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Old July 7, 2001, 08:58 PM   #1
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Basic (probably stupid) question about pistol reloading

Setting up the Dillon today. Using RCBS dies..three die set. Please tell me if I am wrong. One is decap/sizer, second is expander/, third is bullet seater/crimp. So why do I need the second die with the Dillon press if I have the caliber conversion kit?????

I think the Dillon will be fine, but the directions that come with it are exceptionally poor. Haven't used a press like this before and it took hours to set it up. As an example, one of the directions says "adjust die correctly". What the hell is correctly?? I think the guys that write the direction have a ton of experience and assume you already are familiar with the operations. If I was, I wouldn't need the directions.
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Old July 7, 2001, 09:23 PM   #2
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Our input

We use Lee dies and first is decap/sizer Second is expander third is a seater and last is factory crimp. Just our set up.

Didn't know there were any dumb questions........ Except asking the wife whats for dinner before you say hello to her! LOL
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Old July 7, 2001, 10:16 PM   #3
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Depends on the Dillon machine you have....

Probably the problem you have is that you don't use the expander die from the RCBS set . You use the powder charging die with the powder measure.

If you have an XL650 the positions are:
Sizing - Decapping
Priming - Powder charging (uses Dillon's powder die and funnel)
Powder level check (uses Dillon's powder die)
Bullet seating
Bullet crimping

Dies should be deep enough to fully size the case, or fully seat the bullet, but not deep enough to bottom out on the shell plate. Does that make sense?
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Old July 8, 2001, 06:40 AM   #4
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If your Dillon is a 550b you won't need the expander die either. Stage 2 (powder charging)uses a Dillon powder die and funnel. I have a nice collection of expander dies that are unused too,
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Old July 8, 2001, 07:57 AM   #5
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Answers my question...

Couldn't imagine that they would include a die that's totally unused...guess so. Are there individual dies avaliable rather than sets?

I read in a Handloader article one time about how the guys liked one brand of dies for one operation and other brands for different steps. Can you buy them individually I do know you can get the Lee factory crimp and I have one for the .44-40)?

Perhaps it's a character flaw but I try to be exceptionally careful and actually follow directions. Everyone has been kind enough to share their misfortunes and I don't want to add to the list.
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Old July 8, 2001, 08:05 AM   #6
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I strongly recommend the Dillon video, it makes thing pretty clear.
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Old July 8, 2001, 08:56 AM   #7
Chris McDermott
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The reloading companies don't know what kind of press you are using, and the expander dies are needed by people using single stage presses and some progressive presses. You can buy dies seperately, but they are more expensive than in a set.
I can understand that Dillon doesn't include specific instructions on adjusting dies - it's easy to do but very hard to explain. Try to read the instructions that came with your dies; then have someone who is an experienced reloader show you how.
Redding "Pro" series sets are for progressive reloaders that don't need an expander die, and don't include one. They still have three dies, but include seperate seating and crimping dies. These are premium die sets and aren't cheap, but they are all that I use.
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Old July 8, 2001, 09:44 AM   #8
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HIGHLY RECOMMEND obtaining Speer manual #13 and reading the sections on loading, then asking questions.

Been doing this since 1976 and still asking plenty of questions..........none are stupid.
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Old July 8, 2001, 08:50 PM   #9
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dumb question

i have been reloading since '73. the more i learn about reloading, the more i realize i don't know. no one knows all that there is to know about reloading. the only dumb questions are the questions that are not asked. do not hesitate to ask a question because you think it is dumb.

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Old July 8, 2001, 09:55 PM   #10
John Marshall
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Well put. The answer to a "dumb question" could well save someone's favorite body part from being damaged as the result of a mis-step during reloading. That thought alone should make any question a potential safety issue and worth the asking.
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Old July 9, 2001, 08:08 AM   #11
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OK. I'm confused.

If an expander die isn't used, what expands/bells the case mouth (assuming pistol catrridges)?

Should be ordering a 550 this morning (my bit for the "buy a gun today" UN protest) & thought I had all my questions answered.

Reloading since about '65 & still get to scratch my head once in a while ....
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Old July 9, 2001, 09:04 AM   #12
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The powder funnel in the Dillon measure station does two things: It activates the measure AND it bells the case mouth.

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Old July 13, 2001, 08:15 PM   #13
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I'd recommend calling Dillon and talk to tech service reps. They are infinitely patient with a newbe and it is free of additional cost.
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