Dillon Square Deal vs. RL 550B


September 23, 2003, 01:10 PM
What's the difference between the Dillon Square Deal B and the RL 550B? I'm guessing the Square Deal requires the dillon caliber conversion and does not accept standard dies, correct? So if all I was going to do was handgun calibers that Dillon has listed conversions for, the SDB would be fine, otherwise, the RL 550B would be much much better. Overall though, do they work about the same regarding caliber changes and setup, etc?

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September 23, 2003, 01:32 PM
The SDB only does pistol cases, and uses Dillon's proprietary dies. It will automatically index, i.e., the shell plate rotates automatically as you pull the handle. It's also a bit cheaper than the 550.

The RL550B uses standard dies and is a little quicker to change over from one caliber to another, at least if you have a complete extra tool head. It's more versatile, as it will also load most rifle cartridges. However, it does NOT auto index - you have to rotate the shell plate yourself at the appropriate time in the cycle. Some don't mind this . . . but it's not my preference.

I have an SDB and use it for pistol cases - .38/.357, .44, and .45 ACP, and am quite satisfied, and really appreciate the auto indexing - I wouldn't trade it for a 550 as long as I was only loading pistol cases. If I wanted an "upgrade" it wouldn't be to a 550 - I'd probably move right up to Dillon's 650.

Jim Watson
September 23, 2003, 02:25 PM
I'm the other way. I started Dilloning with a SDB. (I had been loading .38s on a C-H Auto Champ progressive for years, and 12 gauge on a MEC 650.) Then I added another SDB so I wouldn't have to change calibers. Then I upgraded to a S1050 for .45 ACP and got a 550B for other quantity calibers. (I load target rifle ammo single stage.) I don't own a 650 but have seen them run.

I think the 550B is the best of the lot.

September 28, 2003, 01:10 PM
I've got two SDBs - one for .45 and one for everything else.
Overall, they have been extremely reliable and problem free.
I have broken a few parts, but the Dillon service is great.

I don't think you can beat the SDB set up for .45 only. This is an easy to load cartridge, and I shoot more of it than anything else.

The one I load everything else on is OK for .357, but the press is at its strength and stability limits when loading the .45 Colt.


September 28, 2003, 08:59 PM
I've got two Dillon SDBs, a RL550, and a Rockchucker. One SDB is set up for large pistol primers and the other for small. Changing out tool heads is not a big deal. The 550 is basically set up for loading .308 Winchester practice rounds for my practical rifle. The Rockchucker is used for small lots of odd calibers like my wildcats. Dillon is "da bomb." RKBA!

Zak Smith
September 28, 2003, 11:31 PM
Ditto on the 650.

I currently have two SDB's (.45ACP, 9x19) and a Rockchucker.

The XL650 is going to be WAY faster than either a SDB or a 550. Get the casefeeder and you'll be rockin'.

My next press will be a 650 or 1050.


September 29, 2003, 10:16 PM
I bought one of the first Square Deal and later did the "B" upgrade-.45 only and many thousands of them.
My 550B is my favorite for most everything else.
I use a single stage press for load development and small lots of hunting rounds.

October 1, 2003, 11:16 AM
I love my SDB. I am still somewhat new to reloading, and the press was very easy to learn. I have had it just under a year.
I just use it for .45acp to feed my IDPA gun. Some 3000+ rounds latter it's still going strong.(I know that not a lot of ammo to some guys, but untill I got the press I didn't shoot that much 45acp)

Some day I might get another caliber conversion for it.


October 3, 2003, 03:28 PM
You are doing exactly what I would do with a press if I bought one, reloading .45ACP only.

My question of you is: Was it worth it? I don't mind spending the time, I think it would actually be fun. I'm referring to the cost. I limit my shooting to about 100 rounds per week due mostly to cost. How do your reloads compare to store bought, price wise?



Damon of Baltimore
October 8, 2003, 11:18 PM
I started out with a SDB about 2 months ago (9mm, 38, and 357). I love it! After only a few weeks of learning, I was able to safely produce 400-600 rounds per hour.

I loved the SDB so much, that last saturday when my wife and I each bought 45colt vaquero's, I ordered a new SDB in 45colt so that I don't have to change the primer system between caliber's.

As for cost per round, it depends on several things like cost of primers, lead or jacketed bullets, how much of what type of powder you use, etc.

Hope this helps,


October 9, 2003, 09:41 AM
Got the SDB for .45ACP. Once I worked out the powder loads it ran fine. Great reloader. Easy to use and pretty idiot proof. I bought the 1911 before the reloader and found I needed to start reloading or just keep the 1911 as a display piece. I don't keep track of cost because the way I look at it is that I get to shoot more reloading than when I bought factory ammo. I think the costs average out: Factory ammo=shoot less; reloaded ammo=shoot more. If I was to get another, I'd think about the 650 since I think it auto indexes the shells. I find I enjoy that feature.

Hint: Go Slow. Take your time. Proficiency will come with time.

October 9, 2003, 12:16 PM
In shot yes, it has been worth it. I do really enjoy my time at the reloading bench so that is another plus. As far as cost per box, I am loading them for about $4.30 a box instead of $10-13 for a box of 50.

I got into reloading in sort of a wierd way. Last year my kid brother spurised me with a compleat SDB for christmas. Tumbler and all!!

An to think I used to tie that kid to a tree and run off. :)

I do know that there is no way I could aford to shoot IDPA if I were not reloading my own cartriges.


October 10, 2003, 02:33 AM
if your choice is a long-term 'one press only', get the 550 if you are able - you'll thank yourself later as your reloading efforts expand to other calibers.
I've happily used my 550B for 13-14yrs, loading 9mm, .38/.357, .40, .44/.44mag, .45acp, .223, .270, .30-06 :)
Buy one press that will do it all (well), and use the money which you might have spent on a second dedicated press to buy all the accesories you'll need, instead.

August 13, 2009, 01:46 PM
if your choice is a long-term 'one press only', get the 550 if you are able - you'll thank yourself later as your reloading efforts expand to other calibers.
I've happily used my 550B for 13-14yrs, loading 9mm, .38/.357, .40, .44/.44mag, .45acp, .223, .270, .30-06
Buy one press that will do it all (well), and use the money which you might have spent on a second dedicated press to buy all the accesories you'll need, instead.

This sounds like really good advice.

August 13, 2009, 02:30 PM
+1 for the 550B.

If you ever do bottleneck cartridges, you'll probably find the lack of auto-indexing to be a plus instead of a minus. It lets you use station 1 as a single stage press, then "index past it" with your resized & trimmed rifle brass.

As I was reloading only .45ACP a few years ago, I also considered the SDB. I'm glad I got the 550B instead.

Howard B
August 13, 2009, 04:15 PM
I concur with the 550B. I have one set up with small primer feed and one with large. I don't mind changing out the tool heads and shell holder parts, but the primer set up is considerably more effort. At least for me.

August 13, 2009, 07:50 PM
...the primer set up is considerably more effort.

Absolutely! Every once in awhile I get to thinking about getting something in a cartridge that uses small primers, and then I think about what I'd have to do to set up for small primers on my 550B, and...I pass on that gun.

(I only have 4 cartridge types, and they all use large primers. Also, except for the oddball .44 Rem Mag, they all use the same shellplate. :) )

August 13, 2009, 11:02 PM
MaterDei: I don't know "what" you shoot: Range, plinking, competition,SD practice???

I load and shoot 9mm 124gr jacketed rds at a specific range of speeds for action shooting competition & range shooting. My specific use ammo costs less than Wal-Marts best deal in 9mm. I don't save any money because I shoot a lot more. I don't have to scrounge for ammo I may not be happy with. I also found that I enjoy reloading MY ammunition .

I DO NOT look at the savings from reloading as payback for the equipment. I still have the equipment and can sell it.
I DO look at the savings relative to the cost of commercial ammunition, convenience, supply and my enjoyment.

In 45 acp their are a large number of choices for bullet weight and type that can change the price to reload quite a bit. Good SD rds will cost noticeably more than simple lead target rounds. 200gr, 230 gr, jacketed, lead boolets, etc, etc.

What you can count on is being able to shoot a lot more than you are shooting now for the same money. Once you find and buy your ammunition components, you can also count on having ammo WHEN you want or need it, even if Wal-Mart doesn't have any.

I haven't been reloading very long (about 4-5K rds ago). I've started with The Lee Turret Press which works well for pistol, fairly easy to learn and not expensive. It supplies all the ammo I expect to need.

If you are loading range ammo, you can use relatively inexpensive powders and bullets/boolets loaded to your preferences. Cases are an issue if you can't find a free or cheap source. I live near a range that doesn't harvest their brass. I can pick up all the 9mm I can carry. My son gets 45 acp brass but their is less of that as many reload.

Is it worth it---Yes

August 13, 2009, 11:58 PM
I like the 550B as well. If I had cash for one press, I would probably have to buy the Lee Classic Turret but I had to choose between the 550B and the SDB - 550B, it's a no brainer.


D. Manley
August 14, 2009, 01:04 PM
I certainly couldn't argue with those who recommend the Dillon 550B...simple, reliable and versatile press. It comes down to what individual preferences and shooting needs are, though. I personally prefer a quality single stage for rifle loads but for my pistol needs, the SDB is absolutely perfect. It's has a high production rate, is very safe (with auto-indexing) and for progressive operation, could'nt get much simpler.

August 14, 2009, 01:14 PM
Howard B in post 16 summed it up for me. The 550 is not condusive to fast primer changes. Caliber changes are easy and quick using tool heads; the shell plate holder(s) takes about 1 minute to change.

But going from large primers to small is somewhat of a drawback on the 550.

August 15, 2009, 02:16 PM
Go to www.RealGuns.com and check out the reload calculator. Get prices for powder, primes and the bullet you want to load, then enter the box price from each and the quanity of primers, bullets and powder in each box into the caculator. Also there is a place to enter the price you pay for factory ammo per box. Once you have that info entered, you can find out exactly how much you will save with each box you reload!
This will be on the RealGuns home page under Ballistic Calculators then down to Handload Cost Savings.

August 15, 2009, 03:31 PM
One day I'll own another 550b and they'll be (each) with large and small primer set ups, but until that day comes I'll use my 550b with a smile on my face. I do use 2 powder measures though, one large and one small, makes that change over simple. The SD seems to be a fine press but would cost to much money for the dies and tool heads since I already have them for the 550b.

August 17, 2009, 10:34 PM
I have the 450 (grand-daddy of the 550) and an very happy with it. I've looked at getting an SDB to dedicate to .45acp (the caliber I load most) but think maybe I should just buy a 550 or 650 and sell the 450.

Of course, with the variety of calibers I'm set up for, if I buy a 650, just the cost of shell plates is going to kill me. Who knows, I'll probably just stick with what I have :)

Good thread, though, and lots of good input.

Oh, and currently loading 45 acp for $5.50-6.00 per 50 rounds, using components I bought a year or more ago.

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