems with the case ejector which ultimately led to the 650. I understand the new Hornady has remedied that. I liked the spring retention on the shell plate of the Hornady better vs. the caliber specific buttons. Less to lose and easy in and out if pulling a case for a reason. Now, given price I would pick the Hornady. Also, the die spacing is wider allowing easier access if need be. With the Projector used Lee dies and a Lee powder measure on it successfully for the person that asked. Another feature of the Hornady I liked was the 2 step indexing which was smoother and when loading cases to near capacity cause less powder spills.

    Would really like to see Redding and Lyman enter the progressive market and think they could have some interesting machines.

  15. I have been reloading for over 30 years I have used a single stage press for a long time when I started to research for a progressive press I checked out a few from Lee , Hornady, & RCBS
    I also talked to a lot of shooters that reloaded every one of them said the same if your going to reload a lot of ammo spend the money a get the best machine. DILLON I bought a Dillon xl 650 and I have Never looked back I have had this machine for about 15 years not one problem best money ever spent

  16. I recently bought the Lock N Load press to replace my older Hornady Projector press – the precursor to the LNL. The press is well built and will out last its owner with out a problem. The EZ-Ject cartridge ejector is a big improvement to the earlier wire ejector.

    The tweaking and fine tuning is needed to get the shell plate to index properly. When I got my press setup, I cycled the press without any shells and the shell plate indexed properly each time the handle was pulled. When I began running cases thru the press, I began to notice the shell plate would not quite fully index on the upward and downward strokes. This would cause the shell plate to not line up properly with the primer station and on the upward pull, sometime the cartridges would just be a touch out of alignment with the dies. Both issues would require a manual movement of the shell plate to move the shell plate to the correct spot.

    I called Hornandy customer support, this company has one of the best customer support departments of any product I have ever owned in my life, and was given instructions on how to make the adjustments to the palls that control the amount of rotation in the shell plate. They thought the issue may be due to the initial break in of the press and that there is some increased drag on the shell plate once cartridges are moving thru the shell plate and a little extra push may be required to compensate for this. I am still making some small tweaks to get it dialed in, but all in all this is a great press and equal in quality and operation to the blue press, but at a much more affordable price.

  17. Have two Lee 1000 progressive presses, in a word….JUNK !!!! Had them for several years and have always had problems. I’m going to sell both and buy dillon or hornady.

  18. Pingback: Reloading?
  19. I am newbie and have doing a lot of reading. I will be reloading 9mm 45 ACP and 223. I would like know which one is the fastest and easy to change caliber Dillon Hornady or RCBS?

  20. I have been using a single Lee progressive 1000 and love it. It is simple, has both bullet feeder and case feeder and collator and is well within my means. Reloading is about savings and Lee provides that! Today I ordered another so I can have both parts of the 223 set up at the same time (de-prime, lube and size – then, after cleaning, inspecting and trimming – prime, powder and place bullet). Ordering two would have been unthinkable if they were as expensive as the competition. In the 9mm I have done several thousand and find the Lee design fully satisfactory – I can easily make 500/hour, mostly limited by putting in primers, cases and bullets into the feeders. Because of the bullet feeder ($25, not $275 like brand H), I can concentrate on the full process, and making sure I am not running out of anything and that all is running smoothly. Lee red for me!

  21. The LoadMaster, to me, is NOT a five station press since one station is dedicated to priming. Thus, you only have four stations to play with.
    I know that for my “style” of reloading, I want at least five different die stations

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