Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Dillon RL 550B questions?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by blitz, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    anyone have any experience with these?

    i am thinking about getting one in a couple weeks to cut down on ammo costs.
    ill be reloading mainly .223, 9mm, .40 and 357 sig
    but would also want to use it for a 300wm, 30-06, 308, 45-70 and 30-30 during hunting season.
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    In these calibers, if you intend to load a LOT of ammo, consider the XL-650. It is a true progressive and when coupled with the Case Feeder really rocks. If you have an assistant that can keep the case feeder hopper filled, powder reservoir filled, and primer tubes filled, it is possible to actually load close to 1,000 rounds per hour. Without the assistant it's still not a big deal to load 500 per hour. I load .223 and 9mm with mine. The most time consuming part is the cleaning and preparation of the cases. I invested in a power trimmer for .223. Makes it a piece of cake to de-prime, size, and trim as a separate operation. Then clean and fill bins ready to go into the case feeder.

    The 550 is a good press but more suited for a leisurely pace where the 650 is more for the one that has a ton of ammo to load.

    One mistake that many make is they don't look far enough ahead. Try to see where your needs and desires will be a year or two down the road. Get the unit that will satisfy those needs, not one that is limited. In the end, the better press may well be less expensive when you factor in the prior purchases.
     
  3. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    14
    If you have the money the XL650 is a great choice, I purchased my 550 about 2 years ago and have only loaded maybe 3K pistol rounds for it in 9MM and .40S&W but now that I have about 9K rounds to do in the next couple months plus another 2-3K .223 i really wish I spend the extra for the 650.
     
  4. HollisOR

    HollisOR Rural OR, South of Dallas Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    45

    A friend commented that if he knew where he was going to be today, twenty years ago. He could have save a lot of time and money. I have two 550's, if I was to do it again. I might have gone with the 650 for different reasons. So far, all-in-all, the 500s are still a good choice.
     
  5. k7grc

    k7grc Banks, Or Active Member

    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    50
    Once you start reloading expect to shoot at least twice the amount of ammo you do now.

    I can load ~300 rounds of 45 colt per hr with my 550b. Rifle ammo, I'm a little slower. For the amount I shoot, the 550b works for me.

    If your ever out west I could show you my seup. Might help with your desision.
     
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    537
    The difference in price in the BASIC units is only $127. For that you get a progressive press that will produce on round per pull of the handle without having to index the shell plate by hand. This, in itself, avoids numerous errors in reloading.
     
  7. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    907
    Likes Received:
    266
    One thing to note about the 650... Especially of you plan to load multiple caliburs... Is that the accessories will totally kill you in the pocketbook. The 650 is Dillons cash cow, once you have it you want more, more, more! (and then you regret your purchase and wish you would have ponied up for the 1050) :)
     
  8. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    thanks for all the replies, i go shooting a little past browns camp at drift creek so i go past banks everytime i go out, i might have to stop by sometime and check that out.
     
  9. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    for that many calibers,I hope your pockets are deep, I have a 550b and I love it,but for each caliber you need not only a die set,but Dillon;s 'caliber conversion kit'. they run what..a bout 35-40 bucks each these days.some parts interchange between calibers,but it's still an expensive propsition.
    I've heard that changeing over a 650 is way more time consuming and way more expensive because of a part..shellplate? .. needed for each caliberin addition to the die set and the conversion kit.
    also,progressives and rifles just don't mix because u have to measure the case AFTER they are sized for possible trimming,so I size on a single stage then run the rest of the process on the 550b.They are weay better suited for pistol rounds..all progressives are,imho.
    FWIW,if u want to save a buck or two,buy used dies,build a tall bench so u don't need the strong mounts,and forget the roller handle,I bought it and was not impressed,the stock handle works just fine.
    My advice is worth exaclty what you paid for it,I'm sure others will chime in along the way,so balance it all out and maybe catch some youtube footage on dillons being operated.
     
  10. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    yeah i wasnt planning on getting all the dies and everything at once, just getting the press for now and building up what i need for the different calibers little by little.
    i am open to suggestions on other presses it doesnt have to be a progressive one because i am not planning on mass producing rounds but i would like to make somewheres around 100 an hour when i am reloading...
     
  11. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    80
    The 550 would be fine for most shooters: I have one. My friend has a couple 650's and in my opinion, they are more troublesome to set up and run than the 550: and alot more expensive. THe 550 is simpler and gives plenty of output. If you're organized, you can do pistol cals @400+ per hour: less for the rifle cals, but I rarely load more than 100 or so in the larger rifle or magnums, anyway.
     
  12. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    46
    If your goal is 100/hour any good turret press will handle that. You don't need to go to a full progressive. I use a turret press for my rifle rounds (other than .223).

    With that said, the 550 and 650 are fine machines. Progressives have more moving parts and, require maintenance and some occasional tinkering. The 650 is a little more complicated because it is auto indexing. As a result, its throughput can be higher. Every time you change calibers you have to do a little setup on both of them. I have a Dillon 650 and can change calibers and primer sizes together in less than ten minutes. It seems worse than it is as people describe it. People do complain about the additional caliber conversions, etc. They do cost money. In the real big picture, their cost is minimal when compared to the cost of buying ammo and they last forever. One thing about the Dillons - they bring a good price if you ever need/want to sell.

    If you've never reloaded before, the 550 is plenty of press if you must have a progressive. For most shooters, it is plenty. For a great source of information on Dillon equipment, go to Brian Enos - Competition Shooting Books, Slide-Glide, DVDs & Reloading and select the dillon forum. You will learn more there than anywhere else.
     
  13. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    another plus for the 550b,you can run one round thru at at time while getting used to it,and even then you can do an easy 200 rounds an hour once you're routine is set.Beginners should start with pistol ammo since it rarely requires trimming,and if youir dies are carbide you don't have to lube all the cases like u do with rifle brass.I find a smidge of lube on every tenth case is very helpful.
    At one time HOrnady was giving away a thousand bullets with each press,might check into that.Hornady presses do not require a change over kit,so some money is saved there also.
    Lee dies will prduce good ammo and are cheaper than others.For my shooting abilities,I can't tell any difference in the ammo.
     
  14. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    thanks for all the replies you guys have been very helpful, i am just gonna by the press itself and my roomate is gonna get the first couple sets of dies and such so i will save a little money there. the only calibers i will be reloading alot of is the 223's and the pistol cartridges cause that is what we use for plinking, as for the rifle calibers we only shoot a few rounds through each everytime we go out to make sure they are still where we left them.
    also i am kinda looking into the future of guns i will be most likely purchasing later, i do not have all the calibers that i listed at the moment.
    so i figure i will get the press and whatever i need for the few calibers we shoot most and then later start building up the stuff for my hunting calibers. i am not to worried about the cost because in the end i will be saving anyways since a box of 20 is about half to a quarter of the cost of the dies, so i figure in a year or less it will start paying for itself.
    there is just a few things about it that i dont understand like the trimming mainly, is this only with brand new brass that might not have been sized right or am i missing something here?
     
  15. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    50
    I agree with other posters that if you're intent on reloading that many calibers, you're gonna be broke on dies and exchange kits (figure $75 per Dillon die set, and another $75 from the changeover kit)...also changeover on a 650 takes some time unless you invest in separate loaded toolheads for each caliber (more $$$$$).

    I have a Hornady LnL AP and caliber changeovers are much quicker and cheaper...die set ($40 for a Hornady 3-die set) and shellplate ($30) is all that's needed to change calibers, and the LnL bushings make changeouts a breeze. I load 9mm, .380, .357mag, .40S&W, .45 ACP, and .308 and I can do a changeover in less than 15 min (20 min if I have to change primer sizes). Hornady also just released a bullet feeder for $250 that I'm fighting back the urge to buy....MUST RESIST...

    Dillon makes a great reloading press, and I have a 650 that I load my .45ACP on, but if you're really serious about loading a bunch of different calibers on the same press, I think the Hornady is a much better value and they have the same "no BS" lifetime warranty that Dillon has.
     
  16. blitz

    blitz beaverton Active Member 2015 Volunteer

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    136
    yeah that is one of the ones i had been looking into is the Hornady LnL AP, my roomate was the one that brought up the dillon 550.
    i dont really care which one i just want one that works good and is capable of doing rifle and pistol cartridges well
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    2,802
    Likes Received:
    1,856
    +1 on the LNL-AP. I've loaded more rounds on my LNL in 6 months that I've had it than I ever did on the 550 I've had for years. Frankly, I think the 550 is overpriced garbage. The 650 isn't much better, the priming system is horrible (feeds primers every time you pull the handle, unless you disconnect the priming wedge). The changeover on a 650 isn't too bad, it's actually quite comparable to a 550 changeover.

    Last I checked the LNL is about the same price as the 550, and is a more refined version of the 650, and can be equipped with a case feeder (I havn't gotten around to buying one yet). The conversion kits are cheaper. Also, bear in mind you don't need to buy the same dies as the press you use, I regularly use RCBS, Redding, Hornady (hate their dies though), dillon, CH4D and many others on my lnl and the 1050's I have at work.

    Whatever press you go with, what you want to do when reloading rifle is to run it in two batches. The first run through you will only size the brass. You will need either a small base sizer (if you are running range pickup, or shooting a semi-auto) and if you want to, you can do case trimming on the press with the addition of a dillon RT1200 trimmer (I do all my .223 and .308 this way). You must lube rifle brass when sizing, then after it's been prepped, wash it in hot water with either laundry soap, or dish soap, and a bit of vinegar, dry it, tumble it (to make it look pretty) and then run it through again to load it.
     
  18. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    169
    RCBS makes a die they call the X die,it has a shoulder that keeps the brass from being drawn out to a longer length during the sizing operation.You might ask around on one of the AR15 boards and see if they work as advertised.Trimmiing is a pain in the butt,and if it can be avoided itwould save a ton of time and work.Yoiu do have to trim the brass to a specified lenght the 1st time around with the X die.
    re: trimming. ALL rifle brass must be measured after sizing to see if trimming is necessary.You usually have some variance between the longest and the 'trim to 'length,so not every case needs it every time.Serious bulls eye shooters worry more about this than a plinker needs to,but they MUST be shorter than the max lenghth or high chamber pressures will be the result.
    A lot,,,I mean a LOT of used .223 brass will have crimps on the primer pockets that need to be reamed out,tools are made for this as well.
     
  19. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    14
    I don't have a 650, I have a 550 but if my memory serves me correctly the 650 can be setup to have an auto case trimmer which can save a ton of time on rifle reloading. Also if you are doing .223 don't forget to swag the brass.
     
  20. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    46
    The 1050 can have a trimmer, the 650 and 550 can put one in but it is a separate operation from reloading. The 550 can have a case feeder for pistol rounds, the 650 can have one for rifle and pistol. There are also aftermarket bullet feeders available if you really want to fly.