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  #1  
Old 09-11-2021, 02:19 PM
Chubbs103 Chubbs103 is offline
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Default Dillon 550 or 750

I have been reloading everything on a single stage press for many years. My family's volume of ammo consumption has taken all of the joy out of reloading for me.

I'm regularly reloading for .38/.357, 9mm, .41 mag, .45 Auto. I also reload for a few rifle calibers.

I've researched Dillon's products off and on for years, and I'm still having trouble deciding. All of the guidelines for choosing points me towards the 550. This is based on number or rounds fired (about 400-500 per month) , and my semi-frequent swapping of calibers.

That said, I like the idea of auto index and the extra station.

So thoughts on switching calibers on the 750 regularly? I would say my volume of shooting would increase, but I've apparently got to survive on whatever components I have in my stash for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I know the question has been asked a hundred times.
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Old 09-11-2021, 03:04 PM
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Can't go wrong with either.....I use a 550 and am thrilled with it, auto indexing is over rated to me.
Then again some will suggest you get both...one small primer and one large primer!

Randy
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Old 09-11-2021, 03:25 PM
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I'm not trying to talk you out of a progressive machine, but I've had four in the last thirty years and sold them all. I didn't need any of them. I shoot well more than four or five hundred rounds a month (more handgun than rifle) and get by fine with a '60s Texan turret press for handgun ammo and a Co-Ax for rifle cartridges.

A Dillon or other progressive machine may serve you well. If I was doing a great deal of shooting, I'd probably get one myself. As for auto indexing, I've seen little need for the feature, but some like it.
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Old 09-11-2021, 04:21 PM
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I got a Dillon 450 when they came out and upgraded some of the functions as they became available. Years later I got a 550. Main reason was that the shell plates from the 450 worked for the 550. I have not been disappointed with the 550. As stated above, you would not be disappointed with either the 550 or the 750. Get the one that suits your needs best.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:21 PM
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Get the 750. I got the 650 a few years back and never regretted it. Not even for a second. I love the machine. Makes piles of ammo quickly.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:27 PM
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Get two or three 550s, sounds like as many calibers you are doing and the amount of components you are going through you can afford it. I run a 550 and 2 Lyman T2s just because I donít want the rigmarole of swapping dies and measures any more than I have to. My 550 is either .45acp-.45AR or .45CS, just swap the shellplate. The lymans can be set up for anything. I have another 550 that will be set up for 300blkout eventually. Sounds like itís becoming too much like work. You need to train an apprentice.
Btw, had an auto index 12 ga pacific/hornady machine and hated it.

Last edited by Baltimoreed11754; 09-11-2021 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:05 PM
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I have a 550 and love it. I got a great deal on a used one and have been finding tool heads and components on ebay pretty cheap. Just be aware that tool heads are proprietary to the 450/550 and the 650/750. If I had the money I would have gone straight for the 650, but I load mainly for myself now that most of the kids are out of the house and the 550 keeps up nicely with my shooting volume.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:20 PM
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Take those "rounds per hour" numbers from Dillon with a grain of salt, I find with the other overhead it's perhaps half that.
I've owned a Square Deal B, 450,550,650 and I sold all but the 650.
I love my 650s, yes two because it is a minor pain to change primer size.
There are aftermarket upgrades that will make life a lot nicer, the primer cut-off stopped me from intending to upgrade my 650s to 750s for instance. I did hold onto the "B" for a while since I just left it set up in one caliber, but eventually realized that in 100 rounds it would have been quicker to caliber swap a 650.
The swap can be just a few minutes if you are keeping the COL, primer size, and charge, otherwise you have to twiddle with setting dies and dispenser.
If you really do swap calibers a lot, have many of them, and use both large and small primers, I'd consider two 550s better than one 750. If you are going to crank more than 200-300 rounds at a time then I think the 650/750 is a much easier machine to run volume on. Load up some primer tubes, set the casefeeder to low and you are pretty much in cruise control.
I suspect the base machine is about 1/3 of what it's going to cost you by the time you are done buying accessories, toolheads, shellplates, and powder dies, it's not cheap but you can work into it over time.
Caliber conversion parts are more money for the 650/750, but not vastly more.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:41 PM
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Well I walked into my LGS and they had a new 550 on a strongmount and aluminum roller handle sitting on the counter. It also had the low powder warning system. I said I didn't need the low powder warning, but they said it was a package deal. They cut me a very good deal.

When I got home, I realized there was an extra caliber conversion in the packaging (in a caliber I needed). Because I'm not a jerk, I took it back in to them. The owner told me to keep it and consider it a birthday present.
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubbs103 View Post
Well I walked into my LGS and they had a new 550 on a strongmount and aluminum roller handle sitting on the counter. It also had the low powder warning system. I said I didn't need the low powder warning, but they said it was a package deal. They cut me a very good deal.

When I got home, I realized there was an extra caliber conversion in the packaging (in a caliber I needed). Because I'm not a jerk, I took it back in to them. The owner told me to keep it and consider it a birthday present.
It sounds like you got a good deal. Youíre going to enjoy it.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:22 PM
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I think you can't go wrong with the 550! I've had one for around 30 years and have no trouble doing 300 rounds in an hour. But, its not the loader now days that needs to rest, it's me!!
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Old 09-12-2021, 06:25 AM
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We bought a 550 primarily because we did not want the auto index.
There might be a way to disable it on a 650 but the 550 and the singles we have are fine.

I'd get a 1050 if the grandkids need one but will they drop ship orders from the Pearly Gates?
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Old 09-12-2021, 08:17 AM
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I have also had progressives and sold them all - auto indexing is not a plus or a big deal to me. Consider buying 2 550’s and set one up for small primers and one for large primers and then you can just switch dies for caliber changes.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:07 PM
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Iím also a 550 fan. Itís the most flexible.

You cam operate it as a single stage press, as a turret press or as a progressive press.

You can load just about any rifle round on it as well as nearly all pistol rounds.

You can run it with the auto powder measure or run it with a manual measure of your choice.

Caliber conversion kits are comparatively inexpensive and third part after market options abound.

I prefer the manual index feature as it is much easier to stop and correct anything that might go wrong on the shell plate.

Speed wise it will do an honest 500 rounds per hour with pistol rounds, and about 110 rounds per hour for rifle rounds with manual powder measure and weight verification.

Operations wise, for pistol rounds I:

1) pick up a bullet with my left hand while I operate the press handle with my right hand;

2) After the handle stroke, with the bullet between my thumb and forefinger, I index the shell plate with the tip of my thumb, and then position the bullet on the case at the seating station.

3) While that is going on, my right hand picks up a case and places it on the shell plate.

4) my right hand then pulls the handle again with about 500 repetitions per hour without any heroic level effort or frantic pace.

The pace for precision rifle rounds is a lot slower if you are using a long grain extruded powder that wonít measure to within .1 grain. For powders like IMR4064, 4895, etc I use a BR-3 measure with the 3/4Ē adapter:

1) pull the handle with your right hand;

2) index the shell plate to the next station;

3) pour the powder on the scale;

4) put a new case on the shell plate at the priming station;

5) at this point the scale is stable so trickle the charge up approx .1 grain to the desired weight;

6) put a funnel over the case and pour the powder back in the case;

7) put the case back on the plate at the seating station and put a bullet on top of it;

8) pull the handle, rinse and repeat about 110 times per hour.


Using a Widden floating tool head and clamp kit and standard dies my runout is around .001Ē.


For .223 rounds where I use ball powders like BLC-2 or H335 the auto measure does a great job within .1 grain accuracy so I run it just like I do for pistol rounds. Production rate is slower at around 300 rounds per hour as I run the cases over a lube pad 20 or so at a time.

But still, 300 rounds per hour isnít bad at all.

Last edited by BB57; 09-12-2021 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 09-12-2021, 10:17 PM
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Nothing against the 650/750 machines, but Iíve been perfectly happy with the 550. I think you will be, too. At your level of usage, or a bit more, the 550 should save you a lot of time and, for handgun ammo, you will give up very little precision over single-stage loading. Keep your single-stage press mounted to the bench. I rarely use my 550 to load rifle cartridges, though I have done it a few times. My rifle reloading is normally focused on precision and a lot of tinkering is usual for me. I donít need volume production very often. Anyway, congrats on your new 550.
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Old 09-12-2021, 10:42 PM
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There is definitely a learning curve.

I loaded 200 9mm this morning. Took a break, and did a painful 90x .357.

I wound up finding another range pick-up 9mm Win cases with a crimped primer. That trashed a primer and caused my first real train wreck. I segregated all of the Win brass and processed them separate. Unfortunately, over half of my 9mm brass is Win so it can be hard to find these problem children that got mixed in.

.357 posed a bigger problem. I am using my RCBS dies from probably the late 1970s. The size die and the seating die require too precise an entry into the die for progressive use. I can rotate a single round through the stations without a problem, but if the shell plate is fully loaded I start crushing case mouths.

I already resorted to a paper clip for the spent primer chute. It started hanging up and spent primers knew exactly where to go to jam up priming.
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:03 PM
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I use a lee classic turret 4 hole press for pistol stuff. Only thing holding me back while loading is waiting on the scale to weigh powder. I can do roughly 150/hr, powder drop would be well over 200/hr, but Iím slow going.

Just another option since you have dies and shell holders already vs buying conversion kits.
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Old 09-14-2021, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubbs103 View Post
There is definitely a learning curve.

I loaded 200 9mm this morning. Took a break, and did a painful 90x .357.

I wound up finding another range pick-up 9mm Win cases with a crimped primer. That trashed a primer and caused my first real train wreck. I segregated all of the Win brass and processed them separate. Unfortunately, over half of my 9mm brass is Win so it can be hard to find these problem children that got mixed in.

.357 posed a bigger problem. I am using my RCBS dies from probably the late 1970s. The size die and the seating die require too precise an entry into the die for progressive use. I can rotate a single round through the stations without a problem, but if the shell plate is fully loaded I start crushing case mouths.

I already resorted to a paper clip for the spent primer chute. It started hanging up and spent primers knew exactly where to go to jam up priming.

Some of these problems can be addressed by decapping before loading. I decap on a single stage. When I feel a stiff primer I ream out the pocket with a handheld tool. Just takes a second. Not only does this catch the crimped primers, it keeps a lot of mess and trouble away from progressive press.
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Old 09-14-2021, 10:59 AM
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I bought a 550 when they first came out and another one a little later.
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Old 09-14-2021, 11:09 AM
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I started with a 450. Then another. Upgraded both to a 550. That was 25+ years ago. Still use both. Don't want auto indexing or priming. So much easier to back up. Up graded other things also. Never had a need for more.
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:29 PM
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I happen to have 2 550s one a B one a C...one large primer the other small primer. Have a 750 set up right now for 38/357. Next up is 223. Also have a 1050 in 45 auto. Think I will sell it. Going to load about 2000 rounds first though. I don't shoot as much 45 as I used to and it easily loads 1000 rounds an hour
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:50 PM
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Once you get used to your new machine you will love it. I have run a 550 for decades. Simple and quick to switch calibers. No better tool to learn progressive methods.

I have owned both a 1050 and a 650 but they went away. The auto index, higher volume and case feeder couldn't justify the time spent on caliber changes, adjustments and the space the machines took up on my bench. If I had bench space for a loader I was going to set up for a single caliber i would have kept the 650.

I don't load rifle ammo on a progressive press and never load more than 1000 rounds at a time. For my primary calibers, 9mm and .357 I use all Dillon dies except for a 9mm Lee taper crimp die. (I use the Lee crimp die on all my auto loader ammo)

For other pistol calibers I use the same dies I used on single stage presses back in the 80s. (Mostly RCBS) The Dillon dies run smoother & faster but I'm in no hurry. Round count between the 2 types of dies doesn't vary more than 25 an hour or so. Taking my time I average between 350 and 400 rounds an hour.

I would like to get a second 550B just to avoid switching from large to small primers. Truth is swapping out the primer feeder isn't a big deal, but it is more complicated than the caliber switch.

Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2021, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdhunter6 View Post
I would like to get a second 550B just to avoid switching from large to small primers. Truth is swapping out the primer feeder isn't a big deal, but it is more complicated than the caliber switch.
When going from one size primer to the other, only the mag tube, primer cup and primer punch need to be exchanged. I know some disassemble the entire primer assembly to remove a slider (which holds the cup) and then must fiddle with aligning the newly installed slider - time consuming and unnecessary.
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:06 PM
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357 posed a bigger problem. I am using my RCBS dies from probably the late 1970s. The size die and the seating die require too precise an entry into the die for progressive use. I can rotate a single round through the stations without a problem, but if the shell plate is fully loaded I start crushing case mouths.

I bought a Dremel polishing cone and opened up the mouth of the sizing, seating and crimping non Dillon dies made it much easier to insert cases and bullets. I absolutely do not like the new Dillon sizing dies!!!!
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Old 09-14-2021, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubbs103 View Post
.357 posed a bigger problem. I am using my RCBS dies from probably the late 1970s. The size die and the seating die require too precise an entry into the die for progressive use. I can rotate a single round through the stations without a problem, but if the shell plate is fully loaded I start crushing case mouths.
Did you follow this step?


"Using the die lock rings provided, screw the sizing die
into the toolhead. Raise the platform and screw the die down
until it touches the shellplate. Lower the platform and insert
an empty case into Station One. Raise the platform so the
case is in the die, tighten the lock ring on the die. This will
keep everything centered."
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:52 AM
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Yes.

I even tried having leaving the the lock rings loose until I had empty cases in both the sizing die and the seat die, then tightening both.

It is actually the seat die that is the problem. The cases go into the size die with very little fuss.

I have a Dillon seat die arriving today. We will see if that improves the situation.
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:04 AM
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I have two 550's and an unmodded 450 since the early 80's and they make 100% reliable ammo as fast as I'd make them on any other machine on the planet because I take my time.

So, a 500 or? Dunno, if you have the coin, you're in a hurry to make a lot of ammo and want an impressive machine either will make great ammo, or junk as it happens.
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:35 AM
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I'm on a 750 for most everything accept 44MAGNUM I do that the what I like to call the traditional way on my lee turret...

I only have one plate on my 750 I just swap the dies its rather easy and I enjoy the setup, the volume of shooting you do and your dislike for loading for the fam would be eliminated with a 750....

I myself can make up to 500 a night of say 9mm or 40 or 45 of good quality range ammo the prep has to be there and the focus but it sure would take the dislike out of it...

Time is key and what I looked at when buying a Dillon, on a turret it took me 5 days to make 500 9mm making 100 a night at that took a good HR now I can make 100 in 10mins so I ask you sir....

WHAT IS YOUR TIME WORTH?
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:23 PM
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as noted above for range ammo I use the 750 or 1050. Top end loads for 357,41 and 44 get done on the Redding T7. I don't shoot or need as many mag loads. Heck even my bear loads for the 41 I could make on the progressives but I just don't load that many. I load the 223s on the 550. Rifle just takes a bit more care... JMHO YMMV
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:27 PM
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so it seems most that choose the 550 over the 650/750 is due to caliber changes. I will admit i hate to change calibers on my 650, but I will load 2000 of a caliber before changing out to another caliber, repeat and move to another Caliber, so my machine sits for a while and I am not changing calibers that often.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:28 PM
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I have 2 550', a 650 dedicated to 45 ACP and a 1050 dedicated to 9mm. Never used to be worth it to load 9mm before but that changed. The 650 and up are not near as easy to convert calibers on. I have several 550 toolheads set for all the calibers I use and can switch them in about 5 minutes. Very easy once you've done it a few times.
So if I only could have 1, well 2 as I believe 1 for small and 1 for large primers, the 550 wins for me.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:31 PM
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I have a 550B, 6 years old. should have bought the 750 for the extra die position. Either one is great.
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Old 09-16-2021, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Fltr09 View Post
I have 2 550', a 650 dedicated to 45 ACP and a 1050 dedicated to 9mm. Never used to be worth it to load 9mm before but that changed. The 650 and up are not near as easy to convert calibers on. I have several 550 toolheads set for all the calibers I use and can switch them in about 5 minutes. Very easy once you've done it a few times.
So if I only could have 1, well 2 as I believe 1 for small and 1 for large primers, the 550 wins for me.
Iíve been hand loading since I was 12, 44 years and counting. The economics of 9mm Luger reloading runs in cycles.

When there are no shortages on ammo I generally replenish my 9mm Luger brass by buying 115 gr FMJ or 124 gr FMJ promo loads from Remington, Federal or Winchester as the prices are often less than a dollar more per box of 50 than it costs me to reload with similar comments into once fired brass.

However even in times of plenty, factory 9mm hollow point or other ammo is still two to three times as expensive as it costs me to load the same components into new or cleaned once fired brass.
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Chubbs103 View Post
Yes.

I even tried having leaving the the lock rings loose until I had empty cases in both the sizing die and the seat die, then tightening both.

It is actually the seat die that is the problem. The cases go into the size die with very little fuss.

I have a Dillon seat die arriving today. We will see if that improves the situation.
The seating die is much larger in diameter to accommodate the bell you put on the case in the charging die to help a cast or swayed lead bullet enter the case mouth cleanly.

If you are having issues with the case not wanting to enter the seating due, it either has way too much bell that is hanging up on the die, or you donít have enough and the bullet is hanging up on the top of the case.

Iíve loaded well north of 30,000 rounds of .38 Special and .357 Magnum with at three different non Dillion die brands (RCBS, Lee and Lyman) and never had an issue, provided you set the charging die to put a correct amount of bell in the case mouth.

If you consider other cartridges, Iíve also used CH, Redding, and Pacific dies as well as Dillon.

óó-

I have similarly never had issues with non Dillon sizing dies.

However, the paperclip looking spring arm on the case feed plate can cause problems if it is not properly adjusted - especially with long straight wall pistol cases like the .357 Mag. If the end of that spring arm is too high and presses on the case above the level of the shell plate, or os adjusted too far in so that it rides up on the case, it will push the case mouth in toward the center of the press and it will hang up on the edge of the sizing die.

Conversely if it is not adjusted in far enough to just be just barely short of to just barely contacting the case it wonít hole the case against the inner edge of the shell plate and the case mouth can hang up on the edge of the sizing die.

It can be deceptive as the same adjustment works for a whole lot of different cartridges - right up until it doesnít, and that can cause people to start blaming the seating or sizing die when those are not the problem at all.
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  #35  
Old 09-17-2021, 06:32 PM
Skeet 028 Skeet 028 is offline
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Had a 650 and it was fine...someone wanted it MUCH more than I did so it went away and I got a new 750. Nice machine. I have 2 550s a B and a C. The B is loaned out to a friend set up in 9mm. He loads my 9s for me...yippee! The Super 1050 I have is set up in 45 ACP. I haven't loaded enough ammo on it to make it worth keeping... So I am going to load another 1000 or so and will sell it. There will be someone out there in reloading land that will want it. Don't shoot anywhere near as much 45s these days

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Old 09-17-2021, 07:07 PM
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I have been reloading everything on a single stage press for many years. My family's volume of ammo consumption has taken all of the joy out of reloading for me.

I'm regularly reloading for .38/.357, 9mm, .41 mag, .45 Auto. I also reload for a few rifle calibers.

I've researched Dillon's products off and on for years, and I'm still having trouble deciding. All of the guidelines for choosing points me towards the 550. This is based on number or rounds fired (about 400-500 per month) , and my semi-frequent swapping of calibers.

That said, I like the idea of auto index and the extra station.

So thoughts on switching calibers on the 750 regularly? I would say my volume of shooting would increase, but I've apparently got to survive on whatever components I have in my stash for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I know the question has been asked a hundred times.
Teach the shooters using the ammo to reload?
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:48 AM
Chubbs103 Chubbs103 is offline
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If you are having issues with the case not wanting to enter the seating due, it either has way too much bell that is hanging up on the die, or you donít have enough and the bullet is hanging up on the top of the case.
I'm usually open to admitting my mistakes. I did try varying the amount of bell on the cases. Keep in mind, this is a set of dies on which I have loaded thousands of rounds of .38 Special and .357 Magnum over many years. I was able to take a single round through every stage without a problem (although the case would sometimes require a little guidance going into the seat die).

I have had no trouble at all using my RCBS 9mm dies on the 550.

I have included some interesting pictures. Early RCBS dies, like my .357 dies, have squared off holes without any radius to the opening. Dillon dies have an impressive radius. Newer RCBS dies have a mild radius.

First picture is my 1977 RCBS .357 Magnum seat die

Second is my brand new Dillon seat die

Third is my 20 year old RCBS .41 Mag seat die to show the newer style like my 9mm dies.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RCBS 357.jpg (49.8 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Dillon 357.jpg (49.4 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg RCBS 41.jpg (57.3 KB, 13 views)

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  #38  
Old 09-18-2021, 12:53 AM
Chubbs103 Chubbs103 is offline
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Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
Teach the shooters using the ammo to reload?
My 9 year old de-capped several hundred 9mm this evening and helped me inspect them and look for crimped primer pockets.

Any time he helps with the actual loading, I slow everything down to half speed for safety. He hasn't helped with the Dillon yet.
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  #39  
Old 09-18-2021, 01:31 AM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chubbs103 View Post
I have been reloading everything on a single stage press for many years. My family's volume of ammo consumption has taken all of the joy out of reloading for me.

I'm regularly reloading for .38/.357, 9mm, .41 mag, .45 Auto. I also reload for a few rifle calibers.

I've researched Dillon's products off and on for years, and I'm still having trouble deciding. All of the guidelines for choosing points me towards the 550. This is based on number or rounds fired (about 400-500 per month) , and my semi-frequent swapping of calibers.

That said, I like the idea of auto index and the extra station.

So thoughts on switching calibers on the 750 regularly? I would say my volume of shooting would increase, but I've apparently got to survive on whatever components I have in my stash for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I know the question has been asked a hundred times.
Lot of thread drift here for the same money as 2 square deals get the real deal a 650/750 it will all you want and you can make it faster easier as you go, I took 20 years before I bought a case feeder.

primer swap is 10 minutes it is a none issue.

I can load 200-300 in hour or so on way to range and is much better built than the square deal and like most guns will only go up in value Mine was like $280, 20 years ago and can still sell for current prices used.

Like a gun safe get bigger better than you think you will grow into it.

Bruce
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