Reloading Equipment


May 3, 2009, 08:44 AM
My son and I are looking to get started reloading for now just 45 acp. Just wondering if anyone is looking to sell a Dillon 550b.

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May 3, 2009, 08:58 AM
Have you reloaded in the past to any degree? If not, may I suggest a single stage press to get started on?

I tried the progressives and ended up going back to my RCBS RC that I have used since 1978. I used to shoot several hundred bullets a week before components got scarce but have had to cut down to about a box a week but even so, at 200 or 300 a week, I used the RCBS and did just fine.

The Bushmaster
May 3, 2009, 09:18 AM
I can not stress this enough. Do you have a loading manual and have you and your son read it. If not...The first thing I would do is spend $20.00 for a Lyman's 49th edition and read it.

Get a quality single stage press. If money is a problem get a Lee Classic CAST single stage . Both you and your son sit down and learn to reload together.

If you feel after you, and your son, have learned the ropes and you feel you need a progressive. Get one. The single stage press will still be used for odd jobs and rifle if you start to reload long gun ammunition...

May 3, 2009, 09:27 AM
Welcome to THR

Buy, Sell,& Trade: Reloading Components and Gear ( is the place to look/ask.

If you and your son are inexperienced, I strongly agree with purchasing a good reloading manual. The Lyman is highly thought of. It has instructions as well as a lot of load data.

Starting with a nice single stage will make the learning curve much easier (and cheaper to start). You can always upgrade to a progressive later. That is how many of us, myself included, did it.

The Lee equipment will give you the most bang for your buck and is a good choice for new reloaders to get their feet wet and find out what it is about. Some folks never change brands. It will load quality ammo.

The Dillon, and other progressives, are great machines, but a single stage is much easier to learn on.

May 3, 2009, 10:40 AM
ok,, let's say you buy a dillon 550b as your 1st press..
Force yourself to NOT use it as a prgressive for at least 200 rounds,just run one case at a time thru the cycles while watching and learning what the dies do and tweaking them here and there.
Get in the habit of moving the shell plate with your left hand EVERY TIME your right hand brings the lever full-up to the top of the stroke.You do NOT EVER want a double charge of powder.
Don't spend extra bucks on the roller handle or strong mounts,they are not strong mounts just build ur bench taller about counter height.
You CAN learn on a dillon,but learning on a single stage IS a great idea.
you seldom save much on a used dillon,buy new if u can,imho.

May 3, 2009, 11:05 AM
If you decide you want to go with a Dillon, see this group buy:

Used dillon stuff does not sell for much under new prices.

May 3, 2009, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. I have been reloading 12 and 20 ga. for years on a Mec 650 and a Texan progressive press. I have reloaded some 30-06 and 243 so I am experienced but still learning. I have never loaded 45acp and for now that's what the Dillon 550b is for. Sass#23149 has a great idea using the 550b as a single stage press initially. We will be attending a reloading seminar at our local indoor range and the owner is very knowledgable and willing to openly discuss reloading especially on the Dillons because that's what he sells.
Thoughts about the updated hornady lock and load press. My son will be under my supervision and is reading everything he can get his hands on about reloading

May 3, 2009, 11:12 AM
you could try e-bay, but some stuff sells higher than new.

I started on a 550B. I see no reason not to. As noted above, I'd suggest loading one round at a time for at least a couple of hundred rounds.

You can always use the 550 as a single stage, turret, or progressive. Can't use a single as anything but a single.

There is a dealer close to here that is selling a couple of Dillons. Where are you located?

May 3, 2009, 11:12 AM
I started out loading 45's on a 550B also. It's a great press and a great choice. Dillon's support is second to none also. I bought my press used 17 years ago and Dillon will still send me the occasional part for free that I may loose or wear out. Look in eBay. I think there's a 550B set op for sale now. Also, Dillon sells a video tape on the 550B. It's a good instructional tape.

Good luck and post any questions you may have here or PM me.

May 3, 2009, 11:18 AM
I still agree with my pal Walkalong and Bushmaster. You need to get a good manual and study that way when it comes time to take your class, you'll have plenty of good thought out questions to ask the instructor. You can never have enough manuals. I have at least 14 and some people have 3 and 4 times as many.

I also think you should get a single stage if you don't already have one. It will compliment the 550B nicely



May 3, 2009, 11:19 AM

You'd be just fine starting out with the 550B. In fact, that'd probably be the press I'd recommend.

A single stage is just plain painful to use if you plan on shooting a decent amount.

Taurus 617 CCW
May 3, 2009, 11:39 AM
Quoted "Thoughts about the updated hornady lock and load press."

I'm sure the press is fine but I've been told that their customer service is their weak point. RCBS has the second best customer service in the industry and Dillon has the best. I have dealt with Dillon on warranty work with one of their presses I got used and they were a pleasure to work with!

Matt Dillon
May 3, 2009, 03:43 PM
+1 on the Lee Classic Cast press. I have loaded 10s of thousands of rounds with it, and never needed any replacement parts. The speed of the progressives are great, but the peace of mind that I get when I can look down a tray of loaded cartridges to inspect the level of powder in my filled cartridges is worth it to me to only load 200-250 rounds per hour versus whatever you can crank out on a progressive. I deprime out in the garage, then trim, flare, prime, or whatever I need to do to prepare the brass inside the house (in the AC and heat). Then once or twice a year (when the weather and temperature in the garage is pleasant) I load up all the primed and readied brass. I too would suggest reading several reloading manuals prior to beginning, and I would suggest a single stage for at least 1000 rounds, then if you think you need it, I guess you could purchase a progressive, but for me that is simply a waste of money, and doesn't offer the safety of being able to view the levels of powder in my filled cartridges.

May 3, 2009, 04:13 PM
Taurus 617 CCW wrote:
Quoted "Thoughts about the updated hornady lock and load press."
I'm sure the press is fine but I've been told that their customer service is their weak point. RCBS has the second best customer service in the industry and Dillon has the best. I have dealt with Dillon on warranty work with one of their presses I got used and they were a pleasure to work with!
What an absolutly wonderful Fairy Tale. ("I've been told ", great, just great for urban myth validation.) I have had an occasion use all three. They are all very good, but RCBS is probably the best, with Hornady and dillon being about equal.

James Thomson
May 3, 2009, 04:23 PM
It's not that hard to learn on a 550. I started on a rock chucker and have had numerous progressives. I currently own a Dillon 550 and 650 press.
The 550 is easy but wouldn't recommend the 650 for my first press.

May 3, 2009, 08:18 PM
When I was wanting to get started I also had 3 'expert' reloaders tell me that starting on a Progressive was a bad idea ... whatever. Watch the Dillon setup videos on Youtube, pay very close attention to every step when you're starting out (like you wouldn't do that anyway), and you'll be fine.

If I'd started on a single stage I doubt I'd enjoy reloading as much as I do now.

You can scour the classifieds and Ebay, but might as well just buy one new from Enos or ... you'll end up paying the same for new as used.

May 3, 2009, 08:32 PM
RCBS does have great customer service, but I have had no complaints with Hornady either.

The reloading companies stand behind their stuff as well or better, usually better, than any business out there.

You can start on a progressive, the learning curve is just a good bit steeper. Sounds like you have some experience, and may very well be up to the task.

May 3, 2009, 08:46 PM
I just started reloading a few months ago, and I repeat what I have read. "Read allllllll you can up on it before you go to your seminar." It will make a huge difference. You can't have questions, okay legit. questions unless you understand the process before you see it. RCBS RC has been great to work with. Good luck with the progressive!

May 3, 2009, 09:48 PM
I've personally been incredibly happy with Hornady's customer service.

As for a press, you might consider a Lee Classic Turret (didn't see it mentioned above), which gives you more speed than a true progressive but the ability to operate as a single-stage while you're getting up to speed. Kempf's seems to be well-regarded as a place to buy Lee stuff.

May 3, 2009, 10:09 PM
Hornady's customer service is top quality equal to anything Dillon has to offer. And, that comes from experience.

May 3, 2009, 10:45 PM
Nothing wrong with starting on a 550b...I and many others have...I have zero desire to spend anymore time and "learn" on a single stage press. Im here to make decent, safe ammo in large batches so I can shoot more.

I do agree with gettig the Lyman book, its a great read. Some research is required.

May 3, 2009, 10:47 PM
I started out loading .45ACP on a Dillon SDB and wouldn't do it any other way. I didn't start on or need a single stage press. I did however, READ the directions and followed them just as they said. Dillon is the best for customer support. Just start slow and watch what you are doing. I prefer the SDB over the 550 because it is a true progressive and lessens your chances of a double charge.

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