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Old August 29, 2005, 10:22 PM   #1
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Dillon...Big Blue The SD Vs 550 ???

I have a new Dillon 550 in my sights. However, I read somewhere that the Square Deal is a faster/easier press due to indexing. Is the SD for straight wall handgun ammo only? Or can it be modified somehow?

What are some of the other major differences?

The price of the 550 is not too much more than the SD, so I am rethinking a little here.

Any comments would be great.
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Old August 30, 2005, 04:15 AM   #2
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Even though the SD has auto indexing, the 550 is faster. I used a 550 before moving up to a 650 with case feeder. It is very easy to move the shell plate with your right hand as you mount the bullet on the case.

If you have never reloaded before, I would not reccomend auto indexing. On the 550, if a mistake is made it is very easy to correct before moving the case to the next stage - no so with auto indexing. Even after using my 550 for over 5,000 rounds, I had to learn new technique for the 650 and it took about 2 or 300 rounds before I had it down to where I was loading consistantly.

The 550 will take you wherever you need to go for as long as you want to reload. The only reason I went to the 650 was for lack of time I could spend on the bench and the amount of shooting I do.
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Old August 30, 2005, 01:15 PM   #3
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Another vote for the 550.
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Old August 30, 2005, 01:50 PM   #4
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+1 on the 550. I have no hands on experience with SD, but along with being a superb reloader, the one thing that stands out is Dillon's customer support. Dillon will bend over backwards for it's customers like no one else I've ever dealt with.
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Old August 30, 2005, 02:42 PM   #5
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If you have the money and know for sure you want to reload, I can't think of a good reason to buy a 550 over a 650, but do agree that the 550 is superior to the SDB. If you're a novice and make a potentially dangerous mistake, think you're better off with a 650 that auto-indexes and provides for a powder check system than with a manually indexed 550? Not I.
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Old August 30, 2005, 11:39 PM   #6
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The SDB is an excellent press but uses special dies only available from Dillon. They are available for most popular pistol cartridges.

The 550 is much more versatile and uses standard 7/8" dies so most any brand of dies can be used. It will also do rifle calibers.

The 650 has a speed advantage due to auto indexing and the availability of a case feeder but it is more expensive and caliber conversions are also higher.

I agree with all the advice given above. Dillon's customer support is second to none.
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Old August 31, 2005, 09:31 AM   #7
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By all means, get the 550.
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Old August 31, 2005, 05:53 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of your comments. I feel that I am somewhat experience and very careful as I load. I believe there is always something new I can lean and thats why I enjoy this forum.

I still like shooting revolvers and now I am into semi's and want to do some match shooting. I think a faster loading system is in order. I have all of my equipment & componets ready to go but I want to get a chrony, and then I am ready for a "Big Blue". I have done research and can't find the slightest problem with the Dillon company. EVERYONE talks highly of them. I think I will stay my corse and go with the 550. I want to build a new loading bench and then it should be all green lights ahead.

Zekewolf, I like the idea of the 650, but I think that's overkill for my expected needs. I think 300 or 400 rounds an hour is plenty for now. Someday, I may think different.

Comments are always welcome. Thanks to all.
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Old August 31, 2005, 06:52 PM   #9
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Different angle, if you are experienced enough that auto indexing is a help and not a worry:

IF you load only 1 pistol caliber I would really consider the SDB the better choice.

If not-then the 550 is the better choice.
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Old September 5, 2005, 09:01 PM   #10
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Ben said: IF you load only 1 pistol caliber I would really consider the SDB the better choice.

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Old September 6, 2005, 11:08 AM   #11
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My 550 is great. Currently I reload .45ACP and 9mm. I chose the 550 over the SDB because I might want to load rifle rounds someday.
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Old September 6, 2005, 08:30 PM   #12
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Well, I own both. SD for .45 ACP and the 550 for all other pistols. I use a Forster-Bonanza Co-ax press for rifle.

The 550 is not the quicker of the two, in my opinion. Dillon says it is, based on testing of some kind, I suppose, but it depends how you work. If you can get a second person (there had to be some reason I got married) placing bullets while you place cases with your right hand and work the crank with your left, the SD is fast. I've done 200 rounds for a match in 15 minutes working this way. That’s 800 rounds an hour, or one every 4.5 seconds, including a primer tube refill.

The king of the hill for speed is the 1050 with a case feeder and two people operating; one for bullets and primers and the other for the crank and powder and brass hoppers. In a week-long punishment of his dueling tree, a friend and I shot through 1800 rounds of .45 ACP a day (900 each) and reloaded that same 1800 each night in 45 minutes on the 1050. That’s 2250 rounds an hour, if you're keeping count, or an average of one round every 1.6 seconds. I won’t claim this was a relaxed pace; we were trying to see how fast we could make the wheels spin? And the crank arm gets tired and you have to switch out (a wife isn’t so good for this purpose, I’ve found: not so much that she can’t as that she won’t).

I use the Co-ax press for rifle because I fuss too much with rifle rounds at each stage of the loading to really take advantage of anything faster. Of course, I don’t typically shoot 900 rounds of rifle a day. At that rate I’d get 3 or four days per barrel, and I'm not quite that rich.

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Old September 7, 2005, 08:27 AM   #13
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Uncle Nick: Do you have a wife and any friends with all their fingers?
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Old September 7, 2005, 10:12 PM   #14
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They have their digits, but you neglected to inquire as to the condition they're in?

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Old September 8, 2005, 01:03 AM   #15
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I have used a 550 that was modified to use a foot pedal operated air ram. with that and one hand full of bullets and one full of cases and a coffee can full of loaded primer tubes. With that get up, i was able to empty five primer tubes or load five hundred rounds in a half hour. the guy who owns it is a big time pistol shooter with a three stage pistol range in his back yard. he routinely shoots 500 rounds a day. (needless to say, he does not have money issues.) he has moved up to a 1050 and i tried his to see if i wanted to buy it...I did not but should have snapped it up.

I really have to say that having a 550 and broke a piece to the primer feed, Dillon just said what do you need and mailed it to me.
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