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Old November 14, 2013, 07:40 PM   #1
sintexas
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Join Date: January 4, 2013
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Dillon SDB tips/tricks from veterans

I already have about 7 years experience with the XL650 set up in 45 ACP, and about 3 years ago got a used SDB in 45 ACP (strongmount, bullet tray), with a 9mm conversion thrown in for free.

Press sat in my garage for the entire time, since I had a faster 650 for the same caliber, and 9mm was still cheap and I didn't bother loading for it.

Well, fast forward to present day, and we all know how times have changed. I dusted off the SDB, got some new parts from Dillon and now I'm ready to load. Got me 3k 125gr bullets from Mastercast, and I'm itching to start cranking out some ammo. I'm planning on using either Clays, Titegroup, or Win 231 for mousefart/powder puff loads for Canik 55 CZ-clone and Glock 34.

Any longtime SDB users want to help the newbie here with pointers, tips/tricks, and any other experiences you'd like to share? Like your production rate, any parts susceptible to wear/breakage, etc.?

Thanks!!
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:16 PM   #2
totaldla
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Let the press warm up

The plastic thingy's in the priming system don't work so well if the press is cold - so let it warm to room temp before reloading.
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Old November 15, 2013, 09:01 AM   #3
g.willikers
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The part that rotates the shell holder, called the pawl (?), was a problem with older Square Deals.
The metal nose was too soft and wore down, causing the shell holder to turn erratically and not quite far enough to line up with the primer feed and powder drop.
Eventually, the pawl was redesigned with harder materials.
Unfortunately, it's about the last part to remove from the press.
Whether or not this problem exists with yours would depend on when it was made.
Also, the early ones had some imperfectly made handles that would break in half.
That, too, was corrected.
Lastly, the little wire that directs finished rounds out of the machine seems to have a habit of disappearing.
I made spares out of some thin, but stiff wire that fits in the appropriate holes in the right side of the press, just above where the collection bin attaches.
Mine is nearly 30 years old, and other than the above easily cured little irritations, has run like the proverbial train, producing tens of thousands of reliable rounds of ammo.
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Last edited by g.willikers; November 15, 2013 at 09:13 AM.
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Old November 15, 2013, 12:26 PM   #4
reload
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I'm not a long time SDB user, coming up on about a year. Bought new from Dillon. But I've been cranking out a lot of 9mm with no hitches, doing 100 in about 10-15min.

I recently added 45 ACP, and have a separate tool head for quick changes. Changing the powder charge is not to bad as I 've calibrated various settings on the metering bolt. Large primer system change is also not much effort.
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Old November 15, 2013, 01:33 PM   #5
Dave P
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As a matter of fact, I just came up with an improvement after using mine for 10 years.

After filling the primer loading tube, I normally just flip it over and then drain it into the tube on the press. Not uncommon for the first primer or two to be flipped, and then seated upside down.

So what I "discovered" was that I can keep them from flipping by inserting the black plastic follower stick in the loading tube, to keep a bit of pressure on the primers as the loading tube is inverted, and while feeding the tube of the press.

Make sense??
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Old November 15, 2013, 01:52 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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I broke the mounting flange on my SDB twice before they caught on and added a reinforcing web to the mold. Of course they replaced the whole frame with no questions asked.
The guy I sold it to is getting ready to send it in for his third overhaul on top of my two.

I load primers like Dave P describes and have since 1978 on a CH AutoCHamp.

The SDB does not have as much leverage as the bigger presses.
I had no trouble loading 9mm, but it took a lot of effort to seat large primers in .45 ACP. Which is why I splurged on a 1050 instead of a new gun one year.
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Old November 15, 2013, 03:07 PM   #7
reload
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Quote:
So what I "discovered" was that I can keep them from flipping by inserting the black plastic follower stick in the loading tube, to keep a bit of pressure on the primers as the loading tube is inverted, and while feeding the tube of the press.

Make sense??
Great idea! I haven't had a problem with flipped primers, but sometimes some get stuck in the tube and tend to spill out if not careful. Will give this a try .
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Old November 15, 2013, 03:09 PM   #8
reload
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Quote:
The SDB does not have as much leverage as the bigger presses.
I had no trouble loading 9mm, but it took a lot of effort to seat large primers in .45 ACP. ...
Yeah, I found the same when loading 45. I get a bit of a workout trying to be sure they are seated properly.
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:23 PM   #9
throttleup
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Dillon SDB

I have been reloading 45's and 9mm's for over 17 years on a pair of Dillon SDB's. One thing I have learned is to always have a spare parts kit available. You just never know. One major lesson I have learned, is that as soon as you detect ANY problems with the primer feed it is time to change the plastic tip on the primer feed tube. This press is very sensitive to any slight distortion or change in tension of these tips and it's really hard to detect any changes visually. If primers start sticking, flipping, turning sideways, anything, just put on a new tip and press on. Otherwise, this will drive you crazy.

The other spare that I am never without is a shell plate bolt. They do break and that will stop you dead. Looking back at my records, I broke one in December of 2010, after 3 years and 8,500 rounds. I broke another one exactly one year and 10,700 rounds later and I broke one tonight after 2 years and 5,000 rounds (I'll call and get a free replacement in the mail tomorrow). I have gotten lazy though and have not lubricated cases in over a year. If you size a lubed case for every 10 unlubed cases, the press really runs slick and with much less effort on the upstroke.

I sent one of the SDB's back to Dillon a few years ago after it had been in use for 16 years. When I got it back. I had to look closely to confirm it was my old machine. I thought they had sent me a new one from stock that's how pristine it was. And it only cost me the shipping do Dillon. Great company.
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Old November 15, 2013, 08:45 PM   #10
sintexas
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Quote:
The plastic thingy's in the priming system don't work so well if the press is cold - so let it warm to room temp before reloading.
I load in my garage, which is not air conditioned or heated. I guess I'll just have to avoid loading on those cold San Antonio winter days!

On a serious note, I can totally see myself really liking this little press. As diminutive as it is, it feels and looks like it'll be a nice piece of hardware to load some plinker loads.
Now I got a buddy at work who wants me to load some 44 Mag for him. I'd much rather use the SDB than mess with converting 650 to load a few hundred rounds. I'll just have him pay for the conversion kit, and I'll load the rounds for him at cost.

I always lube all the cases, no matter rifle or pistol, neck or full size. I found out that the effort needed with lubed cases is much less than if lube is not used, and wear and tear that goes with it is also a factor. Dillon's customer service is outstanding, and they surely take care of you as a customer. But I'd rather not be breaking stuff if I can help it.
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