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Old May 24, 2013, 03:53 PM   #1
monaco
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I want to reload.

I want to buy a Dillon reloading press and reload a few different handgun calibers.

Somebody told me NOT to buy a Square Deal because you can't change the dies, but it looks like there's conversion kits all over the eBay to do JUST THAT.

Anyhow, I want to get set up to reload 357, 40 S&W and .45ACP. Should I just dismiss that information and buy a square deal and conversion kits?

Last edited by monaco; May 24, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old May 24, 2013, 04:48 PM   #2
Farmland
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Well you can tell that person they don't have a clue about the Dillon Square Deal B. Yes you can change calibers.

Now one thing to remember is that this press will only work with Dillon dies made for the Square Deal press. They are included with each Square Deal Conversion kit.

For about $60 more I think the Dillon RL 550B is the better deal.This press can and will use any die manufactured regardless of the company.

The SQUARE DEAL B will do just fine for your 357, 40 & 45.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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I've owned both. For dedicated pistol loading I prefer the Square Deal. It auto indexes and the 550 doesn't. They're both excellent presses. I've loaded thousands upon thousands of rounds off each with no problems what so ever.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:17 PM   #4
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I think we all know that guy that talks and don’t know what he’s talking about.
One more thing to consider, the SD is a rather small press and a little tedious for a big guy with big clumsy fingers.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:21 PM   #5
Nathan
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Have you considered presses other than Dillon? In this price range, Hornady makes a pretty nice setup....the RCBS is also said to be good.

I have happily loaded many rounds on my LNL I could have done it on a 550, but I would have surely double charged a case in that time. Not as likely with the Hdy.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:24 PM   #6
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You will be happy with any Dillon but even happier with a 550.
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Old May 24, 2013, 10:50 PM   #7
Misssissippi Dave
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It is a little easier to load on a Dillon 550b than it is on a SDB. If you don't plan to ever load rifle or bottle neck pistol ammo the SDB will work. You can change calibers using the SDB kits. It takes a little less effort to pull the handle on the 550 compared to the SDB and you do have a little more room to work with. I like the manual advance of the 550 when working up loads. It also makes it closer to a single stage press or turret if you are only loading once case at a time. Both of these presses use the same powder measure so what powder works well in one should work as well in the other.

I have one of each. One I leave set up for small primers and the other is for large primers. I do this to make my life a little easier. Both presses will work with either primer size. I just don't care to make the changes every time. The amount of time saved isn't much but it makes me happy.
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Old May 25, 2013, 07:53 AM   #8
monaco
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I want auto-indexing so that rules out the 550, but what about the 650XL?
From my understanding, the 650XL costs more but you don't have to use conversion kits, just change the dies and go, right?

Last edited by monaco; May 25, 2013 at 07:58 AM.
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Old May 25, 2013, 08:06 AM   #9
Nathan
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From Dillon:
Quote:
To change calibers, you will need:
Die set
Caliber conversion kit

If you want to leave your dies preset, you'll need:
Toolhead(#13863) and a powder die(#20064) OR The 650 Quick Change(#22059),which includes a powder measure, powder die, toolhead and a toolhead stand. This allows you to leave your dies and powder charge set up and dedicated to a specific cartridge for faster, easier caliber changes.

If you have the optional electric casefeeder you may need a different casefeed plate. Please refer to the caliber conversion chart in the Instruction Manual.

I suggest that you also get -

Dillon dies designed for high speed use
Extra primer pick-up tubes, if loading more than 100 - 200 rounds per sitting.
If you are loading more than 500 rounds per reloading session, then the RF-100 Electric Primer Filler is an accessory well worth considering.

Machine cover to keep it dust free

You will also need (at minimum):

Die set (included with the Square DealB only)
Powder scale
Loading Manual
Dial caliper
Primer flip tray
LNL caliber change:
Die set
Bushings, if you want
Shellplate
**all else included with the press. They do offer extras like micrometer inserts in the powder measure.
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Old May 25, 2013, 09:07 AM   #10
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Nathan,
Are you actually trying to infer that the LNL comes with
Dies
Extra pickup tubes
Electric primer filler
Machine cover
Powder scale
Loading manual
Dial caliper
Casefeeder and casefeed plate
And Primer flip tray
The OP asked about Dillon not Hornady, do you work for Hornady?
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Old May 25, 2013, 09:34 AM   #11
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Thanks Shootist. My quote was direct from the Dillon website under the 650XL page. I'm sorry if you did not like what Dillon says about their own product.

Maybe you could post a table showing what each comes with standard and what is required for caliber change?

Just posting experience in my similar decision.

I'm out. . .OP, let us know what opinions you want from here out. Maybe Shootist could share his Dillon experience or the factors which steered him towards Dillon.
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Old May 25, 2013, 10:16 AM   #12
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Monaco,
On a 650 XL to change from one caliber to another you will need a compatible Caliber conversion kit (includes the proper size shell plate, locator pins powder funnel (bells case mouth) and casefeed adapter).
You will also need the appropriate dies for the caliber you want to reload.
In order to properly accept the case, and index it the caliber change kit is a non-negotiable purchase.

If you want to keep all of your settings for the dies pretty much intact when switching from caliber to caliber, you will have to buy a caliber quick change kit. It includes a toolhead to mount your dies on, comes with a powder measure so you don't have to do major adjustments if you have already set it, and a stand to place the toolhead that isn't in use. You still need to purchase dies separately.

Additionally if you go with a case feeder, you may need to get a small pistol/large pistol/small or large rifle casefeed plate.

This can rapidly spiral out of control and balloon a $600 dollar purchase into the stratosphere. Not that I'm not saying it's worth it, (I have a 650 sitting in the other room), I'm just advising that you be prepared to know the cost of your investment beforehand. Maybe buying all at once is going to be the way to go for you or maybe purchasing a caliber change at a time makes more sense.

In any case, Dillon is back-ordered for about 2 months and they WILL charge you for every package that leaves the warehouse, ie I placed one order, got billed for shipping 4 different times on that order. So combining shipping is a no go if you plan on ordering a full set-up. Also some calibers are in higher demand than others so placing 9mm and 45acp, in the same order will delay your getting the 45 dies. I have seen this complaint a few times on the forums, especially with any type of rifle die.

I hope I haven't discouraged you from getting into reloading, it sure is a heck of a lot of fun for me to build up a load, document it, then take it to the range and test it out. It is really worth the investment and waiting to me.

I hope you look at it this way: When you are building up a load, you carefully research the components, plan what you need to do, patiently and meticulously combine the components, then finally you get to have fun at the range. Choosing your press should be exactly the same.
Research, plan, be patient, meticulous, and if you have done all these things its more than likely your experience will be a positive one.

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Old May 25, 2013, 10:37 AM   #13
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I thought I needed auto-indexing, too. I bought the Dillon 550b to reload a few calibers that could not be loaded on the Dillon 650 press, intending to get the Dillon 650 later this year.

I didn't need the auto-indexing, case feeder, or any of that, and can make 400 rounds in an hour of work.

Considering that I'm setting up for reloading over a dozen calibers, the cost savings between the 550b and the XL650 is well over a thousand dollars. Half of that is the difference in price of the two presses, the price of a case feeder, the rest is the additional $30 per caliber conversion for the XL650, spare parts, maintenance kits, etc.
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Old May 25, 2013, 12:38 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum and to reloading. Thanks for asking our advice.

Aside from eye protection and manuals, you only need three things (physically) to load good ammo. (Of course, you would be severely limited in some ways, but capable of producing one round at a time, but safely.)

Press because fingers are not strong enough to form metal
Dies because fingers are not accurate enough to form metal to SAAMI specs
Scale (or calibrated dippers) because eyeballs are not accurate enough to measure out gunpowder.

A set of calipers would be a good idea, too, just to verify dimensions.

Everything else can be done without, substituted for or improvised until you can afford to buy good, quality gear.

But it is more efficient and cost effective to get equipment that fits your needs now and for the near/foreseeable future.

We could target our advice better if you shared some information about yourself: (What I use has no relevance to you if our needs are not similar.)

Of the calibers (.357, 40S&W and 45ACP you named) will there be others added that you will be reloading?

What quantities will you be reloading for those calibers?

How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities

What is your budget for the initial purchase?

Will you want to get your entire setup at once or, after an initial setup that does all you need, add accessories and conveniences as your experience suggests and finances permit?

Will you be putting your gear away after each session or leave it set up permanently?

How much space will you devote permanently to a loading area, if any?

Do you want it to be portable?

What are your shooting goals? Cheap ammo? Ultimate long-range accuracy? Casual plinking, Serious competition - what kind? Personal defense? Skills development?

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; May 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM.
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Old May 25, 2013, 12:47 PM   #15
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Prolly don't want to here this, but, I would suggest you wait until you learn to reload before you go with a progressive press. Even an entry level Dillon. I believe learning to "hand load"; learning what each step does, and why it's done can be better accomplished on a single stage press. Using a single stage forces you to learn to properly adjust the dies, something essential for troubleshooting your home made ammo problems.

If you are an experienced reloader, contact Dillon for reliable info on Dillon equipment (too many "experts" out there touting their favorite tools to get an unbiased answer). I have used a progressive once or twice (belonged to a friend, a 1911 fan that shot a lot) and was always a bit apprehensive with all the stuff going on at the same time...
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Old May 25, 2013, 02:18 PM   #16
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Lost Sheep makes a lot of sense. A person can use a high performance car to make the one block trip to pick up something at the store and return home. It might even be the entire driving they do once a week. Another person could just walk there and back for a lot less money. On the other hand a Yugo is not the car you want to have to run the Indy 500.

In the world of reloading, there are plenty of options available. Some of them make more sense than others do depending on what you plan to load now and in the reasonable future. Most of us try to match the equipment type to allow us to produce the amount of ammo we feel we need in the amount of time we set aside for reloading. Once done you can start looking at the brand having the features you want.

Faster machines are more complicated to achieve the increased speed. People with little or no mechanical experience/ability will have a greater problem using these machines. Single stage presses seem to be the easiest to use but you are not going to load hundreds of rounds per hour with them. In the middle you will find the turret presses. A progressive press can be used similar to single stage or turret press. It becomes more complicated doing it this way compared to the other presses but it can be done none the less. Yes, you can work up loads on a progressive press. It may be easier to do on a single stage.

Many people are turned off by the idea of manual advancing progressive press. Like most things you do in repetition, you get a pattern going that works well and you don't even notice you are advancing the shell plate with your thumb while you are loading. You can also make the advancement very smooth and not jerking. This helps a lot when you are loading compressed loads. It also makes it easier to take care of problems if they come up.

One thing to remember, increased speed normally comes with an increased price. Getting the press matching your needs can also free up funds you will have available to buy components needed to load in the first place.

I do load now only on progressive presses. I also buy components in bulk to get better pricing. After a while it becomes cost effective for me. The first caliber I started with was the one I shot the most. This gave me a faster break even point over buying factory ammo. I added next caliber later for the ones I was shooting the most but not reloading for. Slowly I am working my way to be able to reload for everything I normally would shoot except for rim fire ammo. I know it is going to take longer to break even on the last couple of calibers I am adding now since I don't shoot them nearly as much.

You can save money reloading your own ammo for any caliber. The key is buying primers, powder and bullets in bulk. You may need to buy some quantities with others to get the better pricing if you are not going through a lot of ammo yourself. You will find most of these things have a long shelf life too. When shortages come in factory ammo you will also find many re-loaders are still able to shoot because they have everything on hand to still make ammo. I was at the range today. Most people there are reloading their own ammo or are shooting reloaded ammo. I don't recall very much factory ammo being used. All the cases I saw on the ground were either steel/aluminum or rim fire. It makes collecting your brass easier too.
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Old May 26, 2013, 12:34 PM   #17
monaco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan
Have you considered presses other than Dillon?
Not really. I do welcome your opinions about Hornady, but I'm sold on Dillons "no bs" warranty and it also has great resale value.
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Old May 26, 2013, 12:45 PM   #18
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Dillon has definately made their name on their no b.s. warranty. I have heard amazing stories about refurbishing old presses pull out of a pile of scrap coming back like new!

I don't know what Hornady calls their warranty. I have called 3 times about different problems and they have sent me the parts I needed pretty quickly. I also have called for help before and they covered that as well too. Last, I called about a shellplate that they did not offer and they made me one of those too for like $5 or $10 more than normal price. Overall, it worked for me.

I cannot comment on resale value. Mine is from about 2002 and probably never be sold.
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Old May 26, 2013, 12:51 PM   #19
monaco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
We could target our advice better if you shared some information about yourself: (What I use has no relevance to you if our needs are not similar.)

Of the calibers (.357, 40S&W and 45ACP you named) will there be others added that you will be reloading?
9mm and 380 in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
What quantities will you be reloading for those calibers
I shoot a lot and so do my friends and when I get my rig set up, they'll probably be over here all the time. At least 200 rds of 45.ACP a week. Maybe 100 each of the others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities
My entire Sunday. Sunday is range day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
What is your budget for the initial purchase?
Is $400-$600 realistic? I honestly don't look at it in terms of a "budget", per say, I'm looking at it as an investment. If I'm going to spend $5,000 on ammo in the next year, but I can make my own for $3,500, then I would spend it.

Last edited by monaco; May 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM.
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Old May 26, 2013, 01:19 PM   #20
monaco
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I just bought this for $310. Did I get a good deal?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/171044590864...84.m1497.l2649
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Old May 26, 2013, 01:46 PM   #21
Misssissippi Dave
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Taking into consideration the amount you mentioned. The SDB probably will fit the bill. The press comes with one set of dies installed. I suggest getting the strong mount with this press. Getting the RL 550b will allow you to load a few more rounds per hour. There isn't much difference in the speed of the 550 and 650 until you add the case feeder. Once the case feeder is added you will probably be able to load a couple hundred more rounds per hour.

With progressive presses I prefer to load several hundred rounds of one caliber prior to changing over to another. I load for more than one caliber but I normally only change the press over to another one about once a month or longer. To reduce my changes I bought the SDB.

When you start adding dies and conversion kits the cost of a progressive press starts to go up pretty fast. Add in a scale, calipers and maybe a tumbler. Now start adding enough primers, powder and bullets to load all that ammo and you will be spending a lot more at one time than you might think.

Depending on how much time you have available, you might be able to load the ammo you want with a Lee Classic Turret. They are able to load up to 200 rounds per hour from what I have read. A turret press will be easier to work up loads on as well.

The SDB will be faster at a higher cost. Also the SDB has a life time warranty. You probably are needing more ammo per week than a single stage press will provide. It seems a turret or progressive will work better. Just remember the SDB will not load rifle ammo, .357 Sig or 5.7 ammo. With a progressive press you will need a flip tray to load primer tubes. Having a few extra primer tubes makes loading a little faster during the loading process. When only loading 100 rounds at a time it doesn't matter that much to have extra tubes.
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Old May 26, 2013, 01:56 PM   #22
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I took a look at the pictures of the press. It seems to be missing the cover for the powder measure, the bin for finished rounds and the cup for primers. I still feel the strong mount will improve your ability to mount it on your bench. The strong mount comes with a primer cup since it is install differently when used.

Having lots of brass is a good thing. This press comes with more than one seating stem. You need to use the right one for the type of bullet you are loading. I hope you get both. If you don't you can always get them from Dillon.
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Old May 26, 2013, 06:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monaco
I just bought this for $310. Did I get a good deal?
I would say, yes if all the parts are there or available cheaply. I don't know how much brass is included. New ones list for $380 and are backordered most places.

You said 200 rounds a week for 45ACP and half that for the other calibers. As soon as I read that, I thought you were right on the edge of being able to justify a progressive, so I think you made a wise purchase.

For the other calibers, at (I will guess) 100 rounds a sitting, it might not be wise to invest in the caliber conversions for the other calibers.

Swap calibers on the Square Deal and knock out 100 rounds in 30 minutes vs swapping calibers on the Lee and knocking out 100 rounds in 45 minutes? Is it worth the difference in dollar price?

If your loading sessions go longer, though, the analysis changes.

Swap calibers on the Square Deal and knock out 1,000 rounds in 4 1/4 hours 15 minutes vs swapping calibers on the Lee and knocking out 1,000 rounds in 7 1/2 hours.

edit: I gave the SD a changeover time of 5 minutes and production rate of 100 rounds in 25 minutes (remember you have to refill those primer tubes and box the finished product). I gave the Lee Turret a changeover time of 0 minutes and production rate of 100 rounds in 45 minutes. Conservative speeds and easily achieved on the Lee by my own experience and on the SD by credible reports I have heard.

Will you share ownership of the dies or will each of you own your own set? (Except for the 45ACP, I am assuming). Owning your own set mounted in a Lee Turret would be cheaper and when your buddies decide to take the plunge into reloading (if they go to any other press than a Square Deal) will let them keep using their dies.

Quote:
Is $400-$600 realistic?
Definitely yes. I replaced most of my loading bench in 2010 with all best stuff (selected for my needs) that money could buy (except for the items I already had that were already the best) and calculated what it would have cost if I had started from scratch. $610. Here's the list with current prices working from memory and pumping up on the powder measures so there is one per caliber.

280 - 7 Sets of Dies
60 - 6 Spare Turrets
100 - Lee Classic Turret Press
80 - RCBS 1010 scale
210 - Powder Measures
30 - Primer feeders
20 - Bullet Puller
30 - Calipers
50 - Misc tools

860

Going a little cheaper (7 powder measures might be a bit much)
280 - 7 Sets of Dies
60 - 6 Spare Turrets
100 - Lee Classic Turret Press
50 - RCBS 505 scale
30 - Powder Measure
30 - Primer feeders
20 - Bullet Puller
30 - Calipers
50 - Misc tools

650

Food for thought. I hope my ramblings help.

Lost Sheep
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Old May 27, 2013, 01:22 PM   #24
monaco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misssissippi Dave
When you start adding dies and conversion kits the cost of a progressive press starts to go up pretty fast. Add in a scale, calipers and maybe a tumbler. Now start adding enough primers, powder and bullets to load all that ammo and you will be spending a lot more at one time than you might think.
$102 shipped. http://www.berrysmfg.com/product-i14...ning_Kits.aspx Are there better deals?

What about this caliper? http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-...per-47257.html

Last edited by monaco; May 27, 2013 at 01:27 PM.
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Old May 27, 2013, 01:39 PM   #25
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I would stay far away from that caliper. If you have to have a digital caliper, spend some money. Cheap and good don't mix. If you want to save money, get analog.

As far as the tumbler goes, Harbor freight sells one for almost 1/4 of that price.

Last edited by kostyanj; May 27, 2013 at 07:59 PM.
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