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So I bought a Dillon RL550B. Now what?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by nastybynature, May 31, 2013.

  1. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    I have done many searches and research but honestly, it is a bit overwhelming having never reloaded or known anyone that has reloaded anything besides 12g. And that gentleman is no longer with us for me to pick his brain.

    The press is used and came with .45 ACP carbide die set which is what I want to start with. I know that I will be looking at about $175 to $200 everytime I add a caliber in order to make the change over easy. Maybe look at doing 5.56 next.... May just stick to pistol ammo and do .380 if I don't feel ready to do the bigger stuff....

    Here is what I know.
    1. I need a good powder scale. Cheaper and simpler the better to start I think.
    2. I need a good "Reloading for dummies" type book and of course a manual for the specs. The ABC's of reloading seems to fit my need. No? Then what else?
    3. I think I need a case trimmer but it seems many folks don't trim pistol casings. Is that an inaccurate statement?
    4. I need a case gauge.
    5. I need components. Primers, powder and bullets. This one is the most confusing and with the lack of availability it seems right now I am not sure what I should be looking for as opposed to what I can settle with.. Although it seems to be getting better.
    6. I need a bullet puller.
    7. I need a case cleaner.

    I am hoping to gain from others experience so I don't waste money or blow my hand off. I feel pretty confident from watching many good how to vids that once I get everything, and then get it set up, I will be able to do this, with a little guidance from you fine folks.

    My question is, with the info I have given above (hope I didn't forget anything) How would you proceed as a novice to get the .45 caliber rolling on my press?

    Please be gentle. I KNOW I am mostly dumb when it comes to this and being a relatively smart guy, I have a lot to learn. Not looking to take short cuts other than not wasting money as I learn.

    I am not in a hurry as I only today found and bought some of the magtech ammo with brass casings so that I can reload them. Will likely shoot them this weekend. I do have a bunch of steel (or is it aluminum) spent casings that are Blazer brand. But I don't think those will work. Or is that not the case? (Pun intended)
     
  2. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    youtube can help you out a bit
     
  3. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    You have the dies, do you know if you have the .45 conversion kit on it which is the shell plate, pins and powder funnel ? 45acp is probably the easiest to start on, brass and bullets are the easiest of any to come by. I would buy a set of digital calipers before I would worry about a case gauge, you have the barrel of your pistol for a plunk test. Personally I like digital scales but balance type have been used forever. Once you get the 550 set up with a powder it likes they tend to be pretty accurate. Lyman's 49 edition is my go to reloading book for most of what I load. Biggest thing is to take your time and not get in a hurry, the 550 will be around forever so take the time to learn it. Don't waste your time on the steel and aluminum cases, they arent worth the trouble. Pm me and I can give you some brass to get you started.
     
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  4. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Couldn't have said it better....
     
  5. kenjo

    kenjo Washougal Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Contact Dillon Dillon Precision: Reloaders, Reloading Equipment, Bullet Reloading, Bullet Reloaders and ask them to send you the instruction CD and written instructions for setting up your press. The NRA publishes a basic guide to reloading which is good, and the Hornady Loading Manual has a very good section on reloading. You will need a loading manual anyway, so I would recommend that one. A balance beam scale and kinetic bullet puller work fine. You will need the conversion kit for 45 ACP. It happens I have one for sale, used, if you are interested (PM me...I'm in Washougal).

    kenjo
     
    Blitzkrieg and (deleted member) like this.
  6. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that.

    Also there is A LOT of info here: Brian Enos's Forums...
     
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  7. NWCustomFirearms

    NWCustomFirearms Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    I've used my 550 for over a decade and love it. A digital scale is nice but a balance scale is way cheaper. Calipers is a must, a tumbler to clean your cases. Right or wrong, I've never trimmed a single handgun case and have never had a problem, take that for what you will. Stay away from steel and aluminum cases. Inspect your cases, when in doubt just toss it. I like Hodgen titegroup powder for all my handgun loads and use it exclusively. Nothing wrong with other pistol powders, that's just the one I use. Some people don't like lead but I've had real good luck with Oregon Trail Laser Cast bullets. If you shoot lead, just make sure you clean it real good. Hornay, Nosler etc... they all put out good books. I agree with what the other guys said too. Also contact Dillon if you need to. As all the other guys here have said PM me if you have any questions.
     
  8. rgold1963

    rgold1963 Washington State Active Member

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    I'm sure you could also find someone here that would be happy to show you their process as seeing it in real life can make it a lot easier to learn.
     
  9. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    Do you have a primer flip tray? The bigger ones work better for filling the primer tubes. Dillons is brass, and stays put while you are picking through them with the tubes. Dillon will send you the manual I'm sure.... They sent me one with a part I needed (which they sent to me for free), just because I gave them a part number that was either old or wrong. They have the best customer service of anyone I have ever dealt with. They are taking a bit of time to answer phones these days as is everyone in this industry. I would be happy to give you the video tape that came with mine, and my extra manual, just don't know when I will be in the 'couve again, I was there thursday.
     
  10. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Use a taper crimp die and trimming pistol cases is less important
     
  11. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  12. Eludnu

    Eludnu Oregon Member

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    You tube has to be the best free instructor, short of a longtime reloader sitting right beside you. It is invaluable for learning. Every time I change to a new caliber, or just want to see how to change a setting on my press I hit You Tube.

    Lyman 49th Edition reloading manual. Bimart, Sportsmans, or Amazon. I have others, but this one is tops.

    No case trimmer needed until you start to load rifle. A case gauge will let you know which ones need to be trimmed. Not all will in 223 or 5.56.

    Your personal preference is what will matter, but mine was for an analog scale. I found the digitals to be tiresome with the need to recalibrate constantly. Plus the old school scales cost less. Leaving the scale with the load weight indicated is nice too if I come back a month later and don't want to dig through notes to see what my last load was, quickly. BiMart.

    No need for a case gauge unless loading the 5.56, when even then, the chamber of the various rifles you load for will offer more specific "data" for OAL on those loads.

    OAL (Over all Length). Critical that you have a set of calipers. $25.00 gets you a quite decent digital one.

    You won't be able to be very selective on powders to start with at this point, just due to the lack of selection in the current market. No biggie. 45 allows for a large selection. The Lyman book (or others) will give you plenty of choices.

    If you are buying factory 45 bullets with the intention of saving the cases for future reloading, keep in mind that numerous manufactures are now using small primers in the cases, rather than the historically standard large primers. Stick with buying new rounds that only use large primers. There are still far more of those then the small primer ones, and you can't run small and large together through the press. If when doing your case inspections you come across small primer cases, set them aside until you have a grab bag, offer them for a straight trade here for large primers cases, and it will happen.

    If you want to speed up the case polishing process, you can buy a sonic cleaner quite cheaply at Harbor Freight which will work just as well as the Brand name ones.

    Have fun. Welcome to one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a firearm.
     
  13. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    I'm dealing with this issue right now. Thought I had all of my large primer cases segregated from the small ones. But I'm catching them in my final case inspection just before a squirt of Hornady one shot case lube. Not really a big deal. That's what I get for accepting "help". :confused:

    To the OP: TAKE YOUR TIME. Send the little woman to the mall or something, farm out the kids, and lock the door to your realoading area/gun room. Turn off the cell. No TV, radio or iPod making noise. In short, have no distractions. Especially when you are just starting out.
     
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  14. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    Just got back from Sportsman's with a Lyman 49th and a Hornaday digital caliper. All they had for flip trays were RCBS so I am going to shop around some more. I also am going to try to find a analog scale for a better price than the $70 RCBS I saw. Not that I won't spend that much, but figure looking around first may would be a good idea. They were out of components of course. But that is fine since I am not ready with the other stuff I need. I now have some reading to do that will keep me busy for the weekend.

    Thanks for all the responses. :thumbup:
     
  15. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    I personally would noot use digital calpiers unless I have access to some calibaration blocks. For that matter i would also use them to check my dial calipers. It is a professional prefernce, from working in NDT.
    The RCBS primer tray, assuming the square ones are want you have are the best. I have not spilled a primer when dumping into the tray since getting it.
     
  16. Grommit327

    Grommit327 Buckley Active Member

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    X2 on this. Digital calipers do funny things when the battery starts going or they get moisture in them. Not good for a new reloader/caliper user to rely on the reading. Get yourself a dial caliper and learn how to use it (Kinda funny but I'm also NDT MarkAd)

    I would be willing to help you get set up on your 550 next time I'm in Vancouver. Same press that I run
     
  17. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    So the consensus is too not trust digital calipers. I have an old dial caliper that I can double check with. Thanks for all the tips everyone including the folks that PM me. I am looking forward to getting going once I can find components. :)
     
  18. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    If you have a dial caliper use it. I have mitutoyo digitals, and dial and have never had an issue with either. The precision necessary for loading handgun ammo is not like testing aircraft parts, and a lot of it is in your hands not the tool. It is good info that the digitals screw up when the battery gets weak though. Good reason to keep extras on hand. Keep in mind that a lot of older dial calipers are worn and can give funky readings as well.
     
  19. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    I started by watching this guy's 5 part series on setting up and using the 550b.

    [video=youtube_share;VRZrbv_8kx4]http://youtu.be/VRZrbv_8kx4[/video]