Dillon 550 questions


March 10, 2010, 12:44 PM
Hi All,

I'm coming from the world of single stage. I like to separate headstamps for accuracy. I like to powder check every 10th or 20th round for powder measure consistency. 10 rounds if i'm not comfortable with the powder drop (Unique) or 20 rounds if I am comfortable (W231).

I just aquired a 550...

I get completely torn and clustered when I pull that 10th round from station 2 and pour it into the scale. It breaks that nice cycle of just placing a projectile in station 3 and putting a new brass in station 1. I don't like pouring the powder that I just weighed back into the live brass because sometimes not all the powder falls back into it. So after I pull that brass, there is an "break" in the "system"

Do you set aside the live brass and complete it at the end of the session? Or you pour the powder back into the brass from the scale bowl? Or do you just load 500 rounds and only check once or twice?

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March 10, 2010, 12:53 PM
Why doesn't all your powder fall into the cartridge case?
Are you using plastic bowl on your scale?
Do you have a static elect. problem.

March 10, 2010, 01:08 PM
Some powder just sticks and when you get that brass bowl sideways funneling into the case...the powder that sticks falls off and sometimes does not make it in and onto the bench. I'm sure if i did it really slowly and carefully but when loading single stage it was real simple to just dump it back into the powder measure and get a fresh load.

I can do it that way....we'll see what the majority says.

March 10, 2010, 01:18 PM
I have several Dillons and load lots. Once I get set up and running I check probably every 100 rounds and never have much variance beyond what is acceptable to me. I can't think of the last time I had to change the powder dispenser once I get set up. I may load 5,000 rounds without tearing down the setup.

It sounds like you are trying to pour from the scale pan right into the case, right? You need to use a powder funnel and you will never spill one grain of powder. I sometimes have a static cling problem with powder sticking to the plastic funnel, and you can prevent that by either of 2 methods:
(1) use a metal funnel
(2) spray the inside of the plastic funnel with static cling remover, available in the laundry section of your local grocery store in a small blue/orange spray can. Works great, just let it dry before pouring powder thru it.

March 10, 2010, 01:19 PM
I just use a powder funnel


although I tend to check every 100th round, Dillon powder measure is quite good and it's within a tenth of a grain.

March 10, 2010, 01:21 PM
I just just pour the powder back into the brass from the scale bowl

March 10, 2010, 01:24 PM
I have a "special" case for each caliber I reload, which I use to set up or check the powder measure on my 550b. The case is special because I have the weight recorded to 0.1g, and also because it has a fired primer (so the powder doesn't fall out.)

I pull the locator button at Station 2 to do this, of course. Then I throw a charge and check the total weight (case + charge) to see how close it is to the desired value. Dump powder back in powder measure tube, adjust charge and repeat until I get consistent results.

The "special" case doesn't have any lube on the inside of the neck, so all the powder dumps out.

I usually do this every box, as a check, but I don't mess with the rounds that are actually being loaded. (50rds for pistol, 20 for rifle)

I use a calculator to add the case weight to the charge weight, then set my RCBS 10-10 to that value. If you use an electronic scale, you can just set the empty case on the scale and use its weight as "tare".

March 10, 2010, 01:40 PM
although I don't use a 550, my practice is to never pour the powder back into a case and reinsert it into a progressive cycle. Such cases pulled for checking are set aside for use at the end of the run or for later use.

And, when I am loading on a progressive, my selected recipe includes 'good' powder-measure practices--e.g., have the measure at least 3/4 full when you start a run; check for clumping; pull the first few drops to confirm charge weight and consistency in weight; then do not let the hopper drop below one-quarter full; use the same stroke 'style' to promote consistency, etc., etc. And, of course, the powder I use I have already tested for use in a measure for consistent drops. IOW, I typically use a ball / flattened ball, or short-cut extruded powder. With all these practices in place, I rarely feel the need to check weight but every 100 rounds or more.

That practice is notably different from most single-stage workflows people use--and changes in workflow cause reloader anxiety, I've found.

Using a press with multiple stations does take developing a new workflow paradigm. If you think about that new workflow diligently, then you can develop the second habit well, I suspect.

March 10, 2010, 01:44 PM
Take a piece of Bounce ( laundry anti-cling )-cut it about 1 1/2" wide & place it in your empty powder dropper-tape it to the outside of plastic so it can't plug drop hole.
pour powder back in---also buy a metal funnel from Midway---kills all the static elect.
Good luck.......................

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/9914/dsc03088w.th.jpg (http://img706.imageshack.us/i/dsc03088w.jpg/)

March 10, 2010, 02:22 PM
Well, i'm a stooge... I called Dillon and the tech recommended that if I DON'T want to pour the powder back into the live primed case, that I should NOT load a brass in station one, put the empty live primed case back into station 2 and recharge it without anything in station 1.

I'm a stooge, I was under the impression that the live primer coming from the magazine absolutely had to be primed so I thought I absolutely needed to have a fresh brass in station 1 because I thought the primer bar would continue withdrawing primers causing a potential blockage.... that is not the case. I can breath easier now! whew! If the live primer is not used, it will not continue withdrawing primers!

Now I will just do the first AND last of the 50 cases as soon as I get the 100% confidence with Bullseye powder metering in this measure. It's all about the confidence!

I may still look into the powder check die, but from what I saw it's for the 650xl.

March 10, 2010, 03:51 PM
My Dillon 550 loves Bullseye:D. I drop 5-8 charges into my scale cup and weigh them at the begining of my session. If all ok, I'll load 50, drop and check 1 or 2 more and load another 50.

March 10, 2010, 04:17 PM
It's all about the confidence!

You are correct on this. As you load more and check during your loadings, you will see how well the powder dispenser works. Based on your checks, your confidence will improve.

There seems to be a lot of us that check every 50 to 100 rounds. Personally, I check at the beginning and every 50 rounds until I am finished with that session. As I check, I pour the powder back into the case and continue to use it in assembling a cartridge. I have never observed a deviation more than 0.1 grain.

Find a method and frequency that you are comfortable with and work with that.

March 10, 2010, 04:26 PM
I too, only check one or two out of 100. However I pull mine from station 3, and pour the powder back.

I always ask myself what am I going to do with the 90 finished loads if this is way off. Luckily the powders I use and my 550b get along quite well and I've never had to answer the question.

March 10, 2010, 08:03 PM
Mr Camp -

It takes time, but be assured you'll quickly see that the 550's powder drop is supremely accurate, reliable and highly consistent. Still, here's some tips to improve your odds...

• Remove the button from position #2. Use a fired cartridge case to drop the first 10 "loads" into the case, and then directly back into the hopper. All that shaking settles the powder to a consistent density. Then take your scale measurements.

• Of course, always make sure you have the half-height powder bar installed for pistol.

• Now this will sound hokey, but I recently fitted my measures with some of THESE KNOBS (http://cgi.ebay.com/2-BLUE-Adjusting-Knobs-for-Dillon-Powder-Measures_W0QQitemZ320496080168QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4a9f0e1528) and they do an excellent job of helping me get finer adjustment. Took about 3 sec to install.


• If you'll replace your present scale pan with the Ohaus 5077-00 pan (used on RCBS and others, as shown above) no powder will stick to the pan, and their finely shaped snout will put every single particle of powder back into your case. Here's a good price. (http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/ohaus-5077-00-scoop.aspx)

Congratulations on a fine machine. Hope this helps! ;)

March 10, 2010, 08:35 PM
Keep your dispensers covered on your bench, I had a fly die in one and it took me a while to figure why it wouldn't throw consistantly.

March 10, 2010, 09:13 PM
You can use the RCBS Electronic Scale Powder Funnel Pan (It's got built in powder funnel) - weigh and pour using one tool with no mess - $7



March 11, 2010, 10:58 AM
When I do powder checks I take the shell out at station 2 and weigh it before dumping powder in it. I have a electronic scale so I just tare the scale. Put the weighed shell back in position 2 and cycle press. Take the charge shell and reweigh it for the powder weight. This eliminates the whole dumping into a pan and powder funnel stuff.

March 12, 2010, 09:13 AM

I forgot to mention that I use a RCBS pan in both of my scales.........
Kills the static elect.

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/5969/rcbspan.th.jpg (http://img714.imageshack.us/i/rcbspan.jpg/)

March 12, 2010, 02:56 PM
I gennerally check weight on my 550 when I load a new batch of primers, i feel that with ball powders the measure is more reliable than I am

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