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Old May 1, 2000, 02:32 AM   #1
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I am seeking opinions of the RL550B and XL650 only. I have spent the last two years contemplating the purchase of a reloading outfit. I have narrowed my choices to these two machines. I would like the pros and cons of both presses from those of you that use them.

I am not considering any other presses, so suggestions for Lee, RCBS, Star, Hornady or any other manufacturer are unnecessary. However, because there may be others who are still trying to decide which machine to choose, opinions of other machines will be of interest to someone else I'm sure.

Oops, that Topic line should have read XL650.

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[This message has been edited by blades67 (edited May 02, 2000).]
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Old May 1, 2000, 09:44 AM   #2
Kenneth L. Walters
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I'd go with the RL550. The automatic indexing on the 650 is just an unnecessary complication. Then too the 550 primer system is simplier, the machine can handle a much wider range of cartridges and it is selling a lot better.
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Old May 1, 2000, 10:13 AM   #3
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I've got the 650 with the casefeeder and I love it.
Right now I'm setup with complete toolheads including powder measures/checks for .223, 9mm and .45. Just ordered the rapid trim so I can size/trim using the auto feeder.
It just all depends on how much loader you want/need. The 650 will do just about all the rifle calibers.
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Old May 1, 2000, 11:08 AM   #4
Gordon Hanson
Join Date: September 5, 1999
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I went with the 650, after several months of research. The $300 cost difference was something to think about, but not a deciding factor. Functionality and ease of use were my most important considerations.

I decided my priority lay in greater production volume for pistol calibers. The 650 beats the 550 hands down here.

You really can hit a cyclic rate of 1000/hr, but you probably won't sustain it very long, because something, somewhere, will require your attention: refilling primer pick-up tubes, casefeed, hold-ups on the shell-plate (cartridge hangs up on the ejector wire, or going into station one), checking the powder charge every now and then (watching the position of the powder check rod can alert you to relatively small changes in the charge thrown, as well as the no- or double-charge alarm it's designed for), the phone, your wife and kids, etc.

That said, I've found I can produce 10 rounds/minute at what feels like an easy, no-sweat pace. 12 rounds/min is doable, but after a while I feel that I'm not monitoring things the way I should. My personal comfort factor is feeling that I've got an eye on everything's that happening. When I out-pace that ability, I get this itch between the shoulder blades.

What about rifle, you say? I wanted to load for 7mm-08. No conversion kit listed for that caliber, hmmm. But Dillon will sell you a shellplate and casefeed parts for .308, and a powder funnel for 7mm-08. So you can load 7mm-08 to your heart's content, and they'll never know a thing.

You have to wonder what calibers the 650 WON'T load, and what the odds are you'll want to shoot them.

The 650's a great machine. So's the 550. I've used both, and found the complexity issue to be a matter of subtleties. The learning curve is different, but not overwhelming by any stretch of the imagination. I spent the first three or four hours loading a few rounds, measuring, weighing, watching the machine work, taking things apart to see how they worked, and generally getting to know the beast. As with shooting, speed came with practice (reminds me, I need to shoot more!).

I could have been very happy with a 550, but I'm glad I got the 650.
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Old May 1, 2000, 11:28 AM   #5
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Kenneth L. Walters,

I've got to disagree with you on this one. The auto indexing is certainly not an unnecessary complication, but rather, one of the main reasons for getting a 650 rather than a 550.

Auto indexing is the best method (next to constant, vigilant, observation) to avoid no charges and double charges. And the case feeder is nice, too.
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Old May 1, 2000, 04:48 PM   #6
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I've never seen that it's that easy to double charge the 550 either. Usually, you'll discover your mistake when you try to seat the second primer, or put the bullet on top of the one that's already there. I'd love to have a 650 however, but I'm happy with my 550...
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Old May 1, 2000, 05:19 PM   #7
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Well gee, I have a XL650, sorta like a Corvette.....Most of the time I use it as
a single stage but, when I load .308 for my
M1A that baby rocks. Great machine, also
great people at Dillon, they take care of
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Old May 1, 2000, 08:29 PM   #8
Join Date: October 11, 1999
Location: Loveland,CO,USA
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I had a 550 now have a 650.
The main reason I changed was the 550's primer feed system.
I had trouble with the primers cocking or getting flipped.
I had Dillon fix it twice. Each time the problem returned.
I polished the primer feed rod and kept it as clean as I could after that but still had the ocasional problem.
The 650's primer feed is perfect.
The auto index and case feed are just extra's I got with the upgraded primer feed, but man what nice extras.!

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Old May 1, 2000, 10:27 PM   #9
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I Have the 650 and it's a great press.I have it set-up to load .45acp and have the conversions for .357 mag .38 special and .44 magnum.To change calibers is alot eaiser and faster than some would have you believe.The case feed and auto index really make this press one of the best if not the best made by anyone.BILLG
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Old May 7, 2000, 01:56 AM   #10
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I thought the primer systems were the same for the RL550B and the XL650, just in a different location. What are the differences?

Guns cause crime like spoons cause Rosie O'Donnell to be fat!

I hunt, therefore I am.
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Old May 7, 2000, 08:58 AM   #11
Ruben Nasser
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I've used both, but I like the 550 best. The 650 is more sophisticated and allows for faster operation, but you to check/adjust more parts to get a new caliber (or setting on an existing one) running smooth. I like the manual indexing because I can control everything more easily in case I suspect something is wrong, and I really don't need a faster rate of loading. After all, if you take into account case cleaning and preparation, checking/adjusting powder charges, bullet seating dephts, etc., overall time for a loaded round is not that different. If you don't move your settings too much and nearly always use the same components (as in large volume reloading for IPSC) then you can use the 650 to its full potential, otherwise I'll go for the 550's simplicity. In any case, they are both excellent machines.
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Old May 7, 2000, 05:08 PM   #12
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My reloading partner used the 550 and I purchased the will be well served with either...the 650 sets might be a little more.....and it does take a wee bit more time adjust but its not that big a factor,probably one of the best reloading buys out there is a used 550 comes someone upgraded......depending how many different calibers you plan to reload in rifle or might do for pistol calibers what a good friend of mine has done...he just purchases a sdb (square deal b), for each pistol caliber he reloades works for him and he dosent have the caliber conveersions to worry about.....fubsy.
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Old May 7, 2000, 10:31 PM   #13
Join Date: April 8, 2000
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Both are good presses...and you won't go wrong with either. If you can afford to spend the extra money, the 650 is better.
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Old May 8, 2000, 05:33 PM   #14
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I've got a 650 and haven't regretted my decision ever. I'd get the same press again.
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Old May 9, 2000, 10:24 PM   #15
Good Guy
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Here's a link to another good 550 vs 650 thread on, lots of information
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Old May 10, 2000, 12:35 PM   #16
El Rojo
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I have had zero problems with my 550. It works great for rifle and handgun's. A 1200B case trimmer is must for rifle loading. Never waste your time on a hand trimmer ever again!
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