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Old January 18, 2012, 02:27 PM   #1
markt99
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Lee SDB vs 550

Hello all. This is my first post

I have reloaded single stage for about 8 years on a rock chucker.

I recently got a lee pro 1000 for 45 acp. I understAnd that many have gotten this machine to work. Unfortunately I gave up after 12 hours of tinkering including alot of you tube video viewing and a call to lee support. It was just too quirky for my patience. I sent it back

I would like advice on whether to go with the dillon square deal b or the r550b. I would like to load 200-300 rounds per month In 45 acp without spending too much time "tinkering".

I am happy with continuing all other calibers including rifle calibers on the rock chucker as they are low volume.

I'm leaning towards the SDB simply for the auto indexing. Does auto indexing help speed that much, or does it just add potential issues that aren't worth it for my volume.

Other than the auto-index I like the 550 because you can add auto case feed, load rifle cartridges, and supposedly easier to change calibers.

Which should I get. The bottom line is I want a decent output with minimal hassle with indexing and priming problems.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:44 PM   #2
RickB
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I loaded for a few years on a Lyman Orange Crusher (Gee, wonder how they came up with a name like that?), and then transitioned to a SDB. For loading a few hundred rounds a month of .45 ACP, the SDB is perfect. If all the other considerations of future upgrades are important, get the 550.
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Old January 18, 2012, 02:51 PM   #3
markt99
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How important or what are the advantages/disadvantages of auto indexing. My lee Pro 1000 had to be rezeroed 3 times in the short time I had it. With that machine by the time you realize it needs to be zeroed you have sideways primers and powder everywhere.
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Old January 18, 2012, 04:26 PM   #4
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I once had the Lee 1000. It worked but I had to tinker with it each session. I finally threw it away. The 550 is much better and the manual index works fine. You will not miss the auto-index. I would advise th 550 over the Square Deal.
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Old January 18, 2012, 05:09 PM   #5
hk33ka1
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I do NOT own a Dillon but I hear they make awesome presses.

I believe the Square Deal uses a special type of die that won't work with other presses but the 550-650-1050 all use normal 7/8" dies. This alone would make me choose their 550 or other models over the Square deal, as nice as I hear it is.
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Old January 18, 2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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i would go with the 550 over the sqd press and if you can swing the extra do the 650 press for the extra features it adds. I have had a 550 and upgraded to a 650 and bought another 650 also. other than a 1050 there isnt a press out there i would consider other than a dillon
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Old January 18, 2012, 10:09 PM   #7
Lost Sheep
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I gave up my Pro-1000 for....

I, like you, did not like my Pro-1000. I never had too much trouble with the indexing or adjustments, but the primer feeding was problematic and trying to monitor multiple operations simultaneously was unnerving.

But rather than go back to single-stage or commit a lot more money to a Dillon or Hornady progressive, I went to a Turret press with auto-indexing.

It processes continuously, like a progressive. (You start with an empty case and process it without stopping until it comes out as a finished, complete cartridge.) But unlike a progressive, not one cartridge per stroke, but one cartridge per 3 or 4 strokes (depending if you are using the 3-die set or the 4-die set). This is much different, and more to my liking, than the batch processing single-stage presses require and non-auto-indexing turrets prefer.

I can load well over 100 rounds per hour. (The first time I timed myself, I did 100 rounds in 47 minutes, including filling the primer tray.) Some users claim 250 rounds per hour. This, on a press that costs $200, including powder measure, dies and primer dispenser, or less than $100 for the press alone.

Caliber swaps are much faster than on any progressive (under a minute vs 5 to 10 minutes or longer) and no additional costs other than the dies and standard shell holder (as opposed to a progressive's shell plate or entire carrier).

The press I chose is packs up easily, too (I stow my gear between loading sessions).

The turret I chose was a Lee (Lee's turrets are the only turrets made today that have automatic indexing, a real advantage on a turret) and the particular model (of the two) is the Classic Turret, which is far superior to the Deluxe Turret.

I am not trying to talk you out of getting a progressive. I am just pointing out the possibility of a different solution. I have had zero problems with the adjustments of my Turret and the primer feed (in my opinion) is superior to any other. The new primers are above and out of the way of any debris from the old, spent primers and the primer cup just before seating is readily visible, so mis-fed primers are virtually a thing of the past and easily detected and corrected if they do occur.

Good luck. Thanks for reading.

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Old January 18, 2012, 10:27 PM   #8
oldandslow
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mark, 1/19/12

I have a Dillon SDB with which I have reloaded 80,000 rounds over the past six years. Calibers are mainly .45 and 9mm with some 38 special and .357 magnum. It's a relatively simple machine to set up and use. It is also a speedy little machine. I once timed how long it took to reload 100 9mm cases- ten minutes and 15 seconds. With refilling the primer tube I did 200 in 22 minutes.

I also have a Rock Chucker single stage machine for my rifles- .270 Winchester and 30-06.

I also have a Dillon 650 for .45 and 44 special/magnum. It's a lot more massive and complicated than the SDB but works well. If you're sure your only going to load one or two pistol calibers then the SDB is a good product. Good luck.

best wishes- oldandslow
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Old January 19, 2012, 10:12 AM   #9
markt99
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm leaning to the 550b now. I saw some YouTube videos and it seems fairly speedy and I like the extra control with the manual index.

Now I need to talk my wife into the $500 (with caliber conversion kit and dies) price tag for my bday

At current 45 ACP savings that is only 2.5K to load for it to pay for itself
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Old January 19, 2012, 12:24 PM   #10
jmorris
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I own all of the Dillon presses except the 550, I didn't want a manual progressive. The SD's I have are 25+- years old (and cost $130 back then) and still make good ammo. That being said the last press I ordered was another LNL. Didn't want to deal with the case feed, 458 socom is a very fat case, and priced at $325 it was cheaper than any Dillon by a good bit.
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Old January 19, 2012, 02:40 PM   #11
Jim243
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Quote:
I would like to load 200-300 rounds per month In 45 acp without spending too much time "tinkering".



Jim
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Old January 19, 2012, 02:59 PM   #12
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Markt99,

I think you made the right choice of the two presses. The auto-indexing is a little faster, IME (I own both the SDB and 550B), and with my wife setting the bullets for me and me setting the cases and working the handle and the primer tubes already filled and standing by, I have cranked out 250 rounds in not much over 10 minutes on it. But you're not looking for anything like the kind of speed where the time needed to thumb the index wheel really adds significantly to it. Manual indexing has the advantage of being easier to stop and check what's going on if you have a problem. No question the changeovers are quicker because of the tool holder design.

I also think the Lee turret presses are a good choice from the standpoint of better monitoring what is going on in every single stage of every single round, but if you're in a situation where you can only get 15 minutes to load a 100 rounds between coming home and the dinner bell and want to spend more of your time shooting than reloading, then the convenience of the progressive's speed will suit you.
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Old January 20, 2012, 08:33 PM   #13
markt99
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Thanks again everyone. I just ordered the 550 in 45 ACP. I didn't get the strong mount, bullet tray, case bin. I figured I could add those later if I really wanted. Also my bench is over belly button high to me so I want to avoid lifting the press any more if I can.

I did get the wrench, an extra large pickup tube, spare parts kit, and of course the 45 ACP dies.

I'm itching so bad for it to come I may spend some time loading some 38 special on the single stage Sunday and daydream about the progressive press.

I'll let everyone know my experience once I get it and try it out.

Anyone know what the turnaround time is on a press order direct from dillon?

I could have saved $25 on shipping at brianenos.com but with the experience I had with the Lee Pro 1K I wanted to be sure a return would be easy. I'm probably just paranoid. It just seems like stuff these days is not as good quality as it used to be (Starting to sound like an old man).

Thanks

Mark
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Old January 20, 2012, 08:43 PM   #14
3kgt2nv
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get the roller handle if your going to volume load makes a world of difference. check out inlinefabrication.com for some optional roller handles if your thinking about it.
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Old January 20, 2012, 09:00 PM   #15
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Make sure you have the small powder charge bar installed. I do believe it comes with the large charge bar from Dillon. Once it is setup and possibly a few minor kinks worked out (if any), you should be able to turn out the ammo you want in a single session even taking your time to do it right. Only loading when time was available I did load about 3,000 rounds in December. They were all 9 mm. Come to think of it I do have a little time tonight available so I probably will load up a couple hundred. Checking the powder drop, loading up the primer tubes, lubing the cases and loading up 200 round should take less then an hour. I don't have the strong mount or bullet and case holders either. I just use empty bench space for that.

Happy loading.
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Old January 20, 2012, 10:35 PM   #16
Vance
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You also will not be disappointed in the quality of the press. If you do have a problem, don't hesitate to call dillon. They will walk you through troubleshooting while you sit in front of the press.

I had a Lee Loadmaster AP press. It worked, but not without constant "fiddling". I sold it and bought a Dillon Square Deal B. No "fiddling", no problems. It just does what it's supposed to.
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Old January 21, 2012, 11:40 AM   #17
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How does manual indexing work on the 550. Do you have to turn the turrets/stations by hand. I have a Lee Classic Turret Press which I just sold so I'm used to that so I want something at least as auto indexing as that. Sounds like the 550 might be more manual than the Lee Classic Turret. So it sounds like the auto indexing of the 650 might be closer to what I'm used to with the Lee Classic Turret.

Any thoughts
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Old January 21, 2012, 11:48 AM   #18
markt99
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I think the operation of the turret is the same on the 550 and the lee turret press. The difference is that you can only use one turret station at a time as opposed performing all operations in 1 Pull cycle on 4 cases with the 550.

There are some great demonstrations on you tube.
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Old January 21, 2012, 12:00 PM   #19
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I just saw a video of the 550B on You Tube, It looks to me like you have to move to the next station by turning each station with your hand. On the Lee Turret press, each pull of the handle advances to the next station. Sounds to me like that's more similar to the 650.
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Old January 21, 2012, 12:01 PM   #20
Vance
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On the 650, the shell plate advances automattically when you bring the handle back to the upright position.
On the 550B, you have to manually advance the shell plate.
On both of those you are doing multiple things all in one stroke. So after you get cartridges in all stations, you are loading a round for every pull of the handle.
The lee Classic turret, you have to pull the handle 4 times before you load a round and then you repeat. Much slower.
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Old January 21, 2012, 12:06 PM   #21
GregInAtl
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Can you use the 650 in manual mode or is it strictly auto only. With my Lee Turret press, I can remove the index rod and use it manually if I want. I sometimes do this that way I can prime all the cases first before I charge any of them, then when I charge them, I can charge all of them before seating the bullet in any of them. The advantage of this is that I can see the powder in all the cases before I seat the bullets, hence less chance of squibs.
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Old January 21, 2012, 12:55 PM   #22
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you can advance it but you really dont want to as it can lead to loading mistakes. when the press handle is in the up (at rest) position you can manually move the shell plate.
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Old January 27, 2012, 09:38 PM   #23
markt99
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Put together my new 550 today. Works great and the feel is so much better than the lee pro 1000.

I set it up and easily turned out a test batch of 10 rounds.

There doesnt seem to be an easy way empty the powder hopper when finished. If I always use the same powder, is there an issue with leaving the powder in the hopper until the next time I load even if it is 2 or 3 weeks? The cap to the hopper would be left on
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Old January 27, 2012, 09:51 PM   #24
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I have left powder in the hopper for a couple of weeks with no problems, but you have to be sure of humidity levels. At the time I did it, the humidity levels were low. Now that it is winter and raining a lot, I won't be doing that.

It takes all of 5 seconds to remove the screw and bracket holding the powder dispenser on to remove it for emptying. Just remember to re-install it correctly before the next reloading session, or you will have a big powder mess on your work area. (Don't ask).
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Old January 27, 2012, 10:46 PM   #25
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It's best to remove it, though I once used powder that had been left in a measure for a couple of years in an air conditioned environment, and it presented no problems. It did seem to yellow the powder hopper plastic a little, but no performance change was apparent.
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