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Old March 24, 2007, 04:29 PM   #1
ReloadingZombie
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RCBS dies + 550b reloader

I just inherited a 550b reloading press, And I want to set up to reload ruger480 , I have rcbs 3 die set, Deprimer die, expander die, and seating/crimmping die, for the 480, but dont know how to set up on dillions 550b not sure if or where i put the expanding die. So on the press it goes first station is depriming, second is powder fill, but not sure what to do with 3rd and 4th stations do i leave one empty and just use the seatting/crimmping die and not the expanding die? Do I need the expanding die and if so what station does it go in?
Any help would be great thanks
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Old March 24, 2007, 05:39 PM   #2
armedandsafe
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Decap...cap...size...expand...bell...charge...seat...crimp

That is the basic sequence of operations for reloading.

Decap and size are often performed as one operation/one die. Sometimes the same die will decap, size and expand in one die, with belling performed at another station.

It does not matter significantly what brand name is on the reloading machine, as it is only a jig for holding the dies and cases. On a 4-hole plate, you will leave one empty. I usually fill the #3 position with a powder dropper, when loading pistol cartridges. The die in this station is any non-shaping die with a hole through the top. That is my method, but I have seen other methods used to fill the "empty" slot.

Pops
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Old March 24, 2007, 05:55 PM   #3
ReloadingZombie
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so the rcbs 3 die set I have it has one die that is a decapping, one that is a expander, and one that is a seating die. So I dont use the Expander die?
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Old March 24, 2007, 06:18 PM   #4
armedandsafe
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Yes, you use all the dies.

I'd have to go out to the reloading shop to get a set of RCBS dies to check for sure, but I'd think the (station #1) decapper also sizes the case to below/to SAAMI minimum. That die might or might not have a belling function. Then you cap the case. Then you (station #2) expand the case enough to accept the bullet without shaving metal off the sides. That step might or might not have a belling function. Then you (station #2 or station #3, depending on which station die has a hole in the top) drop a charge of powder. This die might or might not have a belling function. Then you place the bullet (station #3 or #4, depending on whether you used station #3 for something) and seat it. This will crimp it with your dies. Some use a separate crimping die, which can make things interesting, if you are already using 4 stations on a 4 hole turret/base.

All of the dies were included in the set to be used in a proper loading procedure. Don't throw one away, unless you are sure you have a step which will perform that operation properly.

Pops
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Old March 24, 2007, 11:09 PM   #5
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You DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use the expander die with a 550!

The size/decap die goes in station ONE. You prime on the upstroke in station ONE. Station TWO is the expand/powder drop. You use the Dillon expander that bells the case mouth, and allows the powder to drop through the expander into the case. Station THREE CAN be used to seat/crimp, but you are MUCH better 0ff getting a separate crimping die for station FOUR, and using station THREE only for seating.

Get an owner's manual from Dillon. It explains set up in detail, with pictures.
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Old March 25, 2007, 06:52 AM   #6
ReloadingZombie
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I have not found anyone that makes a seperate die for seating and crimping the ruger 480.
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Old March 25, 2007, 09:43 AM   #7
Abstract
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Quote:
Decap...cap...size...expand...bell...charge...seat...crimp
The RCBS expander die is the belling die. Exactly what do you think the RCBS expanding die is "expanding?"
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Old March 25, 2007, 01:17 PM   #8
armedandsafe
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Quote:
Exactly what do you think the RCBS expanding die is "expanding?"
I think of "expanding" as taking the neck back out to proper size to accept the bullet, after the "sizing" step has reduced it to SAAMI minimum (or smaller, in some cases.) "Belling" is commonly done on pistol cases to aid in initial insertion of the bullet but seldom done on rifle cases, nor if loading reduced base bullets. I use only a few RCBS dies, but have many of many different manufacturers. This has shown me that different manufacturers have different ideas on the sequence of steps.

Pops
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Old March 25, 2007, 02:57 PM   #9
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To sort it out a bit:

Station 1 is at the right front position. The Dillon 550B will decap and resize at station 1 on the up-stroke of the ram (down-stroke of the handle), so this is where the sizing/decapping die goes. It is, therefore, also the station where you first insert your fired brass. When you push the handle down, in addition to sizing, you will observe the primer shuttle slides back to pick up a primer from the primer tube. (You did put the right inner primer tube in place for your primers, then fill it from a primer pickup tube?) When you lower the ram (handle back up), the primer seating ram will raise the primer, and you will have to push the raised handle forward to seat the primer all the way into the case. You will feel it.

Next, let go of the handle, advance the shell holder one position clockwise (looking down from above). This moves your case to station 2 (left front, facing the handle). You may now also place the next case in station 1.

Station 2 gives you a choice. Use the Dillon automatic powder measurer or don't. If you want to use the Dillon powder measure, you will need to have a correct size powder drop tube for it. You will have to order this from Dillon if you didn't inherit the right size with the press. Dillon drop tubes function as both the case mouth expander and the powder measure operating rod, causing the measure to pick up a charge of powder on the ram upstroke and dispense it down the drop tube on the ram down-stroke. (I'll let you remember that the ram and handle move in opposite directions simultaneously). The expander function of the drop tube in this setup will substitute for the use of your RCBS expander die, and station 3 (left rear) will be the seater and crimper, and station 4 (right rear) will be left empty.

If you don't want to use the Dillon Powder measure, but want to weigh your charges or dispense them from a manual measure, put your RCBS expander die in station 2. I've forgotten whether the RCBS expander is hollow for case charging like the Lee? If so, you would add your powder manually through it when the ram is in the upstroke position. If not, you will need a powder funnel with a drop tube. You will leave station 3 empty, and will dispense powder into the case using the funnel through the threaded hole in station 3 when the ram is in the upstroke position. In this arrangement, the seater/crimper die would be in station 4.

The last arrangement will be slow, both because of the manual powder dispensing and the fact the same hand (right) will place cases in station 1 and bullets in station 4. The loaded round catch bin will be a little in the way of smooth bullet placement in this setup, but it is by no means a show stopper. In the normal Dillon arrangement, station 3 is where bullets are seated, and a separate crimping die is on station four.

As far as I know, being a heavy revolver round, the .480 Ruger always employs a heavy roll crimp. If you use the Dillon measure and want to minimize lead shaving off cast bullets during seating by having a separate crimping step, try this arrangement: Set up your RCBS seater/crimper die in station 3, with its die body turned in just far enough to remove the case flare the expander caused. This leaves the sides of the case straight. You may then use a Lee Factory Crimp die in Station 4 to crimp without driving the bullet further in. If you plan on shooting a lot of reduced target loads that don't require a heavy crimp to keep the bullets from backing out, you can get Lee to make a custom taper crimp version of that die for you, so the cases last longer.

One additional option is to setup and use the Dillon measure for expanding and dispensing, and install a powder checking setup in station 3. Ask Dillon if theirs from the 650 and 1050 can be adapted? If not, it isn’t hard to devise your own. Just a stick with a level mark works. In this arrangement you would put the seater/crimper die in station 4.
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Old March 25, 2007, 05:11 PM   #10
cheygriz
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Very good explanation, Unclenick.

But I would add that in the long run, you will be much better off with a separate crimping die. If you can't find one, buy a second seating die and remove the seating stem so that only the crimping function works.

The "expander/drop tube" should be a part of the "caliber kit" from Dillon. You should have a Dillon powder measure with it also. If not, it's well worth it to buy one.

Your 550 was designed for high speed reloading. Don't waste it's potential by using extra steps, like weighing powder charges. Get the accessories you need, if any, from Dillon and enjoy the speed built into your machine.
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