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Old June 22, 2006, 07:01 PM   #1
CrustyFN
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Dillon 550

I don't know anything about reloading yet. I have been looking at the dillon products on their home page. I am not interested in any perticular one yet but will refer to the 550 for an example. I was wanting to know if you could reload with the 550 as sold on the web site or if you have to buy extras. I have seen packages on ebay and they have scales, tumblers and some other things. Do you have to have all of the extras and what is the tumbler for? I know there are a lot of years of expreience on this forum and I will get some great advice here so thanks in advance.
Rusty
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Old June 22, 2006, 07:23 PM   #2
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Tumblers are for cleaning cases. Cartridge cases really only need sand and grit removed to keep from scratching up the sizing dies, and that can be done with various liquid cleaning agents you mix up at home. A teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a couple of tablespoons of powdered citric acid (from a wine making supplier) in a gallon of water works. Just shake the cases in a plastic jug half-full with the liquid. Rinse and shake out the execess water, wipe the outside with scrap terricloth and you are done. Be cautioned that lead from primer residues are in the liquid, so when it stops cleaning, it should be disposed of accordingly. In the opinions of many, the tumblers are more hazardous since the lead becomes dust that gets in the air when you separate the cases from the media. It saves you having to let the cases dry out, however. You will find that if you clean in liquid it is a good idea to decap (knock out) the expended primers as a separate step so water doesn't get trapped in the primer pocket under the primer. The tumbler gets you around that step.

In addition to the press, you will need a set of dies for each caliber you want to reload. Dillion includes one chambering already setup, which is why there are all the cartridge names on the price list. It can be converted to other cartridges by adding dies and shell index plates.

A scale is needed for setting up the powder measure on the Dillon to throw the correct charge weight.

You will have to buy bullets and powder and primers, obviously. I would consider getting an inexpensive metal caliper to measure cartridge length. I would get a couple of data books on reloading. Lee's book is a good starting place, as is Lyman's book. Get one from your bullet maker, as well. Most people like to check three and use the lowest starting load listed among them.

The Dillons are good machines, for the most part, and I own two. However, if you have never reloaded and unless you need a high volume of ammo from the git-go, you might want to consider starting with something simple like the Lee Anniversary kit and a set of dies. This will introduce you to reloading and train you in problems to watch out for. Since every round is one-at-a-time, you will inspect each one at every stage. Once you are familiar with what to watch out for, add the Dillon to your gear. You will already have one set of dies and can get a different set with the press. You will have a basic scale from the Lee kit. The kit parts will be useful to you for other purposes. I use my Lee press for decapping and for sizing some cast bullets. It is light enough to mount on a board to take to the range as a portable for load development.

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Old June 22, 2006, 08:53 PM   #3
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Rusty, call the Dillon tech line and talk to them. The guys on their tech line are seasoned reloaders and very willing to help you out. They can go over all of the products and help you choose what is right for you.

Brian Enos www.brianenos.com is a Dillon dealer and a VERY helpful guy, you can call him and talk to him too. He also has the best prices on Dillon products I have seen.
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Old June 23, 2006, 10:27 AM   #4
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I'll sure endorse most of the above.

Unclenick suggests you start with a single stage press, to learn the basics. This is an excellent suggestion. I've been handloading for some 40 years, mostly handgun calibers, but a lot of rifle stuff as well. I'm very happy with my Dillon presses, but I wouldn't be without a good single stage press. He is also utterly correct about having a good loading manual, and preferably two or more. And, please, take time to READ the how-to-do-it sections very carefully. (Had I done this, I would have saved myself a lot of inconvenience and considerable expense, back in the early 1960s. )

HSMITH makes the very good point that, once you wish to acquire a progressive loading setup, there is an abundance of technical expertise available on the Dillon help line.

CrustyFN, you don't tell us what calibers you wish to load, nor what firearms you wish to feed. This COULD make some difference in the long run, but you'd still be well advised to begin with a single stage press to learn the basics.

Please return to this forum often - - Share your learning process with us, and the membership is always glad to share their hard-gained wisdom.

Best of luck
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Old June 23, 2006, 10:56 AM   #5
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Johnny,
I don't have a center fire gun yet. I'm not sure what caliber I want yet. I have a 22 Ruger now that I just bought for shooting in a bullseye league. I am going to join a club next month and thought it would be fun to shoot some of the matches where you need a 22 and centerfire gun. I am new to the gun sport and am learning a lot of new things. I have been thinking of buying a 9mm when I get one and a friend of mine has a Walther P99 40 cal that also wants to reload. I really appreciate all the great information everybody has given me and I will let you know how everything turns out. Thanks,
Rusty
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Old June 23, 2006, 11:06 AM   #6
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As usual, I will suggest something real radical for the Internet Age.
Get a book.
This one is a start:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=738288
And this one is very good:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=823498

You can watch the pretty pictures with the Dillon or Sierra videos
http://dillonprecision.com/template/...2&min=0&dyn=1&
at the bottom of the page
http://www.sierrabullets.com/index.c...11&CFID=936117

but they do NOT replace the books and manuals.
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Old June 23, 2006, 11:17 AM   #7
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Sorry, I forgot to put in my last post that the next gun I buy will be more for pleasure than self defence. I was thinking that something with less kick might be better for competitions, that is why I was leaning toward the 9mm. Thanks again for all your help.
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Old June 23, 2006, 11:37 AM   #8
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What kind of "competitions?"
You mention a bullseye league.
NRA Conventional Pistol (bullseye) calls for a smallbore (.22) a centerfire (.32 or larger) and a bigbore (.45 ACP, period.) Many people use only two guns for the three events, shooting a .45 in centerfire and bigbore. Saves money, does 2/3 of the shooting with the same trigger, grip, and sights.

The point of handloading, apart from economy, is to tailor your ammunition to the job. A .45 Midrange load with a 185 or 200 grain semiwadcutter at 700-750 fps is not a hard kicker.
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Old June 23, 2006, 04:12 PM   #9
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Jim,
The club I am going to join has a 22 pistol league on Tuesday night at their 50 foot indoor range. They shoot three rounds of slow fire, three of timed and three of rapid all with a 22 pistol. I was looking at their web site and the NRA outdoor pistol match I thought was the same format but with a 22 pistol and a centerfire pistol 32 caliber or larger. The IDPA match sounds fun also. I am not sure what the gun requirements are for that. Will a smaller caliber pistol get me through these matches or do most of them require a 45? Thanks,
Rusty
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Old June 23, 2006, 05:16 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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All the NRA outdoor bullseye matches I know of are three-gun, smallbore, centerfire, and bigbore. I guess you could just shoot two of the three individual matches and not be in the aggregate, but there is really nothing to worry about with the .45, especially if you handload.

It takes a darn nice 9mm to be competitively accurate for bullseye. There are a few places accurizing Berettas for the separate Service Pistol "leg" matches and you can get a 9mm set up for PPC which is nearly as demanding as bullseye. The S&W model 952 gets good reviews.

IDPA is what we used to call a "combat" match before we got politically correct. Targets are large and close, times are fast, and there are different divisions for anything from 9mm or .38 Special on up.
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Old June 23, 2006, 07:59 PM   #11
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Thanks for the information. I will have to look at all of this more careful before I make a decision. I will also ask some of the club members when I go on Tuesday to shoot my 22. It does make more sence like you said earlier to buy the 45 and not have to buy a third gun. Thanks,
Rusty
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Old July 5, 2006, 04:49 PM   #12
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Be really cautious with E-Bay. With very few exceptions, the dillon items I've seen on there have sold for more than you can either buy it direct from Dillon or at your local dealer for! Go figure.
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Old July 6, 2006, 05:36 AM   #13
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Agree with all of the above posts.
Suggest good single stage as starter to learn slowly.
Like driving a car or flying an airplane(up to the point of a stall !) slower allows you to be ahead of the machine not the other way around.

Once you understand what is going on while reloading and you shoot enough to justify the added expense, head for a progressive.

As for eBay, I may catch grief from their devotees but unless you can be REALLY SURE of what you are getting and factor in the usually outrageous shipping costs, I usually find stuff cheaper locally or just try Midway or MidSouth or Natchez- especially if on sale.
Cannot think of anything that I went looking for on eBay tha I did not find cheaper, faster and with less worry elsewhere.
Really esoteric stuff may be the exception but usually if it is still in production, look around before you commit to eBay.

Just my experiences.
Enjoy the new hobby and read the forum for help and advice if you proceed.
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Old July 6, 2006, 08:10 AM   #14
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I'm going to go against the grain here. My first (and only) reloading press was (and is) a Dillon 550. I load pistol ammunition in several calibers. Personally, I see absolutely no reason to start with a single-stage press and would likely have stopped reloading if I had. For pumping out pistol rounds, a progressive just can't be beat.

And a progressive just isn't that hard. Get a good reloading book (Lyman's is good). Read it. Watch the video from Dillon. Set up the press and have at it. It's just not that hard guys. If you have a problem, call up Dillon -- their techs are great.

You will need some extras. First, the aforementioned reloading book. I use a tumbler and media. You will need a primer flip tray and primer tubes. You will need a scale and calipers. You should get a bench mount. The bullet tray is useful as well. And you will need some plastic bins to hold the cartridges as they come off the press.

I spent quite a bit getting started (partly because I got dies and quick change assemblies for 9mm, .38, and .45 ACP), about $1000. I ran some quick calculations and figured out that the press paid for itself in the first year. That is, I saved more than $1000 in ammo cost the first year I started reloading. YMMV.

Last edited by M1911; July 6, 2006 at 09:14 AM.
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Old July 6, 2006, 09:07 AM   #15
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I'm going to line up with M1911. I started with a Dillon 650 loading 9mm, .45 and .38 special. I load thousands annually and the learning curve was almost non-existent. Just pay attention to the setup video and all will go smoothly.

I got my setup through Brian Enos, and he is incredibly helpful. I was lucky enough to be able to afford everything I wanted up front, so I ended up spending around $2500 for everything, including powder, primer and bullets, but I didn't scrimp on anything as I wanted to buy once and have everything I needed.
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Old July 7, 2006, 08:27 PM   #16
CrustyFN
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Thanks everybody I appreciate all of your posts. There is a lot of great information here. I will take all of your advice and do some reading and see what I come up with.
Rusty
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Old July 8, 2006, 03:49 PM   #17
M1911
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Crusty:

Too bad you're so far away. In the unlikely event you make it up to MA, send me a PM and I'll be glad to take a few minutes and show you how to reload on a 550.

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Old July 8, 2006, 06:35 PM   #18
CrustyFN
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Thanks M1911 I appreciate that. If I make it out your way I will let you know. If you ever make it this way PM me and we can go shooting or something.
Rusty
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Old July 9, 2006, 03:41 AM   #19
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Big Help!

I just read these posts and learned a lot!!
Thanks Folks!!
I like RCBS Rockchucker and tools! For me they're reasonable priced and do a good job.
Pay Pal and E Bay I heard is anti-gun. Don't make sense cause' they made big bucks off guns?
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Old July 9, 2006, 06:51 AM   #20
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I concur with the opinions of "Unclenick" and "Jim Watson." If you're brand new, it makes more sense to start with a single stage press, or at most one that can be switched to single stage, like the Lee Classic Turret. The cost is far less than a Dillon 550 ($80 at Midway), and you will use such a press for a variety of tasks, even after you've gone progressive. I would also endorse backing up one stage, and first getting one (or several) manuals, and reading them until you understand each stage of the reloading process. People have their favorite manuals, but I think any of the major publications will explain the process adequately: ABCs of Reloading, Speer, Lee, Lyman, Hornady.
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Old July 9, 2006, 01:09 PM   #21
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I'll join in with Kirk and M1911 - I jumped in with both feet and bought a Dillon 650 w/casefeeder for reloading several calibers - 9mm, .380, .40 S&W, .45 and now .357Sig. I didn't want to buy something twice - spend it once on quality and the best you can afford. I work two jobs, am on a Board of Directors for a state-wide organization, and am returning to college (glutton for punishment). I simply don't have the time to fool around with a single-stage press. Quality in quantity is what I was looking for, and found it with the 650.

Quote:
It does make more sence like you said earlier to buy the 45 and not have to buy a third gun. - CrustyFN
OK, time to take you to the woodshed for a talking to. Crusty! You can NEVER have too many toys!!! What were you thinking, man??

The learning curve was not as steep as the semi-heeded warnings of TFL handloaders was advertised; following the Dillon video as a visual roadmap, and following the setup manual religiously (Xerox'd the entire manual and marked off each step on the copies so I didn't miss one) got me started in one evening. I had one minor (nah, major - after about a dozen misfeeds) irritation with the casefeeder tube jamming, but after assessing the mechanics of it, a screw that should have been pretensioned at the factory needed to be tightened up; after that, worked flawlessly.

Reading the reloading manuals is mandatory, however. Break out the reading glasses, grab a Coke, and head for a quiet spot in the house. Soak up what's in there. It'll save alot of time and lessen the possibility of injuring yourself.

The amount of pistol ammo that I'm going through just in this first year of competition shooting would have taken me broke if I bought commercial ammo. I also figure it'll pay for itself in the first 18 months or less - and with Dillon's No-BS Lifetime Warranty, I have no qualms with keeping it around forever. Not to mention the neat feeling of seeing fairly tight groupings and a good IDPA power factor result within the first couple of test loads...have fun!
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Old July 9, 2006, 01:32 PM   #22
CrustyFN
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Sorry HP Along I don't know what came over me. I must have been sick and became light headed. That is the only thing I seem to be able to think about is what gun I want to buy next. I am going to Cabelas tomorrow to look at 22 rifles to shoot in this 22 league I have been shooting in. I have also been interested in the CZ 75 SP-01 in 9mm. The way my budget goes I am sure my mind will change a few times before I buy. Thanks for talking some sence into me.
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