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Old February 11, 2012, 11:31 AM   #1
bamiller
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Lee dies on Dillon RL550B

Just started reloading on my Dillon RL550B. I have loaded 500 .45s with success and want to add another caliber. I am looking at purchasing Lee dies. My question is do I buy the 3 die set and then have to buy a Dillon powder/expanding die or if I buy the Lee 4 die set will Lee's powder/expanding die included in that set properly replace the Dillon powder/expanding die that's connected to my powder measure?
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Old February 11, 2012, 11:42 AM   #2
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The Lee powder through expanding die won't activate the Dillon powder measure. You'd have to use a Lee auto disk pro($30), works fine, but doesn't hold as much powder.

The Dillon powder funnels are being sold all the time on the bay, might be cheap, worth a look.

Edit: The dillon caliber conversion(shell plate, etc) usually include the powder funnel, fwiw.
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Old February 11, 2012, 12:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
The dillon caliber conversion(shell plate, etc) usually include the powder funnel, fwiw.
So if I purchased a Dillon conversion kit and a Lee 3 die set I would have everything I needed?
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Old February 11, 2012, 12:43 PM   #4
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Yes, I just looked at my .45 caliber conversion set, powder funnel, shell plate, all in there.

Edit: Here's the list, and a picture.
http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con...Conversion_Kit
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Old February 11, 2012, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Yes, I just looked at my .45 caliber conversion set, powder funnel, shell plate, all in there.
Thanks for your help.
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Old February 11, 2012, 04:28 PM   #6
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It's a question of "what I need" might mean -

The caliber conversion kits don't include an extra toolhead or a powder die, just the shellplate, locator buttons and powder funnel.

So, you can "get by" with a caliber conversion kit. You'll have to unscrew your dies, including the powder die (with the belling adjustment already set for that caliber) to re-use the toolhead and powder die.

If you want to use the quick-change feature, Dillon also offers a deluxe quick change kit, for $104. It includes a powder measure, powder die, toolhead and a toolhead stand. Of course, this brings the cost of a caliber conversion to $150. (Fast but expensive)

Some folks compromise and get an additional toolhead and powder die as separate parts, for $45. If you move the powder measure between powder dies, you can leave everything on the toolhead without having to readjust it. This method costs $91 per caliber conversion, including the caliber conversion kit.

The number of times you change calibers will probably help you decide how much "quick change" you want to pay for...
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Old February 11, 2012, 06:49 PM   #7
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i have run lee dies in my 550,I prefer dillon.......
I do prefer the auto disc though over dillons powder hopper
those discs make things 10x easier and faster when loading up
recipes I keep on file.......
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Old February 11, 2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
So, you can "get by" with a caliber conversion kit. You'll have to unscrew your dies, including the powder die (with the belling adjustment already set for that caliber) to re-use the toolhead and powder die.

If you want to use the quick-change feature, Dillon also offers a deluxe quick change kit, for $104. It includes a powder measure, powder die, toolhead and a toolhead stand. Of course, this brings the cost of a caliber conversion to $150. (Fast but expensive)

Some folks compromise and get an additional toolhead and powder die as separate parts, for $45. If you move the powder measure between powder dies, you can leave everything on the toolhead without having to readjust it. This method costs $91 per caliber conversion, including the caliber conversion kit.
I don't want to mess with removing dies then readjusting every caliber switch. I already purchased a couple of good used toolheads at gun show. So if I get the Dillon conversion kit, the Lee's 3 die set, and a dillon powder die the only thing I would have to do to switch calibers is switch toolheads and move the powder measure from toolhead to toolhead correct?
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:57 AM   #9
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...and the shellplate and locator buttons,

(Unless they are the same for the new caliber. For example, shellplate/buttons #1 works for .45 ACP, .30-06 Sprg and .243 Win for me. And I have to change to #4 for .44 Magnum.)

...and the primer feed assembly.

(Unless the new caliber uses the same size primers. For example, all 4 calibers I reload use "large" primers, so I leave the "small" primer feed assembly in the drawer.)
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Old February 12, 2012, 01:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
So if I get the Dillon conversion kit, the Lee's 3 die set, and a dillon powder die the only thing I would have to do to switch calibers is switch toolheads and move the powder measure from toolhead to toolhead correct?
Correct.
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Old February 12, 2012, 05:46 AM   #11
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So thinking out loud...to make the caliber switch:

1) Mount Lee 3 die set and Dillon powder funnel and Dillon powder die to the spare toolhead.

2) Remove powder measure from existing toolhead.

3) Replace existing toolhead with spare toolhead.

4) Mount powder measure on spare toolhead.

5) Switch shellplate and locator pins.

6) Adjust dies on spare toolhead and powder measure (adjustments necessary only the 1st time/initial setup of the toolhead).
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Old February 12, 2012, 05:50 AM   #12
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Assuming the primers are the same size, yes that's it.
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:10 AM   #13
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there is a bunch of incorrect information on this thread ...
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Old February 12, 2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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Kind of like putting cheap tire's on a Indy car.

Spend the money and get the Dillon die set.
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Old February 12, 2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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For "full disclosure", it isn't hard to do a caliber conversion on a 550b.

Assuming you have a separate toolhead and powder die for each caliber, you set up the dies in that toolhead and generally leave them alone. Unless you are setting up for a new bullet, and then the seating and crimping dies will need to be readjusted.

You move the powder measure to the powder die and set it up for that caliber. You might have to change from large bar to small bar, and then you adjust for the caliber you are going to load until the thrown charge is right.

You probably will have to change the shellplate and locator buttons. There is a chart in the back of the manual that shows which numbered shellplate goes with which caliber. Sometimes you'll get lucky and the caliber you are changing to uses the same shellplate/locator buttons. If so, you can skip this until you change to a caliber that uses a different number.

You also might have to change the primer assembly from large to small. This means swapping the primer slide and magazine tube. Dillon supplies both assemblies with the standard 550b, so you don't have to buy anything to handle large or small primers. And, of course, there is the nuisance of emptying the magazine tube if it has large pistol primers and you are switching to large rifle primers, for instance. (For this reason, I try to reload in multiples of 100, so I always leave the magazine tube empty.)

Changing the primer assembly over is the most time-consuming. The quick-change of the toolhead doesn't help with this at all. I've read of some folks, who must do an awful lot of reloading, buying another 550b so they can have one set up for large primers and another for small.

This seems a bit extreme to me, but I have carefully avoided buying any guns that use small primers so I may not really understand the situation...
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:13 PM   #16
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I had a set of Lee dies for 45 ACP and RCBS for 38/357 when I bought my very early 550 years ago. I soon upgraded to the Dillon dies and never again screwed anything but a Dillon die into a Dillon toolhead. If you have a set of Lee dies, try them. If you don't then it will be false economy to buy less expensive dies if they don't work as well. JMHO, of course. Lee dies are probably better now than they were then, and they were very good then. They weren't, however, designed for use in a Dillon press. Dillon dies were.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:26 PM   #17
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If you look around there are plenty of like new used Dillon Die sets for sale at good prices. I always use Dillon in the Dillon. They make the press work like it should.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
They weren't, however, designed for use in a Dillon press. Dillon dies were.
To quote page 10 of my Dillon manual "Your RL550B will perform well with any manufacturer's standard 7/8 x 14 die". Is this NOT true?
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:34 PM   #19
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I've used Lee, RCBS, Dillon and Redding dies in mine for years. I'm glad I didn't know I couldn't do that. It would have costs me a lot of extra money.

For years I have also used the Lee Powder Disks on the Dillon. I didn't know that didn't work either.
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:35 PM   #20
bamiller
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Quote:
there is a bunch of incorrect information on this thread ...
So is the below not correct? If not, please elaborate before I purchase things I don't need and don't purchase things I do.

Quote:
So thinking out loud...to make the caliber switch:

1) Mount Lee 3 die set and Dillon powder funnel and Dillon powder die to the spare toolhead.

2) Remove powder measure from existing toolhead.

3) Replace existing toolhead with spare toolhead.

4) Mount powder measure on spare toolhead.
5) Switch shellplate and locator pins.

6) Adjust dies on spare toolhead and powder measure (adjustments necessary only the 1st time/initial setup of the toolhead).
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Old February 12, 2012, 12:39 PM   #21
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I use Hornady dies for .243 Winchester, because Dillon doesn't make dies for that caliber. They work fine.

Some pistol dies have kind of a "squared off mouth" and this can cause trouble with a progressive press and straight-wall cartridges. When used with a single stage press, the operator aligns the case and the squared edge isn't a problem

The Dillon dies have a deliberately radiused mouth to help align the cases as they all go up together. Basically, too many things for your fingers to try to align...so the dies are designed to make things work better.

However, Dillon isn't the only manufacturer to offer dies with radiused mouths.

Dillon dies may have other features, such as easy disassembly for cleaning without removing the die from the toolhead, but these aren't necessary for them to work on a progressive press. Just really handy.

Dillon's QC is pretty good, too.

As to the question about caliber conversion, yes, your list is correct. Except for the primer mechanism. The parts are included with the press, so you don't have to buy anything. But you may still have to swap the parts, if you are going from a cartridge that uses large to one that uses small, or small to large.
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Old February 12, 2012, 02:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
I've used Lee, RCBS, Dillon and Redding dies in mine for years. I'm glad I didn't know I couldn't do that. It would have costs me a lot of extra money.

For years I have also used the Lee Powder Disks on the Dillon. I didn't know that didn't work either.
I was thinking the same, my 650 hasn't went on strike with the Lee dies I'm using. I guess it can't read.
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Old February 12, 2012, 03:20 PM   #23
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To quote page 10 of my Dillon manual "Your RL550B will perform well with any manufacturer's standard 7/8 x 14 die". Is this NOT true? -bamiller


True, but very carefully worded. IMHO a Dillon 550 works best with Dillon dies. YMMV but until you try it's hard to say. I have tried other dies in a Dillon, you're welcome to do the same. That's how we learn.
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Old February 12, 2012, 03:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
To quote page 10 of my Dillon manual "Your RL550B will perform well with any manufacturer's standard 7/8 x 14 die". Is this NOT true?
Yes it's true. I have used Lee and Dillon dies. They both make accurate ammo. I like Lee dies better because when I change to a different style bullet it's very easy to adjust the seating stem on the Lee die and the same with the crimp die. With the Dillon dies you have to screw the die in or out. I use all lee dies in my 550.
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Old October 11, 2012, 07:38 AM   #25
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Loading on Dillon RL 550 with Lee 4 die set

Is it better to use the dillon powder funnel & powder die, or the Lee powder thru die and a Lee Powder Funnel?
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