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Old August 4, 2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Single calibre progressive - Need help choosing one

Hi guys,

I only shoot one calibre - 38 Special and want to move up to a progressive machine. I'm regularly shooting 200+ rounds per week and I just don't have enough time to do all loading single stage anymore. I've had my RCBS Junior for over 20 years now.

I've read as many threads and reviews as I can find and have decided to go with Dillon.

Given that I only plan to reload for one calibre should I go for the Square Deal or the 550B?

I'd really appreciate opinions from those you have used them or both.

Best regards, Racingsnake
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Old August 4, 2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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Dillon machine

If i were you, i would choose the dillon 550b, because it will be no time in which your habit will soon eclipse what the square deal is capable of achieving. The 550b is endlessly adaptable to anything you might do in the future.

The same is true when purchasing a gun safe--choose the largest size you think you will ever need & then go one size larger !!!!!


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Old August 4, 2011, 02:48 PM   #3
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Auto case feed Sure Is Nice! If you are going for speed and volume its the
Way to go, With very little effort, The case feed is not an option with the SquareDeal.
I load all of my bulk (Plinking stuff) on a 650 but, First hand I can tell you, Auto Case Feed Is NICE!
You can have the 550 set up with the case feed however it does not auto index like the SquareDeal and 650.
Case feed is not an option with the SquareDeal. All this to say, I would go 550.
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Old August 4, 2011, 03:19 PM   #4
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Plus one for the Dillon.
Autofeed....the speed of switching the die holders..Best customer/factory support (never had to be on hold for 30 mins or more)
Dies even I can't break...
Even without the autofeed (finally burned out my motor
after 10 years) filling the drop tube manually is pretty covenient.
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Old August 4, 2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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If you are really only going to load one caliber then the Square Deal is fantastic. It will come set up and ready to go.

Going from a single stage to the SD will be amazing for you.

When they first came out I bought one of the first ones in 9mm later I got a conversion for 45 ACP. Wore it out on 9mm. Sent it back and Dillon rebuilt it and I sold it to one of my customers.

Case feed is nice, I have two machines that have that. But it's not that big of a deal for your own use.

I have had fully automated machines. (5000 cycles an hour) But I sold them to a class III shooter. For range brass they didn't come close to working for me.
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Old August 5, 2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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If you are only loading 200 rds. a week and you are sure you will not load more than 38 spc. then the SD is the ticket. A one month supply of 800 will take about 2 hours or so to load. It’s far less expensive than a 550 or 650 with the case feeder.
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Old August 5, 2011, 07:19 AM   #7
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The 550, on the basis of die versitility. I have a 550, but use Lee sizing and seating dies. The SD uses proprietary dies. Just my preference.
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Old August 5, 2011, 07:54 AM   #8
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Take it from my experience, you will not always reload for just one caliber. At some point you will want to reload for a rifle caliber and if you go with the SQ Deal you will have to buy another press. If you go with the RL550B you get three presses that will do anything (except 50BMG). The RL550B can be used single stage, as a turret press, or as a full progressive. It uses anyone's standard die sets.

It is the fact that it does not have auto indexing of the table that allows it to be so versatile. Auto indexing is over rated. With auto indexing if there is a screw up on the table it becomes a big deal. On the RL550B you can make the table go forward or back to fix the problem (no matter what press you buy there will be occasional screw ups and you will have to clear the press .... its just part of the game).

I originally, some 25 years ago, bought the SQ Deal as I only had a 9 mm pistol. In less than a year I had bought rifles and had to replace the SQ Deal with a RL550B. I now have three safes full of guns for which I reload, all on my 25 year old RL550B. That is over 30 different calibers! I use my press so much that it has been rebuilt for free by Dillon three times.

In your case using the RL550B you can easily reload your 200 rounds in an hour on the RL550B. In fact, you will find that once you get going in a session you will not stop at 200 rounds and will develop a backlog of supply. For two hours you might get 500 rounds and reduce the number of session required to maintain your regular usage. But what I have found is I just shoot more, but that's me.

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Old August 5, 2011, 09:43 AM   #9
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I would recommend a square deal. They come setup ready to run in the caliber of your choice. The customer service is without question maybe the BEST in the industry. I'm using a Square Deal to load 357 mag,44 mag,44 special,and 45 colt.
If,later you want to reload for rifle calibers then you can go with a RL550B. Whatever Dillon you go with,you have made the RIGHT choice..
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Old August 5, 2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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Guys thank you for your opinions and advice. I think I'm going to go with the 550. Even though now I dont need all the flexibility it offers I may in the future.
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Old August 5, 2011, 02:13 PM   #11
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Before you buy - take a 2nd look at the 650 vs the 550 ...the 650 auto indexes and the 550 does not ...the 650 also has room to put in a "powder check die" and the 550 does not....

I'm not saying the 550 is a bad press ...but in loading higher volumes of ammo ...the powder check die is a nice safety option. Between the 2 machines - there is about $130 difference ....and the conversion kits are a little more on the 650 ...but the 650 is a better machine in my opinion because of the auto indexing and the powder check.
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Old August 5, 2011, 04:22 PM   #12
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I can reload 350-400 an hour w my 550B when I get humpin
That being said I dig the machine but wish I had spent more
on a 650 since the 550 does not index (and should)

I like Dillon because its dead nuts consistant
once it set I dont have to check or fiddle with it,I just
pump that handle and fill the tub - I had a Lee Classic previos
and it was a POS
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Old August 5, 2011, 04:36 PM   #13
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I have owned a 550 Dillon since 1987. Used it for everything and almost still would but I purpose bought a nice used Square Deal in 45 acp as I do shoot those alot. Cost right at $225 shipped all set up.
If I was going to have only one.. get the 550.. your dies will work. The SD uses and odd size die but they are readily available used out there.
Mike in Peru
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Old August 5, 2011, 07:08 PM   #14
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I like my SQuare Deal a lot. I've had mine since they first came out...sometime in the 80s? Dillon is a great company, you can't go wrong.
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Old August 5, 2011, 09:28 PM   #15
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Spend the money and go for the 650. I am sure if you are not handloading for other calibers once you get a progressive you will want to.

I have the RL550b and love it. That being said I wish I would have spent the little bit extra and went with the 650 5 stations allows you to have a crimp die and a powder cop die.

So think real hard about the RL650 before you go with the SDB or the 550.
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Old August 5, 2011, 09:44 PM   #16
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Questionm to the original poster. Are you reloading to save $ or to get the load you are looking for?

No one has talked $ for a press and parts it take to be up and running.
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Old August 5, 2011, 10:40 PM   #17
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I am a dyed-in-the-wool LNL user. However, I still have, and use, a Dillon SDB. If you are absolutely, positively, beyound the shadow of doubt, know that you only want to load pistol cases; you can't go wrong with a SDB.
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Old August 5, 2011, 10:52 PM   #18
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The added cost of a 550 is well worth it. If you get the SDP you will regret it in time. I have never known a reloader who settled for one cartridge forever.
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Old August 5, 2011, 11:05 PM   #19
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If you're only going to load one pistol caliber and 200 rounds per session, then the SDB is the definite way to go. That being said, if I were buying a new press (I currently have an old 450 that's been upgraded to 550B) I'd probably go with a 650, but I load for handguns and rifles. The auto index and extra station are significant factors to consider.
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