ReLoading Machine


USMC 1975
April 24, 2008, 07:09 AM
I am brand new to reloading handgun ammo so bear with me here.

I like to shoot and typically try and get range time at least once a week. I am getting ate out of house and home with buying over the counter ammo so decided that I would get into reloading. I believe my costs as I calculated for a 50 rd box of 380 range ammo would be $ 5.50,. I am currently paying $ 15 per 50 rds.

A buddy of mine picked out a loading machine for me and said it was one of the best on the market. Not cheap in price but excellent quality and reliability with excellent factory support. My question is, what are your opinions on this machine ? It's a Dillon SDB

Here is the link -

The cost of 380 / 45 / 357 ammo is just crazy. I am limiting myself to how much I am shooting during each range visit because of the costs. I do not have a bottomless pit full of money. :) There seems to be no price relief in site either so I thought maybe now is a good time to get set up with everything I need and start reloading.

Any input would be helpful. Thanks guys.


If you enjoyed reading about "ReLoading Machine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 24, 2008, 07:40 AM
If you are at all technically minded, you will enjoy reloading as a pursuit in and of itself. There is the added benefit of having less expensive ammunition to shoot, and if you practice, you get better!

The SDB is a good press. Personally I would also look at offerings from Lee such as their Classic Cast Turret Press. (Stay away from the "other than" Classic Cast Lee presses IMO).

Good luck. Go slowly with caution and double check everything you do. You will have fun and learn a great deal.

April 24, 2008, 07:40 AM
Do a search on the Square Deal B. This has been discussed before. Some people love them and some don't. I'm in the latter category.

They do work, but the dies are not std, so you need to buy from Dillon if you want to change calibers. I think the 650 is a better deal and not that much more expensive.

When my Star loaders break, I'll switch to Dillon. :rolleyes:

April 24, 2008, 07:49 AM
Great machine. It has the auto-index feature (Where the press moves the shells around the press stage). It is compact so it does not take up a whole 4' long bench to operate it.

Draw Backs: It takes special dies not the standard dies like other presses. The work area is small and confined this doe not help if you are like me and have rather large meat hooks with fat fingers. Case feeder it does not come with nor can you by a case-feeder for it. You feed them in one at a time. The caliber change is a bit more complicated than the 550B and XL650. The biggest drawback is you are limited to pistol only with this press. I am not one to recamend a progressive press to a new reloader but, if all your loading is going to be pistol and revolver then start with a progressive and just load one round at a time untill you get the hang of whats going on.

I have the Dillon RL550B and love it to death. I have to force myself to load on my single stage for fear it will get mad and load bad ammo to get back at me. When I started looking for a progressive I looked at Hornady and Dillon. I was going to go with the SDB but found a 550B for only $6 more so I bought it. If you get one get a strong mount, bullet tray these will make life very nice. I would also say to get the lockable cover so little fingers and eyes don't mess with your press.

April 24, 2008, 08:27 AM
got one's a great machine for a first timer.....I am one of those.... started relading 4 months is a breeze to learn on and makes great ammo!

April 24, 2008, 09:21 AM
The SDB is a good press to have on the bench if you plan on having more then one press. It's not a good primary press because it takes proprietary dies, can't load rifle calibers, and can't be equipped with a case feeder. It really leaves you no room to grow which may be okay depending on your situation. If you only ever intend to load straight wall pistol calibers then I wouldn't care that it only takes proprietary dies. The Dillon dies for the SDB are excellent and better than many low end dies (alignment sleeves at every station, true wad cutter seater, proper taper crimp).

I would look at an LnL which is in the same price range or a 650 with all the trimmings if you really want to splurge.

The SDB shines when you want to have a one off press for a given caliber because it comes with everything you need to load including a powder measure, and caliber change, dies etc. in addition to a complete press.

April 24, 2008, 10:50 AM
I'd go for it unless you can find a 550B for $10 more like I did including the conversion kit of my choice at Scheel's last year. My friend has loaded probably 10K or more .45 rounds on his without issue over the last 20 years. As always with Dillon's warranty if anything breaks (even if you bought it used) they will ship you a replacement free. Also, keep in mind if you ever want to load rifle you might be better off with the 550B as the SDB will not load them.

The Bushmaster
April 24, 2008, 11:05 AM
If you are just starting out in the reloading hobby I would recommend that you buy a manual like Lyman's 48 Edition. Even if your friend is a reloader you will find this or another comperable manual indispensible...I would also recommend that you start out with a turret press rather then a progressive press until you figure out the ins and outs of reloading and what your needs will be in the future. You MUST have a good working knowledge of reloading before you move to a progressive press. You might even look at getting a single stage press. Even if it will not fill the bill now it will come in handy later. I have both, a single and a turret press and use both...

April 24, 2008, 11:20 AM
I loved my 550 until I got the Hornady LNL AP. Now the 550 loads only one cartridge, while the LNL loads more than a dozen different cartridges. Read
“How I spent my winter” --- is an excellent and unbiased article.
The LNL is far less expensive than any Dillon and the costs of changeovers make it a much better bargain. Now there is a 1000 free bullet deal that makes the cost of the Hornady press under $100.

I prefer the LNL over any Dillon because: the Hornady powder system is much advanced, superior, and more versatile, is more accurate with some powders and is easier to adjust. Caliber changeovers are much faster and way less expensive. The run-out on ammo is much superior to any Dillon I’ve compared it with, and by some accounts is getting a strong following in bench rest circles. And that’s just for starters.

April 24, 2008, 02:45 PM
Nothin' wrong with a Dillon; do be aware that the SDB is limited to pistol calibers... that said, I went with a Hornady LnL... the caliber flexibility, simplicity of operation, and lower cost (up front and for caliber changes) just sold me. The 1000 free bullets didn't hurt either! Take a look at an LnL AP... but if you want to go blue, there's certainly nothing wrong with Dillon equipment -- I put it up there with the Hornady. RCBS, Redding, and Lyman also make good stuff (I've used various turret and single stage presses from these guys)... started with a Lee Challenger single stage when i was a teenager, broke a few parts on it ... but it did work.

April 24, 2008, 02:56 PM
The SDB is a good press if you don't plan on loading rifle cartridges on it, and you don't mind nonstandard dies. Several of my friends have them and love 'em. By the time I was ready for a progressive press, I already had a bunch of dies so the SDB was disqualified.

I started out with a very old one of these: that I bought used on eBay, and it came with a micrometer powder measure. I still like loading on it better than my Hornady progressive press, although the Hornady is faster.

April 24, 2008, 03:03 PM
That's a pretty heavy-duty lookin' press, zxcvbob! What do you like about it better than the Hornady? It looks like it retails for about the same (but Hornady does offer that free bullets deal)... what features does it have that are better? I just got started back in reloading, and am already looking at getting a second press, if for anything the convenience of it...

April 24, 2008, 03:25 PM
It's expensive, but 3-hole models (like I have) sell on eBay all the time for less than $100.

It's about twice as fast as a conventional single-stage press. I've loaded 100 9mm cartridges in a half hour on it once, but that was faster than I like to go. Change-over is *very* fast if your dies have good lockrings with setscrews. And I like the primer system that it uses.

I'm probably biased though because it was my first reloading press. Also I like things that are a little different.

Someone had a Texan reloading press just like the C&H for sale a few days ago in the THR Trading Post.

April 24, 2008, 04:04 PM
I have a SQ D, and I love it. Mine is set up for 45 ACP, and it stays that way. Keep in mind that it uses dies that will only fit it, and it only loads pistol calibers. I guarentee that you will love it.

For a few dollars more, I would swing for the 550. It will do anything that the SQ D will, except auto index. It will also do almost any cartrige, rife or pistol.

April 24, 2008, 06:06 PM
If you're only going to load the .380, the square deal will load it quickly and do a good job.

But if you think you might load other calibers and want reasonable speed with significant flexibility, the Lee Classic Turret is pretty much impossible to beat.

Much less expensive and more versatile than most anything out there. You won't load as fast, but you'll load about as much as you can afford on a serviceman's paycheck and get it done in a reasonable time.

The Lee Classic Turret produces an easy 200 an hour. If you've tuned it a bit and work at it, you can get 300 an hour out of it.



April 24, 2008, 08:40 PM
:cool: Aloha...

The square deal is cool but you can only use dillon dies. for $60.00 more, you can get the Dillon 550B and it is one hot little press. I use XL650's (one for 9mm, another for 45ACP) but I am seriously thinking about getting a 550B for my other pistol calibers (much easier to change calibers than the 650). If you don't want to spend the $450.00 aprox for 550B + Dies, I have heard nothing but good things about the Lee Classic Cast Turret. Kempf has a kit that will set you back around $150.00 including dies. I would get the upgrades for the powder throw and primer kit. With that and a good scale. you could be on your way picking up other little gadgets and goodies as you go.

Steady, Mate and keep a sharp eye.

Drinks all around...

USMC 1975
April 25, 2008, 08:02 AM
Thanks guys for all your input. I can see I have some decisions to make.

One thing I didn't bring up and should of is work space ( or the lack thereof ).
I am going to have to setup my reloader, reload for a couple days then store the reloader after each use.

The reason for this is because I will be reloading while in Florida ( I am retired and love the warm winters ) and I am very limited on space. Actually, I will be doing the reloading in my 20 ft. enclosed motorcycle trailer. We spend our winters living in our Motorcoach / Bus so portability and size is very important.

Does this change the game on any of the other reloaders mentioned ? Are some out of the question because of size and lack of portability ?

Thanks again for everyones input. It really helps newbies such as myself.


April 25, 2008, 08:12 AM
Here is my bench before and after.

USMC 1975
April 25, 2008, 08:13 AM
Opp's, I forgot to mention, the only ammo I will be reloading will be for handguns only.

I own several rifles, but they are all .22 Cal. I have no plans on buying any rifles, I am a handgun / shotgun enthusiast. :)



The Bushmaster
April 25, 2008, 09:03 AM
Still the Lee Classic Cast Turret comes to mind...

Uncle Chan
April 25, 2008, 10:17 AM
I have a RL550B. I load only 1 caliber on it, 45LC. Bought it to load all, but the switch from caliber to caliber is a PITA and WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.

So, I bought a Lee Classic Turret. What a sweet little machine. I'll never not have one on my bench any more.

USMC 1975
April 26, 2008, 11:02 PM
I am sure you guys are sick and tired of my posts. But I do have another question for you all. As I stated before, I am a newbie and have never seen a reloader in action in person so I really do not have a clue.

The Dillon allows multiple tasks to be completed to multiple rounds with each pull of the handle. My question is, does the Loadmaster also complete the same amount of tasks as well with each pull of the handle ?

I watched a video of a guy using the loadmaster and he had one casing on the turret and was pulling the handle for each stage. With the video I watched on the Dillon, the guy had several casings going around at the same time.

If someone could explain this to me, I would appreciate it. The one thing I am looking for with a reloader is ease of use. Pulling that handle numerous times with one casing going around seems time consuming. I will gladly spend a couple hundred extra on a machine that has several casings going at the same time.

Thanks guys for your help.


Bush Pilot
April 27, 2008, 11:04 AM
Get a 550 and never look back.

April 27, 2008, 11:46 AM
If I were to get a Dillion it would be the 650 but the Lee Auto indexing turret press will load semi progressive too for much less money but a little more time from you.

April 27, 2008, 11:49 PM
If someone could explain this to me, I would appreciate it. The one thing I am looking for with a reloader is ease of use. Pulling that handle numerous times with one casing going around seems time consuming. I will gladly spend a couple hundred extra on a machine that has several casings going at the same time.
It sounds like you really want a progressive of some sort. I say go for it if you are mechanically minded, otherwise, give the turret some serious consideration. If you prefer Dillon, I'd opt for the 550b, for the same reasons many have listed. One thing I really appreciate about the 550 is how easily you can treat it like a single stage press when you want to, since you control the indexing.

If the color of the press doesn't matter, the Hornady LNL with the 1000 bullet offer (I think that is still going - it was last I checked) is worth taking a look at (as mentioned by some others).

All presses have their quirks, and what one person loves another may hate, and everyone has an opinion. If it is at all possible, try to find a local shop (or shops) that carries the different presses you are interested in so you can see what they are like. There's a local place (The Gunstop) where people can see how different presses operate while making real ammo. That is hard to beat.

You mentioned your space is limited, make sure you have a solid mount for a progressive press. The guys with turrets can chime in on how much mechanical force gets transmitted through the base, and if that is comparable to a progressive. Take a look at the helpful hints sticky for ways to build a sturdy base with an easy setup system.

April 28, 2008, 08:56 AM
I would think that with all the posters around here, you could find someone to demonstrate their setup for you.

As a self-described newbie, you're easily looking at $300 or more with press and dies, whichever way you go, IMO. Surely there is someone within driving distance to where you are.

Meanwhile, if you want to stop in Birmingham on your way to FL next time, ...

Oh, sorry... that would be AL, NOT MI!

April 28, 2008, 01:02 PM
Ditto on the Hornady LnL AP ... the price is right with the 1000 free bullet offer, and I really like the way mine works (after learning a few "kinks", works real well). Search Youtube for some videos of this press... there are also videos of Dillon (good equipment too), and a few of the Lee presses as well.

If you enjoyed reading about "ReLoading Machine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!