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I have an XL650 and a Square Deal B, so I can tell you quite a bit about them. If you haven't done so, check out brianenos,com, both the Dillon store and the forums - there's one dedicated to Dillon products. Lots of good advice.
The SDB is a nice, compact, progressive, auto-index reloader. The plus's are small size, fairly smooth operation, and very reliable. The downside is pistol only, it uses only Dillon-specific dies, no room for a powder check and there's no case feeder.
I would expect 200-300 per hour of pistol rounds, depending on how fast you are. The ammo is consistent and the press is easy to set up. Caliber changes take about 5-6 minutes, ten minutes if you don't have an extra toolhead. Changing primer sizes takes about a minute. The press is small, so there isn't a lot of room to work on the toolhead - not a big deal, just a factor.
The SDB, and almost any Dillon press, will hold its value very well. You can expect a pretty good return on the press if you ever decide to sell. I keep my SDB for my lower volume caliber (primarily 44 sp) and use the 650 for 38/357.
Please ask any questions you might have. If you were closer, I'd say stop by and load some rounds on it (we'd leave the cover on the 650, that could spoil you).
If you are going to change calibers a lot and shoot lower volumes of 3-4 calibers, or, need rifle capability, I would suggest the 550. It isn't automatic indexing but it is easy and (relatively) inexpensive to change calibers.
The Dillon warranty is wonderful, whether or not you buy new. Call them up and they send you whatever you need. Buy a spare parts kit and you're up without significant interruption and call them to replace your part in the morning.
The on-going maintenance involves occasional cleaning, adjustment, and lubrication.
I have a 550b and an SDB. I much prefer the 550 as it has way more handroom and visibilty.I also like that it takes standard 'off the shelf ' dies,and can do rifle too.The auto advance on the sdb is ok,but I can flip the 'flipper' on the 550 while grabbing a piece of brass,so no big deal. I don't try for speed records anyway.
If you build your bench tall enough,you will not need to buy the 'riser's... If forget what dillon calls them..I"ve gotten along fine for 15 years without them.
The roller handle for the 550 is another thing I would not spend the extra money on agan.
The risers you're referring to are the "strong mounts", two angled brackets that mount the press 5-6" above the bench surface. The primary reason for them is to spread the load over a much larger area of the bench. An expensive (relatively) option.
They are good if your bench edge isn't rugged enough or is too low.
If you think you may ever load a rifle caliber, you will save money if nothing else by going with a 550 at a minamum. The 650 is a step up from that. The difference in price is a lot less than having to go out and buy another complete press in the future. Prices have been going up steadily over the last few years, and I would not expect to see them go down unless you can find a used press that someone wants to part with.
Good luck. I hope you find what you are looking for.
dam i thought the sdb was what i wanted, but now i have looked around a read more. So now i am looking at the Hornaday lock n load ap. seems like a good unit and it can load both rifle and pistol ammo. what do you guys think of this press?
I went throug the same dilema as you square b or dillion 550. I ended up getting the 550 and even though i havnt done rifle yet it was well worth the extra money. Save yourself hassle down the road and go with a 550.
I don't own a Hornady press, and I have never used one. I knew a guy who had one and had very good results with it. It will probably do everything the Dillion will do. You have the right idea in shopping around. Sometimes you can find sales and discounts on loading gear.