Loading bottle necked rifle cartridges on a Dillon 550 or 650


April 29, 2009, 03:58 PM
I have another question about Dillon 550 and 650.

When you are loading rifle cartridges, do you start with the cartridge already resized and trimmed to length?

I have been loading on a Lee turret til now, and I resize my rifle brass first on a single stage press, then trim, and then load on the turret.

Would I need to change if using a Dillon?

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April 29, 2009, 04:14 PM
I have a tool head with only a size die and trimmer mounted for the first pass. Then complete the rest of the operations on a 1050 (another tool head on a 650 would do everything the 1050 does except swage primer pockets).

April 29, 2009, 04:32 PM
I only assemble 223 on my 550B. In the past I have done this:

1) Tumble Brass
2) Lube, size/deprime in single stage press (Dillon Carbide FL sizer)
3) tumble to remove lube
4) Swage primer pocket if needed
5) trim to consecutive length
6) champfer/deburr case mouth
7) clean flash hole / primer pocket
8) Assemble components in 550B as:
A) Station 1 - No Die but prime brass - (Sometime I prime brass w/handtool.
B) Station 2 - Powder charge case
C) Station 3 - Redding Competion seater die
D) Station 4 - Redding Crimp die for very light crimp

* I now have a new 100 lot batch of brass that I am testing with the following:

Station 1 - RCBS X Sizer die (and prime brass)
Station 2 - Powder charge
Station 3 - Redding Comp Seater die
Station 4 - Redding Crimp die

I am hoping that I will not have to trim this brass ever again. We will see if this X Die really works like it should. If it does, I will try this with a 1K lot of brass. Then maybe have a master lot of brass of 5K or even 10K.


April 29, 2009, 04:38 PM
OK so you are basically doing on your Dillon what I have been doing on the Lee turret... you already have your brass ready to go before you start.

April 29, 2009, 04:50 PM
You still have to process your bottle neck brass the same as if you are loading it on a single stage, a regular turret, a Lee Classic cast turret, or a progressive. Just because you have a progressive does not mean you don't have to ensure your brass is within spec.

There is an exception that I am trying with the RCBS X-Die but I have neither proved or busted if this die really works.

They say with a X-Die, you only have to trim the brass once then you will never have to trim it again. I am trying this now with a small lot to see if this really works or not.

I will still need to clean and uniform the primer pocket and flash hole as well as champfer the inside of the case mouth I am sure.

Sorry but I don't think you can completely get away with processing bottleneck brass.


April 29, 2009, 05:02 PM
I lube, size, check length, and tumble my 223 brass before loading and use an universal decapping die in station one, prime there also. Several times I have gotten media stuck in the flash hole and this way I don't have to inspect each and every case. Load 308's for my M1A that way too. :)

April 29, 2009, 05:08 PM
Not a a Dillon but..

If this is brass that I have shot/previously processed and I know it doesn't have primer pocket crimps..

Tumble to clean.
Length check (calipers set to length and set screw tightened)
If the brass needs trimming, then I build a 'batch' then trim, deburr and chamfer (ID).

Lube 50 at a time and feed into the progressive.

The press is set up like so :
Station 1) Decap, resize. (I test the brass size in Lyman case gauge.)
Station 2) Prime
Station 3) Drop powder
Station 4) Seat
Station 5) Empty mostly, but have tried the Lee crimp die

The resulting rounds are then tumbled again to get rid of the lube.

I then move on the the next 50 while the first batch are tumbling.

The down side to this is that I trim before resizing. I may be trimming a little too much, but I can live with it.


April 29, 2009, 08:34 PM
There's more than one way to skin this cat, and they all work. If you have a single stage press, you can continue to resize and trim as necessary to get prepped brass. Many run the brass in a tumbler to get rid of excess lube, and some simply wipe it off.

You can also do this on the 550B by simply not indexing the press after resizing/depriming at the first station.

To take advantage of the 550B's priming system, you would insert prepped brass, push handle forward to reprime, index, then pull handle down to perform the progressive operations (powder charge, bullet seat, crimp.)

You can either have a resizing die at station one that you "skip", or just leave that station empty on the toolhead if you're doing this on a separate press.

Part of the reason why the 550B is considered versatile is because it doesn't index until you do it with your L thumb... :)

April 29, 2009, 11:31 PM
There are some restrictions to reloading rifle cartridges on a Dillon 550/650. One is that there is only one station available before the powder drop. If you need two steps (shoulder bump & neck size, FL size w/o expander button & separate expander die, etc.), you will have to run through the press twice. The RCBS 2000 progressive is designed to use the PM in the 2nd station, but it might be usable elsewhere (unlike the "fail-safe" Dillon PMs). The LNL AP can use the PM at any station. The LNL AP also has individually removable dies that make customizing a run a little easier, but you can remove individual dies from any progressive, it just takes a little longer on some. If you have a case feeder and auto indexer, it may even be worth it to run a batch of brass through the press for just one operation (i.e. with only one die installed), since it handles the brass for you.


April 30, 2009, 03:39 AM
Not a lot of difference from what many are doing--I run the brass through a FL die on the old Rockchucker (by batches), trim if necessary, also in batches based on number of firings, then go to the Dillon (450 in my case, but it matters not, just a little more manual than the 550) and progress just as a pistol load with no die in the first station--just prime there, except I don't crimp (we're talking .223 here). I'm thinking of spending for an RCBS X-die, which defies all logic, but folks say it works (HOW???). I'll be real interested in what lgbloader comes up with in his evaluation of the X-die. All the physics in the world say it can't work as claimed--but maybeso it does.
Going through a Dillon as above is dependant upon using a free flowing, easily metered powder, i.e. H335 (try getting some of that!!). The Obama gov't has restricked it's distribution (opps, sorry, didn't mean to get into a rant, even if factual).
Of course this whole thing is fixing to come to a halt because I'll soon be out of small rifle primers. Anyone know where some might be acquired?

April 30, 2009, 07:02 AM
I basically use my 550B as a single stage press. I just use each station individually depending on where I am in the loading process. It's easy on the 550 but I think it would be a lot more difficult on the 650. The 650 is made for higher production.

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