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Old February 9, 2001, 03:05 PM   #1
Master Blaster
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Join Date: October 11, 1999
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It seems to me as a dillon 550b owner only those who dont own or use them see this double charge possibility as a problem. You would have to be not paying any attention to what you are doing for this to happen because:

1. if you did not rotate the shell plate after depriming sizing and repriming in station 1 the explosion of the primer as the decap pin pierced a live primer would alert you to the fact that you did not index.!!!!!! if you did not prime the trail of powder would alert you in the next station to check your rounds.

2. the lack of a bullet on the top of your seated round would get your attention in station 3.

3 the powder drop happens when the case in station 2 is cycled to the top by fully pulling the handle.

4. the fact that a finished round did not drop in the tray and the resulting lack of noise would wake you up.

If you forgot to add cases or bullets and rotate the shell holder the appearance of empty stations would be a warning to check the rounds just loaded.

It seems double charges in a single stage press due to inattention would be more of a problem.

Am I wrong.

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Old February 9, 2001, 03:43 PM   #2
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I don't think you're wrong. My problem with loading pistol ammunition is that I sometimes get lulled into the rythm, and run out of primers or powder and load a few rounds w/o either and then have to weigh all the rounds in the bin to see which ones are missing a powder charge (primers missing are obvious as you stated the powder spilling all over the base).

I suppose a double charge would be possible (though unlikely) in cases like the .357 Mag where the max charge of 231 would only fill about half the case, but surely someone would notice when placing the bullet on top that it was over charged. I try to use 4227 when loading .357 mag anyway because I shoot it in a rifle and the 4227 seems to work well.

Just my opinion.
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Old February 9, 2001, 05:14 PM   #3
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I agree it would be tough to put in a double charge. Even so, I try to cultivate the habit of glancing to make sure the primer is not still sitting there and then at the powder level to make sure it looks right, all while indexing. Doesn't take any extra time, and gives me peace of mind.
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Old February 9, 2001, 05:55 PM   #4
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It should not be a problem if you use your primer rod and listen for the buzzer to go off once the rod has almost disappeared.

And for me the turning of the star is automatic.

If something looks or feels funny, I stop and check my cases.
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Old February 9, 2001, 06:02 PM   #5
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Never had a live primer go pop

and I *have* double-stroked the 550 more than once.

I just sit high enough to see inside the case mouth whenever the loading density is low enough to not spill powder with a double charge. And I look at every case mouth before plugging in a bullet.

Heck, I look at every round anyway. Differences in powder level from the norm get immediately inspected & weighed. The only time I've had a no-powder in a progressive was the *first time*, using a Lee Pro 1000 that I was unfamiliar with.

I find that the rhythm of all the operations, including the sounds and the feel on the op handle, keeps me from having any malfs with the Dillon. I even peek through a tiny gap in the machine and look for a primer in the seater cup as it returns to its spot under the shell plate.
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Old February 9, 2001, 08:25 PM   #6
Keith J
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Yes, they are a problem

With rifle loads, powder spills everywhere! In my .45, I can see a double charge as the case is nearly full.

Now, I've never actually had a double charge in pistol but I've had a few in rifle. I do a little different sequence, resizing and then final cleaning. Then I seat primers, charge cases and set a bullet. My errors come when I have a break in session, like answering the phone or the like. I come back and try to resize an already primed case (no-no, I know but no kb's, yet)and that usually gets powder spilled.

When I am doing .45 Super loads with N350, I could also get an overfill but since its never happened, I can't say for sure.
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Old February 9, 2001, 08:38 PM   #7
Steve Smith
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No, they are not a "problem," they are a possibility

It's not like the 550B has an inherent tendency to make you double stroke it. Dulling is a "problem" with cheap drill bits. Dulling is a "possibility" with high quality drill bits.

There are possibilities to everything on earth. It's "possible" that I could blow a tire leaving work today...however, my truck doesn't have a tire-blowing "problem."

"Problems" are something that cannot be overcome by the user's brain. A "Possibility" is something that can be averted if your'e thinking.
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Old February 10, 2001, 11:18 AM   #8
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One useful addition to the Dillon 550B is the new power measure actuating rod. It positively returns the bar on the upstroke, not like the springs. I think it's about $10-12 from Dillon, I don't remember exactly what I paid.
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Old February 10, 2001, 12:26 PM   #9
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I must confess. I recently bought a 550B as a second press to my 650. I wanted the second press so I wouldn't have to change primer sizes. In running the first batch of ammunition the spent primer gadget was not closing and the primers were falling down and jamming the primer arm. I got involved in trying to determine why it was happening and threw a double charge. This happened twice. The powder overflowed so there wasn't any danger, but it was inconvenient. Double charging is a distinct possibility if you get involved in something that diverts your attention from the regular process. I've been reloading since 1957 so I am not really a novice. I never load powder charges that are so small that a double charge isn't obvious. Maybe I'm a slow learner! Jerry
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Old February 10, 2001, 04:54 PM   #10
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I've only had one double charge...

with my 550 and it was a bad one. I was just starting out with the 550. I had loaded for 10 years on a single stage. 1000s of rounds a year of magnum pistol rounds. I had set up my 550 to load .44 magnum. I thought it would be nice to load up a bunch of lighter recoiling lead bullet loads for plinking. I was cycling one case through at a time, getting the powder charge set a 9.0 gr. of Unique. I thought that it would be simpler to cycle one case at a time, and not have to take a bunch of cases out of the shellplate if I made a mistake. WRONG!! I had just dropped a powder charge when someone came to the door. I got up, answered the door, talked with the person for about 30 minutes and then came back and started loading again. I THOUGHT I had looked into the case and seen an empty case. WRONG AGAIN! I dumped another charge (this is speculation but I'm sure it is what happened) and then seated the 240 gr. bullet. I loaded up about 50 rounds and then went out to shoot them in my new .44 Mountain Gun that my wife had gotten me for our anniversary. Round number 26 blew the topstrap and half of the cylinder clean off of the gun. A chunk of steel hit me on the nose and drew blood. I knew immediately that I had done something wrong. After the shock wore off, I recreated all of the events and came up with a double charge as the culprit. My confidence was destroyed and I quit reloading for many months. Then I started using only my single stage press. Now I am back to reloading with my Dillon but under the strictest of rules: 1) Shellplate must be full at all times when cycling (except of course when first starting and finishing reloading) 2) Locator button never comes out of the powder station. When checking charges I always index ahead to the bullet seating station. It slows things down but it keeps me from putting a charged case back in the powder station. 3) Always index. 4) Never leave the room with cases in the shellplate 5) Use powders that are bulky enough to overflow the case if double charged (This is extreme and eliminates many great powders. I may someday go back to the quicker powders but for now I stick with H110 for my magnum handgun loads). 6) No distractions. Be rude, don't answer doors or phones until the shellplate is empty. My wife knocks first and waits for me to open the door. It seems like the most dangerous time is during startup. I've talked to other fellows on the net who've had blow-ups from 550s and it was always during press setup or caliber changeover. Its hard for me to even tell this story without getting a sick feeling, but I hope it will save someone else a gun or serious injury.

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Old February 10, 2001, 10:30 PM   #11
Lonely Raven
Join Date: January 10, 2001
Posts: 24
Wow, thanx for that greatest fear is of
double charging and blowing up my Sig 229. I'd have to say
that I would just up and quit shooting if I scared the
crap out of myself like that...

When I reload on my RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive, I don't
answer the phone, the door, the computer...NOTHING.

And this may sound silly, but it goes along with your rules,
I have this pattern I say in my head as I watch each step.
Keep in mind, my press has 5 stations and only four are
used so I have an open die hole right after the powder
is dropped that I use to peek down into the brass.
But as I load I mentally say:

Pop (deprime/reside)
Open (Bell)
Powder (drop powder)
Press (set the bullet)

Thats all on the down pull of the lever, my press primes
on the upswing so:

Prime (press primer in)

Then I index and watch the finished round drop and I
finish/start with:

Brass (insert a fresh brass)
Bullet (seat the bullet before I pull the press)

Then I repeat.

I know it sounds silly, but I say each part and glance at
each stage and *feel* everything is OK.
I also glance in the open die hole and make sure the level
of the powder looks like all the others before it. I could
get a load checker die for my machine, but since I have
a removable die plate, I would want to buy a load checker
for each die and that would add up quick. I'll just
use my eyes, which is what I would do with the load
checker anyhow...

I also seperate my brass by head stamp so I don't get an
odd *feel* only to find out it was just another brand of
brass going trough the sizer.

I hope all this helps out someone, somehow.

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