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Old November 13, 2012, 03:48 PM   #1
rajbcpa
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Are some people ill suited for progressive presses?

In the past 5 months, I have owned two new progressive presses (Hornady L-N-L, and Dillon 550B) and I cannot get either press to run at all.

OUCH!

Maybe I should try a turret? ...my old SS rockchucker is too slow.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:08 PM   #2
Marco Califo
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You may be right. It takes a bit of mechanical aptitude, and if you tend to get frustrated or give up, it may not be right for you. I have a MEC progressive shotshell loader I loved to use, but do not shoot shotguns so much anymore. I got frustrated with a Lee 1000 and went back to my turret. I also use a Lee handloader, which is now my favorite reloading tool (and cheapest press of all at $20). I use the handtool while watching TV for many steps like depriming and sizing. I feel pretty efficient doing things in batch mode, enough to keep me shooting. One other possibility is to find someone local to you that can help you get it going.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:54 PM   #3
jmorris
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Yes, some folks are not cut out for reloading of any kind.

In the end, you have to find what works for you.


What are the problems you are having?
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:04 PM   #4
rajbcpa
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Before I became a CPA 30 yers ago, I was a professional transmission mechanic..... I consider myself mechanically inclined....


The problems have been numerous at every station..... the dillon has a primer loading issue....
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:17 PM   #5
Marco Califo
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Yes, I thought the Lee 1000 primer system was a joke and didn't use it for that reason. The trouble is, with a progressive you need to master the machine's way of operating at every station, simultaneously, even if you do not like doing it that way.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:22 PM   #6
jmorris
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Sounds like you may just be frustrated. Not knowing what press you are currently working with or exact problems you are having, I can't be of much help other than to say they both can be made to load ammo without making you kick a cat or cuss your wife.

On both machines you can (and should) run just one case at a time to help setting up/figuring out each station, one at a time.

The spring retainer on the LNL allows removal of the case at any time, on the 550 you can take out the buttons to accomplish the same thing.

Again, just set one station at a time, exactly the same as your SS press and the only difference will be when you setup the powder measure.


If you have any specifics on your 550 primer issue post them, I bet there are more than a few of use that have already had the same problems.

If you hurry you can also get on the phone with a Dillon tech and they will walk you through it.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:27 PM   #7
Misssissippi Dave
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Depending on just what is happening or not happening on the primer issue it probably can be taken care of fairly quickly. I had some trouble with mine at first but now it is pretty reliable. I do keep my compresser hose near by to blow away some junk if it gets near the primer bar or seating pin. I keep the pressure output around 20 psi to make things manageable. If you can explain just what the problem is maybe I and/or some of the other here can help. That is about the only problem you will most likely have with a 550b.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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I,ve read your posts about the indexing issues with the Hornady- but they were related to straight-wall cases, right?

There's plenty of satisfied customers of both- and I was also surprised at your report of lacking CS at Hornady for the LNL. When I first purchased mine three years ago, I had trouble getting the indexing right, it is a bit tricky since it half-indexes unlike any other machine on the market (but that's what separates it from the rest of the pack, IMO). Called CS and the guy insisted that he walk me through it, at the machine, rather than trying to explain. He waited on hold while I got to the machine, then gave me step-by-step instructions asking me exactly how the press was indexing after each "tweak" here and there. It has run flawlessly since, and I've never had to touch the indexing pawls again. (OK, save for the pia when a grain powder gets into the primer shuttle, but that's not often).

I don't know how you started out, but my LNL was my very first press. I bypassed the single stage altogether...

It was simple enough for me to run the LNL one case at a time, didn't have to use it as a Progressive, and didn't want to at first. Far too much going on for a newb at one time. It took months of familiarization and "comfort level" before I was cranking it as a true progressive.

Have you asked Hornady for a replacement press, given the continuing issues?
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:14 PM   #9
1Hobie
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Sir,
Please post the Dillon primer issue. I've ran the 550 for years.

Hobie
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:21 PM   #10
Jimro
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Yes, some people aren't inclined for progressives.

Just like some people are Ford folks, and some people are Chevy folks. There are even really strange people who are Yugo folks.

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Old November 13, 2012, 09:26 PM   #11
vossman
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If you're in Co I can help you with your 550. Once it is set up it is amazing how well it works.
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Old November 14, 2012, 12:29 AM   #12
warningshot
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If you ask...the answer is...YES
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Old November 14, 2012, 11:01 AM   #13
rajbcpa
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Dillon 550b primer issue:

1. sometimes the shuttle does not pick up a primer
2. Sometimes the shuttle picks up a primer but the primer is up side down or is sideways
3. Sometimes the primer shuttle sticks in the open position
4. Sometimes the primers cannot be seated fully in the case
5. Live primers seem to be showing up everywhere (under the sheelholder, in the pathway to the primer shuttle, etc.
6. the live primers don't seem to be centered in the brass piece that seats them in the case when the ram arm is pushed forward


I have taken the primer assembly off several times and no resolution yet. The primer storage rod and plastic feeder seems to be in the press correctly.

thanks....
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Old November 14, 2012, 11:10 AM   #14
Ronbert
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550b-
You are aware that there are 2 sizes of primers and that there are 2 different cups to use, yes? (primer not centered in cup suggests small primer in a large primer cup. Small primers in large primer feed tube would cause droppage.

Too tight on the bolts holding the primer feeder can impede shuttle movement. They don't need to be very tight. (finger tight plus a tiny bit)

There is some slop available to adjust the primer feeders position on the press. It straddles the shuttle so it might need to be aligned better.

Upside down primers come from- handling pickup tube roughly, wrong pickup tube, wrong cup, or jerky shuttle movement.

Jerky movement from roughness or debris under the slide. This area should be smooth and free of oil or lubricants. Yanking the operating handle up and down too quickly can also cause problems.

etc.
(I've loaded over 20k rounds on my 550b. Very few setup issues but the operator has to learn how to set it right and operate it right.)
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Old November 14, 2012, 11:12 AM   #15
drail
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Some people absolutely have no business using a progressive (or a single stage). Just about every single handgun that I have seen blown up by the owner was using a progressive press carelessly.
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Old November 14, 2012, 03:21 PM   #16
BigJimP
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I've seen at least 4 guns blown up in the last year ....all by single stage press users too..../ one just 3 weeks ago ..( a 1911 in .45 acp ) which is a really easy caliber to reload...and very forgiving....so I don't think you can generalize.

Ronbert made some good remarks on primer feeds....but if the OP hasn't talked to Dillon's customer service people yet....he has to be missing something in the setup process in the manual that he's done wrong..../ none of the Dillon presses inherently have primer feeding issues like he's experiencing...

( ...Just as a note: ...even though I have lots of experience...I mistakenly left a large primer feed system in the press when I was changing calibers to a small pistol primer...) ...and I was having inverted primers, seating issues, etc ....until I took everything apart again...and double checked everything .../ and I have since clearly labeled with masking tape.....Large Pistol ..and Small Pistol primer systems)....so none of us are immune from making mistakes....
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Old November 14, 2012, 04:28 PM   #17
Ronbert
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Just thinking on the topic a bit - it would be really easy to have the wrong primer feed parts in the press. There's little to visually distinguish one set from the other (set = shuttle, feed tube, pickup tube)

I think I'll mark mine tonight!
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Old November 14, 2012, 04:31 PM   #18
JimDandy
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Where are you located Rajbcpa? Maybe someone on the forums is close enough to drink your coffee and give you a tour of your press? If not, have you tried the offer at some of the local ranges? Looking for an introductry lesson on Progressive Press XYZ... free coffee, donuts, and thank you's!
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Old November 14, 2012, 04:39 PM   #19
vossman
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Little bit of graphite powder on the primer bar too may keep it from sticking. Ronbert may be on the right track too. I think it may come from Dillon with the large primer setup installed.
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Old November 14, 2012, 07:11 PM   #20
Misssissippi Dave
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As to primers going everywhere when sizing this is normally caused by to door under the shell plate sticking. It should be closed when you raise the ram and open when it goes to the bottom. When it opens it should dump into the cup. The cotter pin used as a pivot is not all that good. One easy fix is to remove it and put a large safety pin in its place. I have also used a soft steel pin and crimped the ends to keep it from coming out. I then cut off any extra material beyond about 3/16 of an inch. The cotter pin is rather soft and easily bent. This tend to keep the door from moving freely. While it is apart to improve the pin I like to clean it up and finish it off by a quick shot of One Shot case lube. It is a dry lube so it won't attract debris. To check the movement I just raise the ram to the top and check to see if the door will move freely. Even when it is working perfectly occasionally a primer might launch to places unknown. Generally it works well.

I agree tightening the screws for the primer tube too much will cause the shuttle to bind a lot. The Dillon press comes with the large primer tube installed. Also the shuttle is for the large primers. If you are planning to load small primers, you do have to put in the small primer tube and change the shuttle to the proper one. There is an adjustment to set the pin properly.

It might also help to follow the direction that came with the press when setting one up. Correcting the door for the spent primer shot should probably be added to the instructions.
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Old November 14, 2012, 07:52 PM   #21
jmorris
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Quote:
Dillon 550b primer issue:

1. sometimes the shuttle does not pick up a primer
2. Sometimes the shuttle picks up a primer but the primer is up side down or is sideways
3. Sometimes the primer shuttle sticks in the open position
4. Sometimes the primers cannot be seated fully in the case
5. Live primers seem to be showing up everywhere (under the sheelholder, in the pathway to the primer shuttle, etc.
6. the live primers don't seem to be centered in the brass piece that seats them in the case when the ram arm is pushed forward


I have taken the primer assembly off several times and no resolution yet. The primer storage rod and plastic feeder seems to be in the press correctly.

thanks....

Page 9 of the manual is a start on how to set the adjustment screw and such.

They come shipped set up for large primers, you have to change the system out for small.

If all else is correct change out the plastic tip on the tube and just snugg the retainer collar down. I am talking about just enough to take out any slack, use the primer warning alarm to keep it from backing off further. Crank down on the collar and you'll just mess up another tip.
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Old November 14, 2012, 08:53 PM   #22
Misssissippi Dave
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I also put a fired .45 acp case on the end of the plastic rod for the primer tube. The added weight might help. It does look good and stays on nicely as well.
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:43 AM   #23
oldpapps
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When I see the title of this thread, I have to smile.
My brother is 'ill suited' for single stage presses! Too impatient.

So, I would have to say yes for many reasons. But if the desire is their, no. Just take your time and think every step though.

Be safe,

OSOK
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:14 AM   #24
rajbcpa
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No longer ill suited!!!!! YIPPIE!!!!!!

I am no longer "ill suited"

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!

The 550B press was loaded from the factory with the large primer drop tube and large primer shuttle. I switched out these parts to the small tube and small shuttle and the press now performs flawlessly.....

I loaded about 50 cases this AM without issue!!!!!!

The one thing that is a tad spookie is that the press lacks auto indexing and, if you are not very careful, this can lead to a double powder charge. I'm loading 9s so this situation is immediately apparent but I'll have to watch with other rounds where two powder charges can fit in one case.

I've never been a patient person..... and this will likely not change in the future.... I have been reloading rifle ammo in a SS since 1975, so hopefully, I can manage the progressive 550......

Hey, this is not brain surgery; right?
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:41 AM   #25
Misssissippi Dave
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Like everything else you will get a pattern going that makes everything stay in order. I look at the powder in the case everytime I go to place a bullet. It might slow things down but that is fine with me. When things are set up, the powder is dialed in, and primer tubes loaded you will find loading 100 rounds takes only a few minutes to do.

I try to load 100 to 150 each evening and 300 one day of the weekend. At the end of the month it adds up. The time spent really isn't much. 20 to 30 minutes a night and maybe an hour one day of the weekend gets me around 1000 rounds loaded. Not much time really. The hardest part is paying for all those bullets, primers and powder to keep my press from gathering too much dust or rust. These short sessions makes it fun and easy for me. Putting in more time will just mean I need to place orders a lot more often.

It is good to know your press is finally working correctly. Now that you know what all those bits and pieces are for, it will become much easier to use your press. The press also comes with two bars for the powder measure. The small one will work for most pistol calibers. The large one is mostly for rifle.
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