TSW, had both of those units, and the Patriot. All are first class units, but honestly my opinion, while possibly not the popular one....buy the Spolar and don't look back.
The 800+ is the unit I would go with if Spolar did not exist. I had one, ran it on hydraulic (Spolar hydraulic) and electric drive. I had the unfortunate experience of getting one that had a poorly cut primer ram and things just went downhill from there. Patriot..I had #16, and again, it came defective with the tubes that slide on the nylon sliders that control the no drop were not champher'd correctly, and the tubes hang right out of the gate. Got all of those issues resolved, but took more time screwing around with those units than I did loading on them.
I have two Spolars, one hydraulic, one electric drive on PW's new ED setup. Both are relatively new, one is about 5 years old, other was mid last year when I got a new place in California. When the Spolar comes out of the box, it will have loaded your exact reload as you specified when you ordered it. It runs smooth as silk, and the new primer seating post made what I thought was perfect just a touch better.
The 800+ is a strong unit, and if you have the personality to deal with it, you can make first class shells all day long. You need to make Whiz White your new best friend, as he has forgot more about PW than I think the factory knows, and is just a super helpful individual.
I have both at the present time and use them interchangeably to load two different types of 12 ga. POI also have two other PW units set up for 20 and 28 gauge. I got them at one hell of a deal, not much more that the cost of the gauge change sets so I use them for the sub-gauges
The Spolar is betterr built but mine has some quirks that piss me off from time to time. The machine periodically flips a primer over or fails to drop one and a shell goes through without a primer and the powder drops straight through the primer hole. Also I hate the noise from the primer shaker. Nevertheless it produces a wonderful load and nothing ever breaks. I put a PW shell feeder on it and that works super. That addition was well worth the money.
I have a Spolar hydro on the Spolar but I do not like the way it works on a back and forth movement necessary to operate the switch so I pull the Spolar by hand. The hydro is also noisy and I can not hear the radio that keeps me entertained while loading.
The PW requires a little more tinkering to keep it at full speed but I use an electric motor and a shell feeder and run at about 500 per hour and never have to pull the lever. I use the PW foot switch but hold it down with my finger rather than my foot. It has a strong spring in it and it turns off as soon as I relax my finger pressure. This is like a "dead man switch" and shuts it down immediately if there is a problem. I tried the PW toggle switch to run the motor but I find the foot switch easier to operate and much quicker to stop the machine.
I really enjoy th reloading process. Hours of interesting shooting related activity when I can not get to the range.
I've had both and I think the Spolar is by far the better machine. Recently I bought the 28 ga conversion kit and changed over to 28ga from 12. I am not very confident in my ability to do mechanical things correctly the first time. I used the video that came with the Spolar and followed the instructions on the video. In less than a half hour, I was up and running with the 28ga. I'm confident I could change back to the 12 just as easy. Ive loaded 25,000 shells on the spolar without a major problem. I really like it. When I had the PW, I allways had something go out of whack and just lost patience with it.
Doug/Citadel, Spolar's new primer cup is available. Give Robert a call at Spolar's(1-800 227-9667). I replaced my old primer cup with the newly designed one and I haven't had a tipped/flipped primer in over 1,000 rounds. You may want to empty your primer track and check for a piece of shot on the inside of the track. Use a flashlight to carefully inspect the track. I found a tiny piece of shot in the track by looking from the backside of the machine. Once I cleared the piece, I had no further problems with failure to drop a primer. When a primer catches at the very top of the track, you can loosen the two allen screws near the top of the track, inside the primer tray, and slightly change the angle of the track. The primers drop better when the track is at an angle to the primer tray rather than being aligned to go straight into the tray. Robert is very helpful in rectifying primer feeding issues. Bob
I have had a Dillon, 800+, Patriot and a Spolar in that order. While they are all good loaders and all are good in there own way, I will pick the Spolar as my top pick. I am not going to get into all the particulars as to why I like one better than the other only because it is my personal opinion and only mine. Spolar is the best and the Dillon is at the bottom.
I've had the 800+ for 10 years. Mine has the PW electric drive. I load 12,20,28 and .410. From some of the posts I have read I must be lucky. I have never had an issue with mine. It churns out perfect shells in all 4 gauges fast!! I love it. No effort, smooth, quiet and fast! Do not have any experience with the Spolar.
I have owned 2 800s and the Spolar. As others have suggested, buy the Spolar and don't look back. The PW is more finicky and needs to be kept extremely clean to operate at it's best. The Spolar just keeps running with minimal interuptions and I have the PW hydraulic installed. Makes great ammunition.
PW always had some design issues. Some work fine while others give you fits but are far less costly than Spolar. If money is no object buy the Spolar. Let's just say the PW is the best loader at that price point!!
I have had the PW 950 / 2000 with the hull feeder and hydraulic. Too much to watch at one time. I now have the spolar with 12 & 28 ga heads and hydraulic. It works well. I just got the new primer seat and that should fix the only bitch I have with the machine. Every once in a while I will lose the outer base on the shell when crimping. the single center post on the Spolar obscures the view. Not a problem with manual pull. Hydraulic can mess things up. All in all I don't think there is a better loader for amatuers than the spolar. You get what you pay for.
I have not owned a PW but a mechanically inclined friend did own one and he went back to an old MEC Grabber calling it a shot spilling machine. I have owned a Spolar for greater than 15 years and it is a fine machine. I was having tipped primers with the hydraulic but I "cured" this problem when I put blue Loktite on the bolt attaching the hydraulic to the machine. Every time the bolt backed off a bit , I would get a " small bump" as the primer was going up towards the shell and then it would flip over on it's side. Tight bolt, problem solved.
I had 2 MEC's, hydraulic, prefer Spolar.