The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 16, 2005, 10:03 PM   #1
XD Niner
Senior Member
Join Date: December 31, 2004
Location: Northcentral Florida
Posts: 161
True Throughput on Dillon 550B?

I am considering buying a Dillon 550B to reload .45ACP. I've seen estimates of 400-500 rounds per hour with this press with some of the key accessories. My question is, how long will it really take to process the rounds when considering all steps of the process? This includes not just those executed with the progressive press but case cleaning, lubing, setup for session (assuming no die changes required) and cleanup. For instance, how long would it take those of you who own this press to produce 1000 rounds in a single session assuming you are starting with just the dirty brass?

And to sneak in a second question, how much cost per round for just the components (primer, powder and bullet) assuming you have "free" brass?
-It's only a virtue if you're not a complete screwup.
XD Niner is offline  
Old June 17, 2005, 07:35 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: September 5, 2004
Location: Western Slope, Colorado
Posts: 390
Once the press is set up and I get into the groove I can run about 300-400 rounds an hour, including a break to reload the primer magazine as needed. A little slower if using cast bullets as I have to clean the seater and crimper dies of bullet lube and lead shmutz every hundred rounds.

Setup can take 5 to 15 minutes, mostly to set powder charge. Some folks get a powder bar to dedicate to a pet load.

I don't lube pistol brass, though I'll clean 'em up with a 2 hour tumbler session before loading.

Depending on the type of bullet your loading your cost per round can run $0.07 to $0.15. If you want to crunch the numbers yourself I wrote a Windows cost calculator you're welcome to use.
kkb is offline  
Old June 17, 2005, 09:47 AM   #3
Junior member
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
Starting with dirty brass, 1K day with no rush. Plenty of time to set up while tumbler running, plenty of time to refill primers & powder, recheck settings and do ongoing quality control, and go refill coffee's.

I don't go for breakneck speed with the 550B. Once set up I can comfortably load 3 or 4 hundred rounds an hour.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old June 17, 2005, 09:47 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: February 18, 2005
Posts: 1,874
I think for me about 300 is more realistic. But I stop and check the powder when I get a hundred I load them into the plastic box's.If I just reloaded probably could do 400.I let my brass run about two hours to clean,knock out the primers.Install new primers( don't like to do the primers in the press)time wise may take longer.Don't think you can count cleaning as most has more already cleaned and ready to go.Myself I would say time wise to do a 1000 would be 4 hours if not higher.It's not the idea of how fast is the idea of 1000 safe loads.I check at least three times per box to see if the powder drop is working and about 100 I check to make sure the grains are correct
Russ5924 is offline  
Old June 17, 2005, 10:19 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2004
Location: Washougal,Wa
Posts: 126
key accessories?

If by this you mean the strong mount and bullet tray,they are profit items for Dillon,not key accessories.Build your bench high and sturdy and you surely won't 'need' the strong mounts.I've used mine for 12 years without them.
I'd give the roller handle a <shrug> too.I have it but prolly wouldnt buy it again.Iffy on that one I'll admit.
A good medium speed pace will produce a lot of good ammo.A fast and furious pace will produce mashed fingers and screwed up loads.both take time to 'heal'.
Throckmorton is offline  
Old June 17, 2005, 06:34 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 23, 2005
Posts: 953
Buy a Hornady and you will love it. much cheaper and in my opinion a much better machine. 300.00 at Cabelas now. also much cheaper to change calibers and you can do it in under 4 minutes
kgpcr is offline  
Old June 18, 2005, 05:53 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: March 22, 2002
Location: In The Hardwoods
Posts: 1,110
I do about 350 per hour on my Dillon. I wouldn't expect to do more, at least not day in day out.
LAH is offline  
Old June 18, 2005, 06:50 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: May 15, 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,427
3 hours= 1000 rounds, starting with clean brass.
That includes loading primer tubes, checking everything every 100 rounds, QCing your loaded rounds, and cleanup.
Cleaning brass, and boxing up rounds, are not included in that.
It's best to start the day before, and clean your brass, because your tumbler can't keep up with your 550, unless you got a better one than I do.....

Also, for a cost estimate, please list what components you'll be using, and what quantities you'll be buying them in....
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
(Hold me.)
caz223 is offline  
Old June 18, 2005, 03:28 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: May 21, 2004
Posts: 315
My experience is much the same a caz223's. I look at cleaning brass as a seperate operation from loading.

Once I'm in the groove, I can load about 400 rds per hour. This includes refilling primers and powder as necessary, visually checking each powder charge, and pulling and weighing any that look suspect.

Starting with clean brass, I can get everything out, fill everything up, verify that powder charges are being thrown correctly, bullet seating and crimp are correct (rarely a problem, but I always check), load 1000 rds, and put everything away in about 3 hours.
scottys1 is offline  
Old June 18, 2005, 04:57 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: June 30, 2000
Location: Token Creek, WI
Posts: 4,068
Several hundred rounds/hour.

But I pay attention to what I'm doing with my Dillon - I'm in no race to spit out a bazillion rounds. Every round comes out of the final stage into the bin with the same dedication to quality as the first one.

I've often wondered about those who purchase progressives based strictly for the sheer production rate. Sometimes one hears about them blowing primers in the press, etc.
"Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round...

Neural Misfires
Gewehr98 is offline  
Old June 18, 2005, 06:55 PM   #11
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,720
I own the Square Deal just for .45 ACP (changing calibers is a pain on the SD). When I am running late for a match, I recruit my wife to feed the bullets while I feed cases and work the handle. I can do 180 rounds in just under 20 minutes that way. Do the math. If you've ever wondered what wives are for. . .

A friend of mine has a fully tricked out 1050; automatic case feeder and all. A couple of years ago we held a 1911 marathon at his place. Every night we reloaded about 1800 rounds and fired it all on dueling trees and other fun speed targets the next day. With me keeping the bullets and primers coming (we had a couple dozen primer tubes and of course he had the automatic primer tube filling machine) and he working the crank, this operation took about 45 minutes to complete each evening. Nary a round went bad, unless you count the shooter's contribution at the range.

Unclenick is offline  
Old June 19, 2005, 08:20 PM   #12
Junior member
Join Date: August 8, 2000
Location: ARKANSAS
Posts: 484
The key to speed is to have the right stuff layed out in the proper order.

For instance, first thing I'll do is to load several primer tubes and have them ready to go. I'll have the powder can handy to fill up the powder tube when it gets to a certain point.

I'll have a box of bullets,usually a box of 500 set where I can reach them easily on the left of the press as you are looking at it.I'll have the cases in a bin on the right. Once you get into a rythm it is no problem for me to do 500 rounds an hour with some time to spare. I use the primer tubes to keep count of the rounds and when the finished bullet bin gets full, I just pour them in a cardboard box.

When I am done, I'll transfer the bullets to the correct plastic cases made by Midway,Dillion,MTM...I have them all.

After an hour or so of really getting it, I usaully give my back a break and stretch out a bit.

If I am doing .45 I 'll dump them in my Dillon bullet bag and not even mess with the plastic boxes.
Watchman is offline  
Old June 19, 2005, 08:29 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: February 16, 2005
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 302
Not meaning to

Hijack the thread or anything, because I have no idea of the throughput of a Dillon 550b, or any other progressive for that matter, but, THANKS kkb!

That's a nice little utility you have made there!

Thank you again!
CaptainRazor is offline  
Old June 19, 2005, 08:35 PM   #14
Junior Member
Join Date: June 5, 2005
Location: St. Louis, Mo
Posts: 6
It takes about 2 minutes to load one primer tube. To clean a batch of brass takes up to 3 hours. I inspect (weed out the WinNT, S&B, AMERC, etc) every case before I reload - that takes about a second per case. After that's done, my 650 will churn out 500 rounds in 40 minutes. I guess it's the preliminary work that will slow down the round per hour count. I don't count the brass cleaning time because that is done while I am not actively reloading. It's the inspection time that really slows me down. But I am the quality control officer, and I take my job seriously. Since I get all the free brass I want from my local indoor range I must make sure no "off brand" brass gets used. Everyone's situation is different, but that's mine.
Primersinmyshoe is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07146 seconds with 7 queries