RCBS RC Supreme VS Dillon 550B


Agent Tikki
September 29, 2010, 05:09 PM
RCBS RC SUPREME/PIGGYBACK-4 Conversion (I've been told this is similar to the Pro 2000 progressive press by RCBS) VS a Dillon 550b.

Hey guys, I'm looking into getting into reloading mainly for pistols. I've found a couple good deals on these two systems. I may getting an AR15 soon so .223/5.56mm and 6.8spc would be something I'd like to be able to do also in the near future. Can anyone recommend one press over the other? Which is better and why?


If you enjoyed reading about "RCBS RC Supreme VS Dillon 550B" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 29, 2010, 05:17 PM
Buy a good single stage press set-up and learn to reload.

By then, you will have an informed opinion on which would better suit your needs.

IMO: Neither one is a good starter press for a beginner.
You need to be more concerned with learning to do each operation right, rather then producing mass quantities of inferior ammo.

Switching from one caliber to another is not something you want to do all the time with a progressive.
It's a simple die change taking all of 30 seconds with a single-stage press.


Agent Tikki
September 29, 2010, 06:01 PM
The RCBS can be used as a single stage right? and than converted to a 4 stage progressive from what I understand. If this is true, it'd be a better buy for me?

bomb dropper
September 29, 2010, 07:52 PM
I think what rc is getting at is the single stage is all you need right now, learn the feel of what a case is like when being resized or deprimed or how to properly expand a case mouth.

From what I've seen I'd hate to have the piggy back on my only single stage press it would suck to take it all down to swag some brass or reload larger calibers.

My limited advice is to buy a good (rcbs or hornady) starter kit and spend the extra 400 on supplies.

September 29, 2010, 08:03 PM
My advice is to buy the Dillon 550 and the video and go from there. You will have no regrets.

September 29, 2010, 09:33 PM
RC + PB /= 2000 (in other words, a single stage with a progressive add-on is never as good as a progressive press designed that way from the start.

Dillon 550 is much better. Hornady LNL AP is much better again. Either can be used as a single stage or turret, and much more easily than removing/installing PB from RC.


September 29, 2010, 10:03 PM
Learn on a single stage. You won't waste money as I guarantee you'll use your single stage when loading rifle.

For a progressive: Buy Hornady Lock and Load, $369 plus loading dies and shell plate. You also get 500 free bullets. http://www.manventureoutpost.com/products/Hornady-095100-Lock-N-Load-Loader-AP.html

September 29, 2010, 11:20 PM
+1 Used single stage.

September 29, 2010, 11:26 PM
The RCBS can be used as a single stage right? and than converted to a 4 stage progressive from what I understand. If this is true, it'd be a better buy for me?

A 1050 can be used as a dingle stage, they offer good advice. You will always have a use for a single stage though.

September 29, 2010, 11:52 PM
My advice is to buy the Dillon 550 and the video and go from there. You will have no regrets.

I agree, I started on a 550 and my loads aren't inferior. I am mechanically inclined though.

September 30, 2010, 01:13 AM
I started reloading with a Dillon 550 about 12 years ago. With the help of internet, books and the video that came with the Dillon I never had any major problems reloading pistol ammo. The biggest problem I had was getting the proper bell and crimp on 9mm loads, they came out looking like hour glass bullets but they still fired okay. I later purchased a couple of the RCBS Rock Chuckers for reloading rifle ammo. I still have both and they both serve the purpose for which they were bought. I might have been better off starting with a single stage but at the time there was very little information available online for reloading and I couldn't find anyone local that knew much about it either. If you can get a great deal on the Dillon I would get it and pick up a single stage when you start reloading for rifles.

September 30, 2010, 10:27 AM
If you're a patient person and can pace yourself, don't bother starting with the single stage. Go straight for the progressive, and initially use it like a single stage. One round at a time, one primer at a time, etc. etc.

I'd say go XL650.

Agent Tikki
September 30, 2010, 11:00 AM
@ ATLIS - What is the XL650? The Dillon 650?

September 30, 2010, 02:35 PM

I should add a caveat. I only recommend an XL650 if you're mechanically inclined.

September 30, 2010, 03:14 PM
Dillons would probably serve you well with any caliber that you would require lots of ammo & reloading, I have been using them for years, for my most serious bench rest rounds I use a Redding T-7

September 30, 2010, 03:38 PM
I don't see any point in fooling with a single stage machine. You won't be satisifed and the money is better spent elsewhere.

I have a very early Dillon RL450 with several hundred thousand rounds now and I've been very satisfied.

So I'd vote for the D550. HOWEVER:

Use it slowly as a single stage for the first 500 rounds or so, until you understand what you're doing. Than means only one cartridge on the ram at a time. Load one completely, all 4 stations (or 5 as the case may be). Inspect at each station. DOn't start the next until it's finished. You must learn and understand reloading.

Agent Tikki
September 30, 2010, 03:51 PM
Ya, I've been getting lots of horror stories, about people who just aren't carefull, or drunk or both....blowing up my gun is the least of my worries......

I'm oddly excited by the prospect of reloading. Its not really the money it'll be saving me, actually its seems that I'll be spending a grip of money before I can recoup my investment. I can easily go through a couple hundred rounds in one session at the range. But I really only average 100 or so rounds a month. What interests me also that I can make make rounds as light or as "heavy" as possible. I'm just overwhelmed with the amount of information I'm receiving.

Thank you all for all ur personal experience, please keep it coming!

BTW how many of you reloaders have a chrono?

September 30, 2010, 04:00 PM
I have a Pact. It's satisfactory and fun to play with. Like everything else there is a learning curve to using it well.

You cannot extrapolate pressures from velocities. Stay within published loads.

If your experience is like mine you will never save any money. You will shoot more and have more fun.

Keep records.

BTW: I have an old Rock Chucker but have never used it since I got the Dillon. When I started Dillon didn't exist.

I load rifle (30-06 for a Garand) on the RL 450 without any problems. Perhaps larger or longer calibers would be a problem, I've no experience to judge.

Agent Tikki
September 30, 2010, 04:22 PM
thx GBW, I'm trying to justify the Grand I'm thinking about dropping. I have a spreadsheet detailing this 'ole hobby of mine. If the wife ever found it, it'd probably be the last you'll ever hear of me....

September 30, 2010, 04:26 PM
That can be a problem. Never the less I would not trade mine for all the guns and gear ever made. Meantime, dual oven kitchen remodeling, or whatever else she's into. Fair is fair, and anyway she'll never know or care.

September 30, 2010, 04:32 PM
It seems you asked for advice and rcmodel gave you some real good advice and you completely ignored it. I will agree with him and say buy a single stage press and learn to reload.

Hondo 60
September 30, 2010, 05:52 PM
+3 or 4 or what ever on the single stage. With a progressive there's just too much going on all at once for a beginner. I started with a Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit..

And yes, I still use it.

But now I mainly use a Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press

September 30, 2010, 07:36 PM
It seems you asked for advice and rcmodel gave you some real good advice and you completely ignored it.

Other advice was offered , as well.

Some are best served starting with a SS. Others have the ability to master progressives without a lot of fuss.

My advice? Think it through and make a decision. All anyone here can offer is opinions based on what works for them.

September 30, 2010, 09:59 PM
++++1 on the single stage! RC has hit the nail on the head in my case by saying, "start on a single stage." I might look into a progressive for handguns, but I love my rock crushter and it may take alittle longer to reload than a progressive....but the process is what I really enjoy. Time is not a factor when reloading for me! Yes, I use a crono with every new load. Master Beta! Best of luck!

October 1, 2010, 08:31 AM
. But I really only average 100 or so rounds a month. What interests me also that I can make make rounds as light or as "heavy" as possible.

I'd say go XL650.

....a XL650 for 100 rounds a month?:rolleyes:

Agent Tikki.........Take RC's advice and learn the process. Loading for three or four various calibers in that quantity(or even 5 times that many) because of the die and powder changes required is best served with a good SS. Pumping out thousands of one type of round with the same components is better served with a progressive. Even if at some point your wish for or need more production and move on to a progressive, your SS will still be useful for load development and making small batches of hunting type rounds. I shoot 500+ rounds a month of 6 different calibers....I do this all on a Rockcuckker. I also enjoy the process. I like to hand prime and feel the primers seat. I like pulling the handle of the powder measure and looking into each case and comparing it's volume to the other cases. I like feeling the crimp being applied to my big boomers and knowing they will not jump the crimp. Now if I was only shooting 500 rounds of .45 ACP with the same components every time I went to the range, it would be a different story.

October 1, 2010, 08:43 AM
Get a turret press.

Single stage is just flat out painful if you shoot any sort of volume.

October 1, 2010, 09:30 AM
If you really only shoot 100 rds. a month, you can buy a single stage press and make that quantity without any drawbacks whatsoever. The process will be simple and you will learn the very basics, one step at a time, very well. You will never "outgrow" the single stage as every reloader I know has one or two singles on the bench near their progressives. Always useful for something and downright invaluable for some other things.

Heck, you could buy a Lee anniversary kit right now from Cabelas for $89 (I think) and be almost ready to load rounds right out of the box. If you have a little more money to spend, I'd get the Lee Classic Cast press instead as it is a GREAT press for the money, but I still have my original Lee Anniversary kit on my bench and use it from time to time. It will make FINE ammo.


Having said all of that, I just can't agree that buying a single stage first is a requirement for all new loaders.

if you think you'll get into competition and/or shoot more than a handful of rounds a month someday you CAN safely learn on a progressive style machine as they are very flexible.

A 550 (and most others*) can be set up one die at a time if you want. You can run it just like the most basic single-stage press (one die, one case at a time) until you understand that process inside and out. Then install the next die and go back through your cases one at a time -- and so forth.

When you've had enough of that, you can set up the whole set of dies in the toolhead and run one cartridge through each step -- one round at a time -- just like a turret press until you're REALLY confident with how one empty case becomes one loaded round.

Probably by the first week of reloading you'll have enough figured out to be running full progressive style.

[* I don't think I'd necessarily jump for a 650 as the're a bit complicated with the auto-advance and pain in the butt primer system.]

Agent Tikki
October 1, 2010, 11:33 AM
Thx Sam.

I understand yours and RC's advise as to learn the process single stage. But the fact of the matter is that I have a pretty good deal pending on used Dillon 550 (which is where I'm leaning right now). I'm very mechanically inclinded (been in the auto industry for over 15 years now) and mathmatically adept. I'm just afraid that making more ammo will mean shooting more ammo! (lol jk :P) My plans are to inspect this "good deal" but used equipment, and then make a few hundred round single stage at first. I have .40 cal, 9mm and .357 sig handguns right now. and plan on reloading those calibers in that order. When I think I'm ready, I'll start using it progressively. Then I think I may have to purchase a .45 cal and 10mm so that I can make ammo for those calibers too. I mean, its all about the reloading right?

Agent Tikki
October 1, 2010, 12:06 PM
As for the chrono, I was wanting one to test out various light loads for a planned Glock 29sf for the wife. I want to use it to measure velocities on various 10mm HD light rounds that she can handle and won't over penetrate. I guess I could go set up some water jugs and test penetration etc. But being a city boy, its a good 1hr drive to find a place outdoors for a little plinking. T_T

October 1, 2010, 12:38 PM
If you can get a good deal on a used 550, I would NOT hesitate! That's how I got mine and Dillion will not care in the least if you're the second owner or the 50th. If something breaks, they'll fix it. Usually for free. If it doesn't run perfectly, ship it back to them and they'll make it 110% right. I've never dealt with a company that good (and generous) in the Customer service department.

If you're used to turning bolts and measuring things, this will be a piece of cake. And, like I said, you can break it down into the simplest possible steps -- even though the press can do everything at once -- while you're learning.

Conventional straight-walled pistol & revolver rounds are dead simple to reload anyway. When you get into loading for rifles you'll probably want a single-stage on the bench too, but let that come when you need it.

Last Saturday I loaded over 1,000 rds of handgun ammo on my 550B which involved changing dies and primer feed parts (large vs. small) twice. I probably wasn't actually at the press for more than 3 hours all told, though on lazy days like that I like to work in 15 - 30 min spurts and break it up with a little High Road surfing, playing with the kids, etc.

Lastly, if you have any questions or difficulties, with resources such as the folks at Dillon, and the folks here who contribute to our reloading forum, you'll never be too stuck. Help is pretty much instantly available 24/7.

(Oh, my chronograph is a Shooting Chrony Master Beta. They all work pretty well, but you really should have one. Even at newby stages and using the most tried-and-true loads ever -- the chronograph will teach you a lot about how cartridges work and how your different guns behave.)

Agent Tikki
October 26, 2010, 06:14 PM
A little update, I'm shooting alot more. 100-300 a week. Progressive seems like its the best thing for me. I've done a bit of reading and Hornady's Lock n Load seems like the one for me. Thank you all for your input, it was invaluable. :D

October 26, 2010, 11:27 PM
Beginning reloading on a progressive can put you into information overload so I would recommend that you begin learning reloading in single stage mode. That can be on a single stage or the progressive of your choice.

That said, reloading is a handy skill and a single stage press is a handy tool to have even if you reload regularly on a progressive. There are some tasks that just work out better on a single stage.

For the most part, equipment required to get started on a single stage will be required for a progressive. So, you are not having to buy many things twice to make the transition. Besides the cost of the single stage press, a powder measure would be the other exception. But, if you choose correctly, the powder measure could be used on the progressive and it is sometimes handy to have multiple powder measures set up for different cartridges or range of powder loads.

Finally, with having the capability to load on a single stage press, cartridges that you shoot small quantities of are handy to reload on a single stage. It is handy for working up new or special loads. Also, you have the capability of manufacturing cases for obsolete or wildcat cartridges.

For me, reloading is a recreation activity on it's own. I enjoy it, been at it for almost 30 years. I don't mind reloading on a single stage press but I don't shoot thousands of round a week, more like a couple hundred a week. I did buy a progressive last year to reload straight walled handgun cartridges on. I still load rifle on the single stage press although I have dabbled with 223 Rem and 30-06 on the progressive.

That's my two cents worth.

If you enjoyed reading about "RCBS RC Supreme VS Dillon 550B" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!