Anyone replace their Dillon Powder Measure with another brand?


December 26, 2004, 11:52 AM
I'm thinking about changing out my Dillon powder measure to a Hornady rotary measure to finally relieve that clunking. I love my 650XL but that clunky failsafe rod has got to go! :)

I know I'll have to use an expander die for each caliber (I think powder in #2, expander in #3) but are there any other issues I might run into by switching out? Anyone had done this? Maybe there is a better rotary powder measure than the Hornady?

Oh and yes, Cortland, I'm going to paint it blue to match my kool-aid collection and act like it came stock! :neener:

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December 26, 2004, 12:12 PM
Call Dillon, tell them what you want to do. They will round up the parts you need and give you a price. This is not common but it can be done with parts supplied by Dillon.

I have a couple Dillon progressives and no 'clunking' at all from anything on them. What exactly is the issue you have?

December 26, 2004, 12:20 PM
I've never had any clunking problems with my Dillon's - and they measure powder with greater consistency than anything else I've tried (RCBS and Redding).

December 26, 2004, 06:24 PM
I feel the Dillon Measure is clunky due to its action and the lovely failafe rod. I've used an RCBS rotary and it is so much smoother than the Dillon measure. I thought about going with the springs instead of the failsafe rod, but I'm just thinking that it would be nice to have a rotary measure with a micrometer on it. Easy to find the ballpark and then adjust more precisely than a Dillon.

I've never had any trouble with my Dillon measures, I'm just thinking it would smooh the press out that last little bit and give me a ore modern and accurate measure...

December 26, 2004, 07:14 PM
Deavis, do you have a spring around the base of the bottle mount that hooks around the plastic pin in the end of the charge bar?

December 26, 2004, 08:12 PM
You don't need anything from Dillon (most of all that XL650, but I digress...). You will need a Hornady LnL Powder Measure (, a Hornady case activated powder drop (, and n-1 Hornady Deluxe powder dies ( It's a big undertaking when you factor in all the powder dies; otherwise you'll have to readjust for each caliber. A few years ago I became less than satisfied with my 550B -- especially the powder measure -- and looked into putting an LnL measure on it. In the end I decided it would be best to just sell the 550B (and all my other blue accessories) and put the money into a Hornady LnL AP. That's what I did, and I don't regret it. The (only?) good thing about Dillon stuff is it has a high resale value.

Keep in mind that the Hornady measure does not do powder-through-expansion, so you'll have to bell in another step. If your dies are any brand but Dillon, you'll already have the belling dies. Some people have modified their LnL to expand and charge in the same step, but I've never seen the need (with my LnL AP anyway).

December 26, 2004, 08:32 PM
If the failsafe rod is routinely forcing the powder measure closed, I'd have to say something is awry with your measure...

I've got two measures, and I've run a variety of powders through them and I've never encountered a situation where the saftey bar was forcing the measure closed...

It's there to prevent squib loads in case something bad happens and the measure sticks, it's not there to close the measure every downstroke.

Any chance you can post a picture of your measure setup on the press?

just reread your post again,
I thought about going with the springs instead of the failsafe rod
I think HSMITH is on the right track here.. are the return springs on you measure?


December 26, 2004, 09:09 PM
From what I understand, the latest Dillon presses eliminate the powder measure springs entirely and rely on the failsafe rod to reset the measure (and so the failsafe rod isn't really a failsafe anymore -- it's a primary component).

December 26, 2004, 09:13 PM
the first measure I had would "snap" back when the rod pulled it shut. It was like rapping the powder measure with a hammer handle every round.

I had a defective casting. Powder would work it's way between the charge bar and the aluminum housing and jam the charge bar open, and the failsafe rod had to return it.

When I got the new (Dillon) powder measure, everything was silk smooth. My measure is extremely consistent with AA5. Last time I loaded I probably checked 50+ loads and maybe 2 were off by .1 grain.

As noted above, it had the return spring that went around the neck of the measure. Mine would leak powder as you loaded. New one doesn't

December 26, 2004, 10:15 PM
I just perused through dillons website, and they clearly show the return springs on the 550, but curisouly enough, not on the 650.. The powder measures appear to be quite different as well, which suprised me..

I'll toss a link up to the pic of the 550 measure up so you can get a feel for the spring setup (which works great). No clue why they would eliminate it from the 650 setup..


December 27, 2004, 03:18 AM
The new/current powder measures from Dillon do not use the springs to return the powder bar to its resting position. The newer ones use the failsafe rod to pull the powder bar back. I like the older style better myself, but they don't sell them anymore. The new style was designed to prevent you from short stroking the press handle and causing a double charge, as the powder measure locks in place till the handle is raised all the way back up.

December 27, 2004, 01:50 PM
As I said before, I've got a fail-safe based return powder measure since my press isn't old enough to have the spring return mechanism. For you guys that don't think it is clunky, it makes me wonder if you have ever used another brand of press with a rotary powder measure. Either that or the spring return everyone seems to have must really smooth it out. At first, I thought there was something wrong but I've come to the conclusion that the bar is just plain clunky on the downstroke. It has to be, the failsafe rod is camming a mechanism off center to return it the measure to is base position.

I believe Cortland will back me up, if he has used a fail-safe reutrn measure, and say that it feels incredibly clunky compared to a rotary powder measure design. Cortland, can you tell me a bit more about the metering inserts/powder dies? I know I'd have to get expander dies ($12 per caliber, big whoop) but I thought I could simply get a the handgun micrometer insert and I was all set to go. I just have to mount a powder die on each of my toolheads, and move the powder measure over to it.

Is the measure not like the RCBS where it has a small and large powder bushing and the micrometer adjusts across most of that range? I've been to your site, but it wasn't perfectly clear, maybe I missed something. With the micrometer, I should be able to just turn it to a pre-designated spot (which I wrote down on the last caliber/load combination) and get started (powder die saves me from adjusting for full stroke on every caliber). That is the way it worked on My RCBS measure...

I might convert one of my measures to the spring mechanism, I was told that Dillon still sells the parts I need. Maybe I'll try it with one and see if it helps before I give those Reds any money :)

Afterall, I've never cheated on my kool-aid before. Oh wait, I've got a Lee FCD die in my toolheads! What is that Casemaster doing on my bench! :what:

December 28, 2004, 10:23 AM
There's a retro fix to alleviate the new style clunking Dillon measures that many folks have done. Makes it silky smooth again. I believe there's a sticky on it on the Brian Enos site.

December 29, 2004, 06:49 PM
I just have to mount a powder die on each of my toolheads, and move the powder measure over to it.
Correct. You'll have an adjusted Hornady powder die on each toolhead. You'll also want to get the $25 snap-in micrometer metering insert for the Hornady measure (the metering insert that comes with the measure is not a micrometer). Then changing toolheads involves: 1) unhooking the return spring, 2) moving the powder measure bushing from powder die #1 to powder die #2, 3) moving the powder measure from powder die #1 to powder die #2, 4) rehooking the return spring, and 5) setting the micrometer to your pre-recorded setting for the new load. Should take all of about 15 seconds.

If you have to change powders, the Hornady is also much faster than the Dillon on that front, too. Since the metering inserts snap in and out of the measure, all you need to do is snap out the metering insert, and snap in a $5 drain adapter. You can then drain all the powder out the measure without having to invert it, shake it, and cycle it as you do with the Dillon measures.

I found the failsafe rod on my 550B to be very clunky. The worst part about it was that after 10-20,000 rounds, the little spring washer in that plastic wingnut would lose all of its tension, and as you used the press that wingnut would then slowly migrate down the failsafe rod. If you didn't keep tightening that wingnut, it would eventually loosen so much that it wouldn't fully reset the powder measure -- resulting in squibs! The solution of course would be to order a handful of those little wingnuts, but it's still a bad design.

December 29, 2004, 11:35 PM
I use a Hornady drum-type powder measure on a 650. Works great. Contrary to others' advice, you can bell with a drum-type powder measure. Lyman makes an inexpensive kit for doing just that.

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