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Old June 16, 2005, 10:03 PM   #1
XD Niner
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True Throughput on Dillon 550B?

I am considering buying a Dillon 550B to reload .45ACP. I've seen estimates of 400-500 rounds per hour with this press with some of the key accessories. My question is, how long will it really take to process the rounds when considering all steps of the process? This includes not just those executed with the progressive press but case cleaning, lubing, setup for session (assuming no die changes required) and cleanup. For instance, how long would it take those of you who own this press to produce 1000 rounds in a single session assuming you are starting with just the dirty brass?

And to sneak in a second question, how much cost per round for just the components (primer, powder and bullet) assuming you have "free" brass?
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Old June 17, 2005, 07:35 AM   #2
kkb
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Once the press is set up and I get into the groove I can run about 300-400 rounds an hour, including a break to reload the primer magazine as needed. A little slower if using cast bullets as I have to clean the seater and crimper dies of bullet lube and lead shmutz every hundred rounds.

Setup can take 5 to 15 minutes, mostly to set powder charge. Some folks get a powder bar to dedicate to a pet load.

I don't lube pistol brass, though I'll clean 'em up with a 2 hour tumbler session before loading.

Depending on the type of bullet your loading your cost per round can run $0.07 to $0.15. If you want to crunch the numbers yourself I wrote a Windows cost calculator you're welcome to use.
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Old June 17, 2005, 09:47 AM   #3
Edward429451
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Starting with dirty brass, 1K rounds...one day with no rush. Plenty of time to set up while tumbler running, plenty of time to refill primers & powder, recheck settings and do ongoing quality control, and go refill coffee's.

I don't go for breakneck speed with the 550B. Once set up I can comfortably load 3 or 4 hundred rounds an hour.
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Old June 17, 2005, 09:47 AM   #4
Russ5924
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I think for me about 300 is more realistic. But I stop and check the powder when I get a hundred I load them into the plastic box's.If I just reloaded probably could do 400.I let my brass run about two hours to clean,knock out the primers.Install new primers( don't like to do the primers in the press)time wise may take longer.Don't think you can count cleaning as most has more already cleaned and ready to go.Myself I would say time wise to do a 1000 would be 4 hours if not higher.It's not the idea of how fast is the idea of 1000 safe loads.I check at least three times per box to see if the powder drop is working and about 100 I check to make sure the grains are correct
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Old June 17, 2005, 10:19 AM   #5
Throckmorton
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key accessories?

If by this you mean the strong mount and bullet tray,they are profit items for Dillon,not key accessories.Build your bench high and sturdy and you surely won't 'need' the strong mounts.I've used mine for 12 years without them.
I'd give the roller handle a <shrug> too.I have it but prolly wouldnt buy it again.Iffy on that one I'll admit.
A good medium speed pace will produce a lot of good ammo.A fast and furious pace will produce mashed fingers and screwed up loads.both take time to 'heal'.
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Old June 17, 2005, 06:34 PM   #6
kgpcr
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Buy a Hornady and you will love it. much cheaper and in my opinion a much better machine. 300.00 at Cabelas now. also much cheaper to change calibers and you can do it in under 4 minutes
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Old June 18, 2005, 05:53 AM   #7
LAH
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I do about 350 per hour on my Dillon. I wouldn't expect to do more, at least not day in day out.
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Old June 18, 2005, 06:50 AM   #8
caz223
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3 hours= 1000 rounds, starting with clean brass.
That includes loading primer tubes, checking everything every 100 rounds, QCing your loaded rounds, and cleanup.
Cleaning brass, and boxing up rounds, are not included in that.
It's best to start the day before, and clean your brass, because your tumbler can't keep up with your 550, unless you got a better one than I do.....

Also, for a cost estimate, please list what components you'll be using, and what quantities you'll be buying them in....
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Old June 18, 2005, 03:28 PM   #9
scottys1
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My experience is much the same a caz223's. I look at cleaning brass as a seperate operation from loading.

Once I'm in the groove, I can load about 400 rds per hour. This includes refilling primers and powder as necessary, visually checking each powder charge, and pulling and weighing any that look suspect.

Starting with clean brass, I can get everything out, fill everything up, verify that powder charges are being thrown correctly, bullet seating and crimp are correct (rarely a problem, but I always check), load 1000 rds, and put everything away in about 3 hours.
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Old June 18, 2005, 04:57 PM   #10
Gewehr98
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Several hundred rounds/hour.

But I pay attention to what I'm doing with my Dillon - I'm in no race to spit out a bazillion rounds. Every round comes out of the final stage into the bin with the same dedication to quality as the first one.

I've often wondered about those who purchase progressives based strictly for the sheer production rate. Sometimes one hears about them blowing primers in the press, etc.
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Old June 18, 2005, 06:55 PM   #11
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I own the Square Deal just for .45 ACP (changing calibers is a pain on the SD). When I am running late for a match, I recruit my wife to feed the bullets while I feed cases and work the handle. I can do 180 rounds in just under 20 minutes that way. Do the math. If you've ever wondered what wives are for. . .

A friend of mine has a fully tricked out 1050; automatic case feeder and all. A couple of years ago we held a 1911 marathon at his place. Every night we reloaded about 1800 rounds and fired it all on dueling trees and other fun speed targets the next day. With me keeping the bullets and primers coming (we had a couple dozen primer tubes and of course he had the automatic primer tube filling machine) and he working the crank, this operation took about 45 minutes to complete each evening. Nary a round went bad, unless you count the shooter's contribution at the range.

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Old June 19, 2005, 08:20 PM   #12
Watchman
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The key to speed is to have the right stuff layed out in the proper order.

For instance, first thing I'll do is to load several primer tubes and have them ready to go. I'll have the powder can handy to fill up the powder tube when it gets to a certain point.

I'll have a box of bullets,usually a box of 500 set where I can reach them easily on the left of the press as you are looking at it.I'll have the cases in a bin on the right. Once you get into a rythm it is no problem for me to do 500 rounds an hour with some time to spare. I use the primer tubes to keep count of the rounds and when the finished bullet bin gets full, I just pour them in a cardboard box.

When I am done, I'll transfer the bullets to the correct plastic cases made by Midway,Dillion,MTM...I have them all.

After an hour or so of really getting it, I usaully give my back a break and stretch out a bit.

If I am doing .45 I 'll dump them in my Dillon bullet bag and not even mess with the plastic boxes.
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Old June 19, 2005, 08:29 PM   #13
CaptainRazor
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Not meaning to

Hijack the thread or anything, because I have no idea of the throughput of a Dillon 550b, or any other progressive for that matter, but, THANKS kkb!

That's a nice little utility you have made there!

Thank you again!
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Old June 19, 2005, 08:35 PM   #14
Primersinmyshoe
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It takes about 2 minutes to load one primer tube. To clean a batch of brass takes up to 3 hours. I inspect (weed out the WinNT, S&B, AMERC, etc) every case before I reload - that takes about a second per case. After that's done, my 650 will churn out 500 rounds in 40 minutes. I guess it's the preliminary work that will slow down the round per hour count. I don't count the brass cleaning time because that is done while I am not actively reloading. It's the inspection time that really slows me down. But I am the quality control officer, and I take my job seriously. Since I get all the free brass I want from my local indoor range I must make sure no "off brand" brass gets used. Everyone's situation is different, but that's mine.
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