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Although I have loaded thousands of rounds on my Dillon 550B, I have never loaded for rifles. A friend has aquired a 550B and wants to load for .223 and .204. Any hints I should know that are extra for bottleneck case loading on a Dillon?
do the sizing on a single stage so u can do that and the mesuring/trimming a little faster.OR take all other dies out and just size the the dillon.Then measure/trim
then do the opposite..remove sizer die,insert all other dies and away you go.
Some rifle powders don't measure well in a Dillon,I tap the measure twice when the handle is down to get all the grains out.
Let speed be secondary,you'll still turn out ammo a plenty.
This changes if you're using cases fired ONLY in your rifle and want to neck size only,just measure/trim before going to the machine.
Yes, you need to check once fired cases for length, at best they are at maximum.
After the first time, a good approach is using the RCBS X sizing die, seems to not allow cases to "grow" so much in the process.
Another approach is to replace the std. neck sizing expander ball with carbide, I did in my Reddding dies. Expanding is so much smoother, doesn't require lube, and doesn't drag the case neck forward = less growth.
I do similar to above when reloading rifle rounds on my 550.
Either resize with the other dies pulled or if I already have the other dies where I want them I'll just remove the case after resizing. Once trimmed etc. I start loading skipping the resize step.
The only rifle round I have reloaded with Dillon 550B is .223. I would be careful with Dillon reloading for a rifle that has tight chamber dimensions. Rounds out of my Dillon's straight set up worked fine in Mini14 & Rem.700 but no so much in Rock River UTE2 or CZ527VK--some chambering problems. If you want reliable cycling in autos and other guns resize first with small base die in a single stage press, then omit the resizing die in the Dillon. My experience has been loading for plinking with Dillon is OK provided you address the chambering problems discussed above, depending on your particular rifle. Loading for best accuracy not so much. I use single stage RCBS Rock Chucker for best accuracy. Ball or flattened ball powders seem to work best in the Dillon (and other) powder measures, which is no problem with .223 as W748 and H335 fill that bill and work well.
I've loaded calibers from .223 thru .300 Weatherby, on to .405 win on my 550b. Perfect results everytime, if I do my part. Get your dies, components and start working up your loads.
You can really appreciate multiple steps at once if you've escaped from a single stage!
What I've heard most folks do with rifle on the Dillon is what they call an "interrupted" progressive reload.
resize/deprime on the dillon
* Trim to length / Primer pocket cleaning
* Prime with handtool & check depth
* charge with powder
* seat bullet
* crimp if needed
Obviously this is a batch process... use a tumbler to clean/polish the brass, and use loading blocks to keep everything organized. its no different than using a single stage press, but you don't need to remove the finished cartridge, since it kicks it out at the end.
The only step I don't do on the Dillon is trimming. It is an interrupted process however, since you trim after you resize. After resizing, I take out the sizing die and use station 1 for priming only. I use a Forster die with a locking ring tho, so you don't have to adjust the die every time.. The powder measure works very well with AA2230 or W748.
I've been reloading .223 on a 550B for years, it's not too big a deal, just slow. The interrupted loading process is also what I suggest, frankly when it comes to rifles, I don't know anyone who uses a straight through process.
I have a dillon RT1200 as well, so my first setup involves small base sizing (I highly recommend the RCBS small base set for this purpose, I think they make the X-die in a small base form as well) in position 1, then the RT1200 is mounted in position 3. I hook a wet-dry vac up to the RT1200 to keep the trimmings out of the way.
You only need to small base size if you are running it through a semi-auto (or full auto for NFA folks) or if you are using range-pickup in your bolt action.
As far as powders, I've loaded both IMR3031 and Varget through the standard dillon powder measure into the .223 case without issue. I think IMR4198 has a longer grain, but that is a really bad powder for .223 (it's too fast).
As for what to use, Varget is a great powder, I HIGHLY recommend it, and I use it for just about every rifle cartridge I load. H335 and H332 are also common, and I use them occasionally (H335 more than H332) and most often SMP735 (which is basically H335 but in bulk form).
The ball powders tend to be dirtier, which is why I prefer the IMR powders unless cost is a concern. W748 is another common powder, but I never had good luck with it.