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Old June 6, 2013, 12:27 PM   #1
Silver00LT
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Press Upgrade

Well....I am getting more and more into reloading now, and the Classic C single stage press is well...aggravating when my time is short.

I prefer the methods of single stage as I can manually inspection each stage of the process(have yet to have a squib, no throw, short throw or double throw).

So now I am in the hunt for a turret single stage press or a manual index progressive press. More I have to use my hands less likely it is for me to make a mistake by being lazy.

So how did you single stage people progress to more reloading? I'd like to get 200-300 rounds a week for my Glock done, but I do not have the time for it right now with side business, work and family. I get maybe 100 rounds a week right now which is not all the practice I want to do at the range.
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Old June 6, 2013, 01:22 PM   #2
g.willikers
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You're on the right track.
A turret is the next step.
Although, except for the Lee, they can cost almost as much as some progressives.
Is that a concern?
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Old June 6, 2013, 02:24 PM   #3
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You may want to look for a used Dillon press.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:09 PM   #4
Silver00LT
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Quote:
You may want to look for a used Dillon press.
I like the press hickok45 on YouTube has. Its a manual index, but I think his was pricey or hard to find. I forgot which one it was. I've been looking at upgrading for like two months now. I started reloading back in December and got hooked on it.

Quote:
You're on the right track.
A turret is the next step.
Although, except for the Lee, they can cost almost as much as some progressives.
Is that a concern?
If the turret is as much as a progressive(aside from Lee) then I might as well go for Progressive, because who knows. May finally get my hands on supplies to reload hundreds a week.

I just got a Hornady Lock N Load Auto Charge too...love it...now I'm looking at moving up to something that'd throw my charge. LOL! I do like my Lee Perfect Powder Throw.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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I'll second the 550 Dillon as it has manual indexing.
You can use it as a single stage, a turret or a progressive because it still gives you some manual control. Or, if you can find one someone is willing to part with you might even like the older 450b.

Take a look on Dillon's website they do a stripped down (but upgradable) version of the 450 frame & you can add as you feel the need.
http://www.dillonprecision.com/conte...0_Basic_Loader
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'll second the 550 Dillon as it has manual indexing.
You can use it as a single stage, a turret or a progressive because it still gives you some manual control. Or, if you can find one someone is willing to part with you might even like the older 450b.

Take a look on Dillon's website they do a stripped down (but upgradable) version of the 450 frame & you can add as you feel the need.
http://www.dillonprecision.com/conte...0_Basic_Loader
If that BL 550 is upgradable then that may the route I go. I do like the fact I can keep all my calibers on their own plate which means once its set I don't have to full with it anymore unless I change my COAL. I am looking at the Sure Loc's for all my calibers that way it saves me a couple minutes and that one round I have to use a puller because the die changed. lol

I've heard nothing but good reviews on Dillion(and it takes standard die threads), but for $259.95 that is a doable price. There is some awesome setups, but honestly I will not dump $1300 at once on a press setup. Over the course of YEARS yes, but not going out to pay $1300 for all the bells and whistles.

I enjoy the hands on part of the reloading that is why it is my hobby and why I prefer manual indexing than automatic.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:48 PM   #7
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Dillon SDB and 650 ...are both auto indexing / and in my opinion, the less you touch it the better - so auto indexing is a plus.

A press like the 650 - with a 5 station tool head - allows for the installation of a powder check die ...significantly reducing a bad powder drop - either under or over your goal drop. It eliminates all of these issues, if its used properly, of squibs, over charges and under charges. In my 650 - with most powders - the powder check die will pick up on variations as little as 0.2 grain and often 0.1grain.

You can buy the 650 - and not install a case feeder / and you can use it as a single stage press....if you want to.

Even as a single stage operation ....and using the powder check die ....you'll still get 200 rds an hour off of the press.

As you get more confident with the press....I think you'll run it, with the powder check die, as a progressive operation --- increasing your output to easily 3 times that ...or 600 to 800 rds an hour / still taking your time - and being very careful.
-----------
This concept that a turret....and manually indexing the cartridge holder...is inherently safer --- just not correct in my view. Whenever you have a repetitive operation ...and human hands have to touch it to make it work ...that's where you're going to find the error !!
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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The only thing I can see with me doing a mistake on with a manual index is not indexing.

With a auto indexing I think worse case scenario like I take my eyes off it to see what hit the door, etc.

It could all simply be because I'm so use to my current set up and being comfortable with it that I am nervous on going to almost a fully automatic press.

I looked at those SDB and the 650. Almost $300 for a 5th location? I'll have to do more research on that.
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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I have a 550b and like it a lot. Getting the stripped down version is only a small step up from a single stage. Probably closer to a turret with the case moving rather than the head moving. You can do one case at a time until it is finished and not install additional cases. This makes learning how everything works easier. Add the powder measure and die and it becomes much faster than dumping in the powder each time. The full 55b is not going to cost $1200 unless you are setting up for several calibers and want a separate powder measure for each one. Going that way is much more expensive. I do use a separate head for each caliber so the dies are set and left alone. You can use standard dies you already have with this press. I prefer the Dillon dies since they are designed to work with a progressive press.
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:36 PM   #10
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I've been using a Dillon 550B about a year and a half and had I known how easy it was to change calibers I'd have bought it years ago. I love it. Buy it and you won't look back. I load .38, 9MM and 45ACP on it. Load 500 or so of one cal. then switch etc. Just watch the primer and the powder and you can load a lot of rounds in a short period of time. You can even load rifle ammo on it if desired.
I considered a Lee but my experience with Lee products isn't all that good and apparently the primer feed on the Lee gives problems.

My 2 cents.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:35 AM   #11
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Progressive/AutoIndexing Turret/Turret/Single Stage

I hear you. I started out on a single stage and did 50-60 rounds per hour.

Then I got a couple of progressive presses (Lee Pro-1000). But I never got used to monitoring multiple simultaneous operations and finally got an auto-advancing Turret press. 150 to 200 rounds an hour is easy to achieve.

The trouble is, at 200-300 rounds a week, the 200-500 rounds an hour a progressive can offer may be more matched to your needs.

So, the relative merits of the types of presses available might be of interest. These are my observations and opinions:

There are two types of turrets. Auto-indexing and manual indexing. Only one manufacturer offers auto-indexing, Lee Precision offers two, no one else offers any. The autoindexing can be turned on and off. It can speed things up considerably.

Among turrets, no one makes a better autoindexing turret than Lee. No turret press is faster and no turret press can swap calibers as easily (10 to 20 seconds).

Lee, RCBS, Hornady and Dillon make progressive presses. You have seen several supporters of Dillon's products. They are generally acknowledged as the best, with the best customer support. Hornady seems to come next, then RCBS, with Lee bringing up the rear. But Lees progressives are inexpensive enough to afford one in each caliber. Then remember that quality and ease of use and customer service follow along pretty closely along with the price.

Swapping calibers on a turret is easier than on a progressive (seconds vs minutes). If you load 100-200 of a caliber, then another 100-200 of another caliber at a sitting, swapping calibers on a progressive will get tiresome. On a turret, it is much easier. If you load several hundred of a single caliber, the speed difference between a turret (even an auto-indexing one) will make your choice a progressive.

So, what's your loading style? (Big batches of single calibers at a time or smaller batches of multiple calibers?) What's your budget? $100-150 for a Lee Classic Turret or $200 for a Lee progressive up to $350-$600 for a nice progressive?

Good luck.

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Old June 7, 2013, 07:22 AM   #12
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It really depends on what you're loading how many die stations you need.
For years I only reloaded bottle neck rifle cases, a 2-die operation, 3 if you count Dillon's built in powder drop. The 450 had 4 stations & I only used 3 of them so I was GTG.

Then I started reloading strait wall pistol cases & using a seperate crimping die. Now I use 4 stations.

Do I need the "other" stations like powder check? I don't know I've always been fairly meticulous so I've never felt the need for a gadget to replace attention to detail.
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Old June 7, 2013, 11:49 AM   #13
Silver00LT
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Quote:
I hear you. I started out on a single stage and did 50-60 rounds per hour.

Then I got a couple of progressive presses (Lee Pro-1000). But I never got used to monitoring multiple simultaneous operations and finally got an auto-advancing Turret press. 150 to 200 rounds an hour is easy to achieve.

The trouble is, at 200-300 rounds a week, the 200-500 rounds an hour a progressive can offer may be more matched to your needs.

So, the relative merits of the types of presses available might be of interest. These are my observations and opinions:

There are two types of turrets. Auto-indexing and manual indexing. Only one manufacturer offers auto-indexing, Lee Precision offers two, no one else offers any. The autoindexing can be turned on and off. It can speed things up considerably.

Among turrets, no one makes a better autoindexing turret than Lee. No turret press is faster and no turret press can swap calibers as easily (10 to 20 seconds).

Lee, RCBS, Hornady and Dillon make progressive presses. You have seen several supporters of Dillon's products. They are generally acknowledged as the best, with the best customer support. Hornady seems to come next, then RCBS, with Lee bringing up the rear. But Lees progressives are inexpensive enough to afford one in each caliber. Then remember that quality and ease of use and customer service follow along pretty closely along with the price.

Swapping calibers on a turret is easier than on a progressive (seconds vs minutes). If you load 100-200 of a caliber, then another 100-200 of another caliber at a sitting, swapping calibers on a progressive will get tiresome. On a turret, it is much easier. If you load several hundred of a single caliber, the speed difference between a turret (even an auto-indexing one) will make your choice a progressive.

So, what's your loading style? (Big batches of single calibers at a time or smaller batches of multiple calibers?) What's your budget? $100-150 for a Lee Classic Turret or $200 for a Lee progressive up to $350-$600 for a nice progressive?

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
9MM I want to shoot 200-500 times a week. .223 maybe a 1/3 of that(we know how that goes...lol) and .308 I am reloading for hunt grade so that means I will most likely treat this as a single stage load so manual indexing and precise measurements will go here along with manual powder charge due to the fact I weigh the powder.

I've seen more bad reviews on the Lee Progressive press though. Then again I read a lot of bad reviews on the Hornady GS-1500 and Hornady Lock N Load Auto Charge, but I have not had bad luck out of either of them as I own both of them.

Quote:
It really depends on what you're loading how many die stations you need.
For years I only reloaded bottle neck rifle cases, a 2-die operation, 3 if you count Dillon's built in powder drop. The 450 had 4 stations & I only used 3 of them so I was GTG.

Then I started reloading strait wall pistol cases & using a separate crimping die. Now I use 4 stations.

Do I need the "other" stations like powder check? I don't know I've always been fairly meticulous so I've never felt the need for a gadget to replace attention to detail.
That's how I am. I check every 5th charge. I did a beta batch of checking every 10th round and it was right on. By checking I threw the charge picked the case up and dumped the charge onto the scale and it was right at my setting. I trust SEEING it than seeing a little plunger. Then again the progressives have enough space you can do both.

I've seen and heard people who check only every 50th round.


Thanks for the input everyone...making this research and transition easier.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:10 PM   #14
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The price difference between the Dillon 550 and 650 is only $ 127 .....I don't know where you're getting the $300 from .../ even if you add in the cost of the powder check system its $ 69....so you're up to $ 198....

If having a distraction when you're working on a progressive machine worries you ....it ought to scare the daylights out of you on a manually indexing machine...because the manually indexing is where the problem really is - if the distraction causes you to forget where you are in the process / that's usually where a screw up will occur.

At the same time - none of us need a progressive machine / at some point in our reloading lives we all thought the single stage presses were the way to go ( like in the 1950's ) ....but with innovations like the powder check dies, powder cop dies ...on machines like the Dillon 650 or Hornaday LNL ...why not at least consider them / understand how they work - and evaluate what they give you in terms of extra safety features.

In the long run --- heck even in 6 months / when you're saving $ 8 - $10 a box on 50 rds of 9mm ....and shooting 5 boxes a week ( 250 rds ) ....you're going to save $ 160 - $ 200 a month ( or shoot 2 or 3 times more with the same ammo budget )......and we all have budgets, but cost isn't the only thing to look at here.

I suggest you try and find someone local that has a 650 or LNL ....so you can see how they're setup before you make your decision if you can.

I like reloading / been doing it off and on for over 50 yrs ....but I like it a lot better with a progressive auto indexing press - with a powder check die - and in a machine that can turn out 800 plus rounds an hour. I took my coffee downstairs this morning, into my shop, turned the radio on and reloaded 5 boxes of 9mm easily in about 20 min this morning before I came to my office. Powder drops were all dead nuts on the mark ...every round went in and out of the case gague cleanly / grabbed a 1911 in 9mm and those 5 boxes and I'll go to the range for a couple of hours this afternoon to run some tactical reload drills ...( start the weekend early ) ..../ having a good press like a 650 setup like this - just makes it safer - and easier in my view.

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Old June 7, 2013, 12:13 PM   #15
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I heard on the LNL(Lock N Load right) that you can not use the standard dies.

Also I was looking at the Square Deal "B" and the XL 650. That is where the price difference was. Then again I still have a lot of research to do ont hese presses.

This amount of money I had to upgrade the heart of my reloading and find out I paid to much or got junk.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:24 PM   #16
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I started out on a single stage RCBS, then when i got into 3 gun matches in the 80's i would have to load every night all week long just to shoot on the weekends.

So i picked up a lee turret press from a friend, Loved it, simple, manual indexing, faster. and I still weighed the powder charges.

Then I bought a Dillon powder measure, and put it on the lee press (you could adjust the charge to any amount you wanted not like the auto disk)

after a few months, A friend got a lee progressive 1000( one of the first generation ones with no case sensor on the primer feed) it was clunky, but simple and worked.

I had to have one,
I loaded .45 acp, and .223, and 9mm. with a dedicated powder measure on each turret, and each caliber had its own shell carrier/indexing assembly.

time to change caliber? a minute or so.
Twist the turret off, loosen 1 screw, remove/replace shell carrier/primer assembly on the ram, drop new turret in place, and check for function.

I could load enough in 1 evening, of rifle and pistol ammo for the weekend.

I later switched to a Dillon 450.

They each have their merits, and their drawbacks.

I still prefer to weigh each rifle charge on ammo used for extreme accuracy, but after years of using auto powder measures, once you find a powder that reliably drops and meters accurately, for the ranges involved in 3 gun work, or IDPA, a progressive is acceptable.

Be Safe
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:29 PM   #17
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To my knowledge the Lock and Load Hornaday uses standard dies ( 7/8" X 14 dies ) just like the Dillon 550 and 650.

Dillon SDB uses a proprietary die - that is unique to just that press.

I agree its a big decision to upgrade ...and its not free...so you do need to look at all your options.

SDB is a good machine - it auto indexes, uses proprietary dies, is for handgun calibers only - will never have a case feeder or a powder check option. But I have friends that have used them for many years. Cons- no powder check, no case feeder.

650 ( more money ) ...but has the options for case feeder and powder check. Dillon 650 and Hornaday LNL are very similar in terms of capability. I think the Dillon is a better machine / and Dillons customer service is better - for advice, parts if you lose something,etc. But LNL is not a bad machine.

Most all of the big names ....Dillon, Hornaday, RCBS are making good equipment these days.....they do little things differently --- in how they handle primers and powder drops...they each have features that are not perfect ....but Dillon 650 has met all my needs ( I shoot about 25,000 rds a yr thru my handguns and load 9mm, .40S&W, .45 acp, .38 spl, .357 mag and .44 mag ) ...and for what its worth, I'd buy the Dillon 650 again.

We are considering a smaller house - 2nd home ..../ and if we buy it, I'll put another 650 over there with another gunsafe.

But good luck in your decision - no matter which way you go ---and remember to have fun with the process !
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:33 PM   #18
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Whats your opinion on the BL 550?
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:40 PM   #19
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Nothing wrong with the BL 550 .....you don't get automatic primer feed ....or powder feed....

so to me, its just a little upgrade over a RCBS Rockchucker...that we all used in the 1950's ....and those were good days / but that was a long time ago....

Like I said, I like reloading as part of the gun hobby ...and I reload a lot of metallic and shotshells in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 ..../ but I like it a lot better when my metallic press ( Dillon 650 ) can turn out close to 1,000 rds an hour....and my MEC hydraulic shotshell presses turn out about 20 boxes an hour. Reloading time is quiet and peaceful ...../ but 20 - 30 min at my press this morning gave me 5 boxes of 9mm ...that I'll have some fun at the range today with for about 2 hours..../ I don't want to spend an hour to get one box of handgun ammo...or even 30 min on one box....

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Old June 7, 2013, 12:49 PM   #20
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I know you don't want to spend too much ....and get junk...

But the question is ....what can you afford ....to get what you want / and which press will last and meet your needs for the next 10 yrs - 20 yrs....or more. I know a Dillon 650 ....will do that...

I have little doubt the BL 550 won't last for 2 or 3 generations in your family ....but unless you have a lot of time on your hands it may not meet your optimal needs.
---------
RL 550 B is not a bad press either.....but it manually indexes ( and I think that makes it riskier - as I've said ) .....they do have a case feeder for the 550 B --- but it won't ever have a powder check option / because that's why they developed the 650.
----------
Your logo says you're looking for rifle brass....what are you going to load that on ? .308 on a single stage is probably fine for a bolt action....but
.223 on anything but a full progressive, at the volume you probably want to shoot ...is a bad idea in my view.

If you want to load .223 .../or .308 ....that eliminates the SDB press....and pushes you toward the 650....( or maybe the 550 B if manually indexing doesn't scare you ) -- but I really like the extra safety factor of the powder check when I load 250 rounds in 20 minutes.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Nothing wrong with it .....you don't get automatic primer feed ....or powder feed....

so to me, its just a little upgrade over a RCBS Rockchucker...that we all used in the 1950's ....and those were good days / but that was a long time ago....

Like I said, I like reloading as part of the gun hobby ...and I reload a lot of metallic and shotshells in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 ..../ but I like it a lot better when my metallic press ( Dillon 650 ) can turn out close to 1,000 rds an hour....and my MEC hydraulic shotshell presses turn out about 20 boxes an hour. Reloading time is quiet and peaceful ...../ but 20 - 30 min at my press this morning gave me 5 boxes of 9mm ...that I'll have some fun at the range today with for about 2 hours..../ I don't want to spend an hour to get one box of handgun ammo...or even 30 min on one box....
Exactly. That is why I am looking at a progressive press since Turrets are near the same cost.
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Old June 7, 2013, 12:58 PM   #22
BigJimP
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Dillon 650 .....even without a case feeder ( that you could add later ) ...is a better option.

Even without the case feeder - it'll slow it down a little, but not that much ....and you'll have auto indexing and the powder check die.
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Old June 7, 2013, 01:02 PM   #23
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Step up to the Dillon RL 550B or better.
If you try to save a few bucks by buying something cheaper, it will cost you more in the long run (in time and/or money).

The manual-indexing of the 550 doesn't really slow you down, either. Most experienced 550 owners can run their presses just as fast as the average Dillon 650 or Hornady L-N-L AP owner. The lack of auto-indexing makes the 550's operation smoother and quieter.


Running at a comfortable pace with handgun cartridges, I usually averaged 225-325 rounds per hour on my 550. If I was really in my groove, with components staged properly, I would run at about 400 rounds per hour without trying. ...and that includes primer refills; powder checks every 5-10 rounds, for the first 100 or so; and powder checks every 15-20 rounds, for the remainder.
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Old June 7, 2013, 01:11 PM   #24
Silver00LT
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Quote:
Dillon 650 .....even without a case feeder ( that you could add later ) ...is a better option.

Even without the case feeder - it'll slow it down a little, but not that much ....and you'll have auto indexing and the powder check die.
I just watched a few videos on YT of the XL 650. Impressed!

Quote:
Step up to the Dillon RL 550B or better.
If you try to save a few bucks by buying something cheaper, it will cost you more in the long run (in time and/or money).

The manual-indexing of the 550 doesn't really slow you down, either. Most experienced 550 owners can run their presses just as fast as the average Dillon 650 or Hornady L-N-L AP owner. The lack of auto-indexing makes the 550's operation smoother and quieter.


Running at a comfortable pace with handgun cartridges, I usually averaged 225-325 rounds per hour on my 550. If I was really in my groove, with components staged properly, I would run at about 400 rounds per hour without trying. ...and that includes primer refills; powder checks every 5-10 rounds, for the first 100 or so; and powder checks every 15-20 rounds, for the remainder.
I think I'm going to settle with the XL 650 as it has a extra safety gadget.

I like the fact you can easily change tool heads, etc. So its definitely something you can invest in over time. I reload on a regular computer desk with a 2x4 under the press for extra support. Is this sufficient for these presses?

Also if I purchased a USED XL 650 would I still have a warranty. It just kills me Dillion sells the XL 650 for under $600. And on eBay people trying to scalp them for over $1k. -sighs-
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Old June 7, 2013, 01:30 PM   #25
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Yes, Dillon will warranty a press even if you buy it used....

But used presses are sometimes "bubba-fied" ....with all kinds of thing sort of patch-worked together....and sometimes the previous owner has taken exceptional care of them....

e-bay, etc....give me heartburn / when it comes to something I know I'm going to keep for a long time - I tend to buy it new. Over time, if you take care of this 650, it'll go up in value !!
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I'm not trying to talk you out of a 650 ....I think its a really smart decision / but all of the Dillon presses the SDB and the 550 and the 650 all have easily changeable tool heads. Yes, most of us that load a lot of different calibers .....have separate toolheads ready to go ....with quick change kits installed ( dies, powder check, and powder measure already installed in the tool head ).....so it makes changing calibers really easy.

You will need a large primer feed ....for .45 acp, .44 mag ...etc...

a small primer feed for 9mm, .40S&W, .357 mag....

you need a conversion kit ...and dies ....for each caliber.

I recommend the "Strong Mount" as well....but you can add it later too.
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Your bench may be ok .....or it may not ....if it flexes too much / you'll need to reinforce it with more legs or something. 2 X 4's flex quite a bit .../ or more than you would think....
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Its the capatilistic way .....but profiteers ...at my local gunshows ....are selling new 650's in the box for at least $ 100 over list...

I know Dillon is adding another shift at their facility -- to try and cut down on their backlog....but they're backordered on a lot of machines and dies, etc...( especially in 9mm, .223, .45acp.....)....
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