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Old September 7, 2002, 01:51 PM   #1
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Dillon question

I have been reloading on a single stage press for a long time. I am thinking about buying a Dillon.

My shooting habits are like this. I shoot mostly .38's and that is divided between wadcutters and semi-wadcutters. I also shoot some .357 and .45. A lot of .22's also but that doesn't count for this.

Am I better off buying two or three Square Deal B's or one 550B? In other words, how much hassle and intial expense is there in converting back and forth for different calibers and loads with the 550B?

I figure my shooting comes to less than 10,000 rounds of centerfire ammo a year at the current time.

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Old September 7, 2002, 03:27 PM   #2
Joe Gulish
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I would say to go with the 550b. It will take standard dies. And you can switch to another caliber for around $50 ( not including dies). The square deal is a nice press but I don't like that you have to buy special dies to use on it.
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Old September 7, 2002, 03:54 PM   #3
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You can get the quick change toolheads for the 550 with its own powder measure for about 70-80 bucks. Then you can leave it set up with your dies and not have to be switching back and forth.

Takes about five minutes or less to change calibers, taking your time...Get the 550. You won't regret it.
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Old September 7, 2002, 05:06 PM   #4
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Dillon question

I went with multiple Square Deals - I like auto indexing, it's one less thing I have to do. I started out with one in 38/357 and then bought a tool head for 9mm. I didn't like changing them around, so I bought a couple more Square Deals (I shoot 45 acp a lot these days). I have a 650 for non-pistol calibers. Not owning a 550 - I'd assume you have to swap out not only the toolhead but the shellplate also? Does the primer feed mechanism get swapped too on the 550?(if you're changing from small to large primers).
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Old September 7, 2002, 06:15 PM   #5
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Let me start off by saying that I love my 550B, but I have never had another so I am not really qualified to give comparisons. However, to answer Rick's questions. Yes, you have to swap out the shell plate as well as the toolhead, and yes you do have to swap out the primer feed tube if you are switching from large to small or vice-versa. Hope this helps.
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Old September 7, 2002, 07:09 PM   #6
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Strongly recommend the 550B. Changing between calibers is a breeze, provided you have the tool head ('bout $12) with the dies installed and set for each caliber.

I don't see the benefit of buying additional powder measures because with a little practice you can dial in between powder weights quickly.

That said, it takes me about 10 minutes to switch between, say 45ACP and 223Rem, and that includes a good cleaning of the press, switching the primer from large to small, changing the base plates and getting the powder throw right.
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Old September 8, 2002, 09:06 AM   #7
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I have a Dillon 550

but if I were doing it over, I'd get a 650. Auto index and extra station for a powder check die

If you're not totally locked into Dillon, there was a real good thread a couple months ago about Hornady vs. Dillon.
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Old September 10, 2002, 05:48 PM   #8
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Get a Dillon 650 and get the best of all worlds. Initial cost is a little higher, but you're making a once in a lifetime investment.

Once you get the Dillon 650, you're done. You'll never have to invest in another reloading machine, and even if you load 100,000 rounds per year, you'll still have a machine that you can pass on to your children and they can pass on to their children.

The best always costs more in the beginning, but ends up being the most economical in the long run.
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Old September 11, 2002, 06:50 PM   #9
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I guess having additional powder measures would be easier, but I also change between calibers without much problem.

Not sure that the 10 minutes "larry" quoted is accurate, though. Not only do you have to change the powder measure from one die set to the other, you're probably going to have to change between the small and large measuring bar. Changing to different sized primers also is time consuming.

I'm thinkin' 15-20 minutes is more like it...
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Old September 11, 2002, 10:02 PM   #10
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I've loaded many thousands of rounds on a friends 550 and several thousnad on a 650. They are very good machines, however, when I tried the Hornady Loack=N=Load progressive, I liked it better.

I am one of the few who has actually loaded on all three for more than just a casual pull. The Hornady offered more features, had more inovations, had quicker caliber changeover time for shell plate, dies, and powder (around 3 minutes for the Hornady and about 10 for the dillon) and was a lot less money for press and accessories.

The cost of the dillons with three caliber conversoins is at least a third more money than the Hornady with three conversions.

When Hornady gets their auto case feeder on the market, I believe the Lock-N-Load Progressive will surpass the the 650 in sales.

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Old September 12, 2002, 12:45 PM   #11
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Don, changing the measuring bar is simply a matter of pulling out the pin holding the spacer bar, pulling back the slide mechanism and inserting the new bar, making sure the square washer is in the channel. You can even speed things up by scribing a fine line on the top of the measure bar so you can eyeball the correct charge and refine once you're ready to go.

Changing the priming system is two hex-head bolts (which, conveniently use the same wrench as the powder measure) and unhooking a spring. Then you change the tube by unscrewing the top of the priming assy, pulling out one tube and dropping in the other.

By far, the most time consuming task is changing the plates.

10 minutes maximum, including a cleaning.
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Old September 12, 2002, 03:09 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who responded. I am still undecided so if anyone else has an opinion please respond.

After reading the replies and talking to others I have come to the conclusion that I won't be disappointed if I buy either the Square Deal, the 550 or the 650.

Right now I seem to be leaning towards buying a Square Deal since I am mostly loading .38's. The machine is so relatively inexpensive for what it does that I don't see how it can be a bad deal. And if I want to add a 650 afterwards I can do that or another Square Deal.

The other option that I think might make sense for me is to just buy the 650 without the casefeeder since I will be loading about 5,000 rounds a year or less.

I think I am pretty much decided on buying a Dillon. In speaking to quite a number of people I have not found one who has a bad opinion or had a bad experience with the company. I am willing to pay a little more to deal with people like that.

Does anyone have any links to sites that have good information on the Hornady L-N-L? I've never found the Hornady site to be that informative.

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Old September 13, 2002, 12:19 AM   #13
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In your situation, I'd get the SDB. If you wait for a few more months, Hornady should have a case feeder for the Lock-N-Load. That looks to be a great deal.
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