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Author Topic: Loves me some Dillon!  (Read 3742 times)

First Shirt

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Loves me some Dillon!
« on: February 03, 2015, 03:32:23 PM »
Back a little over 20 years ago, I bought a Dillon RL-550 press.  Came with one toolhead, one powder measure, and one set of .45 ACP dies.  Over the years, I've probably loaded 30K+ rounds on it, mostly .45 ACP and .30-06.  Never a headache, never a bobble.  Over the years, I've acquired a couple of extra toolheads, and branched out into reloading .38 Spec./.357 Mag, .45 Colt, .308 Win, and 7mm-08 Rem., but for some reason, I've only used the one powder measure.  It adjusted easily, maintained excellent accuracy, and never gave a moment's trouble.

Last night, while setting up to load some 7mm-08, the powder measure hung up, and while trying to "encourage" it, broke a little tiny plastic piece.  (Please bear in mind, that this piece, like the rest of the measure, was in original, as-purchased, condition, and was 20 years old.)  Breaking that piece turned my powder measure into an awkward paper-weight, and left my reloading venture dead-in-the-water.

Called Dillon this morning, explained about the broken piece (it's called a "bell-crank cube") and they have two of them enroute right now.  Total cost:  Nothing.

Dillon stuff may be a little more expensive,  but their customer service is the best in the world!!
Alabama"Stand your ground!  Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"  Capt. John Parker

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    StevenTing

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 03:47:21 PM »
    I don't have that many rounds on my Dillon yet but with that kind of volume, I'm wondering why you haven't upgraded to the XL 650 yet.   ;)  Gotta love good customer support and your experience is on par with everyone else.
    Utah

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 06:38:52 PM »
    Haven't felt the need, didn't want to spend the money, don't have room, and don't really like the auto-index feature, because I'm always afraid of getting a round with no powder.

    It's actually probably a good idea, and I may look into it later this year, but right now, I'm very pleased with the 550.  But I'm definitely planning on at least one more powder measure!
    Alabama"Stand your ground!  Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"  Capt. John Parker

    Outbreak

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 04:19:18 AM »
    Multiple powder measures was the greatest thing I ever did on my 650. I'd like one for each toolhead, but that's a few lines down on the list. And in probably 10k rounds, I've never gotten a cartridge without powder.

    Dillon's service has been top notch for me, too. They've sent me numerous free parts, even when I called to order parts that I broke.

    I eventually want to keep the 650 and add a 1050 for my really high-volume stuff. I'll do .223, .40, and 9mm on the 1050, the rest on the 650. One day...
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 11:04:13 PM »
    The first thing that is getting bought for my reloading room in the new house, is a Dillon of some variety.  Has anyone on here used the Square Deal B's?  If I can squeeze out the space I am thinking about one of these set for .223, and one of the others a 550 or 650 for pistol calibers.  Of course I need to have either the turret or the Rockchucker, also.
    Alaska

    cpaspr

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 11:39:53 PM »
    As I understand it (so I could be very wrong), Square Deal Bs use special dies that only work on them.  As long as you're happy with that limitation (and any others I don't know about), enjoy.
    Oregon

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 12:00:17 AM »
    As I understand it (so I could be very wrong), Square Deal Bs use special dies that only work on them.  As long as you're happy with that limitation (and any others I don't know about), enjoy.

    Basically they are set up from Dillon for the one caliber.  As I understand it.  A year ago I did not own .223 dies, and now I am thinking about dedicating a progressive just to this caliber.
    Alaska

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 01:43:52 AM »
    Got to the Dillon web site for the first time in well over a year tonight.  The Square Deal B is not available in .223/5.56.  I would have swore that it was when I looked in 2013.  I have been told that move, house, then I can think about buying guns and reloading stuff.

    I have tried to buy several over the last 15 years or so when I have stumbled on them used, but have been to slow, (missed a brand new 650 by 15 min before Christmas) or to early (twice heard "not sure we are going to sell" then later saw them going to new homes).
    Alaska

    Outbreak

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 05:41:43 AM »
    The SDB uses toolheads like the rest of the Dillon progressives.

    But they use proprietary dies. Strike one.

    They have no case-feed option. Strike two.

    For $65 more, I can have an RL550 which takes standard dies and has a casefeed option. Strike 3.

    I think the RL550 and the XL650 are the best balance between price and features, depending on what you want. The 650 definitely represents a higher volume than the 550. If you're like me and load 2000+ of each caliber once or twice a year, then the 650, with auto-indexing, and a casefeeder, is fantastic. If you only load a few hundred per caliber, and/or you're a control freak, maybe the 550, with its manual indexing, with or without a casefeeder, is an ok choice.

    I believe a progressive press without a case feeder is like a race car without a fuel pump.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    sqlbullet

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 10:00:07 AM »
    The SDB uses toolheads like the rest of the Dillon progressives.

    But they use proprietary dies. Strike one.

    They have no case-feed option. Strike two.

    For $65 more, I can have an RL550 which takes standard dies and has a casefeed option. Strike 3.

    I think the RL550 and the XL650 are the best balance between price and features, depending on what you want. The 650 definitely represents a higher volume than the 550. If you're like me and load 2000+ of each caliber once or twice a year, then the 650, with auto-indexing, and a casefeeder, is fantastic. If you only load a few hundred per caliber, and/or you're a control freak, maybe the 550, with its manual indexing, with or without a casefeeder, is an ok choice.

    I believe a progressive press without a case feeder is like a race car without a fuel pump.

    Agree completely about the SDB.

    And yet, there is one on my bench.  Belongs to a friend so I didn't pay for it.  He got it at a yard sale with two caliber conversions for $100.  :D
    Utah

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 11:35:20 AM »
    Agree completely about the SDB.

    And yet, there is one on my bench.  Belongs to a friend so I didn't pay for it.  He got it at a yard sale with two caliber conversions for $100.  :D

    That is how I like to get reloading equipment.  I want a 650, actually more than one.  But I will most likely settle for a 550, and keep it really simple and cheap at first. 
    Alaska

    sqlbullet

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 05:19:03 PM »
    In the 650 class of presses, the hornady Lock-n-load AP has my attention.  No tool heads, but uses their quick change stuff that is pretty inexpensive compared to tool heads.  Similar features, and big red stands behind their stuff too.
    Utah

    Outbreak

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 02:30:09 AM »
    In the 650 class of presses, the hornady Lock-n-load AP has my attention.  No tool heads, but uses their quick change stuff that is pretty inexpensive compared to tool heads.  Similar features, and big red stands behind their stuff too.

    I've loaded on one of those. There are some really nice features that I am amazed Dillon hasn't adopted (like not ski-jumping a primer across the room if it isn't used; instead saving it for the next case), but they also really cheap out on some parts and processes (f'rinstance, Red doesn't control the case as it pushes it into the shellplate.) I won't be converting, but they're not bad presses. I just believe Blue is better.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    First Shirt

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #13 on: February 17, 2015, 10:56:28 PM »
    I believe a progressive press without a case feeder is like a race car without a fuel pump.

    And I believe that a progressive with a case feeder is like a submarine with a screen door. :)

    Most of what I reload for requires two passes through the press (all the bottlenecked cases) which means that after I resize and decap them, they have to go through the tumbler before I can reload them anyway.  A case feeder is too much like socks on a rooster for what I'm doing.
    Alabama"Stand your ground!  Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"  Capt. John Parker

    Outbreak

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 11:58:35 PM »
    I do mostly pistol, but for .223, I run it through twice as well. Without the casefeeder, that's two times I would have to manually place a cartridge.

    I don't see how it could possibly be a hindrance for loading anything.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    First Shirt

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #15 on: February 19, 2015, 11:42:47 AM »
    Glad it works for you!
    Alabama"Stand your ground!  Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"  Capt. John Parker

    Mississippi556

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #16 on: February 19, 2015, 12:34:34 PM »
    Still using an old, heavy, very stable cast iron six station turret press with a tool steel top plate a full inch thick with very accurate indexes and no discernable flex.  Not progressive.  At my volume and given its accuracy, the high speed of a progressive is probably not justified.  I load a lot of different calibers, but at pretty low volume.  But, if I ever move into higher volume, getting more aggressive in number of trigger pulls on my handguns or my sole and only AR, the 550 seems the logical choice.

    I'd be running them through twice also, in the sense that I deprime and size, then clean and polish and do any other case prep needed before later operations.

    Question:   Would I not still do better with my old press for serious precision handloads, where most of my reloading of rifle ammo is focused?  Those rounds get every charge measured and weighed on a calibrated electronic combo measure and scale.  Slower, but very uniform.  I just don't know if a 550 can produce loads of the same quality.   Anyone do precision loading on the 550 Dillon?

    My old press reliably turns out MOA or better, when the rifle and I are up to it when I work up the loads and do the case prep right.
    « Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 01:02:53 PM by Mississippi556 »
    Mississippi"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe"  Words of Jesus, Luke 11:21 (ESV).

    Outbreak

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #17 on: February 19, 2015, 02:39:11 PM »
    Still using an old, heavy, very stable cast iron six station turret press with a tool steel top plate a full inch thick with very accurate indexes and no discernable flex.  Not progressive.  At my volume and given its accuracy, the high speed of a progressive is probably not justified.  I load a lot of different calibers, but at pretty low volume.  But, if I ever move into higher volume, getting more aggressive in number of trigger pulls on my handguns or my sole and only AR, the 550 seems the logical choice.

    I'd be running them through twice also, in the sense that I deprime and size, then clean and polish and do any other case prep needed before later operations.

    Question:   Would I not still do better with my old press for serious precision handloads, where most of my reloading of rifle ammo is focused?  Those rounds get every charge measured and weighed on a calibrated electronic combo measure and scale.  Slower, but very uniform.  I just don't know if a 550 can produce loads of the same quality.   Anyone do precision loading on the 550 Dillon?

    My old press reliably turns out MOA or better, when the rifle and I are up to it when I work up the loads and do the case prep right.

    I haven't tried any high-precision on my 650. The powder measure is a bit particular about the powder shape. It feeds 231 very consistently, but some of the rifle powders I've tried (2015, for instance) didn't meter well. But I'm not much of a precision shooter, so that doesn't bother me much.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

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    Re: Loves me some Dillon!
    « Reply #18 on: February 19, 2015, 03:20:17 PM »
    Question:   Would I not still do better with my old press for serious precision handloads, where most of my reloading of rifle ammo is focused?  Those rounds get every charge measured and weighed on a calibrated electronic combo measure and scale.  Slower, but very uniform.  I just don't know if a 550 can produce loads of the same quality.   Anyone do precision loading on the 550 Dillon?

    My old press reliably turns out MOA or better, when the rifle and I are up to it when I work up the loads and do the case prep right.

    I don't consider that what I do on a 550 is "precision handloading" but everything that I've reloaded to date has been more accurate than any factory ammo, in the weapons in question.  My Senior Minions and I all hunt with Savage rifles in 7mm-08 caliber, and all three rifles will reliably produce sub-MOA groups out the the 200-yard limit of our shooting range with reloads.  Both of my .30-06s will do almost as well with reloads, too.

    The most-used powders are Unique, 2400, W-296, and RL-15, and all seem to meter very well, with charges all within 0.1 grains of desired load. 

    Short of going full-on "benchrest" and turning necks, etc. I can't imagine doing much better.  JMHO, YMMV, IRDDU, and other caveats as required.
    Alabama"Stand your ground!  Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"  Capt. John Parker

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