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Just ordered a Dillon 550b, need advice

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Nocaster, May 27, 2016.

  1. Nocaster

    Nocaster Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    So I just ordered a Dillon 550b with a set of 9mm and 223 dies, and I have no idea what I got myself into. I have done a little bit of 308 reloading (200 rounds in 2 sessions) on a friend's single stage, with him standing over my shoulder and telling me what to do.

    I don't expect you to teach me how to reload, but if anyone has any sage advice to help me avoid noobie mistakes and pitfalls, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks
    Alex

    ETA: OK, I'm working my way through all the newbie reloading threads. I guess I am looking for advice specific to the Dillon 550b
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
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  2. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Rule #1 Do not smoke while reloading.

    Rule #2. Do not exceed the maximum loads in the loading tables.

    Rule #3. Do not shoot someone else's reloads... unless you know and trust them.

    :D
     
  3. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    this coming from, someone that does not reload.. Read the reloading books for the bullets you are using.
     
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  4. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    work left to right I.E. empty brass on one side, finished loads on the other side, Don't stop mid process, No radio or other distractions, and no Adult Beverage before or during! Follow published Load data from the low side and Very carefully work up from there! Most loading's work best some where below max load, learn what YOUR gun likes best! Take your time, and if you have questions, or run into issues or problems STOP, and ask for help, For Gods sake, do not shoot any thing until you figure out any answers to questions or problems!
     
  5. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

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    You won't save any money but you will shoot more.
    Dillon has some good videos
    And then there's this guy, who has videos on every press, and everything re-loading.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/gavintoobe/videos
    scroll down and keep hitting "load more" to get to the Dillon stuff.
    Or here. mostly 650 stuff though:(
    http://ultimatereloader.com/dillon/
    :)
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  6. Nocaster

    Nocaster Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Shooting more is the idea. Thanks for the links
     
  7. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Start out loading the 9mm. Use a little spritz of Hornady One Shot case lube.
    Don't pinch your finger between the die and bullet in the seating station.
    Wear safety glasses, and try not to grin to the point where your teeth get dry
    as a loaded round hits the bin with each pull of the handle.

    If you get confused, come on down and crank out a couple thousand 9's on
    my 550 while I watch/coach. No charge.:)
     
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  8. Nocaster

    Nocaster Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Thank you for the advice, and thanks for the coaching offer. I just might take you up on that. I'm having a reloading reading and video marathon tonight. Press won't be here until next Friday
     
  9. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Take your time and don't let the press intimidate you. Once you get comfortable with it you'll be glad you bought a 550. Don't be afraid to ask questions, everybody was new at reloading once.
     
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  10. beezer66

    beezer66 Salem, OR Active Member

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    Take it one stage at a time. When comfortable with each stage, let'r rip.
     
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  11. Wayne

    Wayne Near Tacoma Active Member

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    Just a note, you said you got dies, make sure you also got the conversion kit. The only time I have ever loaded a squib was when I first went from my SS press to the 550. It was because I was checking every case at every station, sometimes taking the case out to check, not good. I have 30,000 rounds through mine now with nary a problem . Good luck.
     
  12. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Read the Dillon manual. Read and reread at least one reloading manual. Take your time during press set up. Go slowly at first, and measure everything (oal, powder weight, etc.) Often as you go along. No distractions, as someone else has mentioned should be present in the room. I use post-its with specific load info on the side of my powder dispenser, and my calipers are always within reach. Only have the currently used components on your bench. And finally, think of the process as an enjoyable past time in itself, rather than as a chore to be done on the way to the range. Enjoy!
     
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  13. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The above tips are very good!

    Don't let the process intimidate you! I was a self taught reloader, most guys my age were. Utube didn't exist, PC's didn't either and chronographs were for rich guys! So....books and a friend, who was also learning, to bounce ideas and questions off of!
    Point being, it isn't rocket science! A sense of carefulness is more important than raw intelligence! You've already made your best move on the forum, here.:)
    Best of luck!
     
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  14. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

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    For 9mm, take the barrel out of your gun and use it as a gauge to do the "Plunk Test".
    Your ammo should drop into the barrel until the case base is flush with the barrel hood and you hear the case rim hit the step in the barrel with a "Plunk".
    Doing the 1st round in every run and/or after any dies adjustment can save you from a lot of bullet pulling;)
    :D
     
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  15. zeppelin

    zeppelin Benton County WA Active Member

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    Use carbide dies on the 9mm. No case lube needed. Stick with easily metering powders (ball, small flakes, or flattened spheres but no powders with long extruded grains). If you are shooting an auto .223/5.56 rifle you definitely want to make sure you test their function in your gun before you load a lot of them. If you have problems getting them to chamber all the way put your rounds through a small base sizer die first (manually like with a single stage press). My .223 rounds from 550B would work great in everything (Colt AR, mini14, Rem 700) except a Rock River AR (which has a match chamber). I also like to check to make sure there is powder visible in the charged case at least every few rounds and make sure you put the rod in the primer magazine so it will tell you when the magazine is almost out.
    On my 550B which I have had for about 20 years I like to set up a constant rhythm. After you get the first couple of cases in and index the wheel then I pick up a case with the right hand and a bullet with the left hand and put them in place at the same time. Cycle the press with your right hand, index the wheel with your left and repeat. You have to concentrate, but I can load around 300 rounds an hour with mine if I have several primer magazines loaded and ready to go.
    Also if you lose or break a press part, just call Dillon and they will usually send a free replacement. Dillon is a good company with a great product.
     
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  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Rule #1 is don't drink at all before reloading;)
    Then smoking
    And only do what your attention span will let you do. I mean kids,wives,girl friends,etc. Lock the door and concentrate on what is at hand.
    Go to you tube. There is 100s of vids on the Dillon 550, not to mention reloading.
    Remember, if the you tube hack starts to sound like a country song(dog died,my friends needs help with a bull) go to the next one. Lots of real old time reloaders to be found
    Good luck
     
  17. Lilhigbee

    Lilhigbee SE Portland Visit Target550.com Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Lots of good advice here. May I add or reiterate;
    If you have any questions, ASK!!
    Make sure you understand what is happening at each step.
    The 550 can be used Single Stage at first if that will help you transition to progressive.
    On my 550 the small primer slide is finicky. It really likes to be extra clean. Make sure it travels all the way back to pick up a primer. If it doesn't, then you should notice the press handle sticking and not returning easily when you go forward to seat the primer.
    Good luck and have fun!!
     
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  18. Nocaster

    Nocaster Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Thank you to everyone who posted. I did a YouTube video watching marathon last night, and am getting a pretty good idea, I think. Doesn't seem too different from what my friend taught me on the single stage.

    Now I just need a case trimmer and a swager before Friday, and I might be cranking out some rounds next weekend. I definitely intend to go slow at first.

    I have this crazy excitement like I had when I first got into firearms or when I first started playing guitar.
     
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  19. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    How about like when you lit your first M80 firecracker? :D
     
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  20. Nocaster

    Nocaster Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I never have......o_O