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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 9/13/2001 12:29:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/13/2001 12:56:04 PM EST by JacRyan]
I've just decided that, as much as I like Eric the Ammoman, I need to become independent and not rely on an external ammo source. And I also want to be able to go downstairs everynight and crank out thousands of rounds. But, I have some questions.... 1. Which reloader should I get and why? I've looked at the Dillon RL 550, but are there any advantages to the XL 650 that justify the extra $100? If there are, I'd get it, but don't want to spend it if I don't have to. Time is still very limited for me, so efficiency of operation means a lot. That being said, if the RL 550 is the most popular reloader they sell, that must mean something. 2. Do the Dillon "Pistol Caliber" reloading machines allow you to reload rifle rounds (not that I could ever think of a reason I'd want to reload 5.56...)? 3. What does it take in terms of time, effort and money to convert these machines from one caliber to another (including rifle ammo, if possible)? I'd be looking for .45 ACP, 9mm, 5.56, and possibly .32 ACP. 4. If I pay attention to detail and use all new brass, is it possible to reload high quality (i.e., that I could rely on for self/home defense)? I'm talking about FMJ and HP. Don't know if one is more difficult to load than the other. Or do reloaders still stick factory ammo in their guns for carry, etc.? (I don't want to get into the "special homemade killer bullets" in litigation debate.) I want to reload plinking ammo and defensive ammo, probably just high quality FMJ for defense (I'm on a 230 grain FMJ for defense kick). Anything else I need to know? TIA EDIT: Can I clean brass without the brass cleaner, or do I need the machine? Any other methods? After looking at the Dillon site some more, I'm beginning to wonder what other hidden costs there might be in reloading. Besides the $350-450 reloading machine, what other equipement do I need? What do people think of the $250 Dillon Square Deal reloader? Will I quickly outgrow it, or is it a good starting point? This is quickly becoming more complicated than I expected....
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:01:21 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:06:39 PM EST
Dillon's Square Deal press is great. I got the first one back in 1989 for 45ACP and since got 2 more. I have one each for 45ACP, 9mm and 38 Special. I can usually load about 300-400 rounds per hour when I have several primers tubes filled and ready to go.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:07:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:11:09 PM EST
... my vote is for Dillons' RL550 I can quickly change cartridge caibers and the "blue beast" is guaranteed for life.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:11:18 PM EST
Well you are looking for a lot of information but I will give it a try. For most pistol calibers you need the 550 or 650 (it comes with one caliber included) You then need: a scale a dial caliper a tumbler about two reloading manuals I think that is it. It is nice to have other stuff but with the above you can set up your Dillon, check your powder charge and measure your over all length and your crimp diameter, and tumble used brass. To change to another pistol caliber on the 550, minimum it takes about $45 for the dies and $25 for the "conversion kit" which is a plate, three pins, and a powder bell. That is minimum and means you will have to set up you dies every time. For about $13 more you can buy an extra block for the Dillon and leave your dies set up. Its well worth the $13. Then its just pulling two pins and swapping the powder dropper to change calibers. For an extra $70 you can buy a whole extra pwder dropper and have two calibers completely set up. Then you just pull to pins and swap parts to change calibers. That's nice but it may not be necessary. By the way, I only have the 550 so I can't give you a comparison between the 550 and the 650. Off hand, for a $100 more, I would get the 650. You can have auto case feed and you can put in a powder check stage, if I understand it correctly. I would really like to have a powder check stage. Also, the output is about double on the 650, as I understand it. The output of my 550 is about 400 rounds per hour, tops. The 650 give you much more. Hey, I guess I can sort of compare them. Either way you will be happy with the Dillon stuff. I have a Rockchucker for rifle rounds. You can duplicate factory rounds to practice with and then carry factory loaded ammo to guard against any legal entanglements. Well that is a start on the answer to your questions.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:15:22 PM EST
If you want to reload both pistol and rifle, go with the 550 or 650. The main difference is the 650 has a 5 station toolhead vs. the 4 station toolhead on the 550. The 650 also auto-indexes. I have the 550 and it is adeqeuate. Years before I first got into reloading pistol and got the Square Deal B. This press will load pistol round perfectly. But if you get the 550 up front you can load everything with the 550. You can load either FMJ or hollowpoint ammo just as well. The only real difference will be in the bullet seating adjustment and, possibly, the grains of powder dropped. The pistol round i have loaded the most of is the 230 FMJ 45 ACP round. I can't tell any difference in performance between my reloads and factory. Having said that though I use factory ammo for defense in my 45 (Remington 230 Gr. Golden Saber). In a pinch though I would feel perfectly safe using my own 230 ball reloads. ' Hope this helps....
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 1:29:29 PM EST
I have the 650 and it is an awesome machine. I always seem to forget about the auto indexing when comparing the 650 to the 550. What I think the best difference between the two is the auto case feeder, it work great, especially for handgun brass. Also, having the extra station for a powder check die is a real convenience. I think the 550 does more calibers but the 650 does everyone of the basic cartridges. Once set up properly loading ammo on the 650 is as simple as putting a bullet on top of the charged/primed case and pulling the handle. Every once in a while refill the primer tube and the powder and do a routine check to be sure everything is still in spec and in no time you have hundreds of loaded rounds. The 550 is much cheaper to change calibers also as the conversion kits are cheaper. I didn't have to pay for my machine, it was a gift, so I didn't have to choose. I think either machine will serve you well. I agree with Beer Slayer if you buy the conversion kit you also get a spare toolhead and changing calibers on the top of the machine is as easy as pulling 2 pins. Then changing the bottom of the machine takes approx 2-3 minutes. The only thing that seems to take any real time is the primer assembly to change primers small to large or large to small takes little over 5 minutes. Its not impossible to completely change calibers/primer system in under 8 minutes but why rush take the full 10 minutes. In addition to the machine it is necessary to buy a scale for setting up the powder system and checking powder charges. A set of dial calipers for checking loaded ammunition. I think the Dillon primer flip tray is a must also for orienting the primers when filling primer tubes. I personally think having a bullet puller is a must just to recover any mistakes. I suggest buying a few extra primer tubes just out of convenience. A good, current, reloading manual. Also, wearing safety glasses while reloading is a must! I stick to buying factory loads for home defence not for any particular reason. I feel confident about using my handloads for any occasion.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 4:39:32 PM EST
I guess no one else mentioned it, so I will add my 2 cents. The lee kit is pretty good too. They usually sell at gun shows in a basic kit for about 90 bucks. You can get dies for around 25 for each calibler. Never had any problems reloading pistol, and another buddy has one that reloads rifle, 300 win mag, and 22-250. Even if you wanted to add say a digital scale, and all the dies for the calibers you mentioned, I think you will still come out under the cost of the dillion or rcbs.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 4:42:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/13/2001 4:43:23 PM EST by warlord]
JacRyan: Welcome to the reloading club. I personally reload 223REM/5.56NAT0 myself also, but I find that you aren't saving all that much compared to the amount of work expended to reload that stuff. You have to trim, when it is beyond the specified length, and you have to lube the cases before you size them, and you have to remove the lube. Also, if you are going to fire your newly made ammo out of an AR15 type rifle? at least I did for me, I experienced some slam-fires using conventional rifle primers because the mil-spec ammo has thicker primer cups than the standard small rifle primer. I believe CCI makes military spec small rifle primers for this reason. My $.05.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 4:44:10 PM EST
It starts out fun, but just wait until you have to resize, trim, deburr, and clean the primer pockets of a couple thousand rounds of brass. Case prep is not fun. I did 4,000 .223 for the guy next door and half way through I was yelling at him for just to buy surplus stuff.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 5:05:12 PM EST
If you buy pre-primed brass, can you still save money?
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 5:10:31 PM EST
Imbroglio, I'm curious as to why you reload .223 for a Model 85 and 10/22? It's rhetorical if you wish.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 5:14:26 PM EST
Well like I said it was for the guy next door. He lets me shoot his guns sometimes and I don't have to pay for ammo if I help him reload.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 5:56:21 PM EST
Thanks everyone. When I initially posted this, it quickly slipped to page 2 and 3. Then I had the bright idea to actually post this in the reloading forum. [;)] Then I wasn't able to figure out how to delete this one. So, I apoligize for the etiquete breach of posting the same topic on two separate forums. Based on what warlord says, maybe I should just reload for pistols and purchase .223/5.56. Rifle ammo sounds like a PITA to reload. If so, I'd probably rather buy cheap surplus. What does everyone think? Maybe it's not worth it for me to just reload for the couple hundred .45 rounds I fire a month. If it were 1,000 a month, well, then maybe....
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 6:15:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 6:28:31 PM EST
The low primer alarm scares the crap out of my dogs. It sounds just like the invisible fence warning.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 7:33:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/13/2001 7:38:12 PM EST by RamblinWreck]
Jac, I have both a Dillon 550B and a Redding Ultra-mag single stage. Loading 1000 rounds of M855 equivalent took me 3.5 hours (brass was already sized and prepped). I buy the pulled SS109 bullets in bulk, or sometimes new IMI if on sale, and use various powders I have around (WC844, Varget, RL-15, VVN135) and CCI 450 small rifle magnum primers. I load and shoot over 5000 rounds a year in highpower competition and plinking. I have never had a bad round, or a bad group. The 550B is the bomb. If you get one and have any questions, email me and I'll help as well. I have used mine a long time. I only use the single-stage for low quantinties of precision stuff, like 600 yard match ammo, or hunting ammo. Get good dies! Redding or Forster Bonanza! No need to buy Dillons! Get a precision mic and a stoney point tool and some GOOD measuring tools. One of the cheapest and most necessary tools is a Wilson .223 case gauge. Get one. I have never had a bad round, and save a lot of money. I do buy factory IMI M193/Q3131A for "stocking". Nasty stuff. [:D] PS I also load .40 and 9mm Luger on my 550B, 500 at a time in one evening, easy. If you load auto pistol ammo, use the LEE CARBIDE FACTORY CRIMP DIE! It's cheap! ($10 or so). It is a MUST for reliably and accurately crimped ammo that headspaces on the rim, like 9mm, .40, etc... Also don't seat and crimp in one die or one step - it don't work. Seat and crimp using separate dies.
Link Posted: 9/13/2001 8:21:48 PM EST
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