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Dillon - Expertise requested

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  • bbbass

    Looking Up!!
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Sep 2, 2020
    NE Orygun
    Ditto on the 550C.

    They (Dillon) are the Cadillac and super reliable.

    Dillon shipping on dies, etc is very very quick. And if you break a primer decap pin or any other small items, they used to send them out for free. Their cust service is unparalleled.

    Blue Dillon is intense to set up, but once you got everything assembled and adjusted, you are golden.

    BTW, do you have case gauges for all your calibers?

    Also, I use a digital scale, a cheap Franklin, but I have a RCBS manual scale I crosscheck as a backup. Check your powder drop every once in awhile.

    The light to look inside the case after powder drop and before bullet seating is super important. I've loaded a bunch of squib shells because I didn't notice a malfunction of a dirty Dillon expander/powder drop causing a failure to drop powder.
    DK Firearms


    TGT Addict
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Feb 28, 2021
    Central Pennsylvania
    The Dillon 550 is tough to beat

    Bought my first one in Phx, in '85...

    Still have the MIMEOGRAPHED instructions.

    Sent it back at about a million rounds for an overhaul..

    Think? It cost me like $85??(been a while) Most of which was shipping. Swear they sent me a BRAND SPANKING NEW machine back.

    Load for 9mm, 38Stoopid, (did a lot of 38 do that on 1050)44 Special, 44 Mag, 22-250, 30-06 (betwixt two sons & my own self we wore out THREE barrels for Garands)...38-55 & 45/70...

    Also have a pair of 1050's...Large primer does 45acp (mostly) and an occasional run (5,000+ at a time) of 45LC

    Small primer does 38 Special and an occasional run of 38 Stoopid....

    Had a pair of 550's for a big & one small. The small primer one did 38 Special & 30 Carbine. Sold it to my Nephew for his 2nd 550 and bought a used 1050...

    Once you get on to it, the 45acp will go about 500 rds/hr...other calibers will be about 400 rds/hr. Rifle will be 250 to 300rds/hr.

    Do not be afraid of buying a used one!

    For auto's I use the LEE FCD on the tail I shoot almost all cast bullets (am a commercial caster...for my retirement hobby)LOL

    With tool heads set up? Takes but a couple minutes to change calibers.

    If you have to change from small to large (or large to small) primers? Less than 5 minutes.

    Now here is a 40yr tip! Get you about a half dozen POWDER BARS (can be found used, with regularity at our LGS)....both small & large.

    Say you are loading 4.0gr Universal in 9mm? Set up a small bar for this. Keep it in a snack bag. LABELED!

    Say you use 4.5gr Universal in 38 Stoopid & 38 Special? Same deal.

    Say for 44 mag & 45LC w/cast bullets you use 7.5gr Universal? Same deal.

    In full snort 44 mag? 21.5gr H 110? Large bar set up..

    This way, when you move the powder measure from head to head, simply change the powder bar. I use the inside of primer boxes to make labels. Sturdy and the ink shows up well ....

    Of course, I have about a dozen powder measures....about half of which? I got used...

    I prefer a balance beam scale (RCBS/CH4D/H'DAY/LYMAN..etc) over the "electric" my body "chemistry" is such that "electronic gizmos" go into FAILURE MODE when I touch them....LOL

    Now? You are going to ask about weighing small charges? Simple 2.5gr Bullseye in 38 wadcutters? Weigh FIVE CHARGES (simply hold case under measure & cycle manually twice, twice again then once more) 5X2.5=12.5gr....

    Not sure? Weigh ten charges....

    You must insert case on powder funnel and gently push "up" whilst cycling the powder bar....EZ PZ!

    Set up?


    Set your sizing die so that it just kisses shell plate. Insert a LUBED case & tighten lock ring (I always lay my cases out in a kitty litter pan & give them a spritz of spray lube....your elbow will thank you)

    Advance shell plate, and in Station #2 adjust your case "flare/bell", ensuring the powder bar is all the way over. Lock die in with ring whilst case is in die.

    Station #3 is simply set seating depth. What is GREAT about DILLON DIES is one can simply remove the insert & CLEAN the seating & crimp dies...a real boon to those of us that shoot LOTS of cast bullets! Lock die with case in die.

    Station #4 adjust crimp...I like an "extra firm" crimp...either with the Dillon or Lee FCD....saves a lot of grief!

    Now? Next are loading the same thing (say 9mm/4.0gr Universal?)...Throw 5 charges for 20gr? and the needle of the scale is a "hair" over/under? DO NOT change the powder measure....the humidity is long as it is the thickness of the line? Good to go for 5 charges (ten? even better) You are looking at 1/10th of a grain "out" for 5 charges. 1/20th of a grain "out" for 10 charges...

    I go for YEARS with out changing the powder bar settings....needle on scale will be "up" or down? no big deal...(if it is WAY OUT? then the knob got turned? Or? wrong bar/label) LOL

    You will like it...No fuss. No muss. Set up. Load ammo!


    TGT Addict
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Feb 28, 2021
    Central Pennsylvania
    Hope this shows up??


    • Dillon Bench.JPG
      Dillon Bench.JPG
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    One of the idiots
    Rating - 100%
    3   0   0
    Apr 9, 2013
    I'm not going to claim to be any sort of expert, but my Dillon XL650 will crank out reliable, repeatable ammo without any fuss. I don't have a primer feeder, bullet feeder, or case feeder though so I do have to pay attention to counts or I'll get in a rhythm and run it out.


    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    May 10, 2021
    I don’t really have any fancy accessories for mine. Some friends have recommended the other handle and bullet trays. One thing that I did buy that I guess is kind of handy is the little adjustment knobs for the charge bar. I also bought some tool head stands.


    TGT Addict
    Rating - 50%
    1   1   0
    Jan 3, 2010
    Occupied Texas
    I've reloaded for 40+ years. Most of that was single stage, but I did buy a Lee progressive. It's not bad, but the little plastic parts wear out and cause all sorts of problems. One day I noticed a guy I know selling out his Dillon 650 for a decent price and I jumped on it. It didn't take long before I fell in love with it. Yes, it takes some work to set up and get everything aligned right. And, yes, there are lots of little items that make the process work so much better. But that machine will crank out hundreds of perfect rounds in a very short time. My neighbor came over and tried it and went out and bought the new version, the 750. Ask either of us and we'll tell you that it's worth every penny.

    There are plenty of YouTube videos about setting up and making changes to the Dillon machines. They have a user group on Facebook that is really good about helping with any questions or problems. And the Dillon folks are super about their warranty and support. I don't know of any other company that gives the level of support that they do.

    My only regret is that I didn't save up and buy a Dillon a decade before I did.


    One of the idiots
    Rating - 100%
    3   0   0
    Apr 9, 2013
    It just raises the press off the table and makes it so much easier to get everything situated, like the bin under the discharge chute for starters.


    TGT Addict
    Rating - 100%
    26   0   0
    Mar 10, 2017
    It just raises the press off the table and makes it so much easier to get everything situated, like the bin under the discharge chute for starters.
    Ah ok. I use an inline fab mount for my hornady so Id probably go with that


    King Turd of Shit Mountain
    Rating - 100%
    2   0   0
    May 4, 2017
    Middle of no where

    If you want to go all in, then get a 650 or 750 with auto index. Then case & bullet feeders with cameras & alarms when thins get empty to make sure you don't make mistakes.

    If you just wanna crank out a decent amount of ammo & manipulate the process by hand & keep it simple by means of equipment & cost, get a 550 without all the feeders & cameras.

    I've got a 550 & it was my 1st press, never had a single stage so I only know my 550. I like how the tool heads change out with 2 pins. I just wish I had more powder dispensers for all my tool heads with dies. I do have a 6 hole Lyman touret press that I use strictly for de-priming brass with a universal decaping die. It keeps the 550 clean for loading. 300 rnds of 9mm in an hour is the most I've been able to crankout once everything was set up. That included loading 3 tubes of primers before starting the clock.

    Definitely get a strong mount & roller handle for it!!!!!!!

    Eta.... get the primer alarm, it's worth the few bucks.

    Last edited:


    TGT Addict
    TGT Supporter
    Rating - 100%
    8   0   0
    Apr 15, 2013
    If I was going to declare anyone a Dillon expert it would be you. How many Dillon presses you got now?
    Lol...4 ..but definitely not an expert.. still learning

    1 Square Deal in 45 ACP
    1 Square Deal in 38/357
    1 550 B in 9mm
    1 650 in 223


    TGT Addict
    Rating - 100%
    26   0   0
    Mar 10, 2017
    a member on here graciously donated a few presses to me. They just need a little tlc. I set them up temporarily so I can clean up the surface rust and take an inventory of parts to be replaced. They will be moving inside along with the rest of my reloading setup. I have no words for how grateful I am!



    Active Member
    Rating - 100%
    4   0   0
    Mar 15, 2009
    Central Texas
    When I saw the picture, I thought they were a little close together...but for cleaning and tweaking that should be fine. Lol..

    Sent from my SM-A125U1 using Tapatalk

    Army 1911

    TGT Addict
    Rating - 100%
    1   0   0
    Mar 17, 2008
    Dallas Texas or so
    If you buy a used Dillon, remember the lifetime warranty is on the press and not connected to the owner.
    They have the best customer service of any company I have ever dealt with.


    Insensitivity Trained
    Rating - 100%
    7   0   0
    May 16, 2019
    Accessories are IMHO user specific.
    Depending on bench height and loading preference (standing or sitting) you may want a Strong Mount riser (or fabricate your own to height desired).

    My must have list:
    Case Feeder- Can't imagine a progressive without it (with small/large rifle and pistol plates as needed).
    Roller handle- You'll be glad you did if you do any volume at all.
    Primer downtube conversion- I think that was the very first thing I changed (that little tray sucked).
    Lighting- KMS is by far the best and brightest I have found.
    Spare Parts Kit- One is a must, two is better (you will need it)
    Powder Alarm- You will want this (get it you will be glad you did).
    Primer Alarm- Can't remember if this comes with the machine or not (if not, get it)

    Quick Change setup-Makes caliber changes so easy and quick.
    Bullet Feeder-If doing any volume loading, these rock (with caliber conversions for Quick change setup).
    Trimmer and trim dies-Quick and accurate case trimming for volume batches.

    Large/Tall Powder Hopper- Just makes life a little easier (especially in rifle caliber)
    PrimaFill- If loading tubes in volume this takes the dread out it (if you have your tubes laid out and primers out of the box and staged you can fill 10 tubes in well less than five minutes).
    Canned Air- Trust me on this one.

    There will be lots of little mods you will find to try but are for the most part relatively inexpensive.

    Using a progressive is a different animal and takes some getting used to.
    A lot happening with every pull of the handle.
    Setup is everything-if you are fighting it, something is not right-another thread for that one.

    My setup:

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