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Dillon 550 priming problems....

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by fish1260, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. fish1260

    fish1260 SW WA Member

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    I've had my 550 up and running for about a year now, probably loaded 2000-2500 rounds on it. I've had priming problems the whole time. I can't seem to get the problems resolved, so I figured I would ask and see if anyone has any ideas to get this thing to run smoothly.

    The main problem I have is the overall alignment of the priming system. Primer punch will not properly align with the primer pocket in the brass, generally if I jiggle the press handle a bit the case will move around for the system to work, but occasionally the alignment is far enough off that the cup of the primer will catch the edge of the primer pocket and either result in shaving off a small bit of brass, or a crushed/crooked primer. I have had the alignment far enough that the primer punch/holder actually is contacting the base plate of the press, a good 1/4 inch below the shell case.

    When I correct one problem, I seem to create another. Originally I attempted to correct the problem, thinking that the primer system was walking out of alignment, so I loc-tited the system down. This prevents the problem of the punch hitting the base plate on the press, however it makes it that much harder to get the primer seated without the first issue I mentioned, and jiggling the handle no longer works. I've polished/relieved the sharp edges of the primer punch and holder, no real help. I am stuck operating with the whole priming system snug down, but not tight, and it is a fine line requiring a lot of tweaking. Its really annoying:mad: Any Ideas?

    A much more minor problem I have, is the primer bar slide sticks, over powering the spring, which occasionally results in a round loaded with no primer. Not a bit deal, just a mess. I've tried several lubes, and drop of CLP seems to work best and last the longest, but its messy. What do you all do here?
     
  2. Lilhigbee

    Lilhigbee SE Portland Visit Target550.com Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You might try posting your problem on Dillon's forum. They seem to have very knowledgeable employees staffing the forum as well as any number of other users who post helpful answers.
     
    Throckmorton likes this.
  3. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    The first thing that comes to my mind is the shell holder spring (under station 1) is probably adjusted just a bit too tight.

    I dealt with a problem not unlike yours. 9mm would run just fine, but 45acp would be "off center" from time to time. Order was restored in the universe and 45acp would run just fine once I figured it out.
     
  4. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Although I have no problem trying to help you, this is a good idea. I had a lot of questions I had answered here: http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/the_forum.html and http://www.brianenos.com/forums


    When I change from small primers to large primers (or vise versa) I clean this area with no solvents, or oil. I wipe it down, get after it with Q-tips and then lube with a squirt or two of One Shot case lube. Be sure the bottom of the primer cup slide surface is clean too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  5. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Call Dillon: They will lead you thru an alignment routine. ANYTIME you have a problem with a Dillon product they have people that can help you solve it, usually on the phone.
     
  6. Wayne

    Wayne Near Tacoma Active Member

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    Don't forget about the small adjustment screw on the front of the priming system, the one with the locking nut on it, that prevents the bar from going to far forward. Also agree with the shell holder spring. I hit the bar slide area with a hit of One shot cleaner and Dry Lube about every 800/1000 rounds or if I have not used it in a few weeks.
     
  7. JohnH

    JohnH Milwaukie Active Member

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    Did you buy this press brand new from Dillon?

    Not sure if you have a manual but if you go to Dillon's website and download the RL 550 B manual look at page 5. It shows the correct overall height of the primer seating cup to bottom of slide arm. This is the first step I always take when troubleshooting a 550 priming issue. After you verify that is correct turn to page 9. This goes through the step by step process of how to check and adjust your primer slide arm to work correctly.
     
  8. fish1260

    fish1260 SW WA Member

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    I bought it new, but not in the box, from someone who never even got it bolted down to their bench. I've followed dillons method for adjusting and setting the primer system with no luck.

    I'll try playing with the shell plate spring next time, and if that doesn't work I guess it's time to make a phone call to dillon.
     
  9. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Keep us "in the loop". Besides, by posting the solution you end up finding just might help the next guy who has the same problem and make this forum that much more valuable.

    In the mean time take a look at this:


    I did not watch it all the way through because I'm on wireless internet via my cell phone and I don't want to go over my 15gigs this month. But it should get you pointed the right way on the right tack.
     
  10. jmh119

    jmh119 Hillsboro, Oregon Member

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    Had a problem like yours, called Dillon. They sent to me, for free, an alignment tool and instructions. Mine has been working without issue since. Give them a call.
     
  11. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    The primer part is the diddley part of the press I have had my 550 Dillon since 1991 and around 2010 I had primer feed problems I called Dillon and spent time on the phone with the rep and he sent a bunch of parts to fix it . Back to normal. About 2 months ago. It quit working and no matter what I did I couldn't get it to feed properly. Called Dillon and the rep said send it in ! I felt nekkid I have had the press for a long time. Any way the press came back rebuilt and better than new due to the repair techs upgrading the press. I so far have binge loaded 400 40 S@W 4,000 9mm and 600 223 the machine runs great. Though it does require some adjustment. Like any machine it needs maintenance and adjustment. Call Dillon and they will do everything to get you running properly the no B.S. warranty is exactly that.
     
  12. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Ok, so I have a few questions which may result in some answers... First, what caliber are you loading, if it's 9mm, 38, or .223 you may have cases that previously had crimped in primers, this will cause this problem every time as alignment becomes HIGHLY critical. Generally the best solution for this is to ream the cases before trying to seat a new primer.

    Next, that little clip that holds the case in the shell holder may be too tight, generally I keep it backed off all the way, it's usually more trouble than it's worth.

    Hopefully you didn't use red loctite, if you did god help you. Aligning the priming system is pretty simple, loosen the #10-24 screws, put the priming stem in the base plate, retighten bolts. Occasionally you may have to adjust the stop screw (the one on the front) but that's pretty rare, it's more a gross adjustment than a fine adjustment. As long as when you bring the ram down the primer cup lines up you're fine.

    Dillon makes a big deal about not using oil on the priming system, while this is true up to a point, the 550 with it's big primer slide, traps crap under it, and usually works better if you oil the bottom part of it. Not the part that touches the primers, but the slidy bit underneath the spring. You can get away with it on the 550, but forget about it on the 650 or 1050, on those I usually use motor mica.

    From what you're describing problems #1 and #2 seem most likely, there is a distant off-chance that the indexing ball is slightly off or your shell-plate is too tight (I usually keep a clearance of about .005" with feeler gauges)
     
  13. fish1260

    fish1260 SW WA Member

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    Well, I've been so busy I have I haven't had any time to play lately. Unfortunately it is definately neither of the first two problems you mentioned. This particular press I load only pistol rounds, 90% of which are .40, and have been fired multiple times. I also have this problem with 9mm and .45. Even though I am certain the cases are not crimped, I have run a batch through the swager, and reamed (lightly) 100 cases or so with no increased reliability.

    I also have come to the conclusion the metal clip at station 1 is useless, it's backed all the way off at the moment; I might as well remove it completely.

    I still have some more tinkering to do, if I ever have free time again!
     
  14. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    I have used a Dillon 550B for 4 years now and the priming system sucks. For some reason 5% of the primers get messed up. Personally even when they do go in the forward stroke just feels crunchy sometimes so since my Dillon is in my garage (which is currently 18 degrees) I use an RCBS hand primer and spend quality time with the wife as I watch TV and prime my brass in a nice warm house. Then I wait for a warmer day to heat my garage and load up a couple thousand rounds without losing one primer.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I actually spent some time loading on a dillon yesterday, as much as the 550 priming system sucks, the one on the 650 is even worse.

    I think what it really comes down to, is the way most reloading systems prime (by holding the case rim) is really a bad way to do it. Most commercial loading machines use a shell holder to locate the case, but then hold it down with a spring loaded rod while another pushes the primer in from the bottom.

    After dickering around with the 650, about 1/3 of the 4000 rounds I loaded all had high primers. Really annoying. (fyi, yes, I'm serious about loading up that much ammo, I usually load in huge batches once every few years)