The price difference between the Dillon 550 and 650 is only $ 127 .....I don't know where you're getting the $300 from .../ even if you add in the cost of the powder check system its $ 69....so you're up to $ 198....
If having a distraction when you're working on a progressive machine worries you ....it ought to scare the daylights out of you on a manually indexing machine...because the manually indexing is where the problem really is - if the distraction causes you to forget where you are in the process / that's usually where a screw up will occur.
At the same time - none of us need a progressive machine / at some point in our reloading lives we all thought the single stage presses were the way to go ( like in the 1950's ) ....but with innovations like the powder check dies, powder cop dies ...on machines like the Dillon 650 or Hornaday LNL ...why not at least consider them / understand how they work - and evaluate what they give you in terms of extra safety features.
In the long run --- heck even in 6 months / when you're saving $ 8 - $10 a box on 50 rds of 9mm ....and shooting 5 boxes a week ( 250 rds ) ....you're going to save $ 160 - $ 200 a month ( or shoot 2 or 3 times more with the same ammo budget )......and we all have budgets, but cost isn't the only thing to look at here.
I suggest you try and find someone local that has a 650 or LNL ....so you can see how they're setup before you make your decision if you can.
I like reloading / been doing it off and on for over 50 yrs ....but I like it a lot better with a progressive auto indexing press - with a powder check die - and in a machine that can turn out 800 plus rounds an hour. I took my coffee downstairs this morning, into my shop, turned the radio on and reloaded 5 boxes of 9mm easily in about 20 min this morning before I came to my office. Powder drops were all dead nuts on the mark ...every round went in and out of the case gague cleanly / grabbed a 1911 in 9mm and those 5 boxes and I'll go to the range for a couple of hours this afternoon to run some tactical reload drills ...( start the weekend early ) ..../ having a good press like a 650 setup like this - just makes it safer - and easier in my view.
Last edited by BigJimP; June 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM.