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Old January 21, 2001, 03:56 PM   #1
Master Blaster
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I was reveling in my success at reloading on my 550b and while I was switching calibers last night it occurred to me to check and see if the tool head was made of steel I performed the magnet test and guess what???
The entire press frame is made out of some non magnetic metal so I am wondering what gives. I thought I was buying a cast Iron Frame press. It turns out it is made of some unknown metal (aluminum, zinc pot metal ????) so now I am wondereing if I really got a high durability piece of machinery I thought I paid for or a cheap illusion which will stretch and lose its precision or even suffer breakage of the thinner parts. Most worisome is the Ram column and the bearing surfaces of its housing in the frame, where there is constant wear.

So what is my Dillon press made from???????
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Old January 21, 2001, 04:07 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. I have a RL-450 that is
going on 20 yrs. and no telling how many rounds and it's still in great shape. RL-650 has not been any trouble but is only a few years old with only a few thousand rounds. If something should break you will have the peace of mind that comes from Dillon's service. Enjoy your 550!
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Old January 21, 2001, 05:18 PM   #3
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Both my 450 and 550 have thousands of rounds thru them and I see no problems. BUT, even if there was, just tellem and they'll send you a new one. Quantrill
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Old January 21, 2001, 06:29 PM   #4
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I would agree with the rest. Dillon has a lifetime no BS warrenty and they stand behind it 100%.
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Old January 21, 2001, 10:55 PM   #5
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Hits aluminumumum. If'n ye wants um steel, get yoself a RCBS.
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Old January 22, 2001, 09:12 AM   #6
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Thats what is is ! What WalterGAII said.
Good stuff to,strong as [email protected]

All you ever wanted to know about Aluminum.

Tony Z

[Edited by tonyz on 01-22-2001 at 02:34 PM]
Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
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Old January 22, 2001, 02:12 PM   #7
Master Blaster
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Well I feel better knowing that it is a high quality aluminum alloy casting which cost more to make than plain old cast iron! At least it aint zinc.

Why did Dillon choose Aluminum it must cost more to make than cast iron.

My woodworking background makes me suspicous of any equipment with precision reference surfaces that is not made of cast iron.

Thanks guys
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Old January 22, 2001, 09:45 PM   #8
Keith J
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Won't the detractors be surprised to learn

Most of the airframe of any airliner is made of aluminum. Ditto for most automotive cylinder heads. And pistons. And beer cans. Aluminum is a GREAT metal for any rigid structure.

Here's a true situation: Make two bridges. One out of steel, the other out of an equal weight (notice I said weight, not section modulus)of aluminum.

Which one is stiffer? Aluminum hands down.

Now to address the wear issue. How many of the posters here have a lawn mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine? The 3-5 Hp kind. Save the larger engines, they all have aluminum cylinders and heads.

How about BMW, the luxo-Teutonic marque? Their V8's are all aluminum and while they haven't had remarkable success here in the States with our high-sulfur gasoline, these same engines last over 200,000 miles on the Euro-grade gasoline. Similar stories can be had on many models of all-aluminum engines.

Now how does this relate to Dillon presses? Can't be as good as cast iron? Cast iron is great for engine blocks as it has natural damping properties but it its also quite brittle. I doubt anyone has broken a press due to this nature but things can happen. I also won't worry about the bearing issue as it has steel pins. What you say? "Steel on aluminum is surely bad for the aluminum" couldn't be further from the truth. The steel will be the one wearing faster as hardness has little to do with wear. The aluminum is constantly building a layer of super-hard oxide under the grease and oil while the steel is perfectly happy getting polished by this ultra-fine slurry. Yes, that black stuff is just that, a slurry of polishing grease.

I think the link pins should last a few million cycles. The ram to press will last even longer as it has plenty of bearing area.

I guess we will have to send our Dillon's in after the 2 milllion mark to get new pins and links. I'm sure Mike and the bunch there will be all too happy to deal with some well-worn presses.
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Old January 23, 2001, 04:41 PM   #9
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ya ever heft a cast-iron press of similar proportions to the Dillon unit?

I did. An ancient Herter's twin ram jobbie. It wuz hevvvyyyy!!!!!

Dillon probably saves its buyers far more cashola on shipping than the additional materials cost of aluminum vs. iron.

Re: Precision
The most critical dimensions are generally between the bottom of the shellplate and the die. Between the toolhead slop, the shellplate slop, the ram slop, and the die threads slop, I believe you're not going to get much precision from the press's body.

The IMPORTANT dimension, between the case and the die's interior, tends to be quite self-centering. The other important dimension is between the die bottom and the shellplate top, but that's in a single dimension and not subject to variable errors. Either it's right or it's wrong, and the press will have nothing to do with it.
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Old January 23, 2001, 07:10 PM   #10
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I bought my 550B used with plenty of miles, and I've put lots more on it. It still works like new, and Dillon still warranties it if anything goes wrong. I don't care if they made it of cheap plastic as long as it works as well as it does.
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Old January 24, 2001, 03:29 PM   #11
Ron Ankeny
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Master Blaster:

Don't let these guys kid you, your press is pot metal. Dillon uses re-cycled tooth paste tubes. I'll give you a hundred bucks for it and you pay the shipping, then go get ya good press like a LEE.
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Old January 24, 2001, 06:39 PM   #12
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Master Blaster:

your dillon is one of the few that they used recyclable pop cans.
I could use the deposit thats left on the cans. So if you could just E-mail me I will tell you where you can send It.
And I'll make sure it gets recycled again.

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